New York Yankees: The Future Looks Bright For These Three Youngsters

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees just released their summer camp rosters so let’s look and see who on the list we might see in Pinstripes one day. Three players come to mind.  All of them are pitchers. 

Let’s begin with the 20-year pitching machine Deivi Garcia (currently ranked 92nd on MLB’s top 100). Garcia has everyone talking about him and is closer than ever to getting his shot in the big leagues. He has a nasty arsenal of pitches with a screaming fastball and a knee-buckling curve ball. He has climbed up the minor league ladder quickly in the last 3 years and was the youngster most consistently in the spotlight this past Spring. Let’s look at the numbers. 

He started getting attention in 2018 when he put up an astonishing 1.27 ERA in 5 starts with the Tampa Tarpons. In mid-2018 he optioned to the Charleston River Dogs where he struggled in his first few starts but finished strong enough to be called up to the Trenton Thunder late that season. He had just one outing, but pitched a very productive 5 shutout innings.   

Garcia again received an invite to extended Spring Training with the Tampa Tarpons in 2019 where he finished with a 3.06 ERA over 17.2 innings. He was again called up to the Trenton Thunder and held his own finishing with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts. 

Garcia made his Triple-A debut with the Rail Riders bullpen in late 2019. While he struggled in his first two starts there, he improved over time and ended with a 5.40 ERA.

He got his first invite to Spring Training in 2020. He finished with a 7.36 ERA after 7 innings pitched in a season cut short by COVID-19.  That was not the performance Garcia wanted, but the spotlight hasn’t shifted and the Yankees know he gets better with time. Despite his Spring Training performance, the higher-ups are expecting Garcia to positively impact the Yankees very soon.  At just 20-years old, he has plenty of time to do just that.  Look to see Deivi Garcia’s name in the big leagues at some point in the future. 

The next pitching stud that is opening eyes in the organization is 23-year old pitching phenom Clarke Schmidt (currently ranked 88th on MLB’s top 100). Schmidt is another player that’s climbed the Yankees ladder quickly after being drafted by the Yanks in 2018. Schmidt’s nasty breaking ball makes players whiff. 

The first rounder has surprised everyone in the organization with his quick development.  In 2018 he pitched in the Gulf Coast League and also played for the Staten Island Yankees. He finished the year with a 3.09 ERA in 23 innings.  With shockingly good numbers in 2018, he was invited to Tampa for extended Spring Training. He had great numbers with the Tarpons, finishing with a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts. He returned to the Gulf Coast League where he started three games finishing with a 3.24 ERA. From there, he was pulled up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. His time with the Thunder was short due to the late call-up, but he started 3 games and finished with a phenomenal 2.37 ERA leading to an invite to join the Yankees in Tampa for his first Spring Training. He was a member of the bullpen for the beginning of Spring Training and handled that adjustment with ease, finishing with a 2.57 ERA in 7 innings.

Schmidt looked great in Tampa and used his breaking ball effectively. Clarke Schmidt is definitely one of the names to watch in the future. 

The final stud on the list is 22-year old, right-handed pitcher, Miguel Yajure. There are higher ranked pitchers in the organization but I see something special with Miguel’s ability to dominate deep in counts and get players to swing and miss. Miguel has some nasty pitches in his arsenal.  During our recent interview, he told me he is most confident throwing his change-up. He is creeping up in the rankings and gaining recognition but still doesn’t get talked about enough. 

He has been with the Yankees since he was 17-years old and has improved every year. In 2018, started 14 games with the Charleston River Dogs and finished with a 3.90 ERA. He played the majority of his 2019 season with the Tampa Tarpons and pitched in 22 games (started in 18) and finished with an incredible 2.26 ERA in 127 innings of work. Heads were turning quickly and he was called up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. While he only started in 2 games he dominated both, finishing with a 0.86 ERA over 11 innings. Based on his performance in 2019, he was invited to join the Yankees down in Tampa for Spring Training where he pitched in 2 games, giving up 3 runs over 2.1 innings pitched. 

Yajure’s resume speaks for itself and he is really due to make some noise soon.  

