Saturday, May 30, 2015

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/30

Tonight the New York Yankees make their third trip out of four to the Oakland Coliseum to take on Billy Beane’s Oakland Athletics. There has been plenty of pitching to go around thus far in the series as the spacious Oak. Co. has lived up to the hype of being a pitcher’s park this season. Tonight pitching for the Yankees is Nathan Eovaldi who is surely to benefit from all that extra foul ground and the spacious outfields while he is taking on Jesse Hahn and the A’s. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV.

  • Eovaldi had possibly his best start in pinstripes last time out when he pitched into the 8th inning on Memorial Day against the Kansas City Royals. Eovaldi allowed just one run in the start and will look to build on that in his start tonight against the Athletics, a team he has faced just two times in his short major league career.

  • Hahn is coming off possibly his best start of the season last time out where he tossed a four-hit shutout in a 4-0 victory on Memorial Day over the Detroit Tigers. The RHP has allowed five earned runs in his last three starts combined dropping his ERA from 4.73 to 3.69.

The Yankees have one more contest with the Athletics tomorrow afternoon before jumping on a plane to face off with King Felix, Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees schedule softens up as we enter the month of June which can’t be a bad thing for the Bronx Bombers going forward. Take advantage, go Yankees!!

Yankees Domminican Summer League Rosters

by: Ben Embry

The Dominican Summer League starts today.  Like previous years, the Yankees will be fielding two teams.  As you'll recall, New York invested over $30 million in several international free agents, (IFA for short), last July in an unprecedented spending spree.   By most accounts, New York signed 10 of the top 30 IFA, including highly touted prospects SS/3B Dermis Garcia, CF/RF Juan de Leon, and 3B Nelson Gomez.  Of the 10 elite prospects signed, all but Dermis Garcia and 18 year old Korean SS Hy-Joon Park are starting their summers in the Dominican, (see the rosters here: DSL Yankees 1 and DSL Yankees 2).  Here are the main prospects:

DSL Yankees 1
SS Diego Castillo
SS Wilkerman Garcia
3B Nelson Gomez

DSL Yankees 2
C Miguel Flames
RF Jonathan Amundaray
CF Antonio Arias
CF/RF Juan de Leon
RF/LF Brayan Emery

Honestly, I expected most of these players to begin their careers in the United States playing in the Gulf Coast League.  That season does not start for another 2-3 weeks, so I guess it's possible that they will play a handful of games here before coming up to the GCL.  However, most of  the times prospects play whole seasons in the Dominican and do not make that transition in the middle of a season.  If anything, I'm guessing anybody who comes up will do so in July or August.

There are a handful of other prospects on these rosters worth noting, including two prospects who made my Preseason top 30 lists for hitters and pitchers: #30 hitter SS Yonauris Rodriguez and #29 SP Orby Tavares.  The Yankees signed 8 other players last summer to 6 figure contracts that I will be tracking this summer: C Jason Lopez, CF Lisandro Blanco, RF Leobaldo Cabrera, RF/LF Frederick Cuevas, and CF Pablo Olivares on DSL Yankees 1 and SS/2B Griffin Garabito, SS Danienger Perez, and CF Raymundo Moreno on DSL Yankees 2.

Keith Law's Mock 2015 MLB Draft

Keith Law is not a name and a source that I generally trust when it comes to prospects only because of his dislike for certain New York prospects, namely Luis Severino, but when he talks about the MLB First Year Player's Draft I tend to put my differences aside. Law knows the MLB Draft as well as or better than most so when he released his 2015 MLB Mock Draft V 2.0 I felt compelled to read and then leave that here for you to read as well. As we all know the Yankees have three picks in the first 60 or so picks and an absolute ton of cap space to spend on their picks this season. The Yankees related results are below only since the article requires subscriptions. Enjoy as much as you can and if you like it then go buy a subscription because Law puts in a ton of work into these mock drafts and generally everything that he does.

With the Yankees first pick, 16th overall, Law has the Yankees taking California High School LHP Kolby Allard after having the team take Pennsylvania High School RHP Mike Nikorak in his first mock version. Allard was considered to be the best left handed arm in the draft before missing two months this season with a stress reaction in his back that caused him to miss the remainder of the season. Allard has two plus pitches with a fastball that can touch 96 MPH and a tight curveball to go along with his raw changeup. Allard has a smaller build, think Severino, and may need to go to the bullpen before his career is said and done.

With the 30th pick the team may be interested in California High School catcher Chris Betts, New York High School outfielder Garrett Whitley or Tennessee High School RHP Donny Everett.

