Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who's on first? For now, Kelly Killzit. And when he gets hurt...?

In the last two seasons, Yankee fans have seen some memorable lineups trotted out to big horseyard. Remember the famed "Murderers Row 2013?" (Pictured right.) Moreover, we have seen ancient outfielders play positions worthy of a sandlot game. Last year, Vernon Wells held down third. Sunday, Carlos Beltran played first, for his first time ever. He was replacing Francisco Cervelli, who was playing 1B for his second time. This is The Show, Yankees vs. Redsocks, ESPN Sunday Night, and we're auditioning players for positions they've only visited while base-running. Yeesh.

OK, let's recognize that injuries forced both moves, and when your team is as old as the Yankees, somebody's always hurt. That's why we carry three two infielders, a catcher and Ichiro. Still, it's five days before Mark Teixeira returns, and we must play our regular 3B, Kelly "Killzit" Johnson at first, with everybody else filling the holes and who might ask, when Kelly goes down, who plays first? What is our fallback? Most organizations have what is known as "a minor league system." The Yankees, however, keep a four-tiered recycling bin.

Let's take a quick walk through our first base options, descending through the system.

At Scranton-Wilkes Barre - which carries a cloud wherever it goes this spring; six rain outs  in 11 games - we have 28-year-old Russ Canzler,  the International League's Player of the Year in 2011. He's the likely call up, and you could argue that we're blessed to have such a veteran minor league bottle opener at our disposal. He's hitting .276. Trouble is, Canzler must be added to the roster, which means dumping somebody with a greater long range upside. I'm betting it's Canzler for next five games. But who knows?

If we slide down to Trenton, we have 26-year-old Kyle Roller (a great name for an infielder) who is hitting .250. Yes our first baseman at Double A is 26. -Even our Trenton lineup is old. If Roller moves up to Scranton next year, he could break into the majors at 28. I'm not saying he can't have a nice MLB career, but 28? Are we even trying to develop young first basemen? Wouldn't it be nice to have a 24-year-old?

Let's go to Tampa - high Single A. Playing 1B Monday was 24-year-old Jose Toussen, who is 5 for 11 on the year. Twenty four years old. If he spends a season at Trenton and then one at Scranton, he could break into the majors at age 27. Again, shouldn't a guy at Tampa be 22 or 23?

Finally, way down at Charleston - low Single A - we have 21-year-old Mike Ford, off to a great start. Not too old, I guess. The guy we touted all winter as our breakout 1B, Greg Bird, is hurt. So what else is new?

Today, theoretically, Brian Cashman will do something to rectify our backup 1B situation. Like I said, I'm figuring it's Canzler. If we play Austin Romine at catcher, Yangervis Solarte at third, Dean Anna and SS, Brian Roberts at 2B, and Kelly Killzit somewhere, we are moving toward "Murderers Row 2014." We're just a couple injuries away. Yeesh.

1 comment:

Alphonso said...

Except Roberts has developed, "lower back pain," and can't hit once he is again upright.