Tag: Justus Sheffield

Off-Day Notes: Airport, Florial, Frazier, Sheffield, Teixeira

Some things I found interesting on this second consecutive day without Yankees baseball.

No Yankees baseball again (today was a scheduled off-day), so here are a few notes I’ve gathered throughout today:

  • The Yanks didn’t have the best accommodations Wednesday night as they attempted to escape the rain in Washington. According to Newsday’s Erik Boland, the team was forced to sleep overnight inside Dulles Airport outside the capital because of flight delays and hotels being overfilled. “It was an unfortunate set of circumstances,” GM Brian Cashman said late Wednesday afternoon, per Boland.
  • Outfielder Estevan Florial, the team’s No. 2 prospect, was lifted from Class-A Advanced Tampa’s contest against the Dunedin Blue Jays with “right wrist soreness”. The 20-year-old had a 32-game on-base streak snapped as he was lifted after going 0-for-2. “I noticed in his first at-bat he had some funky-looking swings,” manager Patrick Osborn said. “And then in his second at-bat, he had another one that resembled those ones from the first. I figured something must be bothering him, so I made the switch to take him out, and later, we got word from the trainer that was working on him that it was soreness in the right wrist.” No further word from the Tarpons at this point regarding the severity of the injury. Florial is slashing .246/.353/.343 through 36 games with Tampa this season.
  • Clint Frazier will stay with the big league club for the upcoming three-game series with the Kansas City Royals, with Aaron Boone stating that the outfielder will be a part of the team’s roster puzzle “for now”. With all of the recent rainouts, the bullpen has been extremely rested. That has allowed the team to put Domingo Germán into the bullpen until his scheduled start Tuesday, therefore allowing Frazier to be a fourth bat on the bench.
  • The team’s top pitching prospect, lefty Justus Sheffield, has a return date in place after being placed on the 7-day disabled list with left shoulder stiffness May 12. The Yanks’ No. 3 overall prospect will return to the rotation May 23, starting against the Pawtucket Red Sox. Sheffield has a 2.16 ERA in two starts since being promoted to the Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
  • Former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira joined Michael Kay on The Michael Kay Show earlier this afternoon, and had plenty to say regarding the aftermath of former teammate Robinson Canó‘s 80-game suspension for Furosemide. The drug is banned under the MLB Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program because it is a diuretic that can be used to mask performance-enhancing drugs. “I don’t really want to get into too much detail, I love Robbie, but I’m not surprised,” Teixeira said. “I don’t want to get too much further but I think a lot of people are trying to say the same thing. (Yankees GM Brian) Cash(man) had to catch himself in an interview a couple days ago, but yeah, not surprised.” Canó is not the only former teammate of Teixeira’s to be punished for PEDs, since the three-time All-Star also shared a roster with Melky Cabrera and Alex Rodriguez. The influence of those two players may have pushed Canó down the path to using performance-enhancing drugs, Teixiera argued in his segment. “Listen, Robbie, look at his situation here: Robbie Cano’s assistant was on the list for Biogenesis. Of course, he has an assistant, you know, buys stuff for him. Alex Rodriguez got popped by Biogenesis. Melky (Cabrera) got popped. They’re best friends,” he said. “When someone gets lumped into that group, it’s because there’s evidence. There’s a paper trail. There’s a smoke trail.” He went on to say that many of his former teammates were able to get away with it, and even went on to say that some of them are already in the Hall of Fame.

Newsday: Yankees Still in Play for Alex Cobb

Could Brian Cashman make one last big splash?

While the Yankees’ starting rotation may seem settled for the 2018 season, one baseball source told Newsday’s Anthony Rieber that the Yankees are continuing to monitor the market of right-handed pitcher Alex Cobb.

Rieber said that Cobb would fit with the Yankees “if his price drops enough and the Yankees can continue their quest to stay under the luxury-tax threshold”. He then cited the Yankees’ signing of Neil Walker to a $4 million one-year deal as an example of how low Cobb’s market would have to go for him to fit under the $197 million luxury tax number.

Cobb is the best starting pitcher remaining on the market after a remarkably cold offseason for players expecting high-value contracts. Lance Lynn recently agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Twins, while Jake Arrieta inked a three-year, $75 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The issue with Cobb is that he declined the qualifying offer from the Tampa Bay Rays, so the Yankees would have to “lose its second- and fifth-highest selections in the following year’s Draft as well $1 million from its international bonus pool” because the Yankees exceeded the luxury tax threshold in 2017.

The righty fits with the Yankees because he is a ground ball pitcher. In 2017, batters had a 47.8% ground ball rate against Cobb. That number, however, is a significant drop from Cobb’s last full season in the big leagues. Cobb had a 56.2% ground ball rate in 2014. Injuries prevented him from pitching in 2015 and he only made 13 starts (including rehab appearances) in 2016.

