Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Les Williams

Williams: Mattingly Deserves Cooperstown call

December 3, 2022 in Opinion

There are players in the Baseball Hall of Fame that don’t belong. There are players on the outside waiting too long for the congratulatory phone call. New York Yankees legend Don Mattingly still waits for the phone to ring. He’s waited long enough. It’s time to honor Donnie Baseball with enshrinement in Cooperstown’s hallowed hallways.

Mattingly captained the Yankees through some dark periods. He endured George Steinbrenner’s ludicrous barbs about his sideburns. Those legendary burns received their own punchline in the most legendary Simpson’s episode ever.

Now Don Mattingly is my all time favorite player. So this writing isn’t going to be close to objective as I’ve long campaigned for Donnie Baseball to receive his due.

Mattingly’s career spanned 13 Bronx summers. His single trip to the postseason was nothing short of electric. He blasted a homer that brought the Yankee Stadium crowd to its feet and ushered in a new dynasty in the 1995 playoffs. Sadly, Mattingly would not captain that dynasty as the pull of family and not a bad back drove him from the game. Fate is cruel sometimes.

The baseball writers had more than a decade to elect Mattingly. They didn’t. The veterans committee sent Harold Baines to Cooperstown for some reason. This year feels a little too Braves-centric with Chipper Jones and Greg Maddux on the committee. Fred McGriff feels like a lock, As he should. But so should Mattingly.

Mattingly slashed .307/.358/.471 over 1785 career games. He homered 222 times. He was a six time all star, the 1985 AL MVP and a nine time Gold Glove winner for first base.

Mattingly once told a young prospect named Derek Jeter to always run, even during lazy spring training days, because you never know who was watching. Well, a generation of fans like myself watched. We learned the game the right way watching No. 23 play first base for the Yankees.

My name is Les Williams and I fully support Don Mattingly’s enshrinement in the Baseball Hall of Fame and you can bet I’ll be there should he have a long overdue speech to give.


The Great Aaron Judge Chase Begins

November 7, 2022 in Opinion

Now that the World Series is over, the real chase begins. The chase for Aaron Judge.

The Yankees get the initial shot at retaining presumed AL MVP Aaron Judge over the next five days. Judge, 30, smashed an AL record 62 home runs while leading the majors in almost every major offense category.

Oddly enough, the man heading those negotiations from the Yankees side, GM Brian Cashman, is also without a contract. Barring a colossal breakdown, Cashman will be retained.

So what will is take to keep Judge from heading home to California? The Dodgers and Giants figure to be major players if the Yanks can’t come to an agreement with no. 99. Judge famously pushed all of his chips into the middle of the table by rejecting the Yankees $213 million extension offer just before Spring Training. Judge and the team agreed to table negotiations until after the season.

My best guess is if the Yankees offer eight years at $350 million, that gets the job done. Now if the Dodgers or Giants come in at $400, he’s gone. There’s never been a player like Judge. He’s the biggest player in the game and the face of baseball. Yes, that’s my East Coast Bias coming out. Shohei Ohtani probably nets a bigger deal if he doesn’t eliminate an entire side of the country and looks to burnish his Cooperstown credentials with a contender.

Now is the time we find out what Hal Steinbrenner is made of. It’s going to take serious dollars to keep Judge in the Bronx. Steinbrenner has been married to his precious budget since assuming control of the Yankees. That’s like buying a Mustang for the simple fact of driving it to the grocery store. He’s got capital. He’s got the biggest revenue stream in baseball. Don’t be fooled, the Yankees can get any player if they really want him.

We at Pinstripe Perspective are going to dive into this in the near future. Drop your guesses in the comments or shoot them my way on Twitter, leswilliams23.

Is The Yankees’ Fanbase at a Crossroads?

October 28, 2022 in Opinion

Hal Steinbrenner heard the boos.

Yankees fans rained them loud and angrily at the Yankees managing general partner at the ceremonies honoring Paul O’Neill and Derek Jeter. They let Steinbrenner have it like he was Jose Altuve or David Ortiz.

