Do The New York Giants Have The Next Victor Cruz On The Roster?

The New York Giants completed day-two of rookie mini-camp on Saturday, with several young players standing out from the crowd. One of those players was Bethune-Cookman wide receiver, Jawill Davis.

Davis’ stats:

Davis completed his college career with 106 receptions, 1692 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has shown elite route running abilities during camp to complement his elite speed (4.38 40-yard dash). He’s smooth off the line of scrimmage and seems to find himself with ample separation.

Just as Victor Cruz entered the NFL undrafted, Davis is also making a splash early on. Wearing No. 80 certainly sets the standard for the rookie going into camp, but a one-handed grab will ensure that the coaches keep a sharp eye on him.

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A lot of attention has been thrown Davis’s way (pun intended) during camp, as he caught several passes from backup quarterback, Thomas Sirk.

If the young receiver can continue his streak of success, he will certainly earn an extended stay with the Giants. Being that Odell Beckham Jr. (5-foot-11), Sterling Shepard (5-foot-10), and Roger Lewis (6-foot-0) are all on the shorter side when it comes to receivers — Davis being 6-foot-0 doesn’t give him a leg up on the others.

Davis will have to fight tooth and nail just to earn a roster spot, and more likely than not, he will have to become a strong special teams player to guarantee him a role on the team. This would allow him to continue developing as a receiver for when a spot finally opens up for the taking.

New York Giants: Rookie Corner Proving To Be UDFA Gem In Rookie Mini-Camp

The New York Giants didn’t only go after Saquon Barkley from Penn State, they also took a flier on cornerback Grant Haley from the Nittany Lions — Barkley’s roommate throughout college.

Haley and Barkley were the first to show up to rookie mini-camp on Friday at 6:30 AM. The duo were also the last to leave on the day as Barkley was seen catching passes from Michigan QB John O’Korn 10 minutes after head coach Pat Shurmur blew the final whistle.

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As the day progressed from their 6:30 arrival, Haley stood out the most in the secondary. He was always known as a “right place at the right time” kind of player for PSU. For the Giants, he did just that on his very first day.

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Coach Shurmur stated at the end of the day:

“Grant Haley and Aaron Davis did a good job .”

On the final play of the day Haley made an impressive pass breakup on a long ball from Kyle Lauletta. His ability to turn his body and keep his eyes on the ball was apparent and impressive in his first official day.

The Giants Insider asked Haley:

“Grant, a lot of people were surprised you didn’t get drafted, but that’s the way it works sometimes in the draft process. Does not getting drafted give you extra motivation to show teams that they made a mistake?”

His response:

“Yea, I mean it motivates me like no other, so I’m going to work hard in the classroom and on the field and try to make this team. The whole draft thing is behind me now. I have a great opportunity here.”

The rookie corner has a rare opportunity to earn a spot on the 53 man roster, as general manager Dave Gettleman addressed the secondary sparingly during the offseason. Haley was a solid defender for Penn State, finishing the 2017 season with 40 tackles and two interceptions. He should bring an increased tenacity and passion for finding the ball in New York.

New York Yankees: Didi Gregorius Will Bust Slump with Fun and Hard Work

New York Yankees, Didi Gregorius

Fans are calling New York Yankees’  Didi Gregorius the “Ofer” because he is in the midst of a career-worst hitless streak encompassing 28 at-bats. The April Player of the Month has lost 100 points on his average since April 25 when he was batting .372—-he is currently batting .272.

While fans suspected that Gregorius would not keep up the torrid pace of his April play indefinitely, hitting .330 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI’s in 25 days, they did not expect him to fall to earth so completely so quickly.

New York Post’s Howie Kussoy reports that after the game Boone discussed Gregorius’ struggles:

“He’s just a little bit off from a timing standpoint,’’ Boone said. “I think he is working through some things. It’s the ebb and flow of the season and I believe shortly he will get it rolling again. The key for him is sometimes he thinks, ‘I’ve just got to put it in play.’ Instead of hey, get into position to impact the ball. When he’s doing that then he is laying off the pitches that he shouldn’t be swinging at and he’s impacting the ball because he is capable of it.”

Kussoy reports that Boone also finds optimism in the fact that Gregorius has only struck out twice during the recent homestand, despite going 0-25.

