George M. Steinbrenner III Passes Away

Yet another Yankee legend has died, in addition to being one of the greatest managers ever. Late in the evening yesterday, “The Boss” suffered a massive heart attack at his home in Tampa, Florida. He was rushed to the hospital where continued to fight. However, at about 6:30 in the east this morning, George lost his battle and died.

I have heard sat despised Mr. Steinbrenner, mostly citing his willingness to spend money. However, it seems like they are just jealous of The Boss’ lust for winning. In reality, he just wanted to impress his father. He wanted to win, and be a winner. Money wasn’t a problem, it was the available players that would take his money. He expected everyone to share his desire for winning, and everybody to approve his moves. If The Boss liked you, you were set for life. He loved his family, and wanted to be loved and adored by everyone. There are so many great stories from his life that can be discussed. Rest in peace George, a god among boys. P.S. I am sorry the delay and lack to paragraphs, there are technical difficulties that are preventing them. However, there should be larger spaced between paragraphs.

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Bob Sheppard Passes Away

It is a somber and gloomy day in the world. One of the greatest public announcers in baseball history, along with being a class act and the voice of the Yankess, has died at the age of 99. Sheppard had been ill since 2008, and had not worked since 2007, but was supposidly improving his condition. Bob hoped to be back for the All-Star game at the old stadium, eventually pushing the date to the opening of the new stadium, but never totally recovered. He retired last November. His last appearence at the stadium occured at the last game in the old stadium, in the form of a video. Mr. Sheppard had quite the career. For about 40 years he announced New York Giants games. As a Yankee, Bob announced over 4500 games. He worked a decent amount of World Series, at a grand total of 22 series. The world has lost a legend, gentleman, and a damn awesome voice.

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Pre-Trade Deadline Top 30 Prospects

Here it is, the top 30 Yankees! It is conveniently put together for your reading pleasure right before the trade deadline, where some of them will possibly be traded. A tab at the top of the blog with also feature this post, and be updated occasionally. While they won’t contain explainations, when the trade deadline approaches, another post will feature comments. Recently drafted prospects are not included because a large amount have not signed. In addition, Mark Melancon is not included. The Canyon of Heroes determined he should not be included in the list because of his prior experience. Therefore, an updated version will also include the draft prospects. So, let’s get to it.

1. Jesus Montero, C, AAA

2. Austin Romine, C, AA

3. Gary Sanchez, C, R

4. Jose Ramirez, RHSP, A-

5. Slade Heathcott, CF, A-

6. Graham Stoneburner, RHSP, A+

7.J.R. Murphy, C, A-

8.Manny Banuelos, LHSP, injured

9. Andrew Brackman, RHSP, A+

10. Hector Noesi, RHSP, AA

11.Zach McAllister, RHSP, AAA

12.Dellin Betances, RHSP, A+

13.Brandon Laird, 3B/1B, AA

14.Kelvin DeLeon, OF, A-

15.Eduardo Nunez, SS, AAA

16.David Adams, 2B, AA

17.Ivan Nova, RHSP, AAA

18.Jeremy Bleich, LHSP, AA

19.Adam Warren, RHSP, A+

20.Corban Joseph, 2B, A+

21. David Phelps, RHSP, AA

22.Caleb Cotham, RHSP, A-

23.Kyle Higashioka, C, A-

24.Jairo Heredia, RHSP, A+

25.Bryan Mitchell, RHSP, ExST

26.D.J. Mitchell, RHSP, AA

27. Romulo Sanchez, RHRP, AAA

26.Zoilo Almonte, OF, A-

27. Eduardo Sosa, OF, A-

28.Juan Miranda, 1b, AAA

29.Kevin Russo, UTIL, MLB

30.Bradley Suttle, 3B, A+

 

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State of the Yankees, Thirdbase (2010 Trade Deadline Edition)

Let’s finish up the infield review with third base.  Alex Rodriguez is here for a very, very long time, until 2017 to be exact. A-Rod will likely be at third base for a large part of the time, with DH a possibility at the end. Let’s forget about that for now, it is a trade deadline review afterall. So the Yankees certainly have third base covered for the majority of this season.  

   

 Currently, Alex isn’t producing like usual, and is on pace to have a career low home run total of less than 30. His batting average is currently on pace to be his career low too. To sum it up, he is not having a good year. It could simply be a down year. However, most people believe it has to do with his hip injuries. Last year, he missed a large amount for his hip, while rehabbing in Colorado. Even with his current production, he is a fine third baseman. Hopefully, it isn’t for the long-term, but this year seems to be a bad year for A-Rod, without it getting better soon.   

