This was a tale of two games. It was all Yankees in the first two innings and all Indians after that. Masahiro Tanaka‘s worst start of the season and an offense that completely vanished after the third inning led the Yankees to a 5-3 loss to the Indians on Tuesday night. The little two-game winning streak is snapped and New York is back to being only one game over .500 at 45-44.
Something came up tonight (nothing bad, everything’s fine), so I wasn’t able to watch this game at all after the first inning and can’t recap in much detail. Trevor Bauer was all over the place early on though, throwing 67 pitches in the first three innings while allowing three runs and putting seven of the first 14 men on base. Then he threw 45 pitches in the next four innings and retired 13 of the final 14 men he faced. The one base-runner came on a Nick Swisher error. It was a weak grounder right through his legs.
The Yankees did not have a hit after the third inning and did not have a base-runner after the fifth inning. They worked Bauer hard early on, scoring those three runs on a string of mostly singles — the sacrifice bunt in the second inning was silly with Bauer on the ropes, but in fairness, it was Zelous Wheeler at the plate. Two walks (of course) on the night, no extra-base hits. The 2014 Yankees in a nutshell.
Tanaka, meanwhile, got smacked around pretty good. He set a new season-high in hits (ten) and runs (five allowed) for the second straight start, surrendering a pair of homers to Michael Brantley and Swisher. Brantley was 3-for-4 with two doubles and the homer. He’s really impressive. Tanaka struck out five and got another ten outs on the ground, plus Cleveland hitters swung and missed 14 times at his 99 pitches, but his mistakes were crushed. He was bound to hit a rough patch at some point. The All-Star break will do him some good.
The box score and video highlights are at MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and ESPN has the updated standings. Brandon McCarthy will make his Yankees debut on Wednesday night, in the third game of this four-game series. Vidal Nuno threw seven shutout innings for the Diamondbacks tonight. Somewhere there is a Yankees fan lamenting the trade. Josh Tomlin will be on the bump for the Tribe.
Minor League Update: No time for the full update tonight, sorry. The box scores can be found right here. 2B Rob Refsnyder had two hits (single, double), OF Zoilo Almonte had three hits (triple, two singles), 1B Peter O’Brien had two hits (double, homer), RHP Luis Severino struck out eight in four innings, LHP Jacob Lindgren fanned three in two perfect innings, and fourth rounder LHP Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning in his pro debut. That’s about it.
It’s the best day of the week. Masahiro Tanaka is making his penultimate start of the unofficial first half and he has a chance to give the Yankees their third straight win (and fifth in the last six games). It’s a good night for a win. Here is the Indians lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- DH Mark Teixeira
- C Brian McCann
- 2B Brian Roberts
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 1B Kelly Johnson
- 3B Zelous Wheeler
RHP Masahiro Tanaka
It’s hot and humid in Cleveland, but there is no rain in the forecast. There was earlier today. First pitch is scheduled for a little after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.
Injury Updates: Carlos Beltran‘s knee feels “a lot better” and he is available to pinch hit tonight … Brandon McCarthy has officially reported to the team. He is wearing No. 38, if you’re curious. Bruce Billings was optioned to Triple-A Scranton in a corresponding move … Shane Greene is still listed with the starters on the lineup card while Chase Whitley remains listed with the relievers. Between that and Billings (the other long man) being sent down, it’s likely Greene will make another start.
Via George King: The Yankees do not have much interest in acquiring A.J. Burnett from the Phillies. Philadelphia has the fourth worst record in baseball at 38-51 and there are more and more rumblings that they be ready to sell. Cliff Lee is hurt and Cole Hamels has a ton of money left on his deal, so Burnett is a lower cost option.
Burnett, 37, has a 3.92 ERA (3.89 FIP) in 19 starts and 124 innings this year, though his strikeout (19.1%), walk (9.9%), and ground ball (49.6%) rates have dropped off considerably from last season. After coming to New York with concerns about his durability, Burnett has made at least 30 starts and thrown at least 186.2 innings every year from 2008-13. He’s a workhorse, if nothing else. The Yankees can use another innings eater even after acquiring Brandon McCarthy, but bringing Burnett back isn’t happening. The Javy Vazquez reunion seems to have eliminated the “bring back a guy who stunk in pinstripes one before” option. · (28) ·
As expected, the Yankees went on a huge international free agent spending spree when the signing period opened last Wednesday. By my unofficial count, the team signed 22 players for $14.51M worth of bonuses on the first day of the signing period alone, and those are just the players we know about. I’m certain there are other deals in place that have not yet been reported.
