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Two for One: AFL Games 4 & 5

Let's start at the start.
Friday's game against the Saguaros went well for the Javelinas and for the Yankee prospects who played.

Brett Gardner went 1-3 with a triple, 2 BB, and 1K.  He saw 22 pitches in 5 PA.
Reegie Corona also went 1-3, but he did it with a double, 1 BB, and 1K.  He saw 18 pitches in his 4 PA.

None of the Yankee pitchers played, but Ross Ohlendorf is off the AFL roster.  Hopefully this means that Ohlendorf was told to get ready for Spring Training, and the Yanks just wanted to use the AFL to get a look at a more marginal guy.

Eric Wordekemper will take his place.

Wordekemper is a 24 year old right hander.  He was drafted by the Yankees back in 2005 (46th round).  He recently snared the Florida State League's Most Valuable Pitcher award.

Wordekemper pitched tonight, and it didn't go well.

He gave up 5 hits (a double and four singles) and turned an 8-2 laugher into a tense ballgame, 8-5 with one out and men on first and second.  After a coaching visit he got the final two outs.  He faced eight batters and threw only 21 pitches.  He threw 15 strikes in his inning of work, so I'm hopeful that it was just nerves.

Brett Gardner started in left field but moved to center when Jordan Schafer got hurt. JP Surget reports that the Braves' centerfield prospect gave himself a nasty looking concussion running into the wall on a long fly.

Gardner went 2-5, while his teammate Juan Miranda went 1-4.

So what do we do with this information?

The league only runs for a month, so there are small-sample size issues.  The high elavation makes it a hitters league, and the range of polish on the prospects makes it tougher still to evaluate individual performance.

The main thing I'm looking for is how the player is used.  Trenton manager Tony Franklin is managing the Javelinas, and he has a representative from each partnered club on his coaching staff.  So you can rest assured that each club is directing and monitoring how their players are used.

This is a chance for an organization to see how there players handle a big step up in competition.  I'm surprised Ross Ohlendorf was removed from the roster because this was a chance for him to practice warming up and pitching as a reliever.

Playing Gardner in left and center suggests that the Yanks are preping him to start the season as 4th outfielder or be prepared to come up when someone goes down with an injury.

I'm watching the use of the pitchers more closely than the hitters.  One reason is that the pitchers present are closer to big-league ready than the hitters.  This makes I'd give Whelan, White, and Jackson (in that order) outside shots at making the pen out of Spring Training.  Another is that the pitchers are more likely to get to play for the Yankees- Brett Gardner could turn into an Endy Chavez kind of player, but do you really think he's going to get enough ABs to do it in New York?