Mailbag: Miguel Andújar, Giancarlo Stanton, Jasson Dominguez, 15-Day IL, Streaming

Miggy in the Outfield! (Bryan Hoch)

Happy Friday, everyone. It is a freezing morning here in New York City, which is bad. What’s good is that we are another day closer to Opening Day. It’s less than a month away! And there are plenty of Spring Training games happening. Deivi Garcia is even starting one tonight, but it isn’t being broadcast. Oh well. Let’s just hope nobody else gets hurt and I’m considering it a win anyway.

While we didn’t post yesterday – sometimes life gets in the way even for fanatics like us – it’s time for another mailbag. We have five great questions today. As always, send yours to viewsfrom314 [at] gmail [dot] com. We choose our favorites each week.

Jeremy Asks: I love Miggy as much as anyone and would imagine his hit tool is like a 70 on the 20-80 scale. As everyone knows, to reach his ceiling offensively he must increase his walk rate to drive his OBP. Canó is the natural comp there, as Canó came up with a similarly elite hit tool (they both hit .297 in their rookies years) and an even worse BB% than Andújar’s 4.1% in 2018 when he walked 2.9% of the time in 2005. However, Canó’s BB% slowly crept up and his BB% since 2010 is 7.7%. Can you dig a bit deeper to compare the adjustments Canó had to make/did make in his plate discipline/swinging profile vs the adjustments Andújar may benefit from?

Let’s start by comparing their rookie seasons, shall we? Canó came up in 2005 as a 22-year-old while Andújar debuted as a 23-year-old in 2018. Here’s how they did:

BAOBPSLGBB%K%Pit/PAContact%
Canó, ’05.297.320.4582.9%12.3%3.0587.2%
Andújar, ’18.297.328.5274.1%16.0%3.5280.3%

For what it’s worth, Andújar was a better hitter (116 wRC+ to 103) and more valuable by WAR. He was obviously a more powerful hitter, too. (He had 50 more ABs.) I really do think people forget how good he was in 2018. It’s going to be nice to have him back in the lineup again. Now, in the interest of fairness, Canó’s big leap came in 2006, when he hit .342 (!) as a 23-year-old. (Regular readers of this blog will know that I love Robinson Canó.) So it’s not exactly apples-to-apples, but this is a good reminder of how good Andújar was.

Anyway, it’s true that they’re fairly similar in offensive profiles. They’re both well-above-average at making contact – those rates are insane – and very, very aggressive at the plate. While Canó is more patient now, much closer to league average in walk rate, it took him nearly six years to get there. His best years in terms of walk rate came with a chase rate closer to league average, but it’s important to remember that he was a monster even when he wasn’t walking much. Not to mention, Canó still swings way more than normal. It’s just who he is as a hitter. I suspect the same will be true for Miggy, too.

This is not a knock! The SABR-school of baseball analysis loves on-base-percentage and walks. That’s for good reason: for generations, these were undervalued skills, “market inefficiencies”, if you will. A way to identify under-appreciated talent. Now it’s all the rage. There’s something to be said for a player who makes contact at a high rate and puts the ball in play, though. If Miggy is consistently doing that and puts up years like he did in 2018, he will be plenty valuable. It would be nice if he walked more, sure. But his offensive profile is just fine. As we all know, the best way for him to add value is by improving his defense anyway.

Brad Asks: With Stanton possibly out for opening day do you think the Yankees should start the year with Frazier at DH and Andújar in the Minors working on defense flexibility?

I think it’s safe to say Stanton will miss Opening Day. While a Grade 1 strain isn’t that bad as these things go, there’s no reason to rush. I have no problem with this approach. Opening Day is a big deal in that it’s ceremonial and exciting, but that’s about it. Having Giancarlo around for the vast majority of the season is much more important than rushing him back for a bunch of games that will get rained out anyway. Getting him right is better than re-aggravating the injury and suffering setbacks. Remember how infuriating that was last year?

