Triple Play

THE DYNASTY GURU’S TRIPLE PLAY: New York Yankees!

AN INTRODUCTION

Welcome to The Dynasty Guru’s Triple Play! This is a brand-new series where three very cool dynasty baseball nerds- Adam Lawler, Patrick Magnus, and Keaton O. DeRocher- bring to you a succinct analysis of a pitcher, a hitter and a prospect from each organization. We’ll be running this regularly until we cover all 30 teams!

Each team will be covered in alphabetical order. This article we’re covering the New York Yankees. And, while we here at The Dynasty Guru are primarily baseball obsessed, we’ll also be touching on some music we’ve enjoyed from each team’s home state. Enjoy, and leave us your question and comments below!

Miguel Andujar, 23, 3B/1B/Util

Analysis by: Patrick Magnus

Miguel Andu-Who?

The most recent call-up of the all-encompassing and ever-expanding Yankees farm system, Andujar looks to see time at DH, third and first. There’s even some potential for him to stick at first given that the delicate Greg Bird spends his entire life tantalizing fans from the disabled list. Fangraphs even had this young talent as their fourteenth overall rated prospect. Yes, you read that correctly.

Dancing at the Plate

After watching all the footage I could find of Andujar, I have some guesses about what his swing might produce. Below you can see him absolutely destroy a baseball in 2015. Scouting reports have mentioned that he has quick hands, and they are clearly on display here.


Now we can take a look at his swing in the majors in 2017.


Again, making great use of his hands, this time to rope the ball to centerfield. He’s continued the use of his “toe-tap” timing mechanism, although not clearly visible in the above gif. One might even say he enjoys hitting so much that he dances at the plate!

The footage I found of Andujar makes him appear to be a pull hitter, who enjoys hitting baseballs on the inner part of the strike zone. He also seems to struggle with the timing of his swings at times, and will top the baseball frequently. The great thing about the year 2018, is that there’s a thing called the internet where baseball stats are on full display. We don’t need to rely on my eyeballs, we can check the stats!

Stats, Stats, Stats, Stats, Stats, Stats. Everybody!

Year | Level LD% GB% FB%
2015 | A+ 18.4% 42.9% 38.8%
2016 | Double-A 25.2% 43.5% 37.8%
2017 | Triple-A 22.5% 44.9% 32.6%

Well, I guess I won’t be leaving TDG to be an MLB scout because that’s a better groundball rate than I was expecting. I was close, but I certainly was not expecting to see a line-drive rate in the twenties.

Andujar appears to be able to get better contact on the ball than I thought. That’s good for him, because he’s not exactly a patient hitter. His highest BB% came last year in Triple-A at 6.8%, but the good news is that contact rate keeps him from striking out too much.

What about my suspicion that those quick hands might lead to pull tendencies?

Year | Level Pull% Cent% Oppo%
2015 | A+ 46.5% 24.5% 29.0%
2016 | Double-A 54.6% 26.4% 19.1%
2017 | Triple-A 48.4% 23.2% 28.4%

Alright, so I’m batting like .500 on my internet amateur scouting ability. The pull tendencies certainly make Andujar a potential victim of the shift, but his ability to hit fly balls and line drives should help.

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try One More Time

Another trait that is a positive in this corner infielder’s… corner, is his ability to make adjustments. While Andujar has initially struggled at each level, he’s often repeated it and made the necessary adjustments that have led to league average production. In interviews coaches, teammates, and even Andujar himself have all praised his ability to make adjustments.

That is an under-appreciated trait in the dynasty baseball community. Minor league baseball players do more than just play the game when they are moving through the systems. They are learning. Any player who shows the grit to collect themselves after struggling and make necessary adjustments should be praised, and more frequently recognized by the dynasty community.

San Miguel

Reports on his defense at third have been shaky and I think he should get a shot in right field. He’s loaded with a 70-grade arm and although it lacks accuracy from time to time it stills feels like a waste to throw him at first base. However, that’s the position that’s open with the Yanks, and Andujar looks MLB ready. First base is a good enough fit for Andujar, at least in the short term.

I’ve got a little bit of a soft spot for Miguel. He’d have some more upside if he could improve his plate discipline, and I would prefer that he keeps third base eligibility. Still, I’ll be keeping close watch on the contact he makes at the major league level. He looks to have enough loft in his swing to produce 20 home runs, and contribute in average as well. He’s not a superstar, but I think he’ll produce slightly above league average stats.

