Saturday, October 22, 2016

Recapping Yankees Postseason History: 2001

2001. What a year. What a year not only for baseball but for the entire country of the United States. Who can forget that day on September 11th when our freedom was tested for the first time in most of our lifetime’s and who could forget every day since it happened. The world, and specifically the city of New York, needed baseball and the Yankees were there to deliver.

The 2001 World Series between the Yankees and the Arizona Diamondbacks was the greatest World Series of all-time in my opinion and I cannot see the amount of drama, hype and flat out entertaining baseball that was in that series being topped any time soon. The walk off hits, the clutch home runs and the epic pitching performances by both sides. Mr. November. The Yankee Stadium crowd as they cheered Paul O’Neill off the field in the Bronx for the final time.

So many memories and one memory that we all want to forget. The loss. 

Yankees Rank Four in Baseball America’s Top 20 A-Ball Prospects

As many of you probably already know the Class A Ball of Minor League Baseball is broken down into Low-A, for example the Charleston Riverdogs, and High-A Ball, the Tampa Yankees, but for the sake of the Top 20 prospects from Class-A Ball from Baseball America we have combined the two leagues into one. Despite the pool being twice the size as the pool in Double-A and Triple-A the Yankees still managed to send a whopping four prospects onto the list. We will showcase all seven for you here today as they represent both the Florida State League and the Carolina League respectively.

Gleyber Torres had just one prospect in front of him in the Florida State League rankings making him number two overall. Torres was also ranked 4th in the Carolina League behind top prospects in all of MLB like Yoan Moncada, Andrew Benintendi and Victor Robles. Torres came over from the Chicago Cubs in the Aroldis Chapman deal and is currently representing the Yankees down in Arizona with the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League.

The man that Torres displaced at the top of the Yankees prospects list, at least temporarily, was 5th in the Florida State League. His name is Jorge Mateo, maybe you’ve heard of him? Mateo’s prospect stock took a bit of a nose dive after failing to live up to great stolen base numbers and numbers overall from 2015 while the Yankees shortstop prospect also had a two week suspension for violating team rules. Mateo is a young kid and he needs to mature, that’s all. I can remember when the same questions about maturity were surrounding Gary Sanchez’s career as a minor leaguer and he turned out to be okay, I think.

Chance Adams made a second list when he ranked 18th overall on the Florida State League top prospects list. Adams has a ton of talent in that right arm so don’t be surprised to see him on the Double-A and Triple-A list next year as well.

Finally we have the 11th best prospect on the Carolina League prospects list, left-handed pitcher Justus Sheffield. Sheffield is just 20-years old and was last seen dominating Double-A pitching in the playoffs for the Trenton Thunder after a spectacular season with the Tampa Yankees and the High-A Ball affiliate in Cleveland. Sheffield looks to be the real deal and may start the season in Double-A in 2017. 

Should the Yankees Keep Billy Butler Just in Case?

Towards the end of the 2016 season the New York Yankees signed first baseman and DH Billy Butler to a Major League deal after falling out of grace with the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees plugged him directly into the middle of their lineup and straight into the first base position against the Boston Red Sox and he responded by lacing a couple of hits to start his Yankees career off on a good start. Now that the season is over for New York it looks like Butler’s tenure with the team is also coming to a close, well unless the team wants to keep him around just in case.

Should the Yankees want to keep him around just in case? As it stands right now, and yes things will change, New York will send Brian McCann to the DH position on most days while Greg Bird looks to get the bulk of the reps at first base along with Tyler Austin. Is three first baseman on the 25 man roster a little over kill? Honestly it probably is but the Yankees may make it work regardless.

The question surrounding Greg Bird with every throw, every swing and in every game will be the health of that shoulder. Can it withstand the grind of 162 games and how often will he “need a day?” The good thing about having Austin on the roster is that he can play first base when Bird needs a day but he can also play the outfield when Aaron Judge/Aaron Hicks also needs a day making him a versatile player. Butler you can’t really say that about.

With Butler you are getting a first baseman, a marginal one at that, and a right-handed DH with some pop. While most teams would like to have that it seems redundant to me to use a roster spot for that with Bird healthy. I’m not the Yankees though and I can see them being overly cautious with Bird leading to Butler being signed to a one-year deal with incentives.

If McCann is traded this winter it makes the situation and decision a whole lot easier to swallow but I have a feeling no matter what I say or how many reasons I put against Butler signing with the Yankees in 2017 that Brian Cashman is probably going to do it anyway. And to add on to that I could do the same about Butler and his playing time and Joe Girardi is just going to play him over Tyler Austin anyway so why bother right?

Have a great day Yankees family.

Arizona Fall League Weekly Check In: Tyler Wade

The New York Yankees have a problem that I think every team wants to have, too many good prospects at the same position and not enough affiliates, at bats and innings to keep them all happy. When you have that problem you can do one of two things. One, you can trade them, or two, you can team them a new position. The Yankees are doing the latter during this Arizona Fall League season with shortstop prospect Tyler Wade. Wade is learning the outfield, specifically center field, for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Wade’s bat in my opinion is lacking. That’s one of the reasons I don’t rank him as highly on my prospect lists as most. You can survive that with great defense at either second base or shortstop but I’m not sure you can out of your outfielders as much. Let me rephrase, you can make do but it’s not ideal when you’re trying to build a team and a lineup. Oh well, the Yankees and their staff know more than I do I’m sure so my trust has to be put into the process.

So here is what Wade has done thus far down in Arizona while learning his new position. Is this just something New York is doing in the winter or will this stick going forward? Stay tuned. 

.091/.231/.091/.322 slash in three games and 11 at bats. Wade has mustered just one hit thus far this winter.

MLB Postseason Schedule for 10/22

Baseball is back tonight with the National League Championship Series the only series left to decide before the World Series. The Cleveland Indians are home resting after taking care of business with the Toronto Blue Jays and now we are down to the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Who will take home the prize? We may see the Chicago Cubs make a return trip to the World Series or we may see Los Angeles push it to a Game 7. Stay tuned to find out what happens. We could be witnessing history here folks.

Los Angeles Dodgers @ Chicago Cubs (Game Six- Cubs lead series 3-2) @ 8:08 pm ET on Fox Sports One

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/22: Damn You Jeff Weaver

Watch the entire Game 4 of the 2003 World Series by clicking above. FREE!

On this day in 2003 the Yankees Jeff Weaver gave up a home run to the Marlins Alex Gonzalez to tie the series up at two games each and give the Marlins a 4-3 victory in 12 innings. This game also ended the Yankees consecutive games winning streak in extra innings at seven games.

Also on this day in 2000 in Game 2 of the Subway World Series the Yankees extended their World Series consecutive games winning streak to 14 games. The Yankees beat the Mets 6-5, not that anyone really remembers the score. This game will always be remembered for Roger Clemens innocently, yes I am completely biased and humble, throwing a bat in the general direction of Mike Piazza. This came on the heels of Clemens drilling Piazza in July which resulted in the benches clearing before cooler heads prevailed.

Also on this day in 1974 the Yankees and a Giants pulled off a trade that saw Bobby Bonds come to New York and Bobby Murcer head to San Francisco. This, at the time of course, was considered to be the biggest one for one trade in the history of baseball. Both players made over $600,000 marking the first time two players making that much money were traded in the same deal. Murcer was donned the next Mickey Mantle while Bonds was donned the next Willie Mays so this was a huge trade at the time.

Finally on this day in 1967 Joe DiMaggio was named the Athletics executive vice president and consultant for the team. DiMaggio was also named a part time hitting coach and a public relations advocate for the club although Joe would leave the A's after just two years with the organization.