American Ninja Warrior

July 26, 2014 | 24 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

ichricobigi
Ichiro hits his first HR of the year in the 3rd
 

What has happened to you?

July 24, 2014 | 37 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Via Lohud / Brian Cashman on NoMaas-favorite, Rob Refsnyder:

Pretty cut and dry reason why he hasn’t called up Rob Refsnyder. “I don’t think we would be significantly upgrading at second base right now,” Cashman said. “… If you did see him, he would be probably more likely an outfielder for us.” Cashman said Refsnyder has a legitimate chance to be the big league second baseman next year, but they don’t feel he’s ready to do that right now. Cashman said he thinks the immediate impact would be much less than outsiders might expect. “It’s a super big jump to the big league level,” Cashman said.

Brian Roberts: .244/.307/.373 (86 wRC+), 0.3 WAR
Rob Refsnyder at AAA: .301/.401/.497 (151 wRC+)

Compare this to comments Cashman made in 2005:

“We have to get back to doing what made the Yankees so good for such a long period beginning in the ’90s,” said Cashman. “We’re in the position we’re in because we stopped developing our own young players.”

“… storm clouds are on the horizon if we keep just staying old,” Cashman said. “You’ve got to reinvent yourself with youth and mix them in with the veterans, instead of going all veterans.”

Yankees Get Decent Head

July 24, 2014 | 18 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

Better late than never…our Chase Headley trade analysis:

Before the trade news made it around World Wide Web, I received a disgruntled text from Sensei John Kreese (at an undisclosed location) notifying me that the Yankees had acquired Chase Headley. He was not excited that the Yankees had traded yet more young, team controlled players for a rental with an 88wrc+. But since The Sensei is, er, indisposed… you’re going to get my silver lining take on this deal.

Let’s start with the Official NoMaas Position: The Yankees have a bad team. They are unlikely to be able to trade their way out of this mess to create a playoff team, no less a legitimate World Series contender. Every move they make in that direction — trading young players for rentals, holding on to soon-to-be free agent sinstead of restocking the farm system — is driving this franchise deeper and deeper into the morass that began in 2012. The proper move for the Yankees right now would be to stockpile young players and trade away the few valuable assets they have to build for next year and beyond, not continue to sacrifice an already waning future in a hail mary attempt on this season’s team.

However… if the Yankees are going to pursue this reckless course, the Headley trade is about as good as you can ask for. We don’t like trading youth, but Cashman seems to have minimized any potential damage to the future in only giving up Solarte and De Paula. Solarte is debuting in his age 27 season. He projects as a below-average hitter the rest of the way and that’s likely where he’ll stay until he washes out of the majors. No tears will be shed over his loss.

De Paula is a bit of a different story. He’s still just 23 and is the type of guy that scouts like to say “has electric stuff” (science!). He’s dominated the lowest minor league levels, and he’s been a strikeout machine throughout. There’s potential there. That said, he’s not close to being major league ready, he was on nobody’s list of top ten Yankees prospects, and his ERA has stalled out at Class A+ ball.

In return, the Yankees get a piece that fits their puzzle very well. For all the talk about upgrading the rotation, it’s the lineup that needs immediate medical attention. Headley has been slowed by a BABIP that’s 45 points below his career average. Steamer and ZiPs project him to be ~10% above the average major league hitter the rest of the way. His wOBA is certainly going to see a boost going from one of the very worst ballparks for lefty batters to one of the very best. Even without a huge offensive rebound, Headley would provide the Yankees with value because of his defensive prowess (career 8.6 UZR/150). And all this at a position where the Yankees had a weak and unreliable set of players rotating in and out of the lineup.

Headley will be a steady hand at the hot corner and gives the Yankees a sure, if limited, boost in their blinkered quest to get bounced by the Tigers in the playoffs again.

Cut to the Chase

July 23, 2014 | 17 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

headlynewguy
Headley gets a walk off base hit in the 14th in his first game as a Yankee

“Bombers” now averaging less runs per game than in 2013

July 22, 2014 | 31 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

After Monday night’s two-run offensive outburst, the Yankees are now averaging 3.99 runs per game this season. That ranks 16th in MLB.

Even more startling is that this run production is now less than the 2013 club, which averaged 4.01 runs per game.

Simply mind-boggling.

Sunny days keeping the Reds away

July 20, 2014 | 23 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Ellsbury NoMaas Sesame Street
4-4, 2B, 2 SB

Yankees swept the Reds with the assist of the sun, as the Reds lost a Brian McCann popup in the bottom of the 9th.

Padres get Angels top prospect for Houston Street (sigh)

July 19, 2014 | 23 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

ESPN:

The Los Angeles Angels acquired All-Star closer Huston Street and prospect Trevor Gott from the San Diego Padres for minor leaguers Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Jose Rondon and Elliot Morris in a trade on Friday night.

Now the Angels’ system is weak, but by trading a reliever, the Padres were able to get the best prospect in LAA’s organization in second baseman Tayor Lindsey. Baseball America also ranks him as the 93rd-best prospect in minor league baseball.

It’s not a king’s ransom, but it’s a nice piece. Plus, the Padres picked up 3 more prospects as well.

Wake up, Cash.

With CC gone, Brian Cashman needs to stop living in denial

July 18, 2014 | 15 comments | in Featured | by SJK

USA Today:

New York Yankees’ CC Sabathia will have season-ending knee surgery on July 23, general manager Brian Cashman said.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Yankee GM reiterating his desire to be an aggressive buyer on the trade market, particularly when it comes to the pitching staff:

“I have to reinforce our pitching, in my opinion,” Cashman said in a phone conversation Thursday. “I have things that I feel I have to try to do, that I’m trying to do, but it is easier said than done.”

