Christopher Carelli

Besides providing coverage of the New York Yankees for SNY.tv, Christopher Carelli's baseball commentary has also been published by Yahoo! Sports and The Cauldron. Follow Christopher on Twitter, @Chris_Carelli.

 

JRSportBrief: Get Sonny Gray! 00:01:21
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR explains why the Yankees should trade for Oakland pitcher Sonny Gray.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees are in heavy pursuit of starting pitching help - currently the weakest link on the roster - with Athletics right-hander Sonny Gray at the top of their wish list. The issues are the prospect cost and reports that there are as many as six other teams scouting the 27-year-old.

They could land the hurler (or a fallback option), and still have some significant problems to deal with as they try to maintain grip on a playoff spot...

 

Tags: Aaron Judge, Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)
(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Whether Gary Sanchez can be a successful hitter in the major leagues is no longer disputable. However, the Yankees "full-time" catcher is beginning to demonstrate that scouting reports on his improving catching abilities were potentially off-base.

Understand that this is not a call for Yankees backup catcher Austin Romine to take over the starting catcher role. Romine is strictly a backup who is already getting too much time behind the plate -- and truth be told he's not having a tremendous season behind the dish either. However, if Sanchez does not improve his work behind the plate or it continues to deteriorate from this point, there is a chance the Yankees will debate his future as a catcher for the club.

Sanchez is visibly hurting the Yankees behind the plate this season, making nine errors (two fielding, seven throwing), and he's allowed nine passed balls. While wild pitches are charged to the pitcher's record, Sanchez could have saved a handful of the 25 that have gotten by him by using better mechanics.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Chance Adams throws a pitch during the fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees farm system, providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played July 20, 2017, unless otherwise noted.

Tags: James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo, Chris Carelli
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Yankees are making moves 00:01:18
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR reacts to the Yankees trade for David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Yankees GM Brian Cashman stated the club would be "cautious buyers" during the trade deadline period. If a seven-player deal -- bringing in three major leaguers for one of the game's top prospects -- is cautious, this could be an interesting 13 days ahead.

The Yankees clearly filled two of their biggest holes by adding former organization relievers David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle to a tired and inconsistent bullpen, while adding Todd Frazier should stabilize the revolving door at first base for the remainder of the season.

Tags: Adam Warren, Aroldis Chapman, Bryan Mitchell, CC Sabathia, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro celebrates his two-run home run with designated hitter Matt Holliday in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees second baseman Starlin Castro celebrates his two-run home run with designated hitter Matt Holliday in the sixth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. (John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees return from the All-Star break with seemingly as many questions as they had when the season began. The backbone to current queries leads back to the same theme: Will the Yankees sacrifice their recent roster construction methodology in an effort to make a run at the postseason? Each facet could use reinforcements, but which ones the club will seek to fill are undetermined.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Aroldis Chapman, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Starlin Castro, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his two run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) celebrates his two run home run against the Toronto Blue Jays with New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV:

The Yankees' version of a rebuild is unlike other clubs' tear-it-down approach.

The notion was to be competitive in 2017, but the true efforts would center on evaluating the organization's youth in order to push hard in 2018 and beyond. However, it seemed everything went the club's way in the opening month and a four-game division lead on June 12 changed the discourse. Unfortunately, a massively disturbing 7-18 slide since has forced the team and fans to throttle back expectations.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees shortstop Jorge Mateo (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees shortstop Jorge Mateo (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees farm system, providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played June 29, 2017.

Tags: James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo, Chris Carelli
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Apr 18, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Apr 18, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Luis Severino (40) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees are losing their grip on a postseason berth, suggesting any moves this trading period will diverge from a limited, yet costly, starting pitching market. Rentals are not a good idea and the controllable pitchers might require the Yankees to relinquish more from the farm system than they would desire.

The only thing we can say with some certainty is that Jordan Montgomery and Luis Severino will have slots available to them in the Yankees' rotation in 2018. Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia are free agents at the end of the season, while Masahiro Tanaka can opt out of his deal as well.

Tags: Bryan Mitchell, CC Sabathia, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (Shanna Lockwood)
(Shanna Lockwood)

The Yankees have placed 11 players on the disabled list this season. The number of waiver wire moves used to fill the voids - zero.

