Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yankees 2015 MLB Draft Results - Day Two

by: Ben Embry

The Yankees selected two more players from my top 200 rankings on day 2 of the MLB Draft; day 2 features rounds 3-10.  New York selected HS RHP Drew Finley in the 3rd round with the 92nd overall pick.  Finley is a 6'3 200 lb pitcher committed to play at USC.  He has a three pitch mix with the curveball being a future plus pitch.  His fastball sits in the high 80s to low 90s but he's projected to add velocity as he fills out.  Drew is the son of former big leaguer and current Dodgers executive David Finley.  Drew ranked 55th on my board.  Keith Law was the high man on Drew with a ranking of 24.  He ranked 56th on MLB.com's list and 60th on Baseball America's list.  Any way you slice it, he was a good value at pick #92.

The Yankees selected Oregon State CF Jeff Hendrix in the 4th round with the 123rd overall pick.  Hendrix stands 6' tall and weighs 198 lbs.  There's some question about his defensive home, with the options either being CF or LF.  I assume the Yankees think he'll play in CF based on his draft position.  His swing needs some refinement.  Baseball America ranked him the 156th best prospect in the class and projects him as a 4th OF.  He came in at 194 on my board.

Rounds 11-40 will begin at noon tomorrow and can be tracked on MLB.com.  I would expect New York to add one or two more players from my top 200 list and hopefully they've saved enough from earlier rounds to sign one of them.  I'm hoping they add some good young prep arms, regardless of whether they're on my top 200 or not.  This is something they did not do last year somehow.  You never know when some of them can turn into gems, (Bryan Mitchell and Brady Lail being two examples), but if nothing else those rookie level squads are going to need some arms.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals 6/9

For the second time this season the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals are playing in a two game Interleague series with the first series coming in the National League Park and tonight’s coming with the use of the DH position. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound, Happy Tanaka Day everyone, tonight to face off with Max Scherzer for the Nationals. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees have one more game in the Bronx before taking a day off to travel to Baltimore for another road trip so that gives you just one more chance to grab a pair of Yankees tickets off the blog. By clicking the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog you can grab a pair of Yankees tickets, or more, without paying all those annoying fees or bulky shipping costs through our partnership with Ticket Monster. If you can’t make it live then that’s not a problem simply jump on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and/or the comments section of the site and chat with us during the games where we live tweet almost every single game of the season.

It’s Tanaka Time. Go Yankees!

Yankees Add Sergio Santos on Minor League Deal

Brian Cashman's master plan to add a right handed relief pitcher to the Yankees bullpen has been exposed and I have to say I am a bit disappointed. Sergio Santos has been signed on a minor league deal with an assignment to the Double-A Trenton Thunder. While I was being pretty tongue in cheek about him being the 7th inning plan for New York I was not about being disappointed.

Tanaka not worried about diminished velocity

Think it's a big deal Masahiro Tanaka isn't throwing as hard anymore? Don't.

That seems to be the message Tanaka is sending as he prepares to face the Nationals Tuesday night, with the right-hander recently telling The LoHud Yankees Blog his diminished velocity isn't an issue.

"I guess velocity is important in some aspects, but for me, I look at more of my command of the pitches since I'm being able to locate the ball where I want to," Tanaka said. "So for me I think that's more important."
Tanaka's fastball reportedly averaged 93 mph in his most recent start against the Mariners, a few steps up from the 91 it did in his four previous outings. Still, Tanaka was often able to get outs with pitches in the 89-90 range as well -- a good sign for the team given his partially torn UCL.
New York manager Joe Girardi expressed no concern over Tanaka's velocity, noting that it actually isn't much lower than it was last year.
"His average velocity has been the same," Girardi said. "It's just maybe he hasn't hit the 95, 96. I'm sure he feels good about it, and he feels better that he knows it's there, but his average velocity was pretty similar."
And so far this season, so have Tanaka's results. In five starts surrounding a month-long DL stint, the Yankees' ace is 3-1 with a 2.76 ERA -- having allowed just two earned runs in his last 20 1/3 innings.
Indeed, the Yankees have reason for confidence in the veteran right now, even if the radar gun sometimes treats him differently.
"We've seen a lot of pitchers be extremely successful throwing 87, 88 -- we saw Mike Mussina (who) threw 88 and won 20 games -- but it does allow him to do some different things," Girardi said.

Plans for Stating the Obvious

With just a couple more hours to go before the New York Yankees take on the Washington Nationals inside Yankee Stadium I wanted to go over a quick plan just in case Joe Girardi and company just happen to be reading. I have a plan and that plan starts with how to attack the Nationals hitter and one hitter in particular. Do not, I repeat DO NOT, pitch to Bryce Harper in this series. Harper is having a great season, loves the limelight of hitting on the big stage with no stage bigger than Yankee Stadium and is easily the Nationals best and most potent hitter in the lineup. Do not pitch to him, period.  I know it seems like I am stating the obvious right now but if you watched the Yankees pitchers continually pitch to him in the first series, by the way New York got swept in that series, and if you watched the Yankees pitchers continually pitch to Stephen Vogt when they were playing the Oakland Athletics, FYI the team lost that series too three games out of four, then you understand why the obvious needed to be put into print and needs to be said one more.

