Wednesday, March 29, 2017

MONTGOMERY'S KILLING IT!

I want to see Jordan Montgomery in the Yankees starting rotation!

Photo: NJ.com
JoMo did it again today! SNY has this nugget as we just days away from Opening Day:

"Jordan Montgomery allowed one run in five innings and Austin Romine and Brett Gardner delivered run-scoring single as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays, 3-1, on Wednesday afternoon."

Chris Carelli, a former #BYBHub member continues:


"Montgomery's performance aside, the Yankees will wait to make any determination as to their fourth starter until after the remaining competitors take the hill in the team's final exhibition games. Manager Joe Girardi announced the club would not name a fifth starter until it gets closer to the first time they need one -- April 16.

In my view, Montgomery pitched well enough this spring to grab either of the two spots."

I agree with Chris.  Give this guy the ball. We have been writing about Montgomery for weeks now at Bleeding Yankee Blue, and you know us, we rarely cover exhibition Spring Training games.  This kid is something special though.  Story of the spring!

Just wanted to share it!


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JUDGING JUDGE

Photo: New York Daily News
There's plenty of chatter about maybe starting Aaron Judge in Triple A.  That would leave us with Aaron Hicks in right field.  I'm not sure I like that from a fan perspective.

The New York Daily News has this nugget:

Photo: New York Daily News
"The 24-year-old has hit .327 with three homers this spring, cutting down on his strikeouts in the process (12 in 55 at-bats). But he could open the 2017 campaign at Triple-A Scranton, since he has minor-league options.

'He needs to play, that’s the bottom line,' Joe Girardi said.


Aaron Hicks has also had a solid spring (.275, three homers), and is the better defender of the two. And the Yankees want to see what he could do in an everyday role."

Now look, this makes a ton of sense.  You got an experiment going on. Hicks is going to be tested.  Can he handle right field, the fatigue, the role of playing every day as a New York Yankee? The Yankees want to find out.

Photo: NJ.com
Meanwhile, you have a kid in Judge that could potentially be sent down to bat every day on the Triple A level, get some confidence, grow, and if Hicks takes a dump, you know it's time. If he doesn't, there is bound to be another personnel move that will ultimately get Judge up, especially if he's killing it in Triple A.

Bottom line, while I don't like it because I want to see Judge in the pros, I understand it totally.  But fans want Judge!




IT'S NOT ABOUT THE DREAM- IT'S ABOUT GRIT

Source: Kim Klement | USA TODAY Sports

I am drawn toward individuals who exhibit what University of Pennsylvania professor and researcher Dr. Angela Duckworth defines as grit.  "Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it's a marathon, not a sprint." And in baseball, this means that the athlete who has grit is someone that educational leader Corey Radisch says avoids three very specific fears that hinder success. "Fear of failure, fear of criticism, and fear of hard work."

Source: Associated Press

We've talked a lot about the importance of grit many times in our posts.  You've read the blogs and you know what we need to do.  And as we said in our post OUR SUCCESS LIES IN OUR FUTURE back in September 2015 "If Girardi and Cashman could simply see the forest through the trees, they’d realize the chemistry and life these youngsters provide and let them move the team forward from here on.  If we are to be successful, it won’t be on the tired backs of ARod, Beltran, or Teixeira.  It has to be on the shoulders of our Baby Bombers.  Their time is now, and the Yankees’ time could be now too if our manager would set his binder down and simply open his eyes."  It's time for the management to stop dreaming and get gritty too.


According to CBS New York, "The Yankees may not be able to buy championships — not that they ever did, aside from 2009 — but they cut some fat, traded some high-end talent and spread some seed across what’s now the most fertile farm system in the game."  But as the article quickly points out before you can crack an optimistic smile across your winter-scorned face, "Kudos to beleaguered general manager Brian Cashman, who gets no credit when the club wins and all the blame when they lose. The Yankees are not quite ready for prime time, as they smooth the fur of their young colts and address the ultimate baseball axiom: Pitching wins championships."

