Sherman: Cubs won’t trade Schwarber for Andrew Miller

(Christian Petersen/Getty)
(Christian Petersen/Getty)

From the “no duh” department comes this nugget: the Cubs are unwilling to trade injured outfielder Kyle Schwarber for Andrew Miller, reports Joel Sherman. We’ve yet to hear whether Chicago has interest in Miller, but come on. Of course they do. Miller’s awesome, and as good as the Cubs are, the one thing they lack is a shutdown left-handed reliever. (Miller is excellent regardless of handedness.)

Schwarber, 23, tore his ACL in an outfield collision three games into the season. He came up and hit .246/.355/.487 (131 wRC+) with 16 homers in 69 games last season. I’m not as high on Schwarber as most — he’s a DH who probably needs a platoon partner, and now he’s coming off a major knee injury too — and I believe the Cubs should be open to trading a guy who isn’t on their active roster for help at the deadline, but Schwarber is certainly a good young player. Anyway, I have some thoughts on this.

1. The price for Miller should be very high. The Yankees don’t absolutely have to trade Miller. He’s signed for another two years and holding on to him through the trade deadline is a perfectly viable strategy. Free agent closers like Kenley Jansen and Mark Melancon and, of course, Aroldis Chapman, are going demand huge dollars this winter. Miller will represent a much more cost effective alternative. There will be a trade market in the offseason too.

So, with Miller being so valuable, the Yankees should stick to their guns and ask for top young players. And you know what? They’ve done that already. They held their ground over the winter and rejected a package from the Astros similar to what Houston sent to the Phillies for Ken Giles because they felt it wasn’t enough. They’re in control of the bullpen market at the trade deadline because of the arms they can offer. Miller will have a ton of suitors and it only takes one team to meet New York’s asking price.

2. One great prospect or several good prospects? I’ve been thinking about this a bit and the Schwarber non-rumor gives me a reason to bring it up. The Yankees are going to get all sorts of offers for Miller (and Chapman), but do they prefer one high-end prospect or a package of two or three good prospects? Would they rather have, say, a top ten overall prospect or two guys in the 80-100 range plus a third piece?

This all depends on the players of course, and I don’t think there’s a right answer. Giles was traded for five players but none were a truly great prospect. Miller fetched a top 25 caliber prospect (Eduardo Rodriguez) when he was traded from the Red Sox to the Orioles a few years back. The Yankees figure to be in position to demand whatever they want if they do decide to take the plunge and trade Miller. I’m curious to see what kind of return they seek.

3. Trade season will pick up soon. The first major trade of the offseason just went down (James Shields to the White Sox) and once the draft ends this weekend, trade chatter will pick up. Right now clubs are focusing on the draft. Once that’s out of the way, focus shifts back to the big league club, and teams are going to start looking to address their needs.

I think there’s a big advantage in acting early, regardless of whether you’re buying or selling. If you’re buying, the new player(s) will be able to help you for a longer period of time. And if you’re selling, you’re trading away more games and can ask for more in return. I don’t see the Yankees doing anything quickly, however. They’re going to wait as long as possible before deciding whether to pull the plug and sell.

Guest Post: Counterpoint for the Future of the Big Three Relievers

The following is a guest post from Andrew Calagna, who goes by The Original Drew #BAEROD in the comments. You can follow him on Twitter at @_swarlesbarkley. Andrew wrote about the trade deadline and the Yankees top relievers. Enjoy.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

Last week Don Sullivan wrote an intriguing guest post that advocated that the Yankees send off all 3 of their endgame bullpen arms and go into full rebuild mode. While the Yankees are not close to contending in 2016 (as of today), I do not believe that contending in 2017 is out of the realm of possibilities. Allow me to retort0

There is a core of the team already in place

There is a ton of dead weight on the Yankees roster currently (I refuse to use the “A” word) but there are still many pieces on the 2016 team that can help build a contender in 2017. Starting pitching wise you have Masahiro Tanaka, the much improved Nathan Eovaldi, and despite his struggles I would still consider Luis Severino to be an asset going forward. You have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances potentially back as the anchors to the bullpen.

