The Yankees keep on playing the Blue Jays, and despite all the hype, the Yankees have been able to hit them hard very early this season. The teams have now played 8 times and the Bombers have won 7 of those games. In the process, they’ve built up a 9 game lead in the standings against the AL East pre-season favorite. Although Toronto is struggling to reach a .500 record, if things start clicking, they can become a very admirable team, and this early lead is great insurance.
Yes, there’s no Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter, but I love this lineup. The Yankees have put up some stinkers in recent days, and at least this one goes six players deep before you get to Nix. Also notable is that Curtis Granderson will make his first appearance in right field.
Well, isn’t this lineup starting to shape up? With Nix getting hot, and Adams showing off a well in his debut, the Yankees actually have a pretty deep lineup against Toronto’s Brandon Morrow. It’s been two weeks since Morrow pitched, due to neck and back issues, and he’ll face off against David Phelps this afternoon at 1:05 PM.
After last night’s trap tightness, the Yankees have decided to place Andy Pettitte on their 15-day DL. Cashman was quoted by Mark Feinsand as saying that the starter was “pretty spasm’d up on Thursday“, “I would rather resolve this and give it the time,” and “This is the safe play. … Thankfully it’s minor.“ Sounds to me like it’s a re-injury of his back issue from April, although that was supposed to be lower back. To take Pettitte’s spot, they’ll recall Vidal Nuno from Scranton, who was stellar against the Indians in Monday’s double header.
Meanwhile, Chris Stewart is only day-to-day with his groin injury.
The MLB First-Year Player Draft is one of the biggest crapshoots in all of sports. The chances of a top 100 pick out of college reaching the majors is usually less than 50%, and that mark goes down when we’re drafting highschoolers. Matt Eddy at Baseball America crunched the numbers for the top 100 picks from 1989 to 2008, and has the odds for position players reaching the 40-man roster, the majors, and/or becoming impact players. (minimum of 10 career WAR) The numbers are low, and that’s why very few baseball fans even follow the MLB draft. There are simply too many names and too many risks involved with the 40 round three day event, and most casual baseball watchers simply don’t have the time or interest to follow it.
But if there was ever a time to follow the draft as a Yankee fan, this is the year. The Yankees will have three first round picks, one at 26 overall, and two supplemental first round picks at 32 and 33 thanks to the departures of Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano. As we grow closer to draft day on June 6th, we’ll continue to update you on any major changes to top prospect lists, any connections with the team, or any major mock drafts or scouting reports that emerge over that time. There’s less than three weeks until draft day arrives, so here are some links to get started learning about what this year offers.
- Top 100 by MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo
- Top 100 by Baseball America
- Top 100 by ESPN.com’s Keith Law (Subscription Required)
- Top 100 by Baseball Prospectus’ Allan Simpson
- Top 50 by Chris Crawford
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Nope, I’m not joking. Chris Stewart was just pulled from the game after pulling up short on the base paths. He originally remained in the game to run, but Girardi decided to pull him in between innings.
There are no other catchers on the Yankees’ roster outside of Romine, and Bobby Wilson is the guy in Scranton that would probably get the call. In recent days, the Yankees have really talked up JR Murphy, though the extent of his experience is 299 plate appearances in Double-A.
Like always, I’ll update this post when more news is announced.
UPDATE (10:39 PM): Girardi said that Stewart didn’t hear a pop, but he’s still getting an MRI of his groin.
Not sure what exactly happened yet, but Joe Girardi and the trainers came out to talk to Andy Pettitte after a pitch and ultimately gave him the hook. He seemed to be stretching out his back after the pitch, and considering his early season back injury, I am speculating that his back was bothering him. Hopefully it’s just muscle issues, but I’ll update this post when we get more news.
UPDATE (9:51 PM): It’s a tight trap, indeed it’s the upper back. Thank god.
