New York Giants Head Coach Joe Judge Raves About Daniel Jones

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants are a significantly different team in 2020 than they were two years ago. New York hired a new head coach this offseason after two disappointing seasons with Pat Shurmur. The Giants found their new quarterback last offseason after over a decade and a half with Eli Manning.

The new-look Giants now feature quarterback Daniel Jones and head coach Joe Judge. These two men have both made excellent first-impressions amongst the fanbase, and apparently amongst each other.

Joe Judge Praises QB Daniel Jones

For months, Joe Judge refused to mention his quarterback by name. Judge is installing a new culture in the Giants’ locker room; a culture where nothing is given and everything is earned. Part of this was Judge refusing to mention all players by name- even the most crucial players on the roster, like Daniel Jones.

Finally, at the end of April, Joe Judge mentioned Daniel Jones’s name during an interview. Judge raved about his young quarterback and offered high praise for the new face of the Giants:

“He has a fire that burns in him. He brings other guys along with him. He knows what you are going to teach before you teach it in terms of being prepared on material. He sets the tone for the room.” – Joe Judge on Daniel Jones via Tike & Tierney

Judge finally said his quarterback’s name, stating “I’m very excited about working with Daniel. I love his toughness and competitiveness. Those shine through right away.” Giants fans would all agree with Judge, after watching Jones march down the field and run in the game-winning touchdown against Tampa, that Jones has toughness and competitiveness to fawn over.

With a unique (to say the least) offseason being conducted right now, Judge and Jones are working together remotely, through the internet. This is especially challenging for Jones, being that he has a new offense to learn under Jason Garrett. Judge touched on that in his interview: “I want to be fair to Daniel right now and let him have the opportunity to learn the offense he’s working in right now, that he’s never taken a snap in. And let him progress at his rate and develop his career over the course of time that’s going to go ahead and meet the expectations we set internally.”

Daniel Jones is entering his crucial sophomore season. With a new coaching staff in place, it is unfortunate he has a tumultuous offseason to navigate through in order to get prepared for the 2020 NFL season. But rest assured, Giants fans, knowing he and Coach Judge are on the same page, working hard in preparation for the upcoming season.

The WNBA and NFL Drafts Maximized Joy in Minimized Surroundings

As talks about live sports’ return intensify yet stall, the WNBA and NFL each came through by keeping the essential draft day feeling: joy.

As we continue to work our way back up from this unprecedented crisis, America doesn’t need a distraction anymore. Granted, we’ve had a decent share of them. John Krasinski hosted a “virtual prom” for high school students whose spring festivities were canceled. Lady Gaga raised $35 million toward research and recovery efforts via an online concert. Only the most hollow of souls failed to shed a tear when Chris Pratt struck up the opening chords of “5000 Candles in the Wind” during a remote Parks and Recreation reunion hosted by NBC on Thursday night.

But America needs a little more than a distraction at this point. We need new emotions to let us know there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, no matter how long it is. Emotions like joy, hope…those are the sustainable feelings that give us the power, the fuel to keep on fighting.

Sports are usually the best providers of those emotions. One of the best sources, the NCAA Basketball tournaments, was denied to us entirely. Spring is often a surplus through the respective postseasons of the NHL and NBA. Slowly but surely, leagues are trying to work their way back. While NASCAR is making a confirmed return to the asphalt (having provided a few weeks of distractions via virtual races on the iRacing platform), other leagues have gone through processes of one step forward, two steps back.

When it came to providing these lasing feelings, the WNBA and NFL had sterling opportunities to capitalize. Each league chose to carry on with its respective draft in a virtual setting. Much like heroes and heroines found within each organization, they came through in the clutch.