Lineup wise is where it gets tricky. Starlin Castro and Didi Gregorius are definitely building pieces along with Aaron Hicks, but you have to squint really hard to find others on the current roster. Brian McCann led all catchers in HRs as recently as 2015 and having the presence of Gary Sanchez on the roster might make McCann a part time DH option next year. Do we believe that Brett Gardner is a truly .230 hitter now? It is a definite possibility but there is still enough good performance dating back to last year to possibly justify keeping him around a piece for next year’s team.

That is beginning of building a contender for next year. The good news is that some of the dead weight of the current roster will be gone next year, but there are many players that still remain (I am looking at you Chase Headley). What do the Yankees do with these players? I am not going to pretend that I am smarter than the Yankee front office, but jettisoning many of these players, even if it is for pennies on the dollar is a must. I listed 10-11 guys as pieces for next year, not counting the Yankees top prospects which is a nice segue to…

Rolling the dice with prospects

The Yankees went into the year with their offense relying on Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, two aging sluggers, having a repeat of their mostly awesome 2015 seasons. This was clearly a risk by the front office but there weren’t really any other realistic options for the team going into 2016. The 2017 team is going to be much different. Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez will potentially be ready to step in and contribute at the major league level.

As it stands today, handing over the keys to the Yankees offense to this group are also inherently risky. We are unsure of Bird’s recovery timetable from shoulder surgery, Judge is struggling at AAA right now, and Sanchez currently out with an injured thumb. The question is, is it more risky than what the Yankees did going into 2016? At some point you have to see what you have in these players and you ride or die with them. I can only speak for myself but I would rather roll the dice with this group of prospects (on top of other offseason moves the Yankees make) rather than go with the approach the Yankees have currently.

Trading away 2/3 of the big 3 relievers but not all 3

The Yankees have a depreciating asset in Aroldis Chapman. The longer he is on the roster in 2016, the less the Yankees are going to get for him in a trade. As Mike and many others have stated, no matter if the Yankees somehow miraculously turn it around in 2016 Chapman has to be turned into future assets. The return is potentially much larger now than what they gave up for him in the offseason.

Trading both Miller and Betances is where things start to get dicey. Relievers are fickle creatures, but having a dominant bullpen is a must for contending teams. I agree with Don that the most valuable reliever on the Yankees roster is currently Betances, but at the same time the Yankees would have to be really blown away to trade him. Miller seems to be a top target for a lot of contending teams and should definitely be more in play.

There is always the possibility of trading away Miller and Chapman and being able to resign the latter. This is an unlikely possibility but it becomes more likely if the Yankees trade away Miller. Like most, I believe that the now budget conscious Yankees wouldn’t pay top dollar for two relievers. If Betances is the only reliever left standing in 2016, re-signing Chapman should definitely be in play. The domestic violence issue that lead the Yankees to acquire Chapman has been a icky situation at best, but the Yankees were willing to take the brunt of the criticism but acquiring Chapman to begin with. Re-signing him should not be out of the question.

In conclusion, there is definitely more than one way to build a team. Being that the Yankees don’t truly rebuild in the sense that other teams do, I think that there is a way for the Yankees to trade away assets this year but not go into 2017 with having zero hope to contend.

I don’t think this team would be World Series favorite going into the season, but I personally would be happy with the team battling for a WC spot and have the potential to get better year and after year. Brian Cashman and Co. would be doing a disservice to the franchise to not listen to any and all offers for players on the current roster, but absolutely having to trade all assets away in a rebuild is not the only way to get the Yankees back into contention.

2016 Draft: Final Mock Drafts

The 2016 amateur draft begins today with the annual MLB Network broadcast. The draft itself begins at 7pm ET, though MLB Network will also have a preview show beginning at 6pm ET, so don’t miss that. Here are the final mock drafts before the big event. v4.0

Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo posted concurrent mock drafts this morning. They both have the Phillies taking California HS OF Mickey Moniak with the first overall selection. It seems as though Florida LHP A.J. Puk and New Jersey HS LHP Jason Groome, the consensus top two talents in the draft class, are going to slip a tiny bit into the 4th to 8th overall pick range. We’ll see.

