Tuesday, January 24, 2017

JACOBY ELLSBURY & MY TAKE

(Sept. 9, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
I read Suzie Pinstripes' BYB piece entitled CAN ELLSBURY BRING 'BOSTON' BACK TO HIS GAME? with great interest this weekend, and I'm afraid like Ells himself it left me underwhelmed.

My colleague's story,  based on a  nugget in the NY Daily News by Mike Mazzeo quoting Yankees hitting coach Alan Cockrell, explained that the team had examined tape of Ells in 2011 -- his All-World outlier Boston season the year before the Yankees signed him  when he hit .321 with 32 homers and posted a .928 OPS over 158 games. 


The gist of Cockrell's comments was that the team had noted Ells' MLB record 12 catcher interference calls in 2016, a sign he had moved further back in the box, and so they  "tailored his cage routine and his maintenance work, and tailored it to where we're moving contact not a lot, not a foot, not a foot-and-a-half, but just 3-4 inches more in front of his body."

(Aug. 29, 2016 - Source: Ed Zurga/Getty Images North America)    
While Suzie appears to be "cautiously excited" that Ells may have taken the initiative to try and alter his hitting routine during the off-season, I'm not.

The NYDN piece quoted Cockrell saying that the aforementioned cage and maintenance routines were apparently rejected by Ells as "awkward" to implement  or "think about" during the season so "this is something we'll talk about in spring training." 

(June 15, 2016 - Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America)
That sounds like someone who thinks their status quo hitting is just fine and not worth messing with to me.  

Further, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, who was also present for Cockrell's presser, points out that the Yankee hitting coach may be chasing a false image on Ellsbury's radar; explaining: "Catcher's interferences were part of Ellsbury's game in Boston as well -- he has 26 since 2007, the most by any Major Leaguer since Pete Rose (29)."

(Aug. 22, 2015 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)    
My take: Ells is what he is and there's little reason to believe he won't  continue on his current trajectory. I just hope B'wana Brian our big-game hunting GM continues on his and finds some way to move him.



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore
  



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WHAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT JAMES KAPRIELIAN

Photo: New York Daily News
As I sit here right now, reading articles about my New York Yankees, I can only come up with one conclusion; I love what the future looks like in the Bronx.

Now I know Dan Lucia is doing a tremendous series on BYB about our future prospects and it's really great.  But I'd like to offer a nugget about James Kaprielian that not too many people know about.

I read this article on him the other day and I really love this kid's attitude and determination. Here's NJ.com:

Photo: MiLB.com
"The 6-foot-4 righty wants to be CC Sabathia circa 2009, or make like Andy Pettitte during the Yankees' run of four World Series championships from 1996-2000.

His quest isn't to get to the big leagues and be a good pitcher for a long time.

This young man who grew up in Southern California rooting for the Yankees wants to be their next great starting pitcher."

Believe and you shall conquer, James! I really like this kid and I think he has what it takes to make it. I mean 18 days after the death of his mother he pitched one of the best games in Team USA history!  That's right, this guy lost his mom while in school, and he's made it his focus to keep pushing forward!

Photo Credit: Shotgun Spartling
In college, James pitched 9 innings of a 10 inning no-hitter. The first in the history of UCLA baseball. Here is another article I found about him. You can read about that HERE, but here's alittle from that New York Daily News piece:

"Success on the field had positioned Kaprielian as one of the top college pitchers in the game - and eventually made him the Yankees’ top pick in the 2015 draft - but he was dealing with more adversity than most kids his age are forced to handle.

His mother was dying."

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Kaprielian is far more mature for his age than some. When I was lucky enough to see him up close this past fall in the Arizona Fall League, I really liked what I saw. He had his ups and downs like all pitchers do, but overall, he looked pretty good! Standing on the mound you could see his determination. Yankee fans should be excited!

I leave you with this... an emotional and unbelievable video on the Yankees site that completes my piece and excites the fan base. 





Keep pushing James, we are all pulling for you!




--Michael Carnesi
BYB Writer








Monday, January 23, 2017

CAUTIOUS TANAKA

(Aug. 18, 2016 - Source: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America)    
Masahiro Tanaka is being cautious... and the Yankees love it because it protects their investment.

The New York Post has the story and it's a good one that involves Tanaka and the WBC and Japan... and how he's not going to pitch in it. There are 3 main reasons according to the Post:

"1. The international tournament’s logistics make it tricky for a Japanese major leaguer to participate. Team Japan’s first game is March 7 in Tokyo. So Tanaka would have to report to Yankees spring training in mid-February and return to his home country less than a month later. Astros outfielder Nori Aoki is the only Japanese major leaguer committed to play for Team Japan.


Photo: Getty Images
2. Tanaka tore a ligament in the UCL in his right elbow in 2014, and since then, he and the Yankees have managed his right arm with great care. Ramping up early for the desired intensity of WBC action would not constitute great care.

3. This marks a potential walk year for Tanaka. As per the terms of the seven-year, $155 million contract he signed in January 2014, he can opt out of the deal following the 2017 season."


