Archives for posts with tag: Bryce Harper

When this past off-season saw the usually big spending Yanks only make waves by re-acquiring Aroldis Chapman and giving Matt Holliday a 1-year flyer, most fans and analysts didn’t know what to think. This was not the Yanks of old. This was not the M.O. of a big-spending team that missed the playoffs for three of the last four seasons. This was definitely keeping with the new plan implemented by Brian Cashman at last year’s trade deadline. The Yankees are getting younger as we watch and the future is now…maybe a year off.

This year’s spring training was an introduction of new names and high double-digit numbers to a fan base desperate for a return to October baseball. And it was a very encouraging introduction with the Yankees playing .700 ball in the Grapefruit League. True, spring training is not a highly accurate predictor of the future, like Nate Silver’s election algorithms, but there was definitely something new and exciting on display.

The biggest surprise was the return of Greg Bird. After a 2015 mini-campaign that had him prepared to displace Mark Teixeira immediately, Bird was sidelined for all of 2016 with shoulder surgery. This spring saw him return with a vengeance, hitting .451 with a team leading 8 HRs. Displaying an ability to hit to all fields against righties and lefties, coupled with solid defense at 1B, Greg Bird may be the answer at 1B, this season and beyond.

Gary Sanchez picked up from where his 2nd place Rookie of the Year campaign left off, hitting .373 with 5 HRs and showing plenty of arm strength from behind the plate. I was a big fan of Brian McCann and sad to see him depart to Houston but Gary Sanchez’s talent at and behind the plate will not be denied and will be on display post haste.

Tyler Wade, Billy McKinney, Ruben Tejada, Clint Frazier, and Gleyber Torres all showed glimpses of future days in the Bronx. Torres in particular may see an early call-up, especially if Chase Headley continues to underwhelm in the 3rd year of his four-year deal. The jettisoning of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman bore many fruits that the Yankee organization is eager to pluck when fully ripe.

And the addition of 7-time All Star Matt Holliday should easily fill the void left when Carlos Beltran was sent to Texas. Holliday had a banged up 2016 campaign, but as a F/T DH should be plenty healthy to provide much-needed power and veteran leadership.

Starting pitching continues to be the biggest Achilles heel. But considering that an almost identical staff in 2016, minus the recently released Nathan Eovaldi, was good enough for 84 wins anything is possible. The right elbow of Masahiro Tanaka continues to be under more scrutiny than Price Waterhouse’s Oscar night decorum. If Tanaka finally gets to 200 innings this season, there will only be four remaining pitching questions marks. CC Sabathia will most likely end up in the bullpen by June and Michael Pineda has yet to find anything mirroring consistency – both will not be around for 2018. Thankfully, this means plenty of opportunities for Luis Cessa, Chad Green and Bryan Mitchell who have all had success in limited MLB exposure. And Luis Severino continues to be the wild card of them all. Will he return to ROY-esque form from 2015 or only be effective from the bullpen as in 2016? I do hope it’s the former but the latter works just as well.

More than likely, the Yankees will not make the playoffs this season. At best they will be in the run for a Wild Card slot, and anything can happen in that play-in game. I would give this year’s squad about a 15% chance of making it to the divisional round. I expect this year to be a repeat of last year, in the mix but not a true contender. I expect the young talent of Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge (who also had an impressive spring) and Luis Severino to gain another year of big league experience in preparation for 2018. 2017 is the new 1995. The future is bright, shining with young talent and hungry veterans prepared to deliver new World Series rings to the Bronx and forcing Joe Girardi to change his uniform number into the 30’s.

The future is bright, Yankee fans, and we may be lucky enough to see Yankee championship history repeat over and over in the next decade….as long as $400 million are not wasted on Bryce Harper. #HeadCase

Advertisements

It’s that time of the season when the fans have their say, especially the ones in Kansas City apparently. Moving the entire All-Star vote to online was a questionable move when it was announced at the beginning of the season and has garnered even more scrutiny with seven Kansas City Royals currently slotted to start. But the system is what it is. And it’s not like the Royals voted in aren’t All-Star worthy.

