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








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Yankees.com: Yankees Stink
(23 Comments - 9/1/2014 8:58:33 pm)

Yankees vs Blue Jays, Sunday August 31, 2014
(19 Comments - 8/31/2014 7:51:54 pm)

Yankees (70-63) @ Blue Jays (67-67), Saturday, August 30, 2014, 1:07pm
(51 Comments - 8/31/2014 1:33:07 pm)

Yankees (69-63) @ Blue Jays (67-66), Friday, August 29, 2014, 7:07pm
(57 Comments - 8/30/2014 1:44:11 pm)

NY Times: In Season of 63 Losses So Far, Yankees Find Few as Agonizing as This One
(29 Comments - 8/29/2014 5:37:03 pm)

Yankees (69-62) @ Tigers (71-60),  Thursday, August 28, 2014, 1:08pm
(93 Comments - 8/29/2014 7:31:32 am)

NYDN: Yankees sign Mets reject Chris Young to minor-league deal
(10 Comments - 8/28/2014 1:11:26 pm)

Yankees.com: Detroit sock city: Yanks hammer Price, gain in WC race
(9 Comments - 8/28/2014 1:03:08 am)

Yankees (68-62) @ Tigers (71-59), Wednesday, August 27, 2014, 7:08pm
(85 Comments - 8/27/2014 11:10:42 pm)

NYDN: Yankees GM Cashman reveals how the last-minute deal for Martin Prado went down
(17 Comments - 8/27/2014 7:12:33 pm)



Player

Current Projected

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.
-alskor

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.
sabernar

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.
OldYanksFan




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Monday, August 25, 2014

Yankees.com: Yanks’ streak to five after makeup-game win in KC

KANSAS CITY—Michael Pineda turned his back to home plate in the fifth inning Monday night and gazed out at center field following his fourth strikeout. A few hundred feet away, the Kauffman Stadium CrownVision HD scoreboard provided a replay of Mike Moustakas’ solo home run off the Yankees’ right-hander, two innings earlier.

Pineda observed this, then turned around, stomped on the mound, and redeemed himself by making Moustakas strikeout victim No. 5.

The Moustakas home run was all Pineda would allow in New York’s fifth straight win, a 8-1 triumph over the Royals. The Yankees visited Kansas City to make up a June 9 postponement, and they now head to Detroit to continue a tough stretch that includes 13 games—and four different cities—in 13 days.

The Royals managed just five hits in 6 1/3 innings off Pineda, who made his MLB-leading 15th straight start allowing six hits or fewer. Pineda’s control and command matched his dazzling repertoire, as he issued zero walks and struck out five. His seventh start this season surrendering two runs or fewer dropped his ERA to 1.95.

It usually takes the Yankees a week to score eight runs.

Pineda’s continued to look strong since returning from the 60 day DL.  Let’s hope he can stay healthy.

--Posted at 9:18 pm by SG / 12 Comments | - (0)




Monday, August 4, 2014

Yankees.com: Hell Freezes Over

BOSTON—The Red Sox wished Stephen Drew well when they dealt him to the Yankees last week, offering a fresh start to his season as he relocated from the home clubhouse to join the visitors’ dugout, but they didn’t expect that he would come back to hurt them so quickly.

Drew had a pair of hits and drove in four runs in his third game against his former club before Brett Gardner gave the Yankees the lead with his career-high 15th home run, powering a wild 8-7 slugfest victory over the Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park.

“It was a good game for all of us, getting a win,” Drew said. “It’s been a whirlwind for three days, but it’s still baseball, so you go out there and do your job. That’s the way I look at it.”

Gardner’s solo shot came off Craig Breslow, putting Esmil Rogers in position to pick up the victory in his Yankees debut. New York took two of the three games in Boston, and Gardner said that he sees signs that the offense is finally getting on track.

“I feel like it,” Gardner said. “I’ve been saying that all year and we’re [110] games in. It’s about time. Hopefully we can take this momentum home with us this week against the Tigers, get on a little roll and get a winning streak going.”

Rk Name Age Tm bWAR
1 Mike Trout 22 LAA 5.8
2 Josh Donaldson 28 OAK 5.2
3 Kyle Seager* 26 SEA 4.5
4 Michael Brantley* 27 CLE 4.4
5 Robinson Cano* 31 SEA 4.3
6 Adrian Beltre 35 TEX 4.2
7 Jose Bautista 33 TOR 4.2
8 Alex Gordon* 30 KCR 4.2
9 Brett Gardner* 30 NYY 4
10 Adam Eaton* 25 CHW 3.8
11 Jose Abreu 27 CHW 3.8
12 Jose Altuve 24 HOU 3.8
13 Dustin Pedroia 30 BOS 3.7
14 Steve Pearce 31 BAL 3.7
15 Ian Kinsler 32 DET 3.5
16 Leonys Martin* 26 TEX 3.4
17 Salvador Perez 24 KCR 3.3
18 Lorenzo Cain 28 KCR 3.3
19 Ben Zobrist# 33 TBR 3.3
20 Edwin Encarnacion 31 TOR 3.2
21 Erick Aybar# 30 LAA 3.2

You kind of wish the Yankees would have done better than splitting six games against the teams with the two worst records in the AL, but I’ll take it.  Unfortunately, the Yankees suffered yet another blow to their rotation with the news that David Phelps left the game with elbow inflammation.  Right now it looks like he will miss at least one start. I’ve been concerned about Phelps ever since he had some forearm tightness last year, but hopefully this is just a passing thing. 

The rotation may get a reinforcement soon, as Michael Pineda pitched pretty well in a rehab game yesterday, getting up to 94 mph.

Also encouraging is the new that Masahiro Tanaka could play catch today.  I’m still not very optimistic that he will be able to avoid Tommy John surgery but stranger things have happened.

--Posted at 7:11 am by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Yankees.com: Back strain to cost Pineda three to four weeks

NEW YORK—The Yankees will be without Michael Pineda for longer than anticipated, as the right-hander ended his simulated game on Tuesday after just one inning when he felt tightness under his pitching arm.

Following an MRI exam, team physician Christopher Ahmad diagnosed Pineda with a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle in his upper back. The Yankees said that Pineda will be shut down from activity for 10 days, and the injury will cost him three to four weeks.

This worries me.  If you read the Wikipedia entry about the teres major muscle, you will find out this:

The teres major is a medial rotator and adductor of the humerus and assists the latissimus dorsi in drawing the previously raised humerus downward and backward (extension, but not hyper extension). It also helps stabilize the humeral head in the glenoid cavity.

It gets better.  Also according to Wikipedia, the glenoid cavity is part of the shoulder.

I can find no evidence of any pitcher anywhere ever who has been successful with an unstable glenoid cavity.

This may just be a bump in the road as Pineda moves away from his shoulder surgery, but this is more complicated than a simple back strain.

--Posted at 8:23 am by SG / 13 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, April 24, 2014

NYDN: Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda suspended 10 games for using pine tar against Red Sox

Michael Pineda was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball Thursday for using pine tar in his start against the Red Sox Wednesday night.

Pineda’s suspension will begin today, unless the pitcher decides to appeal. The suspension will likely cost Pineda two starts.

What I am unsure of is if this means the Yankees have to play with a 24 man roster for 10 days.  I would assume so.

--Posted at 2:18 pm by SG / 8 Comments | - (0)



Newsday: Michael Pineda’s ejection creates a sticky mess for Yankees and himself

If everybody breaks Rule 8.02, then how did Michael Pineda become of one of the rare few actually punished for doing so Wednesday night at Fenway Park?

We can’t pin it solely on Pineda, who stood in the middle of the tiny visitors clubhouse, surrounded by reporters, and took all the blame anyway. Yes, Pineda slathered the pine tar on the right side of his neck—in plain sight of the Red Sox dugout—so he’s ultimately responsible.
But why did he not know the clandestine secrets of every other pitcher? As the Yankees explained it, Pineda was reckless and maybe a little desperate after struggling in the gusty, 50-degree temperatures during the first inning.

Rather than go back to the original spot that drew the attention in the first place—the palm of his pitching hand—Pineda swabbed it on his neck instead. Just like last time, Joe Girardi insisted that he never saw the sticky substance on Pineda, as did pitching coach Larry Rothschild.
Should they have? Tough to say. But if Pineda is as naive as the Yankees claim, and was unaware of the consequences, then someone had to keep a closer eye on him. Or maybe teach him a few tricks of the trade. And that’s not easy to own up to.

“You want me to tell him how to cheat better?” Rothschild said.

Sort of, yes. And Red Sox manager John Farrell implied that as well. As we’ve learned, the act of using a foreign substance is not the problem here. Just don’t let us see you doing it.

I still can’t get over how dumb it was of Pineda to be so obvious about using pine tar in the very next game after it caused a ruckus against the very same opponent.  The suspension isn’t a huge deal as it will just cause him to miss a start.  But you do have to wonder how much using it has helped him to this point. 

--Posted at 7:45 am by SG / 46 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Yankees.com: Pineda’s six shutout innings steer Yanks to sweep

NEW YORK—The Yankees got to take a long look at what they hope will be the future of their rotation, as Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda each turned in dominant efforts on Wednesday to help the club sweep a day-night doubleheader from the Cubs at Yankee Stadium.

Pitching under chilly conditions, Pineda whipped six efficient innings of scoreless ball in the evening contest, backed by a solid performance from Yankees newcomer Scott Sizemore as New York posted a 2-0 victory over Chicago.

Can the Yankees play the Cubs all the time?  I didn’t think Pineda looked great, but the weather was pretty crappy and six shutout innings are six shutout innings. 

Earlier today, Tanaka’s 10 K’s lead Yanks in twin-bill opener.

If this is what Tanaka does when he feels settled in, that spells bad news for the rest of the league. Tanaka limited the Cubs to a pair of bunt singles and struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings, pitching the Yankees to a 3-0 victory on Wednesday afternoon in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

“I feel that I was a little bit more calmer, compared to the first two,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I’m very satisfied with how I pitched out there today.”

So were the Yankees, who watched Tanaka use his trademark splitter and a sharp slider to retire 14 straight Cubs after Junior Lake’s video-reviewed bunt single in the second inning.

After a great home stand, it’s off to St. Petersburg now to play a real major league team with the struggling CC Sabathia taking the hill tomorrow.

--Posted at 9:23 pm by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)




Friday, April 11, 2014

Boston Globe: Questions swirl over substance on Yankees pitcher’s hand

NEW YORK — Michael Pineda had retired 10 of 11 Red Sox batters by the time anyone spotted the sticky, brown stain on his right hand.

As soon as Pineda fired a 93-mile-per-hour fastball by David Ortiz in the fourth inning, NESN announcers Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy started asking questions.

“What is on the hand of Michael Pineda?” Orsillo said.

Remy’s first assumption was pine tar.

“Could be Stickum,” Remy said.

When Pineda rubbed his hand into his glove after getting A.J. Pierzynski to fly out in the fifth inning, Remy surmised that it was to create a better grip.

We better see the same thing on CC’s hand tonight then.

--Posted at 9:00 am by SG / 38 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Yankees.com: Pineda shines under bright lights of the Bronx

NEW YORK—The Yankees patiently waited more than two years to see Michael Pineda wearing their uniform in a home game. Finally presented with his first opportunity under the bright lights in the Bronx, the hard-throwing right-hander did not disappoint.

Making his Yankee Stadium debut, Pineda pitched into the seventh inning in a commanding seven-strikeout performance, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 victory over the Red Sox in the first meeting between the division rivals this season.

That was unexpected.  And awesome.  Pineda has looked good to great in his first two starts of the season and hopefully he can continue to pitch well.

--Posted at 9:34 pm by SG / 24 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bombers Beat: Girardi: Pineda is fifth starter

Michael Pineda has won the fifth starter competition. The Yankees will look at Adam Warren, David Phelps and Vidal Nuno out of the bullpen, manager Joe Girardi said.

Not a big surprise.

--Posted at 3:20 pm by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 24, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Phelps and Pineda

Since David Phelps and Michael Pineda are both vying for fifth starter to open the season, I’ll lump them together.  I will resist the urge to call them the Killer P’s.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
86 88 8 35 79 4.98 3.81 0.1

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

Phelps’s 4.98 ERA in 2013 is a bit misleading, as nine of the 48 runs he allowed came in one brutal start in Baltimore.  Phelps saw time as a starter and reliever and his FIP of 3.81 was a better indicator of how he pitched for the most part.

Pineda spent 2013 rehabbing from labrum surgery and pitched 40 or so innings scattered at various levels in the minors.  He appears to be healthy, but his velocity hasn’t recovered back to where it was in his rookie season with Seattle.

2014 Projections
Phelps

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 100 100 14 41 89 4.34 4.37 0.7
oliver 111 112 16 41 98 4.20 4.39 1.0
steamer 144 139 17 57 119 4.43 4.25 1.5
zips 102 101 14 38 92 4.51 4.31 0.9
average 114 113 15 44 100 4.37 4.32 1.0

WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

Phelps projects to be a bit below average as a starting pitcher, but if you can get his projected performance out of your fifth starter you’re going to be very happy about it.  These projections are a hybrid of starting and relieving, so we can probably assume he’d be a bit worse as a full-time starter and bit better if he’s primarily a reliever.

Pineda

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 91 87 14 35 78 4.61 4.53 0.5
oliver 82 77 12 29 75 3.97 4.33 0.8
steamer 48 44 6 18 44 4.02 4.12 0.6
zips 81 80 12 30 75 4.65 4.39 0.7
average 75 72 11 28 68 4.35 4.37 0.7

I debated whether I should even post these, because the data that was used to build them is pretty much irrelevant at this point.  Pineda’s doesn’t have the fastball he had in 2011, and the numbers from last year are meaningless because he was rehabbing and probably not pitching at full strength.  Pineda could be pretty good, or he could be horrendous.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
Phelps

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 165 136 65 62 15 52 148 3.57 3.37 3.38 3.0
65% 131 119 59 56 15 47 118 4.05 3.83 3.81 1.7
Baseline 100 100 51 48 14 41 89 4.57 4.34 4.37 0.7
35% 76 84 43 41 12 36 68 5.15 4.90 4.80 0.1
20% 54 66 35 33 10 29 48 5.79 5.52 5.38 -0.3

Baseline is probably about right for Phelps, but with more innings.

Pineda

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 150 116 66 59 15 43 131 3.94 3.56 3.48 2.7
65% 119 102 59 54 15 40 104 4.47 4.06 3.94 1.5
Baseline 91 87 51 46 14 35 78 5.06 4.61 4.53 0.5
35% 69 73 44 40 13 30 59 5.72 5.22 5.02 -0.1
20% 49 58 35 32 11 24 42 6.45 5.90 5.65 -0.5

I’ll reiterate the uselessness of trying to forecast Pineda right now.