Patrick’s Artist Selection:

Y’all know who it is.

Didi Gregorius, Age: 28, SS

Analysis by: Keaton O. DeRocher

The Gregorius D.I.Di

Everyone would agree that Didi is a baseball player. Not everyone would agree that his recent success is legit and that he’s bound to come back down to Earth. Those who doubt him might be saying, “it’s just the Yankee Stadium effect,” and although there is certainly truth to that (as he is a lefty for the Yankees) his success is actually driven by a few more supporting factors.

New Team, New Swing

Since joining the Yankees Didi has been refining both his swing and his approach at the plate, and it’s been paying off. Take a look at these two gifs: the first is from Didi’s time with the Diamondbacks and the second from last season with the Yankees.


In the first Didi’s swing is very long. This lead to an enormous hole in his swing where he was very susceptible to the strikeout and his bat was slow through the zone. Since joining the Yankees he’s shortened his swing and seen his strikeout rates drop season over season in New York.

Ser Didi, Warden Of The Fly Ball

A shorter swing gives him more control over the barrel of the bat, and Didi has been able to square up pitches more and focus on hitting more fly balls. This was the change in his approach he made with the help of Hensley Meulens at a hitting camp that is also attended by the likes of Jurickson Profar, Jonathan Schoop, and Andrelton Simmons. Each season in which he’s worked out at this camp, he’s seen his launch angle improve and the results have followed.

Year LA Exit Velocity FB% HR/FB% Pull % Cent % Oppo%
2015 10.3 84.8 34.1 % 6.0 % 37.6 % 33.1 % 29.4 %
2016 13.5 85.1 40.3 % 10.4 % 40.3 % 37.4 % 22.3 %
2017 17.4 84.4 43.8 % 12.1 % 42.3 % 19.2 % 38.5 %

His exit velocity has been above average each year with the Yankees, and season-over-season his FB% and HR/FB% has risen. Knowing the park he’s playing in, Didi also focused on pulling the ball and the results are a whole boatload of taters.

Didi Give-Me-More….ius

His fantasy value also gets some extra inflation on top of the changes he made on his own. The monster line-up of the Yankees will give him plenty of RBI and run-scoring opportunities, and again he will hit for a good average and power. If you didn’t get any shares of Didi before now it might be too late, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Didi is the real deal and his doubters will soon be shown the door. If you can get him, get him.

Keaton’s Artist Selection:

Jordan Montgomery, 25, SP

Analysis by: Adam Lawler

Have you ever seen Blues Brothers? You know the scene where they go into the country bar and have to hide behind the chicken wire so they are protected from projectiles as they perform? Throughout my years of reading fantasy baseball articles and the comments that accompany them, especially when it comes to the New York Yankees, that is kind of how I feel as I begin to write about Jordan Montgomery.

RAWHIDE

RAWHIDE

Last year, the Yankees were a (gulp) fun story. Jordan Montgomery was a fun story within that fun story. This was because, while he received plenty of digital ink, he was largely ignored by the masses. The New York media and their affiliates focus on the stars. It’s hard for one to shine bright when names like Gleyber, Clint, and the “nephew of Gary” are in the same system. However, that also underscores the lack of shine Montgomery commanded.

There was a reason for that too. After he was taken in the 4th round of the 2014 MLB draft, Montgomery was never really that good in his stints throughout rookie and Low-A ball. Even when he performed well, it was hard to get too excited. His offerings were never plus. He was older than most in rookie ball and the same age as most in Low-A. On the whole, experts didn’t see too much ceiling for Montgomery. Our friends at River Avenue Blues put it succinctly, “Despite a stellar prep career, Baseball America did not rank Montgomery among their overall top 200 prospects or even their top 40 prospects in South Carolina prior to the 2011 draft.”

Then, he received an aggressive assignment in the 2016 season, being pushed to Double-A Trenton where he performed admirably over 102 innings, though underlying metrics of FIP and K/9 still gave reason for pause. During late 2016, he was transferred to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre and something clicked: he began throwing three plus offerings which provided a strikeout-per-nine, lowered his already respectable walk-per-nine ratio, and a 2.53 xFIP.

Still, he was fine. He was okay. He was labeled as a large-bodied, back-of-the-rotation southpaw with a durable frame, a stinginess for offering the free pass, and an ability to control his pitches. That’s serviceable. Not everyone is going to be Luis Severino. Every staff needs their Jordan Montgomery’s.

