Prospect season has arrived, and on Tuesday, Keith Law revealed his top 100 prospects for 2013. The Yankees fared well, with Gary Sanchez at 18 overall, Mason Williams at 35, Tyler Austin at 52, and Slade Heathcott at 57. Jose Ramirez also earned a spot in his list of players that just missed the top 100. The Yankees’ farm system ranked 10th overall, and Law had plenty of positive things to say about Mark Montgomery, Dellin Betances (as a reliever), Ty Hensley, and even Benjamin Gamel. The Yankees two previous first round picks failed to make any lists, and in Law’s followup chat, he had this to say about Dante Bichette Jr.
“Borderline NP at this point. Can’t play third at all. Swing regressed back to its amateur state. He’s not on my Yankees top 10, and wouldn’t have been in the top 15.”
With two polar opposite seasons under Bichette’s belt, it would make some sense that the third baseman made some sort of change to his mechanics.
Before the 2011 draft, Bichette was far from a projected first rounder, and scouts disliked the amount of movement in his swing, that is, until Bichette started playing in the Gulf Coast League. At 18 years old, he finished the season with 240 plate appearances, and a .342/.446/.505 slash line. Many scouts believed that the Yankees figured out a way to simplify his swing and cut down on the movement, which was why he had such unforeseen success. But in an interview with No Maas last year, Bichette insisted that the team didn’t make any adjustments.
“…The Yankees have this rule where they are not allowed to touch you for 100 or 90 days, something like that. My hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez, he wasn’t allowed to say anything, but I was trying to pick his brain within the first week. He didn’t change anything in my swing though. So no adjustments. The big thing is getting adjusted to the pitching. It’s a lot different in pro ball than in high school, competition and speed of the game.”
Bichette was moved to Single-A Charleston in 2012, and in 522 plate appearances, he struggled, hitting just .248/.322/.331. There is a considerable jump in competition from Rookie level to Single-A, but Bichette’s regression is large enough to worry about. His greatest tool should be power, but the third baseman showed a total lack thereof in 2012. With that said, a 19 year old is bound struggle in the low levels, and there is no way to build a farm system without patience.
Law’s accusations raise a different question though. If Bichette’s swing has somehow changed, he may never perform like he did in 2011. Then there’s the question about why the Yankees would want him to change his swing. Do the Yankees know what they’re doing? Maybe his own father, the new hitting coach for the Colorado Rockies, doesn’t know how to teach his own son. Personally, I believe that scouts know more about hitting than I do, but professional coaches and ex-baseball players, the ones teaching Bichette, know more about hitting than scouts like Law.
The first problem I have with Law’s statement about his swing “regressing to its amateur state” is that he never showed signs, or at least major signs, of adjustments in his swing.
On the left, we now have Bichette swinging off a tee in the 2011 offseason, sometime before his interview with No Maas, where he claimed to not make any alterations during the 2011 season. Again, on the right we have the same at bat from July of 2012. And again, the swings are nearly identical.
It would appear that the insinuations made by scouts following Bichette’s immediate success in Rookie level was a product of the Placebo Effect. Perhaps Bichette’s ability to hit the ball caused them to believe his swing was smoother. The videos show that there was little to no difference in his hitting mechanics from 2010, 2011, and 2012, so Law’s statements about a change are likely part of that same placebo effect.
Regardless of his future ability to hit the ball, Bichette’s hitting mechanics do have a lot of movement. From his hands to his stride, there’s a ton of things that can go wrong with his timing, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work. Bichette’s been surrounded by some of the best hitting instruction though out his life, and there is a method behind his complicated swing. In an interview with the third baseman, following the 2011 draft, Bichette stated that he models himself off of Jose Bautista.
Though there’s only one Bautista, Bichette, and presumably his father, have studied his swing thoroughly and clearly done a wonderful job of emulating the slugger’s swing. How that’ll project itself upon the 20 year old will come with time and patience. Writing Bichette off as a borderline non-prospect seems incredibly silly at this point, but he certainly has plenty of work in front of him to make his complicated mechanics work.
