Thursday, April 11

Scout says Yankees ‘pitchers are having a party’ with Gary Sanchez gone

TAMPA — Right after the news broke late Sunday night about the Yankees’ stunning trade with the Minnesota Twins, we tracked down a long-time Major League pro scout to get some thoughts on the deal plus fresh scouting reports on who’s headed this way. And as always, we granted anonymity to get an honest assessment.

Here was the scout’s initial comment to the Yankees trading catcher Gary Sanchez and infielder Gio Urshela for third baseman Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and catcher Ben Rortvedt:

“The Yankees got lucky and pulled one off. Wow! I don’t know what the hell Minnesota is doing.”

And here was his reaction to the Yankees finally parting ways with Sanchez, who endured several years of massive offensive and defensive struggles after being a star early into his career:

“I guarantee you the Yankees pitchers are having a party because Sanchez is gone!”

Sure, especially Gerrit Cole, who wanted no parts of Sanchez catching him and usually got his way.

Here are bios on the Yankees’ newcomers with scouting reports provided by the MLB scout:


Age: 36 (37 on Dec. 8, 2022).

Size: 6-1, 210.

Bats: Right.

2021 hitting stats: Twins, .247 average, 457 AB, 73 runs, 113 hits, 26 doubles, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 74 BB, 114 K, .827 OPS, 135 games.

2021 fielding stats: Twins, 13 errors, 271 chances, .952 fielding percentage in 92 games (91 starts) at third base.

The skinny: Three-time All-Star (2014-16). … Won 2015 AL MVP after establishing career highs with 41 homers and 123 RBI to lead Blue Jays to a division title. … Was drafted as a catcher by the Cubs in first round in 2007. … Was in A-ball when traded to Athletics in 2008. … Switched to third base in 2012 spring training and was a regular that season for A’s. … Called out Yankees ace Gerrit Cole last season for using illegal substances on baseballs before MLB’s crackdown on sticky stuff. … Scored the 2 millionth run in MLB history in 2021.

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Scouting report: “He’s a power-lift guy, and it’s power to all fields. This guy will murder a fastball. He murders mistakes. You hang breaking stuff to him, he’ll crush it. I really like him offensively. He’s really aggressive, but it’s a controlled aggressiveness. He hits balls hard. He can drive them the other way. He’s got big pull power. And he’s a solid third baseman who can really throw. Urshela is a better defender, but you don’t lose a lot playing Donaldson at third. He’s going to make all the plays he should. He’ll go behind the bag to make a play, and he’s got more than enough arm to throw guys out from there. Makeup wise, Donaldson is a little different. This is one of those guys where you’re going to have to warm up to him in the clubhouse. He will speak his mind. He had a home run off (White Sox pitcher) Lucas Giolito last year and was running around the bases yelling, ‘You can’t use the sticky crap now!’ He’ll pop off. But out on the field, he’s a gamer. I’ll go to war with him. The one concern is Donaldson has had a lot of injuries the last five years that kept him off the field a lot. If he can stay healthy, this is a big help for the Yankees.”

* * *


Age: 26 (27 on March 23, 2022).

Size: 5-11, 190.

Bats: Right.

2022 hitting stats: Rangers, .271 average, 635 AB, 74 runs, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 20 SB, 5 CS, 28 BB, 90 K, .670 OPS, 158 games.

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2022 fielding stats: Rangers 19 errors, 669 chances, .972 fielding percentage in 156 games (155 starts) at shortstop.

The skinny: Was traded by Rangers to Twins on Friday, then flipped to Yankees a day later. … Played third base full-time in 2020 and won a Gold Glove. … Native of Honolulu is a mix of Samoan, Hawaiian and Japanese descent.

Scouting report: “Kiner-Falefa is good defensively. It’s just a matter of how much are you going to get from the bat. He’s more of a line-drive guy, but his swing can get big. I think this is a good get for the Yankees. They’re getting a cost-effective shortstop that is a stopgap until Anthony Volpe is ready. I’ve got no issues going this route. Kiner-Falefa definitely is a defensive upgrade over Gleyber Torres. This guy can play all over the field, too. He played a great third base in 2020 and he can even catch a little bit.”


Age: 24 (25 on Sept. 25, 2022).

Size: 5-10, 205

Bats: Left.

2021 MLB hitting stats: Twins, .169 average, 89 AB, 8 runs, 15 hits, 1 double, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB, 29 K, .510 OPS, 39 games.

2021 MLB fielding stats: Twins, 3 errors, 2 passed balls, 44% caught stealing (7-for-16) in 39 games (28 starts) at catcher).

2021 minor-league hitting stats: St. Paul (AAA), .254 average, 122 AB, 18 runs, 31 hits, 6 doubles, 5 HR, 22 RBI, 10 BB, 35 K, .750 OPS, 34 games.

2021 minor-league fielding stats: St. Paul (AAA), 1 error, 5 passed balls, 13% caught stealing in 29 games (28 starts) at catcher.

The skinny: Has a career 44% caught stealing rate (94-for-253) as minor leaguer. … Drafted by Twins in second round in 2016 out of Verona (Wisc.) High. … Native of Madison, Wisc.

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Scouting report: “First of all, anyone is an upgrade defensively over Sanchez, but this is a guy who everyone says is a really good receiver and his stats throwing out base stealers are tremendous. He won’t bring you much at the plate, but the Yankees probably are thinking they have enough offense. He’ll be an upgrade just handling the pitching staff better than Sanchez did. I guess the Yankees want to platoon this kid with Kyle Higashioka. I’m OK with it. Also, the Yankees took care of a need here bringing in a young catcher that can play the position. The catchers that they’ve got in the minor leagues … The jury is out on whether former first rounder Austin Wells is going to catch and the two others they used high draft picks on in recent years, Josh Breaux and Anthony Seigler, I’m not feeling it with those guys.”

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Randy Miller may be reached at [email protected].

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