Draft night in each league was missing the usual pomp and circumstance when said hype was expected to reach a fever pitch. New York was due to host the WNBA Draft for the fourth consecutive season, just as the local Liberty were due to welcome in Oregon record-smasher Sabrina Ionescu in time for their Brooklyn arrival. The NFL was preparing to follow the Raiders, the Wolfpack, Ocean’s 11, and the Griswolds to Las Vegas for their own rookie introductions. Alas, the ongoing public health situation shut down nearly all nonessential businesses and recreational activities. As sports fans have learned the hard way, that included the draft proceedings.

Both the WNBA and NFL opted to press on. Much like we, the sports-loving public, they opted to carry on business through a digital platform. Visions of football prospects escorted by boat to a stage in the Fountains of Bellagio were instead substituted by the basements and studies of the commissioners. A walk down the orange carpet was replaced by a walk to the living room.

The party was toned down. But the joy was there to stay

Over the course of respective drafts’ four nights, dreams were realized. Hope and joy was provided. Many picks, from the top choices of Ionescu and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow all the way down the draft board to hoops’ third round and football’s day three, provide something to look forward to when this is all over. The date of their debuts remains in flux, but a hint at the light ahead was just what a grieving and aching country needed.

“When I called the draftees, that’s when I knew we had made the right decision,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said hours before she called Ionescu’s name. I heard comments like ‘Thank you for making my dreams come true’, or ‘I’ve been preparing for this moment my whole life’ And just for the American public that tunes in…to hear that, to experience this, to see this diverse group of young athletes who had some of their dreams thwarted with the NCAA Tournament, to realize their dreams, it was all worth it to me when I was talking with them. During one of the calls, the family was cheering in the background. It was so cute. It really made me feel like we did the right thing here. We need to give these bright spots to the American public, and certainly, live sports is very much missed.”

Perhaps true to societal form, not everything was perfect. The latter portions of the already short WNBA Draft were mostly passed over for a Kobe Bryant tribute. Issue was taken with NFL Draft scouting reports and “meet the draftee” segments focusing on personal tragedy and hardship. While excessive, such narratives could help all of us right now. If these players could rise from the darkest of personal times…on the WNBA side, for example, Ionescu partook in a crucial Oregon game hours after giving a eulogy at the funeral of Bryant, her close friend and mentor…then we too can rise up from the personal challenges facing us now.

Clemson receiver Tee Higgins was one such player whose graphics raised eyebrows. After Higgins was named the first pick of last Friday’s second round, an ESPN graphic documenting his background noted that his mother Camillia “fought drug addiction for 16 years”.

Higgins took no issue with the graphic and was instead glad to see that his first NFL moment also the world to know his mother’s story of fighting and recovery.

“I’m proud of my mom for turning her life around for me and my sister!” the newly minted Cincinnati Bengal said in a post-draft tweet. “I have no problem with them showing the world that my mom is a true fighter.”

With the players relegated to literal friendly confines, the sense of joy was not only maintained but amplified. Draft day can often be a blur in the endless festivities. Draftees often end the evening with dozens, even hundreds, of text messages and emails from friends and family, unable to respond due to endless waves of interviews. Glimpses into NFL “war rooms” sound tempting, but routinely become a slideshow of team executives watching screens and engaging in one-sided or muted phone calls.

But as a result, the lasting joy and hope were seasoned with the aforementioned distracting levity with coaches and executives keeping their distance. Seconds after she got off the phone with the Chicago Sky, Ruthy Hebard paraded through her hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska to the soundtrack of her safely distanced neighbors. Bill Belichick was briefly “replaced” by his dog Nike. We finally discovered the whereabouts of Frozone’s “supersuit” in Mike Vrabel’s setup.

No longer were these calls and reunions postponed. The rookies’ first professional celebrants were none other than the people closest to them.

“It was different than what I had expected, (but) I was just excited to be able to be here with my family and the people closest to me and be able to spend this time,” Ionescu said in her first comments as a New Yorker. “(We’re) making the most out of what’s going on in today’s society. (I’m) just really happy to be able to spend this moment with them and excited to have gone through this process.”

