The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

NY Post: Yankees’ Greg Bird provides powerful reminder of his upside

Bird gave the Yankees another reason to believe he could be able to put last season’s nightmare behind him, a year lost to shoulder surgery and rehab. He hit his first two homers of the spring, one to right off right-hander Kyle Kendrick in the first then another to left-center off southpaw Edgar Olmos in the sixth.

“That’s what you want to see,” manager manager Joe Girardi said of Bird’s performance. “We understand he had a year off, basically. He’s had good at-bats the last two days.”

Bird now has four extra-base hits in the past two days and reported no issues from playing on consecutive days. Not surprisingly, Bird had no complaints after being sidelined by a torn labrum.

I know it’s only spring training, but at least this is evidence that Bird is physically recovering from last season’s injury.  Most of his projections are fairly subdued for this year, but he’s one piece that could help the Yankees exceed expectations.

--Posted at 9:32 am by SG / 69 Comments | - (0)


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Bird’s early performance has been very encouraging.

I also think that Judge looks much better this spring. A lot of the focus is (rightly) on that monster dong he donged, but he’s also seemed to have a better idea of the strike zone, including being a bit more aggressive than he was last year. I don’t think he’s about to go out and hit .270 with 30+ HRs, but I do think he’s going to have a very productive year, even if there are still plenty of improvement to be made.

A 3-6 of Bird, Sanchez, Judge and Holliday could be very, very good.

I’d think they flip Sanchez and Bird.  They may even hit Holliday third.

[2] Probably. That wasn’t designed to be the actual order. IMO, it would probably be Holliday-Sanchez-Bird-Judge, with Bird and Sanchez likely being interchangeable.

Obviously there is some heavy optimism here, but with the heart of the lineup looking promising (and the rest of the lineup more or less acceptable). The fate of this team lies more and more obviously with what the starting pitching can provide.

Tanaka is a pretty sure bet to be excellent if he stays healthy, but everyone else is just an array of question marks with varying upside (and outside of Pineda, hilariously terrible downside).

1.  Agreed on Bird. We will know more about both Bird and Judge by end of the month.

Don’t discount Didi from maybe getting better in terms of offense.  Castro still has upside as well.  It’s not unthinkable that either of these guys could go over 30 homers this year as well.  I just hope Didi and all of our potential regulars stay healthy all month long so team can start season on a good note. I am really hoping that one or two of the young guys really blooms into a star.  Wouldn’t it be cool to not need Harper due to the arrival of one or several stars from inside organization?

Didn’t someone report Alex taking Toreyes and others under his wing ? Should be able to pencil those guys in for 30-40 dingers apiece depending on playing time.

4. I have hope that between Cessa, Severino, Green, Mitchell, and even Montgomery, they can find some league average (to above) starting pitching. I actually don’t think the issue’s the unproven pitchers. It will be asking them for too much if Sabathia and Pineda are disappointing, or Tanaka gets hurt. The volatility of the front of the rotation prevents the Yankees from being pencilled as a strong wild card contender at the moment… like you, I think an above average offense is within reach. And the pen should be great. I am looking forward to the season because I think there’s a chance CC pulls off a good year, or Pineda gets luckier… the team isn’t far off from contending.

[7] Yeah, I was being very pessimistic in that post, mostly to highlight the relative strength/weakness of the offense vs starting pitching.

I don’t think the pitching will be horrific, but you’re 100% on the money that it’s too volatile, both from health and performance concerns, to count the Yankees as a contender.

8. btw, did you see this Ben Heller .GIF? This is pure filth. Maybe as good a curve ball as Robertson, plus he has a diabolical two-seamer to lefties. This is my guy going into the season to come out of nowhere and be a fixture:


[9] That two-seamer is incredible.

[9] link doesn’t work…?


Absolute worst case scenario, the pitching completely blows up, they sell at the deadline again, and they finish low enough in the standings to get a top 10 draft pick.

Wouldn’t the absolute worst case scenario be that they stay in the race long enough to not make any deals but then end up winning, say, 75 games and just enough to get the #11 pick?

That, by the way, is pretty much where the Knicks are right. smile They’re like a walking worst case scenario.