Alex’s defense seems to be hurt too. Just by watching the game, it can be observe that lunging for the ball to his left seems like a problem. It is likely caused by the hip. Just think, when diving to your left, you put all of the pressure, and it takes all of the force, from your right knee to push off. He can’t do that, so he simply can’t get to a lot of balls. Therefore, his defense has also been affected.   

For the bench, or a possible fill-in should another A-Rod injury occur, there is the aforementioned Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo, and Eduardo Nunez. Let’s quickly look at them.   

Ramiro Pena is all glove, no bat. His glove is typically top notch, but has struggled lately. Watch for it to improve to its normal self, at least at shortstop.   

Kevin Russo is more bat, less glove. His bat would be a solid bench option, but is currently struggling in his first trip to the Bronx. His glove isn’t top notch, but is fine considering he plays second, third, short, and technically the outfield. He should adjust just fine and be a solid utility player.   

Eduardo Nunez has impressed in Triple-A. He is naturally a shortstop, but has lately tried third base. He should do just fine, especially because he has a strong arm. His bat has looked good since last year, but wasn’t anything special before that. Nobody will know about what Nunez will bring to the table in terms of offense, but can’t be worse than Ramiro Pena.   

Brandon Laird is excluded solely on the fact that he will not likely contribute to the team this year. However, he is really wowing everyone this year with his bat.   

In terms of outside talent, Ryan Theriot still seems like the best option. He will likely require a pretty good prospect and a lower-grade one, but he could be a better version of Kevin Russo. He will hit in the high .200s or possibly .300, with a fine glove that can play the entire infield except first base.   

Overall, A-Rod will start the majority of the games this year, unless there is another injury. At the end of the season, if the Yankees are ahead, A-Rod might be rested a bit for the playoffs. I believe in Kevin Russo, he could be a valuable bench player. Nunez seems to be able to hit and could contribute to the team should they lose faith in Ramiro. The best trade item seems to be Ryan Theriot.   

Hope you enjoyed the third basemen  review. Check back next time, for an outfield special!

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State of the Yankees, Shortstop (2010 Trade Deadline Edition)

Now we get to the shortstop. This is again one of the most intriguing situations, perhaps the most interesting positions in terms of the bench behind second base. There is a player there who could be there no more than a few more years, and I am obviously talking about numbah 2, the shortstop, Derek Jetah. While there isn’t as bright of a future as catcher, there are a few prospects that could be viable options in the future.

Jeter will have the shortstop job for a couple more years, or as long as he wants. He is the king in 

 New York, even if King James is here, King Jeter will still have supreme rule. However, both his defense and offense have taken a big drop this year.

Last year was one of his greatest seasons, on both sides of his game, so a drop in production was expected to drop a bit. However, compared to last year, his offense has experienced a large drop. As seen in the graph above, his average has dropped by more than 50 points, his on-base percentage by close to 60 points (!), and his slugging percentage by exactly 60 points (!). The stats almost seem like they came from two different players. These aren’t small differences, this is the result of a player who had a career year last year, and is having one of his worst seasons this year. Yet, Derek is still in third place for the lead in batting average for American League shortstops. Also, the captain is in second place for on-base percentage, third place for slugging percentage, and second place in home runs for American League shortstop. Therefore, there is no reason to replace Jeter right now, unless his skills continue to quickly deteriorate. Right now, there is only one definitive AL shortstop that is better than Jeter, Elvis Andrus, so there should be no rush to push him out. Even with further aging, he could probably still be a top 5 AL shortstop for about 3 more years. There aren’t many young shortstops that are ready to compete with Derek for a top spot anytime soon. El Capitan should be fine at shortstop for this season, don’t worry about him at all unless an injury should occur.

Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo were already discussed in the second base review, so let’s just recap it quickly. Pena brings a great glove, but he’s not showing it. Shortstop is his natural position, so expect the glove to flash great plays. His bat isn’t anything good, and it wouldn’t shock many if his current hitting, below .200, is what he brings. It seems Pena would have a higher average, low .200s, but he doesn’t really do anything decent offensively, besides decent speed. Russo brings more bat and less glove. He should hit above .250 and bring a pretty good bat for the bench. His defense won’t be flashy or elite, but it will still be good. Russo should have a future with the Yankees on the bench. Pena’s future is questionable, if he can have a passable bat, Ramiro will stay in the majors. If not, the minor leagues or a trade are in order.

