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4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:13AM #17421
Posts: 2,220

Mailbag: Judge, Catchers, Acevedo, Boone, Urshela, Florial

Well folks, this is it. The final RAB mailbag. Our archives tell me I’ve written 538 mailbag posts over the years. Figure eight questions per mailbag and that’s a little over 4,000 questions. I have 12 questions for you this week. As a reminder, I am putting together a “Guide to life after RAB” post, so if you have any suggested sites to check out for Yankees analysis, send ’em to RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com.

Judge. (Presswire)

Michael asks: Is it safe to start being concerned that Judge is a little injury prone? He’s not Bird, but 2 oblique strains in four years and a shoulder problem that required surgery in another season (discounting the freak hbp).

Aaron Judge also missed a few weeks with Triple-A Scranton back in 2016 after he banged up his knee diving for a ball on the warning track. So, to recap:

  • 2016: Knee injury in Triple-A and oblique strain in MLB.
  • 2017: Shoulder injury that required offseason surgery.
  • 2018: Broken wrist after hit-by-pitch.
  • 2019: Oblique strain.

The thing is, does it really matter if we label Judge injury prone? What difference does it make? He’s still an incredible player and 130 games of Judge is better than 150 games of most others. Two oblique strains in four years is not a red flag for me. The hit-by-pitch last year was a fluke thing, and if you dive for balls or crash into the wall, you’re at risk of injury. That’s baseball.

Greg Bird had three surgeries in three years from 2016-18, including two on the same ankle, and now he has a torn plantar fascia. The’s had serious non-contact injuries. He didn’t crash into a wall or get hit by a pitch. That’s just his body giving out. Judge’s knee, shoulder, and wrist injuries were kinda dumb baseball things. He’s an outlier because he’s so big and we have no idea how he’ll age with that frame. I’m not worried about him being injury prone right now though. I’ll worry when random non-contact injuries start piling up. Right now it’s two four years apart.

Caleb asks: How far back can a player be put on the IL to start the season? I was curious if someone like Hicks got put on the 60 day IL would the clock start the day he got hurt or the first game of the season?

When a player is transferred from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day injured list, his 60-day clock begins the first day he was put on the 10-day injured list. It doesn’t reset. The Yankees placed Luis Severino on the 10-day injured list on Opening Day, so, after being transferred to the 60-day injured list to make room for Cameron Maybin yesterday, he is eligible to return 60 days from Opening Day (May 27th). His 60-day clock didn’t start yesterday. Players get credit for time served, so to speak.

Ed asks: Should the Yanks keep three catchers and play Sanchez & Romine most days? Romine’s bat is certainly better than some of the options they have on hand.

The Yankees sent down Kyle Higashioka when Gary Sanchez returned, so they are carrying two catchers. Hypothetically, they would’ve had to send down Mike Ford to carry three catchers — carrying three catchers and two first basemen with a three-man bench ain’t happening — so the question is essentially Sanchez at DH and Austin Romine at catcher, or Sanchez at catcher and Ford at DH. I’d go with the latter. With a healthy roster, the Yankees could sacrifice some offense to improve their defense. They can’t do it now. They have to generate as much offense as possible and Romine isn’t solving any offensive problems. Ford might with his lefty power and patience. The defensive upgrade behind the plate doesn’t make up for the offensive downgrade. Carrying three catchers when you have one of the best catchers in the game seems crazy to me. Sanchez should be playing as much as possible behind the plate. He gives the Yankees the best chance to win.

Rob asks: Domingo Acevedo = Dellin Betances 2.0? Seriously, the Yankees seem to have a never-ending supply of good relievers. I think it’s because they’re obsessed with hard throwers who, more often than not, have a natural tendency to have arm problems and low durability is the number 1 symptom of that. So they rarely develop solid starters successfully. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Good relievers are valuable especially as trade chips. But at some point, shouldn’t they learn their lesson and search out pitchers with high IQ and high durability instead?

