Friday, April 19, 2019

Where did Aaron Judge's power go?

The question in the title of this post has been on the minds of Yankees fans recently. Sure, Aaron ranks second on the team in home runs (tied with Torres, Frazier, Gardner, and Voit... Sanchez leads the team with six), but his slugging percentage of .484 leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, Judge's slugging percentage was .528 last season, which was down considerably from the .627 he put up in 2017.

But I don't see any reason to worry.

Aaron is not striking out any more than he has his entire career, as you can see by his strikeout percentage of 31.2% this season, compared to his career mark of 31.6%. And he's not taking more walks as his walk percentage this season is 16.9% compared to 16.7% throughout his career. And he's hitting the ball harder than he ever has, evidenced by his line drive percentage of 36%, which is higher than his career mark of 26%.

Looking at the numbers we can see that Judge simply is not getting the ball up in the air as often. His fly ball percentage is just 29.3%, down significantly from his career percentage of 39.7%.

So why is that?

Well, looking at the statistics only one thing really stands out... he's not pulling the ball as often as he has in the past.

In his career, Aaron has pulled pitches 40.6% of the time, which is all the way down to 29.3% this season. While he's hitting more balls to center (36.6% as opposed to 31.4%) and to the opposite field (34.1% to 28.1%). And while his contact percentage is down a bit (63.8% now from 66.2% in his career), I don't think that's a big enough difference to say it's a problem.

To be honest, I think his lack of power so far this season is more of a choice rather than loss of ability. Judge is simply trying to be a more complete hitter instead of being all about the long ball.

Now, normally, that wouldn't be a problem. When you have a lineup chock full of guys that can hit the long ball (in case you forgot, the 2018 squad holds the record for most team home runs in a season) you can afford to lose a few dingers from Aaron Judge. But with Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Aaron Hicks, and Didi Gregorius on the shelf it stands out that much more.

Yes, seeing Judge bash home run after home run is fun, but his overall production is the main thing. That production is down a bit this year, but it's not nearly down enough to be worried.

When this team gets healthy (I'm trying to stay positive here by saying "when" instead of "if") they will be very scary. You've seen the healthy lineup before, but here's a refresher...

1. Aaron Hicks CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Clint Frazier LF
8. DJ LeMahieu 2B
9. Luke Voit 1B

That lineup is a very real possibility come June 1st.

Yes, I realize that Andujar may be better as the team's primary DH or first baseman, but I'll address that situation and the possible lineup implications then. I'm just trying to give you an idea as to why Aaron Judge's lack of power is not a real problem, it just stands out as one with this injury-riddled team.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Big Maple domination

                                                (Photo credit: New York Yankees official Twitter)

It was a great outing by Paxton tonight. Going 8 scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts & 1 walk. Huge confidence builder after his first 2 starts weren’t ones to remember. Paxton becomes the first Yankees’ pitcher with 12+ strikeouts & 2 hits or less vs Boston at home. Paxton can now build on this  start, it was one to remember.

Chris Sale continues his struggles for the 2019 season. He did go 5 innings but gave up 4 earned runs to the Yankees lineup. Yankees took advantage with 3 homeruns by Frazier, Tauchman & Frazier. Tauchman had a break out game with 2 hits & 4 RBI’s. Urshela had an insane defensive play, throwing from his knees to nail Betts.

It was a great game for the Yankees winning 8-0 over Boston. Confidence for the Yankees as they look to win the Series tomorrow. J.A Happ pitching tomorrow, he’s looking to find it as he’s had rough starts to the season.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Yankees Win, Always a Good Thing...

Credit: Getty Images
CC Sabathia Relishes the Role of Stopper…

Well, the last week didn’t go exactly as planned. I didn’t think the Yankees would win the three-game series in Houston but I had hoped for at least one win. They played well enough to win all three games if not for the lack of bullpen support. After Friday night’s rain-shortened loss to Eloy Jimenez and the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees had lost four consecutive games and could have been overtaken in the AL East Standings on Saturday by the Boston Red Sox, a team that has seemingly gotten off to a much worse start than our favorite team, if the Sox had won and the Yankees had not. Fortunately, CC Sabathia represented the Cavalry, arriving to save the day, while the highly paid hitless wonder known as Chris Davis helped power Baltimore past the struggling Red Sox.    

It is funny how the World looks so much better after a Yankees win. Life as a Yankee fan is such a roller coaster ride at times. It was hard watching Eloy Jimenez (first two home runs of his young career) and the White Sox crush Yankee pitching during Friday night’s rain-shortened seven innings loss. Although I am sure CC Sabathia would have liked to have stayed in yesterday’s game a little longer, he combined with Domingo German, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman to shut out the White Sox, 4-0, giving the Pinstripers a very much-needed victory. Honestly, I was unsure what Sabathia would bring in his first start of his final season. Delayed by December’s Angioplasty that placed a stent in a heart valve, a five-game suspension, and a trip to the Injured List as he worked his way back into prime form, it was vintage Sabathia on Saturday. He held the White Sox to a meaningless single by second baseman Jose Rondon in the top of the third inning. It was the first and only hit the Sox would get on this day.  

Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images
Sabathia looked strong when he struck out Wellington Castilllo looking to end the top of the fifth inning but the pitch, his 62nd, would be his last. The TV cameras showed a disappointed Sabathia in the dugout as Manager Aaron Boone informed him his day was finished. I don’t blame Boone. No reason to push Sabathia this early. His 62 pitches for the Tampa Tarpons (High-A) in a rehab start last Sunday were his season high. He probably would have been good for a few more pitches but why risk it. We need the big guy in the weeks and months ahead. With an off-day last Thursday and another tomorrow, the Yankees were able to skip the fifth spot in the rotation, making Domingo German available to provide back up support for Sabathia. It was the perfect formula. German, continued his brilliant 2019 performance with two innings of hitless relief and four strikeouts. If you looked at stats alone without names, you’d think his line belonged to the team’s ace. 3-0, 1.38 ERA, 9.69 K/9, and 1.03 BABIP. Not that Luis Severino is coming back anytime soon but if he were to return today, you’d have to argue that J.A. Happ, not German, should be the loser of a rotation spot. 

