Tag Archives: Higashioka

Some Yankees’ offseason decisions.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Besides exploring the free agent market (Cole, Strasburg, Bumgarner, Wheeler), the Yanks have decisions to make on their OWN players, some of whom are free agents themselves.

Do they bring back Didi or are they fine with Gleyber at SS and D.J. at 2B?

What about backup C? Romine is a free agent. Meanwhile, Higashioka is out of options. The Yanks say they are fine with Higashioka, but he’ll have to prove he can hit. Higashioka does have some power, but a .164 career batting average. In 146 MLB at bats, Higashioka is .164-6-17, OPS+ just 45. He’s not young. He turns 30 next April.

Romine could start for some teams, and the Yanks could lose him if Romine does want to start. Romine hit .281-8-35 as a backup last year, OPS+ 97 in probably his best season in the majors. He has done much better with the bat the last two seasons. His 162 game average is .239-11-59, OPS+ 73, but the OPS+ the last two seasons have been 93 and 97, so a big improvement from before.

Brian Cashman, as of now, states that the 3B job is Gio Urshela’s to lose after Urshela hit .314-21-74, OPS+ 133 in 2019. But was it a fluke? Urshela’s defense was significantly better than that of Miguel Andujar’s in 2018.

As for Andujar, his defense hurts what is a solid bat. He finished runnerup for ROY in 2018, hitting .297-27-92, OPS+ 130, but 2019 was wasted because of an injury. In 12 games he was 6 for 47. Where will Andujar be in 2020? Did he get “Wally Pipp”ed and lose his job to Urshela? There are rumors that the Yanks may try him at 1B and maybe LF to try to make him versatile and keep his bat in the lineup.

He also may be trade bait. He and Clint Frazier, and both because of their defense. Frazier hit .267-12-38 in 69 games last season, OPS+ 111 and in his career has 16 HR in 393 at bats with a .254 batting average.

Frazier is 25. Andujar will be 25 in March. Both are not sure things to start the season with the Yanks because of their defensive liabilities and also a crowded roster. They could be traded —one, or both— in a deal for a starting pitcher if the Yanks feel the price tags on Cole, Strasburg, Bumgarner and/or Wheeler are too high.

Then there is Dellin Betances, who hurt his value by only pitching 2/3 of an inning this year (shoulder) and getting hurt again (Achilles) at the end of the year. He is a free agent.

Decisions, decisions. …. It’ll be an interesting offseason.

Game 156. Good days for Paxton and Stanton in Yanks’ 7-2 win. Gleyber OK.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Gleyber Torres’ MRI came back negative, and the Yanks (101-55) got great performances from James Paxton and Giancarlo Stanton in a 7-2 win over Toronto Saturday afternoon.

Torres slipped on the outfield grass Friday night and at first appeared seriously injured. This was good news for a team that has had to overcome so many injuries this season.

Paxton won his tenth straight decision and Stanton, just off the IL, doubled and homered in the victory.

With the win, the Yanks have won more games in one season (101) since they last won the WS in 2009.

Houston lost, so the Yanks are 1/2 game behind them for the best record in baseball (Houston has the tiebreaker). Should the Yankees make the WS, they have a 1 1/2 game lead over the Dodgers, and the Yanks also own the tiebreaker against LA.

With Stanton’s HR, the Yanks have 295 on the season, one ahead of the Twins in the race for the new team HR record. The Twins have played one less game, however.

Toronto scored first, getting an unearned run in the second.

The Yanks scored two in the fourth. Aaron Judge led off the inning with a double and one out later Stanton doubled him home. An out after that, Mike Ford (good day for him too) singled in Stanton to make it 2-1.

The Yanks put the game away in the sixth when they scored four runs. Stanton led off the inning with his second HR of the season. After an out, Ford doubled. Clint Frazier doubled in Ford to make it 4-1. Tyler Wade singled and moved up on the throw, Frazier holding at third. Kyle Higashioka singled in two runs to make it 6-1.

Toronto got a run in the top of the seventh to cut it to 6-2, but the Yanks came right back in the bottom of the seventh with a run of their own. With one out, Cameron Maybin walked and moved up on a groundout. He scored on a Ford single. 7-2.

Aaron Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames were both ejected early in the game for arguing about the strike zone. A carryover from Cowboy Joe West’s bad call Friday night. West, 66, has an arrogance about him. He’s also getting up in years, and isn’t in the best shape to umpire anymore. It’s time to retire, Joe.