The Yankees hold the 18th overall pick, and Callis has them selecting Texas HS RHP Forrest Whitley while Mayo pegs them for New York HS RHP Ian Anderson. Here are my write-ups on Whitley and Anderson. Callis and Mayo say the Yankees are leaning towards a pitcher and most likely a high schooler. California HS RHP Kevin Gowdy is again mentioned as a possibility. Here’s my Gowdy write-up. Callis throws Pittsburgh RHP T.J. Zeuch into the mix should the Yankees opt for a college arm. Here’s a piece of his free scouting report:

Zeuch has a four-pitch mix, all thrown with steep angle from his 6-foot-7 frame that could add more strength. He uses a relatively easy delivery to fire fastballs that have touched 96-97 mph since his return. He’ll sit in the 92-94 mph range and his fastball has good run and sink to it. Zeuch will use both a slider and a curve effectively, with his breaking stuff occasionally flashing plus, though it’s been inconsistent. He tinkers with a changeup in the bullpen, but doesn’t have a ton of feel for it and doesn’t use it much in games. He throws strikes with all of his offerings.

The Yankees love their tall pitchers and Zeuch certainly qualifies at 6-foot-7. He has some late helium after the cold Northeast weather limited how often scouts could see him earlier in the spring.

Keith Law v4.0

Like the gang, Keith Law (subs. req’d) has the Phillies take Moniak with the No. 1 pick. He has the Yankees selecting Anderson and says New York “apparently is a stopping point” for the young right-hander. That means the Yankees won’t pass him up if he’s still on the board when their pick rolls around. So that’s yet another prep arm connected to the Yankees.

Within the write-up Law also mentions Gowdy, Georgia HS OF Taylor Trammell, Virginia C Matt Thaiss, and Pennsylvania HS OF Alex Kirilloff as possibilities for the Yankees. He adds Gowdy has apparently made huge bonus demands. Here are my write-ups on Trammell and Thaiss. Here’s a piece of’s free scouting report on Kirilloff:

While there is a little length to his swing, he’s shown the ability to barrel the ball consistently and has considerable raw power, which he put to use while winning the Perfect Game All-American Classic home run derby over the summer. He’s more athletic than one would think given his size and plays center field for his high school team. He’ll have to move to a corner spot at the next level, but moves more than well enough to stay there. He has a strong arm, one that fires 87-90 mph fastballs from the mound.

It is pretty interesting that most of the players connected to the Yankees this year are high schoolers. That would go against their recent trend of going college heavy. Then again, the team did revamp the player development department a year or two ago, so I guess they’re ready to try their luck with high school prospects again after not having much success with that demographic years ago.

Baseball America v5.1

In their last second mock draft Baseball America has the Phillies selecting Moniak as well, so I guess he’s the leader to go first overall at the moment. They have the Yankees picking Virginia C Matt Thaiss with that 18th pick and add “New York has a split camp of whether it should go bat or arm.” So it sounds like we’re in for a total surprise tonight. Fun! Here’s my write-up on Thaiss, by the way.

Mailbag: Ventura, Beltran, Profar, Sanchez, Duvall, Ellsbury

Got a dozen questions for you in the mailbag this week. Yeah, I know it’s Thursday, but tomorrow is going to be pretty busy with the draft and the series preview and Yankeemetrics and all that. The options were either post the mailbag a day or early or not post it all this week. The mailbag will go back to its usual Friday morning slot next week. Send any questions to RABmailbag (at) gmail (dot) com.

Ventura. (Patrick McDermott/Getty)
Ventura. (Patrick McDermott/Getty)

Joe asks: Any chance the Yankees make a run at Yordano Ventura? Sure he’s been bad this season, he’s a hot head and he’s likely facing a suspension after the Machado disaster, but he’s only 25 and had been good the prior two years. Plus he obviously has October experience. This feels like it could be a classic Cashman buy low move.

It seems Ventura wants to be Pedro Martinez, but he’s more like Carlos Zambrano. It’s clear he’s a big time hot head — Tuesday’s brawl with the Orioles was the fourth benches clearing incident he’s incited since the start of last season — and according to Jeff Passan, his act is starting to wear thin on his teammates as well as the Royals coaching staff and front office. Passan says they’ve been trying to trade him.

