Friday, February 22, 2019

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Domingo German

The New York Yankees caught some lightning in a bottle last season when the team called up a young started named Domingo German to make some spot starts for the team. German was consistently inconsistent, but when he was on the Yankees young right-hander showed flashes of absolute brilliance and dominance at the Major League level. If German can put it all together and pitch like that 25-30 times a season the Yankees starting rotation may be borderline unfair, in the very best way possible, so let’s meet the man that will look to take that next step this season towards greatness. Domingo German, come on down.

Domingo German, 26-years old, is a right-handed starting pitcher inside the New York Yankees organization that relies on five pitches to keep opposing hitters off-balanced. German possesses an 82 MPH curveball, a 95 MPH four-seam fastball, a 95 MPH sinker, an 88 MPH changeup, and a rarely thrown 93 MPH cutter. German’s curveball is a 12-6 curveball that generates a ton of swings and misses on the pitch. German is prone to giving up the flyball, and subsequently the home run ball inside Yankee Stadium III, but also strikes out enough to get by when he is on.

Domingo German Polanco was born on August 4, 1992 in San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic where he was signed as an international free agent in 2009 by the Florida Marlins. German made his professional debut in 2010 and was selected to represent the Marlins in the All-Star Futures Game in 2014. After the 2014 season the Marlins, along with Nathan Eovaldi and Garrett Jones, traded German to the New York Yankees for Martin Prado and David Phelps. German would not pitch for the Yankees in 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery and was promptly non-tendered after the season. The Yankees signed German to a new minor league deal following the season and added him back to the 40-man roster following the 2016 season.

The Yankees promoted German to the Major Leagues on Jun 10, 2017 and watched as he made his MLB debut the next day against the Baltimore Orioles. German pitched out of relief for seven appearances for New York in 2017, posting an 0-1 record with a 3.14 ERA. German was back on the Major Leagues on May 6, 2018 as a starter against the Cleveland Indians, pitching six no-hit innings while allowing two walks and striking out nine. German made 13 starts for New York in 2018 and posted a 2-6 record with a 5.68 ERA before being optioned to Triple-A on July 21.

German will look to pitch much better in 2019 and could be an integral part to the Yankees bullpen and rotation going forward this season. We want “good” German in 2019, and not the German that seemingly struggled in every other start and appearance that we saw last season. Baby steps, I’m not worried and I am totally confident that we will see just that this season. Good luck!

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Stephen Tarpley

Stephen Tarpley came up last season for the New York Yankees to help solidify the bullpen as a left-handed option for manager Aaron Boone. Tarpley is not a name you heard a lot about in 2018, but he did a lot to impress me as a fan and I am extremely excited to see what he can bring to the table here in 2019. Honestly, I think he wins a spot out of spring training, but that is nothing more than that, speculation. He will have to stay healthy and earn the spot this spring, but his arm and his stuff is ready for the big stage and the MLB level. For those who know him, you know that, but for those who don’t, let’s meet him. Stephen Tarpley, everyone.

Stephen Tarpley, 26-years old, is a left-handed relief pitcher for the New York Yankees and a right-handed bat that is under team control through the 2024 season. Tarpley is 6’1” and weighs 235 lbs. and is still considered to have his rookie status through the 2019 season. Tarpley brings a 92 MPH sinker, a 93 MPH four-seam fastball, a 79 MPH curve ball and a rarely thrown 86 MPH changeup with him in his bag of tricks every time he walks up to Yankee Stadium. Tarpley is flyball prone, which is odd given that he is primarily a sinker pitcher, but he neutralizes left-handed hitters well enough to earn a spot on most teams in their bullpen.

Stephen Tarpley was born on February 17, 1993 in Los Angeles, California. Tarpley attended Gilbert High School in Gilbert, Arizona where the Cleveland Indians drafted him in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB First Year Players Draft. Tarpley did not sign and instead attended the University of South Carolina to play baseball for the Trojans. After one year at USC, Tarpley transferred to Scottsdale Community College where the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the third round of the 2013 MLB Draft. Baltimore gave Tarpley a $525,000 signing bonus and assigned him to the Gulf Coast Orioles to begin his professional career.

