Monday, May 22, 2017

JUDGE & TORRES MADE GIANT LEAPS SUNDAY

Photo: Chris O'Meara / Associated Press
As exciting as the newest crop of young Yankees can be between the lines, some of their patter outside them can leave a lot to be desired.

Take Aaron Judge, who is a leading contender to unseat  Joe Girardi from his long reign as the team's Crash Davis Baseball Cliche King.

Judge's latest bid for the title: Following  Sunday's Rays series finale, he was asked by reporters to assign a grade to his mind-boggling 6th-inning play that iced the razor-thin one-run winning margin.

If you haven't seen it or heard it about it, you will and for some time to come too,  I imagine.




Simply put, he sprinted toward the warning track between right and center  to intercept  a rifle shot off the bat of Evan Longoria before it landed;  leaped and airmailed his outstretched horizontal 6' 7" frame the final dozen feet or so to make up the final distance and complete the catch; and then after crash-landing into the turf calmly proceeded to double up Corey Dickerson  (who was about to round third with the tying run) off first base;  neatly erasing from the base paths what could very easily have become the tying and winning runs.

"How would I grade it?" Judge replied to the question afterward with a grin. "Good catch."


Photo: Getty Images
Good enough to help the Yankees avert a sweep. Good enough to maintain a half game division lead.

It's what you wanted, eh Aaron?

But according to Statcast, it was actually substantially better than good.  Much, much better. It had the lowest probability of being caught of any catch attempted by a Yankee outfielder this year -- and to even reach it Judge had to actually hit higher speeds and cover more ground faster -- 28.5 feet per second to be exact -- than either Ellsbury or Gardner have covered in their fastest bursts this season -- 27.3 feet per second and 26.6 feet per second, respectively.

Photo: USA Today Sports
Gardner, for one, didn't think Judge had a chance.

'I thought it was in the gap,' Gardner said. "' thought it was an RBI double, and when he dives, the double can turn into a triple. That's the difference in the ballgame. That's a tie game, and Longoria is standing on second or third with no outs.'

Judge's final burst of speed to close the gap with the ball took Longoria by surprise as well.

'I thought it was going to fall,' Longoria said. 'It just seemed like the last 10 or 15 feet, he covered a ton of ground, and, I mean, there's not much you can do other than tip your hat. It was a great play and ended up saving the game for them. … It was impressive, man. We'll be watching that one … for a while.'

That one and a bunch of others, Evan. The big guy's gonna need his own highlights DVD before this season's over.

Photo: Presswire
Meanwhile, making a newsworthy leap of a different sort Sunday was MLB's number two prospect (and number one in your Yankee hearts and prospect list) Gleyber Torres, who got promoted on Sunday to the Triple A Scranton RailRiders after just 31 games playing for the Double A Trenton Thunder.

He started the season there slow but, per Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe,  after missing "10 days in April due to rotator cuff tendinitis​, he made short work of Double A, hitting .273/.367/.496 with five homers and five steals in 32 games and 139 plate appearances. Four of those homers came in a five-game span earlier this week, boosting his slugging percentage from .396. Via Baseball America, Yankees farm director Gary Denbo said, “Ever since we’ve gotten him in the organization, he’s shown the ability to give quality at-bats every single day… He’s shown some power, he’s played some exceptional defense for us, his throwing has been accurate and he’s getting better and better on the base paths. So all the things that we want him to check off on the way to major league player, he’s been doing it for us.”


A natural shortstop, Torres has been getting some experience playing second base and a little at third with Didi doing well and under team control through 2020.

He played mostly second and DH in the Arizona Fall League where he won MVP honors and has five more starts at second and  six  at third in Trenton under his belt.

Tyler Wade, the RailRiders' current shortstop, is being prepped for a super-utility role so it's likely Torres will take over at his position and continue a program of alternating reps at second and third  so he can be better prepared to step in defensively in the Bronx in case of injury at any of those three infield positions.

Photo: Getty Images
Chase has been in a bit of a slump of late, but there's little chance the Yankees would bench him in favor of a rookie with little to no experience at the position and start his service clock in the bargain.  If a serious injury (or *gasp*  trade) were to befall Chase, the greater likelihood would be the hot corner would fall to Torreyes in a caretaker role until progress reports from Scranton gave Gleyber the  green light.