Ventura was pretty good from 2014-15, pitching to a 3.61 ERA (3.59 FIP) in 346.1 innings, and yeah he does have a lot of postseason experience. That never hurts. This season has been a different story though. Check out his ranks among the 106 qualified starters heading into last night’s game:

ERA: 5.32 (94th)
FIP: 5.29 (97th)
K%: 14.7 (96th)
BB%: 11.7 (100th)

The only thing is keeping this guy on the roster right now is his age, his contract (owed $21.7M through 2019), and the fact that he throws 99 mph regularly. I’m all for taking chances on young pitchers with live arms who might be able to be had on the cheap. That’s never bad business.

There is a difference between Ventura and, say, Nathan Eovaldi though. Ventura might be a crazy person. I think there’s a decent chance his ineffectiveness this season is a hangover from two long postseason runs the last two years, but, at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if his immaturity is going to prevent him from taking that next step. Fair or not, there are plenty of folks asking that question. I have long been anti-crazy players. They always seem to be more trouble than they’re worth.

Michael asks: Assuming Beltran maintains his current performance, what do you think he could fetch at the deadline? Trading him seems like a no-brainer if (dear god I hope they do) they decide to sell from both the team and Carlos’s perspective.

It is really tough to gauge Carlos Beltran‘s trade value. He’s obviously still very productive and he has a reputation for being a clutch hitter and a big game performer. Teams are going to look at him as an impact hitter who can help get them over the hump. At the same time, he’s a major defensive liability and a bit of an injury risk. Plus he’s not young and you have to worry about him wearing down.

The Giants traded Zack Wheeler for a half-season of Beltran a few years ago — Wheeler was in High Class-A at the time and still a few years away from MLB — and holy cow, that would be the dream scenario. Beltran’s a few years older now though, and he’s a worse defender. Using the Yankees as a reference point, could they get a Bryan Mitchell caliber arm for Beltran? Maybe a Mitchell and a Ben Gamel? I don’t think they’ll get a top prospect. Two useful pieces seems much more likely.

Zac asks: The Rangers need to find playing time for Profar and the Yankees need a first baseman. Does a Mitch Moreland trade make sense?

I don’t think so. Moreland is having an awful season (64 wRC+) and he’ll be a free agent this winter. I’d rather see the Yankees keep running Rob Refsnyder out there at first base to see what they have while Mark Teixeira is out injured. Moreland figures to come cheap and yeah, he’s probably better than Chris Parmelee, but taking on a player making decent money to be a band-aid at first base isn’t all that appealing. Roll with Refsnyder. Let’s see what the kid can do, finally.

(Jason Miller/Getty)
(Jason Miller/Getty)

Lonnie asks: What about a Miller for Profar trade? Rangers need relief pitching more than any other contender and even though Profar doesn’t fit a position of need, he is still a top talent. Get him and then figure out what to do, maybe move Castro to 3b for the time-being?

That’s the kind of talent the Yankees should be targeting. Andrew Miller is unbelievably valuable. He’s no worse than the fourth best reliever in baseball right now and he’s signed for another two years at a salary well below what he’d get as a free agent nowadays. Everyone’s going to want him and the Yankees should set a very high price. An elite young player feels like a must get in any trade.

It’s early, but Jurickson Profar has bounced back well after missing the entire 2014-15 seasons with a shoulder injury. He hit in the Arizona Fall League last year (115 wRC+), hit in Triple-A this year (113 wRC+), and he’s hit since being called up about two weeks ago (170 wRC+). The Rangers might be willing to move him since their infield is full too. They’re locked into Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus on the left side, and Rougned Odor is quite productive at second.

The Yankees have inquired about Profar before, but the Rangers understandably did not want to move him when his value was down due to the shoulder problems. He’s healthy now and he’s rebuilt value. Profar is exactly the type of player the Yankees lack as a true potential franchise cornerstone. Right now all they have is a bunch of complementary players (at least in my opinion). Get him and figure out where he plays later.

Andrew asks: With Marlon Byrd now suspended for the whole year and the Indians needing an outfielder. Any chance we can flip Beltran or Gardner there for some pitching? (Obviously Gardner brings the better haul back).

Not only is Byrd suspended, Michael Brantley might miss an extended period of time with his shoulder injury too. The Indians have needed an outfielder since the offseason — these days their starting outfield is Jose Ramirez, Rajai Davis, and Lonnie Chisenhall — and that need has only grown with the Byrd suspension and Brantley’s recent setback.

