DotF: Torres and Amburgey homer in Tampa’s win

Two quick notes:

  • LHP Dietrich Enns will work out of the bullpen for the foreseeable future, reports Shane Hennigan. The Yankees are limiting his innings. Enns has already thrown a career high 131 innings this season — his previous career high was 100.1 innings way back in 2012 — and he just came back from Tommy John surgery last year.
  • LHP Jordan Montgomery made an appearance in today’s Prospect Report, so check that out. He’s been phenomenal since arriving in Triple-A and is putting himself in position to be a call-up candidate at some point next season.

Triple-A Scranton (7-1 loss to Rochester) their magic number is three, but all they need to do is beat Rochester once this weekend to clinch a postseason spot … their canceled game Sunday means Rochester would not be able to catch Scranton in the loss column as soon as the RailRiders get that one win

  • Ben Gamel & DH Kyle Higashioka: both 0-4, 1 K — Gamel’s hitting streak was snapped at 15 games
  • RF Cesar Puello: 3-4
  • LF Clint Frazier: 0-4, 2 K
  • LHP Richard Bleier: 4 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 5/1 GB/FB — 50 of 69 pitches were strikes (72%) … getting stretched out now so he can be the long man in September
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 2/1 GB/FB — 22 of 34 pitches were strikes (65%) … 41/20 K/BB in 43.1 innings here
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K — 26 of 46 pitches were strikes (57%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 0/1 GB/FB — eleven of 18 pitches were strikes (61%) … 89/7 K/BB in 61.1 total innings this season, which is bonkers

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DotF: Montgomery dominates again in Scranton’s win

Got some notes and links to pass along:

  • RHP Bryan Mitchell (toe) was activated off the 60-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. They had an open 40-man roster spot, so no other move was required. Assuming Mitchell comes up when rosters expand on September 1st, he won’t spent 20 days on an optional assignment this year and won’t burn an option. He’ll have one left for next season.
  • Make sure you check out Josh Norris’ piece on all the talented teenagers the Yankees have playing in Pulaski. They’re all far away from the big leagues, yes, but they all offer premium tools as well. The Yankees brought in a ton of talent during their 2014-15 international signing spree.
  • OF Clint Frazier told Brendan Kuty he’s been pressing since coming over from the Indians in the Andrew Miller trade because he wanted to impress his new organization. “I’m feeling good, though. I’m in a good place. I’m in a good environment,” he said.

Triple-A Scranton (4-0 win over Syracuse) they have the best record in all of Triple-A at 83-49 … no other Triple-A team has more than 78 wins … Scranton’s magic number to clinch a postseason spot is three, so chances are it’ll happen this weekend

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 3B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 E (throwing) — he’s played third base eight times in 13 games since being sent down … he’s also 21-for-47 (.447) in those 13 games
  • DH Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K
  • 1B Chris Parmelee: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K — back from his back spasms
  • LF Clint Frazier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 E (fielding) — back-to-back games with a triple
  • RF Jake Cave: 1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB
  • LHP Jordan Montgomery: 5.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 5/3 GB/FB — 60 of 94 pitches were strikes (64%) … fourth straight scoreless outing … he’s allowed two runs in 31 Triple-A innings (0.58 ERA) … he now has a 2.09 ERA in 131 total innings this season … decent
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.1 IP, zeroes, 2 K — 12 of 16 pitches were strikes
  • RHP Nick Goody: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 18 of 26 pitches were strikes (69%) … 32/1 K/BB in 23.1 innings with Scranton

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Tanaka dominates, Sanchez homers again in 5-0 win over Mariners


Source: FanGraphs

Gosh, that was so close to being a perfect West Coast trip. The Yankees went 4-2 in the six games, and they allowed only two runs in one loss and held a two-run lead in the other loss. Blah. They beat the Mariners in Wednesday afternoon’s series finale by the score of 5-0. Good game. Would watch again. I’m still out of town, so let’s bullet point this recap one more time:

