Thursday, June 15, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 6/15

The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics will begin their four-game series through the weekend tonight inside the Oakland Coliseum with a pretty interesting pitching matchup if you ask me. With the July 31st trading deadline looming and the Yankees down a starter with CC Sabathia on the disabled list could the Yankees be getting a preview of the next man to don pinstripes tonight? Tonight the A’s send Sonny Gray to the mound to square off against Jordan Montgomery in what could be a matchup of future teammates is Sabathia’s hamstring is deemed to be serious, you never know. The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET inside the Oakland Coliseum and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along on the radio and in your cars by tuning into WFAN.

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Go Yankees!!!

Meet a Prospect: Dalton Lehnen

Moving on to the Yankees sixth round pick in the 2017 MLB First Year Players Draft and you guessed it. The Yankees took a pitcher. This time New York took a left-handed pitcher out of Augustana College in South Dakota named Dalton Lehnen. Let’s meet the junior left-handed pitcher. This is Meet a Prospect: The Dalton Lehnen Edition.

Lehnen stands at 6’2” and 195 lbs. and began his collegiate career at the University of Cincinnati before transferring to Augustana College in South Dakota. In 2017 Lehnen made 11 appearances, 10 of them as a starting pitcher, striking out 61 batters to just 20 walks in 52 innings while posting a 2.60 ERA. Those stats intrigued the Yankees enough to take Lehnen with the 182nd overall pick in the draft.

Lehnen is not going to light up the radar gun some like some Yankees prospects as his fastball sits comfortably around 92 MPH, although Lehnen can touch 96 MPH when the southpaw needs to, with a raw breaking ball that can use some work.

Although Lehnen is a college pitcher he is still considered to be at least three-to-four years away from the Major Leagues on the optimistic side of things. It could take Lehnen all six years to make the show if he makes it at all. The good news for the Yankees and for Lehnen though is that this can all be accomplished with hard work and time and Lehnen has plenty of both if he signs.

Welcome to the organization, unofficially of course, and more importantly welcome to the family Dalton!

This Bird won't be flying again soon

According to Joe Girardi, Greg Bird is "still not right" and will see the doctor once again.

"No, kiddo, this is not a good thing."

When it comes to what they've done with the bat so far this season, Yankees' first basemen are second to last in Major League Baseball (fWAR of -1.0). So hearing that the team will be without a possible upgrade at first base stinks.

Luckily, while Yankee first basemen are second to last in MLB, overall the Yankees offense is number one (fWAR of 15.9). Which is the biggest reason why they are in first place in the AL East by two games.

That's not to say the pitching (#5 in MLB in fWAR) and fielding (#10 in fWAR) are not contributing factors. So please, if you're getting ready to write a scathing comment below, you can stop.

But seeing as how Bird may be out for a while longer, and there's no guarantee that he'd be that much better than Chris Carter (especially after a serious injury), I'm starting to think about first baseman that the Yankees may want to trade for.

I don't want to block Bird from getting a shot at being the Yankees' first baseman of the future, but at least for the rest of this season I don't want to keep seeing Chris Carter starting there over and over again.

Meet a Prospect: Glenn Otto

And let the arms race continue! With their fifth round pick the New York Yankees went back to the pitching well and took right-handed pitcher Glenn Otto out of Rice University. Otto was the Owl’s closer in 2017 although there are already rumblings of the Yankees taking Otto with the intention of converting him back to a starting pitcher a la Chance Adams. Either way Otto seems like he could be a fast mover through the Yankees system and a high-end arm for the organization so let’s hurry up and meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Glenn Otto Edition.

Otto was drafted 152nd overall in the fifth round after compiling 222 strikeouts in 172.1 innings as a member of the Rice Owls. Otto did miss time recently with a tired arm which is a cause for concern but after taking some time off he did return to a normal rotation without a second flare up leading the Yankees to believe that this is a non-issue. If I stood 6’5” and weighed 240 lbs. while throwing a 95-96 MPH fastball and a 12-to-6 curveball for Rice and Team USA I might have a tired arm too.

Otto completed the 2017 season with 17 saves which was the fourth highest total in the school’s history which also tied a former Yankees reliever David Aarsdma. Otto went on to earn Conference USA Tournament MVP as well recording two wins and a save helping Rice to their 23rd consecutive NCAA Regional.

