2015 Draft: Keith Law’s Mock Draft v3.0

Randolph. (John Sullivan/Griffin Daily News)
Randolph. (John Sullivan/Griffin Daily News)

Earlier today Keith Law posted his third and next-to-last mock draft of the season (subs. req’d). Law has the Diamondbacks selecting Vanderbilt SS Dansby Swanson with the top pick and that seems to be the consensus now. There is no clear No. 1 prospect this year, so Arizona’s been connected to a ton of players, but reportedly they have been zeroing in on Swanson of late.

With their first pick, the 16th overall selection, Law has the Yankees taking Georgia HS SS Cornelius Randolph. That’s a new name. We haven’t seen Randolph connected to the Yankees yet this year. Law says they “want a bat” with the 16th pick, either high school or college. Here is a snippet of Randolph’s free MLB.com scouting report:

Randolph has the tools and approach to hit for power and average. He offers bat speed, strength and patience from the left side of the plate. He uses the entire field and has better pitch recognition than most high schoolers.

Currently a shortstop, Randolph will move to a less challenging position at the next level. The Clemson recruit has good hands but lacks the quickness to play in the middle infield. His arm hasn’t been as strong this spring, when he has dealt with biceps tendinitis, but it and his bat would profile well at third base.

In addition to Randolph, Law says the Yankees are also in on California HS C Chris Betts, Cincinnati OF Ian Happ, and “the main prep outfielders” for the 16th pick. Here are my profiles on Betts and Happ. I assume New York HS OF Garrett Whitley, Michigan HS OF Nick Plummer, and Florida HS OF Kyle Tucker fall into that “main prep outfielders” group as well. Here are my profiles on Whitley, Plummer, and Tucker.

For their second pick, 30th overall (compensation for David Robertson), Law has the Yankees taking Tennessee HS RHP Donny Everett, who they’ve been linked to for much of the spring. Here’s my profile on Everett. Law says the Yankees are “more likely to take an arm here if they get a bat they like at 16.” New York has been connected to a ton of arms all spring, both prep and college, which isn’t surprising because a) that’s the strength of the draft, and b) the system could use some pitching.

Update: Brian McCann day-to-day after MRI, CT scan come back negative

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Thursday, 4:51pm: Both an MRI and a CT scan came back negative today, the Yankees announced. McCann is considered day-to-day. He was examined by team doctor Dr. Ahmad and orthopedic foot and ankle specialist Dr. Justin Greisberg. Ex-frickin-hale.

Wednesday, 4:59pm: McCann left the game with right foot soreness, the Yankees announced. He’ll undergo an MRI in New York tomorrow. Welp, finger crossin’ time. Here’s the unembeddable video of the injury.

4:10pm: Brian McCann left this afternoon’s game against the Mariners for an unknown reason in the second inning. Replays showed him grimacing after grounding out and running to first following his only at-bat, but it’s unclear what was bothering him. Leg, back, oblique … your guess is as good as mine right now.

McCann, 31, left a game with a cramp in his right calf ten days ago, but he returned to the lineup the very next day and hasn’t had any problems since as far as I know. McCann’s been hot at the plate too — he’s 11-for-33 (.333) with four homers in his last eleven games, so if the calf issue lingered, it didn’t show in his production.

John Ryan Murphy took over behind the plate and while I irrationally love JRM, losing McCann for any length of time would be a big blow. Not just offensively, but defensively as well. Hopefully it’s nothing serious and the Yankees are just being cautious. The team has an off-day Thursday, so McCann will get the day to rest either way.

Five Years Later: The 2010 Draft

They say you need five years before you can properly evaluate a draft class in baseball, though I don’t totally buy that. I think teams get a pretty good idea of what they have three years after the draft, maybe even two. There are always late-bloomers, of course, but for the most part you can look back just three years later and know how much you helped yourself. But, five years is the common refrain, so I’ve stuck to that with my annual past draft reviews. Now it’s time to tackle the 2010 draft.

