Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Yankees 8, Pirates 1
2007-03-18 20:23
by Cliff Corcoran

The Yankees batted around against a tired Zach Duke with two outs in the fourth, putting up seven runs before Josh Phelps, in his second at bat of the inning, lined to third to mercifully end the inning.


L - Johnny Damon (CF)
R - Derek Jeter (SS)
L - Jason Giambi (1B)
R - Alex Rodriguez (3B)
L - Hideki Matsui (LF)
S - Jorge Posada (C)
R - Josh Phelps (1B)
L - Robinson Cano (2B)
R - Melky Cabrera (RF)

Pitchers: Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Myers, Luis Vizcaino

Subs: Doug Mientkiewicz (1B), Miguel Cairo (2B), Chris Basak (SS), Angel Chavez (PR/3B), Ben Davis (PR/C), Bronson Sardinha (RF), Kevin Thompson (PR/CF), Kevin Reese (PR/LF), Andy Phillips (DH)

Opposition: Jason Bay, Adam LaRoche and a bunch of scrubs.

Big Hits: Jason Giambi hit a grand slam in the middle of the Yankees' seven-run outburst against Duke. Alex Rodriguez followed with a triple. Chris Basak doubled off Damaso Marte in the eighth, eventually scoring the Yankees' eighth run.

Who Pitched Well?: Mike Mussina finally had a good outing, pitching five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits, all singles, and a walk while striking out two. Mariano Rivera needed just six pitches to work a perfect sixth, and thus threw ten more in the pen afterwards. Mike Myers pitched around a double in the eighth. Luis Vizcaino pitched around a single in the ninth, striking out one.

Who Didn't?: Kyle Farnsworth gave up a run on two walks and a hit in the seventh.

Slick Plays: With one out in the fifth Jose Castillo flew out to shallow right with Ryan Doumit on first base. Doumit wandered a bit too far off first and Melky Cabrera fired a strike to Doug Mientkiewicz for a 9-9-3 double play. Later, Minky made a couple of nice plays of his own, one a diving stop to his right on a line drive, the other fielding a short hop on the foul line. Left fielders Hideki Matsui and Kevin Reese both made nice running catches heading back toward the warning track, though Reese's was more impressive.

Ouchies: Bobby Abreu looked good in batting practice yesterday, ran the bases, and is penciled in as Tuesday's DH. Humberto threw 25 fastballs in the bullpen and will remain in camp to work with Ron Guidry, throwing another bullpen on Tuesday. Wil Nieves should play in today's game. Jose Veras (elbow) will play catch today.

Battles: Josh Phelps went 2 for 3 and made a nice base-running play with two outs in the fourth. That came when Robinson Cano hit a grounder behind second base which Pittsburgh shortstop Brian Bixler dove for and stopped on the edge of the infield grass. Phelps, who had taken off on contact, slid in just ahead of Bixler's flip to second. Andy Phillips grounded out in his only at-bat from the DH slot. Ben Davis did not come to bat.


Housekeeping: I've fixed all of the MLB hit-chart links on the sidebar. I've also deleted all of the Retrosheet links, as all of the splits and game logs on Retrosheet can now be accessed via Baseball-Reference (with the exception of the catch-all "men on" split, but it hardly seemed worth the clutter for that single split seeing as B-Ref provides all of the individual men-on-base situations).

2007-03-19 00:09:07
1.   joejoejoe
Another double for Chris Basak in his only AB (he's hitting .480). Basak's giving himself a chance to make the club as utility IF and he definitely looks to be the first IF called up if there is an injury. Torre had some nice things to say about Basak in the latest audio on LoHud.
2007-03-19 03:52:46
2.   mikeplugh
If Karstens pitches well today, is he a lock for a roster spot?
2007-03-19 04:45:36
3.   Jim Dean
Excellent - thanks as always Cliff.

If baseballreference follows through with the plan to start including in-season stats, there's no reason for that E link either!

