Tag: MLB Baseball

Are We Witnessing The Making Of The New York Yankees New Core Four?

The Yankees are established as one of the greatest franchises in the history of sports. They produced a dynasty in the lates 90s into the early 2000s, including a group of players known as the “Core Four”. This core consisted of captain and shortstop Derek Jeter, left handed hurler Andy Pettitte, catcher Jorge Posada and closer Mariano Rivera. All of these players had one thing in common, they came up through the Yankees farm system as young players and played their entire careers with the Yankees (aside from Pettitte, who played 3 seasons with the Astros before returning to the Yankees in 2007).

The Yankees now have been one of baseballs best teams, being in the playoffs the last 2 years and winning at least 90 games, An integral part of the Yankees newfound success has been their young talent. With the way this team has been playing, its fair to wonder if the Yankees have found a new core four, the four players listed below have the best shot at replicating a new core of players.

#1 Aaron Judge, Right Fielder

Aaron Judge has arguably become the face of baseball, having been drafted in 2013 by the Yankees and tearing it up through their minor league system and was one of their most highly touted prospects. One can’t forget his debut in August of 2016 when he hit a home run in his first major league at bat against the Rays. Despite finishing his rookie season with a .179 batting average and 42 strikeouts in 84 at bats, Judge adjusted his mechanics and came into 2017 hot, arguably spending his true rookie season as the hottest player in baseball, hitting a putrid 52 home runs, 127 walks, and 114 rbis, winning the home run derby, being named an all star, finishing second in the AL MVP voting and taking home the rookie of the year award for 2017 while also setting the record for most walks and home runs by a rookie in history. Judge missed time due to a chip fracture in his wrist, but still had an all star campaign in 2018 smacking 27 home runs and hitting .278 in 112 games. Judge has battled injuries like many players in major league baseball, but theres no doubt he is an incredible asset to the Yankees and has arguably become their face of the franchise, Judges chambers in right field is a prime example of this, to have a section named after you at Yankee Stadium speaks volumes about how valuable you are to the organization.

#2 Gary Sanchez, Catcher

Gary Sanchez is without a doubt a fantastic catcher, his defense has been somewhat questionable in recent years, allowing the most past balls in 2017 and 2018 despite missing significant time due to a groin injury. Nonetheless, Sanchez is still a clutch hitter, it was only a few seasons ago Sanchez hit 20 home runs and drove in 42 runs in 53 games as a rookie, leading to him finishing second in rookie of the year voting only behind Detroit right hander Michael Fulmer. In 2017, Sanchez had arguably his best season to date, hitting 33 home runs and driving in 90 runs in 122 games with a stat line of .278, .345, .531 earning him an all star nod and a silver slugger award. Sanchez’s 2018 struggles both offensively and defensively show he needs improvement, but theres no doubt his outstanding performance helped the Yankees get back to postseason contention, with Josh Bard as the bench coach being a former catcher himself, Sanchez has all the tools necessary to get back to form.

#3 Luis Severino, Starting Pitcher

Luis Severino has been the Yankees ace for quite some time now, his rookie season saw him show glimpses of brilliance, pitching to a 2.86 ERA and winning 5 of the 11 games he started. His 2016 campaign was rocky as he was demoted to triple a in August of that year. Since his sophomore season, Severino has completely turned it around, not only overtaking Masahiro Tanaka as the ace, but winning 14 and 19 games in 2017 and 2018 respectively. He pitched to a 2.98 ERA and struck out 230 batters in 2017 and had a higher but respectable 3.39 ERA and 220 strike outs in 2018. He has finished in the top 10 for Cy Young voting each of the last 2 seasons. Severinos grit and stellar performance, especially in 2018s wild card game against the A’s in which he pitched 4 innings and struck out 7 without giving up a run earned him a 4 year extension worth $40 million. If he can stay consistant and perform as well as he has in recent years, theres no doubt Severino will go down as a core member of the Yankees new dynasty.

#4 Miguel Andujar, 3rd Baseman

Perhaps one of the most underrated Yankees players, Miguel Andujar, a player who wasn’t even supposed to play at the Major League level this past season was called up and instantly made an impact at the hot corner. Andujar often takes heat for his “poor” defense as he ranked 18th in the league for 3rds basemans fielding percentage at .948 which led to him being benched in game 4 of the ALDS due to the contact inducing C.C. Sabathia taking the hill, a game in which the Yankees were eliminated. Despite his struggles on defense, he still is a young player at only 21 years of age, and his offense more then makes up for it. Andujar was clutch to say the least for the Yankees, hitting .297 with 27 home runs and 97 RBIS. Andujars walkoff single against the Indians in May also proves that Andujar can come up big when necessary. With regard to games played, batting average, home run total and WAR , Andujar was the Yankees second best player in 2018, only behind Giancarlo Stanton. Andujar has lots of room to grow, and being homegrown and coming up through the minors with the Yanks, its only a matter of time until he gets even better.

