Notes from watching two minor league games

kyle roller

Hey everyone, here is another column I have decided to start about the Yankees minor league players. I have been watching games on for quite some time now, and recently I have been writing down some of my observations. I figure people might be interested in some of the observations I have been able to make by watching some of the games.

It is important to emphasize that again I am not a scout, and I am in no way an authority on this matter, but I played the game for a long time and there are certain things that I can pick up on that I feel to be important and I think would be helpful in evaluating these players.

Here are a couple of the observations I have made with some analysis of what it could mean for the player going forward.

I was able to watch one of the Trenton Thunder games, and I came away impressed with several players, and have some notes about several others.

First off, I watched a couple of at bats by Mason Williams. I noticed that he has great speed down the first base line. In addition he appears to have the ability to make contact and avoid strikeouts. One thing I noticed about him was that his swing has a tendency to get a bit long sometimes, which cause him to be late on a couple of pitches and in one case led to a lazy fly ball to left field. Given that his long swing doesn’t lead to a decreased contact rate, I don’t see it being a huge problem for him. It may become more of an issue at higher levels when he is consistently facing pitchers with higher velocity. He also does have the ability to shorten more

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Michael Pineda suspended for 10 games

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Major League Baseball has officially announced Michael Pineda has been suspended for 10 games regarding last night’s pine tar incident. The suspension is to start effective immediately and he’s expected to miss at least one start, thanks to Monday’s off-day. Pineda is allowed to appeal, but I heavily doubt he will, given the circumstances.

I imagine David Phelps will spot start in Pineda’s place but that will be up for Joe Girardi to decide.

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Cashman, Girardi, Pineda comment on last night’s pine tar use

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Brian Cashman, Joe Girardi and Michael Pineda all addressed the media last night about Pineda using pine tar and subsequently getting ejected against the same team he used pine tar on the first time. Before we get into the quotes from all three of them, here are my thoughts on the whole saga that unfolded last night. I didn’t want to post my thoughts last nights in case I felt differently in the morning, so I slept on it. Unsurprisingly, I still feel the same way as last night:

  • It was extremely dumb to use it against the Red Sox, twelve days after it was used against the Red Sox. You’d have to figure John Farrell and the Red Sox would be on the lookout after that.
  • It’s an embarrassing and unfortunate situation for the Yankees organization, the fans and for Pineda. The Yankees loss against the Red Sox means nothing; the fact Pineda cheated a second time and wasn’t even discreet about it is what’s baffling.
  • The Yankees are partly at fault for this. They said they spoke to him about the pine tar use after the first game, but I don’t think Pineda understood the consequences if he was caught again. There has to be a better sense of communication between them.
  • I honestly believe Joe Girardi had no knowledge of Michael Pineda placing pine tar on his neck before the second inning. He was clean in the first and Girardi assumed Pineda got the message about the pine tar from when he was spoken to the first time.
  • I’ll end my thoughts on a slightly good note: Most young pitchers who are caught cheating would probably slip out the back door before the media could get to them. The fact Michael Pineda stood there more
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    Pineda ejected in 5-1 loss to the Red Sox

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    In a night that was overshadowed by Michael Pineda‘s ejection for using a foreign substance, the Yankees were stifled by the Red Sox as they fell 5-1 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

    After Pineda was ejected in the second inning, David Phelps came in the game and gave up two runs on three hits in two innings. Matt Thornton pitched a scoreless inning and a third, Preston Claiborne gave up a run in two innings of work and Adam Warren had a scoreless inning.

    The Yankees scored their only run in the sixth inning when Carlos Beltran doubled, Brian McCann grounded out to Lackey, moving Beltran to third and Alfonso Soriano hit a sacrifice fly to right center field, scoring Beltran. Brett Gardner, who made his right field debut this evening, went 1-for-4. Derek Jeter  saw his 11-game hitting streak snap tonight as he went 0-for-4.

    What’s Next?

    CC Sabathia will take the mound for the Yankees with the hopes of giving the Yankees a series win against the Boston Red Sox. Felix Doubront will oppose Sabathia. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and the game will air on the YES more

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    Michael Pineda ejected for pine tar use

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    Well, it seemed Michael Pineda didn’t really learn his lesson from his last outing with the Red Sox where he used pine tar out in the open.

    Michael Pineda was ejected from the game earlier in the second inning for having a foreign substance (pine tar) on his person John Farrell asked for Gerry Davis to check Pineda, and Davis found the substance Pineda’s neck. He immediately ejected Pineda from the game with no argument from Joe Girardi or Pineda.

