Category Archives: Yankees

Davey Tinglefingers: Not Good

I’ve got a long-winded, open ended question to start this blog off with, so bear with me.  What happens when you mix the best lefty hitting team in the league, at home, on a 100 degree night with a left handed pitcher thats a delicate snowflake, wilts under any kind of pressure, and owns an ERA over 9 in the bronx? Bombs away.

Image result for aaron hicks red sox
Photo via Star Tribune

After giving up 4 Runs in a single inning of work the first time these two teams met back on April 11th, Price left the game with “elbow tingling” What this actually meant was Ol’ Davey was tired of getting his fastball out over the Green Monster and didn’t feel like pitching any more of that game. It was about as soft as you can get but hey when you’re afraid, you’re afraid. His follow up performance was postponed as Mr. Tinglefingers got “carpal tunnel from playing Fortnite”. OK. Dave we get it, Gary Sanchez shows up in your nightmares. just be honest man it’ll save everyone some time. Gary didn’t even play the other night and this bum still gave up 5 moonshots,  Kyle Higashioka who is 28 years old, never gotten a hit in his career (was 0-23) and hit .190 in the minors tattooed a ball 401 feet down the left field line. When that’s happening, what are the actual batters in this lineup going to do?

Judge-409 ft

Gleyber-380 ft

Hicks 1-373 ft

Hicks 2-406 ft

Oh and well also set our season high in hits with 16. In fact every batter that appeared in last nights game got a hit except Greg Bird, but who’s surprised by that?

With the Yankees playing so well offensively it would have basically taken a position player or Sonny Gray on the bump to give Boston a fighting chance. Unfortunately for them, they were staring out at Luis Severino who is basically the opposite of Sonny Gray. Sevy was brilliant all night, going 6 2/3, giving up 2 hits and striking out 6. This outing dropped his season ERA down to 1.98 and secured his 13th win which are both the best marks in the AL.  The Yankees are 16-2 in games Severino starts. I smell Cy Young.

Image result for luis severino vs red sox
Via Pinstripe Alley

After Aaron Hicks blacked out and hit his 3rd homer of the game, Boone did something that I absolutely loved. With the game well out of hand at 11-0 in the 9th Boone could have put David Hale who was just recalled from Triple-A or #45 (he who will not be named) into the game to mop up the last inning. Instead he threw Chapman out there. Now yes, Chapman hadn’t pitched in a couple days so yes its a smart idea to get him some work and keep him locked in. But I also truly think that after getting beaten by 11 the day prior, Boone was trying to get a similar scorecard win. Did it work out? Not exactly, Chappy did give up a run, but it was in an 11 run game he probably didn’t even care  about and it’s at least 4 runs less than #45 would have given up. All in all I loved the move.

Anyone with a functioning brain, and any kind of baseball knowledge (aka not Red Sox fans) woke up yesterday and knew what was going to happen last night. I am 100% serious when I say this, David Price might be my favorite player. To be this ineffective vs the Yankees takes guts. To do it while getting paid 30+ million for another 4 years after this one is diabolical (seriously go Google his contract. How freaking funny is that?)  Now I know what you’re thinking. “How can a Red Sox player be your favorite?” Simple, David Price gives the Yankees wins, and allows for stat padding while at the same time hands the Red Sox demoralizing defeats and hurts their ability to pony up for another premier free agent. It’s basically the best of both worlds. Can’t wait until we meet again Davey, really hope you don’t “play Fortnite” before the game.

