Tuesday, November 21, 2017
The Yankees added six players to their 40-man roster in advance of Monday’s 8 p.m. ET deadline to protect players from being selected in next month’s Rule 5 Draft. It completes a busy day of roster moves for the club that also included a pair of Minor League trades earlier in the day to clear space on the roster.
The list of players added is headlined by infielder Gleyber Torres, ranked as the Majors’ No. 1 overall prospect by MLBPipeline.com, infielder Thairo Estrada, outfielder Billy McKinney and right-handers Albert Abreu, Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo Acevedo.
Besides the absolute no-brainers like Torres, Abreu and Acevedo and the near-no-brainers like Estrade and McKinney, the Yankees made two deals to clear three guys off of the 40-man so that they’d have room for those five as well as Jonathan Loaisiga, who I don’t even remember being a hot shit prospect. It will be interesting to see who is Cash’s current “cut in case someone better comes along.” Cash made two of his vaunted “trade 40-man guys for younger players who don’t need to be protected” deals. They have worked every other time he has done them, so I just assume that these will work, too. Ronald Herrerra, Garrett Cooper and Caleb Smith are hard to miss too much. Cooper and Smith went to a non-rival and it got the Yankees more money to spend on Ohtani.
Good stuff all around!
Thursday, November 16, 2017
ORLANDO, Fla. — The Yankees are still trying to make a trade or two before the Monday deadline to freeze 40-man rosters for December’s Rule 5 draft, and one player who has surprisingly caught their attention is Texas’ Jurickson Profar.
The Yankees are deep in infield prospects, so there is no obvious place for Profar – once the top prospect in the game – to play.
But it seems the Yankees would be willing to take on a single player with upside and pedigree in exchange for multiple players who are crowding their deep 40-man roster.
Texas is interested in the Yankees’ excess pitching whether Profar is in a deal or not. The list of pitchers who are at least a debate whether to stay on the 40-man or be put on despite eligibility includes Luis Cessa, Bryan Mitchell, Caleb Smith, Chasen Shreve, Ronald Herrera, Ben Heller, Jonathan Holder, Gio Gallegos, Cale Coshow, J.P. Feyersien and several others.
Sure, why not take a flier on a youngish player with some upside if you can get him for some of the excess players on the 40 man roster?
Monday, November 13, 2017
Aaron Judge was unanimously named the Baseball Writers’ Association of America’s American League Rookie of the Year Award winner on Monday, becoming the first Yankee since Derek Jeter in 1996 to garner the honor, and the ninth overall.
Judge, who recently won his first AL Silver Slugger Award, is also an AL MVP Award candidate following a 2017 campaign in which he hit .284 with an AL-leading 52 homers, 128 runs, 114 RBIs and a 1.049 OPS.
Judge’s 52 taters set the Major League rookie record for home runs in a season, breaking Mark McGwire’s mark of 49 homers that had stood for three decades. He also set the rookie record for walks, with 127, passing Ted Williams’ 107 in 1939.
The 25-year-old earned an All-Star nod—while winning the Home Run Derby along the way—and was a finalist for the AL Gold Glove Award for right field.
It was a foregone conclusion, but still nice to see. Congrats to Judge (good on him for the Silver Slugger Award,as well - Sanchez won it, as well. Can you name the last Yankee to win the Silver Slugger award? It’s sort of surprising).
By the way, if he hadn’t had that big September, do you think some yahoo would have still found a way to convince themselves to vote for someone else #1?
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Yankees manager candidate Eric Wedge has a presence just talking to reporters in a group interview over the telephone.
His booming voice exudes confidence, and he comes across as friendly and likable.
While listening to him answer questions for 12 minutes, you can see why he’s still a relatively young man and has 10 years of big-league manager experience.
He’s a tough guy, too: He had a mini stroke in July 2013 and was back managing the Seattle Mariners 33 days later.
Wedge, 49, met with the Yankees management on Friday—the second candidate to interview for Joe Girardi’s old job.
Rob Thomson, a top lieutenant on Girardi’s coaching staff for the last 10 years, interviewed on Wednesday.
ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcaster Aaron Boone, a former Yankees third baseman, reportedly is a candidate. Former Yankees pitcher David Cone and catcher John Flaherty, both veteran YES Network television analysts for the club, have expressed interest.
Is it odd that I don’t particularly care who winds up as the manager? I mean I guess I’d prefer it not be Flaherty but other than that I don’t really have any opinion or concern. Unless we suddenly hear Bobby Valentine is a candidate…
Thursday, November 9, 2017
MLB rules prohibit the Yankees from blowing away the competition when it comes to paying Shohei Otani.
But they’ll still have advantage over 28 other teams when it comes to how much they can offer the 23-year-old, two-way star from Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, assuming he’s eligible to come to the majors in 2018.
The Bombers can offer Otani a $3.25 million signing bonus, according to a report from the Associated Press. Only the Rangers, at $3.535 million, can offer more. The Twins are next, at $3.245 million.
Other big market clubs can offer the following: Red Sox ($462,000), Cubs ($300,000), Dodgers ($300,000).
