I’m not sure where Mike Tauchman ranks in the pantheon of Yankees. The guy won’t have a plaque in Monument Park. You probably won’t buy his t-shirt either. If there’s one thing a lot of us have learned about the RailRiders era of the 2019 Yankees season though, it’s that big names don’t always carry a team. Its been an amalgamation of performances coming together.
This is why I can’t dump on Tauchman the way I have with Greg Bird or Tyler Wade. For as much as it seemed like he looked lost at the plate, he was pretty solid defensively, every now and then he’d deposit a dinger into the seats and he did have big hits against two studs in Chris Sale and Blake Snell. Those two have been a thorn in the side of the Yankees.
After too many games where those guys have made our superstars look pedestrian, Mike Tauchman managed to be 2 – 4 against Snell and Sale with 2 XBH and 2 RBI’s. In both instances the Yankees beat their rival. Let me know if you wrote that scenario up before the season started.
Now, for just a moment, let’s live in the world where the Yankees sign Bryce Harper. Cashman feeds the masses who wanted a superstar in pinstripes. We all read and retweet that story where Bryce had a poster of Mickey Mantle in his room and ate all that up the way Philly is eating up him wearing shoes with a mascot on it – or whatever makes them happy out there. Next imagine yourself buying about seven different #34 Harper jersey shirts. After you do that, in your mind fast forward to today.
Everyone is injured, Bryce is in a horrendous slump and you already burned those Harper shirts in some exotic ritual to the Baseball Gods. The hope is to get a celestial refund for both Bryce and these lousy shirts. If his numbers are anything like they are now with Philly, they might seem familiar to you – granted his RBI’s are a bit higher.
Obviously Harper is a bit better than Tauchman. In honor of those big hits against Snell and Sale though, I kind of want to play up the point that Harper is having a hard time fully surpassing a guy most of the Yankee fanbase wants to see in AAA right now.
“REMOVE MY HAT PEASANT! On this day of Gleyber Day my hair could not carry me. Find me who is responcible”
This thought is still true if we’re playing by the rules of the tunnel nerds. In fact, by their rules, Mike Tauchman is better. Right now Harper has a 0.3 bWAR while Tauchman’s is 0.6. How wonderful it has been to have a guy who’s essentially Harper-light be a more superior version of him for now. If the Yankees avoid spending money but end up getting the same production, that has to be another win in the Tauchman column? Am I crazy for thinking this?
Also, while Mike Tauchman has had his issues at the plate, for whatever reason he’s been successful in the 9-hole. This is how he has done in that spot according to Fangraphs: 3 HR, 10 RBI, .321 AVG, .424 OBP, .786 SLG, 1.210 OPS (212 wRC+)
Another quick Tauchman fact. He’s been pretty decent vs. lefties up to this point: .316 AVG, .409 OBP, .474 SLG, .883 OPS (140 wRC+)
I don’t know what the Yankees plan on doing with Tauchman. The obvious thing is to keep having him dance between the minors and the majors – something he was used to doing in Colorado. (Granted, he will get more time here.) As we saw in the second game of the double header against Baltimore, Boone isn’t against defensive replacements in close games. We saw how much the Yankees think Tauchman is a defensive asset when they moved him to Clint’s spot in right field that game, then slotted in Gardy for left. (Immediately after Gardy made a great catch to bail out German. Add that notch in the 2019 resumè where Boone wins manager of the year and everyone but Yankee fans sees why.)
Another thing the Yankees could do with Tauchman is trade him. It doesn’t even have to be for another piece that can immediately contribute the team. As we saw last year with Chasen Shreve, Giovanny Gallegos, and Adam Warren, Tauchman could go for International Signing Bonus Pool money. A team looking for a defensive replacement to come off the bench could be interested in him if it means they don’t have to give up anything but money.
Just like how those deals lead to signing one of the top international pitchers in Osiel Rodriguez, the same can happen with outfield prospects Jasson Dominguez and Jhon Diaz. According to Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel on Fangraphs, the Yankees are looking to throw $5 million at Domingez who is the top rated international prospect. It looks like they’ll just throw the bank at Dominguez but if they can get a few more shells from trading these depth guys like Tauchman when everyone is healthy, they might be able to land Diaz too.
These two teenagers out of the Dominican Republic can be ballers at an age when most of us barely knew how to make out and, since Cashman seems to be right about a lot of things recently – just make believe Sonny Gray doesn’t exist – you have to have faith that these two are something special. If they’re right, the old Tauchman deal from the end of Spring Training looks even more genius.
Mama always said don’t stay out after 3 A.M. to scout talent. Nothing good ever happens after 3 A.M.
Of course most of us will be old and complaining about the good ol’ days when Aaron Boone was manager by the time Dominguez and Diaz comes around (if they come around). But if they do pan out, we should give Tauchman a day at Yankee Stadium the day after Shreve Day. (On Shreve Day you get a free commemorative Luke Voit 2019 World Series bobble head – the exact same stance where he took Jon Lester deep – and an Osiel Rodriguez t-shirt with a Home Depot logo on it.) This is fair. If Bucky Dent can be a legend why not Tauch too?