Behind incumbent fifth starter Jordan Montgomery, the Yankees do not have much starting pitching depth that is MLB-ready. Domingo Germán has impressed so far in Spring Training, and Aaron Boone mentioned him in the same sentence as Luis Cessa, Chance Adams and David Hale as potential sixth starters. The Yankees do not yet believe that Justus Sheffield or Domingo Acevedo are able to fill in just yet.

Adding Cobb would create an interesting situation in the Yankee rotation. The team could, conceivably, use an option year on Montgomery and have him spot start with the big league club to limit his innings and provide starting depth. But, you’re keeping an effective lefty starter who had a promising rookie year in the minors for part of the season to allow Cobb, who pitched his first full season since 2014 last year, to have a full-time rotation spot.

With the draft pick compensation and the fact that the Yankees have five starters already, I think adding Alex Cobb would create more headaches for the team than is necessary.

Yankees Re-Assign 6 Players to Minor League Camp

The cuts include five pitchers and one catcher.

The Yankees have begun to trim the fat at their Spring Training complex in Tampa, as they have re-assigned six players to minor league camp in their first round of cuts. The players are RHP Cale Coshow, RHP Raynel Espinal, LHP Trevor Lane, C Chace Numata, LHP Justus Sheffield and RHP Dillon Tate.

Coshow appeared in five games, and posted a 5.79 ERA through his 4⅔ innings on the bump. He struck out four batters and walked four. MLB Pipeline did not rank him amongst the Yankees’ Top 30 Prospects.

Espinal appeared in three games, with a 2.70 ERA in 3⅓ innings pitched. He struck out four batters compared to just one walk. He, too, does not rank amongst the Yankees’ Top 30 Prospects.

Lane was both a late addition to the list of non-roster invitees, and the Yankees’ Top 30 prospect list. Ranked at No. 30, the lefty did not allow a run in 2⅔ innings. His peripherals weren’t great, however, striking out one batter compared to three walks. Roster Resource projects the University of Illinois at Chicago product to start the season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

Numata joined the Yankees organization after the Hawaii native joined the Phillies as a 14th-round pick out of high school in 2010. He spent most of his time catching bullpens, going hitless in three at-bats.

Sheffield came into camp ranked as the team’s No. 3 prospect. He showed flashes of brilliance, which then faded into laboring innings where he looked lost. That resulted in a 11.81 ERA in 5⅓ innings. He struck out four compared to three walks. Sheffield likely will start the season with Double-A Trenton again.

Tate, the team’s No. 11 prospect, showed the promise that made him the No. 4 pick in the 2015 draft. His 2.25 ERA in four innings was one of the best marks among Yankees’ pitchers to this point. His three strikeouts to zero walks ratio showed strong command. He figures to start the season with Class-A Advanced Tampa or Double-A Trenton.


These six are just the first to be officially re-assigned to minor league camp. Obviously, the Yankees will travel to Toronto for the season opener with a 25-man roster. There is still plenty of time for players to battle for the available jobs, like second base, third base and the sixth starter role.

Yankees 8, Phillies 3: The First Blowout!

The Yankee offense had no difficulty finding the big hit Sunday afternoon in Clearwater, as they cruised to an 8-to-3 victory over their hosts, the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Bombers jumped out with a three-run first inning on the back of a Danny Espinosa double that cleared the bases. They added on in the fourth with a Ronald Torreyes sacrifice fly.

That 4-to-0 lead was in jeopardy in the bottom of the fourth. After a dominating first inning of work, Justus Sheffield struggled with his command in the second. A walk and a hit batter put him into trouble, and he paid for it. Odúbel Herrera plated one on a sacrifice fly, then Maikel Franco followed with a towering home run that spelled the end for Sheffield.

The Yankees offense then became the Jeff Hendrix show until the end of the game. He hit a grounder that Phillies first baseman Logan Moore could not handle, which allowed two to score. He then tacked on another RBI single in the eighth inning. The final run for the Yankees scored on a Rashad Crawford sacrifice fly. All in all, it was impressive to see how strong the Yankees lower prospects are.

A combined effort between Jordan Montgomery, Sheffield, Wade LeBlanc, Cale Coshow, Raynel Espinal and Giovanny Gallegos held the Phillies to just four hits, while striking out 12 batters.

The Yankees return to George M. Steinbrenner Field Monday for their first night game of the spring, as the Phillies will head east from Clearwater for another tilt against the Yankees in Tampa. Sonny Gray is scheduled to get his first in-game work of the spring. He faces fellow righty Ben Lively of the Phillies.

Game 3: Gumby’s Back

From one Pennsylvania team to the next.

It’s game three of Spring Training, and we get to see a real starting pitcher for the Bombers today. Jordan Montgomery makes his first start against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field in Clearwater.

