Tagged: New York Yankees

New York Yankees Minor League Report 7-20-16

The trading deadline is near which means the rosters in the Minor League system of the New York Yankees could look a little different over the next couple of weeks. If the team does start dealing veterans such as Aroldis Chapman and/or Andrew Miller, a few new prospects will began to filter through the organization. What does that mean for the current group already on their respective teams? It will be like Spring Training all over again with players fighting it out for time in the lineup and on the mound.

Courtesy: NJ.com

Courtesy: NJ.com

The long road back for outfielder Mason Williams is almost complete. He was once the darling of the Yanks’ Minor League prospects after being taken in the fourth round of the 2010 Draft, finally making it to the Majors last June. After recording six hits in 21 at-bats for the Yankees, Williams injured his shoulder diving back to first base. He hadn’t played a game in 2016 until the beginning of this month. After rehabbing in Florida in the Gulf Coast League and then the Florida State League, the 24-year old Williams was promoted to Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre this week. As long as he shows the organization that he is fully recovered, expect him to be a call-up in September, if not sooner depending on what happens with Carlos Beltran.

Speaking of the Railriders, they have continued their status as the top team in the International League. They opened the second half of their season by winning four in a row in Gwinnett before dropping the first two games of a three game set in Charlotte. Their record stands at 60-37 in first place by three games over Leigh Valley. Chad Green enjoyed another great outing on the mound on Thursday.  He threw eight shutout inning of one-hit, no walk ball, striking out eight and lowering his ERA to a league-best 1.41. Come playoff time, the Railriders’ roster figures to have quite a mix of players brought up when the rosters expand on September 1st. We will see if they can maintain that same blistering pace of play as they seek to become International League champions.

The Class A Staten Island Yankees have a dominating arm of their own in right-hander Adonis Rosa. He has allowed a grand total of one run in his last four appearances, three of them starts, a span covering 23 innings. For the season, Rosa has thrown a total of 34 innings and allowed only seven walks while striking out 27. Opponents are hitting .189 off him and his WHIP (Walks plus Hit per Innings Pitched) is 0.88. The 21-year old Rosa was signed as an International free agent out of the Dominican Republic in December 2013. He registered a 1.62 ERA in 12 outings in 2014 in the Dominican Summer League and a 3.93 ERA and seven wins for Pulaski of the Appalachian League last year.

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New York Yankees: Extend Aroldis Chapman?

It appears as though the curtain is starting to come down on the New York Yankees’ playoff chances for 2016. The team has dropped the first two games after the All-Star Break to the Boston Red Sox, one of the many clubs they are pursuing. Most people feel that if this losing continues, the team should begin to explore trade options for certain veterans. One of the names mentioned has been closer Aroldis Chapman. However, in reading Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal column from Friday, the opposite could happen. The possibility may exist that the Yankees actually sign Chapman to a contract extension.

Courtesy: nydailynews

Courtesy: nydailynews

Here is what Rosenthal wrote:

One possibility that the Yankees are considering if they stay competitive, according to major-league sources: Signing potential free-agent closer Aroldis Chapman to an extension.

The team has yet to initiate any such discussions, sources say, and retains the option of trading Chapman and then re-signing him in the offseason without losing a draft pick.

Notes he uses the term, “if they stay competitive”. Well, what if they do fall out of the playoff race completely? What if they extend Chapman and instead trade Dellin Betances and/or Andrew Miller? Think about it, of those three relievers, which is the one that is likeliest to bring back the smallest return? That would be Chapman, who will be a free agent after the season. Miller is club controlled for the next two seasons at a reasonable $9 million dollar per year while Betances will be just entering his first year of arbitration. Money will not be an issue in extending Chapman; the contracts of Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran will be coming off the books, a savings of roughly $35 million dollars. Re-signing Chapman will allow the club to continue to pursue what they have been doing for the last two seasons: rebuild while trying to stay competitive. If the Yanks trade Betances or Miller and extend Chapman, their bullpen will remain a strength for 2017 and their haul for the reliever dealt will most likely be a young player that is just about or already is Major League-ready.

As long as the Yanks continue their slide over the next couple of weeks, speculation will run rampant about what they will be looking to trade. Sometimes the obvious isn’t so obvious. The thought of signing Chapman to a new deal never crossed my mind until reading Rosenthal’s column. The thought seems a little crazy but if the Yankees are intent on contending in 2017, it actually makes sense.

