The Yankees won four of six games at home last week, but the homestand ended on a sour note with the two losses to the Orioles. That’s in the past now. The Yankees have a golden opportunity in front of them in Toronto this week. They can not only move closer to first place in the AL East, they can take it over outright. That would require a sweep (and the Orioles losing at least one game to the White Sox), but it’s doable. They swept the Jays in the Bronx just last week.
Either way, sweep or no sweep, this is an important series for the Yankees. Taking over the top spot in the division is the best case scenario but they could just as easily fall further back in the standings if the offense doesn’t wake up. The scored one run in their final 18 innings against the Orioles this weekend. They have to do a better of job of getting runners home when they get on base, and maybe even whack some extra base hits. Once upon a time this club had a man in scoring position even when the bases were empty. Here is the Blue Jays lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- DH Carlos Beltran
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- 2B Brian Roberts
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- SS Brendan Ryan
RHP Chase Whitley
It’s nice and sunny with very few clouds in Toronto this evening, so the Rogers Centre roof should be open. First pitch is scheduled for 7:07pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.
All-Star Voting Update: Derek Jeter continues to lead the All-Star fan voting at shortstop. He’s got a nice 400k vote lead with about a week to go in the voting. No other Yankees are in position to start the game. Here are the current AL results and here’s the ballot.
Mark Teixeira is back in the lineup tonight after leaving yesterday’s game because he took a pitch to the left foot. The Yankees dodged a bullet there. Here are some injury updates to pass along, courtesy of Dan Martin, Jorge Castillo, Marly Rivera, and Nick Peruffo:
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) is fully expected to begin a throwing program this coming weekend, according to Joe Girardi. They are “pretty confident” the extra week of rest will knock out the lingering “trace” of inflammation. “Our doctors felt (another MRI) won’t be necessary. It’s a fairly minor amount of inflammation in there compared to what it was. Another week should be plenty sufficient,” said the skipper.
- Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) is running and lifting light weights, but he won’t start throwing until late-August or September. That’s normal, his rehab is right on schedule so far. “I got to go outside and run a little bit,” he said. “I’m still two months away (from throwing). I still have a ways to go.”
- Carlos Beltran (elbow) is currently throwing from 120 feet with no significant discomfort. He was expected to begin throwing to the bases over the weekend, and if that went well, they would come up with a plan and a firm timetable to get him back into right field.
- Manny Banuelos (blisters) has been placed on the Double-A Trenton DL. He had some blister issues several years back. Banuelos missed most of 2012-13 with elbow problems, including Tommy John surgery.
The following is a guest post from long-time reader Sung-Min Kim, who you can follow on Twitter at @SungMinKim116.
As many of us know, the Yankees are set to pour a lot of money into international signings come July 2nd. The reports say they already have come to an agreement with three big-name prospects in Latin America and there is possibly one more coming from Korea. On Tuesday, it was reported that 18-year old SS prospect Hyo-Jun Park will sign with the Yankees and it sounds official — his parents have quipped on it as well. What does this signing mean and what kind of talent is he?
In terms of the Asian market, the Yankees have a richer history with signing Japanese and Taiwanese players, but not much with Koreans. In the 2004-05 offseason, the team was actually strongly linked to LHP Dae-Sung Koo (who, by the way, was a beast in KBO in the 90’s and did a decent job in Japan as well. At the age of 44, he was the saves leader in the Australian league in 2013-14) and reportedly came to an agreement, but the lefty ended up signing with the Mets and this ended up happening. Before the 2010 season, the team signed veteran RHP Chan-Ho Park, who had rejuvenated his career as a reliever, but he proved to be ineffective (5.12 FIP in 35.1 IP) for the Bombers and was DFA’d within few months.
Well, the reports strongly indicate that the Yanks are an official announcement away from sealing Park as their farm commodity. The bonus amount is reported to be around $1 to $1.2 million and the team is ready to supply Park a good amount of accommodation for his adjustment to the new culture, including a full-time translator, a “hotel-quality dormitory,” etc. He would be the first Korean IFA ever to sign with the Yankees.
As a junior of the Yatap High School of Kyung-gi province, the shortstop is tearing the cover off the ball in the Gogyo Yagu Jumal League (high school weekend league), hitting for a .467/.614/.967 slash line in 44 plate appearances in 10 games. Out of his 14 hits, 7 of them are extra-base hits with three homers. Considering that Park’s been considered a cream of the crop tier prospect since his sophomore year, when he hit .371/.475/.557 with 1 HR, his offensive performance so far this year has put him into a formidable prospect status. Another note about his power performance is that he’s done it all with a wood bat in a league that banned the use of aluminum bats back in 2004. Also, he has shown a good eye throughout his high school career. For example, during his freshman year, even when he hit for only .256 avg., he managed a .468 OBP. So far in 2014, he has a 13-to-4 BB-to-K ratio in 10 games.
