Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Ponderings on an off day: Voit, Judge and baseball's hottest bat

Yesterday, nothing almost happened, which - under the laws of quantum baseball physics - is patently impossible. 

Within the Yankiverse, something is always happening, even when nothing does.

From the mother ship down to the dirt leagues, no Yankee team took the field yesterday. No games. The new normal? Just another manic Monday. 

So, what almost happened in this uneventful, theoretical void?

1. The Death Barge is now second in the AL East, one flimsy percentage point above Tampa and a half-game up on the Toronto Blue Jays of Buffalo. Boston remains in first, though they lost to the still-distressed Orioles last night. At this point, scoreboard-watching is a joke, but here goes, anyway: 

If the season ended now, the Yankees would be the second AL Wild Card, which is basically what we figured in February. So, after all the blips and frustrations, we're right where we expected to be. Weird.

2. Baseball's hottest hitter will greet us in Tampa. Nope,s not Giancarlo. He is a 22-year-old, LH-hitting 2B named Trevor Hauser, who plays for our low single A franchise. Over the first five games, his numbers are ridiculous, cartoonish, beyond Ruthian - more like Paul Bunyanian: Six HRs, a .556 batting average, and an OPS of - gulp - 2.265. Of course, this is a blip - the baseball equivalent of a momentary radio pulse from deep space. We'll never know the true origin, but it probably means that Hauser, a third round pick last summer out of the U of Arizona, is merely too advanced for his league. Promote him, and that average will plummet like shoe polish down Rudy Giuliani's jowls. 

3. There is no stat line for the Yankees' top prospect, the ballyhooed Jasson Dominiquez, who is clapping erasers in after-school detention. He'll start next month in the rookie leagues. But for a moment, let's live like a Calgon Bath Oil Beads commercial: Close your eyes and imagine the Yankiverse today if Hauser's numbers were those of Dominquez, age 18. We'd be screaming from the rafters. That's due to the Ben-&-J-Lo-level hype piled onto Dominiquez, which is like giving a kid a loaded gun. Something tells me that, no matter what he does, Dominiquez will be a disappointment. You cannot compare a 16 year old to Mike Trout and Mickey Mantle without dooming him. The Yankees want their money's worth from this kid, and that means somehow monetizing the hype.

4. After missing six weeks, Luke Voit arrives tonight. Welcome back, Kotter. My guess: He'll bat fifth, after LeMahieu, Stanton, Hicks and Judge (if he plays on the hard Tampa turf). The Yankees need Luke's bat and improved defense. But the lineup tilts further to the right in a way that is clearly not sustainable over 162 games. We are a big, fat, slow-moving tanker truck for any team with a fiery RH bullpen, and the problem always shows up against Tampa.

5. As Aaron Judge struggles, we must face the growing fear is that this is not a slump but the result of unspecified injuries. If so, he could be in for a long season.  Coupled with the miserable starts of  Clint Frazier (hitting .143) and Brett Gardner (.200), the once-vaunted OF has become a sinkhole. They won't bench Aaron Hicks - that would be cancel culture, right? - but his numbers from the left side are so bad they deserve an Arizona recount by Cyber Ninjas. 

5. Down in the farm, an unlikely person of interest has emerged: Estavan Florial, remember him? He has four HRs and a .313 average at Double A. It's probably just a glitch in the matrix, but Florial bats LH and has track star speed. His fast start begs a question:

How much growing up did some of our formerly great prospects do last year, when their once-glorious futures suddenly turned to dust? Heading into 2020, Florial seemed like the classic undisciplined talent - as evidenced by his strike outs. Has he adjusted? Hard to say. He has 6 strikeouts in 22 ABs, so he'd fit in on the Yankees. If he keeps hitting, the Yankees will elevate him to Scranton. By July-August, who knows? 

A lot will almost happen, as it always almost does.


ranger_lp said...

We appreciate your optimism el duque... :-)

JM said...

You can't predict rookies, Suzyn.

Retired Stratman said...

“Plummet like shoe polish down Rudy Giuliani’s jowls.”

Thanks for that, Duque - you made my day.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I absolutely agree Retired Strat, LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well done El Duque!