 

Elon Musk, if You’re Reading This, Please Send Chasen Shreve to the Sun

So you might have heard, but the Yankees got swept by the Rays this past weekend. Safe to say that’s not what you want, but I’m not gonna panic. The Yanks just swept the Mariners last week and took 2/3 from the Phillies this week and sit just a half game back of the Red Sox in the AL East. I could sit here and complain about Gary Sanchez’s sub .200 batting average, Greg Bird’s lack of production, or injuries to the starting rotation. But honestly I’m not too worried about any of those. To shortly summarize why:

  1. Austin Romine has been raking, and will hold down the fort while Gary rehabs. Also, Gary is too good of a hitter to play like this all year, and had already started breaking out of his slump before the injury.
  2. I’m a Greg Bird guy and think he’ll put it together, but if not one/a combination of Brandon Drury, Neil Walker, and Tyler Austin will produce. No Chris Carter for us this year.
  3. Tanaka will be back before we know it, and it’s a certainty that Brian Cashman will add another starter before the trade deadline.

Now, to the real problem that will not correct itself and the purpose of this blog: Chasen Fucking Shreve. The guy is easily the worst/least reliable reliever in the Yankees bullpen, and yet we always seem to see him in high leverage situations? How in the world does Chasen Shreve take the mound in any semi-meaningful situation when Aaron Boone has Adam Warren, Jonathan Holder, Chad Green, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, and Aroldis Chapman at his disposal? It makes absolutely zero sense, but that’s baseball, Suzyn.

In today’s day and age, it’s common to come across interesting statistics on Twitter. There are interesting statistics, and then there are how in the name of Chuck Knoblauch is this a real thing that exists statistics. This one definitely falls in the latter category:

That’s just unreal. You literally should have to try to be that bad. The Yankees lead the majors in wins in one-run games, with the bullpen being a huge part of that. I know I’m saying that it’s only June 28, we’re only a half game out of first place, and there’s no reason to panic. That being said, we can’t be running guys like Chasen Shreve out there and just throwing away winnable games. Every game counts, especially with the Red Sox in our division. The reality is that one of these two teams is going to end up in a one-game elimination come October, even after likely winning 100 games, or at least close to there. Every game counts, and when I say that, I don’t mean you need to use Dellin Betances in 85 games this year. Bullpen workload management is a huge part of a team’s prolonged success throughout a season, but that doesn’t mean the Yankees should be throwing a pitcher as downright incompetent as Shreve out there night after night. Do something, anything, to replace him, whether it’s calling someone up from the minors or buying low on a reliever who has had struggles elsewhere via trade and hoping the Yanks can help him figure it out.

Things are still great in the Bronx right now. However, if Elon Musk would be so kind as to help us send our good pal Chasen to the sun that would just be swell.

Yankees Baseball is FINALLY Back

After a long winer, the day we’ve all been waiting for is almost here. Tomorrow, Luis Severino and the Yankees will take on the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre with a 3:37 first pitch. Us Yankee fans have been anxiously anticipating Opening Day ever since a heartbreaking ALCS Game 7 loss to the eventual World Champion Astros ended our season in October. Between last year’s postseason success and the addition of  NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, the Yankees aren’t sneaking up on anyone this year. While 2017 was supposed to be a “transition” year for the Bombers, the goal for 2018 is clear: World Series or bust. Opening Day marks the start of the journey towards that goal, and aside from the recent injury to Greg Bird (shocker), the Yanks are headed into the season at full strength. I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve right now, and nothing short of my life physically being in danger could stop me from sitting on my couch and watching this team get back to business tomorrow. Every Yankee fan is hoping that this will be our year. Let’s play some goddamn baseball!

What the Balance of Power Looks Like in the AL East after the JD Martinez Signing

After months of negotiations, the best hitter on the free agent market has finally signed. JD Martinez signed with the Red Sox today, as expected, for 5 years and $110 million. Martinez signed for less than the 5 years/$125 million that was previously rumored to be on the table, and far less than the 7 years/$210 million that agent Scott Boras claimed he was seeking. Martinez is coming off a career year in which he hit .303 with 45 HR and 104 RBI for the Tigers and Diamondbacks. While he may not be as flashy of a name as Giancarlo Stanton, Martinez is definitely a huge addition to the Sox lineup that was desperate for a power hitter.

