Sunday, March 20, 2016

Yankees Spring Training Open Thread 3/20

So what happened today down at Yankees spring training camp? Let's get caught back up!

Ivan Nova made the start today against the Minnesota Twins and he did not have the best start to make his case for the team's 5th starter spot. Nova allowed four runs on five hits in 4.1 innings with three walks. Not ideal but it is still spring and it is the fifth starter we're talking about here. Moving on. Especially considering that Nova was working on a cutter today, a pitch he did not throw before Tommy John surgery.

Jacoby Ellsbury did not play today and probably wont before Thursday. This is when we start to worry, right?

Complete off day tomorrow, no workouts or anything.

The New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins 6-4. Five wins in their last six games!

Checking In w/ the New Additions

The New York Yankees were the only team without a major league free agent signing this winter but that doesn’t mean that Yankees GM Brian Cashman didn’t make any additions to the club. Out the door is Stephen Drew, Justin Wilson, Adam Warren, Chris Young and others and in their places are Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, Aroldis Chapman and Luis Cessa most notably. How are these four new Yankees going with their new club? Let’s find out.

Aaron Hicks:
2016 9 26 2 7 2 1 3 0 1 6 .280 .308 .480 .788
Starlin Castro:
2016 8 22 3 9 2 1 7 0 1 3 .429 .455 .667 1.121
Aroldis Chapman:  
2016 28 3.38 3 0 2.2 0 1 1 0 3 6 1.125 0.0 0.0 10.1 20.3
Luis Cessa:
Spring stats mean little to nothing, closer to nothing, and it’s been said 100 times but why not 101? At the same time though, and this is especially true for Cessa, you want to make a good first impression and a good early impact. Some are doing that while others still have plenty of time to turn it around. I have to say that I’m impressed with the power shown by Castro and Hicks this spring and the pitching by Cessa so maybe Brian Cashman knows what he is doing after all. Not sure, stay tuned. 

Meet a Prospect: Evan Rutckyj

Evan Rutckyj has been returned to the New York Yankees after being taken in the Rule 5 Draft by the Atlanta Braves this winter. The Canadian-born left-hander was a bit of a surprise pick in the Rule 5 Draft this winter and frankly I'm not surprised he was returned, his command issues were the reason his development has been delayed in New York and it's the reason he is back in New York, so let's meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Evan Rutckyj Edition.

Evan Rutckyj was born on January 31, 1992 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and came over to the United States and the Major Leagues after the New York Yankees drafted him with their 16th round pick in the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft. Rutckyj spent his amateur baseball career at St. Joseph's Catholic High School before making the trek across the border and into the Yankees organization.

Rutckyj was a part of the Pan American Games representing the Team Canada team that won the gold medal in 2015.

For the majority of his Yankees tenure he showcased flashy "stuff" as a starting pitcher before being moved to the bullpen full-time due to concerns with his control. Rutckyj took strides in 2015 across the board and caught the eye of the Atlanta Braves who took him in the Rule 5 Draft. Rutckyj continued to struggle with his command and walks in spring training and was returned back to the Yankees this week so he can continue what is going to be an awkward situation for him.

Rutckyj told the local Atlanta media that he did not like the Yankees organization because he felt like the trainers and coaches were unapproachable. Rutckyj praised the Braves organization for making him feel welcomed while the Yankees organization seemingly gave the lefty the cold shoulder. This is the first time I've heard anything like this so hopefully these two sides can make up and get Rutckyj on the right track going forward.

Welcome back Evan, welcome back to the family.

Yankees ST: New York Yankees @ Minnesota Twins 3/20

The New York Yankees, for what its worth, are hot lately in spring training winning four of their last five Grapefruit League games heading into today's contest with the Minnesota Twins. The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound looking to have another great start this spring against another man who has had a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament, who rested and rehabbed it rather than undergoing the Tommy John surgery, and another who has yet to have the dreaded Tommy John surgery to this date in Ervin Santana.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET and can be seen on MLB TV only. Go Yankees!

And the 2016 TGP Andrew Jones Award Goes To….

It seems like every single season I am a little harder on a member of the Yankees than I probably should be. Last season it was Stephen Drew, I can remember being especially hard on Andruw Jones, Esmil Rogers, Sergio Mitre, Chris Stewart and Travis Hafner. I can remember even getting down on Mark Teixeira and I can remember stating that if he stepped on a crack and broke his mother’s back that he would need a day to recover. I’m hard on these guys because it’s my God given right to be as a fan and I’m hard on these guys because I’m passionate. I mean no ill-will in what I say and I try to point that out every chance I get while writing so who will I be doing that to in 2016 and who will win the award that nobody wants to win, the “TGP Andruw Jones Award?? I have a sneaking suspicion that player is going to be Chase Headley.

Even though reported that the Yankees “located” the error, yes pun intended, in Headley’s way defensively this spring it may not take long for him to find his way back to throwing the ball where they ain’t in 2016. I hope I’m wrong, truth be told I want to be wrong because I like Chase a lot, but he seems like he is the most likely to take a step back in 2016. His power is seemingly gone, he doesn’t hit for a particularly high average from either side of the plate and if he can’t play defense he may become a problem child for the team in 2016.

Problem child is a term I am using loosely here. He is a great clubhouse presence and I’m sure he is a great person but when you’re not producing sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. You can spend more time in your head than outside of your head, you can lock yourself in the video room watching tape rather than getting advice or help from your teammates and coaching staff. Negativity is contagious and negativity is poison. And no, I don’t have access to the players so no I’m not saying this is going to happen, write it down in stone. I’m simply using my judgement, my opinion and my experiences to determine what could happen.

I’m rooting for you more than anyone Chase because I know you can do it. You have to believe it first. 

Top 10 Baseball Movies of All-Time

The offseason is over and Spring Training is in full effect so that means that meaningful baseball is right around the corner. Since most of the spring training games are played at 1:05 pm in the afternoon while I am stuck at work I have really been going through a Yankees and baseball in general craving. That’s when I pull out some baseball movies to watch as I gear up for the grind that will be the 2016 season. People love lists and really love reading them on this blog, the view counter for each post has taught me that, so I will take the time to rank my Top 10 Baseball movies of all-time, in my opinion of course, here for you today. Agree, disagree, or if I left one off the list please let me know if the comments section below:

1. Pride of the Yankees

2. Bull Durham

3. Major League

4. The Sandlot

5. Field of Dreams

6. The Natural

7. Moneyball

8. Bad News Bears

9. Eight Men Out

10. League of Their Own (Women hate me now all around the world)

This Day in New York Yankees History 3/20: Keep Out the New York Mets

On this day in 1961 the New York Yankees announced the team will oppose any plans that would enable the new National League expansion team from New York, later to be called the New York Mets, from using Yankee Stadium. The decision leaves the Polo Grounds as the only viable option for the new team until Shea Stadium was built.

Also on this day in 1958 the Phillies purchased Joe Collins from the New York Yankees after Collins had spent his entire ten season career in pinstripes. Collins, rather than report to the Phillies, decided to retire and finish his career with seven World Series appearances and a .256 lifetime batting average. Good for him, Yankee or bust.