Wednesday, May 03, 2006

It's promotion time

One month has gone by. Throughout the Yankee system, some prospects are struggling, and some are thriving. One month into the season, let's look at some guys who should move up a level, including some guys who could improve our major league roster.

Phil Hughes recieved the first promotion of the year, after a stellar 5 starts in Tampa. He now moves on to his first big test - AA hitters. They say that the pitchers who fail at the jump to AA (often called the most difficult jump in a player's career, even tougher than AAA to the majors) are the ones with junk stuff. Hughes most definately does not throw junk. His 30 to 2 strikeout to walk ratio is as impressive as his 1.80 ERA and his only 19 hits allowed in 30 innings.

On that Trenton team, T.J. Beam has been rock solid out of the bullpen. After converting the 25 year old to the bullpen down in A ball, the Yankees added Beam to the 40-man roster. It looks like a good move now. Beam has pitched 18 innings out of the Trenton bullpen, allowing just one earned run (.5 ERA), while striking out 14 and walking just 4. He might make an impact in the Bronx this year, and we will almost certainly see him in a September call-up.

Speedster Brett Gardner has looked like vintage Chuck Knoblauch down in High-A Tampa. He's currently batting .372/.520/.500, in one of the most punishing pitcher's parks in minor leagues. He's shown power, speed (9 sb, though he was caught 4 times), and patience (23 walks). Time to see how he handles AA.

Now that brings us to some AAA guys who have earned a spot on the major league roster.

Tanyon Sturtze has been pitching... like Tanyon Sturtze. Who do we replace him with? Well, Colter Bean has pitched 16 innings out of the Columbus bullpen, allowing only one earned run, while striking out 19 and allowing just 10 hits. The sidearmer is on the 40-man for a reason. He's torn up AAA for three years. He deserves a chance. Too bad Torre hates young pitchers.

Jose Veras has also done quite a job. He has struck out 17 in 11 innings, allowing 4 earned runs in the process. He's a fireballing right hander. Could certainly do better than Sturtze.

And now that brings me to the big one. On May 2nd, 2005, the Yankees had decided that Tony Womack's bat was killing the team, hitting .280/.330/.329. They called up 22 year old Robinson Cano, then batting .333/.368/.574 for AAA Columbus. They turned things around pretty quickly.

Well, it's May 3rd, 2005. 22 year old Melky Cabrera is hitting .373/.429/.529 for AAA Columbus. Bernie Williams is hitting .217/.262/.283. Melky Cabrera can do a better job, while actually playing defense.

Bernie is actually on track for the worst hitting performance in Yankee history. I respect Bernie so much, but he needs to retire.