    Now, Michael Pineda faces a suspension that could be up to 10 games, but Major League Baseball is allowed to decide how long the suspension is, via rule 8.02. Here’s  an excerpt to what what rule 8.02 dictates:

    8.02The pitcher shall not – (b) Have on his person, or in his possession, any foreign substance. For such infraction of this section (b) the penalty shall be immediate ejection from the game. In addi- tion, the pitcher shall be suspended automatically. In National Association Leagues, the automatic suspension shall be for 10 games.

    I’ll have quotes from Pineda and Girardi after the game but right now things are not looking good for Michael more

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    Brett Gardner makes first career start at right field

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    At first glance, the lineup seemed pretty normal. All of the big Yankees names were in there, so there was really nothing out of the ordinary. However, if you look closer, it turns out the positions are switched: Carlos Beltran is tonight’s DH, Alfonso Soriano is the LF and Brett Gardner is the RF. Yes, Brett Gardner will make his first career start at right field for the Yankees.

    The Yankees have toyed with the idea of putting Gardner in right field in the past. He remembered Joe Torre asking if he could play right field in 2007 and he replied he could; he played for only an inning or two. Last season, the Yankees tinkered with where they could play Gardner and current New York Met Curtis Granderson. They liked the idea of Gardner in right field during Spring Training but nothing ever came out of it since Granderson got hurt the first week of the season and Gardner had to be the every day center fielder.

    The logic Joe Girardi might have behind this is right field is bigger in Fenway, and you usually put your best defender in right field. Left field has the Green Monster, so playing left field wouldn’t really require much range, versus playing at Yankee Stadium where right field is shorter due to the porch. Playing LF would be easier on Alfonso Soriano, since he’s older than Gardner and there’s less ground to cover.

    Regardless of the reason, the Yankees have elected to put Brett Gardner in right field and this game should be an interesting one to watch. The only thing I question is why Ichiro isn’t in more

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    Gardner joins Taylor Hooton Foundation; Teixeira expands Dream Team 25


    Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira aren’t just setting an example for the Yankees on the field, but they’re also setting an example off the field. Here’s what the two of them are up to with their respective foundations:

    Brett Gardner: The Taylor Hooton Foundation announced today New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner has joined their “Advisory Board” which is made up of active players around Major League Baseball. The Taylor Hooton Foundation is acknowledged as a leader in advocacy against appearance and performance enhancing drugs use by the youth in today’s society

    Gardner joins 11 other players who are involved with the Hooton Foundation including Jay Bruce (Cincinnati Reds), John Danks (Chicago White Sox), David DeJesus (Tampa Bay Rays), Brian Dozier (Minnesota Twins), Dillion Gee (New York Mets), Clayton Kershaw (Los Angeles Dodgers), Jason Kipnis (Cleveland Indians), Mark Melancon (Pittsburgh Pirates), Max Scherzer (Detroit Tigers), C.J Wilson (Los Angeles Angels) and Brad Ziegler (Arizona Diamondbacks). More players will be added to the “Advisory Board” throughout the 2014 season.

    As members of the “Advisory” Board, the selected players will participate in the Taylor Hooton Foundation’s educational activities, record public-service announcements for radio and provide input by educating players on the dangers of using steroids and performance enhancing drugs.

    Mark Teixeira: Teixeira launched the Dream Team 25 for the third year in a row, which alerts fans to help support his cause for Harlem RBI and the Dream Team Charter school. In exchange for support, “All-Stars” could make the trip to New York City and have lunch with Teixeira at Yankee Stadium.

    This more

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    Michael Pineda set to take the mound vs. Red Sox

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    The last time Michael Pineda took the mound against the Red Sox, it was at Yankee Stadium–and it was a rather controversial start. Pineda appeared to have pine tar on his wrist for half the game before wiping it off before the fifth inning while propelling the Yankees to a victory.The controversy was an odd one; it started in the Boston Red Sox NESN booth, went to Twitter, traveled through the media, and then went to Pineda who claimed he had dirt on his hand.

    This series is much different than the last Yankees/Red Sox series: for one thing, it’s not at Yankee Stadium; it’s at Fenway Park. Pineda will have to prove he can pitch in a huge spotlight away from home, something Masahiro Tanaka proved yesterday when he beat the Red Sox 9-3 to earn his third win of the season.

    Pineda enters tonight’s contest with a 1.00 ERA (yes, that’s his actual ERA), stifling hitters with his fastball and fooling hitters with his devastating slider. He’s matched Tanaka pitch for pitch since the season started…but this is a new test for Pineda. Red Sox fans will heckle him for the pine tar incident–it will be interesting to see if he can block out the noise, and shut down the Red Sox more

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