In theory, Pineda has upside that Phelps does not have.  But from what I’ve seen, Pineda isn’t throwing significantly harder than Phelps right now and there’s a pretty good chance he never will.  Pineda’s slider has looked great this spring, and if he can develop a workable changeup he might be able to be pretty good even with diminished velocity.  Pineda has put up a slightly better stat line than Phelps has this spring, although both have been very effective.

There are political reasons to think Pineda has the inside track on the fifth starter job, but even if Pineda does win it out of camp his innings will probably be restricted this year.  Because of that, Phelps will still be an important part of the team.

My guess, Phelps will get 15-20 starts this year even if he doesn’t break camp as the fifth starter.  And he should be up for the task.

As for Pineda, I figure that he should at least be as valuable as Jesus Montero.

--Posted at 12:55 pm by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

CBS Sports: Two years after trade, Michael Pineda finally ready to help Yankees

It’s hard to think of a high-profile trade that worked out as poorly for both teams as 2012’s Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda swap. Montero hasn’t hit (89 OPS+) and was suspended 50 games for his ties to Biogenesis last year. Hector Noesi, the other guy who went to Seattle, has a 64 ERA+ since the trade. Class A righty Jose Campos missed most of last year with an elbow problem. He was the other guy New York received.

Pineda, meanwhile, has not thrown a single big league pitch since the trade due to a shoulder injury. He suffered a torn labrum during spring training 2012 and has been on the mend since, throwing 40 2/3 minor league innings late last summer as he rehabbed. Pineda reported to the Yankees’ complex early for camp and says he’s finally ready to help the team, two years after the trade.

“I’m feeling 100 percent right now, and my body is in perfect shape,” he said to the Associated Press today. “Everything is in the past. I’m ready to go.”

Pineda is one guy I am excited about in 2014.  While the track record for pitchers returning from shoulder surgery is not great, there have been some success stories like Anibal Sanchez and I’m hopeful Pineda can be an important part of the Yankees this year.

--Posted at 9:17 am by SG / 7 Comments | - (0)




Friday, July 12, 2013

NYDN: Could Ivan Nova be the key to Yankees rotation for a post-All-Star Break run to playoffs?

“The way Nova was throwing the baseball, you felt that might hold up,” Girardi said of the 4-0 edge. “Pretty good downhill with his fastball, really good curveball, mixed in a few changeups. That’s kind of the formula for him.”

Nova’s resurgence has the rumor mill swirling with talk about Phil Hughes being traded before the July 31 deadline. Hughes, who has been pretty good himself in pitching to a 2.37 ERA over his past three starts, will be a free agent after the season and doesn’t figure to fit into the Yankees’ plans given the contract he’ll likely command this winter.

That sounds perfectly fine, in theory. But Michael Pineda isn’t ready to pitch in, and David Phelps is dealing with a forearm strain, so trading Hughes means counting on Nova every five days. Can the Yankees feel comfortable with that?

I don’t know what Hughes would fetch in a package, but the bar for an upgrade on offense is pretty low for this team so it wouldn’t necessarily have to be much to have trading him make sense.  I don’t think he’s good enough to risk making a qualifying offer of $14M to in order to get a draft pick and I don’t think losing him would be a major blow to the rotation with his spot being filled by David Phelps and with Pineda and Vidal Nuno as further organizational depth.

Nova’s teased us before with flashes of brilliance, so it’s too soon to assume he’s suddenly blossomed into a legitimate middle of the rotation pitcher.  But he’s got the upside to be one of the Yankees’ top three starters, he’s under team control for a few years and he’s relatively cheap. Seeing what he can do over the rest of the season seems like a necessary part of this team’s long-term planning.

In other news, the Yankees have agreed to terms with Aaron Judge, their last un-signed first round pick.  He’s going to be starting in LF tonight and batting cleanup.

--Posted at 9:31 am by SG / 46 Comments | - (0)




Monday, July 8, 2013

TGS NY: Yankees option Pineda to AAA

NEW YORK—It should come as no surprise that Michael Pineda’s return to the Yankees is on hold for awhile. After this afternoon’s 2-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees announced they had optioned Pineda to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, the team’s Triple A affiliate.

When asked before the game how he would fit Pineda into the starting rotation, Joe Girardi provided a hint to Pineda’s ultimate destination when he said, “Right now, we have [Ivan] Nova slotted into our rotation, and he’s throwing the ball really well. So we haven’t put a lot of thought into that.”

This makes sense.  The Yankees can gain an extra year of control on Pineda if they keep him in the minors for about a month, they don’t have an obvious hole in the rotation where he’d be a clear upgrade, they give him a bit more time to build up arm strength and they give themselves a bit more time to evaluate how good he is right now.

In fact, it makes so much sense I’m surprised the Yankees are doing it.

--Posted at 7:20 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, June 11, 2013

It is Better to Be Lucky than Good; The Story of the 2013 Yankees through June 9

I know the Yankees have won games at a pace that would translate to about 95 wins.  I know the pitching staff has done a great job of preventing runs and the team has won a very high percentage of their close games to stay in the thick of the divisional race and postseason chase.

I also know that the Yankees are lucky to be where they are right now, and logic says it can’t continue if they don’t start playing better.

Let’s start by considering their Pythagenpat performance.  Pythagenpat is a more accurate version of Bill James’s Pythagorean expectation which states that a team’s runs scored and runs allowed are a better barometer of how good they are than their actual won-loss record.

The Yankees have won 58.7% of their games so far this year.

The Yankees have scored 252 runs and allowed 236 runs.  This translates to an expected winning percentage of 52.9%.

But let’s go a little deeper than that.  Linear weights translate the offensive components that a team has put up to an estimated run value.  You can use this for the pitching staff as well.  It uses the context-neutral average values of the positive and negative events during a team’s games to calculate how many runs their performance has theoretically been worth.  The reason that this can be useful is it can separate out the parts of a team’s performance that are sustainable from the parts of a team’s performance that are not necessarily due to skill.

What does that mean?  Teams that are performing better in more important situations are likely overperforming and are probably likely to get worse as the season moves on if they play at the same level.  The converse is also true.

According to linear weights, the Yankees have scored about three more runs than their component stats support.  That’s not a big deal and it indicates to me they haven’t been particularly lucky on offense.  The bigger concern for me is that the pitching staff has allowed 14 fewer runs than supported by their component stats.  Some of that can be credited to the bullpen stranding runners or pitchers pitching better with runners on base, but the question there is how much of that is likely to continue?  Yankee pitchers so far have held opposing hitters to a line of .218/.287/.348 with runners in scoring position.  Last year, that same line was .240/.318/.380.  This year the opposing lineup has hit .245/.301/.388 against the Yankees with runners on base.  Last year?  .252/.314/.400. 

If you go by linear weights, the Yankees should have about 249 runs scored and 250 runs allowed.  That would translate to a 49.8% winning percentage.

The good news is that there’s no reason to think what the Yankees have done so far is what they’ll continue to do over the rest of the season.  Adding Curtis Granderson and Derek Jeter back should be significant upgrades.  If MLB doesn’t get their druthers adding Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Cervelli could help some more.  Some of their players could theoretically play better, like Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis.  There aren’t really any offensive players overperforming significantly aside from maybe Chris Stewart and perhaps Brett Gardner so they should not regress all that much there.

The pitching is more likely to regress but they may add some pitching depth in the form of Michael Pineda at some point in the second half.  And maybe Ivan Nova figures things out if they need another arm in the rotation.

Whether they have been exceedingly lucky to this point is less important than how good they will be in the future.  In the meantime, they are winning real games even if they are not winning spreadsheet games.  There are a lot of parallels to the 2012 Orioles, a team that seemed to be fluky for most of the year but ended the year playing about as well as any team in baseball.  Of course those Orioles had more young talent and that’s not something the Yankees really have much of right now.

The Yankees are not a bad team.  But if, like me, you’ve felt that you’ve been watching a mediocre team so far this year, it’s because in a lot of ways you have been.

--Posted at 8:07 am by SG / 39 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

NY Post: Yankees’ Overbay happy he ‘survived’ first night in outfield

Yeah, the headline is about Overbay but this is the part that’s more interesting.

* Michael Pineda is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Class-A Tampa on Saturday after he went through a 65-pitch extended spring game yesterday without incident.

There is hope the right-hander could finally pitch for the Yankees next month after being out for more than a year following shoulder surgery.

Somewhere, a lonely patch of flat ground weeps.

Thanks to Mike K..

--Posted at 12:53 pm by SG / 1 Comment | - (0)




Friday, May 24, 2013

NJ.com: McCullough: Michael Pineda takes another step toward eventual Yankees debut

The two men are twinned in Yankees lore: Jesus Montero, the hulking catcher once thought to be a formidable slugger in pinstripes, and Michael Pineda, the promising young starter thought to one day headline the team’s rotation.

The link between the two became indelible when the Yankees traded Montero to Seattle in exchange for Pineda before the 2012 season. At the time, both were considered potential superstars. Now each is a reclamation project. On the day the Mariners demoted Montero to Triple-A Tacoma, Pineda took another halting step toward his much-anticipated debut for the Yankees.

Pineda, a 24-year-old righty, threw five innings in an extended-spring game at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla. His fastball velocity sat at 93 mph, general manager Brian Cashman said. After one more game at the complex, Pineda could begin a rehabilitation assignment, a 30-day jaunt that could lead him to the majors.

“I’m happy so far that he’s healthy,” Cashman said. “But he’s obviously got a ways to go. We’ll see. But so far so good.”

Pineda averaged around 94 mph with his fastball in his only season in MLB in 2011 so seeing that he’s sitting at 93 is pretty encouraging.  Of course, he can’t hit so he doesn’t really help the Yankees in their biggest area of weakness, but I’m starting to get excited about his potential return.

I don’t know that Jesus Montero would have failed to develop the way he has if he was in the Bronx instead of Seattle, and I think it’s still too soon to label him a bust, but at this point it seems like the Yankees have a reasonably good chance to end up “winning” the trade that a lot of us were less than enthused about.

--Posted at 9:32 am by SG / 17 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, May 7, 2013

NY Times: Rodriguez Returns to Field, but Nowhere Near the Yankees

Mark Teixeira fielded ground balls. Curtis Granderson ran sprints. The newest arrival, Alex Rodriguez, hit off a tee as he began the next stage of his rehabilitation from January hip surgery.

Everything at the Yankees’ complex said it was spring training. Everything, that is, except the calendar.

It is May, of course, and the Yankees are in Colorado, getting ready to play the Rockies. Back in Tampa, rehabilitating from various injuries, are an impressive collection of Yankee players who, if healthy, could probably win a ballgame without much help from anyone else.

Joining Teixeira, Granderson and Rodriguez were Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Clay Rapada and Cesar Cabral. Add to that roster Derek Jeter, whose fractured ankle is not yet ready for work on a practice field, and a manager would have a lineup that would be the envy of any number of teams.

“We always talk about injuries being a part of the game,” Rodriguez said. But this, he said, “is crazy!”

Rodriguez was in good spirits. He was also the only Yankee who emerged from the training facility and walked to the front gate, where he signed autographs for a group of fans and answered questions from a group of reporters.

I’m not sure how the position players rate vs. other underwater or dry swing squads, but I’ll tell you what, that’s one hell of a flat ground pitching staff. 

--Posted at 7:44 am by SG / 12 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NY Post: Early stats for Mets’ Harvey, Yankees’ Pineda look like mirror images

OK, this was not meant to be a cliffhanger. Since the clue is the “14-start mark” and this is New York and Matt Harvey is starting tonight, you probably already know Harvey is Pitcher A.

What might surprise you is Pitcher B is Michael Pineda through his first 14 starts — all for the Mariners in 2011. Here might come another piece of info you didn’t know: Pineda is just 69 days older than Harvey. Still just 24.

WTF?  A vs. B is my thing.  Can I sue?

Of course, Pineda never has thrown a pitch for the Yankees. He broke down in spring 2012, needed surgery in May to repair a shoulder tear and didn’t throw his first simulated inning until Monday. The Yankees have been encouraged by a setback-free recovery. The reports from the simulation were that he topped out in the low 90-mph range and threw well.

Still too early to get overly excited, but I would classify this as encouraging.

--Posted at 10:27 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)




Monday, April 1, 2013

Lohud: Rapada DFA as Yankees set Opening Day roster

To open a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster, lefty Clay Rapada has been designated for assignment. The move clears the way for Lyle Overbay to make the Opening Day roster. Here’s the roster.

Unless Rapada’s injury is more serious than the Yankees have let on, I really don’t get keeping Cody Eppley over him.  Rapada’s a player who has a very limited role, but he’s really good at it.  Eppley’s role is similar, but he’s not as good at it and there’s less of a need for it.

Chad Jennings runs through the 25 man roster and here it is.

ROTATION
52 CC Sabathia
18 Hiroki Kuroda
46 Andy Pettitte
47 Ivan Nova
41 David Phelps

BULLPEN
42 Mariano Rivera
30 Dave Robertson
62 Joba Chamberlain
48 Boone Logan
27 Shawn Kelley
38 Cody Eppley
43 Adam Warren

CATCHERS
29 Francisco Cervelli
19 Chris Stewart

INFIELDERS
55 Lyle Overbay
24 Robinson Cano
36 Kevin Youkilis
26 Eduardo Nunez
17 Jayson Nix
33 Travis Hafner

OUTFIELDERS
11 Brett Gardner
31 Ichiro Suzuki
12 Vernon Wells
45 Ben Francisco
22 Brennan Boesch

15-DAY DISABLED LIST
65 Phil Hughes
2 Derek Jeter
25 Mark Teixeira
14 Curtis Granderson

60-DAY DISABLED LIST
71 Cesar Cabral
35 Michael Pineda
13 Alex Rodriguez

That doesn’t look like a division-winner to me.

--Posted at 8:02 am by SG / 13 Comments | - (0)




Friday, February 8, 2013

MLB.com: Pineda making strides at Yanks’ training complex

NEW YORK—Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda is set to reach a major checkpoint in his recovery from right shoulder surgery, graduating to tossing from a half mound on Tuesday at the club’s complex in Tampa, Fla.

The 24-year-old Pineda missed all of the 2012 season due to injury after being acquired from the Mariners in January.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said that the organization is hopeful that the right-hander will be an option at the big league level by June or July.

The flat ground squad appears to be a bit thin if Pineda’s not going to be a part of it.

--Posted at 8:33 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)




Monday, January 14, 2013

The Anniversary

It was one year ago yesterday that the Yankees traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi for Michael Pineda and Jose Campos in a stunning move that came out of nowhere.  I didn’t like the move at the time, but by the time spring training came around I had accepted it.  As it turned out, Montero was pretty bad and Noesi was awful, but the Yankees probably still regret making the trade given the fact that Pineda went down with a shoulder injury and his prognosis is uncertain.

It’s tough to judge Montero’s season given the way Safeco suppresses offense and you can’t help but wonder if he’d have hit better in DNYS in a better lineup.  His .260/.298/.386 line was pretty close to league average once you adjust for park (95 OPS+).  What does that mean?  Here’s a list of the players who had at least 500 PA with an OPS+ between 90 and 100 in their age 22 season.

