Wednesday, September 20, 2017

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Another week down and another week bites the dust. Pretty soon we won’t have these MLB power rankings to look at and pretty soon all we’ll have left is playoff baseball. Then nothing. Before we get too ahead of ourselves though let’s take one week at a time and look at the latest set of MLB Power Rankings brought to you by the USA Today.

The Cleveland Indians remained at the top spot this week, winning 22 games in a row will do that to a team I guess, while the Los Angeles Dodgers remained in unfamiliar waters at the second spot. The Houston Astros climbed a spot to the #3 position overall while the Washington Nationals relinquished that spot falling to the fourth position. Rounding out the Top Five we have the Arizona Diamondbacks who also occupied that spot on last week’s set of rankings.

This is a Yankees blog though so I know you came to see where the Yankees fell so let’s get to it. The Yankees have been hot as of late and are winning games at a steady pace which left the team at the 8th position overall, surprisingly one spot lower than they were last week. The Chicago Cubs are red hot though and they leapfrogged the Yankees this week so I guess I get that thought logic, even though the fan in me doesn’t necessarily agree with it. Oh well.

To round out the American League East the Boston Red Sox are 6th overall followed by the 17th overall Tampa Bay Rays, the 18th overall Baltimore Orioles who fell four spots and the Toronto Blue Jays who are 19th overall.

Oh and the San Francisco Giants still suck. Goodnight everyone.

Would the Blue Jays Trade Marcus Stroman to the Yankees?

The New York Yankees are taking care of business here in 2017 which is a surprise to many involved within the organization. It wasn’t a surprise to me, mind you, as I predicted the Yankees would win a Wild Card spot here in 2017 before the season began but I think even the most optimistic person in the world had the Yankees not making big noise until at least the 2018 season. With the 2018 season inching closer and closer to fruition and reality I wanted to begin the “Get Greedy” campaign a little early and ask the question of whether the Toronto Blue Jays would trade Marcus Stroman this offseason and would they be willing to trade him to the Yankees?

Let me start by saying that Stroman is one of those pitchers, like Sonny Gray, that you will have to and should be willing to break the bank for in terms of dollars and in terms of prospects. The Yankees still have a ton of minor league depth as we saw earlier in the day with’s Top 100 prospect list and Stroman is a guy that will command one or two of those prospects, and he’s worth it. Stroman is just 26-years old and would come to the Bronx not only AL East tested but playoff tested as well and neither of those elements you can put a price tag on or a stat with. We all know why it would make sense for the Yankees and you don’t need me to tell you why it would make sense for New York, but why would it make sense for Toronto?

Toronto has already come out and said that the team wants to start a youth movement like we have seen in the Bronx and the team has already begun that with the call ups of top prospects Teoscar Hernandez and Richard Urena. Trading Stroman to a team like the Yankees with such a strong farm system makes sense for obvious reasons, New York can part with prospects and the Yankees have good prospects. Toronto could also ask for more since Stroman would be staying within the division and if New York were smart, within reason of course, the team would pay it to acquire a talent like Stroman. It also doesn’t hurt that Stroman is a Medford, Long Island boy who would presumably love to make a homecoming out of this whole scenario.

Every once in a while a trade comes along that not only helps both clubs equally but it makes too much sense not to make it and this one screams that out to me. Call me bias, call me a homer and call me greedy, just get Stroman and don’t call me late to dinner. That’s my motto.

Get Greedy, Get Stroman and remember…. “Height Doesn’t Measure Heart.” #HDMH

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 9/20

Afternoon baseball in the Bronx with what should be an entertaining pitching matchup, yes please. This afternoon the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins will finish off their season series with one final game here inside Yankee Stadium. In the final potential preview of the American League Wild Card Playoff Round the New York Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to face off with Bartolo Colon for the Twins. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a win and place that final nail in the coffin. Keep winning until that Magic Numbers says 0. Go Yankees!

Prediction: Yankees win 4-0 Top 100 Prospects List Has a Few Familiar Yankees Faces on It released their new and updated Top 100 prospects list for the 2017 season and there are more than a few familiar Yankees faces on it. There are eight to be exact, six that are still within the Yankees system and two that were traded away at or before the July 31st trade deadline. For the complete list head over to to check it out while I focus on the Yankees-related material here on the blog for you.