Acevedo isn’t the next Betances. Dellin has a better fastball and a much better secondary pitch. They aren’t all that comparable aside from being really tall (Acevedo is 6-foot-7) and command challenged, as far as I’m concerned. I assume the high IQ thing refers to command because at some point long ago command became a proxy for intelligence (million dollar arm and ten cent head, blah blah blah), which is the dumbest thing ever. Throwing strikes and commanding the baseball are hard. The league average zone rate is 47.3% this year. We are currently watching the best and most talented pitchers in baseball history, and, collectively, they throw the ball in the strike zone less than half the time. Throwing strikes is hard. Commanding the ball is even harder. Every team looks for pitchers with command and the Yankees are no exception. There just aren’t very many great command — sorry, high IQ — pitchers out there. As for high durability, good luck figuring out who will and will not stay healthy. Teams have been trying to crack that code for decades.

Boone. (Presswire)

Zach asks: Give the plethora of injuries, does Aaron Boone get legitimate Manager of the Year consideration if the Yankees win the AL East this year? He’d have to be the favorite — even if the Yankees are healthy by September — right?

Normally I would say no. The Yankees came into the season as the consensus favorites to win the AL East, and the game’s biggest market team winning the division when pretty much everyone expected them to win the division usually doesn’t equal Manager of the Year votes. The injuries have changed the calculus though. The Yankees have had nothing close to a full strength roster this season and, given the timetables on their injured guys, it doesn’t sound like they will have a full strength roster anytime soon. Every team deals with injuries, they are part of the game, but this is well beyond normal injury rates. We’ll see what happens with the other American League races — I have to think Rocco Baldelli would get Manager of the Year love if the Twins win the AL Central — but yes, the Yankees winning the division despite all these injuries should equal serious Manager of the Year consideration for Aaron Boone. Joe Girardi would be getting praised to no end for keeping this group together and competitive. Boone deserves the same love.

Paul asks: Can we talk about how the Yankees have a pretty good Pythagorean record despite sending an entire major league team to the IL? Sure, crummy competition so far, but pretty incredible right?

Going into last night’s game the Yankees had the second best run differential in the American League and the third best run differential in baseball overall. The leaderboard:

  1. Rays: +40 (16-9 actual record vs. 17-8 expected record)
  2. Cardinals: +33 (15-9 vs. 15-9)
  3. Yankees: +31 (14-10 vs. 15-9)
  4. Astros: +28 (15-9 vs. 15-9)
  5. Mariners: +28 (16-11 vs. 16-11)

It is way way way too early in the season to begin drawing conclusions from run differential. I don’t buy the Mariners as the fifth best team in baseball. I also don’t buy the Red Sox as the third worst team in baseball despite their -36 run differential. Run differential is descriptive more than predictive. It tells you what happened, not what will happen next.

As I write this Thursday evening, the Yankees have two one-run losses, four two-run losses, three three-run losses, and one five-run loss. They have not been blown out at all this year. In fact, they are 4-1 in games decided by at least five runs, and that’s the bulk of the run differential right there. Yes, it is crazy impressive the Yankees have outscored their opponents by roughly 1.3 runs per game despite their depleted roster. I’m not sure how sustainable it is without some guys getting healthy.

Justin asks: You’ve mentioned a number of times that even when unsigned free agents are signed, they’ll need to see a fair amount of game action before they’re ready to be put on an MLB roster. I’m wondering why free agents who are biding their time don’t sign on with a club in one of the higher-tier independent leagues instead of just working out in a facility somewhere. It seems like a low-risk way to get into games, showcase for MLB clubs, and have a more immediate major-league impact when eventually signed.

No established big leaguer is going to bide his time in an independent league. The travel is terrible, the ballparks are nice (some of them) but they’re far from MLB caliber, the pay is horrible, the postgame spreads are terrible, so on and so forth. If you’re Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel, and you are an established above-average big leaguer, do you work out close to home and spend time with your family, or go spend a few weeks with the Long Island Ducks? I’d stay home too. Nothing those players do in an independent league will improve their free agent stock — the level of competition would render stats meaningless, and if a team wants to put a radar gun on someone, they’re welcome to attend a workout — and if a team decides to pass because the player will need a few minor league games to prepare, then that’s their loss. They’re not serious about winning if waiting two or three weeks is enough of a reason to pass on the player entirely.

Michael asks: Gio Urshela. This may be a very small sample size, but as of now both FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference rate him as a poor defender thus far. Would you happen to know the reason behind that?