Albert Pujols and Mike Trout did not get much to hit in the last series with the Angels and New York swept them, coincidence? The Seattle Mariners offense lacks that true bat outside of Nelson Cruz, who again FYI got little to nothing to hit all series long because of Robinson Cano’s struggles, and the Yankees swept them too. It’s not rocket science here folks, there is going to be one batter in every lineup that absolutely should not and cannot beat you and that batter should not see anything over the middle of the plate. It’s Trout in Los Angeles, it’s Cruz in Seattle, it’s Vogt in Oakland and it’s Bryce in Washington.

The offense is going to have to run into one tonight with Max Scherzer on the mound but if you’re searching for positives out of this pitching matchup then you must remember that the Yankees have killed right handed pitching this season. Girardi loves to stack his lefties and switch hitters up against pitchers like Scherzer and generally against any left-handed pitcher and I expect nothing less from the Yankees manager tonight. Stephen Drew has hit better and so had Didi Gregorius of late while Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira have remained hot so while it will be no easy task the Yankees do have something going for them heading into the series. The Yankees have their now potent offense and they also have some guy named Masahiro Tanaka on the mound for them tonight in the Bronx

Expect a pitcher’s duel and a Rob Manfred Special, three hour game or less, as long as the Yankees stick to the plan and have no problem with stating the obvious. Don’t pitch to Harper, swing at the first strike that Scherzer throws you, get a good pitching performance from Tanaka and ride Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller into the sunset after the off day yesterday and with the off day on Thursday. Yankees keys to victory, you’re welcome.

The 1990 Draft May Have Been Best Ever For New York

With the 2015 version of the Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft officially in the books prospect humpers (trademark pending) around the country are scrambling for as much information about the newest members of the Yankees family as they can. Hopes are never higher than they are the day after the draft because many fans are left to wonder if so-and-so is the next Derek Jeter or if this guy will be the next Bernie Williams or if the early comparisons to Dellin Betances are warranted or not. While the grade for the Yankees 2015, and probably their 2014 and 2013 drafts as well, draft is “I” for incomplete at this point one thing for certain is the 1990 Draft and International signing period may have been the best ever for the New York Yankees.

To start off that 1990 draft the Yankees drafted a lanky left hander named Andy Pettitte, a second basemen Jorge Posada that the team later moved to catcher after concerns with his defense and a pair of outfielders in Ricky Ledee and Shane Spencer. With those four players alone you have to tip your cap to the scouting directors and the team’s personnel but when you also learn that 1990 was the year the team signed a starting pitcher out of Panama named Mariano Rivera you really have to simply bow down and consider yourself not worthy.

Between these five men you have a total of 19 World Series rings, keep in mind that Posada did not get one in 1996, and 14 of the 19 rings alone are between three of the four members of the Core Four. Posada was a five time All Star and five time Silver Slugger Award winner at the catcher position while Pettitte is the Yankees all-time leader in strikeouts with 2,020 with the 1999 ALCS MVP Award hanging up in his shelf at home. Rivera was a 13 time All Star, all-time leader in saves in Major League history and a five Rolaids Relief Awards winner, now named the Mariano Rivera Award, in his illustrious career.

I guess you could say the Yankees did good for themselves in 1990 with the icing on the cake coming in 1992 when the team added that Jeter kid we alluded to earlier in the post. The rest, as they say Yankees family, is history.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Washington Nationals 6/9

Tonight the New York Yankees begin a quick two game series with the Washington Nationals at home inside Yankee Stadium. This marks the second time these two teams have faced off head-to-head with Washington sweeping the first two game set that happened inside Nationals Park last month. Tonight we should all be entertained with an intense pitching matchup as the Yankees send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off against the Nationals newest toy Max Scherzer. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

  • Tanaka is coming off his first start off the disabled list where he held the Seattle Mariners to just one run in seven innings of work. In his career, albeit in just four starts, Tanaka has dominated the National League as he comes into the start with a 1.53 ERA in his career in Interleague Play.

  • Scherzer is coming off his fourth loss of the season, this time to the American League East’s own Toronto Blue Jays. Scherzer allowed four runs on six hits, two of them the home run variety, while walking two batters in just six innings of work in the loss.

The Yankees have one more game with Washington tomorrow before another off day on Thursday and a big series with the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night inside Camden Yards. The Yankees are on a roll heading into the series after winning six straight game with two consecutive sweeps over the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Will the Yankees make it seven in a row? They sure will if Tanaka has anything to say about it. Go Yankees!