All three pitchers are extremely talented and trending up in the rankings.  Don’t be surprised to see one or more in the Bronx soon. Their future truly looks bright!

New York Yankees: 2020 is crucial for Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier

New York Yankees, Tyler Wade

In the shortened 2020 Major League Baseball season, teams are permitted to have up to 30 players on the active roster. With that being said, young up-and-comers Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier are very likely to see a spot on the New York Yankees roster all season.

Over the last few seasons, both players have been on the “taxi squad”, going up and down from AAA frequently. Neither of them have been able to make a big enough impact to stay on the roster for an extended period of time.

But, with the two players aging and minor league options dwindling, the Yankees may have to make decisions on them soon. Because of that, 2020 may be the most important season of their young careers.

Young and unproven

Although both players have shown promise, neither has been good enough to sustain a long-term roster spot.

Clint Frazier has shown a ton of offensive promise, but lacks defensively. He has a career .254 average in at-bats, but has -11 defensive runs saved in 100 games in the outfield.

Tyler Wade is kinda the opposite of Clint Frazier. Wade can play everywhere and has a ton of speed. His defense isn’t great with -5 defensive runs saved, but it’s the offense that really lacks. His career average is only .197 in 218 at-bats.

Unless either of the two has a breakout season, I have a hard time seeing them as possible pieces in the future. I’m sure they are frustrated with the lack of Major League playing time and wishing to develop on a younger and less crowded team. Trades for the players during the offseason may be what’s best for everyone if something doesn’t come out of this season.

Yankees Owner Hal Steinbrenner Expects Fans at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees, Hal Steinbrenner

New York Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner is very optimistic that the Yankees will have some sort of fan presence at Yankee Stadium this year.

In an interview earlier today with YES Network’s Meredith Marakovits, Steinbrenner said, “I do expect to see fans in our stadium at some point to some degree, and that’s going to be a great day as well.” 

He went on to say the stadium will “at first” be 20-30% full. He is confident that management can provide the proper precautions for fans to stay safe in the stadium. 

Teams can create their precautions regarding fans in stadiums. However, Commissioner Rob Manfred must approve them before they can be put into action. 

The MLB put out a statement that read, “The commissioner has made no decisions regarding permitting fans at games. The decision will be based both on whether local health authorities approve fans to attend games and whether our medical advisors believe it is appropriate to do so.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been very vocal about allowing sports venues to hold sporting events but hasn’t talked about allowing fans in attendance. 

The Yankees will stay in their home stadium for workouts and simulated games leading up to July 23rd. From there they will travel to Washington to take on the defending champs in primetime action. 

MLB News: Major League Baseball news from around the country

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Will there be any SP Exhibition games?

Many New York Yankees fans are wondering if the YES Network will be televising any of the spring training games.  The answer is no one knows, not even the YES Network.  I found out why in a conference call with Yankee general manager Brian Cashman.  He was asked that question, and he responded that the owner will still be discussing if there would be any exhibition games.  I doubt there will be any, as Cashman added, that the Yankees would not be interested in any road games.

Here are the personal milestones that can be reached in this short season

Albert Pujols would have a record-breaking year even with the shortened season. He is just five home runs short of breaking Willie Mays record of 661 home runs, which would make Pujols 5th all-time.  Pujols is also just 12 RBI’s short of 2,087. If he accomplishes that, he will pass New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez’s record for 2nd all-time.

Other milestones that can be accomplished is for Angel’s outfielder Mike Trout.  If he hits just 15 home runs in the short season, he will reach the magic 300 number.  Los Angeles star pitcher Clayton Kershaw is just thirty-three strikeouts from the 2,500 plateau. New York Yankee Aaron Judge is just 13 hits away from 400 in his short career.

COVID-19 testing starts today at Yankee Stadium

Today is the first day that New York Yankees players were to report at the Stadium in the Bronx.  For the next two days, they will undergo coronavirus testing. After that, it is my understanding the all the players and workers at the Stadium will be tested twice weekly.  The entire staff will have MLB temperature checks every day upon arrival at the Stadium.

Yesterday in a conference call with GM Brian Cashman, he stated that he had the 101-page health protocol that was issued by MLB.  He said that the Stadium crew has been working for days to sterilized everything at the facility. He made it clear that they are making every effort to have all of the health protocols in place by the time training starts on Friday, July 3rd.