Now that the signing period has opened and most of the heavy lifting has been completed, let’s break down everything that happened on the international front. There’s a lot to digest here.
The Yankees were assigned a $2.2M signing pool for international players this summer, but they blew right through that. Based on what we know, they will have to pay approximately $12.31M in taxes for going over their pool, and the final number will be higher than that since it is inevitable several signings have yet to be reported. Between bonuses and penalties, the current total payout is $26.82M, or thereabouts.
In addition to the tax, the Yankees are now prohibited from signing a player to a bonus larger than $300k during both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 signing periods, the last two covered by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. Here is the most important thing: their signing pool will not change in those years. Their pool will be whatever size it’s supposed to be based on their finish in the standings, but now they can not hand out any big bonuses. They aren’t actually losing any pool money these next two signings periods.
So … Good Idea or Bad Idea?
I’ve been going back and forth about whether going all in on one signing period is a good idea. At this point I think it is. Yes, they effectively removed themselves from the bidding for the top international prospects in the next two signings periods, but the Yankees usually do a very good job of finding cheap talent in Latin America. RHP Luis Severino ($225k), SS Abi Avelino ($300k), and SS Thairo Estrada ($45k) all signed for relative peanuts. Heck, go back a few years and both Robinson Cano ($150k) and Ivan Nova ($80k) came cheap. That $300k bonus cap the next two summers shouldn’t hinder them from finding quality prospects.
More than anything, I think it’s good the Yankees added all that talent right now. Remember, we’re talking about 16-year-old kids here. Even if things work out great, we’re still talking about four or five years in the minors before they make their MLB debut. It’ll take another few years after that for them to have a real impact. This is a long-term process and by signing all of these players now, the Yankees are starting that process. They added a ton of talent in one fell swoop. (Signing players is the easy part, developing them into MLB players is the real challenge.) I’ll take a bunch of top youngsters today over the prospect of signing top youngsters tomorrow.
What Kind Of Talent Are We Talking About Here?
As always, information about international prospects is hard to come by. It’s gotten about a million times better over the last few years, but there are still lots of conflicting reports. Here are where the team’s most notable signees were ranked by Baseball America and MLB.com, for comparison:
|SS Dermis Garcia||$3.2M||9th||1st|
|3B Nelson Gomez||$2.25M||6th||2nd|
|OF Juan De Leon||$2M||2nd||5th|
|OF Jonathan Amundaray||$1.5M||22nd||7th|
|SS Wilkerman Garcia||$1.35M||7th||14th|
|SS Hyo-Jun Park||$1.16M||18th||13th|
|C Miguel Flames||$1M||16th||25th|
|OF Antonio Arias||$800k||28th||9th|
|SS Diego Castillo||$750k||24th||16th|
According to MLB.com, the Yankees signed the top two, three of the top five, four of the top seven, five of the top nine, and eight of the top 20 available prospects. According to Baseball America, they signed one of the top five, three of the top eight, four of the top nine, and six of the top 20 prospects. Bit of a difference there, and you know what? That’s perfectly fine. Consensus rankings are boring. The most important thing is that both publications agree the Yankees landed some of the very best international prospects last week. They brought in the elite.
Bats, Not Arms
As you may have noticed in the table, all of the team’s notable signings are position players, particularly up the middle players (De Leon and Amundaray are center fielders). This year’s crop of international free agents was light on pitchers to start with — according to Baseball America, only two of the top ten and five of the top 30 prospects were pitchers — but hoarding position players prospects is not a bad idea in and of itself.
Offense is getting harder and harder to find these days. Run-scoring around the league is down to its lowest point in years — MLB teams have a combined .316 OBP in 2014, which would be the lowest since 1972, the year before the DH was adopted — and that makes quality bats even more of a top commodity. Pitching is important, it absolutely is, but right now impact bats are something of a market inefficiency. Everyone wants one but few are actually available. Look at the Cubs and their prospects. Remember, not all of these guys will be future Yankees. Some will be used as trade bait and young, high-end bats are valuable. Stockpiling position player prospects makes a ton of sense.