The Yankees of yesteryear utilized the waiver wire as a means to fill vacancies due to a bumbling farm system. That's a thing of the past as they have committed to building and maintaining a depth in the minor leagues. 

Having an extensive system is one thing, but the Yankees have demonstrated that they have plenty of MLB-ready players at their disposal.

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees farm system, providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played June 29, 2017.

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 (Andy Marlin)
(Andy Marlin)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees pushed ahead of the American League East with a strong first two months of the season and a fine start to June. However, since June 12, the Yankees are 3-10, which begs the question of whether they should be full-out buyers at the trade deadline.

The contention is not that the Yankees were flukes early on, but they had an awful lot of things fall perfectly into place for them. Of late, the Yankees have not been getting all the bounces, they've played a good deal of sloppy baseball and the injury bug seems to have infiltrated the roster. The truth is, the Yankees are far from one player away from pulling away from the pack and those are the types of teams that flat out buy at the deadline.

The Yankees have several areas which need refinement. The most glaring has to do with middle relief, which continues to be a plague to the Yankees. Yankees relievers have been an atrocity this month and for much of the season the bridge to the closer has been shaky at best.

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chris Carelli
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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees lost their seventh straight game Tuesday and once again the main culprit was Tyler Clippard.

After the Yankees clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, Clippard immediately coughed up a home run to Cameron Maybin and then allowed a couple more hard hits before being removed by Yankees manager Joe Girardi, who said the right-hander "had another tough night." 

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (right) and generial manager Brian Cashman during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (right) and generial manager Brian Cashman during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The luxury of having a deep and talented farm system eventually develops into an "issue" - 40-man roster crunches.

The Yankees will have a multitude of 40-man roster decisions to make this winter ahead of the Rule 5 draft with a plethora of players requiring either movement elsewhere or being assigned to the Yankees roster, before potentially losing them to the draft. The 40-man roster can be a major guessing game; which players will mean the most to the team's future and which might be considered expendable? If the Yankees were wise, they would begin to make some of those decisions now versus waiting for the trade deadline or the winter in an effort to reduce some of the guessing.

The Yankees have made various transactions over the last several days which were directly affected by their desire to not disrupt the 40-man roster. The Yanks called up a Douple-A pitcher, Ronald Herrera, to add depth to the bullpen. The Yankees recalled Luis Cessa to make a spot start Sunday. New York decided to bring up Mason Williams to play center field in Aaron Hicks' absence. Beyond those recent moves, Rob Refsnyder remains a Yankee.

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New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)
New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects. This week we'll start with a quick recap of the Yankees selections in the MLB First-year Player Draft.

The Yankees took a risk with their No. 1 pick, selecting Clarke Schmidt, a right-handed pitcher from the University of South Carolina. Schmidt was highly rated at the beginning of the college season and performed well, but he recently underwent Tommy John surgery. Schmidt will be out until about this time next season and maybe through much of next summer.

The Yankees second pick, high school righty Matt Sauer, can be looked at as more of a first rounder, as he could end up netting as much or more than Schmidt in bonus money. The Yankees went on to draft eight right-handed pitchers, a lefty hurler and one position player among their first 10 picks. Of those 10 players, eight were collegians.

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New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to reporters after the trade deadline prior to a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman speaks to reporters after the trade deadline prior to a game against the New York Mets at Citi Field. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Life without Aroldis Chapman has had its rough moments for the Yankees.

None of the issues have revolved around Dellin Betances, Chapman's replacement while the left-hander has been on the shelf. However, the efforts of others during the stretch, namely Tyler Clippard, who was bumped to Betances' eighth-inning role, exemplifies a glaring need for a team with a legitimate postseason run ahead of them.

Tags: Alroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees have surprised on the field this season and if they continue to trend in their current direction, this year's pick in the MLB First-year Player Draft might be their last anywhere near the middle of the pack for quite a while.

The Yankees will pick at No. 16 (valued at $3,458,600) Monday night, looking to expand the depth of one of the game's best farm systems. The Yankees' system is not only loaded at the top, but has considerable depth, which allows the club to truly draft based on the best player available.