Source: CBS New York

We may have gritty players on the field, willing to sprint and dive for extra base hits, punch clutch situational hits into the gap and run down smoking line drives, but we are lacking depth, endurance and grit up on the hill.  "We know the Yankees have a decent lineup, if healthy, and a nuclear bullpen that will shut an iron door down after the seventh inning. They just don’t have nearly enough starting arms to get them the ball."

Source: The New Yorker

So how do we build the grit in our young pitching staff without over extending their arms and without worrying about the three iconic failures that hinder success?  Well, I hate to say this but we may need to look at the Mets' track record in the pitching column.  "The Mets’ rotation is the envy of the sport, a conveyer belt of 20-somethings who throw gas. And unlike the Yankees, whose season hangs on the once-torn elbow of Tanaka, the Mets can lose Matt Harvey and still trot out Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom. And if Harvey returns to 2014 form in 2017, then the Mets will win 90-plus games by default. Which leaves the Amazins twice as likely to win the World Series, a 12-to-1 shot, according to Westgate."  We are talking young arms, cheap arms, identified by scouts, signed, groomed and coached for success.  We need a better eye for these kinds of pitchers and we need the gritty pitching coaches to mentor them.  We just don't have the right guys in the right places to do this work.  And we need them, fast.


And all this talk about trading prospects Clint Frazier and Jorge Mateo is utterly ridiculous. According to an article in NJ.com, "White Sox pitcher Jose Quintana can change everything. Get him and the Yankees can be a playoff team, maybe even win the AL East if favorite Boston doesn't get anything this season from ailing ace David Price." Not at the price of losing our youth.  Not at that price at all. If we can recruit guys like Frazier, Mateo, Blake Rutherford, Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez than why can't we do the same when it comes to identifying the best in young pitching and mentor them to grow and sustain success?

Source: NJ.com

So, not to be a glass half empty kind of person, but it's not about the dream, it's about grit and it's about grit in getting the job done from identifying, recruiting, molding, mentoring and home growing the arms to match the strong and youthful fielders and hitters who are anchoring our team for success. We need more than management is giving us.  And we need it now.  It's time to get gritty about scouting for success instead of just dreaming it.




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof




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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

IF CASHMAN ADMITS JOBACIDE, HE SHOULDN'T COMMIT JOBACIDE

(Feb. 26, 2015 - Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America)    
Jobacide is a word I've used for too many years now to describe the Yankees' systemic sacrifice of young starting pitching at the altar of a cheap and steady supply of  relievers.

It's no secret the Bronx bullpen has long been the place where promising young starters brought up too soon go to die, and you could fill a whole shelf of binders with all the wildly creative story lines the Yankees have tried to peddle to media, fans and -- most sadly of all, to the players themselves -- to explain away the diversion,  marooning and pruning of so many homegrown, high-performing Triple A arms and careers there.

Photo: MLB.com
Which is why I nearly spilled my coffee on my keyboard last Thursday as I perused Mark Feinsand's lengthy Q&A with GM Brian Cashman published Thursday on MLB.com and witnessed, for the first time I can recall, an official acknowledgement of the practice.

"MLB.com: There has been a lot of talk over the years about the Yankees' inability to develop young starting pitchers. Do you think that's a fair criticism?

Photo: New York Daily News
Cashman: Yeah. It's a fact. I think part of the process has been certainly where we draft. Because we've had a lot of success, we've not been allowed to tank and go off the board and therefore get access to some of the high-end stuff that plays out to be impactful. Part of it is we can't get out of our own way because we don't have the patience to let guys finish off their development, because if you possess some unique ability that stands out above everybody else -- whether it was Joba Chamberlain, Ian Kennedy, now [Luis] Severino and before that [Bryan] Mitchell and Shane Greene -- we're pulling them up before their development is finished.