[14] Haha, right. I didn’t really want to go there and open up the whole “is it better to bottom out” vs “losing is always bad” discussion.

How many souls do we need to sell for all the young kids to work out? Sanchez, Rutherford, Judge, Bird, Torres, Mateo, Kap, Frazier, etc?

[17] Levine’s final blood sacrifice: himself.

[2]“I’d think they flip Sanchez and Bird”

Flipping the Bird would be rude.

Harder than TRO hit one all last year.

Romine “if Mitchell can learn the splitter he can dominate.”  Spring training double speak.

Did I hear the other day that there is a slight correlation between spring record and regular season?  Would probably have been on Effectively Wild.  Not that this proves much in the first week of March.

Not so impressive debut for Feyereisen.

[21]Who among us couldn’t.

Gleyber at 750/1917.

That might come down a little, but that’s roughly what I expect he’ll average in the Majors.

[22]Beyond the Boxscore: Do Spring Training Records Matter?

In an attempt to answer the question, I pulled the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues win-loss records from the 2007 through 2011 and matched each team’s preseason record with its regular-season record. The result: a positive correlation of .325 with an R2 of .105. In other words, about 11 percent of a team’s talent level is reflected in its spring training record. It’s not a very strong relationship, but it does exist.

It would be neat to look at what the spring training win contribution was for players that had significant playing time in the regular. In other words, test the source of this so-called correlation or lack thereof.

David Price flying out to the NFL combine so he can get a second opinion from James Andrews.

[29] The AL East is still very much Boston’s to lose (in projections), but losing Price would certainly make their apparent dominance less of a sure thing.

I look at pitchers’ K/BB in the spring to look for fantasy sleepers.

It’d be interesting to track the spring pitchfx and batted ball data and see if that has any predictive value. (I don’t know how much predictive value in general, let alone if it would help during the spring.)

[29] I’ve got a second opinion for Price.  He can’t win a big game.  How’s that?

It’ll be even funnier if this is the year Chris Sale’s arm finally explodes.

[31] Do any of the ST stadiums have that equipment installed?

I thought that was part of the reason why ST gameday is so bad, since it’s a combination of manual entry and pitch/hit fx.

[27]  Thanks.  I wonder what a review of more seasons would look like—I assume there are spring training records going back to the 40s if not earlier, although the way teams went about it was probably different.

[33]  Or his head, if he’s asked to wear a throwback jersey again.

I’ve got a second opinion for Price.  He can’t win a big game.  How’s that?

I posted in another site that this makes the Red Sox the favorites rather than the prohibitive favorites to win the AL pennant. As a Yankees fan, when did we ever fear David Price in any situation? There was never any sense of doom going up against Price when compared to pitchers like Pedro, The Big Unit and even Dallas Keuchel. This only creates a problem for the Red Sox that 90% of the major league teams have. How to cobble together 150+ innings from their #5 starter slot. Whoop-de-doo.

[37] Recently the team has done well against him but I remember back in CC’s good years, he and Price matched up in what seemed like damn near every series against TB. And Price ALWAYS won.

EDIT: Article from 2014

“In fact, of the nine times Sabathia and Price have gone head-to-head, the only time the Yankees won was a May 2012 game at Yankee Stadium…

Sabathia hasn’t always been awful in his meetings with Price, but his overall ERA in the nine games is 4.50, almost a run higher than his ERA in all games in that span. And while he’s 1-6 in the meetings with Price (the Yankees also lost two games in which neither pitcher received a decision), Sabathia is 50 games over .500 (88-38) against every other starter he has faced as a Yankee.

Price’s ERA in his nine starts against Sabathia is 2.41.”

Pedro’s record vs the Yankees was only 11-11.  I know wins are a team stat and I don’t know what happened in the 10 no-decisions.  But I never felt like the Yankees couldn’t beat him.

I don’t root for players to get hurt..but if I had to choose one, David Price is in my top-5. Nothing personal. Purely professional

Because it seems to need saying:

I love you guys. All of you guys. Even, myself.

The Bible says “love your neighbor as yourself”. You have to love yourself For that to be meaningful.

No offense to the atheists here.

Greg Bird sure does seem to hate baseballs.

Um. Bird looks good.