In terms of prospects, there is only one notable one that could reach the minors this year, or in the next few. That guy is Eduardo Nunez. Some people say that he is having a breakout year, well technically he is not. There is no doubt he is having a very good year, good enough for some to believe he could take over as the next Yankees shortstop. But, last year was his real breakout year. He hit .322 with a .349 obp and .433 slg last year. This year, he has continued his good hitting, with a little lower average but more walk, which could be considered a good thing. There are also a lot of people who don’t believe in Nunez, some don’t like his defense. His fielding abilities at shortstop aren’t the greatest, but he has a great arm. His defense probably won’t kill his chances at being the Yankees’ shortstop, so watch out for him!  He would be a great addition to the bench now, however, he might need just a little more seasoning before coming up later this year.

Then, there’s Cito Culver, this year’s first round pick. It was a surprise pick, some people believe he is destined to be a utility guy while others believe he has great potential and was simply not scouted enough. I like him, not as much as a pick like Stetson Allie, but he has potential. We will just have to wait and see.

Let’s look at the outside options. The best options seem like Cesar Izturis and Ryan Theriot. Izturis is a Gold Glove winner, in 2004, so he is a very good gloveman. He should hit around .250 or .260, while he is currently hitting .245.  This is the best case scenario for Ramiro Pena, so having Cesar here to help Ramiro could be a good idea. It would be a nice acquisition for the Yankees to acquire him, but the Orioles likely deal him, or at least for a reasonable value. They shouldn’t be willing to give up much, so it would probably be best to avoid him.

The other top option is Ryan Theriot. He’s a decent defenseman, not as good as Cesar. However, Ryan should hit in the very high  .200s or possibly .300. He is the more attractive option, also bringing the ability to play second base, and I would love the Yankees to get him. However, I am unsure what it would take to acquire him, but it would probably take at least a Grade-B secretary and another lesser one.

To sum this all up, Jeter will be here for a few more years. Pena and Russo have to put it together, at least Russo should eventually. Nunez has potential to start; he could once El Capitan is done. Don’t forget about Cito, he has a long way to go, but someday could be a good shortstop. On the trade market, there’s Cesar Izturis and Ryan Theriot. I’m a big fan of Ryan, but Cesar will probably be a bad idea, since a trade with the Orioles will be necessary.

Hope you had fun! Join us next time, for a review of the third base situation!

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State of the Yankees, Second Basemen (2010 Trade Deadline Edition)

Second base is one of positions where the Yankees have a long-term solution. Everyone here should know who it is. But for those few naïve fellows, it Robbie Cano don’tcha know! He is here, and here to stay for a very, very long time. He brings very good defense and some of the best offense in the league.

Cano is on pace to hit about 30 homeruns. Also, he is one point behind Justin Morneau in batting average and seventh place for the American lead for RBIs. Clearly, he is one of the most elite batters in the league.

So let’s get to a more debatable topic. Who should be the backup? Currently both Ramiro Pena and Kevin Russo fill that position, but neither of them are having great success.

Both Russo and Pena are obviously not producing. Their defense hasn’t been spectacular either, especially considering that is supposed to be Ramiro’s specialty.

On the offensive side of ball, Pena has never hit. There is a very real possibility that this is his real hitting abilities. It seems as though Ramiro would hit closer to .230 or something like that, but it would surprise few if it what he’s showing. If so, there is no room for him on the bench or for the future. Sure, he usually has a great glove at short, but no glove will save a bat that hits below .200. Right now, Pena has no place on the team, especially with his more average defense.

Russo is producing just slightly more, though not a significant difference. Quickly becoming a fan favorite in his first few games for a clutch hit, he disappeared just as quickly. His stats in the minors suggest that he will be able to hit decently in the majors, as a backup. It would seem that Russo should be able to manage a batting average of at least .250, which is fine. While his defense isn’t as good Pena’s usually is, it is more than passable and his ability to play a wide variety of positions only helps his case. If I were Girardi, I would keep him, hoping he figures out the hitting thing.

In the Minor Leagues, there does not seem to be much, if any ready backups. However there are two interesting prospects who are worth mentioning, even though they won’t reach the Bronx this year. Those guys are of course David Adams and Corban Joseph. Let’s have a brief look at them.

David Adams reminds me of Dustin Pedroia. I know, that’s a lofty expectation for a guy far from the major leagues, but he’s a gritty guy with talent and a smaller size. He constantly works on his game and has the ability for high teen home run totals, with the possibility of a 20 home runs. He won’t win a batting title but he won’t hit for an average close to Ramiro Pena.

Corban Joseph, whose name I love by the way, is a offensive threat. His stats don’t jump out, but it’s the minor leagues, look at his game-by-game stats. They are more impressive. Corban’s position could be a topic for debate in the future, but his offense should find him another one. He had always been a personal favorite prospect, but we will just have go wait and see on these guys. Currently in Trenton, there is possibility Joesph could reach the big leagues next year. Should A-Rod have an issue, possibly with his hip, next year, Joseph could get a call. Well since these two guys won’t help the big team this year, let’s look at some possible trade targets.

