Nova lights up Braves

June 11, 2012 | 24 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

Nova: 7 IP, 6 K, 1 BB, 5 H, 0 ER

I loathe you: Newman on how the CBA affected the draft

June 11, 2012 | 16 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Back in November, we spoke with Yankees Senior VP Mark Newman about how the new Collective Bargaining Agreement would affect the way the organization acquires amateur talent. With the MLB draft completed last week and the results in the book, NoMaas’ Sensei John Kreese sat down again with the boss of the farm system to see how the new rules ACTUALLY impacted the Yankees’ draft.

Sensei John Kreese: Now that this year’s draft is completed, what is your level of enthusiasm about the quality of the team’s selections compared to pre-CBA drafts?

Mark Newman: We’re enthused about the guys we got, especially our #1 pick. He’s a quality young guy.

SJK: The last time you and I spoke, we talked about how the draft would look more like the NBA and NFL drafts, in which the picks go more in order of perceived talent (as opposed to kids dropping due to signability). Was that the case this year?

MN: Yes, certainly more so than in the past.

SJK: You also said that the Yankees had been “declawed” by the new rules. Now that it’s over, do you feel like you were declawed?

MN: It certainly seems that teams like the Yankees are at a disadvantage. We’ve always been at a disadvantage because there’s a big difference between picking in the top 5 and picking in the bottom five.

But yes, take Austin Jackson, for example — or David Robertson. Those were guys who were drafted a little bit lower and paid bonuses beyond what their position in the draft would normally dictate. That’s a lot more difficult to do now, especially after the 4th or 5th round. It becomes very difficult, especially for a team like us that has a smaller bonus pool.

Houston signed their top pick for $4.8 million, as has been reported. Their allocation for the pick value was $7.2 million, so they already saved $2.4 million, which is more than 50% of what we had total. They effectively got extra picks for doing that, or like in the NFL, they traded down. People in the NFL trade down because they believe they can get the same kind of player lower in the draft and also pick up another high selection. So, when you have one of the higher bonus bonus pools, it gives you more flexibility.

SJK: The new rules were supposedly put in place to make sure the worst teams acquired the best talent, and to also block teams like the Yankees from gaming the system. Do think those goals were accomplished?

MN: To a substantial extent, yes, they were.

SJK: There are many player agents who are upset at how the draft went down, in particular the strategy of drafting college seniors in rounds 6-10 to save money on the bonus pool allotments [Mark jumped in before a question was asked].

MN: You’re going to see that. When you’re getting bonuses in the $140-$150k range, as in rounds 6-10 — the rules are if the slot value is $150,000 and you aren’t quite sure you could sign that guy for $150k, you’d be better off drafting that player in the 11th round, along with 4 others like him in the 12th-15th round. So, you’re better off drafting a college senior and retaining say, $140,000 of that $150,000, you can spend that money on 11, 12, and 13, and you don’t run the risk of losing it.

Everybody used the college senior strategy. It’s an obvious strategic advantage and everyone wants flexibility. The worst thing you can do is not sign a guy and lose the money.

SJK: With new rules making it harder for teams like the Yankees, have you made any changes to your scouting department?

MN: No. It’s not like we were jogging at 80% in our attempt to evaluate accurately and now we’re at a full sprint. Certainly, how we allocate scouting salaries and scouting expenses might be a way to gain advantage in this type of system, but there’s no obvious advantage that the Yankees can acquire.

SJK: Do you think the draft will be less fruitful for the Yankees because of the new rules?

MN: It’s always been a crapshoot. It continues to be a crapshoot. That’s not going to change. But, we obviously have to work our rear ends off, because it’s critical to our long-term success. We’re trying to manage a major league payroll, and this is a big way to do it. We’re looking at the same kind of restrictions internationally.

SJK: Do you still think the international market is going to be the place where you get the best bang for the buck?

MN: Not necessarily. We’ve done well there over the last decade. We certainly want to continue to do that. But, we’re going to be limited in what we can do — and the last few years, we’ve haven’t been the top spenders either domestically or internationally — [Mark is interrupted as someone comes into his office and tells him that a pitcher is about to throw]

SJK: It seems like this ‘quest for parity’ is making your job a lot tougher.

MN: It’s certainly not easy, but extraordinary organizations find a way. Look at the NFL — the Patriots are still the Patriots, the Giants are competitive every year, and some just aren’t. Smart decisions have to be made from the major league level through the player development level. We have to be smarter and more efficient.

SJK: Well, that’s all I got for questions, Mark.

MN: Ok, I have to go watch a young Dominican kid pitch.

SJK: Alright, many thanks as always.

MN: Sure thing.

Much appreciation to Mark for providing us yet again with direct access to Yankee decision-making.

Have a nice trip back

June 10, 2012 | 54 comments | in Featured | by SJK


That’s not a knife

June 10, 2012 | 36 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

THAT’s a knife…..and Brett Gardner looks like he’s about to go under it.