The Yankees did not gain or lose any 2010 draft picks during the 2009-10 offseason. Their big moves following the World Series title were trades, specifically for Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez Boone Logan. The Yankees made 50 picks in 2010 and signed 29 of them, including each of their first 13 selections. They signed only two of their final 14 picks, however. Four of those 29 players are on the Yankees’ 40-man roster right now and two others are on 40-man rosters with other clubs. One is in the show as of this writing. Let’s review New York’s draft class from five years ago. Here are our five-year look-backs at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 drafts.

The Reach

I remember saying “who in the world is that?” when then-commissioner Bud Selig announced the Yankees had selected New York HS SS Cito Culver with their first round pick, the 32nd overall selection. Culver ranked 168th (!) on Baseball America’s top 200 draft prospects that year and the consensus at the time said he was a third or fourth round talent. To be fair, Culver had come on strong late in the spring and had a lot of helium in the weeks leading up to the draft. He signed for a straight slot $954,000 bonus.

The Yankees knew Culver better than any other club. Not only was he a semi-local kid from up near Rochester, but he was also on their Area Code Games team the previous summer, so they had firsthand knowledge of him as a person. The club reportedly loved Culver’s makeup and perseverance — he had some family issues growing up, including his father being sentenced to nine years for arson after burning down the family house — and he was a switch-hitting shortstop with very good athleticism and defensive chops. That’s a great profile in and of itself.

Unfortunately, the team’s belief in Culver as a player and a person has not resulted in a quality prospect. Culver, now 22, is a career .230/.309/.315 hitter in over 2,300 minor league plate appearances, which includes a .178/.213/.237 batting line at Double-A this year. He remains a strong defender (remember this?) but had to stop switch-hitting a few years ago because it just wasn’t working from the left side of the plate. Culver went unselected in the Rule 5 Draft in December and is still with the organization, though he is now basically just an organizational player.

The Yankees reached big time for Culver — for what it’s worth, there was talk the Twins were ready to pop Culver with their second round pick, but I don’t think that justifies the selection — and that was something we knew on draft day. The team went against the grain, and while that isn’t automatically a bad thing, it didn’t work in 2010. Culver is the poster boy for the “safe, signable, great makeup” phase the Yankees went through a few years ago, perhaps not coincidentally after getting burned by Andrew Brackman and Gerrit Cole in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

Tooled Up, Probability Down

The Yankees followed the Culver pick by selecting two ultra-athletic, tooled up prep players in California HS SS Angelo Gumbs (2nd round) and Florida HS OF Mason Williams (4th). Williams signed for $1.45M, which was the largest bonus the team gave to a drafted player that year. Gumbs moved to second base almost immediately after turning pro and has battled injuries and poor performance the last few years. The 22-year-old is a career .235/.285/.357 hitter in 334 minor league games, none above High Class-A. Gumbs is still in the organization but is a non-factor.

Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)
Williams. (Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

Williams, on the other hand, grew into arguably the best prospect in the farm system a few years ago. He hit .349/.395/.368 with eleven doubles and 28 steals in 68 games for Short Season Staten Island in 2011, then followed it up by hitting .298/.346/.474 with 22 doubles, eleven homers, and 20 steals in 90 games for Low-A Charleston and High-A Tampa in 2012. That landed him in a premium spot on Baseball America’s 2013 Top 100 Prospects list — Williams ranked 32nd that year, ahead of Jorge Soler (34th), Chris Archer (36th), and George Springer (37th), among others.

Double-A proved to be a much tougher challenge for Williams — he hit .214/.271/.299 in 145 games at the level from 2013-14 — but that wasn’t the only problem. Makeup and work ethic concerns arose, as Williams was insubordinate at times and played with such low energy that he was pulled and benched for lack of hustle on multiple occasions. Williams started out well with Trenton this year (.317/.407/.375) and has since being promoted to Triple-A Scranton, but it takes more than two good months to erase all the bad from 2013-14.