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New York Yankees: Unlucky 13 Out of the Break?

13 games. 13 days. Four teams. These next 13 days will pretty much determine the season for the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers begin play on Friday with a record of 44-44, mark that never strays too far from break-even. They are in fourth place in the American League East, 7 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. As far as the Wild Card goes, the club is 5 1/2 games out of the second spot, however they have to leapfrog over five teams to get there. If the Yanks are indeed a playoff team, they can’t afford to go 7-6 over these next 13 games. That’s not good enough anymore. Straddling .500 just doesn’t cut it. At a minimum, New York needs an 8-5 stretch, not an easy feat considering the caliber of competition this team will be playing. At least the Yanks have the luxury of playing the first ten contests at home where they are 23-18.

Courtesy: nbcnewyork

Courtesy: nbcnewyork

Up first are the Boston Red Sox who, despite making some big headlines in the offseason with the acquisitions of David Price and Craig Kimbrel, aren’t done tinkering. Over the last two weeks, the Sox have swung deals for Aaron Hill, Drew Pomeranz and Brad Ziegler, the latter a reaction to the knee injury that will keep Kimbrel on the shelf for at least three weeks. The Yanks are 2-4 against the Red Sox, with their last meeting taking place at the beginning of May. After the weekend is complete, the Orioles come to town for four games. Baltimore struggled a bit going into the All-Star Break with a 4-6 mark over their last ten games, winning their final two contests. The big bats of the Orioles’ offense will be on full display so the Bomber offense needs to bring their “A” game. The O’s have taken the first four of six games between the two teams. The San Francisco Giants are next up on the docket, sporting the Majors’ best record at 57-33. With three World Series titles over the last six seasons, the Giants just might be the sport’s best-run organization. After departing New York, the Yankees land in Houston to play the Astros, one of the hottest teams in the league. After a disastrous April, which included dropping two of three games at the Stadium, Houston is 41-24 since May 1st, putting them within striking distance of both the division and the Wild Card.

As you can see, the Yankees have their work cut out for them over the next two weeks. Had the Yankees began the season at .50o, their favorite number, they wouldn’t be in such must-win situations at this point in the season. They finished April at 8-14 and are 36-30 since then: 16-13 in May, 15-12 in June and 5-5 so far in July. They dug themselves a hole early and it doesn’t seem as though they can completely dig themselves out of it. That is why these next set of games are so crucial. With so many teams in front of them, average ball will not get it done. A 6-7 or a 7-6 record should give management the green light to begin exploring the trade market to sell. Pay attention to the next two weeks as it will most likely decide the fate of the 2016 New York Yankees.

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Reviewing 5 New York Yankees’ Predictions for 2016

With the All-Star Game now history and an extra day without baseball, now is the perfect time to review exactly how my prognostication skills are. Before the 2016 season began, I declared that the New York Yankees would win 84 games, finish in third place and fight for a Wild Card spot until the last week of the season. Click here if you would like to read the preview in its entirety. I also made predictions on five Yankees’ players and how they would fare in the upcoming campaign. In preparation for this post, I patted myself on the back for one of them and cringed while looking at another. Which means I am no better or worse than any expert who actually does this for a living.

Courtesy: sportsonearth

Courtesy: sportsonearth

1-Didi Gregorius will be even better in Year Two.

Is he ever. A career .250 hitter coming into the season, the 26-year old Gregorius is batting .298 and is playing his usual All-Star caliber defense at shortstop. He already has set a career-high in home runs with 11 and with the short right field in Yankee Stadium, 20 is not out of the question. He was one of the team’s hottest hitters coming into the break with ten hits in his previous 29 at-bats and hitting .350 in his previous 30 games. It wasn’t easy replacing Derek Jeter but Gregorius is making a mark of his own in New York.

2-There will be no repeat performance from Alex Rodriguez.

This was kind of an easy one to make considering how much Rodriguez cooled down in the second half of 2015. Despite hitting only .220, he does have eight home runs in 186 at-bats, putting him on pace for 15 or 16 by season’s end, not terrible for a 40-year old player. He is now even taking ground balls at first base in attempt at getting him more playing time and, hopefully, more production. I think his average will rise slightly in the second half to about .230 with 14 home runs. Not the numbers of a $25 million dollar player but not the worst player in baseball, either.

3-Masahiro Tanaka will win 16 or more games.