Garnering attention since his sophomore year, a lot of Korean scouts have pegged Park as the possible No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 KBO Draft. At this point, it’s unlikely any KBO team will choose Park. Back in 2006, the Kia Tigers selected RHP Young-Il Jung, who had already generated strong ML interest, and the righty ended up signing with the LA Angels and the Tigers ended up wasting their 1st-round pick. The team with the first pick on the upcoming KBO Draft, the KT Wiz (an expansion team that will make its debut in KBO next season), has already announced their first two picks they received as an expansion team (RHP Sung-Moo Hong and RHP Kwon Joo). Many speculate that had Park not maintained a strong connection with the Yankees, the shortstop would have been the Wiz’s pick.
According to this article, before this winter Park looked forward to being selected in the KBO draft. “I was approached by the Yankees during the sophomore year of high school,” Park said, “my parents liked the idea of going to ML but I wasn’t sure what to expect so I declined their offer at the time.” Park’s decision changed when he trained in Los Angeles over this past winter. “I played with American players few times then and I felt they had better power and basics,” said Park, “despite all that, I felt that I played very well against them, so I started to feel confident about (playing in America in the future).”
The Yankees were not the only team that showed an interest in Park. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a $1 million offer and their scout said that “(in his sophomore year) Park was a $500K-worthy player and after I saw him in Los Angeles, he was more of a $1 million-worthy talent.” The Padres are not alone. According to Chi-Hoon Lee, Park’s agent, seven ML teams, including the Yankees, have shown interest in the shortstop, but the link also states the Yankees are Park’s sole priority.
The $1.2 million bonus is not as high as what the Yanks are giving to few other IFA signees but it’s still a lot of money. In fact, it rivals the top-tier annual salary of KBO. The highest-paid player of the league, 1B Tae-Kyun Kim, is set to receive $1.403 million for 2014. For another point of reference, OF Hyung-Woo Choi, a 30-year old proven offensive commodity, gets paid only $421K for 2014 season. A 18-year old prospect Park has a chance to receive 3x the money that an offensive star Choi is – who is hitting for a 1.074 OPS so far this season. It is suffice to say that the amount is too good to easily pass up on.
The biggest Korean IF prospect to have signed with an ML team prior to Park is SS Hak-Ju Lee for the Rays farm system. Park has gotten comparisons to Lee for both his offensive and defensive game. This would have been a more thrilling thought last year, before Lee tore his ACL while hitting for 225 wRC+ for the Durham Bulls in AAA level. He has yet to find his offensive groove so far this season (73 wRC+) but he is still only a 23-year-old in AAA and have some time to work himself into position to be a future SS for the Rays. Lee was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year-old back in 2008 with a $1.15 million bonus. Park may get around that figure (or a little more). In six minor league seasons, Lee has hit for a .285/.360/.380 line overall.
Here’s MLB.com’s scouting report on Park – he ranks #12 in the overall list (also the site misspelled his name as “Hyu-Jun Park”).
Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60
Park and his teammates from Yatap High School in South Korea spent more than a month in the United States playing against top high school teams from California earlier this year. There’s a real possibility the young infielder will get a chance to see a lot more of the country in the near future.
A legitimate shortstop prospect, Park has the tools to stay at the position as he develops. What’s more, some scouts think he has the potential to be above average in every facet of the game, except for power. That said, there’s the belief that he could still hit at least 10 home runs when he gains strength. He can also spray the ball to all fields.
Scouts view him as a good defender with solid fundamentals and compare him to Tampa Bay infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee. Park has been scouted heavily by the Yankees.
Based on what I hear about Park, the scouting grades and report sound about right. Personally, I’d like to see Park fill out his frame and have a better power display than projected (because power is sexy), but he’s still projected to show plus hit, run and field tools. If his high school slash lines are any indication, he also has some plate discipline.
Of course, the tools translating in pro ball are all big ifs. He could develop as well as Lee or he could be a costly flop like Kelvin De Leon. The odds for the latter is much bigger than the former — especially considering the cultural adjustment and language issues — it won’t be an entirely smooth ride for Park. Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo is the main example of a Korean position player who enjoyed success after years of toiling in the minors and going through cultural and language adjustment as a teenager. However, for every Shin-Soo Choo, there are a bunch of failed prospects who never adjusted to the American lifestyle and English language and returned to their home country.