  • Normal Rest? No Problem: More brilliance from Masahiro Tanaka. Yawn. He allowed one walk, one double, and five singles in seven scoreless innings Wednesday while striking out five and getting ten outs on the ground. Tanaka now has a 3.11 ERA and a 3.23 FIP in 168 total innings this season. As of this writing, he’s fourth among all pitchers in fWAR. Tanaka is somehow elite and underrated despite being a Yankee. What a world.
  • Yo Soy Gary: This Gary Sanchez stuff is getting a little crazy. This is “video game on rookie” stuff. Sanchez hit another home run, his eighth in the last ten games, to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first. In the later innings the Mariners intentionally walked him twice. Sanchez is the first player to be intentionally walked twice in a game within the first 21 games of his career since … Brian McCann. Spooky. He’s the first Yankees to be intentionally walked twice in a game since Robinson Cano in 2013.
  • Chip Away: The Yankees built their 5-0 lead by scoring one run in five separate innings. Tyler Austin and Mark Teixeira drove in runs with singles, and Brett Gardner and Starlin Castro drove in runs with sac flies. The Yankees had nine hits and five walks in their nine offensive innings. Sanchez (homer, double, two walks) reached base four times. Gardner, Teixeira, and Aaron Hicks each reached base twice.
  • Leftovers: Tyler Clippard (two outs) and Dellin Betances (four outs) closed out the game after Tanaka … Ronald Torreyes went 1-for-4 in the game and 9-for-16 on the trip. He had two hard-hit balls turn into outs Wednesday too … Aaron Judge went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts in the game and 1-for-18 with nine strikeouts on the road trip. No surprise the 6-foor-7 dude needs a little adjustment period … and finally, congrats to Joe Girardi. This was his 800th win as Yankees manager.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The West Coast trip is over and the Yankees have an off-day Thursday. They’ll then have a quick three-game weekend homestand with the Orioles. Right now both pitchers are listed as TBA for Friday night’s opener. Luis Cessa and Yovani Gallardo line up to pitch that day, for what it’s worth.

Minor League Update: Since I’m still out of town, I’m going to take the easy way out tonight. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Mason Williams and Jake Cave each had three hits, Ben Gamel and Clint Frazier had two hits, Luis Severino allowed four runs in 5.2 innings, Dustin Fowler had two hits, Chance Adams struck out ten in 4.1 innings, Yefrey Ramirez struck out eight in eight one-hit innings, and the trio of Blake Rutherford, Dermis Garcia, and Isiah Gilliam went deep.

Sorting through the Yankees’ long list of September call-up candidates

No Al this September. Only Ref. (Greg Fiume/Getty)
No Al this September. Only Ref. (Greg Fiume/Getty)

One week from tomorrow all 30 clubs will be able to expand their active rosters and carry up to 40 players. Most clubs carry fewer than 40 players once rosters expand, and that’s their choice. Roster size is not an unfair advantage if one team calls up ten extra players and another only calls up three. That’s long been a pet peeve of mine, calling September call-ups unfair. As long as everyone plays by the same rules, it’s fair.

Anyway, the Yankees have been one of the most aggressive teams when it comes to expanding their roster in recent Septembers. Last season they called up eight players on September 1st. Eight! I’m not sure we’ll see a first wave of call-ups that large again, but you can be sure the Yankees will add some extra arms and position players on the first day possible. They always do and there’s no reason not to. Let’s run down this year’s September call-up candidates.

The Locks

Generally speaking, the first wave of call-ups are players who have been up-and-down a bunch of times throughout the season and are still on the 40-man roster. That means Nick Goody, Richard Bleier, Chasen Shreve, and Rob Refsnyder are safe bets to come up on September 1st. Ditto Ben Gamel, though he hasn’t spent as much time on the big league roster this year as those other guys.

The Yankees are already carrying three catchers, so those five guys above may be the only players called up right away on September 1st. That would give the Yankees three extra bullpen arms — Bleier is working out of the Triple-A Scranton rotation at the moment, so he’d give the club a long man, which they lack right now — plus an extra infielder and an extra outfielder. That covers all the bases on the first day of expanded rosters.