With a record of 6-2 and 18 starts under his belt, Tanaka would have to go about 10-2 in order for this to happen. That appears unlikely but it is not out of the realm of possibility. He has pitched well this year, sporting a 3.23 ERA and a solid 1.11 WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) in 117 innings pitched. Of course, the concern with him is can he hold up and actually make 30 starts? He hasn’t during his first two campaigns in New York though that number had risen from 20 in 2014 to 24 last year. 16 is a lot to ask for at this point but as the old Lottery slogan states, “Hey, you never know”.

4-Carlos Beltran will not play in more than 105 games.

Not only has he on pace to play more than 105 games (83 so far), he is the Yanks’ MVP. The All-Star leads the Bombers in just about every major offensive category including home runs with 19 and RBI’s with 56. When the talk begins to turn of the Yankees selling parts if they fall out of the race, Beltran’s name is one of the first to come up. At 39, he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down and could probably play at least one more season. Even if he finishes 2016 in New York, we probably won’t see Betran in a Yankee uniform in 2017. His three-year deal signed prior to the 2014 season was a good one for the organization.

5-Mark Teixeira will be the Yankees’ Most Valuable Player.

Oh boy. I don’t there is much more to write other than I was hopelessly wrong. Maybe I meant he would be the team’s MVP in the second half? Ugh. There are still 74 games left in the season to make me a genius. Come on, Tex!

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New York Yankees’ Minor League Report 7-13-16

There was quite a bit of drama in the farm system of the New York Yankees this past week. We learned that outfielder Aaron Judge went on the disabled list with a mild PCL sprain and bone bruise on his left knee. The injury is expected to keep Judge on the sidelines for at least three weeks. The other setback was the suspension of shortstop Jorge Mateo. The Tampa Yankees’ star was given the boot for two weeks for what is being called insubordination. At first, there was the thought that he was upset about not being promoted to Double A Trenton. However, Brendan Kuty at NJ.com wrote that it was for an “off-field issue the Yankees had already warned him about. The suspension cost Mateo a chance to play in the since-completed Futures Game.

Courtesy: NJ.com

Courtesy: NJ.com

The AAA Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders steamed into the All-Star Break with an International League-best record of 56-35. They own a four game lead in the North Division and are an astounding 31-14 on the road. Scranton is 7-3 in July, helping them maintain a somewhat comfortable lead despite all but one team in their division being over .500. The Railriders have four players that were selected for Wednesday night’s AAA All-Star Game: Judge, fellow outfielder Ben Gamel, catcher Gary Sanchez and starting pitcher Chad Green. Sanchez also played in the Futures Game, starting behind the plate and going hitless in his two at-bats as his World Squad beat the U.S. team by a score of 11-3.

Tyler Austin was once considered one of the top prospects in the Yankees’ system, having been named its Minor League Player of the Year in 2012. However, he has been passed on the depth chart by the likes of Judge, Mateo and Sanchez. Austin, taken in the 13th round of the 2010 Draft from Heritage High School in Conyers, Georgia, has seen time throughout his career at first base, third base and the outfield. He has split 2016 between Trenton and Scranton, hitting .277 with a .371 on-base percentage. Nine of his 13 home runs have come with the Railriders and he owns a total of 61 RBI’s. Austin has played most of the year at first base meaning a September call-up could be in line for him.

Right-handed pitcher Yefrey Ramirez made quite the debut for Tampa. He was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week for games ending July 3rd by allowing one run over seven innings, walking no one and striking out 11 in a 5-1 victory over Lakeland. The Yanks took the 22-year old Ramirez in the first round of the Rule 5 Draft last December from the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was originally signed by the D-backs as a non-drafted free agent at the age of 17 in January 2011. Prior to his promotion to Tampa, Ramirez was 4-2 with a 2.80 ERA for the Charleston River Dogs. He struck out 66 and walked only 14 in 61 innings pitched.

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New York Yankees All-Star Game Memory: Mariano Rivera

2013 marked the end of the era. The incomparable Mariano Rivera decided to make that season his final one, leaving behind a legacy that sees him as the greatest relief pitcher in Major League history. Unfortunately, like Derek Jeter the following season, the New York Yankees could not give him one final October to shine. So it was the All-Star Game on July 16th that represented Rivera’s last great moment on the National stage. The Midsummer Classic did take place in New York, albeit at Citi Field, the home of the New York Mets.

