Thursday, April 26, 2018

NFL Quarterbacks Drafted into MLB

Good morning everyone and welcome to NFL Draft day. Now I have to admit that I am not the hugest fan of the NFL anymore, both because life got busy and because of the shenanigans that the league continues to not only allow, but also condone, I do admit that this day still means a lot to whole lot of people. With that said, and seeing as this is a baseball blog, I wanted to take a quick look at the ever-growing list of successful NFL quarterbacks that were once drafted by a Major League Baseball team. This is far from a complete list, to be honest, but I did try and include as much of the Yankees-related drafting news that I could as well as hitting the high spots with the actual players themselves. Enjoy!

The Colorado Rockies drafted Russell Wilson in the 2010 MLB First Year Players Draft before ultimately losing him to the Seattle Seahawks of the NFL. The Texas Rangers also acquired his services and recently traded him to the New York Yankees who had him in their spring training camp here in 2018. Wilson worked out with the team and even received one at-bat this spring, that at-bat resulted in a strikeout for the successful Super Bowl winning quarterback.

The San Diego Padres drafted Johnny Manziel in 2014 before “Johnny Football” went to the Cleveland Browns. Manziel lasted two years with Cleveland before the team ultimately cut him.

The Texas Rangers drafted Jameis Winston in 2012 with the promise of all the crab leg buffets that he could eat after every game. Too soon? As a Georgia Tech fan, I would lean towards that answer being a “no.” The whole ACC rivalry thing and all, but maybe it was a low blow. You decide.

The Chicago Cubs drafted Colin Kaepernick in the 2009 Draft. You have to wonder what could have been for Kaepernick and the Cubs had he tried to kneel during the national anthem in Chicago, and not in San Francisco. Who knows, another debate for another blog I guess.

Jake Locker was drafted twice, once in 2006 and once again in 2009, by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. I guess the Angels really wanted Locker.

Matt Moore was also drafted by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, this time in the 2004 MLB Draft. The only Matt Moore I know is the one who used to terrorize the Yankees with the Tampa Bay Rays and now pitches, last I checked, with the Texas Rangers. I assume this isn’t the same one (it isn’t, it is called sarcasm ladies and gentlemen).

Matt Cassel was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2004 joining Moore in the 2004 QB class.

Dennis Dixon was drafted twice out of college, the first time in 2003 by the Cincinnati Reds and again by the Atlanta Braves in 2007. I guess I would have went to play with the Pittsburgh Steelers too if the Reds or Braves drafted me.

The New York Yankees took Brandon Weeden in the 2002 Draft. The Yankees traded Weeden, Jeff Weaver and Yhency Brazoban a year later to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Kevin Brown, and the rest, as they say, is history. Weeden never played above High-A Ball and ultimately quit the game after the 2006 season after injuries and a lack of performance began to pile up.

The Colorado Rockies drafted Michael Vick in the 2000 MLB Draft with the promise of dog…. Yeah it is still too soon for jokes like that, even for me. The baseball fan in me though would like to see what Vick could do on the basepaths though. Could he be the next Ricky Henderson, speed wise?

Brooks Bollinger was drafted in consecutive years, 2000 and 2001, both times by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Chad Hutchinson was drafted twice also by MLB teams, the first time coming in 1995 when the Atlanta Braves drafted him, and the second time coming in 1998 when the St. Louis Cardinals organization called his name during the draft.

The New York Yankees drafted Drew Henson to be their third baseman of the future in 1998. We all know how that worked out for Henson, both with the Yankees and with the Dallas Cowboys.

Move over Brett Gardner 

New York also drafted Daunte Culpepper in the 1995 Draft. The Yankees love their quarterbacks, apparently. Culpepper went on to have a successful career with the Minnesota Vikings after turning the Yankees down.

And of course, you cannot have one of these lists without mentioning that the Montreal Expos drafted Tom Brady back in the 1995 MLB First Year Players Draft. I guess some would say that Tom made the right decision going to the Patriots and not to Montreal, which is now the Washington Nationals.

A lot of people forget Dan Marino was also drafted into MLB by the Kansas City Royals in 1979. Even though Marino went to Miami I would also call that a great decision for Dan.

Not to be outdone though John Elway was drafted not once, but twice by MLB teams including the Kansas City Royals who also drafted Elway in 1979 along with Marino, and the New York Yankees who drafted Elway in 1981.

Will the New York Yankees, or any MLB team for that matter, take any future NFL quarterbacks tonight in the NFL Draft? Stay tuned tonight and find out. The Yankees game today is an afternoon contest, so all our attention can turn to the Draft.

