It’s a good thing no one actually saw this game

May 9, 2012 | 26 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

…because they may have been disappointed.





Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Panama anymore

May 9, 2012 | 51 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini


0.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 HR

It is he who shall remain nameless

May 8, 2012 | 42 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

Voldemort goes 2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI

 

**Props to Jonathan Pap-Smear for noticing the eerie resemblance**

Mo’s examination not looking good?

May 8, 2012 | 28 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

For years, we’ve run a Yankees news stream on the site [scroll down and look over to the right]

One of the headlines caught our eye this morning…

CBS New York:

Yankees fans were hoping to hear good news — if you could call it that — and perhaps a timetable on Mariano Rivera’s expected knee surgery.

The word that came out of the injured closer’s examinations Monday won’t do much to assuage their worst-case fears.

“We ran into complications,” Rivera’s agent, Fernando Cuza, told the New York Post. “I am referring to Dr. (Christopher) Ahmad and (Yankees general manager) Brian Cashman for further information.”

Rivera was seen Monday by three doctors at two hospitals. He was still expected to have season-ending surgery on his torn right ACL, though Cashman wouldn’t elaborate on what the “complications” might have been.

“I won’t comment on that right now,” he said, according to the Post.



The bullpen minus Mo

May 7, 2012 | 26 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Heading into the season, most people thought the Yankees would have an outstanding bullpen — and that has certainly been the case:

However, with the loss of the greatest reliever in history, will this premiere bullpen cease being top class? It’s a downgrade to the depth chart, for sure, but the Yankees should still maintain a solid pen.

First, the Yankees couldn’t be better positioned to absorb the loss of Mariano with David Robertson waiting in the wings. Remember, D-Rob was actually better than Mariano last year in ERA, FIP, xFIP, and SIERA. For non-stat geeks, what this means is that Robertson was the better pitcher in 2011. In fact, since the start of 2011, D-Rob has arguably been the best reliever in all of baseball (Craig Kimbrel being the other case). As reliable and comforting it feels to have Mo back there, it’s hard to argue the Yankees lose much if God’s innings go to Robertson.

Of course, there’s a chain reaction in the earlier innings to consider. Rafael Soriano is obviously not in the same class as D-Rob. He’s had repeated health issues, and his xFIP since joining the Yankees is 4.25. He walks too many batters, and his extreme fly ball tendencies are scary in Yankee Stadium. Joe Girardi would do well to optimize his appearances on the road . After that, the bullpen is an open question.

Still, it’s a question that at least has potentially rosy answers. Corey Wade has put up some ridiculous peripherals in an ultra-small sample: 13.1 IP, 10.80 K/9, 1.35 BB/9, 51.4% groundball rate. He’s obviously not THAT good, but it might not be a total mirage. He’s more than doubled his slider usage and it has been very effective. As long as he doesn’t fall off the map, he’s at least a suitable setup/middle reliever.

Boone Logan and Clay Rapada are there to fill in against lefties in high leverage spots. The Yankees also have young guys who are candidates to eat up middle innings effectively, as we’ve seen with David Phelps. There’s obviously DJ Mitchell too, but don’t sleep on AAA reliever Chase Whitley who’s been speeding through the system.

And this is to say nothing of possible reinforcements coming off the DL in the final months of the season. Former closer David Aardsma could be back in August, and there’s an outside chance Joba Chamberlain could return, which is a potentially huge boost for the back end.

Joe Girardi has the pieces to patch over this wound and still have a top bullpen. It is imperative, now more than ever, that he avoid his past match-up folly and properly leverage his late inning guys. This includes tearing himself away from the “closer is reserved for save situations” rule. The Yankees have one pitcher who is clearly in a class of his own. If the Yankees find themselves in a very high leverage spot in the 8th, or even the 7th inning, Robertson needs to be in there.

Feeling lucky?

