Friday, March 23, 2018

TGP 2018 Predictions: Comeback Players of the Year

The Comeback Player of the Year Award is generally given to a player who has not only a great season but has a great story behind their great season. For example, if a player misses a bulk of the previous season or seasons due to injury they are generally a candidate for the award if they come back the next season and have a strong season. Remember when Bartolo Colon basically came out of retirement for the New York Yankees only to shock the baseball world by showing that he could not only still pitch, but still pitch effectively at the Major League level? Or remember last season when Greg Holland returned from missing the 2016 season with Tommy John surgery to lead the National League for a chunk of the seasons in saves in 2017? Those are the kind of stories that win you a Comeback Player of the Year Award, and here are my 2018 stories.

I know I am reaching way out in left field on this one, but you almost have to with any of these sorts of predictions at this stage in the year. No one knows who is going to come back healthy, and nobody knows who is going to be the “next big thing” in Major League Baseball. So why not go bold? Why not predict that Tim Lincecum will not only make the Major League roster at some point in the 2017 season with the pitching-starved Texas Rangers, but why not predict that he will do well for the team in whatever role they use him in? It could happen, and according to my predictions it will happen. The Freak is back, likely as a reliever, and he wants some more hardware for his shelves at home.

The National League version was a little harder to come up with, so I decided to go bold once again in predicting that David Wright finally makes his way back onto the field with the New York Mets. At this point Wright doesn’t even have to be all that effective to earn to award, the story in itself of him working his way back to the Major League level would be story enough. Wright is currently working on trying to get back to the Mets after undergoing shoulder surgery in September of 2017 and an additional surgery on his lower back in October of 2017. Currently at the time of this writing Wright has been shut down from baseball activities for at least eight weeks, but if the Mets former third baseman can make it back by June or July he would easily be the story of the second half around Major League Baseball.

TGP 2018 Predictions: Managers of the Year

So far, we have predicted the New York Yankees winning their division en route to a World Series victory while the Washington Nationals will come up just a little short in Bryce Harper’s last hurrah. We have predicted a couple movements in the power rankings with strong showings this season by the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies, and we even predicted who would win the prestigious Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Awards for the best relief pitcher in both of their respective leagues. None of that could be possible for any of these players or any of these teams though without a good manager, which is why the next award we will be predicting is the Manager of the Year Awards for the 2018 season.  

So, you would think since I specifically mentioned the Seattle Mariners and the Philadelphia Phillies not only in my previous paragraph but in my standings prediction as well that I would automatically go to that well again here for my managers prediction, right? Wrong! I like to shake things up a bit, and I don’t like to be predictable with my predictions, so keep reading.

Once again, in my opinion, the New York Yankees have everything working against them here with another major award. Sure, the team has a new manager in Aaron Boone and sure, the team has a young nucleus of players that could get younger with the call ups of Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, but the team is almost too good for their own good if you know what I mean. If the Yankees don’t win the World Series in 2018 it will be a huge disappointment to many, but if they do I can see many fans, writers and voters coming out with a feeling that they almost expected it. Like the Yankees are once again supposed to win every game, you know? So, sorry Aaron. I can’t see you winning the AL Manager of the Year Award, even if you should. Instead, that award will go to the Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost who will keep his team in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week of the regular season, all without a major part of his core and his team that all left to free agency this winter.

In the National League I have to go with the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Bruce Bochy. Bochy is nearing the end of his managerial career in my opinion and this may be Boche’s last true shot at not only this award, but at a World Series championship as well. Last season the Giants were horrible finishing with a 64-98 record, which was good for dead last in the National League West Division. I don’t feel like with just the additions of Evan Longoria, Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson that the team will be strides better than they were in 2017, but I also don’t believe that the likes of Jeff Samardzija, Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto and others can be as bad as they were in 2017 either. I think it will be a team effort and a collective effort that will not only bring the team back to the postseason, but it will also bring Boche an NL Manager of the Year Award as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

TGP 2018 Predictions: Rookies of the Year

Remember earlier in the week when I said that predicting the Comeback Player of the Year Award was one of the hardest to predict out of all the awards around the game? Well if that is one of the hardest to predict the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award has to be the hardest one to predict year in and year out. Who is to say what prospects will get the call up, what players will stay healthy, and who will get enough at-bats or opportunities to even prove themselves on a yearly basis? The Yankees had a Rookie of the Year Award winner in Aaron Judge in 2017, could they do it again in 2018?