(Aug. 16, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
The one main one for me has always been #2.  But I guess I'm just overly worried because injury of the arm, especially as a pitcher is always worrisome and the Yankees don't have a lot of solid pitching in the starting rotation.  That being said, the Yankees and their doctors seem to have a grasp on the Tanaka arm.

Whatever the case, it's a nice nugget for you, right?

Carry on.





ANYTHING CAN BECOME TOO EXPENSIVE


Let me just start out by saying that I do believe that Bryce Harper would look great in Pinstripes alongside Clint Frazier (who loves to reach out to him on Twitter), Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, Blake Rutherford and others. Harper is a talent that doesn’t come along very often.

But amongst the Yankees faithful, many believe he is a shoo-in to be a Yankee in 2019. Whatever the cost, whatever it takes. It has been reported that he will be looking for a 10 year, $400 million record contract. His agent, the infamous Scott Boras will assure he gets paid. And he should.

But just like anything else in life, any and everything can become too expensive. What is the breaking point? $40 million a year? What if another team offers $42 million? Do the Yankees bump it to $45 million? That gets slippery when it’s a business. This point goes to any player the Yankees are looking to invest ‘bigly’ in.

(Sept. 30, 2016 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)    
The Yankees will be in position to shell out a bunch of money following the 2018 season and with Harper, Manny Machado, Matt Harvey, Josh Donaldson and others potentially hitting the free agent market. But there will be factors to consider before possibly committing nearly a billion dollars.

(Oct. 6, 2016 - Source: Getty Images North America)
One factor that will definitely come into play is Harper’s success over the next two seasons. It was reported that Harper was battling a shoulder injury this past year which was likely a factor in his decreased production and 2016 could have simply been a down year. But his .243/.373/.441 slash line with 24 home runs and 86 RBI don’t exactly scream record breaking contract.

His OBP was solid and his strikeout to walk ratio ,121 strikeouts to 108 walks, were within percentage points of his 2015 monster numbers in which he slashed .330/.460/.649 with 42 home runs and 99 RBI while adding 131 strikeouts to 124 walks. Those numbers do scream record breaking contract.

(Oct. 6, 2016 - Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America)
In order for me to feel happy about a monster long term contract, I would really like to see Harper have back-to-back MVP type seasons to prove that 2016 was just a kink in the armor, possibly exacerbated by injury.

(Sept. 17, 2016 - Source: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images North America)    
If you close your eyes and think back, the Yankees dished out some big money, long term deals recently to Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury. Sure they won the 2009 World Series but at the expense of a huge down turn just a couple years later. While it wasn’t all a waste or terrible, it gives me a little baseball PTSD.

The upside of all this is that Harper, and Machado for that matter, will still be in their prime whereas a couple of the above mentioned guys were reaching the end of theirs. But a decade is a lot of time to commit to $40 million a year.

Photo: Getty Images
I don’t want you to think that I don’t want Harper to be patrolling the outfield 1 E 161st St in the Bronx. I just want the record breaking contract the Yankees may or may not dish out to have as few concerns as possible. I want the Yankees to win consistently for a long time with enough financial flexibility to allow it to last.

There are still two years of baseball and two years of growth both inside and outside of the Yankees organization before these conversations can even truly be had. Cashman was recently asked at a hot stove Q&A at Times Square Hard Rock Café about Harper, Macahdo and Harvey and whether they will be Yankees. While laughing, Cashman asked if they were trying to get him suspended as it is against the rules to discuss players currently under contract with another team.

Photo: Getty Images
In an ideal world the baby bombers graduate and become the next core built from within and Brian Cashman can make an intelligent, and potentially huge, investment in arguably the greatest free agent class of all time. As long as it is economical.

At some point, anything can become too expensive.



--Dan Lucia

BYB 'Series' Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @DManLucia










GARDNER RANKED 9TH ACCORDING TO MLB NETWORK!

(Aug. 1, 2016 - Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America)    
Not that this is a major deal, but it makes me feel good that Brett Gardner is getting some love.  So many people want to hammer this guy suggesting it's over for him and saying he should be shipped out or traded for something else.  The fact is he's doing his job.  He's a ferocious player, very hungry and he works hard. 

MLB Network ranks players as we get closer to the 2017 baseball season.  With that, they shared this with us here at BYB... and I wanted to share it with you:

(July 19, 2016 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
"New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner was ranked 9th on MLB Network’s Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now! program...


Taking into account player performance over several seasons with an emphasis on 2016, a number of offensive and defensive metrics both advanced and traditional, and projected performance for the upcoming season, MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now! series ranks the top players at each position heading into the 2017 season.

The complete ranking of left fielders is listed below, and an embeddable video recap on Gardner can be seen here:

Top 10 Left Fielders Right Now!

Photo: Cespedes / Getty Images
1.    Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers
2.    Yoenis Cespedes, New York Mets
3.    Starling Marte, Pittsburgh Pirates
4.    Khris Davis, Oakland Athletics
5.    Michael Brantley, Cleveland Indians
6.    Randal Grichuk, St. Louis Cardinals
7.    Justin Upton, Detroit Tigers
8.    Carlos Beltran, Houston Astros
9.    Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
10.  Adam Duvall, Cincinnati Reds"

Interesting list. I don't agree with some of it, but whatever, glad the dude's in the top 10.

Happy Monday.