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Saturday, October 25, 2014

BIRD IS THE WORD


Greg Bird is flying high down in the Arizona Fall League right now. I was talking to somebody at work about him the other day and I got a weird face and a "Who is THAT?!" remark. Well, if you don't know who he is you will by the end of this article because he is definitely opening some eyes.

I love the Arizona Fall League, it is a great way to get a great seat to a ball game and pay very little for it. Oh and you get to watch players and years later you can say "HEY I knew him before he became a superstar for my team." Bird is doing some big things down in Arizona right now. Who knows, maybe he could be our next big superstar. As the resident "prospect hugger" as I have been called....I can only hope.


Bird started off hot. In his first game he hit a home run and he hasn't missed a beat since then. So far, he has played in 11 games and has hit safely in all of them. An impressive 7 of his last 16 hits have gone for extra bases and three of those were doubles. So far he has three home runs, and two of them came from the same game on October 16th. It looks like the desert southwest may agree with him! I guess it is no surprise that with a start like this he was already named the Arizona Fall League player of the week.

A lot of people may not be familiar with Bird, but he was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 draft and is currently ranked as the Yankees 11th best prospect. He started playing for Single-A Charleston in 2013 where he hit 20 home runs. This season he split time between Single-A Advanced Tampa and AA Trenton Thunder where he hit 14 home runs in 102 games played. I bet his numbers would have been even better if he hadn't missed time early in the season due to an injury. I think the thing I like most about him is his good plate discipline. He doesn't swing at bad pitches, in 2013he lead the league in walks with more than 100. He can hit for power, but he can take a walk when needed. He just has a good eye!


So what's next for Bird? He has a ways to go before we could see him in pinstripes. Of course, the Yankees have Mark Teixeira under contract, and even then he still has another first base prospect named Kyle Roller in front of him. With talent like his though, we could see him sooner rather than later.

For the mean time, if you live in Arizona you can check him out in the Arizona Fall League playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions through November 15th if they make the championships. You can check out the complete schedule HERE. I know I will be there watching!

We leave you with this:



That will be in your head all day... You're welcome.




 

--Jeana Bellezza, BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ





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WHEN RUSSELL CROWE RETWEETS YOU... IT'S A GOOD DAY

I don't get crazy about tweets and retweets, but this particular one I did.


As you know, recently I was informed about the South Sydney Rabbitohs, a rugby club in Australia that is on fire and had been all season, and according the Daily Telegraph


"The South Sydney Rabbitohs are fast becoming an unstoppable force in rugby league.  Just like Manchester United in soccer, the Dallas Cowboys in NFL or the New York Yankees in baseball."


That quote caught my eye, namely because I saw the Yankees listed in there.  Obviously, many in Sydney consider the Rabbitohs to be a future dynasty... and there is no question the team is rolling right now.  Here are the Grand Finals, won on October 5th:


Well, much to my excitement, I woke up to Russell Crowe's retweet of our Bleeding Yankee Blue piece I put together a few weeks ago on the Rabbitohs:

Read what Russell retweeted, it was titled: YEAR OF THE RABBITOHS. A special thanks to Charles Moses, my pal who tweeted it to Crowe... just to make sure he saw it:
I thank you Russell. It was about as exciting as when Mark Wahlberg favorited, VIDAL NUNO VS. OPTIMUS PRIME. THAT WAS THE QUESTION.

You made my weekend pal.  A special thanks to my Australian family Charles and Joey Moses and their amazing commitment to the Yankees and to BYB. They turned me onto the Rabbitohs!

Gotta love it. International love. All good.

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THE YANKEES START HIRING...


Word is the Yankees have just hird Greg Colbrunn. No, not as the hitting coach for the big club, but for the Charleston RiverDogs. 

According to Mark Feinsand, "The Yankees have hired Greg Colbrunn to be the hitting coach at Class A Charleston, according to a source, bringing the well-respected 45-year-old back into the organization.

Colbrunn coached six years at Charleston before joining the Red Sox as their major-league hitting coach in 2013. He suffered a brain hemorrhage last June, missing about six weeks as he recovered. Colbrunn opted not to return to the Red Sox next season, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family in the wake of his health scare.

Boston hired Chili Davis this week to replace Colbrunn as the hitting coach."


So there you have it. Colbrunn's been inked. And now we wait for the Yankees signing of the big clubs hitting coach.  Mad speculation is that it will be Derek Shelton, now that Joe Maddon has left Tampa Bay, read HERE.  We will have to see.

Welcome home Greg, welcome home.


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Friday, October 24, 2014

ONE YANKEE INSIDER HAS A HUNCH ON THE HITTING COACH SITUATION

Great nugget from the great Pete Caldera that you need to check out.

