Monday, October 5, 2015

ICYMI: Yankees Broke a 103-Year Old Record This Season

The New York Yankees broke a Major League record that has stood for 103 seasons on Saturday afternoon when they sent catcher Gary Sanchez up to the plate. The first at bat for Sanchez this season was also the first at bat of his MLB career and his Major League debut. Sanchez was the 18th member of the New York Yankees to make his Major League debut which is an MLB record that passed the 1903 New York Highlanders. Here is the original post below that we wrote when the Yankees had just 16 MLB debuts, since then we've seen Sanchez's and the Major League Debut of LHP James Pazos. Enjoy as we head into the final off day before the AL Wild Card Game tomorrow.

The 2015 season can easily be described as the Year of the Prospect as many top prospects have made their way to the Major Leagues this season. The Cubs seemingly have a new stud rookie starting at every position this season, the Twins called up MLB's top prospect Byron Buxton and the Dodgers called up new MLB top prospect Corey Seager this season and the Yankees even called up their top prospect in Luis Severino. In fact the Yankees have called up a lot of prospects this season and let a slew of them make their Major League debut's with the team, 16 of them to be exact. If the Yankees allow one more rookie to make their Major League debut this season the team will tie one of their own records that they have held for 103 seasons.

Back in 1912 the New York Highlanders watched as a whopping 17 rookies made their Major League debut's including George Batten, Curt Coleman, Iron Davis, John Dowd, Benny Kauff, Ray Keating, Jack Little, Pat Maloney, Jack Martin, Bill Otis, Del Paddock, Al Schulz, George Shears, Klondike Smith, Dutch Sterrett, Homer Thompson and Tommy Thompson. New York is one rookie away from tying that and have called up left-handed pitcher James Pazos to the Major Leagues as a September call up leaving the team one blowout away from tying the record.

New York could also call up another player to the Major Leagues in an emergency much like they did last season with (Gary Sanchez anyone?) Jose Pirela to potentially break the record assuming Pazos gets into a game before the end of the season. Pazos and a new hypothetical rookie would join Matt Tracy, Branden Pinder, Slade Heathcott, Jacob Lindgren, Ramon Flores, Mason Williams, Danny Burawa, Jose De Paula, Diego Moreno, Nick Rumbelow, Robert Refsnyder, Caleb Cotham, Nick Goody, Luis Severino, Greg Bird and Rico Noel as Yankees rookies who made their Major League debuts in 2015.

Any time a team gets this close to breaking a record I sort of hope for it to happen, I can't lie. I am a sucker for history. The main difference between the 1912 New York Highlanders and the 2015 New York Yankees is that the Highlanders only won 50 games while the Yankees may finish 50 games ahead of the Boston Red Sox. The latter may be a slight exaggeration but it goes to show you just how far the Yankees farm system, as underrated as it is, has come in recent seasons.

Every Yankees Fans Favorite Scapegoat

Joe Girardi has been blamed for overworking the bullpen this season. However, I think the reason for that is pretty simple... Yankees starters were not good this year (4.25 ERA), so Joe had to go to the bullpen more often. This season Yankees relievers threw 530.2 IP (7th in MLB), which was 29.1 innings more than in 2014 when the starters' ERA was 3.77.

"What is everybody getting on me about?"

Those innings totals go down further in the three years before that. In 2013 Yankees relievers tossed 477.2 innings, in which the starters had an ERA of 4.08. Back in 2011 things were nearly identical, as the bullpen threw 479 innings while the starters' ERA was 4.03. The 2012 season was an outlier, as the relievers accounted for only 444 innings, while the starters had around the same ERA as the year before and year after (4.05).

You may be thinking... "sure, he doesn't overwork the entire bullpen, but some guys throw too much."

Who threw too much?

Dellin Betances has thrown 84 innings this season, which is more than any other reliever in MLB. While that certainly sounds excessive, Dellin threw 90 innings last season. In 2013, Dellin threw 89 innings between AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and New York. Before that season he was a starting pitcher, having thrown 143.1 and 129 innings in 2012 and 2011 (2012 includes 12 innings in the Arizona Fall League). So I'd argue that 90 innings isn't too much for him at all, as he's thrown around that much or more for the last five years.

Andrew Miller has thrown 62.2 innings this season. Well, in 2014 he tossed 62.1 innings between Boston and Baltimore. Now yes, Miller only threw 30.2 innings in 2013, but that surely would have been higher had it not been for him having foot surgery in July that year. Oh, and in the year before that, Andrew tossed 66.1 innings between MLB and the minors.

Justin Wilson has gotten a good chunk of work too, having tossed 61 innings this season. Well, Justin tossed 60 innings for the Pittsburgh Pirates last year, 73.2 innings for them in 2013, and 140.1 innings in 2012 (mostly as a starter in the minors). Too much work for Justin? I don't think so.