Judge, Sanchez, Severino and Andujar all have something in common that the core four before them did, they all came up through the Yankees system. With Sanchez being signed in 2009, Severino and Andujar being signed in 2011 and Judge being drafted in 2013. With the way these baby bombers are playing, its not unrealistic to think this could be the start of a new core four.

The Saga Ends: Manny Machado And San Diego Padres Reach Deal

In a offseason filled with controversy regarding mega star free agents Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, at least one domino has finally fallen.

It was announced on Tuesday that the padres had signed Machado to a contract worth $300 million over 10 years. The contract comes with an opt out clause after the first five years. Machado had gauged many teams interest this offseason including the Yankees, Phillies and White Sox. Machado was expected to sign a contract in the $250 to $280 million range, but that changed upon his deal with San Diego. Machados contract is now the largest in history for American sports. Machados signing indicates the Padres desire to quickly return to contention, as their farm system contains several highly touted prospects including Fernado Tatis Jr. (#2 overall) Mackenzie Gore (#15 overall) and Luis Urias (#23 overall).

MLB ALDS Game One: New York Yankees vs Cleveland Indians

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians

After defeating The Minnesota Twins in the American League Wild Card Game, The New York Yankees are set to take on the top-seeded Cleveland Indians. The Yankees impressively overcame an early deficit in that game with some big home runs and some crucial bullpen work (8.2 Innings worth!) It was an impressive win, however, New York knows it will have a much tougher task in The Cleveland Indians.

The Red Hot Tribe…

MLB ALDSThe Indians are back in the postseason looking to flip the script this year after falling in Game 7 of The World Series to the Chicago Cubs. Cleveland had high expectations this season, and they have not disappointed. Their season was highlighted by a new American League record 22 game winning streak. That was truly remarkable, imagine not losing a game for 3+ weeks! The Division Series rotation is set, and it will be Trevor Bauer getting the nod in Game 1, the 17 game winner this year. Bauer will be followed by Cy Young favorite Corey Kluber, who posted 18 wins and an elite 2.25 ERA. The starters will try to go deep and get the ball to the core of the bullpen in Andrew Miller and Cody Allen. Moving to The Tribe’s lineup, there are threatening bats up and down it. Francisco Lindor brings some pop at the top of the lineup, more than doubling his home run production from a year ago from 15 to 33. Jose Ramirez and Edwin Encarnacion both had solid seasons, both a big part of this team’s success. Cleveland brought in Jay Bruce at the trading deadline, who brings some veteran leadership and some motivation to capture The World Series.

Yankees Bullpen & Offense… 

MLB ALDSThe New York Yankees strengths during the regular season were all on display during the wild card game. This team is known for hitting a lot of home runs, and for having tremendous bullpen depth. The bullpen had to bail out starter Luis Severino who only lasted ⅓ of an inning. The bats also helped out, getting home runs from Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, and Brett Gardner. New York is going to need more consistent starting pitching to match Cleveland’s staff. Cleveland also arguably has just as good of a bullpen as New York. Trade deadline acquisition Sonny Gray will get the nod in Game 1 followed by CC Sabathia in Game 2. It’ll be ideal for New York to steal at least one of the first two games in Cleveland to have a shot in this series. The Yankee bats appear to be ready to go after showing up with authority in the wild-card game. Manager Joe Girardi has a couple lineup decisions to make in Center Field and the DH spot. It’ll be up to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez to continue to set the tone in the middle of the lineup. The Indians won the season series 5-2, can New York change that up now in the postseason?

Live In The Stands Pick: Yankees vs Indians

I think Cleveland’s experience going all the way to Game 7 of The World Series can be invaluable. This team knows what it takes to get there, and they still have the taste of coming so close. New York’s roster is pretty stacked themselves, and although many people believe the future has better years for this team, there is no reason why they can’t win now. I’m going to go with Cleveland in 4 games, 3-1.

MLB: AL Wild Card Preview; New York Yankees vs Minnesota Twins

Minnesota Twins @ New York Yankees: 8:10 P.M. 