These guys aren’t going to blow you away, they should be expensive either. The most impressive guy in Ty Wigginton. He is an All-Star this year, and deserves it. He has some offensive skills, isn’t a star, and offers some position flexibility. However he will be expensive because of both his performance and the fact that he is on the division rival Orioles. I wouldn’t even bother trying for him. The O’s are looking for a young shortstop and they like Eduardo NuneZ. I would just hang up, I wouldn’t give up a young shortstop having a breakout year while Jeter isn’t getting any younger. Unless Baltimore wants Pena, just say no!

There are plenty of other guys who will be available and likely only require a bleh prospect. There are guys like Adam Kennedy and Mark Grudzelanek. You can’t expect more and honestly, I don’t want much more. The guy will play once in a blue moon, when Cano needs a day off.

Second base is pretty well covered. Like most positions on the Yankees, they got an Alpha-Dog in Cano. Russo should be able to improve and become a useful backup. Pena could improve and his defense should definitely improve, at least at short. There are two intriguing prospects in David Adams and Corban Joseph. The Yankees shouldn’t rush out to overspend on a bench option for this position, especially since the guy they get won’t add a good bat to be bench. Just stay put, Cano will play almost every inning for the rest of the year, excluding any end of the year rest and an injury.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this edition of State of the Yankees! Join us next time when I will discuss the shortstop situation, which you know will be interesting!

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State of the Yankees, First Basemen (2010 Trade Deadline Edition)

It seems like the season just started, but the trade deadline is quickly approaching, with a little more than a month left. There have been minor deals involving smaller players and prospects, such as the Russell Branyan trade, but no rush of big, juicy deals. The Yankees are always a big player in the trade market, at least in terms of rumors. This year, they are lucky that there are not many of continuing injuries to their key players. Sure there are gaps, but what team doesn’t? None of them! Well, unless you ask Peter Gammons about the Red Sox (I keed, I keed).

Over the next few days, the Canyon will release a series of posts that address the current state of the Yankees at each position. It will examine the health and success of the starter, aptitude of the backups, depth in the minor leagues, and any possible prospects that can arrive this year. If they appear to have a need at a position, possible targets will be discussed.

So without further adieu, let’s step into the Canyon Medical Center office and have a check-up of how the Yankees look. Next up in line, the first basemen.

First, Nick Johnson is not included. He was originally the Yankees’ DH and backup first baseman. He is injured now and for at least most of the season.

Let’s get this out-of-the-way, Teixeira is here, and here to stay. He brings great defense and typically great offense. Both his power and on-base stats are down, but April was the only month where he was unbearable. He hit for a .136 avg and 2 home runs. After that, he has hit for a .266 avg and 11 round-trippers in May and June combined. It isn’t the great numbers the Yankees expected, but definitely not horrible.

His defense, it has been great. Only one error so far, so it seems like the hitting slumps hasn’t hurt his defense. It doesn’t seem necessary to give much more analysis on him, he is our first baseman for the foreseeable future, and with the team until 2016. The only move he would make is to DH, but that would not make any sense, because he is currently defending great. Let’s move onto the more debateable topic.

Should Miranda be up in the big leagues? I would say yes! No, his stats aren’t mind-blowing. He has hit 7 home runs in 40 games, so that would amount to a season pace of 28 home runs, which would be a great bat off the bench. His OBP and SLG are extremely similar to Tex’s numbers. While Mark isn’t having one of his typical years, who wouldn’t love it off the bench?

On the defensive side, Miranda is nothing to write home about. I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to survive there, but he will surely make you appreciate Tex. Another bonus Miranda brings is his ability to play right field, flexibility is alway a plus.

Jorge Vazquez is the other guy mentioned above. He doesn’t seem to have a chance of making the Yankees, unless for some reason he is added to the 40-man roster and called up in September. One of the guys signed from Mexico, he has power, nothing like Jesus’s, but should be a fine bench player. However, he is 28 years-old, so he won’t develop much more. He has shown power numbers, 31 home runs in 75 games in the Mexican League in 2006 (don’t get too excited, it’s nowhere close to the MLB talent level). He has only played in 19 games of Triple-A ball, so Jorge will likely finish the year there. Next year, should something happen to Miranda, Vazquez could be a useful piece off the bench.

Those are the main guys when talking about Yankees first basemen. They have one big guy, in Tex, and two viable backups, who could fill-in should an injury occur, in Jorge and Juan. Another possible option should a Tex injury occur would be to move Swisher to first base. Originally acquired to be at first base, Nick would have no problem moving there and finding a replacement in RF. We know about Swisher, great OBP and power, and we will talk about him more in-depth during a later review.

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