The real question is, does this shift the Red Sox back to the favorites in the AL East? If not, how much does this move close the gap between them and the Yankees? Despite both teams adding two of the game’s top power hitters, these moves are completely different. The Yankees added on to their biggest strength, their powerful lineup. The Red Sox addressed their biggest need, a lineup that was starved of power. The Yankees actually led the majors in home runs last year, while the Red Sox ranked 27th.

In a division decided by only two games in 2017, who is the favorite going into 2018? The gap between these two teams and the rest of the division is still too wide to consider the Rays, Orioles, or Blue Jays division contenders, in my opinion. So we’ll just compare the Yanks and the Sox and see where they stand in terms of chances of winning the division.

Lineup

Prior to the Martinez signing, I would’ve given this to the Yankees without question. But adding a player of his caliber definitely opens up the debate. Like the Yankees, most of the Red Sox’ meat of the order guys come from their outfield/DH spots, in the form of Martinez, left fielder Andrew Benintendi and right fielder Mookie Betts. Betts had a down year in 2017, hitting only .264 after a .318 year in 2016. He’s still a stud on both sides of the ball, but he doesn’t scare me nearly as much as Benintendi. I personally think that guy is gonna be an absolute star, and he would’ve been an easy Rookie of the Year choice if not for Aaron Judge’s historic season. Benintendi is what you could call a “Yankee killer”, and third baseman Rafael Devers seems to fall in that category as well (the game-tying homer off Chapman in the ninth is still tough to watch.) In addition to Devers, the infield is comprised of All-Stars Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia, as well as first baseman Mitch Moreland. Bogaerts, like Betts, had a strong 2016 but really regressed in 2017. Bogaerts vs. Yankee shortstop Didi Gregorious was an interesting debate going into 2017 until Didi’s career year that made him the obvious choice. It will be interesting to see if Bogaerts can make that a discussion again. Don’t get me started on Pedroia, he’s the guy I’ve hated the most for a long time, especially considering he’s won an MVP and Jeter never did. He’s not a guy that’s really gonna scare you when he’s at the plate, but he’s a scrappy guy with a .300 career average that’s gonna help you win games. Moreland is a nice player over at first, a guy who won’t hit for average but can give you some solid power numbers. Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon handle the catching duties, neither of whom are super imposing at the plate but do a solid job.

The Yankees boast Judge and Stanton in the outfield, the last pair of teammates to have both hit 50 homers in a season since Mantle and Maris. Hopefully Stanton can help Judge cut down on the strikeouts, something he has done a good job of himself over the last few seasons. The keys for these two will be Judge staying out of deep slumps like the one he got into in 2017, and Stanton staying healthy. Brett Gardner will play left field and bat leadoff, and while he won’t steal as many bases as he used to, he is fantastic at working counts and getting on base. Aaron Hicks is somewhat of an X-factor to this lineup, as he was All-Star caliber before he got hurt and less than stellar once he got back last year. Regardless of how he is at the plate, Hicks is quietly one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball.

Hopefully he can perform at the plate, as it’s possible the Yanks could turn to Clint Frazier or even Jacoby Ellsbury *gasp* if Hicks isn’t the hitter he was a year ago. The infield is extremely interesting for the Yanks, as it includes two rookies, Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres. Andujar has raked in the minors, but there have been concerns about his defense. As of now, he figures to be the opening day third baseman for the Yanks. Torres will likely spend the first month in AAA before getting promoted to the bigs so the Yanks can gain an extra year of his service time, as the Cubs did with Kris Bryant when he was coming up. Torres is supposed to be one of the best prospects in baseball, and if he lives up to the hype, could be an absolutely electric addition to the lineup. Shortstop Didi Gregorious returns after a career year that included postseason heroics like his game-tying home run in the Wild Card Game, or taking Corey Kluber deep twice in the decisive ALDS Game 5. First baseman Greg Bird looks to reach his full potential after a 2017 season that includes a disastrous 6-60 start, months on the disabled list, and a promising September/playoff stretch. At catcher, Gary Sanchez is one of the team’s most important players. Although he’s been somewhat overshadowed by Judge and Stanton, Sanchez may legitimately be the best hitter on the team. His rocket arm makes him a huge threat to throw out stealing baserunners, and hopefully the weight he lost will help him improve his ability to block balls in the dirt, which was a huge problem last year.