It must be noted, however, that Otani isn’t coming over strictly for the money. If that were the case, he’d wait until he turns 25, when there is no limit on how much teams can offer.
I’d like to think this is an advantage, but Otani doesn’t seem to be the type who cares about money as the last sentence notes.
I’m fairly certain the Yankees will pursue Otani heavily, and they should. But so should every single team in baseball. I would think AL teams will have an advantage as he’s pretty much strictly a DH when he’s not pitching now (has not seen the OF since six games in 2014).
The question we obviously must ask is how good will Otani be? We can look at what he’s done so far in Japan, courtesy of Baseball Reference First, here are his offensive numbers. As noted, although he played some OF his first two years, he’s been strictly a DH for the last three.
That 2016 line really grabs your attention. He has fought some injuries in 2017 but his production is still pretty solid, albeit with a bit less power.
Here’s are his lines on the mound.
Injuries have kept Otani off the mound for a lot of 2017. For what it’s worth, here’s how a couple of other recent Japanese pitchers that came over to MLB did through age 22.
On a rate basis, Otani’s been just about as good as Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish were through the same age, although they both were able to log significantly more innings. Darvish pitched for the same team as Otani but Tanaka also pitched in the Pacific League, which uses the DH.
Anyway, what he’s done so far in a different league may give us some inkling of his talent but it doesn’t necessarily tell us what he would do in MLB. I’ve finished up my first set of CAIRO 2018 and although it may change, here’s the first crack at projecting Otani as a DH.
The average slash line for DHs in the AL last year was .243/.317/.418. Given Otani’s youth and the fact that he bats left-handed, it’s not crazy to think he could give you that 65% forecast out of DH if he were a Yankee.
Otani isn’t really being looked at for his offense though. While there’s some potential to get some offense out of him, teams want him for his arm.
The standard caveats about projections apply, but in Otani’s case doubly so. That being said, you can sign Otani and imagine getting 10 WAR out of him at the plate and on the mound. But even if he just hits that 35% forecast as a pitcher and as a hitter, he’s still going to a valuable player to have. And you can dream on his tools and the potential to market him as a true two-way player, the likes of which the game hasn’t seen Brooks Kieschnick or Micah Owings.
On the mound, Ohtani has as good a fastball as anyone in baseball. He’s been up to 102 mph and touches triple digits with some regularity. Ohtani throws a nasty splitter and a slider that’s just as good, and it all comes from a loose, athletic, 6-foot-5 frame and delivery.
“He’s every bit of a top-end-of-the-rotation starter,” said another international scouting director who saw Ohtani pitch recently. “He threw well the other day, even if his command was a little off. The stuff is there. He has all the pitches he needs. He’s 23 and everything works. He’s shown he can put it together in the Japan League. For me, he would go straight to the big leagues and figure it out there.”
That report alone—three plus pitches, with a tall and athletic frame to go along with easily repeatable mechanics—would be more than enough to have teams line up to try and sign Ohtani. But even those who feel the arm is ahead of the bat agree there are some impressive offensive tools to consider.
“He’s a big, strong guy,” the second scouting director said. “At 6-foot-5, he’s a long-lever guy. He has shortened up his swing a little and has the chance to hit for some power. When you have a top-end-of-rotation guy, he’s more of a pitcher for me. But he has the chance to be a good hitter. He’s a very, very good athlete.”
“Ohtani is already hitting really well at [Japan’s] highest level,” a third director said. “But you don’t see the pitching there that you see here.”
The first scouting director said he’d put Ohtani’s raw power among the best of any player at any level currently and also had recorded home-to-first times at 3.9 seconds, which is well above average and a part of his game not often discussed. All agreed that if Ohtani wanted to just hit, teams would be very interested in his services.
I’ve read that Otani idolizes Darvish and whomever signs Darvish will have an edge in signing Otani as well. Combined with the fact that they have the most to offer him and are probably interested in bringing back Darvish, I’d say the Rangers are probably the favorites to wind up with Otani. But it would awesome if the Yankees somehow managed to snag him.
Monday, November 6, 2017
The beginning of baseball’s awards season could see some serious hardware delivered to the Bronx. Aaron Judge’s historic season has placed the Yankees slugger as a finalist for both the American League Most Valuable Player Award and the AL’s Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award, while Luis Severino stands as a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award.
Good for Severino!
Judge is up against Trey Mancini and Andrew Benintendi for the Rookie of the Year, Sevy is up against Corey Kluber and Chris Sale for Cy Young and Judge is up against Jose Altuve and Jose Ramirez for MVP.
Hey, one out of three won’t be bad!
The New York Yankees have a bevy of talented prospects. But they can’t keep all of them. See our predictions on which young stars general manager Brian Cashman will protect from the Rule 5 Draft.
First, a quick breakdown of who’s available in the Rule 5, via Baseball America:
With a few exceptions, any player who was younger than 19 on June 4 of their signing year is eligible to be picked if they are not on a 40-man roster after their fifth pro year. Any player who was 19 or older on June 4 of their signing year is eligible after their fourth pro season.
I guess it’s a first world problem when you have so much talent in your organization that you won’t be able to keep it all. Hopefully the Yankees won’t lose anyone that will sting down the line.
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