Fans are left wondering though, does Hal care about your feelings? Retaining Aaron Boone shows he doesn’t. He wants a manager that will toe the company line. One that will take the marching orders from Brian Cashman’s analytics department and take out Gerrit Cole from a pivotal playoff game.

Gerrit Cole delivers a pitch during the 2022 season.


We at NYY Takes have touched on this to an extent. And you can bet we will do it again during this pivotal offseason. Because it’s potentially franchise defining.

All eyes will be on Aaron Judge this offseason.

It starts with retaining  presumptive American League MVP Aaron Judge. The numbers will be staggering. Offering Judge eight years in the $325-$350 million range seems reasonable. And I can’t even believe I typed that sentence. But it has to be done. Judge is the North Star by which the clubhouse is guided. You saw it first hand as he strapped a dovetailing franchise to his pinstriped no. 99 jersey and carried the team to the division title. Every single other hitter in the lineup hit like swung the bat like they were trying to connect with a pesky fly. If the Yankees don’t retain Judge, you can welcome back the 1980s Yankees results. It wasn’t pretty then. It won’t be pretty next season.

What to do about the infield? IKF wilted and the Yankees were strangely late to realize he’s not the guy to man shortstop. He double clutches and can’t range like the best of the best. Yanks fans knew it all season, yet Hal and Cash were late to summon uber prospect Oswald Peraza from Scranton. Then, even more shocking, nailed him to the bench following his call up. Even more bizarre, they started him in the ALCS.

Should Oswald Peraza be the 2023 Opening Day shortstop?

Anthony Volpe is coming too. Do the Yankees have the stomach to start Peraza at short and Volpe at second. That scenario would mean trading Gleyber Torres. Something I think would benefit the team. Gleyber’s focus and results ebb and flow in maddening fashion. Yes he rocked the baby on Josh Naylor, which was awesome. But a pivotal error on a flip to IKF for a double play helped seal the ALCS sweep.

But it all comes back to Hal. Will he exhibit a drive to win a championship we haven’t seen yet? Or will there be the same status-quo focus on the budget that results in some boring moves, riled up Yankees fans and a miserable offseason. We will know the plan exactly when Judge puts his name on a massive contract. If it’s the Yankees, then get your popcorn ready. If it’s elsewhere, then boo that man all the way back to Tampa. Boo him at the grocery store, the gas station. Boo him by not spending your hard-earned dollars on overpriced chicken buckets, draft beers and tickets.

Until the Judge deal is done, enjoy the  World Series. Root your heart out for Philly Rob, Kevin Long and the Philadelphia Phillies.


Looking at the Oswald Peraza conundrum

August 29, 2022 in Opinion

Bring up Oswald Peraza or leave him in Scranton? The calls for the star shortstop prospect have been grown louder the last few weeks. With every IKF strikeout or weak groundout, one more Yankee fan demands Peraza in pinstripes.

And why shouldn’t they want to see a member of the Holy Trinity of Yankees shortstop prospects? Peraza, Somerset’s Anthony Volpe and Trey Sweeney of Hudson Valley are all jockeying to be the next great Yankees shortstop.

Right now, Peraza is closer, only by level of competition. And he’s knocking loudly on Yankee Stadium’s doors. Through 97 games with the Railriders, Peraza is slashing .257/.325/.441, with 18 homers and 49 RBI. He’s committed just nine errors at short for a .970 fielding percentage.

Conversely, IKF is slashing .262/.310/.315 with that lone, majestic home run against Boston. IKF has also committed 11 errors in 114 games. Not spectacular compared to what Yankees fans have witnessed for 20 years of Derek Jeter and another fun stretch by Didi Gregorious.

Now how would that work? First of all, Peraza is on the 40 man roster. Meaning he could be called up and the team would not have to cut any players to make room. However, MLB rosters are limited, so someone would have to go in order for him to be on the big league roster. My guess would be seldom used Marwin Gonzalez. He gets barely any playing time as it is. He’s taking up a useful roster spot. So long, Marwin.