I do not and it is almost certainly small sample size. Defensive stats are updated every two weeks or so, and the first 2019 update was released recently. It is a very tiny little bit of data and I would not sweat it at all. To the eye test, Urshela looks very good at third base, and the eye test matches all the scouting reports throughout his career. Give it time and the numbers will likely reflect that. Of course, Urshela might not be around long enough for the numbers to correct. If Miguel Andujar comes back in a few weeks, that’s probably it for Urshela. I don’t have a good answer for why Urshela is rated as a negative defensively right now. Why was Jose Ramirez batting .150 on April 15th? There’s no good reason. Weird things happen in small samples and they don’t always mean the player’s true talent level has changed.

Happ. (Presswire)

Michael asks: Just checked and found out Ian Happ is in the minors and has been for all of 2019. Last year he was a league-average hitter and he has upside beyond that. Could a Chad Green for Ian Happ swap be a starting point for a trade discussion? Or if not that, what would it take to interest the Cubs in parting with their out-of-favor young player?

That would be interesting. It wouldn’t be fair to call Green-for-Happ a damaged goods for damaged goods trade — when I think damaged goods, I think player with an injury — but it is definitely two guys whose stock is down. Green got hit around this year and was sent to Triple-A this week. Happ was squeezed off the roster in Spring Training and he went into last night’s game hitting .225/.313/.408 (77 wRC+) with two homers and a 31.3% strikeout rate in 19 Triple-A games. A year ago these were important players on contending teams. Now they’re afterthoughts.

I don’t like Happ all that much — his swing is so long and robotic that it seems like it’ll take a not insignificant mechanical overhaul to cut down on his strikeout and swing-and-miss rates — but I’d trade Green for him in a heartbeat. A reliever for a potential everyday player, or at least a “tenth man” type who can switch-hit and play both the infield and outfield? A player like that is mighty useful in the three-man bench era. (Well, it becomes the four-man bench era next season with the 26-man/13-pitcher roster, but the point stands.) My guess is the Cubs would want quite a bit more than Green to part with Happ and I don’t blame them. Maybe Green and Jonathan Loaisiga for Happ? Not saying I would do it, but that might be what it would take.

Christian asks: My question for the mailbag is about the bullpen – or rather an observation… I like the “concept” of two sets of starters for a game. CC for 5 innings and Loaisiga for 3 innings are a great combo because it gives a breather to the other members of the bullpen. Should teams use second tier starters in that role more often if you were GM and/or manager?

That is kinda sorta what’s happening right now. Most notably, the Rays are sheltering their back-end starters by pairing them with an opener. It keeps them away from the other team’s best hitters one time through the lineup. Using piggyback starters — that is essentially what CC Sabathia for five innings and Jonathan Loaisiga for three innings every five days would be, piggybacking — is great in theory but has proven difficult to put into practice. Matchups and bullpen needs on other days tend to throw things out of whack. Teams are still figuring out the best way to do this and keep everyone healthy and productive, but yeah, baseball is moving in this direction. Teams are coming up with ways to maximize the effectiveness of their second and third tier starters, usually by reducing how often they go through the lineup a third time, or face the other team’s best hitters.

Brad asks: if he had not injured his wrist in ST, would Florial have been considered for ML time given all the OF injuries, or would they have stayed the course in his development?

Nah. The Yankees would not have rushed Estevan Florial to cover for the injuries. For starters, Florial is almost certainly not ready for the big leagues given his pitch recognition issues. He could play defense and run, but I don’t see any way he could hang in at the plate. Secondly, Florial is their best prospect and they’re not going to alter his development plan and risk stunting his development. The jump from High-A or Double-A to MLB is huge. And third, there are 40-man roster considerations. The Yankees can designate Cameron Maybin for assignment when the time comes and not think twice about it. Once Florial’s on the 40-man though, he’s not coming off. It limits flexibility. Florial is expected to resume baseball activities in the coming days and that’s good. I don’t think the injury kept him out of the big leagues though. He wouldn’t have been a serious call-up candidate.

Several asked: At what point do we start the question the training staff given all the injuries?