“Through a difficult time and unprecedented time of the corona being on lockdown, I think (the WNBA) made a great effort just to make it a great night,” Dallas Wings draftee Tyasha Harris added. “Even though it was difficult, I think we found peace and happiness throughout it all, and just made this a wonderful night for me and other draftees.”

The adjusted, confirmed return of NASCAR (as well as the tentative PGA Tour rearrival in July) notwithstanding, it’s unknown when we’ll see competitive, live sporting events again, at least on a regular basis. But if these drafts were the last gasps we’ll have until things return to normal, they provided a brilliant way to go out. The drafts took up four days in a bleak period. Their joy and good vibes, however, can push us further and brighten the light in our tunnels and maybe draw it a little closer.

Live sports, for the right reasons, have been declared nonessential businesses in this time of crisis. But the essential services they provided when granted a brief reprieve……you guessed it, the lasting joy and hope…can last us quite a while.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

New York Mets issue update on 2020 season and ticketing

New York Mets

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has affected millions of lives and killed thousands of people around the world, the United States’ major professional sports circuits and leagues had to suspend their operations indefinitely, including MLB. That creates a domino effect in which every team, including the New York Mets, is affected somehow, from employees, players, staffers, front office, management, and even the merchandise vendor that went to the stadium night after night to try and make a living.

Among those affected by the situation are fans, including those who purchased tickets in advance. The Mets published an update on the 2020 season and ticketing in their website. Here are some of the highlights:

“We recognize that our fans have questions. However, given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of what is taking place, we appreciate your patience as we work through the many aspects and details of this continually evolving situation.”

“When updated official information becomes available, the Mets will communicate it to their fans promptly and through a variety of channels, including our website at mets.com and mets.com/2020updates.”

“We thank you for your understanding as we collectively navigate through this challenging time, and we wish good health and safety to all the members of our extended Mets Family.”

Mets’ impacted games

When it comes to impacted games, the New York Mets said that the following are considered as such. The below ticket information addresses these games:

Thursday March 26, 2020: Washington Nationals @ 1:10 p.m.

Saturday March 28, 2020: Washington Nationals @ 4:05 p.m.

Sunday March 29, 2020: Washington Nationals @ 1:10 p.m.

Monday March 30, 2020: Philadelphia Phillies @ 7:10 p.m.

Tuesday March 31, 2020: Philadelphia Phillies @ 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday April 1, 2020: Philadelphia Phillies @ 1:10 p.m.

Monday April 13, 2020: Atlanta Braves @ 7:10 p.m.

Tuesday April 14, 2020: Atlanta Braves @ 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday April 15, 2020: Atlanta Braves @ 7:10 p.m.

Thursday April 16, 2020: Atlanta Braves @ 7:10 p.m.

Friday April 17, 2020: Milwaukee Brewers @ 7:10 p.m.

Saturday April 18, 2020: Milwaukee Brewers @ 7:10 p.m.

Sunday April 19, 2020: Milwaukee Brewers @ 7:09 p.m.

Tuesday April 21, 2020: Miami Marlins @ 7:10 p.m.

Wednesday April 22, 2020: Miami Marlins @ 7:10 p.m.

Thursday April 23, 2020: Miami Marlins @ 7:10 p.m.

Mets season ticket holders (including partial plan holders)

Mets Season Ticket Holders (including Partial Plan Holders) with tickets for impacted games originally scheduled from March 26 through the end of April “will receive credit for all payments made towards these games in their 2020 Season Ticket package.”

Credit is valid towards the following:

2021 Season Ticket package

Group and individual tickets to 2020 and 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

2020 and 2021 regular season Prepaid Parking at Citi Field

2020 and 2021 Concessions at Citi Field (Restrictions may apply)

Additionally, the Mets said that “all season ticket accounts will receive bonus credit equal to 20% of their 2020 season ticket payments for impacted games with a maximum bonus credit of $15,000 per account.”