The problem with Brett Gardner is his salary, which we discussed over the winter. The Indians have a very tight budget and they simply can’t afford a $13M a year outfielder. The Yankees could always pay down some of Gardner’s salary to facilitate a trade, but would the Indians be willing to kick in more to make it happen? Beltran might be the better fit here because he’s a pure rental. I definitely think there will be interest there.

Randy asks: When healthy, should the Yanks call up Sanchez and move McCann to first?

You know what, that really wouldn’t be a bad idea at all. Brian McCann is 32 now and he’s been beat up pretty good this year. He took that foul tip to the toe in Toronto (I think it was Toronto, anyway) and more recently hyper-extended his elbow. The Yankees want to keep him healthy and productive, and if Teixeira ends up missing the rest of the season, putting McCann at first base in the second half wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Now, that said, I don’t think there’s any chance this will actually happen. The Yankees seem to love McCann’s leadership and the way he works with pitchers. The only way I could see something like this happening is if they crash hard and really fall out of the postseason race. Otherwise I can’t see them trusting Sanchez as their everyday catcher right out of the gate. They seem wary of giving their young catchers too much responsibility too soon.

Steve asks: Do you know why the Yankees don’t play Beltran at First Base?

Teams usually don’t ask regulars to change positions in the middle of the season. Beltran played a few innings at first base two years ago in an emergency and I remember him saying he wasn’t comfortable there at all. I believe the word he used was “terrifying.” He might not be up for it. I mean, it makes sense on paper, but I don’t think the team wants to put Beltran in that position though. First base is not as easy as it looks. The ball comes at you pretty fast, especially when you’ve been playing the outfield your entire life.

(Joe Sargent/Getty)
(Joe Sargent/Getty)

Rhett asks: What about looking into trading for Adam Duvall?. Ya he had a career month and his strikeout + BB %’s are terrible… BUT he is a righty power bat that could play some first if Tex is out for the year. Not to mention, long term, he profiles as an excellent defensive left fielder should Gardner get moved. Righty power bat with the ability to play multiple positions no? Worst case scenario he’s turns into Mark Reynolds.

Heading into last night’s game Duvall ranked fourth in MLB in homers (17), second in SLG (.628), and second in ISO (.351). The power hasn’t come out of nowhere. He’s hit 30 homers in the minors before, and he whacked 53 homers in 191 Triple-A games from 2014-15. The Reds got Duvall from the Giants in the Mike Leake trade and he’s finally getting a chance to play everyday.

Duvall is 27 and he’s much more Shelley Duncan than Chris Davis. His strikeout (29.6%) and walk (3.6%) rates are awful, he doesn’t steal bases, and scouting reports indicate he’s a first baseman who can handle left field if necessary. The Yankees will need a right-handed caddy for Greg Bird next season at the very least, and sure, Duvall would make sense in that role. (He can also be an emergency third baseman. He’s played there before.) I just feel like his value is at an all-time high right now, so you’d be playing everyday player prices for someone who figures to settle in as a role player long-term. Duvall is someone to revisit down a road a bit.

Michael asks: Dave Cameron wrote an article this week about how Jacoby Ellsbury – other than the second half last year – has actually been pretty good as a Yankee. He concluded with the notion that there might even be a market for him this summer, especially with how well he’s been hitting lately. Could you speculate on such a trade – Ellsbury seems like a very Cardinals type of player, the Cubs have the FO connection, the Nats could use somebody, the Tigers, White Sox…your thoughts?

I can’t say I’m optimistic a trade market will develop for Ellsbury, at least not if the Yankees aren’t willing to eat a bunch of cash. The blueprint here might be Prince Fielder for Ian Kinsler. Big name player with a big contract for a big name player with a big contract, each team dealing from a surplus to fill a need, and a willingness to make the money work. (The Tigers ate some of Fielder’s salary.)

Kinsler for Fielder was kind of a perfect storm because the two teams matched up so well. What contending teams need a center fielder and a leadoff hitter? The Cardinals and Nationals jump to find. Maybe the Giants too, with Denard Span not looking so hot and Angel Pagan a free agent after the season. I guess maybe the Tigers, White Sox, and Rangers? That seems like it. Now what big contract can those teams give up? I’ve looked at this already and didn’t find much.