Zack Britton finally delivered a relief outing that we expect to see. Three-up, three down in the top of the eighth. I know, it was just the White Sox but you would have thought they were the second coming of Harvey’s Wallbangers after Friday night. Britton had to start somewhere with a solid appearance. Saturday was as good a day as any. Now if we could just get Chad Green and Jonathan Holder back on track. I’d really like to see this so-called Super Bullpen that everyone has been talking about. I know, Dellin Betances is a major cog and his absence hurts, but the other guys need to pick up the slack. They are certainly capable of so much more.

I know I was feeling much better about Aroldis Chapman from his first pitch in the top of the ninth when the radar gun clocked his strike to Adam Engel at 99 MPH. In throwing nine pitches to finish off the game, Chappy hit 100 MPH four times. He is trending in the right direction for those fearing his loss of velocity. It was not a save situation but Chapman needed the work and he did not disappoint.  

Credit: Paul J Bereswill/NY Post
Credit to White Sox starter and former Yankee Ivan Nova. Back in the stadium he was raised, he delivered as well as he could have. He faced one batter in the top of the seventh, giving up a single to Gleyber Torres. Pulled at that point, Torres would eventually score the first run for the Yankees when Luke Voit singled with the bases loaded. It was almost unfair for Nova to be charged a run on this day, but he was, thus taking the tough luck loss despite holding the Yanks to only four hits, and no runs while he was standing on the mound, over six innings and the one batter faced in the seventh. No doubt he’ll look back on the day proud that he was able to compete exceptionally well with his one-time mentor as Sabathia prepares for his ride to the Sunset and eventual placement in MLB’s Hall of Fame.  

Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
With such a great pitching performance by the Yankees, the team’s offense was almost an afterthought. The Yankees needed the runs, of course, to win the game but for inning after inning, they were unable to mount any serious threat against Nova. When Nova gave up that single to Gleyber Torres in the bottom of the seventh and departed the game, it opened the door for the Yankees. It took a little luck when Greg Bird hit into a fielder’s choice at second against White Sox reliever Jace Fry. An error by Yolmer Sanchez, booting a potential double play ball, left both runners safe at first and second. After another pitching change, Clint Frazier singled to right off reliever Ryan Burr to load the bases. Luke Voit keep it going with a broken bat single past the outstretched glove of the shortstop, scoring Torres. 

Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
Kyle Higashioka, getting the start at catcher in place of Austin Romine, hit a long sacrifice fly to right which brought Bird home with the second run. Tyler Wade displayed his athleticism with a rare squeeze bunt toward third that easily allowed Frazier to score. The Yankees were up, 3-0.

Aaron Judge accounted for the final Yankees run when he led off the bottom of the eighth with a short home run (a 335’ shot that took full advantage of the right field porch). Hey, a homer is a homer. Sure, we love the homers that reach the second deck, especially when Judge is at the plate, but I’ll take the short fly that lands into the first row of the right field porch any day.  

Hopefully the win helps the Yankees “turn the corner” (as Aaron Boone would say). A win today to take the series against the White Sox would be ideal, considering the other Sox come to town on Tuesday. Nothing like changing our Sox on a positive note. The Houston Astros got hot at the right time last week to sweep the Yankees in their home park. It would be nice for the Yankees to do the same to the visiting Red Sox for the brief two-game series.

Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 1.47 ERA) gets the ball in the White Sox finale this afternoon. He’ll be opposed by the talented Carlos Rodon (1-2, 3.38 ERA) in what should be a great pitching matchup. I kind of wish Tanaka was pitching against the Red Sox this week, but if he can deliver a win today, that’s all we can ask.  Tuesday’s game will feature James Paxton against Chris Sale, two pitchers with high expectations who have, so far, delivered uninspiring results. Wednesday is the battle of 8.00+ ERA pitchers with J.A. Happ going against former Yank Nathan Eovaldi. I really hope Paxton and Happ were watching Sabathia pitch yesterday. They need to follow his lead. Get on a roll and the team’s slow start will be nothing but a distant memory. A nice ten-game winning streak would help warm things up for the summer ahead.  

Stephen Tarpley was the loser of a spot on the 25-man roster when he was optioned to Triple A to make room for Sabathia. It meant that Joe Harvey’s stay in the Bronx will last awhile longer and rightfully so. He has only appeared in one game (one of the losses to the Astros last week) but he did his job when called upon (unlike Green and Holder). I’d like to see what he can do with an extended stay in the Show. Tarpley, on the other hand, is not quite ready. He’ll benefit from a little more seasoning in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

As always, Go Yankees…and, please, stay healthy!

Friday, April 12, 2019

Was There A Curse Of The Yankees Captains?

Kid Elberfeld served as the Yankees captain in 1906 and kept the title until the 1909 season was over with the Highlanders. Kid was nicknamed The Tabasco Kid because of his fiery temper and actions both verbally and physically on the field with the umpires. One time while in the minor leagues Kid threw a ball of mud into an umpires open mouth and later in the Major Leagues he assaulted an umpire physically and had to be removed by the police. This was not a stat that was kept up with back in the early 1900's but most historians say that Elberfeld was thrown out of more games than anyone else in his era. Elberfeld managed the Highlanders in 1908 and finished with the worst record in the league with a 27-71 record.

Hal Chase was considered to be the first official Yankees/Highlanders captain when he was named the captain in 1910 and kept the title until 1912. Hal was considered to be the best defensive first baseman in all of baseball and even drew rave reviews from the likes of Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson during his playing career for his glove. Hal's legacy is extremely tainted though with rumors of him betting on baseball games and suspicion in throwing baseball games and purposely losing. This kind of stuff is why we will never see guys like Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson in the MLB Hall of Fame but somehow Hal not only got away with it but is still a member of the hall.