But that green light may come sooner than later and third base may well be Gleyber's logical long-term destination with Chase appearing to regress to his former struggles with both  lumber and leather, and his contract expiring next season, as Jaffe surmises: "Some talent evaluators have voiced concerns about Torres’s lateral range, viewing him as more likely to be an above-average defender at third or second."

Photo: New York Daily News
Brian's already said he wants to see Gleyber get to the Bigs as soon as possible, but not before showing he can perform in  Double A and Triple A first.

You can cross Double A off that to-do list. He's just a dink, a doink, a couple of dingers and a phone call away from the show now.




 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore





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Sunday, May 21, 2017

THE YANKEES ARE SUPERHEROES


As you probably know, I am always out there learning.  I am learning at my job, I am learning outside of my job, I am learning about running, and of course I am always learning about the Yankees.  A colleague asked me on Saturday, as I both presented and participated in sessions at the @EvolvingEd Tomorrow's Classroom Today conference, if I watched every Yankee game.  "Of course I do. People ask me to start watching new series during baseball season and I say, 'I have 162 episodes of the Yankees to watch!'" So, I am learning so much about this Yankee team and I have decided that they are superheroes because they have defied the odds, flown above the negativity and are energizing to watch.  In a word, they are fun!

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

As the New York Times reported at the end of April, "The Yankees have been fun before, and sometimes that fun actually does result in something tangible: 1996, for instance, when the Yankees didn’t have the highest payroll, when they had a bunch of kids coming together for the first time and a manager, Joe Torre, learning how to win on the fly, too."  The Yankees have flown far since the 1996 team that saw Derek Jeter make his mark.  And this year's team has to the potential to fly to new heights.

 Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

The 2017 Yankees are superheroes. Not just because they are fun but because they are winners even when they don't win.  The veteran superheroes of Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday make it happen consistently. They own the super power of grit.  They do things for long periods of time, in a consistent way and continue to improve and grow with each at bat.

Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

"The Yankees' new designated hitter brings a lot to the table ... leadership, power and he showed in spring training that he still has the ability to hit for a high average at 37," reported NJ.com about Matt Holliday's contributions to the Yankees early into the season.  "The power/production party started against the Orioles on April 29, when Gardner hit two homers and drove in four runs. Three games later he reached the seats twice and drove in three runs against the Blue Jays. Then there was Friday’s show, which triggered an animated response from Gardner as he toured the bases," according to the Post.  His animated approach to baseball adds to his superhero powers.  He empowers his teammates with his energy.

Source: Jamie Squire/Getty Images North America

The two Aarons have made a place for themselves in the lineup that you can't ignore as a manager or a fan.  Aaron Hicks can hit and he can hit with an incredible force that has forced Joe Girardi to add him and his bat to the lineup.  Aaron Judge branded himself as the new Yankee right fielder.  He exudes force in his swing, his movement and his ability to conquer his opponents with height, agility and grace both on and off the field.  According to the YES Network the Yankees outfield as an entity of its own, which includes the Aarons, Gardy and Jacoby Ellsbury, are leading MLB in batting average with .306, RBIs with 77, on base percentage at .407 and slugging at .567.  Now those are superhero stats!

Source: Brian Blanco/Getty Images North America

We have some silent heroes too.  The ones who quietly do their job without any fuss, fanfare or notoriety.  Guys like 23-year-old pitcher Luis Severino and 24-year-old pitcher Jordan Montgomery who are quiet learners of the game and patient Austin Romine, who is contributing with his bat, his toughness and his professional respect for his teammates and coaches.  These are superheroes of the team too, contributing to the team's success.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

As a team, the Yankees are a unit of heroes who are working together toward something bigger than the team itself.  They are contributing to the game we love.  They have brought the fun and dynamic energy back to the legacy of the Yankees.  We have waited for this group of superheroes to emerge. And I for one is grateful for what they are contributing to the 2017 season.


I also like to give a shout out to superheroes @JayBilly2@nbartley6 for inspiring me to make the connection of the 2017 Yankees to superheroes.  They certainly fit the characteristics of the positive superpowers of the game today!