People have been questioning the training staff since Spring Training. Aaron Boone is asked about them pretty much every day and Brian Cashman is absolutely asked about them whenever he meets with the media. Believe me, the Yankees are asked about the training staff all the time. I totally get why the training staff is being questioned and it’s not unfair given these injuries. This just strikes me as a freakishly bad year. Luis Severino coming down with an achy shoulder after his workload the last two years isn’t the most surprising thing in the world. Same with Dellin Betances. Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier hurting themselves diving into bases is dumb luck. The absolute last thing you can say about Giancarlo Stanton is that he’s not in peak physical condition, yet he hurt his biceps. These days players all have personal trainers, and that makes it tough to blame the team’s training staff for everything. I have no doubt the Yankees are looking into this. From the outside, I don’t see how we could blame anyone in particular. We don’t have enough information at all.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:15AM #17422
Posts: 2,220

Cameron Maybin already seeing why Yankees keep winning without injured stars

Yankees outfielder Cameron Maybin runs to first base after hitting an RBI single off San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner in the first inning on Friday. (Ben Margot | AP)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for

SAN FRANCISCO — Veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin just joined the Yankees in a trade late this week and already he’s thinking there’s a different vibe in their dugout and clubhouse from elsewhere.

He should know, because Maybin has been around the block and back in baseball playing for eight teams in his 13 big-league seasons. Just this year, he went to spring training with the San Francisco Giants, then following a late-March release, he signed a minor-league deal with the Cleveland Indians and began the season with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers before being dealt to the Yankees for cash on Thursday.

All of this moving around has helped him get a good feel for what it takes to be a championship contender, and he’s convinced the secret sauce is more than just combining a ton of talent with good fortune.

His new club, Maybin believes, has that special ‘it’ factor even though 13 Yankees, including several stars, are on the injured list.

“It’s a different energy here,” Maybin said Friday night after debuting with the Yankees and contributing a first-inning RBI single to their 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. “The energy is awesome. It’s fun for me to be around something like that.”

Maybin knows what it takes and what it’s like to be a winner, too, from being a member of the 2017 Houston Astros, who KO’d the Yankees in the ALCS on their way to winning the World Series.

Maybin already is a believer that his new club has the makings of being a champion, too, and not just because they’ve been winning a bunch of games with lineups loaded with Triple-A call-ups and at some point they’ll be a lot better when Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Co., return.

He thinks there really is such a thing as Yankees mystique.

“It feels good just to be a part of something that really matters with a group that you can feel how much it cares about each other,” Maybin said.

Maybin got a feel last September when he was playing for the Mariners and the Yankees visited Seattle. One of the players that stood out was Yankees first baseman Luke Voit, who was in the midst of his career breakout stretch as a hitter and came off as a bit of a showman, too.

Said Maybin, “Last year I told Luke, ‘You’ve got so much swag. Don’t change."

Voit hasn’t, and the swag was out again Friday when he was 3-for-4 with homer, three RBI and a walk.

Maybin brought his swag, too – if you’re around him for just a minute or two, you’d notice it’s there – plus he also gave the Yankees’ a little something in production right away. Hitting with a run in, two on and one out in the first inning, Maybin lined an 86-mph cutter from Madison Bumgarner to center for an RBI hit.

“The hit felt good," Maybin said. "But to get the ‘W’ behind it, that’s huge.”

How long Maybin sticks around is anybody’s guess because there probably won’t be room for him when injured outfielders Aaron Hicks, Stanton and Clint Frazier all make expected returns from the IL in the next few weeks. Judge will be back at some point, too.

For however long Maybin is around, he’ll cherish being a Yankee. And who know? The way Yankees players keep dropping, maybe he’ll stick around all season. That’s what Maybin wants.

“This is a good group to be around,” Maybin said. “ Everything happens for a reason and I’m excited to be here and be a part of this.”

4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:16AM #17423
Posts: 2,220

Miguel Andujar has shot to rejoin Yankees when they return home

Miguel Andujar Paul J. Bereswill

SAN FRANCISCO — There is a chance Miguel Andujar could be back at third base for the Yankees when they return home.

