Don’t count on Eduardo Nunez becoming the next great Yankees shortstop

22 Comments

A funny thing happened while Derek Jeter was on the disabled list with a calf injury, as the Yankees went 14-4 without him in the lineup and fill-in shortstop Eduardo Nunez hit .339 with a .906 OPS.

Jeter’s ongoing decline combined with Nunez’s impressive work in his absence has an awful lot of Yankees fans thinking ahead to the future of the shortstop position in New York, but before anyone gets too carried away allow me to burst a few bubbles: Nunez isn’t that great.

Sure, he’s 24 years old and played well in Jeter’s place, but youth and a nice two-week stretch does not a future star make. Prior to Nunez’s strong run filling in for Jeter he hit just .255 with a .293 on-base percentage and .355 slugging percentage in 63 games as a big leaguer and his minor-league track record isn’t a whole lot more encouraging.

Nunez has hit .274 with a .318 on-base percentage and .369 slugging percentage in 656 games as a minor leaguer, including .289 with a .340 OBP and .381 SLG in 118 games at Triple-A. That works out to a .687 OPS in the minors overall and a .721 OPS at Triple-A. Last year, in what was the worst season of his career, Jeter had a .710 OPS against big-league pitching.

Nunez has also flashed 20-steal speed and shown signs of improvement that you’d expect from a young player, but at 24 years old he’s not that young and there’s little in his track record to suggest an upside beyond “solid regular.” Obviously even “solid regular” is plenty valuable in a 24-year-old shortstop, but there’s also a strong chance Nunez tops out as “utility man.”

Either way, he’s far from the type of long-term solution optimistic Yankees fans started dreaming about during the past two weeks and may not even be good enough to eventually push Jeter off shortstop. Assuming, of course, that Jeter will some day cease playing shortstop for the Yankees. You know, in 2050 or so.

The Yankees set up “The Judge’s Chambers” cheering section for Aaron Judge

New York Yankees
4 Comments

The Yankees aren’t well-known for going all-in on goofy, fan-friendly fun. While some organizations are happy to jump on new and even silly or ephemeral trends for the yuks of it, the Yankees have tended to keep things rather businesslike when it comes to promotions and things. They’ve always played the long game, assuming — not always unreasonably — that their brand is best defined by the club’s history and greatness and quiet dignity and stuff.

Aaron Judge and his breakout rookie season is changing things. His fast start has caused fans to dress up in judge’s robes and stuff, so the team is having fun with it. They’ve set up a special section called “The Judge’s Chambers,” complete with a jury box vibe:

 

Fans will be selected to sit in the special section, which is in section 104 in right field, right behind where Judge plays, and will be handed foam gavels with “All Rise” written on them. To be selected at the moment it’d help if you wear one of those judicial robes with Judge’s number 99 on the back or his jersey or an English judge-style powdered wig. Going forward, the Yankees will also use the section for groups and charity events and stuff.

Judge is on a 58-homer pace right now. It’s unlikely he’ll keep that up, but he certainly looks like the real deal. And, for the Yankees and their fans, he’s giving them the chance for some real fun.

And That Happened: Monday’s Scores and Highlights

Getty Images
11 Comments

Here are the scores. Here are the highlights:

Twins 14, Orioles 7: Baltimore jumped out to a 5-0 lead and led 6-2 after four but then the Twins started bashing. Actually, it wasn’t so much bashing as the ten runs they scored between the fifth and sixth innings all came without the benefit of a homer. Max Kepler and Miguel Sano did homer at other times in the game, however. Kepler drove in four. Sano and Eduardo Escobar each knocked in three. Minnesota even scored on a balk. This game had a bit of everything. Adam Jones hit a homer. It was his 125th dinger at Camden Yards, giving him the all-time lead in that park. The old record holder: Rafael Palmeiro.

Yankees 4, Royals 2: Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius and Chris Carter all went deep as the Yankees beat Jason Vargas. Vargas had a 1.01 ERA through his first seven starts. In his last two he’s allowed nine runs on 11 hits in ten innings. Both of those games have come against the Yankees, though, so maybe it’s more them having his number than him turning into a pumpkin.

Rockies 8, Phillies 1: Top prospect Jeff Hoffman got called up for a spot start and struck out seven over seven three-hit, one-run innings. Nolan Arenado hit a two-run homer. Philly has lost 18 of 22.

Reds 5, Indians 1: The Battle for Ohio Begins. With the loss, Cleveland is in the early lead to be stuck with Ohio. OK, I kid — I’m an Ohioan, I can do that — but I don’t know for sure what the winner gets. It’s either some cup or a trophy or maybe they get to cut in line at Cedar Point or something. Anyway, Scott Feldman was sharp, allowing one run and striking out nine in six innings, and Scott Schebler homered for the third straight game. Great Scott.

Angels 3, Rays 2: J.C. Ramirez outdueled Jake Odorizzi and the Angels broke a 2-2 tie on a Jumbo Diaz wild pitch in the seventh. Five total runs scored and 12 hits between the teams over nine innings yet this game went three hours and thirty seven minutes. Eleven walks and 20 strikeouts is the likely culprit. Sounds like a slog.

Braves 5, Pirates 2: Welcome to Atlanta Matt Adams. The newest Brave hit a two-run homer in his second start since being acquired from the Cardinals and Brandon Phillips hit his 200th career homer. Center fielder Ender Inciarte had a career-high five hits for the Braves who were not fooled at all by Gerrit Cole. Meanwhile, Mike Foltynewicz and four relievers held the Buccos in check.

Giants 6, Cubs 4: Joe Panik homered to lead off the game and doubled twice. Not to lead off the game, though. It’d be impossible to do all of that in one plate appearance. Brandon Belt and Justin Ruggiano homered as well, also in their own distinct at bats. There are rules here.

Astros 1, Tigers 0: A combined one-hitter in a bullpen game. The bullpen game was necessitated by a pinched nerve in Dallas Keuchel‘s neck. Brad Peacock got the start and allowed only one hit and two walks with eight strikeouts over four and a third. Chris Devenski, Will Harris and Ken Giles went the rest of the way for a combined four and two-thirds perfect innings. Michael Fulmer only made one mistake in walking George Springer to lead off the game and then giving up an RBI double to Jose Altuve. Otherwise he scattered eight hits and allowed only that one run in seven innings. That, however, was enough to lose the game.

Diamondbacks 5, White Sox 1: Zack Greinke struck out a season-high 12, allowing only one run in eight and two-thirds. Daniel Descalso hit a three-run homer in the fourth that provided all of the cushion Greinke needed.