Lee started out at a low-A level instead of any short-season leagues and, according to reports, Park may start at the same level as well. The shortstop himself said he wants to be a ML regular in “three years” but I think it will take longer. The tools and the hype are there. Will he be the next Shin-Soo Choo or the next Carmen Angelini? Too early to speculate what will he be like in 3-4 years, but as a Korean and a Yankees watcher (who wanted to see Choo sign with the Yankees over the offseason), I’m looking forward to seeing his development in the system.
For the second time in a week, the Yankees and first place Blue Jays will meet for three games, only the scene shifts from the Bronx to Toronto. Much like last week, this series is pretty important by late-June standards. The Yankees could leave Canada in first place if things go well. They swept the Jays at home last week but lost two of three at Rogers Centre back in April.
What Have They Done Lately?
The Blue Jays lost two of three to the Reds in Cincinnati over the weekend, and they had to rally back from eight runs down for the one win. Toronto has lost eleven of their last 15 games overall and they come into the series 42-35 with a +25 run differential. They lead the Yankees (and Orioles) by 1.5 games in the AL East.
Manager John Gibbons watches over one of the best offenses in baseball, which averages 4.67 runs per game with a team 111 wRC+. They did lose both 3B Brett Lawrie (98 wRC+) and OF Jose Bautista (168 wRC+) to injury on Sunday, however. Lawrie had a finger broken by a Johnny Cueto pitch while Bautista left the game with a hamstring problem. He is having an MRI today to determine the extent of the damage. SS Jose Reyes (94 wRC+) is day-to-day with sore knee and IF Maicer Izturis (78 wRC+) is done for an extended period of time with a torn knee ligament. They’re pretty banged up.
Even with all those injuries, Gibbons can still build his lineup around the trio of OF Melky Cabrera (128 wRC+), 1B Edwin Encarnacion (159 wRC+) and DH Adam Lind (157 wRC+). Melky has a 19-game hitting streak against the Yankees and is hitting .346/.378/.679 with six homers during that stretch. 3B Juan Francisco (135 wRC+) has been good in a platoon role and OF Colby Rasmus (118 OPS+) just came off the DL last week. Francisco figures to see more playing time with Lawrie hurt.
The Jays are currently carrying three catchers in former Yankee C Dioner Navarro (79 wRC+), C Erik Kratz (73 wRC+), and C Josh Thole (91 wRC+ in limited time). Thole is basically R.A. Dickey’s personal catcher. That’s all. IF Munenori Kawasaki (53 wRC+) and UTIL Steve Tolleson (99 wRC+ in limited time) round out the bench. Toronto’s going to have to make at least one roster move today to replace Lawrie and may need to make another depending on Bautista’s test results.
The Blue Jays are scheduled to start the same three pitchers this week that they started in New York last week thanks to a spot start over the weekend. Dickey had a minor groin injury, so they simply called up a sixth starter on Friday and pushed everyone back a day.
Monday: RHP Chase Whitley (vs. TOR) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (vs. NYY)
Stroman, 23, has a 5.14 ERA (3.69 FIP) in 28 innings covering four starts and five relief appearances this season to start his MLB career, though his walk (1.93 BB/9 and 4.7 BB%) and ground ball (51.5%) rates are excellent. His strikeout (7.39 K/9 and 17.8 K%) and homer (0.96 HR/9 and 10.0 HR/FB%) numbers are closer to league average. Lefties (.419 wOBA) have hit him much harder than righties (.307 wOBA) so far. The Long Island raised Stroman uses a mid-90s four-seamer and a low-90s cutter to set up his mid-80s slider, mid-80s changeup, and low-80s curve. He held the Yankees to two runs last week, but they worked him hard and forced him to throw 98 pitches in only 3.2 innings.
Tuesday: RHP David Phelps (vs. TOR) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (vs. NYY)
The 35-year-old Buehrle is off to a fantastic start (2.32 ERA and 3.45 FIP) that is due almost entirely to his miniscule homerun rate (0.45 HR/9 and 4.6 HR/FB%). His strikeout (5.27 K/9 and 14.3 K%), walk (2.50 BB/9 and 6.8 BB%), and ground ball (42.0%) rates are right in line with his career averages through 15 starts and 100.2 innings. Buehrle has no left/right split but he has been better on the road (.270 wOBA) than at home (.338 wOBA) this year. As always, he works in the mid-80s with his four-seamer, two-seamer, and cutter, mixing in some upper-70s changeups and low-80s curves to keep hitters (even more) off balance. Buehrle allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings against the Bombers last week.