Brett Gardner will be the starting left-fielder

General Manager Brian Cashman indicated yesterday that Giancarlo Stanton would be the obvious choice to start the season as the DH.  If that is the case, it appears that Brett Gardner will be in left, with Aaron Hicks in the center and Aaron Judge in right-field.

If Aaron Judge is not recovered enough from his fractured rib to play in the outfield, that leaves manager Aaron Boone with the options of using Clint Frazier or Mike Tauchman in his place.  Cameron Maybin filled in for Judge last year, but he is now with the Texas Rangers.

One curious point of interest is that with this alignment, it puts Miguel Andujar in an odd position.  That position is none, nowhere to play. The Yankee will want Andujar’s bat in the lineup, so they are going to have to resolve how to accomplish that before the regular season starts. Originally the thought was that Stanton and Andujar would alternate in left field and being the DH.  That now seems not likely with Cashman saying Stanton would be the DH.

Manager Aaron Boone to have a conference call with the Media

This writer will take part in a conference call with New York Yankee Manager Aaron Boone at 2 pm this afternoon.  It is hoped we will learn more about Aaron Judge’s ability to be ready for the beginning of the regular season.

Other areas the writers will be looking to clarify is whether there will be MLB exhibition games during this spring training 2.0.  They will also want some guidance as to what the situation is with Giancarlo Stanton.  Boone in his news conferences, seems to be more open and thoughtful than Cashman, so hopefully, we will learn much more about spring training and his hopes for the shortened season.

Derek Jeter talks about the lack of trust between players and owners

Last night on Line Drive ex-Yankee and Miami Marlins owner talked about the recent MLB negotiations:

“It was disappointing. It was embarrassing at times. There’s a lot of trust — there is no trust (between MLB and the MLBPA), I should say, is the best way to put it,” Jeter said. “Hopefully things will change moving forward. It was pretty sad to see the back and forth being played out publicly at a time like now. So many people filing for unemployment throughout the country — over 30 million people, 40 million people — with no jobs. They really don’t want to hear owners and players going back and forth about how much money they deserve and how much money they need.

“I get it. I was a player,” Jeter added. “I feel as though players should fight for everything that they feel as though they should have. I’ll always support them in that sense, but in this particular case, I think something should have been done behind the scenes.”

Officially no Minor League Baseball in 2020

On Tuesday, Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced that there will officially not be a 2020 season. Although this was highly speculated and comes to no surprise, it’s disappointing nonetheless.

Teams don’t have enough money or resources to successfully complete a shortened season. Minor League teams rely heavily on ticket sales, and a 2020 season would sink most teams.

This hurts the development for many prospects. They won’t have any organized way of playing and developing the way they should, especially for players in lower levels.

Players in higher levels and highly rated prospects may have a better chance to develop, at least a little bit. With the resumption of the Major League season, teams are allowed to house up to 60 players in their “summer camp”. This is similar to spring training except at home stadiums with no games.

Major League rosters will have up to 30 players in the regular season, meaning 30 or so players from “summer camp” won’t be on the roster. A few will be on a “taxi squad” for IL stints, but the rest will be done with any type of organized baseball. This isn’t the development needed for a whole season, but it’s better than nothing for those players. They will at least get to face Major Leaguers in their own organization.

The cancelation of the 2020 Minor League season is yet another unfortunate impact of the coronavirus pandemic. It’s especially disappointing for the teams who are on the verge of elimination. They won’t have an official “farewell” from the sport.

Hopefully come next spring, coronavirus will have a vaccine. We can’t return to a full normalcy unless there’s a vaccine, meaning that there won’t be Minor League Baseball until there is one.

MLB All-Time Team: Rotation/Bullpen

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

As a Part 2 to my MLB All-Time Team, I will list my pitchers, which I am allowed 13 of. I will go with 5 starters and 8 relievers, and so it may not be the 13 best pitchers of all time as there wouldn’t be 8 relievers in that list, it’ll really be the 5 best starters and then 8 best relievers of all time. For reference to who the batters were click here, and with that being said, let’s get on with out historic squad.

