Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/22

What happened down at Yankees spring training camp today? Let's get caught up!

The New York Yankees and the New York Mets are currently facing off head-to-head as a part of the Grapefruit League while the Tampa Bay Rays are in Havana, Cuba. Along with the Rays are the President of the United States Barack Obama and former Yankees legends Joe Torre and Derek Jeter.

Jacoby Ellsbury was reevaluated today and the plan is to still get back into a game on Thursday. In Joe Girardi talk that means Friday, maybe Saturday.

Nathan Eovaldi pitched 60 pitches in a minor league game today while Ian Clarkin also pitched in a minor league game. That's one more game than last spring for Clarkin. Luis Torrens hit a home run in the game so his shoulder looks good thus far.

Slade Heathcott was optioned to Triple-A. I guess Ellsbury really is fine.

Quick Hit: Sabathia Teaches President Obama How to Pitch

The Tampa Bay Rays along with a few ambassadors from Major League Baseball and the United States are prepping for a historical trip to Havana, Cuba to take on the Cuban national team. This will mark the first time a MLB team has set foot on Cuban soil since the Baltimore Orioles did it in 1999. The Rays are heading down along with former Yankees Joe Torre and Derek Jeter but the man who may throw out the first pitch is none other than Barack Obama, the President of the United States. Obama, a southpaw, didn’t play much baseball growing up as a kid in Hawaii and Chicago but thankfully for him he got some advice from key MLB players including our very own CC Sabathia.

The Associated Press asked a collections of MVP’s and former Cy Young Award winning All-Stars to critique Obama’s last ceremonial first pitch and Sabathia had some advice for the President. “He looked good, I mean up until his windup and everything” said Sabathia. The Yankees lefty also went on to say “get the ball down in the zone.”

David Price also suggested a “free and easy” relaxed delivery to Obama and warned him “don’t bounce it.” Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants ace, suggested something easier said than done for some. “Just throw a strike.” My own suggestion to the President? Don’t pull a 50 Cent. 

New York Yankees, New York Mets & The 2:00 Feeling

Tonight the New York Yankees and the New York Mets will face off head-to-head as these two teams continue their Grapefruit League and spring training schedules so while waiting I just got that 2:00 feeling. You guys too? Well while you're at work waiting on that go-home buzzer to sound why not watch the entire game from just a few weeks back between these same two clubs?

The Mets sent Jacob deGrom to the mound to face off with Ivan Nova for the Yankees. Even though the broadcast team is run by SNY, puke, try to enjoy.

Yankees ST: New York Yankees vs. New York Mets 3/22

Good afternoon ladies and gentleman and welcome back to the Subway Series, sort of. This is the Subway Series in all senses of the word but it's still Spring Training and it's still the Grapefruit League. Either way the New York Yankees and the New York Mets will face off today inside George M. Steinbrenner Field. While the Mets are boasted for their young starting pitching the organization has assembled the Yankees will send some young pitching of their own to the mound tonight in righty Luis Severino.

The game will be played at 6:35 pm ET but the game will not be televised or heard on the radio anywhere. Did it really happen then? Find out later tonight.

The Yankees Pipeline in 2016

Starters are stretched out; position battles have been won, and we are a mere two weeks away from Opening Day. The Yankees farm system has made a drastic recovery in recent years as the Yankees focused on developing talent for themselves and not trade fodder. The 2015 Yankees had 18 players make their major league debuts, 14 of which were drafted and developed by the Yankees. While some will only be remembered on Sporacle quizzes players like Luis Severino and Greg Bird will look to make an impact in the Bronx for year's to come. The 2016 season will bring more debuts and I've compiled this list of players drafted by the Yankees who are likely to make their debuts this season.

1) Aaron Judge: Judge only got to experience a few months as the Yankees number 1 prospect when Luis Severino graduated to the big leagues. He's been surpassed by Jorge Mateo but don't let that fool you. Judge will continue to marinate in Triple-A this year while he works on hitting breaking pitches. The Yankees have enough outfield depth that he is probably not the first to be called up if an injury strikes though if he puts it all together I wouldn't rule it out. I see him getting a cup of coffee in early September before being handed the keys to RF in 2017.

2) Brady Lail: Lail could be the first starter called up from the minors this season. He's no Luis Severino but he does have the potential to throw some valuable innings for the Yankees this season.

3) Ben Gamel: The Yankees have a ton of outfield depth, in addition to the 4 OF + Dustin Ackley on the major league roster they have Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams who made it to the show in 2015 in Triple-A. None of the outfielders mentioned are the picture of health so there is a good chance will Gamel in pinstripes in 2016.

