Friday, June 24, 2016

Live Game Updates: Twins at Yankees - 6/24

7:23 p.m., End 1st: Both teams go down 1-2-3 in the first. Keep in mind, though, Tommy Milone has a 0.75 ERA this year in the first three innings and a 12.38 ERA from the fourth on.

7:32 p.m., Mid 2nd: Twins waste a lead-off double from Brian Dozier. Tanaka has fanned three already through two scoreless.

8:01 p.m., Mid 3rd: Eduardo Nunez puts the Twins on the board with a two-run single. Once again, the Yankees are in a hole.

8:15 p.m., End 3rd: Yankees bounce back quickly. Beltran and A-Rod tie it up with a pair of two-out RBI hits, as Milone begins to lose his command.

8:26 p.m, Mid 4th: Twins get another run off Tanaka in the fourth. They're up 3-2.

8:48 p.m., End 4th: Yankees again strike back immediately. They plate two more in the fourth, courtesy of a Romine sac fly and a Refsnyder RBI single. Milone's day is done and the Yankees seem to be in good position to use their bullpen.

9:19 p.m., Mid 6th: Tanaka works a scoreless sixth, and it's officially up to No runs-DMC to hold this lead.

9:33 p.m., Mid 7th: Betances works a 1-2-3 seventh. On to Miller.

9:50 p.m., Mid 8th: Another perfect frame from Miller. On to Chapman.

10:01 p.m., End 8th: Hicks gives the Yankees some insurance with a solo shot. It's 5-3 New York heading into the ninth.

10:09 p.m., Mid 9th: Chapman strikes out all three men he faces in an 11-pitch, 11-strike top of the ninth. He just misses the immaculate inning, but the Yankees win nonetheless.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 6/24

Yankees fans it’s once again game time in the Bronx as the home team welcomes in the Minnesota Twins for a three-game weekend set. This week feels weird for me as the Yankees have had two off days and played one day game that included a Starlin Castro walk off home run that I missed by literally 45 seconds so I have been a bit deprived of Yankees baseball this week. The good news for me tonight is that the Yankees are back at home and the team will be sending their ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with freshly called up Tommy Milone. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

The Yankees welcome Minnesota to town for three before then welcoming Cole Hamels and the red hot Texas Rangers to town to kick off next week so to see any of these games including the Hamels start on Monday in the Bronx be sure to click the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog to secure your seats now while they are still available. The Yankees only hope to win that matchup could be Jacoby Ellsbury stealing home for a third time this season and if he catches you wearing one of our TGP T-shirts commemorating his second steal of home it may give him the bright idea to steal so click the TGP T-shirts link as well to grab one of those before the game.

Give us a follow on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, or like us on Facebook to interact with us all season long and during each and every Yankees game this season including the one we’re about to watch right now. Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Yankees Picks Rounds 16-20

At the time of this writing the New York Yankees had signed picks in rounds #17 Mandy Alvarez, #18 Greg Weissert, #19 Evan Alexander and their #20 round pick Miles Chambers. The Yankees have had luck in these later rounds in their history so it’s worth taking a look at these guys now as potential solid MLB players in the future. Sure they aren’t drafting many Derek Jeter’s in these later rounds but it is well documented about the jewels in the later rounds that have been found so here’s to hoping the Yankees found another or two with one of these young men.

17th Round – Mandy Alvarez (3B) Eastern Kentucky

Alvarez was a senior third baseman at Eastern Kentucky University at the time of his drafting but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a solid pickup for the Yankees with this pick. Some may think that Alvarez dropped this low because of how much he has moved around during his collegiate career but I personally think that may help him in the long run.

Alvarez began his college career at Florida International before transferring to Miami-Dade College. Alvarez finished his last two seasons of college with Eastern Kentucky but no matter where he went he was a scrappy hitter that was not easy for any pitcher to retire. Alvarez works the whole fie4ld while hitting and he doesn’t give away at bats either.

Alvarez’s biggest issue is his defense and his arm strength. He is likely not going to stick at third base in his professional career and a move to second base is likely in the cards for the young infielder. His power, hitting and defense are all considered to be average at this point but a team is not built with stars it’s built with the right player playing the right position at the right time. That player may be Alvarez going forward.