Conclusion: The Red Sox have a deep lineup. A good lineup. But the Yankees simply have too many guys that are not just good hitters, but great hitters. The Red Sox definitely have significant advantages and second and third base right now since you don’t really know what you’re gonna get from Torres and Andujar, but if they live up to their hype that gap wouldn’t be too wide. Sanchez is the clear cut choice at catcher, Didi is better than Bogaerts, Bird at his best is better than Moreland, and I’ll take Judge/Stanton/Gardner/Hicks as my outfield/DH over Martinez/Benintendi/Betts/Bradley any day.

Advantage: Yankees

Starting Pitching

The Red Sox staff is anchored by the best starting pitcher in the American League in lefty ace Chris Sale. I know he wasn’t great in the playoffs last year, but there’s no denying the guy is absolutely filthy. If I was picking a team to make a one-year run at the World Series and I needed a starting pitcher, Sale is probably the first guy I pick not named Clayton Kershaw. I’d consider Max Scherzer or Noah Syndergaard too, but point is Sale is a beast. David Price is an interesting guy at the #2 spot in the rotation. Sure, we’ve seen him perform as one of the best pitchers in the league in the past. But his time in Boston has been riddled with elbow troubles, trouble with the Boston media, and overall sub-par performance. That being said, he still has the ability to shut down any lineup on any given night, as he did to the Yanks on Sunday Night Baseball last year. Rick Porcello followed up his 2016 Cy Young Season with a horrid 11-17, 4.65 ERA 2017. It will be interesting to see which Porcello we get in 2018. Drew Pomeranz quietly had a great 2017 season, going 17-6 with a 3.32 ERA. For a middle of the rotation guy, he is more than solid. Veteran knuckleballer Steven Wright figures to be the 5th starter, although offseason domestic violence charges could come into play there.

The Yanks staff is led by young ace Luis Severino, whose breakout 2017 netted him a third place finish in the AL Cy Young vote, behind Kluber and Sale. However, he has a lot to prove in 2018, coming off of the most innings he’s ever thrown, to prove this was no fluke. He’s followed by Masahiro Tanaka, who had an interesting 2017 to say the least. From shutting out the Sox at Fenway during his early season dominance, to basically forgetting how to pitch for a few months, seemingly getting shelled every time out, until he finally put it back together again for September and the playoffs, you simply don’t know what you’re gonna get from Tanaka. Veteran CC Sabathia returns after a solid 2017 that included a great playoffs, and lefty Jordan Montgomery figures to project as the 5th starter following a solid rookie campaign. The X-Factor of this staff, however, is Sonny Gray. He was good for the Yanks last year after coming over from Oakland in the deadline, but not great. Will he step up to be the ace-potential guy the Yankees thought he could be when they traded three top prospects for him, or will he continue to be a middle of the rotation starter? To me, that’s a huge question regarding not only the Yankees’ division chances, but their title hopes.

Conclusion: These staffs are both interesting. They both boast Cy Young caliber aces (Sale and Severino), and guys who are All-Stars at their best, but pretty bad at their worst (Price, Porcello, Tanaka, Gray). But, considering the Sox staff is overall more experienced, I feel like they have to get the nod here.

Decision: Red Sox

Bullpen

This one is honestly a no-brainer. Sure, the Sox have one of the best closers in the game in Craig Kimbrel, but who’s in the pen besides him? For as demoralizing as it is to go into the 9th losing to face Kimbrel, who’s the bridge between him and the Sox’ starters? Literally no one. The Red Sox bullpen was a huge weakness all season in 2017, and they didn’t really do anything to upgrade it going into 2018.

