Thursday, November 11, 2010

Winter League Weekly Update - 11/11

Arizona Fall League

The three Yankees in the Rising Stars Showcase performed decently, on the whole. Laird was 0-for-4, with a walk and an RBI. His defense seemed to be solid - his routes were a bit circuitous, but he didn't fail to make any plays. Romine went 1-for-3 with a walk, but allowed a routine-ish pitch in the dirt to slip by for a run-scoring passed ball. And Banuelos tossed 2 IP, allowing three hits, an unearned run, and no walks, while striking out three. His fastball touched 95 a few times, to boot.

Manny Banuelos, LHP
20.0 IP, 26 H, 9 BB, 14 K, 4.05 ERA, 1.32 G/F

Banuelos has drawn rave reviews for the ease of his delivery throughout the short season. The most recent that I'm aware of is from John Sickels, who wrote: "The main thing I noticed about him was how smooth and easy his delivery is; he puts a lot less physical effort into it than Montgomery or Duffy yet generates very quality stuff. I am now a huge Banuelos fan."

Craig Heyer, RHP
14.0 IP, 15 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 3.21 ERA, 2.50 G/F

As much as I like Heyer's aversion to walks and propensity for groundballs, I remain unsure as to what his future could hold. I've heard that he's unlikely to be a starter, and I don't really like the idea of a reliever that pitches to contact so much. I suppose he could have value in a long-relief role.

George Kontos, RHP
10.2 IP, 21 H, 9 BB, 10 K, 14.34 ERA, 1.44 G/F

I suggest you follow the link to Kontos' player page, and admire his severe feast or famine short season. It's intriguing.

Ryan Pope, RHP
9.1 IP, 11 H, 3 BB, 7 K, 3.86 ERA, 1.10 G/F

Pope has walked three while striking out two while allowing about three times as many flyballs over his last 2.1 IP. That's an incredibly small sample size, and certainly not one to draw conclusions from - but it's a disconcerting trend.

Austin Romine, C
.286/.322/.339, 0 HR, 1 SB, 3:12 BB:K, 56 AB

Romine is eight for his last fifteen (all singles), and has thrown out three of the last four runners attempting to steal. Baby steps.

Jose Pirela, SS
.197/.256/.225, 0 HR, 2 SB, 5:15 BB:K, 71 AB

Pirela is three for his last eight, and has only made one error in his last three games. Is there anything below baby steps?

Brandon Laird, OF
.221/.280/.419, 3 HR, 0 SB, 6:21 BB:K, 86 AB

The downward spiral for Laird continues. He's four for his last forty-one, with two walks and ten strikeouts. I've heard that he's been very aggressive of late, perhaps trying to break out of his slump - perhaps working the count a bit more would be more helpful.

Other noteworthy performers:

Mexican Winter League

Justin Christian, OF
.392/.464/.629, 5 HR, 11 SB, 13:4 BB:K, 97 AB

Christian and some guy named Marshall McDougall are men among boys in this league. While I doubt that Christian is some diamond in the rough, it's sort of odd that his track record has only garnered him 43 PA at the Major League level.

Venezuelan Winter League

Josh Schmidt, RHP
23.2 IP, 12 H, 12 BB, 15 K, 1.52 ERA, 0.83 G/F

I really think he deserves a shot with the Yankees next year. He posted great numbers at Trenton two years in a row and his fastball-slider combo has garnered a fair bit of praise over the last couple of years. It's curious to me that he's been starting in the Venezuelan Winter League, as he's only started five games in the minors (as compared to 232 relief appearances).

For more names and statistics, check out's page for Yankees prospects playing winter ball.

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