Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yankees Off Night Open Thread

The Yankees are off tonight so instead of a game thread I promised a few of my friends in the comments section of the site that we would start doing more off night open threads. You asked and I forgot 100 times but I finally came through, open thread! Talk about anything, the Baltimore riots, the upcoming series with the Red Sox, Masahiro Tanaka’s forearm, anything goes. Have fun guys and enjoy the night off!

Andrew Bailey Shut Down w/ Shoulder Strain

The New York Yankees have been bringing relief pitcher Andrew Bailey along for parts of two seasons now and when the team thought they were finally close to getting him back they have to shut him down. Bailey has been shut down and had an MRI on his throwing shoulder that showed a slight strain. There is no word on how long this will keep him out but considering everything the Yankees have invested in him for two years I'd say it will be longer than necessary.

Bailey was close to being activated after finally pitching in back to back games and has come in to start fresh innings as well as in the middle of innings. Bailey had hurdled every challenge before the strain slowed him down so let's hope it's a small bump in the road and he gets back on the mound sooner rather than later.

Highly-Touted Aguilar Joins RiverDogs

Highly-Touted Aguilar Joins RiverDogs

Infielder promoted to Charleston; Valerio transferred to Extended Spring Training

CHARLESTON, SC - The New York Yankees have announced that infielder Angel Aguilar has been added to the Charleston RiverDogs roster and that infielder Allen Valerio has been transferred from Charleston’s roster to extended spring training.

Aguilar was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2012 and embarks on his fourth season in professional baseball. The Venezuela-native played in 39 games with the GCL Yankees 2 squad and hit .311 with 11 doubles, a triple, 7 home runs and 31 RBI. He is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 22-ranked prospect in the Yankees’ organization. In his young career, the 19-year old has compiled a .267 average with 10 home runs and 79 RBI in 150 games.

Valerio leaves the RiverDogs after playing in 13 of the first 18 games this season. He hit .125 (6-for-48) with a home run and 8 RBI. He was signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in 2012 and has a career average of .254 with 14 homers and 94 RBI.

COMING UP: Charleston and Asheville square off in the opener of a three-game series today (Tuesday) beginning at 7:05 p.m. The RiverDogs are scheduled to send LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 3.52) to the hill while the Tourists send RHP Zach Jemiola (2-1, 3.00).

The RiverDogs remain on the road for three more games before they return home and play host to the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers affiliate) for a four-game series starting Friday, May 1. The homestand opens with an ISHPI Red Shirt Friday and a postgame fireworks show sponsored by Home Telecom. If you can't make it to the games, be sure to tune in and listen to the broadcast starting with the Zaxby's pregame show beginning at 7:00 p.m. on "The Big Talker" 1250 WTMA. The game can also be heard on and

Off Day Yankees Walk Up Music Recommendation

This marks the second off day for the New York Yankees that we have recommended a player’s walk up music so it’s only right that the music should come from the second batter in the Yankees lineup, Brett Gardner. The first time we did this post we led it off with Jacoby Ellsbury’s music and today we bring you Gardner’s music which is Hell on Wheels by Brantley Gilbert, whoever that is. 

Can The Yankees Keep Hitting?

The most surprising thing about the 2015 season so far is the fact that the Yankees are scoring quite a few runs. Before the season I don't think anybody thought the Yanks would be anything like the "Bombers" of the past. And when I say "Bomber", I'm not just talking about runs scored, as the 2015 Yankees are actually one home run away from being tied for having the most in all of Major League Baseball.

"Yep, this came from an actual Yankees home run."

When it comes to run production, the Yankees are currently tied for 3rd in total runs in the American League at 109, meaning they've scored 4.95 runs/game. For reference, they only scored 3.96 runs per game over the past two seasons.

So the question on my mind, and likely on the minds of many, is this... can the bats keep it up?

Well, in order to try and predict that, I decided to take a look at three statistics.

The first two are likely to sound familiar to people that have read my stuff before... Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) and Line Drive Percentage. The third one is something that I feel bad for not paying attention to before... Contact Percentage. 

Those three stats answer three key questions...

Is this guy making more or less contact than normal?

Is he hitting the ball as well as normal?

Is he getting lucky or unlucky on batted balls falling in for base hits or not?

