Yankees Daily Briefing 09/03/11

Bartolo Colon was impressive in his last start against the Orioles; he’ll try to be similarly successful against the Blue Jays on Saturday. The Yankees will face Toronto’s Ricky Romero (13-9, 2.84), as they look to take the second game of the series.

Discussion of the Day: Who should be the Yankees number two starter in the postseason?

Behind Enemy Lines: Drew at Ghost Runner on First looks at Brett Lawrie , one of Toronto’s most impressive prospects. The Yankees, of course, are not the only team with top-rated prospects, and Lawrie is one of Toronto’s most important.

1) Wallace Matthews writes that A.J. Burnett might not be so bad, after all.

Indeed, Burnett’s 5.1 inning, two run start in Boston on Thursday night was far better than most (if not all) would have expected, but unfortunately one good (and not great) start is not enough to alleviate concerns after winning just one game the entire month of August. Given the recent struggles of Phil Hughes, the decision of which starter to keep in the rotation may not be as straightforward as it looks, but it would seem like committing to Burnett after just one decent start might be shortsighted.

2) Mark Simon and the crew at ESPN Stats and Information take a look at Curtis Granderson’s defense and wonder if the bad rap is deserved.

Granderson’s offense has many talking about him being an MVP candidate this season, but his profile is hurt – especially when one uses wins above replacement as a benchmark – by his defense. Defensive metrics aren’t doing Granderson any favors, and the scout whom Simon quotes is pointed in his commentary that Granderson’s offense is needed to make up for his defense. Granderson also benefits from teammate Brett Gardner’s extraordinary range as it limits the ground that Granderson has to cover. Granderson’s offense more than atones for his defensive shortcomings at the moment, but if he were to struggle with the bat the defense would be a bigger problem.

3) Joel Sherman writes that Russell Martin has been the right man for the Yankees.

Martin has certainly been a valuable pick up; while he has an OPS+ of 97 (below average but not significantly so), he more than makes up for his offensive shortcomings with his work behind the plate. His defense and durability has kept the Yankees from having to use Francisco Cervelli too much, or Jorge Posada behind the plate at all this season. Whether or not he should be brought back next season to help break in Jesus Montero at the position is another question entirely, but Martin is among Cashman’s low-risk offseason signings that have paid huge dividends for the Yankees this season.

4) The minor league season continues to wind down, as one more team was eliminated from postseason contention.

Triple-A Syracuse lost to Pawtucket, 4-3, eliminating them from contention.

Austin Romine had one hit in four at bats and struck out twice.

Andrew Brackman pitched one inning of scoreless relief and walked three.

Double-A Trenton beat New Britain, 4-1.

High-A Tampa swept a doubleheader with Lakeland, winning the first game 3-0, and the second, 5-2.

Low-A Charleston beat Asheville, 1-0.

Short Season Staten Island was shut out by Brooklyn, 4-0.