Honestly, no. I don’t think the Yankees will have a Rookie of the Year once again here in 2018. Why? It isn’t because I don’t like or don’t believe in the lot of Miguel Andujar, Tyler Wade, Gleyber Torres and others, but I do believe that with the acquisitions of both Neil Walker and Brandon Drury that there just won’t be enough every day opportunities to be had for those three like there was for Judge last season. Those three players could be great, but they won’t get to play in the 155 games and take the 542 at-bats this season that Judge did in 2017. With that in mind I am going to stay within the American League East Division and showcase one of the Tampa Bay Rays top prospects that will NOT miss time this season due to Tommy John surgery, Willy Adames. Adames is a shortstop for the Rays and one that is knocking on the door to the Major Leagues after making the All-Star Game in three straight Minor League seasons. Adames is starting to add power to his repertoire with double-digit home run campaigns and 30 or more doubles in two straight seasons, but more importantly there should be plenty of opportunities and time to grow for Adames on a rebuilding Tampa Bay squad.

The National League seems like kind of an easy one in my opinion with the top prospect in all of baseball ready to take over on a team that will presumably have little to play for in 2018. I am talking about the Atlanta Braves and their top prospect, Ronald Acuna. It is important that a Rookie of the Year sometimes play on a team that does not intend or expect to compete that coming season, that means the player will have a longer leash and less expectations dropped on his shoulders in the upcoming season. Acuna is a special talent and while he may not start the season with the Braves after being demoted to a Minor League camp, it doesn’t mean he will stay there long. Not when the Braves can delay his free agency by a season by keeping him in Triple-A for three weeks or a month before unleashing him on the rest of the league. Baseball is a business after all, first and foremost.

TGP 2018 Predictions: Mariano Rivera & Trevor Hoffman Award Winners

Prediction Season is here at The Greedy Pinstripes and with the Division winners and Wild Card winners announced, the postseason done, and the New York Yankees named the World Series Champions for the 2018 season we will switch directly into awards season. Contrary to some beliefs the relief pitchers in Major League Baseball have their own award at the end of the season, the Mariano Rivera Award for the best relief pitcher in the American League and the Trevor Hoffman Award for the best reliever in the National League. Now I am not trying to incite a riot here or really even spark up a debate, although feel free to debate in the comments section or on Twitter by sending @GreedyStripes a tweet, but for that reason (both these awards and the American League and National League Cy Young Awards that we will cover at a later time) I feel like these pitchers should be disqualified from the running for AL and NL MVP awards. I just do, sorry. Without kicking the hornets nest any more let’s take a look at my predictions for the Mariano Rivera and Trevor Hoffman Award winners for the 2018 season.

The New York Yankees and their closer Aroldis Chapman are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes down to awards like the Mariano Rivera Award for the best reliever in the league. The Yankees have the best problem a manager can have, too many qualities relievers, too many relievers with closing experience, and too many weapons at one manager’s disposal to be able to single-handedly point out and showcase just one of them. For that reason, I cannot pick a Yankee to win the award, but instead I will choose a member of the team that knocked out the Yankees in the 2017 ALCS, the Houston Astros closer Ken Giles. Giles should have the most opportunities of any closer in the American League to nail down a save, and with the Astros offense behind him the right-hander should have a bit of wiggle room if he were to have an off night. These awards generally go to a pitcher on a winning team, for obvious reasons, so why not the closer on the team that I predicted to be tied for the most wins in the American League in 2018? Just makes sense to me.

The Colorado Rockies built what the organization hopes to be a “Super Bullpen” during the offseason before the 2018 season and those efforts will yield great results for a team starved of quality pitching. The team has a staff of young starters with tons of upside, but it will be the bullpen’s ability to turn every game into a six-or-seven inning contest that will separate the team from the pack and keep the club in a lot of games that they normally wouldn’t have won. At the helm of this bullpen will be the Rockies closer, former Cubs fireballer Wade Davis. Davis should enjoy the lack of pressure pitching for the Rockies as opposed to pitching with the Cubs in recent seasons which should show not only on the field, but in his stat line as well. The fact that Colorado has also added big arms to help him like Bryan Shaw will only help Davis succeed giving him less innings to “mop up” and less jams to get out of, which could subsequently wear a pitcher down and inflate his stat line just a bit.