Bonus credit is valid for the following, per the Mets’ release:

Upgrade 2021 Season Ticket package or location

Group and individual tickets to 2020 and 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

2020 and 2021 regular season Prepaid Parking at Citi Field

2020 and 2021 Concessions at Citi Field (Restrictions may apply)

Bonus credit has no cash value and expires at the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.

Information on how to access and utilize bonus credit will be communicated to all Season Ticket Holders at a later date.

2020 Group Ticket Purchasers

Group ticket purchasers for any impacted games originally scheduled from March 26 through the end of April “will receive credit for all payments made towards these games.”

Credit is valid towards the following, per the Mets’ release:

Tickets to 2020 or 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

Group purchasers with tickets to Opening Day originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26 at Citi Field will receive priority access to group tickets for the first ticketed 2020 regular season home game at Citi Field or 2021 Opening Day at Citi Field, subject to availability.

Additionally, “group purchasers will receive bonus credit equal to 10% of their payment(s) for impacted games with a maximum bonus credit of $15,000 per account.”

Bonus credit is valid towards the following:

Tickets to 2020 or 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

Bonus credit has no cash value and expires at the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.

2020 Individual Game Tickets purchased via mets.com or 718-507-TIXX

For those fans with paid individual game tickets purchased via mets.com or 718-507-TIXX for any impacted games originally scheduled from March 26 through the end of April, they “will receive credit for all payments made towards these games.”

Credit is valid towards the following:

Tickets to 2020 or 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

Fans with paid individual game tickets to Opening Day originally scheduled for Thursday, March 26 at Citi Field will receive priority access to individual tickets for the first ticketed 2020 regular season home game at Citi Field or 2021 Opening Day at Citi Field, subject to availability.

Additionally, “individual game ticket purchasers will receive bonus credit equal to 10% of their payment(s) for impacted games with a maximum bonus credit of $15,000 per account.”

Bonus credit is valid for the following:

Tickets to 2020 or 2021 ticketed regular season home games at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply)

Bonus credit has no cash value and expires at the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.

Credit can be consumed via fans’ My Mets Tickets account beginning on Thursday, May 7, 2020 at 10 a.m.

2020 Individual Game Tickets purchased at the Citi Field Box Office

The Mets said that fans “with paid individual games tickets purchased at the Citi Field Box Office for any impacted games originally scheduled from March 26 through the end of April can exchange those tickets at the Citi Field Box Office towards any 2020 or 2021 ticketed regular season home game at Citi Field, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply), once normal business hours resume.”

For exchanges, “a 10% bonus credit can be utilized at the time of exchange only, subject to availability (Blackout dates may apply).”

“Bonus credit has no cash value and expires at the conclusion of the 2021 regular season.”

For further information about 2020 Complimentary Ticket Holders and fans with paid individual or group tickets for impacted games looking to utilize credit for 2021 regular season home games, check the official release here.

Who has the best batting eye in the New York Yankees? It may not be the player you are thinking

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

When it comes to power and patience, the New York Yankees‘ lineup has very few peers in MLB. The Bombers boast several players who can take a walk with ease, from Aaron Judge to Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu. However, one of the best home run threats in the lineup is Luke Voit, a hitter that is also known for his keen eye at the plate.

MLB.com’s beat writer for the Yankees Bryan Hoch wrote about Voit’s eye, praising it and recognizing its worth to the team. Perhaps you were thinking about DJ LeMahieu or Aaron Judge, but Voit is a deserving choice, as well.

“When Aaron Boone declared that his lineup was filled with “savages in the box,” Voit was one of the hitters that the manager was referring to. Voit’s excellent eye played a large part in leading the Yankees to acquire him from the Cardinals in 2018, and they have been rewarded with 35 homers, 95 RBIs and a 140 OPS+ across 157 games,” he wrote. Those numbers are a perfect reflection of what Voit is as a hitter, calculating a full-season pace.