There is still some hope for Williams, who continues to show tremendous athleticism and bat-to-ball skills. The Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this past offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft, and his strong showing early this year has put him back on the prospect map, at least somewhat. Williams had problems the last few years not because he lacked talent, but because he wasn’t putting the work in. He’s still salvageable. Gumbs isn’t at this point.

Bat First, Position Second

After going for tools with Culver, Gumbs, and Williams at the top of the draft, the Yankees went for bat first prospects a little later in the draft. They selected Florida HS OF Ben Gamel in the tenth round and he’s been up and down throughout his career, having some strong seasons in Single-A and a down year in Double-A last season. Gamel is hitting .313/.374/.458 with Triple-A Scranton this year and is finally hitting for a modicum of power, with two homers in 46 games after hitting ten homers in 415 games from 2010-14.

The other bat first prospect is Georgia HS C Tyler Austin, who New York picked in the 13th round. Austin has had some monster years in the minors, most notably his dominant showing at four levels in 2012 (.322/.400/.559 in 110 games), but wrist and other injuries have hampered him since 2013. He is currently hitting .213/.280/.309 with Triple-A Scranton and is healthy as far as I know, so his prospect stock has been trending down in recent years.

Both Gamel and Austin were bat first prospects with position questions. Gamel was drafted as a center fielder and scouting reports said he was likely to wind up in left field long-term, but to his credit he has worked hard to make himself a passable defender. Austin was drafted as a catcher, moved to third base almost immediately after signing, later shifted to first base, and then to the corner outfield. Like Gamel, he was drafted for his bat. The defense is secondary.

Ace Whitley. (Brian Blanco/Getty)
Ace Whitley. (Brian Blanco/Getty)

Late Round Value

Two 2010 draftees have reached the big leagues with the Yankees and they were both late-round picks: Troy RHP Chase Whitley (15th) and Tulane RHP Preston Claiborne (17th). Claiborne arrived first and helped out as an up-and-down reliever from 2013-14 (3.79 ERA in 71.1 innings) before being dropped from the roster and lost on waivers to the Marlins this past winter. He is on Miami’s 40-man roster but has not pitched this year due to a shoulder injury.

Whitley was drafted as a reliever — he was actually a pitcher and a third baseman in college, but the Yankees moved him to the mound full-time after the draft — and he stayed in the bullpen until late 2013, when the Yankees tried him out in the rotation. He had success in that role and has contributed to New York as a spot starter/swingman the last two seasons, pitching to a 5.02 ERA in 95 innings. Whitley was in the team’s rotation earlier this year before blowing out his elbow and needing Tommy John surgery. He and Claiborne have basically been replacement level big leaguers, which isn’t a bad outcome for late round draft picks at all.

Big Velocity, Big Questions

As always, the Yankees went heavy on power arms up and down the draft in 2010. They’ve been doing that for years. The 2010 draft haul included Lynn RHP Tommy Kahnle (5th), California HS RHP Gabe Encinas (6th), St. John’s RHP Danny Burawa (12th), St. Peter’s RHP Conor Mullee (24th), and Weatherford RHP Zach Nuding (30th). All five threw very hard at the time of the draft, had work-in-progress secondary stuff, and subpar command.

Kahnle is the most successful of the bunch, though he didn’t reach MLB with the Yankees. The Rockies selected him in the 2013 Rule 5 Draft and he spent all of last season in their bullpen (4.19 ERA in 68.2 innings) after reaching Double-A while still with New York. Kahnle has spent most of this season in Triple-A and was just called up a few days ago. He still throws really hard and still doesn’t know where it’s going on most days. The same was true at the time of the draft.

Burawa is currently in Triple-A with the Yankees and, after going unselected in the Rule 5 Draft in 2013, the Yankees added him to the 40-man roster this past offseason. He has a 1.88 ERA in 28.2 innings with the RailRiders and is still battling his command, though his stuff has actually ticked up as a pro. Burawa now sits mid-to-upper-90s with a vicious slider these days. He just doesn’t always throw strikes. Since he’s on the 40-man, Burawa could be called up at any time.