Billy McKinney has a really sweet left-handed swing. Another home run for him. A sleeper prospect to force himself into the Yankees’ plans.

So I glanced at McKinney’s numbers—he’s young, looks like a fast mover who had a crap start to the year at AA last year and got dumped.  How did he end up as an additional piece?  What’s the knock on him?

[46] Apparently he hosted a team barbeque and totally ruined the pork roast. Dry, too spicy. Inedible.

46. Just last year, man. He was very well thought of at the beginning of his career. He was a piece in the (in hindsight) terrible Addison Russell for Hammel and Shark Man with hard name to spell trade. I guess the knock on him overall would be that he’s a tweener, not enough power for a corner or athleticism for center-field. But right-field is kinda being redefined as a position where the glove can provide more value than thought years ago… for instance, Adam Eaton last season… also Mookie Betts may have been perceived as a guy who “had to” play center-field like ten years ago, because his glove would be “wasted” in RF. So McKinney definitely could be a valuable Big League player if he gets his career back on track. He might be a guy who could hit 17-20 homers in Yankees Stadium with a high .OBP and good all around game.

Reading further it seems he’s a bit of a tweener—not enough D for CF, not enough power for a corner.

ETA, MP’sA beat me to it.

Also just to tack onto the previous post, he was only 21 in AA last season. Maybe he just needed a year under his belt in AA to find his game at that level. The AA is going to be fascinating to monitor this season.

[48] Betts is a weird example, because he’s a natural 2B, who happens to have a bat good enough to play anywhere. If the Townies didn’t have Pedroia in the Jeter position, he’d almost certainly be playing there.

But yeah, McKinney suffered a knee injury at the end of 2015 and didn’t fully recover before the end of 2016. Combined with the tweener label his stock took a pretty decent hit. If this power spike is real (not impossible given his age) he could make a lot of people look dumb (and the Yankees look really smart).

[43] I heard one kicked his puppy.

Spring training but I’m going to be bitterly disappointed if this team doesn’t win at least 110 games.

[52]  This is the kind of analysis I come here for.

I think a baseball kicked McKinney’s puppy too.


52. I’m expecting 112-50. 68 homers for Bird.

Sounds reasonable based on results so far

It is nice to have a boatload of young talent. And more on the way.

[58] Yeah, it’s exciting to see.  Before there would be 1-2 prospects that may turn into something good and it was disappointing to see them be like actual prospects and not turn into all-stars.  With this crew, even if 80% of them fail to make a dent in the show, that’s still 2-3 really good ballplayers.

Mateo put real nice swings on the ball last night.  I think he’s going to have a rebound year.

Guys, I’ve wanted to say for a long time:

Greg Biiiiiiird….  Gonna put it onnnnn you .....


j, have you been paying any attention to Jason Heyward rebuilding his swing mechanics?

He was a mess by the end of last year, any thoughts on what he’s shown so far in ST?

Andrew Marchand reads RLYW:

He’s gotta get ST article ideas from SOMEWHERE.

62. Underwhelming as Ellsbury has been, the knock on his arm-strength was weak. The guy is still an excellent defensive center-fielder, arm aside.

That article is brutal

Yanks lose!  In Hell, George Steinbrenner is kicking cute little devil-puppies.

66. I come for the analysis, I stay for the laughs.

[61] Yeah, it’s still really bad, maybe even worse.  He doesn’t understand what should be powering his swing from what I can see.

[68] OK, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t crazy. It’s much smoother than the hitchy, whippy nonsense from last year, but it didn’t look like he had much of a weight transfer.

Page 1 of 1 pages: ‘Hiro ball: Tanaka hogs spotlight, beats Sale
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Yankees (12-7) @ Red Sox (11-9), Thursday, 4/27/2017, 07:10p ET
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Yankees (11-7) @ Red Sox (11-8), Wednesday, 4/26/2017, 07:10p ET
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Yankees (11-6) @ Pirates (7-10), Sunday, 4/23/2017, 01:35p ET
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Yankees (10-6) @ Pirates (7-9), Saturday, 4/22/2017, 04:05p ET
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Yankees (10-5) @ Pirates (6-9), Friday, 4/21/2017, 07:05p ET
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