Associated Press

A reverse Tebow: Donovan Tate to be a 26-year-old college freshman quarterback

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Remember Donovan Tate? He was the third overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, taken by the San Diego Padres. He was chosen ahead of such players as Mike Trout, James Paxton and Garrett Richards.

He played in the Padres organization for five seasons and then, last year, toiled in the Dodgers system for 10 whole games. He never made out out of A-ball in those six seasons, primarily due to injury problems and a drug problem that caused him to miss the entire 2014 season.

Tate was a highly-regarded high school quarterback before choosing baseball, so now he’s trying to pull a Reverse Tebow:

The Arizona Wildcats are adding another name to their starting quarterback competition, and it’s a player who is eight years removed from his football career. Donavan Tate, the third overall pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, will join Rich Rodriguez’s team as a 26-year-old freshman.

Actually, this is less a Reverse Tebow than it is a Chris Weinke, you may recall, played six seasons in the Blue Jays organization before quitting baseball, going back to college at age 25 and leading the Florida State Seminoles to the national championship. He even won the Heisman Trophy at age 28, giving Tate something to shoot for.

Tate is not getting a scholarship. The Padres, as many team do for their high school draft picks, will pay his tuition.

Good luck, Donovan.

In the playoffs, the Yankees’ weakness has become their strength

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Two weeks ago, when the playoffs began, the idea of “bullpenning” once again surfaced, this time with the Yankees as a focus. Because their starting pitching was believed to be a weakness — they had no obvious ace like a Dallas Keuchel or Corey Kluber — and their bullpen was a major strength, the idea of chaining relievers together starting from the first inning gained traction. The likes of Luis Severino, who struggled mightily in the AL Wild Card game, or Masahiro Tanaka (4.79 regular season ERA) couldn’t be relied upon in the postseason, the thought went.

That idea is no longer necessary for the Yankees because the starting rotation has become the club’s greatest strength. Tanaka fired seven shutout innings to help push the Yankees ahead of the Astros in the ALCS, three games to two. They are now one win away from reaching the World Series for the first time since 2009.

It hasn’t just been Tanaka. Since Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankees pitchers have made eight starts spanning 46 1/3 innings. They have allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 25 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. That’s a 1.75 ERA with an 8.74 K/9 and 2.33 BB/9. In five of those eight starts, the starter went at least six innings, which has helped preserve the freshness and longevity of the bullpen.

Here’s the full list of performances for Yankee starters this postseason:

Game Starter IP H R ER BB SO HR
AL WC Luis Severino 1/3 4 3 3 1 0 2
ALDS 1 Sonny Gray 3 1/3 3 3 3 4 2 1
ALDS 2 CC Sabathia 5 1/3 3 4 2 3 5 0
ALDS 3 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 7 0
ALDS 4 Luis Severino 7 4 3 3 1 9 2
ALDS 5 CC Sabathia 4 1/3 5 2 2 0 9 0
ALCS 1 Masahiro Tanaka 6 4 2 2 1 3 0
ALCS 2 Luis Severino 4 2 1 1 2 0 1
ALCS 3 CC Sabathia 6 3 0 0 4 5 0
ALCS 4 Sonny Gray 5 1 2 1 2 4 0
ALCS 5 Masahiro Tanaka 7 3 0 0 1 8 0
TOTAL 55 1/3 35 20 17 20 52 6

In particular, if you hone in on the ALCS starts specifically, Yankee starters have pitched 28 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on 13 hits and 10 walks with 20 strikeouts. That’s a 1.61 ERA.

While the Yankees’ biggest weakness has become a strength, the Astros’ biggest weakness — the bullpen — has become an even bigger weakness. This is why the Yankees, who won 10 fewer games than the Astros during the regular season, are one win away from reaching the World Series and the Astros are not.