Name OPS+ Year Age Tm Lg G PA H 2B 3B HR BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Adrian Beltre 91 2001 22 LAD NL 126 515 126 22 4 13 28 82 .265 .310 .411 .720
Al Simmons 98 1924 22 PHA AL 152 647 183 31 9 8 30 60 .308 .343 .431 .774
Alex Gonzalez 91 1999 22 FLA NL 136 591 155 28 8 14 15 113 .277 .308 .430 .739
Beals Becker 92 1909 22 BSN NL 152 645 138 15 6 6 47 84 .246 .305 .326 .631
Bill Coughlin 97 1901 22 WSH AL 137 548 139 17 13 6 25 43 .275 .317 .395 .712
Bill Knickerbocker 93 1934 22 CLE AL 146 632 188 32 5 4 25 40 .317 .347 .408 .755
Bob Bailey 95 1965 22 PIT NL 159 702 160 28 3 11 70 93 .256 .330 .363 .692
Bobby Byrne 91 1907 22 STL NL 149 624 143 11 5 0 35 72 .256 .307 .293 .600
Brett Lawrie 97 2012 22 TOR AL 125 536 135 26 3 11 33 86 .273 .324 .405 .729
Bruce Campbell 96 1932 22 TOT AL 146 660 173 36 11 14 40 104 .283 .333 .447 .780
Buck Weaver 93 1913 22 CHW AL 151 573 145 17 8 4 15 60 .272 .302 .356 .659
Carlos Beltran 99 1999 22 KCR AL 156 723 194 27 7 22 46 123 .293 .337 .454 .791
Charlie Spikes 98 1973 22 CLE AL 140 561 120 12 3 23 45 103 .237 .303 .409 .712
Chuck Knoblauch 91 1991 22 MIN AL 151 636 159 24 6 1 59 40 .281 .351 .350 .701
Claudell Washington 99 1977 22 TEX AL 129 554 148 31 2 12 25 112 .284 .318 .420 .739
Cliff Heathcote 100 1920 22 STL NL 133 532 139 18 8 3 25 31 .284 .320 .372 .693
Del Ennis 98 1947 22 PHI NL 139 581 149 25 6 12 37 51 .275 .325 .410 .736
Delino DeShields 94 1991 22 MON NL 151 673 134 15 4 10 95 151 .238 .347 .332 .680
Delmon Young 100 2008 22 MIN AL 152 623 167 28 4 10 35 105 .290 .336 .405 .741
Derrek Lee 96 1998 22 FLA NL 141 513 106 29 1 17 47 120 .233 .318 .414 .732
Dick McAuliffe 99 1962 22 DET AL 139 539 124 20 5 12 64 76 .263 .349 .403 .752
Ellis Burks 99 1987 22 BOS AL 133 606 152 30 2 20 41 98 .272 .324 .441 .765
Elmer Smith 98 1915 22 CLE AL 144 528 118 23 12 3 36 75 .248 .301 .366 .666
Frankie Crosetti 94 1933 22 NYY AL 136 513 114 20 5 9 55 40 .253 .337 .379 .716
Garry Templeton 91 1978 22 STL NL 155 675 181 31 13 2 22 87 .280 .303 .377 .680
George Foster 95 1971 22 TOT NL 140 514 114 23 4 13 29 120 .241 .292 .389 .681
George Kell 93 1945 22 PHA AL 147 602 154 30 3 4 27 15 .272 .306 .356 .662
Howard Freigau 94 1925 22 TOT NL 126 551 150 22 10 8 32 32 .299 .342 .430 .772
Jesus Montero 95 2012 22 SEA AL 135 553 134 20 0 15 29 99 .260 .298 .386 .685
Jim Tabor 96 1939 22 BOS AL 149 626 167 33 8 14 40 54 .289 .337 .447 .784
Jimmy Rollins 93 2001 22 PHI NL 158 720 180 29 12 14 48 108 .274 .323 .419 .743
Johnny Evers 93 1904 22 CHC NL 152 587 141 14 7 0 28 22 .265 .307 .318 .624
Mark Kotsay 94 1998 22 FLA NL 154 623 161 25 7 11 34 61 .279 .318 .403 .721
Rafael Furcal 98 2000 22 ATL NL 131 542 134 20 4 4 73 80 .295 .394 .382 .776
Ray Chapman 91 1913 22 CLE AL 141 601 131 19 7 3 46 51 .258 .322 .341 .662
Reggie Smith 100 1967 22 BOS AL 158 629 139 24 6 15 57 95 .246 .315 .389 .704
Roberto Alomar 98 1990 22 SDP NL 147 646 168 27 5 6 48 72 .287 .340 .381 .721
Roy Howell 92 1976 22 TEX AL 140 531 124 28 2 8 30 106 .253 .295 .367 .661
Ruben Sierra 100 1988 22 TEX AL 156 668 156 32 2 23 44 91 .254 .301 .424 .725
Ruben Tejada 90 2012 22 NYM NL 114 501 134 26 0 1 27 73 .289 .333 .351 .685
Steve Sax 97 1982 22 LAD NL 150 699 180 23 7 4 49 53 .282 .335 .359 .694
Tito Francona 95 1956 22 BAL AL 139 500 115 16 4 9 51 60 .258 .334 .373 .707
Troy Glaus 98 1999 22 ANA AL 154 631 132 29 0 29 71 143 .240 .331 .450 .781

There are some very good players on this list like Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran, but honestly it’s kind of underwhelming.

The jury is also still out on his defense, but he didn’t really seem to convince most observers that he’ll be capable of being a full-time catcher at the MLB level.  Still, he’ll be 23 in 2013 and it’s not hard to imagine him hitting much better with a year of adjustment and additional experience. 

Of course, given the fact that Pineda may never be an MLB pitcher again it’s kind of hard to spin this trade in the Yankees’ favor.  The simple question I’d ask is this, if the Yankees could make this trade again today given what they know now would they?  I think the obvious answer is no.

Pineda could come back healthy and Montero may not be able to catch or improve enough offensively that the Yankees could still end up coming out ahead in this trade.  I don’t like the odds of all that coming to pass, but it’s possible.  But I suppose we’ll have a bit more data to judge on after 2013.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)




Friday, November 30, 2012

NY Times: Martin Leaves the Yankees for the Pirates

Russell Martin’s two-year tenure with the Yankees ended Thursday when he agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving the Yankees without a No. 1 catcher.

“I had a great time in New York,” Martin said by phone from Montreal, his hometown. “It was probably the best baseball experience of my life. But this is the business, and it was time to move on.”

It seems to me the Yankees could have matched this deal and I’m not sure why they didn’t.  If it would have taken three years to keep Martin I’d have felt better about letting him walk, but at 2 years and $17M he only has to be worth about 3 wins over two years to be worth it.

We got spoiled by the elite offense that Jorge Posada provided for years as a catcher that makes it a bit harder to appreciate Martin I think.  No, he’s not a great hitter, but neither are the majority of catchers in baseball and there’s pretty some evidence that Martin’s defense makes him even more valuable than his basic stats indicate.

I think this confirms that getting to the target of a $189M payroll in 2014 may be the Yankees #1 focus right now, and that’s going to make it a bit harder to build a super team for 2013.  Of course, you don’t need a super team to win a World Series, but it helps.

I’m not sure where the Yankees will go from here.  I’d be surprised if the starting catcher on Opening Day is on the roster right now.  Here’s the list of free agent catchers and how CAIRO would project them as Yankees.

Last First Age Pos Tm Lg PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR oWAR
Napoli Mike 32 C NYA AL 394 342 86 16 1 22 44 98 9 .250 .344 .493 .360 55 91 29 2.9
Pierzynski A.J. 37 C NYA AL 458 424 114 20 2 12 22 53 12 .270 .309 .412 .313 49 69 18 1.8
Blanco Henry 42 C NYA AL 168 152 36 7 0 6 14 35 3 .234 .298 .396 .304 17 67 6 0.6
Shoppach Kelly 33 C NYA AL 287 251 54 10 1 11 23 90 4 .214 .299 .387 .303 29 66 10 1.0
Snyder Chris 32 C NYA AL 237 202 43 7 0 8 30 57 5 .213 .319 .366 .308 24 65 8 0.8
Barajas Rod 38 C NYA AL 315 286 64 11 0 12 19 60 5 .225 .280 .391 .291 30 62 9 0.9
Olivo Miguel 35 C NYA AL 436 410 95 18 1 18 20 120 8 .231 .265 .415 .290 41 62 13 1.3
Schneider Brian 37 C NYA AL 160 143 31 6 0 3 13 30 4 .219 .291 .335 .281 13 54 3 0.3
Treanor Matt 37 C NYA AL 183 157 33 5 1 3 20 36 3 .211 .304 .312 .282 15 52 3 0.3
Nickeas Mike 30 C NYA AL 267 239 54 11 0 4 24 49 6 .224 .298 .315 .279 21 52 4 0.4
Paulino Carlos 24 C NYA AL 305 287 62 14 1 4 14 58 7 .215 .257 .310 .252 20 42 -1 -0.1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement (BRAR divided by 10, although maybe it should be more like 9.5 now)

Not a particularly inspired bunch.

Napoli’s almost certainly not an option, and I’m guessing Pierzynski will want(and get) two years.  So he’s not an option either.  I don’t even know if Henry Blanco is still playing and I’m not sure why CAIRO thinks so highly of a 42 year old catcher, although I guess it probably has to do with him being utilized in a way that plays to his strengths which makes his rate stats better.  He’s not a starter anyway.  Actually, almost none of these guys are except for Pierzynski and Olivo.

So maybe someone like Olivo, Shoppach, Barajas or Snyder will be on their radar, with an eye on anyone who may get non-tendered.

I don’t know that it’s a huge deal.  I ran some projections last night that have the Yankees as around an 89 win team right now.  Considering they were an 80 win team if they had done nothing and have since re-signed Hiroki Kuroda (4.8 wins), Andy Pettitte (2.8 wins) and Mariano Rivera (1.0 win without leverage, maybe 1.5 with)  that seems about right.  They can probably add a win or two in RF if they can’t upgrade catcher.  I’m also assuming Michael Pineda won’t pitch this year, so if by some miracle he’s able to contribute in the second half that could add a win or two.

For whatever it’s worth at this early stage(ie, not a whole hell of a lot), I’ve got Toronto at around 88 wins assuming relatively good health from Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson but between Bautista’s wrist, Reyes’s hamstrings on turf and Josh Johnson’s injury history that may be somewhat optimistic.  The Rays are at around 86 wins but they can add a bat and get to 90 wins pretty easily by upgrading 1B or the OF (or both).  The Orioles are in the 77 win range, and Boston’s bringing up the rear as they should be at about 74 wins.  Of course those teams aren’t done with their offseasons yet so all of this is subject to change.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Postseason Implications of this series with Baltimore

I have to admit that I really have no idea how good the 2012 Orioles are.  Much has been made of the fact that they’ve been outscored this season, but that ignores the fact that their current roster is not the same as the roster they had earlier in the year.  Team talent is not static, and any analysis that assumes that what the Orioles have done all season long is the best way to assess how good they are at this very moment is simplistic and lazy. 

That being said, I’m kind of lazy myself and don’t feel like revising and re-running all their projections right now.  But anyone that wants to discuss how good/bad the Orioles really are should at least acknowledge that they’re no longer giving starts to Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta, and what they did in the rotation in the first half of the year should have little bearing on how good the Orioles will be over the rest of the season.  The fact is, they’re right in the heart of the postseason race and anything can happen from here on out.  They very well could win the World Series if everything falls into place for them.

I also am fairly uncertain about how good the Yankees are right now.  I’m reasonably sure they’re not the 94 win team they projected to be at the start of the year when they had Mo and Brett Gardner and Michael Pineda, and that they probably won’t be that good through the end of the year given the injuries they’ve been dealing with and the apparent loss of Curtis Granderson and Andruw Jones’s ability to hit a baseball.  Jones should be less of a concern than Granderson, but Joe Girardi’s stubborn insistence on playing him against every LHP the Yankees face makes him a lot more important to this team than he ought to be.  Especially when teams are champing at the bit to throw every LHP they can find against the Yankees, which is logical. 

We also don’t know if/when they’ll get Mark Teixeira, Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte back and what they’ll do if/when they do come back.  All three have the potential to significantly improve this team, but all three have a very realistic chance of not being able to return and be effective.  I don’t think that’s pessimistic, I just think it’s realistic.  If the Yankees can get all three back, they improve the lineup and the rotation and the bullpen and start to look like one of the better teams in baseball, if not the best, again.

Rather than using projections and YTD performance for this run through the postseason implications of this series, I’m going to just assume that the Yankees and Orioles are roughly .500 teams.  So consider this more theoretical than the typical postseason odds I run.

In that case, here’s how the postseason probabilites for the AL look as of this morning. 

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Yankees 90 72 782 677 45.0% 13.6% 15.5% 74.1%
Rays 89 73 694 603 29.2% 12.9% 18.0% 60.2%
Orioles 89 73 699 737 25.8% 12.5% 14.8% 53.0%
Red Sox 75 87 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 88 74 754 703 61.7% 1.8% 4.2% 67.6%
Tigers 87 75 742 692 38.3% 2.3% 6.9% 47.5%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 68 94 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 96 66 834 698 94.8% 3.8% 0.6% 99.2%
Athletics 89 73 691 631 3.6% 37.6% 21.6% 62.8%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.7% 15.4% 18.6% 35.7%
Mariners 78 84 632 651 0.0% - - -

W: Projected final 2011 wins
L: Projected final 2011 losses
RS: Projected final 2011 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2011 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)

And here’s how they look for each of the possible outcomes of this series.

