Thursday, April 5, 2018

Where do the Yankees Actually Stand After One Week?

After one week of baseball the New York Yankees are 4-2. To be technical they are 1 game back of the 5-1 Red Sox in the AL East, but it's a long season and the standings don't mean quite as much in April as they do in July and August. So then, where do the Yankees actually stand one week in to the season? We entered spring training with several questions about this ball club and I believe we are starting to get some of those answered. Here's a look at some of those questions.

Can Giancarlo handle New York?

0-5 with 5 k's. The man formally known as Mike Stanton put up a not so ideal stat line for his Yankee Stadium debut. The boos echoed in the stadium and it appeared as if we would finally know how Giancarlo would respond to the expectations that come with donning the pinstripes. First, how did he respond to the media? "You put up a performance like that, you should get some boos." This was Stanton's response to the media. Exactly what he should have said, but what really answers the question is what he does next on the field. Stanton gave us a 458 ft answer in his 1st AB Wednesday.

What's on 2nd?

This answer is not as cut and dry. Before Greg Bird landed on the DL the job seemed to be Neil Walker's with a little Tyler Wade mixed in, but now Walker is logging time at 1B and we're seeing a lot of Wade and Toe. Toe doesn't seem to have caught manager Aaron Boone's eye and Wade is currently sporting a .133 batting average. It may be just me but unless someone steps up, it feels as if the keystone is all but waiting for Gleyber Torres.

Is Aaron Boone the Answer?

A team that finishes just one win away from a World Series birth isn't generally looking for a change in managers, but that is exactly what Brian Cashman and the Yankees front office did. Going for a more analytical, player oriented manager the Bronx Bombers brought in Aaron Boone. A man with no coaching experience raised some eyebrows and every move he makes will be closely monitored. After 6 games there has been questions about how he manages the bullpen, but I personally think that will change once the starters pitch counts get stretched out a little more. Boone has handled the media very well up until now and I believe his baseball blood will show.

Overall, the start of the 2018 season has given Yankees fans a good taste of what to expect for the year. The bullpen has been shaky but it will obviously right the ship. The explosive offense will be there more nights than not. And the starting pitching has unbelievable potential. With more questions than answers right now though, we will just have to wait and see how this season unfolds.

Yankees Set Thunder Opening Day Roster

The New York Yankees have set the Thunder roster for the 25th season of play at ARM & HAMMER Park.

The roster features three of the top starting pitching prospects in the organization with RHP Domingo Acevedo, LHP Justus Sheffield and RHP Dillon Tate lining up at the front of the rotation. All three rank in the top-10 of Baseball America's pre-season Yankees prospect list with Sheffield checking in at #3. RHP Will Carter and RHP Erik Swanson round out the starting group for the Thunder, a team that set the franchise record for team ERA (2.83) and shutouts (20). 

The bullpen features a number of strong arms including Rule V returnee RHP Jose Mesa Jr.. Righties Jordan FoleyJoe HarveyBrian Keller, and Andrew Schwaab will be joined by left-handers Caleb FrareJames Reeves and Stephen Tarpley. 

Behind the plate C Jorge Saez returns after hitting nine home runs in 67 games for the team. Former Reading Fightin Phils catcher Chace Numata joins Saez as a catcher for the club. 

In the field, the roster features two local products. Council Rock South High School graduate Billy Fleming breaks camp with the team. He's joined by West Windsor Plainsboro South High School graduate, Ben Ruta; who will make his Double-A debut when he takes the field for the first time.

Rounding out the position players on the roster, infielders Chris GittensBruce CaldwellVince CondeGosuke Katoh, and Mandy Alvarez join the team. Conde and Fleming are the only infielders returning to the team from 2017. In the outfield, Trey AmburgeyRashad Crawford, and Jhalan Jackson join Ruta. Amburgey appeared in one game for the Thunder in the 2016 ELCS against Ak

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 4/5

Weird start time and all it is time for baseball in the Bronx as the New York Yankees and Yankee Stadium prepare to play host to Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles. This time next season we could be seeing Manny Machado manning third base inside the stadium, but this time with the Yankees pinstripes on. Who knows, but let’s not get too ahead of ourselves here. In the start tonight the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with Andrew Cashner for the Orioles in what is shaping up to be a great pitching matchup. The game will be played at 6:35 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, the MLB At-Bat app or by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, win one for Machado, and Go Yankees!!