May 6, 2012 | 16 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

From time to time, we like to see how the gambling world is looking at the season. With a month completed, there’s been some shuffling of the favorites, while other teams have dropped considerably. In the pre-season, the Phillies were the favorites, but that has now changed to the Rangers. The Yankees are still right there, even with their early season mediocrity. And obviously, many people aren’t buying the hot starts of certain clubs. Here’s how sports betting sites are currently placing the odds of some notable teams winning the World Series:

(For those unfamiliar, the higher the number, the bigger the longshot)

Yankees +525
Red Sox +1350
Orioles +4250
Rays +825
Blue Jays +2000

Rangers +365 (current favorite)
Tigers +625
Indians +3850
Nationals +1650
Cardinals +875
Phillies +655
Braves +950
Mets +4750

You can’t front on that, Yanks beast Royals in series finale

May 6, 2012 | 63 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Bombers get split with KC, trounce Royals 10-4

Jeter: 2-3, 2B, 2 BB
Granderson: 2-5
Arod: 2-3, 3-run HR
Cano: 2-5, Grand Slam
Teixeira: 0-3, but 2 walks good to see
Swish: 1-5, HR
Ibanez: 2-4, 2B

And of course…


So whatcha want?: 6.2 IP, 7 K, 1 BB, 6 H, 3 ER – still belongs in the rotation

RIP MCA

The Yankees 3-4-5 vs Mike Tyson Punchout characters

May 6, 2012 | 15 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Let’s take a look at three of the Yankees’ slow starters and see what their fighting against to get back to championship-level hitting.

-Numbers as of completed games on 5/4

Cano (.295 wOBA) – Opponent: Glass Joe

Robbie’s plate discipline is fine. He’s actually walking more (7% of PAs) and striking out less (12%) than last year. Last year, he swung at 42% of pitches out of the zone, and that is down to 33%. The biggest factors plaguing Cano are an unlucky BABIP of .283 (.320 career) and lack of power (.104 ISO).

Cano’s line drive rate (21.5%) is above his career average (19.8%) so there’s no reason to think he’s earning a lower BABIP than normal. Once that regresses, he’ll be right back around his career wOBA (.357). Whether he can get back back to the .375 wOBA range of recent years will depend on the return of his home run stroke. Part of the low ISO is just a product of the unlucky BABIP (line drives that might have gone for extra base hits are finding gloves).

However, a big part of the problem is his ground ball rate, which has climbed from 44% in 2010 to 47% in 2011 to 54% so far this year. Ground balls are less likely to go for extra base hits, and they never leave the yard. Cano and K-Lo might want to get together to make sure Cano’s swing is staying level and hasn’t lost any uppercut tilt. Otherwise, nothing to see here. Cano is just shaking of the first round rust, and he will start knocking them out very soon. When he does, don’t call it a comeback…

Alex Rodriguez (.352 wOBA) – Opponent: Bald Bull

Father Time is charging hard at ARod. Like Cano, he appears to be seeing the ball well. His walk rate (13%) and strikeout rate (17%) are slight improvements on his career averages (11% & 18% respectively). Also, like Cano, he stands to get a (smaller) boost from balls finding grass instead of gloves. His BABIP (.293) is .25 points below his career average (though, BABIPs are down league wide).

Unlike Cano, we shouldn’t expect to see a huge change in Rodriguez’s ISO (.144, down from .185 last year). ARod turns 37 this year, and no amount of massages from Kobe Bryant are going to make his knees magically heal. ARod’s immense talent means that he’s still going to be a solidly above-average 3B this year. But, it won’t be long before Yankee fans are cursing “Kahretsin” at Randy Levine for giving Rodriguez this contract.

Mark Teixeira (.285 wOBA)- Opponent: Mr. Sandman

Yikes. Tex has been the worst of this trio and the peripherals don’t look good. He’s always been a patient hitter (career 11% walk rate), but he’s only walked in 5% of his PAs this year. Either he is failing to recognize pitches or his bat speed has slowed considerably, as he is swinging at 34% of pitches out of the strike zone (compared to his pristine 23% career average).

At 32, Teixeira should not be too far removed from his prime. But, some chronic injuries might be both symptom and cause of an early decline phase. He has had a steady 4-year decline in line drive rate. The precipitous drop in BABIP, from a .302 in 2008 to the current .225 is puzzling and provokes as much consternation as it does hope for a rebound.