Frank Chance was only the Yankees captain for one season, the 1913 season, and it did not exactly go as planned. The Cubs released him and negotiated to get him on the Yankees after multiple surgeries to remove blood clots in his brain that were caused by being hit in the head by pitches in the 1912 season. The Yankees signed him to a three year deal in 1913 and never played more than 12 games in a single season for the Yankees. The Yankees spent much of the 1913 season in last place but a late season push, including a win in the next to the last game, had the Yankees finish 7th in that season. Not exactly as planned for Frank and the Yankees.

Lou Gehrig was named the Yankees captain in 1935 and would remain the captain until he retired in the 1939 season due to a disease which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Lou retired at the young age of 36 so who would know how much more revered he would be had he been able to see the latter years of his 30's in baseball. The Iron Horse played in 2,130 consecutive games which was not surpassed until Cal Ripken Jr. passed it in 1995, a mere 56 years later. Gehrig finished with great stats in his career but was absolutely decimated by ALS. Lou would retire from baseball in the 1939 season at the age of 36 stating that he was "The Luckiest Man On The Face Of The Earth" and would die only two years later in 1941 at the age of 38.

Thurman Munson was named the Yankees captain in 1976 and kept the title until 1979. The Yankees would lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in 1976 but would win back to back World Series in 1977 and 1978 behind the bat of Reggie Jackson. The Yankees would not make an appearance in the 1979 World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the Baltimore Orioles but what else happened in 1979 would hurt the Yankees and Munson more. Munson owned his own plane and was taking flying lessons because he got so homesick and wanted to be able to go to Cleveland to his family whenever he wanted. Thurman was practicing taking off and crashed his plane on August 2, 1979 and died.

Don Mattingly was named the Yankees captain in 1991 and would keep the title until he retired after the 1995 season. The Yankees were generally a terrible team when Don Mattingly was on the team only making the playoffs once in his tenure in 1995. A strike shortened 1994 season would have probably seen the Yankees in the playoffs as well but we will never know but the greed of the MLB Players Association is a discussion for another day. Mattingly injured his back in 1987 though and was never the same after that season and would prematurely end his career after allegedly horse playing with teammate Bob Shirley.

Derek Jeter has five World Series rings,a Rookie of the Year award, 13 All Star Game appearances, a World Series MVP award, has gotten an MVP vote in 12 seasons and finished as high as 2nd place in 2006, has five each of Gold Gloves and Silver Slugger awards, and would have earned $261,159,364 in his baseball career before any kind of endorsements and such by the time his current contract was up after the 2014 season. What curse? If there was one Mr. Derek Sanderson Jeter definitely broke that.

The History Of The Yankees Captains

There have been 14 players named the team captain in the Highlanders/Yankees history. Some Yankees/Highlanders players are listed as captains but the first to be officially recognized as the Yankees captain was Hal Chase in 1910. Three of the first four Yankees "captains" were not officially recognized as Yankees captains but I have included them as well with the 11 official captains in our history.

Let's take a look at the complete list now.

(P) Clark Griffith 
Spent 1891-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1903-1905 as a Yankees captain

(SS) Kid Elberfeld 
Spent 1898-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1906-1909 as a Yankees captain

(1B) Hal Chase #1
Spent 1905-1919 as a Yankees player
Spent 1910-1912 as a Yankees captain

(1B) Frank Chance 
Spent 1898-1914 as a Yankees player
Spent 1913 as a Yankees captain

(SS) Roger Peckinpaugh #2 
Spent 1910-1927 as a Yankees player
Spent 1914-1921 as a Yankees captain

(OF) Babe Ruth #3
Spent 1914-1935 as a Yankees player
Spent 1922 as a Yankees captain

(SS) Everett Scott #4
Spent 1914-1926 as a Yankees player
Spent 1922-1925 as a Yankees captain

(1B) Lou Gehrig #5
Spent 1923-1939 as a Yankees player
Spent 1935-1939 as a Yankees captain

(C) Thurman Munson #6
Spent 1969-1979 as a Yankees player
Spent 1976-1979 as a Yankees captain

(3B) Graig Nettles #7
Spent 1967-1988 as a Yankees player
Spent 1982-1984 as a Yankees captain

(2B) Willie Randolph #8
Spent 1975-1992 as a Yankees player
Spent 1986-1988 as a Yankees co-captain

(P) Ron Guidry #9
Spent 1975-1988 as a Yankees player
Spent 1986-1988 as a Yankees co-captain

(1B) Don Mattingly #10
Spent 1982-1995 as a Yankees player
Spent 1991-1995 as a Yankees captain

(SS) Derek Jeter #11
Spent 1995-2014 as a Yankees player
Spent 2003- 2014 as a Yankees captain

Four Yankees captains have been elected into the Hall of Fame, and obviously it will be five when Derek Jeter is eligible, including Clark Griffith, Frank Chance, Babe Ruth, and Lou Gehrig. It is really amazing to think that players like Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto, or Catfsh Hunter to name a few have never been named a Yankees captain. It is also interesting to point out that Babe Ruth has only been a captain for a single season in 1922. George Steinbrenner kind of watered down the whole prestige behind being the Yankees captain, in my opinion, when he handed the honor out six times in his tenure as Yankees owner but Derek Jeter did his best to make the best of the situation and bring the prestige back to the most honored spot in all of baseball, the captain of the New York Yankees.

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 12th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!

On April 12, 1935, what Yankees player was named captain, making him the club's first captain since Everett Scott in 1925?

Highlight below for your answer!!

Lou Gehrig

And a special good morning to my beautiful and amazing wife, Kari. I love you so damn much. It's the weekend! Yikes!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/12: Pope on a Rope Soap

On this day in 2008 the Yankees Low A affiliate, the Charleston Riverdogs, commemorate the first visit of Benedict XVI to the United States with a Pope on a Rope Night promotion. The first 1,000 fans received a soap figurine which looked like the Holy Father.

