New York Yankees: CC Sabathia and Jake Junis Will Battle It Out In Kansas City on Friday Night

New York Yankees, Yankees, CC Sabathia

The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals’ games on Wednesday were canceled due to the weather in Washington, so two games, one the completion of the suspended game tied at 3-3 and the final game of the two game series. The games will be made up on June 18.

On to Kansas City for the Yankees—looking ahead at Friday’s pitching matchup, CC Sabathia (2-0, 2.23 ERA) will go up against RHP Jakob Junis (4-3, 3.53 ERA) for the Royals.

Junis made his Major League debut in April of ’17 and Sean Thornton of Royals Review wrote that over the last two months of the 2017 season, Junis was the Royals’ most reliable pitcher, “becoming the ‘go to’ guy when the Royals needed to end a losing streak.”

The Royals lost Wednesday night to Tampa Bay, which means that with Junis on the mound after the loss, Junis and the club will be a tough matchup for the Bombers on Friday night.

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According to Brooks Baseball, Junis’ repertoire of pitches includes a slider (83 mph), four seam fastball (92 mph), sinker (91 mph), change up (86 mph) and a rare curve ball (80 mph).

Thornton describes what has made the second year pitcher successful:

“Junis’ ability to mix up his pitches has become a focal point of his arsenal and if he continues to do so he should be able to maintain his recent success. While his slider will get most of the glory and is the pitch with the most movement, it isn’t quite as lethal without a nice array of other pitches to set it up.”

Yankee hitters will be looking to lay off that lethal slider from the young left-hander and will look to hit for the fences as Junis has given up 11 home runs in 51 innings of work for a 1.94 HR/9 ratio. When the Yankees met up with Junis in ’17, he gave up home runs to Greg Bird and Aaron Judge.

Sabathia will look to rebound from a four inning, nine hit, four run outing against the Boston Red Sox on May 10 that raised his ERA from 1.39 to 2.23.

The Yankees roll into Kansas City winners of 19 of their last 22 games and beat the Royals 5-2 on the year in 2017.

The Day the Red Sox Lost to a Red Sox Fan (And the Yankees)

New York Yankees

One of my best friends in High School was the son of a local weatherman. He often had access to decent seats at a few sporting events, including some New York Yankee games. This worked out well for us since we were both huge Yankee fans, and his father took us to games on more than one occasion. It’s been about 25 years, so the memories are a bit fuzzy. But one game stands out above the others, if only because of the shear ridiculousness that precipitated in the upheaval that was the 9th inning.

It was September 18, 1993, and Buck Showalter’s Yankees were just wrapping up their first winning season since 1988. It was also the first of 25 straight winning seasons (so far) and thus the beginning of the next Yankee dynasty. The ’93 Yanks featured some names that give the nostalgic fan goosebumps to this day. Players like Mike Stanley – one of the most unsung catchers to wear pinstripes, and Jim Leyritz – the powerful clutch hitting utility guy graced the field in those days. Then there was TartabullVelardeStankiewicz

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Wade Boggs had just joined the Yankees from free agency that year. Paul O’Neill was new to the franchise as well, having been acquired from the Reds in exchange for Roberto Kelly that offseason. Bernie Williams was a full timer for the first time, his third season in the majors. Don Mattingly was still two seasons away from calling it a career.

I loved that rotation too. Melido Perez’s best days were behind him, but he was still my dude. Melido was actually my name in Spanish class that year. The amazing Jim Abbot was the #2 guy, and that day was exactly 2 weeks after he no-hit Cleveland… WITH ONE HAND. I’ll say it again, a guy named Jim, with no right hand, threw a no-hitter against a Major League Baseball Team. Whoa…

It was Jimmy Key’s first season in New York as well. He was the bona-fide ace of the staff, and he was on the mound that day. Mo Vaughn got things started early, smashing a flyball to deep right for a 2-run homerun. Tim Naehring, now the Yankees VP of Baseball Operations, scored the other run on that shot. Key battled all game long, lasting 6 innings while throwing 125 pitches and earning 3 runs on 9 hits and 2 walks.

Here’s the video of that insane 9th inning comeback:

Nate Minchey was the starter for Boston that day. It was the second start of his career, and he would only have 10 more starts afterward. He somehow managed to hold New York to only 1 run on 6 hits and a walk in 6 innings though, not bad. The one run surrendered was on an O’Neill line drive down the right field line for a solo homer, and that is how he ended his day.