“Advanced stats make a compelling case for the value of Voit’s eye: According to FanGraphs, Voit’s 78.6 percent Z-Swing% (swings at pitches in the strike zone) tied for fourth in the AL last season. Voit’s eye has resulted in a .384 on-base percentage thus far in his pinstriped tenure; that ranks eighth among AL players with at least 500 plate appearances from 2018-19.”

The Yankees have such an underappreciated asset in Voit

Yes, it’s true that the Yankees’ slugger struck out a lot last year, precisely at a 27.8 percent clip. However, his 13.9 BB % was among the highest in the major leagues, and it resulted in a .378 OBP despite a relatively low .263 batting average.

Voit isn’t a particularly good defender at first base, but he is a very valuable piece for the New York Yankees’ lineup. Not only he has the power to hit about 30 homers per year, but he also gets on base a lot in front of other sluggers in the order.

Voit’s .263/.378/.464 line last season with a 126 wRC+ and 21 homers in 510 plate appearances was particularly impressive given the fact he played a sizable portion of the season with a painful core muscle injury.

There may not be a season in 2020, we don’t know yet. But whether it is this year or next, the Yankees know what they have in Luke Voit: a vastly underrated hitter capable of getting on base at a nearly .400 clip and hitting plenty of home runs.

MLB likely to use home ballparks for spring training 2.0

New York Yankees

Bob Nightengale reported that major-league baseball teams will likely use home ballparks for a second spring training. This would be in place of going to normal spring sites in Florida or Arizona.

The plan has a lot of advantages but doesn’t lack drawbacks. Teams wouldn’t have to spend as much by staying put, and the season would also start a bit sooner. However, there isn’t the option to use multiple fields like at normal spring sites. The entire organization would be condensed to the major league park.

Nightengale also reported that the MLB is working to reach an agreement with the umpires union. Some veteran umpires that make close to half a million dollars a year my end up taking a salary cut. It would be difficult to cut the salaries of all umpires because young umpires can’t afford a significant pay cut. And, it’s also very likely that players and top executives take pay cuts.

While a lot of sports have a lot of confusion about restarting, the MLB seems to have the clearest plan about getting going. They will be the first of three major in-season sports to resume. The NBA and NHL are in funky spots since those sports have more contact and are in the thick of their seasons. The PGA Tour and NASCAR have plans to restart in the coming weeks, but it’s relatively easy to social distance in those sports. The UFC is working on a restart, and the WNBA has suspended training camp, which was supposed to begin on April 26th.

We’re learning more and more by the day about the MLB restart plan, and hopefully, we’ll know some set dates soon.

 

New York Giants: 3 undrafted free agents that could earn a roster spot

New York Giants, Javon Leake

Here are three undrafted free agents that could emerge for the New York Giants in 2020:

The general consensus after the 2020 NFL draft was that the Giants maximized their picks and enjoyed a successful session. Finding their future left tackle and Andrew Thomas out of Georgia and securing the secondary with free safety Xavier McKinney out of Alabama, nobody can complain about the draft picks they allocated toward both sides of the ball. In addition, general manager Dave Gettleman added necessary depth to the offensive line in third-round pick Matt Peart, and fifth-round pick, Shane Lemieux.

While most believe they would package some of their seventh-round selections and move up a bit to select a better player, head coach Joe Judge and Gettleman decided to sit pat and take an individual player with all four seventh-rounders. This allows them to spur position battles and competition at depth positions on the roster this upcoming season. However, the Giants also signed a bevy of undrafted free agents, with some having more potential than others.

Here are three undrafted free agents that could make the roster and leave an impact:

1.) Binjimen Victor

Victor was a senior at Ohio State in 2019, and while his numbers don’t scream playmaker, he has the height at 6-foot-4 to be a solid red zone and vertical threat. At just 198 pounds, Victor could use a bit more mass to build his strength at the line of scrimmage. His nine reps on the bench press were underwhelming, but he was a highly touted, four-star recruit when he first joined the Buckeyes. He left his mark by scoring touchdowns, tallying seven in 2017, and another six last season. He’s not the type of receiver to log high yardage totals, but averaging a touchdown every 4.6 catches is impressive.

