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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 6/22/21

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Gerrit Cole unconvinced by turnaround; Gary Sánchez’s recent resurgence; Ex-Yankees prospect Domingo Acevedo set for MLB debut; Checking in on All-Star voting

New York Yankees v. Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Bryan Bennett/MLB Photos via Getty Images

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Gerrit Cole is happy with the Yankees’ week of success, however he remains unconvinced that a turnaround is complete. He pointed out the various times this season where the team responded to period of adversity with a handful of wins, but were unable to maintain sustained consistency. He echoed Brett Gardner’s sentiment cautioning the team to not get complacent; not take one step forward and two steps back.

It is refreshing to hear a more measured evaluation in contrast to the unending positivity from other voices in the organization. He stressed the importance of continuously working to improve, something he will look to do in his start tonight against the Royals. Though he stands at the center of the discussion about foreign substances, he remains focused on the task at hand.

New York Post | Dan Martin: There is no more mercurial a player on the Yankees than Gary Sánchez. His bat has carried the offense at times and been a black hole in the lineup at others. Although he lost the full-time starting job to Kyle Higashioka after batting .190 in April, he got his season back on track with a run of big-time performances. Sánchez has been one of the team’s best hitters in June, slashing .315/.362/.704 with five home runs, 12 RBI, and a 184 wRC+ in 15 games.

What exactly led to Sánchez rediscovering the magic that wowed the league in 2016-17? Aaron Boone credits a pair of mechanical adjustments. Sánchez has quieted his lower half and ditched a high leg kick, becoming more balanced at the dish. Not only has he buoyed the offense, he has even played his way into All-Star consideration. His .820 OPS is third among qualified catchers while his 125 wRC+ is second among AL backstops.

NJ.com | Mike Rosenstein: Domingo Acevedo is a name many around here will remember. A long-time top prospect in the Yankees system, Acevedo tantalized Yankees fans with his six foot seven inch frame and triple-digits fastball. However, he was never able to make jump from Triple-A to the big leagues. He was released in 2019 to open a 40-man spot for Cory Gearrin, but was brought back on a minor league deal shortly thereafter. After not pitching in 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season, he elected free agency and was signed by the Oakland Athletics on a minor league deal in November 2020.

On Monday, he was signed to the A’s 40-man roster and called up to the big league squad. He certainly earned the call-up, pitching to a 2.76 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 16.1 innings with the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators. Later that evening, he made his big league debut, giving up a hit and collecting his first strikeout on 14 pitches in the eighth inning of the A’s loss in Arlington. He hopes to follow in teammate and fellow ex-Baby Bomber James Kaprielian’s shoes in fulfilling former top-prospect status upon joining the A’s.

MLB.com | Thomas Harrigan and Matt Kelly: Phase One of MLB All-Star Game fan voting concludes this Thursday, so let’s take a look at the Yankees who are projected to move on to the next round of voting. Aaron Judge is second in AL outfield balloting with ten percent of the vote, trailing only Mike Trout. DJ LeMahieu makes a surprise appearance in third place for AL second base balloting, although that is more a reflection of the dearth of quality second baseman. He owns nine percent of the vote, trailing Jose Altuve (21 percent) and Marcus Semien (35 percent). There is still time to get Sánchez into the next round, a distinction he deserves considering there are players with negative WAR ahead of him on the ballot. Get out there and vote people!