Sunday, September 1, 2013

Jeter's First Week Back Not Pretty

(Courtesy of Texas Leaguers)

That's Derek Jeter's spray chart since returning to action on Monday.  Needless to say, it doesn't look good.  Jeter has just 3 hits in 21 plate appearances this week, with 5 strikeouts and 3 GIDPs, and only 1 went for extra bases.  That was a line drive double down the right field line, the only real solid contact Jeter has made in his 5 games back.  Of all the other balls he's put in play, all except 1 have been ground balls.  Even his 2 singles up the middle were on groundballs, and that extreme GB split is indicative of Jeter still not being anywhere near ideal game shape.

The good news is that Jeter has been able to play a week's worth of games without suffering another leg injury.  The bad is that there hasn't been much in his performance at the plate to suggest there is a lot of strength in those legs.  Jeter isn't hitting the ball with any kind of authority and his high whiff rate against offspeed stuff suggests he might be cheating heavy on the fastball just to make that contact.  A turnaround would give hope that Jeter can get back to 100% for next season, but it doesn't seem like a very likely outcome given what we've seen this week.

First Round Of September Call-Ups Have Been Made

As expected, the Yankees made a batch of call ups today as part of September roster expansions.  Dellin Betances, David Adams, Brett Marshall, J.R. Murphy and Cesar Cabral were the 5 announced for today, with Preston Claiborne likely to join in the next day or so.

Betances, Adams, and Marshall don't come as surprises, with all 3 having spent some amount of time on the Major League roster earlier this season and all 3 being on the 40-man roster.  Murphy was a bit more surprising given that he started the year in Double-A and doesn't figure to see much playing time, and Cabral might be the biggest surprise of all.  He missed all of last season with a broken elbow and had worked his way back to Triple-A this year.  As I mentioned on Thursday, he's looking to audition for that LOOGY job in 2014.

Jayson Nix was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a spot for Murphy and in an extension of his bad luck, Melky Mesa was designated for assignment to clear a spot for Cabral.  Mesa would have joined this group today had he not injured his hamstring earlier in the week.  How's that for salt in the wound?

Report: Yanks To Call Up Murphy Today

As first reported by Joel Sherman on Friday, the Yankees intend to call up J.R. Murphy from Triple-A today to serve as their 3rd catcher.  The move comes as a bit of a surprise - Murphy isn't on the 40-man roster and hasn't really been talked about as a major September call-up candidate - but not an unearned surprise for the 22-year-old catcher coming off a career year.  After hitting .268/.352/.421 (.353 wOBA) in 49 games at Double-A Trenton, Murphy was moved up to Triple-A where he hardly missed an offensive beat.  In 59 games for the RailRiders, Murphy hit .270/.342/.430 (.350 wOBA) and overall he set career highs this season in hits (111), HR (12), and BB (47) while throwing out 37% of potential base stealers.

As the third catcher, Murphy will see little if any playing time in September.  This promotion comes mainly as a reward for a strong MiL season and mainly because there isn't a single other viable catching option in the system right now.  Murphy will catch bullpen sessions and work with the team during pregame workouts, and there will be plenty for him to learn from watching and talking with the team's veteran players.  By choosing to bring him up for that purpose, the Yankees are showing a slight change in organizational philosophy.