So, with that in mind, let’s get to the roster construction. There should be room for both Frazier and Andújar on the MLB roster come March 26. Before camp, I predicted four outfielders plus Andújar. Stanton, of course, was one of those outfielders. I had Frazier back in Triple-A. With this injury, I think there’s a pretty good chance we’ll see Frazier in Baltimore next month. He hit a monster home run just yesterday:

As for Andújar, I don’t think there’s any chance he starts the year in Scranton. As highlighted above, he has a special bat. That’s one you keep around and figure out where to play later. If he’s healthy, he’ll be in the Bronx, where he should be. Here’s some video of him playing outfield in a game for good measure:

Jonathan Asks: I have never heard of such hype about a Yankee prospect since Brien Taylor. The talk about the “Martian” is nuts and he hasn’t even played a professional game. If he performs up to expectations and kills it this year in the minors, how much will he shoot up the prospect rankings? Are we talking top 10? Top 5?

Brien Taylor is a good comp in some ways. He was named Baseball America’s top overall prospect before ever playing in a professional game! That’s nuts. The Yanks drafted him with the first overall pick in the 1991 Draft, when he was 19-years-old. That understandably brings a lot of hype, as do the rankings.

However, Jasson is a different beast altogether, I think. Jasson, at age 16, drew comparisons to both Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle in an ESPN piece that dubbed him “The Martian.” Scouts and analysts are in love with him. Danny Rowland, who heads the Yanks’ international scouting division, said that Jasson has “possibly the best combination of tools, athleticism, and performance” he’s ever seen. That’s quite the on-the-record quote. It speaks to Jasson’s potential and how much everyone believes in him. The tools are obvious to everyone, I think.

Given the wave of young international stars breaking onto the scene – Acuña was 20, Soto was 19, etc. – it’s fair to think Jasson will skyrocket up the rankings with a good year. He is not a decade away. He could start helping the Yankees in 2022 or 2023, when he’d be 19 or 20 respectively. A long hinges on his stateside performance, obviously. Most people have never seen him play themselves! How he responds to professional pitching is essential, so we can’t get ahead of ourselves. Yet.

Robert Asks: With the reintroduction of the 15-day IL, will that limit teams from using the Opener and the doing bullpen shuffle via phantom injuries? Did the Yankee take advantage of the 10-day IL more than the average team? If so, the bullpen may get taxed more now that the 15-day IL is in place.

It’s true that the 10-day IL helped teams utilize the Triple-A shuttle. Teams placed 563 players on the then-DL in 2016, the year before the 10-day then-DL was implemented. The next year, it shot up to 702. Last year, it was 737. (Though the Yankees surely played a role in that!) The trend is clear. The Dodgers famously used the system to give their pitchers extra rest in 2017. The data is clear. It was happening and honestly, it was pretty obvious it would happen.

In fact, that’s all why the league made this change. It wanted to limit the Triple-A shuttle and figured that changing the rule would help. (It also comes with a related rule that changes the amount of time optioned players must spend in MiLB before they can return from 10 to 15.) These changes, while opaque, will probably have impacts all season – especially coupled with the three-batter minimum rule.

I’m not sure that the Yankees abused the system more than anyone else, honestly. And last year is a tough case since the Yankees had so many damn injuries. But the Scranton Shuttle was certainly real. It won’t be as easy to send relievers to/from Scranton in 2020, and that will probably impact roster construction in some small but meaningful ways.

Daryll Asks: Just wondering what the future holds to stream the Yankee games.  I know that Amazon has a stake in the game now but I haven’t heard much since that deal broke.

This is a timely question, unfortunately. Just yesterday, YouTube TV announced that it will no longer carry YES Network – along with other RSNs in the FOX family – on the platform, effective February 29 (tomorrow). YouTube TV was negotiating with Sinclair Broadcast Group for the rights, presumably because Sinclair now owns a 20% stake in the network. That the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement is a big blow for fans who want to cut the cord and stream games.

There are other options, though. Both Hulu Live and AT&T TV Now carry YES, so those are your best bets for streaming. It is true that Amazon has a plan in place to stream Yankee games, but there hasn’t been any news on this since it was initially reported back in December. The early reports said that the platform may be in place by the 2020 season, so I guess we’ll have to keep our eyes out. There is also MLB.TV, which carries every single regular season game – provided you’re not blacked out, of course. If you’re in New York – or neighboring areas considered the home market – you won’t be able to stream live Yankee games.

Cable is probably the best bet. I know it’s not streaming, but it is reliable for Yankees games. Spectrum, FiOS, Comcast, and DirecTV all carry YES. I know cord-cutting is all the rage, but the reality is that good ol’ fashioned cable is probably the most reliable way to watch Yankees games in the region.

