Chosun Ilbo: Yankees scouting Korean 1B Byung-Ho Park

According to a Chosun Ilbo report passed along by our Sung-Min Kim, the Yankees are among the teams scouting Korean first baseman Byung-Ho Park. Various reports have indicated the Red Sox, Twins, and Pirates are among the other clubs scouting Park. The Korea Times previously reported 17 of the 30 MLB teams have watched him this year.

Park, 29, started his career in Korea with the LG Twins before being traded to the Nexen Heroes in the middle of the 2011 season. He broke out after the trade and has hit 30+ homers every year from 2012-15, including 52 last year and 47 this year. Park has twice been named KBO MVP (2012-13). Here are his career stats via Baseball Reference:

2005 18 -10.5 LG KBO 79 185 22 31 11 0 3 21 1 0 12 48 .190 .265 .313 .578
2006 19 -9.5 LG KBO 48 142 7 21 2 0 5 13 1 3 9 42 .162 .227 .292 .519
2007-08: Did Not Play (Military Service)
2009 22 -6.3 LG KBO 68 213 28 41 7 0 9 25 2 1 20 70 .218 .305 .399 .704
2010 23 -5.0 LG KBO 78 192 25 30 4 0 7 22 5 1 26 55 .188 .305 .344 .649
2011 24 -4.4 2 Teams KBO 66 230 31 51 11 2 13 31 2 0 26 76 .254 .343 .522 .866
2012 25 -3.3 Nexen KBO 133 560 76 136 34 0 31 105 20 9 73 111 .290 .393 .561 .954
2013 26 -2.5 Nexen KBO 128 556 91 143 17 0 37 117 10 2 92 96 .318 .437 .602 1.039
2014 27 -1.9 Nexen KBO 128 571 126 139 16 2 52 124 8 3 96 142 .303 .433 .686 1.119
2015 28 Nexen KBO 122 547 116 163 32 1 47 134 9 2 68 137 .351 .442 .727 1.169
All Levels (9 Seasons) 850 3196 522 755 134 5 204 592 58 21 422 777 .281 .387 .563 .950

Yep, Park’s a slugger. Lots of dingers and also lots of strikeouts, apparently. He had a 25.0% strikeout rate this year and 24.8% last year in a league where the average strikeout rate is 18.8%, so right away that’s a bit of a red flag. Jung-Ho Kang, Park’s former teammate with Nexen, never had a strikeout rate higher than 21.2% in Korea, for example.

There are no good freely available scouting reports of Park available, so we have to stick to the basics. He stands 6-foot-1 and 194 lbs., both bats and throws right-handed, and his home run total suggests he has some power. The strikeout totals suggest Park also has some holes in his swing. Remember, he’s been striking out in a quarter of his plate appearances against KBO caliber pitching, which is several notches below MLB pitching.

Kang has been tremendously successful with the Pirates this season — he went into last night’s game hitting .287/.357/.469 (132 wRC+) with 15 homers and a 20.6% strikeout rate — which is going to lead to teams taking a much longer look at Korean position players in the future. Yoenis Cespedes really helped kick the door open for Cuban players and Kang could do the same for Korean players. Twenty-nine teams are wondering why they missed on him.

Yonhap News reported earlier this year that Park wants to come over to MLB after the season, though he will not be a free agent. The Heroes will have to agree to make him available via the posting system. The posting agreement with KBO is the old NPB system, meaning teams submit blind bids then win a 30-day negotiating window. The MLB team only has to pay the posting fee if they sign the player.

The Pirates landed Kang with a $5M posting fee and a measly four-year contract worth $11M. Total steal. Prices for Korean players are only going to climb though. That’s how these things usual work. They don’t get cheaper. I have no idea what kind of posting fee will be required to win Park’s rights and I have even less of an idea of what kind of contract it will take to get him signed. Total guesswork.

Now, that said, what would the Yankees do with Park? He’s a first baseman and a first baseman only. Mark Teixeira is signed through next year and Greg Bird is poised to be his long-term replacement. The Yankees also have Alex Rodriguez under contract through 2017, so they don’t need a DH either. Maybe Park’s athletic enough to play the outfield, or maybe they consider him a better long-term option than Bird. Who knows? Either way, we’ll hear more about Park this offseason. I’m sure of it.

