Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Player Profiles : Giancarlo Stanton and Clint Frazier

The Yankees acquired Giancarlo Stanton this winter and expectations can’t be higher for the Bronx Bombers. Stanton is the reigning MVP of the National League. He belted 59 home runs in 2017. The last time the Yankees traded for a reigning MVP they acquired Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod would win two more MVP awards with the Yankees, a World Series and have over 300 homers with the team. Stanton who is a right fielder may not play right field much because of Aaron Judge. Stanton will likely DH, and spend time in both left and right field. This should hopefully allow Stanton to stay healthy. The trio of Stanton, Judge and Gary Sanchez could be one of the best in baseball history.

Clint Frazier who was one of the big pieces in the Andrew Miller trade with Cleveland. He has become the forgotten man in the Bronx and after a brief stint with the Yankees has something to prove. Frazier still is a raw player but has been working hard to prove his doubters wrong. The problem for Frazier is he may have a hard time finding at bats this season in a very crowded outfield. Frazier can play all three outfield positions but it does not make sense for the Yankees to give a young player with star potential at bats every 4 days. Frazier baring an injury will most likely spend a lot of time in the Minors this season as he is blocked by Stanton, Judge, Hicks, Gardner and Ellsbury.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

8 for 18 : 8 Yankee Questions

8 for 2018 

  1. Biggest challenge for the 2018 Yankees ? 
  2. Best Move the Yankees didn’t make  this winter? 
  3. One move the Yankees should make before the season starts?
  4. How do the Yankees win now without stunting the growth of future stars?
  5. Breakout player 
  6. Under the radar player 
  7. Expectations for Aaron Boone? 
  8. Ultimate expectations for the 2018 Yankees ?

The Answers according to Shane Tobin , @wstobin2

  1. The Biggest challenge has to be getting over the hump to the World Series. The 2017 Yankees came within one win of a trip to the Fall Classic and this team is now World Series or bust.

  1. The biggest move the Yankees didn't make was not adding Manny Machado. I figured that once Headley was moved out that Brian Cashman would find a way to pounce on a desperate Baltimore front office and essentially steal Machado from the Orioles. This still may happen but I thought it would happen right after they got Stanton.

  1. The Yankees should add Alex Cobb. CC Sabathia put it best when he said you can never have enough pitching and Cobb is an AL East veteran who could boost this team. Cobb can help close the gap between the Yankees and Astros.

  1. The Yankees win now by just playing their style of baseball. Last year we saw a ton of new faces that seemed to fit right into the puzzle. Aaron Boone needs to ease guys like Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar into their respective roles and let their big stars carry them into October. 

  1. My breakout player candidate is Tyler Wade. I could've gone with Greg Bird who missed most of last season, or Torres or Andujar who are rookies but Tyler Wade is being slept one but time. Wade brings a great dynamic to the team with his insane speed and ability to get on base. If he can have a good spring training he might start the season as the second baseman.

  1. My under the radar player is Aaron Hicks. "Hicksy", as Boone and ex manager Joe Girardi call him, struggled with injuries last year and still had a very productive season. Hicks will be the starting center fielder and he will play a big role as the captain of the outfield. 

  1. I have very modest expectations for Aaron Boone. I think he really knows the game, more specifically the modern game very well. He has seen and talked to players throughout the league and he knows how to view the game from above. If Boone can stick to his guns and try to limit his risks he and the team will be fine. It will take him time to get used to the manager's position and the team but in the end I think he'll do a great job.

  1. My ultimate expectation is World Series or bust. As a Yankee fan this is an every year occurance but this team is loaded and ready for a long October run. If they add a pitcher either before the season or at the deadline I don't see how they don't at least make the World Series. My expectations are that 8 months from now we'll be talking about a Yankee parade down the Canyon of Heroes. 