Courtesy: USA today

Courtesy: USA today

Deciding when to use the great Mariano would be a conundrum for American League manager Jim Leyland. It would have been nice for Rivera to actually save the game (which the AL did win by a score of 3-0) but what if the National League had the lead by the time the ninth inning rolled around? Leyland decided to bring in Rivera for the top of the eighth inning. What happened next was magical. The AL players did not go out to their positions when it came time to go into the field. Instead, they and the rest of the teammates along with the entire NL squad, stood at the top of their respective dugouts and gave Rivera a long ovation. It was truly one of those moments you had to see to believe and one of the most touching moments you will ever see on a playing field. Then Rivera did what he had done so wonderfully for 17 years. He set down the side in order; Jean Segura grounded out, Allen Craig flied out and Carlos Gomez grounded out to end the frame. And that was it, the ninth and final appearance of the great Mariano Rivera in All-Star competition was over in a blink of an eye.

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New York Yankees All-Star Memory: Derek Jeter

The year 2000 was quite the season for the New York Yankees in general and specifically for Derek Jeter. The Yanks would capture their third consecutive Word Series Championship, a feat only done twice before in Major League Baseball’s long and illustrious history. As far as Jeter goes, he batted .339, the third-highest single season average of his career and he finished tenth in the American League Most Valuable Player race. More importantly, he was named the MVP of both the All-Star Game and the World Series, the first and only player to do so. As we get ready for the 2016 All-Star Game, let’s take a look back at Jeter’s outstanding performance on that July 11th evening.

Courtesy of usmagazine

Courtesy of usmagazine

The game was held at Atlanta’s Turner Field. Alex Rodriguez was elected to start at shortstop for the American League but a head injury knocked him out of the game. Jeter was chosen to start by manager Joe Torre and he batted in his customary number two spot. In his first at-bat, Jeter doubled off Randy Johnson of the Arizona Diamondbacks. In the top of the third, he laced a single off Kevin Brown of the Los Angeles Dodgers and would come around to score the first run of the game. In the following frame, Jeter made it three for three in the game and three for three off future teammates. He stroked a two-run single off Al Leiter, scoring Jermaine Dye and Travis Fryman breaking a 1-1 tie. It was a lead the AL would not surrender as they eventually won the game by a score of 6-3. Mariano Rivera closed out the contest in the ninth but not before giving up a run, the only time he gave up he was scored upon in his nine All-Star appearances. As for Jeter, this All-Star Game was only a warmup to his heroics in October.

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New York Yankees’ Highlight of the Week 7-3-16 Through 7-9-16

It seems as though every time I look at the last ten games of the New York Yankees, their record is 5-5. I guess this explains why they are at exactly .500 after taking three out of four games against the Cleveland Indians. I keep going back and forth as to whether or not they should be a seller come the trade deadline or keep the team intact in an attempt to make the playoffs. From a fan’s perspective, I am hoping that what happened on Saturday is a springboard for the rest of the season.

Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Yanks were trailing 5-3 in the sixth inning when Brett Gardner had perhaps the second most important hit of his team’s season. His three-run triple put New York in front by a score of 6-5. Brian McCann‘s double in the 11th inning might be the biggest hit of them all. That blow gave the Yanks a 7-6 victory and assured the Bombers of heading into the break with some much-needed momentum.

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New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians: A Quick Preview

The New York Yankees wrap up the first of the season by taking a tour of the American League Central. They just finished a disappointing series in Chicago, dropping two out of three games against the White Sox. At 41-43, they conclude their Midwest swing by visiting the club who had one of the hottest stretches in recent memory, the Cleveland Indians. At 51-33, the Tribe has built a nice 6 1/2 game lead in the division, thanks to that recently-concluded 14-game winning streak.

Courtesy: nj.com

Courtesy: nj.com

The Indians will be sending two players to the All-Star Game in San Diego. The first is right-handed pitcher Danny Salazar, whom the Yanks are scheduled to face Saturday. His 2.36 ERA is tops in the American League and fourth in all of baseball. He owns a record of 10-3 and has struck out 113 batters in only 99 innings. The 26-year old Salazar is also holding opposing hitters to a .195 average and sports a WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) of 1.14. The other player representing Cleveland on Tuesday is shortstop Francisco Lindor. He leads the club in runs scored with 54 and hits with 96 while placing second on the team in hitting at .299 and on-base percentage at .355. He is also an A+ defender for his work in the field.The 22-year old Lindor, who was the eighth overall selection in the 2011 Draft, is one of the building blocks of this current Indians’ regime, one who should be locked up to a multiyear extension before his arbitration-eligible years are complete.