Scouts see Otto as a potential starter down the line although he will have to work on that changeup that he rarely uses as a professional in order to do so as well as work on his command. Like most huge-framed pitchers Otto struggles to throw strikes from time-to-time but has plenty of time to work on things with the Yankees minor league development team. That’s if he signs of course.

So, unofficially of course, welcome to the organization and welcome to the family Glenn. We look forward to seeing that spike curveball in the Bronx real, real soon. 

Meet a Prospect: Canaan “Barry Bonds” Smith

With the Yankees first three picks of the 2017 MLB Draft the organization took high-upside pitching so it was only a matter of time before the next Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez was added to the system, obvious sarcasm and see it as so please, and the team may have done that in the fourth round when they drafted outfielder Canaan Smith from Rockwall-Heath High School in Texas. Smith comes with some big comparisons linked to his name as the high school outfielder is already being compared to MLB home run king Barry Bonds. Smith didn’t hit 73 home runs in a season and as it stands now he probably never will, although he has plenty of room to grow both physically and developmentally, but in 2017 pitchers just flat out refused to pitch to Smith. I call that the ultimate respect so let’s meet the man who is being compared to Barry Lamar Bonds. This is Meet a Prospect: The Canaan Smith Edition.

Smith is 6’0” and 215 pounds but don’t let his smaller frame scare you, well smaller compared to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez since they were mentioned above, the guy can hit the ball. Smith doesn’t force the issue though and actively try to hit home runs though and is quite happy with taking a walk. Smith walked 57 times this season which at one point in the season averaged out to be 1.58 walks per game. Pitchers flat out refused to let Smith beat them which goes to show you how well he has hit this season with Rockwall-Heath.

Smith has also played catcher and first base in High School while also playing quarterback for the school’s football team. Smith is committed to the University of Arkansas so maybe the Yankees can get Trevor Stephan signed pretty quick and get him to talk to Smith. I don’t think that’s against the rules, and if it is then tell me again about how the Boston Red Sox got around the international free agent signings time-and-time again. I joke, a little bit.

Welcome to the organization, potentially, and welcome to the family Canaan! Hurry up and sign!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Oakland Athletics 6/15

Another day and another series for the New York Yankees out on the West Coast as tonight the team begins a four-game set with the Oakland Athletics. This weekend has all the makings of being something special for New York as the Yankees, on paper at least, should do well in this series. The team may also get Aroldis Chapman back off the disabled list which never hurt any team trying to reach the postseason and do well. In the contest tonight the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to square off with Sonny Gray for the A’s inside the Oakland Coliseum. Enjoy the game.

Montgomery will make his 12th start of the season tonight inside the Coliseum and the 12th start of his young MLB career against the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees will have to rely more heavily on the big lefty now that CC Sabathia is injured with a left hamstring strain and the good news for New York is that Montgomery has won each of his last two starts against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Baltimore Orioles.

Gray will be making his third start of the month already tonight and is still looking for his first decision of the month. Gray has two no-decisions to show for his efforts in June despite pitching well in those two starts. Gray pitched especially well in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays striking out ten. 

The game will be played at 10:05 pm ET inside the Oakland Coliseum and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Go Yankees!

Lots of Hits, Not Enough Runs...

Credit:  Randy Miller-NJ Advance Media for
Angels 7, Yankees 5...

Another tough loss for the Yankees despite fourteen hits.

The game started out well enough.  The Yankees scored four runs in the first inning to give Michael Pineda the lead before he faced his first batter.  Brett Gardner opened the game with a single off Angels' starter Matt Shoemaker.  After Aaron Hicks struck out, Aaron Judge singled to put runners at the corners.  Judge stole second and Matt Holliday hit a sacrifice fly to score Gardy.  The next batter, Starlin Castro, was  hit by pitch, which brought up Gary Sanchez.  The Sanchino homered to left and the Yankees looked like they were off to the races.  

Credit:  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sadly, this was not Michael Pineda's night.  The Angels came back in the bottom of the first with a run with they loaded the bases with singles from three of the first four Angels batters. Luis Valbuena then hit a fly to center that could have been a grand slam if not for a leaping catch by Aaron Hicks.  Cameron Maybin scored on the sac fly.  Pineda was able to get out of the inning without any further damage.

In the second inning, with one out, the Yankees wasted a triple by Rob Refsnyder when neither Brett Gardner nor Aaron Hicks were able to push the run across.  When the Angels came to bat in the bottom of the inning, Eric Young Jr, the previous night's hero, singled, and Danny Espinosa followed with a homer to right to bring the Angels within a run at 4-3.  