Victor has plenty of potential to unlock, and with a wingspan of 82 inches, he can develop into a security blanket for quarterback Daniel Jones. He is one of the undrafted free agents with the most upside, but I wouldn’t anticipate him becoming a Victor Cruz story. The most we can hope is he can influence the receiving corps as a supplemental player.

2.) Javon Leake

Javon Leake, out of Maryland, is a boom or bust style player. At 6-foot and 215 pounds, he’s a straight away sprinter who doesn’t have much vertical mobility. NFL.com‘s Lance Zierlein compares him to Tevin Coleman, a player who can hit the hole hard and expose defenses with his straightaway speed while also using fluid hips to make players miss in the open field.

Leake only saw 155 total touch is over three seasons in Maryland, but his big-play potential makes him an exciting prospect with a higher upside. While I doubt he will break the active roster as a running back, considering Saquon Barkley and Dion Lewis’s availability, he has the potential to cement himself as a kid returning specialist. His ability to process defenses quickly and explode forward gives him the ability to succeed as a kick-off and punt returner. Hopefully, the New York Giants can maximize his talents in that way.

3.) Austin Mack

The New York Giants landed another Ohio State receiver in Austin Mack, who posted 361 yards and three touchdowns last season. At 6-foot-1 and 208 pounds, he’s a bit on the smaller side as well, but he has the adequate speed to pair with his size. Mack is a decent route runner and has solid instincts, but he dropped the ball far too frequently during his collegiate career.

The athletic upside of his frame opens up the possibility of development for a team like the Giants. The hope is that he can prove himself as a back-end wide receiver or special teams expert. His production simply hasn’t lived up to the talent he possesses, but he has the athletic ability and intelligence to maximize his skill set.

Islanders Continuing to build on Blue Line for the future with Bolduc Signing

While the New York Islanders wait for their future in goal to sign on the dotted line, they continue to build up their defense for the future.

Yesterday, the organization announced the signing of Samuel Bolduc to his three-year, entry-level contract.

Bolduc, 19, was selected 57rh overall in the 2019 draft by the Islanders.

This past season, Bolduc starred for Blainsville-Boisbriand Armada and the Sherbrooke Phoenix in the QMJHL. Bolduc accumulated a career-high 43 points — 11 goals and 32 assists — which tied him for eighth among d-men in the Q while splitting time between the two clubs.

Already with four years in juniors under his belt before the coronavirus pandemic hit, and playoff experience from Armada’s 2018 run to the QMJHL Finals, Bolduc seems ready to turn pro. That might not mean he will be NHL-ready by the time this year hopefully resumes or even the 2020-21 season, but a shift to higher competition could be the next best thing for the Laval native.

As The Athletic’s Arthur Staple noted yesterday, Bolduc is eligible to play in the AHL next season, whenever that may be.

It’s definitely a positive from the Isles side that being the case.

For one, they will be afforded the opportunity to do with Bolduc what they couldn’t with rookie Noah Dobson this year. Dobson was ineligible to play in the AHL this season because he was 19 when this year started, and the rule states organizations either have to keep a player of that status on their current roster or send them back to juniors. The Isles kept Dobson the entire season instead of sending him back. Bolduc will also get valuable experience of learning the speed and grind it takes to be a pro. And finally, he’ll get an opportunity to show his numbers in juniors will translate or be even better at a higher level.

The long-term outlook could also pay dividends for the Islanders if Bolduc turns out to be as advertised. G.M Lou Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz have built a solid foundation on the backend and have placed in a system that allows defensemen to thrive. Then there’s the fact the organization already have Dobson, who has number-one defenseman capabilities. They have Bode Wilde, who despite being hurt for most of this past year, is only 20, and still has a chip on his shoulder from dropping in the draft. Oh, don’t forget about Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock, just one of the most underrated duos in the league. Behind them are Devon Toews, Scott Mayfield, and Nick Leddy. You can even throw 22-year-old Parker Wotherspoon in time that mix if you want. He’s been building his stock up the last two years.

