Monday, July 25, 2016

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 7/25

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros are set to kick off a three-game series here in Houston in just a few minutes in a tale of two stories for each team. The Astros still have a shot at winning the division this season or at the very least winning a Wild Card while the Yankees don't know which direction they are going in. They need to figure it out though as the team has six more games before the August 1st trading deadline including tonight. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to face off with Dallas Keuchel for the Astros. The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV.

Follow along with us during this game and every game heading up to the August 1st trading deadline by either liking us on Facebook or by giving @GreedyStripes a follow on Twitter. Also be sure to click the TGP T-Shirts link at the top of the blog to get your Jacoby Ellsbury milk carton shirt for stealing home or any of the other awesome shirts we can bring to you through our partnership and friendship with BreakingT.

Big Mike vs. the Ultimate Yankees Killer in recent years. Go Yankees! Turn things around.

ICYMI: Luis Torrens and a Cautionary Tale for Greg Bird to Follow

The New York Yankees were stunned to find out during spring training this season that Greg Bird would miss the entire 2016 campaign with a torn labrum in his shoulder. Many thought the future was now for both the Yankees and for Bird as Mark Teixeira strolled into what could be his final season in the Bronx but the injury brings up more questions now than anyone has answers for. How will Bird’s shoulder react to playing first base? Can he once again drive the ball for power at the Major League level? Will he be ready in spring training 2017 or will the Yankees have to find a one-year stop gap to give Bird ample recovery time? Again more questions than answers but the Yankees have a cautionary tale for Bird to follow in fellow prospect and catcher, Luis Torrens.

Torrens missed the entire 2015 season with a similar torn labrum in his shoulder and has made his comeback to professional baseball this year. Torrens had the luxury of being assigned to short-season Staten Island in the New York-Penn League so he had a little more recovery and rehab time but he doesn’t look like he has needed it much. Torrens hit .311 and had a .360 on base percentage with the Staten Island Yankees before earning the promotion back to Charleston with the Riverdogs where, albeit in a small sample size, he has gotten even better.

This is both an encouraging sign for the Yankees as Torrens was once thought of as a better prospect and catcher than Gary Sanchez and for Bird who has a recent example to model his rehab and such by. Torrens seems better than ever and there is no reason, assuming all the stars align, that Bird can’t be either. It’s a cautionary tale though as Torrens has been back in Charleston for basically a week and back playing professional baseball for a couple a months now since the surgery.

It is worth mentioning that Torrens, while it may not seem like much to most, has to throw the ball back to the pitcher a good 150-200 times a day including warm up pitches, actual in-game pitches, bullpen sessions etc. Torrens also has to hit where Bird may really throw the ball maybe 50-100 times in a game and rarely at full strength. Torrens had a similar surgery and is holding up with all the extra wear-and-tear and you have to think Bird will be fine too. Every body is different, every injury is different and every surgery is different but Bird is young, athletic and he’s already working out and rehabbing the shoulder so he should be just fine in 2017. Fingers crossed.

Player Profile: Gleyber Torres

Now that Chicago Cubs former #1 prospect Gleyber Torres is a New York Yankee many may be wondering who exactly this young shortstop is... Torres is a Venezuelen born shortstop who signed with the Chicago Cubs in 2013. He then made his professional debut in 2014 when he made his debut with the Arizona League Cubs. Torres was not there for long as then he got the call up to the Cubs Low-A affiliate, the Boise Hawks. In 50 games in 2014 he hit .297/.386/.440 with two home runs. He was then promoted to their Myrtle Beach affiliate for the 2015 season, which many look at as his breakout year.

In 2016, Torres is currently batting .275/.359/.433 in 94 games with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans. Many scouts say that Torres plays very mature for his age and even though he is a 19 year old playing professional baseball, it sure doesn't seem like it.

Scouting grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 55 | Arm: 60 | Field: 55 | Overall: 55 Many scouts are comparing the young phenom to a young Derek Jeter. He is a young kid who can hit for contact and has a solid arm. Keith Law, explained that Torres' approach to the plate on an 0-2 count is equivalent to Jeters's was. He also states this with Torres' type of talent he could land himself within the top 5 prospects as soon as next year.

With Torres becoming a New York Yankee today he will now be packing his bags to go play in High-A with the Yankees #2 prospect Jorge Mateo. The plan as of now would be to most likely move Torres to second base and keep Mateo at short. Both are expected to be in the majors by 2018 so it will be interesting to see them move up the ranks together in the Yankees farm system side by side.