The lead was lost in the third when Albert Pujols scored on a wild pitch with Young in the batter's box.  Young subsequently lined a run-scoring single to give the Angels a 5-4 advantage.

The Yankees tied the score in the sixth when Chase Headley singled home Gary Sanchez.  Headley was thrown out trying to take two bases.  

Manager Joe Girardi pulled Michael Pineda after six innings, and brought in Ronald Herrera to face the Angels in the 7th.  It would not be a memorable debut for the rookie.  He was able to get the first two batters (Albert Pujols and Yunel Escobar) on ground-outs, but then he walked Valbuena.  Andrelton Simmons came to the plate and rudely introduced Herrera (0-1) to life in the Big Leagues with a homer to center. 

Credit:  Getty Images
The Yankees had a chance in the 9th when Aaron Hicks doubled with two outs.  The play was initially ruled as a game-ending out, but the call was overturned upon challenge by the Yankees.  It didn't matter as Aaron Judge hit a grounder to third for the final out.

The final line for Pineda was 6 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 2 SO.  He allowed the one home run and his season ERA was pushed to 3.71.  

Credit:  Sean M Haffey-Getty Images
I felt bad for Herrera.  He was in a difficult situation for his first Major League appearance, particularly for a pitcher who has yet to find success at the AAA Level.  What works at AA does not necessarily work in the Major Leagues as Herrera found out.

This was a tough series.  The Yankees were in all three games and could have easily won the series.  Instead, the Angels took 2 of 3 and the Yankees left town on a bit of a downer. 

The Boston Red Sox pulled to within two games of the Yankees (38-25) with a 7-3 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.  The Tampa Bay Rays lost to remain 5 1/2 games back.  Both the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays.  They are 6 1/2 and 7 games back, respectively.

Odds & Ends...

RHP Ronald Herrera has been promoted to the Yankees prior to yesterday's game in the aftermath of CC Sabathia's strained hamstring.  Herrera, 22, was acquired in 2015 from the San Diego Padres in the trade that sent infielder Jose Pirela to Southern CA.  Herrera caught my attention this season, but I honestly didn't expect the pitcher to make the jump from AA to the Majors even if he was already a member of the 40-man roster.  Herrera combined with Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder to throw a no-hitter on April 26, 2016 for the Trenton Thunder.  This season for the Thunder, Herrera is 7-0 with 1.07 ERA.  In 8 games, he has pitched 50 1/3 innings, with 41 strikeouts and 9 walks.  His WHIP is 0.7555. Herrera was born in Maracay, Venezuela, near the Caribbean Coast.  Yankees utility infielder Ronald Torreyes is a fellow Venezuelan.  Reliever Ben Heller was optioned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to make room.  Welcome to The Show, Ronald! I wish your first Major League decision could have been a victory but hopefully next time it is.  
No roster decisions have yet been made regarding CC Sabathia, but it is speculated that he'll be placed on the disabled list with a moderate (Grade 2) hamstring strain (expected to miss at least four weeks) with the recall of pitcher Domingo German. 

The Yankees have acquired relief pitcher Matt Frawley (R) from the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade that sent reliever Johnny Barbato to the Steel City.  Frawley was drafted by the Pirates last year in the 17th Round out of Purdue University.  He'll be assigned to Class A Charleston.  Turning 22 in August, Frawley (3-1) is an older prospect at the A Level but in 19 appearances and 33 1/3 innings, he has to pitched to an ERA of 1.62 with only 4 walks and 32 strikeouts (WHIP is an impressive 0.75).  If Frawley continues to pitch as well as he did with the Class A West Virginia Power, he should soon find himself in AA with the Trenton Thunder.  

In reviewing the draft choices on Day 3 of the MLB Draft, I have to say that I love the name of the 22nd round pick.  RHP Janson Junk.  Now that's a baseball name.  Former Major League closer Brad Lidge's cousin, Ryan Lidge, was chosen in the 20th round.  Lidge is a senior catcher from Notre Dame.  This helps offset the loss of catcher Luis Torrens who was taken in last year's Rule 5 Draft by the San Diego Padres and is still on their Major League roster.  

