Here is tonight’s open thread. Again, the Yankees have an off-day, but ESPN is showing the Cubs and Pirates, plus the suddenly fun Mets are playing is well. New York is pretty cool when both the Yankees and Mets are good. Talk about those games or anything else right here. Have at it.
Last week, the crew at MLB.com released their midseason top 100 prospects update, which includes 2015 draftees and has since been updated to reflect all the players who were traded at the deadline. Twins OF Byron Buxton, who is currently on the MLB DL but is still prospect eligible, holds the top spot. Dodgers SS Corey Seager and Nationals RHP Lucas Giolito round out the top three.
The Yankees have two players on the top 100 and they both rank pretty high: RHP Luis Severino is No. 16 and OF Aaron Judge is No. 21. Severino will be called up to make his MLB debut tomorrow, as you already know. SS Jorge Mateo, who figures to climb into the various top 100 lists next spring, did not make this iteration of MLB.com’s top 100 list. Neither did 1B Greg Bird or any other Yankees farmhand. Severino and Judge, that’s all.
In addition to the overall top 100, MLB.com also posted updated top 30 prospects lists for each of the 30 clubs. I’m not going to list the entire Yankees top 30 here, you can click the link to see it for yourself. Severino, Judge, Mateo, and Bird predictably sit in the top four spots. First round pick RHP James Kaprielian slots in at No. 5. C Gary Sanchez is still getting no respect, I tell ya. He’s No. 7. Here are some other names who stick out in the top 30:
- SS Hyo-Jun Park, No. 19: The write-up calls him a “legitimate shortstop” with “plus speed and defensive skills.” Park has a 103 wRC+ with Rookie Pulaski this summer and is the highest ranked prospect from last summer’s massive international class.
- LHP Jordan Montgomery, No. 27: Last year’s fourth rounder is now “throwing a little bit harder in pro ball than he did in college” and regularly sitting in the low-90s. Montgomery has carved up the low minors (3.08 ERA and 2.71 FIP) and is a four-pitch guy with command, making him a safe bet to contribute at the MLB level.
- RHP Cale Coshow, No. 28: Coshow’s having an excellent year (2.02 ERA and 2.44 FIP in 75.2 innings between Low-A and High-A) and the write-up says he has “worked with a 95-97 mph fastball that reached triple digits and flashed a wipeout slider.”
As with all MLB.com’s lists, the scouting reports and everything are completely free. That’s both the top 100 and the team top 30 lists. The scouting reports also include 20-80 scouting scale grades and links to video wherever possible. Pretty awesome resource, so make sure you check it out.
According to George King, the Yankees “turned down overtures” from the Braves regarding a deal that would have sent catcher prospect Gary Sanchez to Atlanta for outfielder Cameron Maybin before the trade deadline last week. The Yankees made their top prospects off limits in trade talks but it’s unclear whether Sanchez was included in that group alongside Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, and others.
First of all, Sanchez for Maybin doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for the Yankees. Maybin, 28, is having a nice year, hitting .280/.332/.380 (100 wRC+) with eight home runs and 17 steals to go along with strong center field defense, but where does he play? The Yankees are locked into their three starting outfielders and they already have a quality right-handed hitting fourth outfielder in Chris Young, who’s been awesome.
I suppose the Yankees could have picked up Maybin and then looked to flip Brett Gardner for a pitcher or whatever, but that seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? Maybin doesn’t fit the 2015 Yankees at all, and paying him $8M to be the fourth outfielder next season — and then another $1M to buy out his $9M option for 2017 — just doesn’t make sense from a baseball standpoint. I don’t see how that trade helps.
As for Sanchez, he is in the middle of a big year offensively, hitting .266/.333/.489 (136 wRC+) with 17 doubles and 15 homers in 309 plate appearances with Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton. Lots of people seemed to get Sanchez fatigue waiting for a season like this. He is still only 22 though, plus he’s never actually been bad, and the bat is often the last thing to come around for catcher prospects because they spend so much time focusing on defense.
Now, that said, I do think the Yankees were willing to trade Sanchez at the deadline and will be willing to do so again this offseason. Just not for someone like Maybin though. The Yankees prioritize defense behind the plate and Sanchez simply doesn’t offer it, plus Brian McCann is signed for another few seasons and John Ryan Murphy has been crazy impressive this summer. Catcher isn’t a pressing need. That all makes Sanchez a prime trade chip.
I could see the Yankees moving Sanchez this winter as part of a package for a high-end player with a year or two left on his contract or a younger, less established guy with multiple years of team control remaining. Not someone who would only be a spare part like Maybin. Sanchez has rebuilt his prospect stock in the eyes of some this year but I don’t think it ever took a hit. He’s taken a step forward this year and is having the big offensive season lots of people have been waiting to see. If nothing else, Sanchez has boosted his trade stock.