18th Round – Greg Weissert (RHP) Fordham

Weissert is one of those large framed pitchers that the Yankees have seemingly fell in love with over the past few drafts. Weissert stands at 6’2” and 215 pounds and his big frame and live arm earned him the honors of being named the top pitcher in the Atlantic-10 Conference according to the Baseball Draft Report.

Weissert offers up a 93 MPH fastball, a 79 MPH cutter and a 75 MPH curveball and all three pitches can be thrown for strikes at any point in the at bat. For this reason Weissert seems destined to stick in the starting rotation as long as his body allows him to although his K numbers, which stood at 9.46 in 2016 per nine innings, may translate better in the bullpen when all is said and done.

19th Round – Evan Alexander (CF) Hebron High School

Evan Alexander owns a special little piece of my heart for no real apparent reason. You ever just get attached to a prospect based on one game or one gesture while you’re at the ballpark or for silly reasons like Evan is your first born child and Alexander is the middle name for your second born child? Maybe it’s just met.

Anyway the 6’2” and 175 pound high school center fielder is a left-handed hitting outfielder that was named the District 6A First Team in 2016. Alexander also was named as a 2016 Rawlings Perfect Game Honorable Mention in the All-American Texas Region. He’s a high school kid so he’s raw but the sky is always the limit with these picks. Worth taking a chance on in the 19th round.

20th Round – Miles Chambers (RHP) Cal State Fullerton

Chambers is another big frame pitcher standing at 6’2” and weighing in at 200 pounds and is also another reliever that could move relatively quickly through the system given the chance. Chambers is not going to blow anyone at with his 90 MPH fastball but no one can argue that he hasn’t been effective pitching to a 0.98 ERA with a 21/4 K/BB ratio in 27.2 innings in 2016. Also it doesn’t hurt that his favorite team is the New York Yankees. I mean that has to count for something, right?

There you have it. We’ve now met every Yankees draft pick that has signed to date through the first 20 rounds of the draft. While it was hard enough to find the information on these 11-20 picks it’s even harder to find much solid information on picks 21-40 so I don’t know if we’ll continue with these looks but if something big or tangible comes up I’ll definitely throw it up on the blog. Also if Blake Rutherford and/or Nolan Martinez sign we will also obviously throw up a post for them. Either way this has been fun for me to do and I hope you enjoyed reading these as much as I enjoyed writing them. This has been a special edition of Meet a Prospect. Have a great day and a great weekend Yankees family.

Meet a Prospect: Yankees Picks Rounds 11-15

At the time of this writing the New York Yankees had signed picks #12 Taylor Widener, #14 Jordan Scott and #15 Tony Hernandez with #11 Connor Jones (LHP, Georgia)  marked as a “probably will sign” and rather than give them all their each individual post, which to me would seem like I was milking you guys for views and clicks since there is so little in the way of information on a lot of these guys, I figured I would lump rounds 11-20 together. We’ll split these posts into two posts and we’ll kick it off with this special Meet a Prospect for Mr. Widener, Mr. Scott, Mr. Hernandez and we’ll throw in Mr. Jones just in case he signs before this goes up. Enjoy.

Round 11 – 338th overall – Connor Jones (LHP) Georgia:

Jones stands at 6’1” and 195 lbs. but he can an intimidating and overwhelming presence on the mound from the left side. Jones had been a reliever until the 2016 season when the Georgia Bulldog coaches decided to move him to the rotation. While in the rotation Hones pitched to a 4.66 ERA in 75.1 innings while striking out 74 and walking 37.

Jones possesses a 95 MPH fastball but his command is suspect at best at this point in his career. His breaking stuff is considered to be average and need work which could force him back into the bullpen full time once he makes his professional debut. If history is any indicator of the past thought the Yankees will give him every opportunity to start until they have to make him a relief pitcher again.