Daily News:

Brett Gardner, on the disabled list with a strained right elbow, had a setback and is scheduled to visit two more orthopedists next week as the Yankees try to figure out why the injury is lingering.

Gardner will see Dr. James Andrews on Tuesday and will go to Cininnati Thursday to see Dr. Tim Kremchek. He is seeing Kremchek at the request of his agent.

Gardner woke up with pain Saturday and Joe Girardi admitted, “There’s concern we’re not going to have him for awhile.”

If Gardner ends up having Tommy John surgery or something else that keeps him out for the remainder of the season, it’s a big loss.

2010-2011 WAR (courtesy of Fangraphs):

Robinson Cano: 12.1
Brett Gardner: 11.3
Curtis Granderson: 10.5
Alex Rodriguez: 8.0
Nick Swisher: 7.9
Mark Teixeira: 7.5
Derek Jeter: 5.0

And for those of you instantly revert to the “Mother’s Basement” comment when you see a stat you don’t understand, think about it logically. Gardner provides elite defense, gets on base, steals lots of bases — all qualities which can certainly diversify the Yankees’ ability to win games.


June 8, 2012 | 30 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Tango down.

Agent to NoMaas: “MLB teams should be embarrassed about how they treat seniors.”

June 8, 2012 | 23 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

With limited spending pools imposed by the new CBA, one of the clear themes that emerged from the draft was teams drafting college seniors, particularly in rounds 6-10, so that they could:

a. Save money for later rounds
b. Not lose the money allocated to those picks (if a team doesn’t sign a player selected in the first 10 rounds, they lose that money to spend)

We just spoke with a player agent who were are very close with. He had 4 players selected in the just-completed MLB draft. According to him, college seniors are being offered to eat corn the long way.

For example, a particular National League team selected a college pitcher in the 10th round. According to the new CBA, that round is a $125,000 slot. The National League team gave this pitcher $5,000. Thus, that team saved $120,000 that they can now allocate elsewhere, and because they technically signed their 10th round pick, they don’t lose the money. This agent has seen a couple senior signings in the $25,000 range, but that’s the high-end of offers!

In other words, college seniors are being used as draft fodder in an attempt to game the system. It’s so blatant that this agent told us “MLB teams should be embarrassed about how they treat seniors.

He elaborated too, saying that while college seniors never had leverage, the offers were “fairer” in previous years. For example, in the last two drafts, it wasn’t unusual to see college seniors with $40,000-$45,000 bonuses. With the new CBA rules, teams are looking to save money at every opportunity, and the offers to college seniors are much lower this year.

While anyone could make a valid argument that this is a smart strategy employed by teams, it certainly isn’t the most ethical move.

Oh well, we wanted to bring you this information direct from a NoMaasian source. And speaking of NoMaasian sources, we had a conversation today with Yankees Senior VP Mark Newman about the draft. We’ll be posting that interview on Sunday night.

Ivan Nova predicts the Yankees will soon be in first place

June 6, 2012 | 43 comments | in Featured | by SJK

8 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, 4 H, 1 ER (hope you bought low)

I sense the Yankees now have the best run differential in the AL East: +33

Hey Joe Maddon, I got your shift right here

June 5, 2012 | 51 comments | in Featured | by SJK

3-4, Grand Slam — basically his first good game of the year

Andy Pettitte is a bad man

June 5, 2012 | 50 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Louis Winthorpe III

35.2 IP, 32 K, 7 BB, 29 H, 2.78 ERA

The strikeouts are what’s most amazing. He takes a year off and comes back averaging 8.18 K/9 over his first five starts — this from a guy with a career 6.6 K/9. Remarkable.

Slinging it better than ever.

The Yankees and first round picks — a spotty record

June 5, 2012 | 43 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

For those who follow the Yankees’ farm system, the draft is always a source of instant knee-jerk reaction. However, you can learn a lot from history, so here’s some perspective on how the Yankees’ recent first round picks have panned out.

2005 – CJ Henry
2006 – Ian Kennedy
2006 – Joba Chamberlain
2007 – Andrew Brackman
2008 – Gerritt Cole
2008 – Jeremy Bleich
2009 – Slade Heathcott
2010 – Cito Culver
2011 – Dante Bichette Jr

Since the Brackman draft, the Yankees’ first round picks have all arguably disappointed (with one exception). Cole didn’t sign. Bleich hasn’t pitched since 2010 due to shoulder surgery. Heathcott has had two shoulder surgeries and hasn’t played since last season. It’s still very early for the 19-year old Cito Culver, but he hasn’t shown the ability to hit the baseball at any level (.244/.329/.317 in 772 PAs). The only exception so far has been Dante Bichette Jr, who killed it in his first professional season (.335/.440/.507).

In all fairness, this track record is likely typical of any team that drafts as low as the Yankees do each year (due to regular season big league success). Due to draft position, the elite talents are already gone by the time they pick. Still, many of us get excited about these first round picks, but unfortunately, most of them haven’t worked out. Sorry to rain on the parade.

Yankee first round picks typically end up sucking, waaahh, waaahhhhhhhhh

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