Not much happened after that until the bottom of the 9th, where the Yankees found themselves down 3-1 with the bottom of the order on deck. Matt Nokes started things off, and promptly grounded out an 0-1 pitch to the shortstop John Valentin for the first out. Bernie was next, and he hit a 1-1 pitch for the same result. Now here’s where it gets weird…

The 9 hitter, Mike Gallego, comes to the plate and takes a 2-1 meatball from veteran reliever Greg Harris off his right fore-arm. Now the Yanks have the tying run at the plate, so Showalter opts to pinch hit Stanley for Velarde. And hey, it’s a solid move. Stanley > Velarde, all day every day.

Unfortunately, Stanley pops up the 0-1 pitch to Mike Greenwell in shallow left for out number 3. Ballgame ov… Nope. Ballgame not over! A millisecond before the pitch was thrown, some kid runs out from foul territory behind third and third base umpire Tim Welke calls time. You can actually lip-read Greenwell cursing the kid out in the video replay.

After the kid gets dragged off, the Red Sox manager Butch Hobson is incredulous, yet despite his protests the play will be done over since time was called before the ball left Harris’ hand. Everyone goes back to their stations, and the Yankees have a second life.

Harris once again sets up to throw 0-1 and hangs a curve ball that Stanley smacks through the hole between Valentin and third for a base hit, and now there’s runners at 1st and 2nd with two outs. At this point I remember we moved down to the front row and were beating the wall senseless, since clapping didn’t feel sufficient. My friend’s father, the weatherman, was also there with us along with the anchorman from the station he worked at. You could smoke in the stadium in those days, and Don (the anchorman) had been chain-smoking the entire game.

The stadium was beginning to erupt. 10 years of frustration had been slowly alleviated all season long, but it was still there, and this felt GOOD.

Showalter points an authoritative finger toward first, indicating that he wants Gerald Williams to pinch run for Stanley. Stanley could hit, but Gerald could run. Next up, THE Wade Boggs, who bounces a 2-2 curve perfectly between Vaughn and second baseman Scott Fletcher for yet another groundball base hit. Scott did get to the ball but by then it was too late, and Boggs was safe. Gallego scores. 3-2 Boston with men on first and second, 2 outs.

Dion James walks to load the bases, and now it’s Mattingly’s turn to bat. Stankiewicz pinch runs for Boggs at second. Yankee Stadium is a burning cauldron of excitement and venom as Donnie “The Hitman” Mattingly, aka Donnie Baseball steps to the plate with bases loaded and a .571 batting average in such situations that year, against the hated Red Sox of Boston.

And just like that, I remember it in slow motion, Harris throws just about the flattest curve you’ll ever see, and Donnie effortlessly lines it to shallow right. It was pretty much the same exact spot that Boggs hit his, just a little harder, so it made it all the way to right fielder Bob Zupcic.

Williams scores easily. Zupcic fields and throws a nice looking one-hopper to the plate but catcher Tony Peña is unable to field it cleanly. It doesn’t matter because Stankiewicz was already crossing the plate for the winning run. Ballgame over, for real this time. Bedlam ensues.

I don’t remember much after that. I know the halls were filled with fans who were over the moon. This was 11 years before the Red Sox finally ended their curse, so their fans were still few and far between, however one Boston fan would turn out to be the hero that faithful day. The following morning, I looked at the recap of that game in the sports section of the Hartford Courant. I read it over and over, and I’ll never know if this is true or not, but it seems plausible… my favorite part of the article was where they had indicated that the fan on the field was, in fact, a Red Sox fan. The Hardball Times claims it was “some jaggoff Yankee fan” but I remember.

 

One Giants UDFA Is Already Making Waves After An Underrated College Career

One of the most intriguing UDFA signings for the New York Giants this offseason was Penn State’s Grant Haley.  When I say intriguing, I mean that Haley has the potential to make the roster and get valuable time playing as a cornerback, special teams and/or returner for the Giants.

Haley was born in Michigan, but grew up in Atlanta, Georgia.  Son of Leon Haley Jr. and Carla Neal-Haley, Grant was born into a very smart family.  His parents attended Brown and Penn State and both of them were students at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

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With that all being say, you can say that education has always been the number one priority in the Haley family.  Even when Grant went to Penn State to play football, his dad, Leon Haley Sr., would preach to him about getting this degree because that is something he will need after football regardless of what happens.  Oh, and his father is also the Dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine. Forget to mention that gem.