Round 12 – 368th overall – Taylor Widener (RHP) South Carolina:

Taylor Widener was considered to be the seventh best player in the state of South Carolina at the time of his drafting after being a starter and a weekend closer for the Gamecocks. Widener, all 6’ and 200 lbs. of him, pitched to a 4.34 ERA in 47.2 innings pitched (eight starts) possesses a repeatable delivery and an easy 93 MPH fastball. Widener has been clocked as high as 97 MPH but that should not be expected going forward as a starter, as a reliever we could see 95+ MPH though. Widener’s second pitch is a slider which seems to be a favorite of the Yankees if you look at the arms that are already in their system.

Widener strikes out enough guys to make it in college and possibly the minor leagues as a starter but his big league future seems to be in the bullpen. If Widener can open things up and throw 97 MPH+ in the bullpen for the Yankees one or two innings at a time he may be better utilized that way than as a starter with a mediocre second pitch and no third pitch to complement it.

Round 14 – 428th overall – Jordan Scott (CF) IMG Academy:

Jordan Scott comes in at 6’0” and 215 lbs. as a switch hitter that can stick around in center field. Sounds great on paper but his commitment to West Virginia University may have scared some teams away from him. Scott was once revered as a shortstop prospect before his move to center field with IMG Academy and may ultimately end up there during his professional career.

Scott was a 2015 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and was also a member of the All Region 2nd Team that year as well for the Southeast. Scott seems pretty raw and may be one of those talents that take around six years before making a true impact in the minor leagues and in the big leagues.

Round 15 – 458th overall – Tony Hernandez (LHP) Monroe Community College:

Hernandez comes to the Yankees with the credentials of being the ace of the staff at Monroe Community College after posting an impressive 10-1 record with a 1.97 ERA in 73 innings this season. Hernandez struck out 77 batters in 2016 while only walking 22 batters leading the Baseball Player Report to name Hernandez the top JUCO player from the state of New York in this year’s draft.

Pitching in the minor leagues and in Major League Baseball may be a bit different from pitching at a Community College but one has to start somewhere and with stats like that you always take a chance on a young and promising arm like Hernandez has. This is a good pick by the Yankees in my opinion and has all the potential of being a great pick when it all unfolds in a few years.

This has been Meet a Prospect, a special edition from the 2016 MLB Draft’s Round 11-15. Check back later for Rounds 16-20 for another special edition of Meet a Prospect.

Do You Realize?

In my continuing attempt to forget about how bad the New York Yankees are doing this season, I took a look at the team's payroll for next season. And one interesting thing led to another. But let's start with a few facts...

  1. Between Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman, Ivan Nova, and the money the team was paying towards Martin Prado's contract, the Yankees will free up $56.55 million. 
  2. If you take the $150.5 million the team will pay towards player contracts next season (that number includes Sabathia's vesting option), and add around $35 million in arbitration and pre-arbitration salaries, the Yankees will have a payroll of around $185.5 million for 2017.
  3. The current MLB salary cap, or the amount a team can spend towards payroll before having to pay the luxury tax, is $189 million. Even if the luxury tax remains in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, chances are that cap will rise, and I can easily see it reaching $200 million. That would mean the Yankees have about $14 million to spend next year, assuming they'll try to get under the tax threshold.

So where would that leave the Yankees for 2017?

"It doesn't look good down there."

With Teixeira out at first, the Yankees have a number of options... Greg Bird, Rob Refsnyder, Chris Parmelee, Austin Romine, and Brian McCann.

With Beltran out of right field, the Yankees have just as many options... Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, Rob Refsnyder, Jake Cave, and Ben Gamel.

Every other position on the diamond, including the starting rotation and bullpen, are filled. Yeah, it may not seem right, seeing as how the team is losing two of it's regular batters, but it's true. Take a look for yourself...

Catcher: Brian McCann
First Base: Greg Bird/Rob Refsnyder/Chris Parmelee/Austin Romine
Second Base: Starlin Castro
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius
Third Base: Chase Headley
Left Field: Brett Gardner
Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury
Right Field: Aaron Judge/Aaron Hicks/Rob Refsnyder/Jack Cave/Ben Gamel
Designated Hitter: Alex Rodriguez

Starters: Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Chad Green, James Kaprielian

Bullpen: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Bryan Mitchell, etc. (they can easily fill the four other spots with players within the organization)

Some people may be concerned about that list of starting pitchers, but let's be honest...