Montgomery is tasked with keeping the Yankees’ spotless spring record intact (although he’ll only throw two innings maximum). It was just last year that Montgomery was a revelation and forced his way North as the team’s fifth starter. The 25-year-old, drafted out of the University of South Carolina in 2014, went 9-7 with a 3.88 ERA (4.07 FIP) in 29 starts for the team. He’s all but guaranteed to be in the rotation again, but the team will keep a watchful eye on his innings to avoid injuries.

His counterpart is another young starter with incredible talent: right-hander Aaron Nola. He was the seventh overall pick of the same draft where Montgomery was taken (Gumby went in the fourth round), and he debuted the following season at age-22. He impressed last season with a 3.54 ERA (3.27 FIP) and 9.9 K/9 rate at age-24. He, too, is set to be a huge piece of a young and talented Phillies rotation.

Some veterans have made the trip to Clearwater, as the lineup shows. I think a few things deserve highlighting: Gleyber Torres is starting at shortstop, even though the big-league availability is second base. Danny Espinosa is at the keystone, while Ronald Torreyes moves to third. There is a battle for that utility infielder spot. Lastly, the center field competition plays out with Jacoby Ellsbury in the field and Aaron Hicks at the designated hitter spot.

Scheduled relievers for the Yankees today are LHP Justus Sheffield, LHP Wade LeBlanc, RHP Cale Coshow and RHP Raynel Espinal.


Phillies’ Lineup:
  1. Roman Quinn – CF
  2. J.P. Crawford – SS
  3. Nick Williams – LF
  4. Odúbel Herrera – DH
  5. Maikel Franco – 3B
  6. Andrew Knapp – C
  7. Tommy Joseph – 1B
  8. Dylan Cozens – RF
  9. Pedro Florimón – 2B

Heyman: Yankees Check in With Orioles on Machado Again

The Yankees need a third baseman, and may be trying to fill that hole with a three-time All-Star. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Bronx Bombers once again engaged the Baltimore Orioles in trade talks on 25-year-old third baseman Manny Machado late last week.

Heyman’s column, dated Jan. 5, reads:

The New York Yankees, apparently excited about the idea they could make their excellent winter even better and more star-studded, were back in contact with the Baltimore Orioles regarding Manny Machado this week, sources say…

The Yankees actually may have the best chance of several contenders to land Machado, but word still is that the Orioles haven’t been tempted by anything they’ve heard from anyone regarding the superstar infielder.

Machado will be a free agent after the 2018 season, and teams are weary of giving up premier talent without some assurance that he would consider signing a long-term extension wherever he ends up. He has already expressed interest in moving back to shortstop, the position where he played until being blocked in Baltimore by J.J. Hardy. Nevertheless, Machado won Gold Gloves at the hot corner in 2013 and 2015.

Offensively, Machado struggled in 2017. He managed to slash just .230/.296/.445 with 18 home runs and 47 RBIs in 83 games before the All-Star break. He did not get any help from a .239 BABIP rate. The second-half was much improved, where he hit .290/.326/.500 and added another 15 home runs. All told, he put together a .259/.310/.471 (102 wRC+) line with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs.

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The Orioles are said to want at least two MLB-ready pitchers in any trade package for Machado. For the Yankees, that would mean someone in the category of Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield or one of Domingo Acevedo/Albert Abreu. The Yanks have been pushing Adams as their top trade chip, hoping to keep the higher upside guys like Sheffield, Acevedo and Abreu. There are also reports (one from Joel Sherman) that the Orioles “actually like [Jacoby] Ellsbury a little,” though any trade would be complicated by his no-trade clause.

Though it would not be wise to count Brian Cashman out for any deal, it does not appear to be worth it for the Yankees to give up premier talent within their own division for only one guaranteed year of Machado. They appear comfortable with letting Miguel Andújar compete for the starting job out of Spring Training, and are keeping tabs on free agents like Todd Frazier and Eduardo Núñez.

In a perfect world, Andújar or a veteran on a 1-year deal hold down the hot corner in 2018, and Machado puts on the pinstripes for 2019. But, if it turns out that the Yankees do not need Machado, they can focus on signing top-level starting pitching or fill whatever holes may come up during the course of the season.

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Yankees to Sign International Prospects Raimfer Salinas, Antonio Cabello

After the Yankees worked hard to acquire international signing bonus pool money to woo Shohei Ohtani, they have bestowed it on different recipients. Per Baseball America’s Ben Badler, the Bombers will sign international amateur outfielder Raimfer Salinas and catcher Antonio Cabello.

Badler said on Twitter that the amount of money each player signed for would not be published yet “out of respect for the requests of several Venezuelan players/families”. The Yankees had $3.5 million in signing bonus money that they needed to spend before next summer.