Exposing A Broken System
This last week has exposed just how broken MLB’s spending restriction system is. The system was intended to level the playing field and give every club a shot at acquiring the best talent, but instead the Yankees (and Red Sox, as well) blew through their spending limit and signed the top available talents. Meanwhile, both the Brewers and Rays had to swing trades for pool money to sign just one top prospect because they can’t afford to pay the penalties.
Rather than create a fairer market, the new system has given large market clubs even more of an advantage. It’s not about a willingness to go over the pool to sign players, every team would do it if possible, but some simply can not do it financially. The Yankees didn’t break the rules at all, they will pay the tax and deal with the bonus limitations the next two years, but to them that is simply the cost of doing business. Smaller market teams can’t dream of doing that. Expect the system to change somehow during the next round of Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations.
- Mark Teixeira (knee) may need to have fluid drained again at some point. He had surgery to clean up some cartilage during the 2007-08 offseason and has had to have it drained every once in a while since. Teixeira hasn’t had any trouble since sitting out a game last week.
- Carlos Beltran (knee) was examined by doctors and told the swelling is only a minor issue. It’s his hamstring more than the knee and he remains day-to-day. “That happened to me before,” he said. “I came in [Monday] and had a lot of treatment. I feel better. I’m going to do the whole preparation and see if I can get into the lineup [Tuesday] … The doctor came and said these type of injuries, with anit-inflammatories, it can be back (to normal) soon.”
- Michael Pineda (shoulder) has been throwing off flat ground for more than a week now and everything is going fine. The Yankees are hopeful he can throw off a mound either later this week or early next week. “He’s playing catch,” said Joe Girardi. “He’s up to 90 feet. I think the hope is that at the end of the week, next week, we start to get him on a mound.”
- Matt Thornton was unavailable for a few days last week due to soreness. Not sure if it was his arm or what. Thornton warmed up in the extra innings loss to the Rays last Monday, never got into the game, then did not pitch again until Saturday. He missed time with an oblique issue last year but otherwise has been pretty healthy since about 2004.
Thanks to baseball’s general mediocrity, the Yankees remain in the postseason hunt — they come into today 3.5 games back of both the top spot in the AL East and the second wildcard — but there’s little chance they will play in October without getting help at the trade deadline. They already acquired Brandon McCarthy, but that move alone isn’t putting them over the top. They need more help, both pitching and offense.
We know the Diamondbacks are ready to sell because they’ve started doing it already. It’s not just the McCarthy trade, they also dealt Joe Thatcher and Tony Campana over the weekend. Last week we looked at the pitchers they could peddle (pre-McCarthy deal), and now it’s time to look at the position players. Remember, just because the Yankees and D’Backs have already gotten together for one trade this month does not mean they can’t hook up again.
2B Aaron Hill
Hill, 32, has been one of the most productive second basemen in baseball over the last few years, at least on and off. He hit .298/.359/.501 (129 wRC+) with 37 homers in 243 games from 2012-13, but this year he’s dropped down to .239/.275/.356 (70 wRC+) with six homers in 85 games. It’s not the first time Hill has had this kind of drop-off either. He went from 36 homers to almost being designated for assignment while with the Blue Jays back in the day.
Hill’s strikeout rate (17.5%) is way up and his walk rate (4.3%) is way down this year (13.0 K% and 7.9 BB% from 2012-13), though his plate discipline stats are right in line with the last few years. He isn’t swinging more or less often, either at stuff inside or outside the zone, which suggests his strikeout and walk numbers may return to his career norms in time. Maybe he’s offering at more pitchers’ pitches, but the plate discipline numbers don’t come with any red flags. It’s weird.
