Yankee pitching tames Tigers

August 5, 2014 | 15 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Brandon McCarthy NoMaas Yankees Tiger
5.2 IP, 8 K, 2 BB, 5 H, 0 ER (1 R)

Brett Gardner keeping playoff hopes alive

August 4, 2014 | 12 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

High-priced free agents, fugetaboutit. The best player on the Yankees is the last homegrown starting position player this organization produced: Brett Michael Gardner, otherwise known as RUN BMG.

Gardner’s overall value to the Yankees should not be a surprise. He’s been criminally-underrated by Yankees fans for years, despite being the 2nd-most productive Yankee during Robinson Cano’s tenure. Let’s not forget that in 2010 and 2011, he totalled 10.9 Wins Above Replacement, which ranked 12th-best in all of MLB.

And now because he’s having his best hitting season ever (130 wRC+), the masses are finally beginning to appreciate him.

Per Fangraphs, Gardner has been worth 3.5 Wins Above Replacement so far this season. After that, it’s Jacoby Ellsbury at 2.2 WAR.

Gardner ranks 13th in the American League this season in terms of WAR, and is only a touch behind Miguel Cabrera.

The only thing that bugs us about BMG is the large decrease in stolen base attempts. In 2010 and 2011, he swiped nearly 50 bags in each season. He’s only attempted 22 steals year-to-date, continuing a trend of decreased aggressiveness starting from last season. We’d really like to know why he doesn’t run as much anymore.

Regardless, in the year of RE2PECT, this is Brett’s team right now.

After taking 2 of 3 from America’s Team™, where does that leave Yankees’ playoff probability?

August 4, 2014 | 2 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Fangraphs (via CoolStandings):

19.7% chance of making the playoffs either as the division or wild card

The 19.7% probability is split between a 9.9% chance of winning the division and a 9.8% chance of getting a wild card spot.

Although still a low percentage, this is a sizable increase from the 10.4% back on July 14th.

Baseball Prospectus:

18.8% chance of making the playoffs either as the division winner or wild card

That 18.8% probability is comprised of a 9.6% chance of winning the division and a 9.2% chance of winning the wild card.

Oddly, this is a decrease from the 21.6% chance that Baseball Prospectus had on July 14th.

Also of note is that Baseball Prospectus has always been more bullish on the Yankees than Fangraphs, and now that has changed. Why? We don’t know. But it’s interesting to note.

Cashman confirms he won’t be calling up Refsnyder

August 1, 2014 | 32 comments | in Farm System | by SJK

Via Lohud:

“I’ll have him focus solely on second base the rest of the way,” Cashman said. “I’ve been pretty consistent and reluctant to bring him up. I’d rather him play the whole year out and prepare potentially to take a shot at the roster next year.”

He returns quietly in the night

July 31, 2014 | 14 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Louis Winthorpe III

Cashman Ninja NoMaas Yankees

Sox front office showing Yanks how it’s done

July 31, 2014 | 42 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

The Red Sox’ Reality-Based Front Office strategy is turning our heads. First of all, we tip our caps to them for getting all the basics right. Cherington and company acknowledged that a team with 48-60 Pythagorean record is a bad team and that they should be selling all their impending free agents. They did so by unloading Lester, Lackey, and Miller today. They understand the value in building a deep farm system in an era where young stars are getting locked up to long term extensions. To that end they somehow managed to unload a middle reliever in Andrew Miller for the Orioles’ #3 prospect, Eduardo Rodriguez (#65 on Baseball America’s preseason top 100 list). Kudos to Cherington not only for pulling off a great deal, but for overcoming the ridiculous and self-defeating taboo against trading within your own division. The Red Sox make their farm system better, and in doing so, they weaken the farm system of a division rival.

The Miller trade is a great example of a classic rebuild-for-the-future deal. In the Lester and Lackey deals, the Red Sox are pioneering a next level approach to selling at the trade deadline. By acquiring Yoenis Cespedes, Allen Craig, and Joe Kelly, Boston has reloaded with players who are sure to help them compete next year. They address their glaring need for an outfielder by adding Cespedes’ strong bat and Go-Go-Gadget Arm, giving them a solidly above average player on a below market contract. They also address both their rotation and lineup depth by adding two more players in Kelly and Craig who project to be around league average next year, have some upside from there, and are under team control for years to come. They accomplish all this before having to commit any of their budget on the free agent market.

