Monday, February 18, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Aaron Judge

The 2019 Yankees, much like the 2018 and 2017 versions, will live and die by the towering presence in right field named Aaron Judge. This is my opinion only, but I have a sneaking suspicion that I am not going to be the only person who really thinks so. Judge is a beast with the bat and a stellar defender with a rocket for an arm out in right field, but he is also the heart and soul of the team. As Judge goes, the team goes, so let’s get reacquainted with the man that will tow the line for the New York Yankees all season long here in 2019. Mr. Aaron Judge everybody.

Aaron Judge, 26-years old, is a right-handed hitting and throwing right fielder for the New York Yankees. While in the minor leagues Judge was used as a center fielder and left fielder as well, showing a familiarity with all three outfield positions throughout his MLB and professional career. Judge is going to strike out a lot, but he is also going to hit home runs a lot and drive in runs a lot while hitting around the .280 mark, if history is any indicator of his future.

Aaron James Judge was born on April 26, 1992 in Linden, California where he was adopted the day after he was born by Patty and Wayne Judge. Both of Aaron’s parents were school teachers. Judge attended Lindgren High School where he was a three-sport star. Judge was a pitcher and a first baseman for the baseball team, a wide receiver for the football team, and was a center for the basketball team. Judge excelled at all three sports, but he especially caught the eye of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Stanford Cardinals in college football, both wanted Judge to play tight end, as well as the Oakland Athletics and Fresno State University. The Oakland Athletics selected Judge in the 31st round of the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft, but instead Judge opted to go to college and play baseball for the Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team. Judge slugged his way to a WAC tournament title and College Baseball Home Run Derby, among other accolades, through the 2013 season before the New York Yankees drafted the right fielder in the first round of the 2013 MLB Draft, 32nd overall. Judge signed with the Yankees for $1.8 million and began his professional career with the club in 2014.

By 2015, the Yankees invited Judge to the spring training camp and also had their right fielder at the highest minor league level of Triple-A. Judge represented the Yankees in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, but the team kept him out of their batch of September call ups due to a roster crunch. Judge was chosen as a 2016 Triple-A All Star but opted not to play in the game after spraining his knee earlier in the season. Judge, instead, got healthy and took the time off, hoping for a call up to the Major League level, a call that would come on August 13, 2016. Judge made his MLB debut against the Tampa Bay Rays that day and hit a home run in his first at-bat, just one at-bat after Tyler Austin, also making his MLB debut, also hit a home run in his first MLB at-bat. This was the first time a pair of teammates hit home runs in their first career at-bats in the same game. Judge was named the Yankees Opening Day starting right fielder for the 2017 season, and the beginning of a special season took off almost immediately.

The Yankees debuted a cheering section in the right field seats in 2017 called “The Judge’s Chambers” on May 22 after Judge won AL Rookie of the Month in April. Judge won the award again during the month of May en route to being voted as the starting right fielder for the American League in the 2017 All-Star Game. Judge broke the Yankees rookie record for most home runs in a season when he hit his 30th home run, passing Joe DiMaggio and became just the second rookie ever, the first being Mark McGwire, to have 30 home runs before the All-Star break. Judge won the 2017 Home Run Derby and even passed McGwire for the most home runs by a rookie in a single season when he hit his 49th and 50th home runs on September 25. Judge led the Yankees to the AL Wild Card, an eventual win over the Minnesota Twins, and within one game of the 2017 World Series before ultimately falling to the Houston Astros in the seventh game of the ALCS. Judge was unanimously voted as the American League Rookie of the Year in 2017 and also finished 2nd in the AL MVP Award vote behind Houston’s Jose Altuve.

Judge was back to prove that there wouldn’t be a sophomore slump, and he did just that in 2018 for the New York Yankees. Judge was once again a starting outfielder in the 2018 MLB All-Star Game, although the Yankees right fielder chose to skip the Home Run Derby this season. Judge wondered if a shoulder injury that required surgery the previous offseason was caused by participating in the 2017 Derby but skipping the event would not keep Judge off the disabled list in 2018. Judge was struck on the wrist by Kansas City Royals starter Jakob Junis, causing Judge to miss two months with the injury. Judge led the Yankees past the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 AL Wild Card Game, but the Yankees fell just short in the ALDS against the eventual World Series champion Boston Red Sox, ending their season prematurely.

Here are a few of the New York Yankees and general MLB records that Judge already holds in his young career, shout out to Wikipedia for these:

New York Yankees franchise records[edit]

  • Most home runs in a season hit at home: 33 (Babe Ruth held the record with 32).
  • Most home runs in a season by a rookie: 52 (Joe DiMaggio held the record with 29)[95]
  • First right-handed hitter in Yankees history with at least 100 RBIs, 100 runs scored and 100 walks in a single season
  • Fifth player in franchise history to start an All-Star Game in the first two seasons. (Following Babe RuthLou GehrigJoe DiMaggio, and Lefty Gomez.
  • Most home runs (4) in the first seven home playoff games, tying Reggie Jackson (1977–78).