(In Photo: Derek Shelton)
We in Yankeeland have been waiting for some type of hint on which hitting coach the Yankees will sign. This is what we know;  Dave Magadan is out. Chili Davis didn't want the gig and suddenly... nothing.

We've been speculating that Tino Martinez could be in the mix, (read SILENCE ON A HITTING COACH COULD MEAN TINO), and I even joked that Joe Girardi is trying to convince Dante Bichette to take the job, read GIRARDI & BICHETTE EXCHANGE TEXTS.

The truth is, no one knows. But Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record might know though.

Pete writes: "With the sudden news today of manager Joe Maddon triggering his opt-out clause to leave the Tampa Bay Rays, it’s possible there could be a further shakeup at Tampa Bay – and it might impact the Yankees. Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton is reported to have a year remaining on his contract, but he may be of interest to the Yankees as a candidate... Shelton could stay in Tampa, move with Maddon if he lands a new managing gig for 2015, or he could possibly return to the Yankees. Shelton goes back a ways in the Yankees system. He was Robinson Cano’s first big league manager with the Gulf Coast League Yankees."

Amazing nugget and something I didn't think about. Plus, it makes perfect sense now that Maddon left Tampa Bay.  Everything happens for a reason. We'll have to see if this unfolds...

Great job once again Pete!


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JOE MADDON OPTS OUT. LEAVES TAMPA BAY IMMEDIATELY


The biggest free agent on the market this off season may not be a player, but a 60 year-old-manager.

Tampa Bay Rays skipper Joe Maddon has decided to opt-out of his contract and enter the free agency market, thus abruptly ending his tenure with the Rays. His contract was set to expire after the 2015 season.

During his nine years as manager, Maddon led the Rays to a 754-795 record, four playoffs, and a World Series appearance. He also earned  American League Manager of the Year accolades in 2008 and 2011.


Maddon’s departure comes just 10 days after the Dodgers hired former Rays’ exec Andrew Friedman as their president of baseball operations—causing speculation that Maddon may replace Don Mattingly in the dugout. But Friedman was quick to comment that Mattingly is “definitely” not going anywhere. So it appears Maddon will not be making his way to Los Angeles.

In a statement to the press, Rays' owner Stuart Sternberg said that the team “tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision.”


Maddon told the Tampa Bay Times that his decision to leave was due to a “combination of financial issues and curiosity over what opportunities will present themselves.” He doesn’t have any job offers lined up yet, but his record with the Rays could make him a hot commodity on the free agency market.

Currently, the Minnesota Twins are the only team without a manager position filled, but with such a successful manager available for the get, some team will reshuffle the deck to get him a position.



--Alexis Garcia, BYB's "Eye on MLB" Columnist
Twitter:  @heylexyg



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BETANCES: THE FUTURE OF YANKEE CLOSERS?


At the end of the 2013 season, the question on everyone's mind was "who will be our closer?" After Mariano Rivera retired, he left some impossibly huge shoes to fill. Admittedly, Yankees fans have been spoiled for years. Rivera finished his career with 652 saves. A record in the MLB. So when 2014 season came around, he had big expectation for whoever stepped in to fill the role.


I'll give David Robertson huge respect. He finished the season with 39 saves, with only 5 blown saves. His 88.6 save percentage is seriously impressive. Despite much of his Houdini like magic tricks, loading up the bases before getting the final out, he managed to really pull through, and had an impressive season. We couldn't possibly ask for more of him. The question now is will Robertson be returning to the Yankees? I like Robertson. I'd like to see him back in pinstripes, in the Bronx. But, if he doesn't, there is always Dellin Betances.


I have been singing Betances' praises since Spring Training. Back then, people told me I was projecting, and foolish. It was too soon to tell. Still, I called Betances the new home town hero, and he performed just as I expected he would. His 1.40 ERA and 22 holds were an incredible addition to the bullpen. He set up Robertson nicely all season. He is an incredibly talented young man, with a lot to offer the team.


It reminds me a lot of the days when Rivera set-up for John Wetteland. I liked Wetteland, and he was a great closer for us. His 1996 season, he gave the Yankees 43 saves, a 91.5 save percentage.


The one two combination of Rivera and Wetteland was impeccable. Much like the one two combination of Betances and Robertson was this season.

Again, I like Robertson. I want him to continue with the Yankees. But I know that there is a possibility he will not return. And while it will make me sad to see him go, I know that Betances, if given the opportunity with continue to flourish. No, I do not expect him to be the next Rivera. There is, after all, only one Sandman, and to compare the two would be unfair to what Rivera has done, and what Betances will do. But I do expect him to be great. It is my opinion that he is the future of Yankee closers. And if this season is any indication of how that will play out for us, I say that we are in good hands. After all, he IS our Hometown Hero.



--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer 
Twitter: @e_morales1804

 


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