Archive for January, 2009

Welcome Aboard, OnlineSeats.com

January 30, 2009

Just wanted to make a quick post to announce that OnlineSeats.com has become the official ticket company of Thunder Thoughts.

For links on deals for Yankees, Phillies and all sorts of tickets to sporting events, concerts, musicals and so on, please check out the top right corner of the page.

There is another, similar announcement tenatively scheduled for a few days from now as well.

For inquiries regarding becoming a part of Thunder Thoughts, where you can reach thousands of people every day, please contact me at mashmore98 AT gmail.com

If You Had To Make A 25-Man Roster Using Only Yankees Prospects…

January 29, 2009

…what would it look like?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the idea I came up with this morning inbetween doing a little channel surfing and planning my vacation in March.

Figured it would serve two purposes…

One: Could the Yankees lose an entire team full of prospects and still have a better farm system than half of Major League Baseball?

And Two…: Could the Yankees 25 best prospects, in theory, beat the worst team in the big leagues?

And this would be where you guys come in.  I’d like to see your opinions on what a Yankees 25-man roster would look like — there will be some very obvious choices, like Austin Jackson and Jesus Montero — and what you think the answers to those two questions would be.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Jennings Breaks Down Minor League Rotation Depth

January 29, 2009

Just wanted to direct you over to Scranton Yankees beat writer Chad Jennings blog to check out his breakdown of the pitchers in the farm system that currently comprise the Yankees wealth of talent in the starting pitcher department.

Also, since I know I can’t possibly be the only one who cares about these things, looks like another Eastern Leaguer is gracing the cover of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook this year…

09handbook

Yes, that would be Bowie’s own Matt Wieters.  You can read my August chat with Wieters here

And, in case anyone cares, I made a few tweaks to the “About the Author” page.  More or less just updated a few things, including begrudgingly changing my age from “25″ to “26.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Rudy, The Sequel

January 28, 2009

Clearly, the headline department is still on vacation.

But I just wanted to pass along that friend and Thunder broadcaster Steve Rudenstein will be appearing on milbradio.com tonight at 11PM to discuss the Thunder and the Yankees.

The show will also be archived if, like me, you’re 26 going on 60 and you go to sleep when the sun goes down.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

The Chase Is Off

January 28, 2009

Chase Wright was designated for assignment by the Yankees in order to make room for Andy Pettitte.

The soon-to-be 26-year-old has spent part of the past two seasons in Trenton, going a combined 13-4 over the course of 26 starts.

He also made three appearances for the Yankees in 2007, including a rather infamous appearance at Fenway Park against Daisuke Matsuzaka, in which he allowed four consecutive home runs on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

With the much discussed glut of pitching the Yankees possess, Wright can only hope to be claimed by another organization or be involved in a trade. 

A consistent southpaw without overpowering stuff, I still believe he can be a viable big league option for someone as a fifth starter.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Andy Pettitte? Really?

January 27, 2009

If you were playing a baseball video game, and had a fantasy draft where you focused solely on pitching, your rotation might look something like:

CC Sabathia
Chien-Ming Wang
A.J. Burnett
Joba Chamberlain
Andy Pettitte

For the Yankees, that fantasy became a reality yesterday when Pettitte agreed to a one-year, incentive laden contract that will pay him a minimum of $5.5 million.

And that, obviously, is ignoring their lineup…which looks as though someone accidentally selected “American League All-Stars” instead of “New York Yankees.”

Pettitte went 14-14 with a 4.54 ERA in 33 starts last season, but he turns 37 this season and his .290 batting average against was the worst of his professional career.

So was signing him worth holding back the depth of pitching talent in the farm system for yet another season?

Consider the starters that will be without a big league job come April…

Phil Hughes
Ian Kennedy
Phil Coke
Alfredo Aceves
Jason Johnson
Dan Giese
Kei Igawa
Chase Wright
Eric Hacker
Christian Garcia
George Kontos
Humberto Sanchez
Alan Horne

Where do all of these guys go?  How many of them end up moving to the bullpen — some like Coke, Sanchez and Giese already have experience having done so — or starting at the minor league level.

Yankees fans have to ask themselves…what’s more important, Andy Pettitte getting 30 starts or Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy/Phil Coke/Alfredo Aceves getting 30?

If the consensus is that Pettitte is little more than a placeholder, why not use one of your numerous starting pitching prospects in a meaningful role at the big league level instead of picking up garbage innings as a long man in the Bronx or spending another year in Trenton or Scranton?

And how long before some of these players start getting frustrated with having to repeat levels of the minors?

Things are looking great at the big league level, and the minor leagues certainly look stacked as well.  But at what cost?

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

2009 All-Star Game Logo

January 27, 2009

Not sure if the Thunder ever formally unveiled it, but here’s the logo for the 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game…

asglogo

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Exhibition Game In Jeopardy?

January 22, 2009

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Eric Duncan signs for fans at last year’s game

Remember that warm and fuzzy feeling you got about the Yankees farm system when the Double-A and Triple-A squads faced off in an exhibition game at Waterfront Park last season?

Yeah, about that…

Have been hearing from a few people from both sides that the game, which was believed to potentially become an annual event that would have been hosted by Scranton this year, may not be happening.