Also on this day in 1953 Mickey Mantle was informed via the public address announcer that Mickey Mantle had just became a father. Mickey Mantle Jr. was the first of four sons by Mickey and Merlyn. Here is the Brooklyn Dodgers announcement at Ebbets Field: "Mickey doesn't know it yet but he has just become the father of an eight-pounds, twelve ounce baby boy."

Also on this day in 1935 the Yankees named Lou Gehrig the fifth captain in their history. The then 33 year old first baseman joined Hal Chase(1912), Roger Peckinpaugh (1914-1921), Babe Ruth( six days in 1922), and Everett Scott(1922-1925).

Finally on this day in 1931 former Chicago Cubs Joe McCarthy made his managerial debut for the New York Yankees. The future Hall of Fame manager, who has the most wins of any manager in Yankees history with 1,460, saw eight pennants and seven World Series titles during his 16 years in the Bronx.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Tough Roster Decisions Loom

I've been tweeting about the lineup once this team gets back a few hitters currently on the Injured List, and the decisions to come. It doesn't look easy.

I'll start with the fact that Giancarlo Stanton has been hitting off a tee and may very well return by the end of this month. Then there's the reports that Miguel Andujar is feeling and looking good, and could also be back by the middle to end of next month. The timetable on Aaron Hicks return isn't clear, however he's been ramping up baseball activity lately.

Assuming those three are all back by the end of May this is what the lineup could look like...

1. Aaron Hicks CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Clint Frazier LF
8. Luke Voit 1B
9. DJ LeMahieu 2B

And remember, that doesn't include the return of Didi Gregorius by mid-season. Well, that's not the problem. Here are a list of players to fill out the batting portion of the active roster...

Brett Gardner
Greg Bird
Austin Romine
Tyler Wade
Mike Tauchman
Troy Tulowitzki

Like it or not, Brett Gardner is not going anywhere. While he's not exciting, his ability to play anywhere in the outfield (most importantly in center) makes him valuable. And he's not a zero with the bat, either.

Austin Romine will be there too, as the team needs a backup catcher.

That leaves one more spot for a batter, as I don't see the Yankees going with only 12 pitchers. Nor should they as long as they keep relying on the bullpen to give them four to five innings every other game.

Now, you can take Tulo and Tauchman out of there. Tauchman is only around for depth, and he may be gone as soon as one of Stanton or Hicks returns, anyway. And Tulowitzki is making the league minimum, making it very easy to DFA him. Plus, with guys like Tyler Wade and Gio Urshela around, his loss doesn't hurt the team's infield depth.

So it comes down to really two guys... Greg Bird or Tyler Wade.

By the way, I'm not "married" to Luke Voit, but his power upside makes me want to keep him around. Sure, Bird may be the better defender, but his bat has not come around yet (one home run on Opening Day and no doubles). I'd like to see him stay healthy and start hitting in Scranton before taking Voit out of the lineup.

Honestly, if it just came down to the better offensive weapon I'd keep Bird around, but I can't ignore the fact that we'd be going without any backup infielder. He's not exactly tearing the cover off the ball, but the Yankees would have to keep Tyler Wade on the active roster at least until Didi returns.

So here it is...

1. Aaron Hicks# CF
2. Aaron Judge RF
3. Giancarlo Stanton DH
4. Gary Sanchez C
5. Miguel Andujar 3B
6. Gleyber Torres SS
7. Luke Voit 1B
8. Clint Frazier LF
9. DJ LeMahieu 2B

Austin Romine C
Brett Gardner* LF/CF
Tyler Wade* 2B/SS

*-left-handed hitter

Of course, this does assume that Clint Frazier continues to look impressive (besides in the field). I could see Boone giving Andujar some more rest than normal to ease him back into things, meaning we could see him not only get a full day off but DH some, too. That would help give Stanton some regular rest as well to make sure his bicep is okay. That's especially true if Boone wants another lefty bat in the lineup, meaning Wade goes to 2B and LeMahieu to 3B.

The biggest takeaway from this is that while the offense hasn't been killing it lately, when healthy they can be an absolute force.

Now if only they can get things straightened out on the run prevention side of things.


Yankees Off Day Walk-Up Music Recommendation: DJ LeMahieu

The Yankees are off today, so enjoy this walk-up music recommendation from the team. Every time DJ LeMahieu walks up to the plate inside Yankee Stadium the song "Ready" by Wide Awake blares through the speakers in the Bronx. Now it can also blare through your speakers this morning. Enjoy.

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 11th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!

On April 11, 1912, the Yankees debuted their now famous pinstripes in what was their final home opener at Hilltop Park. It took until 1915 for the pinstripes to become a permanent part of their home uniforms, though.

And it took a little longer than I would have liked, but I am forever grateful that you, my Kari Ann, are my wife. My only regret is not finding you sooner so that I could spend even more years being yours. I love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/11: Bob Sheppard Takes a Vacation Day

On this day in 2006 Bob Sheppard misses his first Yankee Stadium home opener since 1951 due to a hip injury he suffered the day before at his home. The injury wouldn't keep Sheppard out long as Bob was back for the next Yankees home stand behind the microphone.

Also on this day in 1954 the New York Yankees traded two minor league players with right handed pitcher Mel Wright to the St. Louis Cardinals for 38 year old right fielder Enos Slaughter. While Slaughter would head to the Hall of Fame when his playing career was done he would only hit .239 in 79 games for the Yankees. Bill Virdon, one of the prospects in the deal, would win the Rookie of the Year Award in St. Louis in 1956.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 4/10

The series finale between the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros is just about ready to kick off down in Minute Maid Park, home of the Astros. In the finale tonight, the Yankees will send James Paxton to the mound to face off with Collin McHugh for Houston. The game will be played at 7:40 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game on the radio with the WFAN broadcast of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 4/10

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will finish their three-game set this week in the heart of Texas with the finale of their series. For the finale, the Yankees will send James Paxton to the mound to face off with Collin McHugh for the Astros. The Yankees have an off-day tomorrow before traveling to Chicago to face off with the White Sox, so let’s get to it here in Houston so the team can get the hell out of here.