The third question, and the stat that attempts to answer it (BABIP), isn't so "cut and dry". However, you can't deny that luck can play a part in production, so I think it's something that should be taken into account.

For example, if a hitter is making the same amount of contact as he normally does (Contact Percentage), is hitting the ball as hard as he normally does (Line Drive Percentage), and is as lucky as he normally is (BABIP), then chances are what we're seeing is what we can expect in the future.

I'm going to look at all the regular players... splitting them up into three categories. And after giving their name and numbers in the three aforementioned statistics, I'll give each a quick write-up.

They're Going To Keep It Up

Brian McCann
BABIP: .300/.283 (.231 last season) Line Drive Percentage: 21/19 (24 last season) Contact Percentage: 88.1/84.3 (86.1 last season)
- While I could see his numbers coming down, due to his BABIP and Contact% being a bit higher than normal, I don't think it'll be much.

Stephen Drew
BABIP: .163/.297 (.194 last season) Line Drive Percentage 29/21 (19 last season) Contact Percentage: 82.8/81.5 (78.8 last season)
- That low BABIP, plus the fact he's making a similar amount of contact as he normally does, may make you think brighter days are ahead fo Drew. However, his line drive percentage is going to go down a decent amount, which makes me think we'll see more of the same.

Chase Headley
BABIP: .296/.330 (.301 last season) Line Drive Percentage: 27/22 (31 last season) Contact Percentage: 76.4/77 (79.8 last season)
- I can't bring myself to believe his BABIP will go up towards the .330 it's been throughout his career. His contact rate is right in line with what we should keep seeing. And although he might not hit the ball as hard as he has so far this season, I don't see him going down much... if at all.

Brett Gardner
BABIP: .311/.266 (.256 last season) Line Drive Percentage 14/19 (22 last season) Contact Percentage: 83.5/88.5/86.5
-A rare example of somebody that's not hitting the ball hard, but has a higher than normal BABIP. Chances are both those numbers return closer to average, meaning his overall production with the bat remains the same. If you want to be optimstic, though, his contact percentage should improve, making his numbers go up a bit.

They're In For A Negative Correction

Jacoby Ellsbury
BABIP: .359/.322 (.296 last season) Line Drive Percentage 22/21 (27 last season) Contact Percentage: 87.2/87.6 (86.5 last season)
-That BABIP is just too high to continue. Adding the fact that his line drive and contact percentages are in line with his career norms makes me think his production will go down some.

Alex Rodriguez
BABIP: .282/.318 (.292 in 2013) Line Drive Percentage 32/19 (25 in 2013) Contact Percentage: 67.2/75.4 (72.2 in 2013)
-As you can see by that line drive percentage, Alex is hitting the ball very well. Unfortunately, I think it's too well to continue. When you take into account that a lower BABIP and contact rate makes sense after more than a year away from the game, I can see his production slipping some.

Chris Young
BABIP: .324/.273 (.247 last season) Line Drive Percentage: 21/18 (23 last season) Contact Percentage: 77.1/77.5 (81.2 last season)
-Did you really think Young was going to continue hitting for an OPS of .950? If it makes you feel any better, and I think it should, there's a good chance his production doesn't go down a whole hell of a lot. I mean, he'll still hit the ball as hard as he has been, and as often, it's just that a few less batted balls will fall for base hits.

They're In For A Positive Correction

Mark Teixeira
BABIP: .157/.286 (.233 last season) Line Drive Percentage: 22/20 (22 last season) Contact Percentage: 83.3/80.6 (79.3 last season)
-He's hitting the ball as hard as ever, so that BABIP tells me his numbers will go up. Perhaps he won't hit home runs at his currect clip, but he continue to contribute nicely with the bat. Mind you, his contact rate is a bit higher than normal, but it's not enough that I don't think an improvement is coming.

Didi Gregorius
BABIP: .271/.279 Line Drive Percentage: 13/25 Contact Percentage: 79.8/79 *he's young enough that I don't think it's necessary to look at his previous season
-He's not hitting the ball nearly as well as he has in previous seasons, but he's still making as much contact as ever. So while he's not getting "unlucky" when it comes to BABIP, there's reason to believe his production at the plate will go up.