Orioles 4-0 W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Orioles 90 72 699 737 55.6% 11.6% 12.6% 79.8%
Rays 88 74 694 603 27.8% 11.6% 16.3% 55.7%
Yankees 88 74 782 677 15.8% 14.7% 19.1% 49.6%
Red Sox 74 88 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 88 74 754 703 64.0% 2.0% 3.6% 69.5%
Tigers 86 76 742 692 35.3% 3.0% 5.4% 43.7%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 67 95 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 95 67 834 698 93.9% 4.4% 0.9% 99.2%
Athletics 88 74 691 631 3.9% 35.3% 22.3% 61.6%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.4% 16.6% 19.2% 37.1%
Mariners 77 85 632 651 0.0% - - -
Orioles 3-1 W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Orioles 89 73 699 737 39.0% 14.6% 15.7% 69.3%
Yankees 89 73 782 677 30.2% 15.7% 16.5% 62.5%
Rays 89 73 694 603 30.6% 13.4% 15.9% 59.9%
Red Sox 75 87 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 88 74 754 703 64.1% 2.3% 4.2% 70.5%
Tigers 87 75 742 692 35.7% 2.6% 4.9% 43.2%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 67 95 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 96 66 834 698 94.5% 3.9% 1.3% 99.6%
Athletics 89 73 691 631 4.1% 33.1% 23.3% 60.5%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.3% 14.3% 18.1% 33.7%
Mariners 78 84 632 651 0.0% - - -
2-2 W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Yankees 90 72 782 677 47.3% 13.7% 13.6% 74.6%
Rays 89 73 694 603 30.1% 12.7% 16.1% 58.8%
Orioles 89 73 699 737 22.6% 11.3% 20.9% 54.8%
Red Sox 75 87 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 89 73 754 703 60.9% 2.6% 4.0% 67.5%
Tigers 87 75 742 692 39.1% 2.4% 5.9% 47.4%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 68 94 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 96 66 834 698 94.7% 4.4% 0.2% 99.3%
Athletics 89 73 691 631 4.2% 35.6% 21.5% 61.3%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.2% 17.2% 18.0% 36.4%
Mariners 78 84 632 651 0.0% - - -
Yankees 3-1 W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Yankees 91 71 782 677 67.5% 10.5% 8.7% 86.7%
Rays 89 73 694 603 22.8% 16.8% 17.7% 57.3%
Orioles 88 74 699 737 9.7% 11.3% 18.5% 39.4%
Red Sox 75 87 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 88 74 754 703 63.4% 2.0% 2.8% 68.2%
Tigers 87 75 742 692 36.6% 3.0% 5.5% 45.1%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 68 94 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 96 66 834 698 94.2% 4.2% 0.9% 99.2%
Athletics 89 73 691 631 4.3% 36.5% 24.5% 65.3%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.6% 15.8% 21.5% 38.8%
Mariners 78 84 632 651 0.0% - - -
Yankees 4-0 W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Yankees 92 70 782 677 79.6% 10.5% 6.1% 96.3%
Rays 89 73 694 603 17.9% 22.0% 23.6% 63.5%
Orioles 86 76 699 737 2.3% 8.5% 13.6% 24.4%
Red Sox 75 87 781 775 0.0% - - -
Blue Jays 73 89 732 783 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
White Sox 88 74 754 703 61.1% 3.0% 4.0% 68.1%
Tigers 87 75 742 692 38.7% 3.1% 6.5% 48.3%
Royals 73 89 681 745 0.0% - - -
Indians 68 94 668 827 0.0% - - -
Twins 67 95 720 835 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 96 66 834 698 95.2% 3.7% 0.9% 99.7%
Athletics 89 73 691 631 3.6% 35.1% 24.5% 63.2%
Angels 87 75 772 699 1.1% 13.8% 20.7% 35.6%
Mariners 78 84 632 651 0.0% - - -

Remember that I’m assuming the Yankees are Orioles are .500 teams.  If you think that’s too pessimistic for the Yankees and too optimistic for the Orioles adjust accordingly.

The Yankees, Orioles, Rays, White Sox, Tigers, A’s and Angels are all bunched within four games of each other, so it’s likely going to be a dogfight to qualify for the postseason.  Hopefully the Yankees are better than a .500 team and can pull away from the pack a bit. 

Getting back to Yanks vs. O’s, your pitching matchups for the series are:

Thursday, September 6, 2012
David Phelps, RHP (3-4, 3.13 ERA) vs. Jason Hammel, RHP (8-6, 3.54 ERA)

Phelps hasn’t been great over his last couple of starts, including his last start against Baltimore where he walked 6 in 4.2 innings.  Hammel was the Orioles’ best starter through June 22 with a 2.61 ERA, but he lost effectiveness over his last four starts, probably at least partially due to a knee injury that ended up requiring surgery that put him on the DL on July 13.  He’s making his first start since returning from the DL and may be rusty.  Let’s hope so.

Friday, September 7, 2012
Phil Hughes, RHP (13-12, 4.18 ERA) vs. Wei-Yin Chen, LHP (12-8, 3.79 ERA)

Hughes was cruising through his last start against Baltimore through five innings, but the wheels came off in the sixth.  Maybe if he walks Mark Reynolds every time he can keep the Yankees in this game.  Wei-Yin Chen was dominant against the Yankees in his last start, but his bullpen and defense ended up making his final line look less than great in a game the Yankees stole thanks to a J.J. Hardy error.

Saturday, September 8, 2012
CC Sabathia, LHP (13-4, 3.42 ERA) vs. Joe Saunders, LHP (1-1, 4.63 ERA)

Two finesse lefties face off in the third game of this series.  The Yankees really needed a big game from CC in his last start against Tampa, but didn’t get it.  I’d like to think they’ll get it here but CC hasn’t looked like CC this year and while his peripheral stats are pretty similar to what they’ve been throughout his Yankee career, his fastball velocity is still down almost 2 mph and I think it’s having a significant impact on his effectiveness.  Saunders is back from Little League, and has made one crappy start and one pretty good one.  As a lefty, he’s sure to give the Yankees fits.

Sunday, September 9, 2012
Freddy Garcia, RHP (7-6, 5.09 ERA) vs. Zach Britton, LHP (5-1, 4.15 ERA)

Garcia’s got a 7.53 ERA over his last three starts while averaging less than 5 innings per game.  He’s given up 12 runs over those three games.  Zach Britton has a 0.94 ERA over his last four starts, and has struck out 29 hitters in 28.2 innings while going 4-0.  Oh, and he’s a lefty. 

I hate these pitching matchups.  It will be a monumental task for the Yankees to win this series.  I suppose Phelps vs. Hammel might be okay if Phelps rebounds a bit and Hammel is rusty.  I’d be shocked if Hughes outpitched Chen.  CC should be able to beat Saunders, but WTF knows?  And that last game looks like a disaster.

I think we’re looking at a split here at best, and wouldn’t be surprised to see the Orioles taking 3 out of 4.  Even if that happens, that just means the Yankees will be down by a game in the division as they head to Boston for three games while the Orioles get to host Tampa Bay for three.  Unfortunately, this will probably be Boston’s version of the postseason.  Fortunately, Boston’s probably not all that good right now and it may not matter.

I realize we feel like the Yankees should be in the postseason every year given their payroll, but it’s kind of fun to have meaningful games in September, isn’t it?  Living and dying on every pitch for a month is an emotional roller coaster but that’s part of the entertainment factor of baseball, and one we don’t necessarily get enough of as Yankee fans who usually are watching their team set up their postseason rotation over the last few weeks of the year.  It’s like an extended version of the postseason.

It also might be a good reminder that just getting into the postseason is a pretty good accomplishment in and of itself and the season’s not a failure if the Yankees don’t win the World Series.  Despite what Randy Levine will surely say at the end of the year if they don’t.

--Posted at 8:19 am by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Postseason Implications of This Week’s Series with Tampa Bay

The Yankees begin a six game homestand tonight with Tampa Bay.  Tampa Bay is tied for first place with Baltimore, but it’s a pretty safe bet that they’re better than Baltimore and are a bigger threat to the Yankees’ chances at winning the division. 

At the beginning of the season, the Yankees projected about three games better than Tampa Bay (94 wins vs. 91 wins) but the Rays now have a 3.5 game lead and the Yankees are a bit weaker with Michael Pineda on the shelf.  Based on what’s happened so far and playing out the rest of the season according to how the teams project going forward gives me a final AL East standings projection that looks something like this.

TMWLRSRADivWC1WC2PS%W+/-RS+/-RA+/-
Rays917176168244.6%26.0%12.8%83.4%2.1-4-1
Yankees917183371842.8%26.0%13.2%82.0%-3.7-46
Red Sox84788417696.9%9.2%16.6%32.7%-7.11235
Blue Jays82807737554.9%8.3%13.4%26.6%1.20-21
Orioles78847197830.9%2.3%4.8%8.0%8.36-36

W: Projected final 2011 wins
L: Projected final 2011 losses
RS: Projected final 2011 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2011 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: 2012 revised projected wins minus 2012 pre-season projected wins
RS+/-: 2012 revised projected runs scored minus 2012 pre-season projected runs scored (positive means they are projected to score more)
RA+/-: 2012 revised projected runs allowed minus 2012 pre-season projected runs allowed (negative means they are projected to allow fewer)

The pitching matchups for this series are as follows.

Tuesday, May 8: The Undefeated James Shields (5-0, 3.05 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (3-1, 5.58 ERA)
Wednesday, May 9: Jeff Niemann (2-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. David Phelps (0-1, 3.74 ERA)
Thursday, May 10: David Price (5-1, 2.35 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (4-0, 4.15 ERA)

So here are how the standings and postseason odds change based on the various potential outcomes of this series.

Rays 3-0WLRSRADivWC1WC2PS%W+/-RS+/-RA+/-
Rays936976168261.0%18.8%8.3%88.1%3.8-4-1
Yankees897383371826.2%28.5%17.0%71.7%-5.3-46
Red Sox83798417695.6%11.7%15.4%32.8%-7.51235
Blue Jays83797737556.2%10.2%15.1%31.5%1.50-21
Orioles78847197831.0%2.8%5.4%9.2%8.36-36
Rays 2-1WLRSRADivWC1WC2PS%W+/-RS+/-RA+/-
Rays927076168251.9%21.4%12.5%85.7%2.7-4-1
Yankees907283371836.4%26.4%14.6%77.4%-4.3-46
Red Sox83798417695.6%10.5%16.7%32.8%-7.41235
Blue Jays83797737555.4%9.6%12.9%27.9%1.40-21
Orioles78847197830.8%2.0%6.5%9.3%8.06-36
Yankees 2-1WLRSRADivWC1WC2PS%W+/-RS+/-RA+/-
Yankees917183371844.7%24.9%13.9%83.5%-3.4-46
Rays917176168240.4%24.5%13.2%78.1%1.8-4-1
Red Sox83798417697.9%9.9%16.1%34.0%-7.21235
Blue Jays82807737555.5%8.4%12.7%26.5%1.20-21
Orioles78847197831.5%3.0%5.7%10.2%8.26-36
Yankees 3-0WLRSRADivWC1WC2PS%W+/-RS+/-RA+/-
Yankees927083371852.1%22.1%11.3%85.5%-2.6-46
Rays907276168233.9%26.6%15.7%76.2%0.8-4-1
Red Sox84788417697.7%11.2%15.1%34.0%-7.11235
Blue Jays82807737555.1%7.6%14.5%27.2%1.20-21
Orioles78847197831.1%2.4%6.4%10.0%8.46-36

Sure, it’s early.  And yes, the Yankees play the Rays enough times over the rest of the season to make up any ground they lose in this series, but this is still a pretty important series.  You might even say it’s the most important series of the season so far.

--Posted at 9:45 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)




Friday, April 27, 2012

NYDN: Cashman avoids bad press, fan outrage over Montero trade for injured Pineda

When it came to legit Cashman pitching blunders, whether it be A.J. Burnett, Kei Igawa, Carl Pavano or Jeff Weaver, the GM didn’t exactly skate, but his relationship with certain reporters, and the respect many others have for him, softened what could have been severe body blows.

Only now it will be fascinating to watch how Cashman’s relationship with the media evolves going forward. By normal Yankees standards, the pitching is in shambles, filled with inconsistent arms after CC Sabathia and Ivan Nova take their turns in the rotation.

I’m bringing back the complaint thread.  If you don’t like them, don’t read this.

The impact of the Pineda injury is huge.  If the Yankees were looking at Pineda as a 3-4 win player, it probably would have helped them move towards the $189 payroll in 2014 that they’ve been eyeing.  Not having him for 2012, and possibly never having him, should possibly change the organization’s plans.  I don’t know if it will, but let’s think about it logically.

- Say the Yankees were a 95 win team with Pineda, and that losing him makes them a 93 win team (assuming they get better than replacement level pitching from his replacement(s))
- In 2013, with just about every key player on the team likely to be worse since they’re past the age of the typical player’s peak, what would they be then?  An 88 win team? 
-Now subtract Mo, Hiroki Kuroda, Nick Swisher and Russell Martin from that.  Say that’s 10 wins.  So now what, 78 wins? 
-They have $120M committed to 2013, without including arbitration salaries for Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain and David Robertson.  Giving them a 20% raise bumps the payroll commitment to about $135M or so. 
-Assume that 90 wins is the target to qualify for the second wild card in most seasons.  So the Yankees need to add about 12 wins for $54M to get to 90 wins in 2013, and that really just puts them on the periphery of the wild card race.

You probably can’t buy 12 wins for $54M on the free agent market due to what’s available and how it fits your roster as well as with competition from other teams.  The better free agents are probably not going to want to settle for one year contracts and anything longer than that impacts the 2014 payroll. 

Maybe they can replace Pineda’s wins with someone from the farm, although at this point it sure doesn’t seem like Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos are ready and the other arms behind them are either too far away or don’t project to be much more than back-end guys.  They don’t have the position player prospects to replace the hole in RF, at least not for 2013.  They could use a rotating DH to fill the hole there, but then that necessitates having a backup player or two that you’re comfortable playing in the field every day.  I don’t know if Eduardo Nunez is that guy given his defensive issues and the uncertainty of his offense.  Martin’s not making much of a case to be retained, but the falloff from him to some combination of Francisco Cervelli, Austin Romine or Chris Stewart is probably still significant.

Because of that, the only way I can see the Yankees being competitive in 2013 is going over the $189M payroll target.  If they’re not going to do that, I’d suggest rebuilding, but they don’t have anyone trade-able that would help reduce their payroll.  Is anyone really going to take Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira off their hands?

As of now the Yankees only have $75M commited to the 2014 payroll.  However, that number only includes CC Sabathia, Rodriguez, Teixeira and a $3M Derek Jeter buyout.  They’d still have arbitration rights to Gardner, Robertson, Pineda, Ivan Nova, Nunez, Cervelli, Stewart and Ramiro Pena.  How many games would that team win? 

I understand the benefit to getting under the salary cap limit, but if the trade-off is a crappy team that will draw fewer fans and make less revenue it may not be worth it. 

--Posted at 7:35 am by SG / 27 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, April 26, 2012

Seattle Times: Stone: The dreaded labrum: Five case studies

Here are five case studies, three of them successful comebacks (Chris Carpenter, Trevor Hoffman and Jon Rauch), one of them unsuccessful (Jason Schmidt), and one of them still in progress (Casey Janssen). All were reported as having surgeries to repair a torn labrum, but keep in mind that I don’t really know how similar the operations were to Bedard’s.

This article’s two years old, and it was written in regard to Erik Bedard trying to come back from a labrum tear of his own, but it does provide some examples of what may be in store for Michael Pineda following his surgery and attempted recovery.  I suppose we can also add Bedard to the mix.  He’s seemingly recovered most of his effectiveness, although his durability is almost non-existent.

Some other pitchers who suffered labrum tears include Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling, Brandon Webb, Ted Lilly, Jeff Francis and Ben Sheets.  Clemens, Schilling and Lilly were able to recover pretty well from them.  Webb and Sheets thus far have not recovered to the point of being effective MLB pitchers again.  Francis is still trying, but it doesn’t look particularly good for him.