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 4/26

And just like that the rants are over for the day and it is time for getaway baseball in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Minnesota Twins. In the finale of this four-game set here in the Bronx the Yankees will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound looking for his third consecutive win while the Twins will counter with Kyle Gibson. The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app, and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the New York Yankees all season long. Enjoy the game, headphones in and MLB TV on at work, and go Yankees!!

Masahiro Tanaka’s Partially Torn UCL & Why You Should Chill the F Out

You know what Daniel Burch hasn’t done in a while? Rant (or talk in the third person while Daniel Burch is on the subject). He hasn’t ranted in a while, although he has come close, but that is all about to change. I have been hearing it for years, and I have argued against it for years, but for whatever reason this is not registering in some people’s heads. I am so sick and damn tired of hearing about Masahiro Tanaka’s partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and I am even more tired of hearing it used as an excuse for every time the guy throws a ball out of the zone, let alone struggles in a start. The partially torn UCL is not the reason for all his struggles and you are not smarter than a team of doctors that advised against him getting Tommy John surgery. Deal with it and get over yourselves people.

Let’s start at the beginning, the diagnosis.

Tanaka was diagnosed back in 2014 with a slight tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. Tanaka visited three different doctors including Yankees team doctor Christopher Ahmad and Tommy John surgery specialist and expert Dr. James Andrews and all three doctors came to the same conclusion, the need for Tommy John surgery and a new ulnar collateral ligament was not needed. While each doctor had their own plan for how to treat and how to rehab the elbow the consensus was the same, no surgery. The Yankees ultimately decided on a platelet-rich injection on the elbow and rest and rehab, a treatment that at least to date has worked for Tanaka’s particular case.

Despite this diagnosis there are still fans, not doctors, who say the most outrageous and off-base things about Tanaka, his elbow, and about Tommy John surgery in general.

“Tanaka cannot pitch at a high level with a partially torn UCL!”

WRONG! Now that this is out of the way let me tell you all a story. There once was a man named Adam Wainwright who not only pitched once with a small tear, like Tanaka’s, in his UCL, but he did it twice. Wainwright dominated Major League hitters for six seasons before needing the surgery which included 182 games, 99 of them as a starting pitcher, 874 total innings including 233 innings pitched in 2009 alone, and a second place (2010) and third place (2009) finish in the National League Cy Young Award vote. Wainwright was first diagnosed with the partial tear in his UCL as a High School pitcher where doctors advised against surgery. Wainwright tore his UCL partially again while in Triple-A and was once again advised against an ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery. Both times Wainwright took the conservative route, like Tanaka, and came back throwing harder and stronger than ever. Wainwright pitched for six seasons with a partially torn UCL before completely blowing out his elbow and requiring the surgery.

“So, Tanaka will need the surgery eventually.”

No, not necessarily. Tanaka was never ridden like a horse like Wainwright was and has never approached 233 innings in a Major League season. Tanaka also sat out ten weeks after the diagnosis where Wainwright sat out only six weeks while Tanaka also received a platelet-rich plasma injection to promote healing in the elbow where Wainwright did not. Tanaka was closely monitored by a team of doctors and is still monitored closely to this day by the New York Yankees. Tanaka had multiple checkups after the diagnosis and every time he was told that there was no new damage to the elbow or the ligament.

“Why not just get the surgery done, sit out a year and come back strong in the final two seasons of his contract?”

If it were only that simple. While the success rate for Tommy John surgeries are as good as they ever were it doesn’t mean that they are 100%. Not yet, anyway. For every success story with a pitcher coming back in 15 months or so and coming back stronger and better than ever there are horror stories that contradict that line of thinking. It seemingly took Ryan Madson three-or-four years to fully recover from his Tommy John surgery, and he is just a reliever who isn’t relied upon every fifth day like Tanaka. Also, it is worth mentioning that there’s a ton of instances and stories of pitchers NEVER coming back or being the same after a torn UCL surgery. Why just go cutting on a ligament and take that chance when it has deemed unnecessary by a team, not just one, of doctors? Why take the risk? You don’t. Getting what is deemed as an unnecessary surgery like having your tonsils removed or a circumcision is one thing, having the ligament that essentially holds your elbow together ripped out and replaced for no good damn reason is another.

“But, but, but, Wainwright needed the surgery eventually. Tanaka will too!”