The last reliever I'll look at is Chasen Shreve. Chasen has thrown 60.2 innings this season (2.1 of those in AAA). Here are his innings totals for the previous three seasons... 76, 62.1, and 64.1.

By the way, one possibility for Shreve's effectiveness going away this season was overexposure to MLB. While he threw plenty of innings in previous years, only 12 of them came in MLB (he was a rookie for Atlanta in 2014). Just a guess here.

"I don't know, either."

To be frank, Joe Girardi has gotten way more heat from fans this season than he should have.

People got on him for playing Stephen Drew too much. Well, who else should he have played instead? Brendan Ryan and his career battling line of .234/.295/.315? Rob Refsnyder, who on top of having iffy defense, also had a poor second half at the plate in AAA? While I'd agree that he may as well have given the kid more chances, you can't tell me that playing Drew more often was asinine.

Nor you can't tell me that he should have sat Jacoby Ellsbury or Brett Gardner, both of whom have struggled this season. Neither player was going to get any MVP votes, but they have a track record that I would not expect any manager to give up on. Sure, it would have been nice to see youngsters such as Slade Heathcott get more playing time, but pulling the plug on Ellsbury and/or Gardner wouldn't make sense to me.

"At least somebody has our backs."

Look... Joe Girardi is not the best manager in Major League Baseball. Nobody is saying that. But if you think you can convince me that he's among the worst you're wasting your breath.

Yankees Lose Billy Eppler to Anaheim

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim were one of many teams entering the final month of the regular season and were the latest team to finally get their man, that man was Brian Cashman’s assistant general manager Billy Eppler. Eppler, 40-year old, will take over the Angels personnel decisions after Jerry Dipoto resigned earlier this season due to conflicts with management and team manager Mike Scioscia.

Eppler was a finalists for the Angels GM job back in 2011 before Angels owner Arte Moreno hired Dipoto and will finally get the opportunity to run his own team in Los Angeles. Eppler spent 11 seasons inside the Yankees organization spending time as a scout, the assistant director of baseball operations and the assistant GM where he has spent his last four seasons. Eppler is a San Diego native who was long thought to prefer a job on the West Coast near his home town and he finally has it in Los Angeles.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Stephen Drew Likely Finished As A Yankee

By Bryan Van Dusen

Andrew Marchand of is reporting that Stephen Drew may never play another game for the Yankees.

Drew is still suffering from dizziness and equilibrium symptoms, and Girardi indicated that he doesn't expect Drew to return.

If Stephen Drew does not return this season, chances are he's finished as a Yankee due to his contract being up after this season (he was given a 1 year deal for $5 million this offseason). Drew has hit .201/.271/.381 this season, which is hardly enough to have earned another contract. Especially considering that Brendan Ryan is likely to exercise his player option for next season, Dustin Ackley is still arbitration eligible, and Rob Refsnyder would likely be just as good as Stephen for much less money.

For some reason I don't think any Yankees fan out there is sad about this bit of news.

CC Sabathia Checks Into Rehab, Will Miss Postseason

CC Sabathia will not pitch for the Yankees in the playoffs.

Whether you're happy about that due to his poor performance this season, or upset about it since he has an ERA of 2.17 in his past five starts, chances are you at least wonder how this happened.

I mean, it's not like Brian Cashman and Joe Girardi, to alleged "morons", would make this call. So
what did it?
“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease,” Sabathia said. “I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right.”
Other than looking forward to rejoining the Yankees next season, there was no further information given. 

And now we have the entire offseason to talk about whether his alcoholism contributed to his poor pitching. Can't wait for that.

Predicting the 2015 National League Playoffs

Earlier today I took my shot at predicting the American League Playoffs all the way to the World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays running the gauntlet. In the National League I will attempt to do the same this afternoon as we wait on the American League Wild Card Game to get kicked off tomorrow night on ESPN. Who will face off against David Price and the Toronto Blue Jays later on this month? Keep reading.

In the Wild Card Game you have the Pittsburgh Pirates playing host to the Chicago Cubs inside PNC Park. The Pirates are in the postseason for the third consecutive season while most of the Cubs are in their first season in the Major Leagues and have zero postseason experience. The experience usually wins and so does home field advantage but the past experiences didn't have Jake Arrieta pitching and Joe Maddon managing. Cubs win and face off with the Sr. Louis Cardinals while the New York Mets and the Los Angeles Dodgers face off head-to-head.

With the Cubs and the Cardinals series looming one would have to think that the Cardinals are almost a lock to win it, right? They are the best team in Major League Baseball this season with an even 100 victories and led the way for much of the 2015 season. So what? This is the second season and the team faded a bit the final two or three weeks barely holding off the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs beat the Pirates and the Cubs will beat the Cardinals too. Meanwhile in Los Angeles the Dodgers will finally get a decent playoff start or two out of Clayton Kershaw while Zack Greinke adds to his free agency cause in a series win setting up an epic NLCS.

