New York Yankees: 3 Major takeaways from Yankees 6/18 loss to the A’s

aaron judge, yankees

The New York Yankees back at Yankees Stadium last night and, after a sweep of the Blue Jays, took another step back, losing 5-3 against the Oakland Athletics. Luckily for the Yankees, they didn’t lose ground in the East, the Rays lost to the Mariners, and the Red Sox lost to Kansas City. Tonight Domingo German will face another excellent A’s pitcher in Chris Bissitt, who is 7-2. German imploded in his last start giving up seven runs into the fifth inning. The Yankees hope the German of old shows up on the mound tonight.

James Taillon pitched better

The New York Yankees knew going into a new season that they had taken a chance on both Corey Kluber and James Taillon. To some degree, they were prepared for a slow start for these two pitchers who hadn’t pitched in nearly two years. For the most part, the Yankees were somewhat surprised the two got off to a pretty good start. But now, almost halfway through the season, things have turned ugly. Kluber has missed five starts and will miss at least another five rehabbing from a shoulder problem. Taillon, for his part, hasn’t won a game in over six weeks since his only win over the Tigers on May 1.

The Yankees have lost Taillon’s last four starts, and the few wins before that were because the Yankees hitting came alive, and the bullpen shut down the opponents. Taillon has mostly struggled, having trouble with his command and suffering for not finding that put-away pitch after two strikes. Last night something was different. Taillon seemed to have better command and used different pitches that seemed to throw the A’s batters off balance. He threw twice as many sinkers and used his change more effectively. In 4 2/3 innings, he gave up only 4 hits and 2 earned runs. The Yankees hope this is a sign that Taillon still can return to the form the Yankees hoped for.

The big story, however, last night on the pitching front was James Kaprielian. He came back big at Yankee Stadium last night to bite the Yankees in the butt. He held the Yankees to just 3 hits. Since being a starter with the Athletics, he had pitched to a 2.84 ERA, something the Yankees would love to have. The zinger is that they could have. The Yankees drafted Kaprielian number 1 in the 2015 draft but traded him aways in the Sonny Gray trade.

Judge and Torres go quietly into the night

It’s no secret that the New York Yankees have had hitting problems all season long, save a few games. But when no one else was hitting Aaron Judge particularly and to a degree, Gleyber Torres was helping carry the team. At one point, Judge was one of the hottest hitters in baseball. By the first of June, he was one of the home run leaders. Back a month ago, he was hitting home runs at will.  But that was then, and this is now, both Judge and Torres are batting just over .200 during the last 10 days. Judge hasn’t hit a home run in the last six games, and Torres hasn’t hit one for two weeks. Since the beginning of the month, both players’ OPS has slipped 100 points.

Hitting still an issue for the Yankees

With the New York Yankees pitching becoming more of an issue after a great start, the lack of hitting still dogs the team. We talked about Judge and Torres’ lack of hitting during the last ten days, but the rest of the lineup is mostly silent. It seems whenever the Yankees face a quality pitcher, they can’t rise to the occasion and hit the ball. Most absent is elevating the ball and hitting home runs. The Yankees are built around the home run, and when they don’t hit them, they don’t win, which has put them six games behind the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees haven’t solved the problem; every time they take a step forward, they seem to take two steps back. Last night, they could only garner 3 hits off the Athletic’s starter and only 1 off the A’s sub-par bullpen. All three runs last night were via the home run (LeMahieu/Odor). The Yankees continually fail to play small ball to make those home runs more significant. For the rest of this series, they will face even better pitchers than they faced last night. Hopefully, the Yankees can turn it around; they will get swept in this series if they don’t.

 

 

New York Yankee Legends: Tough love Joe Girardi, Mr. determination

New York Yankees, Yankees, Joe Girardi

The New York Yankees had Joe Girardi both as a player and a manager. Joe’s middle name is Elliot, but it should be determined. Joe Girardi was a pretty average player and a catcher with little hitting ability, and often as a catcher let runners run on him, but he was determined to get better. He was determined to call the best game he could in handling pitchers, and that he did.

He was determined to take a young inexperienced Florida Marlins club, a club with the lowest payroll in baseball, to heights it had not seen, and he did, almost to the wild card game and was named the Manager of the Year. He was determined to take the Yankees to another World Series, and he did that too. After not having his Yankee contract renewed, he was determined to get back as a manager; he did that, in 2020, he was named the new manager of the Philadelphia Phillies.  They ended the season third in the NL East; this year, they are number one.

Joe Girardi’s style was to be strict but not any more demanding of others than himself. Born on October 14, 1964, the fourth of five children, he grew up in Peoria, Illinois. His Dad Jerry was a salesman but did a variety of other jobs. His Mom Angela was full-time as a child psychologist. His mother and father died early in life, his father of early-onset Alzheimer’s, and his mother of ovarian cancer.

Joe credits his father with his determination and the many things he taught the young Joseph. At the age of 12, he would play with his older brothers and their friends; Joe liked playing shortstop but caught because no one else would do it. He later in life would credit his brothers for helping him improve his game. He would say when you play with those older than you, you are forced to get better.

Joe’s sports history

The young Girardi was multi-talented, playing basketball, football and baseball through high school. In 1983 he would enroll in Northwestern University. He played for the Northwestern Wildcats baseball team, where he was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a three-time Academic All-American. At the end of the 1986 semester, he would earn his bachelor’s degree in engineering. Girardi was a popular student at Northwestern; he was the first-ever freshman to be elected president of a fraternity at Northwestern.