The Yankees, however, boast the best bullpen in baseball. Sure, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman make you want to pull your hair out, but when they’re pitching well they’re elite. Chapman was great in the playoffs, and hopefully Betances has figured it out this offseason. Chad Green was quietly one of the best relievers in baseball in 2017, and David Robertson is extremely reliable. Tommy Kahnle finally looked like the stud the Yankees thought they were getting in the playoffs, and Adam Warren is more than capable.

Conclusion: The Yankees have the better bullpen, and it’s not close.

Decision: Yankees

Overall, the Martinez move is a good one for the Sox. It gives them the power hitter they needed. But do I think it makes them better than the Yankees? No shot. I may be biased, but to me, the Yankees have a better lineup, much better bullpen, and a rotation that, if healthy, gives them a fighting chance on any given night. In my mind, as great as I think the Yankees can be, I don’t think they should be the favorites to win the World Series. That’s still the Astros in my mind, no doubt about it. But in the East? On paper, the Yankees are better than the Red Sox. The Indians even scare me more than the Sox do at this point. But baseball is a long season. If what’s on paper really mattered, they wouldn’t play the games. Let’s hope I don’t regret this blog once October rolls around, but I have a feeling this is gonna be a great year for the Bronx Bombers. Opening Day, where you at??

What if the Yankees Had Signed Vlad Guerrero in 2004?

Not only am I a huge Yankee fan, I’m a huge baseball fan. I can admire great players no matter what team they are on, unless it’s the Red Sox which leads to a burning hatred. The one exception being Manny Ramirez, who I obviously hated while he was killing the Yankees at the plate, but how could you not love this guy?

That’s the best This is SportsCenter commercial ever, and there were a lot of great ones. Remember the good old days when ESPN was actually good? As Mr. Walker would say, I digress.

I really started to get into baseball around first or second grade. I was absolutely obsessed with baseball cards, baseball video games, you name it. I could tell you every team’s lineup and pitching rotation off the top of my head, and definitely wasn’t a loser or anything. One of my favorite players at that time was Vladimir Guerrero. This guy was absolutely unreal to watch. First of all, he had a CANNON for an arm

On the other side of the ball, the guy could flat-out hit. He finished with a lifetime .318 average and 449 home runs, so he was as well-rounded hitter as you’ll see. But the most fascinating part of his game to me was always his ability to hit a pitch thrown anywhere, or being a “bad ball hitter.”

How do you pitch to a guy who can literally get hits off of balls in the dirt? Vlad’s ability as a bad ball hitter meant he hardly struck out, averaging only 74 strikeouts per season in his career. By comparison, Aaron Judge had 208 in his sensational rookie season, and even MVP Jose Altuve struck out 84 times despite his .346 batting average.

So back to my original point: Imagine if the Yankees had signed Guerrero? In the offseason prior to the 2004 season, George Steinbrenner was following up the Yankees’ World Series defeat at the hands of the Marlins the same way he always did after a Yankees playoff loss: spending money. The Yanks added the likes Alex Rodriguez, and Gary Sheffield to a lineup that already boasted big bats such as Hideki Matsui, Derek Jeter, and Jorge Posada. Steinbrenner locked up Sheffield with a 3-year, $39 million deal to become the team’s every day right fielder. For just $1 million more per year, the Yankees could have had Vlad instead. That is painful to think about. How much of a difference would Vlad have made? For argument’s sake, let’s just look at 2004.

Sheffield was no slouch for the Yanks in 2004, hitting .290 with 36 HR and 121 RBI. That was good enough for second in that year’s AL MVP voting. Who finished first? I’ll let you guess. Guerrero took home the honors with a .337 average, 39 HR and 126 RBI. I don’t even want to think about what peak A-Rod and peak Vlad in the same lineup would have been like. Call me biased, but it’s hard for me to believe the Yankees let the Red Sox come back in the ’04 ALCS with Vlad in the lineup. But then again, that entire series was wild, and it’s hard to say one player would have changed anything. Add in the fact that Sheffield would only have one more solid season in New York while Vlad would be great the next five years with the Angels, signing Vlad would have also made sense for the Yanks long-term.