The biggest concern with Hill is that his power is way down. He had a .203 ISO from 2012-13, but is down to only .117 this year. Again, his batted ball profile is right in line with the last few years, so there are no red flags there, and batted ball distance data shows he is hitting the ball just as far this year (on average) as the last few seasons:
I’m not quite sure how the explain the poor strikeout, walk, and power numbers, which is not necessarily a bad thing or a good thing. It could be a indication he is having an unlucky year — I think the word “luck” has jumped the shark in baseball, but it still exists, sometimes guys have bad years or no real reason — and will bounce back in the future, or it could be a sign there is some kind of mechanical/swing issue we can’t detect with the stats. That’s much more problematic.
The Diamondbacks bought into Hill’s huge 2012 season (132 wRC+) and gave him a three-year, $35M extension the following spring. He is owed approximately $5.5M through the end of the season plus $12M in each of the next two seasons. If he was still mashing 20+ homers with a 120+ wRC+ and average defense at second, it would be more than a fair salary. But he’s not doing that anymore. Hill’s production has fallen way off and he is at that age when second basemen tend to fall off a cliff.
IF/OF Martin Prado
Like Hill, Prado’s production has fallen off this season after very successful 2012-13 campaigns. The 30-year-old hit .292/.346/.427 (111 wRC+) with 24 homers and 20 steals in 311 games from 2012-13, though this year he is at .268/.313/.365 (86 wRC+) in 89 games. His strikeout (13.9%), walk (4.9%), and plate discipline numbers are right in line with the career averages, though he is hitting a ton more grounders (53.8%) and that has sapped his power (.097 ISO).
Now Prado is not much of a power hitter to start with, at least not over the fence power. He’s usually good for 10-15 homers per season, though he’ll also chip in 30+ doubles per year as well. This season he has four dingers and only 13 two-baggers. It’s fairly common for contact hitters to start beating the ball into the ground when they decline, but Prado seems a little too young for that. A half-season of batted ball data is hardly enough to conclude he’s in irreversible age-related decline.
As you may know, Prado has always stood out for his versatility. He has a ton of experience at second base, third base, and in right field. He’s also filled in at shortstop, right field, and first base on occasion. The various defensive stats say he’s a tick above average at third and in left but slightly below average at second. Hill has been a second baseman exclusively for about eight years now, so while Prado can not match his over-the-fence power ability, he makes up for it by being able to play more positions competently.
Arizona gave Prado a four-year extension worth $40M last spring. He is owed about $5M through the end of the season plus $11M in both 2015 and 2016, so he and Hill have basically identical contract situations. If he was producing like regular old Martin Prado, it would be more than a fair wage. Since he is having a down year and it’s unclear if there is something more to it than just the general ups and downs of baseball, it’s a bit more scary.
OF Cody Ross
The Yankees have received only 15 homers from right-handed hitters this year, six by the departed Alfonso Soriano. They went into last night’s game hitting only .257/.321/.375 (92 wRC+) against lefties this season. That’s pretty terrible. The need for another right-handed power bat is pretty obvious.
Ross, 33, dislocated his hip (!) running through first base last August, an injury that required surgery and kept him on the shelf at the start of the season. He returned in mid-April and has hit .224/.278/.279 (53 wRC+) overall, including .260/.327/.260 (67 wRC+) against lefties. Before the injury, Ross put up a stout .339/.399/.612 (170 wRC+) batting line with 16 homers in 242 plate appearances against southpaws from 2012-13. Considering he is coming off the hip injury and has nearly twice as many plate appearances against righties (103) than lefties (55), this year’s poor performance isn’t all that surprising.
The D’Backs gave Ross a three-year deal worth $25M two winters ago, so he is owed approximately $4.5M through the end of the season plus another $9.5M in 2015. That’s pretty pricey for the right-handed half of a right field platoon, no? Maybe Arizona would be willing to eat some money like they did with McCarthy. Ross can play all three outfield spots and is no worse than slightly below-average everywhere, which is neither good nor terrible. It’s tolerable. If you think he can get back to his 2012-13 form as he gets further away from the hip injury and are willing to live with that salary, Ross would make a lot of sense for the Yankees.
In Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings, the Diamondbacks have two highly marketable young shortstops. Gregorius, 24, is hitting .222/.337/.389 (97 wRC+) in only 87 plate appearances this year after opening the season in Triple-A, where he had a 123 wRC+. Last season he hit .252/.332/.373 (91 wRC+) as the everyday shortstop. The book on him continues to be that he can legitimately play shortstop long-term, but his bat leaves a lot to be deserved.