The Chicago Cubs drafted him in 1986 and sent him to Single-A Peoria. He got off to a hot start hitting near .330. He ended the season batting .309 with Peoria, .280 with Carolina in 1987, and .272 with Double-A Pittsfield in 1988. In 1989 he would meet Don Zimmer, who was then the Cubs manager. He would make his major league debut on April 4th. He hit a single and scored the first run of the season for the Cubs. In his rookie year with the Cubs, Girardi batted .248 with a home run and 14 runs batted in (RBIs) in 59 games. In 1990, he played in 133 games, batting .270 with a home run and 38 RBIs. In 1991, he played in only 21 games, batting .191 with 6 RBIs. In 1992, he played in 91 games, batting .270 with a home run and 12 RBIs.

After the 92 season, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies. Joe loved playing at Mile High Stadium. In his first year with the Rockies in 1993, he played in 86 games, batting .290 with five triples, three home runs, and 31 RBIs. In 1994, he played in 93 games, batting .276 with four triples, four home runs, and 34 RBIs. In 1995, he played in 125 games batting .262 with a career-high 8 home runs and 55 RBIs. At the end of the season he would be traded to the New York Yankees.

Joe Girardi becomes a New York Yankee

Joe would become the New York Yankee’s catcher. On May 14, 1996, Girardi caught Dwight Gooden’s no-hitter. Girardi played in 124 games during the 1996 season, batting .294 with two home runs and 45 RBIs. During the World Series against the Braves, Girardi would hit a triple that helped the Yankees win that game, and ultimately the World Series. In 1997 Girardi would get a new backup catcher in the 25-year-old Jorge Posada; the pair would share the backstop position for the next 3 years when Posada would become the primary catcher. In 1999 his last year with the Yankees, Girardi would call his second perfect game, this one for David Cone. There are very few catchers that have ever caught two perfect games.

In 2000 Joe would be back with his debut team, the Chicago Cubs. He would be named to the All-Star team that year. But in 2002, he would be called upon to speak to the Cub crowd at Wrigley Field. The game that day was nationally televised between the Cubs and the Cardinals. The Cardinal pitcher was to be Darryl Kile, but Kile had been found dead at his home. Girardi approached the mic before stands filled with fans and announced “due to a tragedy in the Cardinal family” that there would be no game that day. He asked all fans to be respectful of the matter as they found out about it on their own and to pray. After the season, Joe would play in 16 games with the Cardinals. With his hitting declining, he would retire as a player after the season. He would become a YES Network commentator in 2004.

Joe’s coaching and managerial career

Joe Girardi became Joe Torres bench coach in 2005, while still holding down some of his YES work in the “Kids on Deck” program. Girardi was a broadcaster for the third, fourth, and fifth games of the 2006 World Series on the Fox Network. During the offseason in 2005, Girardi would be named the new manager of the Florida Marlins. He had a young inexperienced team that had the lowest player salary in the majors.

He often had fights with owner Jeff Loria. In 2006 Girardi brought his hapless team almost to the Wild Card game and was named Manager of the Year, but he would be fired due to conflicts with Lori. After being considered as the manager for the Cubs and Nationals, he returned to the YES booth in 2007. Joe Torres winning ways would come to an end when Torre and the Yankees couldn’t agree to a contract. The Yankees considered Don Mattingly, Tony Pena and Girardi, they ultimately gave Joe the job, and he signed a 3-year contract.

In 2008 Joe would appear on the field with the number 27 on his back, signaling that he was bound and determined to get the New York Yankees to their 27th World Championship. In 2008 the Yankees would miss the playoffs for the first time in fourteen years, and fans would say they should never have gotten rid of Joe Torre. But the fact was they won 89 games with a flawed team that was poorly caught and ineffectively pitched. In 2009 the New York Yankees management brought on CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Nick Swisher, and Mark Teixeira. In his second year, Joe Girardi would take the Yankees to their 27 World Series win defeating the Philadelphia Phillies.

Although the 2008 team through the 2010 team appreciated Girardi’s tough-love approach to managing, future teams would not be as accepting of it, and it would eventually lead to his contract not being renewed. In 2017 Girardi managed aggressively, and they won the AL East. With the new “Baby Bombers” Aaron Judge and Luis Severino leading the team in the battle for the East, Girardi would yank Severino in favor of reliever Chad Green and the Yankees would win 8-4 and advance to the ALDS.

In the ALDS against the Twins the New York Yankees would lose game one. In game two, Joe would mismanage horribly, yanking the starter CC Sabathia early in favor of Green. Green would load the bases, and Francisco Lindor would hit a grand slam for the Yankee loss. The Yankees would go on to win all of the elimination games and win the ALDS. The Astros would take the ALCS in seven games and, Joe’s time as the manager would be over. Several of the youngest players would express their disdain for Girardi, some saying it’s a long season; he wears you down.  Had the Astros not cheated in the 2017 ALCS,  Girardi may not have been fired, something we may never know.