During high school, The Lovett School, Grant was an excellent student and even earned a bronze medal at the National Latin Exam.  Not going to lie, I’d say that’s pretty impressive. While at Penn State, Haley remained an excellent student. Throughout his four years, 2014-2017, Grant would frequent the Dean’s List, Academic All-Big Ten, CoSIDA Academic All-District and Midseason All-American honors from The All-Athletic and USA Today.  

Before being a fine student athlete at Penn State, Haley was not always about football. Grant grew up playing soccer and baseball. His mother did not want Grant playing football due to the potential injuries that come along with playing the sport — rightfully so. However, Grant’s grandfather was a high school football coach and was basically the spark that ignited Grant beginning to play football during the 7th grade. This was all done with the consent of his mother, of course.

Once Haley took to the gridiron, everything fell into place.  It was basically like he has been playing football his entire life.  When he began to play in high school, Haley played running back and cornerback and was a two-time team captain.  

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During his senior year, Grant rushed for more than 1,500 yards with 27 touchdowns while also adding six interceptions at cornerback.  Haley was named to MaxPreps second-team Small School All-American. That same season he led his team to the Georgia Class AA State Championship and also was named the Associated Press Georgia Class 2A Offensive Player of the Year.  

Throughout high school, Grant was a four year letterman for football, while also lettering four times in baseball, twice in basketball and twice in track and field. Yeah, I’d say this kid is athletic.

After high school, Grant committed to Vanderbilt, but when Coach James Franklin decided to depart for Penn State, Haley came along for the ride.

As for his football career for the Nittany Lions, Grant saw plenty of playing time from the very beginning.  As a true freshman, Haley appeared in all 13 games both on defense and special teams. He got his first start in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl game at Yankee Stadium as a the kicker returner.

In his sophomore year, he started 11 games after missing two due to injury. He still managed to log 27 solo tackles and two interceptions. Junior year, 23 solo tackles and again 27 tackles his senior season with 2 interceptions.

However, Grant’s biggest accomplishment at Penn State came in his junior year against Ohio State. There was a white out and there were fireworks courtesy of Grant Haley. 4 minutes and 39 seconds to go in regulation, Ohio State is attempting a field goal, up 21-17.  The kick barely went up in the air before it was blocked by Marcus Allen and recovered by the man himself, Grant Haley, who returned it for a touchdown. Beaver Stadium was in an absolute frenzy.  

With that play, Grant became the first player in Penn State football history to return a blocked field goal for a touchdown. Penn State would go onto upset the number two team in the country thanks to Marcus Allen and Grant Haley.

I remember that play like it was yesterday.  What a rush. I would have gave anything to be at that game instead of watching the game on my phone at some stupid haunted house in West Virginia, shaking my head, I know. Anyways, after that game, Marcus Allen and Grant Haley were common names around University Park.

Now, Grant Haley is trying to become the newest member of the New York Giants. Going undrafted only threw gas on the fire for Haley. Even more gas for the fire, one of his weaknesses — his build.  He’s not that tall for a corner, 5’9”, but has quick feet, is an excellent coverage reader, and basically was a lockdown corner at Penn State.  His senior season at Penn State, he did not allow a touchdown and only allowed four total his entire college career while being targeted 168 times.  Ain’t nobody throwing his way.

I was so excited that the Giants were able to sign him because I know what he’s capable of.  I personally believe he can be the next DRC for the Giants. I know he’s small, but he can certainly play slot corner better than whoever the Giants currently have slated to play there.  He killed it during the rookie minicamp and to be honest, i wouldn’t be writing this if the Giants did not draft Saquon Barkley, I bet he would have signed somewhere else. Now, those two Penn State roommates show up together to the facilities first and are the last to leave.  Good first impressions.

Day one of the rookie minicamp, one scout reported on Haley, stating: “Might be the most explosive/athletic of all the NYG corners day one.  Has a knack for sticking to the hip pocket of slot receivers.” This is a fantastic sign because since losing DRC, the Giants are in need of a good young slot corner.  Can Haley be the guy? Let’s not get over our heads, but things are looking pretty good for this UDFA. Can he be a Dave Gettleman draft find? Only time will tell, but I love what I am hearing about Grant Haley.