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Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (75) smiles while on deck to bat against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 10, 2017; Clearwater, FL, USA; New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (75) smiles while on deck to bat against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played June 8, 2017.

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Matt Holliday connects for a two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Chris O'Meara/AP)
Matt Holliday connects for a two-run homer in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees took a $13 million flyer on Matt Holliday this winter. That seems like a lot of cash for a "risky" player. However, if you fed the Yankees' brass truth serum, they might admit they weren't completely certain what they would get out of Holliday.

The Yankees couldn't be happier with the results.

Tags: Matt Holliday, Chris Carelli
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 (Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports)
(Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Often times when a player reaches the big leagues and has immediate success, it is easy for some to forget his age. That was certainly the case with Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, except when it comes to his team.

In 2015, Severino came up he for the first time as a 21-year-old and dazzled down the stretch, tossing 62 1/3 innings to the tune of a 2.89 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 3.2 BB/9 and 8.1 K/9.

With lofty expectations lumped on him, Severino was simply not the same pitcher in 2016. From the moment he stepped to the hill last season, Severino didn't have the same look of confidence. And as MLB hitters began to knock him around, it was evident that something was awry. After a brief disabled list stint, Severino continued to falter and the Yankees sent him down to Triple-A.

Tags: Luis Severino, Chris Carelli
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 (Kim Klement (USA Today))
(Kim Klement (USA Today))

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system, providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club-based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played June 1, 2017.

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New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) celebrate the win against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. (Anthony Gruppuso)
New York Yankees relief pitcher Dellin Betances (68) and catcher Gary Sanchez (24) celebrate the win against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. (Anthony Gruppuso)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees put together their second straight 15-win month to open the 2017 season. That's an important number because if extrapolated over the season's six months it equates to a 90-win season and a potential playoff birth not many predicted.

What went right in May?

Tags: Aroldis Chapman, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)
New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez (24) runs the bases after hitting a home run against the Cincinnati Reds in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez is finding it difficult to replicate his performance from August 2016. While this should not be surprising considering the otherworldly statistics he produced as he burst on the scene, we might be surprised that his peripheral stats this season are not far removed from the historic performance last season. 

Sanchez took the league by storm, blasting himself into the Rookie of the Year Award conversation with only two months of play under his belt and 20 homers on the back of his baseball card. As such, expectations were (and are) high for Sanchez this season, to the point his above-average numbers for a catcher are falling well short of what he demonstrated last season in his first 24 games through a similar number of plate appearances in 2017.

Tags: Gary Sanchez, Chris Carelli
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Yankees trying too hard? 00:03:06
The DNL panel feels it's too soon for the Yankees to honor Aaron Judge with a special section, and that it should have been done by the fans

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The opening arguments have been made by both sides of the newly enshrined "The Judge's Chambers," an 18-seat juror's box assembly for fans who show their allegiance to Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge.

On the plaintiff's side, the complaint is that despite Judge's MLB-leading 15 home runs (plus one misruled a triple), he's just a rookie and doesn't deserve a fully developed section with his name on it. Those against the enclosed area claim that there is nothing wrong with fans coming to the stadium with their robes, wigs and fake gavels, but the section should have grown organically over time.

For those who remember the 1990's early 2000's clubs, think the bullseyes with a large 'O' on them that fans in right field would hold up for the fan favorite Paul O'Neill to aim at. That wasn't a team manufactured promo, but rather grew over time by the fans. The contention is that named sections are meant for longtime club veterans or better retired heroes. Finally, why would the Yankees want to place undue pressure on their 25-year-old right fielder?

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chris Carelli
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system, providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played May 25, 2017.

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Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees entered the 2017 campaign believing they would have much better performance from their first basemen after a dormant 2016 season. Instead, Yankees first basemen rank dead last in MLB in each component of the triple slash line (.176/.288/.301) and OPS+ (45, with 100 considered average).

The drain at the position in 2016 was disappointing, but the club was optimistic for 2017 with Tyler Austin set to build on last season's cameo, Greg Bird back and healthy, and 2016 National League home run co-leader Chris Carter signed for added power.

Austin was hurt before a competition at first base could begin, allowing Bird to win the job with a fantastic spring training, while Carter was relegated to the bench...