On January 27, 2015 the Orioles traded Tarpley to the Pittsburgh Pirates along with a player-to-be-named-later, for Travis Snider. Tarpley pitched well for Pittsburgh, catching the eye of Yankees GM Brian Cashman who swung a trade for him along with Tito Polo for Ivan Nova. Tarpley pitched well for New York in 2017, posting a 7-0 record with an 0.88 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 18 relief appearances between Tampa and Double-A Trenton.

Tarpley began the 2018 season in Double-A, but quickly earned the promotion to Triple-A before being called up as a September call-up on September 1. Tarpley pitched in 10 regular season games for the Yankees and even earned a spot on their postseason roster, pitching one inning in Game Two of the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox.

Tarpley will look to earn a spot out of spring in 2019 at the Major League level, and honestly, I think that he will. Good luck to you, Stephen!

Baseball Writer Nick Cafardo Passes Away...

One of America’s Best MLB Writers Gone Too Soon…

I know this is a Yankees blog but we have to give a hat tip to the late Nick Cafardo, a baseball columnist for The Boston Globe. Cafardo died yesterday of an embolism at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Florida while covering Red Sox Spring Training. He was not scheduled to work yet there he was covering the game he loved. 

Although I did not know Cafardo personally, I am very heartbroken over his passing. Every weekend, I made time in my day to read his Sunday Baseball Notes. For me, it was required reading. Cafardo may have been a lifelong Red Sox fan but I always felt that he never sugarcoated the Red Sox and he never unfairly discredited the Yankees. If the term ‘Yankees Suck’ was part of his vocabulary, it never appeared in any written form that I saw. I didn’t read the Sunday Baseball Notes column because I wanted insight on the Yankees’ primary rival -- I read it because I wanted insight on Major League Baseball through the passionate eyes of a true baseball fan who understood the game better than most. I can count on one hand the number of professional MLB writers I hold in very high regard but Cafardo was one. Through so many of his colleagues, a common theme of Cafardo’s superior professionalism and high value of his friendship resonates. I know Boston is hurting over his loss, but his impact reached a Nation (United States, not just the RSN) and perhaps beyond. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Nick Carfardo, 62, began his employment with the Globe in 1989. Prior to joining the Globe, he worked for The Patriot Ledger in Quincy, MA. He covered the Red Sox until 2001 when he switched to the NFL’s New England Patriots. It coincided with the first Super Bowl Championship for Head Coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady. Cafardo has been back on the baseball beat for the last 15 years. I am not sure when I first started reading Cafardo’s work, or how I even became aware of him, but he’s been a staple for me for many years. I appreciated and valued his insight as told through an objective and impartial lens.

The Red Sox released the following statement:

We are saddened by the sudden loss of long-time baseball reporter, Nick Cafardo. For over three decades, Nick was a fixture at Fenway Park and throughout ballparks across the country. His coverage was as consistent as the game itself. His opinions on the Red Sox and the most pressing issues facing Major League Baseball were a constant, particularly through the prominent Sunday baseball notes column in the Boston Globe. 

The Cafardo family will always be a part of the Boston baseball family, and the Red Sox will honor Nick's legacy at the appropriate time.

Boston mayor Marty Walsh probably said it best, “Nick Cafardo was a man who talent, enthusiasm, and contribution to Boston’s sports coverage was incomparable and something that I always enjoyed reading”. Me too, Marty. Even though I didn’t know him outside of his words, there’s a huge void in my life today. I am sure many feel the same way. 

Cafardo is survived by his wife, Leeanne, and two children, Emilee and Ben. Ben is a communications director for ESPN. 

He will be missed.

As for the Yankees, the first Spring Game is nearly here. The Yankees travel to Fort Myers to play the Red Sox tomorrow. Nestor Cortes, a non-roster invitee, gets the opening nod to start the game. Cortes, attending his first Yankees MLB Camp, was wearing a Baltimore Orioles spring jersey this time last year as a Rule 5 Draft selection. I remember a few of his starts last March for Baltimore and I am excited that he’ll be doing it for the Yankees this Spring. I know he’s not a top prospect but I’ve always liked the lefty. I doubt he ever gets an opportunity in the Bronx unless injuries force the Yankees’ hand. Most likely, he’ll need to go to another team to get his shot. Hopefully with his performance tomorrow and over the next few weeks, he can open some eyes even if they don’t belong to Yankee scouts. 

Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media for reported that Miguel Andujar, Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks, and Gleyber Torres will be making the trip to JetBlue Park. It’s also been reported that Clint Frazier, Kyle Higashioka and Estevan Florial will be there. Otherwise, I expect to see the lower end of the 40-man roster and the non-roster invitees on the field in the first meeting of the two AL East Superpowers. Go Trey Amburgey, Phillip Diehl and Billy Burns! Despite who may or may not be on the field for the Yankees, I know I’ll be watching and look forward to the first organized, albeit unofficial, game of the year for America’s best team (the visitors, not the home team). The soon-to-be dethroned World Champions play their first game today against Northeastern University. 

I know it’s way too early to get excited but I loved seeing that Adam Ottavino struck out the four batters he faced yesterday, including Tyler Wade twice. Afterwards, Wade said, “Think about how nasty he is in highlights. Then times that by a lot.” I had wanted the Yankees to re-sign David Robertson but I’ve never once been disappointed that they signed Otto (and re-signed Zack Britton) instead of bringing back D-Rob. I think Otto is going to be one of my favorite relievers this year.  I am glad he’s a Yankee.

Photo Credit: Lynne Sladky-The Associated Press
Randy Miller of NJ Advance Media for had a nice column today about Miguel Andujar. In it, he quotes Willie Randolph saying, “I think he (Andujar) can be above average at third base.” Randolph added, “Listen, if you give me average defense, I’ll take that because the way he can hit. I think he’s going to be a batting champion one day.” Nice job by Randy and good read for Andujar naysayers. I know that I am hopeful we’ll be seeing Andujar dancing at third base this year. 

As always, Go Yankees!

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for February 22nd, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!

What Yankees hurler holds the record for the most consecutive scoreless innings in World Series play?

Highlight below to reveal the answer, but leave your comments in the comments section (without Google please) and let's have some fun with it.

Whitey Ford, who threw 33 straight scoreless innings in the World Series from the 1960 World Series until the 1962 World Series.

I love you my amazing wife, Kari!

Meet the 2019 Yankees: Clint Frazier

Clint Frazier doesn’t want to be called “Red Thunder” anymore and has taken on the nickname of “The Wildling” this offseason. His new nickname goes along with his new drive to stay on the field, stay healthy, and produce for the New York Yankees in 2019. Will that translate? There’s only one way to find out, we have to tune in throughout the 2019 season, but until then let’s check in with the man I personally nicknamed “Red Squad” earlier in the winter. Clint Frazier, your starting left fielder for the New York Yankees if he gets his way.

Clint Frazier, 24-years old, is a right-handed hitting and throwing outfielder for the New York Yankees that was brought over in the trade with the Cleveland Indians for Andrew Miller. Clint played a lot of center field in the Minor Leagues for both clubs and possesses an impressive bat speed that allows him to reach and make contact on pitches that many others cannot effectively. Clint’s biggest issue, offensively speaking, is his ability to attack breaking pitches, but if he ever figures that out, he could truly become the special kind of prospect and player that he was projected to be when the Yankees acquired him a couple years ago.

Clint Jackson Frazier was born on September 6, 1994 in Loganville, Georgia to Mark and Kim Frazier. Frazier attended Loganville High School where he played baseball with fellow major league player Austin Meadows. As a junior in 2012, Frazier won the Jackie Robinson Award given to the Perfect Game national Player of the Year. Frazier later won the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year as a senior before committing to the University of Georgia. Despite being committed to the University of Georgia Bulldogs baseball team, Clint ultimately signed with the Cleveland Indians and forewent that commitment after the team drafted him fifth overall in the 2013 MLB First Year Players Draft.

Clint spent time working his way through the Indians organization until July 31, 2016 when Cleveland sent Frazier, Justus Sheffield, Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen to the New York Yankees for Andrew Miller. Clint finished the 2016 season down in Triple-A with Scranton and started the 2017 season with the RailRiders as well until the New York Yankees promoted him to the Major Leagues on July 1, 2017. Frazier ended his season on the disabled list with a left oblique strain and did not participate in the 2017 postseason that saw the Yankees get within one game of the World Series. Frazier began the 2018 season on the disabled list with a concussion, an issue that he struggled with all season long and an issue that eventually ended his season prematurely. Now with the concussion symptoms behind him he will look to finally win a starting everyday job with the Yankees this spring.

Also, it is worth mentioning that Clint did an interview with the Short Porch podcast, and damn he is a great interview. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed. It turned me into a Clint fan immediately, if I’m being honest. Good luck to you, Clint!