(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)
It dawned on me this past weekend, while doing take 2 of my final roster spot predictions, that the Yankees have supplied themselves with more than enough outfield fodder for the 2013 season. There’s not much high-ceiling talent in that collection of added players, but I’d go so far as to say they might have actually put themselves in a position where they have too many outfielders in the upper levels of the organization. Now that’s not the worst problem in the world to have when you’re entering this season replacing last year’s productive, 2-way, switch-hitting right fielder with a soon to be 40-year-old slap-hitting lefty, but it is something that the decision makers in both the Minor and Major League levels should be cognizant of and should make an effort to address in the appropriate manner.
In a perfect world, the Yankees would open the 2013 season with the following starting outfields at their top 3 levels:
Actually, in a perfect world Ichiro would not be anywhere near the starting outfield this season, so I’ll revise that statement to say, “in a perfect version of the currently imperfect world in which the Yankees have attempted to construct this season’s roster.” There, that’s better. The problem with any perfect version of any perfect world, however, is that it doesn’t exist, and the Yankees’ current outfield situation is no exception. Not included and as such not accounted for in that hypothetical outfield breakdown are the gaggle of cheap free agent signings (Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal, Juan Rivera), quasi-prospects Abraham Almonte, Rob Segedin, and Adonis Garcia,
and possibly Russ Canzler if he clears waivers (nope). That’s a lot of bodies and a lot of potential ABs, and they’ve got to go somewhere.
Realistically, the Yankees will carry at least one of that FA group on their Opening Day bench, possibly 2
if Canzler sticks because of his ability to play first base (nope). There is also the possibility of someone like Mesa or Mustelier wowing in ST and earning a spot on the bench as well, but either scenario would open up some room. Whoever doesn’t win roster roulette in camp could and more than likely would serve as the designated OF depth in Triple-A to cover for injuries at either of the top, but that still leaves that group of MiL guys unaccounted for.
This is where it starts to get tricky, as a case can be made for each of these players being worthy of getting regular ABs. Almonte is trying to prove he’s more than just a collection of tools, and the Yankees aren’t going to want to let him sit and rot because of those tools. Segedin is trying to resurrect his prospect status and not get labeled as “organizational filler” after just a few seasons in the Minors. And Garcia, as an older FA from Cuba, is trying to strike while the iron is hot and prove he has value as a potential prospect.
But none of those 3 players has the upside of Flores, Austin, or Heathcott, and should certainly not be getting in the way of those 3 getting regular playing time either. This shinier trio proved there’s not much left for them to learn at High-A, and to send any of them down there would be a waste of time. But to make room for the second-tier OFers and anybody who might get bumped down from Triple-A, someone might have to be sacrificed and sent back to Tampa to start the year. Josh Norris discussed this possibility a little over a week ago, identifying Austin and Zoilo as the 2 most likely candidates to repeat levels.
With a group of players this large, it’s to all of their benefit to get as much playing time as possible, even if it means playing a level below where they rightfully should be. But it’s also important for guys like Austin, Flores, Heathcott, Zoilo, and Mesa to get at-bats against the best possible level of competition to continue to improve their skills and prospect stock as future contributors at the Major League levels, and the Yankees could have a problem making that happen as they’re presently constructed. Again, it’s not the worst problem in the world to have, and one that can be easily fixed by making a small trade here or a few roster cuts there, but it’s something the Yankees should work to figure out early in the season so there’s not a roadblock in place when someone like Mason Williams is ready to move up.
It would appear that Brain Cashman is finally wrapping up his offseason acquisition, and is now targeting a right handed outfielder. Though he’s already acquired a number of low risk players, such as Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz, the organization is still searching for a more stable option. At this point, the free agent market is barren of right handed hitting outfielders, and if he wants to acquire someone, it’ll have to be through a trade.
Nearly 3,000 miles away, Jack Zduriencik’s Seattle Mariners are fighting their way back to relevance. In an attempt to compete with a strong AL West, they’ve loaded their 40 man roster with bats. Their current starting outfield lines up as Franklin Gutierrez, Michael Morse, and Michael Saunders. They’ll be backed up by Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez, Mike Carp, Eric Thames, and Casper Wells. There’s even some talk about the Mariners having interest in free agent Michael Bourn. The team is loaded with outfield depth, and with Justin Smoak, Kendrys Morales, and Jesus Montero likely splitting time as designated hitters, many of these outfielders will be wasted sitting on the bench.
Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times sees Casper Wells as an odd man out in this scenario. Although the 28 year old outfielder corner stoned the Doug Fister deal in 2011, his role in 2013 is as a backup outfielder on a crowded bench. Of course, after hitting only .228/.302/.396 in 2012, it’s easy to understand why the Mariners are no longer infatuated by the right-hander. There’s more to Wells than his 2012 triple slash though.
