Soon - like, any minute now - the MLB rosters will expand, unleashing upon the Yankiverse the swiftest, fastest, blurriest pinch runner since - well - Brett Gardner. Yes, I'm talking about 26-year-old Jablonski Rico Noel - aka "Rico Noel" - who, no matter what name he uses, is one frickin' fast Jablonski.
Monday, August 31, 2015
Posted by el duque at 7:23 AM
As soon as the rosters expand, Noel will be available to join the Yankees and pinch run for A-Rod, who is one frickin' slow Jabroney. Noel is a Scranton OF the Yankees picked up a few weeks ago to help the Railriders in their heroic charge for the International League's North Division crown - yes, in 2015, that Impossible Dream season when the Governor's Cup could actually be returned to its rightful coal mine. (Although the last time it was held in Scranton, it was smashed by an over-excited Scrantonian fan. I'm not making this up. There was tomfoolery afoot in the City of Biden.)
But dammit, as much as I'd love to simply write about Scranton, this is about the Yankees drive to the 2015 Wild Card! And the name to remember is Rico Noel. Because starting probably Tuesday, Noel is going to be the guy we bring in during the late innings of a close game to pinch run for A-Rod, or Tex, or McCann, or Beltran, or any one of the leaden, slow-footed anchors in our lineup.
Check this guy out:
That's right. He's got 5 stolen bases in the last 10 games. (Eight with the Yankees, since he was picked up.) In each case, he was pinch-running. Poor guy can't hit a lick. This year, over all, he's at .181. But he's stolen 23 bases and been thrown out 5 times.
Last year, he stole 32 bases (six throw outs.) In 2013, he stole 59 (19 CS), and in 2012, he stole 90 (with 23 CS). Yes, he was our version of Jorge Mateo, who at least is a SS.
Here's the deal: This guy isn't Dave Roberts. He might not even be Homer Bush. But with Slade Heathcott tweaking a gonad every time he pisses in the shower, Rico Noel is probably the fastest guy we've got coming off the bench with an unlimited roster. And we - more than any other team in baseball - can use a base-stealing pinch runner in the ninth.
Imagine him coming in for A-Rod. What a difference in the make-up of an inning. Suddenly, instead of baseball's slowest runner, we have a guy who is generating pick-off attempts. And if we're facing a pitcher with a slow move, or a catcher who isn't throwing well... zoom.
Rico Noel. It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!