--Posted at 10:00 am by SG / 62 Comments | - (0)



NY Times: Yankees Lose Pineda for Season, and Hughes Adds to Worries

ARLI

NGTON, Tex. — It was a dreary day for the Yankees’ pitching rotation Wednesday, as news about Michael Pineda’s season-ending injury was followed by a bad outing from one of the pitchers the Yankees hope can make up for Pineda’s loss.

IIn the afternoon, the Yankees announced that Pineda had a torn labrum in his right shoulder and would miss the season, and the first month of next year. Several hours later, Phil Hughes compounded the problem.

I wanted to try and show the projected impact of losing Pineda, but at this point given the fact that those innings are going to be replaced by some combination of Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Andy Pettitte I don’t think I can do it.  I have no idea how to project any of them right now.  Hughes and Garcia are worse than replacement level and I’m not sure they’ll be better than that at any point this year.  With Pettitte we have the uncertainty of what a year off may have done to him.

If we assume Pineda’s replaced by replacement level innings, the Yankees lose about three wins.  Hopefully it’s not worse than that.

--Posted at 5:24 am by SG / 49 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mike Francesa: Bad News on Pineda Coming Shortly

Let the speculation run rampant.

Lohud: Jennings: Pineda having labral surgery

Michael Pineda has been diagnosed with a right anterior labral tear and will have surgery next Tuesday, May 1.

Not much to say about this, other than it stinks.

--Posted at 3:53 pm by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)



North Jersey: Yanks notes:Michael Pineda gets another opinion

Michael Pineda is headed for another exam on his ailing right shoulder, as per his agent’s request for a second opinion. The Yankees were awaiting results on Pineda’s initial New York exam Tuesday by club physician Chris Ahmad. Today, Pineda is scheduled to be examined by David Altchek, the Mets’ team physician.

Really?  The METS’ team physician?  Ugh.

Did you know that Jesus Montero’s .254/.270/.373 line playing half his games in Safeco would be .328/.406/.590 if he played half his games in DNYS instead?

--Posted at 5:11 am by SG / 42 Comments | - (0)




Friday, April 6, 2012

Looking Ahead To 2012 - Team Wrap Up

Opening Day is here, which means we can forget about projections and start complaining about games that count.

We’ve looked at the projections for most of the key players on the Yankees Opening Day roster, with apologies to Chris Stewart.

Russell Martin
Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Eduardo Nun-E-z
The Speedy Brett Gardner
Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Andruw Jones and Jesus Montero Raul Ibanez
CC Sabathia
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes
Michael Pineda
Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia
$36M and a lost draft pick
David Robertson
Booooone Logan and Clay Rapada
Cory Wade and David Phelps
Mariano F’ing Rivera

So now I try to assemble that into a team projection.  I’ll show the depth charts I used for the 2012 MLB Projection Blowout with CAIRO.

order player position pa outs avg/obp/slg woba br def
1 Derek Jeter SS 575 392 .286/.345/.384 .325 69 -7
2 Curtis Granderson CF 625 421 .263/.351/.502 .366 98 0
3 Mark Teixeira 1B 675 447 .263/.359/.493 .368 105 4
4 Robinson Cano 2B 675 460 .303/.352/.504 .368 105 0
5 Alex Rodriguez 3B 450 300 .273/.363/.474 .365 68 0
6 Nick Swisher RF 625 418 .259/.356/.455 .354 90 4
7 Raul Ibanez DH 400 279 .266/.329/.458 .340 55 0
8 Russell Martin C 500 346 .253/.347/.383 .329 60 0
9 Brett Gardner LF 600 410 .262/.347/.371 .324 76 16
Starters 5125 3473 .271/.351/.449 .350 726 18
bench player position pa outs avg/obp/slg woba br def
Eduardo Nunez IF 375 271 .262/.315/.392 .310 44 -6
Andruw Jones OF 275 194 .221/.318/.413 .321 34 0
Eric Chavez 3B 250 182 .240/.296/.356 .288 24 0
Chris Stewart C 100 72 .228/.299/.328 .283 9 0
Francisco Cervelli C 100 70 .264/.328/.373 .312 11 0
Ramiro Pena IF 50 37 .240/.290/.340 .280 5 0
Brandon Laird 1B/3B 40 29 .247/.292/.407 .304 4 0
Chris Dickerson OF 0 0 .243/.321/.369 .308 0 0
Jack Cust DH 0 0 .243/.362/.420 .349 0 0
Russell Branyan DH 0 0 .240/.330/.458 .341 0 0
Dewayne Wise OF 0 0 .243/.286/.406 .298 0 0
David Adams 2B 0 0 .244/.311/.377 .305 0 0
Bench 1190 855 .244/.309/.381 .304 131 -6
Team 6315 4328 .266/.343/.436 .341 857 12

woba: Weighted on-base average
br: Linear weights batting runs
def: Estimated runs saved compared to average using an average of zone rating, DRS, UZR and Totalzone

The biggest area of concern for the position players is probably Alex Rodriguez’s health.  A weighted average of his past four years puts him at 459 PA.  I’m also not particularly optimistic that Raul Ibanez can hit that projected line, although as half of a platoon it’s more feasible.  To a lesser extent the team’s overall health is probably a concern, although in my mind it’s not a huge one.  Losing Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano for an extensive period of time wouldn’t be good since they’re probably the two most valuable position players on the team right now, but you can say that for any team losing one or both of their top two position players.

Regarding Chris Stewart vs. Francisco Cervelli, it’s a clear offensive downgrade.  The question is how defense changes things.  If we use Cervelli’s 2011 playing time as an estimate for the 2012 backup catchers, you’re looking at something like 137 PA.  Let’s round that up to 200 PA in case Russell Martin misses some more time than expected.

200 PA of Cervelli projects to be worth 22 runs.  For Stewart, 200 PA projects to be worth about 18 runs.  As far as defense, I’m going to ignore pitch framing and blocking and just compare the difference between them in SB/CS.  In their careers, that looks like this:

player inn sb cs sba cs%
Cervelli 1295 93 23 116 19.8%
Stewart 590 44 28 72 38.9%

Runners may not run as frequently against Stewart if teams have more respect for his arm than they do for Cervelli’s, although runners have attempted 0.12 steals per inning vs. Stewart compared to 0.09 steals per innings vs. Cervelli in their respective careers.  I’ll split the difference, which means 42 stolen base attempts over 400 innings.  Using the linear weights values for SB/CS gives us this.

player inn sb cs sba cs% rv
Cervelli 400 34 8 42 19.8% 4
Stewart 400 26 16 42 38.9% -1

rv: linear weights run value of SB/CS.

A positive run value means more runs for the team stealing bases, so the difference between Stewart and Cervelli there effectively nullifies Cervelli’s offensive edge.  Whether other factors of catcher defense change things beyond that, I have no idea.

Back to the rest of the team, the Yankees actually project to score more runs than any other team in baseball according to the aggregate projections I ran, although CAIRO sees them about nine runs behind Boston.  They may be able to pick up a few more runs if they swap out Ibanez for Russell Branyan and/or Jack Cust at some point. 

Most of the defense projects as average, aside from Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Nun-E.  Overall they project about 12 runs better than average.

Of course, 90% of the game is pitching, so how’s that look?

Role Player IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP
SP1 CC Sabathia 220 220 91 82 19 64 203 3.57 3.24 3.23
SP2 Hiroki Kuroda 190 190 91 80 21 44 126 4.57 4.01 3.92
SP3 Michael Pineda 150 150 82 76 21 53 157 4.37 4.06 3.79
SP4 Ivan Nova 150 150 78 72 16 57 89 4.93 4.50 4.52
SP5 Phil Hughes 150 150 75 73 19 50 114 4.63 4.49 4.26
SP6 Andy Pettitte 110 110 51 47 11 35 76 4.33 4.01 4.00
SP7 Freddy Garcia 40 40 18 17 4 11 23 4.55 4.28 4.28
SP8 Manny Banuelos 20 20 12 11 3 10 12 6.20 5.72 5.43
SP9 Dellin Betances 20 20 13 12 3 12 13 6.51 6.02 5.75
SP10 Adam Warren 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.41 5.00 4.72
Starters Total 1050 1050 510 469 117 335 813 4.38 4.02 3.98
Role Player IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP
CL Mariano Rivera 65 65 25 23 5 16 77 2.63 2.46 2.71
SU David Robertson 70 70 28 26 5 43 109 2.96 2.77 2.84
SU Rafael Soriano 60 60 31 29 8 26 69 3.82 3.60 3.64
MR Boone Logan 50 50 23 20 5 19 46 4.29 3.76 3.71
MR Cory Wade 40 40 20 18 6 10 28 4.44 4.08 4.31
MR Clay Rapada 50 50 26 24 5 23 39 4.63 4.35 4.25
LR David Phelps 50 50 26 24 6 14 24 5.58 5.16 4.88
LR D.J. Mitchell 23 23 13 12 3 10 10 5.99 5.54 5.26
Relievers Total 408 408 191 177 43 161 403 4.21 3.90 3.75
Team Total 1458 1458 701 646 160 496 1216 4.33 3.99 3.91

Assigning innings to the staff was a bit trickier this year.  The Yankees have a whole bunch of guys who could pitch in the middle/back of the rotation and injuries/circumstances may have a greater say in that than merit.  There’s not a ton of difference in the projections of starters 2-7, although it’s probably fair to wonder how accurate projecting Andy Pettitte will be after a year off.  But really, you can juggle the innings around between Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia and probably not see a big difference.  CC Sabathia is really the one starter the Yankees can’t afford to lose for any appreciable amount of time.

As far as the pen, it looked better before Joba Chamberlain got hurt.  There’s still probably not an end-game you’d take over Mariano Rivera/David Robertson, and for all the crap I spew about the Soriano signing he should be solid, but an injury to either Mo or Robertson suddenly makes it look a bit thin.  David Aardsma may be able to pitch at some point, but that’s uncertain.

So, adding this up, this is what CAIRO says.

RS 848
Def 12
RA 701
wpct .598
p162 97

848 runs scored and 701 runs allowed plus 12 runs saved compared to average puts the Yankees at a Pythagenpat winning percentage of .598, which is equivalent to a 97 win team.  CAIRO projected them at 96 in the projection blowout, which is probably a strength of schedule thing.

The other projections I ran say:
Marcel: 92
Oliver: 94
PECOTA: 95
ZiPS: 95
Average: 94

Clay Davenport has them at 93, the official version of Oliver has them at 96 and the official version of PECOTA has them at 94 wins.

I am fairly certain about one thing in baseball this year.  The best team in the American League will be the best team in baseball.  I’m not quite as certain that the Yankees are that team.  They project to be, but Texas has represented the AL in the last two World Series (shamefully, but still…) and if Yu Darvish is a front-line MLB starting pitcher(I think he is), it’s not a stretch to see them as the best team in the league.  If the Angels stop dicking around with Vernon Wells and put Mike Trout in their outfield they also have a chance to be the best team in the league, plus they’ll sweep the Yankees in the regular season even if they’re not.  Detroit’s defense looks like a problem to me, and while they should score plenty of runs, I have a hard time seeing them as being better than all three of the Rangers, Angels, and Yankees.  Of course, we also have the two chief rivals in the AL East to worry about.  It wouldn’t take much in the way of good fortune for Boston/Tampa Bay or bad fortune for the Yankees to drop the Yanks into third place.

Still, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Yankees fail to qualify for the postseason.  I suppose losing any of CC Sabathia, Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson for an extended period of time would be one such scenario.

According to the average team projections I ran their probability of winning at least the second wild card at 82.5%, which is the highest in baseball and 7% ahead of Texas who rank second.  CAIRO likes the Yankees even more than that at 83.5%, but that ranks second to Texas’s 84.1%.  On average, it took 92 wins to win the first AL wild card and 89 wins to get the second one, but these are the Yankees.  Division or bust!  Wild cards are for losers!

Since rilkefan asked about how these projections have fared in the past, I did a quick little chart.  This compares the average of however many projections I ran that year to what the Yankees actually did.

Year Projected Actual Difference
2005 94 95 1
2006 90 97 7
2007 95 94 -1
2008 95 89 -6
2009 96 103 7
2010 96 95 -1
2011 92 97 5
average 94 95.7 1.7
rms 4.8

So the Yankees have been a bit less than two wins better than projected on average since I began running these in 2005.  The methodology has changed, I think for the better, but it’s still limited.  But I’m pretty comfortable the Yankees will be one of the best teams in baseball.  That’s really all you can ask for as a fan when the season starts, right?

Yay Opening Day!

 

--Posted at 7:07 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)




Monday, April 2, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2012 - Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia

Ivan Nova

Time to double up on these with Opening Day fast approaching.  I’m hoping to have my projected standings up tomorrow, so today we’ll round out the rest of the opening day rotation by looking at Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia.

After a decent showing in his 2010 MLB debut, albeit one with shaky peripherals, Ivan Nova earned a spot in the Yankee rotation to start 2011.  Nova’s main calling card as a prospect was his fastball velocity, but until 2009 he hadn’t really shown the type of performance you’d like to see in a pitching prospect.

Because of that track record, his projections heading into the season weren’t pretty.

projecton G IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RSAR WAR BABIP
cairo 22 116 130 72 67 15 49 72 5.59 5.20 5.04 5 0.5 .303
marcel 17 71 69 35 32 7 26 52 4.44 4.06 4.20 12 1.2 .287
oliver 37 155 170 90 82 18 69 97 5.24 4.79 4.80 13 1.3 .302
pecota 20 119 136 75 69 15 53 66 5.68 5.23 5.19 4 0.4 .303
zips 28 150 170 94 88 19 69 88 5.65 5.29 5.18 5 0.5 .304
average* 25 122 135 73 68 15 53 75 5.40 4.99 4.97 8 0.8 .301
2010 33 187 179 72 67 14 65 141 3.47 3.22 3.74 52 5.2 .291
2011 27 159 155 70 64 13 57 95 3.96 3.62 4.14 35 3.5 .279

RA/ERA: Runs/Earned runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RSAR: Runs saved above a replacement level pitcher(park and role-adjusted, using RA)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RSAR divided by 10)
BABIP: Batting average on balls in play

The 2010 line includes his minor league performance so ignore that RSAR/WAR.  As you can see Nova exceeded just about every projection in 2011.

2011
So was Nova lucky?  Probably a bit, but we do have some evidence of genuine development.  For the majority of pitchers, their effectiveness ties directly into their command of the strike zone.  It’s the reason Mariano Rivera has been the best closer of all time, for example.  You can look at the percentage of batters a pitcher walks and strikes out (and or their K/BB ratio) as a proxy for strike zone command.  But don’t just take my word for it.

