Yankees training staff can now save on cups

June 10, 2011 | 39 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Because the team was castrated by the Red Sox.

But think of all the savings now that they don’t need cups. Maybe they can add another flat screen or two to the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America suite!!

The scoop on Kevin Whelan

June 9, 2011 | 10 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Numerous outlets are saying Scranton closer Kevin Whelan will be called up to the Boogie Down as a result of Joba’s elbow. Supposedly, our boy Tim Norton was being considered too, but the oft-injured reliever finds himself in a familiar place — out of action due to a shoulder injury.

Whelan just received an honorable mention in our latest Minor League Players of the Week. He’s had a very good season so far.

For you slaves to the save, the 28-year old Whelan leads the International League with 18. He’s pitched 27 innings with a 1.67 ERA and 3.09 FIP. He’s K’d 30 and walked 6. Up until this season, Whelan’s had a huge problem with walking hitters. During his minor league career, he’s walked 5.2 BB/9. This season he’s at 2.0 BB/9. Is this a case of him actually improving, or is this a fluky 27 innings in a 342 inning career? We shall see.

Another oddity with Whelan is his insanely high strand rate. It’s so high we wonder if it’s a misprint. According to Fangraphs, he’s left 95.7% of runners on base. Maybe he hasn’t been brought into many situations with runners on base, so the number is high — but we thought it was worth noting.

Hopefully, he can offer some positive contributions out of a bullpen that was once viewed as a strong point of the team.

Wishing Joba a speedy recovery

June 9, 2011 | 41 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Terrible news today for Joba Chamberlain:

When Joba Chamberlain walked into Dr. Christopher Ahmad’s office Thursday and saw the doctor’s head down, he knew something was wrong.

His elbow felt tight, but not painful, so he expected this MRI to reveal little damage.

He certainly didn’t expect the stunning news he heard: the medial collateral ligament in his pitching elbow was torn, that he would likely need Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery, and that his season was over.

As Chamberlain listened, he couldn’t hold back tears. “I was in shock when I heard the news,” Chamberlain said. “I was just trying to get out of there as soon as I could before I broke down. It’s pretty easy to break down in that situation.”

The Yankees are sending Chamberlain’s MRI results to Dr. James Andrews in Alabama for further analysis, but the ligament is definitely torn, and barring a miracle, Chamberlain is done for the year, with a best-case return of next spring.

A very tough break for a guy who’s been under the microscope and jerked around since his initial call-up to the bigs. We at NoMaas wish him all the best and hope his recovery goes swiftly. Best of luck, Joba.

.654 OPS

June 9, 2011 | 70 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

That is the OPS for the Yankees’ leadoff hitter. It’s the 5th-worst OPS in the AL for hitters with at least 250 plate appearances. It’s also the OPS for the player who’s had more plate appearances than anyone else on the Yankees. And lastly, it’s the lowest OPS in the Yankees lineup.

It’s completely amazing how this organization puts personalities, milestones, and status ahead of actual baseball.

Yankees bow to the Red Sox…again

June 8, 2011 | 53 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Break the wrist, walk away. It’s just that simple.

Recent NoMaas interviewee on his way to Scranton

June 8, 2011 | 17 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

We’ve never been in the news reporting business, but we thought this was pretty cool. Supreme Chancellor of the Yankees farm system, Mark Newman, told us this morning that Trenton ace reliever and recent NoMaas interviewee Tim Norton is “on his way to Scranton.” The former UConn Husky was dominating at Trenton with a 13.7 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, and 5.50 K/BB. He’s also only allowed 12 hits in 29 innings.

In addition, Norton once shattered a backboard while dunking a basketball in a Rhode Island high school gym.

Best of luck to Tim at AAA.

Boston continues to party against the Yankees

June 7, 2011 | 33 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

Yanks now 1-6 versus America’s Team.

Yankee Stadium crowd is incredibly lame

June 7, 2011 | 44 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Tuesday night’s game against Boston was the perfect example of what the atmosphere at the Stadium has become.

Bottom of the 4th, Yankees down 4-1, 2 outs, Swisher on 2nd, Jeter on 1st, Granderson’s up fouling off pitches, 3-2 count —- pure silence.

Bottom of the 9th, Yankees down 6-4, 2 outs, Dickerson on 2nd, Arod up versus AnusMouth —- barely any noise.

What a joke.

The Stealth Bomber Series: Interview with C JR Murphy

June 6, 2011 | 27 comments | in Featured | by SJK

In the our Stealth Bomber series, we talk to players in the farm system who aren’t yet on the New York radar, but hope one day to be so.

Before his game Monday against the Augusta GreenJackets (Giants Class A Affiliate), Charleston Riverdogs catcher and Yankees’ 2009 second-round draft pick JR Murphy entered the dojo of NoMaas’ Sensei John Kreese. The 20-year old Murphy is raking this season to the tune of .321/.366/.502. We discussed his hot hitting and much more with JR, who won our 2nd MLPW Award of 2011.

Sensei John Kreese: You’ve been killing it this season. What’s been the secret to your success between this year and last year?

JR Murphy: Just came into spring training this year feeling more comfortable — knowing all the staff, all the coaches, all the players. I had a good spring training and I’m on a roll right now. I’m seeing the ball better and just playing well.

SJK: I was looking at your stats and noticed that you were intentionally walked this season. Are you getting the Barry Bonds treatment already?

JR: Haha. No, I think it was a situation where the pitcher was 3-0 on me, and there was a runner on second and first base was open. So they just put me on.

SJK: We interviewed Slade Heathcott about a month and a half ago, and he’s in a similar situation to you, with him showing big improvement over last season. He told us that the Yankees made adjustments to his hitting approach last year and they didn’t work, so he went back to his old approach, and everything is clicking. Did something similar happen with you?

