Happy Saturday, everyone. It’s a cold one out there. The last few days have really felt like the offseason, haven’t they? Nobody is playing baseball in 30-degree weather. Next week (November 11-14) will be the GM Meetings, where team executives get together and talk about the business of the game…and also about transactions.
Last year, for example, Brian Cashman learned that James Paxton would be available. It’s also when the Aaron Hicks extension went down. So we could get some real news soon. Hooray for that. Anyway, here’s the latest and the greatest from Yankeeland in the last few days.
Baseball Prospectus’ Top NYY Prospects
It’s prospect ranking season, everyone. We’re working on compiling our own list internally here at Views, but why not see what the experts have to say? Baseball Prospectus released its Top 10 NYY Prospect List yesterday, which is available to basic (free) members of Baseball Prospectus.
Friend of the Blog Jarrett Seidler was responsible for much of the work here, so definitely check it out. Here is their Top 10:
- Deivi Garcia, RHP
- Jasson Dominguez, OF
- Albert Abreu, RHP
- Luis Medina, RHP
- Luis Gil, RHP
- Anthony Volpe, SS
- Estevan Florial, OF
- Ezequiel Duran, 2B
- Clarke Schmidt, RHP
- Kevin Alcantara, OF
High on Abreu, low on Schmidt, but a very good list overall, in my opinion. A few of those guys had great seasons last year, and, of course, our son Deivi Garcia sits atop the list. Seems right.
I noticed that some folks were surprised to see Jasson sit at number two here, but you shouldn’t be. He’s only 16, sure, and few have seen him play, but the Yankees did use up all of their IFA money (upwards of $5m) on him. That tells you something. Plus, as we’ve covered here before, those who have seen him, love him.
The BP staff goes in-depth into each of these players with their take on each of them. They also profile prospects 11-20, who just missed the cut, highlight some of their other favorites from the system, and rank the Top 10 Under 25 talents in the system. (Hint: Gleyber is Number One)
The verdict: the Yankees have a number of high-ceiling arms in the lower minors who miss a ton of bats but struggle with command. Sounds about right. The Yankees have graduated so much talent in the last few years–it’s forming the core of their championship-caliber team–that you can’t expect anything else. The next few years will be big for a number of these guys.
Welcome Aboard, Brett DeGagne
As I noted a few weeks ago after the team parted ways with Larry Rothschild, the Yankees also made sweeping changes to their MiLB pitching coach tree, too. We now have our first (public) hire to fill that gap: Brett DeGagne, by way of North Iowa Area Community College (NIACC). He announced it himself on Twitter last night:
Pitching Coordinator Sam Briend confirmed the news and player development guru Desi Druschel weighed in as well. This should be obvious at this point, but that tells us that DeGagne is analytics-friendly and a forward thinker. Briend and Druschel are viewed as cutting-edge in that regard. One would think their overhaul of the MiLB pitching infrastructure was to bring in other coaches cut from their cloth, so I’m excited to find out more about the DeGagne hire and what level he’ll be coaching. We’ll keep you posted as more develops on that front.
Here’s what we do know: DeGagne was recently an Assistant Coach with the NIACC system in the 2019 season. Before that, he was Pitching Coach at St. Cloud University in 2017 and 2018, and he coached in the Northwoods League collegiate summer program. He pitched five seasons himself at the University of North Dakota. Welcome aboard, Brett.
In related news, new MLB Pitching Coach Matt Blake was chosen in part because he is “ahead of his time”, according to a profile in the New York Post. Exciting stuff happening across the team these days. As I noted above, there are a number of exciting arms in the system, and it’s great to see the team equipping them with cutting-edge coaches. I look forward to seeing how it all shakes out next year.
Award Season for DJLM and Judge
Two Yankees won some notable awards in the last few days. They both deserved them. First, DJ LeMahieu won the Silver Slugger Award for second base. No surprises. Our guy hit .327/.375/.518 (136 wRC+) and was a force at the plate day-in and day-out for the Bombers. He can now add the Silver Slugger Award to his resume, which includes three All-Star appearances, an NL batting crown, and three Gold Gloves. Not bad!
Second, Aaron Judge won Wilson’s Defensive Player of the Year for right field. This is recognition for Judge that I’m really happy to see him get. I truly believe Judge is underrated, which feels insane, but I think it’s true. He’s certainly underrated as a fielder, that much is for sure. I noted this during the ALDS, but the defensive metrics are favorable to our guy. Check out his Statcast “Outs Above Average” metrics:
- 2019: 6 OAA (24th out of 92 qualified)
- 2018: 1 (42nd of out 87)
- 2017: 10 (12th of out 90)
- All years (16-19): 18 (22nd out of 565)
And his (take with a huge grain of salt) UZR ratings:
- Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR): 27.2 (2nd)
- UZR/150: 13.2 (2nd, next closest is Billy Hamilton at 9.5)
I don’t like defensive metrics–especially not zone-based ones–but I sure do love singing the praises of one Aaron Judge. But I also think these figures track well with what we see in right field each night with Judge. The man is a great fielder, and it’s about damn time someone who doesn’t watch the Yankees every night noticed it, too.
The End of the Age of Gregorius?
Ok, dramatic header there, but now we know the obvious: other teams are interested in the services of one Sir Didi Gregorius. Per Jon Heyman:
Gregorius, of course, came up with the Reds as a 22-year-old shortstop back in 2012. He only made 21 plate appearances with the big league club, but we do know the organization there likes him. Gregorius is probably the best middle infielder on the market this offseason, so get ready for more rumors like this as the offseason progresses. For what it’s worth, I expect Didi to fully rebound next season. Also, interestingly enough, MLBTR predicted Gregorius would ultimately land with the Reds. We’ll keep you posted as things develop on this front, of course.
Here’s his grand slam in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Twins because why the hell not:
Yankee (Players) Recruiting Gerrit Cole
No, there’s nothing really to report here (do you think it would be buried here if there was?) but there was one really hilarious thing that I wanted to highlight. On last week’s R2C2 podcast, CC Sabathia had this to say about Gerrit Cole: “you offer that motherfucker enough money, he’s going to want to come here.” I agree, CC. I agree.
He also noted that he’s had “many” conversations with Cole about pitching in the Bronx as a West Coast guy, which I thought was interesting. There’s nothing to read into there, but it’s interesting. He also compared Cole’s free agency to his after 2008, which is fitting. Give it a listen, if, for some reason, you haven’t yet. One final note: it is physically impossible for me to love an athlete more than I love CC Sabathia.
Also, Giancarlo Stanton told TMZ that he wants the Yankees to sign both Cole and Stephen Strasburg, to which I say:
Very good, Giancarlo. Very good. I agree.
Domingo Germán Update
Ken Davidoff and Dan Martin of the New York Post report that MLB’s investigation into Domingo Germán’s alleged physical altercation with Mara Vega, the mother of his children, is expected to wrap up in a few weeks. Germán himself hasn’t spoken to the MLB yet but Vega has, per the reports.
Players don’t get paid while suspended for domestic violence, but Germán was paid while on administrative leave–meaning he’d owe the Yankees money when this is all wrapped up. We will keep you posted as this develops further.