Anyway, here is an open thread for this suddenly Yankees baseball-less night. The Cubs and Braves will be on ESPN+, MLB Network is showing a regional West Coast game later on, and there are NBA and NHL playoff games on tonight as well. Talk about those games or anything else here, just not religion or politics. Thanks in advance.
Once again, the Yankees and Nats have been rained out. Both of tonight’s games — the completion of yesterday’s suspended game and the regularly scheduled game — have been postponed, it has been announced. The two games will be made up on Monday, June 18th, starting at 5pm ET.
The makeup games come in the middle of a homestand. The Yankees will play four games against the Rays at Yankee Stadium, travel to Washington for the makeup games, then go back to New York for a three-game series with the Mariners. Not great, not terrible. The Yankees will play 17 games (well, 16.5 games) in 16 days from June 12th to June 25th though. That bites.
Both the Yankees and Nationals have an off-day tomorrow, though apparently it is not available for makeup games due to travel arrangements. I’m not sure how those rules work, but whatever. Between off-days and rainouts, the Yankees will play five and a half innings of baseball from Monday through Thursday this week. They open a four-game series with the Royals on Friday.
The good news? The overworked bullpen is getting a much-needed breather. Guys like Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson, and Aroldis Chapman have all worked hard lately, and now they get a nice little four-day break. None of them even warmed up last night. Also, fewer games now means more games with Greg Bird, Tommy Kahnle, and Adam Warren later. Hooray for that.
In addition to these makeup games, the Yankees also have to travel to Detroit for a doubleheader on June 4th, so they traded two off-days for three and a half games next month. Sucks, but what can you do? The Yankees still have three off-days in June, and none of their road series involve long travel. Could be worse.
The Yankees have not yet announced anything, though I assume CC Sabathia will start Friday’s series opener in Kansas City. He was scheduled to start tonight and it seems likely the Yankees will keep everyone on turn to ensure all their starters get extra rest.
Pitching Update: The Yankees will start Sabathia, Luis Severino, and Sonny Gray in Kansas City in that order. Domingo German is being pushed back to next week and will be available out of the bullpen this weekend, if necessary.
FanGraphs mock draft v2.0
Kiley McDaniel and Eric Longenhagen posted their second mock draft of the spring earlier this week — their first mock draft covered only the top ten picks — and, of course, they have Auburn RHP Casey Mize going first overall to the Tigers. Mize is the consensus No. 1 pick right now. Here is their mock pick for the Yankees:
23. N.Y. Yankees – Xavier Edwards, 2B, North Broward Prep HS (FL)
Like Oakland, the Yankees keep an open mind with high picks but likely aren’t looking for a high-school pitcher here unless one of the better prep arms falls here for some reason. Edwards is in play at a number of picks higher than this one and has the electrifying 80-grade speed to play everyday in Yankee Stadium. Pennsylvania prep CF Mike Siani has also been mentioned here.
As is often the case, the information in the blurb is more interesting than the mock pick itself. That the Yankees “likely aren’t looking for a high-school pitcher” in the first round jibes with previous reports about them wanting a bat. Edwards (and Siani) fit their usual draft target profile as toolsy up-the-middle guys with high-end athleticism. Sounds like a position player is the most likely outcome right now (which of course means they’ll take a pitcher.)
MLB.com’s mock draft v3.0
Once again, it is Jim Callis’ turn to take the wheels of MLB.com’s mock draft. (Callis and Jonathan Mayo alternate weeks with the mock draft.) Callis has Mize going to the Tigers with the No. 1 pick. Here is his mock selection for the Yankees:
23. Yankees: Brice Turang, SS, Santiago HS (Corona, Calif.)
Right after the 2017 Draft ended, we projected Turang as this year’s possible No. 1 overall selection. That won’t happen because he’s not hitting well, but the son of former big leaguer Brian Turang is still a lock to stay at shortstop with speed and bat-to-ball skills.