Have age and injuries Sand Blasted Teixeira off the map? Well, let’s not count him out just yet. Even if his BABIP is being suppressed by the shift and a pull-conscious uppercut swing, he’s not really a .225 BABIP hitter. Since 2000, the lowest career BABIP hitter (min 4000 PAs) has been Pedro Feliz with a .265 BABIP. He’s better than Pedro Feliz, right?

Mark’s also been dealing with a bronchial infection all season, so a return to full health would be a boon to his performance.

Yet, getting back to being a feared slugger will not be as easy as just typing in 007 373 5963 for Teixeira. It’s certainly possible (and looking likely) that this another long-term deal that the Yankees could regret. However, it’s imperative that Teixeira re-discovers his patience, so that he can raise his OBP through walks and make pitchers throw into his wheelhouse.

Mo: “I didn’t hear no bell.”

May 4, 2012 | 34 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Mariano Rivera to reporters on Friday:

“I am coming back. Write it down in big letters. I’m not going out like this.”


“One more round.”

Keep Hughes in the rotation

May 4, 2012 | 51 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

We were planning on writing this anyway, but with Mo gone, the calls for Hughes to the bullpen will likely intensify…

Last year at this time, there was much anxiety about Nick Swisher’s slow start. Despite carrying a .292 wOBA well into May, we assured you that all was well with Swish. He proceeded to go on a long tear (.460 wOBA in June, .389 in July, .402 in August) and finished with a healthy .358 wOBA on the year.

This time around, it’s Phil Hughes facing the brunt of the hysteria. Here’s Ken Davidoff, after Hughes’ second start:

When the ultra-careful Joe Girardi says, “We’re going to have to make an evaluation” of his starting rotation, as the manager did yesterday morning, then you know job security isn’t at a premium here…

…Something’s got to give. And Hughes, two starts into what was supposed to be his rebound season, is giving up way too much to the opposition. After getting hammered by the Angels for six runs, eight hits and two walks in 3 1/3 innings, the 25-year-old owns a 9.00 ERA in eight innings over two starts.

And the NY Times after his fifth start:

Hughes still was not good enough to win… [He] allowed four runs and four hits, including two home runs, in five and two-thirds innings.

And now ESPN tells us Hughes shouldn’t count on being in the rotation much longer:

With Andy Pettitte probably a little more than a week away and rookie David Phelps making his starting debut on Thursday in Kansas City, Hughes did not do much to firm up his grip on the No. 5 spot.

If Phelps is lights-out against the Royals, the rookie is not going earn another start? If Phelps pitches well, then Hughes might be taking his reborn “reliever mentality” to the bullpen or perhaps — but probably not — as far as Triple-A.

High ERA! Only One Wins!! Triple A!!!

Okay, let’s just take a deep breath. Yes, Hughes is 1-4 with a U-G-L-Y 7.48 ERA. But he’s got a solid alibi: a trifecta of bad luck with a .328 BABIP, 56.7% strand rate, and a 19.4% HR/FB rate.

Fact is, Phil Hughes is striking out 9.55 batters per nine, good for 13th-best among all MLB starters (min. 20 IP). His walk rate is a respectable 2.91 per 9, and his line drive rate represents one of the lowest of his career at 17.1%. Furthermore, he’s done all of this against above-average competition including the Rangers, Rays, and Orioles (2nd, 6th, and 8th in team wOBA).

There is one caveat with Hughes: his perennially high flyball rate combined with Yankee Stadium means he will give up his fair share of home runs. At this point, it appears that this who he is, and he will not be the ace the Yankees thought they had.

At minimum though, his peripherals show he can be a very effective back-end starter, and they also provide some hope that he can be a #3 guy. Again, the strikeouts are there and the crazy-low stand rate (9th-lowest in MLB) is really juicing his ERA.

With Pineda going down, the Yankees need to maximize Hughes’ upside by giving him every chance to fulfill his potential as a starter. That potential means he should remain ahead of Phelps in the rotation pecking order. And there’s simply no way he should be wasted in Triple-A.

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