Just like the NL, the AL Wild Card game features two new playoff teams who missed out last year. It is fair to say that both teams have exceeding expectations coming into the year. Both teams have a few young stars who broke out this year and helped lead their respective teams to this game. The winner of this game will play the top-seeded Cleveland Indians. The Yankees have dominated the Twins over the last several seasons, but again, anything can happen in one game!

Judge, Sanchez, Yankees Bullpen take charge 

The New York Yankees had mild expectations coming into the season, expected to be competitive and challenge for a playoff spot. New York got off to a hot start and never AL Wild Card Gamelooked back, ultimately holding a top spot in the AL the entire year. A big reason for this was the breakout of MVP candidate Aaron Judge. I don’t care what people say, no one saw this coming, not to this extent. Judge set a record for home runs by a rookie, and he also hits the ball as hard as anyone in the league. Another young star for the Yankees is Gary Sanchez, who has proven that last year was no fluke by following it up with a tremendous offensive performance this year. His defensive skills are often questioned, but it is something that should be able to be fixed. The Yankees biggest strength is probably their bullpen, with arms such as Chapman, Betances, Robertson, Green, Kahnle, and Warren. The depth of this bullpen makes it crucial for the opponent to score runs early in the game before having to face this bullpen. Getting the start will be Luis Severino, who took a big step this year and established himself as the ace of this staff. Severino posted 14 wins along with a 2.98 ERA. On paper, the Yankees will be favored in this matchup.

Dozier, Santana, Mauer lead the way 

AL Wild CardThe Minnesota Twins are back after losing 103 games a season ago, what a turnaround. This is truly a team no one saw coming this year, at least not this big of a turnaround. In the mix all year, after Cleveland went on their historic streak, Minnesota had no option but to set their sights on the wild card with the division out of reach. Sure enough, after a season of their own ups and downs, the Twins hung on to the second wild-card spot. The Twins are led by their leadoff man, veteran Brian Dozier. Dozier has been a consistent player with this team for years now, Dozier brings some pop in that leadoff role. Talking about veterans, how about Joe Mauer playing like it’s 2009. An overall solid year for him, hitting .305. The Twins have been given a spark by some of their younger players. Miguel Sano hit 28 home runs this year despite battling some injuries. Minnesota also has Eddie Rosario and Byron Buxton who stepped up big time for the team this year holding down the outfield, and they are very exciting to watch. Moving to the mound, I’m still wondering what year it is because Ervin Santana also thinks that it is 2009. The veteran ace of the staff won 16 games and posted a 3.28 ERA, leading the way for the team. Santana will get the ball in this one game playoff.

The Pick….

Not many people are giving Minnesota a chance in this one, but I think that is because most people aren’t really familiar with this team. They’ll battle just like they’ve done all year. The Yankees will be favored in this game, and it is much deserved. It’ll be crucial for the Twins to scratch a few runs off Severino because the Yankee bullpen will be ready to go. I’m going to go with New York over Minnesota 4-3.  

Sports News: MLB Wild Card Race, NHL Signings & Danis Zaripov, Spit balls of the week!

It’s that time of the week, school is starting soon, NFL season is officially here, the MLB wild card race is heating and the NHL is now a month away. It is Spitballs of the week time! Catch up on the latest news surrounding the NHL and MLB. Some of my own takes and some stuff to watch out for in the coming months!

MLB: The AL Wild Card race is probably the more interesting of the two, the Yankees have now dropped six of their last 10, the Twins are one game out and the Indians are on a nine-game winning streak. There’s not much to look into here the Yankees are slowly losing grips of the Wild Card, Baltimore is only a game and half back and the Yankees continue to be inconsistent. Also, the Yankees face off against the Orioles two more times before the year ends and the Twins one more time(Watch OUT!). The Orioles are 8-2 in their last ten and face off against Toronto, Cleveland, Yankees, Toronto for the next upcoming series. The Twins have been able to hold their own and see some success in big moments, the Twins play Kansas City, Tampa Bay and Toronto in the next upcoming series. As for the Twins, they have an “easier” half of the schedule compared to the other wild card teams.

The NL, of course, the Nationals and Dodgers have control over their divisions, the Cubs will more than likely win the NL Central and as far as Wild Card goes the Diamondbacks and Rockies will be the two teams in those last two spots. The Rockies have been on/off lately but the Cardinals and Brewers do not scare me too much for the Rockies sake. The Diamondbacks are 9-1 in their last ten and play San Diego, Dodgers, and the Rockies in the upcoming series. The Brewers are 1.5 games back from the Rockies and after Washington, they face off against the Reds, Cubs, Pirates, and Marlins, scheduling may favor Milwaukee, here do not sleep on them!