Paxton faced the Astros four times in 2018 as a member of the Seattle Mariners, posting a 4-0 record with a 2.05 ERA. Career against the Astros, Paxton is 7-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 12 starts, so it’s safe to say that Paxton has done well against Houston throughout his career.

McHugh has been incredible inside Minute Maid Park throughout his career, posting a 5-0 record with a 1.18 ERA over his last eight starts there. McHugh was tough in his last start as well, limiting the Oakland Athletics to just one run on three hits.

The game will be played at 7:40 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on the YES Network, MLB Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game on the radio with the WFAN broadcast of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 10th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!!

What trio of pitchers shares the Yankees record for the most Opening Day starts?

Highlight below for the answer!

Mel Stottlemyre, Whitey Ford and Ron Guidry have all started games for the New York Yankees on Opening Day seven times each!

And a special good morning to the most amazing woman on the planet, my wife Kari. I love you more than words could ever express or convey. Yikes!

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/10: Dave Eiland Hits a Home Run

On this day in 1992 Dave Eiland hit a home run in his first major league at bat. Eiland came through the New York Yankees system and also allowed a home run to first batter he faces in his career when he gave up a homer to the Brewers Paul Molitor. Eiland hit the home run in the National League in his first year with the San Diego Padres after coming over from the Yankees.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 4/9

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will continue their three-game set in Houston tonight with the second of the three-game series. The Yankees will send Jonathan Loaisiga to the mound tonight to face off with Gerrit Cole of the Astros. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on the YES Network locally and ESPN nationwide. You can also follow along with the game on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. You can also follow along on MLB TV, where I will be watching the game tonight myself. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 4/9

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will continue their three-game set out west in the heart of Texas. In the middle game of this three-game set the Yankees will send their top pitching prospect Jonathan Loaisiga to the mound to face off with the one who got away, Gerrit Cole for the Astros. Tonight, we have a little bit of a later start for us on the East Coast, so let’s get to it here in Houston.

Loaisiga took a no-decision in his first start of the season, limiting the Detroit Tigers to just one hit in four innings of work. This will be the first time that Loaisiga has faced the Astros in his career and this will be the second start of the season for the Yankees top pitching prospect.

Cole has been the tough luck loser in both of his starts already this season, posting an 0-2 record with just a 3.00 ERA and 19 strikeouts. Let’s hope the third time is not the charm tonight for Cole and the Astros.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park in Houston and can be seen on the YES Network locally and ESPN nationwide. You can also follow along with the game on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. You can also follow along on MLB TV, where I will be watching the game tonight myself. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 9th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!!

Mickey Mantle hit a home run an in exhibition game at the Astrodome on April 9, 1965, making him the first player to ever hit a home run indoors in Major League Baseball history.

And a special good morning to my amazing wife, Kari. I love you more than words could ever express, and I always will.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/9: Joe Torre Re-Signs w/ Yankees

On this day in 2004 the New York Yankees and manager Joe Torre agreed on a new three year deal, a three year pact that would be his last in Yankees pinstripes. The deal also included an additional six year deal in which the 62 year old manager would become a team adviser through the 2013 season.

Also on this day in 1965 the Houston Astros opened the first domed stadium when they hosted the New York Yankees at the Astrodome. During the opening ceremonies 24 astronauts threw 24 ceremonial first pitches in the "Eight Wonder of the World" as the Colt .45's became the Astros.

Finally on this day in 1963 Yogi Berra made an appearance on the television soap opera General Hospital as Dr. Lawrence Berra, a brain surgeon. Yogi did this as a favor to former Indians infielder Johnny Berardino, now known as Johnny Beradino who played Dr. Steve Hardy on the soap.

Monday, April 8, 2019

MLB Power Rankings: Week 1

1. Los Angeles Dodgers

Record: 8-2
Offensive standouts: UTL Enrique Hernandez (.367 AVG, .474 OBP, and 3 HRs in 38 PAs), C/UTL Russell Martin (.417 AVG, .556 OBP, and 1 HR in 18 PAs), and 1B/OF Cody Bellinger (.455 AVG, .489 OBP, and 7 HRs in 47 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Hyun-Jin Ryu (9 K/9, 0 BB/9, and 2.08 ERA in 13 IP), RP Kenley Jansen (10.13 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 5.1 IP), and SP Julio Urias (9.35 K/9, 4.15 BB/9, and 3.12 ERA in 8.2 IP)
The Dodgers offense has proven to be unstoppable. They are hitting tons and tons of HRs and their offense is so deep. If Kershaw can come back healthy, there’s no stopping this Dodgers team.

2. Houston Astros

Record: 5-5
Offensive standouts: OF George Springer (.300 AVG, .356 OBP, and 3 HRs in 45 PAs) and 3B Alex Bregman (.343 AVG, .415 OBP, and 1 HR in 41 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Gerrit Cole (14.25 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, and 3.00 ERA in 12 IP), SP Collin McHugh (10.64 K/9, 3.27 BB/9, and 2.45 ERA in 11 IP), and SP Wade Miley (6.17 K/9, 1.54 BB/9, and 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP)
The Astros are on a three game win streak, having picked up a must needed sweep against the A’s. The offense, who has struggled thus far, is in the midst of waking up (scored fifteen runs in last two games after scoring only 18 in the seven games prior). Ultimately, this a team who should contend for a World Series, as their strong in virtually every facet of the game (especially the rotation). 

3. New York Yankees

Record: 5-4
Offensive standouts: 3B/2B DJ LeMahieu (.429 AVG, .500 OBP, and 7 runs in 32 PAs) and SS Gleyber Torres (.371 AVG, .436 OBP, and 3 HRs in 39 PAs) 
Pitching standouts: SP Domingo German (8.18 K/9, 5.73 BB/9, and 1.64 ERA in 11 IP) and SP Masahiro Tanaka (8.76 K/9, 0 BB/9, and 1.46 ERA in 12.1 IP)
After losing back to back series to the lowly Orioles and Tigers, the Yankees rebounded with a resounding series sweep of the O’s in Baltimore. As injuries continue to pile up, it becomes more and more essential that youngsters Clint Frazier, Domingo German, etc. hold the fort down to allow key veterans to fully recuperate.