In the NLCS the Los Angeles Dodgers would surprisingly have home-field advantage despite a record that is five games worse than Chicago. In the NLCS, and maybe this is the Back to the Future II fan in me speaking, I can't see anyone stopping the Cubs. Arrieta will pitch his butt off like he has all season long, Jon Lester always comes up big in the postseason and this young offense will be just too hungry for Los Angeles to stop. It may go seven games but I think this is the year for the Chicago Cubs. Maddon wants to end the curse and so does Theo Epstein.. and they will. World Series here the Cubs come!

Predicting the 2015 American League Playoffs

The stage has been set for the 2015 Major League Baseball Postseason with, in theory, the best 10 teams in the sport vying for the ultimate prize, the World Series title. This playoff format leaves much to be desired in my opinion with the one-game playoff but the game is between a rock and a hard place. Do you start the season earlier and worry about frigid temperatures and snow outs, do they shorten the season by six or so games or do they play well into the month of November if the World Series goes seven games? That’s a question for this winter and next winter with the new collective bargaining agreement set to expire and today will be better utilized in my opinion to pick my playoffs and AL pennant winners for this season now that the bracket is complete.

As far as the American League Wild Card goes I wouldn’t feel right, and I’d honestly be lying, if I picked against the Yankees. I like this team and I think this team is different and special although I’m not quite sure they realize it yet. I know the Yankees offense has struggled and the pitching has been suspect but I look at it this way, New York may be the best suited for a one-game playoff. With the day off on Monday and the day off on Wednesday the Yankees can leave it all out there on the field. If that means two innings from Justin Wilson, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller then so be it. If the team needs Adam Warren for two or three innings then so be it as well. Masahiro Tanaka will be on the mound so I feel like if the Yankees get one or two runs it's "GG" ladies and gents. 

In the ALDS you would have the New York Yankees facing off against the Toronto Blue Jays while the Texas Rangers would fly to Kansas City for a showdown with the Royals. Kansas came into the playoffs scuffling a bit but this team proved time and time again in 2015 that they were built for the postseason and their players and coaching staff believe they can win in October. I’m not picking against the Royals until they give me a reason to and the same goes for the Blue Jays, especially against the Yankees. I truly and honestly believe that the New York Yankees could beat Toronto three times in a five game spread, I do, but I think the regular season will carry over into the playoffs and that mental aspect will come into play and haunt the Yankees later in games. Toronto had the Yankees number in the regular season and this isn’t Andy Pettitte’s, Jorge Posada’s, Mariano Rivera’s or Derek Jeter’s Yankees squad. Those thoughts are in their head and will ultimately cost them the series in my opinion.

In the ALCS I can't see this going any less than six games with the two top teams in the league facing off head-to-head. Kansas City is good but Johnny Cueto has not pitched well since his switch from the American League from the National League and David Price is pitching the best baseball of his life. I hate to say it as this is one of the Yankees division rivals but the Blue Jays, unless their inexperience in the postseason becomes a factor and they beat themselves because no other team is beating this team, are going to the World Series to represent the American League. Whether we like to admit it or not. 

Those are mine, what are yours? Leave them below in the comments section or drop me a line on Twitter by following or tweeting @GreedyStripes. Enjoy the rest of your day Yankees family. 

Recapping My Bold Predictions for the 2015 Season

During the 2014 season I was donned by our twitter followers “The Yankees Wizard” for all my late game and in-game predictions I would make. I predicted a few Chris Young walk off home runs, the Chase Headley walk off single that started his Yankees tenure and the David Robertson blown save that set up Derek Jeter’s walk-off win in his final Yankee Stadium at bat three or four innings before they transpired. Ever since then I have made a fool of myself making any and every prediction that I can to try and re-harness my wizardry with varying degrees of success. Twice during the 2015 season I made a set of BOLD predictions that I felt at the time had little chance of coming true and I will recap both sets (SEEN HERE and SEEN HERE) for you today before this final game of the 2015 regular season.

In my first set of bold predictions I predicted that Alex Rodriguez would have a moderately good season in his return and that Carlos Beltran, with all the extra rest as a DH, would have a monster season for the Yankees. In the prediction I mention that A Rod would finish the season with 33 HR’s and 86 RBI and heading into the final weekend he had exceeded both totals with the club. I also called for Beltran to belt one 30 times in 2015 although that number will likely fall short with his 19 current home runs.

Alex Rodriguez, if he gets enough at bats due to injuries, will be a 20 home run guy in 2015. Rodriguez may only hit .265 but will drive 20 balls over the fences for 60 RBI.