Tags: Greg Bird, Tyler Austin, Chris Carelli
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The Yankees' Starlin Castro celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run against the Pirates Saturday. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)
The Yankees' Starlin Castro celebrates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run against the Pirates Saturday. (Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees have plenty of young talent on their roster, but because Starlin Castro is in his eighth season in the big leagues, it's easy to forget he's just 27 years old. Castro is in his baseball prime and based on his performance so far this season, he might be poised to tap into the potential some expected years ago.

At age-21 in 2011, Castro led the National League in hits (207) in just his second season and expectations heightened for the then-shortstop. Castro never reached the presumed zenith in Chicago and after a couple of rough seasons, he was traded to New York.

Tags: Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after allowing a two run home run by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka (19) reacts after allowing a two run home run by Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (not pictured) in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park. (Aaron Doster)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Masahiro Tanaka has made eight starts for the Yankees this season. The bookends have been utter disasters, and maybe worse, what's been in between has been mediocre outside of one start. Tanaka's performance so far this season has both short-term and long-term consequences for the Yankees.
  
Short-term impact

Tanaka is paid to be the ace of this club. Whether you agree he is or is not, Tanaka is expected to perform as such by the Yankees. And quite honestly, Tanaka expects it of himself as well. When the fans are treated to such a dismal performance the boo birds will be in full force.

"I didn't do my job," Tanaka told Newsday. "They have all the right to boo me."

Tags: Masahiro Tanaka, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)
New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played May 11, 2017.

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New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) watches from the dugout after being removed from the game during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (52) watches from the dugout after being removed from the game during the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Alex Rodriguez had a surprising comeback season for the Yankees in 2015. In 2016, he was basically forced into retirement with a season-plus left on his contract. All of the sudden, it looks like a similar script might be unfolding for CC Sabathia.

Sabathia hurled 179 2/3 innings of 3.91 ERA ball in 2016, the first season in which he finished with an ERA below 4.70 since 2012. That's a long time to be mostly ineffective and then turn things around. Sabathia battled knee injuries and himself over those three years in which he compiled a combined 4.81 ERA in 424 1/3 innings. In 2016, the knee was steadied by a brace he used at the tail end of the 2015 season and came to grips with a transition he obviously had not fully accepted until last season.

Sabathia got off to a fine start this season, recording a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings across his first three starts. It appeared that he picked up right where he left off last year. The Yankees had a work horse in the stable. Unfortunately, Sabathia has been abysmal since. In Sabathia's last four starts (20 2/3 innings), he owns a 9.58 ERA and opposing batters are slashing .337/.416/.551 against him.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Chris Carelli
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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

We weren't supposed to be speculating on the Yankees adding players at the trade deadline this season, but a 21-9 record after 30 games wasn't expected either. The magnitude of the Yankees' success has begun to percolate questions about whether the Yankees will enter the trade market to add a starting pitcher.

The Yankees lead the American League in a multitude of offensive categories and their bullpen has been spectacular. The rotation has pitched well enough for the most part, but it is the one area which could been seen as a weak link.

Masahiro Tanaka's numbers are somewhat skewed by his horrendous first start of the season, as he's generated a 3.10 ERA in six starts since. CC Sabathia got off to a fine start, reminiscent of his comeback 2016 season, but he's been dreadful (10.43 ERA) in his last three starts. Michael Pineda and Luis Severino have pitched well overall with some dominant performances mixed in with mediocre ones. Finally, Jordan Montgomery has been quite solid as the fifth starter, turning in better efforts each time out.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played May 4, 2017.

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a two run home run against the Baltimore Orioles during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

That's some headline, isn't it? Aaron Judge launched his 13th home run in his 26th game of the season Wednesday and I'm raining on the parade, talking about a potential slump. I don't want to see it any more than you do, but it's going to happen.

As much as we want to play with the numbers - Judge is on pace for 81 home runs and 162 RBIs - a skid of some sort is coming. Eventually. Maybe.