2007-03-19 05:40:30
4.   markp
baseballreference went from being very good to great. A must bookmark for all baseball fans.
2007-03-19 06:11:27
5.   rsmith51
Have Torre or any of the Yankee staff commented on Minky's current average? Is there even a remote possibility that he won't make the 25 man roster?
2007-03-19 06:13:09
6.   Jim Dean
BTW: Even without Abreu, I love that lineup. Phleps helps provide more balance. It's amazing that he could be the 9th hitter on opening day.
2007-03-19 06:18:23
7.   Jim Dean
5 Given the 1.5 million they've already spent, I think he'll make the team, and start in April against RHP and in as a LIDR. Of course it's ridiculous to have three 1B's but we knew that all off-season.
2007-03-19 06:33:21
8.   monkeypants
7 Moreover, if he made a couple of nice plays in the field then he just secured his reputation as the "good defensive 1B" that this team has lacked in the past years, which is of course why they haven't won the World Series. So, yes, he will be on the 25 man roster and then stink it up until a mysterious "injury" puts him on the 15 day DL and they start impatiently swapping in other players.
2007-03-19 06:40:00
9.   rsmith51
Using him as a LIDR and an occasional start appears to be a better use of his talents. I think I would start the season with Phelps as the starter(@4 days a week) against all pitchers.
2007-03-19 06:43:59
10.   rsmith51
Where is Tabata starting this year?
2007-03-19 06:59:49
11.   MattinglyHOF
Id say Basak is the first guy up from AAA in case of injury.Phelps should beat out Phillips I know its not fair with Andys mom and all but Phelps has eaten his lunch.Id also play Phelps more then just against LHP cause Minky hasnt earned his spot in the lineup yet.
2007-03-19 07:02:03
12.   Sliced Bread
Good write up on Baseball America's take on the Yanks farm system in the NJ Star Ledger:

2 Last week Torre suggested he might prefer to see Karstens begin the season getting regular work in Scranton, as opposed to withering in the Bronx bullpen. Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me given Pavischyssoise and Igawa's spring performances, which indicate there'll be plenty of work for a long man in April.

But if Karstens keeps up the good work, he'll be with the team at some point -- until a better option emerges(Sanchez, 'Dorf, Hughes).

Is it safe to say Sardinha has pulled ahead of the Kevins on the depth chart?

2007-03-19 07:12:32
13.   rsmith51
12 I am not sure about Sardinha pulling ahead. From what I see the Kevins are both better fielders which may be more desirable as a 5th OF.
2007-03-19 07:12:59
14.   Shaun P
10 I believe in Tampa (ie Gulf Coast League full season A-ball). If he's deservedly in Trenton by the end of the year - wow.

12 Sliced, my guess is, in terms of long term depth, Sardinha is probably ahead of the Kevins on the depth chart. But if there's an injury, one of the Kevins gets the call up. They'll want Sardinha to get regular ABs in AAA and see if the power stroke is for real. I hope it is.

If Mienkiewicz is used as a LIDR and gets 1 start a week at 1B (when Wang pitches?), I think things will be fine. Phelps should get the majority of the starts at 1B. Even if he doesn't, he would be the best Yanks bench bat since Strawberry/Chili Davis, so I hope there's room for him on the roster. Sentimentality over Andy Phillips (and his mom) should not be used as reason to discard Phelps.

2007-03-19 07:33:53
15.   Jim Dean
8 Seriously, we should start taking bets on when Minky gets dumped. I have a hard time believing he'll be with the team all year.

10 14 Yup, Tampa. Doing well in Trenton by the end of the year would be the best case scenario.

12 14 I'm not so sure on Thompson versus Sardinha. The former can play any OF position and can nick a base or two. Sardinha seems more like a corner OF but he needs to show more pop. I think it all depends on what they need as to who gets called up. If it's a 5th oF, I think it's KT. If it's an injury replacement, then it's Sardinha. I agree on Bronson needing a bit more time to develop though - stronger bias to keep him in Scranton.

2007-03-19 07:40:27
16.   wsporter
14 MFD, I saw Sardinah play a couple of times last summer. He looks like a completely different ballplayer. His swing seems much shorter and more powerful through the zone (at least as far as I can see it on MLB) and he just seems to carry himself a little differently, with an air of confidence that didn't appear to be there when I saw him. I think you're right; he's still a youngster and needs the ab's. Eventually though he has to be taken seriously as a 5th of'r or injury replacement if they're looking that way.

With Tabata not realistic till 09/10 that leaves Gardner/Christian and maybe S. Duncan as legit short term outfield youngster help (other than the Kevins) with Sardinah to back up the Milk man. Of those, right now I'd bet by June/July Sardinah may be the most ML viable in terms of his VORP.

2007-03-19 08:08:27
17.   Yankee Fan In Boston
off topic, but i wonder if kenny rogers owns stock in the new era company.

remember the raised eyebrows when it was shown that he doctored the tigers' batting practice hat to wear during games (it had a dark panel beneath the brim, as opposed to the light grey, and it was thought that this was one place that he might be putting the "dirt" that was seen on his pitching hand).

well, new era is changing the game caps this year, and here is one change:
"The new undervisor for these caps is made of New Era performance fabric that also carries moisture-wicking properties -- and now it is black across the board, a change to assist in reducing glare."

dang! i was looking forward to spotting the other hat on rogers...