On A Clear Day, I Can See Toronto...

The Dog Days of Spring…

One week to go until the games become “real”. The thought of Toronto, Canada on a day in late March gives me a rather chilly feeling but watching the Yankees play brings the necessary warmth. The current weather forecast calls for cloudy skies with an expected high of 47 degrees and a 20% chance of precipitation. Nevertheless, the temp inside the Rogers Centre should be very comfortable for the away team. Let the homers begin!

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
It sounds like Manager Aaron Boone intends to have his 25-man roster in place by the weekend. I was surprised to see that first baseman Tyler Austin didn’t make the cut. I assume that places Neil Walker and Austin Romine as the backup first basemen. The speculation is that the Yankees will carry 13 pitchers and 12 position players. We know that Tyler Wade has made the team as the second baseman and Brandon Drury will be the starter at third. So, the bench appears to be Austin Romine, Neil Walker, and Ronald Torreyes as it appears that neither Jacoby Ellsbury nor Clint Frazier will be ready. Under this scenario, the Yankees won’t carry a fifth outfielder with Ellsbury expected to open the season on the disabled list. The outfield rotation would be limited to the four outfielders currently in play (Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton) using the DH slot primarily for Stanton and Judge. This is where multi-position versatility is very helpful. Although Drury has only played third base for the Yankees, he was the starting second baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks last year and he has also seen time in the outfield for the Snakes. Torreyes as the emergency catcher is funny but it makes sense. Walker will be all over the infield except shortstop and catcher. 

Photo Credit:
So it appears the critical decision with be the 13th pitcher.  Luis Cessa simply no longer has my trust or support. I do not want him as the rotation’s “sixth man” and after a good Spring, I feel much better about Domingo German in that role. I thought this would be the breakout year for Ben Heller but he had a few rough outings recently and has found himself with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. There is still time for him to shine but it won’t be at the start of the season. I really like Jonathan Holder. He blazed through the Yankees farm system until struggling last year. I am convinced he will be much stronger this year. So, for me, I’d like to see either German or Holder get the last spot on the 25-man roster. German would be a true long man, but if the Yankees need an emergency starter, there’s always the Scranton Shuttle. I’d probably go with Holder to start the season but like last year, the final spot on the roster will be very fluid. 

I was surprised to see the return of Rule 5 draftee Anyelo Gomez from the Atlanta Braves.  We know that the Braves will be bad this year. I thought they’d bite the bullet and keep Gomez on the MLB roster all season to keep the talented young pitcher. But Gomez’s performance spiraled downward as the MLB-caliber competition in exhibition games increased and it led to Atlanta’s decision to offer Gomez back to the Yankees. Similarly, Jose Mesa, Jr has struggled with the Baltimore Orioles and he was designated for assignment this week when the O’s signed free agent pitcher Alex Cobb. If Mesa clears waivers, the O’s will have to offer him back to the Yankees. So, this leaves only Nestor Cortes, Jr (Orioles) and Mike Ford (Mariners) as the only Rule 5 draftees still with the teams that selected them from the Yankees in December. I remain convinced Cortes will make the O’s Opening Day Roster despite the three-run homer that he gave up to Aaron Judge in yesterday’s exhibition game. I still expect Ford to be offered back to the Yankees by the Mariners in a numbers crunch at first base. 

Photo Credit:
Speaking of the Mariners, I was saddened to learn that former Yankees reliever David Phelps will miss the upcoming season with a torn UCL that requires Tommy John surgery. I thought it was cool that Ichiro Suzuki had followed Phelps to the Yankees, Miami Marlins and then back to Seattle. Now, it appears their reunion on the active regular season roster will be delayed assuming that Ichiro continues to play for the M’s beyond this year. We wish David the very best with his surgery and recovery.  Hope to see him back in the Mariners’ bullpen sometime next year and as good as ever (except when he pitches against the Yankees, of course).