The fear with Nova, and the primary reason he didn’t get much respect among more statistically inclined analysts was that he had walked about 7.7% of the batters he’d faced in the minors while striking out 16.8%, a K/BB ratio of 2.19.  You can be a useful pitcher in MLB with a K/BB ratio like that in MLB, but translating that from the minors doesn’t give you much of a margin of error. 

In 2011, Nova walked 8.1% of the batters he faced and struck out 13.9%.  His K/BB ratio of 1.72 was less than stellar, and although he had a decent FIP of 4.01 it was buoyed by a lower than average HR/FB rate, a particularly impressive achievement in DNYS.

That’s not to say it’s all doom and gloom for Nova.  Even his xFIP, which corrects for HR/FB rate, was a more than respectable 4.16, which is fine for a middle of the rotation guy.  In addition to that, if we go a little deeper into his numbers we can find evidence of the aforementioned genuine development.  In this case it’s in his splits through May 28, and his splits afterwards.  Why that date?  That’s the date his slider appeared to become another weapon.

dates ip bf h hr bb k ra era fip xfip
4/4-5/28 54 246 62 4 24 27 5.50 4.67 4.37 4.96
6/3-9/25 105 431 93 9 33 68 3.17 3.09 3.83 4.01
Dates fb% gb% ld% bb/bf k/bf babip hr/fb
4/4-5/28 28.4% 54.2% 17.4% 9.8% 11.0% .312 7.4%
6/3-9/25 29.3% 51.5% 19.1% 7.7% 15.8% .267 9.5%

bf: batters faced
fip: Fielding independent pitching
xfip: Expected fip (uses league average hr/fb rate instead of actual hr)
fb% Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
gb% Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
ld% Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
bb/bf: walks per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: batting average on balls in play

Nova’s ERA/RA was still a bit better than you’d expect from his peripherals post-slider, but they support the notion that Nova can be a capable starting pitcher in MLB.  We always want to be cautious about drawing large meaning from small samples, but changes in walk rate and strikeout rate stabilize more quickly than changes in most other stats, for both pitchers and hitters.

So what about 2012?

2012 Projections

Projection IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
cairo 129 135 71 65 15 52 80 4.93 4.50 4.52 17 1.7
davenport 132 131 62 61 13 50 79 4.24 4.17 4.33 27 2.7
marcel 144 138 65 59 12 49 98 4.06 3.69 3.85 27 2.7
oliver 170 178 89 81 16 63 103 4.74 4.30 4.23 21 2.1
pecota 156 177 96 87 18 62 90 5.53 5.03 4.64 8 0.8
steamer 165 174 93 85 15 68 102 5.08 4.61 4.27 12 1.2
zips 178 189 94 88 20 60 111 4.74 4.44 4.33 20 2.0
average 153 160 81 75 15 58 95 4.76 4.39 4.31 19 1.9
2011 165 163 74 68 13 57 98 4.03 3.71 3.98 35 3.5

RA: Runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs above replacement level (using RA adjusted for park)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

For more information on the projections above you can look at the first post in this series.

I’ve included his 2011 and the league average as frames of reference.  League average is based on role (starters vs. relievers), and is not adjusted for park so unlike with hitters mentally adjust that up a bit.

The consensus now is that Nova can be a bit better than league average, particularly if you give him a full starter’s workload.  That’s a big step up from his projections entering last year and that’s probably a solid #3 in an average MLB rotation, at a cost-controlled salary.  I think his 16-4 record in 2011 may lead the MSM and some fans to overrate him, but that’s not his fault.  You’d have to imagine the Yankees hope to see him more like a #5 should they get a healthy and effective Phil Hughes and Michael Pineda this year, but I don’t really like the odds of both of those things happening right now.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

% IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 194 186 94 85 16 67 133 4.34 3.94 3.84 38 3.8
65% 168 168 87 79 16 62 110 4.64 4.22 4.18 27 2.7
Baseline 129 135 71 65 15 52 80 4.93 4.50 4.51 17 1.7
35% 103 113 60 55 13 44 60 5.22 4.78 4.84 10 1.0
20% 90 103 55 51 13 41 50 5.52 5.06 5.17 6 0.6

CAIRO is actually less sanguine on Nova than the average projection, but that 65% forecast is probably about what you’d expect if he were to repeat his 2011 with a bit less of the good fortune in HR/FB rate and BABIP.

I’d probably be more worried about Nova’s 6.86 spring training ERA if he hadn’t walked one hitter and struck out 14 of them.  But since he has, I’m not.  He may end up out of the rotation if everyone is healthy and effective this year, but that never really happens.

Freddy Garcia

I have to admit I expected nothing out of either Freddy Garcia or Bartolo Colon last year.  At this point it seems like Garcia is superfluous, but at the time he was signed the Yankee rotation was CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Ivan Nova and 2011 Phil Hughes.  That the Yankees subsequently added three pitchers who are probably better options for the rotation than Garcia isn’t his fault, and I’ve seen no evidence that he hasn’t acted professionally even though his short and long-term role on the Yankees has been in doubt.  With Michael Pineda out with tendinitis and Andy Pettitte working his way back from retirement, Garcia will open the year in the rotation.

2010 & 2011 Projections

projecton G IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RSAR WAR BABIP
cairo 31 31 32 17 16 4 11 22 4.94 4.65 4.62 2 0.2 .292
marcel 25 144 152 76 72 18 44 91 4.75 4.50 4.54 12 1.2 .291
oliver 18 101 111 63 60 15 29 62 5.64 5.35 4.76 -2 -0.2 .294
pecota 20 109 119 63 58 17 33 68 5.23 4.81 4.97 3 0.3 .291
zips 15 82 90 47 44 12 23 51 5.16 4.83 4.77 3 0.3 .295
average* 22 93 101 53 50 13 28 59 5.14 4.82 4.75 4 0.4 .292
2010 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 #DIV/0! #### ###### ##### ##### #####
2011 25 141 146 63 59 16 44 93 4.03 3.77 4.29 23 2.3 .292

RA/ERA: Runs/Earned runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RSAR: Runs saved above a replacement level pitcher(park and role-adjusted, using RA)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RSAR divided by 10)
BABIP: Batting average on balls in play

I guess the most amazing thing is going from not pitching at all in 2010 to giving the team 141 strong innings.  His FIP is probably a better indicator of how effective Garcia actually was, but he certainly blew away every projection.

2011
Garcia doesn’t throw had anymore.  He came up throwing in the mid-90s but injuries have him sitting around 87 mph with his fastball, which has forced him to become more reliant on his secondary stuff.  In some ways he was like a less-effective Mike Mussina circa 2008.  Garcia increased his use of his split finger fastball last year, including one that was used in a physics lecture in Australia about how to curve a baseball.  He had a higher than typical percentage of runners left on base and like Nova allowed a few less HRs per fly ball than an average pitcher.  Throw in another year of aging and it’s probably a safe bet he won’t be quite as effective as last year, but here’s what the projections say.

2012 Projections

Projection IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
cairo 102 112 51 48 12 30 64 4.55 4.28 4.28 17 1.7
davenport 56 60 32 31 8 17 31 5.12 4.96 4.73 6 0.6
marcel 149 156 72 67 17 46 97 4.36 4.06 4.19 23 2.3
oliver 136 150 73 68 16 39 79 4.84 4.50 4.31 14 1.4
pecota 126 140 72 67 17 37 83 5.13 4.78 4.40 7 0.7
steamer 113 121 61 57 15 30 69 4.88 4.54 4.41 11 1.1
zips 128 143 74 69 18 40 75 5.20 4.85 4.64 8 0.8
average 116 126 63 59 15 34 71 4.87 4.57 4.42 12 1.2
2011 146 152 63 59 16 45 96 3.88 3.63 4.09 23 2.3
LgAvg 146 148 75 68 17 46 107 4.60 4.21 4.21

Not surprising that Garcia’s expected to drop across the board, although Davenport, PECOTA and ZiPS are expecting a major fall off.  Still, as the ostensible seventh starter on the team you could do worse.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

% IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 152 152 66 62 13 36 108 3.91 3.66 3.55 37 3.7
65% 132 138 62 58 14 35 88 4.23 3.97 3.93 27 2.7
Baseline 102 112 51 48 12 30 64 4.55 4.28 4.30 17 1.7
35% 81 94 44 41 11 26 48 4.86 4.59 4.67 11 1.1
20% 71 86 41 39 11 24 39 5.18 4.89 5.03 7 0.7

I think in this case the 35% forecast is probably closer to how Garcia will perform and how often he’ll pitch.  There’s a lot of uncertainty with Andy Pettitte and Michael Pineda that could end up with the Yankees needing him more often than that though, and I’m not sure counting on a full season out of Phil Hughes is wise yet.  Garcia could still be expendable if the Yankees feel his innings can be mostly replaced by some combination of Adam Warren, David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell, Dellin Betances or Manny Banuelos, but they probably have some time to determine that.

The Yankees’ postseason hopes if they should make it by some miracle may not be affected all that much by Nova and Garcia.  You’d have to think the postseason rotation would contain some combination of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Michael Pineda and/or Andy Pettitte.  But you do have to get there first, and Nova and Garcia can be big parts of that.

--Posted at 6:58 am by SG / 47 Comments | - (0)




Saturday, March 31, 2012

NYDN: With injury on top of insult, Yankees’ Michael Pineda losing grip on job

TAMPA ­— As he stood in the corner of the clubhouse, surrounded by reporters, a despondent Michael Pineda seemed to be doing everything he could not to cry. He was that upset.

“I tried to throw hard today,” he said softly.

He wanted to end the talk about his unexpectedly low velocity on this night. He wanted to throw 95, 96, 97 mph. Instead the radar gun again showed his fastball to be mostly about 91 mph, and at least partly as a result, the Phillies roughed him up, knocking him out in the third inning.

So Pineda seems to know now that something isn’t right. He admitted to feeling some soreness in the back of his right shoulder while he was pitching, and though he called it “normal sore,’’ it’s the first time he mentioned anything like this.

That alone has to be alarming to the Yankees, who had been publicly downplaying concern about his lack of velocity but worrying about it privately.

You get the sense that a lot of the media have been champing at the bit to write this article, or some variation of it.  Let’s hope the tests reveal nothing serious.

Update: Bombers Beat: Pineda headed for DL with shoulder tendinitis

The MRI taken on Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda showed right shoulder tendinitis, manager Joe Girardi told reporters in Kissimmee, Fla. this morning. Pineda will be placed on the 15-day disabled list and the Yankees figure to treat him conservatively, but all things considered this is good news, considering the worst-case scenarios.

--Posted at 8:41 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2012 - Michael Pineda

In a move that came out of nowhere, the Yankees traded Jesus Montero, their top prospect, for Michael Pineda.  Pineda had a very good rookie year for Seattle in 2011, but getting him came at a heavy price.  It’ll probably take at least five years to see if the trade was worth it, but it’s already been analyzed and judged heavily and will surely continue to be. 

2011
Pineda wasn’t a lock to make the Mariners’ rotation out of spring training last year, but he made the team thanks to a good spring training.  His first half/second half splits have been beaten to death, but I’ll re-post this table that I posted right after the trade.

pitcher fb% gb% ld% bb/bf k/bf babip hr/fb fip xfip
A 49.1% 31.4% 19.5% 7.9% 24.7% .249 5.9% 3.01 3.98
B 37.8% 44.2% 18.0% 7.9% 25.1% .296 15.4% 4.01 3.42

fb% Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
gb% Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
ld% Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
bb/bf: walks per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: batting average on balls in play
fip: Fielding independent pitching
xfip: Expected fip (uses league average hr/fb rate instead of actual hr)

A is Pineda through July 4, and B is Pineda afterwards.

If you go by ERA, Pineda was much worse in the second half (2.58 through July 4, 5.71 after).  However, there’s a lot of noise in ERA that isn’t necessarily related to the pitcher’s performance.  Every peripheral stat of Pineda’s except for his HR/FB rate and his BABIP was better in the second half, and those are probably the two most volatile stats a pitcher can have.

Stats are only part of the story, but what about his stuff? Here are Pineda’s average velocities by pitch type for each month in 2011.

Month FFv SLv CHv
4 95.4 84.2 87.2
5 95.3 84.8 87.4
6 94.4 83.7 86.4
7 94.7 83.7 86.6
8 94.0 84.3 85.9
9 93.6 83.0 85.7
All 94.7 84.0 86.3

FFv: Four-seam fastball velocity
SLv: Slider velocity
CHv: Changeup velocity

Here are Pineda’s average four-seam fastball velocities for each game in 2011.

4/5: 95.2
4/12: 95.5
4/17: 97.2
4/22: 95.5
4/28: 95.2
5/4: 96.9
5/10: 95.8
5/16: 94.5
5/21: 94.0
5/27: 95.3
6/1: 94.1
6/6: 95.7
6/11: 95.2
6/17: 94.2
6/23: 93.0
6/28: 94.1
7/4: 93.9
7/9: 94.6
7/19: 95.4
7/24: 94.6
7/30: 94.8
8/9: 94.7
8/15: 94.5
8/21: 92.8
8/27: 94.1
9/3: 93.6
9/10: 94.7
9/21: 91.4

There was a gradual decrease as the season wore on, and the big drop between 9/10 and 9/21 is a little alarming, but he only threw 44 fastballs in that 9/21 game(out of 81 total pitches) and I don’t know if it’s anything more than a blip.  His average fastball velocity through the end of June was 95 mph, and it was 94.1 mph over the rest of the season.

Velocity’s an important part of being a good MLB pitcher, but it’s not the only part.  Much has been made about Pineda’s underwhelming velocity so far this spring, where’s he’s topping out below where he averaged last year.  He’s also throwing with less velocity than he did last spring.  However, he’s not trying to make the team like he was last year, and he’s probably focusing more on developing his changeup which has lagged behind his fastball and slider.  Because of that, I think the obsession with his velocity in exhibition games is a little misguided, although I suppose controversy sells and there’s not a whole lot else that’s controversial for this year’s version of the Yankees so far.

2012 Projections
Pineda’s moving from a pitcher’s park to a disgraceful bandbox.  Although Seattle has a better defensive reputation than the Yankees, the Yankees’ defensive OF is a good one and as a flyball pitcher he shouldn’t see that much of an impact from any decline in the defense behind him.

Projection IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
cairo 168 150 82 76 21 53 157 4.37 4.06 3.79 32 3.2
davenport 165 150 75 74 19 48 141 4.10 4.04 3.74 36 3.6
marcel 146 118 63 59 15 46 142 3.89 3.65 3.42 30 3.0
oliver 131 114 52 48 14 37 124 3.56 3.33 3.43 30 3.0
pecota 148 137 66 62 18 50 136 4.02 3.77 3.84 31 3.1
steamer 159 147 68 64 19 55 148 3.87 3.63 3.81 33 3.3
zips 158 149 77 72 19 51 143 4.40 4.11 3.86 24 2.4
average 153 138 69 65 18 48 142 4.03 3.80 3.70 31 3.1
2011 171 133 76 71 18 55 173 4.00 3.74 3.40 36 3.6
LgAvg 171 173 87 80 19 54 125 4.60 4.21 4.21

RA: Runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs above replacement level (using RA adjusted for park)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

For more information on the projections above you can look at the first post in this series.

