Tag Archives: Higashioka

S.T. Game 19. Late HR beats Yanks, 4-2. Sanchez has the flu.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

First a sore back, now the flu, will keep Gary Sanchez down a while.

Gerrit Cole and Jordan Montgomery both pitched well, but a 2-run HR in the top of the ninth off of Ben Heller beat the Yanks (10-7-2) 4-2.

Concerns: The Yanks really haven’t hit yet. Also, Gleyber Torres made his fifth error of the spring.

Good points: Pitching. Kyle Higashioka hit a HR, his 3rd of spring training.

Cole 3 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 6 K.  7.00
Otero 2/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K.  3.86
Montgomery 4 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K.   4.09
Heller (L, 0-1) 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.  27.00  Gave up a 2-run HR.
Wivinis 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  0.00

 

An Aside: Last I saw, Didi Gregorius was 0 for 22 for the Phils so far this spring.

S. T. Game 13. Yanks lose 15-11. Ugly pitching line. Give up 9 HR.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Ugh. Thank goodness this was a S.T. Game and not a regular season game because the pitching line is ugly.

The Yanks gave up 9 HR today. 4 by ace Gerrit Cole. Another 4 by Jordan Montgomery, the #4 starter.

The Yanks (8-4-1) lost 15-11.

Miguel Andujar was at 1B. Got 2 RBI, got made an error and was not comfortable there defensively.

Kyle Higashioka had 2 HR, 3 RBI.

Ezequial Duran had 2 RBI.

Roselle Herrera, who may beat out Tyler Wade for the last spot on the team, had two hits and scored three runs.

Thairo Estrada 2 RBI

But the pitching line is brutal. I don’t know if a wind was blowing out or what. If so, it better have been a tornado.

Cole 2 IP, 6 R, 6 H, 1 W, 3 K.  Gave up 4 HR   9.53
Kriske 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.  3.60
Montgomery (L, 0-1) 3 IP, 5 R, 6 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 4 HR.  6.43.
Cessa 2 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 1 K.    4.76.

 

15 R, 17 H, 9 HR.  YUK.

 

S.T. Game 11. Tanaka, Loaisiga look good in Yanks’ 9-1 win.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yankees improved to 7-3-1 in Spring Training with a 9-1 win over Boston Tuesday afternoon.

The pitchers only gave up 2 hits.

D.J. LeMahieu had 2 hits and 2 RBI
Kyle Higashioka went 2 for 2.
Gio Urshela homered.
Thairo Estrada was 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Clint Frazier walked in all three of his plate appearances.

The Pitching Line:

Tanaka (W, 1-0) 3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 5 K.  0.00
Schmidt 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 3 K.  1.80
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.  0.00
Britton 1 iP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K  0.00
Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W,  4 K.  0.00

Nice outing for all. Even Schmidt, competing with Loaisiga for the #5 spot, did well.

So far, I think King and Garcia are AAA bound. Montgomery is #4 and I think Loaisiga is #5 with Schmidt heading to the minors as well.

But King, Schmidt and Garcia look like good backup insurance.

And once Paxton and German come back, all the better.

It doesn’t look like Aaron Judge or Giancarlo Stanton will be ready on Opening Day.

The OF/DH alignment could be Frazier in LF, Gardner CF and Tauchman in RF with Andujar as the DH. But Opening Day IS in Baltimore, and as bad as the Orioles are, that should be enough. Especially when you look at the rest of the lineup and Cole on the mound.

 

 

S.T. Game 10. Minor League Pitchers can’t hold lead, Yanks fall 10-4.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (6-3-1) built a 4-2 lead but some pitchers ticketed for the minors could not hold it and the Yanks fell 10-4 on Sunday.

Brett Gardner had an RBI double.

Rosell Herrera went 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and the way he is playing, he could beat out Tyler Wade for the last (utility) spot on the team. Herrera can play all three OF positions as well as 2B, SS and 3B.

Something concerning is that guys like Mike Tauchman and Gary Sanchez don’t have a hit yet and that Tyler Wade is 1 for 16, that hit being a HR. Kyle Higashioka is 1 for 11.

You would like some bats to wake up soon.

Pitching line:

Hale 1 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.  19.29.  Not a good outing for Hale.
Reeves 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.   Faced one batter and struck him out.  0.00
Otero 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  0.00
Avilan 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 0.00.   Don’t sleep on him.
Kriske (H, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 2.45  Don’t sleep on him, either.
Yajure (L, 0-1; H, 1)  1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 4 K.   11.57
Ort (BS, 1) 2/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K.  Gave up a grand slam.    27.00
Rosa 1 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 2 W, 1 K.  9.00

 

 

 

Yanks fire a coach, get catching depth.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From the NY Post (edited):

The Post has learned Matt Krause, the Yankees’ director of strength and conditioning, has been relieved of his duties after six years with the club.

It is believed Krause had two years remaining on his contract. He follows pitching coach Larry Rothschild, who had a year left on his contract, and bench coach Josh Bard out the door.

Krause’s ouster follows a season in which 30 Yankees made a total of 39 appearances on the injured list. That is believed to be the most in major league history. Twenty Yankees made a total of 23 trips to the IL in 2018.

Even so, the Yankees won the AL East for the first time since 2012, beat the Twins in the ALDS and lost to the Astros in six ALCS games.