Oswaldo Cabrera has shown rookies can play in the Bronx. The last every-day player to start as a rookie was Aaron Judge. IKF isn’t playing his way out of the job in the field, but he’s not inspiring any confidence when he steps to the plate.

Peraza should get a call up before the season ends and stays a step ahead of Volpe, who will be the more highly rated prospect in Spring Training 2023. It’s going to be fun to watch how this all plays out, but I know I want to see Peraza in pinstripes before season’s end.

Williams: Memories from Derek Jeter’s 3,000th Hit

July 9, 2022 in Opinion

With the approaching premier of the Derek Jeter documentary ‘The Captain,’ I thought it would be fun to write about the best sports event I’ve ever attended: Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit.

Today marks 11 years since Jeter took Tampa Bay’s David Price weak offering deep to become the first Yankee to ever collect 3,000 career hits. He simply owned Price that day. Much like the way the Yankees dominated Price his entire career.

Here’s a fun fact about me: I’m extremely nerdy when it comes to baseball and being able to be in the right place at the right time. For instance, being in the stands for DJ3K was part luck, part checking the weather. The week leading up to DJ3K, a former coworker pegged the Friday, July 8, 2011 game as when Jeter would get the hit and decided to have a little fun with me about it. He thought it would be in his best interest to rub my nose in the fact he’d see the hit and I wouldn’t. Jeter needed just a pair of hits.  Now I’m kind of a jerk about things, so I took a look at the schedule, pitching matchups and, most importantly, the weather. I didn’t let on that his game was going to get rained out, so I got tickets to the Saturday game.

My game? Not one cloud in the sky. Beautiful day for Yankees baseball.

My ticket stub from Jeter’s 3,000 hit.

There was no waiting for the hit. Jeter was a man on a mission as the pressure built to not only get to 3,000, but to do it at Yankee Stadium. First inning, single for 2,999. Each pitch, each at bat, the nearly 50,000 strong serenaded the Captain with “Der-ek Je-ter” chants. I got goose bumps.

Middle of the third inning, I decided I needed a beer and a dog. Had time, right? WRONG. I check the monitor in line waiting for my fare, here comes Jeter. Dogs and beers had to wait. DJ3K waits for no snacks.

This at-bat was a nail biter. Jeter fouls off pitches. Count gets full. In true Price vs. Yanks form, the ninth pitch Jeter has to go down and get and he crushes it over the wall in left. As the say in the wrestling world, pandemonium ensues. Christian Lopez grabs the ball, emerges victorious and is the hero of the day.

Jeter is mobbed at home plate after homering for hit 3,000

In an absolutely classy move, Lopez doesn’t hold the ball hostage looking for a payout. He said afterward he felt giving the ball the Jeter was the right thing to do. It was. He got his picture taken with Jeter, some signed merchandise and season tickets for the rest of the 2011 season.

Jeter went 5-5 that day. Collected the game winning hit as well.

Like Michael Kay said in Jeter’s last Yankee Stadium at-bat, ‘Derek Jeter, where fantasy becomes reality.’

Williams: Previewing Yankees Trade Deadline Needs

July 7, 2022 in Opinion

If you listened to the most recent episode of NYY Takes, we had a spirited conversation about the potential for the Yankees to make a move for either Pittsburgh’s Bryan Reynolds or Kansas City’s Andrew Benintendi at the Trade Deadline. Of course you listened, then you told your friends and family and they did too.

Per Fangraphs, Reynolds (27) and Benintendi (27) are currently remarkably similar players. Reynolds has a slash line of .253/.328/.460  compared to Benitendi’s .314/.380/.400. The big difference is in the power numbers. Reynolds has 15 homers compared to Benitendi’s three. Reynolds is under contract for a few more years, while Benintendi is a free agent following the conclusion of the World Series. Benintendi would be the cheaper option, in terms of what goes to KC. But he fell off after leaving Boston. I personally think Reynolds is the better player who would benefit from a change of scenery and status in the playoff hunt.