Compare this to your third-place New York Yankees. After wasting an immense opportunity to move an incomparably valuable trade chip in Cano last year, the Yankees will once again chart a course to a mediocre future by holding on to eminently tradeable assets Hiroki Kuroda and David Robertson. They once again will walk the middle course of trying to eke out a playoff appearance with an unexceptional team, neither going all in this year nor making sure next year will be better. We acknowledge that the decision to sell is much easier for Boston, as their actual W-L record puts them well out of the race. But, the Yankees’ expected W-L record (50-57) reveals that their team is in the same class as the Sox in terms of actual prowess. Look at the Rays- a better team than the Yankees (54-54 xW-L), who have about the same shot at sneaking into the playoffs. This expertly run franchise has taken a totally different tack- selling the league’s best pitcher for a young pitcher that will immediately help out next year and beyond, plus a top young prospect with years of team control. The Yankees, conversely, will be entirely dependent on a grim free market to fill huge gaps in their roster. Meanwhile the A’s, with less than half the Yankees budget, manage to compete year after year and now are going for it all with the league’s best team.

These franchises are universally respected among both SABR nerds and the old guard. They get impressive results in the standings and are all poised for a serious championship run in the near future. It can’t be ignored that they are doing things very differently than the Yankees. The closest analog to the Yankees strategy- keeping the embers of playoff hopes stoked by trading your near and long term future, and acquiring just enough now players to remain World Series long shots- is probably the Kansas City Royals. A sad, sad sentiment.

When two front offices get it

July 31, 2014 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Yahoo Sports:

The Oakland A’s on Thursday morning acquired Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester, the playoff-tough left-hander who can be a free agent at season’s end, in an all-in effort to win the AL West and make a deep October run, baseball sources told Yahoo Sports.

The agreed-upon trade will send Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the A’s. In return, the Red Sox, embarking on their second roster makeover in two years, receive outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and, critically, a competitive balance pick in the 2015 draft. Cespedes, 28, can become a free agent after the 2015 season.

The Red Sox acquired the second pick in what is known as “competitive balance round B,” which will come after the second round of the draft

Love the trade for both sides.

Oakland: As one of baseball’s elite teams this season, Billy Beane clearly knows he has a legit chance to win a championship and acquired one of baseball’s top pitchers. Also, the last thing Oakland wants is to end up in that one-game wild card matchup. Acquiring Lester helps them in their quest to hold off in the Angels in the division race.

Boston: Really just an astute move on their part. Knowing the team is clearly out of the race, they trade away a soon-to-be free agent for an above-average bat that will help them in 2015 AND they get a draft pick. Plus, they leave open the possibility of re-signing Lester in the offseason.

Makes you wonder what the Yankees could have received if they traded Cano last season.

If Cash wants to make upgrades, they should be of the very low cost variety

July 31, 2014 | 5 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Per Fangraphs, the Yankees have a 13.7% chance of making the postseason. We are already on record with our article “Know When To Fold ‘Em” that our preference is for the club to be sellers and trade away their soon-to-be free agents in Kuroda and David Robertson. It’s the same thing we said last year when we advocated the trading of Robinson Cano. This front office is trapped in a downward spiral of win-now mania and it needs to stop.

However, if the insanity must continue, we hope Cashman & Co have the common sense to not make a blockbuster acquisition and hamstring the future of the club. Chances are this team is not making the playoffs anyway no matter who they trade for. If Cash wants to trade for slight upgrades and give away cash or a C level prospect, then fine. Maybe the Yankees get lucky and sneak into the postseason by some Pythagorean miracle. But, we hope Cashman is looking at reality. The most prudent course of action would be to sell, but since this front office refuses to change its mentality, we hope any acquisitons don’t condemn this club to more seasons of mediocrity.

What’s to lose by trying it?

July 29, 2014 | 57 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Five days ago, Brian Cashman said that Triple-A second baseman Rob Refsynder would not be an upgrade over Brian Roberts. It was a bizarre comment to say the least. Why? Because Brian Roberts is terrible.

After going 0-3 in Monday’s loss against Texas, Roberts is now hitting a putrid .237/.300/.360, which is good for a wRC+ of 81 (19% below the average hitter). He’s a replacement-level scrub at this point (0.1 WAR).

Seriously, what is to lose by calling up Refsynder, who’s been killing minor league pitching all season and has a chance to figure into the club’s future?

We simply don’t understand the decision-making anymore. This is a club that waited two months too long to release Alfonso Soriano, and now has some sort of unexplainable affinity for Brian Roberts.

Yanks cooling off, drop 3rd in a row

July 29, 2014 | 17 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Brian McCann Frozen Disney NoMaas Yankees
.240/.292/.376

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