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Tag: andrew brackman

Big Guy Begone

The Yanks cut Andrew Brackman loose today. Over at the Pinstriped Bible, Steven Goldman has more.

Spring Training, Prospects and the Circle of Life

It seems like a lifetime ago that YankeeWorld was obsessed with three minor-league pitching prospects: The Big Three of Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Ian Kennedy. And even though our wildest dreams for that trio might not have come true, given the unpredictability of pitching prospects in general (TINSTAAPP!), it’s actually pretty impressive that they’ve had as much success as they have. Ian Kennedy is 26, started 32 games for the Diamondbacks last year and came out of it with an ERA+ of 111; Phil Hughes is still finding his way a bit, but at 24 gives every sign of becoming a solid stater; and Joba, well, if we’re all a little disappointed, he still may well end up being a valuable major leaguer. Hopes for those three were so high – it’s easy to forget that while they didn’t turn into the trio of aces that we might have imagined in our less guarded moments, all of them have been helpful to major league teams, and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Anyway, spring training is the time to dream on these things. Now we’ve got a brand-new trio of new prospects to hang our hopes on, the junior Killer B’s: Andrew Brackman, New York’s own Dellin Betances, and Manny Banuelos. There have been encouraging stories and profiles on each of them recently – ’tis the season – and even for a cynical veteran of spring training coverage it’s easy to get caught up in the high hopes. Even as I was writing this post, we got this from the YES Network’s Jack Curry:

There’s a lot to like about each of those guys. Brackman  may be the one I’d most like to see succeed this year, just because he’s been in the organization the longest and, a year ago, looked like he might be a bust. Bettances is a NYC kid and, as detailed in the link above, was in the bleachers for David Wells’ perfect game – you’ve gotta love that. And Banuelos, from Mexico, very nearly a foot shorter than either of those guys and a crafty lefty in the making, will be a fine underdog in this six-footed race (although it seems horribly unfair that he’s already being compared to Andy Pettitte. No pressure or anything).

It’s human nature to dream on these kids but I hope we don’t have such crushing expectations for them that, as with The Big Three, it’ll seem disappointing if in three years they aren’t all dominant aces. Growing your own innings-eaters and relievers is nice too, and if all of these guys end up healthy and in the majors that’ll be quite a success in its own right.

Up Jump the Boogie

Over at the Post, Joel Sherman takes a break from his vacation with some thoughts about Bartolo Colon, Andy Pettitte, and the Yankees’ starting rotation. This caught my eye:

The Yankees also feel good that they have so many starting pitching prospects near the majors. The Yankees believe that all five starters they are projecting to begin at Triple-A: Andrew Brackman, D.J. Mitchell, Hector Noesi, David Phelps and Adam Warren are legitimate prospects and that they will have two of the best pitching prospects in the minors at Double-A in lefty Manuel Banuelos and righty Dellin Betances plus two other starters the Yankees view as prospects, lefty Shaeffer Hall and righty Graham Stoneburner. The Yankees think with that many quality arms that one or two from the group – at the least – should help in 2011 either by pitching in the majors or by being used in a trade for a starter.

…What would be truly fascinating is if Banuelos and/or Betances thrived in spring, which is not out of the question considering the advanced word on their skills. Joe Girardi just demonstrated his power within the organization when he was one of the votes in favor of signing Soriano that influenced Hal Steinbrenner to overrule Brian Cashman’s recommendation not to give Soriano a three-year, $35 million deal to be a set-up man. Well, what if Girardi voices the opinion that trying to win in the AL East with, say, Sergio Mitre in your rotation is not sound. What do the Yankees do then?

Under Cashman, the Yankees have treated their best pitching prospects like porcelain dolls and due to limitations last year, Banuelos and Betances will both have caps in the 125 innings range. Neither has had even a full season at Double-A. In other words, Cashman has protected just these kinds of pitchers from too-quick promotion and heavy workloads in recent years.

My guess is that the GM will try to curtail even the spark of having Banuelos or Betances make the team by making them part of the early cuts. But I just wonder what happens if, for example, Betances throws in a way to enliven imaginations and in an early March organizational meeting Girardi voices the desire to see more of the 6-foot-8 righty.

Excellent stuff, Mr. Sherman. Glad you took the time to weigh in.

[Photo Credit: SI.com]

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