Despite his awful batting averages in Seattle, Wells seems to be yet another hitter cursed by the old dimensions of Safeco Field. Over his career, Wells has hit .268/.331/.478 on the road, good for a 120 wRC+. He also holds strong career splits against left handed pitchers, a .264/.349/.489 triple slash with a 132 wRC+. In a limited 146 plate appearances away from home and against lefties, Wells is hitting .326/.404/.628 with a 182 wRC+. Despite his awful offense in 2012, he maintained a .192 wRC+ in these situations.
Overall, Wells has been an above average hitter over his short MLB career, despite Safeco Field stealing hits. Assuming the Yankees targeted Wells, the team would use him as the right handed hitting outfielder. Given the more hitter friendly ballparks of the AL East, and his role against left handed pitchers, there’s a possibility that he produces close to his splits. He’s also far from horrible against right handed pitchers, though they remain below average. Wells also takes his fair share of walks, and his BB% has improved every year since 2010. With that said, he also strikes out with a 25.9 K%, just shy of Curtis Granderson’s 28.5 K% in 2012.
He can’t be considered an elite defensive outfielder, but he can play all three position very well. UZR is a big fan, where he holds a 14.6 UZR/150 through all three outfield spots. He also maintains good arm strength and accuracy, generating 8 assists in 88 games last season.
In regards to this year’s payroll and the 2014 budget, he’s only first time arbitration eligible next season. If he were to finally have his breakout season, (a big if) the Yankees could pencil him in as a cheap starter next season, or at least a reliable platoon designated hitter.
The Yankees and Mariners match up as well as any teams for a trade. Over the last year, the two teams have made two substantial trades that swapped Jesus Montero and Michael Pineda, and later DJ Mitchell and Ichiro Suzuki. The Mariners have a very young team, and have very few needs. They could use a bit more depth in starters this year, but they have three top pitching prospects waiting in the minors. The same goes for the middle infield, where they have a number of shortstop prospects hiding in the upper levels. Though there’s no obvious need on the Mariners side, the team looks as if it has entered win-now territory. With Zduriencik’s familiarity with the Yankee system, a trade between the two teams could very easily work itself out.
We’re at seven days. SEVEN.
It’s the homestretch and after that, the next countdown, though we more than likely won’t be writing about it, is the one of the number of days until the first Spring Training game.
In this installment of our countdown, I’m cheating slightly and reposting something I wrote about Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season. It was posted on High Heat Stats a couple of weeks back and I thought it would be a good post for today. So enjoy!
I once saw a tweet that mentioned Mickey Mantle‘s OPS+ in his second to last season as a player – it was 149. The person was impressed by the number. Mantle was 35-years-old and on his last legs. Then I thought about Mantle’s career as a whole and I remembered looking some of his numbers from his MVP winning years – 1956, 1957 and 1962 – when I was researching for another post. So I decided to take a look again at his stats and I was amazed.
All fans of the New York Yankees, young and old, know that Mickey Mantle was quite a player and I thought for this post, I’d focus on one of those MVP years in particular.
Now, I am not one to mince words. I’ve never been afraid to say what I feel, no matter how harsh, and the two words that came to mind when I looked at Mickey Mantle’s 1956 season stats were “Holy” and oh, okay I’ll censor myself, the other word rhymes with sit.
First up, Mantle’s slash line: .353/.464/.705/.1169
See what I mean?
Let’s not even look at his batting average, let’s focus on his OPS – which is his on base percentage + slugging (.464/.705). Those are pretty gaudy numbers. What’s even crazier is that Ted Williams of the Red Sox, who finished sixth in MVP voting that year, had an even higher on base percentage (.479) than Mantle.
Slugging percentage is total bases divided by the number of at bats (([Singles] + [Doubles x 2] + [Triples x 3] + [Home Runs x 4])/[At Bats]).
Mantle’s SLG was .705 compared to Williams who finished second with a .605 slugging percentage. And the 1.169 OPS for Mantle led the league and was followed by Williams’s 1.084.