Torres currently ranks as the #1 prospect in the Yankees system, right in front of new teammate Jorge Mateo, also ranks him as the #24 prospect in the MLB as well as being the #8 shortstop prospect.

Luis Severino Returns To The Big Club

It's being reported that the Yankees have recalled Luis Severino from AAA.

There's no official word on what role Luis is being brought back to New York for, but it may be to replace Aroldis Chapman in the bullpen.

Of course, that doesn't mean Severino is the new closer, or is a new addition to the three headed monster. It could be a temporary move before the Brian Cashman makes some more changes, like... maybe... David Robertson?

Most Popular Article of the Week: Yankees Trade Partners: The Chicago White Sox Redeux

We’ve already discussed the Chicago White Sox as potential trade partners for the New York Yankees once this season but that was when many of us were under the impression that the Chi Sox were in the hunt as buyers at the August 1st trading deadline. Recent comments from their GM Rick Hahn state otherwise as the team is now prepared to once again rebuild so we have decided to give the White Sox a redeux, or remix, to their trade partner post to see if the team still matches up with New York on a potential trade this season.

If the White Sox decide to totally blow up the team the most attractive, and most expensive, pieces Chicago has will be left-handed starting pitchers Chris Sale and Jose Quintana. Both would also fit into the plans for the Yankees as they search for controllable players beyond the 2017 season. Sale is under contract through the 2019 season while Quintana is an absolute bargain, in my opinion, through the 2020 season. The problem, which has been the problem in New York for quite a few years now, is whether Brian Cashman would be willing to part with the prospects that it would take to land one or both of these arms.

You would have to think that Jose Abreu would at least be discussed in a deal if Chicago were to start selling off everything that isn’t tied down and the general consensus is that New York will be in the market for a first baseman this winter. Whether that first baseman is intended to start or serve as insurance for Greg Bird will obviously be determined by how Bird progresses from shoulder surgery but if the team were to land a talent like Abreu, which again would be expensive and because of that unlikely, you have to think Brian Cashman at least has that conversation with Rick Hahn. Abreu is just 29-years old and under contract through the 2019 season.

The final piece the Yankees would possibly be interested in, with an extension anyway, is third baseman Todd Frazier. Now I know what you’re thinking, the Yankees already have Chase Headley. You’re right but in a perfect world who would you rather have going forward? Headley or Frazier? Yes, Frazier. Frazier is a free agent after the 2017 season and is 30-years old so he isn’t the ideal candidate but like I alluded to earlier he is a major upgrade over Headley in my opinion. Also Headley has been much better of late and his contract isn’t like an Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira contract that is close to unmovable as possible.

Will the Yankees get any of these players from Chicago if they decide to sell? Stay tuned and find out.

Adam Warren's Back, Baby!

As excited as I am over the Yankees adding top prospect Gleyber Torres to their already nice farm system, not to mention another good outfield prospect in Billy McKinney, I'm more intrigued by Adam Warren.

"He's back, baby!"

I guess this is because in the past I've been more about what a player can do for the Yankees now, rather than what they might be able to do down the road. Sure, I've come around to rooting for the team to keep improving their minor league system, but I can't help but put more focus on the guys that are a factor to the team's success right now than in two to three years.

That's why I ran right over to Warren's Baseball Reference page to see how he's been doing this season. Mind you, I knew it wasn't anything special, but I was in for a bigger disappointment.

Up to this point of 2016, Adam has been pitching quite poorly. In 35 innings this season, all but five of which have come as a reliever, Warren's ERA is 5.91. For comparison, in 287 innings spanning three seasons for the Yankees, Adam had an ERA of 3.23. I'm betting that Cubs fans were extremely disappointed with that performance, as most people thought he'd be a very solid contributor to any team's bullpen.

So what has gone wrong? I mean, there must be some explanation for why Adam Warren's pitching has fallen so far. Heck, we're not talking about a guy in his late 30s, whose career has been on the decline for years. Warren is just 28 years old, and a healthy 28 year-old at that.

Well, here's what I found...

For starters, Adam Warren is walking more batters. During his 2014 and 2015 seasons, Adam walked 2.75 and 2.67 batters per nine innings. However, that rate has nearly doubled to 4.89 batters per nine innings this season. That alone could be a big factor in Adam's declining performance, but there's more.