4) James Kaprielian: Following in the footsteps of Jacob Lindgren who debuted last year Kaprielian could be another Yankee to fast track through the minors and make is debut a year after being drafted. Showing big time poise on the mound, plus command and an uptick in velocity he turned heads in camp and could be on his way to a debut late in the season.

5) Tyler Webb: The Yankees do a good job of churning out serviceable relievers and Webb will likely be one of the players on the shuttle between the Scranton and the Bronx this season. He'll look to separate himself from Nick Goody, Nick Rumbelow, James Pazos and company.

See you soon guys!

Let's Say Jacoby Ellsbury Has a Setback

The New York Yankees had a bit of a scare over the weekend when the team faced off with the Atlanta Braves in a Grapefruit League spring training game. The Yankees watched as Jacoby Ellsbury made a spectacular running and diving catch to help preserve another good start for Michael Pineda and then watched as he took a pitch off his wrist while at bat. Ellsbury was immediately sent for tests and X-rays and everything came back as negative, which is good news, giving Ellsbury a little over two weeks to get rid of any lingering soreness and doubt in the wrist which should be plenty of time to heal. What if he doesn't though? What if Ellsbury has a setback or injures the wrist again in the field or something? Devil's Advocate.. and go!

First and foremost the Yankees would not only lose their center fielder but would lose their leadoff hitter as well. The good news for New York is they have a pair of center fielders, maybe three or more truth be told, and a pair of leadoff hitters currently on the roster. Brett Gardner would take over the everyday center field duties and would be the first Yankees hitter out of the dugout game in and game out. Aaron Hicks would likely slide into the everyday left field position while Starlin Castro would probably hit second in the Yankees batting order. Hicks is no Ellsbury, assuming Ellsbury is healthy, but he would fill in more than adequately in my opinion.

Slade Heathcott would likely win the bench job out of spring training since he can play all three outfield positions and is still in Yankees camp. Ben Gamel may have had the inside track but Heathcott is on the 40 man and still in camp while Gamel was sent down over the weekend making the decision easy.

Could the Yankees survive a 15-day DL trip for Ellsbury? Absolutely. They have such an interchangeable lineup and defensive alignment that they could survive almost any injury, it's if the team gets multiple injuries at the same position that things may get interesting. Interesting being a bad thing for the Yankees.

Any Chance New York Gets Jake Cave Back in 2016?

The New York Yankees had every opportunity in the world to protect and keep a member of their farm system safe from the Rule 5 Draft but the team chose not to. Jake Cave, lefty swinging outfielder, was left unprotected and taken in the draft by the Cincinnati Reds. As you already probably know the Reds have to keep Cave on their 25 man roster all season long or have to offer him back to his original club, the Yankees, after passing him through waivers. Will Cave stick on the roster all season long or is there any shot he is coming back to the Bronx?

Cave started out the spring hitting like a man possessed but has slacked off in the hitting department as of late. Cave was seen hitting above .300 for much of the spring thanks in large part to hits in seven of his first nine spring games including two multiple-hit contests. After that Cave's decline began with four straight hitless games dropping his average to where it stands today, .286. Cave has just one home run and three RBI this spring but Cave does have a few saving grace's if he wants to stay in Cincinnati this season.

The Reds are expected to be one of the worst teams in the National League if not in all of baseball so the team may be willing to keep the 23-year old on the roster for the entire season. Billy Hamilton, the team's best young player, still has concerns over his shoulder and the Reds may need a bit of depth in the outfield and especially at center field this coming season. Whether that's Cave backing up Hamilton or a combination of Tyler Holt, Adam Duvall or Scott Schebler remains to be seen.

Is there a chance that Cave returns to the Bronx in 2016? Sure there is, it's far too early to tell at this point though. Is there a chance he sticks in Cincinnati and is gone from the Yankees organization forever, or more realistically for at least six seasons of service time? That's also just as likely. We don't know, we'll just have to stay tuned. I'm leaning towards "no" though.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/22: Britt Burns Pulls an Alex Rodriguez

On this day in 1986 the Yankees 18 game winner Britt Burns announces he will miss the entire coming season due to a degenerative hip condition.

Also on this day in 1972 the Yankees trade first baseman Danny Cater to the Red Sox for left handed reliever Albert Walter Lyle. Over the next seven years Albert, you may know him as Sparky, will pitch in 420 games in relief with a 57-40 record and a 2.41 ERA with 141 saves. Lyle appeared in three World Series with the Yankees and won two of them while with New York.

Finally on this day in 1962 the New York Mets defeat the New York Yankees the first ever time the two New York teams would meet. It was just a spring training game but the Yankees were the reigning World Series champions so that is worth mentioning. The former Yankee manager Casey Stengel and the Mets would beat the Bronx Bombers 4-3.