4. Washington Nationals

Record: 4-4
Offensive standouts: 3B Anthony Rendon (.433 AVG, .528 OBP, 4 HR, 8 XBH, and 36 PAs), SS Trea Turner (.357 AVG, .400 OBP, and 2 HRs in 15 PAs), and OF Victor Robles (.269 AVG, .387 OBP, and 2 HRs in 31 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Stephen Strasburg (12.08 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, and 2.84 ERA in 12.2 IP) and SP Max Scherzer (13.26 K/9, 1.89 BB/9, and 3.32 ERA in 19 IP)
The Nationals are a very well rounded team (strong rotation and powerful offense), and they are coming off of a huge weekend series win against the NY Mets. Losing Trea Turner to the IL hurts, but their lineup is still very dangerous (Rendon, Soto, Robles, etc.).

5. Philadelphia Phillies 

Record: 6-2
Offensive standouts: OF Bryce Harper (.385 AVG, .556 OBP, and 3 HRs in 36 PAs), 3B Maikel Franco (.320 AVG, .500 OBP, and 3 HRs in 34 PAs), and 1B Rhys Hoskins (.346 AVG, .514 OBP, and 3 HRs in 35 PAs)
Pitching standout: SP Zach Eflin (10.50 K/9, 0.75 BB/9, and 0.75 ERA in 12 IP)
The Phillies, led by their dynamite offense, have won two of their first three series (swept Braves, split with Nationals, and took two of three from the Twins) and have launched themselves into 1st place in the NL East division despite poor showing from the bullpen. 

6. Milwaukee Brewers

Record: 8-2
Offensive standouts: OF Christian Yelich (.361 AVG, .489 OBP, and 5 HRs in 47 PAs) and OF Lorenzo Cain (.368 AVG, .432 OBP, and 5 XBH in 44 PAs)
Pitching standouts: RP Josh Hader (15.26 K/9, 1.17 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 7.2 IP) and SP Freddy Peralta (11.45 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and 3.27 ERA in 11 IP)
The Brew Crew are on a tear and are emerging as the favorites to win the NL Central. Although their pitching has been lackluster to some degree, the offense has carried the team, and the bullpen has been strong.

7. Boston Red Sox

Record: 3-8
Offensive standouts: C/UTL Blake Swihart (.375 AVG, .444 OBP, and 1 HR in 18 PAs) and OF/DH J.D. Martinez (.333 AVG, .404 OBP, and 3 HRs in 47 PAs)
Pitching standouts: RP Brandon Workman (12.6 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 5 IP)
The Red Sox west coast trip couldn’t have played out any worse. Their pitching has been terrible (ERA in the 6s) and the offense hasn’t been as strong as it was last season. In all likelihood, the reigning World Series champs will bounce back and compete for a division title with the Yankees and Rays, but you never know. 

8. Tampa Rays

Record: 7-3
Offensive standouts: 3B/UTL Yandy Diaz (.303 AVG, .395 OBP, and 3 HRs in 33 PAs) and 1B/DH Ji-Man Choi (.370 AVG and .433 OBP in 30 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Charlie Morton (11.45 K/9, 3.27 BB/9, and 1.64 ERA in 11 IP), SP Tyler Glasnow (8.18 K/9, 1.64 BB/9, and 0.82 ERA in 11 IP), and RP Jose Alvarado (15 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 6 IP)
The first week of regular season play is through, and the Rays are currently first place in the AL East. Their pitching has been instrumental to their success; their team ERA is hovering around 2.00. What could potentially hold them back is their offense though. 

9. New York Mets 

Record: 6-3
Offensive standouts: 1B Peter Alonso (.382 AVG, .432 OBP, 3 HRs, and 9 XBH in 37 PAs), UTL Jeff McNeil (.409 AVG, .519 OBP, and 3 XBH in 27 PAs), and C Wilson Ramos (.400 AVG and .419 OBP in 31 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Jacob deGrom (16.62 K/9, 1.38 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 13 IP), SP Steven Matz (9.58 K/9, 3.48 BB/9, and 0.87 ERA in 10.1 IP), and RP Edwin Diaz (12.27 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 3.2 IP)
The Mets are off to a solid start this season. Their offense and pitching have both been above average. They beat up on the Marlins (swept them) and split their 6 games against the Washington Nationals, a fellow division rival.

10. Cleveland Indians

Record: 6-3
Offensive standout: 1B Carlos Santana (.419 AVG, .486 OBP, and 1 HR in 35 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Mike Clevinger (16.5 K/9, 3 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 12 IP) and SP Trevor Bauer (10.93 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, and 0.64 ERA in 14 IP)
The Indians are coming off of a four game sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays. They’ve received very good pitching, as usual, but their offense remains quiet. The bullpen has been decent as well.

11. St. Louis Cardinals

Record: 4-5
Offensive standout: 2B Kolten Wong (.433 AVG, .486 OBP, and 3 HRs in 35 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Jack Flaherty (9.64 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, and 3.86 ERA in 9.1 IP) and RP John Brebbia (9.95 K/9, 2.84 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 6.1 IP)
The Cardinals offense and pitching has been just average so far this season. Three of their best hitters — Paul Goldschmidt, Harrison Bader, and Matt Carpenter — have all struggled. If they can put it all together, the Cardinals suddenly resemble a playoff caliber team. 