JR: Not really. Right when I got drafted, they made it clear that hitting wasn’t their main concern with me, it was more of the defensive side. I’ve talked to plenty of guys about my hitting, but no adjustments have really been made. It’s more about maintaining what I already do. It’s been on the defensive side.

SJK: Slade also said that you “just know how to hit.” You hear that a lot in baseball. It’s very cliché, but what do you think he means by that? How would you describe yourself as a hitter?

JR: Hitting comes naturally to me, but it’s funny that Slade said that. He’s my roommate. But, I still have to work at it. Sometimes I get anxious up there and swing at lousy pitches. But, I believe my pitch recognition is getting better. I’m maturing as a hitter. I’m becoming more of a professional hitter.

SJK: One of the aspects of your game that is really jumping off is your power. You already have more doubles than all of last season, and you’re only 1 home run away from equaling last year’s total. Did you eat your Wheaties or something this offseason?

JR: Haha. I think a lot of it has to do with being more comfortable coming into Spring Training. I also hit the gym in the offseason to get stronger.

SJK: It’s no secret that the Yankees farm system has a heavy crop of catchers. Do you ever think about your future in the organization because of that?

JR: I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t. Everyone knows that the Yankees have lots of good catchers in the system. But the only thing I can control is how I perform. I don’t view it as a competition with other guys. I can only control how I play.

SJK: Does it ever weigh on you guys [minor leaguers] that since the Yankees set the bar so high with basically All-Stars at every position that it’s difficult to crack the Bronx?

JR: My dream is to play for the New York Yankees. About 90% of minor leaguers would say the same thing. But as a minor leaguer, you want to play in the bigs one day. That’s the goal.

SJK: In prospect circles, there’s talk of you moving positions. In fact, unless I’m mistaken, you’ve played four games at 3B this season. What’s your situation there and are you open to a position change?

JR: Yeah, I’ve played a handful of games at third. My preference is to catch, but I’m very open to trying other positions. If playing another position creates opportunities for me either with the Yankees or another organization, then I’m very open to it.

SJK: You were primarily an OF in high school and made the transition to catcher later on, right?

JR: Actually, no. I starting catching my sophomore year and then had knee surgery my junior year. Then I split time between the OF, 3B, and C when I came back from surgery.

SJK: Any other guys in Charleston that impress you?

JR: We’re really loaded with talent, although I don’t think we’re playing up to our capabilities yet. Slade can do things I haven’t really seen before. And Kyle Roller and Rob Segedin have really professional approaches at the plate.

SJK: Alright, JR, that’s all I got. Good luck the rest of the year and we hope to talk to you again soon. Keep killing it.

JR: Alright, man. Don’t jinx me. Good talking to you.

Many thanks to JR for hanging with NoMaas and we wish him the best of luck. You can follow JR and the rest of the Class-A Charleston Riverdogs at their official website.

Minor League Players of the Week, v8

June 6, 2011 | 5 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Featuring some new winners for 2011…

Minor League Players of the Week (v8):

Jairo Heredia, 21, RHP, A+
15 IP, 17 K, 1 BB, 10 H, 0 HR, 1 ER
Notable: Season-high 10 K on June 5th (0 BB)

NoMaas Ranking – Unranked

The 2006 international free-agent is off to a solid season, after spending most of last year at Single-A Charleston. He’s struck out 44 in 45.1, while showing tremendous control with only 8 walks. This is all good for a 5.50 K/BB. His FIP of 2.71 is better than what he put last year at a lower level (2.99). He’s also keeping the ball on the ground at a higher rate than in Charleston (1.70 Groundout/Airout).

This is great progression, and he’s definitely been the best starting pitcher for the Yankees in High-A. He’s had shoulder issues since joining the organization, but if he can stay healthy and continue to put up these types of results, then you”ll soon start to hear the buzz.

Cody Johnson, 22, LHB DH, AA
.466 / .466 / .733
Notable: 2 HRs, 2 2Bs

NoMaas Ranking – Unranked

Drafted in the first round of the 2006 draft by the Atlanta Braves, this is Cody Johnson’s first year in the Yankees organization. He was acquired by the Yankees for straight cash money in November 2010. Johnson is a big boy, listed at 6’4″ 240 lbs. He’s spent part of three seasons at AA, including the current campaign (although one season was only 6 games), and he’s struggled at this level so far in his career: .208/.272/.381 in 481 PA.

But, at least for this past week, Cody put those struggles behind him going 14-30 with two homers and two doubles — good for an OPS of 1.166. While the performance is certainly impressive, one thing that jumps out is that Johnson didn’t walk once over the past week, but struck out 11 times! And therein lies the rub with Cody Johnson. His strikeout rates are enormous. His pit stops in the minors are littered with 40+% strikeout rates, including the 45% he has this year in Trenton.

But for now, we will let Cody enjoy his moment in the sun. Going 14-30 is a pretty big week regardless of how many times you whiff.

Honorable Mentions:

Kevin Whelan, 27, RHP, AAA
3 IP, 4 K, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 ER, 2 SV

Has really cut down on the walks this year, leads the International League in saves with 17

Nik Turley, 21, LHP, A
5 IP, 7 K, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 ER

The 6’6″ lefty starter has a 3.97 FIP in 2011.

Brandon Laird, 23, RHB 3B, AAA
.464/.482/.750, 4 2B, 1 HR

Just starting to hit…could have easily won this week’s MLPW award.

The ‘Brackman is Falling Off the Wagon’ Line of the Week
Andrew Brackman, 25, RHP, AAA
1 IP, 3 BB, 1 K, 0 H, 3 ER, 1 HBP

He was removed from the game before he even let up a hit. His nightmare season continues.

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