Mailbag: Harvey, Didi, Rotation, Bird, Cano, Hall of Fame

Nine questions and eight answers in this week’s mailbag. The “For The Mailbag” form is gone now, so to send us questions, just email us at RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com. The pickin’s were pretty slim this week. About half the submissions were some form of this week’s first question.

Harvey. (Presswire)
Harvey. (Presswire)

Many asked: What would it take to get Matt Harvey this offseason?

I had a feeling this was coming. To say Harvey’s recent workload fiasco did not go over well would be a big understatement. Many Mets fans were ready to kick him out the door, and his clunker against the Nationals (seven runs in 5.1 innings) didn’t help matters. Of course, the fans have no say in this, and I would be surprised if the Mets shopped Harvey this winter. They might listen — everyone listens — but I don’t think they’ll be eager to move him.

Just for fun though, let’s talk this out. Pitchers of Harvey’s caliber who are three years away from free agency do not get traded all that often. Very rarely, in fact. The only reasonable approximation I could come up with is the trade that sent Dan Haren from the Athletics to the Diamondbacks in December 2007, which was a baseball lifetime ago. Haren was also 26 and three years away from free agency at the time, and while Haren then wasn’t as good as Harvey now, he was still an excellent young pitcher.

The D’Backs traded six players for Haren and bullpen prospect Connor Robertson (David’s brother!). Here are those six and their rank in Arizona’s farm system at the time according to Baseball America: Carlos Gonzalez (No. 1), Brett Anderson (No. 3), Aaron Cunningham (No. 7), Chris Carter (No. 8), Greg Smith (No. 13), and up-and-down arm Dana Eveland. The D-Backs had a top three farm system back then, so they gave up a ton of talent to get Haren.

That trade happened a long time ago though and player valuations have changed. The Mets don’t want prospects for Harvey anyway. They’ll want ready made MLB players. Their window to win is right now, not two or three years from now. Given their shortstop need, Didi Gregorius would have to be included. How could the Mets do the deal without him? Then you’ve got to add prospects on top of Gregorius. Aaron Judge and James Kaprielian? Luis Severino and Jorge Mateo? I’d want Gregorius, Judge, Kaprielian, and more for Harvey. (Reminder: My trade proposal sucks.)

Anyway, I doubt the Mets would trade Harvey to the Yankees. That seems like something the Wilpons would not approve. Their biggest fear is getting burned on a blockbuster trade with the Yankees. I do think GMs Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson would do it if they felt it improved the team, but a deal of this magnitude involves ownership. The other 28 teams are going to be after Harvey as well. The Mets will get plenty of great offers. I would be shocked if the Wilpons let him go to the Yankees.

Andrew asks: What do you attribute the light attendance at Yankee Stadium these last couple of weeks? Team is in a pennant race for the first time in three years, A-Rod has been resurgent, exciting young players. What gives?

The attendance (or lack thereof) was especially noticeable during the Orioles series for whatever reason. The Yankees do lead the AL in attendance this season, both total (2,760,549) and per game (40,008) — they’re third in total attendance behind the Cardinals and Dodgers, and fourth in per game attendance behind the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Giants — but they’re down 2,236 fans per game from last season. That is somewhat expected because there’s no Derek Jeter retirement tour. I’m guessing there are several factors at play here and it’s not just one thing. The Yankees are good this year and they’re in a division race, so that isn’t the problem. It could be ticket pricing, or maybe fans don’t care about a Jeter-less team, or perhaps they’re all jumping ship and rooting for the Mets. I don’t have an answer and I’m note sure it’s possible to give a complete one anyway.

Didi. (Presswire)
Didi. (Presswire)

Sam asks: Didi has hit .314/.354/.429 since the All-Star break whereas both first time All-Star Brett Gardner (.201/.303/.278) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.223/.264/.352) have really seemed to fall off, whether because of injury or otherwise. Why not put Didi higher in the lineup?

There are a few reason why this hasn’t happened, I think. One is the fact the Yankees aren’t going to drop Ellsbury in the lineup less than two full years into a seven-year contract. That’s just not going to happen no matter how much he struggles. Gardner’s situation is a little similar — this is year one of his four-year extension and he’s been no worse than the second best player on the team for three years running now. Joe Girardi‘s pretty loyal and I don’t think he’d drop Brett.

