Game # 151: Twins (78-72) vs Yanks (83-67)

Season series: Yanks 2, Twins 2

Magic Numbers:
     Division: 15
     Home Advantage WC: 8
     Wild Card: 7

Same players as the ones that scored two runs yesterday! They WILL improve on that.

Can Judge get back to his twin homers/game mode? Can Bird let twins fly? Can Sanchez throw out twin Twins? Can the Yanks score four twin runs (and get to the fuster 8)? Can D-Bets throw strikes again?

Twins

  1. 2B: Brian Dozier
  2. 1B: Joe Mauer
  3. SS: Jorge Polanco
  4. 3B: Eduardo Escobar
  5. CF: Byron Buxton
  6. LF: Eddie Rosario
  7. DH: Robbie Grossman
  8. C: Chris Gimenez
  9. RF: Max Kepler
  10. SP: Jose Berrios

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. RF: Aaron Judge
  3. C: Gary Sanchez
  4. SS: Didi Gregorius
  5. DH: Chase Headley
  6. 2B: Starlin Castro
  7. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. 3B: Todd Frazier
  9. 1B: Greg Bird
  10. SP: CC Sabathia

Game on YES and ESPN.

Game # 150: Twins (78-71) vs Yanks (82-67)

Season series: Yanks 1, Twins 2

Magic Numbers:
     Division: 16
     Home Advantage WC: 10
     Wild Card: 8

C-Fraz sits. Garcia pitches???!!!!

Can the Yanks make the Twins see double? Can Garcia go 5 innings? Can DD do it again??!! Castro catching and playing second. Will Bird fly again? Is it time for Judge to hit 2 HRs again?

Twins

Dozier, 2B
Mauer, 1B
Buxton, CF
Polanco, SS
Rosario, RF
Escobar, 3B
Grossman, DH
Castro, C
Adrianza, LF
Santana, P

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. RF: Aaron Judge
  3. C: Gary Sanchez
  4. SS: Didi Gregorius
  5. DH: Chase Headley
  6. 2B: Starlin Castro
  7. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. 3B: Todd Frazier
  9. 1B: Greg Bird
  10. SP: Jaime Garcia

Game on YES and MLBN.

Game # 149: Oreos (72-77) vs Yanks (82-66)

Season Series; Yanks 12, Oreos 6

Magic Numbers
     Division: 17
     Home Advantage WC: 10
     Wild Card: 9

T & C back-to-back in the lineup. Ells and Headley benched for hitting too well. It's Gray with a chance of ground balls.

Can the Yanks win without Ells & Headley? Can the Yanks score runs for Gray? Can Gray bring his effective anti-air force style? Can Bird hit in a game after he homered?

Oreos

Beckhman, SS
Machado, 3B
Schoop, 2B
Mancini, LF
Davis, 1B
Smith, RF
Trumbo, DH
Hays, CF
Joseph, C
Jimenez, P

Yanks

Gardner, CF
Judge, RF
Sanchez, C
Gregorius, SS
Castro, 2B
Holliday, DH
Bird, 1B
T. Frazier, 3B
C. Frazier, LF
Gray, P

Game on YES

Game # 148: Oreos (72-76) vs Yanks (81-66)

Season Series: Yanks 11, Oreos 7

Magic Numbers:
   To win Division: 18
   Wild Card: 12
   Home Wild Card: 10

Holliday sits. Sanchez sits. Romine squats. Only one Frazier and it's T. Since Romine is catching Monty is his personal pitcher. Bird NOT benched after hitting HR????!!!

Can Monty return to form? Can Bird repeat? (or is it re-bird?) Can the Yanks stay hot?

Oreos

  1. DH: Tim Beckham
  2. 3B: Manny Machado
  3. 2B: Jonathan Schoop
  4. CF: Adam Jones
  5. 1B: Trey Mancini
  6. C: Welington Castillo
  7. SS: J.J. Hardy
  8. RF: Austin Hays
  9. LF: Joey Rickard
  10. SP: Jeremy Hellickson

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. DH: Chase Headley
  3. RF: Aaron Judge
  4. SS: Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B: Starlin Castro
  6. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 3B: Todd Frazier
  8. 1B: Greg Bird
  9. C: Austin Romine
  10. SP: Jordan Montgomery

Game on YES.