It’s pretty wild to think the team with the best record in the game has glaring needs, but the Yankees need to upgrade. Can they survive the rest of the way with IKF providing little-to-nothing in terms of offense? In the regular season, sure. But once October hits, they need something from him. I’m just not sold that he’s going to see meaningful ABs as the Yanks chase title no. 27.

Robert Coles has been ardent in his desire to see the Marlins’ Joey Wendle come to the Bronx. I’m on board. He’s got a slash line of .297/.357/.426 for a Miami team going nowhere. While he’s only hit a pair of homers, that’s two more than IKF. Wendle may also benefit from the short porch in right. He’s got 9.8 strikeout percentage, which is fine by me. I’ve been advocating for Oswald Peraza to get promoted from Scranton. He probably gets the call at some point.

Now the big question, would the Marlins really make a move with the Yanks after starting the process of purging anyone connected to Derek Jeter and the Yankees? Prospects and money talk, there might be a deal there.

The one area that’s causing me the most anxiety is the rotation. Have we seen the best of Jameson Taillon and Nestor Cortes? They’re both great stories, but they’ve had some tough starts lately. The Yanks need horses to get through the October gauntlet.

Brian Cashman has some work ahead of him. If the Yanks are going to parade down the Canyon of Heroes, no trade should be considered too risky. Cashman’s always been overly protective of prospects. But he’s got to be open to moves to win it all.

What’s behind Gleyber Torres’ resurgence?

June 20, 2022 in Opinion

Among the great storylines of this Yankees season has been the resurgence of second baseman Gleyber Torres.

courtesy/ New York Yankees

Torres, 25, has had a rough couple of seasons. The pandemic-shortened 2020 season nearly derailed Torres’ once promising career. He admitted to getting a little out of shape after spring training was stopped and had a difficult time ramping back up once a the season resumed.

The Yanks also unsuccessfully experimented with moving Torres to shortstop. Standard fielding metrics as well as the eyeball test indicated Torres wasn’t going to last at short. Torres had nine errors in just 40 games in 2020. Then doubled that with 18 in 2021. Gleyber’s offensive slash lines weren’t great. In 2020, he slashed .243/.356/.368 with an ISO of .125. In 2021, he slashed .259/.331/.366 with an even-worse ISO on .107.  He struck out 20% of the time.

Through 60 games of 2022, new-dad Gleyber Torres looks like a different player. He looks like a player deserving both an all-star selection and a contract extension. He’s slashing .267/.314/.524. His slugging percentage is incredible. He’s cut down his strikeout percentage to 18% and his ISO is an unreal .257. He’s no longer rolling over on pitches and weekly grounding to short. He’s barreling the baseball at 11.9% clip, up from just 7.8% in 2021. The wonderful thing about the advanced metrics at Fangraphs is that it solidifies what you’ve been watching this year. And that’s Gleyber Torres is back.

Gleyber being awesome again is one of my favorite stories from this season. Maybe moreso than Jose Trevino from  nowhere or Clay Holmes turning into an out-of-this-world closer. I’ve enjoyed watching him hit walk-offs. His base running is also greatly improved. That could be because Luis Rojas is a tremendous upgrade over Phil Nevin. But watching him score the other day seconds after Giancarlo Stanton was gutsy and heads-up baseball. I’m going to keep an eye on Gleyber Torres the rest of the way and you should as well. Give him your vote and get him to LA!




Father’s Day: Losing a Dad, chasing the captain and a little boy that binds the two

June 19, 2022 in Opinion

The year is 2013, New York Yankees Captain Derek Jeter is in my hometown of Scranton, Pa., on a rehab assignment with the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders. The city is at a fever pitch. The local newspaper is tracking Jeter sightings. And I’m a month away from losing my father.

My Dad, Les Williams, Sr., was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in early 2013. The doctors gave us a course of treatment that led to a positive prognosis. But, it’s cancer. There can always be complications. And there were. But that’s not the point of this writing.

Les Williams Sr.