Here is my write-up on Turang. He’s another up-the-middle athlete with tools and, as an added bonus, he’s a Southern California kid. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer has a known affinity for SoCal prospects. At one point Turang was considered the top high school prospect in the draft. His stock has slipped through, and if the Yankees are still enamored with the tools, they could grab him and try to get him back to where he was last year.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Yankees called Clint Frazier up to the big leagues yesterday, mostly to serve as an extra bench bat in the NL park. He was part of the “the Yankees have too many outfielders” non-problem that sorted itself during Spring Training. It was going to be tough for Frazier to make the Opening Day roster anyway. The concussion took him out of the race completely.
In 12 games with Triple-A Scranton the 23-year-old Frazier owns a .362/.423/.703 (218 wRC+) batting line with three home runs, which is obviously great. He recently told Conor Foley he’s been working through some mechanical issues — specifically, his hands have been out of sync with his legs — which isn’t surprising for a guy who missed Spring Training. Frazier feels good though, and he was eager to get back to the big leagues before yesterday’s call-up.
“I know I’m ready,” said Frazier to Mark Sanchez over the weekend. “I don’t think there’s much more I have to prove to myself to know I can go out there and perform. This is the best I’ve felt physically, mentally, every other way, so I know I’m ready. [The Yankees] are doing really good right now, so I’m trying to wait my turn. But obviously my goal right now is try to force their hand, doing everything I can down here. I can’t call myself up.”
Frazier is the fifth outfielder on the roster but he is in the lone outfielder on the bench. Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton are the lineup pretty much every game. If an outfielder were to get hurt, what would Aaron Boone have done before Frazier was brought up? Give up the DH and put Stanton in the outfield? Make Tyler Austin play the outfield? Ronald Torreyes? I’m not sure and I’m glad we didn’t find out.
Brian Cashman indicated Frazier’s time with the Yankees could be brief — “We’ll see. Every day, something could affect the decision-making,” said Cashman to Pete Caldera — but now that he’s on the roster, how will Boone use him? Frazier wasn’t in the lineup against Gio Gonzalez last night, so for at least one night this wasn’t a platoon situation. He was on deck to pinch-hit for Masahiro Tanaka when the final out of the fifth inning was made, so there’s that.
Judge and Stanton will be in the lineup every single day. That much is clear. That means that, in theory, Frazier could share the other two lineup spots with Gardner and Hicks. It’s a fairly straightforward plan but things are never that simple. Like it or not, the Yankees are committed to Gardner and Hicks, and they’re going to play more often than not. And I agree with that. I think they give the Yankees the best chance to win this season.
In that case, does using Frazier as a part-time player — potentially not even as a platoon bat given his absence from the lineup against Gonzalez — make sense for Frazier? Consider:
- He just missed two months with a concussion and has only played 16 games since returning.
- Add in last year’s oblique injury and Frazier has 101 plate appearances over the last nine months.
Frazier needs to play. The oblique and concussion robbed him of a lot of playing time — “I’ve never had that much downtime. I feel like I’ve had eight months to prepare for this season,” Frazier said to Sanchez — and while winning at the big league level is always the top priority, Frazier’s development is important to the Yankees as well. Miguel Andujar has a clear path to MLB playing time. Frazier doesn’t.
There’s also the “showcase” factor to consider. Frazier is one of the Yankees’ top trade chips, probably their best trade chip among guys they’re actually willing to trade, and letting him rake in Triple-A will probably do more for his trade value than playing sparingly at the MLB level. If there’s an injury and the Yankees can stick Frazier in the lineup everyday — I hope it doesn’t come to this! — great, carry him on the roster. Right now, there’s no spot.
Frazier not having a big league lineup spot is truly a first world problem. Ditto Brandon Drury. I think both guys are legitimate Major League players, and yet, I think the best thing for them right now is playing in Triple-A. It’s either that or playing sparingly in the big leagues. Frazier needs at-bats after the oblique and concussion. Drury is still working through his blurry vision problems. The best place to do that is in the minors because they’ll actually, you know, play.
Cashman admitted yesterday he likes carrying an eighth reliever (groan) and it seems to me Frazier’s stint with the big league team will be short-lived. He could be back in Triple-A by tomorrow and I don’t think that would be a bad thing, not after the oblique and concussion. In a few weeks the Yankees can reassess the situation, assuming an injury doesn’t press Frazier into action first. Having too many highly talented players is a good thing! And although Frazier is on the MLB roster, there’s no clear cut role for him. A return to Triple-A would be a-okay with me.
