Blake Snell: A Talent Deserving Of The New York Yankees Pinstripes

New York Yankees, Blake Snell

It seems like every baseball season, one team makes a trade or a signing that significantly impacts the course of their respective season for the better. Last year, it was the Astros acquiring All-Star ace Justin Verlander on Trade Deadline day. This season, the New York Yankees need to be the team that makes a splash, and they must get an excellent starter in the shape of Blake Snell.

The Undercover Ace:

Buried in mediocrity in Tampa Bay, Snell only made the All-Star game this year when Corey Kluber of the Indians pulled out, opening up a spot for the 25-year-old left-hander. His stats suggest it shouldn’t have taken this long for him to be included in this year’s All-Star roster. In a season in which the rays are already 18 games out of first place in the AL East, Snell has been an immense bright spot, posting a 12-5 record with a 2.27 ERA and already 137 strikeouts at the All-Star break, including a 4-0 stretch in which he posted an outstanding ERA of 0.63. Looking at some of his work, it’s clear to see why he is so successful: confidence. Confidence in his breaking pitches that leave even the best hitters looking silly. Such as our very own Giancarlo Stanton:

The Yankees need another left-hander to fill the void left by Jordan Montgomery after the season-ending injury he sustained. Snell is the answer.

Lights Too Bright?

A very relevant question asked every time a player might be brought to the Bronx: Can they handle the pressure? With the expectations of the New York media high and the pressure to perform immense, especially on the shoulders of a young kid, it may seem too much. Luckily, Snell has a friend that seems to know a thing or two about handling the pressure of the big city:

Yup. Odell Beckham Jr. What a perfect friend to have to show how to make it big in the big city. That is why Blake Snell is tailor-made for the bright lights of the Bronx, and why the Yankees must acquire him before the July 31 trade deadline. It could be the difference-maker in whether or not the Yankees win championship #28.

New York Yankees Potential Trade Options After The All-Star Break

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

The New York Yankees are looking for a starter. But others as well…Therefore, it´s a race to see who´s first to reel in that big fish. I feel that our intent depends on the following:

1.) Availability… Is there a pitcher the Yankees can Project as the #2 starter?.

Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Michael Fulmer, and Nathan Eovaldi are mentioned the most. But are they #2´s or #3´s? Or do they just give us more depth as #4?

Hamels may not be the same Hamels of the Philly days, but he is still a quality starter. He´s durable; no major issues with the arm. The record is negative (5-8) though pitching for a last place club. His ERA (4.36) is very acceptable in a hitter´s ballpark.

Cole pitched well against Cleveland and Boston, however, one thing concerns me—4 starts against Houston. Familiarity was a problem for Yu Darvish last year, but World Series experience is a definite plus. (#2; better #3)

J.A. Happ is having a very good season, he´s 10 and 6 with a ERA of 4.29, His earlier start against Boston was good, but recently was knocked out. He beat Houston, in Houston. The question is “will the Blue Jays trade him?” lefties like him are valuable. Plus, Mr. Happ is headed to the All-Star game.

Michael Fulmer… Don´t think so. Young, with a lot of talent, but a losing pitcher (3-9; 4.50 ERA) on a losing team. He didn´t fare well against first division teams. Cleveland, Seattle, and LAA all had success vs Fulmer. Not ready for NYC. (#4)

Nathan Eovaldi is coming around. Each start has been an improvement apart from his last outing. He´s 3-4 with a  4.59 ERA, excellent for Tampa Bay. Nathan had a strong outing against Seattle, and was very solid against Houston. He got ruffed up on Saturday against the Twins, but the up-side is his history with the Yankees. He could be a pleasant surprise that doesn´t cost much. (#4)

2. Brian Cashman… An excellent job as a seller, but how will he do as a buyer? The new ownership is more conservative than their famous Father/Boss. With Slim options, he may decide to ride it out. A lot will depend on the return of Tanaka—a proven play-off pitcher. Together, with Severino (#1), CC (#3) and one of the youngsters (#4), he might gamble. The tough decision awaits. His magic wand has been effective thusfar. But there is always another challenge around the corner.

Hopefully, we´re not left with the awful thought… “what if?” Opportunities don´t come everyday. It´s a tough road to the World Series. I´m sure the Washington Nationals have learned that lesson.