I’ve included his 2011 and the league average as frames of reference.  League average is based on role (starters vs. relievers), and is not adjusted for park so unlike with hitters mentally adjust that down a bit.

Pineda’s professional innings progression looks like this.

2006: 20.1 IP in Rookie ball
2007: 59.0 IP in Rookie ball
2008: 138.1 IP in Class A
2009: 47.1 IP in Rookie and A+
2010: 139.1 IP in AA and AAA
2011: 171.0 IP in MLB

Pineda missed a large chunk of 2009 with an elbow injury, but returned from that having put on about 25 pounds and a few MPH of velocity.  Last year was his career high in innings pitched, and it came in the majors where innings are more stressful due to the greater caliber of competition.  That may or may not explain some of his lower velocity, which means he may be able to get it back as his stamina increases.  It’s probably worth noting that velocity peaks pretty early in most pitchers’ career, and Pineda may never throw as hard as he did last year.  That doesn’t mean he can’t be a good pitcher without it, of course.

Pineda’s projections are reasonably consistent across the board.  They’re low on innings since he has never pitched as many innings as he did last year, and ZiPS is probably seeing a rougher transition to the AL East and DNYS than the others.  According to Baseball Reference there were 28 AL pitchers that had at least 3.0 WAR last year.

Baseball Reference: Playing in the AL, For 2011, (requiring WAR_pitch≥2), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

Pineda himself just missed the cut off with 2.8.  Pineda’s average projection would qualify for the most basic definition of a #2 starter in the AL (one of the top 28 pitchers in the league).  Obviously, we hope for more than that.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

% IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 202 166 87 81 20 55 204 3.89 3.60 3.17 49 4.9
65% 185 159 85 79 21 54 180 4.13 3.83 3.48 40 4.0
Baseline 168 150 82 76 21 53 157 4.37 4.06 3.79 32 3.2
35% 135 125 69 64 19 45 121 4.61 4.30 4.09 22 2.2
20% 118 114 64 59 18 42 101 4.86 4.53 4.39 16 1.6

The 65% forecast seems like the bare minimum for what Pineda can do to justify being traded for Jesus Montero, who’s going to win the AL MVP and Cy Young.  For whatever it’s worth, since 2000 there have been 21 Yankee pitchers who put up a season of 3.9 WAR or more.

Baseball Reference: Playing for the NYY, From 2000 to 2011, (requiring WAR_pitch≥3.9), sorted by greatest WAR for Pitchers

I hated seeing Jesus Montero get traded, but Mariners fans also hated seeing Pineda get traded.  That probably means that the trade was a fair one.  Getting Pineda for Montero made a lot more sense than trading him for a half season of Cliff Lee or for Felix Hernandez being paid at market rate.  Pineda’s not as good as either pitcher right now, and may never be, but he’ll be under team control for the next five seasons and he’ll probably be getting paid less than he’s worth and it wouldn’t surprise anyone to see him elevate himself into the upper echelon of MLB pitchers if he can refine his changeup and get that fastball back.

Put it this way, if Dellin Betances had done in AAA what Pineda did last year in the majors we’d all be convinced he was on the precipice of being a very good MLB pitcher.  Also, throw in the fact that Pineda did this while being a year younger than Betances. 

With a pitcher, you assume more risk than you do with a position player.  But while Montero had a nice MLB debut, he really hasn’t hit all that well in AAA the last two years and it’s still uncertain he’ll be anything more than a DH.  I hope he goes on to have a solid career, while Pineda develops into the best pitcher in baseball and/or pitches them to a few World Series wins.  If that happens and Jose Campos develops into an eighth inning guy, the Yankees will have probably won the trade. 

--Posted at 10:29 am by SG / 41 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 26, 2012

NYDN: Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez hit by 95-mph pitch by Detroit Tigers’ Brian Villareal

TAMPA - The Yankees got a brief jolt Sunday when Alex Rodriguez was drilled in the rib cage by a 95-mph fastball thrown by Detroit’s Brayan Villareal. A-Rod grimaced and crumpled to the ground, clutching his side.

He was up quickly and, neither he nor Joe Girardi was worried afterward.

“Everything good,” Rodriguez said. “Ready to go.”

“He’s OK, the doctor checked him out and he’s fine,” Girardi said. “I expect him back in there on Tuesday.”

Although it seems like Rodriguez is fine, this was a reminder of the biggest problem facing the Yankees this year.  An injury to one of their starting eight position players would expose just how thin they are behind the starters.

In other assorted crap.

NY Times: Pineda Hits the Gas, and His Fastball’s Speed Jumps

I only watched a couple of innings from yesterday’s game and I didn’t see anything over 91.  I’m still not going to worry about Pineda’s velocity until the games start to count.

NY Post: Joba leaves hospital; Yankees manager confident in comeback

If the Yankees can put together a sixth by committee until Joba’s return, they may be able to weather this blow.  Seriously though, this sounds encouraging considering where things were right after the injury.  I still doubt we’ll see him back this year, but I hope he’s able to make a full recovery.

--Posted at 9:05 am by SG / 51 Comments | - (0)




Sunday, March 25, 2012

Yankees vs. Tigers: March 25, 2012 Spring Training Chatter

Tune in on YES to watch soft-tossing Michael Pineda continue his futile struggle to break into the Yankees’ rotation.

--Posted at 12:02 pm by SG / 24 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 22, 2012

CBS Sports: Heyman: Pineda-Montero trade might be 1-sided, but maybe not the way you thought

While Pineda is struggling to prove he belongs in the Yankees rotation while tipping the scales at a surprising 20 pounds to start spring, Montero basically has been given an everday job as the No. 5 hitter in the Mariners’ mostly young lineup. He will catch games here or there in a three-catcher set where veteran Miguel Olivo will be the starter, but mostly, he’ll hit. “He’ll get a ton of at-bats,’’ Zduriencik promised.

The knock on Montero is that he can’t catch, and the Mariners shied away from the Cliff Lee trade two summers ago because they had a top scout or two suggesting he couldn’t do it. But now at least one of those scouts says he can, and Mariners people believe he will, if not immediately then eventually. “He’s an intelligent kid, but it just takes time at that position to adjust,’’ Zduriencik said. “So far I’m pleased.’’

Struggling to prove he belongs in the rotation, eh?  I think what Heyman’s doing here is commonly referred to as “trolling.”

--Posted at 8:24 am by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NYDN: Girardi Throws Down the Gauntlet

For Michael Pineda, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova, Pettitte’s arrival will be a wakeup call.

That’s what Joe Girardi is hoping for anyway. He’s looking for Pettitte’s return to inspire the rest of his staff.

“If you don’t want somebody to take your job, pitch that way; it’s really simple,” Girardi said. “Let’s say the job was given to you and you were struggling; they’re going to look for someone to give the job to. You have to produce. That’s the world we live in in New York. It’s not like, ‘You’re this guy and we’re going to give you 20 starts no mater what happens.’ We don’t live in that world here.”

Is that really ‘the Gauntlet?’

--Posted at 12:24 pm by SG / 44 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 19, 2012

Looking Ahead to 2012 - CC Sabathia

I haven’t gone through the rest of the bench but I’m going to wait until we have an idea of who will be on it on Opening Day.  So it’s time to move on to the pitching projections.  We’ll start with the ace of the staff, CC Sabathia.

2011
Sabathia had his best season as a Yankee in 2011.  He put up an ERA+ of 147 which was better than his 137 and 136 marks in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  Despite that, his season felt a bit disappointing because of how it finished.  The turning point appears to have been his July 26 start against Seattle.  Sabathia was dominating the Mariners through six innings.  He had retired all 18 batters he faced and struck out 11 of them.  There was a short rain delay, and CC returned to the mound to strike out Ichiro! 

Unfortunately, Brendan Ryan then singled to break up the perfecto.  CC struck out the next two hitters to finish off the seventh but he walked the first three hitters to start the eighth.  He managed to get out of it with allowing just one run and some kid named Rivera closed it out.

So why do I think that game was some kind of turning point?

dates ip bf h hr bb k ra era fip xfip
3/31-7/26 169 686 143 6 45 156 2.93 2.56 2.48 3.37
8/1-9/21 61 269 80 9 14 68 4.40 4.26 3.45 2.70
Dates fb% gb% ld% bb/bf k/bf babip hr/fb
3/31-7/26 30.4% 48.2% 21.4% 6.6% 22.7% .293 4.2%
8/1-9/21 28.4% 43.8% 27.8% 5.2% 25.3% .425 18.0%

bf: batters faced
fip: Fielding independent pitching
xfip: Expected fip (uses league average hr/fb rate instead of actual hr)
fb% Percentage of batted balls that were fly balls
gb% Percentage of batted balls that were ground balls
ld% Percentage of batted balls that were line drives
bb/bf: walks per batters faced
k/bf: strikeouts per batters faced
babip: batting average on balls in play

I don’t like to attribute all babip fluctuations to luck, but the truth is Sabathia’s peripherals were arguably better over the last two months of the season.  It just didn’t translate to his results.

In ALDS Game 1 vs. Detroit CC looked overpowering, better than Justin Verlander, but then the rains came again and he was out after two innings.  He took the hill again for Game 3 but wasn’t good, and he made a final appearance in relief in Game 5 and gave up the run that ended up being the difference in the series.

CC had an opt-out in his contract after the season and there was some legitimate concern that he’d opt out, but the Yankees were able to keep him in the fold by adding a year to his contract at a salary that bumped him back up to being the highest-paid pitcher in baseball.  Given the overall body of work over his first three seasons I don’t think many Yankee fans are upset about having him around for another year.

2012 Projections
Sabathia’s the clear #1 starter on the Yankees, and probably their most valuable player right now.  Here are his projections for 2012.

Projection IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
cairo 227 218 90 82 19 64 201 3.57 3.24 3.23 63 6.3
davenport 210 192 90 89 18 60 172 3.86 3.81 3.44 52 5.2
marcel 203 189 80 73 16 59 179 3.55 3.24 3.24 50 5.0
oliver 233 225 101 92 18 64 197 3.88 3.54 3.24 49 4.9
pecota 217 204 85 77 19 52 195 3.52 3.21 3.16 57 5.7
steamer 219 205 96 88 21 68 196 3.96 3.61 3.49 44 4.4
zips 218 211 92 86 19 63 189 3.80 3.55 3.36 47 4.7
average 218 206 90 84 19 61 190 3.73 3.46 3.31 52 5.2
2011 237 230 87 79 17 61 230 3.30 3.00 2.85 66 6.6
LgAvg 237 239 121 111 27 75 174 4.60 4.21 4.21

RA: Runs allowed per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs above replacement level (using RA adjusted for park)
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

I’ve included his 2011 and the league average as frames of reference.  League average is based on role (starters vs. relievers), and is not adjusted for park so unlike with hitters mentally adjust that down a bit.

For pitchers, I’m using the following projections.

CAIRO, my own projection system.
Clay Davenport, formerly of Baseball Prospectus’s projections
An unofficial version of Tangotiger’s Marcel, which were run using code provided by Jeff Sackmann.
Oliver, from the Hardball Times Forecasts.
PECOTA from Baseball Prospectus.
ZiPS, courtesy of Dan Szymborski at Baseball Think Factory.

A new addition for the pitchers is Steamer.  The hitter projections weren’t ready when I started this so I didn’t include them, but according to this article Steamer was the only thing that prevented CAIRO from being the best pitching projection system last year.  Steamer is similar to Marcel, but incorporates velocity data as well and it seemed to help it leap to the top of the 2011 projections.

There appears to be two distinct sets of projections here.

CAIRO/Marcel/PECOTA: 3.54 RA, 3.23 ERA, 3.21 FIP
Davenport/Oliver/Steamer/ZiPS: 3.87 RA, 3.63 ERA, 3.38 FIP

I think the first group is closer to the truth.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

% IP H R ER HR BB SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 245 220 87 79 15 60 233 3.19 2.88 2.67 79 7.9
65% 236 219 89 80 17 62 217 3.38 3.06 2.90 71 7.1
Baseline 227 218 90 82 19 64 201 3.57 3.24 3.14 63 6.3
35% 204 203 85 78 19 61 175 3.76 3.42 3.37 53 5.3
20% 182 186 80 73 18 57 150 3.95 3.60 3.60 43 4.3

Sign me up for that 80% forecast.

The Yankees rotation is probably the deepest it’s been in years.  That being said, there’s CC and there’s everyone else.  I am pretty sure the group of Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Andy Pettitte will project similarly to each other, with Freddy Garcia a bit behind them.  But none of them can replace Sabathia.  CC lost some weight this offseason to help reduce the strain on his knees.  Of course he did that last year too but seemed to gain it all back by year-end.

Let’s hope he can stay healthy and give the Yankees another great year.

--Posted at 8:58 am by SG / 71 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 16, 2012

NY Post: Sherman: Pitching hard to gauge based just on spring training

We just knew in the aftermath of Cliff Lee’s spurning and Andy Pettitte’s retirement that the Yankees were in real trouble. We wondered if Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia were closer to the Yankees’ rotation or their AARP cards. We viewed the battle among Colon, Garcia, Sergio Mitre and Ivan Nova for the final two spots in the rotation as, at best, a time filler until gifts arrived before the July 31 deadline.

Over in Red Sox camp, the big question was what to do with too much starting pitching. Boston was working to turn six — Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield — into five.

In Cardinals camp, ace Adam Wainwright already was lost for the season and so St. Louis’ chance of being champions had fallen from slim to “are we really still talking about the Cardinals winning it all?”

I figured it was better to read something like this than an article talking about how it’s too early to get concerned about Michael Pineda’s velocity while listing a bunch of reasons that we should be concerned about it.

--Posted at 8:55 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)




Sunday, March 11, 2012

NYDN: Yankees, GM Brian Cashman concerned about lack of velocity for Pineda

But I spoke to one AL scout a few days ago who got out his notes from last spring training, when he watched Pineda in Arizona, and said he had clocked him from 93-96 mph in early March outings.

That’s quite a difference from 89-92.

And don’t think the Yankees aren’t at least somewhat concerned about it. Cashman said he looked back on the research the Yankees did before acquiring him, and found evidence on Fangraphs.com that Pineda’s velocity would increase significantly after the first couple of innings.

“They talked on Fangraphs about how in his first inning or two of his starts last year, that’s not unusual, him being that level,” said Cashman. “Those same games he ended up averaging 94 and change.’’

I’ll preface this by saying I’m not concerned about Pineda’s velocity.  What I am concerned about is that the GM of the Yankees is making major decisions and consulting Fangraphs to do it.