Hopefully the umpires don’t carry grudges though. The Yanks’ problems with umpires’ strike zones (and the umps are wrong, they don’t adjust the zone as they should for tall guys like Judge and Stanton) could bite them in the playoffs if there is a close call.

Stanton 2 hits, 2 RBI, solo HR (2)
Ford 3 hits, 2 RBI
Wade 2 hits (hot lately)
Higashioka 2 RBI

Paxton (W, 15-6; 3.73) 6 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 W, 7 K.
Loaisiga 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 5 K.  4.25 (Wouldn’t mind him on postseason roster)
Green 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.   4.36  (2.78 since recalled from AAA in mid-May).

 

Game 144. Yanks beat Boston 10-5 behind HRs by Gleyber and Judge. Tauchman also HRs, but gets hurt.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Before the game, the Yanks activated Gio Urshela off the IL and brought up Thairo Estrada (who was on rehab), Kyle Higashioka and Breyvic Valera.

The Yanks then beat Boston 10-5 behind Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Mike Tauchman, but Tauchman got hurt during the game.

With the win, the 94-50 Yankees maintain an 8 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay with 18 games to go. The magic # to reach the playoffs is 8 and the magic # to clinch the division is 10.

They remain tied with Houston for the best record in baseball but Houston has the tiebreaker. Both teams are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Dodgers.

In the second inning, Torres gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead with his 35th HR of the season after Edwin Encarnacion singled in front of him.

In the third, Tauchman singled, and D.J. LeMahieu reached on an infield single. Judge singled in a run, sending LeMahieu to third. After Didi Gregorius popped out, Gary Sanchez’ RBI groundout made it 4-0.

Staked to a four-run lead, Masahiro Tanaka couldn’t go five innings for the win. He gave up a two-run HR to Jackie Bradley in the bottom of the third that cut the Yanks’ lead to 4-2.

In the top of the fourth, Torres singled and scored two outs later on a 2-run HR by Tauchman (13) who had to leave the game later with a calf injury. He’ll be getting an MRI. Ugh. 6-2, Yanks.

With two out in the fourth, Tanaka gave up a single and two doubles and that cut the lead to 6-4. Tanaka didn’t come out for the fifth, so couldn’t get the win.

Chad Green was superb in his three innings of scoreless relief and did pick up the W. His ERA of 4.60 doesn’t look good because of those horrendous first three weeks of the season where his ERA was 16.43 and he had to be sent to the minors. Since returning, the ERA is 2.89.

In the fifth, Judge led off the inning with a HR (21) to make it 7-4, then Didi reached on an error. After a walk, Encarnacion singled Didi to third, and Didi scored on an RBI forceout by Torres. 8-4.

Judge’s HR was the Yanks’ 268th of the season, topping the mark set last year when they set a MLB record. They are eight behind the Twins (who set a new record) this season. Could they (or the Twins) hit 300?

Mookie Betts homered in the bottom of the eighth to make it 8-5.

The Yanks scored two in the ninth when Didi walked, and Rafael Devers made two errors on the same play (one fielding, one throwing) to put runners on second and third. Devers had three errors in the game and was saved from a couple others. Encarnacion singled in one run, then Torres doubled in another to make it 10-5, the final score.

Judge 2 hits, 2 RBI, solo HR (21)
Encarnacion 3 hits, RBI
Torres 3 hits, 4 RBI, 2-run HR (35)
Tauchman 2 hits, 2 RBI. 2-run HR (13). Injured, left game.

Tanaka 4 IP, 4 R, 8 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.  4.53
Green (W, 3-4, 4.60) 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K.
Ottavino 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.   1.76
Loaisiga 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  4.63

In the minors, Trenton (AA) will face Bowie for the Eastern League Championship. The best-of-five series begins in Trenton on Tuesday.

OF/1B Chris Duncan, ex-Cardinal and brother of one-time Yankee Shelley Duncan and son of former MLB catcher and pitching coach Dave Duncan, died of brain cancer
September 6 at the age of 38. He hit 22 HR as a part-time player for the 2006 WS Champion Cardinals and 21 the following year. In 389 MLB games, he hit .257 with 55 HR and an OPS+ of 109. He played for the Cardinals 2005-2009.

Tom Phoebus, RHP, died Sept. 5, age 77. Born in Baltimore, he pitched for his hometown Orioles 1966-1970, and was a part of two WS Champs (1966, 1970) and one AL Pennant winner (1969). He won 14, 15 and 14 games from 1967-1969. His only postseason appearance was in one game during the 1970 WS, where he got the win in Game 2. He pitched for the Padres (1971-1972) and Cubs (1972). His career MLB record was 56-52, 3.33, ERA+ 100.

