Thursday, July 2, 2015

Austin Romine & Kyle Roller Named Triple-A All Stars

Yankees Off Night Open Thread

The Yankees are off tonight and for some reason I am whooped. I don’t even have the whole “staying up late to watch the Yankees play on the west coast” excuse to fall back on. Maybe I’m just getting old but that’s ok, I digress. The Yankees are off tonight as they are traveling back from California to the Bronx to prepare for a huge three game series with the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend. It’s hard to say that games are must win at the beginning of July but a sweep either way could really go a long way to deciding who wins the American League East Division race. I’d settle for a series win though truth be told.

I leave you tonight with another musical recommendation out of my own personal collection. The name of the song is “Angel” and the name of the artist is Theory of a Deadman. Enjoy little p. 

Meet a Prospect: Taylor Dugas

Taylor Dugas was called up from Double-A with the Trenton Thunder this week to give the Yankees an extra outfielder and bench player for the weekend. Carlos Beltran was removed from Tuesday night’s game with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim with a rib cage injury that seems minor enough to avoid a DL stint or surgery meaning that Dugas isn’t likely to stay up for long unfortunately. The Yankees could have called up Tyler Austin who is already on the 40 man roster but didn’t for some reason and could not call up Ramon Flores since it hasn’t been 10 days since he was demoted and since Beltran will avoid the DL, at least for now, so Dugas gets the shot. Let’s hope that Dugas makes the most out of this opportunity so let’s meet him, Meet a Prospect: Taylor Dugas.

Taylor Brooks Dugas was born on December 15, 1989 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Dugas grew up a Yankees fan with brother Tyler Dugas and sister Tiffany Dugas. The Yankee fandom can be explained by the fact that the Dugas family was family friends with a former Yankees star Ron Guidry and Taylor saw much of Louisiana Lightning, a fellow Lafayette native by the way, growing up as a kid. Dugas began playing youth baseball at five years old and joined many travel teams that visited the state of Florida and Texas and continued his amateur career when he attended Teurlings Catholic High School in Lafayette. Dugas played for the baseball team there and posted a .640 batting average with 10 home runs in his senior season. Dugas ended his tenure at the Catholic School with a career .519 batting average and although he did not do enough to get drafted in the 2008 MLB First Year Players Draft he did enough to catch the attention of the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Alabama was not the first choice for Dugas, LSU was naturally, but was only given a chance as a walk-on player for Louisiana State University while the University of Alabama offered him a scholarship to play baseball. Dugas went on to hit .352 as a freshman with the Crimson Tide while he improved on that in his sophomore season hitting .395 to lead the SEC Conference. After that breakout season Dugas was invited to try out for the United States national collegiate baseball team. All this attention Dugas was garnering was enough to get him drafted in the eighth round by the Chicago Cubs after his junior year, 249th overall. The Cubs offered Dugas $300,000 to sign but instead the outfielder decided to play his senior season at Alabama and turn down the Cubs offer.  As a senior Dugas hit .343 and set the Crimson Tide records for hits 334, singles with 235, doubles with 67 and triples with 18.

After setting multiple school records he impressed the New York Yankees enough to draft him in the 8th round, this time 277th overall, in the 2012 MLB Draft. Dugas almost immediately signed with New York and began his professional career with the Staten Island Yankees where he hit .306 and was named to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game. Dugas was promoted to the Low-A Charleston Riverdogs in 2013 before earning another promotion to the High-A Tampa Yankees before the season ended where combined for a .285 batting average and 64 walks. Dugas began the 2014 season with the Trenton Thunder before earning a call up to Triple-A and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in June of that season where he was until the Yankees called him up this week.

Dugas is another left handed outfielder with a ton of speed and defense that lacks in the home run department that fits the mold of Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott and Ramon Flores. Williams and Heathcott are injured and Flores could not be called up as we said so now it’s time for Dugas to take a crack at it. The good news for the Yankees is if the whole outfielder thing doesn’t work out they can always rest the arm of Garrett Jones and let Dugas pitch like he did three times last season going 0-2 in 3.0 IP with a strikeout and two walks. Hopefully it doesn’t come down to that but if it does then at least the Yankees are prepared as Dugas is prepared for anything. Welcome to the show Taylor, make us proud!

Yankees Off Day Walk Up Music Recommendation

The check list continues to grow and grow on these walk up music recommendations as we’ve worked our way down the lineup in recent weeks. We’ve listened to the same music the Yankee Stadium crowd listens to when Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Chase Headley and Carlos Beltran come to the plate and today we move on to Sir Didi Gregorius. What does royalty listen to when he comes to the plate in the Bronx you ask? Good question!

The name of the song is "Notorious BIG" by Notorious BIG. Knowing the very little I do know about Didi I halfway expected something really weird or “artistic” or spiritual from Didi and he did not disappoint I guess. Anyway, enjoy the song and enjoy the rest of your off day Yankees family. 