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17 Comments

  1. MetalFrog

    MLB.tv and a VPN is the most reliable way to watch the Yankees. Throw in an ad blocker and you have no commercials, as well.

  2. JG (Melky Mesa)

    Judge going for more tests

    Dr. Ahmad is a quack

  3. Mungo

    “No updates,” Boone said. “Just going through some testing. Still a little banged up. We’re trying to get some answers and get to the bottom of everything and hopefully it won’t be too long.”
    ——————-

    Was watching the SS Yankee/Red Sox game, so missed Boone’s update on Judge above. A bit concerning. He keeps saying he expects him to be ready by Opening Day, but this shoulder issue seems to have lingered since the end of last season. Has a similar vibe to Sevy’s issue that ended in surgery. I guess it’s possible that he can have a shoulder issue they’re treating very conservatively, but that he can also play through it. Hopefully they’ll know soon enough. The door to a Frazier/Andujar OF may open, and defensively that’s concerning. Puig is also still out there if Judge’s issue turns out more serious. Stanton should hopefully be back soon, and RF is his normal position, but have to wonder if they’ll want to risk playing him in the OF that much.

  4. BillyMartinVanBuren Boys

    Its a pretty good bet Judge will NOT be ready at the start of the season right??

    • Dani

      I think we (once again) reached a point were we have to expect the worst. I just hope he won’t miss the entire season.

  5. Chris

    Did I miss a post where you said you’re not doing any ST game recaps??

    • Mungo

      Did they announce they were going to cover all ST games? I do seem to remember a post saying they’d have daily updates during ST, likely including quick game recaps. There were two SS games today, the second one just ended, so maybe they’ll be one late.

  6. DanGer

    Don’t sleep on Miggy 2 Bags.
    A few comps of 23 yo seasons

    Andujar .297 .328 .527
    Cano .342 .365 .525
    Beltre .257 .303 .426
    Machado .294 .343 .533
    Ripkin .304 .374 .510
    A-Rod .285 .357 .586
    Longoria .281 .364 .526
    Chipper .265 .353 .450
    Wright .311 .381 .531

    Like the article says, OBP is a bit sore but the average and power are on point.

  7. RetroRob

    I’d take it slow with Stanton, target maybe a mid-April return. Shut him down for three weeks and then give him a couple weeks to get game ready. I’d give Andujar as many chances in LF as they can. He played there again today and reports are he made a nice play and seems to track the ball well. That’s a very good sign since he hasn’t played the OF since he was a kid. Maybe the Yankees will have an Alex Gordon situation here. Meh 3B’man turns into plus-defensive OFer. Miggy is a good athlete, has good sprint speed and a strong arm. Many others have done the conversion. I’d rather see as many ABs go to Andjuar and Frazier (if he makes the team) early on. Platoon Gardner and Tauchman in center. Gardy is still effective against righties and Tauchman strangely hit lefties well last year. Might simply be noise in the machine, but now is the time to find out.

  8. RetroRob

    I mean, Sinclair and Amazon are part owners in YES. They don’t want Yankee fans over on those platforms. They’ll want to monetize their investment so you have to pay for a YES streaming package, or through Amazon eventually. Ok, fine, but bring it on. Right now they’re canceling service through YouTube TV but not offering an alternative yet. Not convinced they’ll last on Hulu either.

  9. JG (Melky Mesa)

    If Stanton starts on the IL then Wade (or Thairo), Ford, backup catcher (assume Higgy), Andujar, and Clint are all locks to make it. Du, Voit, and Ford will probably play DH the most.

    Could have used Maybin but oh well.

    • DJ Lemeddardhieu

      Yeah, all offseason I was saying re-sign Cameron. We’re gonna need him. And he’s a good clubhouse guy who hugged everybody. Stanton is going to miss significant time. And it’s just a matter of time before they come out and say Judge’s shoulder soreness is actually a rotator cuff tear requiring surgery that could have been diagnosed by feeling the shoulder but they didn’t bother to do that time consuming and costly procedure. Then we’ll just be left with Gardy, Clint and Tauchman and if that doesn’t send shivers down your spine I don’t know what will.