#1: Pedro Martinez

Yes I’m a Yankees fan putting a Red Sox legend as the best pitcher of all time, and that’s because I think he simply is. Yes he’s 15th in fWAR but that’s in only 2720.2 innings pitched compared to the people ahead of him who all have at least 1,100 innings more on their career. In the steroid era he had a career 2.95 ERA and 2.91 FIP and is one of three pitchers (minimum 2,000 innings pitched) who had a 10 or higher K/9 in their career. He also has the 5th best WHIP of all time at 1.05 and the best FIP- of all time and second best ERA- of all time, two stats that compare a pitcher to the average of that stat in their playing time, meaning that when you adjust for the era you pitched in, no one was more dominant in their era than Pedro was in his. Disgaree with me if you want, but he’s my GOAT pitcher.

#2: Roger Clemens

Had it not been for PEDs, I would’ve put him at one, but you take his stats with a grain of salt because of his PED usage. 3rd all time in FIP- and 8th in ERA- and the best fWAR of all time amongst pitchers. I think Clemens is a shoe-in for a starting five and that having that rocket arm in this rotation will be able to give me some serious firepower. Analytically speaking he’s undoubtedly an all-time great, and he’s my second starter

#3: Randy Johnson

Our first southpaw, Johnson is one of the best strikeout pitchers per 9 of all time, with a 10.61 K/9 and a whopping 110.4 fWAR. His 3.29 ERA and 3.19 FIP in the over 4,000 innings is amazing especially since you consider that he pitched from the 1989 season to 2009 which puts him directly in the steroid era, so his FIP- and ERA- metrics give him more justice and show he was an absolute stud on the mound. He’s the best lefty of all time in my opinion, and he’s perfect for this squad.

#4: Walter Johnson

The Big Train is a premier pick for this squad, with a 2.17 career ERA and a 2.42 FIP, he’s elite by any metric you’d like to bring up. He has a 117.1 fWAR and a ERA- of 68 and FIP- of 76 along with a 1.06 WHIP and was one of the best right handers of his era. He does have the best ERA and FIP out of all starters but his era adjusted stats bring him a tick below our top 3, but he’s still going to be a monster on this squad.

#5: Sandy Koufax

The second southpaw on this list, there are few stretches of baseball more dominant than from 1962-1966 as he had a better than 1:1 strikeout to inning ratio, with a 1.95 ERA and 2.00 FIP  in that span. He won 3 Cy Youngs, 1 MVP, 5 ERA and FIP crowns, 4 WHIP crowns, 3 strikeout crowns, all while averaging 263 innings per SEASON. He’d be higher on this list had his health issues not derailed his career, but he’s more than deserving of a spot in this ultimate rotation.

Bullpen:

Aroldis Chapman: A present day reliever? This isn’t only one on the list but Chapman is going to be a HOFer one day, with a 2.23 ERA, 2.01 FIP, and a 2.36 xFIP with a 14.84 K/9 is insane, and I think he’s one of the 8 best relievers of all time, being a fire-baller and a historic strikeout machine. He’d be higher on this list but his limited body of work holds him back (for now)

Lee Smith: A Hall of Fame reliever, Lee Smith has a 3.03 ERA and a 2.93 FIP over 1289.1 innings and is one of baseball’s best relievers being a 6’6 225 hurler who was reliable as they get. He was able to toss multiple 100+ inning seasons as a reliever and was durable. He’s an electric reliever and a mainstay in the best relievers conversation, so I have to put him in this bullpen.

Trevor Hoffman: I know that I have him here at 6 and that’ll upset people, but saves aren’t the best metrics for a reliever. He has a 3.08 FIP and 2.87 ERA which is really good but the people ahead of him either had lower ERA and FIP metrics, or had longer careers and therefore had more overall value. Yes Hoffman is a great reliever but he’s not better than the 5 ahead of him.

Rich “Goose” Gossage: A staple in talks of some of baseball’s best relievers, Gossage pitched 1809 innings and had a 3.01 ERA and a 3.18 FIP. The reason I have him above Hoffman is because of his 500 innings more of relief work, I won’t count his innings as a starter but it’s just part of how Gossage was more durable and was as good as Hoffman arguably but for longer.