 

New York Yankees Flashback: The Boss

New York Yankees

Nine days after his 80th birthday, New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner passed away on July 13, 2010. The uber-owner and “Boss” purchased the team in 1973 and owned them until his death, a time during which the Yanks won seven crowns and 11 AL pennants. Coming just two days after Yankee fans were devastated by the death of Bob Sheppard, it was making for a bad year in the Bronx.

On July 13, 1985, the Yankees retired the numbers 9 and 32, for Roger Maris and Elston Howard, respectively. Then the Yankees beat Mike Mason and the Texas Rangers 3-1 behind Phil Niekro, with the save going to Dave Righetti.

Mel Stottlemyre notched his 39th shutout in beating the rival Royals 5-0 on July 13, 1973. But the name in lights on this day belongs to Bobby Murcer, who homered three times and knocked in all of the runs.

Oakland A’s slugger Reggie Jackson, a future Yankee, blasted a memorable tape-measure home run that struck a transformer on the Tiger Stadium roof in a 6-4 American League All Star victory over the National League on this day in 1971.

The Yankees hit all day in a doubleheader win (11-1, 12-2) over the Tigers on July 13, 1952, but the pitching hero was Vic Raschi, who threw a one-hitter in the first game. Raschi was also a hitting star four years earlier on this day, as he drove in the winning run (and got the win) in the American League’s 5-2 win over the National League in the 1948 All Star Game.

New York Yankees Flashback: The Voice of God

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

Fans throughout New York Yankees land were devastated on July 11, 2010 with the disheartening news none of us wanted to hear. The one and only Bob Sheppard, the “Voice of God,” who had served as Yankee Stadium emcee since Mickey Mantle‘s rookie season in 1951, had passed away.

Mr. Sheppard, and all of us who loved him and craved hearing his voice so dearly, were bitterly disappointed that he was not healthy enough to appear in the old Stadium’s final season, although video messages from him during the Baseball Cathedral’s last game were a true treasure. We all hoped he would some day christen the new stadium with his voice as well, but that was not to be. It was the beginning of a very bad week in Yankee land.

When the American League beat the National League in the 2000 All Star Game on July 11, 6-3, Chicago’s James Baldwin got the win and Chipper Jones went 3-for-3 for the losers.

But Derek Jeter had three hits in as many tries too, and he won the MVP Award for that game. Less than four months later, the Yankee shortstop would collect a truly rare double honor, being named MVP of the All Star Game and the World Series in the same season.

The American League team in the All Star Classic in 1939, played this day, was dominated by Yankees, as skipper Joe McCarthy started six Pinstripers. It was the seventh All Star Game, it took place at Yankee Stadium, and the AL won, 3-1.

Aaron Robinson, Yankees catcher, returned to the lineup following service in World War II on this day in 1945, joining Red Ruffing, who had returned a bit earlier. Robinson would later be involved in two huge upgrades for the Bombers, giving way to Yogi Berra behind the plate in 1947, and bringing Eddie Lopat in a trade from the White Sox to the Yanks in February 1948.

New York Yankees Flashback: The Captain Reaches 3,000

New York Yankees, Derek Jeter

A hit for the New York Yankees history books:

Hit No. 2,999, a single to left, led off the bottom of the first, and history came two innings later as New York Yankees‘ Derek Jeter powered David Price‘s seventh pitch over the wall in left center for a 2-2 tie in the game, and history, the Yankee Captain’s 3000th career hit.

Amazingly, once he scored after his fifth-inning double (No. 3,001), he tied the score again. Although it was followed by a double steal, hit No. 3,002, a sixth-inning single, went for naught, but when he went 5-for-5 on this record-setting day with a single (No. 3,003) in the eighth, he drove in the winning run in a 5-4 Yankee victory over Tampa Bay on July 9, 2011.

When Brett Gardner homered in the first inning of a 6-2 Yankee win over Oakland in the Stadium on July 9, 2015, it came about two hours before the announcement that the pinstriped left fielder had made the AL All Star squad as a replacement for the injured Alex Gordon.

Infielder Cole Figueroa, added to the roster that day and playing third base, doubled twice and scored twice in this, his first Yankee game. (He would play in just one more.) While getting 23 outs, Masahiro Tanaka allowed just two hits, both unfortunately grouped with a second inning error and leading to the A’s two runs.

With Thurgood Marshall, Jr., in attendance, the Yanks celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court Brown vs. Topeka Board of Education decision that spelled the death knell of segregation, on July 9, 2004. Javier Vazquez prevailed over John Halama of the Devil Rays 5-4, and center fielder Kenny Lofton reached four times, scored twice, and knocked in one.