We have some recent history to turn to suggest the time may be coming sooner than later. Last August, Yankees' catcher Gary Sanchez got the call-up and was named the club's starting catcher. In a 20-game stretch from August 4 through August 28, Sanchez put up some seriously amazing numbers.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge reacts after tying the game against the Baltimore Orioles during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge reacts after tying the game against the Baltimore Orioles during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The New York Yankees hoped to be competitive and not fall behind in the season's opening month as they did in 2016. A rough start on the road was erased by an eight-game winning streak and the Yanks won five of their last six series, propelling them into a surprising position in the standings.

Where the Yankees stand

Record: 15-8, T-1st AL East, Home: 10-2, Road: 5-6

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Adam Warren, Aroldis Chapman, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Dellin Betances, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Ronald Torreyes, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees infielder Tyler Wade (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees infielder Tyler Wade (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played April 27, 2017.

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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees are averaging five runs per game, good for second the American League (sixth overall), yet it could be better.

The Yankees (12-7) are winning games in spite of their leadoff hitter Brett Gardner's struggles, while Jacoby Ellsbury, who could be hitting No. 1, is currently swinging in the middle of the lineup.

Tags: Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. (Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Leadoff hitters are typically a key to a team's success. In the Yankees' case, they've jumped out to an 11-7 record despite left fielder Brett Gardner's incredibly poor start at the plate. Is it too early to look at the future without the Yankees' home grown outfielder and is it too late to receive a good return in a trade?

Gardner is hitting .182 with a .318 on-base percentage, .236 slugging percentage and a 68 wRC+ (runs created per plate appearance where 100 is average) in 66 plate appearances on the young season. However, Gardner's troubles go all the way back to the second half of the 2015 season. 

The moment Gardner returned from his first All-Star game, he began to backpedal offensively. Gardner has stood at the plate 993 times since July 17, 2015. During the span, Gardner sports a .240 batting average, .334 on-base percentage, .333 slugging percentage and an 86 wRC+. Gardner, once prolific on the bases, has swiped a mere 26 bases (caught six times) in the stretch, though he has five this season. Gardner has managed just three months (out of nine, including this month) with a wRC+ above 100 since August 2015. These are not small samples.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler, Jacoby Ellsbury, Mason Williams, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees starting pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees starting pitcher Chad Green (57) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Our weekly minor league report canvases the Yankees' farm system providing updates about the status of the teams in action and the organization's top prospects.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played April 20, 2017.

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New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)
New York Yankees first baseman Greg Bird (33) rounds the bases after hitting a two run home run against the St. Louis Cardinals during the second inning at Yankee Stadium. (Andy Marlin)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Yankees first baseman Greg Bird is off to a much slower start than anyone expected after an exceptional spring training. Despite Bird going 5-for-37 with a .535 OPS in 42 plate appearances, he should not be benched each time there is a left-handed pitcher on the mound.

I completely understand that the Yankees brought in Chris Carter's right-handed hitting power bat to complement Bird, but to enact a strict platoon would be a mistake in my opinion.

I bring this up because the writing is on the wall. Bird entered Sunday's game in a 0-20 slump and went 3-for-3 with a home run, double, single and two walks. The following game, Bird was on the bench in favor of Carter, who mind you came in slashing .182/.240/.273, because "lefty killer" Derek Holland was on the mound. Bird has two plate appearances this season against lefties, while Carter has nine. Neither player has a hit against a lefty.

Tags: Greg Bird, Chris Carelli
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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The Yankees were supposed to be working the 2017 season without a strong collection of starting pitching. However, during the Yankees' current eight-game winning streak, the club's starters have silenced the detractors with a 6-0 record, 2.76 ERA and a 9.2 K/9 rate. How long can the run last?

Of the five starters, the pitcher expected to provide sterling efforts, Masahiro Tanaka currently owns the worst ERA. However, in his last start, Tanaka looked more like the pitcher who contended for the Cy Young Award last season. Tanaka had a superb spring training, but struggled in his first two starts (10 ER in 7 2/3 IP).

I don't worry about Tanaka. Once he hits a groove, he can rattle off solid start after solid start. Tanaka is the most complete pitcher of the crew and I have the plenty of faith he can put his rough start behind him.

Tags: CC Sabathia, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)
New York Yankees shortstop Tyler Wade (82) throws to first base for the out on Philadelphia Phillies' Brock Stassi (78) (not pictured) in the fifth inning of a baseball game during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The top four levels of the Yankees minor league system began action late last week. Let's take a look at some of the early returns.