That’s a barrage of young D. Add another mobile, rangy d-man in Bolduc who also has a cannon of a shot as a possible regular in a season or two, and the Isles could possess one of the best defensive corps in the league.

And can we talk about the size the Isles might be bringing to the table with Bolduc  & Co. Bolduc himself in 6’4; so is Dobson. Mayfield sits at 6’5, while Pulock, Wilde, and Pelech are 6’2 and 6’3 respectively.

The Islanders aren’t just trying to develop quality NHL d-men, they’re basically building a wall; a Long Island one at that.

The future of the franchise continues to get brighter as each day passes both on and off the ice. The Bolduc news is yet another building block for how the Islanders will sustain consistent success over the next five to ten years.

New York Yankees Prospects: Frank German

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

Back in the draft of 2018, the New York Yankees snagged a pitcher who was fifth in the NCAA in ERA and sixth in WHIP. Those impressive numbers made Frank German the Yankees fourth-round selection and the highest drafted player ever from North Florida. German came to the Yankees with a very good fastball/change combination. His fastball had really good running action to it, and the change had a nice sink that fooled batters and made them drive the ball into the ground. Those two pitches have assisted in making German the 29th ranked prospect in the Yankees system. German had a college slurve which was also an effective pitch, but the least polished of his three. His breaking ball often had a little too much loft which would play right into the full power of right-handed batters. After he was drafted, German added about three MPH onto his fastball which made the pitch even more dynamic. German has a fastball that is now topping out around 98 MPH. The Yankees do not know yet if German will progress as a starter or a reliever, but he had a decent year in 2019 as a starter.

2019 Recap

Last year, German bounced between Rookie Ball and Advanced-A ball. Between three teams, German-made 18 starts where he went 4-5 with a 4.11 ERA. He struck out 87 batters in 81 innings which is a positive, but had a higher WHIP at 1.40. One of the reasons for the high WHIP was his walks. In 2018, German had a walk rate of 1.50 per nine innings. Last year, German’s walk rate jumped to an alarming 4.50 per nine innings. German has a very clean and repeatable delivery which makes you believe that he can get the walks under control. The main issue with German has been his breaking ball. The New York Yankees are trying to turn that college slurve that had a little too much loft to a traditional slider. It’s not a pitch that German has shown he could throw consistently as of yet, but the Yankees do believe he can with more reps. That pitch will be the make or break pitch when it comes to German’s future as a starter within the Yankees organization.

Starter or Reliever?

The Yankees will face a decision on how they want to continue to develop Frank German. German will not be able to be a starter at the MLB level without further progression on his breaking ball. If he can’t, he definitely can transition to the bullpen focusing on his two best pitches. German does have two pitches that would play right now at the MLB level. His fastball that sits in the upper 90s with run and his sinking change would help him replicate a pitcher like Tommy Kahnle. Of course, the Yankees hope is that they can continue to develop that slider to make him a three-pitch guy which would assist in his progression as a starter. There is definitely potential with German, it’s all about fine-tuning a few things. Whether it’s the path of the bullpen or the path of a starter, the tools are there to make German an impact pitcher at the MLB level one day.

New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter will have to wait for his Hall of Fame induction ceremony

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Former New York Yankees star Derek Jeter will need to wait until 2021 for his Hall of Fame induction ceremony:

Derek Jeter nearly became the second player in history to be unanimously voted into the Hall of Fame this past winter. He missed the achievement by just one vote, but that doesn’t take away from his incredible career and the good he’s doing off the field. It was never a question if Jeter would make it to the Hall of Fame, but his induction will have to wait, as due to the coronavirus pandemic, all public gatherings have been called off for the foreseeable future.

Along with Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and former double MLBPA executive director Marvin Miller were all scheduled to join the ranks in Cooperstown this summer.