The 22-year-old Owings took the shortstop job from Gregorius to start the year, though he has been sidelined by a relatively minor shoulder problem these last two weeks. He was hitting .277/.313/.458 (110 wRC+) with six homers in 254 plate appearances before the injury. Owings is considered a slick fielder like Gregorius, but he offers way more pop and impact potential with the bat. UConn product Nick Ahmed, 24, put up a 119 wRC+ in 336 Triple-A plate appearances before being called up the other day. He is the best defender of the trio but also likely the worst hitter despite his minor league numbers this year. That is an enviable group of young middle infields, no doubt about it.
* * *
Real talk forthcoming: if Hill and/or Prado were on the Yankees, we’d be talking about them as overpaid veterans who are part of the problem. But, because they’re on another team and the grass is always greener, they’re being looked at as possible solutions. I think versatility is overrated and would prefer Hill to Prado, especially given the team’s need for right-handed power, but I’m just not sure if he’s simply having a bad year or is starting to decline.
Hill had two and a half years left on his contract when he was traded from the Blue Jays to the D’Backs a few years ago, and all Arizona gave up was … Kelly Johnson. They bought really low and it has worked out wonderfully. (No, Kevin Towers probably will take Johnson back for Hill now.) Hill’s trade value figures to be a little higher this time around despite his performance, especially if Arizona is willing to eat some cash like they did with McCarthy, but I don’t have any idea what a reasonable package would be. Two good but not great prospects? Someone like Ramon Flores or Rafael DePaula? I’m not sure.
Ross is owed a ton of money relative to his role and the D’Backs would have to eat some to make a deal palatable. Even then they would have to take back very little, a player to be named later type. I greatly prefer Owings to Gregorius and especially Ahmed. Obviously adding Derek Jeter‘s long-term replacement should be a goal for the Yankees in the near future. Players like Owings and Gregorius are usually dealt as part of a package for an established veteran, not by a team that is selling. Tough to gauge their market value. Arizona has some potentially useful position players for the Yankees, but for different reasons, it’s tough to pin down the exact trade value of each.
It’s never easy with this team, but a win is a win. The Yankees won for the fourth time in five games on this road trip, beating the Indians by the score of 5-3 on Monday night.
Justin Masterson has not had a good year by any measure, but he looked far worse than I expected on Monday night. He had no idea where the ball was going — 24 strikes and 30 balls — and when he did locate in the zone, the Yankees clobbered it. They got to him for five runs on six hits and three walks in three innings, and all six hits were well struck. These weren’t bloops or grounders with eyes. Everything was hit with authority.
After stranding a runner at second in the first inning, the first seven men to bat in the second inning reached base against Masterson. The inning went double to right (Brian McCann), run-scoring double to left (Brian Roberts), single to left (Ichiro Suzuki, who was thrown out attempting to advance on the throw home), walk (Kelly Johnson), hit by pitch (Frankie Cervelli), run-scoring single to left (Gardner), bases loaded walk (Derek Jeter). Jacoby Ellsbury was robbed a bases-clearing double down the line by Carlos Santana, who made a sweet play at first to turn an inning-ending double play. The Yankees were all over Masterson.
The third inning was more of the same. Mark Teixeira (walk) and McCann (single) reached base to lead things off, ending Masterson’s day. Brian Roberts lined out as the next batter, but Ichiro plated a run with an infield single and the Indians helped bring home another run when Jason Kipnis threw away a potential double play ball. They got the out at second, but the throw was off line and Cervelli was safe, allowing the run to score and extending the inning. Twelve (!) of the first 17 men New York sent to the plate reached base.
It’s very obvious Shane Greene has the stuff to pitch in the big leagues, isn’t it? The kid was running his mid-90s sinker all over the place and breaking off some nasty upper-80s sliders as well. I thought half of them were cutters he was throwing them so hard. In fact, let’s take a second to look at the PitchFX breakdown, courtesy of Brooks Baseball (data may change overnight):
- 34 sliders, averaged 86.6 mph and topped out at 91.3 (!)