The Yanks swept a double dip from the Tigers on July 9, 1932, 7-6 and 14-9. In the latter, Ben Chapman tied a record, not because he hit three home runs, but because two of them were of the inside-the-park variety.

New York Yankees: The Hardworking Story of Kyle Higashioka

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

Beloved by everyone in local media, as well as every clubhouse he stepped foot in to, New York Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka is the epitome of the ultimate team guy. Kyle has been earning praise and compliments for his contributions to the organization from everyone, including Alex Rodriguez on the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast before Higashioka stepped in to the right-handed batting box against David Price.

Even with the previous success of Yankee hitters that night, Kyle’s at-bat was seen more as a formality. Before stepping to the plate for his second at-bat of the night, Higashioka was 0-21 in his career. So when he fell behind 1-2, it can be excused for thinking that the streak would continue.

Until Price hung 89 MPH right down the middle, knee-high. That streak disappeared with authority 400+ feet down the left-field line in to the second deck. Higashioka, bless him, tried his best not to crack a smile on the basepaths, wanting to remain professional, and returned to a dugout that ignored a towering shot 10 years in the making, before finally showering him with the congratulations he so thoroughly deserved:

New York Yankees’ Kyle Higashioka: The Home Run Stroka

After 10 years years of grinding in the minors and getting very limited at-bats in the majors, for him to go deep in that way, on a national stage no less, was awesome to watch.

Little did we know in the games after would we see the hidden power that he possessed. First hit, first home run? Pretty fun to watch.

But how about another?

Not impressed by the first two hits being home runs in the career of Kyle Higashioka? What about three in three? Oh yeah he did that too.

Let’s be honest, once Gary Sanchez comes back off the DL, it would be shocking if manager Aaron Boone chooses Higashioka instead of Austin Romine to be the backup catcher. But make no mistake, this power display by #66 won’t be forgotten by Yankee fans, and will further cement his place as a constant clubhouse favorite.

New York Yankees Flashback: A Slammer, a Hammer, Goose and the Splinter

New York Yankees

The inside-the-park homer, a grand slam, that New York Yankees’  Lou Gehrig hit on July 5, 1934, was the big blow in the Yanks’ 8-3 win over the Senators. It was the 17th of the Iron Horse’s career-record 23 grand slams, a record that would not be matched for more than 70 years.

A sinking batting average and hobbled play on a deteriorating knee in need of surgery eventually sapped much of the good from Hideki Matsui‘s 2007 season, but his July AL Player of the Month Award was well earned.

A Yankees victory:

Homering for the second straight day, his two-run tape-measure shot off Minnesota setup man Pat Neshek in the eighth inning lifted the Yanks to a 7-6 victory, on July 5. Staked to an early 5-2 lead, Kei Igawa failed to make a quality start yet again, and four relievers carried the home team to victory.

The cream of the crop of good Yankee players born July 5 are mound men Jack Quinn (1883) and Rich “Goose” Gossage (1951). Knuckleballer Quinn went 81-65 over two New York AL stints that spanned seven years. He pitched until he was almost 50 years old, and won 247 and lost 218, all told.

The King of Intimidation, reliever Gossage (1951) saved 151 games for the Bronx Bombers. His career total of 310 is truly amazing when you consider that he won 124 as well. The Veterans Committee finally righted a wrong, and inducted Goose into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Hall of Fame lefty-hitting outfielder Ted Williams (2002) is easily the most famous ballplayer to die July 5. Playing exclusively with the Red Sox from 1939-1942 and 1946-1960, the Splendid Splitter hit 521 home runs and knocked in 1,839 runs.

New York Yankees Flashback: All Rise, And The Sanchise

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

The names that highlighted the New York Yankees’ offense in a 6-3 win over Toronto in the Stadium on July 3, 2017, could be referred to as the usual suspects, but the manner of their production was a bit different.

Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez each scored after stroking back-to-back singles in both the first and eighth innings. Three of the team’s six runs scored on a bases-loaded hit by pitch, then walk in the first, and an error in the four-run eighth, the frame that featured the team’s only run-scoring hit, a Chase Headley two-run double.

Masahiro Tanaka was superb, with eight punch outs, just five hits, and one (unearned) run over seven. It was Block Party night, with lots of free food specials and autograph opportunities of former and current players for early-arriving fans before the game.