Yankees Sign Nate Coronado out of the Atlantic League

The New York Yankees brought in a little more minor league depth this week when the organization plucked away an infielder from the Atlantic League. The Yankees announced the signing of infielder Nate Coronado from the Lancaster Barnstormers out of the Atlantic League.

Coronado is 25-years old and at the time of this writing was at the team’s spring training camp in Tampa, Florida awaiting an assignment to one of the team’s minor league affiliates. The infielder joined the Barnstormers following the 2017 All-Star break where he batted .333 in 60 games with six home runs and 38 RBI.

Barnstormers manager Ross Peeples spoke highly of him when news broke that Coronado was signed by New York stating that the 25-year old “can play multiple positions and, with his age, definitely deserves this opportunity. Source goes to the Lancaster Barnstormers who broke the news first.

Welcome to the organization, Nate, and welcome to the family.

Meet a Prospect: Trayce Thompson

The New York Yankees quickly went from being an offensive juggernaut to the walking wounded here in 2018, especially with their outfield depth. Clint Frazier went down with a concussion, Jacoby Ellsbury strained an oblique and then began dealing with hip issues, Aaron Hicks was later added to the 10-Day disabled list, Billy McKinney lasted an inning in his MLB debut before getting hurt, and the team traded Jake Cave away over the winter. All-in-all the Yankees still have one of the best outfields in all of Major League Baseball with Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner but the team felt like they needed some depth and insurance off the bench leading the team to acquire outfielder Trayce Thompson off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ben Heller was added to the 60-Day disabled list in a subsequent roster move. Let us meet the latest talented outfielder to grace the Yankees active roster this season. This is Meet a Prospect: The Trayce Thompson Edition.  

Trayce Nikolas Thompson was born on March 15, 1991 and is the brother of Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson. Thompson attended Santa Margarita Catholic School in Rancho Santa Margarita, California where he committed to play college baseball for the University of California, Los Angeles, or more commonly known as UCLA. Thompson ultimately decided to forego his commitment to UCLA though after the Chicago White Sox drafted him in the second round of the 2009 MLB First Year Players Draft. Thompson signed and immediately began his professional career with the Rookie level Bristol White Sox. Trayce got 106 at-bats under his belt in 2009 and continued to work his way through the White Sox minor league system through the 2013 season. On November 20, 2013 the White Sox added Thompson to their 40-man roster and by August of 2015 Thompson was at the Major League level and making his MLB debut with Chicago. 

Thompson did enough in his two-month stint with the White Sox in 2015 to garner the interest of the Los Angeles Dodgers who acquired Thompson in a three-team trade. The White Sox sent Thompson along with Micah Johnson and Frankie Montas to the Los Angeles Dodgers while the White Sox received Todd Frazier back from the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds received Jose Peraza, Brandon Dixon and Scott Schebler back in the deal. Thompson made the Dodgers Opening Day roster for the 2016 season and appeared in 80 games hitting .225 with 13 home runs and 32 RBI. Thompson’s season was cut short after being placed on the disabled list with a sore back. X-Rays eventually revealed that Thompson had multiple fractures in his back, an injury that ended his season on July 16, 2016. 

Thompson was back with the Dodgers for the 2017 splitting time between the Minor Leagues and the Major Leagues, but never found the power stroke that he had during the 2016 season. The Dodgers designated Thompson for assignment on March 27, 2018 and the Yankees snatched him up off of waivers this week to fill their outfield depth need. 

Oh, and before I forget. Scott Fiedler wants Golden State Warriors tickets. Make that happen, Trayce. Welcome to the family, enjoy your stay. 

How Are Things Looking So Far?

Although it's only been six games, I figured I'd give you all a run-down of what I think so far, and what the rest of the season has in store. If you expect a long-winded explanation of things you'll be disappointed. Not enough has happened to go that far. I'll save that for a few more weeks or so.

