Baseball Instinct | New York Yankees 3 Up, 3 Down


Welcome back to Baseball Instinct’s series: Chin Music. We’re taking a quick snap shot of key player’s in each organization’s major league club as well as their minor league system. This isn’t a “point out the obvious” elite players. We are taking a look at player’s in situations that could help your fantasy team or be a good addition to your fantasy farm. This time we are going to take a look at the New York Yankees.  Each Chin Music article will focus on three players up in the big leagues and three prospects down in the minors.  So let’s begin! 

Curtis Granderson OF 

When Curtis Granderson came to the Yankees in three-way trade that included Detroit and Arizona, Yankee fans were certain that their end of the deal was solid. They gave up RP Phil Coke and a rookie OF in Austin Jackson for All Star Granderson, a player from a spacious home field who was only two years removed from a 23 triple, 23 homerun season and who also had 30 dingers and swiped 20 bags in the previous season. This was a no-brainer. But so far, the left-handed hitting Granderson hasn’t taken advantage of the short porch in the new New York ballpark, only 11 hrs with 46 games left in the season. Battling injury for most of May, he’s currently hitting only .242 with an uninspiring 10 sbs. 

A lot happens to a player when he is thrust onto center stage in a city like New York. Some players can’t handle the expectations. You need to be mentally and physically tough. I wouldn’t worry about Granderson in this respect. I think the main problem is his change in role now that he’s in pinstripes. In Detroit, he was the table-setter at the top of the line-up. Fans dreamed of what he could do in an RBI position in the line-up. It’s a different mindset, but one that this young man will, no doubt, conquer with time. Yankee fans shouldn’t worry too much. This guy will be a 30-30 player very soon. 

However, fantasy owners, looking to win this year, may want to be on the look out for opportunities to deal Granderson while they can. Although he’s ahead of his first half pace, he’s still may end up with his worst numbers since his rookie year. 

Next, our prospect expert Tom Belmont will detail some names to know in the New York farm system. Tom, it’s all yours.  

Andrew Brackman RHP NYY 

The Yankees drafted Brackman knowing he would need TJ surgery. Knowing that he still had a lot to learn to go from thrower to pitcher and knowing that in the end it may all turn out rather ugly. That is exactly what many people thought going into the 2010 season. Brackman was a bust. But right on schedule, approximately 18 months after Tommy John surgery, Andrew Brackman began to find his command. He’s begun to harness his monstrous 6’10” frame and pump 95+mph fastballs again. He adds in a plus curveball which was a top pitch when he was drafted. This time around though he actually knows where the pitch is going. He’s working down in the zone and utilizing his natural downhill plane. 

His K rate is elite at around 21% and his bb% is actually more than passable with only 33 walks in 113 innings. 

But the real to Brackman’s success is that his groundball rate is 50%+. If he can continue this trend and induce ground balls at this rate he has the skill set to finally become the frontline starter the Yankees thought they were drafting. This is no longer simply projection and tools. He’s putting up a true skill set. Brackman has always been a player to watch and now he’s a player that should be inside of Top 100 prospect lists. 

Nick Swisher OF 

Swish may not have {+++}as good of a season this year as he did when he broke out in Oakland in 2006. But that doesn’t matter really. The comparison may not even register with fans because this season he’s breaking out as a Yankee and they are in the Eastern Division title hunt. What Swisher does have going for him this year is his huge improvement batting average (.296) and slugging percentage (.525). Of course, batting second, between Derek Jeter and Mark Teixera, you will score plenty of runs and knock a few in too. 

The 29-year-old switch-hitter has 22 homeruns, 67 RBI, while maintaining a terrific .367 OBP. Also, out of his 126 hits, 51 have been for extra bases. If you own him in your fantasy league, he’s a tremendous keeper. 