I also predicted that Mark Teixeira would play in at least 135 games while having a healthy and productive season in 2015. While Teixeira finished with just 111 games played he was one freak foul ball off the shin from hitting 40+ home runs, a possibly 145-150 games played and possibly an American League East Division title without gluten in his life. Milk makes for strong bones, just saying Mark.

Mark Teixeira will play in 135 games because every player that has had a comparable wrist surgery is much better the second year removed like Teix will be in 2015.

This prediction took a little longer than I expected it to before coming true but I think we can all say that Robert Refsnyder is your starting second baseman right now, at least against left-handed starting pitching. No?

Robert Refsnyder comes up and stays up with the big league club. The Yankees are riding the hot bats of Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan now but it won’t last forever, if it even lasts long at all. Refsnyder will be up and get the same confidence and backing from management that Luis Severino is getting now.

The Yankees won with me in the stands once again. I think the Yankees should buy me season tickets and a home in New York. Just saying.

The streak will continue. I was born in the Bronx, New York and have since moved down to Atlanta, Georgia where my live Yankees watching has become few and far between. In my 29 years of living I have never once seen the Yankees lose while I was in the stands and that streak continues on August 29th when I’m down in Atlanta watching them play the Atlanta Braves.
With my final prediction I had the New York Yankees winning 89 games and the second Wild Card in the American League. In the comments section I was told “and then you wake up.” They were right, I woke up and the Yankees had 87 wins entering the Wild Card Playoff Game in the Bronx. Whoops.

Yankees win the second Wild Card with 89 wins

Maybe half of this prediction will come true?

The New York Yankees will not only win the American League East Division but they will also win the 2015 World Series. The AL East seems easier said than done at this point but I have faith in this team and I truly think, if healthy, this team is special. Sure the starting rotation isn’t top notch and the offense relies on #TooManyDamnHRs sometimes but they find new and inventive ways to win every single night it seems and play their best against the best teams and the best pitchers. That’s scary for opposing teams in the postseason. Those are mine, what are yours?

Playoffs: Bring Me The Best!

The 2015 Major League Baseball regular season is over and the playoffs begin on Tuesday with the AL Wild Card Game. The New York Yankees have made their return trip to the postseason in 2015 after missing out on the prestige and honor of the playoffs the last two season and many fans are worried about the Yankees chances. Not I, said Sam.

Many fans were hoping for this team (The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) or looking to avoid that pitcher (Dallas Keuchel) or rooting for the Kansas City Royals to win the best record in the American League to avoid the Toronto Blue Jays. Screw that, bring me the best.

Back in 2009, and yes I am very much aware that this team could barely carry the jock straps of the 2009 team, I can remember hoping for the best teams on the way to the World Series. I want to leave little doubt in the opposing team's fans and the general MLB fan base if the Yankees go far into the playoffs. In 2009 it was the Minnesota Twins, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim that had owned the team in recent playoff stretches and the defending World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies.

This season bring me Houston Astros who won the other Wild Card in the American League. When the Yankees beat them I want the Kansas City Royals. In the ALCS I want the defending AL East champion Toronto Blue Jays. In the National League I'll take any of those teams because they are all great. I don't necessarily fear any of these teams and I don't think the team does either.

Bring me the best and bring me the ring. I may be delusional to some but I tend to call it optimistic and a fan. Sue me.

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/5: Billy Ball & The World Series

On this day in 1980 the New York Yankees broke the American League regular season attendance record of the time by passing the 1948 Indians with their 2,627,417 fans through the gates.

Also on this day in 1963 Mickey Mantle tied Babe Ruth's home run record in the World Series when the Mick blasted his 15th fall classic home run of his career. This homer would tie the score in game four against Sandy Koufax and the Dodgers but it would not be enough as Los Angeles would sweep the Yankees for the title.

Also on this day in 1960 Roger Maris became the seventh player in Major League history to hit a home run in his first World Series at bat.

Also on this day in 1957 in the first World Series game to ever be played in Milwaukee the Yankees rookie short stop Tony Kubek became the second rookie ever to hit two home runs in a World Series game. Kubek would join Charlie Keller who also hit two in the 1939 World Series.

Also on this day in 1953 the Yankees would win their fifth consecutive World Series title in dramatic fashion as Billy Martin would get a walk off hit against the Dodgers. Martin would be named the World Series MVP as he collected 12 hits in the series.

Also on this day in 1951 Mickey Mantle's season ended in game two of the World Series as he injured his knee when his cleat got caught in a drainage cap at Yankees Stadium, really? The injury was initially blamed on Joe DiMaggio as he called off Mantle at the last second on a fly ball off of Willie Mays bat causing the 19 year old rookie to stop awkwardly.

Finally on this day in 1949 Tommy Henrich hit the first walk off home run in the history of the World Series when he led off the bottom of the 9th with a homer off of the Dodgers Don Newcombe. Allie Reynolds would get the complete game victory and manager Casey Stengel would get his first post season victory of his career.