I don't want to look hard at the numbers, seeing as how the sample size is so small right now. 

Going Down
  • I'm sad to say this, but the entire starting rotation is going to get worse. That's not to say they are going to be bad, they just aren't going to be this good. Not a single one of the five starters this season have an ERA+ under 200. Sonny Gray's ERA of 2.25 is the highest, while the other four have ERAs under 2.00. I'm sorry, but that won't continue. 
Going Up
  • The only guy in the bullpen that has looked good so far this year is Chad Green, who has given up just 1 hit while striking out 7 over 3.1 innings. Chapman has been striking out more guys that normal, too. Other than that, though, the relievers have been hard to watch. But that will not continue. Aroldis will not give up a hit an inning, Betances' ERA will not be 9.00, and D-Rob's ERA will not be 12.00, and Kahnle will not give up a home run every other time he makes an appearance. 
But just in case you're still worried about pitching still, there are guys like Domingo German, Domingo Acevedo, Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield, and others ready to step up.

Note: the numbers quoted are for before the game on 4/4

Going Down

  • When it comes to hitting, there's only one guy that I see getting worse from where he's currently at. Chances are you've already said that name out loud or in your head, so I'll go ahead and say it too... Didi Gregorius. No, Didi is not going to finish 2018 with an OPS+ of 269. His home run rate is not going to be almost double what it was in 2017 (8% compared to 4.4% last year). But you know what? I don't think he's going to finish only a little better than average, either (his OPS+ was 106 in 2017). Didi will strike out a bit more, walk a bit less, and his fly ball rate will go down, but other than that  he's making hard contact as well as he normally has (his line drive percentage this season is exactly the same as last season... 25%). 

Going Up

  • While it's hard to watch Giancarlo Stanton strike out as much as he has (12, including 9 times in the last two games), he's still been huge for the Yankees' offense. Three home runs, two doubles, and four walks, good for an OPS+ of 182. His batting average is currently .217, and over the previous three seasons that number was .245. Oh, and about those 12 strikeouts... his current strikeout percentage is 44.4%, compared to a career percentage of 27.8%. So while he will strike out fairly often, it's unlikely to be nearly as much as we've seen.
  • Gary Sanchez currently has an OPS+ of -7, due to a current slash line of .087/.087/.261. Call me crazy, but I have a feeling he's going to end the season with numbers slightly higher than that. Hell, I don't have to dig into the numbers to convince you otherwise. Well... maybe I do with some, but that would be a waste of time because anybody that thinks Gary will be that bad is too crazy for me to talk off the ledge anyway.
  • Brandon Drury is having a nice start to his career with the Yankees. His OPS+ at this time is 134. I fully expect that number to go down, but I don't expect it to go down that far. His line drive percentage is quite a bit higher than he's averaged in his MLB career (47%, as opposed to a career percentage of 27%), but the rest of the numbers suggest that what we've seen is not far off from what we can expect from here on out. 
  • Like Stanton, Aaron Judge has been underrated so far this season. He hit his first home run of the season yesterday, and so many people seem to look at that number alone when evaluating the start of his season. But his OPS+ so far is actually 163. His walk rate will likely go down a bit (although with Giancarlo batting behind him, you never know), and he's hitting the ball a little harder than he did last season (line drive percentage of 38% compared to 26% in 2017), but it looks like he's going to have another huge season for the Yankees.
  • Just in case you haven't been able to keep up on things so far this year, the Yankees will soon be getting back the guy slated to start in centerfield this season... Aaron Hicks. Not to mention that the guy that should have been their Opening Day first baseman, Greg Bird, will hopefully be back and healthy soon too. Not to mention Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury are currently on the disabled list with them.
  • Speaking of reinforcements, the Yankees have an incredible supply of young guys ready to step up. Actually, one of them already has, as Aaron Boone will be looking for ways to get Tyler Austin more at bats. Tyler Wade is not starting off hot, but many believe he can be a big help in the future. Miguel Andujar is chomping at the bit, Gleyber Torres will soon be pushing for a promotion, and Billy McKinney will be back in not too long.
In summary, the 2018 New York Yankees are still a World Series contender. If you want to jump off the Yankees' bandwagon, be my guest. There are still plenty more on board.