Salinas is 16 years old, and is ranked as the No. 10 international prospect for the 2017 class. Cabello is 17 years old, and ranked at No. 15 on the same Baseball America list. The two join OF Everson Pereira (No. 5), SS Ronny Rojas (No. 11), SS Roberto Chirinos (No. 20) and OF Anthony García (No. 28) as the six players on Baseball America’s top 50 prospects list now in the Yankees organization.

These players join a system that already boasts five prospects on MLB.com’s Top 100 list: INF Gleyber Torres, RHP Chance Adams, OF Estevan Florial, LHP Justus Sheffield and 3B Miguel Andújar.

The club has not confirmed the signings of Salinas or Cabello at this point.

Angels Have Reached Out to CC Sabathia

CC Sabathia‘s return to the Bronx may not be as obvious as most Yankees fans would like to think. George A. King III of the New York Post reported Sunday that the Los Angeles Angels discussed signing the veteran lefty.

Sabathia, 37, expressed interest in re-signing with the Yankees after his seven-year, $161 million contract signed in 2009 expired. CC pitched to a 14-5 record and a 3.69 ERA in the final season of his deal. Overall in pinstripes, he was 120-73 with a 3.75 ERA. He led the MLB in wins in 2009 and 2010, and was the ALCS MVP in 2009. He won his only World Series with the Yankees in 2009.

The Yankees were reportedly reaching out to Sabathia after failing to land RHP/DH Shohei Ohtani. Now, the Angels have Ohtani and are trying to snatch Sabathia from the Bombers, too. Sabathia would fit perfectly in the back of an already scary Yankees rotation.

If they are unable to re-sign Sabathia, the Yankees are reportedly in on RHP Alex Cobb. They also have been dangling the talented OF Clint Frazier as trade bait since they recently acquired reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton in a trade with the Miami Marlins. The Bombers are reportedly asking for a top-line starter plus prospects for Frazier.

The Yankees also have starting pitching depth available in their minor league system. Chance Adams and Justus Sheffield are considered as close to MLB-ready as the Yankees have. They are Top 5 prospects in the Yankees system, and rated as Top 100 overall by MLB.com.

Baseball America Lists Yankees Top 10 Prospects for 2018

To get the bad taste of Shohei Ohtani‘s spurning of the Yankees out of our collective mouths, here’s some good news about players the Yankees actually do have. Baseball America’s Josh Norris ranked the top 10 prospects in the Yankees system leading up to 2018.

Without further ado (* indicates player on 40-man roster):

  1. INF Gleyber Torres *
  2. OF Estevan Florial
  3. LHP Justus Sheffield
  4. RHP Chance Adams
  5. 3B Miguel Andújar *
  6. RHP Albert Abreu *
  7. RHP Jorge Guzman
  8. RHP Luis Medina
  9. SS/2B Thairo Estrada *
  10. RHP Domingo Acevedo *

One of the biggest knocks against the Yankees is that they cannot develop pitchers. However, this prospect list clearly indicates that the Yankees have some promising arms that could be MLB-ready soon. Sheffield is the most MLB-ready of the bunch, having hit 98 mph with his fastball and the best slider in the system. Norris listed the pitching depth as the system’s biggest strength.

The system’s biggest weakness? Catching. That won’t be a short-term problem since Gary Sánchez will control the starting catching job for years to come, barring anything unexpected. Their next best catcher is Kyle Higashioka, who went hitless in 20 plate appearances while Sánchez was injured in 2017. Higashioka did hit .338/.390/.797 in the minors in 2017, but in just 21 games because of injuries. Norris lists Jason Lopez and Saul Torres as the “next catching prospects,” but notes they “played at short-season Staten Island and Rookie-level Pulaski, respectively.”

Norris opines that the Yankees’ system is trending downwards, but that is only because of trades and graduations to the big leagues. When talents like Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Chad Green and Jordan Montgomery are no longer “prospects,” it’s easy to see how the system takes a hit.

Be sure to read through the whole post on Baseball America (linked above), as Norris projects the Yankees 2021 lineup and also lists which players have the best tools in the system.

Billy McKinney Voted Into AFL Fall Stars Game

Outfielder/first baseman Billy McKinney has won a fan vote to join the East team in the 2017 Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game.

McKinney, ranked as the Yankees No. 23 prospect, rides a strong .310/.373/.500 line through 11 AFL games. He also leads the league with 18 RBIs. He finished the season batting .306 with 10 home runs and 35 RBI for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

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Fellow Scottsdale Scorpions teammate Estevan Florial was also a candidate for the Final 2 vote, but fell short. Florial, the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect, currently has a .293/.408/.415 batting line through 11 AFL games.

McKinney joins teammates LHP Justus Sheffield and SS/2B Thairo Estrada on the East Fall Stars team.