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Oh, Clayton Kershaw is back, after returning from the DL after a month, he shut down the Padres for 6 innings allowing no runs, 7 strikeouts and two hits. That’ll be fun come playoff time to face off against the Dodgers pitching rotation and bullpen. Nothing new Kershaw and the Dodgers just continue to dominate MLB teams and the league as a whole right now. The Dodgers have 92 wins with still a month of baseball to be played. 

Justin Verlander was sent to Houston recently, many thought Verlander was going to stay and Houston messed up by not going out to get a pitcher at the deadline. Well, those critics can be silenced now, as Houston now has a former Cy Young winner and a pitcher with 16 starts in the postseason and 380 in the regular season. Can’t hurt as the Astros were deemed for not making a move, acquiring Verlander is a big addition the Astros rotation.

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NHL: The KHL forward who was suspended from the KHL for doping is making his way over to the NHL now and a few teams have expressed interest in him. Danis Zaripov is a 36-year-old forward from the KHL, he’s played nine seasons in the KHL and has produced, 453 points and 199 goals. Two teams that have publicly expressed interest in Zaripov is Pittsburgh and the Rangers. It’s said that Malkin expressed interest in playing on the same line with Zaripov, a guy who just won the Russian most valuable player award will more than likely get another Russian forward to join him unless the Rangers offer Zaripov more money.

The Blue Jackets have locked up forward Alexander Wennberg for 6-years at $4.9 mil a year. The 22-year-old forward has shown major strides of progression in the Blue Jackets organization now, and anytime a player goes from 40 to 59 points in one season, it deserves a little looking into. Wennberg is a big, strong forward who will be a top three player on the Blue Jackets for years to come. The six years is absolutely crucial to Columbus because now he’s locked in and will be a huge drawing asset for other players looking to come to Columbus in the future.

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Thomas Vanek is back on another team for another season! The 33-year-old forward has signed a 1-year deal for $2 million with Vancouver. Vanek has played on six NHL teams and five different ones in the past four seasons. Vancouver will be Vanek’s seventh NHL club and sixth team in five seasons. Vanek scored 48 points and 16 goals with the Red Wings/Panthers last season. Vanek has struggled to stay healthy and remain consistent in line ups but at $2 million for a team like Vancouver will not hurt at all. Vanek can now play along with the Sedin brothers who may help resurge the talented goal scorers ability and get him some confidence back. Vanek is capable of being a 50-60 point player when he’s healthy, barring injuries and Vanek plays a full season, paired with the Sedin brothers would not hurt the once 40 goal scorers year.

Spitballs: Yankees, Twins take last two wild card spots, Dodgers win 115 games and probably the world series(I don’t care, they’re too good), Red Sox’s bunt again to annoy Yankee pitchers, Zaripov goes to Pittsburgh, Vanek scores 30 goals next season, Wennberg tallies 65 points next season.

Be on the look out later today for some introduction to the NFL season article!!

 

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Sports News: NFL, NHL, MLB Spitballs for the week! AL/NL Wild Card, Yankees vs Tigers Brawl, NFL injuries, Will Bucther decision

NFL/MLB/NHL SPIT BALLS OF THE WEEK!

Let’s kick off this Sunday the right way! After a long night of watching Floyd Mayweather TKO Conor McGregor, sit back, relax and enjoy the Spit Balls of the week!

Wait, but first, who actually thought McGregor was going to win? I’m glad those people can be quiet now, it’s nearly impossible for someone to come into another man’s sport where he was arguably the greatest and just beat him because “he’s an MMA fighter, and really confident and wants to win.” Least we got our money’s worth though the fight did go 10 rounds, more than most expected, and it was a fairly even fight. Glad to see Floyd “Money” Mayweather officially finish now with a 50-0 record.

 

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MLB News:

The big story being talked about is the Detroit Tigers vs New York Yankees brawl, I literally got an alert about this “brawl” every day for the last four days now. What is the big deal it was barely a brawl, Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine got in each other face, shoved one another, both teams came out and that was it. Out of four punches thrown maybe ½ of one landed. Also, I’ve been hearing a lot about Gary Sanchez cheap shot, I do agree that was unnecessary and uncalled for, but he did not even connect and stopped right after, he was acting in the heat of the moment and the MLB suspended for a game, so be it, it’s over with. But for people like Pedro Martinez to say this could stay with him forever and make him look bad, please. Pedro do you not remember throwing a 72-year-old man to the ground? Don’t speak Pedro. People don’t forget.