Andujar played five innings at third base in an extended spring training game in Tampa on Friday. He went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and a walk. He did limited throwing because of a lack of chances.

“He did all of his pregame defensive work and it sounds like he did well with that,’’ Aaron Boone said before the Yankees’ 7-3 win over the Giants Friday night at Oracle Park. “He will DH [Saturday], Sunday is an off day and Monday the [Single-A Tampa] Tarpons are off so he will probably play another extended game on Monday. If that goes well he will play with Tampa. If it continues to go well there is a chance he could be back with us next week.’’

Considering there was a possibility Andujar would require surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder labrum he suffered when diving back into third on March 31, that would be a big boost to a roster that has 13 names on the injured list.

“I would say I still remain cautiously optimistic. We will see how these next several days unfold,’’ Boone said. “How he feels if he can handle the workload defensively and get [the ball] across the diamond. The bat seems like no issue at all.’’

Though the Yankees will gladly welcome Andujar back when healthy, DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have played well filling in at third base.

LeMahieu fouled a ball off the right knee in the fifth inning Friday night but remained in the game and finished 3-for-5 and scored three runs. But afterward he was hobbling around the clubhouse with ice on the leg. And when he took the ice off he was moving with a noticeable limp.

Troy Tulowitzki played in a simulated game Friday in Tampa.

After an inconsistent 2018 season in which he had a 6.56 ERA in 24 games and pitched in 26 minor league games, Tommy Kahnle has not allowed a hit or a run in 10 of his 11 appearances this year and has retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced.

The Giants acknowledged CC Sabathia’s outstanding career after the home fourth Friday night with a rundown of his highlights to go with a video presentation of the Vallejo, Calif., native. Sabathia is retiring after the season.

From the first base dugout, Sabathia acknowledged a standing ovation by waiving his cap.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 27, 2019 - 9:17AM #17424
Posts: 2,220

What Yankees’ Thairo Estrada was thinking playing outfield for first time ever

Yankees rookie Thairo Estrada contributed an RBI single and caught a flyball Friday night in his first-ever game as an outfielder. (Adam Hunger | AP)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for

SAN FRANCISCO — Thairo Estrada wasn’t nervous or scared standing out there in left field for the Yankees for the first five innings of Friday night’s 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.

The rookie infielder wasn’t thinking about never, ever playing the outfield before as a pro or a kid growing up in Venezuela let alone not even taking flyballs before a game until a few days ago.

Thairo Estrada started learning how to play the outfield just this week, and the rookie infielder was in the Yankees' lineup as their starting left fielder Friday night in San Francisco.

Playing just his third big-league game and starting for the second time, Estrada just kept rooting to get another first out of the way.

He wanted someone to hit a flyball his way.

Giants first baseman Brandon Belt did the honors with two outs and nobody on in the home third, and got lucky: It was a can of corn that was handled with relative ease.

“I wanted to get the first opportunity,” Estrada said. “I never doubted myself and I always knew once it was up in the air I was going to get it.”

“I was happy it was a completed task,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said with a smile. “Even though we have a lot of confidence in (Estrada) and his athleticism, obviously first time out there, not an easy place."

Estrada’s teammates got a kick out of seeing a natural middle infielder track a flyball.

“It’s crazy, a guy gets to the big leagues, he’s probably one of the best defensive infielders and he gets a job in the outfield,” first baseman Luke Voit of Estrada. "Credit to him. He got a hit, too. It’s pretty impressive.”

Three days after going 2-for-4 with hits in his first two big-league at-bats during a Yankees win over the Los Angeles Angels last Tuesday night in Anaheim, Estrada contributed a sixth-inning RBI single going 1-for-3 against the Giants.

What mattered most to Estrada was the final score.

“We’re winning games,” he said. “It feels great.”

The Yankees now are 15-11 for the season with nine wins in their last 11 games, all of them coming with a bunch of Triple-A call-ups helping to hold the fort with 13 players, including many stars, on the injured list.

Estrada has been one of contributors this past week, and on Friday night he did it as an outfielder because these are desperate times for the Yankees despite all the winning.

