In case you missed it: Our latest batch of interviews

February 26, 2012 | 3 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

If you haven’t read them yet, check out our latest round of interviews — all part of our ongoing Stealth Bomber Series. There’s some great original tidbits about how the Yankees train their prospects, and most of all, you get to know three really good kids.

2/25: Interview with 2B Angel Gumbs (2010 2nd round draft pick)

2/3: Interview with 3B Dante Bichette Jr (2011 1st round draft pick)

1/31: Interview with 1B/3B/COF Tyler Austin (2010 13th round draft pick)

The Stealth Bomber Series: Interview with 2B Angelo Gumbs

February 25, 2012 | 24 comments | in Featured | by SJK

In the our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren’t yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.

Angelo Gumbs was drafted by the Yankees in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft (82nd overall), and the organization was not bashful in paying over MLB’s slot recommendation for the super-athletic Torrance, CA high schooler. In 2011, the California product hit .264/.332/.406 with 11 SBs at league champion Staten Island (A-) in his first full season of professional ball. NoMaas’ Sensei John Kreese caught up with the 19-year old and talked about his switch to 2B, his approach to hitting, Roberto Clemente, and much more.

Sensei John Kreese: How’s spring training?

AG: I’m actually in California right now. I go back to Tampa on March 3rd.

SJK: Really? You’re on a break?

AG: Yeah, after the 5-week minicamp, they [the Yankees] let you go home for 2 weeks.

SJK: They do that for everyone who went to the minicamp?

AG: I think they keep some of the pitchers, but the positions players can go home.

SJK: So was the minicamp mandatory or optional?

AG: Mandatory. If they called you and told you to come, it was mandatory. There were some guys who it was optional for and they showed up to get in a workout, but they called me.

SJK: So tell me how your first season went.

AG: Overall, my first season was pretty good. I could have done better and I plan on showing that this season.

SJK: Is there anything about the minor league experience that has surprised you?

AG: The only thing that really surprised me is that in high school, coaches drill us with practices for hours and hours. The Yankees set a few objectives that they have us work on, but not for hours and hours at a time. That’s what surprised me. I thought it would be strenuous work, and me getting tired out.

SJK: What objectives did they set for you?

AG: Keeping my base strong, a quiet stride, and hitting all the way through the ball.

SJK: Have Yankee coaches made any adjustments to your swing?

AG: I’ve been told nothing is wrong with my swing. The Yankees take what everybody has and try to make something from it. Instead of trying to teach everybody the same swing, they take what each person has that’s good and work with it — so they can perfect it. They don’t really change swings around or stances. Sometimes they’ll tell you to do this or that. But for the most part, you come in with something and they just try to fine tune you.

SJK: The big thing that everyone talks about is your athleticism. But in your own words, what do you think are your strengths as a player, and what do you think your weaknesses are?

AG: I feel like I’ve gotten so much better at a lot of things, like staying back on pitches. My strengths are probably my hitting and now my defense. My bunt coverage is probably my biggest weakness at this point. But, I just have to stay on a steady track of getting better.

SJK: In high school, you primarily played shortstop, right?

AG: Yeah, but prior to high school, I played mostly center field.

SJK: So last year at Staten Island, you played 2B. How has the change been to his new position?

AG: When the Yankees moved me to 2B, I felt like I was on the other side of the world. It was a little weird at first. But after a couple of weeks, it began to become second nature. But, I still have to work on my bunt coverage. When someone tries a push bunt on me, I have to be ready to hop up.

SJK: Do your coaches ever mention you potentially trying other positions besides 2B?

AG: I always joke with the coaches about playing the outfield, but they tell me that outfield is out of the question. They tell me “you’re a second baseman.”

SJK: This question might not even be on your mind right now, but when they tell you that you’re a second baseman, and you see Robinson Cano in New York, do you think about your future with the Yankees organization?

AG: Anything could happen. I don’t know what the plan is, but the Yankees are a smart organization. In every situation, they know what they’re trying to do, and I trust the plan they have in store for me. They’ve been true to me, so whatever they have planned for me, I’m sure it’s a good plan.

SJK: You were drafted in 2010, but only played 7 games in the GCL. Why was that? Did you sign late?