As bad as walks can be for pitchers, at least there's a chance they won't come around to score. That's not the case when it comes to giving up home runs, something that Adam has done a ton this season. In 2014 Warren gave up .46 home runs every nine innings pitched, and that number was a low .69 again in 2015. So how bad is Adam's homer rate this season? 1.8 per nine innings!

Another way to look at Adam Warren's homer issues this season is this... Between 2014 and 2015 he gave up 14 home runs, which spans 210 innings. However, in just 35 innings this season, Adam has given up 7 long balls

I had to keep looking at his stats to try and figure out just why in the World Warren is giving up so many homers this season. What I found was a nice jump in his fly ball rate. See, in the two years before going to Chicago, batters hit the ball in the air 31.5% of the time. However, nowadays opposing hitters are lifting the ball into the air 40.4% of the time. That's a significant jump, and it indicates to me that he's changed how he's pitching to batters.

Warren's pitch selection backs me up on that thought...

As a matter of fact, little about Adam Warren's pitch selection has remained the same with the Cubs. He's not throwing as many sliders (25.5%, as opposed to 31% between '14 and '15), not as many curveballs (7.5%, as opposed to 10.2% the previous two seasons), and more changeups (22.1% instead of 15.7%). And while Adam is throwing more fastballs than before (34.2% in '16, 28.6% between '14 and '15), a much smaller portion of them are of the cutter variety (.6% in '16, next to 2.95% in '14 and '15).

This has led to batters changing their approaches against Adam Warren, too. Batters from 2014 to 2015 swung at 30.3% of pitches outside of the strike zone (harder pitches to hit), but are only doing that 25.8% of the time this season. Furthermore, they are swinging at more pitches in the zone (better pitches to hit), 73.8% in 2016 instead of 65.9% in his previous two years.

I'm not a pitching coach, so I can't say what Adam Warren needs to do to get back to his pre-2016 self. Although it doesn't seem to hard to figure out... More sliders, less curveballs, a lot less changeups, and more cutters (hey, Mariano, get back here and straighten this kid out!). All the while keeping the ball down, so opposing batters can't get the ball into the air as often.

In conclusion, Adam Warren does not seem like a lost cause. Fans' opinion of Larry Rothschild would go way up if he can get Mr. Warren back to being the guy Yankees fans thought he could be for the team coming into this season. And to be honest, the trio of Warren-Betances-Miller could very well keep teams from scoring nearly as much as No Runs DMC did.

Time to get working on a new t-shirt design.

BREAKING NEWS: Aroldis Chapman Traded to Chicago Cubs

Just a quick post here since I'm at work, will update this later.

Aroldis Chapman has been traded to the Chicago Cubs for four players including top prospect Gleyber Torres (SS), outfielder Billy McKinney, RHP Adam Warren and one other.

Stay tuned.

The Future Keeps Getting Brighter

I'm loving how the Yankees have been focused more on the future.

That's kind of how I look when I see possible future rosters.

For the longest time the Yankees were constantly adding older players who were past their prime, hoping that the player could rekindle some of their previous magic.

For example, I'm sure you'll never forget the Stephen Drew experiment at second base. In 2013, the season before the Yankees traded for him, Drew put up a respectable batting line of .253/333/.443. And while he hadn't put up those type of numbers consistently from year to year, Stephen did have a couple other nice seasons under his belt. So Drew was made a Yankee in hopes of straightening him out for good. That didn't happen. Over two seasons, Stephen hit a sad .187/.257/.352.

Then there was 2012 when the Yankees brought Raul Ibanez aboard. Raul didn't hit as poorly for the Yankees as Stephen Drew would a couple of years later, but his triple-slash of .240/.308/.453 with 19
home runs was a far cry from the line of .287/.353/.505 while averaging 28 homers a season he put up for the Mariners and Phillies between 2006 and 2009.

Things are certainly different now.

During the 2014/2015 offseason, the Yankees traded for Didi Gregorius to play shortstop. Didi struggled a bit in his first season in pinstripes, however he has come along nicely in 2016, batting .297/.329/.464, to go along with some very nice defense. It looks like the Yanks may have found their long-term solution at the position that was left vacant by future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter.