Masahiro Tanaka is a strong starter at the top of the rotation, I still believe Eovaldi can be a solid middle of the rotation option, CC Sabathia has finally learned how to pitch without the velocity he had earlier in his career, Luis Severino is doing quite well in AAA, Chad Green has been killing it in Scranton, and despite his injury James Kaprielian could still be a nice contributor at the big league level next year.

Now for the even crazier part...

Okay, it's not "Gary Busey" crazy.

That all means the Yankees could actually re-sign Aroldis Chapman, keep the three-headed bullpen monster together for at least two more years, and still get under the luxury tax threshold. Assuming, of course, Chapman would sign for somewhere around his current salary of $11.325 million a year.

Or how about trading Andrew Miller, who would fetch quite a bit in a trade (either before the deadline or during the offseason) thanks to his below-market salary and being under contract for two more years? Then the Yankees could re-sign Chapman. That would leave three very capable bullpen arms in Chapman, Betances, and Mitchell. Not to mention the team would be under the cap by around $7 million going into the 2017 season.

If you want to see the finished product that I'm speaking of, here you go...

Catcher: Brian McCann
First Base: Greg Bird/Rob Refsnyder/Chris Parmelee/Austin Romine
Second Base: Starlin Castro
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius
Third Base: Chase Headley
Left Field: Brett Gardner
Center Field: Jacoby Ellsbury
Right Field: Aaron Judge/Aaron Hicks/Rob Refsnyder/Jack Cave/Ben Gamel

Starters: Masahiro Tanaka, Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Chad Green, James Kaprielian

Bullpen: Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Bryan Mitchell, etc. (they can easily fill the four other spots with players within the organization)

The best part... that does not include the player or players the team gets by dealing away Andrew Miller.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 6/24

The New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins begin a three-game set this weekend in the Bronx with the first game coming tonight. Now if you all thought you heard a collective “sigh” and an eye roll or two it was probably all the Twins fans checking their schedule and seeing the Yankees inside Yankee Stadium this weekend. If you checked in with the blog yesterday you saw that the Yankees have absolutely owned the Twins in the past 20 years only losing one season series in that time and tying a couple others. New York already has three wins to Minnesota’s one and can clinch the series victory tonight with a win. In the game the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound on extra rest looking for that win while the Twins will counter with Tommy Milone.

Tanaka faced the Minnesota Twins in his last start and was very effective against the club hurling eight innings while allowing just one run on seven hits. Tanaka earned the win, his first since May 27th, and will look for his second consecutive win tonight in the Bronx.

Milone is replacing Pat Dean in the rotation this turn since the Yankees offense had their way with Dean in his last start. Milone has been in Triple-A and had posted a 4-0 record with a 1.66 ERA in seven starts while striking out 41 and allowing just four walks.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. We have heard all season how much better Tanaka is on extra rest as opposed to a normal four days rest so with the extra rest heading into this start Tanaka has to be sharp. Facing off with Minnesota this is one of those games and series that the team absolutely must take. Make it happen boys. Go Yankees!

Beltran, Sabathia & the Ticking Time Bomb

Hal Steinbrenner wants to buy at this year’s trading deadline, Brian Cashman would be okay with selling but he wants the team to define themselves first (FYI being under .500 with no intention of staying over .500 seems pretty defined to me) and the majority of the Yankees fans want to see a sell off. Who will get their way? In most cases you would think that the owner and the Steinbrenner family would get their way but let’s play devil’s advocate for a second here and pretend that the Yankees wake up this morning and decide to become sellers, who should they trade first? Most would say Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman or maybe even an Ivan Nova or Brett Gardner but if you ask me I would have both CC Sabathia and Carlos Beltran wearing new uniforms by the end of the business day.

To me, and again this is only if you ask me, both Carlos Beltran and CC Sabathia are ticking time bombs. Both have been bothered with injuries already this season and both have battled injuries as they enter the twilights of their careers. Thankfully for the Yankees though both are having successful and relatively healthy seasons in 2016 all things considered and both should be moved now before Father Time decides to rear his ugly head once again.