Craig Kimbrel: What? Above Gossage??? Above HOFFMAN? HE DOESN’T KNOW BASEBALL” Yes I know this is very upsetting for people who only look at names and not metrics. In his career Kimbrel already has a 2.08 ERA and a 2.19 FIP and 2.26 xFIP. That’s beyond elite, and while he doesn’t have the 600 saves, saves are a product of being up by 1-3 runs and finishing the job, things beyond the control of a pitcher as they can’t force a team to only be up by a score of 1-3 runs. Kimbrel had a rough 2019, and people will use that to say he’s washed but that’s without the context of how he didn’t have a healthy season or a spring training. He’s a top 4 reliever all time, to not have him top 8 is to ignore analytics in favor for bias.

Billy Wagner: Billy is so underrated, being one of the best fire-ballers of the reliever class and with his 2.31 ERA and 2.73 FIP he’s one of the most sound run preventer as well. He posted a n 11.92 K/9 and sported a 1.00 WHIP. He’s one of those pitchers that can do it all, with prevention of runs and base-runners, good velocity, great body of work to go off of, AND great strikeout metrics. He’s a shoe in at number 3.

Rollie Fingers: In over 1,500 innings of work, Fingers has a 2.84 ERA and 2.88 FIP, and while Wagner and Kimbrel have better numbers, I think the body of work argument truly does matter here as the gap between Hoffman and Kimbrel was 500 innings but here it’s 1000 so I won’t put Kimbrel higher on the list, and Wagner has 600 less innings with a similar FIP so I have to give Fingers the edge here. A deserving HOFer and a classic for relievers.

Mariano Rivera: My fellow Yankee fans you can breathe a sigh of relief (get it) now that I have Rivera at one. My little monologue on why saves don’t matter as much probably scared you guys into thinking Rivera wouldn’t be number one, but come on guys I wouldn’t do that. A 2.06 ERA and 2.67 FIP as a reliever (not using his starter stats), he was as dominant as they came. He had the best ERA- on this list (second all time behind…Zack Britton) and he’s 10th in FIP- and third on this list (Behind Kimbrel and Chapman.) I won’t even bring up saves, I’ll actually defer to his insane stats in the postseason that speak for themselves. He’s the best reliever of all time, and if I need to close out a game, even with all the talent in this bullpen, I’m bringing out the Sandman.

What do you guys think about this list? Would you change this team at all?

MLB: Mike Leake is the first major leaguer to opt out of playing the season

After Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley declined to participate in what remains of the NBA season, it was expected that at least a group of MLB players would do the same when the action returns on July 23rd for the 2020 season. COVID-19 cases are spiking again in some states and it figures to be an ever-present threat to public health. Not only are players at risk, but also their families.

According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com, Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is the first MLB player that has publicly declined to play in the season, effectively electing not to take the field.

The Diamondbacks have since confirmed the report on Monday afternoon. According to what MLB stated recently when trying to structure the season, “players who are considered ‘high risk’ will still get paid and receive service time.”

The aforementioned scenario, per Rotoworld, does not apply to a player that has a high-risk situation with a family member at home.

It’s hard to blame players who decide not to play this season, as some of them are sure prioritizing their health and that of their close ones.

With the development in the D-backs roster, Merrill Kelly and Alex Young will likely compete for the fifth starter spot in the rotation, and Zac Gallen is now firmly entrenched as a member of the group, as well.

Other MLB stars may follow his steps

Other MLB players may follow Leake’s footsteps in the not so distant future.

In fact, we might see more cases like that in the next few days given that teams just released their 60-man player pools on Sunday.

Leake, 32, has a 4.05 career ERA in 301 games (296 starts) and 1829.0 frames. He has a 105-98 record. He is an experienced veteran who has pitched with several MLB organizations in his major league tenure.

New York Yankees to face Washington Nationals on Opening Day

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

Today, multiple sources indicated that the New York Yankees will be playing the Washington Nationals on Opening Day on July 23rd. The entire MLB scheduled hasn’t been released yet, but it was announced that July 23rd will have two nationally televised games to open the season. The Yankees and Nationals will be one of them, and the game is expected to be in primetime.