2007-03-19 08:09:28
18.   joejoejoe
Do the Yankees have more mid-to-late 20s players in their farm system than other teams? What is the point of keeping Mitch Jones and Felix Escalona in your system if you never plan on using them. Mitch Jones is 30 and behind Phillips, Phelps, and Miranda as a prospect IMHO. What's the point of having the guy in the Yankee system? Wouldn't he make a decent RH bench player for a team like the Nationals or Padres or Mariners who play in a big park? I don't think the Yankees will ever use some of these players so why not either trade them for something (anything) or release them?
2007-03-19 08:11:11
19.   tommyl
8 15 I predict XYZ to be this season's Tony Womack. We'll keep him around for his "pluck" and "defense" for awhile and then get rid of him. Trouble is we don't have a 1B version of Cano in the minors. I'd actually dump XYZ, keep Phelps as the everyday starter and Phillips as the LIDR/emergency UIF, or maybe even Basak. It'll never happen though, XYZ is a grizzled vet.
2007-03-19 08:13:29
20.   OldYanksFan
I found this on Chris Basak:

"For a non-power hitter, he still Ks too much. Overall his peripheral ratios are problematic: 1 BB per 11.3 AB; 1 K per 3.8 AB; XBA of 0.084; stolen base success rate of 61.8% (21 SB/34 SBA). In the past, his BB-rate was much better. While the XBA was improved, the K-rate suggests that he won't hit for much average and he'll have a weak OBP to boot. His bat not likely to get him to MLB."

It seems to me like he is a talented guy but has 'little man' syndrome. At 5'10, he looking for the big hit, and thusly Ks too much and walks too little. Maybe if he decides to just be a contact hitter he could turn it around a bit.

2007-03-19 08:21:32
21.   Jim Dean
16 S.Duncan is going to be 28. He's closer to AARP than to the Bronx.

18 Those guys are worth nothing. They are simply there to fill out the Scranton roster. Every organization has those "kids".

2007-03-19 08:40:28
22.   markp
I'll get into the M-z pool. I'll take the "stays all year" square.

Looking at Basak's minor league stats I have to agree: there's no there there. He's had some dismal numbers as a 24-27 year old player in AA and AAA including a 675 OPS at age 26 in AA.

2007-03-19 09:06:34
23.   Cliff Corcoran
18 Mitch Jones is an NRI with the Dodgers this spring. I believe he was a six-year minor league free agent. As for the point in keeping others like him around . . . Scranton, Trenton etc. have to field full teams, you know.
2007-03-19 09:09:56
24.   wsporter
The siren's song of spring training stats is overwhelming. I think that's what Homer said about spring training stats anyway.

I wonder how far apart Phelps and Man-cave-itch would be at the end of the year in terms of contribution to Yankees wins? With an equal number of ab's (say 400), I bet win shares are about even (I hope Tangotiger doesn't see the reference). I suppose one could throw Andy into the mix and make about the same statement in relative safety. When it comes down to it, handedness and who's the biggest jackass may have as much to do with who leaves as anything else.

18 Do you have an age cut off in mind? The older I get the younger 27 seems. :-)

2007-03-19 09:40:37
25.   joejoejoe
24 I don't have anything against Mitch Jones. I just like to see players get a chance OR to see players in AAA who might one day get a chance develop into major leaguers. Here are the ages for some Yankess when the first started playing a lot in the bigs.

Bernie - age 22
Jeter - age 22
Posada - age 25
Pettitte - age 23
Rivera - age 25
Wang - age 25
Melky - age 21
Cano - age 22

Few everyday players make the bigs after age 25. I can see having a few utility types and catchers in AAA that are older but you pretty much know what you've got by age 25. Since the Yankees seem intent on filling the bench with thirtysomethings like Miguel Cairo and Aaron Guiel from free agency rather than consider older minor leaguers I don't see much point in wasting the space at Scranton. Kevin Thompson is 27. He's only going to play if the Yankees have two injuries in the OF - in that case Cashman will make a deal.

Why not deal Kevin Thompson and move every younger OF prospect up a slot?