Although we never got to see him in Pinstripes, Vlad will always be one of my favorite players of all-time.  Congrats to him and the rest of the MLB Hall of Fame Class of 2018, which also included Chipper Jones, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman. Although all four of these players were greats, to me Vlad stands out in this class. He was more than deserving of being a first ballot Hall of Famer, and anyone who watched him in his prime knows he’s certainly a player they’ll tell their grandkids about.

P.S. Vlad in this game rivals Michael Vick in Madden ’04 for most dominant player in any video game. Any fastball near the strike zone was going for a home run, no doubt about it.

What I Want to See in Sports in 2018

When you look back on 2017, not just what happened in sports but as a whole, I think I speak for everyone when I say the only logical reaction is “what the actual fuck just happened?” Definitely a year to remember, but one you wish you could forget. In terms of sports it was certainly an eventful year for my teams. The Yankees were supposed to miss the playoffs and came up one win short of the World Series, the Giants were supposed to contend for a Super Bowl and ended up with the #2 pick in the draft, the Knicks almost let Phil Jackson trade Porzingis only to fire him a week later, and Rutgers tried. On a day when everyone is making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I made a New Year’s wish list for sports because it’s more fun to ask for things out of your control to happen (no one gives a shit that you swear you’re gonna start going to the gym again Brad, get off Twitter.) Obviously it would be easy/unrealistic to say I want all my teams to win championships, so I got a little more creative with it. Here’s what I hope 2018 has in store in the world of sports.

The Patriots Lose in the Super Bowl

No, I don’t just want the Patriots to not win the Super Bowl. I want them to make it there, and then lose. Why? Because love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the big game is always better when the Pats are in it. Was it horrible to see them win last year in the best comeback/worst collapse in Super Bowl history? Obviously, but you can’t deny that it was an amazing game. Every Super Bowl Tom Brady and company have been in has been extremely entertaining (especially 42 & 46 in my opinion.) Give me Brady throwing a game-ending pick six in overtime or something. Fun for the whole family!

Duke Loses in the Final Four

The same logic applies here as my Patriots argument. I would love to see nothing more than Grayson Allen’s Ted Cruz-looking ass get embarrassed by 40 by North Carolina on national TV. March Madness is the best sporting event there is (don’t @ me), and seeing Duke lose just makes it that much sweeter.

The Mets Pitching Staff Stays Healthy

Hear me out on this one. I’m a Yankee fan, but I would love to see this happen for two reasons. First of all, as a baseball fan, I would love to see what a healthy staff of Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, Harvey, Wheeler staff could do in a full season. And second, if they Yankees could still beat the crap out of those guys, it would shut up every annoying Mets fan I know.

The Giants Pick a Franchise-Altering Player

I’m torn on who I want them to take at number two. I love the idea of Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but if you legitimately think Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield could be your next franchise quarterback, how do you pass that up? Knowing the Giants, they could also trade back and take a lineman later on, but they would need to get a substantial return to do that. All I know is that this is hopefully the last time they get a draft pick this high for a long time, so they need to choose wisely.

Rutgers Upsets a Big Ten Team at Home

I’ve wanted to storm the field since I got to Rutgers. Unfortunately, the football team has not exactly done a great job at beating their Big Ten opponents recently, or even losing by a reasonable margin for that matter. But after storming the court after the basketball team beat Seton Hall a few weeks ago, all I know is I need to experience that at High Point Solutions Stadium before I graduate. (The fact that 2018 will be my last go-around of tailgates is like the Sunday Scaries times a million, by the way.)

The Yankees Win the World Series

All right sue me, we came within a game of getting there last year and we just traded for Giancarlo freaking Stanton. You’re damn right I want a World Series this year.

Let’s hope 2018 is a year to remember for the right reasons. All of us here at Below the Belt are ecstatic to bring you another year of average blogs.