MLB records[edit]

  • Most home runs by a rookie, 52 (Mark McGwire held record with 49)[96]
  • Measured exit velocity of 121.1 miles per hour (194.9 km/h), again setting a new record for the hardest ever measured by Statcast. (June 10, 2017)[97]
  • Holds the MLB record for striking out in 37 consecutive games. (2017)[98]
  • Holds the MLB record for most strikeouts by a rookie with 208.
  • Holds the MLB record for most walks by a rookie with 127.
  • First rookie in MLB history with at least 45 home runs, 100 RBIs and 100 runs scored.[99]
  • Most golden sombreros in postseason play since 1903.[100]
  • Fastest to reach 60 home runs (197 games)[101]

Will Judge add any this year in 2019? I surely think so, but you will just have to stay tuned to find out. All Rise, because here comes the Judge.

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Troy Tulowitzki

The New York Yankees signed one of the best shortstops to play the game during my lifetime, but the problem is the team did it about five years too late in my opinion. I say this not trying to be down on Troy Tulowitzki, but I will preface that by saying that Troy has a lot to prove this season in the health department. On January 4, 2019 the Yankees announced that they would sign Tulo for a league minimum deal worth $555k with a full no-trade clause to be their starting shortstop until Didi Gregorius returns from the 60-day disabled list. AJ Cole was designated for assignment, which was news enough for me with the deal, and the Tulo era in the Bronx officially began… so let’s meet him. Your 2019 Opening Day shortstop for the New York Yankees, Mr. Troy Tulowitzki.

Tulo, 34-years old, is a right-handed batter and throwing shortstop that stands 6’3” and weighs in at 205 lbs. Tulo did not play at all in 2018 after a pair of heel injuries ended his season prematurely and will look to play more than the 66 games he played in 2017 with the Toronto Blue Jays here in 2018 with the New York Yankees.

Troy Trevor Tulowitzki was born on October 10, 1984 in Santa Clara, California. Tulo graduated from Fremont High School in Sunnyvale, California where he earned four varsity letters in baseball and another two in basketball. Tulo was also All-State twice in baseball and was a three-time MVP award winner with the school including his junior season when he batted .536 and also pitched to a 15-1 record. After High School, Tulo enrolled at California State University, Long Beach where he played college baseball for the Long Beach State Dirtbags. Tulo won many accolades and awards while with the Dirtbags and eventually caught the eyes of the Colorado Rockies who chose Tulo seventh overall in the first round of the 2005 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft.

Tulo signed and was immediately assigned to the Rockies minor league system where his professional career took off. By 2006, Tulo had already reached Double-A with the Tulsa Drillers and also appeared in the 2006 All-Star Futures Game. By the end of August, after just 126 minor league games, the Rockies promoted Tulo to the major leagues to make his debut against the New York Mets. Tulo finished the 2006 season out with Colorado and headed into the spring of 2007 competing for the starting shortstop job with incumbent Clint Barmes. Tulo would not only win the job that spring, but he would also win the team’s spring training MVP award. Tulo set an MLB record for fielding percentage as a rookie with a .987 FLD% and finished second in the National League’s Rookie of the Year Award to Ryan Braun by two points despite leading all rookies in many key categories. Before winning the award, though, he led the Rockies into the postseason and past the San Diego Padres in a Wild Card tie-breaker game. The Rockies faced off with the Phillies and swept them in the NLDS before sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS to advance to the World Series. Unfortunately, the Rockies had to face off with the red-hot Boston Red Sox in the World Series and would ultimately be swept away in four games.

After just one season the Rockies had seen enough to commit a six-year deal and $31 million to their starting shortstop including a club option for the 2014 season. Tulo looked to repeat his great season in 2008, but unfortunately, he would see the injury bug in April after tearing his left quadriceps tendon against the San Francisco Giants. Tulo returned on June 20th of that season only to head back to the disabled list on July 5, 2008 with a laceration in his palm. Tulo returned 15 days later and completed his 2008 season falling short of the expectations set by the previous year in Colorado. Tulo finished 5th in the voting for the NL MVP Award in 2009 before a fractured wrist ended his season in June of 2010. Tulo was named to the NL All-Star Game in 2010 after fracturing his wrist, but he was ultimately replaced by Jose Reyes since he could not participate in the game inside Angels Stadium. Tulo finished 5th in the MVP voting again in 2010 and the Rockies shortstop also won his first Gold Glove Award. Tulo was once again rewarded with an extension by the Rockies after the season as well after a strong campaign. After the 2010 season the Colorado Rockies gave Tulo another six-year extension, on top of the three-years he already had remaining on his contract along with his option for a fourth year, worth $120 million.

Tulo returned to the All-Star Game in 2011 after being chosen as a reserve player. This time an injury to Jose Reyes of the Mets allowed Tulo to start the game in Phoenix, Arizona. Tulo finished the 2011 season with his second consecutive Gold Glove Award as well as his second consecutive Silver Slugger Award as well. Tulo looked to continue his string of great play for the Rockies, but a groin injury that occurred on May 30, 2012 ended his season after just 47 games. Tulo made a return to the NL All-Star team in 2013 despite missing 25 games with a fractured rib, but the shortstop saw his 2014 season end prematurely again due to injury on July 20. Tulo underwent a labral repair surgery in his left hip after the game which ended his season after just 91 games. Tulo returned in 2015 and made his fifth All-Star game as a Rockies player, replacing Dee Gordon, and was batting .300 with 12 home runs and 53 RBI in 87 games before being traded along with LaTroy Hawkins to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Jose Reyes, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco.