As for Gregorius, I think there is an element of “this is working so let’s not mess with it” at play. Replacing Jeter seemed to overwhelm Didi back in April and May. What happens if you ask him to hit first or second in a postseason race? I don’t think it would be a big deal, but I could understand why Girardi and Yankees may be hesitant. I’m cool with letting Gregorius rake at the bottom of the lineup. If Ellsbury and Gardner don’t start hitting, the Yankees aren’t going anywhere anyway, no matter where Girardi slots them in the lineup.

P.J. asks: Assuming both the Yankees and Rangers get the 2 American League Wild Card spots, who should the Yankees start in that game?

Wyatt asks: How do you see the postseason rotation shaping up? I think Tanaka, Eovaldi, Pineda and Severino.

Might as well lump these two together. As I said last week, I would start Masahiro Tanaka in the wildcard game, regardless of opponent. Rangers, Twins, Angels, Astros, whoever. It amazes me anyone would even seriously consider starting someone else. He is clearly the guy for me. Should the Yankees not win the AL East, hopefully they’ll be in position to set up their rotation and start Tanaka in the wildcard game, and not need to start him in Game 162 just to get in or something.

Nathan Eovaldi‘s injury complicates the postseason rotation situation — Wyatt sent his question in before Eovaldi’s injury — and how I would line it up is likely very different than how the Yankees would. I’d go Tanaka in Game One followed in order by Michael Pineda, Severino, and CC Sabathia. (Sorry, Ivan Nova.) The Yankees would probably go Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, Severino. I also think there’s a non-zero chance they’d start Nova over Severino. You know they’ll give Sabathia an October start. They’ve given us no reason to think otherwise. Hopefully we can discuss this again in a few weeks. Let’s worry the Yankees getting to the postseason first.

Adam asks: Does Greg Bird start next season with the big club? He seems perhaps too unidimensional for a bench role early in the season with this roster.

Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are not only going to be on the roster next season, they’re going to play every single day. Barring injury, the only way Bird gets at-bats is as a pinch-hitter and occasional spot starter. So yes, he is too one dimensional for the bench. The four-man bench will include a backup catcher (John Ryan Murphy), a backup middle infielder (Brendan Ryan?), a backup outfielder (Dustin Ackley), and then a fourth guy. Bird could be the fourth guy, but a right-handed hitter who could play somewhere other than first base would fit the roster better. I’m totally cool with sending Bird back to Triple-A to start the season. Teixeira and/or A-Rod will probably get hurt at some point anyway — Bird hasn’t been all that durable either, he’s had shoulder and back problems — which will free up playing time. It could very easily work out where Bird, Teixeira, and A-Rod each end up playing something like 100-120 games. If everyone’s healthy though, yeah, I say send Bird to Triple-A to work on his defense. It won’t be the end of the world.

Anonymous asks: In light of the Mets current success, do you envision the Yankees abandoning their fiscal, belt tightening policy and go big for big agents this coming off season?

I don’t think anything the Mets do this season will impact the way Yankees behave going forward. George Steinbrenner would have gone bonkers over the Mets winning but Hal Steinbrenner seems much more measured. The Mets winning the NL East or even the World Series has minimal impact on the Yankees. It won’t change their roster, change how they project going forward, nothing. Changing gears and altering a team-building plan because a crosstown team — not even a division rival! — does something is no way to create a successful team. The back pages aren’t worth the fight. Who cares about the Mets? Outside of the Subway Series each season, they’re irrelevant to the Yankees.

Harvey. (Presswire)
Harvey. (Presswire)

Matt asks: To beat a dead horse harder, would you trade Ellsbury for Robinson Cano + money at this point? We could slide Gardner to center and sign Justin Upton or Jayson Heyward. Thanks!

I guess that depends how much money, right? If the money worked out so it was a wash, I’d do it in a heartbeat even though Cano’s contract is longer. Love Robbie, he was an incredible Yankee, but I wanted no part of him on a ten-year contract. At the same time, if I had known the backup plan was seven years for Ellsbury, I’d have done ten for Cano instead. Cano started very slow this year but has hit .328/.381/.522 (153 wRC+) since July 1st, which is regular old Robbie. Sometimes a bad slump can be explained by non-baseball reasons. Simply put, I think his decline phase will be more productive than Ellsbury’s. I’d do the trade if the money was a wash. But why would the Mariners do it? No reason for them to make that trade.