Travis Hafner- LD: 16.2% (.828), GB: 30.9% (.190), FB: 52.9% (.333)
Hafner was never a line drive hitter, and his 52.9% fly ball rate has grown to be the dominant batted ball type. The lefty is obviously aiming for the right field short porch, but in 2013 his FB% has thus far increased by around 14%. These hits are falling into play slightly more than his career .307 average, and add to that the line drives falling in at an insane .828 average. While the power is for real, we can expect his .260 batting average to drop in the near future.
Brett Gardner- LD: 20.9% (.682), GB: 42.7% (.213), FB: 42.7% (.250)
Gardner’s .319 BABIP would lead you to believe that he belongs in the “just right” section, but he can actually improve upon this mark considerably. His 42.7% ground ball rate is 8 percent lower than his career rates, and his .213 batting average on these hits is well below his career .277 rate. Perhaps Gardner’s speed has diminished slightly, but it shouldn’t have this big of an effect. Expect his hits from fly balls to decrease while he sees many more hits on ground balls.
Ichiro Suzuki- LD: 15.0% (.647), GB: 56.6% (.234), FB: 28.3% (.161)
The right fielder is coming off a career high line drive year, where he posted a 24.7% line drive rate. In 2013, that batted ball type has fallen to just 15.0%, which is still 5.5% lower than his career norm. Not only should he be hitting more line drives, but he should also be beating out more ground balls. His current .259 BABIP is .040 points below last year’s, and nearly .090 points below his career average. Even if his age is catching up to him, this type of drop off is too extreme, so expect his batting average to level off around .270 to .280 in the coming months.
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Not So Filthy Hughes
Phil Hughes entered this game trying to rebound from a 6 run game against the Royals and somehow had an even more disastrous start. The pitcher couldn’t even make it out of the first inning, going 0.2 IP, giving up 7 runs on 6 hits. Hughes repeated some bad habits of last year, starting today’s game with 11 straight four-seam fastballs. When three sliders didn’t work against Kyle Seager, Hughes started to rely on the curveball. It was pretty clear that he was over-rotating on the curveball, as the pitches were missing their location towards right-handed batters by a few feet. For some reason this was his pitch of choice with the bases loaded against Ibanez, who launched a grand slam to right center field.
How about Raul Ibanez? He came into this series batting .194/.250/.403 in 72 plate appearances. After a two homerun game tonight, he is 4 for 9 with 3 homeruns and 8 RBI’s in this series. He’s one of those players that are abysmal when they’re cold and unstoppable when they’re hot, it’s too bad he just happened to get hot during this series.
Welcome To The Bigs
We also witnessed two major league debuts tonight. David Adams got the start at third base and earned his first major league hit. Brett Marshall also saw his first major league innings, giving up 9 hits, 5 walks, and 5 runs in 5.2 innings of work. He wasn’t brilliant, but he saved the bullpen on a day where the Yankees could only score 2 runs. After 108 pitches by Marshall, Alberto Gonzalez had his major league debut on the mound, and earned a fly out against his only batter.
Do you think David Adams could have asked for a better birthday present than a call up to the major leagues and a start at third base? The 26 year old infielder was finally called up this afternoon, likely sending Chris Nelson to the waiver wire after a DFA. Needless to say, I don’t think anyone will be topping this gift.
But perhaps there’s one drawback for Adams this evening, as he’ll have to face off against the Mariner’s Hisashi Iwakuma and his 1.74 ERA and 2.82 FIP. After posting a 3.16 ERA in 2012, Iwakuma has emerged as a top of the rotation pitcher in the MLB, and boasts a low arm angle and ridiculous splitter. Thus far, the right-handed pitcher has very little platoon split, although Girardi has stacked this lineup with left-handed batters.
Iwakuma has seen many more flyballs this season, and thus the low ERA. Now in Yankee Stadium, the right-handed pitcher will have to worry about keeping the ball in the yard, especially to this lefty heavy lineup. Speaking of which, Phil Hughes will get the ball for the Yankees as he tries to rebound from an awful start against the Royals.
The game starts at 7:05 PM EST and you can catch it on YES.