Tulo was angry with Rockies GM Jeff Bridich at the time of the trade and vowed to never speak to him or other members of the Rockies front office after keeping their shortstop in the dark about the trade until it was finalized. Tulo vowed to let playing for a contender revitalize his career. Tulo missed time with a cracked shoulder blade after the trade, but was able to return before the postseason, helping lead the Blue Jays to the American League Championship Series against the Kansas City Royals. Toronto would ultimately end up losing the series to the eventual champion Kansas City Royals, but the Blue Jays were presumably excited about their chances of returning to the postseason in 2016 with Tulo playing shortstop for them. Tulo struggled for the Jays in 2016 and missed 20 games due to a right quad strain while the Blue Jays finished second in the AL East, missing the postseason. Tulo remained injured in 2017, missing all but 66 games due to various injuries including a hamstring injury and a right ankle sprain that eventually was diagnosed as ankle ligament damage. That same right ankle kept Tulo out of spring training camp with the Blue Jays in 2018 after bone spurs required surgery.

Before the 2019 season the Blue Jays released Tulo from the remaining two-years and $38 million on his contract, thus making him a free agent. Tulo held a workout for all teams to attend and caught the eyes of many scouts and GM’s including the GM of the New York Yankees, Brian Cashman. The Yankees signed Tulo to a one-year deal at the league minimum and included a full no-trade clause in the contract to be the team’s starting shortstop until Didi Gregorius returned from having Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow.

Welcome to the organization, finally, and welcome to the family, Tulo. Do us proud!

Meet the 2019 Yankees: DJ LeMahieu

On January 14th, 2019 the New York Yankees signed second baseman DJ LeMahieu to a two-year deal worth $24 million. While many said the deal came out of nowhere, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I called it back on October of 2018. I saw something in DJ early on and the New York Yankees obviously did as well, so let’s meet our 2019 New York Yankees. DJ LeMahieu, everybody.

LeMahieu, 30-years old, stands 6’4” and weighs in at 215 lbs. LeMahieu bats from the right side and throws from the right side and will likely be the Yankees starting second baseman for much of the 2019 season, although the Yankees have already instructed DJ to bring “a lot of gloves” with him as the team plans to play him all over the infield.

David John LeMahieu was born on July 13, 1988 in Visalia, California. LeMahieu’s parents moved him and his family out to Michigan where DJ attended Brother Rice High School in Bloomfield Township, Oakland County, Michigan. While at the school, DJ played shortstop and pitched for the school’s baseball team before committing to the LSU Tigers at Louisiana State. As a senior, the Detroit Tigers drafted LeMahieu in the 41st round of the 2007 MLB First Year Players Draft. LeMahieu decided to not sign with Detroit and head to LSU to begin his collegiate career. While at LSU LeMahieu was moved to his natural position of second base during the 2009 season. LeMahieu led the LSU Tigers to the postseason and all the way to the College World Series in 2009 before winning the National Championship and 2009 College World Series All-Tournament Team honors.

The wave of emotions was not done during 2009, not by a long shot, as the Chicago Cubs came calling in the second round, 79th overall, of the 2009 MLB First Year Players Draft. LeMahieu signed with Chicago and officially began his professional career with the Peoria Chiefs. LeMahieu remained in the Cubs organization through the 2011 season until Chicago traded their second baseman, along with Tyler Colvin, to the Colorado Rockies for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart. LeMahieu would make his MLB debut with the Rockies the next season after Colorado called DJ up on May 23, 2012 and would remain in the majors after a strong rookie campaign.

LeMahieu would win his first National League Gold Glove Award in 2014 with 16 defensive runs saved for the Rockies. DJ followed that up by being named the National League’s starting second baseman for the All-Star Game in 2015, his first selection to the Mid-Summer Classic, and his first National League batting title in 2016 hitting .348. LeMahieu made another trip to the All-Star Game in 2017, replacing injured second baseman Dee Gordon, while also winning the Fielding Bible Award as well this season. LeMahieu would win his second National League Gold Glove Award in 2018 before hitting the free agent market this winter.

LeMahieu is a great defensive player and a player with opposite field power and control, both of which will fit in well with the Yankees and inside Yankee Stadium. In my opinion we could see LeMahieu hit 20+ home runs this season while hitting at or above the .300 mark while providing Gold Glove Award winning defense all over the field, especially at second base.

DJ, welcome to the organization, welcome to the team, welcome to the big lights and the big city, but most importantly… welcome to the family. 2019 is World Series or bust for New York and their fans, so no pressure.

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for February 18th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!!

What Yankees player holds the World Series record for the following categories: games, at-bats and hits - and is tied for the all-time lead in doubles?

Highlight below to see the answer, and leave your answer in the comments section

Yogi Berra

And a special good morning to you my wife, my love, my everything.