Neil asks: Give me your current list of top 10 most likely Hall of Famers among active players (more or less in order).

I assume you’re asking who I think will get in, no who would get my vote. A-Rod, for example, has a first ballot Hall of Fame resume and I would vote for him, but he’ll never get in. So he’s not in my top ten. Here are my ten in approximate order of likelihood of induction:

  1. Albert Pujols
  2. Ichiro Suzuki
  3. Adrian Beltre
  4. Miguel Cabrera
  5. Felix Hernandez
  6. Clayton Kershaw
  7. David Ortiz
  8. Robinson Cano
  9. Carlos Beltran
  10. Mike Trout

Pujols and Ichiro are no-brainers and while Beltre’s not a lock, he’s close to it. He seems to be getting more and more support each year. Miggy, Felix, and Kershaw have already built their Hall of Fame foundations and now just need to do some compiling. Ortiz is tricky because of the whole performance-enhancing drug thing. He’s largely gotten a free pass (as did Andy Pettitte!) but Hall of Fame voters have refused to look the other way thus far.

Cano probably needs another elite year or two on his resume, plus a few good years after that to beef up his counting stats, then I think he’s in. (I’d expect him to wear a Yankees hat on his plaque.) Beltran is borderline. You could argue both ways convincingly. Trout is well on his way to Cooperstown but is only 24. He has a lot of years left to play and that means lots of time for things to go wrong. I’m not missing anyone obvious, right? Chase Utley is probably No. 11 on the list, though he seems perpetually underappreciated and might not get enough support.

DotF: Estrada leads Staten Island to Championship Series

Triple-A Scranton (6-1 loss to Indianapolis) they trail the best-of-five series two games to none … Game Three is tomorrow night

  • DH Slade Heathcott: 1-3, 1 BB — guessing he’ll get called up should they not come back to win the series
  • 2B Ali Castillo: 2-4, 1 R, 1 CS
  • CF Ben Gamel: 2-4, 1 2B
  • C Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 1 RBI, 1 E (throwing) — hamstring is healthy enough to catch today
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 0-4, 2 K — followed up his big 2014 season by hitting .232/.339/.390 (112 wRC+) this year
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3
  • 3B Cole Figueroa: 0-3
  • SS Gregorio Petit: 0-3
  • LF Jake Cave: 0-3, 2 K — they didn’t get any help from the bottom of the lineup
  • LHP Eric Wooten: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 B, 2 K, 1 WP, 7/1 GB/FB — 47 of 84 pitches were strikes (56%), plus he picked a runner off first
  • RHP Cesar Vargas: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 7/0 GB/FB — 35 of 55 pitches were strikes (64%) … spared the bullpen for Game Three tomorrow night

[Read more…]

Thursday Night Open Thread

Tonight’s series opener between the Yankees and Blue Jays has been rained out, so the biggest series of the season will have to wait another 24 hours. Of the season? Heck, this is the Yankees’ most important series since 2012. Saturday’s doubleheader is single-admission, so if you have tickets to tonight’s game, you have to either get a refund or exchange them for another date. You won’t be able to use them Saturday.

Anyway, here is your open thread for this suddenly Yankees baseball-less night. The Mets are playing and MLB Network will show a regional game. Also, the NFL season starts, so that’s cool. The Patriots and Steelers are the Opening Night matchup (8:30pm ET on NBC). Talk about those games or anything else right here.

Tonight’s game postponed, Yankees and Blue Jays will play single-admission doubleheader Saturday


For the first time this season, the Yankees have been rained out. It only took 138 games. Tonight’s series opener against the Blue Jays has been postponed and will be made up as part of a single-admission doubleheader Saturday. They played a single-admission doubleheader against the Pirates last year, which was the first at Yankee Stadium since 2004.

Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at 1:05pm ET, with the second game starting approximately 30 minutes after the end of the first. It’s supposed to rain Saturday night, hence the single-admission doubleheader. They want to get the second game over quickly. Only tickets for Saturday’s regularly scheduled game will be valid for the doubleheader. Tickets for tonight’s game can be exchanged. Here’s the rainout policy. Also, tonight’s scheduled Babe Ruth bobblehead will be given away at a date to be determined next season. Bummer.