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 4/5

Good morning everyone and welcome back to Yankees baseball in the Bronx. The Yankees just finished up a quick two-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays where we see Giancarlo Stanton, not Brandon Drury as I predicted in my bold predictions before the season, boo’d and we saw Didi Gregorius bring his home run stick to the yard. It was a fun series, but any series where New York beats the Rays and Chris Archer is fun in my eyes. It is almost as fun as beating that whiny little guy Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles, a task the team has been given starting tonight inside Yankee Stadium. The Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with Andrew Cashner for the Orioles.

Tanaka was vintage Tanaka in his first start of the 2018 season inside the Rogers Centre against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tanaka held the Blue Jays offense to just one run on three hits in six innings of work walking none and striking out eight batters. Last season Tanaka had a mixed bag of results against these Orioles, albeit in an up-and-down season, posting a 2-2 record with a 3.58 ERA in eight starts.

Cashner did not have a great debut for the Orioles against the Minnesota Twins this season allowing five runs, four of them earned, in five innings in a loss for Baltimore. This will mark Cashner's first start of his career in the Bronx after going 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA last season with the Texas Rangers. Welcome to the AL East, Cashner. 

The game will be played at 6:35 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium in the Bronx and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11, which may or may not explain the weird start time for this one. You can also follow along with MLB TV, the MLB At-Bat app, or by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, make Buck Showalter cry a little more, and Go Yankees!!

Hello… Booing All-Stars

Good morning everyone, and Happy Thursday to you all. I guess this is kind of old news by now, if you can call something that happened two days ago old news, but I feel like I should say something about it anyway. The Yankees fans booed Giancarlo Stanton on Tuesday night after striking out five times in one game against the Tampa Bay Rays. While that kind of performance usually warrants a boo, or a sarcastic “(fill in the player’s name) Sucks!”, do we, the fan base of the New York Yankees, want to be “those guys?”

What do I mean by “those guys?’ I mean those fans that everyone hates. The obnoxious Yankees fans that boo everyone. The harsh Yankees fans that spit on and heckle the players and wives of the players in the stands causing that player to not want to come play for the organization five years later when he hits free agency or holds the keys to his next destination due to a no-trade clause? I mean, I get it. The Yankees fans are some of the most passionate, and impatient at times, fans in the world… but it is my very humble, yet bias, opinion that we are the greatest fans in the world as well. Not only in Major League Baseball, but in all of the four major sports in North America. I truly believe that, so let’s start acting like that.

Yes, I know, this seems a little rich coming from me, the guy who predicted that the fans would do the same to recently acquired Brandon Drury in my bold predictions post. There is a difference between predicting a player would be showered by the Bronx cheers and actually condoning the act. I don’t condone the act, not for a player like Drury, a young guy like Tyler Wade, or for an All-Star like Giancarlo Stanton. Stay classy, New York. That’s all that I ask.

And speaking of classy, it’s raining tacos! I love you baby, and you are the classiest person I have ever met. You are my everything. Everything that is good in my life begins and ends with you. Stay classy and stay you. Thank you for being you and thank you for being mine.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/5: Babe Ruth & Quaker Oats

On this day in 1934 Babe Ruth, with the backing of Quaker Oats, agreed to do weekly NBC broadcasts. Ruth's 13 week salary for the radio gig was $4000 more than his Yankees contract.

Also on this day in 1925 Babe Ruth collapsed at a railroad station in Asheville, North Carlina. The "bellyache heard round the world" would require hospitalization and an operation that would keep the Yankees star out of the lineup until May. One writer suggested too many hot dogs and soda caused the illness, I guess we will never know.

Finally on this day in 1913 in an exhibition game the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers played a game in front of 25,000 fans. The significance behind the game was it was the first ever game played in Ebbets Field. Casey Stengel hit the first home run, an inside the park home run, and the Dodgers beat the Yankees 3-2.