Since Joe’s departure, there has been an ongoing conversation on social media about the approach Girardi took to managing and that of Aaron Boone. The basic difference is that Boone is everybody’s friend, where Joe was the tough love father to the players. In an interesting piece today, EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Nathan Solomon made a Girardi/Sanchez comparison:

“Ever since Joe Girardi was fired by the New York Yankees, Sanchez hasn’t been the same. His average since the beginning of 2018 is just .199 with a .741 OPS. One of the main reasons why Girardi was fired had to do with his relationship between him and the catcher before Sanchez’s struggles began. But now, looking in hindsight, it may not also be just a coincidence that Sanchez has struggled since Girardi’s departure.”

Joe the broadcaster and Phillies manager

After the season Girardi would again go into broadcasting with several outlets, including the MLB Network. From the time he left the Yankees at the end of this season, Joe Girardi’s name came up several times as managerial openings came up. After two years in broadcasting, Joe Girardi is now the newly hired manager of the Philadelphia Phillies. Joe is still young (56), and it is too early to evaluate his managerial career. Joe is still loved by the Yankee faithful and several of the players. The Phillies will meet the Yankees at the Stadium on July 20th.

Personals

One thing that has never changed is that Joe carries his emotions on his sleeve. Things and events deeply touch him, never shy about showing his anger toward an umpire that he thought had made a bad call against the Yankees.  Tears ran down his face when he spoke about Yogi Berra’s death.  He visibly cried when both Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera left the field for the last time.  Joe Girardi is a good man, a very good man.

In 1990, he married his lovely wife, Kim Innocenzi-Girardi. The couple is also blessed with three children that are all now adults, named Lena Yvonne, Serena, and Dante. He is leading a blissful and happy family life. Her husband understands her profession and gives her the freedom to do her work the way she wants. The couple is enjoying their life a lot at their home that Joe purchased when with the Yankees, in Purchase, New York. In summer 2019, Wilson Premier League Joe coached his son, that looks remarkably like him.

New York Yankees Previews: Gerrit Cole goes for the Yankee’s seventh win in a row tonight

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees will look for their seventh win in a row, and to get one game closer to the Tampa Bay Rays, tonight in the Bronx.  Last night the Yankees retook second place in the AL East with a 20-6 bashing of the Toronto Blue Jays with Deivi Garcia on the mound.  Garcia has  impressed with his second win in a row since his major league debut. Cole will pitch for his second win in a row, this time against the bats of the Toronto Blue Jays. Cole has not faced the Blue Jays this season.

The Yankees have new momentum as they approach the last thirteen games of the season. The Yankees had a very rough stretch when they lost seven in a row in August and another four in a row at the beginning of this month.  Since then, at various times, Giancarlo Stanton, DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Jonathan Loaisiga, Zack Britton, and Gio Urshela have all returned from the IL.  At present, Gleyber Torres is out, having reinjured his calf, although he is on day to day. With all these additions to the team, they broke their losing ways, winning six games in a row with 48 runs scored, as the team hitting came alive.

Tonight, in the first inning at Yankee Stadium, Gerrit Cole will take the mound looking for his second win in a row.  In his last outing against the Baltimore Orioles, he pitched 114 pitches on his way to a seven-inning shut out of the Orioles. Cole allowed two hits and a walk while striking out nine batters. Although Cole is 5-3 with an ERA of 3.20, he has often struggled and used a lot of pitches in his games. In his last outing, he showed the dominance the Yankees have been expected from him. Yankee fans hope he rides that into tonight’s game.

Cole will face the Blue Jay’s Tanner Roark, who is 2-1 with an ERA of 5.60.  The Yankees can take advantage of Roark, who gives up home runs and walks hitters. Back on September 9th, when the Yankees weren’t hitting well, Roark beat the Yankees in Buffalo 7-2.  Roark went four innings in the game and allowed two homers while walking three Yankees.

After tonight’s game, the New York Yankees will have one more game with the Jays. Masahiro Tanaka will take the mound for the Yankees.  The Yankees will then host a three-game series at the Stadium against the Red Sox. Following that series, they will again meet up with the Blue Jays for a four-game set back in Buffalo.  They will end the season with three games at the Stadium in the Bronx, against Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins.

New York Yankees: Fans can expect Gerrit Cole to be ready with 99 mph fastball

Gerrit Cole near full power at the Stadium

New York Yankees fans have a lot to look forward to in this shortened baseball season.  New pitching ace Gerrit Cole hasn’t been laying by the pool at his new home in Greenwich, CT; he’s been busy preparing for the 2020 baseball season during the layoff caused by the coronavirus pandemic.  Back in April and May, we were seeing videos of his wife Amy and he playing catch.  Cole even played catch with neighbor Aaron Boone.

Recently he has been seen working out at Yankee Stadium even before it opened for summer camp.  Yesterday at the Stadium, Cole had a workout with pitching coach Matt Blake.  Cole’s fastball was clocked at 95-99 mph.  Coach Blake said he was pretty close to game speed.  With three weeks of summer camp yet to be had, it looks like Cole will be at full arm strength by his July 23rd matchup with the Washing National’s Max Scherzer on baseballs opening day.

Amy and Gerrit Cole on baby watch!

Back in January shortly after the New York Yankees signed pitching ace Gerrit Cole, he and his wife Amy announced that they were expecting a baby in June.  That due date was June 30th.  Taking to Instagram on Saturday, Amy polled her nearly 55,000 followers as to what major life-event will take place first: the birth of the couple’s first child or the beginning of spring training.  58% said the baby would come before the start of summer camp.

