Sunday, February 26, 2017

YANKEE PROSPECT WATCH: CLINT FRAZIER

Photo: Getty Images
Coming in at number 24 overall, and number two for the Yankees according to MLB.com, OF Clint Frazier is an exciting player, and personality, that we should be seeing in the Bronx possibly as early as this summer. Clint is ready for some baseball and shared that on twitter a few days ago!
Acquired in the Andrew Miller trade from the Indians at the trade deadline, Frazier brings his fiery red hair and incredible bat speed and raw power with him to the Yankees organization. After playing the majority of his professional career in centerfield, Frazier was utilized in the corners mostly in 2016 where he strong arm and above average speed play well.

Photo: MiLB.com
Frazier began 2016 in Double-A Akron while with the Indians where he slashed .276/.356/.469 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI over 89 games before being promoted to Triple-A shortly before being traded to the Yankees.

Photo: MiLB.com
In Triple-A, Frazier admittedly pressed and said he tried to do too much, especially after ending up in Scranton where he was trying to impress his new club. In Scranton he slashed just .228/.278/.396 with three home runs and seven RBI. In 2017 he will look to rebound from his rough couple of months to end last season.

The number five overall pick in 2013, Frazier, a Georgia native, has toned down his overly aggressive approach at the plate, but is a high strikeout guy, partly due to him still developing his recognition of breaking pitches. The 22 year-old still has time to develop and has the upside of hitting for a solid average and already possesses the raw power to be a 30 home run guy.

Photo: MiLB.com
Not only is Frazier is pleasure to watch on the field and is an incredibly hard worker off the field, as far as I’m concerned, he has a New York kind of personality. His outgoing personality and his humorous presence on Twitter, #RedThunder as he has called himself, has the flashy style and personality to be a fan favorite and bring some excitement to the Yankees.

Coming into this spring, Frazier has just 30 Triple-A games under his belt so expect him to become more seasoned down in Scranton this summer. Although many factors will come into play, it is not unreasonable to think he finds himself in Pinstripes by August or September.

Photo: Times Leader
Thinking of the future of the Yankees with Aaron Judge and Clint Frazier (and possibly Bryce Harper, who Frazier seems to be recruiting) patrolling the outfield in the Bronx is something we can all get excited about!


Spring training games are upon us and before we know it it’ll be Opening Day.

Last up in our top 20 Yankees prospect is someone we are all familiar with, the number overall prospect in baseball, Gleyber Torres. This farm system is top notch and credit must be given to Brian Cashman for strengthening the system.

The future looks bright and we will look at the consensus brightest star next on #BYB Yankee Prospect Watch!



--Dan Lucia

BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia





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Saturday, February 25, 2017

SPRING STORYLINE 4: SABATHIA'S JOURNEY

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

CC Sabathia enters his final year of his contract with the New York Yankees this spring.  There are more questions surrounding his performance in 2017 than any other Yankee.  As YES reported at the beginning of spring training, "After a tumultuous offseason and inconsistent spring campaign in 2016, veteran lefty CC Sabathia became one of the most reliable and effective starters for the Yankees all season long. He made 30 starts and posted a 3.91 ERA, and would have collected far more than the nine decisions he earned had his run support been more substantial."  Could CC replicate or even outdo this performance in 2017?

Source: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images North America

Many naysayers out there have their minds on the next guy in and are just waiting around for Sabathia to make his last pitch in what many are saying is his final season of baseball.  There is good reason as to why baseball experts and fans alike think CC may have to pack it in after 2017.  His knee, his "fastball" and his health may all get the better of the veteran lefty.  But you wouldn't know any of this if you saw the glean in his eye and the passion in his voice following workouts this week.

 Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

"I realize this is a business, man — whatever happens happens," is what Sabathia was saying Wednesday morning. There’s no defiance in his voice, no hint of a Take-That or I’ll-Show-You vibe. The left-hander just disagrees with the unspoken belief that it’ll soon be time to move on," reported The Record this week.  No doubt he had some rough spots and dark days in 2015, but his teammates think very highly of the veteran who appears to be giving it his all this spring.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

“It shows you what kind of athlete CC is, how smart he is,” said Dellin Betances. “Me? I don’t know if I could pitch at 88-90 mph like he does. It’s pretty amazing if you think about it.”  But at the end of the day it comes down to Sabathia's ability to reinvent himself as he began to do in 2016, knowing that his velocity was not his hallmark anymore.

Source: Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images North America

"For pitchers with elite fastballs, velocity becomes your identity, the radar gun is your friend. Sabathia used to be one of those monsters. Now he’s replaced brute force with a soft, subtle touch and isn’t ashamed of the transformation. The question is whether the Yankees value Sabathia’s maturity enough to consider keeping him around," reported The Record.

 Source: Larry Busacca/Getty Images North America

I am rooting for Sabathia, as I always have.  He's battled.  He's braved tough days.  He's carried us. He's dropped us.  This year I need him to just stay consistent and mentor the young guys.  Those few actions would be worth their weight in gold as the Yankees pursue #28.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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THE WARRIOR'S CODE

Photo: Linda Cataffo/New York Daily News
We all have favorite ballplayers.  Athletes, for whatever reason, just hold a special place in our hearts.  Maybe they were good enough to sign an autograph for you at the Stadium, or take a picture with you on a chance meeting at a restaurant.  Perhaps your Mom or Dad cheered for this particular player and you followed suit.  To you, this guy was like a part of your family.  But it may be just the way the guy played the game.  It was the way he/she respected the game, played it with passion and gave all he/she had every time they step between the lines.