Wrong again, Yankees fans. Let me tell you another story. A story about a man many know as “King Felix” but a man I prefer to call Felix Hernandez. Hernandez has been pitching with a torn ulnar collateral ligament for God knows how long. Bob Nightengale of the USA Today has reported on it and Andy Van Slyke opened up about it in that interview about three years back where he claimed the Los Angeles Dodgers wanted to trade Yasiel Puig. It seems to be common knowledge around the league, yet Hernandez has yet to undergo the ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery. And, FYI, Felix’s velocity did drop to around 92 MPH, yes. It was AFTER his velocity drop that he found his changeup and truly morphed into the “King” that he was nicknamed recently. The velocity drop did not coincide with the partially torn UCL, not even close.

“I know more than Daniel Burch.”

No, you don’t. Next.

Okay, so again on a serious, and less cocky, note you can sum up this entire article in just a few sentences. Every elbow is different, every person is different, and everyone’s body is different. Just because Adam Wainwright was able to pitch through the elbow injury and didn’t immediately require the surgery doesn’t mean Tanaka will, although he has thus far. Just because Felix Hernandez has reportedly a 25% tear in his UCL and has yet to require the surgery it doesn’t mean that Tanaka won’t require the surgery. No one knows. What the point of this post was is to show people that their opinions mean very little in the grand scheme of things. Doctors told Tanaka not to get the surgery, specialists in fact, and I trust them way more than I trust a casual fan. I trust the specialists more than I trust my own knowledge and opinion, so please stop acting like you know more about Tanaka, his elbow, UCL’s, and Tommy John surgery than someone who went to school for the better part of a decade just to learn the trade. You don’t, and neither do I. Thank you for listening to my rant while learning a little bit about Tanaka, ulnar collateral ligaments and the history of pitching with a tear in it.

Daniel Burch out. Oh, and little p…. edgy enough for you?

Sonny Gray Sucks...

Photo Credit: New York Post (Charles Wenzelberg)
Despite team win, another dismal performance by Gray…

The Yankees are winning and I am mad. 

Deeply disappointed might be a better description. Sonny Gray was supposed to be an upper rotation arm capable of delivering ace-like starts. To borrow an overused line from Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media for, “Sonny was not Gray-t”. Sadly, we’re saying that after every not-so-Sonny start. 

Based on five starts this season, he averages barely more than four innings per start, and has given up 18 runs in 21 innings. Sure, he lowered his ERA with yesterday’s start if you want to call 8.27 to 7.71 an improvement. He has walked 16 batters including five more last night. 

I know that TGP’s Daniel Burch is a huge Sonny Gray fan but I can say…right now…I am not.  He has yet to deliver a start that has made me say “Wow!”. Yet, every other member in the starting rotation has. Even the Yankees’ nearly 38 year old over-weight veteran with bad knees who has already lost time on the 10-day DL has delivered impressively. 

Gray should have gotten the win in last night’s 7-4 victory over the Minnesota Twins after the Yankees had staked him to a 5-3 lead but he couldn’t get out of the fifth inning so the victory went to his replacement (Chad Green). For 14 outs, Gray threw 104 pitches with only 60 for strikes. You can’t blame this one on Gary Sanchez since it was Austin Romine behind the plate. 

For his Yankees career, Gray is 5-8 with 4.69 ERA. He has given up 84 hits and 49 runs in 86 1/3 innings. His WHIP is an unsightly 1.471. He has been nowhere near the pitcher for the Yankees that he was with the Oakland Athletics. He is starting to feel a little too Javier Vazquez-ish for my comfort. A guy who pitches great in a low pressurized environment but has the ‘deer in the headlights’ look with the bright lights of the big city. Gray would probably be an ace for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Until he can prove otherwise, he is “Sonny Gray Sucks” to me. 

Meanwhile, the two pitchers connected to the Yankees in rumors during the off-season have gotten off to tremendous starts. Patrick Corbin, a lifetime Yankees fan, is currently 4-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a miniscule 0.66 WHIP (6 walks to 48 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings). Daniel Burch did a great piece on Corbin yesterday and the Arizona Diamondbacks lefty should be on the Yankees radar when he becomes a free agent after the season. He’s a terrific potential replacement for CC Sabathia in the rotation. Gerrit Cole, whom I would have loved to have seen as a Yankee while many scoffed, is 2-1 with 1.29 ERA. His WHIP is slightly higher than Corbin’s at 0.771 but it is still very good. Cole has only walked 8 batters while striking out 49 in 35 innings. 

Photo Credit: Associated Press (Mike Stone)

I want Gray to succeed as a Yankee. I really do. But I am getting tired of these pedestrian starts and his inability to throw strikes. His next start will be in Houston against the World Series Champions. He really needs to “man-up” and deliver like we know he can. 