“He handled it and came up with a big hit, so it was good to see Thairo have another hand in a victory,” Boone said.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 9:05AM #17425
Posts: 2,220 | Randy Miller: Luke Voit is on a mission to prove that his successful 2018 campaign wasn’t just a flash in the pan. He’s doing a pretty good job of that. in 2019, he leads the Yankeeswith eight homers and 22 RBI in 27 games. He’s also reached base safely in all 27 of those games, making his total 38 games in a row, dating back to last season. Over the last week, he’s batted .455 with four homers and seven RBI in five games. The red-hot Voit wasn’t bashful about his success in the face of some doubters:

Some people are doubting me. ‘Last year was a fluke.’ But I’ve always hit. You’re always going to have haters. People are always going to doubt you. I’ve just got to be myself, go out there, have fun and put a smile on everybody’s face. | Bryan Hoch: Miguel Andujar seems to be on track to avoid undertaking a season-ending surgery to repair a partial tear in his right shoulder labrum. That’s great news for all Yankees not named Gio Urshela. In Andujar’s absence, Urshela has impressed at the hot corner. And though he’s known mostly for his flashy glove, it was his bat that did the talking over the past few days.

Aaron Boone hasn’t directly addressed what will happen to Urshela’s roster spot when Andujar returns to the squad—which could be happening as soon as next week. With the growing list of injuries for the Yankees, keeping a solid role player around might not be the worst idea. | Randy Miller: In his third ever major league game, Thairo Estrada did something he’s never done before: he played the outfield. The talented middle infielder was thrust into unfamiliar territory Friday night as the Yankees took on the Giants in San Francisco. According to Estrada, he wasn’t nervous, he just really wanted someone to hit him a fly ball. After tracking down that first fly, he added a sixth-inning RBI single to make for a successful outing. Luke Voit was happy to commend Estrada on his composure, saying: “It’s crazy, a guy gets to the big leagues, he’s probably one of the best defensive infielders and he gets a job in the outfield. Credit to him. He got a hit, too. It’s pretty impressive.”

NBC Sports | Amy Gutierrez: YES reporter Meredith Marakovits sat down to discuss how she got into broadcasting, some of the challenges she’s faced, and where her love of sports originated. It’s a fun and insightful interview, with plenty of behind the scenes tidbits, like who was the first Yankee to welcome her to the team. No surprises here:

The first person that came up to me when i was there for that one hour of spring training to get myself ready for the season was Derek Jeter. He said, ‘Hi, I’m Derek. I just want to introduce myself and say if you need anything, let me know.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 9:12AM #17426
Posts: 2,220

New York Post


‘Three hits, no issues’: Miguel Andujar inching toward return

SAN FRANCISCO — Aaron Boone didn’t need a lengthy description of how Miguel Andujar did in an extended spring training game Saturday in Tampa where he served as the designated hitter.

“[Trainer] Stevie Donohue came and said, ‘Andujar, three hits, no issues,’ ” Boone said before the Yankees beat the Giants, 6-4, at Oracle Park.

Andujar’s schedule starting Sunday which will not include game action could lead him to rejoining the active roster this coming week if he has the ability to make throws from third.

Since the Single-A Tampa Tarpons are off Monday, Andujar (labrum tear right shoulder) will play in a third extended spring training game. It will be his second game at third.

“If it goes well he will probably play for the Tarpons starting Tuesday,’’ Boone said.

After fouling a ball off his right knee in the fifth inning of Friday night’s 7-3 win over the Giants, DJ LeMahieu remained in the game and finished with three hits and three runs. Afterward in the clubhouse, he was dragging the leg around with an ice pack on it. When he ditched the ice, the infielder walked with a noticeable limp and made you wonder if LeMahieu was the next Yankee headed for the injured list.

Instead, Boone had him atop the lineup for Saturday’s game and he went 1-for-3, drove in a run, scored a run and made the defensive play of the game.

“I know he fouled it off there pretty good and I checked in with Stevie [Donohue] and he was good to go,’’ Boone said of the second baseman who had multiple hits in the previous three games and is hitting .455(10-for-22) with 12 RBIs with runners in scoring position.

Luke Voit was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning and has reached base at least once in 38 straight games. It is the second longest on-base streak by a Yankee since the start of the 2005 season. Mark Teixeira reached base in 42 straight games from June 6 to July 26, 2010.