Baseball is a game loved by fathers and passed down to sons. My love of the Yankees was actually passed down from my Dad’s middle brother, who took me to my first game in 1985. But my Dad always made a point to watch the games so he could talk to me about them. My Dad bought me my first Don Mattingly autograph when I was either 11 or 12. I recently passed that down to my youngest son, Derek. My little captain recently turned 2 in April. (See the underlying ‘what I did there?’)

My Dad spent the last couple of months of his time on Earth shuttling between hospitals. I was at his bedside daily. That’s what sons do. Dad didn’t watch news. He consumed it. He’s probably the reason I have a strong thirst for current affairs.

So back to Jeter’s trip to the Electric City. Dad found out about it and asked me if I’d be attending any of the games. I was torn. How could I enjoy anything knowing my Dad could have a setback at any minute? He knew I was torn. But, my Dad mustered up one more Dad-talk and practically ordered me to go.

So for four games of Derek Jeter as a Railriders, I was in attendance. I made several attempts at getting Jeter’s autograph. The closest I got was 3 feet, only to have an adult knock my ball and pen. from my hand because I had cut in front of her adult daughter. Kids can get ahead of me any time. I encourage it. Adults? Good luck. I’m 6-2, 220.

Derek Jeter playing shortstop for the Railriders.

After each game I’d get back to my Dad’s hospital. Disregarding quiet hours, we’d talk about the game and my failed effort at securing Jeter’s autograph. It became a quest for me. I wanted to prove myself one last time to my Dad. It’s weird, I know. But it was nice to get to PNC Field to watch Derek Jeter play baseball in my town for the first time since he was a Columbus Clipper.

Fast forward to 2020 and I’ve got a baby boy on the way. And we’re in the early stages of a global pandemic. My wife and I tossed around different ideas for the first name. His middle name was always going to be Leslie. An honor to both his father and the grandfather he’d never meet. Derek Leslie Williams was born in April 2020. He’s every bit a baseball fan. He’s a Yankees fan through and through. Something fathers pass down to sons. Derek yells home run with every pitch. He loves to watch his older brother Logan play. To the point we have to restrain him from running into the dugout.

Derek Williams at Derek Jeter night at PNC Field.

Baseball is the great binding element. It connects fathers and sons through games of catch. It’s hours spent throwing batting practice and hitting fungos. It’s buying trading cards and spending far too much on apparel. In my house, it’s FAR TOO MUCH. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, stepfathers, grandfathers and father figures. Never take one second for granted.




MLB All-Star Game: Vote now for Your Yankees

June 14, 2022 in Opinion

MLB rolled out the ballots for this year’s MLB All-Star Game, which will be held July 19 at Dodger Stadium. Fans can vote up to five times per day until June 30 on

We know Aaron Judge will be there. He’s the far and away the AL MVP. Each at-bat is must-see TV. So which Yanks will join No. 99 in LA? Let’s go around the diamond.

Catcher: Jose Trevino is an amazing story line. I had no idea who he was until he started hitting walk offs on his Dad’s birthday and catching me right in the feels. He’s slashing .309/.356/.505 in 39 games. He’s tied for 2nd in WAR amongst all catchers, alongside Alejandro Kirk. Kirk slightly squeaks out Trevino in most offensive categories, but lags well behind in defense. Can Jose get there? He sure can. Will he? Only if you stuff the ballot box.


Anthony Rizzo featured


First Base: Like Judge, Anthony Rizzo seems to homer every single time up. He homered in the first 3 games of the season and has 15 on the year. He’s playing outstanding defense, as usual. Slashing .216/.319/.454. He is just 11th amongst AL First Baseman in WAR, 7th in wRC, but leads in home runs and RBI.  He could definitely make the team, and I think he will given his popularity.

Second Base: The Gleyber Torres Renaissance continues. I’m driving the Gleyber Train to LA and I want you to come along for the ride. Torres needed a bounce back season after a couple of down years. He homered against the Cubs, who originally signed him as a teenager. Slashing .212/.299/.495 and playing a stellar second. Every day seems to be Gleyber Day for the new Dad. Get this man in the starting 9.