Then you have this past offseason, which saw the Yankees deal for Starlin Castro. Sadly, like what happened with Didi in his first season with the Yankees, Castro is struggling. As of right now Starlin is batting a paltry .262/.295/.406. Hopefully his July numbers (.286/.321/.416) are a sign that he's coming around, and by this time next season it looks like he could be the long-term solution to losing Robinson Cano three years ago.

People like Daniel here will not let you forget that Rob Refsnyder could be a factor for the Yankees, either.

"I don't know who this 'Daniel' guy is, but I love how he supports me."

Now the Yankees added to their already respectable minor league system by trading Aroldis Chapman for top prospect Gleyber Torres, and another good prospect in Billy McKinney.

All this while holding onto possible 2017 starting right fielder Aaron Judge, possible 2017 starting first baseman Greg Bird, possible future starting catchers in Gary Sanchez and Luis Torrens, possible future star Jorge Mateo, and possible future key starters in Luis Severino and James Kaprielian.

*that's a lot of "possible" there, but that's why having prospect depth is so valuable.

I know of at least one person out there that can't be convinced that the future of the Yankees is looking pretty good, but I'm ready to tell him and everyone else that they are wrong. And yes... I have FACTS to prove it.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Houston Astros 7/25

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros will begin a three game series inside Minute Maid Park tonight as both teams inch ever so close to the August 1st trading deadline. It seems like the Yankees and the Astros are going in different directions at this deadline as all signs point to the Yankees possibly selling off a few pieces while Houston may add a key piece here or there in an attempt to catch the Texas Rangers in the AL West Division. In this contest the Yankees will send Michael Pineda to the mound to face off with an old and familiar foe for New York in Astros ace Dallas Keuchel.

Pineda has thrown exactly one scoreless start this season and that start came last time out. Pineda has exactly one start against the Houston Astros this season as well on the second game of the season where Houston tagged Pineda for six runs and eight hits in five innings of work. Believe it or not New York won that game thanks to the offense.

Keuchel has made exactly four career starts against the New York Yankees and he has completely owned them in those four starts. In those four starts that spanned 31 innings Keuchel has 31 strikeouts and has posted an anemic 1.45 ERA. This is going to be a long night for the Bombers.

The game will be played at 8:10 pm ET inside Minute Maid Park and can be seen live on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. The Yankees need a victory, or not depending on what you want the team to do before the trading deadline, but I can't feel confident against a guy like Keuchel. He has absolutely owned the Yankees throughout his short MLB career, but that doesn't mean I'm still not rooting for my team. Go Yankees!

Bought Low on Chapman, Now Buy Low on Sale

The Chicago White Sox have told teams that they are not necessarily motivated to sell off either of their left-handed starting pitchers Jose Quintana or Chris Sale but you have to think the team GM Rick Hahn is at least considering changing his stance after this weekend. See Sale was scratched from a start this weekend because of a clubhouse altercation that resulted in Sale cutting up all the retro throwback uniforms the team had because he did not want to wear one on the day he pitched. Yes I'm serious. The New York Yankees took advantage of Aroldis Chapman's off the field altercation to buy low on him so could the team do the same with Sale?

At the time of this writing Sale was pitching to a 14-3 record with a 3.18 ERA and would fit into the Yankees plans of acquiring a pitcher that is under team control beyond the 2017 season. Sale is under team control through the 2019 season and he has to be wearing thin on the nerves of the White Sox organization and front office. Sale was very vocal during the offseason when Adam LaRoche was told he could no longer bring his son into the White Sox clubhouse before and during games and now we have this. It sounds like the White Sox would be more willing than ever to trade him and his value may be lower than you think.

Ladies and gentleman, we call this a Brian Cashman special. Now I'm not saying I think it will happen because honestly I don't but I think it is at least a conversation that Brian Cashman needs to have with Rick Hahn. There will be teams who can and would blow any potential Yankees offer out of the water either because of Cashman's unwillingness to unload top prospects or simply because their respective farm systems are ranked more highly than the Yankees.

Sale has suddenly become a defiant player in a clubhouse that he feels alienated in. He presumably wants out and Chicago presumably wants him gone because negativity is poison so why not unload him to New York? The Yankees don't have retro jersey's and I believe key veterans like CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran and others could keep his ego in check. I used to call that the "Derek Jeter Effect" but the same remains true here today. There is something about putting on the pinstripes and something about being in that clubhouse that calms down the most vocal and the most defiant. It worked with everyone not named Reggie Jackson and it can work again with Sale.