The Window is Now

When you build a team that is supposed to win in Major League Baseball you always hear about that “window” the team has to win. For teams like the Washington Nationals that window is wide open with young core talent, a deep farm system and an owner with enough money to add any piece he needs by any means necessary. For teams like the Cincinnati Reds that window is just about closed and will be closed by the end of the trading deadline barring an epic turnaround in the National League Central Division. For teams like the Philadelphia Phillies the window closed a long time ago and the GM Ruben Amaro Jr. just didn’t recognize it or admit it to himself until recently while the window for the New York Yankees is now, the 2015 season.

The best thing about being a fan of the New York Yankees is that even if the window closes it won’t be closed for long. The Yankees, like the Nationals, have a good farm system and plenty of money to throw around either in the draft, in the international free agent market, in the trade market or in your hot stove market. While the Yankees owner has been a little gun-shy about spending said money the fact remains that the money is there, attendance is down and so are the wins on the field which may force the hand of Mr. Hal Steinbrenner. The Yankees have faced an uphill battle since the 2012 season and they are just about at the peak of that uphill climb, the peak being the 2017 and 2018 seasons. The Yankees have already missed the playoffs for two consecutive years and if they miss it for a third in 2015 it may be another two or three before they see October baseball again, the window is now.

The Yankees free agent class after 2015 includes back up outfielder Chris Young, long relief man Chris Capuano and second baseman Stephen Drew. There may be a few arbitration eligible guys I am missing, Esmil Rogers comes to mind, but the point remains the same that the core of the Yankees team will remain unchanged past this season and almost no money is coming off the books. The Yankees seemingly have eight of their position players already set in stone for 2016 and almost all their pitching staff locked in barring injuries and trades of course.

The problem with this is the team will be one year older in 2016, one year more injury prone, one year longer past their primes, one year this and one year that. The American League East will surely be better in 2016 as well so really the Yankees have two months left in their window to win. Win now, this season, or wait until the contracts of CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, possibly Masahiro Tanaka and others come off the books after 2016 and 2017 and hope for the best in 2018. 2018 seems like a long way away… 

Quick Hit: International Free Agent Signing Period Begins Today

Every season the new international signing period for international free agents begins on July 2nd so today marks the beginning of the new period. The Yankees went crazy in last year’s signing period spending roughly $30 million with just $2 million or so allocated to their budget forcing the team to face penalties for this signing period and the next. For the next two signing periods the Yankees cannot sign an international free agent for more than $300K which severely limits the team’s ability to go out and sign the top talent on the market, which I guess was the point when it was written into the collective bargaining agreement. 

The Yankees have made some notable international free agent signings for cheap in the past but there probably won’t be much to get excited about for a couple of years on the IFA market unfortunately. There have been plenty of Cuban defecting and Cuban born players that do not count against the cap due to their age and service time so the Yankees could always go that route as well but it’s hard to bank on that either given the team’s preference to stay away from Cuban players for whatever reason. 

TGP Daily Poll: James Kaprielian Signs This Week

The New York Yankees have been clearing extra draft slot cap space to sign some of their tougher to sign draft picks in recent weeks including James Kaprielian, the 16th overall pick. New York will close out the deal this week 7/2 – 7/9.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check In: Kyle Roller

I wanted to do a little something different this morning and check in on a prospect that’s not really a prospect anymore, first baseman Kyle Roller. I was looking through the TGP archive the other day and I ran across a post that I had written sometime last season that pleaded with the Yankees to call up Jose Pirela for second base and Roller for first base after Mark Teixeira’s 19th injury of the season, slight exaggeration, and I got to wondering what Roller was up to this season. Have I not heard much about him because Teixeira has been so healthy and productive or has he fallen into the “over-groomed” category and fallen off the face of the Earth?

As you can see Roller, who is now 27 years old, either enjoyed a career season in 2014 or his attitude went by the wayside along with his chances of playing in the major leagues in a Yankees uniform because his stats are nowhere near as good as they were at this point in 2014. Roller was left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft this winter and was not selected, to my surprise, and I think that along with earning a call up and not getting it has really affected his on the field performance. I was wrong once though, to some people since I can’t go see the prospects live or talk to them face to face that immediately discredits my knowledge, passion and understanding for Yankees prospects.



This Day in New York Yankees History 7/2: Clemens Wins 350

On this day in 2007 Roger Clemens became the eight pitcher in Major League history to win 350 games with his eight inning and two hit victory over the Minnesota Twins. Joe Torre was Clemens manager on that day and was also the catcher for Warren Spahn's 350th game making him a participant in the only two times since 1928 that a pitcher reached the historic plateau.

Also on this day in 1995 the New York Yankees celebrated what would have been Babe Ruth's 100th birthday. Mickey Mantle, a frail image of his former self, bids the fans a farewell in a recorded message on the Yankee Stadium Jumbotron. Mantle would die 22 days later after a losing battle with liver cancer but not before telling the fans that "I feel like Phil Rizzuto in Babe Ruth's uniform."

Also on this day in 1978 Louisiana Lightning Ron Guidry beat the Detroit Tigers to improve his record to 13-0. This would be the best start in the Yankees franchise history for a season.

Finally on this day in 1941 Joe DiMaggio passed Wee Willie Keeler's 1897 major league record for consecutive hit games with his 45th straight game. DiMaggio hit a three run home run off the Red Sox Dick Newsome in front of 52,832 fans.