DRY WHITE TOAST

DryWhiteToast

When he was called up at the beginning of 2017, Montgomery turned some heads and became the latest much ballyhooed young arm in the majors. Outside of the megaphone that is New York media, analysts began zeroing in on Montgomery to try and rationalize his success. It seems clear in retrospect the inverse of overlooking Montgomery as a prospect within the Yankees system occurred upon his arrival because, frankly, the 2017 rookie crop just wasn’t that good.

In fact, there were 20 starting pitcher rookies who eclipsed 80 or more innings during the 2017 campaign. In the basement, trash like Daniel Gossett, Ben Lively, and TDG favorite Jharel Cotton litter the floor. Top 5? Well, it isn’t much prettier.

Name

K/9 HR/9 xFIP SwStr% K-BB%

O-Swing%

MLB AVG SP

8.17

1.22 4.20 10.17% 14.1%

31.4%

Jordan Montgomery

8.34

1.22 4.45 12.2% 14.3%

35.2%

German Marquez

8.17

1.39 4.18 9.1% 14.0%

28.8%

Trevor Williams

6.94 0.78 4.35 8.3% 10.5%

33.0%

Kyle Freeland

5.95 1.02 4.76 7.3% 5.8%

28.0%

Luis Castillo

9.87

1.11 3.41 12.7% 18.4%

30.9%

True, Jordan Montgomery was average to a shade above average. True, Jordan Montgomery was markedly better than Marquez, Williams, and Freeland. True, his curveball was top ten in MLB for generating whiffs. Still, in a broader context, Montgomery’s portfolio is pretty average. He’s plain, white toast. In other words, there’s the slimmest margin for error. Which leads me to my next concern…

OUR LADY OF BLESSED ACCELERATION

Acceleration GIF-downsized_large

Montgomery’s repertoire features the aforementioned curveball, a slider, changeup, and fastball*. Last year, according to BrooksBaseball, Montgomery foisted the fastball upon the batter about 42.5% of the time at a tracked velocity of 91.8 MPH (COUGH AVERAGE COUGH). Further, it’s important to note that Montgomery started his season at 92.1 MPH. Jumping in the way back machine, The Hardball Times did a feature on the importance of velocity as it relates to run suppression.

*BrooksBaseball reads Montgomery as also throwing a sinker, it’s my assumption this is a fastball given its usage rates and velocity.

Last week, The Athletic’s Eno Sarris tweeted this:

EnoTweet

Montgomery’s opening salvo to the 2018 season was against a vaunted, dangerous Tampa Bay Rays lineup. During his start, Montgomery threw 24 fastballs with an average velocity of 90.1 MPH. Not great. Pretty concerning. Again, Montgomery has the slimmest of margins to wiggle around in. If he can’t suppress runs and keep a high 3’s ERA, that profile becomes a lot of blech.

DO YOU SEE THE LIGHT?

SeeTheLight-GIF

At the time of this writing, Montgomery has a planned start at home against the Orioles. I am going to be watching intently and tweeting out velocity reads as they come in. If Montgomery continues to sit at 90MPH, it’s likely worth your time to shop him around and see what you can get. Remember, 10 pitches. That’s all it takes.

Epilogue

Adam’s Music Selection

Brooklyn based LCD Soundsystem generated some of the most profound music of my mid-to-late 20’s. Now in my early 30’s, the lyrics of James Murphy, AKA “the saddest dad at the rave,” carry even more gravitas. Their latest album, American Dream, deals with the themes most do as they see a younger generation rise up and their parents’ generation ages out. My favorite LCD theme, which they explore in the track below, is the melancholia and nostalgia that lives in the aging of friendships.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aygY5OqMuKE


AUTHORS’ PLUGS!

Follow us on Twitter for baseball, jokes, Keaton’s trolling, and other very cool opinions!

Adam Lawler: @thestatcastera
Keaton O. DeRocher: @TheSpokenKeats
Patrick Magnus: @TheGreenMagnus


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Previously Covered Teams

NL WEST

NL CENTRAL NL EAST

ARI

CHC ATL

COL

CIN

MIA

LAD MIL

NYM

SDP

PIT

PHI

SFG STL

WAS

AL WEST

AL CENTRAL

AL EAST

HOU

CWS BAL

LAA

CLE

BOS

OAK

DET

NYY

SEA

KC

TB

TEX MIN

TOR

The Author

Adam Lawler

Adam Lawler

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