I’m back from the great island of Jamaica, for now. I’m hoping to make it out to a Scranton game this weekend to get some pictures. If anyone is going to be there, let me know.
Ivan Nova Finally Consistent
Ivan Nova has been a bit of a headache for a few years now. He has always had great stuff – a low-90s fastball with lots of movement and two strong offspeed pitches – but was unable to capitalize on it. The Padres took a flyer on him in the Rule V draft, but he failed to make the team. Now, Nova has managed to pitch 47 innings with a 3.26 ERA for Trenton.
The Yankees have steadily promoted Nova even though he was very hittable in A ball and High-A ball, because of his coming Rule V eligiblity. Finally, he has started to produce. Nova is on pace to set career highs in strikeouts, ERA, and innings pitched. Hitters are pounding the ball into the ground, and except for 2 bad starts (11 walks in 10 innings pitched), he has flashed plus control. Combine that with a perfect recent health record, and Nova could very well be major league ready as soon as next year. It is easy to underestimate what good stuff, decent control, and durabiltiy can mean for a young pitcher. If Nova keeps pitching strong, he will at the very least be added to the 40-man roster in September in advance of the Rule V draft.
Zach McAllister Unhittable
Zach McAllister passed the 40-inning mark today with a 7-inning, no-run performance last week. He has a 1.91 ERA in 47 innings for Trenton this season. McAllister hasn’t hit so much as a minor bump in the road since the beginning of the 2008 season. The 40-inning mark is significant because it is the first benchmark that the Yankees look for to consider promoting a prospect to a new minor league level.
A promotion should and ought come any start now. The Yankees are making bullpen starts at Triple-A. McAllister isn’t having any trouble with Double-A hitters. He’ll get far more valuable experience at the Triple-A level by facing experienced veterans who have spent time in the major leagues. Trenton has plenty of starting pitching lying around right now to replace him. A quickened time table is important for three reasons. First, McAllister would be a depth improvement as 7th or 8th starter for the major league team with Ian Kennedy out for an unknown amount of time. Second, his trade value would increase significantly. Third, he could become a candidate for temporary bullpen conversion come September and into the playoffs, and its plain to see that the Yankees could benefit from another setup arm down the stretch.
Jesus Montero Still Troubled Hitting As Catcher
Jesus Monter hit two more home runs last night while serving as Tampa’s designated hitter. Those shots bring his season total as a DH to .415/.456/.789 with 14 extra base hits in just 73 at bats. As a catcher, Montero is down to .265/.351/.337. The Yankees have to be asking themselves at this point if keeping Montero at the position is hurting his development. Eventually, I think you have to try to guy on in left field.
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