DotF: Refsnyder extends on-base streak to 18 games

The Yankees have released RHP Jared Burton, according to Donnie Collins. That surprises me a little. I thought Burton was one of those “the Yankees like him way more than we realize” guys. Guess not. Also, LHP Miguel Sulbaran was promoted from Double-A Trenton to Triple-A Scranton, according to Josh Norris. He’s only made seven career starts at Double-A, so this might only be temporary. We’ll see.

Triple-A Scranton (3-2 win over Durham)

  • RF Slade Heathcott: 1-4
  • DH Ramon Flores: 0-4
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 2-4, 1 R, 1 K — 27-for-63 (.429) with eight walks and 12 strikeouts during his 18-game on-base streak
  • 1B Kyle Roller: 1-4, 1 R, 1 HR, 2 RBI, 1 K — that’s five homers in his last 15 games
  • C Austin Romine: 0-4
  • LF Tyler Austin: 1-4
  • RHP Joel De La Cruz: 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 6/2 GB/FB — 39 of 64 pitches were strikes (61%) … got the spot start in place of Bryan Mitchell, who’s with the big league team temporarily
  • RHP Mark Montgomery: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 1/1 GB/F — seven of 12 pitches were strikes

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Headley’s homer, Sabathia’s dominance lead Yankees to 5-1 win over Royals

Source: FanGraphs

Hooray, the four-game losing streak is over. The Yankees beat the Royals by the score of 5-1 on Saturday night, scoring nearly as many runs in the game (five) as they did during the losing streak (six). It’s Saturday night, so let’s recap with bullet points:

  • Two-Out Rally: The Yankees scored their first run on Carlos Beltran‘s sacrifice fly, and they scored their next three runs after Danny Duffy recorded the first two outs of the fifth inning on eight pitches. Mark Teixeira and Beltran slapped two-out singles, then Chase Headley worked a seven-pitch at-bat before cranking a three-run homer into the Kansas City bullpen. He fell behind in the count 0-2, took three straight balls, fouled off a tough pitch, then homered. Really great at-bat. The Yankees managed to turn two outs and the bases empty into a three-run rally.
  • No. 3 In The Rotation, No. 1 In My Heart: On a night the Yankees really needed it, CC Sabathia delivered an ace-like performance. Sabathia was in trouble in exactly one of his seven innings, when the Royals loaded the bases with no outs in the third, but he escaped allowing only one run and then retired 14 of the final 17 batters he faced. (One of the three reached on an error.) In the past, Sabathia would have gone back out for the eighth inning with his pitch count at 87, but the bullpen was rested and he got to finish up on a positive note. Sabathia’s last two starts have been really good. He was great in this game.
  • Leftovers: Alex Rodriguez hit a solo homer in the top of the ninth to stretch the lead to 5-1. It was an opposite field shot off Joe Blanton, who’s shed a frickin’ ton of weight. A-Rod‘s hit ten homers in 38 team games this year … Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller tossed perfect eighth and ninth innings, respectively … Jose Pirela had a rough game in the field, most notably botching a potential double play in the fifth … Stephen Drew and Beltran both had two hits … Jacoby Ellsbury (0-for-4, 1 BB) and Chris Young (0-for-5) did nothing atop the lineup but the Yankees scored five runs anyway. Neat.

Here are the box score, video highlights, and updated standings. Also check out our Bullpen Workload and Announcer Standings pages. The Yankees and Royals will wrap up this three-game series on Sunday afternoon. Chris Capuano will be making his season debut after suffering a quad injury early in Spring Training. Edinson Volquez will start the matinee for the Royals.

Game 38: Win it for Ace Whitley


The Yankees have lost four straight games, and while the pitching staff got contact-bombed last night, the offense has been the biggest issue. They’ve scored six runs total in the four losses and have scored in just one inning in each game. It’s one thing to get shut down by someone like Chris Archer the other day, but Erasmo Ramirez? Chris Young? Blargh.