Photo Credit: Seattle Times (Ken Lambert)
If you have a subscription to The Athletic, you should be sure to check out Marc Carig’s piece this morning on Brandon Drury entitled “Brandon Drury brings a serious edge to Yankees clubhouse”. Drury has become one of my favorite players in a short period of time. I love his quiet intensity. Like many believe including Yankees GM Brian Cashman, I feel very strongly that Drury’s best days are ahead. I think he’ll be a force at third base and will make us forget we ever knew Chase Headley or Todd Frazier. I am very pleased to see Carig covering the Yankees again after a few years away on the Mets beat. He’s an excellent writer and very insightful. Solid work, once again, by Carig.

It’s been tough with no televised Yankees games for the last few days. Fortunately, the Yankees will be on ESPN2 this afternoon against Jake Cave and the Minnesota Twins. I haven’t seen the lineups for the game yet but hopefully we’ll see Cave. I haven’t been following the Twins so I assume that Cave is remains in the Major League camp. The scheduled starter for the Twins will be former Yankee Phil Hughes. 

7 Days to Toronto. I’m ready. You’re ready. They’re ready. Let’s Go Yankees!

TGP 2018 Predictions: The World Series

The field is set. 162 games are in the books. Three rounds of the postseason are done and over with. Two teams remain. This is the World Series. This is the Fall Classic. Let’s do this. Prediction Season continues here on The Greedy Pinstripes as we take the next step towards our yearly predictions by predicting the World Series. I have laid out the division winners, the Wild Card winners, and even went as far as to predict every win/loss record for all 30 MLB teams. I then went one step further and predicted the entire postseason for both the American League and the National League, and it has all come down to this. The 2018 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals.  

Can you imagine the ratings on FOX that we are going to see for this potentially epic series? The Yankees head into Washington as the road team for Game One since the Nationals will have home-field advantage throughout the World Series garnering all the attention that the young Baby Bombers should. Aaron Judge can be seen answering questions by reporters out in right field, Giancarlo Stanton can be seen doing the same in the dugout as we prepare for a game without a designated hitter. Luis Severino is out in the bullpen throwing to Gary Sanchez, while Didi Gregorius is signing autographs out by the third base visitor’s dugout. The stage is set. Bryce Harper is in the Nationals dugout being asked more questions about his plans for his impending free agency and whether he wants to play for the Yankees than he is the World Series at hand, but Bryce is answering those questions with political correctness and a swag unmatched by any impending free agent before him. The stage is set.  

These two teams are surprisingly evenly matched up at every turn. The Yankees may have a slight edge in starting pitching, especially if the team goes out and acquires a great starter in July like many expect them to while the likes of Severino, Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray pitch to the backs of their baseball cards, and in the bullpen, although when Brandon Kintzler is your 7th inning guy it goes to show you how deep the Washington bullpen can be, but the offenses can both potentially be spectacular. How will the Yankees fare playing four games in a National League park while having to leave one of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks or Brett Gardner on the bench? Just fine, that’s how they will fare.  

The Yankees lineup is deep, powerful and intimidating from top to bottom. This team was built from within and is deep as they come offensively. This offense does not center around just one or two men, the entire lineup from top to bottom can beat you on any single pitch in any single game. There is potentially a different hero every night, which brings goosebumps to the skin just thinking about the possibility and the similarities to the Dynasty Yankees from the 90’s and 2000’s. The Nationals are a good team, maybe even a great team, but this New York Yankees squad is just special. Period. Get off the tracks, the New York Yankees are coming. It may take all seven games, although I am leaning towards six games here to be honest, but the Yankees will be hoisting that World Series Championship trophy over their heads one more time, and that one more time is here in 2018.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

TGP 2018 Predictions: The Playoffs

Welcome back to Prediction Season here on The Greedy Pinstripes. With the standings, division winners and Wild Card winners now predicted here on the blog by yours truly it is time to move on to the postseason. Just as a reminder, not that I have to remind any of you reading because you are all dedicated and hardcore Yankees and MLB fans, the first Wild Card winner will host the second Wild Card winner in a one-game playoff. The winner of that game heads out on the road to face off with the team with the best record from their respective league, who has a “bye” in the first round of the postseason. ALDS and NLDS series are best-of-five while the ALCS, NLCS and the World Series are of course best-of-seven. Let’s get to it!