Teams like Tampa Bay, for instance, they're going to wait until they have their four pitches down and their innings limits are all exceeded at the Minor League level; they're very disciplined in that approach as they finish off their starters. For us, if I'm looking at my owner and he says, "What's our best team we can take north?" Well, "We could take this guy; he's not necessarily 100 percent finished off, but we can stick him in our 'pen. He can be in the back end of our rotation, because he's better than some of the guys we already have," and then you cut corners, so I think that probably plays a role in it. And sometimes we don't make the right decisions, either, when we're making Draft selections and signings and stuff like that. On top of it all, playing in New York is a lot different than playing anywhere else."


So there it is, confirmation that Jobacide is real --  couched between poor draft position due to past success, an owner's insistence on the best personnel playing in the Bigs ready or not, and the bright lights choke factor of the Big Apple. .

This winter Hal and Brian were publicly confident they had the young arms ready to go in the system to fill the vacant spots in the rotation.

But the ensuing spring competition has revealed nothing could be further from the truth and  re-focused giant Broadway-sized spotlights on the problem the Yankees have  finishing off their young pitchers' development.

Now that they've clearly identified they have a problem, will they allow  all the losers of the rotation competition to return to the farm and finish their development as starters -- or will they all become inmates condemned to life sentences in the Bronx Pen-itentiary?

It all depends on whether  the Yankees decide admitting the problem is the first step toward solving it or not.

So far, they've shown admirable restraint with the young position prospects by resisting the urge to fling one into the deep end ahead of schedule to patch a temporary hole at shortstop.

It would be a huge step forward for the franchise if  they could start doing the same with their scarcest and most precious commodity -- their young pitching prospects -- and outlaw Jobacide from Yankee Universe once and for all.



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore







WHAT ABOUT CHRIS?

Photo: New York Daily News
As Spring Training winds down with a lot of cuts already being made, there aren't a lot of questions to be asked about the Opening Day lineup. All in all, Spring Training has been a pleasant surprise for all of us.

I tend to not read too much into the spring season stats but, there are a few that seem promising. Greg Bird, Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are all guys that have had a very solid spring.

Kids such as Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar have all looked very good. Not to mention the surprise of Jordan Montgomery!

There of course, is the usual questions about the starting pitchers that have been there for quite awhile now too. But there is also a question about 1 particular signing that is split down the middle among Yankee fans. What about Chris Carter?

This article from NJ.com seems to think that he might be the odd man out.


Photo: NJ.com
"Not long after Chris Carter -- and everybody else -- learned Greg Bird would be the Yankees starting first baseman on Opening Day, Carter admitted things have been difficult for him this spring."


With the horrendous spring Carter has put together, there just seems to be no need for his services. That's the bottom line. Yeah, he could be the backup first baseman until Tyler Austin returns. He might get some turns at DH or pinch-hitting duty. That of course is why we signed the guy. His home runs he could provide some hope, but to be honest, it would be better if they didn't come in-between 20 strikeouts. Are those services worth the $3.5 million he was signed for or as Jeana Bellezza asked about 3 weeks back, Was signing Chris Carter a waste of moneyLook, if this keeps up, the Yankees are going to have a problem here. They gave Carter a $3.5 million, one-year contract in the offseason -- what seemed like a bargain at the time for a powerful right-handed bat who could platoon.

Photo: Newsday
Now, I'm the last one to ask about contracts and all the fine print. I don't know shit about any of that. Do they pay him all that money to make sure all the guys get their Gatorade as they come off the field? Maybe grab a bat once in awhile in between, making sure there are enough sunflower seeds to go around? Do they just simply cut bait and release him? Do they try and see what they can get for him on the trade market? I know, I'm half joking here, but I'm half serious too. Many questions, all I can say is 'I don't know'. What to you think will or should happen?

We'll find out soon enough. I mean, the season is almost here. This Sunday at 1:10 PM eastern, our boys take the field to kick it off.

I leave you with this little video.









         



--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer


Follow me on Twitter: @sevn4evr




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