Monday, May 22, 2017


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

Be Read. Get Known.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting on Bleeding Yankee Blue.