Gary Sanchez C NYY 

Tom Belmont: International signee Gary Sanchez was considered a prized Free Agent when the Yankees signed him and the bar is set high. With his first real taste of pro baseball Sanchez is living up the hype. As a 17 year old in the GCL Sanchez is showing elite power. 15 XBH in just 107 at bats and although he already has 26 K’s he is hitting an impressive .355 on the season. He has a lot of work to do behind the plate and with a system full of hit first catcher’s the Yankees will keep Sanchez behind the plate as long as they can in hopes that they can find their catcher of the future within the system. Sanchez has as good a chance as any of them and his bat will keep him the Yankees top prospect ranks until his ultimate position is decided. 

Phil Hughes SP 

The competition for the 5th spot in the Yankee rotation could have easily become a New York version of the Twilight Saga with fans being split up into Team Phil and Team Joba, but thankfully for management, when it was time to make decisions, it was clear that Hughes deserved his shot. 

For the season, Phil has a sturdy 14-5 record with a 3.94 ERA, and 110 strikeouts in 134.2 innings. Not bad at all. Hughes started strong with ERAs in April and May of 2.00 and 3.03 respectively. The next two months of June and July we a kinda ugly 5.17 and 5.52. So he hasn’t been consistently good. But the kicker is that, as bad as he was, in those 10 starts in June and July, he still won six of those games. The benefits of a pitching for a strong offensive team. Hughes more recent troubles could be due to fatigue since he has never pitched this many innings at a higher level. That said, he’s already had a stronger beginning to August, so we’ll see how Yankee management handles his workload from here on out while defending their lead in the AL East. 

Melky Mesa OF NYY 

Tom: He’s batting .271. Not bad. 

46 extra base hits with 18 of those HRs in 402 ABs. Very nice. 

30 stolen bases. Impressive. 

113 K’s. Ouch. 

OK… well Melky Mesa is a legit 5 tool player. He can hit for power, he’s starting to hit for a decent average, steals bases, ranges in CF and has a great arm. He still has some real holes in his swing. A swing that can be all or nothing at times and a stance that is probably a little to unorthodox for a kid with a contact problem. But he’s still young at 23 year old and could still put some of the aggressive power away for more contact. Utilize his plus speed and still be a 15 HR type. But this is still a project even though the production looks tantilizing. My fear as that the lack of plate discipline will eventually lead to pitchers never giving him those pitches to drive. Once that happen the average dips and the stolen bases are minimized because his current .341 OBP will dwindle to .300 or worse. 

Hopefully he makes a jump in development. If that happens and he forces pitchers to start coming to him Mesa has power that could lead to Alphonso Soriano type seasons. He has those types of tools. Seriously. 

That does it for Chin Music this week.  Check back next time when we bring you three up and three down from the Texas Rangers.

I live in Wyoming, Michigan. I have a wife and 3 kids. Been part of the Baseball Tonight league since 2004. An aspiring writer, I enjoy writing short stories, mostly horror/suspense. Anyone can check out my stuff at


2 Responses to “Baseball Instinct | New York Yankees 3 Up, 3 Down”

  1. Mike Koepp

    Aug 21. 2010

    What does the success of Phil Hughes this season mean for the future or Andy Pettitte or Joba Chamberlain next season?

  2. Aaron Bentley

    Aug 24. 2010

    As it stands, the Yankees will definitely lose Javier Vazquez from their rotation and Andy Pettitte will, again, be a free agent. So the rotation looks like this: Sabathia, Burnett, Hughes. The Yankees will obviously make a play for Cliff Lee and unless he falls in love with Texas, you have to think the Yankees have a strong possibility of adding him to their rotation.

    If Lee comes to the Bronx, the Yankees have to decide if they want to bring back Pettitte or go with a guy like Nova, who pitched great last night, in the 5th spot. That depends of course on whether Pettitte wants to come back. I feel confident the Yankees would take Pettitte and put him in the 5th spot and keep a guy like Nova for insurance.

    As for Joba, much to my dismay, Joba is a reliever forever. He and Hughes are no longer inextricably linked.

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