They were wrong as there is no baby news yet. So the baby watch continues.  Gerrit Cole had a workout yesterday at the Stadium, if he doesn’t show up today or suddenly leaves, we will know why.  The couple is expecting a baby boy and Amy showed on her Instagram account a pair of Yankee baby booties with the number 45 on them.

Will the New York Yankees use openers this year?

Anything is possible in short-season, said New York Yankee manager Aaron Boone on Wednesday.  With the three-week summer camp, some of the Yankee pitchers may not be up to full arm strength.  During a conference call with the media, Boone was asked about a six-man rotation that some teams may use.  Boone said that we are going to be creative and smart, referring to how he will handle the pitching staff early in the season.

In the past, the Yankees have been quite successful using openers when they were short of pitchers in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.  Yankee reliever Chad Green was the most used to open games.  Green was successful in most instances.  The Green Luis Cessa duo may be used again, at least at the start of the season.

Hal sees the possibility of fans at Yankee Stadium

New York Yankees owner and general partner Hal Steinbrenner revealed in an interview with the YES Network that he believes that fans will be able to attend Yankee games at Yankee Stadium at some point in the season.

He says that the capacity would be somewhere in the 20-30% range, and everyone will be able to safely socially distance. He also added that he is “personally not sure that will be feasible, but we will see.”  Assuming that the coronavirus remains under control, the likelihood of that happening will increase as the season progresses.  It would be fantastic for Yankees fans if they could attend postseason games at the Stadium.

New York Yankees: When will the MLB Spring Draft be and who will the Yankees select?

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees are mostly focused on when the baseball season will start and how to keep players ready for the eventuality.  On March 12, the remainder of baseball spring training was canceled, and the March 26 regular-season start date was pushed back by two weeks.  That was nearly two months ago, and the start of the season has not yet been announced, although plans to start the season are forthcoming shortly.

The push back and also caused a delay in the MLB Spring Draft.  The draft initially scheduled for June 10th now looks as though it will take place sometime closer to the middle of July, although no schedule has been released.  In earlier negotiations, MLB and the players union agreed to shorten the draft from the original 40 rounds to just 5 rounds.

The draft will assign amateur baseball players to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. The draft order will be set based on the reverse order of the 2019 MLB season standings.  The New York Yankees ranking third-best in the 2019 season will allow them the 28th pick in the draft.  The 29th pick Houston Astros lost their pick when MLB fined them for illegally stealing signs in the 2017 baseball season.

There is no way to know for sure who the Yankees will pick, but talking to sources and scouts, there is a good idea as to who they would like to sign.  The most likely pick for the Yankees in the first round will be a shortstop out of Mountain Pointe, Arizona, Carlton Tucker.  Tucker has the foot movement and the hands to play shortstop long-term, even though he’s an average runner. He has medium arm strength, though his throws have good carry and he shows the ability to change arm action and slots as is needed for the shortstop position.

The Yankees have need of more shortstop prospects in their minor league system.  Presently they have several in the system including Alexander Vargas, Anthony Volpe, Josh Smith, and a few others, but as always, the Yankees want to continue to expand their options.  In spring play, Tucker improved at the plate. Showing more consistency on the defensive side, along with the aforementioned gains at the bat, are why Tucker’s stock took a leap forward this spring, making a stronger case for the New York Yankees to sign him away from his commitment to the University of Texas.

Carlton Tucker is now 18 years old, he is 6’1″ weighs 170 pounds and bats and throws right-handed. At his young age, he has plenty of time to develop and improve his skills in the Yankee minor league system. He has a brother Cole who is in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Where the New York Yankees may benefit most in this 2020 draft is the bargains that will be among the undrafted players.  Teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees who are industry leaders in player development and have enough brand value to entice players to sign with them.  Those players sign for a maximum of $20K no matter where they sign.  So a team like the New York Yankees has the brand power to entice those players to sign.  New players want to go where they have the best chance of improving.

New York Yankees: History of the Yankee uniform, and a discussion with ace Gerrit Cole (video)

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez, Gerrit Cole, Aaron Boone

The Yankees are known for pinstripes, but they always haven’t had them.

The New York Yankees have been wearing the pinstripes for years. What most fans don’t realize is that the Yankees started out with a dark grey jersey with four buttons at the top and a bright orange O over the left front.  The reason for that is that the Yankees started out as the Orioles in Baltimore, not New York.  The original eight members of the American League were the Orioles, the Chicago White Stockings, the Americans (Boston Red Sox), the Tigers, the Blues (Indians), the Senators, the Brewers (Orioles), and the Athletics (Phillies).  All had their distinct uniforms.

In the case of the Yankees, when they moved from Baltimore to become the first New York City team, they maintained their dark grey uniforms when they became the New York Highlanders in 1903.  Turn the hands of time ahead 100 years, and four of the eight teams are exactly where they started – Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Cleveland. Of the other four, the A’s moved to Kansas City and then on to Oakland; the Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins; Milwaukee moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the Browns, then moved to Baltimore in the ’50s and became the Orioles), and then there were the Baltimore Orioles who eventually became the New York Yankees.  All of those changes required changes to uniforms.

The only change to the Highlander uniform was that instead of the O, the team put an N on the right side and a Y on the left.  But the same dark grey uniform remained with the four buttons.  The Yankees got their Highlander’s name from playing at Hilltop Park at 168th Street and Broadway, which was the highest point in elevation in New York City.