Bob Meusel and Babe Ruth homered back to back and Carl Mays won his 22nd straight vs. the Athletics in a 12-1 victory on this day in 1922, but the most memorable stat on the day was Meusel hitting for the cycle for the second time in his career.

On July 3 1966, Mickey Mantle, tacking onto a streak he had begun the day before, hit his third home run in consecutive at bats for the second time in the same week, when he went yard in the first and the Yanks took a 5-0 lead over the Senators. But it took Bobby Richardson‘s 11th-inning home run to close out the Yankee 6-5 victory.

Joe Torre let Andy Pettitte throw 143 pitches in a 3-2 win over the Orioles in Yankee Stadium on July 3, 1998. Chad Curtis knotted the game at two with a fourth-inning home run, and the Yankee left fielder also scored the winner in the bottom of the ninth on Scott Brosius‘s single off Jesse Orosco.

New York Yankees Sign Luis Severino’s Little Brother, Just 19 Years-Old

The New York Yankees are showing their loyalty to ace pitcher Luis Severino, by signing his little brother Rafael Severino. At just 19 years-old, mini-sevvy will join the ranks of Dominican Republic academy for the Yankees.

The best part, Luis was given the task of telling his little brother, in which he reacted like any normal person would, according to ESPN:

“He was flipping out. He didn’t believe it,” Luis said at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon.

“Yippee … sign me up for that,” Boone said. “It’s definitely good to have another Severino in the mix.”

“When he went to the academy, it was like, ‘Oh my God. This is so amazing. This is great,'” Luis Severino said. “I say, ‘This is the bottom line. This is the first step. If you start working, that’s nothing.'”

Luis spent a good chunk of time struggling and refining his tool-box before having a stellar 2017, finishing with a 14-6 record and 2.98 ERA. So far in 2018, Sevvy has collected a resounding 13 wins and just two losses. He currently owns the top ERA in the MLB at 1.98. His abilities have been on full display this season and could be in a stellar spot to compete for the Cy Young award.

How fast does Rafael throw?

Luis’s brother, Rafael, currently tosses an 88-89 mph fastball, about 10 mph less than his older brother. At just 19 years-old, that’s a solid speed, and there’s no doubt he has room to grow now that he’s been enlisted in the Yankees’ camp.

“He doesn’t throw that hard, he’s really skinny,” Luis Severino said. “But when he gets stronger, he’s going to throw hard.”

Having a brother duo is always fun and exciting to watch. Maybe, someday, both will hold spots on the starting roster.

New York Yankees Flashback: A Bloodied Captain Featured in a Great Win

Tony Clark and Jorge Posada home runs propelled Brad Halsey and the Yankees into a 3-0 lead over Pedro Martinez and the Red Sox on July 1, 2004, in a Thursday night classic in Yankee Stadium, but Boston tied it on a two-run Manny Ramirez home run and a David McCarty double.

Onto bonus play, the Sox loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk against Mariano Rivera in the 11th, but Alex Rodriguez turned a miraculous 5-UA, 5-2 double play that would have been a triple play on a 2-5, but the latter throw retired Ramirez coming from second for the second time on the play, a twist you won’t find in the rule book.

A second-and-third, two-out threat against Tanyon Sturtze the following frame was averted when Derek Jeter dove face first into the left-field boxes after snaring Trot Nixon‘s flair into no man’s land. Was it all for naught when Ramirez homered deep to left leading off the top on the 13th? Of course not. After two quick outs, Ruben Sierra, Miguel Cairo, and John Flaherty delivered hits in succession, and the Yanks and their fans celebrated a 5-4 victory in the darnedest game you could ever see.

Yankee starting pitcher Andy Hawkins had a frustrating day’s work on July 1, 1990. He had held the White Sox hitless through seven when Yankee third baseman Mike Blowers made an error on a Sammy Sosa (playing in the AL Chicago city at the time) grounder leading off the bottom of the eighth. Two walks followed, and then back-to-back Jim Leyritz and Jesse Barfield errors on wind-blown outfield flies, and the Sox were up, 4-0, the final score of the game despite the fact that Hawkins succeeded in finishing the no-hitter. (A few years later, it was ruled not a no-no because the Sox did not bat nine times. Crazy ruling, he pitched a complete game that went the distance, and allowed no hits.)

Joe DiMaggio led the Yanks to a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox, 7-2 and 9-2, on July 1, 1941. And, by reaching safely in both games, Joe tied Wee Willie Keeler‘s major league record batting streak at 44 games.