But will it? Unlikely, but stay tuned.

Weekly Prospects Check In: Jeff Hendrix

Okay so I know what many of you are thinking on this beautiful Monday morning. "Who? Who the hell is Jeff Hendrix?" Hear me out and check it out because he is one of the prospects I had in mind when I came up with the idea to check in with prospects every single day.Hendrix is a prospect that not many knew when he was drafted and is a prospect that probably many don't know now, but they should.

Hendrix is an outfielder currently with the Tampa Yankees and at the time of this writing the center fielder was boasting a .654 batting average in his last 31 games. That's not a couple days or even a week's worth of sample size. That is a full month worth of games. Wow.


Has The Time Come?

The time has come that we have all been anticipating ever since the trade on Dec 28, 2015 which sent Aroldis Chapman from the Reds to the Yankees with the Yankees returning Rookie Davis, Eric Jagielo, Tony Renda, and Caleb Cotham to Cincinnati. The Yankees got Chapman as apart of a "steal" as some would say since they paid such little in return for such an elite reliever, The price for Chapman stooped to such a low due to Domestic Violence allegations which forced him to sit out the first 30 games of the 2016 season for the Yankees and miss such a vital portion of the season. As of today the New York Yankees hold a record of 50-48 and currently sit 7.5 games back of the First Place Baltimore Orioles. Aroldis is currently sporting a 2.01 ERA and is 20/21 in Save Opportunities. This season has pretty much gone to waste which solidifies the Yankees as sellers.

The first move on the Yankees apparent trade list is moving Closer Aroldis Chapman which has been in all sports news headlines for weeks now and with talks heating up in the past few days we might have come to a conclusion to the Chapman sweepstakes. The madness first started midday Today, Sunday July 24,2016 when Cubs Shortstop Gleyber Torres was scratched from Tonights lineup at High-A Myrtle Beach. Gleyber has been a prospect that has stuck out to the Yankees for a while as everyone knows how much they love their young SS. In 2016 Torres is currently batting .275 with 9 HR 47 RBI and 19 SB in High-A for the Cubs. The 19 year old is currently the #1 ranked prospect in the Cubs system and is ranked as the #24 prospect in all of Baseball according to so that is a reason the Yankees are very high on him. Many analysts believe that within the next two years that Torres could reach the Top 5 prospect list in all of baseball because he just has such pure raw talent.

Now we get to the rumored trade... The two constant names we are hearing in all reports are Aroldis Chapman and Gleyber Torres. We know that other pieces are involved in this proposed trade but no one can seem to figure out the exact players being exchanged. Rumored players being thrown around from the Yankees side are RP Andrew Miller, SP Michael Pineda, SP Nathan Eovaldi, SP Ivan Nova, and RF Carlos Beltran. Names being thrown around on the Cubs side are OF Jorge Soler, OF Kyle Schwarber, RP Adam Warren, and 3B Jeimer Candelario. A trade involving any of these players listed could be considered as a blockbuster with all of the talent being exchanged between the two teams.

As per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, The trade is looking likelier but still not finalized, Torres is one of the multiple pieces that have been agreed upon as part of the deal.

We should get some clarification to these rumors tomorrow and see if whether or not Aroldis Chapman is on his way to the Windy City and we will see what the Yankees will be getting in return for the elite closer.

This Day in New York Yankees History 7/25: Mel Allen’s Plaque & Jim Bouton’s Return

For all those who don't know the full story I will cover it briefly. Yankee pitcher Jim Bouton wrote a book called "Ball Four" that got him banished from Yankee Stadium. For all those who want to read the book a quick Google search can find it for you. On this day in 1998 at Old Timer's Day Bouton was invited back to Yankee Stadium for the first time in almost 30 seasons. Jim's son, Michael, wrote a letter to the New York Times urging the Yankees to reconsider their decision about Bouton and New York obliged.

Also on this day in 1998 the Yankees dedicated a plaque in the memory of Mel Allen, the team's long time play by play announcer. Allen died of heart failure in 1996, he was 83 years old. The plaque described Allen as a "Yankee institution, a national treasure" and even included his signature punch line" How about that?"

Finally on this day in 1995 Joe DiMaggio was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown after spending 13 season with the Bronx Bombers. DiMaggio retired with a .325 batting average and it still took four tries on the ballot before the Yankee Clipper was elected.