Wednesday: RHP Hiroki Kuroda (vs. TOR) vs. RHP Drew Hutchison (vs. NYY)
Hutchison, 23, has been rock solid following his return from Tommy John surgery, posting a 3.86 ERA (3.90 FIP) in 15 starts and 86.1 innings. His strikeout (7.61 K/9 and 20.2 K%), walk (2.81 BB/9 and 7.5 BB%), homer (1.04 HR/9 and 9.3 HR/FB%), and ground ball (36.7%) numbers are all good. Not great but not awful either. Lefties (.328 wOBA) have been a bit more successful against the Hutchison than righties (.302 wOBA), though he’s been far better on the road (.266 wOBA) than at Rogers Centre (.439 wOBA). A low-90s fastball is his main pitch and he throws it a lot, more than 60% of the time. Sliders and changeups in the mid-80s round out the repertoire. The Yankees scored six runs in 3.1 innings off Hutchison back in April, then managed four runs in 4.1 innings against him last week.
Despite Dickey’s groin issue, he was able to give the team 7.2 innings in the losing effort yesterday. RHP Sergio Santos (5.04 FIP) was the only reliever used and he threw all of two pitches. Gibbons’ bullpen is pretty fresh. RHP Casey Janssen (1.68 FIP) is the closer, and with LHP Brett Cecil (2.28 FIP) on the disabled list, LHP Aaron Loup (3.31 FIP) is the primary late-inning lefty.
The rest of the bullpen includes RHP Chad Jenkins (4.77 FIP), RHP Dustin McGowan (4.65 FIP), RHP Todd Redmond (3.16 FIP), and LHP Rob Rasmussen (5.08 FIP in limited time). There really aren’t any clearly defined roles at this point outside of Janssen in the ninth. Gibbons just sorta rides the hot hand in the late innings. You can check up on the Yankees’ bullpen at our Bullpen Workload page, and for everything you need to know about the Blue Jays, head over to Drunk Jays Fans.
Update (2:15pm): The Blue Jays officially placed Lawrie on the 15-day DL and sent Kratz to Triple-A. OF Anthony Gose and OF Kevin Pillar were called up in corresponding moves. No word on Bautista’s test results just yet, but the fact that they called up two outfielders suggests he will miss a few games.
Record Last Week: 4-2 (22 RS, 25 RA)
Season Record: 39-35 (297 RS, 327 RA, 33-41 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ Blue Jays (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Red Sox (three games, Fri. to Sun.)
Top stories from last week:
- Following Monday’s off-day, the Blue Jays came to the Bronx for a three-game series. The Yankees took the opener thanks to Masahiro Tanaka and Brett Gardner, then won the second game behind Brian McCann‘s big night. David Phelps helped finish off the sweep on Wednesday.
- The Orioles came to town next, and the Yankees took the series opener thanks to Carlos Beltran‘s walk-off homer. Vidal Nuno got roughed up in Saturday’s loss and the offense scored zero runs in yesterday’s loss.
- Injury Updates: CC Sabathia (knee) is scheduled to throw live batting practice tomorrow and could pitch in a minor league rehab game next weekend. Michael Pineda (shoulder) had his throwing program pushed back a week due to a “trace” of inflammation. Mark Teixeira (foot) is day-to-day after being hit by a pitch. X-rays were negative. Kelly Johnson (fingers) was day-to-day after being hit by a pitch and has since returned to the lineup.
- Brian Cashman said he expects to make some moves before the trade deadline. The Yankees are asking “almost exclusively” about starting pitchers in trade talks, though they are reportedly scouting John Mayberry Jr. as well. Russ Canzler was released.
- The Yankees signed fourth round pick LHP Jordan Montgomery (slot $424k bonus) and sixth round pick RHP Jonathan Holder (below-slot $238k bonus).
- Alex Rodriguez dropped his lawsuit against team doctor Dr. Ahmad and reiterated his intent to play next season.
- Frankie Cervelli was activated off the 60-day DL and John Ryan Murphy was sent to Triple-A Scranton.
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 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?
Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?
Triple-A Scranton (5-4 win over Pawtucket)
- 1B-LF Jose Pirela: 0-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 SB
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-3, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – first Triple-A homer
- CF Zoilo Almonte: 1-4, 1 RBI
- 3B Scott Sizemore: 2-3, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 E (fielding, throwing)
- DH Kyle Roller: 0-4, 2 R, 1 K
- RF Zelous Wheeler: 2-4, 1 K
- C Austin Romine: 1-3, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 PB — started the day game after a night game
- RHP Shane Greene: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 9/3 GB/FB — 63 of 97 pitches were strikes (65%) … hasn’t pitched well at all this year when there was plenty opportunity at the MLB level
- SwP Pat Venditte: 3 IP, zeroes, 1 K, 4/2 GB/FB — 20 of 30 pitches were strikes
- RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 17 of 26 pitches were strikes (65%)
Here is your open thread for the final few hours of the weekend. All of the video from Old Timers’ Day this afternoon is right here. Team USA is playing in the World Cup right now (on ESPN), and following that the Rangers and Angels will be the ESPN Sunday Night Game (Darvish vs. Shoemaker). Talk about those games, Old Timers’ Day, this afternoon’s loss, or anything else right here.