American League Wild Card Round

Seattle Mariners @ Boston Red Sox

The first time in what feels like forever that the Seattle Mariners make the postseason. Is this 1995 all over again? Honestly, I don’t think so, but I went with it anyway… because to hell with the Red Sox. Anything can happen in a one-game playoff. Anything. Even the Mariners taking down the might, mighty Red Sox. Dave Dombrowski should be fired at the end of the game, but he won’t be which is great news for Yankees fans.

National League Wild Card Round

San Francisco Giants @ Chicago Cubs

These two foes have matched up time-and-time again it feels like in the postseason, so what is one more time for old times sake, right? The Chicago Cubs will, in my opinion, take a step back in 2018 in terms of production from their previous two seasons, which will suit the Giants just fine. The Giants have potentially a strong starting staff and enough veteran leadership to get them over the hump in Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen and I truly think they will find a way in the later innings to take down the Cubs. Chicago goes home, San Francisco moves on in an even-numbered year. Both road teams winning the Wild Card Round? That has to be unheard of, oh well.

American League Division Series

Seattle Mariners @ New York Yankees (Yankees win series 3-1)

I am going to give the tie-breaker for home field advantage to the New York Yankees (a) because I am a homer that owns a Yankees blog, and (b) because of some head-to-head matchups or something like that. With the Mariners high off their “1995 all over again” victory of the Boston Red Sox in the AL Wild Card Round the New York Yankees are here to remind the Mariners of another playoff series they were both a part of, the 2001 American League Championship series where the 116-win Mariners came into the series the heavy favorites over the Dynasty Yankees. The Mariners lost, and sometimes history repeats itself. Sometimes it just takes 17 years to do so. Yankees win.

Cleveland Indians @ Houston Astros (Astros win series 3-2)

In a matchup of two titans, two powerhouse offenses and two dynamic pitching staffs this series has all the makings of being an instant classic that will undoubtedly go all five games. These kinds of series remind me of those games that come down to the last second with the winner being the last team who has the ball, the last team to take an at-bat, whatever the case may be. I truly think both teams will be amazing once again in 2018, but the pitching staff and the depth that the Astros have will prevail in the five-game series. Plus, I wanted a rematch of the 2017 ALCS between the Yankees and the Astros, I mean who doesn’t? Right? It is time for Justin Verlander to eat his preseason words regarding the Yankees.

National League Division Series

San Francisco Giants @ Washington Nationals (Nationals win series 3-1)

The window for the Washington Nationals to win is just about closed, hell it will be all but closed once the calendar turns to October of 2018, and the Nationals will play like it this postseason. The Giants are a great team but having to presumably burn Madison Bumgarner in the Wild Card Round will come back to bite them as the Nationals dominate the series on all sides of the game. The Nats will pitch better, they will hit better, they will defend better and they will do the little things they have to do when it counts in order to win. Nats in 4.

St. Louis Cardinals @ Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodgers win series 3-2)

Here is a series we haven’t seen before in recent memory, a playoff matchup between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are younger than ever, and subsequently hungrier than ever, in the ever-changing aspect that is Major League Baseball. This is truly a David v. Goliath type situation, but in this one I think the Cardinals, like the Yankees from 2017, have one more year to wait before they can knock off the big boys. The Cardinals will be back in 2019 with another year under the wings and a chip on their shoulder, but this year it will be the Dodgers once again moving on after a hard-fought five-game series.

American League Championship Series

Houston Astros @ New York Yankees (Yankees win series 4-2)

Here we go again, so much for parity in Major League Baseball, huh Commissioner Manfred? In a rematch of the 2017 American League Championship Series the Houston Astros and the New York Yankees will once again square off head-to-head. This time around the Yankees will have homefield advantage, and this time New York will have Giancarlo Stanton and a slew of others at their disposal that they did not have last time around. The young, inexperienced Yankees took the Astros to an eventual Game 7 before falling to the reigning World Series Champions, but that was last season. This is 2018 and the New York Yankees are on a collision course with a certain team from the National League, and not even Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander or some dude with a long beard could stop them. Call me a homer, call me an optimist, just don’t call me late to the Canyon of Heroes. Yankees in six.