Jane Forbes Clark, a Hall of Fame chairman, presented a press release indicating the postponement of the induction.

“Induction Weekend is a celebration of our National Pastime and its greatest legends, and while we are disappointed to cancel this incredibly special event, the Board of Directors’ overriding concern is the health and well-being of our new inductees, our Hall of Fame members, our wonderful fans, and the hundreds of staff it takes to present the weekend’s events in all of its many facets. We care deeply about every single person who visits Cooperstown. In heeding the advice of government officials as well as federal, state, and local medical and scientific experts, we chose to act with extraordinary caution in making this decision.”

Jeter finished his career of 20 years with 2747 games played, 11,195 at-bats, 1,923 runs, 260 home runs, 1,311 RBIs, 3,465 overall hits, and a career batting average of .310. He was in the running for the MVP award ten times and partook in the All-Star game 14 times.

Jeter ranks in the top 10 all-time in plate appearances, singles, defensive games at shortstop, double plays turned at shortstop, assists at shortstop, at-bats, and ranked 11th and runs scored.

His career was remarkable, and while we will have to wait until 2021 to watch him enter the Hall of Fame, we all understand that he will get there nonetheless.

New York Yankees Prospects: Anthony Garcia

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees are no stranger to big and strong corner outfielders. The New York Yankees currently have arguably the two biggest and strongest outfielders in the game in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. In 2017, the Yankees signed an international free agent for $500,000 out of the Dominican Republic that fits this mold. That prospect is New York Yankees outfielder, Anthony Garcia. Garcia stood an impressive 6’5 and weighed over 200 pounds when the Yankees signed him in 2017. Garcia generates an incredible amount of power when he swings the bat. Many scouts believe that Garcia easily could hit 40 home runs if he continues to get stronger and progress down his current path. Garcia is a switch hitter, but seems to generate better swings and more power from the left side of the plate which plays well in the Yankees organization. Of course, the large size does come with some potential issues and one of those issues reared its ugly head last year. The injury bug has one that has been no stranger to the Yankees current giant duo in the outfield, and that same bug bit Garcia last year.

Professional Career So Far

Last season, Anthony Garcia was only able to appear in six games for the Pulaski Yankees due to a quad injury. The injury really hindered Garcia after he was able to play 53 games in Rookie Ball back in 2018. Combining 2018 and 2019, Garcia has appeared in 59 games where he has batted .224 and hit 11 home runs. The raw power is there on display whenever Garcia makes contact and he knows it. He knows that when he makes solid contact, that ball has a chance to disappear into the sky. The problem with that is that Garcia becomes way too aggressive at the plate. Strikeouts are a concern for big and powerful hitters, and they are definitely a concern for Garcia. So far in his professional career, Garcia is striking out at an alarming 40%. Garcia gets very anxious at the plate and swings at a lot of bad pitches. In tape, I’ve seen him try to swing way to early so he could get his hips out in front to make powerful contact. Again, when he makes contact they go far, but almost half of the time he’s swinging at air. This is something that I think he will need to really work on when the minor league season starts up.

2020 and Beyond

There is a lot of potential when it comes to Anthony Garcia. You simply cannot teach the kind of power that this kid has. He also has a pretty good feeling for the outfield and grades out to be slightly above average in the field. He also projects to have an above average arm in the outfield. There are a couple of things I want to see from Garcia when play starts back up. The main thing is I want to see a more disciplined approach at the plate. I also want to see him dial back on the power swings and focus more on putting the ball in play. Aaron Judge might be the strongest player in baseball, but what makes Judge so good when he’s on is his ability to put the ball in play. Judge understands that if he makes contact, his raw power will do the work. Garcia needs to recognize this too. He doesn’t need to try to hit home runs, they will just come naturally due to his strength. In addition to becoming more disciplined, I want to see him stay healthy. Health is a question across the board in this organization, and it’s important for progression to actually remain on the field. There’s a lot to like about Anthony Garcia, and I’m looking forward to watching his career progress over the next few years.