Anyway, losses happen, even four losses in a row, but no team in the AL East can afford an extended losing streak this season. The division is way too tight. The Yankees lost Chase Whitley to an elbow injury that will likely result in Tommy John surgery two days ago, so go out and win it for him. Ace Whitley did a nice job for the Yankees in a non-familiar role as a starting pitcher. Here is the Royals’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Jose Pirela
  8. SS Stephen Drew
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    LHP CC Sabathia

It cloudy and sticky in Kansas City and it’s supposed to rain later tonight. It shouldn’t impact the game unless it goes to extra innings though. Tonight’s game will begin a bit after 7pm ET and will air on WPIX. Try to enjoy.

Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) will throw another bullpen session on Monday. He’ll then pitch in a minor league rehab game after that, likely on Thursday.

Roster Move: Bryan Mitchell has been called up and Jose Ramirez has been sent down, the Yankees announced. Mitchell was scheduled to start for Triple-A Scranton today, so he can give the team lots of innings out of the bullpen. I really hope they don’t need them.

2015 Draft: Baseball America’s Mock Draft v2.0

Ponce. (Cal Poly)
Ponce. (Cal Poly)

Yesterday afternoon, John Manuel at Baseball America published his second mock draft, and this time he has the Diamondbacks selecting Vanderbilt RHP Carson Fulmer with the first overall pick. Last week it was UC Santana Barbara RHP Dillon Tate. I think Fulmer would be a big reach with the first pick, but that’s just me. The mock draft is free for all. You don’t need a subscription to read it.

Manuel has the Yankees selecting UCLA RHP James Kaprielian with their top pick, 16th overall, which is the same as the last mock draft. Kaprielian is a classic “safe” college pitcher with four pitches, good command, a sturdy frame, and a track record of success. Scouting director Damon Oppenheimer loves his Southern California pitchers (Ian Clarkin, Gerrit Cole, Ian Kennedy, etc.) and Kaprielian fits. Kaprielian threw nine no-hit innings last night, by the way.

In the supplemental first round, Manuel has the Yankees taking Cal Poly Pomona RHP Cody Ponce with the 30th pick, the compensation pick for David Robertson. Another SoCal pitcher! Ponce tore up the Cape Cod League last summer, and success on the Cape is another Oppenheimer trademark, so Ponce makes sense. Here’s a snippet of his free scouting report:

Ponce stands out primarily for his size and fastball. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder sits at 91-94 mph and touches 96, though his heater gets hit more than it should because it tends to straighten out. Ponce’s secondary pitches are still a work in progress. His improving cutter is his No. 2 option, he’s not afraid to throw his firm changeup and he also has a curveball that often devolves into a slurve.

As a reminder, Manuel’s mock drafts are informed speculation, he’s not just guessing. It’s based on industry buzz and all that, so it’s very likely the Yankees have real interest in both Kaprielian and Ponce. Manuel notes they’re also in on California HS C Chris Betts, but are likely to steer clear of injured hurlers Duke RHP Mike Matuella (Tommy John surgery), Florida post-grad LHP Brady Aiken (Tommy John surgery), and California HS LHP Kolby Allard (back).

This draft class is very pitcher heavy, there isn’t much position player talent at all, and it seems like the Yankees are leaning towards arms for their top picks based on the little we know right now. Obviously a lot can change in the coming weeks. The Yankees could use some pitching depth in the farm system, and although I’m not a fan of drafting for need with top picks, it just so happens their needs and the strength of the draft line up this year.

Saturday Links: Leyritz, Tommy John Surgery, Tulowitzki

The Yankees and Royals continues their series with a dreaded Saturday night game (man I hate those) later today. Until then, here are some miscellaneous links to help you pass the time.

Jim Leyritz invited to Old Timers’ Day

For the very first time, Jim Leyritz has been invited to Old Timers’ Day, according to George King and Steve Serby. Apparently Leyritz ran into Jennifer Steinbrenner over the winter and that got the ball rolling. “I don’t want to think the Yankees define who I am, but I spent 11 years there, it was my family. To be back and part of that family, I can’t tell you what it means to me. I am so pleased it’s finally happening,” said Leyritz.