Here are the Yankees and their positions on the rankings:

Gleyber Torres - #1
Clint Frazier - #23
Chance Adams - #55
Estevan Florial - #81
Justus Sheffield - #83
Miguel Andujar - #95

And here are two prospects the Yankees traded away at the trade deadline that made the list:

Blake Rutherford - #41
Dustin Fowler - #69

Anyone else surprised to not see Jorge Mateo on this list? I was, I checked it three times to make sure that Mateo wasn’t on the list. I wonder what that’s about. Anyway here is the scouting report on Gleyber Torres who took the top spot on the list at just 20-years old. Enjoy.

“Torres has exceptionally quick hands that allow him to excel at the dish and in the field. He's very advanced at the plate, recognizing pitches well, displaying patience and using the entire field. His power projections seem to increase each year as he adds strength and experience, and he now looks like he'll deliver 20-plus homers on an annual basis in his prime.”

Step Aside Babies, The Aging Bombers Got This...

Credit:  Adam Hunger-Getty Images
Yankees 5, Twins 2...

The way the game started, it looked like it was going to be the Twins' day.  But in the end, it was the grizzled old veterans (CC Sabathia and Brett Gardner) that keyed the victory for the Yankees.

In a game delayed by rain (one hour and five minutes), the Twins got an early jump on Sabathia. Brian Dozier led off with a single to center on the first pitch.  Joe Mauer reached on a bunt to third (a roller on the line that Todd Frazier waited to see if it would roll out), Dozier advanced to second. Jorge Polanco followed with a bunt single back to the pitcher. CC must have been thrilled with all those bunts (memories of Boston). Polanco was called out on the field but the Twins challenged and replay showed that he had beaten Sabathia's throw to first. The bases were loaded with no outs.  Even though it resulted in a run, the play of the game occurred when Jorge Polanco hit a grounder to short and the Yankees completed a double play (second to first) with Dozier running home to score the game's first run. Byron Buxton grounded out back to Sabathia to end the threat. The Twins could have scored multiple runs in that situation, which would have changed the complexion of the game, but CC was able to limit the damage.

The top of the 2nd saw a completely different Sabathia. He set down the Twins on a ground out and two strikeouts. Thanks to walks by Starlin Castro and Greg Bird, the Yankees had two runners on base in the bottom of the 2nd, with two outs, for Brett Gardner. Gardy delivered with a line drive to left to score Castro.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-Associated Press

Bird moved to third, but Aaron Judge was unable to bring him home when he flied out to center to end the inning.  Game tied.

Max Kepler led off the top of the 3rd inning with a home run to right center as the Twins recaptured the lead.  

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the bottom of the 4th with a double down the left field line. After Todd Frazier struck out, Greg Bird took his second walk of the game.  Runners at first and second. Brett Gardner came up big again with a single to right, past a diving Joe Mauer, to score Ellsbury. The Twins pulled starter Jose Berrios and replaced him with Alan Busenitz. With Aaron Judge batting, Busenitz uncorked a wild pitch which moved the runners to second and third. Aaron Judge took advantage with a sacrifice fly to the right field warning track that scored Bird. The Yankees had their first lead of the game, 3-2.

Credit:  Adam Hunger-Getty Images

The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the 5th. With former Met Dillon Gee on the mound and one out, Chase Headley was hit by a pitch near the family jewels. Yikes! Headley was okay, but as Michael Kay of the YES Network said, I hope he was wearing a cup even though he was not playing in the field (DH) for this game. Starlin Castro followed with a single to left through the hole and Headley moved to second.  Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to first for the second out, but the runners advanced to second and third.  Todd Frazier walked to load the bases. The Twins made another pitching change, replacing Gee with Buddy Boshers. Greg Bird hit a grounder to first that looked like it would be a routine play for Joe Mauer but the ball bounced off the side of his glove and all runners were safe, with Headley scoring. If there was ever a guy that deserved to score, it was Headley as he had truly taken one for the team. The Yankees had increased their lead to 4-2.  

Sabathia found himself back in another jam in the 6th inning. Two singles, a stolen base, and an intentional walk loaded the bases with two outs, but CC was able to get Eddie Rosario to fly out to left to leave the runners stranded.  Rosario's hit took Brett Gardner to the warning track and back into the wall  but it was still the third out even if it did cause me to lose my breath momentarily.  Sabathia's day was done.

In the bottom of the 6th, Twins reliever Ryan Pressly took over for Buddy Boshers. The first batter, Aaron Judge, singled to left through the hole.  Gary Sanchez followed with a single to left and the Yankees had runners at the corners. After outs by Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley, Starlin Castro singled to right, inches past a diving Brian Dozier, to score Judge. Sanchez moved to second. A wild pitch had advanced the runners to second and third. From there, Pressly intentionally walked Jacoby Ellsbury to load the bases. Unfortunately, Todd Frazier grounded out to short to end the inning but the Yankees had added to their lead, 5-2.  

