The New York Yankees Win Sole Possession Of The Lead In The AL East And Everyone Loves Brett Gardner Again

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

The New York Yankees rallied from a 6-5 deficit in the seventh inning with a 9-6 win over the Boston Red Sox to get Yankee Stadium rocking on a Wednesday night and Brett Gardner was the unlikely catalyst of the comeback win.

Mike Mazzeo of the New York Daily News summed up what this win means to the Yankees:

The Yankees broke a tie at the top of the division with the win over the Red Sox to give them eight straight victories and 17 wins in the last 18 games.

The Yankees at 26-10 have the best record in Major League Baseball ahead of the Red Sox, now 25-11.

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The Yankees had trailed the Red Sox in the American League East for the entirety of the young season until they went head to head on Tuesday night for the tie and went ahead on Wednesday night for the lead.

And the excitement of the crowd in the eight inning surprised even manager Aaron Boone, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com:

“It got my attention. I looked around a little bit in that inning. It’s May and it’s bedlam.” — Boone, on the crowd reaction in the eighth

Oh, and Gardner’s eighth inning two run triple was the spark and meant redemption for a player who that day had been the subject of reporters’ questions to manager Aaron Boone because of his slow start—Gardner was off to a .198 mark.  Should he be dropped in the batting order? Should he be benched in favor of Clint Frazier?

Gardner’s performance Wednesday night shows what an impact player he is for this team, coming through in a clutch situation where the Yankees were down 6-5. Gardner said to Billy Witz of the New York Times that:

“I try to take things one day at a time and learn from what happened from yesterday and today and apply that to tomorrow, and try to keep getting better.”

He raised his average to .214 after the 3-for-5, two RBI performance he put on Wednesday night.

Gardner’s veteran work ethic and glove work are irreplaceable, and so, too, are his gritty, gutsy battles at the plate, especially when they result in two run triples.

As Witz noted,

“Gardner may have delivered the crowning blow, but he also helped get the Yankees started, something he has rarely done this season.”

He is important as a catalyst at the top of the order, and getting him going could only make this lineup more challenging and fearsome for opposing pitchers.

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CC Sabathia (2-0, 1.39) is on the mound tonight against Eduardo Rodriguez (3-0, 5.29) for the Red Sox.  The Yankees will be fighting to hold onto the lead atop the division and there’s no better warrior than Sabathia to send out there to do the job.

Breaking News: Aaron Hicks to the DL

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

The Yankees Opening Day center fielder Aaron Hicks has been played on the 10-Day Disabled List with a Right intercostal muscle strain.

This injury to Hicks marks the third New York Yankees outfielder that has been injured so far this season. Hicks along with Jacoby Ellsbury (oblique) and Clint Frazier (concussion) are all on the DL currently.

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This injury allows rookie outfielder and novice first baseman Billy McKinney to be called up. McKinney played well this Spring. McKinney had five home runs this Spring and with that performance he will be making his major League debut tonight, starting in Left Field and batting seventh.

The Yankees once “Crowded” outfield that was questioned how guys would get any playing time is now evening out. The Yankees will shift Gardner over to center field for the time being.

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The Yankees have a ton of Minor League depth thanks to Brian Cashman and his brilliant. That depth will now be put to an early test.

New York Yankees: The Ellsbury Effect

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

With the start of the Major League regular season a week away, the New York Yankees have a decision that needs to be made:

Who is making the roster to replace the oft injured Jacoby Ellsbury? Jacoby was at one time and six hours North of the Bronx a very productive Major League ballplayer. However, throughout his time in the pinstripes, Ellsbury has been less than a shell of his former self.

Ellsbury has played for the Yankees across four seasons, in that time he has only managed to have one season above “replacement level” production (2014), according to Baseball Reference’s OPS+. 2014 was Jacoby’s first season in the Bronx and his last truly productive season.

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Now, with Ellsbury set to begin the season on the shelf, this opens up a spot on the 25-man roster to “Break Camp” with the team heading North. Manager Aaron Boone told members of the media that Tyler Wade has made the ball club. Many believe that he will be the starting second baseman on Opening Day in Toronto on March 29th.


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The Yankees current roster consists of:

Catchers: Gary Sanchez & Austin Romine
First Baseman: Greg Bird
Second Basemen: Tyler Wade & Neil Walker
Third Baseman: Brandon Drury
Shortstop: Didi Gregorius & Ronald Torreyes
Left Fielder: Brett Gardner
Center Fielder: Aaron Hicks
Right Fielders: Aaron Judge & Giancarlo Stanton
Starting Pitcher: Luis Severino, Mashiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Sonny Gray & Jordan Montgomery
Relief Pitchers: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Tommy Kahnle, Chad Green, Adam Warren & Chasen Shreve
Closer: Aroldis Chapman

Who Gets A Shot ?

That gives you 24 out of 25 players to start out the 2018 season for the New York Yankees. The injury to Ellsbury leaves an opening. Some who have thought that it could have been someone like Tyler Austin who was having a tremendous Spring, but he was reassigned back to Minor League camp on March 21st before the Yankees game against the Orioles. This however does leave the opening for the starter in the same game…. Luis Cessa.

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Cessa has been up and down for the Yankees since his acquisition by the Yankees in December of 2015. Cessa has pitched 106 innings for the Yankees to the tune of a 4.49 era. Luis will have an opportunity to show what he has earlier in the season as the Yankees will have five straight games to open up the start of the regular season.