Gregorius is known for his infectious smiles and dynamite after-game highlights on Twitter, and is also known as an elite shortstop whose work ethic and dedication to his craft are well documented.

Since joining the Yankees, Gregorius has had the monumental task of becoming more than the successor to Derek Jeter by becoming the best Didi Gregorius at shortstop he could become and that meant becoming a more complete player.

Not only are his defensive skills the equal of top shortstops Francisco Lindor, Carlos Correa and Corey Seager, but his offensive skills have improved to make him one of the most impactful players on a team bursting with impact players.

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Tanya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley sums up Gregorius’ 2017 regular season impact:

“In 136 games this season, Gregorius hit .287/.318/.478 with 25 (yes, 25) home runs. Those statistics were good enough for 3.9 fWAR, which put him third among Yankee position players behind only Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Not bad company to keep.”

In 2018, Gregorius came out of spring training red hot, even out pacing Mike Trout (nine) for the most home runs hit in April with 10. Needless to say he was outperforming the Yankees own sluggers, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez.

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What does Gregorius himself believe is the answer to busting out of his slump? He told Kussoy:

“This game is about having fun and that is my approach. Work hard and have fun.”

Gregorius has the only attitude a player can have when overcoming adversity—remember that this is supposed to be fun.

Fans hope Gregorius can start having a lot more fun—the sooner the better or what were raucous cheers in April may become rumbling boos in May.


Greg Bird Returning Leaves New York Yankees With Tough Decision

greg bird, yankees

The return of Greg Bird is imminent, leaving the New York Yankees with some hard decisions. Bird left batting practice during spring training after complaining of soreness in his foot, it turned out he would need surgery to remove a broken bone spur from his right ankle after visiting a foot specialist. He was expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

The same ankle was injured last season after fouling a ball off his foot in the final spring training game, causing him to miss most of 2017. After his return he hit a line of .190/.288/.422  with 9 home runs and 28 rbi.

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Bird is returning to a loaded infield possibly leaving either Tyler Austin or Neil Walker on the chopping block.

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Neil Walker signed with the Yankees late in spring training. The switch hitter was thought to be the favorite to start at second base but when Bird went down the Yankees decided to platoon him at first with Austin.

Walker is batting a .198/.291/.250 slash line with no home runs and eight rbi. The slow start may be attributed to the fact he came to the team late in spring training and only took 20 at bats to get ready for the season.

He has started to turn it around and his bat has been hot since the beginning of May raising his batting average 35 points. Over the course of the last seven games his slash line is .375/.583/.563 striking out only three times and walking seven.

The Yankees may have a hard time parting with the Switch-hitter especially if his bat remains hot. Walker has been seen taking ground balls at third and with Gleyber Torres locking down Second Base versatility will be key to him remaining on the team. Though a trade may be more likely for the 32 year old if he cannot get enough regular at bats. The infield is crowded and Brandon Drury is likely to return soon as well pushing Walker further down the ladder.

Tyler Austin is batting a .234/.306/.506  slash with 5 home runs and 16 rbi but his bat has gone missing sine May started and if it stays that way he could be looking at a trip back to Scranton Wilkes-Barre. With no hits in the month and a slash of .087/.125/.261 over the last seven games the Yankees could look to use his last minor league option.

Ausin’s lack of versatility may put him at a disadvantage to Walker. Austin did play some Third Base in the minors but has not seen time there in the Majors. He has the ability to play outfield but on a team that is loaded in the outfield it may be hard to squeeze him in.

Tyler could find time at the DH but unless he can get his bat back on track it may not be the right fit at this time in a lineup full of great hitters.

The best move may be to option Austin to Triple-A allowing the Yankees to keep the hot hitting Walker in case of another injury to Bird.

The first baseman has often found him self injured missing the entire 2016 season with an injured shoulder, most of the 2017 season with an ankle injury, and the first month and a half of this season, so the Yankees would like to be prepared in case of another injury.

With Bird starting his rehab assignment yesterday joining the Single-A Tampa roster we could see him back on the team in 10-20 days according to Manager Aaron Boone.


New York Mets Injury Report

After the New York Mets remained relatively healthy in April, the injuries started to pile up in May. As a result, once the calendar flipped it brought some new names to the injury report.

