Thursday, July 16, 2015

All-Star Break Finale Open Thread

Tonight marks the final night off for Major League Baseball before things get back to normal on Friday night. The All-Star Break is officially over and what a successful week it has been, hasn’t it? The Home Run Derby and their new format killed it with Todd Frazier winning it in front of his home crowd Cincinnati Reds. The next night The Great American Ball Park hosted the best from the American and National Leagues for the 86th annual All-Star Game. Mike Trout got things going for the American League with a lead-off home run and despite Aroldis Chapman throwing 100 MPH or above 12 times in the 9th inning the AL reigned supreme in a 6-3 victory. It was a great week for baseball and a great week for rest but tomorrow it is back to the grind and business as usual.

So as we enjoy our final night off around the league I leave you with this music recommendation out of my own personal collection. The name of the song is called “Snuff“ and the artist is named Slipknot. Enjoy!

Meet a Prospect: James Kaprielian

With their first pick in the 2015 Major League Baseball First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees selected RHP James Kaprielian out of UCLA with the 16th overall pick. Kaprielian was said to be the most polished college pitcher in all of the draft and will likely, if healthy and effective, be the quickest moving pitcher in this year’s draft with a possible ETA as soon as late in the 2016 season. With Kaprielian now officially in the fold for the New York Yankees after signing a deal worth $2.65 million we can officially introduce you to the newest member of the Yankees family, Mr. James Kaprielian.

James Douglas Kaprielian was born on March 2, 1994 in Laguna Hills, California to parents Douglas and Barbara Kaprielian and has one sibling, a sister Alison Kaprielian. Kaprielian is a right handed pitcher that stands 6’4” and weighs in at 200 lbs. fitting the Yankees profile of big framed Southern California pitching to come over to the team. Kaprielian spent his high school years at Beckham High School before attending UCLA for the past three seasons. Kaprielian is a four pitch pitcher who uses an 88-92 MPH fastball to offset his changeup, curveball and slider and keeps batters off balance. His changeup is considered to be his best pitch and his out pitch which has drawn some comparisons to another Yankee draft pick Ian Kennedy. Kennedy flew through the Yankees system after being drafted in 2005 and was in the major leagues by 2006 and Kaprielian may follow a similar path if healthy and effective.

In three seasons with UCLA Kaprielian posted a 17-10 record as a starter and a relief pitcher with a 2.06 ERA. Kaprielian started 31 games for the Bruins while coming out of the bullpen for the other 35 contests. Kaprielian came into the draft riding a hot streak of sorts posting a 2.02 ERA and a 10-4 record in his last 16 starts of his junior season striking out 114 batters in just 106.2 innings pitched. Kaprielian finished sixth all-time in Bruins history in strikeouts with 275 while leading the Pac-12 in wins (10) and K’s (114) in his 2015 season finishing strong before the draft. Kaprielian has thrown the full nine innings three separate times in his career including when he threw nine no-hit innings to combine with teammate David Berg for a ten inning no-hitter, the first in school history.

Kaprielian was not the sexy name like Ashe Russell, Dansby Swanson, Brady Aiken and others but he may be the perfect fit for the Yankees farm system that severely lacks upper level starting pitching depth. Welcome to the family Kaps, I have a feeling you’re going to like it here.

You Can’t Predict Baseball: Two Grand Slams to Begin a Career

The Yankees have become well known over the course of Major League history for their grand slams. For the longest time the man with the most grand slams in Major League history was Lou Gehrig with 23 before another Yankee, Alex Rodriguez, passed the mark in 2013. While the Yankees Horace Clarke never approached crooked numbers like that in the grand slam department he did have a noteworthy mark in grand slam history.

Clarke would hit a grand slam on this day in 1966 in the tenth inning to beat the Kansas City A's 9-5 giving the Yankees a victory. This was Clarke's second career home run and second career grand slam. The Yankees shortstop's first career home run was also a grand slam that he hit in 1965.

I'm not sure if that's a record or even really significant but it's still a pretty incredible stat and it goes to show you that you really cannot predict baseball. Right Suzyn?

Reducing MLB Schedule Back to 154 Games?

We all know the story of Roger Maris’ assault on Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record when he hit 61 home runs in 1961 and we all know about the asterisk that was originally placed on the milestone. The asterisk was placed next to the historic number because up until the 1961 season the Major League Baseball schedule only contained 154 games. Before the 1961 season the schedule was lengthened to 162 games but MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the director of the MLB Players Association Tony Clark are at least discussing the possibility of moving the schedule back to 154 games.