Mullee and Encinas have battled injuries over the years, including Tommy John surgery. (Mullee has had three Tommy John surgeries so far, including two since being drafted.) At 23, Encinas is four years younger than Mullee and thus the better prospect. He still has a live arm and is improving his command as elbow reconstruction gets further in the rear view mirror. Nuding stuck around for a few years but never did refine his secondary stuff or strike-throwing ability. He was released this past offseason.

Roller. (MiLB.com)
Roller. (MiLB.com)

Organizational Power

The draft isn’t just about prospects. Teams use the later rounds to fill out their minor league rosters because having a prospect at every position at every level simply isn’t realistic. Being an organizational player is a thankless job but it is an important one in the grand scheme of things. Quality org players help the minor league affiliates win and clubs absolutely want to foster a winning environment in the minors. Once in a while one of these org players plays well enough to get a shot in the show.

East Carolina 1B Kyle Roller (8th) broke out with a 26-homer season between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and while his left-handed power is legit, there are some big holes in his swing (34.2 K% at Triple-A) and no versatility to his game. Roller is a first baseman (not a particularly great one either) and nothing else. Hard for a guy like that to crack the MLB roster. Roller is still hitting dingers with Triple-A Scranton these days (.250/.382/.440), though part of me wonders if a team in Korea or Japan will come along with an offer at some point. He’s the kind of player teams in Asia tend to poach.

Unsigned, Not Really Missed

The Yankees didn’t draft and fail to sign any players in the 2010 draft who went on to become high-profile prospects. The team’s most notable unsigned player is Georgia HS OF Kevin Jordan, but he’s not notable for what he’s done as a player. Jordan was diagnosed with ANCA vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder, a year after the draft, and he eventually received a kidney transplant from his coach at Wake Forest. The medical issue derailed his once promising career. Jordan did play as a fifth-year senior with the Demon Deacons this spring though (.167/.271/.381 as a bench player).

The best current player the Yankees failed to sign back in 2010 is probably Ohio HS OF Michael O’Neill (42th), who went to Michigan for three years before being re-drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 2013 draft. He’s still in the system now and is a Grade-C prospect. Illinois HS OF Mike Gerber (40th) went to Creighton and was drafted as a college senior by the Tigers in the 15th round of the 2014 draft. He’s a career .330/.398/.449 hitter in 118 minor league games, and Baseball America ranked him as the 19th best prospect in Detroit’s bottom ranked farm system coming into this season. That’s about it. No other notable unsigned players.

Miscellany

Tulane 3B Rob Segedin (3rd) was an interesting college bat at the time of the draft, but he hasn’t developed as hoped. Injuries played a part in that. Segedin is currently in Triple-A and is an org player at this point … Tennessee HS RHP Taylor Morton (9th) and Canadian HS LHP Evan Rutckyj (16th) were intriguing prep arms who never hit on their projection. Morton retired a few years ago and Rutckyj is still chewing up innings for High-A Tampa … Barton LHP Kramer Sneed (32nd) was one of the two players the Yankees traded to the Angels for Vernon Wells two years ago … Tennessee Wesleyan LHP Fred Lewis (47th) had a nice run as an org bullpen arm before being released earlier this year. He pitched well enough in Spring Training last year that there was some talk he may make the team.

* * *

As it stands right this now, the Yankees have gotten very little from their 2010 draft haul. Whitley and Claiborne, that’s it. They’re the only two players from this draft to play for New York at the MLB level. Burawa is knocking on the door as well, but he’s not someone who will alter the perception of a draft class. Same with guys like Austin, Roller, and Encinas. Useful players though not any kind of cornerstone.

The success of this draft class is going to come down to Williams. His last two seasons were undeniably ugly, especially since so much of it was makeup related. Williams has been better this year, and now that he’s both on the 40-man roster and playing everyday in Triple-A, there’s a chance he will come up at some point. He has a lot of natural ability and at one point he had the potential to be an impact two-way center fielder in the Jacoby Ellsbury mold. Does that ability still exist? The Yankees hope so. If Williams arrives as some point, this draft will look much better. Otherwise it’s a dud.