Follow me on Twitter @scooochie for more Giants, Knicks and Yankees coverage

New York Yankees Flashback: Re2pect, in Spades

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter
That May 14, 2017, was both Mother’s Day, and the one selected by the former Yankees captain to be Derek Jeter Day in the Bronx, seemed pretty fitting, though some grumbled that the ceremonies were to be held before the ESPN Sunday night game, and not the more traditional day game for such honors.
Little did we know that, following a rainout the day before, it would become a day/night doubleheader, with the ceremonies coming before game 2.
In game 1, it was still early enough in the 2017 season that, given his troubles starting the season before, fans were concerned about a poor Luis Severino start, although the team came back strong to defeat Houston 11-6 in that game.
Once a hit by pitch and five third-inning singles drove Luis from the mound vs the Astros down 3-1, he was relieved by another pitcher who (along with Sevy, as it would turn out) would have a stellar season, newly promoted Chad Green, who would hold the Astros through 3.67 frames while the Yanks took a 4-3 lead, fall behind again, but then happily storm back with a six-run inning.
The ceremony before game 2 featured every teammate of Derek’s you would expect, along with players from before his tenure. On Mother’s Day, the women in Derek’s life (grandmother, mother, sister, and pregnant wife) would dominate the festivities, but to this hardened fan, the two highlights were a video message from Don Mattingly, and the most recent, I believe, strains of the “voice of God,” Bob Sheppard — “Number 2, Derek Jeter, Number 2” — calling Derek to the mike once his number had been retired in Monument Park.
Unfortunately, Houston started the late game with a six-run first inning of their own, and led 8-0 after two. The Yanks did battle back gamely but came up short in a 10-7 loss.
All of this took place, by the way, on the day that Mickey Mantle hit his 500th home run in 1967, and that Doc Gooden no-hit the Mariners in 1996. (Jeter caught the 27th out in that contest.)
There is just too much with this day. White Sox pitcher Dave DeBusschere, a two-sport star and beloved power forward with the NBA’s New York Knicks, passed away on May 14, 2003, and Earle Combs, the “Kentucky Colonel,” and the first in a long line of star center fielders for the Yankees, was born on this day in 1899.

Giancarlo Stanton Hits Exceptionally Well When A Specific Player Is Pitching

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees’ Luis Severino has a lot to like about his new teammate Giancarlo Stanton , the two have a great connection that started on Opening Day when Stanton went 3-for-5 with 2 home runs and 4 rbi. When Sevy starts Stanton has a slash of .500/.529/1.188 and despite Giancarlo’s early season struggles when the ace is not starting Severino remains confident about the reigning NL MVP going forward wether or not he is on the mound.

“I don’t care what everybody says. He’s a great hitter. And he’s going to continue to do this stuff.”

He also made a prediction about Stanton’s home run totals for the season.

“I told him, ‘I have to pitch every two days,’ ” he said. “Every time I pitch, he hits a homer . . . Like I’ve said [before], by the end of the year, he’s going to be at 50-something homers.”

Stanton hit a career high 59 home runs last season and currently has 10 this season on pace for 48 according to MLB.com. Eight of the ten home runs have come when Severino is on the mound and in three of his eight starts Stanton has had multi-hr games. Sevy’s prediction of 50 hr is not unrealistic when you consider Giancarlo has not been hitting home runs regularly yet. He has only homered in seven of the Yankee’s forty games with six of his hr coming in three of those games. Expect to see the bombs come more frequently once summer comes. Last season he hit 30 of his 59 hr in July and August.

Another example of the excellence Severino’s presence has done to Giancarlo’s bat is the extreme split when Luis is not starting Stanton bats a .160/.336/.273 slash with two homer runs and eleven rbi vs .500/.529/.1.188 with eight homers and fifteen rbi when he does start. Stanton also has recognized the magic that happens when Luis is on the mound.

“I told him in here between innings, ‘We work well together,’ ” Stanton said with a smile

In Severino’s last start on May 13th against the Oakland As Stanton went a perfect four-for-four raising his batting average 20 points from .232 to .252 and was a triple short of the cycle. He had one home run and drove in three. The Yankees won 6-2 and capped a 7-2 home stand. Severino benefitted from the offensive output winning an AL best sixth game. After the victory Boone had this to say about Stanton’s game.

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“He was the difference today,” manager Aaron Boone said. “A lot of quality at-bats by him. Just very happy with the work he’s put in — the hard work behind the scenes, the grind you see day in and day out from him — and when it gets rewarded I love that.”

Some of the Stanton’s highlights from the Games Severino started:

  • Three multi-homer games.
  • Two four-rbi games.
  • A 4-for-4 game on Mother’s Day.