Beltran has been battling a knee injury recently and has already battled with a cranky elbow for much of his Yankees tenure and as he approaches free agency and now his 40th birthday the Yankees would be ill advised to hold onto him rather than getting something for him now. Playing right field every day at age 39 takes its toll on you and an injury will occur, it’s a matter of when and if not if.

Pretty much the same can be said for Sabathia as well. Sure his left shoulder, which is relevant because of his vesting option in his contract that stipulates he cannot end the season on the disabled list because of the shoulder or spend more than 45 days on the DL in one season because of it or the option does not vest, is healthy but over the years he has battled groin, hamstring and lower body injuries as well as a bout with his knee about once or twice a season. CC has a degenerative knee condition that could land him on the disabled list for an extended period of time at any second. The worst part is the Yankees wouldn’t tell us if it was about to happen or not. Trade him now while his stock his high and he is going through a flashback period on the mound and don’t hold onto him until he comes back down to Earth and posts an ERA in the 4’s and 5’s and not in the 2’s and 3’s like it has been.

These two guys are a ticking time bomb not because they are no longer good players but because they are aging and injury prone over the past few years. Trade them now and get something useful rather than being stuck with them and no compensation for the remainder of the season and beyond. That’s what good teams do and that’s what rebuilding teams do. 

Weekly Check In: Ian Clarkin

The New York Yankees may need Ian Clarkin to have a big and productive season more than ever after another Yankees prospect bit the dust recently. Brady Lail was added to the minor leagues 7-Day DL with an injury joining notable prospects such as Nick Rumbelow, Branden Pinder, James Kaprielian and others. Ian Clarkin, along with tomorrow’s check in Domingo Acevedo, may be the Yankees only hope for a big season from a pitching prospect in 2016 at this rate.

The problem for New York is both Clarkin and Acevedo are so far away from the Major Leagues and the Yankees need help now. Oh well, you have to take the good with the bad and ride the waves. Here’s what Clarkin has been up to this week and this season since we last checked in with him. 


This Day in New York Yankees History 6/24: Burnett K’s Four in One Inning

On this day in 2011 the Yankees AJ Burnett became the first Yankees pitcher to strike out four hitters in one inning when he did it against the Colorado Rockies. AJ Burnett started his sixth inning by striking out Chris Iannetta and followed it up by striking out Carlos Gonzalez and Chris Nelson, only Nelson reached first base after the pitch went wild. Todd Helton would come up next with a runner on before AJ struck the future Hall of Famer out swinging.

In that same game in 2011 a veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, 29 year old Michael Kacer, catches a foul ball off the bat of Curtis Granderson in Yankee Stadium. This was significant and eventually went viral and was all over ESPN because Kacer lost an arm during a rocket attack and made the catch with one arm. The catch was the top play in SportsCenter's Top Plays segment.

Also on this day in 2005 when Bernie Williams dropped a ball in center field allowing the New York Mets to become the first National League team to hit three sacrifice flies in one inning. Catcher Ramon Castro's sac fly tied the game at 1-1 before Jose Reyes' fly ball was dropped by Williams. Mike Cameron then flied out to right field allowing a third run to score.

Also on this day in 1992 Fay Vincent permanently suspended the Yankees pitcher Steve Howe for repeated drug offenses. Howe was caught buying a gram of cocaine in the last straw for the commissioner. In November of that year an arbitrator overturned the lifetime ban and allowed the former Rookie of the Year to enjoy one of his best seasons in 1994 when he saved 15 games and had a 1.80 ERA for the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1970 the Yankees pitcher Steve Hamilton throws what is now known as an eephus pitch, maybe the first I don't know, to the Indians Tony Horton and Horton fouled it off. Horton was shocked by this pitch and asked Hamilton to throw it again. Hamilton obliged and the second foul ball ended up in Thurman Munson's glove. The eephus pitch is born? Maybe! The Folly Floater was born.

Finally on this day in 1962 the longest game in New York Yankees history was played between the Bronx Bombers and the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees Jack Reed hits a home run in the 22nd inning, his only home run of his career, to help the Yankees beat the Tigers in Tiger Stadium 9-7.