Yankees 2015 MLB Draft Results Rounds 1-2

by: Ben Embry

The Yankees took three college players with their first 3 picks in the 2015 MLB Draft.  The Yankees took UCLA RHP James Kaprielian with the 16th overall pick.  Kaprielian is the classic “pitchability” starter whose command/control exceed his “stuff”.  He seems to have a low floor and low-to-moderate ceiling.  Projected mainly as a number 3 starter with some 4s thrown on him.  May be a number 2 starter if he can put it all together.  He works with a 4 pitch mix; some scouts say his changeup is his best offering while others say it’s his curveball.  His fastball is of the four-seam variety and sits in the low 90s and will touch 95.  He has the ideal pitcher’s body at 6’4, 200 lbs.  He led the Pac 12 in strikeouts the past two years and has had success putting hitters away if he gets ahead.  Concerns would be diminished velocity, which is already not the highest, once he goes from a 7-day rotation to a 5-day rotation.  Again, this is considered a “safe” pick; I would expect him in the majors as a September call-up in 2016 at the earliest, but mid-season 2017 seems a more realistic timetable.

The Yankees took San Diego SS Kyle Holder with the 30th overall pick.  The glove is his calling card, with scouting grades ranging from  55 to 70.  The knock on him is his limited offensive upside due to a pronounced uppercut swing path, though he did have a .900 OPS in college this year.  His contact numbers are good with only 19 K’s in 224 AB’s.  His defensive prowess is unquestioned, despite only average speed.  He has a plus arm and good instincts.  His intangibles are also high, with labels like “gritty”, “natural leader”, and “clubhouse guy” being thrown on him.  He was ranked 54th on my draft board so he seemed like a reach at 30, but if the Yankees really wanted him they had to take him there since their next pick wasn’t until 57, (he was ranked as high as 38 on the boards I track).  Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer has said the Yankees have made more success lately developing college players over high school ones, which may explain the choice of Holder over other HS players Yankees had been linked to more like C Chris Betts or RHP Donny Everett.

The Yankees took Indiana State LHP Jeff Degano with the 57th pick in round 2.  Degano is a 6’4, 200 lb southpaw from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.  Degano was a late riser in the draft scouting process due to missing 2014 and some of 2013 with Tommy John surgery.  He performed well for the Sycamores, going 8-3 in 15 starts with a 2.36 ERA.  His 11.7 K/9 was the seventh best in Division I.  He’s gotten by on just his fastball and breaking ball with a seldom used changeup that needs development.  His fastball sits in the low 90s and has little movement.  If his changeup doesn’t come around, there’s a good chance he ends up as a reliever but projects as more of a late inning guy than a LOOGY.

The best available players remaining from my top 200 list: Donny Everett (23), Michael Matuella (26), Dakota Chalmers (37), Jacob Nix (38), and Jalen Miller (40).  This is somewhat conjecture, but Nix may be the only signable one of that group.  I expect the Yankees to stick to their college-heavy philosophy and would predict they take Iona RHP Mariano Rivera, Jr, (yep, Mo's son) with their 3rd round pick, (#92 overall).  It would be a little bit of a reach since he's #120 on my board, but they don't draft again until 123 so if they want him, I think they have to take him at 92.  You would think they would want him pretty pad since he's Mo son and  he's improved his stock since they drafted his last year.

The draft concludes tomorrow with rounds 11-40 and sometime the day or two after that I'll have preliminary draft scores and I'll have final draft scores after the signing deadline on July 17th.  THEN...shortly after that I'll update my top 30 Yankees prospects.  As of right now, I'm thinking Kaprielian will be in the back half of the top 10, with Holder about 10-12 spots behind him and Degano maybe sneaking into the last few spots.  Have a good day!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

It’s that time of the week today where we bring to you the weekly MLB Power Rankings from the great set of people over at the USA Today. The Yankees had a great week last week which started with a sweep of the Seattle Mariners and ended with a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Would that be enough to grab the “biggest rise” award this week or would a team like the San Diego Padres or Tampa Bay Rays steal New York’s Thunder?

Well technically the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres were both the largest risers this week both climbing five spots but we’ll give the nod to the Yankees since they climbed all the way to the #8 spot while San Diego sits at #16. Well that and because I’m biased since I own a New York Yankees blog but who’s keeping score anyway? The biggest fall of the week goes to the Detroit Tigers who have been in the Top 5 for a big chunk of the season. Detroit fell six more spots this week all the way to the #14 position, ouch.

With New York currently occupying the #8 spot the rest of the American League East division showcases the Tampa Bay Rays at the #11 position, the Toronto Blue Jays at the #18 spot, The Orioles coming in at #20 and the Boston Red Sox bringing up the rear at #22.