The highlight Yankee fans might have enjoyed the most though? Giancarlo owning Dallas Keuchel hitting two home runs off him on May 2nd in Houston. It was the first home run a Yankee hit off Keuchel who the Yankees have struggled mightily with in the past and one of the more despised opposing pitchers in recent Yankee history.

The Yankees now start an eight game road trip against the Nationals, Royals, and Rangers. Severino should get his next start in the Royal’s series, it will be the first time since 2013 Stanton has played against the Royals. Will the Severino-Staton connection give Yankee fans another special game?

New York Yankees Pitcher Working Toward Cy Young Award

New York Yankees‘ Luis Severino, 24, is rising up the leader board with a bullet and may be collecting Cy Young votes as he does it.

On a day when he felt he didn’t have it all working for him against the Oakland Athletics, Severino pitched six innings of one hit ball with 5 hits, all singles, one run, seven strikeouts and two walks.

Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports that Severino said after the game:

“I didn’t have my slider. My fastball command wasn’t where it usually is,” Severino said. “I grinded to get through six innings.”

Meanwhile, Severino’s ERA has shrunk from 2.61 in April to 2.14 after Sunday’s win against the Athletics.  He previously bested the Houston Astros’ lineup with a 2.11 ERA and the Boston Red Sox with a 2.21 ERA.

Against the Astros, Severino tossed his first career complete game shut-out.

He is currently tenth in the league in ERA, behind Patrick Corbin (2.12) of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Sean Manaea (2.11) of the Athletics and trending up.

According to Fangraphs, Severino (2.4) is also ranked third in WAR behind only Gerrit Cole (2.8) of the Astros and Max Scherzer (2.6) of the Washington Nationals.

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Severino is tied with Aaron Nola of the Philadelphia Phillies and Corey Kluber of the Cleveland Indians  for second place in wins with six behind the Nationals’ Max Scherzer with seven.

So despite not having the slider and not having command of his fastball, Severino managed to raise his record to 6-1 and the Yankees have now won eight of his nine starts.

Ryan Chichester of Pinstripe Alley writes that even when Severino finds himself in a jam,  as he did in Sunday’s fifth inning against the Athletics, his numbers only improve:

“In the rare event that he has ran into trouble this season, he seems to reach back for more and perform even better on the mound. He already holds hitters to a .242 wOBA with the bases empty, but those numbers only improve when the pressure increases. With men on base, that wOBA drops to .214. With runners in scoring position, it plummets to .171. Slugging percentage and batting average also follow the same trend.”

Severino is performing like an ace and the uptrend in his numbers show that he is improving as he progresses through the season, even when he’s grinding out starts.

Severino has the confidence and ability on the mound to be the ace of this staff and to be a league leader.

 

 

 

 

 

Yankees Flashback: Donnie, The Mick, Joe D, and More!

What is it about mid-May, the New York Yankees, and nine-run comebacks? The Yanks rallied from an 0-8 deficit to defeat the White Sox 9-8 on May 12, 1996. On May 13, 1985, the Yanks’ rally from 0-8 to the Minnesota Twins was crowned by Don Mattingly‘s three-run, two-out, bottom-of-the-ninth homer off former Yank Ron Davis that propelled the home team to a 9-8 victory.

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It was Friday the 13th in 1955 when the Yanks beat the Tigers 5-2 behind five rbi’s from Mickey Mantle. It was the first time “The Mick” hit dingers from both sides of the plate, as he hit three homers in succession (left, left, right), the shortest of which was estimated to have traveled 463 feet.

Whitey Ford got the win and Steve Gromek, victim of the first two bombs, took the loss. With the blasts, Mantle joined Tony Lazzeri (1927), Ben Chapman (1932), and Bill Dickey (1939) as the only Yanks to homer three times in the same game in Yankee Stadium.

This is a mark that Tom Tresh and Bobby Murcer (both as part of four-homer doubleheaders), Paul O’Neill, and Alex Rodriguez have equaled, the latter in 2005.

A key cog to the Yanks’ 1970s success who often goes unnoticed was starter Ed Figueroa. On May 13, 1977, he beat the Angels, 3-0, with his fourth straight complete game. Thurman Munson hit a seventh-inning home run.

It was reportedly on May 13, 1888, that Dewitt Hopper first gave his live rendition of Casey at the Bat. The actor and raconteur was famous for his recitation, which he delivered approximately 10,000 times.

