NEW YORK -- Today is the big day. The National Baseball Hall of Fame announces its Class of 2017, selected in a vote last month by the eligible members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
As many as five candidates -- and possibly six -- could be elected according to the public ballots amassed online, with Tim Raines and Jeff Bagwell looking all but certain, plus Ivan Rodriguez, Vladimir Guerrero and Trevor Hoffman hovering around the 75-percent threshold. Even Edgar Martinez has made huge gains from last year and is within reach of election.
MLBPipeline.com will unveil its 2017 Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday, Jan. 28, with a one-hour show on MLB Network at 8 p.m. ET. Leading up to the release, we look at baseball's top 10 prospects at each position.
NEW YORK -- Starlin Castro said that he experienced some mixed emotions on the evening of Nov. 2, watching on television as Kris Bryant threw across the Progressive Field diamond, the ball landing in Anthony Rizzo's glove to clinch the Cubs' first World Series title since 1908.
After spending the first six seasons of his career on Chicago's North Side, Castro said that it was "awesome" to see the Cubs celebrate an achievement that many once thought would be impossible, especially after enduring the franchise's most recent run of lean years.
Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Catcher and the rye? Yankee delights at deli
By Chris Landers |
Gary Sanchez is a man of many talents -- most of them involving the crushing of various dingers. He hit 20 last season ... in just 53 games. But there is more to a man than just his home runs, and on Monday afternoon, Sanchez got to show off one of his other special skills: making sandwiches.
NEW YORK -- Compared to their half-season living in the shadows on the other side of the Trade Deadline's biggest blockbusters, the hype that accompanies life as the Yankees' best prospects could wind up being a cakewalk for Clint Frazier and Gleyber Torres.
The Yankees' top two prospects as ranked by MLB Pipeline.com, Frazier and Torres stood side by side on Tuesday as the organization's inaugural Winter Warm-Up entered its second day, with the promising players joined by Starlin Castro and fellow prospects Chance Adams and James Kaprielian.
As was shared to the Twittersphere by Politico's Alex Weprin on Tuesday, Rodriguez (who knows how to host a program) has apparently been tapped to be the host of a new CNBC program titled "Back in the Game." With executive producer/fellow former pro athlete Michael Strahan in tow, this should be a big deal:
NEW YORK -- The Yankees have added some depth to their upcoming first-base competition, signing Ji-Man Choi to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training. The Yanks have not officially announced the signing.
Choi, who turns 26 in May, batted .170 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in 54 games for the Angels last season. He was designated for assignment in December and opted for free agency.
NEW YORK -- Dellin Betances and the Yankees could be heading for an arbitration proceeding, as the right-handed reliever prepares to bring home a sizable raise over his league minimum salary from a year ago.
Betances was the lone holdout among the Yanks' arbitration-eligible players on Friday, standing $2 million apart in his negotiations with the club. Betances filed at $5 million, and the Yankees countered at $3 million.
NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez is beginning the new year as arguably the most recognizable player in the Yankees' lineup, which is why the lunchtime crowd at a Bronx bodega seemed so surprised to see the slugging catcher helping out with their sandwich orders on Monday.
Sanchez helped kick off the Yankees' "Winter Warm-Up 2017" with a visit to the Bullpen Deli across the street from Yankee Stadium, where he donned a pinstriped jersey and grabbed a shift behind the counter, serving up equal helpings of cold cuts and autographs to thrilled customers.
These days, there may be more value placed on defense and certainly more time spent on evaluating and quantifying it than ever before. When MLBPipeline.com surveyed front-office officials as to which prospects stood out most for their glovework, there was no shortage of candidates.
In fact, there were so many talented defenders that among the 18 votes we received, no player garnered more than Padres outfielder Manuel Margot's three and a half. Thirteen players received at least a half a vote -- we allowed executives to split their picks -- and another five were brought up as worthy of discussion.
NEW YORK -- Once Gleyber Torres gets his call to the Majors, any dates with the Mariners figure to be prominently circled on the calendar. The Yankees' touted prospect says that he wants a piece of King Felix.
"I'd like to face Felix Hernandez," Torres told MLB.com in Spanish. "He and I are friends, and we train together. When we work out, he always tells me that he's going to strike me out and I tell him no, my first home run is going to be off him. We have a good relationship, so that's the pitcher I'd like to face when I get to the big leagues."
With the start of Spring Training approaching, anticipation is building for the 2017 season. MLB.com is going around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, continuing this week with the corner-infield spots.
Greg Bird was the top-rated position player in the Yankees' farm system two years ago, when he smashed 11 home runs over the season's final seven weeks. The Yanks are hopeful he is ready to bounce back from right labrum surgery and provide a similar impact in the heart of their lineup.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Reloading, not rebuilding: Yanks still dangerous
Bronx Bombers haven't finished below .500 since 1992
By Paul Swydan
Special to MLB.com |
The New York Yankees are supposedly rebuilding. And in a sense, they are. They didn't make the playoffs last season, and they haven't reached the American League Division Series since 2012. The Yankees started the offseason by trading the guy who had been their starting catcher for the past three seasons, Brian McCann, to Houston.