There were a couple of late names that stood out to me.  In Round 29, the Yankees selected RHP Tristan Beck of Stanford.  Beck is highly touted but missed the 2017 season due to a back injury.  In some very early mock drafts, I saw Beck going as high as the first round.  Without any knowledge of the situation, I suspect that he'll return to Stanford for his junior year and attempt to rehabilitate his stock for higher placement in a future draft.  In Round 37, the Yankees took high school pitcher Tanner Burns.  Also highly touted, Burns' father has said that it's 100% his son will be attending Auburn University.  It would be a great coup if the Yankees could sign one of these guys (or both) but I seriously doubt it.  I suspect that we'll see Burns as a much higher draft choice in a future draft.

The Yankees begin a four-game set tonight against the Athletics in Oakland, CA.  Here are the pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (4-4, 3.55 ERA)
A's:  Sonny Gray (2-2, 4.37 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (5-2, 2.75 ERA)
A's:  Sean Manaea (6-3, 3.67 ERA)

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (5-6, 6.07 ERA)
A's:  Jesse Hahn (2-4, 3.56 ERA)

Yankees:  TBA
A's:  Jharel Cotton (3-7, 5.52 ERA)

Have a great Thursday!  Here's hoping for much better success in No-Cal than So-Cal...

Meet a Prospect: Trevor Stephan

When Day Two of the MLB First Year Players Draft kicked off the New York Yankees continued their presumable arms race this draft by taking yet another arm. This time it was right-handed starting pitcher Trevor Stephan from the University of Arkansas. Stephan, the 92nd overall pick in the draft, moved from first base to pitcher as a freshman and showed enough promise in the move that the Boston Red Sox drafted him in the 18th round last season in the Draft. Obviously Stephan stayed in school and transferred to the Razorbacks where he put together one of the better seasons in the SEC in 2017. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Trevor Stephan Edition.

Stephan has one of the best fastballs in the South and he showcased it in 2017 sitting between 90-95 MPH with the heater while also touching 97 MPH. If that weren’t enough you can also throw in a very deceptive crossfire delivery that gave SEC hitters a fit in 2017 to the tune of a 2.87 ERA. Stephan is a big figure on the mound standing 6’5” and weighing in at 225 lbs. which makes his ability to locate his fastball on both sides of the plate a bit unique.

Stephan does not come without his question marks though like any prospect and where Stephan excels in the fastball department he lacks in the secondary pitch department. Stephan added a slider and cutter combination to his repertoire in 2017 but many scouts believe unless he can harness and master those pitches, and he hasn’t yet as a college player, that he may be better suited for a relief role going forward in his professional career. I’d take another Dellin Betances, just saying.

Stephan recently scrapped a curveball and has rarely used a changeup during his amateur career so this may be something the Yankees minor league personnel can work on with him. If they can add a second and third pitch to his arsenal then the Yankees may have found a diamond in the rough, and if not they may have yet another shut down reliever throwing upwards of 100 MPH coming out of the farm system and into the bullpen. Either way suits me just fine.

Follow Trevor on Twitter by following @tstep23. Welcome him to the family!

So it Seems if You Don’t Like Prospects…

That you don’t need to read the blog today because today and much of this week is going to be all about the prospects. The MLB Draft was this week so of course the blog is going to be flooded with information about the players that the New York Yankees drafted. Enjoy the information and check back often to see updated scouting reports, information and whether these guys sign.

Enjoy your day everyone. Especially you. Hey my love. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/15: Yankee Stadium III

On this day in 2005 George Steinbrenner, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Governor George Pataki, and team officials announce plans for the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. The Yankees will finance the $800 million stadium which will be built north of the current stadium in Macombs Dam Park. The new stadium is announced to mirror the old stadium and will seat 51,800 fans.

Also on this day in 1976 the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles completed a ten player trade in which both teams swapped four pitchers and a catcher each. The Yankees acquire pitchers Ken Holtzman, Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Grant Jackson, and catcher Elrod Hendricks. The Orioles acquire pitchers Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor, Dave Pagan, and catcher Rick Dempsey.

Finally on this day in 1958 the Kansas City Athletics send Woodie Held and Vic Power to the Cleveland Indians for Dick Tomanek, Preston Ward, and Roger Maris. This is significant because Kansas City and owner Arnold Johnson was warned by American League president Will Harridge that they could not send any players, especially Maris, to the Yankees for at least 18 months. The Indians would later trade Maris to the Yankees which made everyone think the deal was a prelude to the deal.