Chad Green took over for Sabathia in the 7th. It wasn't the usual Terminator-like appearance for Green, but he did hold the Twins scoreless despite allowing a single and a walk in the inning.

The Yanks missed another scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 7th. Brett Gardner had reached on a one-out grounder to short (a ball that squirted out of the shortstop's glove). With Aaron Judge batting, Gardy stole second. He then moved to third on a wild pitch by reliever John Curtiss. Judge hit a grounder to third and Gardy made an unsuccessful break for home. Eduardo Escobar's throw to catcher Chris Gimenez nailed Gardy at the plate.  

Credit:  Kathy Willens-Associated Press

In the top of the 8th, David Robertson got the call. Joe Girardi had said prior to the game that Dellin Betances would be unavailable after pitching in the two previous games but obviously there was much discussion among the Yankees Universe yesterday about whether the Yankees should drop Betances to less pressurized situations until he can find himself again. D-Rob added fuel to the argument when he struck out the side.  

Aroldis Chapman came into the game in the 9th. Although he did allow a two-out double to Chris Gimenez, he got Max Kepler to hit a liner to left for the final out to earn his 20th save. The Yankees win!

The Yankees (84-67) kept pace with the Boston Red Sox, staying three games back. The Baltimore Orioles have done the Yankees no favors as they fell to the Sox again, this time by a score of 1-0 in extra innings. Manny Machado, please feel free to mix in a few timely hits. The Yankees have built a commanding six game lead in the Wild Card standings over the Twins. The third place WC-contending team, the Los Angeles Angels, also lost so they failed to make up any ground on their 1 1/2 game deficit to the Twins.  

CC Sabathia (12-5) was clearly the crafty vet in this game. He escaped huge jams and overall held the Twins in check. 'Get the game to the bullpen' and he did.  

Both Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro had three hits, and Aaron Judge had two. Another good win by the home team!

Odds & Ends...

The Yankees have made a pitching change for today's game. Earlier, Joe Girardi had announced that Masahiro Tanaka would be the scheduled starter. However, upon reconsideration (based primarily on the fact that the Yankees have not yet clinched a post-season berth), they have decided to pitch Luis Severino (13-6, 2.93 ERA). He'll be opposed by the ageless Bartolo Colon (4-5, 4.80 ERA). Tanaka will pitch Friday night in Toronto. The move gives Severino the potential for three starts if the Yankees are still challenging the Sox for the division championship. If not, he'll make two more starts, including today, and will take the mound for the Wild Card game.  

It is amazing to think that if/when Aaron Judge hits his 45th home run of the season, he'll join very select company as the only Yankees with 45 or more home runs in a season...Roger Maris (61); Babe Ruth (60, 59, 54, 54, 49, 47, 46, 46, 46); Mickey Mantle (54, 52); Alex Rodriguez (54, 48); Lou Gehrig (49, 49, 47, 46); and Joe DiMaggio (46). Standing pat at 44 HR's is impressive as it would also include Tino Martinez but clearly we want Judge to continue to send balls into orbit.   

Have a great Wednesday! It's a wonderful day for a win!  Go Yankees!  

Why Are We All Surprised That Dellin Betances is Struggling?

Dellin, nobody said playing in New York was going to be easy and boy it hasn’t been for the Yankees right-handed reliever. Dellin exited Yankee Stadium to some of the loudest boos I think I have ever heard inside the new Yankee Stadium on Monday night after helping load the bases in the eighth inning against the Minnesota Twins. Aroldis Chapman got out of trouble after relieving Betances and the Yankees won the game, which is all great, but I would rather focus on another issue. Betances is struggling here during the month of September and I am just left sitting here wondering why anyone is really surprised that this is happening.

Sure, Betances loaded the bases because of walks and hit batters and not because the Twins were squaring him up which is encouraging but this is just another season with a September collapse for Betances. Betances has a career 4.53 ERA in the month of September throughout his career, and that is including Chapman’s bailout which could have made that number skyrocket with three inherited runners, and the right-hander also has an 8.10 ERA here in September of 2017. Stats and history suggest that Betances should be getting better going forward, he almost has to at this point, and Betances has to if the Yankees want to not only make the postseason but go far in the playoffs as well. Betances is going to have to stop making excuses and people like Joe Girardi are going to have to stop making excuses for him. He is fatigued like he is fatigued every single season and that’s on Girardi, not on Betances. Fix it, or fix the problem by removing the manager. Period.

