As easy as…

June 17, 2012 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK



Washington Times:

“He seemed extremely aggressive,” Pettitte said. “When you see him swinging the way he was, for me, it was like: Why go anywhere else right now? I just stayed with those cutters.”

But as Harper told a reporter who approached him, “I don’t want to talk,” it was clear that the mourning process for this performance might be longer than most.



Giving props

June 16, 2012 | 15 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

With David Robertson making his return on Friday, the bullpen is now as complete as it will be in the near-term. Therefore, it’s time to give props on how the relief staff performed in the absence of two of the most dominant relievers in the current game. The pitchers deserve credit. Joe Girardi deserves credit. And for the all the questions he justly receives for his starting pitching decisions, Brian Cashman deserves credit for understanding how to build a bullpen.

Current AL Bullpen Rank in parentheses:

xFIP: 3.75 (4th)
FIP: 3.26 (1st)
ERA: 2.71 (2nd)
SIERA: 3.22 (5th)
K%: 23.4% (3rd)
BB%: 9.4% (11th)

While the bullpen hasn’t pitched as good as its ERA indicates (mainly because of the lowest HR/FB in the league – Soriano hasn’t allowed one), they have held the fort down strongly.

Boone Logan, Corey Wade, and Rafael Soriano are the main reasons behind the success. The recently-departed David Phelps was respectable too with a 4.14 xFIP in his 25 relief innings. Contrary to perhaps popular thought, Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley are living on thin ice with the amount of people they walk. Rapada is offering free passes to 17% of batters faced, while Eppley is walking over 10%. Eppley does induce a ton of groundballs though (66%).

Overall, you can’t complain — an excellent job by some spare parts and the most stoic baseball player in history.


The tuck rule

What’s all the hype about?

June 16, 2012 | 36 comments | in Featured | by SJK


No big deal: 6 IP, 9 K, 2 BB, 6 H, 1 ER

The Joe Girardi Name Key

June 13, 2012 | 54 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Joe Girardi nicknames EVERYONE, and for fans, it’s often difficult to tell who he’s talking about. Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of CONFIRMED nicknames he’s used this season, and correctly identified the player that each belongs to. Never be confused again!



Georgia on their mind

June 13, 2012 | 45 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III


Granderson’s 2-run HR helped beat Atlanta blind.

Grand slam record now shared by two horses

June 12, 2012 | 75 comments | in Featured | by SJK


The Iron Horse

And…


The Centaur

Look at that, you can predict baseball

June 11, 2012 | 22 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Many broadcasters and writers are correctly citing the improvement of the Yankees pitching as one of the big reasons behind their recent surge. Their team ERA heading into the Atlanta opener was 3.85, good for 6th in the AL.

This improvement, however, should come as no surprise to anyone, as those crazy/hot pocket-eating/mother’s basement stats saw this coming from a mile away.

Back on April 23rd, our zit-faced virgin sabermetrically-inclined analyst Vizzini wrote the following:

The broadcasters will tell you the Yankees pitching has been a problem. They look at the 4.36 ERA (21st) and see a struggling staff. You read NoMaas, so you know stats with greater predictive power and know the arms doing just fine.

The Yankees go into the last week of April with a 3.49 xFIP (5th). That looks even better when you compare them to the other teams in the more difficult American League — their team xFIP is 26% better than the AL average, 2nd only to the White Sox. Another very predictive metric is the ERA estimator SIERRA. The Yankees have the 3rd-best SIERRA at 3.22.

The good news should keep rolling in as hopefully Freddy Garcia is eventually replaced by Andy Pettitte. If Michael Pineda can get back on the field at some point this season, the Yankees are likely to be one of the most dominant pitching teams in MLB.

While Pineda obviously didn’t happen and might not ever happen, it was clear in April that the Yankees were pitching significantly better than their ERA indicated. We’ve seen notable improvements with Hughes and Nova especially, both of which were expected if you looked at those never-touched-a-female statistics.

So don’t fear the stats. Take a little time, develop a basic understanding, and add them to your arsenal. While a certain somebody may tell you otherwise, you CAN predict baseball.


“Jawn, can you predict what I’m going to do to you?! Oh my gawd!”

Minor League Players of the Week, the “Has Betances gone Rick Ankiel?” edition

June 11, 2012 | 9 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

– Covering June 4th – June 10th games — *Rain shortened week for both Tampa and Charleston*

Pitcher:
Brett Marshall, 22, RHP, AA
12 IP, 12 K, 4 BB, 13 H, 5 ER, 1 HR
Notable: 22 K over last 24 IP

This is Marshall’s 2nd MLPW of the season, as he delivered a solid 2-start week with plenty of groundballs. For the season, he has a groundout/airout ratio of 1.22, and we know how the organization feels about groundball pitchers.

Yet, as we highlighted in Brett’s previous MLPW win, he’s experienced a sizable decrease in strikeouts since he made the move to Double-A Trenton. His 5.65 K/9 (compared to 7.31 K/9 last season) means he’s relying more on his fielders and the luck of the bouncing ball — he’s certainly benefited from a .263 BABIP. The ERA is impressive at 2.64, but his FIP entering his June 10th start was 4.22 — which reflects the lack of strikeouts.

He’s having a solid season, no doubt, but we’d like to see him missing bats like he did in Tampa (A+).

Hitter:
Jose Pirela, 22, RHB Utility, AA
.444/.516/.518 in 31 PAs, 2 SBs
Notable: Suffered a concussion in April, which kept him out until late May.

The 22-year old Pirela has gone berserk in his second go-around at Trenton. After this past week’s performance, the Venezuelan is hitting .380/.451/.563 in 83 PAs. Pirela missed a month and half of the season, after suffering from a concussion from a pitch to the head.

To put this performance in perspective, Pirela is a career .264/.333/.368 since making his Yankee debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2007, so a significant cooling is likely in order. Plus, he has a sky-high BABIP of .431. But, what a return from injury he’s having. Until this point, he’s never been regarded as a real prospect, but maybe a utility rule could be in his future.

Honorable Mentions:

Shane Greene, 23, RHP, A+
6 IP, 8 K, 0 BB, 0 H, 0 ER

6 perfect innings against the Daytona Cubs on June 9th

Mark Montgomery, 21, RHP, A+
2 IP, 3 K, 0 BB, 2 H, 0 ER

Finished Greene’s perfect outing, 46 K in 28.2 IP — ridiculous.

Dante Bichette Jr, 19, RHB 3B, A
.435/.435/.565 in 23 PAs

The best week of Dante’s otherwise slow season to date: .266/.350/.330

Mason Williams, 20, LHB CF, A
.429/.478/.619 in 23 PAs, 2 SBs

Impressing with a .306/.362/.471 season line

In the ‘Rick Ankiel Syndrome’ Category…

Dellin Betances, 24, RHP, AAA
9.2 IP, 12 K, 10 BB, 10 H, 10 ER, 2 HR

Over 2 starts — season: 62.1 IP, 57 K, 56 BB

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.

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