Yankeemetrics: Seattle sweep! (June 1-3)

This is what a game-winning homer looks like. (AP)
This is what a game-winning homer looks like. (AP)

King me!
The Yankees’ season-long trend of #weirdbaseball continued on Monday night when they destroyed one of the best pitchers on the planet, Felix Hernandez, tagging him for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 7-2 win over the Mariners.

Of course, this performance came less than 24 hours after they lost three-of-four games to the worst team in the American League (A’s), which followed a sweep of the best team in the American League (Royals). But you knew all that stuff already.

What you might not know is that:

• The Yankees were the first team ever to score at least seven runs and draw five walks against King Felix in a game.
Mark Teixeira is just the second player to hit a grand slam against Hernandez in Seattle (joining the legend of Alberto Callaspo).
• Teixeira now has six career homers against Hernandez, the most of any player against the former Cy Young winner.
• King Felix had a 1.79 ERA in his previous five starts against the Yankees, which was the second-best mark by any pitcher who started at least two games vs. the team in that span (since July 24, 2012).

Teixeira was the big star of the game, so let’s give him some more props here. He now has 18 homers at Safeco Field, which is the most of any visiting player at the ballpark. His grand slam was the first by any Yankee in Seattle since Bernie Williams hit one against J.J. Putz on May 16, 2005. And before Teixeira, no Yankee first baseman had ever hit a homer with the bases loaded against the Mariners. History, folks.

Jones, Drew … You gotta be kidding?
One of the Yankees’ most unlikely wins of the season was sparked by perhaps the most unlikeliest of heroes on Tuesday night.

Trailing 2-1 and down to the final strike, Stephen Drew and his .160 batting average knocked a game-tying double into right field to send the game into extras. Excluding pinch-hitters, it had been 40 years since a Yankee batting ninth in the order had a game-tying, two-out hit in the ninth inning (Rich Coggins in 1975 against the Brewers).

Garrett Jones then delivered the game-winner in the top of the 11th, crushing a three-run homer off lefty Joe Beimel to break the 2-2 tie. He became the first Yankee with a go-ahead homer in the 11th inning or later in Seattle since Kevin Maas on May 5, 1991.

How unlikely was the win for the Yankees? Not only were they 0-3 in extra innings this season before Tuesday, but they also had lost all 23 games this season that they trailed entering the ninth inning.

Hook, line and sinker
The Yankees finished off their sweep of the Mariners with a 3-1 win on Wednesday, extending their win streak in Seattle to eight games. That’s the team’s longest road win streak vs. the Mariners in franchise history.

Masahiro Tanaka pitched a gem in his first game back since going on the DL more than a month ago, striking out nine batters without a walk and allowing just one run in seven brilliant innings. The only other Yankee pitcher to put up that line (0 BB, at least 9 K, 1 run or fewer) in Seattle was Scott Sanderson on May 3, 1991.

This day was a milestone marker for Tanaka, his 25th game in the majors, and he’s done quite a lot in those 25 outings. Consider these numbers among pitchers to debut in the last 100 years:

• 16 wins are tied with Mel Stottlemyre for the most by any Yankee in his first 25 career games.
• 174 strikeouts are the most by any Yankee in his first 25 games, and the third-most by any AL pitcher, behind Yu Darvish (188) and Herb Score (180).
• 1.01 WHIP is the lowest mark by any Yankee in his first 25 games (min. 50 IP).

Mark Teixeira found the outfield seats at Safeco once again, clubbing his 379th career homer, which matches Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez for 67th place all-time. It was also his 35th home run against the Mariners, tied with Juan Gonzalez for the fourth-most against the franchise. Only Rafael Palmeiro (52), Manny Ramirez (39) and Frank Thomas (36) have hit more.