A DYK: Aaron Boone now has 194 wins (and counting) in his first two seasons as Yankees’ manager. The record? Ralph Houk with 205 (1961 and 1962).

Lastly, a tip of the cap to Brian Cashman’s longevity with the Yankees. Not even a year after winning the World Series, the Red Sox fire Dave Dombrowski.

 

Minor League Report. SWB done after being swept.

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AAA: SWB got crushed, 17-2, and as a result, got swept three straight in their playoff series against Durham. Their season is now over.

C Erik Kratz both RBI.

Players I now expect to join the Yankees: C Kyle Higashioka, INF Thairo Estrada, OF Terrance Gore (for pinch-running). I don’t know if they need four catchers, so I don’t know about Kratz.

Top prospect Deivi Garcia had a bad game. 1 IP, 5 R, 2 H, 4 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.

Ben Heller could be called up. 2 scoreless IP, 5 K.

AA: Trenton will play Bowie for the Eastern League title. Game 1 will be at Trenton Tuesday night. There is a possibility Luis Severino, Jordan Montgomery and Dellin Betances will all still be rehabbing for Trenton at that time.

Minor League Report. Trenton sweeps, but SWB down 0-2 in postseason series. Severino, Betances pitch on rehab stints.

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AAA: SWB has their backs against the wall. They are heading home, but are down 2 games to none in their best of five series against Durham after losing 4-2 tonight.

C Kyle Higashioka 2 hits, solo HR. RF Zach Zehner 2 hits, rbi.

Michael King gave up two 2-run HRs in the second and took the loss.

AA: Trenton advances to the Eastern League finals after sweeping Reading in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs with a 12-2 win.

Because of Hurricane Dorian, both Luis Severino and Dellin Betances got rehab work in with Trenton instead of SWB (who was in the Carolinas).

2B Thairo Estrada 3 hits, 5 RBI. Yes, I was surprised here instead of with SWB.
LF Ben Ruta 2 hits, 2 RBI.
DH Isiah Gilliam 2 hits.
RF Alexander Palma 3 hits, RBI
3B Max Burt 2 hits, RBI

Luis Severino (on rehab) 3 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 0 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Dellin Betances (on rehab) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.

Albert Abreu two scoreless innings, 4 K.

 

Minor League Report. SWB—-AMAZINGLY!!!—Advances to Playoffs.

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One game playoff for the International League North Division Title. Winner goes on to the playoffs. Loser goes home.

Syracuse scored five runs in the top of the first. They led SWB 7-1 going into the bottom of the seventh. SWB scored five runs to cut it to 7-6.

Then SWB gave up six runs in the top of the eighth. 13-6 Syracuse.

Then, AMAZINGLY, SWB scored EIGHT runs in the bottom of the eighth and won the game, 14-13. Wow.

C Kyle Higashioka double, 2 solo HR. 2 RBI. 1B/C Erik Kratz 2 hits, 3 RBI. RF/LF Zach Zehner 2 RBI. DH Brandon Wagner 2 hits, 2 RBI.

Deivi Garcia helped keep SWB in it,

3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K.

SWB now plays Durham in the first round of the International League playoffs.

 

Minor League Report. SWB 1 up with 2 to go.

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AAA: SWB (74-64) won 9-4 to take a one-game lead in the International League North with two games to go.

LF Clint Frazier 2 hits, RBI. 1B Ryan McBroom 2 RBI, 2-run (.315-26-66). 3B Breyvic Valera 2 hits. C Kyle Higashioka 2 RBI. SS Gosuke Katoh grand slam, 4 RBI. 2B Wendell Rijo 2 hits.

AA: Trenton (75-61) won 2-0. RF Ben Ruta 2 hits. 2B Hoy Jun Park 2 hits, RBI. C Francisco Arcia 2 hits, RBI.

Starter Miguel Yajure (W, 1-0, 0.82) 5 2/3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 W, 5 K. 2nd AA start.

Yajure, RHP, 21. Combined 2019 record (A+/AA): 9-6, 2.14. 24 games, 20 starts.

High A: Tampa cancelled. Rain.

Low A:  Charleston (72-66) won 7-2. CF Brandon Lockridge 4 hits, 2 RBI. SS Oswald Peraza 3 hits, 3 RBI. 2B Eduardo Torrealba 3 hits, RBI.

Cortijo (W, 5-4, 3.45) 5 2/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Marinaccio (S, 4) 3 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K.  4.18