National League Championship Series

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals (Nationals win series 4-3)

Remember how I said the Cardinals and Dodgers series was a David v. Goliath type series? Well if that is the case then this series is a Goliath vs. Goliath type series as both teams here matched or exceeded the 95-win plateau during the 2018 regular season. This will be a hard-fought battle that will go all seven games, but one man in particular will be the difference maker in my opinion. Bryce Harper knows what he is playing for. Bryce is playing for a chance at a World Series ring, his legacy as a part of the Washington Nationals and his next free agent contract after the season ends, and for that reason I think we will see a version of Harper that we have never seen before. We will see a focused, yet unruly, and disciplined, yet unyielding, version of himself both at the plate and in the field that will go unmatched by anyone wearing a Dodgers uniform this series. It won’t be easy, but it will be fun to watch as the Washington Nationals shock the World and head to the World Series to face off with the New York Yankees.

BOLDED teams are predicted as the winner in each respective series.

The 2018 World Series, folks. The New York Yankees and the Washington. Let us keep in mind that the last two seasons I didn’t have the Yankees making the World Series, but I did have them winning a second Wild Card in both, so my predictions, albeit biased, are usually pretty spot on with them. “Haters gonna hate” though, am I right?

Two million strong and counting folks! I can’t say it enough. Leave your thoughts, comments and predictions down below in the comments section, or drop us a line on Twitter @GreedyStripes. Another day closer to Opening Day, can you smell the fresh cut grass yet? Because I can…

TGP 2018 Predictions: The Standings

As we count down the days until Opening Day 2018 I wanted to take the opportunity to say this, it is Prediction Season here on The Greedy Pinstripes. Every season I make a series of predictions, sometimes bold and sometimes not so much, before the season, and then I look back on them at season’s end to see how in tune I really was with my wizardry. Spoiler alert, I usually don’t do well in these predictions, but I put them and myself out there nonetheless for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy, and leave any constructive criticism in the comments below, or hit us on Twitter by tagging @GreedyStripes. Two million strong and counting folks!!

American League East

New York Yankees (X)                       94-68
Boston Red Sox (Y)                           90 -72
Baltimore Orioles                               80 - 82
Toronto Blue Jays                               76 - 86
Tampa Bay Rays                                 72 - 90

American League Central

Cleveland Indians (X)                        93-69
Minnesota Twins                                84-78
Kansas City Royals                            83-79
Chicago White Sox                            73 - 89
Detroit Tigers                                     64-98

American League West

Houston Astros (X)                           94-68
Seattle Mariners (Z)                          88-74
Texas Rangers                                   85-77
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim      83-79
Oakland Athletics                             75-87

National League East

Washington Nationals (X)                 96-66
Philadelphia Phillies                          84-78
New York Mets                                  82-80
Atlanta Braves                                   71-91
Miami Marlins                                   62-100

National League Central

St. Louis Cardinals (X)                       92-70
Chicago Cubs (Y)                               89-67
Milwaukee Brewers                            86-76
Pittsburgh Pirates                                74-88
Cincinnati Reds                                  70-92

National League West

Los Angeles Dodgers (X)                 95-67
San Francisco Giants (Z)                  87-75
Colorado Rockies                             85-77
Arizona Diamondbacks                    83-79
San Diego Padres                             70-92

(X) denotes Division Winner
(Y) denotes Wild Card 1 Winner
(Z) denoted Wild Card 2 Winner

Yes, I went bold in the American League West. I don’t have a real and true reason why I feel like the Seattle Mariners will have a great season, but I just do. They have a younger team with a few key guys in key positions that are hungry, and I just have a hunch. This will be one I will likely regret when we look back at the end of the 2018 season, but oh well. For now, the Seattle Robinson Cano’s are in as the 2nd Wild Card team in the American League while the Texas Rangers are selling off pieces in July. Another bold prediction in the National League East as I have the young Fightin’ Phils in second place behind the big right-arm of Jake Arrieta. It isn’t so much that I feel like the Phillies are ready to compete, although they have a young core and nucleus that could easily sneak up on people this summer, but I feel like the NL East is just going to be that bad this season. I truly wanted to put the Atlanta Braves a little higher, but with Philadelphia (and the rest of the NL East) facing off with the Braves and Marlins around 40 times a season each we should see some inflated win numbers out of that division in my opinion. I truly think the most competitive division in all of Major League Baseball this season will be the National League West who will have four potential teams that could make the postseason, with the exception being the San Diego Padres. I like all their teams, and I think it could be fun to watch all summer long out West this season.