“We have to try to improve, reinforce and upgrade, certainly,” Cashman said. “We certainly we would love to have some significant upgrades but when you lose four out of five starters, it is hard to re-materialize the same type of abilities with the guys you lost. It is whether you incrementally upgrade.”

First of all, it’s amazing that Cashman never mentions how the putrid offense (90 wRC+) needs to be upgraded. It’s always the pitching he talks about.

Secondly, when is enough enough? This is not a good baseball team. It’s been outscored by 37 runs. Tanaka is out. Sabathia is now out. It doesn’t take a man to stand there and get your head beat off. Stop this quest for mediocrity and media relevance. Why is it so blasphemous to take a knee and set the foundation for the next couple seasons? Stop this bullsh*t.

Thoughts before tonight’s game (July 18, 2014)

July 18, 2014 | 3 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Rupert Pupkin

Thoughts on both teams before tonight’s game against Cincinnati:

I had taken the last series before the All-Star break off. In my last post of impressions of a given series/game, I had managed to jinx Masahiro Tanaka (elbow soreness, out at least 5 weeks), Brett Gardner (sat for the game with a lat strain) and Carlos Beltran (fouled a ball off his face, 7 day concussion DL) in one fell swoop of a post. It felt like it was all my fault, and I didn’t want to do any further damage.

In reality, though – the Yankees don’t need help being bad or mediocre. They were doing just fine on their own. Here’s hoping they pick it up for the “second half” (they’ve already played 94 games) and find some way to sneak into the playoffs ahead of AL East leading Baltimore (Yanks are 5 games back) or the second wild card leader, Robinson Cano’s Seattle Mariners (NYY is 3.5 back) by season’s end.

I don’t have much confidence in the roster in its present state, but crazier things have happened. I assume anyone else who loves watching baseball does so with the knowledge that a team is in it until they’re not. Until I see the Yankees eliminated mathematically, I will choose to disregard their .500 record and -37 run differential (4th worst in the AL) and hope for the best.

Yankees

Impression Lately: The team has managed to avoid outright sucking lately and instead settled into simple mediocrity. They are 47-47 and 5-5 in their last 10. I think that about sums up my impression.

Thing I Hope to See: A strong second half from Brian McCann. He seemed to have figured out a bit at the plate before the break – hitting .364/.371/.424 (.796 OPS) with 12 H, 2 2B and 2 RBI over the last 8 games. A resurgence (or even just a return to his career norms) would go a long way in helping the Yankees stay alive and seriously flirt with contention.

Player I Want To Watch: This is more about PLAYERS I want to watch more closely before moving on from them forever. I’m interested in seeing just how much longer the Yankees ride out the past success (relatively speaking) of both Kelly Johnson and Brian Roberts. There are guys in the minors (Rob Refsnyder!) and others in the majors (Zelous Wheeler, Yangervis Solarte) who are likely capable of producing similarly to these two veterans. At what point do we let the “kids” (some of these minor leaguers are not exactly fresh out of the womb) show us what they’ve got instead of leaning on someone’s experience? It’s an interesting question, as the Yankees have tended to prefer experience over youth regardless of output. Something to keep an eye on for the next month or so, as the playoff picture becomes clearer for baseball and for the Yankees.

Reds

Impression Lately: The Reds have been a weird team this year. They have some solid starting pitchers – Johnny Cueto especially (but Mike Leake and Homer Bailey are no slouches) and boast a team ERA of 3.46 to accompany a 3.90 FIP/3.69 xFIP. All told, they have good pitching from start to finish, with Aroldis Chapman being an elite closer. The Reds hitting has a slash line of .249/.309/.386. Their star hitter, Joey Votto, is on the DL. They rank 22nd overall among all teams in wRC+ (the Yankees rank 24, for reference). Their record is 51-44 and they have a +28 run differential. At the end of the day, they’re a better team than the Yankees right now.

Thing I’m Expecting Tonight: Mike Leake is pitching and, as I mentioned above, he’s a solid starting pitcher. Leake has a 3.54 ERA/3.72 FIP/3.42 xFIP, so it’s safe to say he’s a pitcher who generally allows about 3.5 runs per start. He has a .302 BABIP compared to his career .294 BABIP. All things considered, what you’re seeing is what you should expect to get from Leake. I’d love to see something better than that from the Yankees’ mostly woeful offense, but the stats speak for themselves.

Player I’m Afraid Of: Billy Hamilton – the Yankees need to do all they can to avoid letting this guy on base. If they can, they may want to consider ways of not hitting the ball to him in CF either. Hamilton can absolutely fly and is putting up a surprisingly great rookie season (he was up for a 13 game cup of tea last year and still managed 0.6 WAR) with a slash line of .285/.319/.423 to accompany his 38 stolen bases. He has 3.2 WAR, which is good for 22nd(!) in MLB. He is a fast, fast man who is starting to figure it all out at the ripe age of 23. I enjoy watching him play against other teams, but I’m afraid of watching him oppose the Yankees.

Updated playoff odds confirm Yanks should be sellers

July 14, 2014 | 26 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

The last time we posted the Yankees playoff odds was on June 26th. Since that update, both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus have dramatically reduced the Bombers’ chances of playing October baseball. It further confirms what we posted this weekend: Cashman & Co need to accept reality and sell.

Fangraphs (via CoolStandings):

10.4% chance of making the playoffs either as the division or wild card (down from 26.5% on 6/26)

The 10.4% probability is split between a 7.6% chance of winning the division and a 2.8% chance of getting a wild card spot.

Baseball Prospectus:

21.6% chance of making the playoffs either as the division winner or wild card (down from 39.7% on 6/26)

That 21.6% probability is comprised of a 16.7% chance of winning the division and a 4.9% chance of winning the wild card.

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