What would it mean for the game? Would Barry Bonds single-season record for home runs, 73 home runs, become one of those records that will never be broken? Will Ichiro’s 262 hits in a single season join Bond’s record along with the Seattle Mariners epic 116 win season? In a word, probably.

I understand the players are tired, the schedule is the most demanding in all of professional sports and the grind is showing up in the lack of offense in the league and in time spent on the disabled list but I personally find it hard to feel sorry for these players. There are more big money contracts being shelled out in Major League Baseball then there are in any other sport and that’s a fact so you tend to get what you pay for. And when you and I purchase tickets, MLB Network subscriptions, YES Network subscriptions, MLB TV subscriptions, Yankees hats and memorabilia or clothing etc. we are getting what WE paid for. Sure the players may want the same salary or more for less games but what do the fans want, did they ever consider that?

The excuses are already filling in about seeing your favorite players more often and all that but generally your ticket is purchased long before the lineups for that particular day are posted. I don’t buy it and frankly I don’t like it, maybe I’m moving from progressive to the old man that doesn’t like change, who knows? One thing is for certain though, this would be the most drastic change to Major League Baseball in my lifetime in my opinion and I’m not quite sure how I feel about it. I consider myself to be very progressive and I’m all for change but this seems to be a step back both from the fans perspective and the business side of Major League Baseball. I’m not sure I like it so I hope it doesn’t come down to this.

New York Yankees First Half TGP Awards Show

Welcome to the Greedy Pinstripes First Half Awards Show! We have a jammed pack show for you this morning so let's jump right into it as we remember the Yankees best moment of the year, name the team's Comeback Player of the Year Award winner, Rookie of the Year Award winner, Cy Young Award winner and the team's MVP. We may also throw in a "most disappointing" and "biggest surprise" awards just to keep things fresh and interesting so let's get right into it, shall we?

Comeback Player of the Year Award:

We'll begin today's award show by announcing our Comeback Player of the Year Award. When we thought about this award we considered the great season by Mark Teixeira, the bounce back season of Brian McCann and the fact that Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova have all come back this season healthy but how does this not go to Alex Rodriguez? A Rod basically missed the entire 2013 season with a second hip surgery and various lower leg injuries and missed the entire 2014 season due to his Biogenesis suspension and has stepped up in 2015 like he never skipped a beat. Congratulations to Alex on the award, maybe this won't be his only one on the night.

Rookie of the Year Award:

The Yankees have had 11 players make their major league debuts this season with the club and has called up two others, Joel De La Cruz and Taylor Dugas, without getting them into a game which has flooded the field for the Rookie of the Year Award. Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams blast their way onto the scene with big home runs before injuries derailed their seasons while Robert Refsnyder came up before the All-Star break and collected his first two hits of his major league career in Fenway Park including a game-winning home run but it has been the pitching of Chasen Shreve that has really impressed. It probably helps that Shreve has been up for more time and seen more action than any other player on the roster but those are the kicks. Congrats to Shreve, keep up the good work kid and you'll go far.

Most Disappointing Yankee:

I know exactly what about 90% of readers are thinking right now, CC Sabathia is going to win an award on the TGP First Half Awards Show! Wrong! The other 10% may bring up the fact that Chase Headley has not only struggled with the bat but has really struggled defensively as well which means he has to win the award, right? Wrong again! So it has to be Masahiro Tanaka who has not pitched like an ace, Carlos Beltran or Stephen Drew who have let their 2014 struggles follow them into 2015 or Didi Gregorius in the impossible task of replacing Derek Jeter? Nope! How about Joe Girardi and his bullpen and starting pitching management? How about the fact that Girardi let Drew get 25 at bats a week while expecting Jose Pirela to hit the ball consistently with one or two at bats a week? Joe, well more your binder but who's counting, this is not the award you wanted to win this morning and you won it. Try better in the 2nd half.

Biggest Surprise Yankee:

The biggest surprise Yankee was another award that I think may had Alex Rodriguez pegged for but you guys know me by now, I like to go against the grain. I mean, who had Joe Girardi winning the biggest disappointment on the Yankees in 2015? Well I don't think anyone is going to see someone like Brett Gardner once again defy the odds and take down the likes of Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Chasen Shreve, Adam Warren and others but he did. I personally saw Gardner's 2014 season, especially in the power department, as the exception and not the rule but Gardner has found a way to not only replicate that success but maybe even found a way to improve upon it. Gardner was already honored with his first MLB All-Star Game berth this season and that doesn't stop there, he is also taking home the Biggest Surprise Yankee Award as well, congratulations.

