Wednesday, March 4, 2015
BYB HOT STOVE: VOLUME XVII
Here we are a day after the first Yankee spring training game and we are covered in ice here in the Northeast with an impending snow storm on the horizon. But, I am hot about what I saw in Aaron Judge today as he lifted the Yankees to a comeback tie in the ninth inning. According to ESPN.com, "The Yankees were on the verge of a 5-2 loss to the Phillies in the spring opener when Aaron Judge, their 6-foot-7 first-round pick in the 2013 draft, belted a home run off Mario Hollands that just cleared the left-center-field fence with two runners aboard to tie the game at 5." And they did it against the Phils, so it makes the comeback just a little bit sweeter.
Good offense is a great place to start this edition of Hot Stove because with all of the talk about pitchers this off season, it is nice to see a young hitter come out from the rafters and make a statement in the first game of the spring. The 22-year-old 6' 7" outfielder caught my eye today for sure and hopefully, Joe Girardi's as well. According to Baseball Prospectus, "Judge doesn't profile as an impact, middle-of-the-order hitter, but he does enough things well that should be an everyday player. If he learns to use his size better and drive the ball with more consistency, however, he could hit for enough power to carry a lineup." He's an exciting package and I am hoping to see more, much more. I like the way he carries himself confidently. I hope this lasts- I know, it is only game one.
Taking a look at Yankee pitching, because why not, all eyes are on Adam Warren who is competing for the fifth starter role. Now there has been talk that Yankees could go with a six-man rotation, which could free up an easy slot for Warren, who was utilized as a set up and long reliever in the pen last season, but honestly, much like Ichiro Suzuki, I think Warren was misplaced and under utilized. Yesterday, he threw two innings of shut out ball despite having a little case of butterflies. "[I] take pride in putting up a scoreless inning or getting a strikeout. Anything you can do to get people to look at you, it's a big thing," stated Warren in a post-game interview as reported on NJ.com. I am again, very hopeful.
In other news around the MLB, the Minnesota Twins are close to a deal for an extension with second baseman Brian Dozier. According to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com, "The Twins are set to meet with second baseman Brian Dozier's agent on Wednesday and could discuss a possible extension, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Tuesday." Dozier, who will be 28 in May, could be the Twins' answer at second base for the long haul. He put up respectable numbers over the last couple of seasons with a batting average of .243 and 41 home runs. Sounds like a good deal to me and according to Bollinger, "Dozier is currently under club control through 2019 and he will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after this season. He made $540,000 last year in his second full season in the Majors. He's a career .241/.318/.397 hitter with 47 homers, 77 doubles and 44 stolen bases in 387 games."
Finally, according to Atlanta Braves beat reporter Mark Bowman, Manny Banuelos, one of the team's off season acquisitions, may start off the season in the bull pen and end in the starting rotation. The team hopes this will help build up his innings, give him an opportunity to compete and create an opportunity to utilize him in a diverse way. I am just sorry that we did not get the opportunity to see him in action in the Bronx. Maybe in the post season? Let's not get ahead of ourselves, but always hopeful! Oh, and one last nugget about pitching, the Mets, who have a glut of great starters in their arsenal, will hold off dealing until the right deal comes along. Typical. We will wait!
That's it for this week's Hot Stove. Hoping for a big thaw before next week. Spring ahead on Sunday, which means more daylight for spring baseball!
--Suzie Pinstripe, BYB Senior Staff Writer
BYB Hot Stove Columnist
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