Yankees Fall/Winter League Update

Ok, even if they don’t get CC Sabathia, who continues to delay his decision by waiting for more offers, I’ve tried to follow some of the young Yanks as they play in various fall/winter leagues.

First, however, speaking of Sabathia I’m getting pretty tired sitting here waiting for him to sign with someone.  Every free agent, in my opinion, is waiting for Sabathia to make some decision so they can see where the market is going to be set.  Until then, however, the hot stove is going to be lukewarm.

Back to the young Yanks.  According to a recent article on Yankees.com, here are some youngsters that have done well in their respective fall/winter league and should merit some consideration for a roster spot:

  • Phil Hughes – I’ve always been high on Hughes and I think he showed his potential when he was tossing that no-no against Texas back in 2007.  Then, he was injured a couple times and he hasn’t been the same since.  People worry he’ll be the next Mark Prior or Kerry Wood, but I think it’s just growing pains.  Front offices everywhere are so careful with these young guys, it’s almost a fault.  Nevertheless, in an Arizona Fall League campaign that started off a bit rough, Hughes settled down and did not allow more than two runs in six of seven starts.  Not bad.  More importantly, his heat was clocked at 95 mph, where it had been when he was healthy, and he struck out 38 and walked 13 in 30 innings.  I’d like to see him cut those walks in half (or more), but I have full faith he’ll be at least a #2 guy for the Bombers.
  • Juan Miranda – I got to see his major league debut, believe it or not, but he was only up with the Yanks for a couple weeks at the end of the season, so who knows what to expect.  He’s a first baseman that put up a .301 average with 14 extra base hits (7 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs) in 19 games and went without an error at first base.  Give him a shot.
  • Melky Cabrera – Realistically, this guy is a fourth outfielder AT BEST.  In his first 26 at-bats in the Dominican Winter League, though, he picked up 9 hits (.345), but only had one extra base hit.  Fourth outfielder … at best … remember that.
  • Kevin Whelan – I have no idea who this guy is (tsk tsk, I know), but in 17.1 innings in the Arizona Fall League, he only allowed 11 hits and four earned runs (2.08 ERA, 1-0 record).  Batting average against is .175.  He was in AA Trenton last year and will probably start the year there this season.  I mention him because he’s one of the many young pitchers the Yanks should dangle in a trade or two to upgrade either the rotation or the outfield.
  • Justin Christian – We saw him for a bit in the Bronx and here’s what he’s doing in Liga Mexicana del Pacifico: .290 (35-for-121), 3 home runs, 11 walks, 15 RBI, 21 strikeouts, 9 stolen bases with one caught stealing.  See, that’s what I’m talking about.  Time to dump Melky.
  • Francisco Cervelli – I saw his major league debut this season too (same game as Miranda, I think) and he’s the potential heir-apparent to Jorge Posada behind the plate, unless they go out and get someone.  He’s hitting .258 with a home run in 15 games in the Venezuelan Winter League.  It’s unfair to expect the offensive production that Posada puts up, but if this guy can get that average to .280 and 12 home runs a season with a bunch of doubles, that would work for me.  I’m a bit more forgiving when it comes to catchers – defense and handling the pitchers are the top priorities.
  • Robinson Cano – He worked with Yankee Hitting Coach Kevin Long for about a week, so he hasn’t gotten to play much in the Dominican Winter League, going 3-for-12 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored so far.  Look, Cano has the most talent of any young position player that the Yankees have.  He just needs to learn to harness his talent and not slack off.  Hopefully that benching at the end of last year helps him learn that lesson.  He still could be a .320/25/115 guy in my opinion so although I was not happy with his 2008 season, let’s hope it’s just an off-year.

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One Response to “Yankees Fall/Winter League Update”

  1. Bryan Says:

    I actually missed some of the matches but really looking forward for the upcoming matches of the Yanks…… but seriously I hope Yanks will take the required decisions for CC. Sabathia..hope he’ll get his right place in the team..


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