Tag: Josh Breaux

Catchers: Sánchez seeks rebound, Higashioka’s second look, prospects, and more [2021 Season Preview]

With spring training now in full swing and a new season upon us, it’s time to bring back our season preview series. This year, we’re doing things a little bit differently. Instead of writing up each and every individual player, we’re doing top-to-bottom organizational previews by position. Not only will this provide a set up for the 2021 MLB season’s storylines, but it’ll also give us a look at what’s in store with the minor leagues returning this summer. Lastly, at the bottom of each post, we will have a depth chart by playing level.

Today, we start at catcher. A fitting place to begin given that catchers have been in camp for a few days already now. Let’s dive in.

Pressure on Gary Sánchez

Gary Sánchez, much to many fans’ chagrin, is the incumbent starting catcher. We’ve gotten a reprieve from the Sánchez discourse for the past few months, but things have kicked back into gear now that spring training has begun. And understandably so given how 2020 ended for the 28 year-old backstop.

2021 feels like a make-or-break season for Sánchez. He’s two years from free agency and has been on a roller coaster since 2018. A hot start would do wonders, wouldn’t it? Sure, there’s always a magnifying glass on his performance, but never quite like this. After all, last year was pretty embarrassing for Sánchez. He didn’t hit during the regular season (.147/.253/.365, 68 wRC+) and was a mess defensively. By season’s end, he was no longer paired with team ace Gerrit Cole and started just two of the team’s seven postseason games. So yeah, a torrid start to 2021 would go a long way for Gary.

With pitchers and catchers reporting to camp, Yankees finally announce non-roster invitees

Via @Yankees

The wait is over. And no, I’m not talking about pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training today. Rather, the Yankees finally announced the club’s non-roster invitees to big league camp this morning.

The vast majority of these players are no surprise given the trickle of minor league deals during the offseason. However, there are a few players who popped up out of nowhere. For instance, there was no word of Derek Dietrich or Nick Goody joining the Bombers until the team pushed out this announcement. Then there are a couple of prospects, namely last year’s first rounder Austin Wells, who are aboard.

The Yankees officially will have 72 players in camp (really, 73 once Justin Wilson is announced). Let’s break down those joining the club’s 40-man roster.

Catchers

Ample catching is always a requirement early in camp, and the Yankees will have seven more backstops in tow alongside Gary Sánchez and Kyle Higashioka.

Of this subgroup of NRIs, Robinson Chirinos is the only player likely to see any time in New York. Now, don’t expect him to unseat Sánchez or Higashioka out of camp, but Chirinos is the break glass in case of [injury] option. Chirinos, 36, is a lifetime .231/.325/.431 (102 wRC+) hitter in 2,125 big league plate appearances. He’s not much of a defender, but the bat is useful.

Rob Brantly is the other catcher with major league experience here, but the vast majority of that was way back in 2012 and 2013. He’s really just another body in camp. Kellin Deglan and Max McDowell represent the other two minor league depth backstops in camp.

Now, for the fun part. The Yankees invited three noteworthy prospects: Austin Wells, Anthony Siegler, and Josh Breaux. Wells, last year’s first round draft choice, has yet to see any professional action. Siegler (2018 first round) and Breaux (2018 second round) certainly could use the reps after no game action last year too. We’ve yet to see Seigler do much in the minors, but he’s also had a hard time staying healthy. Meanwhile, Breaux broke out in 2019 in Charleston when he posted a 141 wRC+ and 13 homers in just 216 plate appearances.

DoTF: Breaux homers in Charleston return

News & Notes

  • LHP Josh Maciejewski came up for a spot start with Scranton while CF Terrance Gore returned from the temporarily inactive list.
  • 2018 2nd-round pick C Josh Breaux was activated from the IL in Charleston
  • 2B Angel Aguilar was promoted to Trenton while 1B Mickey Gasper moved up to Tampa
  • RHP Aaron McGarity was called up to Charleston while RHP Pedro Espinola was released.

Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: (3-1 win over Gwinnett) They are 65-53 and hold a 5.0 game lead in their division. Their magic number to clinch the division is 18.

  • Starter: LHP Josh Maciejewski: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K, 3/6 GB/FB — 59 of 98 (60%) pitches were strikes … Called up from Charleston to make the start … Scranton likely needed the starter with Chance Adams in MLB, Camarena on IL, etc … 23-year-old was 2018 10th-round pick.
  • In Relief: RHP Kaleb Ort: 1.2 IP, zeros, 2 K
  • In Relief: RHP J.P. Feyereisen: 1.1 IP, zeros, 3 BB, 2 K — Had allowed runs in four of last seven outings … BBs have been an issue.
  • Hitting Star: 1B Ryan McBroom: 2-for-3, 2B, RBI, R, CS
  • On Deck: CF Billy Burns and C Erik Kratz: 1-for-3, 2B, R
  • Notables: 2B Wendell Rijo went 0-for-3 and was ejected in the eighth … LF Clint Frazier went 0-for-4 with an RBI … SS Thairo Estrada went 0-for-4.

Double-A Trenton Thunder: (5-2 win vs. Harrisburg) … Scored one in 7th, three in 8th to come back … They’re in the postseason after winning first half.

  • Starter: RHP Michael King: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 9/4 GB/FB — 58 of 90 (64%) pitches were strikes … After getting smacked around last start, this was big step forward. First good full length start this year.
  • In Relief: RHP Braden Bristo: 1.1 IP, 2 H, zeros, 4 K
  • In Relief: RHP Greg Weissert: 2 IP, zeros, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP
  • Hitting Star: LF Rashad Craford: 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R — Go-ahead double in the eighth.
  • On Deck: DH Kyle Holder: 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB, SB
  • Notables: CF Ben Ruta and C Kellin Deglan each went 1-for-4 with a run and Deglan doubling … 1B Brandon Wagner went 1-for-3 with a R, HBP and RBI … 2B Angel Aguilar went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a CS.

High-A Tampa Tarpons: (5-4 loss at Charlotte) … They are 52-63 overall but are 24-25 in the second half and are a half-game back of the division.

  • Starter: RHP Alexander Vizcaino: 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 9 K, 1 HR, 6/2 GB/FB — 79 of 99 (80%) pitches were strikes … Has struck out 19 batters in 18 IP with Tampa.
  • In Relief: RHP Jefry Valdez: 3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K, WP
  • Hitting Star: SS Diego Castillo: 2-for-4, 2-run homer
  • On Deck: C Jason Lopez: 1-for-3, solo homer
  • Florial Watch: CF Estevan Florial: 1-for-4, R, SB, error
  • Notables: 1B Mickey Gasper went 1-for-4 with a R, RBI, and K … DH Alexander Palma went 1-for-4 with a K.

Single-A Charleston Riverdogs: (10-9 win at Hickory) … 61-57 record … Currently have second-best record in division overall, which would get them in playoffs if Augusta wins both halves … Scored 6 runs over 7th/8th to win.

  • Starter: RHP Charlie Ruegger: 5 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 2 HBP, 7/1 GB/FB — 56 of 80 (70%) pitches were strikes … Likely a fill-in start with Maciejewski going to Triple-A for the day.
  • In Relief: RHP Tanner Myatt: 1 IP, zeros
  • In Relief: RHP Keegan Curtis: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
  • Hitting Star: 1B Eric Wagaman: 3-for-5, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, 1 K
  • On Deck: DH Josh Breaux: 2-for-5, 2B HR, 3 RBI, 2 R — Returning to the lineup for first time since May 21 … We’ll see if he can catch.
  • On Deck: CF Josh Stowers: 2-for-4, 2 R, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 SB — Now 32-for-42 on steals this year.
  • Notables: LF Canaan Smith went 1-for-5 with a 2B and 2 K … SS Oswald Peraza went 2-for-5 with 1 R, BB K and SB … RF Frederick Cuevas went 2-for-4 with a 2-run homer and BB.

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