- 30 sinkers, averaged 95.4 mph and topped out at 97.2
- 13 cutters, averaged 95.1 and topped out at 97.0
- eight four-seamers, averaged 95.1 mph and topped out at 96.9
- two curves and one changeup
The stuff has never been the problem, but Greene’s command tends to come and go, sometimes within a start. He had it working in his first career MLB start on Monday night, holding the high-powered Indians to two runs in six innings. He faced the minimum (one hit by a pitch with a caught stealing mixed in) and did not allow a hit until Nick Swisher swatted a solo homer with two outs in the fifth. The Indians scored their second run with a series of soft hits in the sixth. Nothing crazy.
Greene used that Derek Lowe-esque sinker to get nine of his 15 outs on the ground. They were weak grounders too. Easy plays that required minimal effort from the defenders. Five of his other six outs were recorded on the infield via pop-ups and strikeouts. Greene threw 56 of 88 pitches for strikes (64%) and he didn’t walk anyone. Five batters saw a three-ball count and four of them made outs. The exception was Swisher’s homer.
Considering how shaky the non-Masahiro Tanaka portion of the rotation has been the last few weeks, Greene gave the Yankees exactly what they needed on Monday. Two runs in six innings? Can’t ask for much more from a kid making his first career start. Greene handled a good lineup well and I think he did more than enough to earn another start. Keep Chase Whitley in the bullpen for the time being, re-evaluate everything after the All-Star break.
After the Yankees scored their five runs in the first three innings, the Cleveland bullpen held them scoreless on five singles in the final six innings. They did manage to get three runners into scoring position, but were unable to get them home. Par for the course, I guess. The Yankees have had a knack for scoring runs early and doing nothing after that.
Greene got the Yankees through six innings, but the bullpen was taxed and that pressed David Huff into setup work. He retired the side in order in the seventh, served up a solo homer to Yan Gomes to leadoff the eighth, then was replaced by Dellin Betances. Betances finished off the eighth inning — Kipnis reached on a Roberts error with one out, then got deked out by Jeter on a foul pop-up and was doubled off first — then pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth. Lonnie Chisenhall and Swisher flew out for the 26th and 27th outs, and I’m not going to lie, I thought both balls were trouble off the bat. Maybe not homers, but extra-base hits. Thankfully that wasn’t the case and this was the first (of many?) save of Dellin’s career.
Santana made three very good plays at first base, including two to cut runners down at home plate. He threw Cervelli out at home in the second as part of Ellsbury’s inning-ending double play, then he managed to get McCann in a rundown between third and home in the fifth. Not too bad for a converted catcher. Santana legitimately saved his team some runs with his glove in this game.
Gardner went 3-for-5 at the plate and was thrown out trying to steal second in the eighth inning. He has been thrown out in each of his last three steal attempts and has not successfully stolen a base since June 20th, 16 games ago. What’s up with that? McCann and Ichiro had three hits apiece as well. Two of Ichiro’s were infield singles. Roberts had two knocks as well. The Yankees did draw three walks (Jeter, Teixeira, Johnson), so this was only the second time they drew more than two walks in their last eleven games.
Between Greene (two), Huff (one), and Betances (three), the Yankees got six swings and misses out of 116 total pitches (2.6%). Not a big deal or anything, it obviously didn’t hurt them at all, but it surprised me when I looked at the box score. I understand Huff not missing bats, but Greene was throwing some vicious stuff and Betances is Betances. Baseball can be weird.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, go to MLB.com. FanGraphs has some other stats and the updated standings are at ESPN. The Orioles beat the Nationals in extra innings, so the Yankees remain 2.5 games back in the AL East. Depending on what happens with the late game, they will be either 2.5 (Mariners lose) or 3.5 (Mariners win) games back of the second wildcard spot.
These same two teams play again on Tuesday night, in the second game of this four-game series. Masahiro Tanaka and Trevor Bauer will be the pitching matchup.
First, some notes:
- In case you missed it earlier, RHP Luis Severino was ranked 34th by Baseball America and 48th by Baseball Prospectus in their midseason top 50 prospects list.
- C Gary Sanchez, C/1B Peter O’Brien, OF Ben Gamel, and LHP Matt Tracy have all been named to the Double-A Eastern League All-Star Game. Here’s the full roster. Congrats to them.
