Saturday, May 13, 2017

On the Eve of Derek Jeter Day…

Derek Jeter Day is tomorrow and now that we’ve met the man, the myth and the legend that will be honored tomorrow with his #2 uniform number retired let’s take a look at the moments that made Derek Sanderson Jeter into the larger-than-life player and ambassador that he is today.

Remember the Jeffrey Maier home run against the Baltimore Orioles in the 1996 ALCS? Jeter, with the Yankees trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, hit a ball to the wall that Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco tracked before a 12-year old Yankees fan named Jeffrey Maier reached out and took the ball from the field of play. Umpires called the ball a home run, the Yankees won the game and the series en route to the World Series championship.  

Speaking of World Series championships the Yankees were back in the World Series in 2000 looking for their fourth title in five years. The team standing in their way? Their crosstown-rivals the New York Mets. Jeter started the series off in “Jeterian Fashion” hitting a home run off Bobby Jones en route to a World Series MVP Award and another ring for the collection.

Great things happen to the Yankees Captain in October and “the flip” is just another one in the long line of great things. On October 13, 2001 Jeter and the Yankees found themselves down 0-2 to the Oakland Athletics in a best-of-five series but the team had the lead on the road in Game 3. Shane Spencer overthrew the cut-off man after Terrence Long lined a shot off Mike Mussina down the right field line and Jeter seemingly came out of nowhere to cut the ball off and shovel it to catcher Jorge Posada before Jeremy Giambi could cross the plate safely. The lead was safe and the Yankees went on to win the game and the series before falling to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games in the World Series.
Speaking of that 2011 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks the Yankees shortstop garnered a new nickname that postseason, Mr. November. For the first time ever a World Series game was played in November and as the clock struck midnight on November, 1st the Captain came to the plate and hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning. The series was tied after four games.

Three years later it would be the Boston Red Sox celebrating in the World Series and not the Yankees but before October came to the sport we had to endure a game between the Yankees and Red Sox on July 1st. In the game Jeter made a catch in the 12th inning that resulted in him diving into the stands and leaving the game bruised and bloodied. The Yankees won the game in the 13th inning but without the catch by Jeter who knows what could have come of the inning and that Trot Nixon at-bat.

2009 was a big season for the New York Yankees. The Yankees won their first World Series since the 2000 season, Jeter’s fifth ring in Yankees pinstripes, and Jeter also passed Yankees great Lou Gehrig on the Yankees all-time hit list. On September 11, 2009 the Yankees and Orioles were squaring off head-to-head when Jeter smacked a single off Orioles starter Chris Tillman for his 2,722 hit of his Yankees career. Lou Gehrig held the record for 72 seasons before Jeter broke it en route to yet another World Series victory.

Jeter wasn’t done hitting though as it took him a season and a half to collect another 278 hits for his 3,000th hit of his career. In classic Derek Jeter fashion he did it in style smacking a home run off Tampa Bay Rays’ starter David Price for one of his five hits on the day.

How else would Jeter close out his career then with something dramatic? In his final game inside Yankee Stadium Jeter smacked a walk-off single to give the Yankees a victory over the Baltimore Orioles. That in itself was impressive but when you consider the fact that the Yankees had a huge lead entering the Top of the 9th only to see oft-reliable David Robertson blow it goes to show you that at least some of the ghosts from the old Yankee Stadium made the trip across the street to the new stadium, at least for a night anyway.

And there you have it… just a few of the many, many things that made Derek Jeter a special player and a special kind of person. Well that and the alleged gift baskets he would give to his woman after he spent the night with them. That one we will never know for sure though, not for a while anyway. Enjoy Derek Jeter Day everyone!