Boone said CC Sabathia will start Tuesday and Masahiro Tanaka will go Wednesday at Arizona.

Each pitcher will attempt to rebound from poor outings. Sabathia gave up five runs (four earned) and six hits in five innings this past Wednesday to the Angels in a game the Yankees came back to win. The next night, Tanaka was tagged for six runs (five earned) and six hits in 5²/â�� innings of an 11-5 loss.

Sabathia is three strikeouts shy of 3,000 and would become the 17th pitcher to reach that milestone, and just the third lefty. He is also three victories away from 250.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 9:13AM #17427
Posts: 2,220
  • Yankees manager Aaron Boone believes injured outfielder Clint Frazier will be able to return in 10 to 14 days, Bryan Hoch of relays. Frazier hit the ILon Thursday with an ankle injury, making him the 15th Yankee of the season to land on the shelf. It was especially unfortunate because Frazier, 24, looked to be in the early stages of a breakout campaign. He got off to a .324/.342/.632 start with six home runs in 73 PA, which was welcome production for a Yankees club whose outfield was annihilated by injuries even when Frazier was healthy.
4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 2:41PM #17428
Posts: 2,220
  • Injuries continue to haunt forgotten but well-compensated Yankees outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, who last appeared in a game Oct. 17, 2017. Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday (via George A. King III of the New York Post) that Ellsbury is “dealing with different things,” “a number of little things that continue to pop up,” and “certainly” won’t return in the near term. The 35-year-old Ellsbury has battled a litany of health problems over the past couple seasons, including plantar fasciitis in 2019. The Yankees owe Ellsbury $21MM salaries through 2020 and can then cut the cord on him with a $5MM buyout.
4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 2:46PM #17429
Posts: 2,220

How Domingo German has quietly become one of the best pitchers in baseball

German is giving the Yankees everything they need with Luis Severino on the shelf.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Going into the offseason, the Yankees’ sought to upgrade their starting rotation. They felt it was an area they had to improve if they were going to make a bigger playoff push for 2019. So, the Bombers went out and acquired left-handed pitcher James Paxton in a trade with the Mariners to bolster the starting staff.

The rotation looked formidable in spring training, boasting two ace-caliber pitchers in Luis Severino and Paxton. Then the worst-case scenario occurred and Severino landed on the injured list. An inflamed rotator cuff turned into a Grade 2 lat strain, Severino’s expected return date shifted to mid-season. While the Yankees managed to play well so far, taking away a team’s ace is like taking away a team’s heartbeat.

With Severino out for an extended period of time, as well as countless other Yankees, the team has adopted a “next man up” mentality to begin the season. That’s right where Domingo German comes in. German has been an interchangeable player over the past few seasons, constantly going back and forth between the Bronx and Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Last season he found a more prominent position as a swingman for the team, but it wasn’t until now that he solidified his position on the 25-man roster.

Through four games started and 25.2 innings pitched, German has one of the league’s lowest earned run averages at 1.75. He let up seven runs on the season, only five of them being earned, and has struck out 28 batters. Looking around the league, there are only seven pitchers with a better ERA, yet German doesn’t seem to be in the conversation at all for his hot start.

Part of that has to do with the fact that he’s not a true rookie, and he’s not incredibly well known outside of New York. The main detractor from German getting any attention so far has been the ridiculous news surrounding the Yankees, as so many star players are hurt.

What German is doing is forcing Brian Cashman and the front office to pay a little closer attention to him, because if he keeps this up, it’s going to be pretty hard to take him out of the rotation down the stretch. With what he’s shown so far, there’s no reason to not fall in love with him analytically.

While indeed a small sample size, the BABIP of German’s opponents has decreased from .300 to .180, which means batters aren’t generating good contact. His H/9 has been nearly cut in half from 8.51 to 4.56, his HR/9 has decreased from 1.58 to 0.70, and most importantly, his BB/9 is down from 3.47 to 2.81. The main problem for German has always been his control. He continues to improve, essentially eliminating that concern in his last three outings, only walking one batter.