The Maybes

By maybes, I mean players who may not be called up right away on September 1st. They’ll have to wait a few extra days or weeks for whatever reason, usually because the Yankees want them to work on things in Triple-A. This group of players includes Johnny Barbato, Ben Heller, Bryan Mitchell, Luis Severino, and Mason Williams. All five of those guys are on the 40-man roster. Here’s why they’re a maybe and not a lock for an instant September 1st call-up:

  • Barbato: Barbato started the season in the big league bullpen but has spent much of the year in Triple-A, where his control has been an issue. He was up briefly earlier this month and did not retire any of the four batters he faced. The Yankees could keep Barbato down a little longer so he can continue to working on his location.
  • Heller: Acquired in the Andrew Miller trade, Heller was actually up with the Yankees for a few days earlier this month, though he did not appear in a game. Heller has pitched well and is fairly new to Triple-A, though as a reliever, that’s not a big deal. I think the odds are better than 50/50 that he will be called up on September 1st, but it’s definitely not set in stone.
  • Mitchell: Blah. Mitchell pitched so well in Spring Training and looked poised to assume a big role in the bullpen, then he broke his toe covering first base and has missed pretty much the entire season. Mitchell is on a rehab assignment right now, and while that might be enough to get him ready for game action, the Yankees could send him to Triple-A for more consistent work rather than let him sit in the bullpen unused for long stretches of time.
  • Severino: No, I don’t think Severino is a lock for a September 1st call-up. The Yankees sent him to Triple-A with clear instructions to work on his changeup and so far he’s made one start since being sent down. He’ll make two more before September 1st. Hey, maybe that’s enough to make the team believe Severino trusts and will use his changeup, but I’m not sure I buy it. He might be down there a little while longer.
  • Williams: Williams missed most of the first half of the season following shoulder surgery, though he did return about a month ago and has been playing regularly. More time in Triple-A to make up for the lost at-bats seems like a smart move. Williams won’t get at-bats sitting on the MLB bench. Remember, the Yankees kept Slade Heathcott down much of September last year so he could play everyday following his quad injury. Doing the same with Williams makes sense.

Triple-A Scranton has the best record in all of Triple-A baseball and will clinch a postseason spot fairly soon. Likely before the end of the weekend. That means extra at-bats for Williams and extra starts for Severino and Mitchell. Those playoff games are valuable. They give Severino time to work on his changeup and Williams and Mitchell a chance to play following their injuries. Those guys don’t figure to play much in the big leagues if they get called up on September 1st. Keeping them down is an opportunity to continue their development.

The Rule 5 Draft Guys

Mateo. (Presswire)
Mateo. (Presswire)

The Yankees have already gotten a head start on their Rule 5 Draft protection work by calling up Heller, Tyler Austin, and Aaron Judge. They still have many other players who need to be protected, but remember, those decisions don’t have to be finalized until late-November. Calling a player up in September isn’t necessary to avoid the Rule 5 Draft. Teams will sometimes call players up in September if they’re planning to add them to the 40-man after the season, just get their feet wet in the show.

We can drop the Rule 5 Draft eligible players into three buckets: definitely going to be protected, possibly going to be protected, and not going to be protected. Usually only the “definitely going to be protected” guys get the early September call-up, and even then it’s not a given. Space on the 40-man roster can get tight. Let’s go ahead and drop the Rule 5 eligible players into those three buckets:

* Higashioka and Culver are not only Rule 5 Draft eligible, they’ll become minor league free agents after the season if they aren’t added to the 40-man roster.

My hunch is the Yankees will protect Higashioka, Enns, and Webb in addition to Andujar and Mateo after the season. That means Cave, Gallegos, Lail, and everyone else will be left exposed. Cave was a Rule 5 Draft pick last year, and if he gets popped again, he’ll be able to elect free agency rather than come back to the Yankees if he doesn’t stick. I don’t think that’s reason enough to keep him. Not with Gamel and Williams already on the 40-man.

Okay, so with that in mind, the question now becomes: why should these players be called up in September? Mateo’s speed could allow him to be the pinch-runner specialist. Then again, he was suspended for violating team rules not that long ago, and would the Yankees really reward him with a September call-up after that? Eh. I see no reason whatsoever to call up Andujar or Higashioka. Fourth string catchers and third basemen are not necessary. Those guys can wait until the offseason to be added to the 40-man roster.

That leaves Enns and Webb, two lefty pitchers. There’s always room for more pitching in September, so call-ups are possible, and in fact I think they’ll happen. Maybe not until after the Triple-A postseason, but eventually. Webb’s a pure reliever who could audition for a 2017 bullpen spot a la Phil Coke in September 2008. Enns has starter stuff and it I’m interested to see whether the Yankees give him a start in September. (Probably not.) I’m sure they’re looking forward to using a sixth starter on occasion next month, though Severino may be next on the depth chart.