Pinstripes Prospects Updated Top 50 Prospect List

Photo courtesy of Pinstriped Prospects

The New York Yankees, depending on who you read and who you trust, either has the best farm system or the second best farm system in all of Major League Baseball. Whether they are first or second in the league is a matter of opinion but either way I think we can all agree that New York has a pretty damn good farm system. When I start researching the Yankees and their prospects my first stop I make is at our friends over at Pinstriped Prospects. When I checked this week I read their updated Top 50 Yankees Prospect list. You can see the complete list here:

Just for reference here are the Top 10 Yankees prospects from the list:

Gleyber Torres
Blake Rutherford
Clint Frazier
Chance Adams
James Kaprielian
Justus Sheffield
Tyler Wade
Estevan Florial
Domingo Acevedo
Wilkerman Garcia

Check out the remainder of the list and all their write-ups and reasoning by clicking the link above. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 5/13

Here we go again ladies and gentleman, game time in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros. If it feels like these two teams just got done playing a game it is probably because they did just a few hours ago last night. Now we are back at it again this afternoon so let’s get to it. This afternoon the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to square off with Mike Fiers for the Astros. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game on the radio and in your cars by tuning into WFAN and their broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter and interact with us all season long by giving @GreedyStripes a follow. Go Yankees!

Meet a Prospect: Derek Jeter

What else can be said about Derek Jeter that he has not said by himself, only with his bat? The owner of the Yankees Captain spot, 5 World Series rings, and basically anything else he wants, Derek Jeter has been the poster boy for all of baseball and especially the New York Yankees since the 1996 season. Jeter has done so much throughout his career and he continues to succeed in every aspect off the field as well since his retirement becoming a true inspiration to us all. So tomorrow as the New York Yankees allow the Captain to stand beside fellow Hall of Fame players and legends of the sport like Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth we will all, once again and one last time, stand by and merely watch in amazement at all that he has done.

This is a Derek Jeter Day special edition of Meet a Prospect…. The Derek Sanderson Jeter Edition.

Derek Sanderson Jeter was born on June 26th, 1974, in Pequannock, New Jersey to parents Dr. Sanderson Charles Jeter and Dorothy Jeter. Derek's parents, a substance abuse counselor (Sanderson) and an accountant (Dorothy), met while serving in the United States Army in Germany. Derek's parents, at a very early age, were very strict and hard on him but very consistent. As a child his mother instilled Derek's positive attitude in him, insisting that he could not use the word "can't". Derek even had to sign a contract every year that set acceptable and unacceptable forms of behavior. Derek lived in North Arlington, New Jersey, until he was four years old when he moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. Derek and his sister, Sharlee, attended New York Yankees games while spending the summers with their grandparents in New Jersey and became very passionate about the Yankees. Derek later said that as a child Yankees stand out Dave Winfield inspired him to pursue baseball. 

Derek spent his high school days at Kalamazoo Central High School where he played baseball and basketball. In his sophomore year he batted .557 and followed it up with a .508 average in his junior year. In his senior year he hit .508 with 23 RBIs, 21 walks, 4 home runs, and a .831 slugging percentage with a .637 on base percentage, 12 stolen bases in 12 attempts, and just a single strike out. After a stellar season like that Jeter received an All State honorable mention, the Kalamazoo Area B'nai B'rith Award for Scholar Athlete, the American Baseball Coaches Association 1992 High School Player of the Year Award, 1992 Gatorade High School Player Of The Year Award, and USA Today's High School Player of the Year. This kind of acknowledgement got him a scholarship offer to play baseball from the University of Michigan that he obviously declined. Much later in his career Kalamazoo Central High School inducted Jeter into their Athletic Hall of Fame, in 2003, and renamed its baseball field in Jeter's honor in 2011. 

Derek was drafted straight out of High School by the New York Yankees in the first round of the MLB First Year Players Draft 6th overall. Hal Newhouser, a scout for the Houston Astros team that had the first pick overall that season, lobbied for his team management to select Jeter although the Astros feared that Jeter would require a salary bound of at least $1 million to skip college and go pro. The Astros, instead, drafted Phil Nevin and signed him for $700,000. Newhouser felt so strongly about Jeter and the waste of a pick that he quit his job with the Astros in protest. The Yankees gave Jeter a $800,000 signing bonus to skip being a Wolverine and instead become a Yankee. Yankees scout Dick Groch said he would not go anywhere but "Cooperstown". 

Derek played four seasons in the Yankees minor league system, beginning with a struggle in the Gulf Coast League. His manager even had to bench him at the end of the season in 1992 so his average did not drop below the Mendoza Line, .200 Batting Average. In 1993 though he came out of the offseason determined and was voted the Most Outstanding Major League Prospect  by the South Atlantic League managers after hitting .295 with 5 home runs, 71 RBIs, and 18 stolen bases. He was also named to the All Star team even though he committed a South Atlanta League record 56 errors. Somehow, though, he was named the SAL's Best Defensive Shortstop, Most Exciting Player, and Best Infield Arm by Baseball America. In 1994 he was named the Minor League Player of the Year Award by Baseball America, The Sporting News, USA Today, and Topps while winning the MVP of the Florida State League. The 1994 MLB strike and mild inflammation in his right shoulder while in the Arizona Fall League kept Jeter from the majors, officially, in 1995 but he would be called up for the post season run to sit on the bench and take in the experience of playing for New York. 

Derek was named the Yankees starting short stop starting for the 1996 season after Joe Torre stood up against George Steinbrenner, who as we all know was never happy about the growing pains young players have to go through. Steinbrenner even approved a trade that would have sent pitcher Mariano Rivera to Seattle for short stop Felix Fermin because Gene Michael and Brian Cashman convinced Steinbrenner to give Jeter an opportunity. Aren't we glad that he did? 

Jeter was the first rookie short stop to start the season as a starter for the Yankees since Tom Tresh in 1962 and he did not waste any time getting acclimated, hitting his first MLB home run that day. He won the Rookie of the Year award after hitting .314 with 10 home runs, scoring 104 runs, and driving in 78 RBIs. His first post season home run came in the ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles, the Jeffrey Maier home run.  Jeter won his first World Series ring in that rookie season when the Yankees defeated the Atlanta Braves in 6 games, the first Yankee World Series since 1978. Jeter batted .361 in that post season. 1998 was Jeter's first All Star Game appearance while the Yankees won 114 games during the regular season while on, in my very biased opinion, the greatest team of all time. Jeter would finish third that season in MVP voting but most importantly Derek had his second ring as the Yankees beat the Padres in 4 games. Another All Star appearance in 1999 and another World Series ring with the Yankees beating the Braves again for Jeter's third ring. After the 1999 season Derek agreed to a 7 year $118.5 million dollar contract but George Steinbrenner did not want to set a salary record and pay Jeter more than Juan Gonzalez, who was working on an 8 year $143 million dollar extension, so the Yankees agreed to a 1 year deal worth $10 million. That ended up being a "mistake" because Jeter had another All Star appearance, including the game winning hit and All Star Game MVP, and had yet another World Series ring when the Yankees beat the Mets in 5 games.  Jeter, while winning his fourth World Series ring, won the World Series MVP and became the only player to ever win the World Series and All Star Game MVP in the same season. Jeter then signed a 10 year $189 million dollar deal, making him the second highest paid player in baseball behind Alex Rodriguez, which was much more than the original extension proposal

Derek would make his fourth All Star game appearance in 2001and also made the "flip play" in the ALDS against the Oakland A's that will forever be remembered. Jeter would also earn the title "Mr. November" when he hit a game winning home run as the clock struck Midnight on November 1st, the first World Series to ever be played in November. The Yankees would lose the 2001 World Series to the Arizona Diamondbacks in, again in my biased opinion, the greatest World Series of all time.  Jeter would dislocate his left shoulder on Opening Day of the 2003 season when he collided with Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby at third base, missing 36 games. That season Derek Jeter was recognized as the 11th captain in Yankees history eight seasons after Don Mattingly, the last Yankees captain, retired. After typical Jeter seasons from 2003-2007 Jeter tied Lou Gehrig's record for hits at Yankee Stadium with his 1,269th hit with a home run off of Ray's pitcher David Price in 2008. He broke the record two days later when he got a hit off of White Sox pitcher Gavin Floyd. 