Much has been made of the rotations of the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs but Cleveland’s starting five doesn’t have to take a back seat to either team’s staff. In addition to Salazar, right-hander Trevor Bauer, who pitches the opening game of the series, seems to have figured it out. The third pick in the 2011 Draft (selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks), is 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA. During the Indians’ 19 inning marathon win last Friday in Toronto, it was Bauer that pitched the final five shutout frames to earn the victory. He is 4-0 with a 1.81 ERA over his last seven appearances. 2014 Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber has had an up-and-down campaign with a 3.79 ERA, the highest in the rotation but he leads the team in strikeouts with 114 and WHIP at 1.04, fourth in the American League. He will be pitching on Friday. On Sunday, the Yanks face perhaps Cleveland’s hottest pitcher, Carlos Carrasco. Over his last three starts, a span covering 22 1/3 innings, the 29-year old Carrasco has given up just two earned runs.

At the dish, Carlos Santana is the power guy of the Tribe. He leads the club in home runs with 19 and slugging percentage at .487. Offseason signing Mike Napoli has helped a club in need of both offense and veteran experience, leading the Indians in RBI’s with 56. Third baseman Jose Ramirez has been quite the surprise in his first year of extended playing time. He tops all Indians’ hitters with a .300 average, a .360 OBP and 21 doubles. Keep an eye on rookie center fielder Tyler Naquin. The 15th selection in the 2012 Draft, Naquin has five triples, tops on the team and was named American League Rookie of the Month for June. He hit .338 with a .434 OBP, slugging six home runs and driving home 15 runs. The Indians also will get a potent bat after the break. Outfielder Michael Brantley, out since mid-May with a shoulder injury, took batting practice earlier this week and hopes to return by the end of the month.

One item of note that should pique Yankees’ fans interest. Joba Chamberlain was designated for assignment by Cleveland on Tuesday. The former Bombers’ phenom had pitched in only 10 games since May 11th and 20 for the entire season.

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New York Yankees Minor League Report 7-6-16

A big story last week with the New York Yankees’ Minor League system revolved around Nick Swisher.  The veteran outfielder/first baseman opted out of his Minor League deal to be with his wife, actress Joanna Garcia Swisher as the couple welcomed the birth of their daughter, Sailor. The 35-year old Swisher hit .255 with a .297 OBP in 55 games for the Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders. With all of the first basemen woes for the Yankees earlier this season, you would have thought Swisher would have been in New York at some point. I suppose management feels he has next-to-nothing left. Despite this, Swisher has vowed that he will be looking for a place to play in 2017. We congratulate him and his family on their new addition.

Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Credit: William Perlman/THE STAR-LEDGER via USA TODAY Sports

Now for some on-field action within the Yankee organization.

The Trenton Tunder of the Double A Eastern League have had quite the season. They own a mark of 53-32, second best in the 12 team league. However, they are in the unfortunate position of playing in the same division as the team with the best record, the Reading Fightin’ Phils who are 61-24. Trenton owns the top spot in the pitching categories, leading all Eastern teams in ERA at 3.04, strikeouts with 715 and WHIP (Walks plus Hits per Innings Pitched) at 1.22. Their bats aren’t too shabby, either, placing fifth in both batting average at .258 and on-base percentage (OBP) at .329.

One of the newest members of the Thunder is 21-year old third baseman Miguel Andujar, who was promoted from Class A Tampa in mid-June. Andujar, who was signed as an international free agent by the Yanks in 2011, hasn’t let the higher caliber of play slow him down. He is hitting .342 with a .372 OBP in 73 at-bats with Trenton. He hasn’t stopped producing runs, either as he already owns 17 RBI’s in 20 games, this after ranking among the Florida State League leaders with ten homers and 41 RBI’s. Andujar is currently ranked as New York’s 14th-best prospect according to mlb.com.

The Class A Charleston River Dogs have gotten off to a lackluster start after capturing the first half of the division title of the South Atlantic League. However, center fielder Jeff Hendrix has only begun to heat up. The team’s fourth round selection out of Oregon St. last year, the 22-year old Hendrix is now hitting .299, a tremendous improvement over the .247 he was hitting on June 1st. He has 15 hits over his last 35 a-bats, a span covering ten games. His .394 OBP ranks seventh among all South Atlantic League hitters.

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