clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Yankees Mailbag: Pitching depth, prospect grades, and grass seed

We’re welcoming back the weekly mailbag with a host of topics.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees Workouts Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Good afternoon everyone, it’s time to dive back into the mailbag and answer some of your questions. Remember to send in your questions for our weekly call by e-mail to pinstripealleyblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Jonathan S. asks: If Germán is now the No. 5 and Schmidt the No. 6 starting pitchers, who are Nos. 7-10? We know from experience that it can take 10 starting pitchers to get through a season, and the bad part of the Montas trade (besides him being Carl Pavano 2.0) is that we gave up some of those potential 7-10 pitchers.

A lot of the depth positions here have flipped over from top prospects to organizationally-ranked guys thanks to this trade, especially because the Yankees’ best pitching prospects are in Double-A or lower. Pitchers like Will Warren and Clayton Beeter could factor in with a sizzling run by midseason, but for now they’re a ways away and we’re looking for the immediate depth pieces. Likewise, Luis Gil could factor in here once he’s done rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, but since that window to return isn’t close at the moment we’ll have to look elsewhere.

Ryan Weber stands out as one of the names to look for here beyond the prospects, thanks to his success in the role last year. Weber re-signed with the team on a minor-league deal in the offseason and is in camp currently, though he most likely won’t have a role with the team once they break for New York. Jhony Brito reached Triple-A for the first time in his career last year and was very successful in a small sample size, tossing 70.2 innings of 3.31 ERA ball.

If they want to season Brito a bit longer Matt Krook could get a look — he threw a career-high 138.2 innings last year exclusively in Triple-A and could be kept stretched out with an eye on the big-league team in case of an emergency. His 4.09 ERA and 155 strikeouts could certainly play, and at 28 years of age he’s going to be pushing for an MLB debut sooner than later. Finally, Deivi García deserves a mention here, though the team will have to figure out what they see in him a lot quicker than the others — they’ll have until the end of spring to figure out if they’ll roster García, DFA him, or find a trade.

Mark R. asks: As I was looking over scouting reports for some of the Yankees top 30 prospects, I noticed that Elijah Dunham is rated 50 for hit, power, run, arm and fielding but has a total rating of 40. Could you explain why a player like that wouldn’t have a rating of 50 if all the tools comprising his rating are that?

I’m not an expert on scouting reports, but this breakdown by Kiley McDaniel years ago is a good starting point to understanding the difference. Basically, the overall grade is the most important factor to consider a prospect with and is tied to their future expectations at the MLB level. So while Dunham’s tools all look to be average (where the 50 grade places him on the scale), a prospect with no outstanding tools will have a tough time earning more than a bench role as a major leaguer, which is what the overall grade projects him to be.

That being said, Dunham’s stock has risen in the past year, so perhaps some more success in the higher levels of the minors will uplift that overall grade. Even if his tools don’t vastly improve, getting closer to the majors would help his opportunities blossom depending on whether he remains in the organization or gets traded (as it stands, I have a tough time seeing him crack the big-league roster with the Yankees anytime soon). From there he could make a stronger impression against tougher competition and get those scouts to reconsider, but for the moment he stands as largely depth filler.

The idiot that said, “Harper is coming” asks: Are you ready for some baseball???

Absolutely. The months long grind will get weary at certain points, I’m sure, but the offseason always gets stifling at a certain point. There’s only so much speculation you can do with no results, and so I’m excited to dive into games at long last, even if they’ll be relatively meaningless for a bit. The Yankees have high expectations as always but this year in particular feels like a crossroads is approaching: they’ve committed major money to keeping their superstar and franchise icon, they’ve added a co-ace to the rotation, but they need some quick success to capitalize on their best competitive years. If ever there was a year to go all-in, we’re nearing that decision point.


I appreciate the enthusiasm, Jim. The most common type of grass, including the one that the Yankees use for their field, is Kentucky Bluegrass. Others opt for a Bluegrass mix with ryegrass, a few West Coast teams have Bermuda grass as their field of choice, and the Astros and Marlins opted for Paspalum, which is more commonly seen on golf courses. I’d seen a graphic recently that broke these all down but sadly couldn’t find it in time for this answer to get posted, but this article from Sara Butler had all the information and more that you could possibly want on MLB’s lawns.