In 1904 when Willie Keller was the hitting king the Highlanders introduced a new away uniform.  It was a medium-dark blue with a white belt.  During 1910 the Highlanders were known as both the Highlanders and the Yankees.  The official name change didn’t come until 1913.  But in 1910, the first interlocking NY showed up on the left arm of the team’s uniform.

The design was actually created in 1877 by Louis B. Tiffany for a medal to be given by the New York City Police Department to Officer John McDowell, the first NYC policeman shot in the line of duty. Perhaps because one of the club’s owners, Bill Devery, was a former NYC police chief, the design was adopted by the Highlanders and was to become the most universally known sports insignia.

In 1913 the Highlanders/Yankees moved to the Polo Grounds.  The name that had gained favor Yankees was made official as the New York Yankees. To make the change as evident as possible, the Yankees changed their home uniforms to be white with pinstripes.  Thus the birth of the famed Yankee pinstripes.   To each team in baseball, the uniform is extremely important because once you put it on even if you played for another team first, you are the history and pride of that new team.

Since 1913 there have been several minor changes to the home and away New York Yankees uniforms, but most involve thickness of the lettering. The interlocking NY is only on home pinstripes, and the name New York goes across the chest of the away uniform.  The only significant change is that the 1913 pullover was changed to a button-up jersey.  The Yankees are one of three teams that do not wear players’ names on uniforms but are the only ones that never wear player names.  Both the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox wear player names on their away uniforms.

The importance of the uniform is highlighted every year for every team.  When a new player is introduced to a team and fans, it’s not official until the press conference when he first donned the team’s uniform.

Gerrit Cole sits down with legend David Cone and Jack Curry to talk pitching

In an interview taped for the YES Network that was broadcast last evening, Gerrit Cole speaks with YES Network analyst Jack Curry, and Yankee baseball legend David Cone on how he became a pitcher, on analytics and ball spin among other pitching subjects.

https://www.yesnetwork.com/video/yankees-access-gerrit-cole?t=top-videos

 

 

 

New York Yankees Analysis: The top 10 Yankee right-fielders, find out (video)

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

In the sixth installment of my top 10 New York Yankees series, I give my choices for the top 10 Yankee right fielders of all time.  The Yankees, in their glorious history, have many of the best players ever to play in their positions in the history of MLB.  Previous installments have featured the top ten pitchers, catchers, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd baseman. With so many good players and different ways of measuring greatness, different writers may have different rankings, these are mine.

 

10.  Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge has only played for the Yankees for four years but has racked up a batting average of .273 with 246 runs driving and a 126 home runs. Considering his excellent stats, his defense is even better.  He has a rocket of an accurate arm, making many difficult plays look easy.  In future years he could easily rank considerably higher on this list.  The only thing that might prevent that is his frequent injuries.

9.  George Selkirk

Many Yankee fans may not know the name of George Selkirk, but he played for the New York Yankees between 1934 and 1942, playing his entire career for the Yankees.  Selkirk was an excellent fielder and hit a .290 batting average for the Yankees with 576 runs batted in.  His fielding percentage was .976, which was excellent for that time.

  1. Gary Sheffield

Gary Sheffield could have been higher on this list. However, he only played three years with the Yankees.  Sheffield was a menacing figure at the plate.  In his three years, he hit .291 with 269 RBIs and 76 home runs.  Sheffield, like Aaron Judge, had a cannon for an arm.  He made spectacular plays, often hitting the right-field wall.  He had a remarkable 22-year career in the outfield.  He played for the Yankees between 2004 and 2006.

7.  Hank Bauer

Hanke Bauer is often an underrated right fielder.  He played for the Yankees between 1948 and 1959.  During that time, he hit .277 with 654 runs batted in and 158 long balls.  He was one of the Yankee’s most contact hitters of his time.  In 12 years with the Yankees, he hit an average of 110 hits a year for a total of 1326 hits. He was a five-time MVP candidate during the span.

6.  Lou Piniella

Lou Piniella was one of the most popular New York Yankee players in the 1970s and ’80s.  He spent eleven years with the Yankees hitting .295 with 417 RBIs. Piniella was not a home run hitter but had 971 hits in his Yankee tenure.  He was a magnificent arm in the outfield. Piniella had a vast knowledge of the game and went on to be the Yankee manager from 1986 to 1987.  He also managed the Mariners, Cubs, Rays, and the Reds. He returned to manage the Yankees for the second time in 1988.

  1. Roger Maris

Roger Maris is a famous Yankees that is often overrated due to his record 61 home runs in 1961.  What is overlooked is that he was an outstanding right fielder.  His fielding percentage was .978.  He hit .265 with 541 runs batting while getting 203 home runs. He was an MVP in the right-field and an MVP in centerfield as well in 1961.  He is one of a very few Yankees to win the MVP award several times.  Maris, who came from the Athletics but his seven years with the Yankees, were his best years.  After leaving the Yankees, he quickly faded away.