AG: Yes, I signed late. August 13th, I think.

SJK: Last year, you stole 11 bases, but were caught 7 times. Do you see yourself as a basestealer?

AG: Yeah, I see myself as a basestealer. I consider the 11 bags a low number. I had a mix-up during the season with the green light and the red light, so most of the time I just shut it down. I’m looking forward to stealing more bags this season.

SJK: I’ve read that your favorite player is Roberto Clemente. Obviously, he passed away before you were even born, so how did he become your favorite player?

AG: My father always talked to me about him, and my mother is Puerto Rican. I started looking up Puerto Rican players and I found him. For my 8th birthday, my mom bought me a Roberto Clemente book and ever since I read that book, I’ve loved him.

SJK: Have you met any of the Yankee big leaguers?

AG: I’ve met Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Justin Maxwell, Andruw Jones…I’ve met a good amount of guys.

SJK: Have you had any good conversations with any of them?

AG: I get a chance to talk to them here and there — about the game and what their biggest focus is. They all say the same thing. It’s about consistency — what they think about in every at-bat, every pitch in the cage, every ball hit off the tee.

SJK: The other guys you played with last year…were there any that really impressed you?

AG: Mason Williams, Ben Gamel, and Cito Culver. Cito made some plays at short that you have to be a real athlete to make. Mason was just good all-around, both on offense and defense. Ben Gamel played some good outfield and he started to heat up towards the end of last season, and hit shots all over the yard.

SJK: What are your goals for this upcoming season?

AG: I hope to start off the season in Charleston. I want more hits than strikeouts and to keep my on-base percentage high. The number I focus on is OPS. I want to be smarter, and take my experience from last year and put it into this year. I’m ready to get this season going.

SJK: They probably won’t tell you where you’re going until the end of spring training, right?

AG: Yeah, at the very end of spring training. You’re pretty much clueless until then.

SJK: Well, that’s all I got. You’re certainly one of the prospects that fans get excited about. Best of luck and we’ll definitely be following you this year.

AG: Thank you.

Much appreciation to Angelo for speaking with NoMaas. The Yankees really have some great kids in their system, not just with baseball talent, but as overall people. We’ve heard in recent years that the Yankees are stressing “make-up” when making their draft picks. Our latest series of interviews is evidence of that. We’ve been so impressed talking to these young players, and Angelo is no exception. Just a really likable, well-spoken, and personable guy. And if you get a chance, check out this video:



VOTE: Can Curtis repeat 2011?

February 24, 2012 | 40 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Curtis Granderson’s 2011 campaign was MVP-caliber. The biggest reason for C-Grand’s fantastic production was his shocking explosion against LHP: .272/.347/.597. Prior to last season, the best line Curtis mustered against lefties was .259/.310/.429 (2008). After several years of misery against same-sided pitchers, Granderson busted out big-time. Is it reasonable to assume that Granderson’s newfound success against LHP is for real, or was 2011 a mirage?




Vote: Has his time come?

February 22, 2012 | 65 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

NY Daily News:

“I’ve made my decision already,” Rivera said. “Even if I save 90 games; even if they want to pay as much money as they want to, any team.”




He will rise.

Alex Rodriguez makes final preparations for Spring Training

February 20, 2012 | 40 comments | in Featured | by SJK

And while we’re on the topic of Arod, what do you expect of him in 2012? Over the last 3 years, we’ve seen his ISO drop from .245 to .236 to .185. His 2010 and 2011 seasons were the worst offensive campaigns of his career, in terms of rate stats.

During the offseason, he hooked up with more she-males and had a Kobe Bryant-inspired medical procedure. Hopefully, the plasma treatment, or whatever it was, will help him regain some of his trademark power. Or is modern medicine no match for Father Time?

Raul Ibanez…eh

February 20, 2012 | 45 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Marshall Seymour

ESPN NY:

The New York Yankees have agreed to a one-year deal with Raul Ibanez worth $1.1 million plus incentives, baseball sources told ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney on Monday morning.

Ibanez can make up to $4 million total with the incentives, the sources said.

The Yankees plan to use Ibanez as a left-handed designated hitter, a source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand last week.