How about Mantle’s OPS+? (OPS+ which is OPS with some adjustments)
This statistic normalizes a player’s OPS — it adjusts for small variables that might affect OPS scores (e.g. park effects) and puts the statistic on an easy-to-understand scale. A 100 OPS+ is league average, and each point up or down is one percentage point above or below league average. In other words, if a player had a 90 OPS+ last season, that means their OPS was 10% below league average.
So league average OPS+ is 100. In 1956, Mickey Mantle’s was 210. But get this, his OPS+ was even better the next year when it was 221.
Some saberists don’t like OPS or OPS+ – they deem them to be too simple which truthfully, they are, since I understand them perfectly. (Haha)
Those same people like to look at a stat called wOBA – which stands for Weighted On-Base Average.
The weights in which you measure wOBA vary from year to year. SB Nation’s Beyond the Boxscore goes into great detail and shows the weights for every year from 1871-2010.
Fangraphs’s rule of thumb is that a wOBA of 0.400 is excellent. Well, in 1956, Mickey Mantle’s wOBA was .502. Amazingly, that was not the highest of his career. He’d do better in 1957 with an wOBA of .504.
Next up: Mantle’s 11.1 WAR
This is another stat that according to some, has seen it’s day come and go. But I’m still going to talk about it anyway because as long as it’s listed on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, it counts.
I think it’s safe to say that Mantle led everyone in baseball in this stat and he did so by a pretty large margin. Early Wynn of the Cleveland Indians finished second with a WAR of 8.0 – Wynn was a pitcher. The next offensive player on the list in WAR was Mantle’s teammate Yogi Berra who finished with a 7.6.
Now for some simple numbers…
Mantle led the league in walks, Williams finished in second with 102 of his own and third on the list was Roy Sievers of the Washington Senators who walked 100 times but finished 31st in MVP voting that year – he only had one vote. Interesting to note, Mantle was intentionally walked six times in 1956. That number increased the following season when he was given a free pass 21 times.
Home runs and RBI: 52 and 130
I know these stats are not as important anymore but they were in 1956 and they’re probably what helped Mantle get his first of three MVP Awards. His average combined with his home runs and RBI helped him achieve the Triple Crown – something that is not done too often.
Mickey Mantle followed up his amazing 1956 with an equally astounding 1957 season, helping him win back-to-back MVP Awards and leading the New York Yankees to back-to-back American League Pennants. The Yankees won the World Series four games to three over the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1956 and lost four games to three to the Milwaukee Braves in 1957.
Mantle would go on to play until 1968 and was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974 appearing on 321 out of 365 ballots.
For most of the offseason, I’ve lamented the losses of two key batters: Nick Swisher and Russell Martin. By no means are those players superstars, but they were perfect fits for the Yankee offense. Both Swisher ad Martin provided power and patience, cornerstones of the team’s offense for the last two decades. In their places, the Yankees will have players not known for their power or patience.
Ichiro Suzuki and a combination of Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli (at least to start the year) will man right field and catcher. While Ichiro may have something left at the plate, the catching duo will hardly strike fear into the hearts and minds of opposing pitching staffs. Their inclusion is, overall, representative of a potential loss of offense for the Yankees. This isn’t to say that neither of the three has no redeeming offensive qualities. Ichiro can still make a bit of contact and Cervelli can draw the occasional walk. Both will have places in the Yankee lineup, probably towards the bottom of the lineup. That lineup may be a bit harder to construct this season.
Cerevlli will be easy to place; he’ll always be at the bottom of the lineup, most likely in the eighth or ninth spot, and the same goes for Chris Stewart. Ichiro will be a bit harder to slot in. When he came to the team in July of last year, he started at the bottom of the lineup, but a hot streak propelled him to a higher spot by the season’s end. Will that memory and his “name value” keep him at the top or will his age and skill set keep him at the bottom?
Ichiro and the catchers are not the only players that will provide a placement challenge to manager Joe Girardi. Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner, two new acquisitions, can help replicate the patience and power vacated by Swisher and martin. Though their skills are tangible and obvious, age and injury have obfuscated those skills. Ideally, Youkilis would be a two hitter–or a leadoff guy in a pinch–and Hafner would be a three, four, or five hitter. But with both players on the downside of their careers in terms of performance and health, their places in the lineup are unclear. Adding to the possible confusion, of course, are the myriad talented players that the team already employs. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, and the aforementioned Ichiro are all players that could hit in the potential spots for Youkilis and Hafner (and that’s not including Alex Rodriguez, who’ll presumably be back midseason). And even those players have questions attached to them.