2009, after the Yankees missed the playoffs for the first time in 14 seasons, reloaded with many free agents signings and trades that brought CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher to name the big ones. This would also be the season that Derek would return to the lead off role when Girardi flipped him and Johnny Damon in the batting order. Jeter recorded his 2,675th hit as a short stop, passing Luis Aparicio's previous record for short stops, in August of the 2009 season. Jeter followed that up by passing Lou Gehrig as the Yankees all-time hits lead when he singles off of Orioles pitcher Chris Tillman on September 11th, 2009. Jeter would win his 5th World Series championship in 2009 when the Yankees defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in 6 games to win their teams 27th World Series Championship of their storied history. Jeter also won his 5th gold glove that season and finished third in the MVP voting behind eventual winner Joe Mauer and teammate Mark Teixeira. In July of 2011, off of pitcher David Price of the Rays, Derek collected his 3000th hit on a home run to left field at Yankee Stadium. He is now assaulting Pete Rose's all-time hit record. 

Derek Jeter created the Turn 2 Foundation in 1996, a charitable organization, to help children and teenagers avoid drug and alcohol addiction. It also rewards those who show high academic achievements. Derek also serves as an ambassador for We Play, a website designed to get children involved in sports.  Jeter, when not being a good charitable person, is probably hanging out with a beautiful woman. Derek's little black book includes girls like Scarlett Johannsson, Minka Kelly, Mariah Carey, Miss Universe Lara Dutta, Gabrielle Union, Joy Enriquez, Jordana Brewster, Vanessa Minillo, Jessica Biel, Jessica Alba,  and the list goes on and on... until it presumably stops with his wife Hannah Davis Jeter. I hate you Derek Jeter J

Entering the 2012 season Jeter put to bed the concerns and discussions about his age and whether he could continue to man the shortstop position for the New York Yankees. Jeter started the season batting .411 and received praise from Alex Rodriguez and manager Joe Girardi who both claimed Jeter looked like he was 25-years old again. Jeter once again made the All-Star Game in 2012 and with a single in the contest he passed Mickey Mantle for the most hits by a Yankee in the All-Star Game ever in the franchise’s history. Jeter finished the season leading the league in hits with 216 and even got into the Top 10 of all-time with his 3,284th hit of his career passing Willie Mays. Jeter exploded in the ALDS before his ankle gave out in the ALCS against the Detroit Tigers. Jeter had a fractured ankle and his season was over just four wins before the World Series.

Jeter had surgery on the ankle on October 20th and was expected to be back with the team before Opening Day 2013. While rehabbing the ankle Jeter suffered a small crack in the area of the fracture and he began the season on the disabled list. Jeter returned, finally, on July 11th of 2013 but after just one game Jeter was back on the disabled list with a quad strain. Two weeks later Jeter returned off the DL to hit a home run but eight days later it was right back on the disabled list for the Yankees captain. This time a Grade 1 calf strain kept Jeter off the field until September when Jeter came back once again for New York. Jeter was not long for the field in 2013 once again though after the calf strain as the Yankees had to place Jeter on the disabled list for the third time this season on September 11th due to complications with his surgically repaired ankle. After just 17 games played and a .190 batting average many thought that Jeter’s playing days were done. Jeter, on the other hand, did not think so.

Jeter had one more season in him and that final season would be in 2014. The Yankees signed Jeter to a new one-year deal worth $12 million for his final season and Jeter set out to give the Yankees every pennies worth back on the field, and that he did. Jeter started at shortstop in the 2014 MLB All-Star Game and batted leadoff for the American League. Jeter went two-for-two in the contest and finished his All-Star Game career batting .481. The Yankees held Derek Jeter Day at the stadium on September 7th of 2014 and the team wore #2 on their hats and jersey’s to honor their shortstop for the remainder of the season. In Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles the Yankee Stadium Gods were at work again as the Yankees went into the 9th inning with a big lead. David Robertson blew the lead giving Jeter one last shot at the stadium and in classic Derek Jeter fashion he came through in the clutch. In Jeter’s final Yankee Stadium at-bat he laced a single the other way in a walk-off victory for the Yankees.