  1. Dave Winfield

The hulking Dave Winfield was another Yankee that was a fan favorite. However, he didn’t have the best relationship with the New York Yankees’ primary owner George Steinbrenner and regularly fought with him.  Winfield came to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres in 1981 and hung around until 1990.  During that time, he hit .290 with  818 runs batting in and 205 home runs.  His 1300 as a Yankee was part of a career that produced 3,110 hits.  While with the Yankees, he was an All-Star eight times and a five-time Gold Glover in right-field.  Dave was a first-ballot inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

  1.   Reggie Jackson

George Steinbrenner, who was not shy when spending money, reached out into the new free-agent market and acquired Reggie Jackson from the Baltimore Orioles for just short of $3 million in 1976.  Jackson would later say:

“It was like trying to hustle a girl in a bar,” the flamboyant Jackson said about Steinbrenner’s efforts after he signed a five‐year contract with the Yankees said to be worth $2.9 million. “Some clubs offered several hundred thousand dollars more. possibly seven figures more,‐ but the reason I’m a Yankee is that George Steinbrenner outhustled everybody else.”

For Steinbrenner, it was a cheap buy as Jackson turned out to be George’s best ever purchase.  However, Jackson was a controversial player with the Yankees; some loved him some hated him.  That includes manager Billy Martin, catcher Thurman Munson, and Steinbrenner himself.  There were often fights for power amongst the three.  From Jackson in dugout fights with Martin and his hitting three homers in one game, he always wanted to be in the spotlight.

Regardless of what negative views fans of others had of him, he deserved the praise.  During his five years with the New York Yankees, he hit .281 with 144 home runs.  He had a 900 OPS.  He also had a .980 fielding percentage in right field for the Yankees.  Reggie was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

2.  Paul ONeill

Paul O’Neill is unsung and unrewarded as a Yankee right-fielder, and many sportswriters would put him down a few notches on this list. But this writer feels he is one of the best players to ever grace the right-field at Yankees Stadium.  His batting average of .303 over nine years with the Yankees speaks for itself.  He hit for power, he hit for contact and was the ultimate team player.  He consistently did what was needed to help his team.

O’Neill played for the Yankees from 1993 to 2001, he was part of four Yankee World Series Championships and contributed to all of them. During his time, the “Warrior” had 858 RBIs and hit 185 home runs while hitting nearly 1,500 hits.  Paul will probably not reach the Hall of Fame for his lack of home runs, but for his time with the Yankees, he owned the fans.  In his last game as a Yankee in 2001, it was the ninth inning, from the entire stadium all you hear for the whole inning was “Paulie” clap, clap, clap, clap, Paulie, clap, clap, clap, clap.

Since retiring from baseball, he has become an integral part of the YES Network broadcasting and giving analysis of Yankee games.

1.  Babe Ruth

There is not enough space in this article to talk about the achievements of Babe Ruth, he is not only my pick for the best New York Yankee right-fielder but for the best baseball player ever.  In what was called the worst trade in baseball history, Boston Red Sox owner Harry Frazee, being short on money, traded Babe Ruth away to the Yankees for $100,000 the day after Christmas in 1919.

Ruth would spend the next fifteen years with the Yankees.  Over the period he had a batting average of an incredible .349, with 659 home runs.  There was no other hitter like him then and since then.  He had a fielding percentage that averaged .965, which for that time was very good.  Ruth was an All-Star and a most valuable player back when awards weren’t as common as they are today.  Being a pitcher for the Red Sox, he even pitched to a winning percentage of 1.000 with a record of 5-0.

In his 15 years with the Yankees, Ruth helped the team win seven American League (AL) pennants and four World Series championships.  In 1936 Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame as one of its “first five” inaugural members.

Honorable mentions go to Jessie Barfield, Willie Keller, Tommy Henrich, and Giancarlo Stanton.

In selecting my top ten, I valued time with the club, performance as per Baseball-Reference.com.  Peak career performance and performance in postseason play was also a factor. Special situations like changing career positions were also a consideration.

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

 

New York Yankees News: Cole talks pitching today, Judge’s future, and pivotal year for Miggy Andujar

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole talks pitching today on the YES Network

Today you can get a rare intimate view of the new New York Yankees ace pitcher Gerrit Cole.  Cole was acquired by the Yankees during the winter meetings in San Diego for a record-breaking deal worth $324 million over the next nine years.  Cole is one of the top three pitchers in all of baseball, but Yankee fans don’t know that much about him, except that they didn’t want to face him when he pitched for the Houston Astros.

During the coronavirus, baseball shut down Cole has been hunkered down in his newly purchased home in Greenwich, CT.  He has been keeping in form by pitching to his pregnant athletic softball star wife Amy and to Yankee manager Aaron Boone who lives nearby.  With the shutdown, Cole had time to sit down with fellow Yankee pitching star, Yankee legend, and perfect gamer David Cone.  The two spoke with Jack Curry on a variety of pitching subjects.  Cole is an analytics nut and explains his thinking on the mound.  Check it out tonight at 7:30 pm on the YES Network.

 

What can Aaron Judge’s future look like?

Will Aaron Judge be the next huge New York Yankees star, or will he end up being the flop that could have been big?  Everything with Judge is if he can stay healthy.  The massive hulk of a man has had problems in two of his three seasons remaining injury-free.  Now at 28, he is no longer a spring chicken and must prove that he can be that Yankee star all Yankee fans want him to be.

Judge could be the next Yankee Captain as he is loved by Yankee fans, he could be the next Mickey Mantle, or he could be the expected star that never really made an impact and was always injured.  In 2017 when he came in second in the MVP voting, he hit .284 with 52 home runs, he did strike out 208 times but looked well on his way to becoming an All-Star player for many years to come.