On Monday, the Yankees made it official: Miguel Andujar is their third baseman. The Yankees activated Brandon Drury off the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Scranton, where he will continue working through his ongoing migraine and vision issues. He’s doing better. Apparently the Yankees have seen enough from Andujar in the early going to stick with him at third base.
Drury went on the disabled list seven games into the season, and since then, Andujar has put up a .284/.297/.463 (101 wRC+) batting line while flashing the tools that made him a strong prospect and the warts that prevented him from being an elite prospect. His hands are lightning fast — who can forget the seven-game run in which he went 15-for-29 (.517) with eight doubles, one triple, and three homers? — and he has a knack for getting the bat on the ball.
At the same time, Andujar has shown he will swing at basically anything, and his defense has been sketchy. I don’t think the glovework is as bad as the defensive stats suggest — going into last night’s game Andujar ranked dead last among all third basemen in DRS (-6) and UZR (-3.6) — but clearly there is room for improvement. Here’s what Aaron Boone told George King about Andujar’s progress:
“I think the thing that I have been most pleased with is he obviously had that couple of weeks’ stretch where he was hitting extra-base hits all the time and impacting the ball. But I think what he has shown me here in the last week or two where he hasn’t been on fire at the plate is he is still giving competitive at-bats, still coming up with big hits for us. Even when he is not completely locked in I still feel he is a presence,” Boone said. “The defense continues to improve, he is working really hard and making all the plays. I think he is close offensively [to] kind of getting locked back in again where he impacts the ball.”
Despite his ongoing seven-game hitting streak — Andujar is 9-for-28 (.321) in the seven games — Andujar has cooled down at the plate these last few weeks, which was bound to happen. He wasn’t going to continue ripping two extra-base hits a night all season, you know? Last night’s double was Andujar’s first extra-base hit in 14 games and he’s drawn one walk in his last 101 plate appearances. His 2.2% walk rate is an eyesore.
Not surprisingly, pitchers have adjusted to Andujar since his extra-base hit streak, specifically by throwing him fewer fastballs and fewer pitches in the zone. Makes sense, right? Andujar has shown he will swing at anything, so why give him good pitches to hit (i.e. fastballs in the zone)? A relevant graph:
Yep. Fewer fastballs and fewer pitches in the zone. It was bound to happen. Now it’s up to Andujar to adjust, and the adjustment is crystal clear: Stop chasing out of the zone. Easier said than done! But that’s it. Get that 38.2% chase rate closer to the 29.2% league average and things’ll take care of themselves. Andujar will get himself into better counts and see better pitches to hit once he shows more discipline. Until he does, pitchers won’t challenge him.
I think optioning Drury to Triple-A is as much about Andujar’s development as it is Drury’s ongoing battle with blurry vision. The Yankees want to get Drury right and soon, because he’s a good player and there’s always room for more good players on the MLB roster. Remember, he’s only 25. Drury is a potential long-term keeper himself. Having Drury and Andujar push each other at third base is a good thing. Competition is healthy.
I also think the Yankees believe — and I agree with this 100%, by the way — Andujar needs to face big league pitching to improve. Want him to stop chasing out of the zone and do a better job against non-fastballs? Okay, but he’s not going to learn to hit big league pitching in Triple-A. Send Andujar down and he’s going to hammer Triple-A pitching because Triple-A pitchers are not as good as big league pitchers. There’s not as much to be learned from that.
There is a case to be made for sending Andujar to Triple-A to work on his defense. Offensively though? Andujar is at the point where he needs to face big league caliber pitching to improve. He needs to be challenged, so the Yankees are balancing offensive development with defensive development, and they’re prioritizing offense, because Andujar is always going to be a bat first guy. Emphasize the carrying tool and let everything else catch up.
Andujar has 138 plate appearances with the Yankees this season. There’s been a lot of good and some bad. Like most young players, he’s had his ups and downs, and the downs have been more recent. I understand why some may want Drury at third base and Andujar to go to Triple-A, I totally get it, but this is a 23-year-old (a just turned 23-year-old at that) who’s done some good things and deserves more time to learn on the job.