 

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Pedro Martinez tweet on August 24, after the Yankees vs Tigers brawl broke out. Really Pedro?

 

The AL Wild Card looks to be heating up the Minnesota Twins have officially gained some traction, now a half (.5) game in front of the Los Angeles Angels and Seattle Mariners, the Orioles are slowly creeping up there and Tampa Bay, Toronto are more than likely going to be sitting at home in October. With nearly 50 games left in the season, it’s a full out sprint for these wild card teams, most of these teams will be playing each other come late September when a wild card spot is do or die.

NL Wild Card Arizona and Colorado currently sit in the two wild card spots as the Marlins and Brewers look in at 3.5/4 games behind, the Cardinals are 5 and after that, some teams are 8 games plus back. Really it’s going to come down to if the Marlins or Brewers get hot and out the Rockies or Diamondbacks. I can confidently say the Rockies will make the postseason. In the NL does it matter much the Dodgers are going to win the NLCS, especially if Clayton Kershaw comes back early in the postseason run.

 

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NHL News:

Supposedly the Penguins are open to trade talks for a third line center, yeah probably should have kept Matt Cullen around, letting him slip through the cracks really blows my mind. If the Penguins don’t find a good match and no teams meet their needs some UFA’s out there are Daniel Winnik, Mike Ribeiro, Brooks Laich and the Penguins did invite Jay McClement to a PTO recently.

The Winnipeg Jets signed Matt Hendricks to a 1-year, $700K contract, not much going on there, Hendricks just helps their fourth line, gives some physical presence out there and helps fill the cap space for a cheap rental player.

Toronto Maple Leafs finally come to an agreement with Conor Brown on a three-year, $700K($2.1 mil AAV), the Leafs got away with a steal there. Brown easily could have got $1 mil from some other team, but obviously, he wanted to stay with Auston Matthews and the other young talent in Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks are slowly getting closer to a deal with Bo Horvat reportedly it has said that the Canucks have talked contracts with Horvat that range anywhere from two to eight years, he’ll get a contract similar to Jonathan Drouin, Alex Galchenyuk, and Aleksander Barkov, if I had to guess 4 years $5 mil a year? But for now, we wait.

Will Butcher makes his final decision today probably around 12 P.M. (EST), but what I’ve been hearing is that Butcher is 50/50 on Vegas and New Jersey right now. Look at it this way. Butcher goes to New Jersey he has the chance to play immediately and make an impact. Goes to Vegas he’ll be spoken about a ton, have a chance to lead that team in a few years and become the face of Vegas if he does pan out. If I had to make a guess though, Butcher will land in New Jersey, it’s the best fit for him.

Also, the Devils did land veteran forward Drew Stafford to a one-year deal. Not a bad signing for the Devils due to the fact that Travis Zajac is out for 4-6 months and the need for a scorer was urgent. Stafford did score 30-goals once before and is more than capable of 20-25 goals paired with the right linemates. Good low risk, high reward sign by the Devils. Stafford career stats are 11 seasons, 725 games, 183 goals, 217 assists, 400 points. Mind you Stafford has been riddled with injuries for a few seasons now and has not played a full season since 2011-2012.

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NFL News:

We’ve all heard the terrible news, Julian Edelman tore his ACL and is now out for the year, Spencer Ware sprained his knee and his timetable to return right now is unknown. This is definitely a huge blow to the Patriots and Edelman, hopefully, Edelman recovers quickly and can help this team out in the playoffs.

Tyrod Taylor left the Bills game Saturday night after testing positive for a concussion. Can news get worse in Buffalo, Jordan Matthews hurt, Sammy Watkins gone, Anquan Boldin gone, oh wait and now the Bills sent home DE Marcell Dareus Saturday for violating a team rule. If you’re a Buffalo Bills fan, I truly feel for you, at least the Sabres will be pretty decent this season.

Jamaal Charles has officially cracked the Broncos 50-man roster and earned himself a spot as a running back.

To wrap it up with some minor news but still something to talk about, since Jay Cutler left the Fox Sports sports analyst position, someone needed to fill it and Fox has announced that Michael Vick will be the sports analyst for the 2017-18 NFL season now.

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