Why Greg Bird Will Be One of Baseball’s Most Slept On Players in 2018

The biggest news of the baseball offseason thus far has surely been the Yankees acquiring NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins for pennies on the dollar, giving their already potent lineup another weapon. The Yanks led all teams in the majors in homers last year with 241 home runs, while Stanton won the individual home run race with 59. The last time the team with the most home runs in the previous season added the league home run leader was also the Yankees, when they traded for a guy by the name of Babe Ruth. Not really sure who that is, he doesn’t even have a Twitter so he probably wasn’t even that good. But that is neither here nor there.

The Stanton trade gives the Yankees a modern day “Murderers’ Row” (the nickname of Ruth’s Yankee teams in the 1920s/30s), or as I like to call it, “Murderers’ Row and Toe”, a shoutout to lovable infielder Ronald Torreyes, who as of now projects as a starter for the 2018 Yanks. The names that stand out in the lineup are obviously Stanton, as well as Aaron Judge, the 2017 AL home run leader and Rookie of the Year. Catcher Gary Sanchez also often comes up in discussion, as his first two seasons in pinstripes have been nothing short of great. Even shortstop Didi Gregorious receives a fair amount of attention, and deservedly so after a career year in 2017. Gregorious hit a team-high .287 to go along with 25 home runs, not to mention playoff heroics like his game-tying three run dinger in the Wild Card game vs. the Twins or his two homers off Indians ace Corey Kluber in the decisive ALDS Game 5. But there’s one more power bat in the 2018 Yankees lineup that no one is really talking about, and that’s Greg Bird.

The start of Bird’s career has been interesting to say the least. He broke onto the scene late in 2015, helping the Yankees secure a wild card spot as their everyday first baseman while Mark Teixeira was hurt. Bird hit .261 with 11 homers and 31 RBI in 46 games, including two home runs in his first career start. I was at that game, and it definitely made you excited to think about what a perfect marriage Bird’s sweet lefty swing and Yankee Stadium’s right field short porch could completely be.

After missing all of 2016 with a torn labrum, Bird looked to have a big impact on the 2017 Yankees. With the departure of Teixeira, Bird was to be the team’s new starting first baseman. He absolutely raked in spring training, hitting .451 with 8 homers and 15 RBI in 23 games. Sure, it was spring training, but those numbers are too good to ignore. However, after fouling a ball off his foot late in spring training, Bird appeared to get into a funk. Starting the season as the team’s #3 hitter, Bird started an abysmal 6-60 before going on the DL. The foot injury was somewhat of a mystery, and we weren’t sure if we would see Bird again in 2017. This led to a revolving door of Yankees trying to hold down the first base spot, including Chris Carter (yuck), Tyler Austin, Ji-Man Choi, Matt Holliday, Garrett Cooper, and Chase Headley. However, no one played well enough to gain a stronghold on the position until Bird finally returned to the team in late August.

In the month of September, Bird hit .235 with 6 homers and 16 RBI. Not quite the average you want to see, but the power stats were much better than anything the Yankees had seen from first base all year. In the playoffs, however, Bird performed at a new level. He led the team in OPS and slugging, hitting three home runs along the way. The biggest of which was a solo homer off Andrew Miller in Game 3 of the ALDS that gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead and kept their season alive.

I was there and that was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard the Stadium. It literally felt like it was shaking. The video is way better with the song from Titanic in the background (as are most sports highlights), and I watch this one at least five times every day.

In a lineup where most pitchers will have to approach each game trying to figure out how to pitch Stanton, Judge, and Sanchez, Bird should see plenty of pitches to hit in 2018. This is a guy with the capability to hit 30+ home runs a year, and he could bat as low as seventh in the order next season. Am I trying to say Bird is going to be on the level of the three guys I just named? Absolutely not, but I feel like he’s going to get overlooked, at least to start the season, because of their presence and the fact that he’s yet to play a full MLB season. Get me to opening day right now, I need to see this lineup in action. Let’s go Yanks baby.