Back-to-back-to-back blasts from Charlie “King Kong” Keller, Joe DiMaggio, and Johnny Lindell off Jack Sanford in the sixth keyed a 9-1 Yankee victory over the St. Louis Browns on May 13, 1947.

Greg Bird Returning Leaves New York Yankees With Tough Decision

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Speak Ill of Giancarlo Stanton And You Are Officially Dead To Me

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

This was predictable. This was inevitable. First came the news that the Marlins would make Giancarlo Stanton available to begin yet another rebuild. Then came the speculation that the New York Yankees would get involved, followed by understandable skepticism that it was even true. Then it grew legs. Then it was a reality, and an off-season euphoria followed shortly thereafter.

After a couple months of giddy blog posts and mega-hyped batting practices in Tampa, Stanton hit the ground running. By the final pitch of opening day in Toronto he was on pace for 324 dingers and 648 RBI. But then he hit the skids, as players changing teams often do, and the boo-birds were in full force by Tax Day.

You know all this. But the story needs to be organized and presented in an orderly fashion for perspective. To that end I will remind you that Mr. Stanton, even during his slow start, has been one of the top contributors to the highest scoring offense in all Major League Baseball.

Here’s a clip of Stanton annihilating Drew Pomeranz:

When his numbers are held up against the rest of the league he’s been pretty good! Let’s forget about his strikeout rate for a second. He’s been getting on base, and although his .325 OBP is not ideal, it isn’t terrible either. When you factor in the .497 SLG and his 118 wRC+, you see a guy that hasn’t been great, but he has been good. Despite all those ugly strikeouts, he’s been pretty good.

You see, strikeouts are a big letdown. They make a hitter look lazy, deflated, and even weak. Baseball fans hate the strikeout. It’s the baseball equivalent to stepping on a kitten. “You Have To Put The Ball In Play” as they say. However, the modern-day hitter’s approach has evolved to the point where a lineup will trade a few more K’s for a lot more power.

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Aaron Judge is the poster boy for this. For all the hemming and hawing about his high strikeout totals (48 K’s in 37 games), he is an absolute stud in the on-base department (currently 4th among all outfielders) with a .440 OBP. Stanton will get there too. I promise. History tells us as much.

March/April has been Giancarlo’s worst month throughout his career. Take a look:

StantonSplits

The graphic above, courtesy of Fangraphs, shows that March/April is his worst month in almost every major non-cumulative category. While it may be true that this particular season is a bit worse than his statistical norms, it is understandable given the change in leagues. Here is the gauntlet of starting pitching he’s had to run though up to this point:

Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Chris Archer, Chris Sale, Rick PorcelloJose Berrios, Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Trevor Bauer, and on and on…

Obviously, there are good pitchers in every division in both leagues, and he would have had his share of Scherzer, Kershaw, deGrom, and friends if he were still in the National League right now. But he’s seen them before. Now he’s navigating uncharted waters while going toe-to-toe with guys he’s rarely or never faced. That will take a toll, don’t you think?

Alas, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Here is a comparison of Stanton’s recent output vs. his career numbers:

Since April 19th: .260/.341/.558, 136 wRC+, .377 wOBA, 28.4% strikeout rate

Career to date: .267/.359/.552, 143 wRC+, .384 wOBA, 27.9% strikeout rate

You’ll note that April 19th was the beginning of a 21-game stretch that appeared so daunting in the beginning, in which the Yankees ended up carving an 18-3 path of destruction through the best teams in the AL. It is also precisely when the Yankees began to play in warmer weather.

The Stanton we’ve seen over the last 3 weeks is very close to what the Yankees traded for over the winter. And if you look at his numbers so far in May – .267/.371/.767, 191 wRC+, .460 wOBA, 31.4% strikeout rate – he is trending up.

Lest we forget that he is the first Yankee to ever go yard against Dallas Keuchel and his over-sculpted beard, doing so twice in the same game. Hanging two dingers on Drew Pomeranz and the Red Sox doesn’t hurt either. Stanton is a monster, and he is vital to this team’s success. He’s even mastered The People’s Eyebrow.

Listen, you can boo all you want. It is your right after all, but you would only be embarrassing yourself. He can take it. He’s rich. He’s a giant human. He’s a Yankee. “G” is going to be just fine. The baseballs? Not so much. He feels sorry for them, and so should you. A player like Giancarlo Stanton belongs in New York, where everything is larger than life.