Monday, March 28, 2016

ICYMI: Watch out for James Kaprielian

There are many examples of the New York Yankees going against what the fans think they should do and it all working out in the end. Sure there are examples and debates to be made for both sides but at the end of the day we as fans will never have the access or information that the Yankees GM and front office does. It is what they do with it that separates New York from the rest of the league sometimes though, for better or worse, and this was no more evident than in the 2015 MLB First Year Players Draft. Brian Cashman, the Yankees GM, caught much flak for his two first round picks last season in Kyle Holder and James Kaprielian from the fans but at least one of them is making Cashman and company look awfully smart right about now.

When Holder was drafted he was drafted as a raw talent despite the fact that he was a college shortstop. Holder had not committed himself to baseball full-time until a season before being drafted so while his defense at short is considered to be elite and MLB ready his bat leaves much to be desired. While Holder is probably at least two seasons away we may see the MLB debut of Kaprielian this season, and the rest of the league better watch out.

Kaprielian was drafted, we thought anyway including myself, because he was a polished college arm that was considered to be MLB ready straight out of the June draft. What I don’t think any of us saw coming was Kaprielian’s uptick in velocity and absolutely dominating stuff in the minor leagues. Kaprielian came out of the draft with a ceiling of a #3 starter but if Kaprielian can pitch the way he has been pitching at the Yankees minor league complex New York may have another future ace on their hands that is ready as soon as the 2016 season.

On Monday Kaprielian started against the Toronto Blue Jays in a minor league game and worked three innings facing 11 batters. Kaprielian did issue a walk and a hit or two but he managed to strike out seven of the 11 batters he faced with a dominating fastball and devastating slider. Kaprielian was clocked anywhere from 94-97 MPH with the fastball while his slider was coming in at 85-87 MPH.

Kaprielian is expected to skip Low-A Charleston and head straight to High-A Tampa to start the season with his eye on the ultimate prize, the Bronx, before the end of the 2016 season. Kaprielian seems ready and the New York Yankees are absolutely ready to have another stud starter in their rotation, is the rest of the league ready for it? I hope not.

Most Popular Article of the Week: Mel Stottlemyre is Back in Good Health!

Good news to start your morning Yankees family and it comes from the New York Daily News and John Harper. According to the New York publication former Yankees pitcher and pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre is winning his battle with myeloma cancer and his health is improving, great news!

Mel was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, the cancer of the blood, back in 1999 and he presumably thought he was losing his battle with the disease last summer at Old-Timers Day in New York. Mel told the Yankees crowd during a surprise ceremony and plaque presentation in Monument Park that he was ready to coach in Heaven but a change in medications may have saved Stottlemyre's life.

The 74-year old Stottlemyre is living his life again and is considering taking up golf and fishing again, a long cry from the brittle man we saw last June in the Bronx. This is great news and I couldn't be happier about Mel and his new-found health.

Congrats Mel!

Yankees ST: New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers 3/29

Luis Cessa as a Yankees starting pitcher? Does the team want to work him out and give him an extended look this spring or does it have something to do with the fact that the team has to play a split squad game tomorrow against the Phillies and Pirates? I don't know but either way Luis Cessa gets the start today for New York while the Tigers send Buck Farmer to the mound to oppose him.

The game will be played at 6:35 pm ET and unfortunately will not be televised anywhere. Which figures because I took the day off from work today. Yeah. Go Yankees!

Ranking the AL East Opening Day Starters & Rotations

The American League East is shaping up to be a pretty competitive division in 2016, like it is most seasons, with four possible teams with legitimate chances at winning the division. Yes I unlcuded the New York Yankees in with those other three teams because I truly believe the team can win the division if everything goes right. The talent is there not only on the 25 and 40 man roster but it is also down on the farm if a big trade or acquisition needs to be made. With that said any division is going to be won most of the time on the starting pitching and specifically your ace. Who has the best ace in the American League East and who has the best starting five or six respectively?

First things first so let’s rank the top pitchers pitching in the first game of the season:
Chris Archer – Tampa Bay Rays
David Price – Boston Red Sox
Marcus Stroman – Toronto Blue Jays
Masahiro Tanaka – New York Yankees
Yovani Gallardo – Baltimore Orioles

And let’s move on to the best starting pitching rotations as a whole:
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Yankees
Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox
Baltimore Orioles

While the Boston Red Sox may have one of the best aces in the league I am not entirely sold on Rick Porcello, Clay Buchholz and company. I’ve been wrong before and I’m willing to be wrong again but Boston’s rotation is going to have to prove it for me to be a believer because I just don’t see it. The Blue Jays have a decent rotation as well but in my opinion it’s a little top heavy. Outside of Stroman, Drew Hutchison and an aging RA Dickey I believe the team will miss Price and Mark Buerhle from their 2015 team, well Buerhle unless he was facing the Yankees anyway. I think the Yankees have a ton of talent in their rotation with Michael Pineda, Luis Severino and Nathan Eovaldi but like always it will come down to health while the Baltimore Orioles may be in the cellar of any and all lists, including the final standings, when this season is all said and done. 

Phillie Phanatic To Appear At ARM & HAMMER Park On May 12


One of the most famous mascots in all of baseball, The Phillie Phanatic, will appear at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday, May 12 when your Thunder host the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies) at 7:00pm. TICKETS
Originally from the Galapagos Islands, The Phanatic (pictured with Derby and Rookie from his 2015 visit/Dave Schofield) has been recognized byForbes Magazine as the #1 sports mascot in both 2008 and 2011 and was ranked as baseball's best mascot by Good Morning America in 2015. Last year, the Phanatic made appearances on NBC's 30 Rock and ABC's The Goldbergs as well as a memorable visit to the set of ESPN's College GameDay.

The Phanatic's appearance on Thursday, May 12 coincides with Medical Professionals Night and post-game fireworks, presented by Capital Health, at ARM & HAMMER Park. The series continues on Friday night with Breast Cancer Awareness Night, presented by Radiology Affiliates Imaging, and the first 1,500 fans, ages 18 and up, will receive Pink Caps. The Thunder will also wear special pink jerseys on Friday night which will be auctioned after the game to support breast cancer research.

Saturday, May 14 will have post-game fireworks presented by Wawa. The four-game series with the Fightin Phils will wrap up on Sunday, May 15 at 1:00pm with Boomer's Birthday. The first 1,000 fans, ages 5-15, will receive Thunder Growth Charts, presented by Princeton Healthcare System and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Click here to see the 2016 promotional schedule.

Distribution of promotional items is for guests in attendance only, while supplies last. All promotions, dates, and giveaways are subject to change and/or cancellation.

The 2016 season, the 23rd in franchise history, will begin at ARM & HAMMER Park on April 7 when the Thunder host the Erie SeaWolves (Detroit Tigers) at 7:00pm. For more information on the Thunder and to purchase tickets, visit or call 609-394-3300.


This Day in New York Yankees History 3/28: YES Network Pulls the Plug

On this day in 2003, just three days prior to Opening Day, the YES Network claims Cablevision has pulled out of a deal signed 17 days ago that would have provided televised Yankee games to three million cable subscribers in the New York City area. According to the YES Network Cablevision failed to sign a finalized version of the hand-written document that both parties exchanged on March 12.

Also on this day in 1988 the Yankees decided to waive pitcher Phil Niekro just four days shy of his 47th birthday.

Finally on this day in 1986 the Boston Red Sox traded designated hitter Mike Easler to the New York Yankees for designated hitter Don Baylor in a rare trade between the two rivals.