Yankees Daily Briefing 09/27/11

Although Tuesday’s game itself is not significant for the Yankees, a better start from Bartolo Colon than his last one (and who has struggled in the second half this season) would give the Yankees more confidence in their rotation for the playoffs. The Rays will have Jeremy Hellickson (13-10, 2.90) on the mound as they continue their effort for a miraculous late season run.

Discussion of the Day: Who do you think will be the last man on the 25 man postseason roster for the Yankees?

Behind Enemy Lines: John Romano writes that while the Boston Red Sox collapse might be the story, the Rays' run should not be forgotten.

1) Rob Parker writes about the dilemma facing Yankees fans over the last series of the season.

The Yankees have clinched everything they could – wild card, division and home field – and their primary concern before the start of the postseason has to simply be keeping their players healthy. On the other hand, the Rays are playing for their playoff lives, and if Yankees fans are that desirous to see the Boston Red Sox out of the postseason, rooting for the Rays may indeed be a possibility. Still, rooting against one’s team might be a hard pill to swallow, and then one has to further consider the argument that the Rays, with James Shields, David Price and Matt Moore might in the end be the more formidable playoff opponent – if the Yankees get past the Rangers or Tigers in the first round.

2) Adam Darowski at Beyond the Box Score notes Mariano Rivera’s enormous postseason value.

Darowski uses WPA as his measure to note that Rivera, far more than any other postseason pitcher, has played an important part in influencing his team’s ability to win a postseason game. Certainly, Rivera’s long career means added opportunities, but that Rivera would rank so much higher than Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, both starters, is certainly intriguing. Rivera has not been perfect in his postseason career – 1997, 2001 and 2004 stand out – but his good postseasons (1996, 1999, 2003 and 2009 might be among his more accomplished postseason successes) far and away outweigh the bad ones.

3) Steven Goldman at Pinstriped Bible wonders what Scott Proctor is doing on the roster.

Proctor, whose name has become something of a by-word for managers overusing certain bullpen pitchers, has not pitched well with the Yankees, by any measure. Fortunately, for the Yankees, his appearances has mostly been limited to garbage innings or late in extra inning games when no other reliever is realistically available. Since the Yankees are (or at least should be) unlikely to give him meaningful postseason innings, and because Proctor was not signed to any large contract, Proctor’s current roster spot should be far from the Yankees’ most pressing concern.

4) Five Staten Island Yankees made Baseball America’s Top 20 list for the New York-Penn League. Mason Williams ranked number one over all while Cito Culver, Tyler Austin, Angelo Gumbs and Branden Pinder also made the list.

While more attention has been paid to prospects such as Jesus Montero, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos this season, many at the lowest levels of the Yankees’ farm system had excellent seasons, and whikle it’s certainly far too soon to make any long ranging predictions, the success of such as Williams and Dante Bichette Jr. has got to be an encouraging start.