The newly candid Teixeira is not what he once was (by his own admission). Jeter is coming off injury, as is Brett Gardner, whose injury was more severe and costly. Granderson had a rocky second half and playoff stretch. Only Cano seems like a good bet to maintain his offensive status (elite!).
Departures, new arrivals, and remaining questions will combine into a lineup that will probably be pretty solid, regardless of our anxieties. The big picture will probably look pretty good at season’s end. On the macro level, lineup construction may not be wholly impactful. On the micro level, the game-to-game level, it does matter. Over the course of the season, the minute run changes that occur in-game won’t matter much, if at all. They will matter, though, in those game situations. What will those lineups look like? What should those lineups look like? We all have different interpretations of that second question and its answer could make up dozens of articles. In light of that, let’s go on our (assumed) knowledge of two things and make a lineup:
1. Derek Jeter will be at the top (one or two) of the lineup
2. Joe Girardi (generally) dislikes stacking lefties.
Given those conditions, let’s try to construct two lineups, one vs. RHP and one vs. LHP.
Vs. RHP Vs. LHP
1. Gardner, LF Jeter, SS
2. Jeter, SS Youkilis, 3B
3. Teixeira, 1B Teixeira, 1B
4. Cano, 2B Cano, 2B
5. Granderson, CF DH (Matt Diaz? Juan Rivera?)
6. Youkilis, 3B Granderson, CF
7. Hafner, DH Cervelli, C
8. Cervelli, C Ichiro, RF
9. Ichiro, RF Gadner, LF
Both lineups highlight something we may have overlooked regarding Nick Swisher’s departure. While his hitting skills would allow him to hit anywhere from one-six in the lineup, it’s conceivable that his switch hitting status is what made him such a great fit. With just one switch hitter in the lineup, the Yankees will likely need to stack lefty batters together more often than they’d like, including in my proposed lineups: 4-5 and 9-1 vs. RHP and 8-9 vs. LHP. Despite that, those lineups seem likely and are definitely justifiable.
Gardner in front of Jeter against RHP allows the former to get on base and (hopefully) use his legs to get into scoring position for Jeter and his opposite field approach. We could swap Tex and Cano in this lineup, which would eliminate one stack of lefties. This move could also give Cano, the team’s best hitter, a handful more plate appearances over the course of the season. That’s tempting, and I probably wouldn’t argue against it. However, it might be more beneficial to have Cano bat behind someone like Tex who has great on-base skills.
Against lefties, the top three hitters all do their best work and most damage when facing said southpaws. The Tex/Cano swap could also work here. For our purposes, that decision may be a matter of preference: Do we (theoretically) more men on base in front of Cano or do we subscribe to the “newer” theory of lineup construction that says put your low OBP sluggers (sounds a lot like Robbie, no?) in the third spot?
The Yankees have long been MLB’s top offensive club. That may not be true in 2013, but perhaps our apprehension is a bit overstated. The Yankee lineup, though different, should still be plenty productive.
(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)
I’m a Buster Olney fan. I think he’s one of the best baseball reporters in the business, if not the best, and take his information and thoughts on the Yankees more seriously than probably any other beat writer or MSM reporter. That’s why I was a little surprised to find that Olney’s “What Yankees need to go right in ’13″ Friday morning blog post (Insider Only) was so ordinary. It’s not that anything he said was wrong or untrue, it’s just that a lot of it seemed so obvious and so basic that it didn’t feel like a true Yankee-centric post to me. Have the Yankees really become this boring this offseason?
1. CC Sabathia needs to be healthy enough to provide a lot of innings — and be good in those innings.
Well yeah. He’s the unquestioned ace of the staff. What team doesn’t need their ace to be good?
2. Derek Jeter needs to be a good player, at age 38.
Of course he does. He’s the leadoff hitter, he’s making a decent chunk of change, he’s the only veteran in the lineup who didn’t decline last season, and there isn’t much in the way of a viable backup behind him.
3. Mariano Rivera needs to be an effective closer.
Again, not exactly breaking new ground here. Any team that wants to contend needs a strong closer.
4. Robinson Cano needs to have an MVP-caliber season.
He’s the best player on the team, he’s in the prime of his career entering a contract year, and he’s had them before. Is there any reason to think he’s not going to have another one this season?