12. Atlanta Braves

Record: 5-4
Offensive standouts: 1B Freddie Freeman (.419 AVG, .561 OBP, and 1 HR in 41 PAs), 2B Ozzie Albies (.400 AVG, .475 OBP, and 1 HR in 40 PAs), and SS Dansby Swanson (.346 AVG, .471 OBP, and 3 HRs in 34 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Julio Teheran (12.6 K/9, 4.5 BB/9, and 3.60 ERA in 10 IP) and SP Kevin Gausman (9 K/9, 2.57 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 7 IP)
The Braves were blown away by the Phillies in their opening series. It seems to have served as a wakeup call, as Atlanta is victorious in five of their last six games. The offense has been formidable, but the pitching has been just okay.

13. Seattle Mariners

Record: 9-2
Offensive standouts: SS Tim Beckham (.400 AVG, .489 OBP, and 4 HRs in 47 PAs), OF Domingo Santana (.311 AVG, .415 OBP, and 4 HRs in 54 PAs), and 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.467 AVG, .579 OBP, and 4 HRs in 19 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Marco Gonzales (5.03 K/9, 1.37 K/9, and 3.20 ERA in 19.2 IP), SP Mike Leake (9.49 K/9, 1.46 BB/9, and 2.92 ERA in 12.1 IP), and RP Brandon Brennan (9.45 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 6.2 IP)
The Mariners are off and running in 2019. Run scoring is coming so easy to them right now (7.7 runs per nine innings pitched). Additionally, their pitching has been serviceable. Watch out for the Mariners, as they are already surpassing a lot of people’s expectations in 2019.

14. Oakland Athletics

Record: 6-7
Offensive standout: SS Marcus Semien (.298 AVG, .389 OBP, and 1 HR in 54 PAs)
Pitching standouts: RP Lou Trivino (11.25 K/9, 1.13 BB/9, and 2.25 ERA in 8 IP) and RP J.B. Wendelken (11.32 K/9, 0 BB/9, and 1.74 ERA in 10.1 IP)
The Athletics sit one game below .500 despite above average showings from both their pitching staff and offense. They’re lost three consecutive games (all three of which were against the Houston Astros). Expect the A’s to contend for a WC spot once again this year.

15. Minnesota Twins

Record: 5-3
Offensive standouts: SS Jorge Polanco (.387 AVG, .429 OBP, and 6 XBH in 35 PAs), C/UTL Willians Astudillo (.500 AVG, .529 OBP, 4 XBH, and 0 Ks in 17 PAs), and OF Max Kepler (.265 AVG, .324 OBP, and 2 HRs in 37 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Jose Berrios (8.59 K/9, 0.61 BB/9, and 1.84 ERA in 14.2 IP), SP Michael Pineda (10 K/9, 2 BB/9, and 2.00 ERA in 9 IP), and RP Trevor Hildenberger (15 K/9, 3 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 3 IP)
After winning four of their first five games (all of which were against division foes — three games against CLE and two games against KC), they lost two out of three to the red-hot Philadelphia Phillies. Overall, the pitching has been solid (ERA in the mid-to-low 3s), but the offense has been just mediocre (7 HRs).

16. Chicago Cubs

Record: 2-7
Offensive standouts: C Willson Contreras (.364 AVG, .517 OBP, and 3 HRs in 29 PAs), OF Jason Heyward (.333 AVG, .400 OBP, and 3 HRs in 35 PAs), and UTL Daniel Descalso (.348 AVG, .423 OBP, and 1 HR in 26 PAs)
No pitching standouts 
The Cubs have had a really tough road trip despite strong performances from a variety of position players. Perhaps even more problematic than their bullpen issues, the starting rotation has been terrible. Entering play on Sunday, the Cubs team ERA ranked dead last in the majors (7.87). They come home on Monday and open against the Pirates. This six game home-stand (also play Angels) will be very telling. 

17. Pittsburgh Pirates

Record: 5-3
Offensive standouts: OF Melky Cabrera (.391 AVG and .417 OBP in 24 PAs) and UTL Adam Frazier (.333 AVG, .429 OBP, and 1 HR in 35 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP/RP Joe Musgrove (9 K/9, 1 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 9 IP), SP Trevor Williams (6.75 K/9, 0.75 BB/9, and 2.25 ERA in 12 IP), and RP Felipe Vazquez (15.75 K/9, 2.25 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 4 IP)
The Pirates are coming off of a four-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds. Their team ERA is in the mid-2s, which has kept them in games. Watch for this trend to continue as the Pirates offense is seemingly below average. 

18. San Diego Padres

Record: 6-4
Offensive standouts: OF Hunter Renfroe (.364 AVG, .440 OBP, and 3 HRs in 25 PAs) and 3B Manny Machado (.286 AVG, .405 OBP, and 2 HRs in 42 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Joey Lucchesi (11.32 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 10.1 IP), SP Chris Paddack (11.42 K/9, 5.19 BB/9, and 1.04 ERA in 8.2 IP), and RP Kirby Yates (13.5 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, and 1.50 ERA in 6 IP)
The Padres are off to a strong start to the season, having won two of their first three series. The pitching has been solid all-around and the offense has scored just enough runs. Their success long term will be dependent on the longevity/stamina of their young starters.

19. Los Angeles Angels

Record: 4-6
Offensive standout: OF Mike Trout (.393 AVG, .581 OBP, and 5 HRs in 43 PAs)
Pitching standout: RP Ty Buttrey (15.43 K/9, 0 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 4.2 IP)
Aside from Mike Trout (also known as the best hitter in baseball), the Angels offense has been nonexistent. The pitching staff has been alright, but their overall roster depth is lacking. Their rotation holds plenty of question marks as well. 

20. Arizona Diamondbacks

Record: 5-5
Offensive standouts: OF Adam Jones (.364 AVG, .378 OBP, and 4 HRs in 46 PAs), C Alex Avila (.333 AVG, .524 OBP, and 2 HRs in 21 PAs), and OF David Peralta (.413 AVG, .413 OBP, 1 HR, and 9 XBH in 46 PAs)
Pitching standouts: RP Greg Holland (12 K/9, 0 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 3 IP) and SP Merrill Kelly (7.71 K/9, 1.29 BB/9, and 2.57 ERA in 14 IP)
All in all, the Diamondbacks pitching has been disappointing, but the offense has stepped up to the plate, scoring runs at a remarkable rate (6.1 runs per nine innings — top 5 in the majors). The question is, can they sustain it?