Jeter played as a DH only in his final series of his career inside Fenway Park and in his final at-bat he hit an infield RBI single off Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz before walking off the field to a standing ovation. Jeter’s career as a player was done.

The Captain…. Derek Jeter ladies and gentleman….. Numbah two. 

Not Ready for Prime Time…

The latest Yahoo Sports MLB Power Rankings that pushed the New York Yankees to #1 were a bit premature.  These Yankees are not quite up to par with the high flying Houston Astros (who were ranked #3).  Two games does not a season make, but the Yankees haven’t exactly shown they can hang with the Astros so far in this series.  

The Astros seem to have every answer and it appears that both Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran have found themselves on the right side of the equation.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
Right now, the two best teams in Baseball are the Astros and the Washington Nationals (even with their bullpen problems).  

The Yankees have two games to right the ship.  They can prove that they can play with the Astros, just not with pitchers named Keuchel or McCullers.  Today’s game has been postponed due to inclement weather so the Yankees will play a double-header tomorrow for the joint Derek Jeter’s and Mother’s Day.  It’s single-admission entry so only Sunday’s ticketholders have seats for the Derek Jeter ceremonies.  Saturday’s ticketholders will be able to exchange their tickets for future games. The Bronx weather forecast calls for a 60% chance for rain tomorrow which falls to 20% by evening.  The first game is expected to start at 2:05 pm.  Hopefully we’ll be listening to Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York by the end of the day.  

Yesterday’s game was not pretty.  Brian McCann set the tone early with his three run homer off Jordan Montgomery in the fourth inning.  The ball traveled just inside right-field foul pole into an area that McCann has frequently deposited pitches.  As a guy we once cheered for, McCann is becoming a thorn.  He caught the pitch that nailed Jacoby Ellsbury at the plate to end Thursday’s game, then he launched the deciding blast yesterday. Lance McCullers, Jr showed why he is one of the great young talents in the game.  It was eery when the TV telecast showed a comparison of his dad pitching for the Yankees and then the younger McCullers.  They are very similar with their pitching motions and release.  Young Lance went six innings, holding the Yanks to four hits and no runs.  He showed excellent control with no walks, and struck out seven Bombers (although Gary Sanchez was the most frequent contributor to those K’s).  

The Yankees scored a run in the ninth inning on a two-out RBI single by Didi Gregorius, but it was too little, too late.  Ronald Torreyes struck out to end the game.

I felt bad for Jordan Montgomery.  Remove the McCann homer, and he didn’t pitch that badly.  He did register 7 strikeouts, but the final line in six innings was not pretty.  8 hits and 4 runs saw the elevation of Montgomery’s season ERA from 3.81 to 4.19.  As for the bullpen, Jonathan Holder and Tyler Clippard continue to show that the arms in front of Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman are very strong.  Aroldis Chapman, on the other hand, is cause for concern.  Chapman only lasted two-thirds of an inning in the ninth when he allowed three hits, including a two-out RBI single to Josh Reddick.  With shades of his poor performance in Cincinnati earlier in the week, Chapman couldn’t finish the inning after he gave up a single to Jose Altuve.  Giovanny Gallegos, making his Major League debut, had to be called on to retire the Astros (he induced Yankee killer Carlos Correa into a fly out to center).  Hopefully this is just a temporary funk for Chapman and he is not seriously injured.  

Credit:  Elsa/Getty Images
Despite the loss (their third in a row), the Yankees (21-12) remain a half-game behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East as the O’s fell to the Kansas City, 3-2.  The Boston Red Sox tried unsuccessfully to rally against the Tampa Bay Rays and lost 5-4, so there was no movement at the top of the division standings.