How much the injuries played a role in Krause’s dismissal hasn’t been revealed. But the fact that high-profile players missed major chunks of the season because of injuries couldn’t be ignored, even if some of the injuries surfaced when pitchers Luis Severino (inflamed right rotator cuff and lat strain) and Dellin Betances (right shoulder impingement and lat strain) were in Tampa rehabbing other ailments suffered during spring training. Severino appeared in three games in September and made two postseason starts. Betances pitched two-thirds of an inning in September and suffered a left Achilles tendon injury.

They weren’t the only high-profile Yankees to go on the IL.

Giancarlo Stanton played in 18 games due to a strained left biceps and a sprained right knee. Aaron Judge missed 54 games from April 21 to June 20 with a strained left oblique. Gary Sanchez was on the IL twice with lower-body injuries. Aaron Hicks played in 59 games due to a lower back issue and a flexor tendon injury in his right elbow that required surgery after the season and will keep him out until at least June. Miguel Andujar played in 12 games at the start of the season and underwent season-ending right shoulder surgery. Luke Voit wasn’t the same after suffering an abdominal strain in late June that was later called a sports hernia.


It looks like the Yanks will be going with Kyle Higashioka as the backup C to Gary Sanchez. Higashioka is out of options. While he does have some pop (20 HR in 70 AAA games last year, and 6 in 146 MLB at bats) he has hit only .164 in those MLB at bats with 48 strikeouts. You do wonder if he can hit at the MLB level. We’ll find out. Higashioka isn’t young. The righty hitter is 29.

Remember the character Crash Davis (played by Kevin Costner) in the movie Bull Durham? A career minor leaguer who had a touch of the majors but late in his career is in the minors to teach pitchers? Maybe Erik Kratz, age 40, is like Crash Davis. The Yanks signed him to a minor league deal.

From MLBTR.com: Kratz [hit]  .299/.375/.500 slash in 176 plate appearances with the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate in Scranton last year. Given that Kratz and his family live close to the Scranton area, he’ll have the opportunity to continue playing close to home even if he doesn’t break camp with the Yankees’ Major League club.

He provides catching depth behind Sanchez and Higashioka. He went 2 for 2 as a Yankee in 2017. For his career, he is a .205 hitter.

So there is the worry. With Romine gone, can Higashioka and/or Kratz hit enough, especially if Sanchez (who has had injuries the last two seasons) goes down?

UPDATE: Martin Maldanado re-upped with Houston, killing those Maldonado to the Yankees to team with with Cole rumors.

Gardy back, Romine gone.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Brett Gardner is back, as expected, especially with Aaron Hicks on the 2020 shelf for half the year or more. Gardy signed a deal where he gets a $2 MM signing bonus for 2020 and a contract of $8MM. 2021 has a $10 MM deal but the Yankees have a $2.5 MM buyout. So he is guaranteed at least $12.5 even if bought out for 2021.

The Yanks have to be careful with his time in 2020 however. Even though he set career highs in HR and RBI in 2019, Gardner will turn 37 next August.

Meanwhile, Austin Romine is gone, going to Detroit on a 1 yr, $4.15MM deal. It gives him the chance to be a starting catcher.

The Yanks could go with Kyle Higashioka as a backup, or they could turn to Martin Maldonado, who played for three teams last season. Maldonado got along well with Gerrit Cole. Cole had a 2.82 ERA under other catchers, but with 10 games with Maldonado, had a 1.57 ERA. Maldonado has a poor batting average in his career, but does have some pop, and did win a Gold Glove two years ago.

I don’t know about these rumors about the Yanks being hot on the trail for Josh Hader. Hader would cost PLENTY. He is a lefty, only turns 26 in April, and is 11-9, 2.42, ERA+ 178 in his brief MLB career with 49 saves. In 204.2 IP, he has 349 K. He would cost PLENTY. (Think Andujar, Frazier, Deivi Garcia, and possibly another top pitching prospect). He would be a FABULOUS addition, but at a very high cost.

The winter meetings ended with the Rule 5 draft and here is who the Yanks lost. The player must stay with the big club for the whole year or they go back. Here are 2019 minor league numbers for each.

Rony Garcia P to Detroit.

The first pick.

From MLB.com:

1. Rony Garcia, RHP, Tigers (from Yankees) 22 next week.
Garcia raised his prospect profile by boosting his stuff in 2019. He now operates with a 91-95 mph fastball that touches 97, an improved low-80s slider that shows flashes of becoming a solid pitch, a new cutter and an effective changeup. He throws strikes but must continue to refine his command in order to succeed as a starter.

He was 4-13, 4.01 High A/AA 24 starts, 1 relief, 130 IP, 129 K.

AAA Phase: Different than with Rony Garcia.

Blue Jays: RHP Hobie Harris (Yankees) , 26. High A. 3-4, 4.62. 1 save. 48.2 IP, 59 K.
White Sox: RHP Will Carter (Yankees) 26, AA/AAA 2-3, 5.45
Red Sox: RHP Raynel Espinal (Yankees), 28, AAA 5-7, 4.32.
Braves: 2B Wendell Rijo (Yankees) 24. Righty bat. A+/AA/AAA combined. .258-13-44. 103 g.

 

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.