As I said over the weekend, I think it was quite risky for the Yankees to let the trade deadline pass without adding some kind of pitching depth. They could always add a pitcher in an August waiver trade, sure, but they won’t have access to the high-end arms. Guys like Jeff Samardzija and Hisashi Iwakuma figure to be claimed on revocable waivers long before they get to New York.
The Yankees did not acquire a pitcher but not because of a lack of effort — they were reportedly out there talking to everyone about their available pitchers, including the Reds (Johnny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman, Mike Leake) and Padres (Craig Kimbrel, etc.). The issue for them was cost. They didn’t want to surrender their top prospects, and in many cases, teams traded their top prospects at the deadline. J.J. Cooper notes six top 50 and nine top 100 prospects were traded within the last week or so.
The reluctance to surrender top prospects was not necessarily a case of blind prospect hugging, which happens often. It’s only natural. Prospects are like kids, everyone loves their own more than than everyone else’s, and they’re more willing to overlook their shortcomings. The Yankees held on to their top prospects partly because of their proximity to MLB — these guys are in Triple-A and producing, which means they aren’t far off from helping the Yankees.
“I’ve been in the position in the past where we’ve had a strong system, but it was down low and you had to wait it out,” said Brian Cashman to Chad Jennings following the trade deadline. “Well, we’ve done the waiting. We’ve done that hard part in waiting it out, and now these guys, we probably have one of the youngest and also productive and high-profile rosters at Triple-A.”
Cashman admitted to having four untouchable prospects: Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, and “in most cases” Jorge Mateo. Judge, Severino, and Bird are all in Triple-A right now — well, Severino is technically still in Triple-A, but he’s being called up to join the rotation tomorrow — while Mateo is still all the way down in Low Class-A. That’s why he was untouchable “in most cases” and not all. The Yankees were reportedly ready to deal Mateo for Kimbrel, but it didn’t happen.
Severino, Judge, and Bird are valuable to the Yankees in both the short and long-term because they’re obviously very good prospects, and also because they fill positions of need. Severino’s a pitcher and everyone needs pitching. Judge and Bird have a clear path to the long-term right field and first base jobs, respectively, since both Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira will be free agents after next season. The Yankees won’t have to wait years to see them in the show. They could be up and in the lineup everyday next year if there’s an injury.
Success in Triple-A does not guarantee success in MLB, that couldn’t be more obvious at this point, but success in Triple-A does make success in MLB somewhat more likely. Minor league performance matters less and less the further away you get from the big leagues. Double-A is usually the big separator — most suspects are weeded out from the actual prospects at that level. Judge, Severino et al have succeeded in Double-A and are now doing it in Triple-A.
Did the Yankees make a mistake by not adding pitching depth at the trade deadline? Oh sure, it would be extremely easy to argue that. Example: the team’s starters allowed 36 runs in 51.2 innings during the ten-game road trip and they just lost Michael Pineda to a forearm injury for a few weeks. See? Simple. Considering they have a nice lead in the AL East and haven’t been to the postseason since 2012, dealing some minor leaguers for pitching would have been easily justifiable.
Instead, the Yankees the Yankees focused on the long-term, holding on to their top prospects rather than trade them for a quick fix, which is what many folks have wanted them to do for quite a while. In this case the long-term is also the short-term. We’ll see it with Severino tomorrow. Had the Yankees made a bunch of low level prospects untouchable, well that would have been sorta foolish. They have high-end prospects close to MLB now though, for the first time in a long time. Hanging on to players this close to helping is much more sensible.
“Again, with young guys, if you’re right on your assessments, you can have it pay off towards the back end,” added Cashman. “We haven’t deviated from that game plan. We’re comfortable doing that. We believe in the upside. We also see the patience that at times is necessary.”
So I guess the Yankees figured out how to score away from the Bronx, eh?
It got so bad in Friday’s 13-6 win that the White Sox used designated hitter Adam LaRoche in the ninth inning, the third time this season that a position player has pitched against the Yankees. The last time three position players pitched against the Yankees in a single season was 1964 when the Angels’ Willie Smith did it three times, and the last time three different position players pitched against them was 1944.
Mark Teixeira broke the game open with a grand slam in the second inning off southpaw Carlos Rodon, the 10th of his career and second this season. He added a two-run homer in the fourth inning off righty Matt Albers, marking the 14th time he’s homered from both sides of the plate in a single game. That’s the most such games in major-league history, and one more than former Yankee Nick Swisher.
He finished with six RBI, joining Lou Gehrig (1934) as the only Yankee first basemen ever to drive in that many runs against the White Sox. The only other Yankee first baseman in the last 75 years with a grand slam against the White Sox are Jason Giambi (2003), Tino Martinez (1997) and Don Mattingly (1987).
A-Rod had himself a nice day at the plate, too, with two hits and three walks and four runs scored. He’s just the fourth player at the age of 40-or-older to reach base at least five times and score four runs in a game in the last 100 years. The others are Rickey Henderson (1999), Dave Winfield (1994) and Reggie Jackson (1986). Yes, all of them are former Yankees, but none did it in pinstripes besides A-Rod.