Carlos Beltran
BABIP: .227/.300 (.252 last season) Line Drive Percentage: 23/20 (21 last season) Contact Percentage: 78.9/82.8 (83.9 last season)
-Watching him at the plate makes it really hard for anyone, let alone Yankees fans, to think he'll improve. But that BABIP is incredibly low, he's still hitting the ball hard, and he's not making as much contact. Add it all together, and I can't help but be optimistic about Beltran's future as a hitter.

In summary, four players should keep doing what their doing, three players should hit better, and two* should hit a little worse. If both of the guys that could get worse were hitting in the heart of the order then I might be little worried, but the ups and downs are spread throughout the order making me think that the Yankees could keep scoring like they have been. 

*I said "two" instead of "three" because one of them (Chris Young) is a part-timer, meaning his production or lack thereof shouldn't make a big different. Plus, if he's hitting poorly, his playing time will go down. The only reason I included him in this is because I was curious if he could keep hitting like he has.

How cool is that?

Twitter: Will Tanaka Pitch Again For Yankees in 2015?

The game on Tuesday night was ruined for many after news broke that Masahiro Tanaka would be heading to the 15 day DL with a small forearm strain. The calls for Brian Cashman’s head for not allowing Tanaka to get Tommy John surgery last season began almost immediately even though the elbow was reported to be unchanged in the MRI. Either way it’s a bummer to lose your #1 starter for at least a month but will the Yankees lose him for the entire year? Well I asked that very same question to our followers on Twitter and here are their responses.

To be involved in the next one of these posts, because I usually do one at least once a week, then give us a follow on Twitter (@GreedyStripes) and look out for one of my tweets. I will always inform the readers that I will use their tweet in a blog post before I use it. What say you, assuming you don’t have a Twitter or missed this tweet, will Tanaka pitch again for the Yankees this season? Leave a comment in the comments section. 

Didi Gregorius and others for Troy Tulowitzki, Would You Do It?

Let’s have a little fun this morning since there isn’t a Yankees game to get ready for and I’m frankly tired of talking about Masahiro Tanaka. Let’s talk about making an off the wall trade that will probably never happen and a trade that I’m not even sure I would be all for to be honest, let’s talk about another trade for the Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki. Many this offseason scoffed at the idea of having Tulo in the Yankees lineup due to his hip surgery and general health questions but Tulo seems to be full recovered from the hip injury and may be primed to finally play shortstop in Yankees pinstripes in the Bronx if the Rockies decide to trade him in July.

If the Rockies trade Tulowitzki then the team has to go into full blown rebuild mode, and will have to trade Carlos Gonzalez as well if healthy, which is where Didi Gregorius comes in. Gregorius has a ton of team control left for a marginal league minimum salary heading into his arbitration years. Didi will miss out on Super Two status in 2015 and even with a few break out seasons will cost the Rockies less in the long haul then Tulo would. Obviously the Yankees would have to throw more into the deal but as long as that deal did not include Aaron Judge or Luis Severino then I think the deal could conceivably get done and get done in the Yankees favor.

What Tulo brings back to the Yankees would be a right handed power threat to balance out the lineup and really add some dynamic to the team. If you look at things from 2014 and compare them to 2015 offensively Brian McCann is still off to a slow start and so is Carlos Beltran. Mark Teixeira is better but overall the only real addition to the team has been a right handed hitting Alex Rodriguez. Chase Headley is on the team but his stats aren’t as good as Yangervis Solarte’s were at the beginning of the 2014 season and Stephen Drew pretty much pushes Brian Roberts’s production. One man, a soon to be 40 year old man at that, changed the dynamic of the lineup simply because he takes his walks, hits for power and can balance out a very left handed lineup. Adding Tulowitzki to that mix and taking essentially your worst hitter and turning him into your best hitter can only make this team better.

For those worried about Tulo’s health one must consider the fact that the Yankees have the DH in the American League and can give him half days off at least once a week if they so choose. Also the team has a suitable defense replacement in Brendan Ryan for those times that Joe Girardi feels compelled to give Tulo a day like he’s been known to do. Tulo’s hip surgery doesn’t worry me as much as it this offseason either after the shortstop came out of the gate, albeit in still a small sample size, hitting .297 with a .312 on-base percentage with two home runs and 10 RBI. I’m not dogging on Didi here and I’m not calling for him to be traded no matter what but if the deal makes sense then you have to do it. This deal, depending on the other moving pieces, makes sense for the Yankees even if it still likely won’t happen for New York. 