Again, leave your predictions in the comments section below or hit us op on Twitter, @GreedyStripes.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Giancarlo Stanton vs the Miami Marlins...

Looking Forward to Today’s Game…

Today’s Spring Game featuring the Miami Marlins at Steinbrenner Field is one I’ve been looking forward to all Spring. When the Yankees traveled to Jupiter, FL last Sunday, Giancarlo Stanton didn’t make the trip and the game was not televised. That’s not the case today. Stanton is in the lineup and the game will be on TV (YES Network). 

For the game starting at 1:05 pm Eastern, here is the scheduled lineup:

Brett Gardner, CF
Aaron Judge, RF
Greg Bird, 1B
Giancarlo Stanton, LF
Gary Sanchez, C
Didi Gregorius, SS
Neil Walker, 2B
Brandon Drury, 3B
Tyler Austin, DH

The starting pitcher will be Luis Severino. The starter for the Marlins will be a familiar face (Caleb Smith). Another former Yankee (Garrett Cooper) will be the starting right fielder for the Fish. It’s always good to see the great Don Mattingly even if he is tasked to lead the Stanton/Ozuna/Yelich-less Marlins for CEO Derek Jeter.

It would be fun to see Stanton go yard against his old club today. It would have been nice to see old friend Starlin Castro but as with most veterans, he did not make the road trip. Nevertheless, as noted above, there is no shortage of former Yankees in the park.  

Photo Credit: Bryan Hoch, via Twitter
By Order of Aaron Boone…

The Yankees announced the order of the starting rotation on Saturday. Luis Severino gets the Opening Day assignment at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Canada on March 29th against the Blue Jays. I thought the honor would go to Masahiro Tanaka as the recognized ace of the staff but there’s no disputing that Sevy was the Yankees’ best starter in 2017 when he finished third in the AL Cy Young voting behind elite starters Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. 

1.  Luis Severino
2.  Masahiro Tanaka
3.  CC Sabathia
4.  Sonny Gray
5.  Jordan Montgomery

At first, I was surprised when I saw that Gray was penciled in behind Sabathia but it does make sense to break up Sabathia and Montgomery. You can also insert short jokes about Sonny Gray here while stating he gives hitters a different look between the two left-handed six-foot-sixers. Admittedly, I am a little concerned about Sabathia pitching on the turf at Rogers Centre with his balky knee. Boone had better get the bullpen up early in that game.

Jordan Montgomery draws the assignment for the home opener at Yankee Stadium on Monday, April 2nd against the Tampa Bay Rays.  

Congratulations to Severino for his anointment as the King of the Pitching staff. I suspect it will be many years before he is ready to relinquish the crown. Hard to believe the guy is only 24 years old. Unless the Yankees sign Clayton Kershaw next off-season (very unlikely), Severino should have an extended reign.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
The Rule 5 Draft Revisited…

2017 Rule 5 Draft - Major League Phase - Yankees Lost

Round 1, 7th Selection:  RHP Anyelo Gomez, Atlanta Braves
Round 1, 9th Selection:  LHP Nestor Cortes, Baltimore Orioles
Round 1, 11th Selection:  1B Mike Ford, Seattle Mariners
Round 3, 18th Selection:  RHP Jose Mesa, Jr, Baltimore Orioles

Last year, the Yankees lost catcher Luis Torrens when he stuck on the MLB roster for the San Diego Padres all season long despite batting .163/.243/.203 with .446 OPS. He didn’t have any home runs and only 7 RBI’s in 56 games and 139 plate appearances. The Padres can now send the 21-year-old to the Minors for more seasoning with no fear of losing him.

As prospects continue to season in the Yankees farm system, there will be more significant losses in the years ahead. You cannot protect everyone on the 40-man roster when they become Rule 5 eligible and this figures to get more challenging over the course of the next few seasons.

Anyelo Gomez, Braves

Spring Stats:
1-1, 10.80 ERA, 7 games, 8.1 innings pitched, 10 hits, 10 runs (earned), 4 BB, 6 SO’s

Gomez was having a good Spring for the Braves until he got hammered by the Toronto Blue Jays last Tuesday, giving up four runs over two innings. However, is still projecting that he’ll make the Braves Opening Day roster despite the hiccup. Expectations are low for the Braves this year so they can afford to take their chances with the talented young right-hander.