Development does not stop at the big league level. Hell, more development takes place in MLB than in the minors. The Yankees have a deep lineup, deep enough to let Andujar go through his growing pains without sabotaging their chances to contend, and Drury being optioned tells us they’re willing to be patient with Andujar, and let him find his way. Improved plate discipline is the No. 1 goal, and Andujar won’t develop MLB caliber plate discipline in Triple-A.
“Miggy just got here. He’s going to have to prove himself every day,” said Brian Cashman to Bryan Hoch yesterday. “He’s doing a nice job. We’re happy with what we’ve seen, we’re proud of the player he’s becoming. We also acquired Brandon Drury because we believed in his abilities, too, and his upside. When you’re down there, you’re fighting to get up here, and when you’re up here, you’re fighting to continue to prove that you belong.”
The Yankees have grabbed a suspended game from the jaws of defeat. Tuesday night, their series opener with the Nationals was suspended due to rain after the top of the sixth with the score tied 3-3. The game will resume at 5pm ET tomorrow, with the regularly scheduled series finale still set for 7pm ET. Here is the box score for the still ongoing game.
Thanks mostly to Tyler Austin, the Yankees rallied to tie the game after falling behind 3-0 early. Austin smacked a two-run home run in the fourth inning and added a long game-tying sacrifice fly in the fifth inning. Had the Yankees still been trailing after the top of the sixth, it would’ve been an official game and a Nationals win rather than a suspended game.
Masahiro Tanaka had a shaky start, allowing an Anthony Rendon solo homer in the first and two more runs in the second. He settled down and retired the final eleven batters he faced. Interestingly enough, Tanaka abandoned the windup and pitched exclusively from the stretch after the second inning. Hmmm. That suggests his mechanics were out of whack and he wanted to simplify things.
Both teams had chances to tack on runs early in the game. The Yankees left runners on second and third bases in the first and second innings — they had men on second and third with no outs in the second and didn’t score — and came away with only one run after loading the bases with no outs in the fifth. Gio Gonzalez put ten men on base in five innings and the Yankees scored only three runs. Annoying! Washington stranded a runner on third in the second.
Wednesday’s weather forecast isn’t much better, and although both teams have an off-day Thursday, Aaron Boone said it is his understanding that day is not available for makeup games because the Yankees are leaving for Kansas City tomorrow night. I dunno. We’ll see. Also, both teams are allowed a 26th man for tomorrow night’s regularly scheduled game, though the 26th man won’t be eligible for the completion of this game.
As best I can tell this is the Yankees’ first suspended game since Game One of the 2011 ALDS against the Tigers. Remember that? I’m convinced the Yankees lost the series because of the rain. It forced them to use CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova in Game One rather than Games One and Two. Oh well. I can’t find New York’s last regular season suspended game. I seem to remember one against the Royals when A-Rod was going for his 600th homer? Whatever.
I assume both teams will go right to the bullpen rather than get cute with a starter or something when the game resumes tomorrow. When the game does resume, it’ll be the start of the bottom of the sixth, with Bryce Harper due to lead off. (Chasen Shreve had been warming before the rain.) The Yankees are due to bring Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius to the plate in the top of the seventh.
- LHP Justus Sheffield (shoulder) is listed as Triple-A Scranton’s scheduled starter for Saturday. He’s only going to spend the minimum seven days on the disabled list. Phew.
- RHP Domingo Acevedo (blister) traveled to Tampa to continue his rehab work down there, reports Matt Kardos. He’ll begin pitching in Extended Spring Training games soon.
- RHP Anyelo Gomez (shoulder) is still three or four weeks away, Triple-A Scranton manager Bobby Mitchell told Conor Foley. Gomez has had on-and-off shoulder trouble all year.
Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (4-3 win over Lehigh Valley, walk-off style)
- SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 K
- C Kyle Higashioka: 0-4
- DH Adam Lind: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 K — second homer in 17 games this year
- 3B Vince Conde: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K — walk-off walk
- LHP Nestor Cortes: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR, 1/6 GB/FB — 54 of 80 pitches were strikes (68%) … at one point he struck out seven straight batters
- RHP Cody Carroll: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K — nine of 16 pitches were strikes … 26/7 K/BB in 16.1 innings