Anyway, Erik Boland says the Yankees will start Luis Severino on Friday, Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda in a yet to be determined order on Saturday, and Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday. The Blue Jays will start David Price on Friday, says Shi Davidi. Marco Estrada and Marcos Stroman will start the doubleheader in that order, then R.A. Dickey will go on Sunday.

The doubleheader could complicate the bullpen situation this weekend, specifically the availability of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Would Joe Girardi use both in each end of the doubleheader? I guess that depends on their workload in Game One. What about pitching them all three days? The doubleheader creates a bit of a headache. At least Dellin gets another day to rest given his recent workload.

The good news is rosters are expanded and the Yankees have a 13-man bullpen, so there are plenty of relievers available to soak up innings. The doubleheader won’t wreck the bullpen for a few days like they tend to do in the middle of the season. Hopefully the starters all throw shutouts and the bullpen is a non-issue.

According to the Yankees, they have never gone a full season without a rainout. They came pretty close this season. Just three weeks shy. The team’s biggest series since 2012 will have to wait one more day.

TiqIQ: Ticket Prices Start at $15 On Secondary Market For Pivotal Series Against Toronto

The series of the year gets going on September 10th, as the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays engage in a four-day affair that very well could decide the AL East division. Toronto stands 1.5 games ahead of the Yanks. Regardless, this four-game run could be precisely what changes everything for either team and could be the Yankees and/or Jays series to hit up for fans as the regular season winds down.

Despite this being an enormous series for both teams, Yankees tickets are actually showing tremendous value for all four games. New York Yankees tickets on the secondary market are over $129 on average to end the 2015 MLB season, yet none of these four clashes come close to even $100 on average. In fact, the most expensive game is game three on the 12th, when fans can pile into Yankee Stadium for this division rivalry for an average price of $91.25.

The value strings across this series from start to finish, too, with game one costing just $77.70 on average, while game two and the series finale (game four) both hover right around $83. Even crazier is the get-in price for each game, as the first two games have fans hitting the cheap seats for just $15, while the next two games are $17 and $18 to get in the door, respectively. If all of that value wasn’t enough, Toronto fans will be pleased to learn it’s not all about the Yanks, as Blue Jays tickets also drop way down for this series (usually right around $126 on average for the rest of the year).

This series carries even more value when you look ahead to the a late-season series between these two squads (Sep. 21-23) in Toronto. Sure, it’s entirely possible (if not downright likely) that the series two weeks from now will be more intense, but even if that’s the case, all three of those games are priced out over $205 on average. That gives fans huge savings to see the same exact series live this week, and with the ramifications just as important. Fans looking to attend either of these series can find the best travel and hotels deals via, which lists accommodations ranging from five-star hotels to AirBnB availability.

While the value is obvious for this week, the winner is not. The Blue Jays and Yankees have been fighting back and forth for the top spot in the AL East for the past month and both have really been in the mix for the division all year long. Toronto really put their foot on the gas when they swung trades for Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, however, and suddenly are quite the formidable roadblock as New York tries to win the division and punch their ticket into the 2015 MLB playoffs.

The reality is both teams boast elite offenses, and aside from Price in Toronto, neither has a defense they can routinely hang their hat on. It doesn’t get much more obvious than a look back at the meetings between these two already this year, as Toronto holds an 8-4 season series edge. The reason? Offense. Toronto lived up to their potent offense in the prior 2015 meetings, dropping a whopping 43 runs on the Yanks, while only giving up 26. If the Yankees want to give the AL East title a serious go, their offense will need to show up. There’s no guarantee that happens, but it’s beyond clear that this series is hyped up for a reason: because the offensive potential is through the roof and there just aren’t many series that carry more weight.

9/10 to 9/13 Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays


So this is the big one. The most important series of not only the 2015 season, but the most important series for the Yankees since 2012. The Blue Jays? They haven’t played a series this big since Joe Carter faced Mitch Williams. The Yankees certainly need to win this series more than Toronto. They’re at a disadvantage going forward due to injury, general roster construction, and the standings. New York is 4-8 against the Jays this year, including 1-5 at Yankees Stadium. Gross.

What Have The Blue Jays Done Lately?