Ellsbury was legitimately awful last season and he’s been able to rebuild value this year. If a team comes along and wants him, the Yankees should be all ears, especially if it means saving money and adding young talent. If it’s a bad contract for bad contract deal, then they should still listen, because that other player may be a better fit. I have zero expectation of the Yankees ever trading Ellsbury though. I think he’ll wear pinstripes for the entire seven years of the contract.

Vidhath: I’ve heard rumblings that Chapman could get Erick Fedde in a trade withe the Nationals. Is this plausible? I think I’d prefer to get AJ Cole & Austin Voth; possible or does my trade proposal suck?

I haven’t heard any such rumblings but that seems realistic for sure. Fedde was Washington’s first round pick in 2014 even though he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery at the time. The team picked him, signed him, and rehabbed him. Fedde’s stuff has come back well enough, though even when healthy before the draft, he needed to improve his slider and changeup, and that is still the case today. He’s at least a year away from the big leagues, maybe more. I’m personally pretty high on Austin Voth and would prefer him over Fedde as part of a package for Chapman.

Ken asks: Do you think the Yankees would and/or should add a second Low-A minor league affiliate? The four short season teams they have is more than most other organizations, and it seems like there is a bit of a choke point at this level in the minor league development chain.

I get these questions often and they’re worth answering from time to time. Minor league baseball is a zero sum game. There are only so many teams to go around. For the Yankees to add another Low-A affiliate, another team would have to drop their Low-A affiliate, and that doesn’t happen very often, especially in the full season leagues. The Yankees grabbed their second Gulf Coast League team a few years ago when the Mets dropped out of the league to save money. They picked up Pulaski when the Mariners pulled out of the Appalachian League. The Yankees have actually been pretty aggressive picking up extra affiliates whenever possible. They just don’t become available very often. The more affiliates the better in my book. If a Low-A franchise becomes available, I fully expect the Yankees to show interest.

Gene asks: Would you rather be a 25th man type 150 AB bench player for the Cubs, or an everyday starter for the Braves? I absolutely hate losing, but I think I’d rather play everyday.

I’d rather play everyday personally, but I think the answer depends on your situation. Are you a rookie looking to prove yourself in the big leagues? Then playing everyday for the Braves is absolutely the better situation. On the other hand, if you’re a vet who’s already made a ton of money but are still looking for a World Series ring, then accepting a reduced role with the Cubs makes more sense. That’s essentially how the Yankees got Tim Raines back in the day. He wanted to win and was okay with having his playing time cut in half.

Yanks blow out Angels 12-6 thanks to Beltran & Parmelee

Can the Yankees change divisions? Between that Athletics series a few weeks ago and this Angels series, I think the AL West agrees with the Yankees. They blew the Angels out 12-6 Wednesday night for their third straight win. I asked for a blowout in the game thread and the Yankees delivered. Pretty cool. This was only their sixth win by five or more runs this season, by the way. Only the Athletics (four) and Twins (two!) have fewer.


Back & Forth Early
Wednesday night, power pitcher Nathan Eovaldi and finesse pitcher Jered Weaver showed you can allow runs in many different ways in baseball, and early on this game went back and forth. The Angels grabbed a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Mike Trout singled in Kole Calhoun. Calhoun had ground-rule doubled into the right-center field gap. The Yankees answered right back in the bottom half thanks to back-to-back doubles by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner, and a run-scoring single by Alex Rodriguez. That gave them a 2-1 lead.

The Halos retook the lead the next half inning. Rafael Ortega slashed a double to left and ex-Yankee Gregorio Petit ambushed a first pitch curveball for a two-run homer. Greg Petit! He’s gone 6-for-10 with two doubles and a homer in the series so far. Good grief. Then again, maybe don’t throw this pitch …

Nathan Eovaldi Gregorio Petit

… to any hitter, even someone like Gregorio Petit. That two-run homer gave the Angels a 3-2 lead in the second. They extended that lead with a Jefry Marte solo homer into the second deck in left field. Petit and Marte, eh? Not exactly the guys who want to let beat you, Nate. Marte’s dinger gave the Halos a 4-2 lead in the third. It was all Yankees from there on out.