The Top 5 best teams in order are the St. Louis Cardinals, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Houston Astros, the Kansas City Royals and the Minnesota Twins. The five worst teams in order according to the rankings in descending order are the Miami Marlins, the Cincinnati Reds, the Oakland Athletics, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Philadelphia Phillies.

Teams will go through hot streaks just like they will go through cold streaks and both will affect these ratings but the rankings are starting to show a trend at this point in the season. The A’s and Reds were once Top 11 or better teams before falling back down to Earth while the Astros were once 27th before sample size caught up to them and showed that they are one of the best teams in the American League. If New York can stay a Top 10 team and win their division the sky is up for the team and they are a true World Series contender, I truly believe that, the team just has to get there. If these rankings are any indication of the future, and they should be by now, then they will. 

TGP Daily Poll: Max Scherzer Who?

The Yankees could have had Max Scherzer bolstering their starting rotation right now but instead will face him Tuesday as he wears a Washington Nationals uniform. By the end of the night it will be Max Scherzer who as the Yankees beat the Nats.

Vote in our prediction poll on Knoda.com

Weekly Check In: Aaron Judge

The New York Yankees have a gluttony of outfield prospects currently in their minor league system including Ramon Flores (who is with the big league club), Slade Heathcott (who was with the big league club before an injury), Mason Williams, Tyler Austin, Taylor Dugas, Jake Cave and others but at the top of that list of outfielders and at the top of many Top Yankees Prospects Lists stands one man, Aaron Judge.

Judge currently resides with the Double-A Trenton Thunder but a call up to Triple-A Scranton by mid-season or later is not out of the realm of possibilities. Judge can hit, and hit for power, and he can also defend enough to stick in right field in Yankee Stadium. He’s an exciting talent and many cannot wait to see the Judge emerge from the ashes that is the minor leagues and into the Bronx.

I know I can’t. 


Tampa Yankees Send Eight to FSL All-Star Game

TAMPA, FL. - The Florida State League announced today their selection for the 2015 North and South All-Star Teams and eight Tampa Yankees were selected, the most in team history. For the first time, players voted in addition to each teams official scorer, manager and broadcaster. League President Ken Carson was "thrilled and excited with the number of players who participated". The 54th All-Star Game will be played at Tradition Field in St. Lucie, Saturday, June 20, 2014 at 7:00 p.m.

Tampa Yankees Pitchers Andury Acevedo, Jonathan Holder, Angel Rincon, Catcher Kyle Higashioka, Infielders Miguel Andujar, Mike Ford, Tyler Wade and Outfielder Danny Oh were selected to represent the Tampa Yankees for the North Division Team.

RHP Andury Acevedo was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on 2/6/12. He's pitched 16.1 innings for Tampa with and has a 1.10 ERA. He's given up 13 hits, four runs, two earned runs, and struck out 17.

RHP Jonathan Holder was selected by the Yankees in the sixth round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Mississippi State. He has a 4-2 record and a 2.15 ERA after 11 starts with the T-Yanks. He's pitched 62.2 innings with 50 strikeouts.

RHP Angel Rincon was signed by the Yankees as a minor league free agent on 1/26/10. He's appeared in 19 games and pitched 28.1 innings with 18 strikeouts. He has recorded six saves so far this season.

Catcher Kyle Higashioka was selected by the Yankees in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He's batting .222 after 33 games and caught in 32 of those games holding a .986 fielding percentage.

3B Miguel Andujar has a .902 fielding percentage over 49 games. He's hit seven doubles, three triples and four homeruns with 29 RBI. He was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on 7/2/11.

1B Mike Ford is batting .250 in 51 games with 26 RBI. His fielding percentage at first base is .982 in 384 total chances. He was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent on 7/17/13.

SS Tyler Wade is batting .294 after 50 games with 21 stolen bases. Wade was selected by the Yankees in the 10th round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.

OF Danny Oh was batting .333 in 29 games with the T-Yanks before being promoted to the Double-A Trenton Thunder on 5/21/15. He was selected by the Yankees in the 27th round of the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

The Tampa Yankees are the Single-A Advanced affiliate of the New York Yankees. For more information on the Tampa Yankees visit www.tybaseball.com or call (813) 673-3055. For more information regarding the 2015 Florida State League All-Star Game please visit www.fslbaseball.com.

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/9: A Rod and the 400 Home Run Club

On this day in 2005 Alex Rodriguez went 4-4 with two home runs to join the 400 home run club earlier than any other major league player. A Rod was 29 years and 316 days old and passed Ken Griffey Jr. for the honor when he hit a solo home run off the Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Jorge De La Rosa in the eighth inning.

Also on this day in 1946 the New York Yankees hit the one million mark in attendance earlier than any other team in major league history. The Yankees would draw over two million fans this season at Yankee Stadium.