21. Colorado Rockies

Record: 3-7
Offensive standout: OF David Dahl (.343 AVG, .385 OBP, and 2 HRs in 39 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Kyle Freeland (11.57 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, and 2.31 ERA in 11.2 IP) and SP German Marquez (9.69 K/9, 4.15 BB/9, and 0.69 ERA in 13 IP)
The Rockies have really struggled in the early going of the 2019 campaign. The pitching staff has not performed, aside from Freeland and Marquez. The offense is in a slump right now and to add insult to injury, the Rockies best hitter right now, David Dahl, had to leave Sunday’s game due to injury. 

22. Detroit Tigers

Record: 7-3
Offensive standout: RF Nicholas Castellanos (.289 AVG, .386 OBP, and 5 XBH in 44 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Matt Boyd (18.26 K/9, 3.18 BB/9, and 3.18 ERA in 11.1 IP), SP Jordan Zimmermann (6.59 K/9, 0.66 B/9, and 0.66 ERA in 13.2 IP), and SP Matt Moore (8.1 K/9, 0.9 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 10 IP)
The Tigers are on a roll, having won five consecutive games (coming off a series sweep of Kansas City), and their pitching has been incredible, overshadowing their nonexistent offense. Not a single Tiger hitter has a batting AVG of at least .300. 

23. Toronto Blue Jays

Record: 3-8
Offensive standout: SS Freddy Galvis (.324 AVG, .378 OBP, and 3 HRs in 37 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Matt Shoemaker (9.64 K/9, 1.93 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 14 IP), SP Marcus Stroman (8.68 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, and 2.41 ERA in 18.2 IP), and SP Trent Thornton (12.66 K/9, 1.69 BB/9, and 1.69 ERA in 10.2 IP)
After splitting their opening series against the Tigers, the Blue Jays have gone on to lose six of their previous seven games (they just got swept by Cleveland). The offense (only scored twenty-nine runs) has completely let down the pitching staff, who has put up a sub-three ERA. Unless the offense wakes up, you’re looking at a 90+ loss team. 

24. Texas Rangers

Record: 5-5
Offensive standouts: 3B/OF Joey Gallo (.250 AVG, .447 OBP, and 4 HRs in 38 PAs) and SS Elvis Andrus (.366 AVG, .381 OBP, and 1 HR in 42 PAs)
No pitching standouts
The Rangers have produced offensively but have pitched poorly. Their pitching staff leaves a whole lot to be desired, and it has the potential to completely disintegrate. This team will only go as far as the rotation takes them. 

25. Cincinnati Reds

Record: 1-8
No offensive standouts
Pitching standouts: SP Luis Castillo (12.08 K/9, 4.97 BB/9, and 1.42 ERA in 12.2 IP), SP Taylor Mahle (7.5 K/9, 0 BB/9, 0.00 ERA in 6 IP), and RP Amir Garrett (12.46 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, and 0.00 ERA in 4.1 IP)
The Reds are playing awful right now. Their pitching has been decent, but their offense has been the worst in the major leagues (they have scored twenty-one runs and are averaging just over two runs per game). I simply don’t see them climbing out of the hole they’ve dug for themselves. 

26. San Francisco Giants

Record: 3-7
No offensive standouts
Pitching standouts: SP Madison Bumgarner (9 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, and 1.38 ERA in 13 IP)
The Giants pitching has been surprisingly decent, led by ace starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, but the offense has not been able to carry its load. The Giants are in a tough division, and I have hard time seeing them finish ahead of the Dodgers or Padres (or the Rockies or D-Backs for that matter).

27. Miami Marlins

Record: 3-7
Offensive standouts: C Jorge Alfaro (.280 AVG, .333 OBP, and 3 HRs in 27 PAs) and 3B Martin Prado (.476 AVG and .522 OBP in 23 PAs)
Pitching standouts: SP Sandy Alcantara (4.5 K/9, 3.75 BB/9, and 1.50 ERA in 12 IP), SP Caleb Smith (12.27 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, and 4.09 ERA in 11 IP), and RP Nick Anderson (20.77 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, and 2.08 ERA in 4.1 IP)
The Miami Marlins young rotation flashes excellent potential, but Pablo Lopez and Jose Urena have disappointed early on. The offense has been stagnant most of the time. As a team, they’re trending downwards, having lost five of their previous six games. 

28. Chicago White Sox

Record: 3-5
Offensive standouts: SS Tim Anderson (.560 AVG, .577 OBP, and 2 HRs in 26 PAs) and 2B Yoan Moncada (.353 AVG, .405 OBP, and 2 HRs in 37 PAs)
Pitching standout: SP Carlos Rodon (11.91 K/9, 1.59 BB/9, and 1.59 ERA in 11.1 IP)
The White Sox pitching, quite frankly, has been atrocious. Their offense has been okay. On a positive note, Yoan Moncada and Tim Anderson have both performed exceptionally well early on this season.

29. Baltimore Orioles

Record: 4-5
Offensive standout: 1B/OF Trey Mancini (.333 AVG, .359 OBP, and 4 HRs in 39 PAs)
Pitching standout: SP/RP David Hess (8.1 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, and 2.70 ERA in 13.1 IP)
The Orioles couldn’t have started the year off any better in taking back to back series from the Yankees and Blue Jays, but they have collapsed ever since, losing four consecutive games (three of which to the Yankees at home). With a team ERA north of five and a middling offense, expect things to go south.

30. Kansas Royals 

Record: 2-6
Offensive standout: 2B Whit Merrifield (.324 AVG, .361 OBP, and 4 XBH in 36 PAs)
No pitching standouts
The Royals were undefeated two games into the season. Now, they stand four games below .500, having spiraled downwards (losing six consecutive games) big time. Their most notable weakness is their bullpen, which has blown multiple games.