Chip Away
The Yankees started their comeback in the bottom of the third with an Ellsbury solo homer to right field. At 151 feet, it was the highest home run in all of baseball this season. That’s … obscure. But hey, whatever. It was the best at something. That homer cut the deficit to 4-3, then, one inning later, the Yankees tied the game thanks to yet another catcher’s interference by Ellsbury. Seriously.

Chris Parmelee doubled with one out in that fourth inning, then Ellsbury came up with two outs and Parmelee still on second. He hit a hard line drive to the right fielder for what should have been the final out, but the catcher’s interference extended the inning. Gardner made the Angels pay with a single to left to score Ellsbury and tie the game. The Yankees actually went on to load the bases that inning, though they couldn’t tack on any more runs. Alas. Didn’t matter at the end of the day though.

The Halos took a 5-4 lead in the next half-inning on back-to-back doubles by Trout and Albert Pujols. Blah. It always sucks when you rally to tie the game and the other team immediately retakes the lead. It was that kind of night for Eovaldi though. Five runs on ten hits and a walk in 5.1 innings. It was a pre-splitter Eovaldi start, basically. He couldn’t locate much of anything and paid for it.


The Parm of the Yankees
After falling behind 5-4, the Yankees blew this game open and made it a laugher with back-to-back four-run innings in the sixth and seventh. The tying run? A Chris Parmelee solo homer, of course. He was making his first start with the Yankees because he has pretty good career numbers against Jered Weaver, and, sure enough, he took Weaver deep to knot things up 5-5. [insert binder joke]

New York took the lead later in the inning because, once again, Ellsbury and Gardner reached base. Those two reached base times seven on the night. Ellsbury walked, Gardner singled, then Carlos Beltran gave the Yankees a 6-5 lead with a double into the left field corner. Brian McCann stretched the lead to 8-5 with a two-run single to left. It was a real nice piece of hitting, as broadcasters like to say. (That means he went the other way.)

The onslaught continued the next inning with a Didi Gregorius leadoff single and yet another Parmelee homer, this one a two-run shot off lefty Greg Mahle. Parmelee actually squared around to bunt earlier in the at-bat before Mahle fell behind in the count 2-1. Look at the location of the pitch he hit out:

Chris Parmelee Home Run

That’s a total golf shot. Angels catcher Carlos Perez was getting ready to pick that one out of the dirt. Not a bad pitch at all by Mahle. Parmelee just reached down and golfed it to right field. Remember the Nick Green Game in 2006? Green had a few big hits and made a few nice defensive plays in one random game and that was pretty much all he did in pinstripes. This might go down as the Chris Parmelee Game. Two dingers, including a game-tying shot? Bravo.

Parmelee’s second homer gave the Yankees a 10-5 lead. Beltran stretched it to 12-5 with a two-run homer later in that seventh inning. That’s three straight games with a dinger for Carlos. He’s gone deep 12 times in his last 29 games overall. Beltran now has 16 homers on the season after hitting 19 all of last year. He was pretty good last year! Beltran’s been unreal this year. It’s been a long time since he’s hit for power like this.

Bullpen Work
Solid work by Anthony Swarzak. He inherited a runner on first with one out from Eovaldi in the sixth, allowed a single to put two men on base, then retired the next five batters he faced. Swarzak was stretched out to 40-something pitches in Triple-A so I thought he would go back out for the eighth once the lead swelled to 12-5, but nope. Kirby Yates tossed the eighth and Nick Goody tossed the ninth. Trout took Goody deep for a monster solo shot into the right field bleachers. That’s opposite field. Whatever. Eh, no big deal given the big lead.

Who you gonna call? Chris Parmelee! (Presswire)
Who you gonna call? Chris Parmelee! (Presswire)

Parmelee did indeed get a chance to hit his third home run of the game in the eighth inning, but he struck out. Alas. Two homers and a double in five at-bats is a pretty damn good first impression though. I know everyone loves Rob Refsnyder, but if this game doesn’t earn Parmelee another start tomorrow, nothing will.