Photo Credit: Atlanta Braves
Nestor Cortes, Jr, Orioles

Spring Stats:
0-1, 4.35 ERA, 4 games (3 starts), 10.1 innings pitched, 12 hits, 5 runs (earned), 3 BB, 9 SO’s

Cortes is getting a long look in O’s camp as he is second on the team with most innings pitched. Given the dearth of pitching for the Orioles, it is a certainty that he’ll break camp with the big league club. He is under consideration for the rotation and even if he is not successful, he’ll be moved to the bullpen for now. I am not expecting Cortes to come back.

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Rob Carr)
Mike Ford, Mariners

Spring Stats:
.182/.321/.341, .662 OPS, 20 games, 44 at-bats, 4 doubles, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 8 walks

When training camp first opened and Ford started strong for the Mariners, I thought he was a lock to make the Mariners (especially when it was announced that new starting first baseman Ryon Healy had surgery to remove a bone spur in his right hand). But Ford has cooled off and Healy is not expected to miss much time, if any. Daniel Vogelbach (.400, 4 HR, 10 RBI) has had a much stronger Spring than Ford and appears to be the leader for first base behind Healy. If Healy starts the season on the DL, Ford could make the Opening Day roster but I doubt he sticks for the entire season. Healy feels that he will be ready for Opening Day. He made his first appearance of the Spring yesterday against the Los Angeles Angels and was 1-for-3 with a RBI double. More than likely, Ford will be back to take his place as the starting first baseman for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.

Photo Credit: The Seattle Times (Ken Lambert)
Jose Mesa, Jr, Orioles

Spring Stats:
3-1, 5.87 ERA, 5 games, 7.2 innings pitched, 10 hits, 5 runs (earned), 7 BB, 5 SO’s

Looking a pure numbers, it would seem unlikely that Mesa would stick on the Orioles roster but then again, we’re talking about the Orioles and their underwhelming cast of pitchers. While I think it’s unlikely they would carry two Rule 5 pitchers on the active roster, it is a strong possibility that both Cortes and Mesa will make the Opening Day roster. Whether Mesa remains there all season remains to be seen. 

Of these players, I think Ford and Mesa are the players most likely to be returned to the Yankees. Dependent upon performance (or maybe not as Luis Torrens showed), I think that Gomez and Cortes are gone for good.

Photo Credit: AP (Chris O'Meara)
2017 Rule 5 Draft - Triple A Phase -Yankees Lost

These players were lost and will not be returning to the Yankees organization.

Round 1, 18th Selection:  RHP Yancarlos Baez, Minnesota Twins
Round 2, 32nd Selection:  C Sharif Othman, Miami Marlins

I guess it’s a good problem to have when your team has so many strong prospects that good players are lost (“the cup runneth over”) but it’s still painful to see these guys that we’ve cared for thrive in other uniforms with no return for the Yankees. I know, that’s a bit of a ‘prospect-hugging’ statement. Seriously, I do hope they find MLB success. I just hope it isn’t against the Yankees.  


As we begin the last full week before the start of the regular season on Thursday, March 29th, the answers for the Yankees’ Opening Day Roster seem to be taking shape. However, the one question I am already tired of is ‘will Jacoby Ellsbury begin the season on the DL?’ Of course he will…next question. Regardless of whether or not Ellsbury is ready, I don’t really care. The guy has become an afterthought for me. If he helps the team this year, fantastic. But let’s just say that I am keeping expectations low…very low. A good player “when on the field”, but that’s not a bet I’d want to make. He becomes a greater injury risk with each passing year and he was already the King of the DL dating back to his Red Sox days (with no intended offense to Troy Tulowitzki who certainly has every right to lay claim to the throne).

Danny Espinosa was 4-for-4 with a RBI in his Spring debut with the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday. Where was that bat during his few weeks with the Yankees this month? That’s the right way to make a good impression for his new club. The odds are against him making the Blue Jays’ MLB roster to open the season but days like yesterday certainly help. Jake Cave’s debut for the Minnesota Twins didn’t go so well. He started in center field and was 0-for-3 with a strikeout in a game that saw former Yankee Phil Hughes get hammered for 9 runs (5 earned) in 3 1/3 innings.

It will soon be game time for Yankees-Marlins. Let’s Go Yankees!