Fast forward to 2018, and Judge played in only 112 games due to a few injuries one inflicted by a pitch to the wrist.  2019 turned out worst when he only played in 102 games suffering an injury that caused him to be on the IL.  He missed two of the first three months of the season with a left oblique strain.  Late in the season in September, he diving for a catch fractured a rib which caused a partially collapsed lung.  The injury wasn’t discovered until spring training this year, but it was significant enough that he was unable to play in any games during the shortened camp.

Even missing 60 games last season, Judge was still able to come up with 27 home runs although he had his worst batting average at .272.  Judge can hit for power for sure and is stellar in right field with an accurate cannon of an arm. He has all the attributes of the next Yankee superstar.  His future all depends on if he can stay on the field.  This year will be telling for what the future will hold for Aaron Judge.

The Miguel Andujar quagmire

Miguel Andujar, like Aaron Judge in 2017, looked to be like another big superstar for the New York Yankees.  He hit for power, and for contact, he led the team with a .297 batting average and hit 27 home runs in 149 games.  He even came in second in the Rookie of the Year voting.  The only flaw in his game is that at third base, he only had a .948 fielding percentage.

Going into the 2019 season, he played in only 12 games before suffering a shoulder injury. He ended up having right shoulder labrum repair surgery that ended his season.  After just three games, he went on the IL.  The thinking was that it wouldn’t affect his hitting. When he returned in eight games, he only hit .088, and that’s when it was determined he indeed needed the surgery.

The quagmire comes in when the Yankees needed a replacement at the hot corner.  They selected Gio Urshela from Scranton Wilkes/Baree to fill the void.  What they got was a surprise Gold Glove type player in Urshela.  Gio ended up playing in 139 games with a .314 batting average, only second on the team to DJ LeMahieu.  He also had some power-hitting 21 long balls.

Because of Urshela’s ability to hit for contact and maintain excellent defense at third, the New York Yankees have announced that Urshela will be the starting third baseman through not fault of Andujar’s.  So, the Yankees have a problem, what to do with Miggy.  They have tried him at first and also in the left field.  During spring training, he showed that he could play in the outfield.  The only problem with that is that the Yankees have Giancarlo Stanton in left, leaving Audjar as a bench player or DH.  When the delayed season starts it looks as if Stanton, Andujar, and Mike Tauchman will share the duties in left.  How much playing time Miggy will get in is dependant on injuries and how often he can be DH.  When he does play he has to show that he is worth keeping or he just might be trade bait in the 2021 offseason.

New York Yankees News/Rumors: Remembering Hank, MLB to take part in COVID-19 Study, and more

New York Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner

Remembering Hank Steinbrenner

Yesterday marked the sad passing of New York Yankees General Partner and Co-Chairperson Henry G. “Hank” Steinbrenner.  The elder son of George M. Steinbrenner was an amazing man who loved life and was deeply involved in the Yankees, charities, horses, and many other business endeavors.  In recent years he has maintained his office at the Yankees training complex in Tampa, Florida.  He was more involved in the Yankees than many fans realized.  He oversaw all baseball operations with his brother Hal but was directly involved in player negotiations, long-term player recruitment goals, and overall club strategy.

As Hank’s father George began to loosen his grip on the team as he aged and became ill, for a few years before the 2009 World Championship, Hank began to take a larger roll in the Yankees.  Hank was very different than his brother Hal.  Hank was cut from a similar cloth as his father; you knew what Hank thought and often publically.  Unlike the reserved Hal, Hank was colorful, often saying provocative things that would reach the tabloids, reminiscent of the “boss”.  He was warm, engaging, and genuine, but also direct.

He once said of Alex Rodriguez in 2007 when he was about to opt-out of his contract.  “Does he want to go into the Hall of Fame as a Yankee or a Toledo Mud Hen?” He also once said, “if there’s a Red Sox Nation, there is a Yankee Universe.” With present managing partner Hal Steinbrenner you will never hear that type of candor.  For whatever reason, over the next few years, it became apparent that brother Hal would be the one that would lead the New York Yankees into the future.

Hank was deeply involved in charitable organizations from Tampa to the Bronx.  Children’s charities in New York and Tampa Bay, including The Joshua House, St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital, Gigi’s Playhouse Tampa, The Children’s Dream Fund, and the New York Yankees charitable foundations to name just a few.  He was also on the Board of the YES Network and the Gold Shield Foundation.

It is unknown what Hal died from, but the family said it was a long-standing illness.  Hank was known to be a heavy smoker for most of his life. One thing that is sure, the piano and guitar playing, rock music-loving, horseracing enthusiast Hank that never lost his love of the Yankees will be severely missed his siblings Hal, Jennifer, and Jessica.  Hank leaves his four children and one grandchild.

MLB to take part in COVID-19 study

The New York Yankees and all of MLB will take part in a national study headed by Stanford University, USC, and the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory.  The study will help researchers trying to gain a better sense of how widespread the coronavirus is throughout the country. A rapid antibody test will be administered using kits that draw blood from a finger and provide results within a matter of minutes. The tests will determine if participants have contracted the coronavirus even if they were asymptomatic.

The study will involve the New York Yankees, Mets and 25 other baseball teams from around the country. It will test about ten thousand baseball personnel from players, the front office, and stadium workers.  This will be the first study of it’s kind.  Although it will not have anything to do with when the baseball season starts, it will a greater understanding of the disease.

