Three Cuban defectors now up for grabs

Leave a comment

ESPN’s Jorge Arangure reports that Cuban defectors RHP Yadel Marti, OF Yasser Gomez, and RHP Juan Yasser Serrano have been declared free agents and are now eligible to sign.
That’s according to their agent, Jaime Torres. The three players all defected at the end of last year. Marti, who is listed as 25, will likely be the most sought after of the three. He pitched 12 2/3 scoreless innings and went 2-0 in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. While he lacks an above average fastball, his arsenal might make him a quality middle-of-the-rotation starter anyway. If he signs quickly and shows that he’s in shape, he could find himself on a major league roster, perhaps as a reliever, in September.
Gomez, 28, could also contribute soon, but he’s probably going to prove to be a reserve outfielder. Serrano has a poor track record and likely will have to settle for a minor league contract.

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: