Saturday, June 3, 2017

Who Let the Kids Out?

The New York Yankees may need reinforcements at the trading deadline this season and unlike in years past the Bronx Bombers have a couple of choices. They can go out and get that big named rental by trading away prospects for the win now or they can stick to the plan, continue the youth movement and call up their own players for the playoff push. The Yankees have done this before, remember when Luis Severino was called up back in 2015 after the July 31st trading deadline? The only way this can happen though is if you have MLB-ready talent sitting and developing in Triple-A so let’s focus on those Scranton RailRiders players now that could help the Yankees in the second half of this season and beyond.

The Yankees system starts and ends with Gleyber Torres and we all know that. We have spent extensive time talking about him so I won’t spend too much more time here. Sources close to the New York Post have New York grooming him to eventually take over at third base for Chase Headley this season or next so it seems like we will be seeing the 20-year old sooner rather than later.

The Yankees second best prospect is Clint Frazier and after a slow start to his Yankees tenure in 2016 the red-headed outfielder who was the subject of so much drama and attention in spring training has put all that behind him and is putting together a strong 2017 campaign. At the time of this writing Frazier has nine home runs and is hitting the ball all over the place and for extra bases. Frazier has cut down on his strikeouts, although his strikeout tendencies will likely keep him from ever hitting above .300 consistently, while keeping a steady walk rate. Frazier is shifting to left field in Triple-A leading me to believe that a Brett Gardner trade may at least be discussed at this year’s July 31st trading deadline.

The man that has unseated Frazier in center field and moved him to left is also in Triple-A and also seems ready for the bright lights in the Bronx. Dustin Fowler is a name we have been hearing for years now and the time for all fans of the Yankees, not just the ones who follow the minor league system, may be coming in 2017. Fowler was drafted in 2013, the same season the Yankees drafted Aaron Judge, and has only gotten better since being drafted. Fowler also strikes out more than you would like but he walks, he hits for power and for extra-bases and he steals bases once he gets on. His defense is more than adequate and he is just an all-around good player. He reminds me a lot of the dynasty Yankees that weren’t necessarily “great” at anything but good at everything. Talent wins out and so does hard work and Fowler has and does both.

The final prospect we will showcase today is Tyler Wade, another prospect we have spoken of quite a bit here on the blog. Wade is a prospect that I have admittedly been extremely hard on and skeptical of during his tenure with the Yankees but he has done nothing to make me feel the need to post an “I told you so.” Wade is 22-years old and has been playing the field while with the Yankees, literally. Wade was drafted as a second baseman but the left-hander has played all over the infield and all across the outfield as the Yankees try to turn him into their own version of Ben Zobrist. Wade seems to be developing more power at the plate, although he will never be a huge home run hitter, but he can find gaps and use his speed to take extra bases. Wade already has 13 stolen bases at the time of this writing and has been wreaking havoc on the basepaths all season long. Wade may finally be to the Yankees what they wanted Rob Refsnyder to be, a player that can handle any position change, a player that just hits or gets on base and goes out and does his job on a nightly basis no matter what. Wade should be on the Yankees bench relatively soon if I were a betting man, and lately I have become one.

Keep an eye out for these men around July and August of this season. The July 31st trade deadline may allow us to see one or all of these men in the Bronx this season. Stay tuned.

Oh, and before I forget, do you guys want to hear about how much I am in love with Chance Adams in the starting rotation for the RailRiders? I mean I could go on and on again here on the blog about him and extend this post another few thousand words if you’d like. I just have a sneaking suspicion my stance on the Yankees right-hander is well known by now but I would feel remiss if I didn’t include him here on this list because he will definitely be in the Bronx very, very soon.

Justus Sheffield to Triple-A?

The New York Yankees youth movement is in full swing as the team boasts a number of MLB-ready or soon-to-be MLB-ready players in Triple-A. More on those Triple-A players later, for now we will focus on a Double-A player that may be ready to join said Triple-A players. His name is Justus Sheffield and he came to the Yankees last season from the Cleveland Indians alongside Clint Frazier in the Andrew Miller trade.

In his first nine starts of the 2017 season Sheffield has posted a 4-2 record with a 3.28 ERA. Sheffield has struck out 44 batters and walked just 18 in 49.1 innings. Sheffield has been especially strong lately giving up just one run combined in his last two starts earning him the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week Award for May 22 – May 29. All this at just 21-years old. Can this carry over to Triple-A and how soon can it? Yes, and very soon.

Sheffield boasts a mid-90’s fastball that gets as high as 96 MPH, a slider that he throws around 85 MPH and a developing changeup that keeps batters off-balance at the plate. The Yankees have shown a willingness to be aggressive with their prospects lately, although they are still a bit cautious with their arms and the last two seasons for James Kaprielian will only make the team more cautious, so it is not out of the realm of possibilities to see Sheffield reach Scranton at some point this season if he continues to pitch well.

Scouts say Sheffield has all the makings of a middle-of-the-rotation type starter but warn that he has plenty of room to grow and develop into more. Sheffield has a simple delivery and great command which are two things that many coaches struggle to teach. All the makings of a great MLB starter are there he just has to put it all together first. Well that and reach Triple-A first which could be coming sooner than we all expect or think. Stay tuned. 

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/3

Here we go ladies and gentleman, it is game time once again between the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. In the third of the four-game set this weekend the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound while the Blue Jays will counter with a rookie of their own in Joe Biagini. The game will be played at 1:07 pm ET inside Rogers Centre 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 tuning into WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. Enjoy the game and as always Yankees family, Go Yankees!

Good Hitting < Bad Pitching…

Credit:  Frank Gunn-Associated Press
Blue Jays 7, Yankees 5…


I was hoping for better results last night with Big Mike on the mound.  The Yankees tried a valiant comeback with a couple of two-run home runs but it was not enough.  

The Yankees were in an early hole when the Blue Jays scored three runs off Pineda in the first.  Josh Donaldson homered with one out and no one on.  After getting Joey Bats for the second out, Pineda walked Kendrys Morales.  That brought up Justin Smoak, who is having a breakout year at age 30.  Unfortunately, Smoak smoked the ball to right center and I was having visions of Pineda from years past.

The Blue Jays picked up a couple of more runs in the third and fourth innings to lead 5-0 when the Yankees began their comeback in the sixth.  Gary Sanchez led off with a single and Aaron Judge followed with his 18th homer.  It ended Francisco Liriano’s start.  Reliever Danny Barnes walked Matt Holliday on a 3-2 count and the next batter up, Starlin Castro, brought the Yankees to within a run at 5-4 with a homer to right center.  

Credit:  Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images
The Blue Jays came right back in the bottom of the sixth when Donaldson hit his second homer of the night, a solo shot.  

The Yankees scored a run in the seventh when Matt Holliday doubled to score Aaron Judge who had walked in the previous at-bat.  But again, the Blue Jays answered in the bottom of the frame.  After Justin Smoak reached first on an error charged to Chris Carter (Yankees challenged the play and lost), Troy Tulowitzki doubled to push Smoak to third.  Devon Travis then hit a sac fly to score Smoak, bringing the score to 7-5.  

From there, the Yankees were unable to mount any threats against the Blue Jays bullpen and it was game over.  

It was a disappointing start by Michael Pineda (6-3).  He went five innings, giving up 10 hits and 5 runs.  He walked 3 batters while only striking out one.  He was unable to overcome that first inning breakdown when he allowed the two home runs.  Of course, it didn’t help that neither Jonathan Holder nor Adam Warren were able to deliver clean innings.  

Credit:  Getty Images
The Yankees (31-21) remain in first place in the AL East, but the Baltimore Orioles did pick up a game and leap frogged Boston with a 3-2 win over the Red Sox.  The Orioles are 2 1/2 games back, while the Red Sox remain 3 games behind.  The Blue Jays may be in last place but they are just 5 1/2 games behind the leaders.   The only division that is tighter is the NL Central where the first place Milwaukee Brewers lead the last place Pittsburgh Pirates by only four games.  It must be nice to be a Houston Astros or Washington Nationals fan with double digit leads over their closest competitors.  One day, it will be our time to shine.  

Odds & Ends…

The rumors of Gleyber Torres to the Bronx seem to be picking up steam.  I don’t think he’s ready yet, but reports are indicating that we could see Torres as early as next month.  There’s no doubt the kid has maturity beyond his years and is a special talent, but I feel that he is an asset for opening in Spring 2018.  The lackluster play of Chase Headley, of course, is forcing acceleration of the plan.  At AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Torres is currently batting .212 (7-for-33).  In last night’s 7-5 win over the Toledo Mud Hens, Torres was 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored.  Two of his outs were by strikeout, and he walked once.  He was charged with a fielding error, his fourth at AAA.  

Credit:  Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
It appears that ultimately this may come down to a choice between Tyler Austin or Torres.  If Torres is called up, Headley becomes the backup first/third baseman.  If Austin comes up, he backs up Greg Bird at first, with Ronald Torreyes remaining the primary backup at third for Headley.  None of these scenarios bode well for Chris Carter.  We still have the potential problem at first (what if Bird continues to struggle when he returns) but there’s clearly some difficult decisions looming on the horizon.  

Austin was 1-for-4 (single) for the RailRiders yesterday.

All he does is friggin’ win.  The story of Chance Adams is amazing.  In a short time, he’s become a minor league legend.  Since being drafted in the fifth round in 2015, he’s 23-3 with 1.96 ERA in 34 games started covering 220 2/3 innings.  He has struck out 248 batters.  In the 2015 MLB Draft, current Yankees pitching prospect Dillon Tate was the fourth overall selection by the Texas Rangers.  Adams wasn’t chosen until 149 picks later.  2015 was the year the Yankees chose James Kaprielian as their first round choice.  We know the talent that Kaprielian possesses but staying healthy has been another matter.  Before the Yankees took Adams, they chose two other pitchers after Kaprielian…Jeff Degano and Drew Finley.  In a do-over, I think you’d take Adams over any of the three or four if you threw in Tate.  I still have high hopes for Kaprielian, but there is so much to be excited about Adams.   I liked the quote from AA-Trenton Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell, “He is just a big leaguer in the making”.  The finished product is probably not too far away.

Credit:  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
In AAA transactions on Friday, the RailRiders released LHP Jason Gurka.  Gurka was signed as a minor league free agent in December 2016.  He appeared in a few Spring Training games, but wasn’t going to be an arm for consideration at the big league level.  For the RailRiders, he was 0-0 with 5.40 ERA in 16 2/3 innings.  He did strike out 20 batters so I am sure that he’ll get a look by another organization.  Best of luck to him.

Have a great Saturday!  Go Yankees!

Is it Finally Time for Domingo German?

The youth movement is in full effect here in the Bronx and the team is only going to get younger and more homegrown as this year and next year pass. Out with the old and in with the new is the ultimate saying and as the Alex Rodriguez’s and the Mark Teixeira’s retired last season we saw the emergence’s of Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin and others. Now as CC Sabathia inches towards an end to his Yankees tenure and many others begin their downhill climb towards free agency or retirement the Yankees will need some fresh arms to fill the void. Is one of those arms potentially, and finally, going to be Domingo German?

If you don’t remember Domingo German he was one of the prospects thrown into the deal that sent Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones to the Yankees while Miami got Martin Prado and David Phelps. For a long time this was considered to be a “lost” trade for the Yankees but two years later and with German finally healthy it seems like the Yankees are ready to turn that trade around just a bit. German missed the entire 2015 season with Tommy John surgery and was non-tendered before being re-signed eight days later to a new minor league contract. In 2016 German returned to the mound on June 26th and finished the season with a 3.12 ERA and 1.047 WHIP between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa.

German had his doubters coming through the system and I can even remember reading that his 2015 Tommy John surgery would likely be the end of his career but somehow German has come back stronger and better than he has ever been. German, listed at 6’2” and 175 pounds while capable of throwing in excess of 95 MPH, has worked on a curveball and a changeup to compliment his powerful fastball and many scouts think this can explain the sudden growth from the right-hander.

German may be far away but he is on the team’s 40 man roster so a call up is not completely out of the question this season. It may be as a September call up or it may be in an emergency but this season we could totally see German. I won’t be the one to count him out.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 6/3

Aaaaaand we're back inside the Rogers Centre just hours after the last time the Yankees were inside the Rogers Centre. Who doesn't love the Saturday day game after the Friday night game? Expect to see some Yankees regulars sitting this afternoon as these two teams square off for the third time in their four-game weekend set. In this afternoon's contest the New York Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to face off with the Blue Jays starter Joe Biagini.

Montgomery is coming off possibly the worst start of his short MLB career, the shortest outing as well. In his last start Montgomery threw 100 pitches but lasted just 4.1 innings which was compounded by going deep into counts continually. Pitch to contact Jordan and you should be just fine.

Biagini is a rookie start for the Blue Jays who reached six innings pitched for the first time in his career last time out. In the start Biagini also reached a new career high in pitches thrown with 95 while allowing just two runs. This will be Biagini's sixth start of his MLB career and will no longer be held back by pitch counts and such.

The game will be played at 1:07 pm ET inside Rogers Centre 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 tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Enjoy the game and what's left of your Saturday and weekend. As always.... Go Yankees!

So it Seems Next Week I Start a New Job

Good morning everyone and Happy Saturday. It’s the weekend! We finally made it. So for the past few weeks I have been training at work to do this new job and it has all been for this coming week. While I am not officially in this new position yet, although I’ve been told it is coming, I am filling in for someone who is. This is my first true test at the new position. I know I’ll do fine. I know I’ll screw up and I know I’ll be my hardest critique and I know I’ll learn from it and move on. It’s scary but exciting at the same time. I will check in every single chance I get, I may not miss a day or I may miss all week… I honestly don’t know until I get into it, and hope that you all just stick around for the ride.

Have a great Saturday everyone. Especially you. Hey you. There’s magic and fireworks here. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 6/3: Jeter Becomes the Captain

On this day in 2003 Derek was relieved of any other name he was ever given in his walk in life and officially became The Captain of the New York Yankees. Jeter was named the 11th Yankee Captain in their storied history at age 28. Jeter joins Hal Chase (1912), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921), Babe Ruth (whopping six days in 1922), Everett Scott (1922), Lou Gehrig (1935-1941), Thurman Munson (1976-1979), Graig Nettles (1982-1984), Willie Randolph and Ron Guidry (1986-1989), and Don Mattingly (1991-1995).

Also on this day in 1998 Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez makes his major league debut and gets the victory in a 7-1 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Hernandez escaped from Cuba just six months ago on a boat and allowed only one run on five hits in seven innings for the Yankees.

Also on this day in 1932 Tony Lazzeri hit a grand slam to complete the natural cycle. Lazzeri hit the single, double, triple, and home run in sequential order to complete the rare feat. No one talks about this though after Gehrig went off with the plate.

Finally on this day in 1932 Lou Gehrig became the first player to hit four home runs in one game in the 20th century. Gehrig barely missed a fifth in Philadelphia on this day while the Yankees hammer out a major league record 50 total bases in a 20-13 victory.