Notes: Top-30 prospect rankings (via MLBPipeline.com) are club based with overall MLB ranks, if applicable, in parenthesis. Prospects currently in the major leagues will not be covered here. Team records and statistics are through games played April 13, 2017.

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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs up the first baseline after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. ( Adam Hunger)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) runs up the first baseline after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Yankee Stadium. ( Adam Hunger)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Aaron Judge launched a home run in his first MLB at-bat last August and Yankees fans rejoiced in what was believed to be a sign the club was set for a long time in right field. However, raw talent precedes true development.

In Judge's late season cameo, he struck out in 44.2 percent of his 95 plate appearances. The poor performance forced Judge to study and alter his hitting mechanics during the offseason. He added a leg kick and strived to change his approach at the plate. There was enough doubt among the Yankees' braintrust that Judge had to win the right field job out of spring training.

Spring training statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, but for Judge, there was some underlying meaning. In 69 plate appearances he struck out 15 times (21.7 percent), which was a marked improvement from the display last season. Beyond the reduction in strikeouts, Judge was spraying the ball to the opposite field and laying off pitches he flailed at last summer, without sacrificing his home run power. This demonstrated the extra effort he put in during the winter was taking hold.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Chase Headley, Chris Carelli
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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Much of the excitement surrounding the Yankees this season centered on the young players getting a chance to take over roles with an eye toward the future. The first glimpse of a new era heightened last August when Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez took over behind the plate. Sanchez's historic home run barrage and cannon arm put a charge into the notion of the youth movement creating a new core.

Unfortunately, Sanchez will be out for four weeks with a biceps strain, leaving a huge vacancy in the lineup. The Yankees were already down one of their potent bats with Didi Gregorius out with a shoulder injury until early May, so Sanchez's malady further depletes the team's offensive firepower.

While the Yankees do not need to venture outside the organization for catching help, neither Austin Romine nor Kyle Higashioka will put up statistics resembling Sanchez's potential. As such, the Yankees will need someone in the everyday lineup to step up their game over the next four weeks. I contend this will have to be a collective effort, with four players potentially playing a bigger role.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (75) against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)
New York Yankees left fielder Clint Frazier (75) against the Philadelphia Phillies at Bright House Field. (Kim Klement)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Each Friday, we'll delve into the happenings around the Yankees' farm system, which is currently the consensus No. 2 ranked system in the game. This week we will take a look at where the organization's Top-30 prospects (according to MLB Pipeline) will start the 2017 season and provide brief commentary on each player.

Notes: Players in the major leagues will not be covered here. Prospect rankings via MLBPipeline.com

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 (AP)
(AP)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

It takes patience for a foundation to set. Not until the cement dries can the structure be built, eventually resulting in a finished product.

The Yankees enter the 2017 season with a promising young group of players already at the major league level and a fine collection of minor league players nearly ready to join them. Add the Yankees' ability to make trades with the prospects they don't have room for and their ability to play at the top of the free agent market, it is easy to envision the opportunity for an extended run of highly competitive Yankees squads.

Rewind to the 1996 season when three-fourths of the Core Four (Jorge Posada made his mark later) - plus Bernie Williams - made significant contributions to the Yankees' first World Series title since 1978. The 27-year-old Williams rapped 29 home runs and drove in 102 runs, Derek Jeter won the Rookie of the Year award at 22 years old, Andy Pettitte won 21 games at 24 and Mariano Rivera racked up 130 strikeouts in 107 1/3 innings at the age of 26.

Tags: Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Chris Carelli
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Gary Sanchez circles the bases after hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium.  (Brad Penner (USA Today))
Gary Sanchez circles the bases after hitting a home run at Yankee Stadium. (Brad Penner (USA Today))

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

In the second part of our Yankees 2017 season preview, we cover the offense and provide a prediction for the team's finish in the standings...

Positional starters

Gary Sanchez burst onto the scene last August, delivering a 20-homer performance and shattering records in the process. Sanchez, 24, entered spring training with numerous doubters, but he demonstrated that he is ready to build on his rookie production. Behind the plate, Sanchez has improved his receiving and has one of the best catcher's arms in the game.