The Answers According to Peter Vitella , @PeterVitella 

  1. The biggest challenge for the 2018 Yankees will be repeating what they did last year. Many times we see young players and young teams take a step back. We saw it with the cross town rival Mets. I think if the Yankees stay healthy , players like Aaron Judge and Luis Severino will continue taking steps forward rather than backwards. 
  2. The biggest move the Yankees didn’t make was trading Dellin Betances. Betances was bad by his standards in 2017 but still was an All Star with an era below 3. His only issue is his command. Many will forget about Betances but he will be back to elite status in 2017. The Yankees were smart to hold him. He showed flashes of dominance last year and his consistency will be key this season. 
  3. I think Alex Cobb would be a great addition to the Yankees rotation. Cobb knows the AL East and is one of baseballs most underrated pitchers. 
  4. I would love to see the Yankees sign Cobb and I’d like them to get him however I do want Jordan Montgomery to be a starting pitcher in the Yankee rotation. I think the Yankee success is still built around the baby bombers and the Yankees will do what they can to get Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar and Montgomery playing time.
  5. Jordan Montgomery was overlooked in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 because of his teammate Aaron Judge. Montgomery may be overlooked by many this upcoming season as his rotation spot is not guaranteed. It’s very possible Montgomery has a Andy Pettitte like year two breakout in him. He will improve his secondary pitches this season. Tyler Wade is another interesting name. Many will write him off but that would be a big mistake. Gleyber Torres has elite upside right away. 
  6. He may be under the radar because of how long he’s been in the league but Brett Gardner is in a position to have a tremendous year. Gardner is the teams veteran but he may be in the position to have his best season with the Yankees. Gardner will lead off and see so many fastballs hitting in front of Aaron Judge , Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez. He projects as someone who can lead the Majors in runs scored and set a new career high in homers. He will also probably get some chances to DH and keep his legs fresh. 
  7. Aaron Boone seems like a man who will handle the media well. He seems like a guy the players will love to play for. It’s possible that his lack of in game experience will hurt him early but I think being around baseball his whole life will ultimately eliminate those issues. Boone has a star studded team so if he can manage people as well as the game itself the Yankees can win the World Series. He will be able to balance analytics and old school thinking that you get from baseball experience. 
  8. My expectations for the Yankees is that they have a deep playoff run in them. Everyone expects them to win this season and I don’t think that will hurt them. I think they will embrace It. I think the addition of Giancarlo Stanton will take some year two pressure off of Aaron Judge. I expect the Yankees to play in the ALCS or the World Series. They obviously have the talent to win the whole thing. 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Under the Radar: Henderson Alvarez

An underrated option for the Yankees as an additional starter can be had on a minimum salary or even a minor league contract. Henderson Alvarez was once a highly touted prospect with the Miami Marlins and was looked at as the 2nd part of a front of the rotation combo with Jose Fernandez. Alvarez threw a no hitter in 2014 but has recently struggled with elbow injuries since. There is still promise with the 27 year old even though he has struggled to regain his 2014 form. Alvarez had a 5.34 strikeout rate in 2014 and had 53.8% ground ball percentage which was impressive for someone that played behind a weak defensive team.
Alvarez is slowly regaining his velocity as it has almost ticked up a full mph from 90.7 to 91.4 which is only around 2 mph slower than his career high average of 93.5 mph. Alvarez's 4 pitch mix is fastball and changeup heavy but if a team can get him to use his slider more they would reap the benefits instantly.

Alvarez's across body motion is similar to Jake Arrieta's while he was in Baltimore. Upon his arrival in Chicago, Arrieta began to exaggerate his cross body motion which led to a Cy Young season. If Alvarez can move closer to the 1st base side of the rubber and exaggerate his cross body throwing action it could create more deception and possibly a greater break on his slider. This would also open the door for an effective two seam fastball or an increased use of a changeup that would break away from the left handed hitter and break into the right handed hitter's fists.

Henderson Alvarez could see a career revival with the proper tutelage and in the proper situation that would allow him to be most effective. The American League East, though loaded with talented power hitters, is a good match because of his break from the norm of high velocity pitchers in the division. Alvarez could become a quality bottom of the rotation starter for a cheap price this offseason.