Believe it or not, the Blue Jays are actually in something of a slump right now. They just dropped two of three to the Red Sox and are 3-3 in their last six games. Of course, they’re also 26-9 since August 1st, so yeah. The Jays are 79-60 overall with baseball’s best run differential at +190. (The Cardinals are second at +122.) The Yankees are 1.5 games back in the AL East, which means they have to take at least three of four this weekend to come out of the series in first place. A split ain’t good enough at this point.

Offense & Defense

In terms of runs per game (5.47), the Blue Jays have baseball’s best offense since the 2009 Yankees (5.65). They’ve scored 760 runs this season, almost a hundred more than the second place team (Yankees at 671). This is a juggernaut offense. They have a team 114 wRC+. The gap between them and the No. 2 team (Dodgers at 107) is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 8 teams (several at 100). Just imagine if they had a healthy 2B Devon Travis (136 wRC+). He’s out with a shoulder problem.

Tulo. (Presswire)
Tulo. (Presswire)

Manager John Gibbons has apparently decided scoring runs is too easy, so he’s been batting OF Ben Revere (97 wRC+) leadoff instead of SS Troy Tulowitzki (99 wRC+). Tulo now hits fifth behind the Revere, 3B Josh Donaldson (162 wRC+), OF Jose Bautista (143 wRC+), and 1B Edwin Encarnacion (141 wRC+). Pretty much any one of those guys would be the best hitter on most other teams in baseball. The Blue Jays have all three in the lineup. Scary. Scary scary scary.

The rest of the Toronto lineup features C Russell Martin (106 wRC+), 2B Ryan Goins (84 wRC+), OF Kevin Pillar (83 wRC+), and the 1B Justin Smoak (103 wRC+) and 1B/OF Chris Colabello (151 wRC+) platoon. C Dioner Navarro (67 wRC+) will get some at-bats at DH, especially now that rosters have expanded and they have a third catcher. C Josh Thole (45 wRC+ in very limited time) is R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher. IF Cliff Pennington (45 wRC+) is the backup infielder. The crop of September call-ups includes UTIL Matt Hague, IF Munenori Kawasaki, OF Ezequiel Carrera, and OF Dalton Pompey. Pompey has been used as their pinch-running specialist.

The offense is mighty impressive, but the Blue Jays don’t get enough credit for being an excellent defensive club. Martin, Donaldson, Tulowitzki, and Pillar are all exception defensive players while Goins, Revere, Bautista, and Smoak are merely above-average. Encarnacion is the lone solidly below-average regular gloveman. This team can catch the ball. They’re not just a collection of meathead sluggers.

Pitching Matchups

Thursday (7pm ET): RHP Luis Severino (vs. TOR) vs. LHP David Price (vs. NYY)
The Blue Jays acquired Price for games like this, to beat the Yankees and help them win the AL East for the first time in two decades. The 30-year-old is in the middle of the best season of his career, pitching to a 2.43 ERA (2.88 FIP) in 28 starts and 196.1 innings. That includes a 2.15 ERA (2.33 FIP) in seven starts and 50.1 innings with the Blue Jays. Price’s strikeout (24.8%), walk (5.2%), and homer (0.73 HR/9) rates are all excellent, and while his grounder rate (40.5%) is below-average, it doesn’t matter because he generates so many weak pop-ups (10.9%). He has a slight reverse split (.290 vs. .268 wOBA in favor of lefties) that is atypical of the rest of his career. Price is a premium power pitcher, living in the mid-90s with a four-seamer and two-seamer, and a notch below that with his cutter. He throws some kind of fastball almost 70% of the time and he spots everything. Price pitches in and out, up and down, you name it. A mid-80s changeup has become his top secondary pitch, though he’ll still throw a few upper-70s breaking balls. The Yankees have seen Price three times this year. Once went great (eight runs in 2.1 innings), once went terribly (seven shutout innings), and once went okay (three runs in seven innings).

Friday (7pm ET): TBA vs. RHP Marco Estrada (vs. NYY)
Estrada, 32, has been found money for the Blue Jays. No one expected him to pitch this well. He owns a 3.18 ERA (4.28 FIP) in 147.1 innings spread across 23 starts and six relief appearances — Estrada started the season as the long man before moving into the rotation — despite unimpressive peripherals: 18.6 K%, 8.0 BB%, 32.2 GB%, and 1.10 HR/9. Nothing is even average there. Estrada has a tiny platoon split (.286 vs. 276 wOBA, advantage righties) thanks to his upper-70s changeup, which he’ll throw in any count to any batter. He sets the pitch up with an upper-80s four-seamer and will also mix in a few upper-70s curveballs. The Yankees have seen Estrada three times this year. They crushed him once (five runs in 4.2 innings), he dominated them once (6.1 scoreless innings), and the other game was kinda in between (two runs in six innings).