Buddy Baumann (suspension) was called up for Friday’s game against the Phillies but will not be activated until Saturday. He served a one game suspension following his role in a bench clearing brawl between the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies. Not a true injury but he will be replacing Hansel Robles on the roster.

Hansel Robles (knee) suffered the injury while trying to field a ground ball in the series against the Cincinnati Reds. He landed on the 10-day DL with no timetable to return. Robles allowed five home runs in 10.1 innings and fans were growing tired of him.

Best of Luck to the Bruce Family 

Jay Bruce (wife having a baby) will be unavailable for the next few games. Bruce will be waiting for the birth of his child with his wife. Bruce has struggled to start the year and a couple days off could set him straight. The team recalled Dominic Smith to take his spot on the roster. We wish all the best to Jay and his wife.

Anthony Swarzak (oblique) was transferred from the 10-day DL to the 60-day DL. He has only pitched 3.1 innings this season because of the oblique injury. Unfortunately, the injury is more severe than when it was first diagnosed. He will not be expected back until June, the earliest.

Todd Frazier (left hamstring strain) was put on the 10-day DL on Tuesday after playing almost every game to start the season. Frazier has said he expects to be back on the field as soon as his DL stint ends. The platoon of Jose Reyes, Wilmer Flores and now Luis Guillorme figure to get more playing time over the next week.

The Return of deGrom

Jacob deGrom (right elbow) is scheduled to pitch on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies. deGrom threw 43 pitches in a simulated game on Tuesday and manager Mickey Callaway said “everything went better than expected.” The injury occurred on a swing and the Mets have told him not to swing the bat during his next start. deGrom said he could have pitched through the injury but the Mets were very cautious on their ace.

David Wright (back, shoulder) is still a long time away from getting back to baseball activities as he sits on the 60-day DL. It is very unlikely he will return this season and will continue to be a regular on the injury report.

Kevin Plawecki (left hand) expects to start his rehab assignment next week. He suffered the injury after taking a high 90s fastball off his hand against the Miami Marlins. The Mets look to have Plawecki back at the end of the month and the Mets would welcome him back with open arms. The tandem of Devin Mesoraco and Plawecki is not amazing but the team can certainly compete with them behind the plate.

Two of the three Tommy John Surgery bros, Rafael Montero and Travis d’Arnaud, will be sidelined for the entire season. The other one, T.J. Rivera, will be out until July the earliest. Rivera has not progressed as quickly as he would like and still has a lot of hoops to jump through before he thinks about getting back to game action.

New York Mets 40-Man Roster Overview: Devin Mesoraco

The New York Mets may have had a steal when they acquired Devin Mesoraco for the struggling Matt Harvey. After receiving little to no contributions from their catchers, the Mets hope Mesoraco can return to his all-star form.

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Mesoraco out of high school in the 1st round of the 2007 MLB Draft. After five years in the minor leagues, he earned the top spot on the Reds prospect list. In 2011 he was called up, but struggled in only 50 at-bats where he recorded recorded five hits.

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The following year he earned a spot on the Reds roster as a backup to Ryan Hanigan. Mesoraco only hit .212 with five home runs and only made one error in 53 games. 2012 started a trend for Mesoraco as he missed time due to a concussion he suffered. In 2013, he earned more playing time and saw his production increase. He hit .238 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs.

Mesoraco’s All-Star Season:

2014 was a breakout year for Mesoraco and one of the only years he remained healthy. After starting the season injured, he rebounded to become an all-star for the only time in his career. He finished the year with 25 home runs and 80 RBI along with leading all major league catchers in home runs and slugging percentage.

He signed a four year, $28 million deal in the offseason but never lived up to the money. Over the 2015-16 season, he only played in 39 games due to hip and shoulder injuries. Last season the Reds felt confident in Tucker Barnhart as the team’s everyday catcher and relegated Mesoraco to the bench. He played in 56 games and had a .213 average but said he felt healthy for the first time in a while.

After playing in 18 games and hitting .210 the Reds decided to eat the rest of his contract and send him to the Mets for Matt Harvey with the Mets eating the rest of his contract. Both players were not close to meeting expectation and seems to outstay their welcome with their respective teams.

The Mets desperately needed catcher help and the Reds are going nowhere and decided to take a shot in the dark with the former Dark Knight. Mesoraco is certainly an upgrade to Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton and will likely see a bulk of the playing time until Kevin Plawecki returns.