Cy Young Award Winner:

The Yankees starting rotation has been consistently inconsistent this season making this one of the tougher awards to give out this morning. Tanaka has spent time on the disabled list and hasn't done enough to silence the critics who have questions about the health of his elbow and his UCL. Pineda has been up and down and so has Nathan Eovaldi while CC Sabathia has just been down for the most part leading me to look into the bullpen for the award winner. Really this comes down to Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances and while all four have been great Miller has been injured and Betances filled in admirably. Betances has been the glue to the Yankees bullpen this season whether it was in the 7th, 8th or 9th inning and is the only obvious choice for the award, so I gave it to Dealin' Dellin. You won the award big man now cut that hair, please?

MVP Award Winner: 

This may have been the easiest decisions to make all night and it was supposed to be the hardest one of the show. Imagine a Yankees lineup, on a consistent basis anyway, without Mark Teixeira's big gluten-free bat this season. The team's offense goes from above average to mediocre in a flash. The team could weather the losses of Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Brett Gardner or Jacoby Ellsbury much easier then they could if the team lost Teixeira. Teix, here is your award but I'm going to go ahead and carry it to your locker room for you... just in case. Congratulations!

That's it folks, the big awards have been handed out and so have the Derek Jeter gift baskets. I hope everyone enjoyed the show and tunes in to next year's show and to the New York Yankees in the second half. The team heads home tomorrow to Yankee Stadium to play host to Robinson Cano and the Seattle Mariners for the weekend so be sure to be there to see the early favorites for the TGP Postseason Awards coming to you this October. Have a good day everybody!

TGP Daily Poll: Cincinnati Ready to Deal

With the 2015 MLB All-Star Game officially in the books the Cincinnati Reds don’t need to save face and keep players anymore. Cincinnati can now start selling off pieces and will by trading away at least three before the July 31st trading deadline.

Vote in our prediction poll on

Just for fun let’s take a stab at who those three players will be. Johnny Cueto seems to be a lock to be moved and so is Aroldis Chapman. The third will likely be Marlon Byrd before Jay Bruce, although that’s simply my opinion. All four, or more, could be traded before it’s all said and done because we didn’t even mention Mike Leake’s name yet. 

Weekly Check In: Eric Ruth

As you may or may not know by now we like to leave Thursday wide open and as much of a revolving door as the Yankees bullpen was more much of the first half of the season. We’ve checked in on Ian Clarkin, Austin DeCarr, Austin Romine, Kyle Roller, Tyler Austin, Ramon Flores, Mason Williams, Slade Heathcott, Miguel Sulbaran, Brady Lail and a slew of other Yankees prospects and today we check in on a new guy, Eric Ruth.

Before the 2015 season Ruth was considered to be an organizational type prospect and one that I never really paid attention to much. Much like Jaron Long in the 2014 season I never really knew the name until Long and Ruth made me recognize their names and Ruth has done just that this season for Trenton. Now hopefully with his successes and maybe a weekly check in or two from us you all can know his name too and know just what he brings to the table for the Yankees. 

2015 AA-A+ 7 2 2.20 17 98.0 75 29 24 5 31 66 1.082 6.9 0.5 2.8 6.1
2015 A+ 1 0 3.27 4 22.0 16 8 8 2 6 16 1.000 6.5 0.8 2.5 6.5
2015 AA 6 2 1.89 13 76.0 59 21 16 3 25 50 1.105 7.0 0.4 3.0 5.9

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/16: Exit Sandman

The 2014 season was mostly about the retirement of Derek Jeter if you’re a Yankees fan and in 2013 the year was all about saying goodbye to Mariano Rivera. On this day in 2013 in the first All Star Game played in Queens in 49 years the American League would beat the National League 3-0 by holding them to just three hits in the game. Rivera entered the game in the eighth inning to a standing ovation in front of 45,186 fans with no other players on the field. Rivera retired three consecutive NL batters and was named the game's MVP.

Also on this day in 2010 the Yankees and their fans honored the late Bob Sheppard in the Yankees first home game since his passing. The players wore patches on their left sleeve of their uniforms to pay tribute and no public address announcements were made in the empty Yankees booth.

Also on this day in 2006 Mariano Rivera notched his 400th career save becoming only the fourth major league pitcher to reach the milestone. The Yankees would beat the Chicago White Sox 6-4.

Finally the Yankees made a couple of not so notable trade acquisitions on this day in 2003 when they acquired Armando Benitez from the New York Mets and in 2005 when they acquired 39 year old left hander Al Leiter from the Florida Marlins. Benitez was quickly shipped to Seattle in less than a week and Leiter immediately held the Boston Red Sox to just one run and three hits in his first start in pinstripes.