Stroman. (Presswire)
Stroman. (Presswire)

Saturday (1pm ET): TBA vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (vs. NYY)
The 24-year-old Stroman was expected to miss the entire season after tearing his ACL during a fielding drill in Spring Training, but his rehab went well, so the Blue Jays are activating him for the weekend. This will be his first start of the season. Stroman had a 3.65 ERA (2.84 FIP) in 130.2 innings across 20 starts and six relief appearances last summer, which was his first taste of the show. His strikeout rate (20.8%) was about average but he didn’t walk anyone (5.2%), kept the ball on the ground (53.8%), and gave up an unsustainably small number of homers (0.48 HR/9). He also had a tiny platoon split: .287 wOBA for lefties and .278 wOBA for righties. Stroman will throw six different pitches, but his mid-80s slider and changeup took a backseat to his low-to-mid-90s two and four-seamer, low-90s cutter, and low-80s curveball. This is his first start back following a long layoff, so who knows what to expect. With any luck, Stroman will be rusty. Rusty and overthrowing because he’s amped up in his first start back.

Sunday (1pm ET): TBA vs. RHP R.A. Dickey (vs. NYY)
The Blue Jays acquired Dickey to be their ace a few years ago and at this point it’s not even a guarantee he will be in their postseason rotation. The 40-year-old has a 4.01 ERA (4.58 FIP) in 29 starts and 188.2 innings this season, though he has been better the last few months, pitching to a 3.10 ERA (4.00 FIP) in 19 starts and 124.2 innings since June 1st. Dickey doesn’t strike hitters out (14.8%) and he doesn’t get ground balls (43.1%), which isn’t uncommon for knuckleballers. They tend to get weak fly balls. His walk rate is average (7.4%) and he’ll give up dingers (1.10 HR/9). Sometimes the knuckleball doesn’t knuckle and becomes a batting practice fastball. Again, he’s another guy with a small platoon split (.320 vs. .310 wOBA in favor of righties). Dickey throws his knucklepiece 85% of the time or so, and these days it resides in the mid-to-upper-70s. A show-me low-80s fastball is his other pitch. The Yankees have seen Dickey three times this season and managed to score three runs in 21.1 innings total. I’m looking forward to the possibility of “well the offense has struggled since facing the knuckleballer” excuses after this weekend.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have not yet announced their rotation for the weekend. Severino is starting tonight. That’s all we know. Adam Warren‘s lengthy relief out last night suggests they will keep everyone on turn, which would mean Ivan Nova on Friday, Michael Pineda on Saturday, and Masahiro Tanaka on Sunday. I know they want to give Tanaka extra rest whenever possible, but holy moly, it would be absolute madness to not start him on regular rest Sunday. Games like that are the reason they signed the guy.

Bullpen Status
The bullpen was once a weakness for Gibbons. That is no longer the case. They made some pickups at the trade deadline and called up some players to improve the relief crew. Rookie RHP Roberto Osuna (2.08 ERA/2.62 FIP) is the closer and RHP Aaron Sanchez (2.98/4.80) is now the setup man. Sanchez started the season in the rotation before moving back into a relief role. LHP Brett Cecil (3.00/3.03) is the primary southpaw.

Deadline additions RHP Mark Lowe (1.74/2.12) and RHP LaTroy Hawkins (2.86/3.09) have improved the middle innings situation. RHP Bo Schultz (3.27/4.84) and RHP Liam Hendriks (2.64/2.11) have also done solid work. RHP Steve Delabar, LHP Jeff Francis, LHP Aaron Loup, and RHP Ryan Tepera are the extra September arms. Loup, Delabar, Francis, Hendriks, Francis, and Schultz all pitched yesterday. The late-inning guys are rested.

Check out our Bullpen Workload page for the status of Joe Girardi‘s key relievers. Andrew Stoeten’s site is the place to go for the latest on the Blue Jays, though you are forewarned, the language is not family friendly.