Saturday Night Open Thread

The Yankees and Athletics don’t play the third game of their four-game series until later tonight, so here’s an open thread until the regular game thread comes along closer to first pitch. FOX is showing a bunch of regional games tonight and there’s also an NHL Game Seven on as well (Blackhawks vs. Ducks at 8pm ET on NBCSN), so talk about those games or anything else here.

Saturday Links: Sabathia, Alvarez, Mock Drafts, Reggie

(Ezra Shaw/Getty)
(Ezra Shaw/Getty)

The Yankees and Athletics continue their four-game series with the third game later tonight. Saturday night games on the East Coast are terrible, but a Saturday night game on the West Coast? The worst. Whatever. Here are some links to hold you over until game time.

Pettitte working with Sabathia on confidence

Through ten starts and 60.1 innings this year, CC Sabathia has an unsightly 5.67 ERA (4.24 FIP) thanks to a seeming inability to stop the bleeding. The weapons from his peak aren’t there any more and Sabathia’s been unable to adjust. He has a 5.02 ERA (4.22 FIP) in his last 50 starts and 317.1 innings dating back to 2013, in fact. But, the Yankees are contractually locked in with Sabathia for another two years (at least another two years), so in the rotation he remains.

Andy Pettitte recently told Brendan Kuty he has been working with Sabathia, mostly with his confidence. “More than anything. I’ve been talking to him about being positive,” said Pettitte. “I’ve been trying to encourage him, to say, ‘Buddy, sometimes the numbers don’t quite show how good you are and sometimes you can talk yourself into a little bit a rut … I know this is a tough stretch, but he’s got too many weapons to struggle. I think over the course of a season, if he just sticks with it and mentally stays where he needs to be, then he’ll get out of this.”

I’m sure confidence has a ton to do with it, but man, it’s pretty obvious Sabathia’s troubles have to do with a lot more than that. We keep waiting and waiting and waiting for the transition from power pitcher to location pitcher a la Mike Mussina, but it’s not happening, mostly because Sabathia not a legit top of the line command guy like Moose. If the Yankees continue to contend this season, it get the sense it will be despite Sabathia, not because of him.

Yadier Alvarez denied appeal for 2014-15 signing period eligibility

An appeal filed by 18-year-old Cuban right-hander Yadier Alvarez has been denied, reports Jesse Sanchez. Alvarez filed the appeal seeking eligibility for the 2014-15 international signing period, but he will instead have to wait for the 2015-16 period to start on July 2nd. The Dodgers are considered the favorites to sign him, mostly because all the other big market teams exceeded their spending pools this year and will be penalized going forward.

The Yankees scouted Alvarez, who has reportedly run his fastball up to 99, a few weeks ago, but they won’t have a chance to sign him due to the lost appeal. They will be unable to sign any prospect to a bonus larger than $300,000 during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods as a result of the penalties stemming from last summer’s international spending spree. The Yankees can sign anyone for any amount prior to June 25th, though there really aren’t any high-end international players on the market right now.

Whitley. (StudentSports.com)
Whitley. (StudentSports.com)

FanGraphs Mock Draft v2.0

Kiley McDaniel posted his second mock draft a few days ago. He has the Diamondbacks selecting Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the first pick, and it seems like that is the consensus right now. McDaniel has the Yankees taking New York HS OF Garrett Whitley with their top pick, 16th overall. (McDaniel didn’t cover the Yankees in his first mock draft.)

Whitley’s a tool shed. Raw, but he might have the most offensive upside in the draft. Here’s my profile. McDaniel also hears the Yankees have some interest in Michigan HS OF Nick Plummer (sweet swingin’ contact machine with okay power potential) and Kentucky RHP Kyle Cody (6-foot-7, 245 lbs., has touched 98 in the past but been inconsistent this spring). Plummer could go anywhere from about 10th overall through 50th overall, but Cody’s more of a second or third rounder.

MLB.com’s Mock Draft v3.0

Meanwhile, Jonathan Mayo published MLB.com’s third mock draft of the season yesterday. Like McDaniel and a few others recently, he has the D’Backs taking Swanson first overall. Mayo projects the Yankees to select Cincinnati OF Ian Happ with that 16h pick. Here’s my profile. Mayo also reiterates the team’s interest in California HS C Chris Betts and says the Yankees “are looking for bats and might go for one of the high school hitters available.” That’s basically the exact opposite of what we heard from Baseball America’s John Manuel yesterday, thus confirming no one knows anything about anything.

Reggie Jackson, Troy Afenir to represent Yankees at 2015 Draft

MLB announced each team’s 2015 Draft representative earlier this week, and the Yankees will have Reggie Jackson and Troy Afenir on hand during the MLB Network broadcast on June 8th. Here’s the full list of representatives. Reggie is Reggie, and Afenir has worked in the team’s amateur scouting department for years and years. I know he covered Southern California a while back, but I’m not sure if that’s still the case.

