Don’t be distracted by the final score (the Yankees won by two touchdowns if you didn’t stick around for the end of Michael Kay’s talk show with the game occurring in the background).
If you’ve read my stuff before, you know how often I point out the extent to which randomness affects outcomes in baseball. The Taijuan Walker who the Yankees scored one run against last week is the same one they dropped seven runs on last night, even though he didn’t pitch that differently. Toronto right fielder Derek Fisher having one of the more bizarre sequences I’ve ever seen was more of a factor than anything Walker did or didn’t do.
Heck, even then, Walker was one pitch from being in the dugout in a 2-1, 3rd inning game with his team’s best hitters due up. Then Tyler Wade hit a ball that happened to avoid fielders. The only fielder in the vicinity was the aforementioned Fisher, which certainly helped the Yankees’ cause.
Had Wade’s ball not found grass, we’ll never know what happened, but it did. What followed were many good at bats from Yankees and some horrid pitching from Toronto. So although I’d ignore the final score, I would look at some of the process highlights, from the Yankees’ perspective.
- Gary Sanchez, he of the whiffing Sanchez’, batted two balls with an exit velocity of 111 mph.
- Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela, both fresh off the injured list, batted balls with 110.7 and 105.7 mph exit velocities, respectively.
Side note: Don’t believe me about randomness? Three of those four batted balls were outs.
And wunderkind Deivi Garcia, toeing the slab in the boogie down, looked great again.
Again, I’m not the person who needs to be lectured on small sample size, but it’s easy to like Garcia. He’s aggressive in the zone (among the lowest BB% in MLB) yet still does pretty well in avoiding hard contact (84th percentile in exit velocity and 88th percentile in hard hit %) despite having average “stuff”*.
*That’s not my eye test. Statcast has him at just above or just below league average movement on pretty much everything he throws.
Of course, being aggressive with average stuff will result in some long balls, generally speaking. But being a fly ball pitcher (again, Statcast, not my eyes) in YS III is a good thing despite what you’re told. There’s a very short right field but the rest of the park isn’t short at all.
If the best Garcia ever becomes is a poor man’s Masahiro Tanaka, which is to say, a strike thrower prone to the long ball, we should all be happy. But it’s not going out on a limb to say he’s going to get even better – hopefully reaching actual Tanaka levels of success.
Remember folks, although the fanatics in us tend to focus on outcomes, not processes, always check the processes. And last night’s game was chock full of promising processes if you’re a Yankees’ fan.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
Want to buy me a coffee?
If you like the blog and want to see more of it, you can grab me a Starbucks - tall, dark, no room. It may seem like a small thing but it helps me keep the blog going. Thanks in advance!