We’re one day away from the Yankees starting their second half campaign. This break feels like forever. It will be great to see the pinstripes back on the field again. This is a light news day, but there are a few things to share.
Jim Bouton passes away at the age of 80
We start with some sad news. Jim Bouton passed away yesterday due to a brain disease linked with dementia. Bouton was a twenty game winner, a World Series winner and an All Star MVP. He finished his career with the Yankees winning 55 games, sporting a 3.36 ERA and a 1.227 WHIP. He was one of the stars of the early to mid-60s Yankees teams.
Bouton’s breakout season was in 1963. After serving six months in the army, he pitched to a 21-7 record with a 2.53 ERA. He won All Star MVP honors and pitched the pennant clinching victory over the Twins earning a shut out. He ended his Yankee career with a 2-1 record in World Series games.
Of course, Bouton became a legend in baseball folklore once his diary of the 1969 season entitled “Ball Four” was released. Considered by many to be a groundbreaking piece of baseball literature, “Ball Four” details the life of a big leaguer including rampant use of Greenies, Mickey Mantle’s love for the ladies and the antics of Seattle Pilots manager Joe Schultz. “Ball Four” is the only sports book listed on the New York Public Library’s list of the best books of the 20th century.
Bouton, a struggling knuckleballer at the time, was taking notes and recording conversations for the book. Many of his teammates were unaware he was writing “Ball Four.” His peers were not happy when excerpts began to surface in magazines. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn publicly admonished Bouton. Bouton did credit Kuhn for boosting book sales. The ostracizing was so severe that the Yankees blackballed Bouton for years until 1998 when he was invited back for Old Timer’s Day.
The folks over at sabr.org have a great write up of Bouton’s career and personal accomplishments. It is definitely worth a read. From everyone here at Views From 314ft we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Jim Bouton.
Yankees long time interest in Robbie Ray
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic recently mentioned in his column that the Yankees have “historically liked” Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Robbie Ray. The team is a big fan of his career strikeout rate and his left handedness. On paper, a union between the Yankees and Ray makes a ton of sense.
Ray is a mixed bad though. He has a career 4.1 BB/9 rate and career 1.352 WHIP. His career home run rate isn’t bad, but the walks are a major concern. He’s also middle of the pack in xwOBA and xSLG. The Yankees are also big on spin rate. He ranks in the 8th percentile with the curve and 50th percentile with the fastball. He doesn’t really check those boxes.
With that said, there are some things to like about Ray. His K% is fantastic. He keeps the exit velo down and he’s in the 77th percentile for xBA. Ray and Zack Wheeler feel like they’re in the same category. Two guys with elite stuff that haven’t put it all together at a consistent level. They are both pitchers that could improve if the Yankees analytics department could get their hands on them. The Dbacks are currently 1.5 games out of the second wild card so they may keep Ray around. He is under control for one more year after this one. He is a name to keep in mind as we get closer to the deadline.
Deivi Garcia ranks 29th in Keith Law’s Midseason Rankings
Deivi Garcia is quickly becoming the talk of the town. After the Futures Game, Garcia received a promotion to AAA Scranton. Now he lands at number 29 on Law’s midseason rankings (sub. required). Here is Law’s write up on our boy Deivi:
I don’t know about you guys, but this gets me fired up. During our Twitter Q&A last night, I mentioned there is a chance Deivi could become a K-Rod or 2007 Joba type player for the Yankees in the pen this season. He’s on the road to having four average to above average pitches. The team clearly has a plan in place for him. If he succeeds in AAA, there is a very strong chance we see him in pinstripes late in the summer. How awesome would that be? It would also be a fantastic start for the Views Player Watch.
Yankees rotation for the Toronto series
The team announced their starters for this weekend’s series against the Blue Jays. It will be Domingo Germán getting the call tomorrow. He will be followed by J.A. Happ on Saturday. All Star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka will get the ball to close out the series on Sunday. We’re a day away from games again. They will be here soon.