The injury to Ellsbury could have been the golden ticket to the Bronx for a premium talent like Clint Frazier, however, they both went down at similar times and have stayed out recovering. Clint won’t be getting that opportunity.

This season will be a defining point for Clint Frazier, as with the number of outfielders already on the Major League roster and an impending free agent who hasn’t been shy about stating his fandom for the Pinstripes looming. Frazier once healed up from his concussion must set the world by storm, if he has any hopes of staying in Pinstripes.

Lasting Impression:

Jacoby, much like Clint Frazier, has seen the writing on the wall. And while his contract is rather cumbersome, it’s not impossible to think GM Brian Cashman can sell his talents to another team and move his monetary obligations elsewhere.

Ellsbury’s injury will be a foreshadowing of the potential future the Yankees will have. If the first few weeks of the season pass and Ellsbury has not returned vying that 25th spot on the roster, he may be replaced by a rising prospect.

Jacoby Ellsbury will have a major effect on the Yankees success this season; when healthy he could be a productive fourth outfielder, if unhealthy his spot will provide the launching pad for the top prospects in the top sixth farm system in all of baseball.

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3 Keys to Success for the 2018 New York Yankees

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Started From the Bottom Now We’re Here:

Prior to the start of the 2017 season the New York Yankees were a young team in unfamiliar territory; they were supposed to be rebuilding. A team on the verge of competition but not quite yet ready to contend. However, how wrong those “experts” were, the 2017 New York Yankees came within one game of reaching the World Series.

So we turn the page to the 2018 season for the New York Yankees to continue their success from 2017, and go even further in the upcoming 2018 season.

These are the top 3 keys to that success:

  • Consistency

The key to any winning season in baseball does have an element of luck to it. There’s the old idiom that sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And for the Yankees first baseman Greg Bird, he has been extremely unlucky during his brief Major League tenure.  If Bird can stay consistently healthy in 2018, he will have an opportunity to have a huge impact on the Yankees chance at a World Series win.

Gary Sanchez has done a wonderful job during Spring Training of providing consistent defense, namely blocking balls in the dirt. Blocking balls was the one part of Sanchez’ game that plagued him last season.

Sanchez put in work this off-season to become more flexible to assist him with this defensive lapse from last season. So, if Gary can continue to put the effort toward his journey to improvement, we could see a drastically different catcher behind the plate, defensively.

All rise the honorable Aaron Judge is now presiding over his court!

Aaron had an incredible and historic rookie campaign. He dealt with the peaks that allowed him to dine with Zeus in Olympus and the pits that saw him battle with Hades in Hell.

This season, Aaron looked more determined than before. In the Spring of 2017 Judge came in battling for a job with the inscription of his .179 batting average as motivation. This spring, Judge remains motivated by the six weeks that costed him the opportunity to be not only the unanimous selection for Rookie of the Year, but also MVP, along with his personal desire to not be a one hit wonder.

If Judge can find that happy medium from his highs and lows of 2017, there’s only one thing to say, quoting the retiring Yankees commentator Kenny Singleton “LOOKOUT.”

  • In Cashman We Trust

In following up the 2017 campaign, the Yankees will no longer be sneaking up on teams as a underdog story. The rest of the world is now aware of what the entire Yankee Universe already knew, and that’s that the New York Yankees do everything better than the rest of baseball.

The Yankees “rebuild” lasted all of 6 months (maybe). When the Yankees began to “sell off” players during the trade deadline of 2016, everyone thought that this would be the time the Bombers reset and journey through what the Chicago Cubs or the Houston Astros endured, a full tear down and reset. But the Yankees magical wizard of a General Manager Brian Cashman had other plans.

Cashman stock piled top echelon talent very quickly taking a farm system ranked 21st by Baseball Prospectus back in 2015. Now with having graduated talent to the Major Leagues, the Yankees are still the number six farm system according to MLB Pipeline.

Cashman has also been able to provide the Yankees with real talent for not a real devastating cost. Cash recently acquired Brandon Drury in a deal eerily similar to the deal that brought us Didi Gregorius several years back. Cashman and his lieutenants have been able to bring the organization to a level of real sustainability without overpaying for talent.

Which brings us to the final key point of the Yankees ability to be successful in 2018.

  • Dominance in Development

As previously stated, Cashman and his team have been able to draft and trade for some very high level talent. Talent that will ultimately help the team in one way or another.

There are three camps in the Yankees Universe, there are your “George-ian Candidates” who say trade every prospect to bring in high priced established veterans who can provide consistent year in and year out numbers.

There are the “Prospect Huggers” that don’t want to spend on any free agents that may block the kids. And lastly there are the “Cashman-ites” (credit to Mike Calendrillo of YGY for this name) who believes that the “Cream of the Crop” (using my best Macho Man Randy Savage voice) top prospects will stick and some of the others will be used in trade.

No matter what camp you fall into there’s no denying that the following prospects will have an impact on the Yankees World Series aspirations in 2018 and beyond. (The players below will be ranked based on their MLB Pipeline rankings).

  1. Gleyber Torres
  2. Estevan Florial
  3. Justus Sheffield
  4. Miguel Andújar
  5. Chance Adams (6th overall behind RHP Albert Abreu)

Another guy who is no longer a prospect but who’s development will determine his place on this team in 2018 and going forward is Clint Frazier. Frazier plays will a lot of fire and intensity, some of his behaviors/mannerisms rub people the wrong way, but I believe that if Frazier can stay hungry and humble he can be an incredible player in Pinstripes.