As a Yankee fan there are literally a bevy of names to chose as my favorite all-time player.  I grew up with the Yankees as a big part of my life.  They were my heroes, and now some are friends.  However through it all there is one name that stands above the rest...and that in no small feat when you wear "The Pinstripes".

(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Paul O'Neill came to the Bronx and truly help redefine the culture in the Yankee Universe.  He played the way a Marine takes a beachhead.  It was ALL about the team winning for number 21.  Sure we share an Irish heritage.  Yes, a quick fuse is also something we both carry in our tool kit.  But Paulie's attack is not only the best way to play the game of Baseball, it is also the best way to play the game of life.  O'Neill truly made the Yankees who they were in the Dynasty years. 


Jeter, Mo, Andy, Jorgie and the rest were HUGE parts of the machine, but Paul was the rev of the engine.  He set the example.  Paul was THE WARRIOR.  I don't think I could've coined it better than the Boss did in 1997. 

Photo: AP
I think one story sums up the "why" Paul O'Neill is forever my Yankee Hero.  When I was living in LA I read a small piece in the Times on the fiery, Irish Yankee slugger.  Here is the nuts and bolts of the story....


An ancestor of O'Neill's was in a land dispute in Old Ireland with a rival family.  There was a small island just off the coast of the Emerald Isle.  O'Neill and his rival decided to row a race to the island.  The one to reach land first would claim it for his family.  And so they rowed.  As the race drew to a close O'Neill saw that he would be beaten.  Rather than take it on the chin, the passionate competitor drew his sword, cut off his hand and threw it to shore.  He would touch land before his rival.


Crazy right?  Well, to an O'Neill it was about winning.  That's the way Paulie played baseball.  That's is the heart of a warrior.  That's the Warrior's Code.

** My buddies The Dropkick Murphys may be closely associated with our greatest rival, but their song about Micky Ward always makes me think of Paul O'Neill and his Warrior Code...that an Baba O'Riley of course.**








 
  
--Mike O'Hara
BYB Contributor
Follow me on Twitter: @mikeyoh21





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Friday, February 24, 2017

WORKING OUT THE KINKS IN FLORIDA


The first game for the Yankees this Spring and it was really fun to watch!

The Yanks played the Phillies today and it was just great to see the kids mingling with the vets and what they can do. Not without the Spring blues of course.  The Yankees won 9-4 with Bryan Mitchell getting the win in this meaningless game. 


Gleyber Torres and Ji-Man Choi both committed errors. Frazier, Judge, Fowler and Sanchez struck out... among others.  No biggie. In fact, none of this is terribly important. This is when you start to work things out anyway.

The pitching by the Yankees was pretty decent.  The offense was wonderful.

Aaron Judge struck out the first time at the plate. The second time he smacked one that hit the scoreboard. It was a monster shot.  Wonderful to see that home run.

Photo: USA Today
Miguel Andujar and Dustin Fowler both tripled.  That was great as well.

Look, I'm not going into some in depth analysis about any of this only to tell you that seeing these kids play was pretty great. The veterans had their moments good and bad as well.  That's the game.

In the end, it was a nice win on a gorgeous day, and great to see everyone.

Final: Yankees 9 - Phillies 4

I can't wait for more...




BIRD IS DEFINITELY THE WORD

Photo: Charles Wenzelberg
With the retirement of Mark Teixeira, it was assumed that Greg Bird would be the starting first baseman entering the 2017 season. However, with the emergence of Tyler Austin and signing of Chris Carter, there has been a lot of question and speculation as to who will be the First Baseman.

Much of which has been written about here on BYB and every paper in New York.  Now Austin is out for a bit with a fractured foot, but what happens when he returns? Where will he go? And Chris Carter? Think about it... is this guy the veteran who splits time with Bird at first? Will Carter embrace the DH role officially? Sure, much speculation is out there, but our stance at BYB is simple... we want the kids to play.  Bird is exciting and many are hoping that his 2015 season continues in 2017.

The Daily News wrote this, and I gotta tell ya, I love Greg's attitude as he heads into Tampa for Spring Training. Check this out:  

(Andrew Savulich/New York Daily News)
"Greg Bird doesn’t feel like he’s fighting with Chris Carter for the starting job at first base.

'I’m fighting to prove that I’m healthy and can play,' Bird said Monday. 'I’m just trying to play at a high level again, get better every day and become the best possible player that I can be.'”

Bird's attitude has been great all year.  We just wrote about it a few weeks ago in SAYING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS.  This is a great kid!

After missing the entire 2016 season because of shoulder surgery, Greg was sent to the Arizona Fall League where he would exclusively DH. You could tell there was some rust was there but, how could you expect there not to be after missing a full season. He would finish the Fall League going 14/65 for a .215 BA.

(Feb. 20, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
To be honest, I don't believe there is much to worry about here, though. Greg was sent to the Fall League to shake that rust off. I don't believe he was 100% during it. With Tyler Austin now on the shelf for 6 weeks, I really don't see anybody else at first base come April 2nd. Chris Carter has a big bat, if he connects, but is inferior to Bird in the field.

It's my honest opinion that first base is Greg Bird's to lose barring another injury. Best wishes to Greg and the rest of our boys as Spring Training gets underway.

First Spring Training game today on YES! Get ready to root!



--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer

Twitter: @sevn4evr