Okay, I’ll let it go for now.

As for the Yankees, I am very pleased with the overall performance of the team in recent days. With Didi Gregorius playing at All-World level, the Yankees have won five consecutive games to improve their season mark to 14-9. The Boston Red Sox won yesterday to stop their three-game losing skid, but the win dropped the Toronto Blue Jays into a second place tie with the Yankees in the AL East. Both are teams trail the Red Sox by four games. The standings certainly look much better today than they did a week ago.

I hate to see the current series with the Minnesota Twins end later today. Even if the Yankees lose, they will have won three of four before jumping a plane bound for Orange County, California. I’d prefer to keep the winning streak alive as the Yankees invade So-Cal. My love for ten-game winning streaks is only five games from fruition. Of course, if the Yankees win the next four games, it will pit Sonny Gray against Charlie Morton for the tenth win. Dammit. 

Before I go, I do have to say that I think Logan Morrison really, really sucks. For him, I’ll borrow Derek Jeter’s words from his recent interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports. But unlike DJ, my use of the words is not light-hearted. Morrison is “mentally weak”. I know that the off-season was tough for all free agents, but there’s a reason it was hard for Morrison to find a job. The Tampa Bay Rays made no attempt to bring back a bat that slugged 38 home runs last year. Sure, money played into it but if Morrison was ‘all that and a bag of chips’, the Rays would have found a way to bring him back like the Kansas City Royals did in re-signing their 38 home run slugger, Mike Moustakas. Morrison’s comment about Yankees fans that “you can’t fix stupid” was actually a self-analysis on his own part. The guy’s a jerk. The Minnesota Twins are a classy organization and having such a degenerate on their roster is out of character for them. 

I have no desire to see Morrison walk off the Yankee Stadium field a winner today. So, hopefully, Jordan Montgomery and company keep the winning streak alive. As long as Didi Gregorius is in the lineup, life is good.

Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins 4/26

Good morning everyone and welcome to the fourth game of the four-game set this week between the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees. The Twins have been just what the doctor ordered for the struggling Yankees as New York will look for yet another victory here this afternoon in the Bronx. Donned with the task of keeping the Yankees win train rolling this afternoon is Jordan Montgomery for New York while Minnesota will counter with Kyle Gibson.

Montgomery has won each of his last two starts against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Detroit Tigers respectively. Montgomery combined in those two starts to allow just four runs and nine hits in 12 innings of work. Montgomery was not sharp the last time he faced Minnesota though on July 19, 2017 inside Target Field where the lefty gave up six runs and seven hits in a loss for the Yankees.

Gibson on the other hand is coming off a loss in his last start against the Tampa Bay Rays despite it being his best pitching performance of the young season. When Gibson was removed from the game the Twins trailed the Rays 2-1 before the Minnesota bullpen imploded in an eventual 10-1 victory for Tampa Bay.

The game will be played at 1:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network locally and MLB Network if you’re outside of the Yankees market. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, getaway games are the best, and go Yankees!!

Hello… NFL Draft Day

Good morning and welcome to NFL Draft Day here in the states. While I don’t watch football much anymore I do still tune in for the first round or so of the NFL Draft generally. I don’t know if I enjoy seeing the top few picks more or seeing NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell booed off the stage every time he opens his mouth. It is a close call between the two to be honest. Either way I know a lot of people enjoy the draft, so I hope your team gets who they want or need, or that they get greedy and get both.

We have some additional NFL Draft discussions to have later on in the day and maybe a rant or two about the unbelievable things I have been seeing while checking out some more of these Facebook Yankees groups. These groups raise my blood pressure, but they are giving me a ton of ideas to write about… so the good outweighs the bad? Maybe? Stay tuned for the rant before you answer that.

And a special good morning to you my love. I love you and I hope you slept well last night. Enjoy your day.

This Day In Yankees History 4/26: An A-Bomb, From A-Rod, Again & Again & Again

On this day in 2005 Alex Rodriguez hit home runs in his first three at-bats becoming only the 11th player in Major League history to knock in 10 or more RBI's in a single game. A Rod would come up one RBI short of the American League record of 11 by fellow Yankee Tony Lazzeri in 1936. A Rod would come up two RBI's short of the Major League record of 12 set by Jim Bottomley in 1924 and Mark Whiten in 1993. A Rod was good at baseball.

Also on this day in 1961 Roger Maris would hit his first of his record breaking 61 home runs in that magical season. It took Roger eleven Yankees games before he hit his first home run against the Detroit Tigers in old Tiger Stadium.