TGP Daily Poll: Yankees Continue Winning in Boston

The New York Yankees have won consecutive series against the Tampa Bay Rays twice, the New York Mets and the Detroit Tigers. That trend continues this weekend when the team takes two of three against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Weekly Check In: Tyler Austin

At first we started off by just checking in with a few of the top Yankees prospects and we have now grown into checking in with a different prospect every single day. We have gone from Luis Severino to Robert Refsnyder and now to one of my personal favorites, Georgia boy Mr. Tyler Austin. Austin has been bounced all over the field since being drafted by New York playing various infield positions before settling in as an everyday outfielder for the Scranton RailRiders. Let’s check in and see just how Austin is doing as he continued his quest towards manning the right field position in the Bronx and inside Yankee Stadium: 


Recap: Rays 3, Yankees 2

Michael Pineda tossed a pedestrian 5 2/3 innings, surrendering two earned runs on six hits as the
Yankees fell to the Rays, 3-2, in a 13-inning affair Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. 

Pineda Hittable: Pineda cruised through this one's first two frames -- recording three of his five strikeouts while not allowing a baserunner -- but struggled to put hitters away from the third inning on. He gave up a two-out, two-run triple to Kevin Kiermaier in the fourth -- ultimately settling for his second no-decision of the season. 

Bronx Bombing: Down 2-0 and floundering offensively against the Rays' Drew Smyly, the Yankees got on the board in the fifth with Chase Headley's third home run of the year -- a line drive to left that cleared the wall in a hurry. Chris Young then connected on a solo shot of his own in the sixth, tying the contest in a way obviously displeasurable to Smyly. 

You Can Exhale, It's Just a Blister: Shortly after fanning two in a scoreless top of the eighth, Dellin Betances could be seen limping on his walk to the Yankees' dugout -- a scene that must've scared the club in the midst of Tuesday's injury to Masahiro Tanaka. Joe Girardi revealed in a post-game interview, however, that it was just a blister ailing Betances -- nothing that will sideline the reliever this weekend.

Good, But Not Perfect: The Yankees' bullpen solidly held the Rays to just one run over 7 1/3 innings on the afternoon, but was unable to claim the victory due to that one mistake. It came with Chasen Shreve on the mound in the Rays' half of the thirteenth, when James Loney plated Steven Souza with a sharp single to right.

A-Disappointment: Still one homer shy of 660 for his career, Alex Rodriguez had a truly terrible day at the dish for the Yankees -- failing to reach base and striking out four times in six at-bats. He had a chance to do some damage with a man on in the thirteenth, but rolled into an inning-ending double play instead.

Next Up: The Yankees are off on Thursday, but return to action Friday with a visit to the Red Sox. First pitch for the series opener at Fenway is set for 7:10 p.m. ET, with the winless CC Sabathia (0-4, 5.96 ERA) facing Boston's Justin Masterson (2-0, 5.16 ERA).

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/30: 51 Saves in a Row for Mo

On this day in 2010 Mariano Rivera ties Eric Gagne's major league mark when he saved his 51st straight game at home in as row in a 6-4 Yankees win over Chicago. Rivera also struck out two batters to move ahead of Roger Clemens for 10th place on the Yankees all-time list with 1,015 K's.

Also on this day in 1989 the Toronto Blue Jays traded outfielder Jesse Barfield to the Yankees for pitcher Al Leiter. Barfield led the American League with 40 home runs in 1986 but would only bat .231 with 62 home runs in four seasons in the Bronx. Leiter would finish 26-24 in seven years in Toronto.

Also on this day in 1988 Dave Winfield ties the major league RBI record for April with 29 RBI's. Winfield was on base for every single game that April and tied the Dodgers Ron Cey in 1977 and Dale Murphy for the Braves in 1985.

Also on this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig's iron man streak comes to an end at Yankee Stadium. Gehrig's final game would be a 0-4 against the Washington Senators and the streak would come to an end at 2,130 consecutive games played. Gehrig finishes with a career .340 batting average and 490 home runs in 17 seasons, all with the Yankees.

Finally on this day in 1903 the New York Highlanders, which 10 years later would be renamed the New York Yankees, would play the first game ever played at Hilltop Park. The Highlanders would beat the Washington Senators 6-2. The Highlanders would finish in fourth place but would have a 41-26 home record in their first season which is very impressive.