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof




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Saturday, May 20, 2017

SHUT UP, BIG MORON!

For someone that didn't take PEDs, he sure does seem like someone who took PEDs.

Photo: (Maddie Meyer/Getty)
Now we all know David Ortiz was on that 2003 PED's list that was leaked to the press in 2009, and that basically was icing on the cake for me as far as integrity goes for this guy.  David Ortiz to me, is not a role model, but a cheater just like many in major league baseball... including some on the New York Yankees.  As my kids started growing up, and my oldest played ball... he started asking too many questions about these athletes and I was finished defending all of them.  I don't know if you remember, but I wrote extensively about it, because it was like an obsession for my oldest who played ball himself and wanted to know if his heroes were cheaters. I hated all the conversations we have about it, because it wasn't my actions, it was theirs.  Read that old archived article BREAKING MY KID'S HEART, ONE PLAYER AT A TIME for more.

Joe Robbins/Getty Images
But last time I remembered... those accused Yankees admitted use, some of the other MLB players did too, and I have alittle more respect for the fact that they came clean, than someone like David Ortiz who keeps beating this invisible drum of innocence. He talks about it way too much, trying to deflect and my take simply is... if he REALLY DIDN'T take PEDs... he wouldn't keep talking about it so much.

Brendan Kuty has a good piece in NJ.com and this is the latest on this moron. He spoke on WEEI radio:


"What was the reason for them to come out with something like that? The only thing that I can think of, to be honest with you, a lot of big guys from the Yankees were being caught. And no one from Boston.

This was just something that leaked out of New York and they had zero explanation about it. Everybody who got caught ... all of them were told what they bought, what they used, everything. But David Ortiz. Nobody came to me after, nobody came to me before. Nobody came to me ever, to tell me that I tested positive for any kind of steroids..."

Right... keep hugging him Selig...


You're all despicable.

By the way, what moron talks in third person?  Shut up!


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Friday, May 19, 2017

I LOVE MONTGOMERY'S PASSION

Photo: Charlie Riedel / AP
Jordan Montgomery is angry at himself... and I love it! That's passion.

NJ.com's Randy Miller has the story:

Asked what he needs to fix most, Montgomery answered, 'Not walking guys. I never walked people in the minor leagues. I don't know where this is coming from. Maybe it's just giving the hitters a little too much credit.


Photo: Peter Aiken / USA Today Sports
'That and home runs. I never really had a problem with the long ball in the (farm) system or in college or high school or ever. But I'm just a 24-year-old with (seven) starts in my Major League career, so I'm trying to learn from it.

'I know the fans expect more from me and I expect more from myself.'"


Photo: John Sleezer / Kansas City Star
That's a ballplayer.  That's a ballplayer that wants to not let his team and the fans down... and I love it.

I don't want to see Chad Green replace JoMo. This kid will improve through game play.  You can't go throwing kids in and out of the rotation with an instant fix. You need to let the kid learn and work it out!  That's how I feel.

Happy Friday.


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WHEN CASTRO BLOSSOMS...

(May 15, 2017 - Source: Brian Davidson/Getty Images North America)
I am a fan of Starlin Castro.  Now look, and I'm being honest here... I am a BIG fan of Brendan Ryan, personally just as much as athlete-wise and I was disappointed when the Yanks let him go to Chicago and Castro came over. Partly because I appreciated that he was so versatile, and I like chatting with he and his wife Sharyn. (Read EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: BRENDAN & SHARYN RYAN).  But now that that chapter is closed, the new chapter is Starlin Castro at second base... and I'll take it.  He's the tits.

(May 13, 2017 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)    
Great piece on FOX Sports about Castro and I wanted to share some of it with you. He's really breaking out now, and it's been an exciting season:

Photo: Getty Images

"In his first season in pinstripes, Castro hit .270 with 21 homers and 70 RBI. This year, the now 27-year-old is entering his prime, and his production has exploded. He is currently hitting for a .351/.387/.545 slash line with seven homers, 26 RBI, 29 runs scored and nine doubles..."

And if he can stay hot, in the end he will be worth the price paid to get him.  That being said though...


Who misses this guy?

Me... and he even pitches.

Photo: MLB.com
Oh well.

Hi B and Sharyn!


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