Leyritz hit one of the biggest home runs in franchise history in Game Four of the 1996 World Series, when he tied the game with a three-run shot off Mark Wohlers in the top of the eighth. That homer altered the course of two franchises. Of course, Leyritz has had ugly off-the-field issues since the end of his playing career, most notably facing DUI and manslaughter charges following an accident in 2010. He was acquitted and ended up serving one year probation, plus he settled a civil suit with the family of the woman who was killed for six figures.

Yankees lend their arms to Tommy John surgery research

Over the last year or so, the Yankees have been bit by the Tommy John surgery bug like just about every other team. Last April they lost Ivan Nova to the zipper, Masahiro Tanaka is trying to avoid surgery for his partial ligament tear, and a few days ago Chase Whitley suffered an elbow injury that may require Tommy John surgery. Top prospects Ty Hensley and Domingo German had their elbows rebuilt earlier this year as well.

In an effort to help find a way to reduce torn elbow ligaments, the Yankees and several other teams have participated in biomechanical research conducted by MLB and American Sports Medicine Institute, according to Mike Vorkunov. Here are the details:

Last March, in eight spring training camps around baseball, including the Phillies and Yankees, 80 pitchers — 40 with no history of ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction and 40 with one — were stamped with 23 reflective markers and threw 10 fastballs at full effort as 10 cameras tracked and analyzed their movement.

It was the first attempt by Major League Baseball, the players association and ASMI to learn if there was a bio-mechanical underpinning to pitchers that eventually had to have Tommy John surgery and those that had avoided it to that point.

The study found no link. The results were hardly dispositive and the research itself was just an initial step for the group.

Another study — this one spanning five years — started this spring and will monitor pitchers with five organizations fresh out of the draft. The Mets are participating in that but it’s unclear if the Yankees are as well. “That the elbow ligament, when it tears, is the end result of multiple processes. We’re not going to find one unifying theory. My guess is it’s multiple factors,” said Dr. Gary Green, MLB’s chief medical officer. The league is also looking into less invasive ways to repair a partial tear, like Tanaka’s. Check out the article, some interesting stuff in there.

Tul-oh no! (Victor Decolongon/Getty)
(Victor Decolongon/Getty)

Tulowitzki will not request a trade from Rockies

Well this is interesting. Troy Tulowitzki told Thomas Harding will not request a trade from the Rockies after meeting with his agent a few days ago. “Whatever happens on the Rockies’ end happens, but for me to sit here and try to force my way out of here, that’s not the case,” said Tulowitzki. “I don’t think it’s fair to my teammates and the relationships I’ve built here to take that route.” (Tulowitzki left last night’s game with a quad injury, by the way.)

I’m not normally a conspiracy theorist, but I get the feeling there is much more going on here behind the scenes. Perhaps Tulowitzki asked the Rockies for a trade but agreed to not make it public, not only to avoid bad PR, but to also avoid killing the team’s leverage in trade talks. If other clubs know Tulowitzki demanded a trade out of Colorado, they’re going to make nothing but low-ball offers. The Rockies’ hands would be tied. The Yankees supposedly don’t have interest in trading for Tulowitzki, but, either way, my guess is this will not be the last time his name pops up in some sort of trade rumor.

Surprise! Infield shift usage is up in 2015

This should come as no surprise. According to Pat Graham, use of the infield shift is up considerably around baseball this year. It’s up nearly 33% (!) in fact. The Rockies and Diamondbacks, two teams with new GMs after not being known as very stat savvy in recent years, have increased their shift usage the most from 2014 to 2015. The Yankees used the shift as much as any team in baseball last year and the same is true this year. They seem to get burned by it constantly, but who really knows? Shift usage and success is very tough to evaluate based on the little freely available data we have.

Yankee pitching implodes in a 12-1 loss to the Royals

It’s not often you see a game where Chris Young (the pitcher) is more unhittable than Michael Pineda. Well, that’s just baseball. It’s also not often you see a game where Yankee pitching seemed to have imploded despite starting their staff ace. It wasn’t just the pitching though – the bats went pretty quiet, collecting only five hits and a run. Overall, this was a match that made me want to fall asleep early to forget.