The Melkman cometh
One day after their 13-run explosion against the White Sox, the Yankees managed just five hits and two runs in a loss on Saturday night. Baseball, I guess?
Friday was eighth game this season that the Yankees scored double-digit runs … they’ve now scored 23 runs combined in the next game, or an average of 2.9 per game, and in five of those eight games they’ve been held to two runs or fewer.
Our old friend Melky Cabrera put the game out of reach with a three-run homer in the fifth inning, giving the White Sox a 6-1 lead. That gave him nine homers in 128 career at-bats against the Yankees, or one every 14 at-bats. Against everyone else in his career, he’s hit a homer once every 54 at-bats.
Bronx bombers are back
The Yankees finished off their 10-game road trip with another offensive outburst, crushing the White Sox 12-3 on Sunday afternoon to win the rubber game of the series. The Yankees haven’t lost a series since the end of June, getting seven series wins and one split in that span. Muy bueno.
With 12 runs in this game and 13 in the series opener, it was the first time the Yankees scored 12-or-more runs twice in a single series against the White Sox since May 10-11, 1988 in New York.
The star of the game was an unlikely one, as Stephen Drew tallied a season-high three hits and four RBI from the bottom of the lineup. He was a homer short of the cycle, the first Yankee No. 9 hitter to do that since Joe Girardi on Aug. 23, 1999 against the Rangers. A Yankee batting ninth in the order still has never hit for the cycle.
The last Yankee second baseman with at least a single, double and a triple against the White Sox was Bobby Richardson on July 29, 1962. Richardson had a league-leading 209 hits that season and finished second in the AL MVP race behind teammate Mickey Mantle.
Record Last Week: 4-3 (62! RS, 36 RA)
Season Record: 59-45 (512 RS, 452 RA, 58-46 pythag. record) 6.0 games up in ALE
Opponents This Week: Mon. OFF, vs. Red Sox (three games, Tues. to Thurs.), vs. Blue Jays (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- The week started with a four-game series in Texas. Alex Rodriguez homered against his former team on his 40th birthday, which was a 6-2 win on Monday. The Yankees dominated in Tuesday’s 21-5 win but fell 5-2 on Wednesday. The Rangers walked off with a 7-6 win in the series finale.
- The Yankees headed to Chicago next, and promptly depantsed the White Sox in Friday’s 13-6 win. The ChiSox returned the favor in Saturday’s 8-2 loss. New York took the series finale 12-3 yesterday.
- Injury Updates: Michael Pineda (forearm) was placed on the DL with a Grade I forearm flexor muscle strain. Diego Moreno (elbow) was placed on the DL with inflammation. Chris Martin was placed on the Triple-A DL.
- The Yankees acquired Dustin Ackley from the Mariners for Jose Ramirez and Ramon Flores. Other than that, they did not make any trades at the deadline. They were connected to Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Carter Capps, Yovani Gallardo, Mike Leake and others. Here are the rumors from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
- Chris Capuano was designated for assignment and later accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Scranton. Slade Heathcott (quad) was activated off the DL and optioned to Triple-A. Garrett Jones was designated for assignment and Esmil Rogers was released to pursue an opportunity in Korea.
- Moreno, Branden Pinder, Nick Goody, Caleb Cotham, Nick Rumbelow, Bryan Mitchell were all part of the bullpen revolving door last week. Gregorio Petit was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot.
- And finally, Luis Severino will be called up on Wednesday to join the rotation.
Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the Features tab in the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Triple-A Scranton (4-3 win over Columbus)
- CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 2 K — fourth triple in his last nine games and his 13th of the season
- 3B Jose Pirela: 1-3, 1 RBI
- 1B Greg Bird: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K, 1 E (missed catch) — 7-for-17 (.412) in his last four games
- DH Gary Sanchez: 0-4, 1 K
- RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 SB — each of his last four hits have gone for extra-bases (two doubles, one triple, one homer)
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-3, 1 RBI, 2 K
- SS Cole Figueroa: 2-3, 1 RBI — quietly hitting .310/.369/.397 on the year
- C Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 K
- LF Tyler Austin: 1-2, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — 10-for-28 (.357) in his last nine games
- LHP Chris Capuano: 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 3/3 GB/FB — 33 of 50 pitches were strikes, plus he picked a runner off first … in case you missed it earlier, he cleared waivers and accepted his outright assignment after being designated for assignment the other day … I wonder if we’re going to see him again when rosters expand in September
- RHP Joel De La Cruz: 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 6/2 GB/FB — 37 of 51 pitches were strikes (73%) … 34/18 K/BB with a 59.0% ground ball rate in 76.1 innings for the sinkerballer
- RHP Johnny Barbato: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0/2 GB/FB — eight of his 12 pitches were strikes