Thoughts following the West Coast road trip

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)
(Otto Greule Jr/Getty)

All things considered, the seven-game West Coast trip went pretty well for the Yankees. Yeah, they couldn’t get out of their own way against the Athletics, but the three-game sweep of the Mariners was pretty sweep. Ditto getting Masahiro Tanaka back, especially considering how sharp he looked. Anyway, here are some thoughts on the off-day.

1. The Brian McCann injury is a problem. He’s heading for an MRI today, and Joe Girardi told reporters yesterday that McCann has been nursing a sore foot for more than a week now. Apparently it became too much to take yesterday. McCann said it hurt most when he was squatting behind the plate, so yeah, that’s a problem. Hopefully this is something that can be knocked out with some treatment and a few days on the bench. If not, do the Yankees call up Austin Romine or Gary Sanchez? Romine would have to be re-added to the 40-man roster, and whenever McCann comes back Romine would have to go through waivers to go back to Triple-A. Sanchez could go up and down no problem. I suppose this depends on the severity of the injury. If it’s a short-term thing, Sanchez would be the easier temporary move. If it’s a long-term injury — we’re all hoping it isn’t, obviously — jumping through those hoops to bring Romine back would be best. Either way, losing McCann would be a major blow. The Yankees need him both in the lineup and behind the plate, and that’s coming from the world’s biggest John Ryan Murphy fan.

2. Brendan Ryan is close to coming back soon — he’s already played three minor league rehab games, including two at Triple-A — prompting Girardi to tell Chad Jennings earlier this week that he was “not so sure exactly what the move will be (to get Ryan on the roster), but our thought is when he’s ready, we’ll bring him back.” David Carpenter getting designated for assignment yesterday clears a 40-man spot for Ryan, who has to come off the 60-day DL, and I assume Jose Pirela will be sent down to clear a 25-man roster spot. Pirela hasn’t played well enough offensively or defensively to force the team to consider keeping him. As crazy as it sounds, Ryan might actually be the team’s best utility infielder option at this point. He’s not going to hit, we all know that, but he will at least catch the ball, something Pirela hasn’t done. Gregorio Petit? He’s basically the poor man’s version of Ryan. After spending the last few weeks wondering where Ryan fit, it seems like there’s a pretty obvious place for him on the roster right now. Funny how things work out.

3. The Carpenter move surprised me only because I didn’t think the Yankees would sacrifice the pitching depth and cut bait on a previously reliable reliever they controlled for another three years after only 18.2 innings. I thought they’d simply send Jacob Lindgren down and keep running Carpenter out there, hoping he’d figure it out. I’m sure they’ll be able to trade Carpenter for something before the ten days are up — nothing great, but something, and they might already have a deal lined up — but it sucks things fell apart so quickly. I am happy Lindgren is sticking around though, even if he’s not in the Circle of Trust™ yet. That takes a little time. Look at Dellin Betances last year. I think Lindgren could be a real asset out of the bullpen for Girardi once he gets settled in and realizes he’s a big league caliber reliever. It’s a shame Carpenter didn’t work out, but I am excited the Yankees showed so much faith in Lindgren. It would have been real easy to send him back to Triple-A.

Rafael Soriano1
Soriano. (Getty)

4. Now, that said, doesn’t it make sense for the Yankees to at least explore signing Rafael Soriano? They only have two right-handers in the bullpen, one awesome (Betances) and one not so awesome (Esmil Rogers). That’s not really a big deal because the various lefty relievers can get righties out, but we all know Girardi likes his matchups, so at some point he’s going to bring Rogers into a high-leverage spot to get the right-on-right matchup. It’s inevitable. Soriano had a 3.19 ERA (3.08 FIP) with a 23.4 K% with the Nationals last year, so while he’s no longer the Soriano of old, he’s probably better than Rogers and a more capable No. 2 righty complement for Betances. Soriano just fired Scott Boras, presumably because he’s not happy he’s still unemployed, so maybe he’d be willing to return to the Yankees on the cheap. One year and $2M or something along those lines. I don’t see much of a downside. If he won’t sign cheap, you don’t sign him. If he will sign cheap, bring him aboard and see what he can do. If he stinks, you cut him loose and wind up right back where you started. At the very least, it’s worth looking into Soriano and seeing if he’s willing to sign cheap and pitch in a quasi-setup role. There’s little downside.