Yankees drop second straight, fall 6-2 to Athletics


Source: FanGraphs

Sometimes you just get beat, and the Yankees just got beat by the Athletics on Friday night. Sonny Gray shut New York’s offense down for eight innings and sent the Yankees to their second straight loss, this one by the score of 6-2. West Coast night games get bullet point recaps, so let’s get to it:

  • Hang Around: Give Chris Capuano some credit, he could have been out of this game in the third inning, but he managed to hang around and soak up some innings without letting the A’s tack on more runs. The four-run third was partly the result of a ground ball threw Chase Headley‘s legs — it was a potential double play ball and could have limited the damage to a run or two — and Capuano was able to retire nine of the final ten men he faced to get the ball into the sixth inning. (The one base-runner was an infield single.) It was no doubt a bad start, Capuano’s third in three starts, but at least he was able to give some length. Not a total loss.
  • Four In A Row: The Yankees scored their first run on their first hit — Brian McCann hit a solo home run leading off the fifth. He’s gone deep in four straight games now. The last Yankee to do that was (who else?) Alex Rodriguez, back in 2009. They scored their second run in the sixth when Brett Gardner drove in Didi Gregorius with a ground out. Didi doubled and scooted to third on a wild pitch. The Yankees did bring the tying run to the plate in the seventh and eighth — they had the go-ahead run at the plate in the eighth! — but no luck.
  • Leftovers: Headley made another error on the ball through his legs and Gregorius made what should have been an error on was instead called a base hit. He made a nice backhand stop then fumbled the transfer hilariously. Remember when defense was supposed to be a strength? … for some reason Stephen Drew was allowed to bat with two on and two outs in the ninth while pinch-hitter Mark Teixeira stood on deck (wtf!?!?) … Esmil Rogers allowed that Gregorius-aided hit to the first man he faced, then retired the next five, three on strikeouts … Jacob Lindgren allowed a two-run homer to Brett Lawrie on a pitch that wasn’t even in the zone to put the game out of reach in the eighth.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. Nathan Eovaldi and Jesse Hahn will be the pitching matchup in the third game of the series on Saturday night. Yes, the ultra-dreaded Saturday night game on the West Coast. The worst.

DotF: Mitchell tosses eight shutout innings in Triple-A win

Got some notes first:

  • 1B Greg Bird (shoulder) took batting practice in Tampa today, according to Nick Peruffo. There’s no timetable for his return — or at least no timetable that has been made public — but taking batting practice means the process of coming back has started.
  • Both 3B Eric Jagielo (No. 14) and SS Jorge Mateo (No. 20) made this week’s Prospect Hot Sheet. 2B Rob Refsnyder, meanwhile, made the Not So Hot Sheet. Zoinks.
  • Chris King posted some firsthand scouting notes on IF Abi Avelino and IF Tyler Wade, calling them a “fun middle-infield duo to watch.” Click the link for more on both players.

Triple-A Scranton (7-0 win over Norfolk)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 R, 1 BB
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-2, 1 R, 1 RBI, 2 BB — 10.1 BB% this year after 9.5 BB% last year and 14.8 BB% the year before that
  • LF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 2 K
  • RF Ben Gamel: 0-2, 2 R, 2 BB — four walks and two strikeouts in his last six games
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 11/6 GB/FB — 57 of 79 pitches were strikes (72%) … brilliant, wish he could have gotten a chance to finish the game
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — nine pitches, six strikes … 16/5 K/BB in 17.1 innings

[Read more…]

Game 49: Reverse Lock?

(Presswire)
—(•.•)— (Presswire)

Last night’s loss was sorta disheartening, and tonight’s pitching matchup isn’t going to make you feel much better: Chris Capuano against Sonny Gray. Capuano’s been pretty crummy in his two starts since returning his Spring Training quad injury while Gray’s been dominant all year, pitching to a 1.77 ERA (2.58 FIP) in ten starts in 66 innings. It doesn’t get much more lopsided than that.

That said, this is a potential reverse lock game. A game with a pitching matchup so one-sided that the opposite of what you expect to happen happens. Baseball is weird like that. The Yankees have a good offense — well, they have six good hitters and three black holes — so maybe they can make life miserable for Gray, and Capuano has one of his trademark unexpected masterpieces. We’ll see. Here is Oakland’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 1B Garrett Jones
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. CF Chris Young
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP Chris Capuano

It’s cloudy and cool on the east side of the San Francisco Bay tonight, and there’s no rain in the forecast. Tonight’s game will begin at 10:05pm ET (groan) and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Updates: Joe Girardi said Masahiro Tanaka will start on Wednesday, which is Capuano’s spot … Mark Teixeira is fine, just a routine day off … in case you missed it earlier, Slade Heathcott (quad) was placed on the 15-day DL and Ramon Flores was called up.

Yankees place Slade Heathcott on 15-day DL with quad strain, call up Ramon Flores

Slade. (Presswire)
Slade. (Presswire)

Earlier today, Joe Girardi told reporters in Oakland the Yankees will place Slade Heathcott on the 15-day DL with a Grade II quad strain. “I can tell you it’ll be longer than 15 days,” said Girardi when asked about a timetable. Ramon Flores has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to fill the roster spot.

Heathcott, 24, told reporters on Thursday that the quad has been bothering him on and off since the offseason. I guess the team sent him for tests at some point, which confirmed the Grade II strain. Chris Capuano suffered a Grade II quad strain in Spring Training and was out from early-March through mid-May, for what it’s worth. Heathcott’s not a starting pitcher who has to get stretched out though.

Girardi said that with both Heathcott and Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) on the DL, he’ll use Brett Gardner in center field more often going forward. That makes sense — Chris Young hasn’t hit for about a month now and Flores is best used in left field. Hopefully Flores gets a chance to play like Heathcott, even if he’s only the left-handed half of a left field platoon with Young.

Flores, 23, has hit .294/.389/.425 (140 wRC+) with four homers in 42 games with Triple-A Scranton this season. This will be his first taste of MLB. Donnie Collins says Flores was in the RailRiders’ lineup tonight before being scratched, so chances are he is not with the Yankees and is still traveling out west. I guess they have to play a man short tonight.

Friday Night Open Thread

Today is day two of the seven-game West Coast swing, which means another 10pm ET start. Sigh. The regular game thread will be along a little closer to game time, so, until then, talk about anything here in the open thread. The Mets are playing, MLB Network is showing a regional game, and the (hockey) Rangers are playing Game Seven of their third round matchup with the Lightning (8pm ET on NBCSN). Kind of a big deal! Go root for the Rangers while you wait for the Yankees.