- RHP Jose Ramirez was placed on the Triple-A Scranton DL and IF Scott Sizemore was placed on the temporary inactive list, reports Brendan Kuty. Not sure what’s wrong with Ramirez. The temporary inactive list usually means the player has a family matter. In other news, RHP Jaron Long has been promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton, according to Nicholas Flammia.
- Baseball America (no subs. req’d) released their Midseason All-Star Teams over the weekend. No Yankees’ farmhands made the Minor League Team, but IF Yangervis Solarte, RHP Masahiro Tanaka, and RHP Dellin Betances made the MLB All-Rookie Team. 2B Rob Refsnyder made the Minor League All-Surprise Team.
Triple-A Scranton‘s game was suspended due to rain with one out in the bottom of the fourth. The pitching staff has been worked hard of late and I’m sure those guys are all happy to get a few innings off. The game will be resumed tomorrow. Here’s the box score if you can’t wait.
Double-A Trenton (10-3 win over Reading)
- CF Mason Williams: 1-4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
- LF Ben Gamel: 1-5, 1 RBI
- 1B Tyler Austin: 0-5, 1 K
- DH Peter O’Brien: 2-3, 4 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 HBP – had gone eleven games without a dinger
- RHP Bryan Mitchell: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 11/2 GB/FB – 63 of 99 pitches were strikes (64%) … has allowed exactly two earned runs in five of his last seven starts
- LHP Cesar Cabral: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K — 14 of 20 pitches were strikes (70%) … quietly has a 19/5 K/BB in his last 12.2 innings
I feel like the Yankees are just trying to survive until the All-Star break. The pitching staff is a wreck, especially the bullpen, and there are a few position players banged up as well. Brian McCann‘s foot has been bothering him, Mark Teixeira‘s knee gave him trouble not too long away, Carlos Beltran‘s elbow is still a thing, so on and so on. They could use four straight days off in the worst way.
The Yankees play the first of the final seven games of the unofficial first half tonight in Cleveland. Shane Greene has been called up from Triple-A Scranton to make the spot start, which was necessitated by the Brandon McCarthy/Vidal Nuno trade. (Nuno was scheduled to start tonight.) If Greene pitches well, he could very easily stick around for more than just the one spot start. Hopefully he gives the Yankees a reason to keep him. Here is the Indians lineup and here is the Yankees lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- SS Derek Jeter
- CF Jacoby Ellsbury
- 1B Mark Teixeira
- DH Brian McCann
- 2B Brian Roberts
- RF Ichiro Suzuki
- 3B Kelly Johnson
- C Frankie Cervelli
RHP Shane Greene
It is overcast and very humid in Cleveland, and there are supposed to be on and off light showers pretty much all night. Nothing heavy that will delay the game, but the conditions won’t be perfect. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10pm ET and you’ll be able to watch on YES locally and ESPN Nationally. Enjoy the game.
Injury Update: Carlos Beltran is day-to-day with swelling in his right knee. The team is hopeful it’s nothing serious, but Beltran had surgery on the knee in 2010 and missed most of the season.
Roster Move: As expected, the Yankees have called up Greene to make the spot start. There is no need for a corresponding move because technically McCarthy has not yet reported the team. They will need to drop someone from the roster when McCarthy is added tomorrow.
Both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus (subs. req’d) published their midseason rankings of the top 50 prospects in baseball today. Twins OF Byron Buxton tops both lists despite appearing in only six games this season due to a wrist problem. There’s just too much ability to drop him after only a half-season. Cubs 3B Kris Bryant and Astros SS Carlos Correa rank second and third in the two lists, just not necessarily in the same order.
The Yankees had one prospect make the two lists: RHP Luis Severino, who was 34th for Baseball America and 48th for Baseball Prospectus. No other Yankees farmhands made it. “Yankees’ breakout prospect is a long way from big leagues but has three potential above-average pitches,” said the Baseball America write-up while Baseball Prospectus says “Severino is a legit talent and one of the most enjoyable arms to watch in any farm” while noting his slider must continue to develop to avoid a future in the bullpen. I think OF Aaron Judge and C Gary Sanchez will crack the back half of top 100 lists after the season, but they aren’t top 50 guys right now. · (76) ·