5. Chase Headley‘s sudden inability to make routine plays this year is really annoying. It’s just routine plays too, you notice that? He still makes great defensive plays all the time. The routine ones are becoming an issue. That to me suggests at least part of the problem is mental. Thinking is bad in baseball. Bad things happen when players start thinking. Ideally they would rely on instincts. When Headley gets an easy play, he’s had trouble making it because there’s so much time to think. When he’s had to hustle to make a tough play, he’s made it with no problem. Maybe I’m wrong, but that what it seems like to me. Headley’s bat has come around of late (.300/.344/.450 in his last 22 games) and he still makes all the tough plays at third base, but the easy ones? They’re an adventure. It’s the weirdest thing. I think he’ll get over it in due time. But man, this has been a surprise. I was not expecting to get nervous every time a ground ball is hit towards third base this season.

6. Didi Gregorius has been hitting better of late (.299/.340/.420 in his last 14 games) and lately it appears he is really focusing on hitting the ball the other way. He was jumpy at the plate earlier this season, trying to hook everything to right field, but now Gregorius seems more relaxed and is stroking the ball out to left. The data backs it up too. Here are Didi’s spray charts before the start of the last homestand (the series against the Rangers) and since the start of the homestand, via Texas Leaguers. You can click the image for a larger view:

Didi Gregorius spray charts

Since the start of the homestand 14 days ago, Gregorius has pulled just four balls to right field, with two leaving the yard and two others falling in for hits. Everything else has been hit to left and center fields, so I’m not going crazy. He is spraying the ball the other way more often now. Is it intentional? Who knows. It appears Gregorius is focusing on hitting the ball to the opposite while still being able to unload and pull a pitch with authority when he gets something to drive. This is something to monitor. Didi still makes dopey plays in the field, but his bat has slowly but surely coming around.

7. Given how well he’s been hitting of late, I think the Yankees should play Garrett Jones in left field while Jacoby Ellsbury is out, at least against right-handed pitchers. I like Ramon Flores and think he’s going to wind up spending like a decade in the show as a Seth Smith type, but Jones has game-changing power, and the Yankees are better off with him in the lineup than Flores right now. If McCann has to miss time with his foot issue, playing Jones in left becomes even more of a no-brainer. They’d have to replace the lost left-handed pop somehow. Jones was terrible in April, probably because he rarely played, but he’s now 10-for-22 (.455) with three homers in his last nine games. Ride the wave, baby. Milk this hot streak for all its worth before he goes cold again. There will plenty of time to play Flores later in the season.

DotF: Tampa throws 11.1 no-hit innings, loses in 16 innings

OF Dustin Fowler was placed on the Low-A Charleston 7-day DL, the team announced. Not sure what’s wrong with him. 1B Bo Thompson was activated off the temporary inactive list to fill the roster spot. Thompson was suspended 50 games late last year after testing positive for a banned substance.

Triple-A Scranton (5-1 win over Pawtucket)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-3, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB — 15-for-40 (.375) in his last ten games
  • 2B Brendan Ryan & LF Ben Gamel: both 0-4, 2 K
  • DH Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB, 1 K — got picked off first
  • RF Tyler Austin: 1-3, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB
  • RHP Bryan Mitchell: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 7 BB, 3 K, 5/4 GB/FB — 52 of 105 pitches were strikes (50%) … ties his career high in walks set back in Double-A in 2013
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 HB, 3/2 GB/FB — 28 of 47 pitches were strikes (60%)

[Read more…]

Tanaka dominates Mariners, Yankees finish sweep with 3-1 win

Having a good day? Why not add a Yankees’ West Coast sweep to garnish it? The Yankees not only won three straight against the Seattle Mariners for a sweep, Nipponese ace Masahiro Tanaka pitched like he never missed a beat in his first start off the DL — certainly a welcome sight any day of the season.