On the other hand, the Yanks have never dropped below .500, and you have to go all the way back to 1992 to find the last time they finished a season below .500. They've never been the truly bad team that one now commonly associates with a teardown. In addition, they spent some money in free agency, on Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday. These are not the types of players/deals -- closers, short-term deal for an aging superstar -- that teams who are far from contention typically sign.
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are wondering if Luis Severino's increased reps in the weight room may have contributed to his sophomore slump, and they have advised the right-hander to focus more on increasing his flexibility this offseason.
Severino appeared to have put on a considerable amount of muscle following his impressive debut campaign in 2015, when he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts. Essentially guaranteed a spot in the rotation for '16, Severino responded by going 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA in 11 starts.
NEW YORK -- Brett Gardner appears to have once again outlasted the rumor mill, as Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said on Tuesday that he does not anticipate any moves involving a position player before Opening Day.
"I don't have anything active going on Brett right now," Cashman said. "I don't see anything happening trade-wise the rest of the way, and I have no live talks on any of my everyday position players, whether it's [Chase] Headley or Gardner. Nothing's active at all."
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are a team in transition, straddling the line between promoting their young talent and remaining competitive in the American League East. Their biggest weakness resides in the starting rotation, the most interesting area where they could pull off a bold move before Opening Day.
Blessed with one of the league's top farm systems, thanks in part to last July's selloff of veterans Carlos Beltran, Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, the Yankees are guarding the necessary chips to bring down a star like left-hander Jose Quintana of the White Sox.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Spring is in the air: First workout dates announced
Despite the frigid temperatures throughout many big league cities, Major League Baseball's announcement Tuesday of the first workout dates of Spring Training should be enough to warm the hearts of baseball fans everywhere.
The following are the first Spring Training workout dates, subject to change, both for pitchers and catchers and full squads of the 30 Major League clubs.
With Gleyber Torres destined to be in pinstripes no later than 2018, does the possibility exist that Didi Gregorius or Starlin Castro could move to third base? Or could Torres be moved to second or third base?
-- Jerome V., Simi Valley, Calif.
The Yanks' recent focus on adding young and athletic talent will afford them a few options with the up-and-coming Torres, who played mostly shortstop in the Minors following last year's trade and then dabbled at second base and third base in the Arizona Fall League. The club still see Torres as a shortstop, but he picked up at-bats at other positions because the Yanks had already declared Miguel Andujar as an AFL third baseman before the Cubs trade.
With the start of Spring Training approaching, anticipation is building for the 2017 season. MLB.com will go around the horn to break down each area of the Yankees' roster, and as Casey Stengel once said, "You've got to have a catcher or you're going to have a lot of passed balls."
Far be it for us to argue with the Ol' Perfesser, so we begin with the men behind the plate.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez's historic slugging performance cemented his status as the Yankees' catcher of the future, and as he prepares for an encore performance in 2017, he will be honored with an award bearing the name of one of the team's all-time great backstops.
Sanchez, who electrified the league by slugging 20 home runs with 42 RBIs in 53 games last season, has been announced among the honorees for the 37th annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner. The event is scheduled to be held on Feb. 7 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York.
How worried should we be about Aaron Judge's Major League performance? Do you have any comparisons between how he did in his first 80-plus at-bats and other players who struggled similarly?
-- Binyamin G., Beit Shemesh, Israel
The most concerning part of Judge's 2016 season was his high strikeout rate, as he fanned 42 times in 84 at-bats (95 plate appearances) while hitting .179 with four home runs and 10 RBIs. No non-pitcher in Major League history has had more strikeouts in fewer at-bats or plate appearances during a season.
NEW YORK -- There is a chance that Aroldis Chapman and Matt Holliday comprised the majority of the Yankees' heavy lifting for this offseason, with their signings helping to reload a roster that manager Joe Girardi expects to be prepared to compete in the American League East.
Yet the Yanks' continued dialogue with the White Sox regarding left-hander Jose Quintana, among other targets on the trade market, suggests that general manager Brian Cashman might still have a big move up his sleeve before pitchers and catchers report to Tampa, Fla., on Feb. 14.
A year ago, MLBPipeline.com introduced the Pipeline Poll, where general managers and scouting executives were asked to choose the game's top prospects. In that edition, Corey Seager was the clear-cut winner as the overwhelming choice for top overall prospect, and that seemed to work out pretty well.
The 22-year-old was an All-Star, won the National League Rookie of the Year Award, finished third in the NL Most Valuable Player Award voting and set a slew of franchise records, including most homers, hits, doubles and total bases by a Dodgers rookie shortstop.
It's 2017, and if you're like most folks you probably have a workout plan in mind for the new year. Losing that holiday weight, joining a gym, and so forth. Good luck!
If you're Didi Gregorius' mother, Sheritsa Stroop (a former Dutch national softball team player), though, you are your own gym. And, in your own gym, you blaze through the streets with a parachute because resistance isn't anything other than another obstacle to overcome.