Another day, another Yankees game. The Bombers beat the Tigers 5-4 today for their first win of the Grapefruit League season, bringing them back to .500. Time to celebrate! Any day the Yankees win, Grapefruit League or otherwise, is a good day in my book.
There was a lot of fun stuff in today’s game, but I can’t open this without putting Gary Sánchez’s absolute monster of a home run at the top of the post. I mean, come on:
Spring Training, of course, means next to nothing (at most!) in terms of predicting what a player will or will not do in the regular season. So there’s nothing to read into here. But it sure is fun to watch Gary annihilate a baseball, isn’t it?
And annihilate it he did. We have Statcast data for Grapefruit League games now, which tells us this went 429 feet and let the bat at 108 miles-per-hour. Both feel light to me, but whatever. Jameson Taillon – more on him in a minute – said he remembers surrendering a home run to Gary in the minors, telling Bryan Hoch that he has “crazy power.” Indeed, Jamo, indeed.
Anyway, on to the rest of today’s news after the jump.
The Big Story: Jameson Taillon Makes His “Debut”
Today was an especially exciting game, as only the first few games of camp can be: we got to see a new face take the mound for the first time. I’ve been anticipating Jameson Taillon’s “debut” for a while and it was great to see it finally happen. He was extremely efficient, throwing just 7 pitches (5 heaters, a slider, and a nasty curve highlighted above). He bounced the slider, but was generally attacking the zone:
Good stuff. Exactly the sort of low-stress, easy outing you want to see from a guy who hasn’t taken a big league hill in a game situation in two years. (He topped out at 94 mph.) In terms of on-field product, that is about as far as this analysis goes: he looked good, and that’s that. There is no point in analyzing anything further, really, but it is worth bringing up his new arm action. It is a significant development and it is one we should follow closely. Here it is on display, courtesy of David Adler:
It is really pretty obvious, isn’t it? It’s a much shorter delivery, and it is on purpose. “The way I’ve been throwing my whole life was getting me hurt,” Taillon told Kevin Gorman of the Tribune-Review last June. Gorman reported that Taillon used his second Tommy John rehab to focus on using “his back leg and keeping his back foot on the ground longer” to avoid coming up on his toes, and, in the process, he shortened his delivery. Taillon said that cleaning “up the way [his] lower half moves shortened my arm up.” All of this is on display above.
The change is the result of using weighted balls, medicine balls, and a core velocity belt, per Gorman. It was a real focus on Taillon’s part that originally was intended to keep him healthy. An unintended consequence, he says, may be that his delivery has more deception – on top of what Taillon claims will be more spin. Here is another good video from today that shows how he repeats his delivery despite the pitch:
This is the first time we’ve seen this action in a game situation, so we can’t draw any conclusions. It will be interesting to follow, and I really do hope it helps keep him healthy. Remember, when he’s been on the field, Taillon has generally been super effective.
Taillon, for his part, is likely going to be pleased with what he sees when he watches the tape. “I hate seeing videos of the way I used to throw,” he told James Wagner of the New York Times shortly after the Yankees traded for him. “It disgusts me. I love where I’m at now.”
Here’s all the best from today’s game that is not Jameson Taillon related:
- Gerrit Cole on the Hill: Gerrit Cole pitched an inning, allowing 3 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run while notching a strike out. He touched 99 miles-per-hour but had real “first day of camp” vibes going on, throwing 28 pitches. Cole seemed a bit jealous of his friend Taillon’s performance saying that he looked “sharp” but was “much more efficient than me.” Cole is a perfectionist, so I’m sure his uneven start bothered him. Not me, though. Who cares.
- Other Pitching Notes: Jhoulys Chacin, Nick Nelson, Nestor Cortes, and Albert Abreu rounded out the game for the Yanks. Chacin was not great, allowing 2 runs on 2 hits (including a HR) and 2 walks , but the rest of them were really pretty solid. Nelson, in particular, looked great. He topped out at 99 miles-per-hour and flashed the stuff that turned heads in his initial performance against Boston in 2020. Here’s his pitch plot, which shows that he did leave a little too much over the plate:
(Here also is a video of Albert Abreu spinning some nice curves, courtesy of Hoodie Gleyber):
- Aaron Hicks, Patient as Ever: Aaron Hicks, patient man extraordinaire, walked twice in his two plate appearances today. He saw 13 pitches in those appearances, but didn’t find any to his liking. It wasn’t for lack of trying, though: “I swear, I am going up there and trying to hit something,” he told Bryan Hoch.
- Offensive Notes: The Yankees had five hits today, including Gary’s absolute moonshot highlighted above. They also walked six times, which is par for the course. Socrates Brito had one of the hits and Jay Bruce had another. But there was also a grand slam! That’s why they won the game, courtesy of Chris Gittens. Here’s the video:
- Prospect Watch: Two exciting prospects made it into this game, including Ezequiel Duran and Austin Wells. Wells logged a hit, which was cool to see. Here it is, even if it’s not that exciting:
- Roster Notes: Finally, the Yankees outrighted Greg Allen to Triple-A camp today after the game. Greg Allen, we hardly knew ye.
The Yanks will play again tomorrow, traveling to Sarasota to take on the Orioles at 1:05 pm. Jordan Montgomery will get the start. I’m excited to see him, as I’m a believer in Monty. He should be a dependable back of the rotation piece in 2021 at worst. The game will be broadcast on 105.7 FM (Baltimore), which can be streamed on MLB.TV.
We’ll keep you posted if anything big happens. Have a great night, everyone.