Shortstop: We at Pinstripe Perspective started the season bullish on IKF. He’s not doing much to stave off the minor league trio of Oswald Peraza, Anthony Volpe or Trey Sweeney. Slashing .263/.314/.306 while playing so-so defense at short. Wouldn’t bet on him making the roster.

Third Base: Josh Donaldson probably doesn’t win the fan vote or any popularity vote. We waited for a Donaldson controversy and he delivered. The Yanks sustained, but Donaldson’s been inconsistent.

Left Field: Joey Gallo. This guy’s been an all star in year’s past, and he was last season’s big splash at the deadline. But his time in New York’s be a fight at the plate. There’s few players I’m rooting harder for than Gallo, I just hope there’s time for him to turn it around in The Bronx. Not earning a trip west this season.

Center field: Aaron Hicks. My disdain for Hicks is well documented. He stinks every way imaginable. He badly misjudged a ball in Sunday’s game and it turned into an adventure before he managed to both catch the ball and avoid injury. Nope, he’s not an all start.


Right field: Aaron Judge. The baddest man on the planet. The franchise cornerstone and the best player on the best team in baseball should garner the most votes.

Designated Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton. Welcome back, Big G! Stanton had a Gallo-esque start to his Yankees career. But he seems back to MVP form. He hits homers that get out of the box faster than a Ferrari. Yanks fans will need to stuff the ballot box for Stanton to edge out Shohei Ohtani and Yordan Alvarez. So get after it, Yankees Universe.

Pitching: Gerrit Cole, and Nestor Cortes should be locks. Severino, Taillon and Clay Holmes all deserve recognition as well, but it will come down to the wire.


Williams: Against the clock, Cashman needs to sign Judge

May 22, 2022 in Opinion

Like Kenny Rogers once sang, ‘you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold em.’

Yankees GM Brian Cashman sat at the table across from Page Odle, the agent Aaron Judge. Neither man walked away with a win. But a third man sat at the table, placing the largest wager possible. Today, Judge’s wager on himself looks like a huge win.

Judge, 30, is having a monster season. He’s hitting .307, crushed 14 homers, .384 OBP, .657 slugging percentage and 1.041 OPS. He’s stayed healthy (BANG ON WOOD) manning his customary right field and patrolling center when the Yanks go to their jumbo package outfield. He is the best player on the best team in baseball.

However, in one month, Judge and the Yankees will go to an arbitration hearing over $4 million. Yes, you read that correctly. $4 million dollars. Judge’s agent proposed a $21 million salary for the 2022 season. Cashman countered at $17 million.

Arbitration hearings can lead to hurt feelings. As the club has to defend their position with sometimes critical reasoning. Who could forget the fallout from the 2017 hearing between the Yankees and reliever Dellin Betances. Betances was an awesome reliever. But he wasn’t the closer. The closer makes the money. Betances asked for $5 million. The Yanks countered at $3 million and won. Yankees president Randy Levine went on a bridge-burning conference call to both strut and insult Betances’ representatives. Over $2 million.

So what will happen June 22? Your guess is as good as mine. But I hope the Yankees and Judge never make it to the hearing.

The Yankees have made strange decisions when it comes to acquiring talent. They haggled with Judge and Betances over a combined $6 million. But they paid huge sums of money for Jacoby Ellsbury and Alex Rodriguez to not play for them. They also gave pitcher Kei Igawa $46 million to make a handful of appearances while taking a shuttle between NYC and my hometown of Scranton.

The back end of the monster deal rarely looks good. We saw that with the Angles sending Albert Pujols packing.

But this is Aaron Judge. He’s an MVP and a big, shiny World Series ring away from Cooperstown. He could get both this season. It’s not my money, but 8 years, $300 seems like it would work. There’s mega rich, free-spending owners on both coasts that would probably go further to poach Judge from the Bronx. Brian Cashman’s reaching fold ’em time.

Copyright © 2021 Pinstripe Prospects

Skip to toolbar