TGP Daily Poll: Mr. Eovaldi Shows His Ugly Mug

I have made a running joke about the inconsistency of Nathan Eovaldi this season calling him Dr. Jekyll when he pitches poorly and Mr. Eovaldi when he pitches well. Tonight in Oakland I think we will see Mr. Eovaldi mow down some Athletics.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check in: Jorge Mateo

Jorge Mateo may still be the best shortstop on the Yankees, major leagues and minor leagues included, despite still being in the lower levels of the Yankees system. Mateo defends well, takes his walks, runs the bases well, steals bases and has what seems to be a great general baseball IQ. One thing that was not mentioned was the hitting aspect of his game, something he still needs to work on if he wants to be more than a speedy Brendan Ryan in his career.

You can see what I mean with the Ryan comparisons by looking at this stat line: 


This Day in New York Yankees History 5/30: A Rod in the Middle of a Controversy

On this day in 2007 in Toronto a Jorge Posada pop out falls in between Howie Clark and John McDonald allowing Alex Rodriguez to score on the play. A Rod yelled that he got it while running by and tricked both the Blue Jays infielders in a "Bush League" move.

Also on this day in 2001 when the Yankees and Red Sox rivalry was possibly at its highest and Pedro Martinez spoke up about the Curse of the Bambino? If you don't it was after Martinez ended a streak of five straight losses against New York and was making light of the curse. Martinez states that he wished someone would wake up Babe Ruth so he could drill him with a pitch. Long story short the Red Sox would not beat the Yankees again during the final seven meetings of the 2001 season. But there was no curse, the Red Sox just sucked for 86 years... right.

Also on this day in 1992 the Yankees Scott Sanderson beat the Milwaukee Brewers 8-1 to become the ninth pitcher to defeat all 26 teams in the major leagues at the time. Sanderson joins Nolan Ryan, Tommy John, Don Sutton, Mike Torrez, Rick Wise, Gaylord Perry, Doyle Alexander, and Goose Gossage with the feat.

Also on this day in 1956 Mickey Mantle came within 18 inches of becoming the first player to hit a home run out of Yankee Stadium. The blast came off the Washington Senators Pedro Ramos and the ball was still climbing when it hit the facade in the upper right field stands.

Also on this day in 1938 the Yankees set a new record for attendance at Yankee Stadium drawing 81,841 fans in a double header with the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees would win both games sweeping the Red Sox in the double bill.

Also on this day in 1935 Babe Ruth, a member of the Boston Braves, plays in his last major league game of his career. Ruth, at Baker Bowl, does not get in a hit in his first inning at bat against the Phillies. On June 2 of that year the former Yankee All Star and super star would call it a career officially.

Also on this day in 1934 the Yankees Ben Chapman broke up Earl Whitehill's no hitter in the bottom of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. This is significant because in the 1933 season Chapman, albeit provoked, hit Whitehill with a punch in the passageway causing a 20 minute brawl that needed the police to restore order. I guess he broke something up twice, huh?

Finally on this day in 1932 the New York Yankees honored former manager Miller Huggins in a pre-game ceremony. The former Yankees manager died near the end of last season and had received a plaque in his memory. The Yankees would sweep both games in the double header with the Boston Red Sox.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 5/29

You know you used to see those commercials about getting the 2:00 feeling while you’re at work and they suggested this miracle product that would hype you up for the rest of the day? If I stayed up and watched this game tonight I would need about nine of those, oh and a new heart, to make it through my day tomorrow. No thanks. Anyway the Yankees and the Athletics matchup for the second time this week as a part of their four game set inside the Oakland Coliseum. Tonight the Yankees will send Chris Capuano to the mound to face off with the A’s Sonny Gray. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Get your Yankees tickets right here on the blog before New York comes home to the Bronx and Yankee Stadium. Click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to get yours through our partnership with Ticket Monster. If you can’t make it live then that’s not an issue just jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or the comments section to interact with us during each and every game, except for West Coast games obviously, because it’s almost just like being there in person.

Mr. Capuano will take it from here. Go Yankees!!

Slade Heathcott to DL, Ramon Flores to be Called Up

The New York yankees have added Slade Heathcott to the 15 day disabled list with a Grade II quad strain. To fill his roster spot the team will call up Ramon Flores and will have the outfielder on the team for tomorrow night's game. Flores is on the 40 man roster and a roster move will not be needed to accommodate the move.

While We Wait: What Happened to Bryce Harper?

Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper drove a Jon Lester fastball over the left-field fence at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for his 18th home run of the season and his 13th in his last 19 games.
Harper, now 22, played very well for most of his first three seasons in the Majors and frequently flashed the type of potential that made him a Sports Illustrated cover boy at only 16 years old. But the young star has never before enjoyed a stretch this long of production this great.

With the Nats now 47 games deep into their 2015 campaign, Harper already has more homers and more extra-base hits than he tallied across 100 games in an injury-riddled 2014 season. He is on pace for 63 homers this season, and if he could somehow maintain his 13-homers-in-19-games clip the rest of the way — and he almost certainly won’t, naturally — he would finish with 78.

It’s nuts. Harper has started the season so well that only an injury or an unprecedented slump will keep it from being by far the best of his young career. And a look at some of Harper’s numbers suggests the difference has come from improved plate discipline.

Check this out: In the early part of 2015, Harper saw significantly more pitches per plate appearances (P/PA) than he ever did in the past — jumping from a slightly above average 3.89 figure to a 4.36 mark that ranks second in the Majors. Harper has swung less frequently and walked far more often.
And though it could be in part a function of the pitchers he has faced to date, Harper has seen a higher percentage of fastballs — the pitch on which he does the most damage — than he ever did earlier in his career. His percentage of hard-hit balls, as tracked by Baseball Info Solutions, has spiked in turn. From the looks of the numbers, Harper is doing a much better job choosing when to swing than he did in the past — “hunting his pitches,” to echo a phrase frequently used by veteran MLB hitting coach Dave Hudgens.

Of course, there’s some chicken-and-eggery at play here. Harper, for his part, told the Washington Post earlier this month that the only difference has been his health:

“This is what I was like in high school and college,” said Harper, who twice had four-homer games at the College of Southern Nevada, where he hit 31 homers in 66 games in 2010. “That’s what people don’t understand. I was healthy. Staying healthy is what I need to do. This is the type of player I need to be and the type of player I want to be. Everybody talks about how I’m doing this different or I’m doing that different. There’s nothing different. It’s staying healthy and staying in the lineup. Truly….
“I feel like the approach, the plan, it’s always been there,” Harper said. “But I’m finally sticking to it because I’m not getting hurt and staying healthy. It’s allowing me to stay in the games every single day and staying with my routine every single day and not getting sidetracked because I’m hurt and out a game and play two and then out for a month and a half and come back and play.”

Could it be that good health and more regular reps alone have contributed to Harper’s apparently improved batting eye? Certainly. He obviously looks more comfortable at the plate than ever before, and it could easily be that the various ailments he sustained the last few years sapped some of his power or impacted his mechanics in a way that forced him to start swinging sooner.

On MLB Network, analyst Darryl Hamilton cued up video of Harper’s swing to show the slugger keeping his weight back longer this season to generate more power. But again, since Harper typically doesn’t say much about the particulars of his mechanics at the plate, it’s hard to know which of the adjustments he made were made possible by the better health he credits for the difference.

In any case, whatever has happened to Bryce Harper this season has now been happening long enough that it can no longer be dismissed as just a fluky early-season hot stretch. By whatever means or combination of them, Harper has become a more selective hitter in 2015, swinging less frequently and hitting the ball harder when he does.

And though this is not to slight Harper — who seems to know as much about baseball as anyone playing it — but it could be that the change plays out so subtly on the day-to-day that he himself is not even conscious of it. The difference between 3.9 and 4.4 pitches per plate appearance, after all, is less than one extra pitch across every two at-bats. Maybe Harper is just maturing as a hitter, seeing pitches better and hitting them harder as he grows bigger, faster, stronger and more experienced.
What we are watching, most likely, is a great young hitter blossoming into a great hitter. Harper may not maintain his Ruthian home-run rate and on-base percentage all year, but if he can stay healthy and maintain his apparently improved process, the Nationals should benefit from significantly improved results all season long.

Make Garrett Jones a St. Louis Cardinal

If it seems like I may or may not be picking on Garrett Jones today there is probably a pretty good reason for his, he deserves it. His stat line has been less than impressive, albeit in a small sample size, offensively and he adds almost zero to the team defensively making him a liability and a waste of a roster spot. You guys and girls know me by now, I’m not one to equivocate (words with friends for the win), and I don’t like to beat around the bush. The St. Louis Cardinals lost their everyday first baseman Matt Adams to a quad tear and the Yankees have a first baseman in Jones that they really don’t use or need, is it time to make a deal?

The Cardinals have Mark Reynolds, former New York Yankee, currently taking up the position and at worst Jones and Reynolds could platoon at the position giving the Cardinals enough offense and defense to get by until the trading deadline. The Cardinals could also use Jones in the outfield and off the bench against right handed hitters adding some much needed versatility to a team that loves versatile players.

In return I’m sure the Cardinals have some sort of bullpen pitcher or minor league power arm to give back to the Yankees that can make an immediate impact in New York. If not, who cares? Jones is off the team and the Yankees can upgrade in a trade, with another prospects call up or by keeping Slade Heathcott on the roster. It’s a win, win, win.