Oh yea, they’ve also lost four in a row. That’s not pleasant either.

Tonight’s start was not as cool as the pose. (Source: Getty)

5.1 IP, 10 hits allowed, 1 K,

If I told you before the game that Big Mike was going to pitch this poorly, would you have believed it? Probably not. Well, the Royals are very contact-oriented team. Entering tonight’s game, their hitters have the lowest strikeout rate with a 14.6% – the next lowest in the list is the Braves at 16.7%. I didn’t think he was going to strike out 16 hitters again but not gonna lie, it was just weird to see him not punch out anyone until the fifth inning.

Well, no strikeouts aside, up to five innings, Pineda was throwing a decent start – he had allowed only 2 runs and the score was a close (2-1). In the sixth inning, however, all heck broke loose. Alex Gordon doubled to lead off the inning and Pineda induced a grounder from Salvador Perez, which advanced the runner to third.

With one out and a runner on third, the Yankees hoped to prevent a run by playing infield and outfield in, but Omar Infante drove a meatball into way deep outfield for a RBI triple. 3-1 Royals. You’d think that allowing a booming XBH to a hitter with 68 wRC+ would get Pineda out of the game, but Joe Girardi let him face Paulo Orlando. The outfielder hit a single to drive in another run and then Pineda was out. Engh.

I’m not too worried about Big Mike after this start. He’s a good pitcher and good pitchers do go through rough patches because they are human. His velocity wasn’t outrageously low or anything. Sometimes hitting beats good pitchers and that’s pretty much how I see it happened tonight.

Bullpen Implosion

So we have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, great! But Yankees didn’t really get to use either tonight. I was hoping that David Carpenter would somehow get the Yankees out of the jam at 4-1, but, alas, life isn’t perfect. He induced a grounder that Stephen Drew fielded, but the second baseman botched the toss to Didi Gregorius – all runners were safe. Girardi didn’t waste any time and pulled the right-hander out for Justin Wilson. Welp.

The lefty faced five hitters and got only one out. It took three singles and a walk for Joe to pull him out and put in… Jose Ramirez. Mercifully, the young righty got New York out of the inning but he allowed three more runs in the next inning before getting substituted for Branden Pinder. So when it was all said and done, it was seven earned runs allowed by the Yankee bullpen in 2.2 IP. They also allowed three walks and struck out only one. As Pusha T would say, yuck.

Several more of these would’ve been great (Source: Getty)


Yea this was a pretty forgettable game offense-wise. Mark Teixeira did go 2-for-3, A-Rod hit that booming double to lead off the fourth inning and scored the lone Yankee run and… besides that, meh.

Box Score, WPA, Standings:

Here’s the box score and updated standings. And, of course, WPA.

Source: FanGraphs

Yankees have a 7:10 PM EST start tomorrow. The big lefty Sabathia goes against Danny Duffy. First win since Monday or a five-game losing streak? We shall see.

DotF: Judge extends hit streak to 14 games in Trenton’s win

Got some notes to pass along before we get to the game action:

Triple-A Scranton (8-4 win over Durham in eleven innings)

  • CF Slade Heathcott: 0-6, 1 K
  • LF Ben Gamel: 3-6, 1 R, 2 2B, 3 RBI — capped off the four-run rally in the 11th with a two-run double
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-5, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 SB — got picked off second
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-4, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 1 E (throwing)
  • C Austin Romine: 2-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB
  • RHP Kyle Davies: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HB, 1/4 GB/FB — 54 of 93 pitches were strikes (58%)
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/1 GB/FB — 25 of 42 pitches were strikes (60%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 1/0 GB/FB — 15 of 25 pitches were strikes (60%)
  • LHP Jacob Lindgren: 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K, 2/2 GB/FB — 22 of 40 pitches were strikes (55%) … walked a batter? better leave him in Triple-A another six weeks to iron that out
  • RHP Danny Burawa: 1 IP, zeroes, 2 K — ten of 13 pitches were strikes

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