Game # 147: Oreos (72-75) vs Yanks (80-66)

Season Series: Yanks 10, Oreos 6...Yanks have won the season series.

The Bird is Back -- (sung to the Elton John song "The Bitch is Back:)

After their great performances last night, both Fraziers are benched! (I love how Girardi plays the hot hitters.) Gardy is in. Bird is in. Holliday dropped in order.

Can the Yanks' batters maintained their punishment of Oreos' pitching? Is Bird so rusty they'd call him L'Orange in Montreal? Can Sevy maintain his pace? Are the Fraziers so hot the Yanks bench will burst into flames? Why does Showalter have a three batting forth?

Oreos

  1. SS: Tim Beckham
  2. 3B: Manny Machado
  3. 2B: Jonathan Schoop
  4. LF: Trey Mancini
  5. RF: Mark Trumbo
  6. 1B: Chris Davis
  7. C: Welington Castillo
  8. DH: Pedro Alvarez
  9. CF: Austin Hays
  10. SP: Gabriel Ynoa

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. RF: Aaron Judge
  3. C: Gary Sanchez
  4. SS: Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B: Starlin Castro
  6. 3B: Chase Headley
  7. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  8. DH: Matt Holliday
  9. 1B: Greg Bird
  10. SP: Luis Severino

Game on YES.

Statcast: Aaron Judge is Back!

You know the story: Aaron Judge was in a mighty slump after the All Star Break. He batted .179/.341/.352 through August 27th, when Joe Girardi made the decision to rest him for two games. Since August 27th, Judge has recovered hit a pretty incredible .250/.413/.667. He's hitting 115+ mph home runs again, and making a push for AL MVP. 

Here's what the season looks like using a rolling 10-game moving average of Statcast's xwOBA statistic:

Source: Statcast

Source: Statcast

Three observations:

1) Judge began to come out of the slump long before he was rested in late-August. He was legitimately terrible after the All Star Break in July. His xwOBA began to improve in early August, but has take off like a rocket since he was rested. However, it did clearly affect his strikeout rate:

Source: Fangraphs

Source: Fangraphs

 

2) Even when he was slumping terribly, Judge never really bottomed out to below-average for any lengthy period of time. His ability to take walks sets a high floor. 

3) When Judge gets hot, he stays hot. Hit like a modern day Babe Ruth for two separate month-long hot streaks. He's hot now (September 10th and 14th were two of Judge's best three games of the season by xwOBA).

Game # 146: Oreos (72-74) vs Yanks (79-66)

Season Series: Yanks 9, Oreos 6

Ornithology Report: No Bird sighting.

In the game of outfield musical chairs Gardy lost his seat tonight. Castro gets benched after breaking out of his slump -- that'll teach him.

There are 4 batters I don't think should bat 2nd -- Judge (Ks too much), Sanchez (with Judge, not batters who should be asked to move along runners), DD and Castro (neither gives a runner a chance to steal and they don't take walks.)

Can Tanaka rebound? If he does, will he be allowed to pitch 5 innings? Can the Yanks remember how to hit? Can the Yanks beat the Birds without the Bird?

Oreos

  1. SS: Tim Beckham
  2. 3B: Manny Machado
  3. 2B: Jonathan Schoop
  4. CF: Adam Jones
  5. LF: Trey Mancini
  6. 1B: Chris Davis
  7. DH: Mark Trumbo
  8. C: Welington Castillo
  9. RF: Seth Smith
  10. SP: Wade Miley

Yanks

  1. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. RF: Aaron Judge
  3. C: Gary Sanchez
  4. DH: Matt Holliday
  5. 1B: Chase Headley
  6. SS: Didi Gregorius
  7. 3B: Todd Frazier
  8. 2B: Ronald Torreyes
  9. LF: Clint Frazier
  10. SP: Masahiro Tanaka

Game on YES.