Nothing’s been decided yet and certainly nothing’s official, but according to multiple people familiar with the planning of the game, one of the big hurdles that the Yankees organization has been facing is camp breaking on a Sunday and the minor league season kicking off on a Wednesday, which was not the case last year.  Last year’s game took place on a Thursday, which gave both teams the extra day they needed to pull the game off. 

As Chad Jennings has reported, this year’s minor league camp will break on Sunday, April 5th.

The Trenton Thunder kick off their season in Mercer County by hosting the Binghamton Mets on Wednesday, April 8th.

The Scranton Yankees start their title defense on the road, heading out to Lehigh Valley on Thursday, April 9th.

You would have to imagine that, at least for the Thunder players, Monday would be used as an off day, and Tuesday would see the usual media day/open workout scenario.

So it would appear that unless the spring schedule is changed, or the game is again hosted by Trenton, the game could be in jeopardy.

I placed a call to Scranton’s PR department yesterday, and am hoping to receive some sort of official word from them at some point.

If the game does disappear, should you be upset?  Probably not.

Based on covering it last year, I felt the idea of the game far exceeded the actual execution of it.  I don’t think the fan turnout, although respectable, was anywhere near what was anticipated.  And the game itself was one of the more truer exhibitions you’ll see, with players batting out of order and the game ending early.  No one really seemed to know what was going on.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

2009 Bobblehead Schedule Released, Tickets On Sale 2/2

January 21, 2009

From the Thunder website…

The players to be featured on five of the seven bobblehead doll giveaways scheduled for the 2009 season were announced on Wednesday morning.

The bobblehead schedule will kick off on April 29 as Thunder Manager Tony Franklin is featured holding the Eastern League Championship trophy.  Next up is Joba Chamberlain on May 13, followed by Phil Coke on May 20, Brett Gardner on June 3 and Austin Jackson on June 17.

The remaining two dates, July 29 and August 19, are still to be determined. 

Sadly, it will appear that the highly demanded Mike Ashmore bobblehead will have to wait another year.  Well, it’s probably for the best, I’d hate to see them waste a perfectly good bobble…wait, they made a Jose Tabata one.  Never mind then.

Now…if you want tickets to those games, or any other — including the 2009 Eastern League All-Star Game — tickets go on sale at 9:30am on February 2nd online, by phone and in person.

Of course, you can go to the Thunder’s official website for more information.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Projecting The 2009 Thunder Roster

January 19, 2009

So I recently received an e-mail from a reader in the hopes that I would project the 2009 Trenton Thunder roster.

One of part of it reads: “Chad Jennings over at his blog already answered most of our requests to guess the 2009 roster for the SWB Yankees.”

Well, I’ve got to let you in on a little secret.  Chad Jennings is actually a robot.  I didn’t want to say anything, but I noticed the control panel on his neck when he came down to Trenton to cover the exhibition game.  There were various dials and knobs that determined the frequency of his excellent, well thought out and well informed blog posts.  Sometimes they’re set so that posts are made every few days, and sometimes the posts are made every few hours.

I mean, that’s got to be the only way that he does that excellent of a job on that blog in the off-season.  Either that, or it could just be that’s really good at what he does and he works really hard. 

All incredibly poorly thought out jokes aside — and for those of you I’ve confused, Chad isn’t actually a robot…right? – I’d like to be able to do a little more with this particular blog in the off-season, but my focus has turned towards covering the Trenton Devils hockey team, which I’ve been doing since October.

So getting back to projecting the Thunder roster…it’s January, so I know just about as much as you guys do right now.  But the reader who sent in the e-mail, Rich, was kind enough to include his thoughts on what the roster would look like. 

So for the purposes of creating some discussion, let me post what he sent along…and then you guys can post your own or agree/disagree with his.

My quick thoughts on it are that I don’t think Nova is necessarily a lock for the Thunder rotation even if he doesn’t stick with the Padres…and I agree with Rich that he most likely will not.

I think his bullpen is a little too deep, and his bench might be a guy or two short.  I also think you might see Chris Malec factor into the Double-A picture to start out the year…maybe Kevin Russo as well, depending on what Scranton ends up with to start the year.

STARTING ROTATION
RHP Eric Hacker
RHP George Kontos
RHP Ivan Nova (no way San Diego will put him on the 25 man roster)
RHP Ryan Pope
RHP Zach McAllister

BULLPEN (a lot of candidates)
RHP Kevin Whelan
RHP Kaneoka Texeira
RHP Eric Wordekemper
RHP Jose Valdez
RHP Josh Schmidt
LHP Wilkins Arias
RHP Jonathan Hovis
RHP Philip Bartleski
RHP Brett Smith

LINEUP
C Francisco Cervelli
1B Kevin Smith
2B Reegie Corona (???)
SS Ramiro Pena
3B Marcos Vechionacci
LF Colin Curtis
CF Tim Battle (???)
RF James Cooper
DH Jorge Vazquez (I hope he’s a beast)

BENCH
IF Carlos Mendoza
OF Andre Perez (???)
C Joseph Muich (???)

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com


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