Splitter! (Source: Getty)

Ma-kun!

Stuff-wise, Tanaka looked really good. His fastball velocity was around 91~94 mph, touching 95 and 96 at times. Against left-handers he threw some aesthetically-pleasing 2-seamers that spilled over into the strike zone. His other pitches — slider, splitter and the occasional get-me-over curveball — worked as he planned. When you have a guy like Tanaka with the command he showed and pitches he’s able to mix, you have a formidable ace.

The righty did run into a little trouble though. In the bottom of the third, Tanaka allowed a leadoff triple to Brad Miller. Dustin Ackley followed it up with an RBI double to deep left. Later on, Logan Morrison hit a single that would have scored Ackley … except Ramon Flores‘s strong arm totally denied the Mariners a run. He threw Ackley out at the plate. Well, those three hits were all the baserunners Tanaka allowed today.

Despite his 80-pitch limit, Ma-kun managed to throw seven innings (78 pitches and 58 strikes). His last pitch, by the way, clocked at 96 mph. How about that? Especially after all the velocity concerns the media and fans had at the beginning of the season. Pretty good to have another ace-caliber guy in the rotation, doesn’t it?

Teix, dingers, gluten-free, etc. (Source: Getty)

Offense did, well, just enough

Taijuan Walker looked quite impressive in top of first, showing off a mid-90’s fastball and swing-and-miss offspeed pitches. In the second inning however, Mark Teixeira drove a pitch just above a right-center field wall to give the Yanks a 1-0 lead. It was his 16th home run of the year. His power is just unreal this season. He has a .333 isolated power stat, which leads the American League. Gluten-free!

In the fourth inning, with a runner on first base, Garrett Jones turned it loose on an 89-mph offspeed pitch and hit it into the right field seats. 3-1 Yanks. Boy oh boy, Jonesy is hot right now. He now has two homers in Safeco Field as opposed to Robinson Cano‘s one. He now has a .258/.292/.452 line in 65 plate appearances, good for an about-league-average 104 wRC+. Given ohow cold he was in April and a portion of May, I’ll take it.

So yeah: two homers and three runs. Thanks to strong pitching, Yankees didn’t need any more run support. Love that this team is capable of driving balls out of the park again.

Dicey Eighth 

Chris Capuano entered the game as the eighth inning guy. He allowed a single but struck out Miller. Esmil Rogers and Andrew Miller were warming in the bullpen, and with one out in eighth, Girardi opted for the big lefty to get a five-out save. Heh. I sort of feared Esmil Rogers-as-the-eighth-inning-guy scenario.

Miller, who is a great reliever no doubt, can get into a trouble or two with his sometimes-imperfect command. He hit the pinch-hitting Rickie Weeks (just barely on the right leg) to put another runner on. Then against Mike Zunino, he completely lost the plate, allowing a four-pitch walk to a guy who only walked 3.8% of the plate appearances last season. Bases loaded and only one out, welp.

With a two-run lead in jeopardy, Logan Morrison stepped up to plate. Miller threw three consecutive balls, seemingly getting closer to make it a 3-2 ballgame. The lefty then threw two fastball strikes in a row – the second one being right down the middle that Morrison swung and missed. On the pitch No. 6, Miller threw a slider down and away that fooled LoMo for a swinging strikeout. Whew. That was stressful. Miller came back out in the ninth again and had a much cleaner inning – two strikeouts and only a single allowed for a 17th save of the year.

Leftover

Brian McCann exited the game in the second inning after limping a bit grounding out. Later, we learned that he has a sore right foot and will go to New York tomorrow to get an MRI. Hopefully it’s nothing serious.

Box Score, WPA, Standings, etc.

Here’s the box score, WPA, updated standings and video highlights.


Source: FanGraphs


The Yankees get a day off tomorrow and return to Bronx. They will face the Angels for another three-game series. Enjoy the rest of your night and the Yanks’ day off, guys.