5. Mark Teixeira needs to be an above-average run producer.
They aren’t paying him $20 million a season to appear in “Rock Of Ages.”
6. Brett Gardner needs to get back to what he was in 2010.
This one is actually pretty important and not as obvious as the others. With the expected hit to the overall offensive production of the team, the Yankees need Gardner to be more than just a Gold Glove defender. If he can hit for a good average and get on base at a .360-.380 clip, he could give Joe a chance to lengthen the lineup a bit by hitting him first and Jeter second.
7. Kevin Youkilis needs to contribute.
8. Michael Pineda needs to give them something — not a lot, but something.
This is the only one I really take umbrage with. I don’t think the Yankees necessarily NEED Pineda to give them something this year, as long as the rest of the healthy pitchers, Warren and Marshall included, stay healthy and stay productive. But with the age of the top of the rotation, and the injury risks that come with it, it would be nice to know that Pineda was going to be available if needed. If for no other reason than to see if he still has potential long-term value to the club.
But you see what I mean, right? Doesn’t that just seem like a really basic, cookie-cutter list of “needs” that could apply to every other team in baseball? Every team needs its best pitchers to pitch well and its best players to play well, and maybe it’s just me, but I could have sworn that in recent years past the Yankees’ list of needs was a little more off the beaten path. Like figuring out where C-Grand best fit into the batting order, or which young pitcher was going to take the next step. Maybe it’s a sign that the Yankees really are in for a down year, at least by their traditional standards. It wouldn’t be unexpected or the worst thing in the world if that did happen, but if it does I hope things aren’t always this boring.
(Syndicated from Second Place Is Not An Option)
I thought this would be a fun trip down memory lane.
We’re at 10 in our countdown to Spring Training and I wanted to share these two videos I found on YouTube of Phil Rizzuto – the most famous of the #10′s in Pinstripe history – and his broadcast partner Bill White, entertaining Yankee fans during a rain delay in 1986.
Do you remember when they didn’t go back to a studio during rain delays and when the broadcasters at the Stadium were the ones to talk us through the delays? I miss those days.
In the first video, the delay begins. Rizzuto and White talk about the game and the in-game action up until the delay. They also show the out of town scores – remember when the Angels were the California Angels? I do.
In the second video, Rizzuto is trying to get the legendary Harmon Killebrew to come on the air – the Yankees were playing the Twins and Rizzuto was recalling Killebrew’s playing days. Alas, Killebrew didn’t join the but it’s amusing to see Rizzuto calling out to him while live on the air.
This is classic stuff. Enjoy!
(Syndicated from Second Place Is Not An Option)
I could have gone the easy route and picked Brett Gardner for this post but I decided to go back 10 years to the 2003 season – yes, I know, I can’t believe that season was 10 years ago either – and wanted to post this instead:
There’s nothing too out of the ordinary in this video. It’s a New York Yankees player wearing #11 and he’s hitting a home run against the Red Sox. But there was something out of the ordinary about this particular #11. The player’s name is Curtis Pride and he is deaf.
Pride was born deaf but he became a fluent lip reader which allowed him to be able to attend regular schools with his friends. In high school, he excelled in baseball, basketball and soccer. When he moved onto college, he played point guard for William and Mary’s basketball team.
He was originally signed by the New York Mets but when Pride reached the Majors in 1993, it was with Montreal Expos. He became the first deaf player to be in the big leagues since Dick Sipek played in 82 games for the Cincinnati Reds in 1945.
Pride started off well, hitting a double, triple, home run and a single for the first four hits of his career. (This wasn’t a true cycle because they weren’t all hit in the same game.) He was moved around a lot and played for Expos, Tigers, Red Sox, Braves, Yankees and Angels. He actually played for Boston and Montreal more than once.
Pride served primarily as an injury replacement or late inning replacement and in his 11 seasons of major league service he batted .250 (199-for-796) with 20 home runs and 82 RBI in 421 games. Pride played his last game on October 1, 2006 with the Angels.
I remember watching that game back in 2003 and seeing Pride’s home run as it happened. I also remember my eyes filling up with tears because I’m one of those really sensitive people who tears up at the drop of a hat. I thought it was so nice for him to hit a home run in a Yankees-Red Sox game at Yankee Stadium and I loved seeing the crowd cheer for a curtain call.
It was a nice moment for Curtis Pride in a very short stint with the Yankees.
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