Ibanez last 3 years vs. RHP:

Here’s what we don’t get:

1. The Yankees traded AJ Burnett at his absolute low point to clear money under the Steinbrenner-imposed budget cap ($5 million “saved” for 2011)

2. They use $1.1 mil of that $5 mil to sign Raul Ibanez, with the deal possibly being worth $4 mil in total. As noted by his numbers above, Ibanez has been in decline over the past 3 years, even against RHP.

3. Ibanez shouldn’t be allowed near a glove.

4. The Yankees signed Russell Branyan to a minor league deal (a very astute move, in our view) and he can play a decent 1B. While he was awful in 2011, he’s been just as productive as Ibanez against RHP over the course of their careers, and he’s only 1 year removed from a .254/.352/.522 (.375 wOBA) season against righties. He’s also 2 1/2 years younger than Ibanez.

So in a nutshell, we don’t understand why the Yankees traded AJ Burnett in order to sign Raul Ibanez, when his signing seems duplicative to Branyan — and Branyan can actually play the field. If the Steinbrenner Cap is indeed real, we would have rather seen the Yankees keep the “savings” from the AJ Burnett deal and use it for a mid-season deal.

Happy Presidents’ Day from NoMaas

February 19, 2012 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK



As players arrive in Fort Myers, so does Red Sox equipment

February 18, 2012 | 25 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK



An in-depth look at Burnett’s Yankee career

February 18, 2012 | 52 comments | in Featured | by SJK

It began with talks of “electric stuff” and player lobbying. Then everyone regurgitated the Game 2 of the 2009 World Series argument, while blatantly ignoring what he did in other playoff starts, even in that same series. It ended with giving him away for nothing to the Pirates. Let’s look back at AJ Burnett’s career in pinstripes.

06.09.2009 5 years/$82.5 million



07.27.2009 Burnett, bats putting nail in Tampa’s coffin



08.22.2009 Burnett loses the glow, Red Sox obliterate Yankees



09.13.2009 Most professional athletes are dumb



09.20.2009 A weakness in the battle station


A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the station.

09.23.2009 Good Burnett makes appearance, fans pray this version will show up in playoffs



10.08.2009 For a .325 difference in OPS, we better get Good AJ



10.22.2009 Electricity


6 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 3K, 3 BB

10.29.2009 Our new favorite player: AJ Burnett


AJ was dealing on Thursday night.

11.02.2009 It’s electric, boogie woogie woogie!


2 IP, 6 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 2K

04.11.2010 Two division rivals up, two division rivals down


Burnett settled down after a visit from pitching coach Dave Eiland.

04.30.2010 Slick Cano, Burnett boss around O’s



05.04.2010 Birds get electrocuted


7.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K

05.10.2010 Burnett short circuits, Yanks still take series


AJ Burnett forgot to plug himself him before his start versus Boston and allowed 9 (8 earned) runs at Fenway.

06.16.2010 Phillies, Moyer roll through Bad AJ, Yanks



06.21.2010 Electrical problems



07.08.2010 What killed the A’s? The ice age!


Burnett sent Oakland to the cooler, allowing only 2 runs in 7 IP.

07.17.2010 AJ injures hand in electrical socket, attempting to recharge


Burnett was removed after 2 innings due to hand lacerations.

07.23.2010 Lightning crashes



08.02.2010 Clap off


Make your life simpler. Never get up to turn off your electrical appliances again!

08.20.2010 Why you don’t listen to your players about free agent signings



09.28.2010 For the playoffs, please move AJ into storage B


So, if you could just go ahead and pack up your stuff and move it down there, that would be terrific, OK?

01.04.2011 Rothschild hopes for electric start



08.02.2011 AJ Burnett is a…


Bust.

08.10.2011 Who gets the boot?



08.21.2011 How does one properly analyze AJ Burnett?



09.08.2011 Hughes v. Burnett: Who cares?


No playoff rotation for you!

02.09.2012 Trading AJ Burnett: Cutting off the nose to spite the face


If baseball doesn’t work out for AJ, he can keep dogs in their yards.

02.13.2012 VOTE: Pulling the plug on Electric Stuff


They must have missed this.

As players arrive in Tampa, so does Yankees’ equipment

February 16, 2012 | 36 comments | in Featured | by SJK



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