On top of all this, German’s fastball has become one of the better heaters in baseball. While he’s not a flame-thrower, he still ranks in the 84th percentile for fastball velocity. What stands out the most is the spin rate on his fastball (2,462 rpm), which puts him in the 94th percentile in the majors. The spin on German’s fastball sits in company with pitchers like Aroldis Chapman and Edwin Diaz, but is even better than pitchers like 2018 NL CY Young award winner Jacob deGrom and elite reliever Blake Treinen.

German has also done a good job keeping batters off balance, utilizing his fastball at a little higher rate than he did last year (29.9% to 31.8%). This likely makes his curveball more effective. As a result, he’s seen an 8.7% increase in the whiff rate on his curve.

Nobody knows if German can — or will — keep this up, but he is not taking this opportunity for granted.

In short, German has some nasty stuff and he’s only gotten better as the season has continued. If the right-hander is still performing at this level — or even close to it — when Severino comes back, the Yankees will have to make room German.

4 months ago  ::  Apr 28, 2019 - 2:47PM #17430
Posts: 2,220

4 ways Luke Voit impacted Yankees’ win despite hitting streak ending

Yankees first baseman Luke Voit heads to first after being hit by a pitch with the bases loading facing Giant pitcher Derek Holland in the fifth inning on Saturday. (Ben Margot | AP)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for

SAN FRANCISCO — Yankees first baseman Luke Voit didn’t homer again Saturday afternoon against the Giants after going deep the night before and four times overall in the first five games of this three-city West Coast trip that began in Anaheim against the Angels.

He had no hits in four at-bats either, so his career-best 13-game hitting streak is over.

Voit did impact the Yankees’ 6-4 win at Oracle Park at the plate and in the field.

Here are four ways that Voit contributed to the Yanks improving to 5-1 on the trip and 10-2 over their last 12 to stay just 1 ½ games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.

1. Voit’s hitting streak is dead, but his impressive on-base streak is alive at 38 games due to a cheap fifth-inning RBI that came on a bases-loaded hit by pitch. Before Gary Sanchez followed with a grand slam, this was a big run because the Yanks had been up just 1-0 prior to Giants starter Derek Holland losing command of a 1-2 slow curve that bounced off Voit’s right thigh. The Yanks’ RBI leader now has 23 in 27 games in addition to leading the club with eight homers.

2. Voit admittedly is no Gold Glove-caliber first baseman, but he spent a lot of time in the offseason working to improve his defensive skillset and in the third inning of Saturday’s game he showcased it. With the Yanks up 1-0, Voit fielded a runner-on-first, nobody-out bunt by Holland and then fired to second to get lead runner Geraldo Parra, who runs well, instead of playing it safe by taking the sure out at first. This is one of the hardest plays for the even best defensive first basemen in the game, and Voit made it look easy making a quick decision and strong throw that was on the money. “The bunt play where he goes to second, I’m yelling, ‘No, no, no! ... OK, yes, yes, yes!’” Yanks manager Aaron Boone said. “Aggressive play by (Voit). I think shows the kind of fearlessness he plays with, the aggressiveness. Good to see that.” Voit’s decision probably saved the Yankees a run, because Tyler Austin’s two-out single only advanced Holland to second whereas Parra probably would have scored from second if he hadn’t been erased two batters earlier.

3. Later in the Giants’ third, Voit combined with second baseman DJ LeMahieu to get the Yanks off the field still ahead 1-0. With two down and a runner on first, Brandon Belt smashed a rocket just to the right of LeMahieu, who had to deal with a tough short hop but still made a great pick. LeMahieu’s rifle throw to first wasn’t so good though, as it was in the dirt and could have led to a run – and maybe a big inning – if Voit hadn’t made a tough pick. Happ was grateful that his defense got him out of the inning. “Belt was having a great at-bat, hit the ball hard and DJ was able to somehow glove that, stay on top of it,” Happ said. “And Luke made a nice pick there. Both of those guys put together a nice play.”

4. Voit made a third really good defensive play in the sixth inning, and this time he looked like he a tight end on a football field chasing down a popup in shallow right with an over-the-shoulder catch. Summing up Voit’s day at first base, Boone said, “Seems like (his good plays) came at big times in the game, shut down some momentum. Really, really good defensive effort by him.”

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