Game # 145: Yanks (78-66) vs Rays (72-74)

Season Series: Yanks 8, Rays 6

Judge sits!! Yanks at full Frazier strength. Sanchez gets half day in. Romine squats. Garcia pitching.....I didn't know he was still with the team. Surprised Castro didn't get a rest. 

Can the Yanks hit Archer? Can Garcia get thru 5 innings? 

Yanks

  1. LF: Brett Gardner
  2. 1B: Chase Headley
  3. DH: Gary Sanchez
  4. SS: Didi Gregorius
  5. 2B: Starlin Castro
  6. CF: Jacoby Ellsbury
  7. 3B: Todd Frazier
  8. RF: Clint Frazier
  9. C: Austin Romine
  10. SP: Jaime Garcia

Rays

  1. CF: Kevin Kiermaier
  2. DH: Lucas Duda
  3. 3B: Evan Longoria
  4. 1B: Logan Morrison
  5. RF: Steven Souza Jr.
  6. SS: Adeiny Hechavarria
  7. LF: Peter Bourjos
  8. C: Jesus Sucre
  9. 2B: Danny Espinosa
  10. SP: Chris Archer

Game on YES.

Report: Japanese star Shohei Otani to be posted this winter

There have been rumors aplenty regarding Shohei Otani's future in the United States, and early this morning, Yahoo's Jeff Passan relayed reports from Japan indicating that the two-way star will play for a major league team in 2018:

Only Otani, it seems, does not mind the prospect of giving up literally hundreds of millions of dollars to play in the greatest league in the world. Multiple reports out of Japan on Wednesday morning there said the same thing: Otani, who has been called the Japanese Babe Ruth, will enter the posting system this winter and play for a major league team in 2018. This came as no surprise to the general managers and scouts who have flocked in recent weeks to watch him pitch for the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters. It also didn’t lessen their excitement any.

Otani has hardly pitched this season due to a leg injury, only getting his first opportunity on the mound a couple weeks ago. He's still been able to hit, and it hasn't lacked, as he's posted an impressive .346/.416/.574 with 7 home runs in 185 plate appearances. Now that he's healthy enough to pitch, we've been reminded of just how talented Otani is as a pitcher:

His ability on both sides of the field is scintillating, to say the least. How a major league team will utilize him is to be determined, but one would have to think that an American League squad has a leg up on signing Otani, considering that he doesn't want to give up hitting. In theory, he could be the designated hitter on some or all days that he doesn't pitch.

What makes Otani's departure from Japan somewhat surprising is the timing. Rather than becoming a free agent in two years, Otani will only sign for a relatively small bonus this winter and then receive roughly the Major League minimum salary until he reaches arbitration in another three seasons. As Passan notes, there are restrictions on signing international players under the age of 25. Otani is 23. The Yankees have maxed out their bonus pool via a few trades that netted international bonus slots, giving them a cap of approximately $8.3M. However, much of that has already been earmarked to other international prospects, so it's not clear how much the Yankees have available for Otani. Other teams are in similar situations, and we really won't have much of an idea of who can offer him the most.

Considering that Otani is foregoing true free agency in two years, it's evident that money isn't a deciding factor. Maybe I'm wrong, but I can't imagine that he'd eschew a team he prefers for, say, an additional $250K only because his preferred team falls just short of what another can offer. He's only going to get a few million dollars of a bonus at most, and all of the maximum offers should be very competitive given the pool restrictions. It's not clear who Otani favors, though it's evident that the Yankees (and just about every other team) are interested. General Manager Brian Cashman was just in Japan to see him up close, which says all you need to know. 

This report still seems somewhat hard to believe given how much money he's sacrificing the join a major league club. We're still at least two or three months away from any team officially signing the two-way star, so there's still time for him to waver on his decision. Given the money at stake, I don't think it would shock anyone to see him change his mind and wait another two seasons. That being said, the report as it stands is an exciting proposition for the Yankees and other potential suitors. It would be awesome to see him in the Bronx next season.