Before you say something along the lines of “Betances is on pace for his lowest innings total and appearance totals in four years” let’s remember that Betances is pitching in high stress innings. Betances has closed, set up and been the fireman for the Yankees all season long. Betances has been that guy for the Yankees basically since he came through the farm system and inserted himself into Joe Girardi’s bullpen. Three stress-free innings are probably equal to one stressful inning here in major League Baseball and it feels like Betances has had nothing but stressful innings, some he created and some he has not, all season long.

Betances is over 300 innings pitched now as a relief pitcher and they have all been pretty hard innings for the right-hander. Every single season Betances comes out strong like a strikeout machine only to fizzle out in September and into October so why are we surprised that it is happening again here in 2017? I’m not and you shouldn’t be either. This is almost in the “Mark Teixeira is a slow starter” neighborhood, it’s becoming that much of a common place here in the latter parts of the season. How do you fix it or prevent it? That I don’t know, that’s why the Yankees pay good money for pitching coaches and managers and that’s why they aren’t paying me. All I know is the team needs to fix it and needs to fix it now or the team may struggle to get past the AL Wild Card Game once again, just like in 2015 when Betances struggled.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 9/20

Good morning Yankees family and welcome to the final game during the regular season between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. It is getaway day here in the Bronx as after the game the Yankees will use their final off day of the regular season to make the trip to Toronto to take on the Toronto Blue Jays inside the Rogers Centre. Days off and travel days are all the more sweet after a victory so that is the mission and the goal for the boys in pinstripes this afternoon. Taking the mound for the Yankees will be Masahiro Tanaka while the Twins will counter with an old foe and teammate in Bartolo Colon. If George Steinbrenner were alive you have to wonder if The Boss would have had any nice nicknames for Colon during his tenure in the Bronx. The things that make you go “hmmmmm.”

Tanaka bounced back in his last start against the Orioles with seven strong innings of work allowing just two runs on eight hits with eight strikeouts in a victory. This was a much improved start over the clunker Tanaka had against the Texas Rangers in Arlington when the right-hander allowed seven runs in just four innings of work in a Yankees loss.

The Yankees have decided to move Luis Severino up to start this afternoon in the Bronx instead of Tanaka. 

Colon has fallen back into his early-season ways lately for the Twins after being seemingly rejuvenated after signing with the club earlier in the summer. In three September starts Colon has posted an 0-3 record with a 7.53 ERA including a four run in six innings start against the Toronto Blue Jays in his last start. Colon has pitched against the Yankees 20 times in his long career and heads into his 21st appearance against the Bronx Bombers sporting a 6-8 record with a 5.81 ERA in 110 innings.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. This will be the last time that the Yankees see the Twins before a potential AL Wild Card Playoff game so enjoy it while you can, and enjoy hitting a few home runs off a former teammate in Colon while you’re at it. Enjoy the game, need a win so get a win, and let’s make the playoffs. Go Yankees!!

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/20: George Steinbrenner Joins Monument Park

If you asked enough people around Major League Baseball, especially non New York Yankees fans, you would probably get more negative comments that positive comments after former owner George Steinbrenner. Say what you will about the Boss but winning was most important to him and as a fan I truly appreciated that. On this day in 2010 the Yankees showed their appreciation for that as well when Mr. Steinbrenner was honored with a 7’ by 5’ 760 bronze monument in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The tribute was to honor the recently deceased owner of the Yankees and saw Joe Torre return to Yankee Stadium for the first time after leaving the team after the 2007 season.

Also on this day in 2006 the New York Yankees, with a ton of help from the aforementioned Mr. Steinbrenner and his check book, clinched their ninth consecutive American League East division title. Quite the feat and accomplishment for the Yankees and Mr. Torre.

Speaking of honoring fallen Yankees heroes on this day in 1980 the Yankees honored fallen catcher Thurman Munson with a bronze plaque in Monument Park in Yankee Stadium. The 32 year old team Yankees captain was killed last season while attempting to land his Cessna Citation at Akron-Canton Airport in Ohio.

Finally on this day in 1968 the Yankees legend Mickey Mantle would hit his 536th and final home run of his Hall of Fame career. Mantle played for 18 seasons and hit his final home run in a 4-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium off pitcher Jim Longborg.