An Opening Day for the ages

Not just that the 2020 Opening Day will be historic, but the day will provide a big time match-up in a big time environment. When play begins, it will be almost nine months since the last Major League Baseball game. And the last Major League Baseball game featured the Nationals winning the World Series in 2019.

The Yankees were eliminated in six games in the ALCS, but are hungry to bounce back and see themselves in the 2020 fall classic.

What a game we should have to open the 2020 season. Two of the best teams in the league, with it most likely being Gerrit Cole going against Max Scherzer in his first Yankee start. Not just that, but the game will be played in Washington D.C. That’s pretty cool starting the season in the capital city, being that baseball is the National Pastime.

Within a week, official summer training will resume for teams in home ballparks. Players are in transit to meet up with their teams and get the season underway.

Will there be an asterisk this season? Absolutely. But, it’s better than having no baseball and will be a great distraction during these unprecedented times.

New York Yankees: Who will play left field?

New York Yankees, Brett Gardner

With an MLB restart plan finally in check, things are looking up for the New York Yankees. One of the advantages that they had with the coronavirus shutdown was that it allowed the team to get mostly healthy again. That includes the outfield duo of Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge, the starting center and right fielders, respectively.

A healthy Aaron Hicks pushes Brett Gardner out of centerfield, with him potentially being able to play left. Additionally, the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier. Who will start in left field come Opening Day?

The Gardy Party

I believe that it will most likely be Brett Gardner in left field in 2020. Gardner had a good 2019 season, hitting .251 and slugging a career-high 28 home runs. He still has speed, resulting in a good glove despite a poor arm. Although Stanton and Frazier may be better hitters, Gardner is a much better defender compared to the other two.

It will mainly be Giancarlo Stanton in the DH role. His bat is far too valuable to leave out of the lineup, and using him as the DH can help him stay healthy. He had 38 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2018 as 2019 was significantly shortened due to injuries. Stanton also won the 2017 NL MVP.

Now that leaves us with Clint Frazier. Frazier had success at the plate in 2019, hitting .267 with 12 home runs and 38 RBIs. Defense was a completely different story, having -8 defensive runs saved and ended up with just a 0.1 WAR because of it.

Although he is getting older and his time in pinstripes could soon be over, left field is currently Brett Gardner’s to lose. However, young guns like Clint Frazier will be waiting in the wings if something ever happens.

New York Yankees: Jeff Nelson thinks players will cheat new COVID-19 wet rag rule

New York Yankees

Baseball is back, sort of. MLB and the Players Association (MLBPA) will play a shortened 60-game season starting in late July, with teams opening their training camps on July 1st. After months of negotiations about salary and number of games, the Commissioner Rob Manfred had to mandate a season according to the March agreement between all parties. Therefore, we will see the New York Yankees seek their 28th championship this season.

One of the new rules for the season is that pitchers will be allowed to keep a wet rag in their back pocket. The purpose of this is for hurlers to touch it against their fingers and improving grip. That would mean that they won’t be licking their fingers, like they have always done, thus decreasing the chance of covering the ball with the dreaded coronavirus.

However, according to a former New York Yankees relief pitcher, the allowance of the wet rag will likely result in hurlers using it to cheat during games. He seems to believe that they will put banned substances on the rag instead of just water.

The former Yankees pitcher wishes hitters good luck

“Love the wet rag rule for 2020,” Nelson tweeted. “Pitchers are allowed to carry a wet rag in their back pocket instead of licking their fingers. Good luck hitters, water won’t be the only thing on that rag.”

Nelson was a mainstay in the late 90s Yankees franchise as a relief pitcher paving the way for the great Mariano Rivera. He pitched for years in the majors, and he knows how pitchers think and act.

In 798 games, Nelson pitched 784.2 frames and had a 3.41 career ERA, with a 3.73 FIP and 9.3 fWAR. He had a 24.4 K% and a 12.6 BB%. His career lasted 15 seasons, five with the New York Yankees (with four rings.)

Umpires will have the right to inspect the pitchers’ rag whenever they want in games, so it won’t be that easy to cheat and put some other substances.