The top four hitters in the lineup: 10-for-17 (.588) with three doubles, two homers, eight runs scored, seven runs driven in, two walks, and one strikeout. That will do just fine, thanks. Gardner and Beltran each had three hits while Ellsbury and A-Rod each had two hits. Ellsbury and Beltran drew the walks, and Ellsbury had the catcher’s interference.

Gregorius also had two hits from the bottom of the lineup. The Yankees had 17 hits total, tying their season high. They had 17 in that 16-6 win over the Astros in the second game of the season. (I know I said 16 hits was the season high the other day. My bad.) Eight of those 17 hits were for extra bases. The Angels bullpen allowed six runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings.

Ellsbury’s catcher’s interference was already his sixth of the season. He actually had another one the other day, but he declined it because he had a base hit on the swing. The all-time single-season record is eight catcher’s interferences by Roberto Kelly with the 1992 Yankees. Ellsbury has 103 games to beat that. (He’s on pace for 16!)

And finally, Wednesday’s HOPE Week event involved an organization called Harlem Grown, which helps children “live healthy and ambitious lives through hands-on education in urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.” A bunch of Yankees helped the kids tend to their gardens and stuff. Pretty neat.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Head on over to ESPN for the box score, for the video highlights, then back to ESPN for the updated standings. Also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. Here’s the win probability graph:

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will go for the four-game sweep (!) Thursday night at Yankee Stadium. Ivan Nova and Jhoulys Chacin are the scheduled starters. We’ll have to watch the game and Day One of the 2016 amateur draft at the same time.

DotF: Austin stays hot, Severino dominates in Triple-A win

Two quick notes to pass along:

  • C Gary Sanchez (thumb) went for his two-week checkup and was cleared to resume baseball activities, according to Chad Jennings. He’s been taking ground balls at first base, but the Yankees have made it clear he’s still a catcher, because duh.
  • RHP Gio Gallegos was bumped up from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, so says Shane Hennigan. They’re a little short on arms with RHP Anthony Swarzak called up and LHP Tyler Olson in DFA limbo.

Triple-A Scranton (6-0 win over Charlotte)

  • CF Ben Gamel: 1-4, 1 R, 2 K
  • RF Aaron Judge: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K — 10-for-22 (.455) during his little six-game hitting streak
  • DH Nick Swisher: 0-4, 2 K
  • 1B Tyler Austin: 2-4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 K — 8-for-18 (.444) with three doubles and two homers in five games since the promotion
  • LF Jake Cave: 2-4, 2 R, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 1 K — his 28 extra-base hits lead the farm system by a mile … Sanchez and 1B Chris Gittens are second with 20 each
  • C Kyle Higashioka: 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
  • RHP Luis Severino: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 4/4 GB/FB — 51 of 75 pitches were strikes (68%) … vintage Severino performance
  • RHP Gio Gallegos: 1.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 22 of 35 pitches were strikes (63%)
  • LHP James Pazos: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2/0 GB/FB — half of his 32 pitches were strikes … 29/19 K/BB in 22 innings

[Read more…]

2016 Draft: Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds | OF

Reynolds, 21, was undrafted out of high school, but he’s been a three-year starter at a powerhouse program in Vanderbilt. This spring Reynolds put up a .330/.461/.603 batting line with 13 homers, 49 walks, and 58 strikeouts in 62 games. He also performed well in the Cape Cod League last summer.

Scouting Report
Reynolds is one of those guys who does a little of everything but nothing exceptionally well. His weakest tool is his below-average throwing arm, which relegates him to left field long-term. Reynolds has good speed and instincts in the outfield, so he should be able to hold down center for the foreseeable future. At the plate, he’s a switch-hitter with good power from both sides, and his advanced approach allows him to hit for average too. No player is a lock to do anything, but Reynolds is as good a bet as any player in the draft to become at least an average big league hitter. Swing-and-miss issues are a concern — he had a 20.4% strikeout rate this spring, which is awful high for a top college hitter — especially since he’s not a hacker who will chase off the plate.

In their latest rankings Keith Law (subs. req’d),, and Baseball America ranked Reynolds as the 16th, 23rd, and 31st best prospect in the draft class, respectively. The Yankees pick 18th. They’ve been connected to college bats in mock drafts recently, and outside of the elite top of the draft guys, Reynolds figures to be the best all-around college position player available when New York’s pick rolls around.