Chance Adams is getting closer to New York.  You can feel the rumble.  On Friday, the Yankees promoted the 22-year old right-hander from AA-Trenton to AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  In six games for the Thunder, Adams was 4-0 with a 1.03 ERA.  In 35 innings, he has only given up 23 hits, 6 runs (4 earned), 2 HR’s, and 15 walks.  He has also sent 32 batters muttering to themselves as they walked back to the dugout after strikeouts.  There’s no doubt we’ll soon be taking a chance on Adams in the Big Apple in the not-so-distant future if he keeps pitching like this.  Given that he’s dominated every level, there’s little doubt that AAA is his next victim.

The word is that Tyler Austin will begin playing rehab games soon.  So, when he is ready, the Yankees have decisions to make.  They can send Austin to AAA or they can bring him to the Bronx.  If he arrives at 161st and River and starts making solid contributions, Chris Carter is going to become obsolete.  I do not see a need for Carter once both Austin and Greg Bird are healthy.  If Carter was at least demonstrating some of the power that led to 41 home runs last year, it would be one thing but he’s not.  He’s a one-dimensional player that isn’t exactly tearing it up in his one dimension.  I think Carter needs regular at-bats to get into a groove but the Yankees are not going to afford him that opportunity (nor should they).  The team would be best served by flipping Carter to another team for some spare parts.

Have a great Saturday!  Stay dry and keep your fun and excitement at an all-time high!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros 5/13

Saturday afternoon baseball in the Bronx, it just doesn’t get better than this. This afternoon the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will face off head-to-head in the third game of their four-game set this weekend in the Bronx. In the game the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound as they get another glimpse into the future while the Astros will counter with Mike Fiers. Another pair of young guns on the mound and another pair of high-powered offenses. This should be fun.

Severino pitched in the Yankees and Cubs marathon that lasted 18-innings last week and the Yankees righty pitched well. Severino pitched the first seven innings of the contest allowing just one run marking the fourth time in his last six starts that he has gone at least seven innings. Severino is currently sporting a 0.908 WHIP with 45 strikeouts and seven walks this season.

Fiers has been prone to giving up the home run ball thus far this season which is not a good sign for the Houston Astros entering this contest. Fiers has easily been the Astros worst pitcher thus far this season and has just one win to show for his efforts in 2017. The Yankees offense needs to jump on him early and often tonight.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. Enjoy the game everyone and as always, Go Yankees!

So it Seems Tomorrow is Derek Jeter Day

If you guys have been reading this season you know I have been taking a tiny step back from the blog from time to time to enjoy my children and my life outside the blog. That usually includes me going pretty quiet over the weekends so just in case I’m not around on Sunday for Mother’s Day, and honestly I am not expecting to be unfortunately, I wanted to take the time today to honor and cover Derek Jeter Day. Just in case.

So today on the eve of Derek Jeter Day it is Derek Jeter Day here on The Greedy Pinstripes. Have a great Saturday everyone and enjoy the content. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/13: The Rays are Finally Good!

On this day in 2008 the Boston Red Sox lost and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yankees 2-1 in 11 innings to put the Rays in sole possession of first place for the first time in their franchise's history. Tampa would be seven games over the .500 mark (23-16) which is also a mark that had never been accomplished in the 11 years of the Rays existence.

Also on this day in 1985 the New York Yankees rally to beat the Minnesota Twins 9-8 after trailing the Twins 8-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning. Don Mattingly hit a ninth inning three run walk off home run at Yankee Stadium with two outs to cap the victory.

Also on this day in 1955 for the first time in his career Mickey Mantle hit a home run from both sides of the plate in the same game. Mantle finished the game with three home runs total, two from the left side, and drove in all five runs in a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Finally on this day in 1929 a game was played for the first time in major league history where both teams wore numbers on the back of their uniforms. The Indians hosted the New York Yankees in League Park in Cleveland and would mark numerals becoming a permanent fixture on the back of the uniforms.