  10. DJ Lemeddardhieu

    Jeremy Asks: I love Miggy as much as anyone and would imagine his hit tool is like a 70 on the 20-80 scale. As everyone knows, to reach his ceiling offensively he must increase his walk rate to drive his OBP. Canó is the natural comp there, as Canó came up with a similarly elite hit tool (they both hit .297 in their rookies years) and an even worse BB% than Andújar’s 4.1% in 2018 when he walked 2.9% of the time in 2005. However, Canó’s BB% slowly crept up and his BB% since 2010 is 7.7%. Can you dig a bit deeper to compare the adjustments Canó had to make/did make in his plate discipline/swinging profile vs the adjustments Andújar may benefit from?

    He will, Jeremy. He’s still just a kid. Working with Paulie and Hideki in the Spring should help. Robbie Cano was one of the greatest hitters we ever had so I don’t think you can compare the two. The only thing he really needs to improve is his eye. There’s not much else he can do other than getting an ocular implant from DJ, Voit or Judge.

    Brad Asks: With Stanton possibly out for opening day do you think the Yankees should start the year with Frazier at DH and Andújar in the Minors working on defense flexibility?

    God no, Brad. Why would Andujar start in the minors? He’s one of our best hitters and twice the hitter Frazier is. And if anybody should be working on their defense in the minors it’s Bozo the Clint. Andujar will be the opening day DH or LFer. Clint will be on the roster by default with Stanton’s injury but I wouldn’t put him anywhere except DH or clubhouse jester.

    Jonathan Asks: I have never heard of such hype about a Yankee prospect since Brien Taylor. The talk about the “Martian” is nuts and he hasn’t even played a professional game. If he performs up to expectations and kills it this year in the minors, how much will he shoot up the prospect rankings? Are we talking top 10? Top 5?

    I’ve never heard of either, Jonathan. The Martian was a movie starring Matt Damon but he didn’t play baseball. He grew plants using his poop as fertilizer. Pretty good movie but not in the baseball genre. If we’re talking about Jason Dominguez he should be up at the MLB level this year, not 2 or 3 years from now. He’s the next Soto.

    Robert Asks: With the reintroduction of the 15-day IL, will that limit teams from using the Opener and the doing bullpen shuffle via phantom injuries? Did the Yankee take advantage of the 10-day IL more than the average team? If so, the bullpen may get taxed more now that the 15-day IL is in place.

    Hopefully, Robert. I hate the dumb opener. And now I worry with all these starter injuries that Boone will use it again. All it does was tire Green out in October. I don’t mind the 15 day DL. Maybe the Yankees will use it more now and call up fresh healthy ballplayers. With the 10 day DL they’d go a man or two short hoping the guy would come back in less than 10 days but he never did. We’re gonna have a lot of 15 and 60 day DL stints this year with this feckless training/medical staff still in place.

    Daryll Asks: Just wondering what the future holds to stream the Yankee games. I know that Amazon has a stake in the game now but I haven’t heard much since that deal broke.

    The future is bleak, Daryll. Haven’t you been watching the news? I use Direct TV and get the MLB extra innings package through them as well as the regional sports package to get YES. That seems to work the best to get the quality. The MLB.tv will get you the games but not YES, and the quality isn’t as good. I haven’t tried the non cable options but I doubt they’re good quality. In the future maybe you get an Amazon or Hulu able to provide high quality streamlining games, unless the coronavirus gets us first.

  11. Derek Jeter

    If you are within the NY market, you should be able to stream the Yankees games via the Fox Sports Go app/website whether you are on phone, tablet, or computer with a valid cable login. I have been doing so for a few years now.

    • BigDavey88

      The caveat is you need a valid cable provider login, which cord cutters do not have.

      I’m livid with Sinclair, moreso than usual because they are a dangerous and positively awful monopoly.

      I really enjoyed YouTube TVs service. But I have to cancel and switch to Hulu Live because the Yankees are the biggest reason I mess with live television to begin with. Just frustrating all around.

      • Derek Jeter

        You’re spot on, luckily friends are pretty liberal sharing their cable provider logins, at least in my experience.

        On another note…Sinclair is a corporate monster.

  12. chip56

    If Dominguez is even half as good as his hype he’s going to be one of the best players in the game.

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