Webb. (Presswire)
Webb. (Presswire)

The Others

Who are the others? The non-40-man veterans in Triple-A. Chris Parmelee, for example. He was up earlier this season before getting hurt, and in fact he had a two-homer game with the Yankees. That was neat. Do the Yankees really need another first baseman with Austin, Refsnyder, and Mark Teixeira on the September roster? Not really. But maybe they’ll throw Parmelee a bone.

Other others include Donovan Solano, a utility infielder having a real nice season in Triple-A, and Cesar Puello, a former top Mets prospect who is having a productive season with the RailRiders after dealing with a back injury last year. Coke was up earlier this season and is still in Triple-A. Actual prospects like Clint Frazier, Jordan Montgomery, and Jonathan Holder are in Triple-A but are not yet Rule 5 Draft eligible, so don’t expect them to get called up in September. It’s one thing to call someone up a month before they need to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft. It another to do it a year early.

My guess is none of these others get called up September. The Yankees have more appealing options at their positions and there’s just not enough 40-man roster space to go around. Those guys will play in the Triple-A postseason and either go home once the playoffs are over, or head to Tampa to stay sharp in case there’s an injury and they’re needed at the MLB level. That’s pretty standard for these types of players in September.

The 40-Man Roster Situation

Alright, so after all of that, my sure to be wrong prediction is the Yankees will call up 12 extra players in September. The 12:

  • Up on September 1st (5): Bleier, Gamel, Goody, Refsnyder, Shreve.
  • Up later in September (7): Barbato, Enns, Heller, Mitchell, Severino, Williams, Webb.

All but Enns, Mitchell, and Webb are on the 40-man roster, so the Yankees will have to clear three spots. They can slide Nathan Eovaldi to the 60-day DL to clear one 40-man spot. That’s easy. Righty J.R. Graham, who has amazingly managed to remain on the 40-man roster since coming over in a minor trade with the Twins in mid-May, is an obvious candidate to be designated for assignment. That’s the second 40-man spot.

The Yankees can go a few different ways for that final 40-man spot. They could designate someone else for assignment, maybe Anthony Swarzak or James Pazos. I don’t think that’ll happen though. In fact, Pazos is probably going to be called up in September, so it’s really 13 call-ups, not 12. I suppose someone like Bleier or Blake Parker could be cut loose next month, or even Tommy Layne. There is some dead weight here.

Swarzak. (Elsa/Getty)
Swarzak. (Elsa/Getty)

The other option is to call up Jacob Lindgren or Nick Rumbelow and place them on the 60-day DL. Both are currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. It sounds easy enough, though there are some complications with this. Both Lindgren and Rumbelow got hurt while in the minors, and calling them up to place them on the 60-day DL means they can not be optioned down again next year. They’d accrue service time on MLB DL instead.

Maybe that’s not such a big deal, especially in Rumbelow’s case. He had his surgery in April and may only spend only a month or two on the DL next year. Lindgren just had his surgery and would spent the entire 2017 season on the DL. Calling them up and placing him on the 60-day DL to clear up a 40-man roster spot is doable, but it throws a wrench into next year’s plans. Me? I’d just cut ties with Swarzak. I do wonder if the Yankees would drop Pazos from the 40-man roster given his control and injury issues this year though.

* * *

The Yankees are committed to their “play the kids” plan right now, so much so that Alex Rodriguez has been released and others like Teixeira and Brian McCann have had their playing time reduced. There’s no reason to think that won’t continue in September, and if anything, more kids may get chances next month. Expanded rosters will give the team extra arms and whatnot, and it’s an opportunity to give these youngsters even more of a chance to show whether they belong in the team’s long-term plans.

(Update: Heller was called up yesterday. Adjust accordingly.)

Yankees top Mariners 5-1 thanks to Sabathia’s great start, Ellsbury’s homer


Source: FanGraphs

Tuesday night’s 5-1 win over the Mariners was one of the Yankees’ best all-around games in quite a while. Just a real solid, crisp win. Good pitching, good hitting, the works. I want to see more games like this the last five and a half weeks of the season. West Coast night games get bullet point recaps, so let’s get to it:

  • Si Si: Man, what a job by CC Sabathia. The big lefty held the Mariners to one Aaron Judge aided run — Judge took a circuitous route in right field on Leonys Martin’s fly ball, leading to a triple — in seven otherwise stress-free innings. He struck out seven and allowed only three hits and one walk. That was Sabathia’s best start since mid-June and one of his best of the season overall.
  • Ellsburied: The Yankees scored their first run when Ronald Torreyes continued his hot hitting with a double to left. Kyle Seager committed an error earlier in the inning that opened the door for New York. The big blow of the night was Jacoby Ellsbury‘s two-run home run in the fifth inning, which turned a 1-1 tie into a 3-1 Yankees lead. Ellsbury is up to six homers on the season.
  • The Late Innings: Judge atoned for his bad read in right with a sixth inning sac fly to stretch the lead to 4-1. An error and a Didi Gregorius double created another insurance run in the ninth inning to make it 5-1. Nice little night for the bats. They had nine hits overall, drew three walks, and went 4-for-12 (.333) with runners in scoring position.
  • Leftovers: Tommy Layne and Dellin Betances tossed scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively … Ben Heller warmed up in the ninth in case the Yankees blew it open. He still hasn’t made his MLB debut … Torreyes went 3-for-4 with two doubles. He’s 8-for-12 with four doubles and a homer on the road triple … Gary Sanchez had just one, hit a single. Bust!

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages too. The Yankees wrap up their West Coast trip with the series finale against the Mariners on Wednesday afternoon. That’s a 3:35pm ET start. Former Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia will be on the mound.

Minor League Update: I have neither the time nor the energy for a full DotF tonight. Here are the box scores and here’s the short version: Rob Refsnyder and Ben Gamel had singles, Bryan Mitchell allowed one run in four innings in his latest rehab game, Thairo Estrada whacked a homer, Justus Sheffield allowed four runs (three earned) in 3.2 innings, and Freicer Perez threw six one-hit innings.

DotF: Gamel and Fowler have big games in wins

The day’s notes:

  • Both C Gary Sanchez and OF Leonardo Molina made MLB.com’s Prospect Team of the Week. “(Molina) hasn’t had much statistical success, in part because he has been so young, but that hasn’t stopped evaluators from raving about his tools and upside,” said the write-up.
  • Molina was also named the rookie Appalachian League Offensive Player of the Week, so that’s cool. LHP Nestor Cortes was named the High-A Florida State Pitcher of the Week. He took a perfect game into the seventh inning last time out.
  • The Yankees have released RHP Willie Gabay, reports Matt Eddy. They picked him up as a minor league free agent prior to last season. Gabay had a 5.37 ERA in 66.2 innings at the lower levels as an organizational arm.

Triple-A Scranton (5-3 win over Lehigh Valley) they now have a five-game lead over Lehigh Valley in the division with 14 games remaining

  • LF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 2 K — 20-for-50 (.400) with four doubles and a homer during his 12-game hitting streak
  • RF Clint Frazier: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-5, 2 K
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 0-3, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB
  • CF Mason Williams: 2-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K — 11-for-29 (.379) during his eight-game hitting streak
  • LHP Richard Bleier: 3 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 4/2 GB/FB — 34 of 59 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • LHP Dietrich Enns: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 39 of 67 pitches were strikes (58%) … they had him piggyback with Bleier because off-days and rainouts threw a wrench into the schedule, and he would have gone more than a week between starts had they remained on rotation
  • RHP Johnny Barbato: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 12 of 21 pitches were strikes (57%)
  • LHP Chasen Shreve: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 0/2 GB/FB — ten of 17 pitches were strikes (59%)
  • RHP Jonathan Holder: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — ten of 15 pitches were strikes

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DotF: Rutherford returns in Pulaski’s doubleheader

Triple-A Scranton was rained out. The game was canceled and will not be made up.

Double-A Trenton (10-2 win over Hartford)

  • SS Tyler Wade: 2-5, 2 R — 12-for-33 (.364) in his last eight games, so he’s not fading late like he did a year ago
  • CF Dustin Fowler: 2-5, 2 R, 1 2B — up to .285/.317/.450 while playing in a big time pitcher’s park
  • 3B Miguel Andujar: 2-4, 3 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — 7-for-20 (.350) during his little five-game hitting streak
  • DH Abi Avelino: 1-5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K
  • RHP Will Carter: 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 11/2 GB/FB — 46 of 82 pitches were strikes (56%), plus he picked a runner off first … he’s having success in Double-A one year after being a 14th round pick … nice find by the scouting staff
  • LHP Caleb Smith: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1/3 GB/FB — 27 of 44 pitches were strikes (61%) … 57/17 K/BB in 52.1 innings

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