2007-03-19 09:43:33
26.   Bama Yankee
16 & 21 "S. Duncan"... hmmm,
not Sabrina
not Sandy
oh yeah, Shelley... that's it.
2007-03-19 09:54:11
27.   wsporter
25 Why? Tabata for example isn't ready to move beyond Tampa right now. Who are those guys holding back? An organisation needs guys like KT, KR, Shelly Duncan, Cannizaro etc for the very reason that they don't want to rush guys if they don't have to. I don't see that they're slowing down the development of anyone at this point and I also disagree, they [may] be useful in the Bronx. I could be wrong but I just don't see it.
2007-03-19 10:30:37
28.   Shaun P
27 Great point, MFD. Look at what an organization like Seattle has done by rushing so many of their prospects - many of them had very bad years. Some folks still think that the source of Eric Duncan's woes was over-aggressive promotions.

25 Just about every team has guys like the Kevins, Cannizaro, S. Duncan, etc. What of value are they going to bring in return? And, to expand on Cliff in 23, its also helpful to have the minor league teams be competitive to help the 'kids' (under 25?) who are going to be big leaguers (like Hughes). It keeps them focused, gives them some 'big-game' experience, and fosters a good attitude. Who likes losing, after all?

2007-03-19 11:00:48
29.   tommyl
28 Plus you can always carry Crash Davis.
2007-03-19 11:09:08
30.   Shaun P
Hey Jim Dean, if you're reading this, please be sure to ignore who is starting today in LF for the Yanks in their away ST game vs Toronto.

If you can't, take a deep breath, and just remember that its a spring training game, and it doesn't matter a lick, and Melky is the 4th OF.

And if that doesn't work, hopefully Sliced, Bama, Chyll W, or some other humorous Banterer will come up with something for you to laugh at. I would but I'm not that funny.

2007-03-19 11:09:30
31.   Jim Dean
And Minky with the double play ball! He doesn't even get the RBI.

1 for 25.

Impressive. Limbo!

2007-03-19 11:12:47
32.   Jim Dean
30 Funny, I saw that. It's quite a feat really. Shoot, why not give Basak a few innings in the OF?

Oh right, Miguel has played out there "everywhere he's been".

Right now though I'm more facinated by the crowd raising on the PR at the Jays' ballpark.

That and Minky's limbo routine.

2007-03-19 11:13:42
33.   Cliff Corcoran
32 Actually, Torre said yesterday they do plan to give Basak some time in the OF.
2007-03-19 11:15:13
34.   Jim Dean
33 Excellent! That Torre is a genius, I tell ya!

[Actually, that's just as sad - but who am I?]

2007-03-19 11:18:28
35.   C2Coke
I posted in the wrong thread apparently.

Anyone watching Cairo having a wonderful day out in the left field? Why even try him there when the Yankees have Melky?

2007-03-19 11:30:39
36.   thelarmis
ugh on cairo. and according to pete abe, torre still has "faith" in scrabble. feh! i guess igawa starting in the minors is now being mentioned.
2007-03-19 11:34:58
37.   C2Coke
It's only the spring's only the spring training...
2007-03-19 11:36:28
38.   C2Coke
36 That was a pregame interview.
2007-03-19 11:41:07
39.   thelarmis
38 ah, good call C2! let's hope the postgame is to a different tune...
2007-03-19 12:24:46
40.   Jim Dean
And the madness ends - Minky with a double. He just punched his playoff roster slot.
2007-03-19 14:28:44
41.   tommyl
36 Torre always says he has faith in his players to the press. What do you want him to do, say, "Doug really sucks, and he smells bad, I hate him."? He was saying he had faith in Tony Womack right up until he was gotten rid of. Last year he was praising T-Long's clubhouse influence to the press. Torre never, ever bashes someone in the press unless they have done something truly awful. I respect him for that. Remember, what he says to a beat reporter might not be all that he is thinking.
2007-03-19 14:37:51
42.   tommyl
Here's a question, Minky's defensive metrics aren't that great the last few years, but do those metrics take into account his fielding on throws to him at 1B or just balls hit to him? I'm curious because I hear all this anecdotal evidence that he's great at "digging out throws" or whatnot. Anyone know?
2007-03-19 14:48:58
43.   thelarmis
41 yes, no doubt. i was pretty much just 'reporting' a quick blurb from the pete abe site that had just gone up... i echo someone's earlier sentiment of scrabble becoming this years' womack. we'll see...
2007-03-19 15:34:48
44.   Start Spreading the News
41 "Torre never, ever bashes someone in the press unless they have done something truly awful."

unless the player's name is A-Rod...

2007-03-19 16:34:51
45.   wsporter
44 I must have missed that "bashing". Can you remind me?
2007-03-19 16:53:40
46.   Chyll Will
"hopefully Sliced, Bama, Chyll W, or some other humorous Banterer will come up with something for you to laugh at."

Lookittheminky, lookatthesillyminky...

hope that helps...

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