Well that was a disappointing weekend. The Yankees got blown out 8-0 on Sunday afternoon and were a Zach Britton disaster inning away from being swept by the Orioles in this three-game series. Let’s recap the loss:
- Deserved Better: Masahiro Tanaka gave the Yankees seven innings of three-run ball, and while that certainly isn’t his best game of the season, it’s a very winnable game. Instead he received his second loss of the year. Tanaka allowed a solo homer to Jonathan Schoop — Schoop is the first player to take Tanaka deep twice in MLB — before the O’s tacked on two runs with his pitch count over 100 in the seventh inning. He struck out six and walked one. There’s no way you could pin this loss on Tanaka.
- NOffense: Brett Gardner led the game off with a triple but over-slid the bag and was tagged out. The Yankees only had three more hits and two other runners reach third base the rest of the game. They did draw four walks, but big whoop. The four through eight hitters went a combined 0-for-17 and one of their best chances to score came in the fourth inning, when they had runners on the corners with two outs. Kelly Johnson lined right back to Chris Tillman. Bad hitting and bad luck on Sunday.
- Blown Open: Adam Warren had his first real disaster outing of the season, allowing four runs in the eighth thanks in part to Steve Pearce‘s illegal take-out slid on Johnson at third base. Replays showed Pearce clearly went out of his way to take out Johnson on the would-be 5-3 double play — he was nowhere close to being able to touch the base — but instead the throw sailed into the stands. Instead of there being a runner on second with two outs, there were runners on second and third with one out. J.J. Hardy cleared the bases with a double later in the inning.
- Leftovers: Ichiro Suzuki had two of the four hits and seems to be playing just well enough to get a new contract to be the fourth outfielder after the season … David Huff allowed a solo homer to Caleb Joseph in the ninth, the first homer of his career. Caleb is Corban Joseph‘s brother … Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both had a hit and a walk … Yangervis Solarte went 0-for-4 and is now hitless in his last 28 at-bats. The Solarte Partay’s over, folks … the Yankees have now been outscored 170-128 in 35 home games. lol
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees are off to Toronto for another three-game set against the first place Blue Jays, which is pretty big for a late-June series. Chase Whitley and Marcus Stroman will be the pitching matchup in Monday night’s opener.
5:21pm: X-rays came back negative and Teixeira is sore but otherwise fine, Joe Girardi told reporters. The pitch got him right on the toes. Consider him day-to-day, but obviously this is very good news. Dodged a major bullet.
4:54pm: Mark Teixeira left this afternoon’s game after being hit by a pitch on the side of his left foot. He got up, walked down to first, talked to Joe Girardi and the trainer, slammed his helmet, and walked off the field. Teixeira is currently the team’s only consistent power hitter and losing him for any length of time would be devastating. Hoping the inevitable x-rays come back clean and it’s only a bruise. Stay tuned. · (1) ·
Speaking from experience, Old Timers’ Day is an event best experienced live and in person. Television doesn’t do it justice. There are so many great players — all-time greats in some cases, a few of the best players the game has ever seen — and fan favorites all in one place. It’s really amazing to watch from a seat in the ballpark.
Of course, the Yankees are pretty much the only franchise in sports that can pull off an event like this. Old Timers’ Day will be extra special this year because, following the baseline introductions, the Yankees will dedicate a plaque in honor of Goose Gossage to Monument Park. Tino Martinez’s plaque was unveiled yesterday and later this summer Paul O’Neill and Joe Torre will be honored.
The full roster of Old Timers can be seen right here. Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon will be among those making their debuts and I’m sure they’ll get huge ovations, especially Matsui. Jorge Posada is still holding out and will not make his Old Timers’ Day debut today. Bummer. Mike Mussina is skipping this year too. Another bummer. Still plenty of awesome players and favorites to go around though.
The ceremony and baseline introductions start at approximately 11:30pm ET. All of it can be seen on YES. The Yankees and Orioles are scheduled to play their game at 2:05pm ET. There is no lineup yet, so I’ll update the post once it’s made available. Enjoy the ceremonies and the game.
Update (11:53am): Here is the Orioles lineup and here is the Yankees lineup for this afternoon’s game: