Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winter League Weekly Update - 10/27/10

Arizona Fall League

Through thirteen team games, the Yankees farmhands have been somewhat up and down, which is to be expected. My primary concern lay not in the raw numbers produced over the short-season, but rather the peripherals and approaches demonstrated. The pitchers have thrown a tremendous amount of strikes, limited walks, and induced a fair amount of grounders. The hitters have been incredibly aggressive, which has paid off for Laird, but not Romine and Pirela, it seems. And with the gloves ... that's another story altogether.

Manny Banuelos, LHP
10.0 IP, 15 H, 3 BB, 5 K, 3.60 ERA, 0.85 G/F

Banuelos was knocked around a bit in his last start, mostly due to his fastball being straight, with little movement (perhaps his biggest issue). However, his fastball continues to top-out around 95 MPH, a marked improvement over the past couple of years, and his command of his offspeed stuff is commendable.

Craig Heyer, RHP
7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.57 ERA, 2.80 G/F

While I still believe his fate lie in the bullpen, Heyer has impressed thus far in the AFL. He doesn't garner many swings and misses, but his pitch-to-contact approach has worked quite well as he's induced very weak contact (with the majority of balls in play on the ground) through three appearances.

George Kontos, RHP
7.1 IP, 12 H, 1 BB, 10 K, 4.91 ERA, 2.0 G/F

That Kontos has been knocked around a bit in three of five appearances is somewhat disconcerting at face value. However, the context of the AFL is incredibly hitter-friendly, and a priority isn't placed on glovework. Truth be told, Kontos is controlling the strikezone, garnering swings and misses, and keeping the ball on the ground. His fastball has also ticked back upwards a bit, a good sign.

Ryan Pope, RHP
7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 BB, 5 K, 2.57 ERA, 1.29 G/F

Pope has looked fairly strong thus far, with his fastball and breaking ball gaining movement and velocity as he becomes more accustomed to pitching in relief. With the Yankees bullpen in constant flux, continued progress from Pope could see him with the club in April.

Austin Romine, C
.242/.265/.333, 0 HR, 1 SB, 1:7 BB:K, 33 AB

From Fangraphs: "If anything stands out from today, it’s that Austin Romine is not the polished defender that Yankees fans hope. Romine is actually a bit of a mess defensively, allowing three balls to the backstop that shouldn’t have been throughout the day. On one occasion, the ball went back because Romine was more worried about showing off his plus arm to the scouts, with the runner on first stealing second ... Romine’s power grades out the best, as he hit a ball that he didn't square up perfectly off the top of the wall in right center, about 400 feet in all."

Jose Pirela, SS
.094/.147/.094, 0 HR, 2 SB, 2:9 BB:K, 32 AB

And his glove may have been just as bad as his bat thus far. Moving along.

Brandon Laird, OF
.341/.386/.634, 2 HR, 0 SB, 3:8 BB:K, 41 AB

Laird has swung a hot bat thus far, and his glovework in left field has been reasonably decent. Check out this interesting piece on Laird from Baseball America.

Mexican Winter League

I'm not sure that any of these players are a factor in the Yankees plans for the future, barring occasional garbage time duty. Gil is an interesting pitcher, with solid stuff and some success in the low minors, I suppose.

Eric Wordekemper, RHP
5.1 IP, 9 H, 1 BB, 4 K, 2.00 G/F, 10.13 ERA

Francisco Gil, RHP
4.0 IP, 7 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 3.50 G/F, 13.50 ERA

Justin Christian, OF
.418/.439/.636, 3 HR, 8 SB, 2:8 BB:K, 55 AB

The optimistic side of me asks, "The next Andres Torres?" The realistic side of me says, "I'm an idiot for even acknowledging my optimistic side."

Walter Ibarra, SS
.268/.340/.341, 0 HR, 1 SB, 4:9 BB:K, 41 AB

Venezuelan Winter League

My interest in Schmidt is not quite enough to make me care, as Montero has yet to make an appearance.

Josh Schmidt, RHP
14.0 IP, 9 H, 7 BB, 15 K, 2.57 ERA, 0.60 G/F

I still like Schmidt as a potential middle reliever - he's essentially a poor man's Kyle Farnsworth, who really wouldn't have been as much of a disaster had he not been counted on as the 'Bridge to Mo.' His flyball numbers are a bit disconcerting, though.

Jose Gil, C
.367/.375/.567, 1 HR, 0 SB, 0:5 BB:K, 30 AB

Gil could be an interesting back-up catcher, as he has a solid glove and some pop ... but there's a long list of catcher waiting to make their mark with the Yankees.

Luis Nunez, SS
.200/.200/.200, 0 HR, 0 SB, 0:0 BB:K, 10 AB

Marcos Vechionacchi, 1B
.343/.378/.400, 0 HR, 3 SB, 2:5 BB:K, 35 AB

Edwar Gonzalez, OF
.143/.250/.286, 0 HR, 0 SB, 1:3 BB:K, 7 AB

Puerto Rican Winter League

Albaladejo is here, as well, but has yet to make an appearance.

Rene Rivera, C
.286/.375/.714, 1 HR, 0 SB, 1:4 BB:K, 7 AB

I think he could be a solid back-up catcher - potentially better than Cervelli, for what it's worth.

Dominican Winter League

A potentially solid bullpen arm, and...

Jonathan Ortiz, RHP
1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 0 K, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 G/F

Ortiz has showcased good control and swing-and-miss stuff in the low minors. He's older for the level, at 25, but I'd like to see him given a heavy push upwards.

Wilkins Arias, LHP
1.2 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 G/F

Zack Segovia, RHP
1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 0.00 ERA, 1.0 G/F

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