So with the new rules allowing for 35 votes per fan I have decided to enact a new system to allocate my votes. Every year I fret over only having to vote for one player per position. So this year I am dividing up my vote among the three most worthy players per position. Squad A will receive 18 votes, Squad B will receive 12 votes and Squad C 5 votes. Let’s be honest, it’s also a way to vote for my favorite Yankees without feeling too guilty of being a homer. Here’s my vote:

American League

Squad A                                                              

C Salvador Perez

1B Miguel Cabrera

2B Jason Kipnis

3B Josh Donaldson

SS Marcus Semien

DH Nelson Cruz

OF Mike Trout

Josh Reddick

Adam Jones

Squad B

C Stephen Vogt

1B Eric Hosmer

2B Jose Altuve

3B Trevor Plouffe

SS Jose Iglesias

DH Prince Fielder

OF Lorenzo Cain

Alex Gordon

Hanley Ramirez

Squad C 

C Brian McCann

1B Mark Teixeira

2B Dustin Pedroia

3B Mike Moustakas

SS Alcides Escobar

DH Kendrys Morales

OF Yoenis Cespedes

Brett Gardner

Brandon Moss

National League

Squad A                                                              

C Buster Posey

1B Paul Goldschmidt

2B Dee Gordon

3B Matt Carpenter

SS Jhonny Peralta

OF Bryce Harper

Andrew McCutchen

Giancarlo Stanton

Squad B

C Derek Norris

1B Adrian Gonzalez

2B DJ LeMahieu

3B Todd Frazier

SS Brandon Crawford

OF Starling Marte

Joc Pederson

Justin Upton

Squad C

C Wilson Ramos

1B Anthony Rizzo

2B Howie Kendrick

3B Nolan Arenado

SS Zack Cozart

OF A.J. Pollack

Andre Eithier

Matt Holiday

I don’t think there are too many surprises among my A squad. In fact, I am pretty sure I got that vote dead on. As for the rest, I’m just glad to be able to throw some votes to Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, and Mark Teixeira, as well as personal Dodger favorite Andre Ethier.

So, how did I do?

Who are the Yankees? Are they the lowly team that was swept at home by the Texas Rangers? Are they the impressive sluggers who swept the Kansas City Royals? Are they the disappointing squad that lost three of four to the AL’s worst team, the Oakland Athletics? Or are they the righted ship that just swept the Seattle Mariners? I know I ask the same question every season but once again, will the real New York Yankees please stand up? Can they? The AL East is ripe for the taking and the Yankees continue to barely keep their heads above water, which is currently good enough for a one game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays.

I will treat the return of Masahiro Tanaka as delicately as the Yankee PR machine treats his partially torn UCL. It was very encouraging to see Tanaka dominate the Mariner lineup yesterday for seven innings, but no word on how long this stint in the rotation will last. Michael Pineda seems to have returned to form with back-to-back wins. Adam Warren is solidifying his spot in the rotation with his recent work, his only shortcoming being a lack of run support. C.C. Sabathia continues to show spurts of effectiveness. As for Nathan Eovaldi, he may be the odd man out upon Ivan Nova’s return. Eovaldi may be the first 98mph fireballer I have seen in recent memory who is incapable of missing bats on a regular basis and may be suited to “mop up duty.”

The Yankee offense is averaging 4.5 runs per game, which finds them 2nd in the AL. Right now the injury bug is the biggest concern. No word yet on the return of Jacoby Ellsbury and his replacement, Slade Heathcott, quickly found himself on the DL with a quad strain. After finally finding his stroke, Carlos Beltran is day-to-day with a foot issue. And Brian McCann is also day-to-day with his own foot issue as well. McCann in particular would be a big loss to the team with his stellar work behind the plate and his timely hitting. I am not sure how much of a stop-gap measure that John Ryan Murphy can be.

The one reliable offensive factor continues to be the reemergence of Mark Teixeira. The modern day shift may have stolen twenty-thirty points off of his batting average, but Tex continues to slug away with a .575 slugging percentage to go with his team leading 16 HRS and 41RBIS. And to make matters better, Tex’s backup, Garrett Jones, is getting hot as well with a pair of HRS in the last two games.

The bullpen continues to be monitored and tinkered with. The recent demotion of David Carpenter was disappointing but necessary considering his season long issues. Chris Capuano may be joining him soon, especially if/when Chris Martin is able to return. And Betances/Miller continues to be the best bet to close out wins, even with Andrew Miller making yesterday’s win interesting with a walk and HBP in his five-out save.

Up next, the Yankees have a five game home stand against the hot-hitting Anaheim Angels and formidable Washington Nationals. I envy any fans who get a chance to catch a game in each of these series to see superstars Mike Trout and Bryce Harper live. I just hope the Yankees can find a way to keep them both in check.