Yankee odds in a Grapefruit League

Anyone that follows my writings, knows that I am not in favor of this approach to getting a baseball season started.  But many are looking at what effect the realignment would have on the New York Yankees.  Fangraphs has looked at the plan and said it would be advantageous for the Yankees and would nearly assure them a place in the postseason.  They project an 89.2% chance of a Yankee postseason.

Under the plan, if implemented, the Yankees would not face traditional rivals, Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, but would face much weaker teams, including the Blue Jays, Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Philadelphia Phillies. Joe Girardi’s Phillies would be the toughest competition for the Yankees.

The Fangraphs result showed the Yankees leading the entire Grapefruit League (15 teams) with a 69-43 record, with the Astros (66-46), Rays (64-48) and Twins (63-49) behind them. The Yankees’ overall playoff probability was a whopping 89.2 percent, even with seven of last year’s 10 playoff teams playing in the league.

 

New York Yankees: A history of great Yankee first baseman

The New York Yankees in their rich history have had some really great players.  Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, just to name a few that have been impactful players in the Yankees 117 year history.  Over the years, the Yankee has had no shortage of fine first baseman.

1. Lou Gehrig:

Lou Gehrig is generally recognized as the Yankee’s most excellent first baseman of all time.  Gehrig for 17 years from 1923-1939 graced first base at Yankee Stadium.  Known for his fine hitting and durability at his position, he was called the “Iron Horse.”  He hit 493 home runs and had 1,995 runs batted in with a career batting average of .340. He still has the highest ratio of runs scored plus runs batted in per 100 plate appearances (35.08) and per 100 games (156.7) among Hall of Fame players.  Gehrig was not just a hitter; he provided stellar defense at first throughout his career.  At one point in his career, he played in 2,130 consecutive games.

Gehrig, as great a player he was for the Yankees he is also known for Lou Gehrig disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).  His 1938 stats were well of his 1937 performance, and he knew something was wrong, He was tired.  After a series of tests at the Mayo Clinic, the bad news was delivered to Gehrig.  On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig said goodbye to over 60,000 fans in the stands with his famous “I’m the luckiest man on the face of the earth” speech.  The Hall of Fame Gehrig passed away at his home in the Bronx section of New York on June 2, 1941.  Career stats: 17 years .340 with 493 home runs.

2. Don Mattingly

Donny Baseball is one of the most popular Yankees ever, and my pick as the Yankees 2nd greatest first baseman. Don Mattingly spent his entire baseball playing days at first base at Yankee Stadium.  For fourteen years, he snagged balls and defended at first base.  He made his Yankee major league debut in September of 1982.  He became the full-time first baseman in 1984, a position he held until 1995.

Many thought Mattingly would become the Yankees manager.  That didn’t happen as Joe Torre was selected to manage the Yankees for the next eleven years.  Mattingly did manage, though.  He was a special instructor for the Yankee until 2007.  Before the 2008 season, he was hired to manage the Los Angeles Dodgers, a job he held for seven years.  In 2016 ex-Yankee Derek Jeter selected Donny to manage the Miami Marlins, where he still manages today.  Career stats:  14 years .307 with 222 home runs.

3. Tino Martinez

Constantino “Tino” Martinez is my pick for third-best New York Yankee first baseman.  Tino was not solely a Yankee; he played for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1990 through 2005.

Tino was an excellent defender at first base.  From 1996-2001, the dynasty years, Tino was one of the most impactful players on the team.  He helped the team to four World Series in 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2000.  In 1997 he won the All-Star home run derby.  In 2002 Tino joined the Cardinals, and in 2004, he played a year with the Rays.  In 2005 Tino re-joined the New York Yankees.  During that year, at one point, hi hit five home runs in five consecutive games. Career stats: 16 years .271 with 339 home runs.

4. Mark Teixeira

Mark “Tex” Teixeira held down the first base position from 2009 to 2016.  Not only was he stellar at first, but he was also one of the most proficient switch hitters in baseball history.  In his first year with the New York Yankees, he led the team to their 27th World Championship.  Although he got them there, he didn’t play well in the Series, but in Tex style, he was clutch winning game 2 with a walk-off home run.

In 2009 he led the American League in home runs. On May 8, 2010, he became the second Yankee in history to hit three home runs in the same game. In 2011 he hit his 300th home run.  In 2015 Teixeira was named to his third All-Star game. In 2016 his final year before retirement, he hit two home runs in a game that also represented the 400th home run of his career.  Citing injuries and wanted to spend more time with his family, he retired after the 2016 season. Career stats:  14 years .268 with 409 home runs.

5. Chris Chambliss

Chris Chambliss is one of the most popular of Yankee’s first baseman.  Chambliss played for the Yankees from 1974 to 1979.  An excellent defender at first, he is mostly known for his walk-off home run in the 1977 World Series.  His walk-off was one of the most iconic moments in Yankee history.  Immediately after his World Series-winning hit, Yankee fans stormed the field making it impossible to reach home base.  When he reached the clubhouse, he donned a field worker’s raincoat and ran out to touch home plate. Career stats:  17 years .279 with 185 home runs.

Honorable mentions go to Bill Skowron 1954-1962, Jason Giambi 2002-2008, Joe Pepitone 1962-1969, Johnny Mize 1949-1953, and Wally Pipp 1915-1925.  I have excluded Mickey Mantle from this list.  Even though he was a fine first baseman, he was noted more for his outfield performance throughout his career.