At first base, Greg Bird assumes the role he seemed set to after a blistering rookie performance in 2015. Unfortunately, Bird suffered a season-ending shoulder injury before spring training last season. Bird, 24, benefitted from not pushing the rehab process as he came to camp strong and looks poised for a big season after launching seven home runs this spring. He should provide solid defense at first base.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Austin Romine, Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Masahiro Tanaka, Rob Refsnyder, Ronald Torreyes, Starlin Castro, Chris Carelli
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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

Previewing the 2017 Yankees season, beginning with expectations for the pitching staff...

The rotation

Every single spot in the Yankees' rotation comes with at least a small amount of uncertainty.

Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka has pitched quite well since joining the team, yet he throws with a ticking time bomb in the form of a partial tear in his ulnar collateral ligament. However, Tanaka demonstrated last season that his elbow does not hinder his performance and he looked exceptional during spring training. In what could be a walk year -- Tanaka has an opt-out in his contract at the end of this season -- the 28-year-old could turn in his finest season in pinstripes...

Tags: Adam Warren, Aroldis Chapman, Bryan Mitchell, CC Sabathia, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances, Luis Cessa, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Tyler Clippard, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) rounds the bases after hitting a home run in the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at George M. Steinbrenner Field. (Butch Dill)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

Often times with spring training position battles, there is a clear winner and a certain loser, making life easier for the club to move forward. There are also circumstances when each player demonstrates the ability to handle the full time role but only one can make the roster due to lack of space. The Yankees are fortunate that their internal battle for the right field position has produced two of the better springs from all players in camp and that they can figure out a way to get each player a significant number of plate appearances this season.

Aaron Hicks entered camp as the player many have been waiting to see reach his potential. Meanwhile his competitor, Aaron Judge, was considered a part of the organization's future but there was uncertainty to his readiness. Both players have performed quite well this spring, to the point that the "winner" has become too close to call according to Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Tags: Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Carelli
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 (Reinhold Matay)
(Reinhold Matay)

Chris Carelli, SNY.TV Facebook | Twitter | About Me | Archives

The Yankees have a number of highly touted prospects, but what makes the organization's farm system one of the best in the game is its depth. With that in mind, let's discuss some second-tier prospects who might see some time with the big league club this season...

Chance Adams

The Yankees have conducted a five-player competition this spring to find the team's No. 4 and No. 5 starters. Adams was not part of the competition, but he did enough last season and during the spring while in MLB camp to be considered an option down the road.

Adams, the Yankees' No. 8 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, recorded a 2.33 ERA across 127 1/3 innings at High-A Tampa and Double-A Trenton in 2016, to go along with a 0.90 WHIP, 10.2 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. This spring, Adams tossed four innings and had a 2.25 ERA in big league camp. It would not be surprising if he continues to climb the rotation ladder as the season progresses, making him a potential call-up in case of injuries within the MLB rotation.

Tags: Austin Romine, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez, Masahiro Tanaka, Mason Williams, Ronald Torreyes, Chris Carelli
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New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) runs to third on his way to the plate following a solo home run to lead off the first inning of an MLB spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. (Reinhold Matay)
New York Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner (11) runs to third on his way to the plate following a solo home run to lead off the first inning of an MLB spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves at Champion Stadium. (Reinhold Matay)

Chris Carelli, SNY.tv

The baseball adage goes, spring stats don't mean anything. For the most part I believe this to be true, except in matters when there are trends that underlie the performance. At the moment there are a few players in Yankees camp off to fairly slow starts. What does it mean for them and for the club?

Chris Carter

Tags: Brett Gardner, CC Sabathia, Greg Bird, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chris Carelli
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Mar 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (81) triples during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)
Mar 5, 2017; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres (81) triples during the fifth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement)

Top prospect Gleyber Torres is wowing the Yankees and making it very difficult for club officials to send him to minor league camp.

The 20-year-old told reporters that this is the first time he's faced Major League pitchers and he's "surprised" and "happy" with the results. Torres is hitting .455 with seven extra-base hits, including two homers, in 22 Grapefruit League at-bats. 

Torres has received more playing time he normally would have thanks to the absence of starting shortstop Didi Gregorius, who is playing with the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

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