I now have zeroOOOooo ( well, minus zero) expectations for this year's team, so any, and I mean ANY positives, no matter how small, will be met with merriment, mirth and triumphant jubilation.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Just stumbled across an article on Bleacher Report (I hope it's kosher to mention that site here, if not delete me with extreme abandon!) --

All The Reasons Why It Has Never Been Harder To Be A Major League Hitter


For some reason, the piece does not mention the presence of Mike Ford and his stunning BA.

13bit said...

Yeah, life is rough for these guys.

(he said while pondering incipient old age with no pension, a pittance for social security, no groupies, no random hand jobs on the massage table, no free meals, flights or bonuses, and no expectation of finding work, let alone playing a children's game for money.)

It's never been so rough. My god, have some sympathy and compassion for these flaming turds.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Seems to me it will be a close race between how bad the Yankees are and how bad the rest of the American League is.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And I agree, bitty. Yes, it's difficult to hit and always has been. But people have to be more conscious of the language. It's like Meredith going on about "the grind" the other day.

A rain-delayed, extra-inning game in May is a grind only for the fans. For the players, it's a passing annoyance.

DickAllen said...

And to think I have to carry my own bags everywhere I go!

The very idea that Luke Voit has somehow become our savior strikes me a sublimely ridiculous, points out how utterly hopeless this team is, and oddly enough, is reassuring at the same time. He has a kind of Nick Swisher about him that is entirely missing from this team. I suspect the lethargy, the complete absence of joy (or any other real emotion) is a kind of cancer that has infected this Yankees team. It’s as if they’ve lost a higher sense of purpose and are simply going through the motions. No leadership, no energy. Nobody bashing water coolers in frustration. Watching this team is like hanging your wash outside on a damp day, then sitting around waiting for it to dry.

Anonymous said...

@DickAllen1964 Yep, it's gotten so boring that I fall asleep all the time during games. The team has taken on the personality of its manager.

Florial: why the hell isn't this guy up here? You know if he was a Tampon prospect, he'd already have a year experience in the majors. If he sucks, they'd trade him for someone even better. Notice how the Tampons (and Boston Red Sux also) trade away all of their garbage and get great young prospects in return. They also allow old players to walk away without resigning them. They also develop their young players so that they continually torture us with a new crop of Yankee killers. No more Evan Longoria? No problem. They have about six guys now who are certified Yankee killers.

Trevor Hauser: do you know that he plays for the Tarpons? I never even knew that we had a minor league affiliate called the Tarpons. Substitute an "m" for the "r", and we could've had so much fun. The most fun since we thought Rougned Odor was "Roughneck", "Rughead", or "Rouged".

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

BTW everyone, get ready for the Tampon beatdown. Whenever we play the Tampons, it's never a question of whether we'll get our butts handed to us. It's just a question of how bad it'll be. They're rubbing their hands with glee. They're salivating at the thought. They're daydreaming about beating us to a bloody pulp. They can't beat anyone except us. This is their chance to shine.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

Uh oh...

Phil Nevens just tested positive for Covid AFTER getting vaccinated.

Turns out the whole team gotth Johnson and Johnson one.

First they screw up the Jets. Now they screw up the Yankees. Hope the Knicks got the Pfizer.

Doug K. (Sitting in my childhood room in NY)

DickAllen said...

Sorry, Doug, the Jets have been screwed up for so long, nobody and everybody can take credit for that mess. Sometimes I blame myself, just for watching. I’m sure I curse them when I do.

DickAllen said...

The good news about Phil Nevis contracting Covid is that so few Yankees players have actually rounded third base this year there is very little chance of any of them getting close enough to get sick.

Kevin said...

Horace, I just caught your comment regarding Meredith and the "grind". I know I've become a grumpy old bastard, but I listened to her rap in utter astonishment. I hope I'm wrong, but when double digit inflation hits, some of these guys will have nervous collapses.......

TheWinWarblist said...

Flaming turds!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

I mean, I know it must be damned hard to know WHAT to ask these guys after awhile, in all fairness to Meredith. I mean day-in, day-out, year after year. 'Was that a curveball you hit?' 'Absolutely, Meredith.' 'Do you feel more confident after that grand slam?' 'Absolutely, Meredith.'

But I do just think the language gets so automatic after awhile that it becomes offensive. MLB treats its customers with complete disregard, but then we hear about the travails of the players. I wish just once some reporter would notice everyone freezing through the 2 1/2 hour rain delay.

Kevin said...

Horace, methinks that Meredith is the one projecting her grind. She must work harder than an upstate dairy farmer.

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