You probably don’t even have to know what a baseball is to have heard of Philip Hughes at this point, but Hughes isn’t the only prospect who got noticed with the Yankees this spring.
Who’s Hot: Japanese import Kei Igawa started slow this spring, which at one point had fans and the media wondering if he could lose his rotation spot to Jeff Karstens. But since then, Igawa has been outstanding (2-0, 2.65 with 19 Ks in 17 IP), and with Yankees pitchers suffering a slew of maladies, he actually was considered for the Opening Day start. And he’s already got Yankees fans and Red Sox fans comparing him to Red Sox import Daisuke Matsuzaka.
Karstens was outstanding for his first couple of starts, but a sore elbow and a couple of poor outings late in the spring left him with poor overall numbers (3-2, 5.87 but 13 Ks and only 2 BBs in 15 IP).
At an age when most U.S. kids are finishing off their senior year of high school, Jose Tabata looked quite comfortable in big league camp. He hit .429/.529/.643 in 14 at-bats while earning comparisons to Manny Ramirez. Since being sent to minor league camp he has had a minor hamstring injury.
Bronson Sardinha helped revitalize his prospect status with a strong spring. The outfielder hit .324/.333/.441 as manager Joe Torre called him the pleasant surprise of camp. He’ll start the season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
“He doesn’t tip-toe up there,” Torre said. “He takes a good swing and always seems to have a pretty good at-bat. I think he’s got big-league potential offensively, and he holds his own in the outfield, too. He doesn’t have that blinding speed that the other guys have, but he certainly plays hard.
Who’s Not: The Yankees always wanted to send Philip Hughes to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start the season, and he made it easy for them, allowing four runs, six hits and six walks in 4 2/3 innings. But that doesn’t mean that the Yankees still weren’t wowed by their top prospect.
“We have to make sure we don’t get ahead of ourselves,” Torre said. “He has the whole package. The only thing he has to do better is make sure he polishes everything up.”
A couple of years ago, Eric Duncan was on pace to be in New York by now. A .100/.250/.400 spring in 10 at-bats signified as much his struggles to get at-bats this spring as his struggles at the plate.