Don’t get me wrong, I think Fangraphs is a great resource.  But I would think the richest team in baseball should have first-hand knowledge of something as critical as how Pineda’s velocity works, particularly if they’re going to trade their best prospect for him.  If they’re using a free website as critical input into a decision like the one they made trading Jesus Montero for Pineda,  it doesn’t exactly fill me up with confidence that this team knew what it was doing when they made the trade.

Maybe it’s subterfuge.  If it’s not, let’s at least hope Cashman never finds Bleacher Report.

--Posted at 9:16 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 5, 2012

NY Post: Overweight Pineda isn’t lock for Yankees rotation

What we know of Michael Pineda in the brief time he has been with the Yankees can’t be viewed as encouraging.

The 23-year-old right-hander arrived last month and immediately admitted he was 10 pounds heavier than the 270 he carried at the end of last year with the Mariners.

That speaks to poor nutritional habits or a lack of exercise, each alarming for his age.

While the extra pounds are packed onto his 6-foot-7 frame, Pineda’s power arm lacked a much-needed third pitch. So he has tried to add a changeup to his mid-90s fastball and biting slider.

I see we’ve entered the manufactured controversy portion of spring training already.

Bold prediction.  Pineda will break camp in the rotation provided he is healthy.  Even if he’s a whopping 10 lbs overweight.

--Posted at 2:49 pm by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 2, 2012

Klapisch: Yankees’ Mariano Rivera tried but failed to teach signature pitch

It’s not uncommon for pitchers to teach and enlighten each other. It’s actually a ritual, in fact. Everyone tries to crack the code on the perfect pitch, which is why Mariano Rivera has spent most of his career explaining what makes his cutter so lethal.

But unlike the change-up, which the Yankees believe Pineda will eventually master, it’s unlikely anyone will ever clone Rivera’s cutter. As the Yankees’ closer approaches retirement, the cutter will ride off into the sunset with him. Like some endangered species, the mysterious, awe-inspiring break that has been Rivera’s signature since 1997 will be nothing more than a memory this time next year.

“Anyone who’s ever asked, I show them the grip, the release, how I control it, anything they want,” Rivera said. “But so far, no one’s got it.”

Thinking about a Mo-less Yankees team makes me a sad panda.

--Posted at 11:44 am by Jonathan / 67 Comments | - (0)




Friday, February 10, 2012

ESPN: How good will Pineda be?

In a conversation with Wallace Matthews, pitching coach Larry Rothschild wouldn’t declare where Pineda will pitch in the rotation.

“He’s a young kid so I don’t know if we want him coming out second or if it’s beneficial to have somebody else do it,” Rothschild said. “[Ivan] Nova had a fine year for us, so he could be in that spot.”

Pineda, just 23, almost definitely won’t be the No. 2 starter to begin the year. The Yankees will want to temper expectations considering the pressure of being traded for Jesus Montero is on Pineda’s right shoulder. So Pineda probably won’t be on the mound that first weekend in Tampa.

They should probably just designate him as the “Sixth Inning Guy” right now.

--Posted at 10:54 am by Jonathan / 29 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, January 26, 2012

NY Post: Yankees GM calls Montero ‘best player I’ve traded’

Yankees GM Brian Cashman has traded Alfonso Soriano, Nick Johnson, David Wells and Mike Lowell, but said believes Jesus Montero could be better than all of them.

“He may very well be the best player I’ve traded,” Cashman said of Montero, whom he sent to Seattle in a deal to get right-hander Michael Pineda that was finalized yesterday. “He’s that good. He’s a middle-of-the-lineup type bat.”

That means Cashman expects a lot out of Pineda, the 6-foot-7, 23-year-old who went 9-10 as a rookie last year. Cashman and Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik first discussed Pineda at the Winter Meetings last month.

Let’s hope not.

--Posted at 9:14 am by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)




Monday, January 23, 2012

NYDN: Newest Yankee Pineda ready for Bronx stage

For Pineda, who is an imposing 6-7 and who can fire mid-90s heat, the change of address came as a shock (the deal will be officially finalized when the players pass their physicals and when visa paperwork is completed). But once the news sank in, Pineda started to envision the galaxy of stars that will play behind him.

“It’s a tremendous team, with good pitching. It’s very exciting for me — for the first time in my life, I’ll have the pleasure of playing with Alex Rodriguez, a huge star, and Derek Jeter, one of the most well-known players ever. And Mariano Rivera, (Robinson) Cano, (Mark) Teixeira, Rafael Soriano,” Pineda says in Spanish, his voice trailing off as he sifts through the Yankees’ roster. “I never thought in my life that I would be in this situation.”

I am still sad about losing Jesus Montero, but Pineda should be a lot of fun to watch.

--Posted at 10:04 am by SG / 75 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, January 19, 2012

TGS NY An arm for a bat?

And with the addition of Kuroda and Michael Pineda to the rotation, the Yankees certainly would appear to have a surplus of starting pitching.

In that case, someone—either Phil Hughes, A.J. Burnett or Freddy Garcia—has to go somewhere. It would be silly, of course, to ask you which should go. That is one vote Mr. Burnett would win in a landslide. But moving an underachieving 35-year-old pitcher with $33 million remaining on his contract is about as easy as moving a grand piano up five flights of stairs.

So it’s more likely going to be Hughes or Garcia. Hughes, obviously, has value in the bullpen. Freddy has never really worked there. So it would seem that Garcia is the more likely candidate if the Yankees chose to trade a pitcher for a DH. (Don’t ask me who they would get because I’m through trying to guess the GM’s next move; as in the Pineda deal, I assume Cashman will come up with a name none of us have thought of.)

I think trading Hughes now is a bad idea because his value is probably the lowest it’s ever been.  I still think he’s got a chance to be a #2/#3 starter but his window of opportunity is closing.  With CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova under team control for the next five years and with Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances working their way towards the majors another bad season probably pushes him into the bullpen or even out of the organization.

--Posted at 12:56 pm by SG / 99 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Michael Pineda’s Hit Locations

I found this really cool site while trying to find batted ball locations off Michael Pineda to see how many of his flyball outs in Safeco would have been HRs in DNYS.  The site lets you look at any player and superimpose their hit locations from one stadium to a different one.  I have to say, the answer surprised me.

Red dots are outs, blue dots are hits.

If dimensions were the only factor, the answer would be none.  But they’re not the only factor.  Weather and altitude can also affect how a park plays.

The fear that Pineda is a fly ball pitcher who’ll get bombed in DNYS is overblown in my opinion.  He may give up a couple of homers he wouldn’t have given up to RF, but having Brett Gardner behind him with a deeper than normal LF probably helps him.

--Posted at 12:24 pm by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Thousand Words

--Posted at 5:57 pm by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)




Monday, January 16, 2012

How Should The Yankees Replace Jesus Montero at DH?

Upgrading the rotation came at the cost of losing the Yankees’ starting DH and top hitting prospect.  As a fan, I’m bummed about losing Montero because of the emotional tie I’ve built up as he’s progressed through the Yankee system.  I think the trade was fair and I understand why it was made, but it’s still a disappointment.  But press on, we must.

We really don’t know how good Montero is right now and how good he’ll be in the future.  Here were the ranges of his CAIRO projections as a Yankee DH heading into 2012.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 695 636 86 184 41 3 37 104 4 0 61 113 11 6 .289 .362 .536 .387 115 25
65% 637 583 75 162 35 2 31 91 3 0 52 109 12 5 .278 .344 .503 .365 95 13
Baseline 579 530 64 141 29 1 25 78 2 1 44 104 13 4 .267 .327 .470 .344 78 3
35% 521 477 54 122 23 1 21 66 1 1 37 99 13 2 .256 .309 .438 .323 62 -6
20% 463 424 45 104 19 0 16 55 1 1 30 92 13 1 .245 .292 .405 .301 48 -12

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

It wouldn’t have surprised me to see Montero up near that 80% forecast, but for now he doesn’t project that way in his baseline projection. 

Here’s how the range of projected wOBA’s would have looked broken down into platoon splits.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .402 .377
65% .380 .356
Baseline .358 .335
35% .335 .314
20% .313 .294

The in-house solution for DH is probably Andruw Jones.  Here’s how he projects over the same number of PA.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 695 599 94 147 35 3 37 103 12 1 97 155 13 9 .245 .364 .497 .376 109 19
65% 637 549 81 129 29 2 31 90 9 2 84 148 14 7 .234 .345 .464 .354 90 7
Baseline 579 499 70 112 24 1 26 77 7 2 72 141 15 5 .224 .327 .431 .332 72 -3
35% 521 449 59 96 20 1 21 66 5 3 61 132 15 4 .213 .308 .398 .311 57 -11
20% 463 399 49 81 15 0 16 55 4 3 51 122 15 2 .202 .290 .365 .289 43 -17

And here are his projected wOBA platoon splits.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .394 .369
65% .371 .348
Baseline .348 .327
35% .326 .305
20% .303 .284

The Yankees would lose about six runs over a full season if Jones replaced Montero at DH.  That’s sub-optimal, but it puts them ahead of where they were before making the trade for Michael Pineda and signing Hiroki Kuroda.  Maybe two or three wins ahead depending on how the innings for the rotation get allocated.  They’d probably project in the 95-96 win range if they do nothing else before spring training.

The Yankees do have options to upgrade DH.  Last year, the Yankees faced LHP in 29% of their plate appearances and the DH got 646 PA in total.  A similar split would mean 187 PA for DH vs. LHP.  The difference between Montero’s and Jones’s baseline wOBA projection vs. LHP would be worth a loss of about two runs over that number of PA.

That’s small enough that I think between Jones, Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter (I know, but he’s better against LHP) they have enough for the right-handed portion of a platoon DH.

So what about the other, more important side?  Here are the options still in free agency.

Player Bats Projected wOBA Vs L Vs R RAJ
Carlos Pena L .365 .331 .379 21
Russell Branyan L .353 .324 .360 13
Wilson Betemit L .352 .323 .361 14
Raul Ibanez L .350 .324 .359 13
J.D. Drew L .345 .315 .355 11
Johnny Damon L .340 .324 .346 8
Hideki Matsui L .337 .323 .343 6
Kosuke Fukudome L .331 .305 .337 4
Eric Chavez L .295 .264 .308 -8

RAJ: Runs above Andruw Jones (vs RHP over 459 PA)

Assuming the left-handed half of the DH platoon would see 459 PA here are how some of the various options project as Yankees.  If you want to replace Montero’s baseline projection, you need eight RAJ, since you’ve lost two runs from the vs LHP part of DH.  Then you’re effectively where you were before trading Montero.

Carlos Pena is head and shoulders above the field, and if this number is accurate he’s probably worth something like $8-10M.  I don’t know if the Yankees are willing to spend that much, which means someone from the Branyan/Betemit/Ibanez/Drew group would be the next best option.  I’d assume Branyan would be the cheapest of the group, but if they want to spend more they should probably go after Betemit since he can play 3B (not well) in the likely scenario that Alex Rodriguez misses some time.  The nostalgia of bringing back Damon or Matsui would be kind of cool, but not the optimal way to proceed IMO. 
I think they should make a play for Pena first and foremost.  If not Betemit is my second choice.  Then I don’t really have a preference.

--Posted at 11:01 am by SG / 56 Comments | - (0)




Saturday, January 14, 2012

CBS Sports: Miller: Savvy Yankees hit home run with Pineda, Kuroda

Just a few days after meeting with the representatives for free agent Edwin Jackson, the Yankees became the talk of the industry on what had been a slow Friday night with their stealth move for Pineda, who, at 22, already is within sight of becoming an ace.

“He’s got that kind of stuff,” a scout who spent part of last summer focusing on AL West clubs said Friday night. “If you wanted to be conservative, he’s a No. 2. He’s got velocity, he came up with a slider that got better and better last year and he throws strikes. When he gives up a home run or a hard-hit ball, it does not chase him out of the strike zone.

“He’s got that rare combination of stuff and control. He’s young, he’s not afraid, he’s big, he’s still growing and he’s got makeup. He’s a prize.

“And the Yankees will have, what, five years of control over him? He’s the kind of guy you build around. Holy cow.”
...
By season’s end, over 28 starts, he struck out 173 hitters while walking just 55 over 171 innings. His average fastball was clocked at 94.7 m.p.h., according to FanGraphs.

What’s notable about that? The fastballs of only three other AL starters checked in higher: Texas’ Alexi Ogando, Detroit’s Justin Verlander and Tampa Bay’s David Price.

Kuroda? He turns 37 next month. But he gave the Dodgers 202 innings in 2011, going 13-16 with a 3.07 ERA. He’s a competitor with fierce pride.

“Solid No. 3,” the scout said. “He throws strikes, he’s got good stuff, a crisp fastball that’s deceptive and he throws harder than people think. He’s at 90 to 94 with sink down in the zone, a crisp breaking ball and a good split.

“He’s got out pitches. I’d love to have Kuroda.”

If you’re going to trade Montero, trading him for a potential ace with five more years under team control makes it sting a little less. 

Anyway, the starting pitcher WAR I posted in the last thread were off, so here is the revised version.

Before
CC Sabathia, 220 IP, 6.1 WAR
Ivan Nova, 190 IP, 2.4 WAR
Phil Hughes, 175 IP, 2.8 WAR
A.J. Burnett, 175 IP, 2.1 WAR
Freddy Garcia, 150 IP, 2.6 WAR
Hector Noesi, 50 IP, 0.3 WAR
Adam Warren, 25 IP, 0.2 WAR
David Phelps, 15 IP, 0.1 WAR
Starters, 1000 IP, 16.6 WAR

After
CC Sabathia, 220 IP, 6.1 WAR
Hiroki Kuroda, 182 IP, 3.1 WAR
Michael Pineda, 168 IP, 3.2 WAR
Ivan Nova, 175 IP, 2.2 WAR
Phil Hughes, 100 IP, 1.6 WAR
A.J. Burnett, 100 IP, 1.2 WAR
Freddy Garcia, 100 IP, 1.7 WAR
Starters, 1045 IP, 19.1 WAR

So figure something in the area of a 2.5 win upgrade in the rotation, more if they can split those Burnett innings between Hughes and Garcia.

--Posted at 10:24 am by SG / 219 Comments | - (0)




Friday, January 13, 2012

Montero/Noesi for Pineda/Campos? Kuroda signed?

@GregJohnsMLB Greg Johns
No confirmation from team, but source says Mariners sending Pineda and Jose Campos to Yankees for Jesus Montero/Hector Noesi.

First thought is that I don’t like this.  But I’ll do an analysis on it tomorrow.

Update: I like this better.

@JackCurryYES
Big night for the Yankees. They have agreed to a 1-year deal with Kuroda, pending a physical. Deal will be between $10 and $11 million.

The Yankees will have the best 7 man rotation in baseball.  Who needs a DH, really?

Update v2:  Projections for Pineda and Kuroda as Yankees

Player Michael Pineda
mlbam_id 501381
Age 23
% G GS W L IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 32 32 12 9 193 159 81 75 19 53 3 195 3.77 3.49 3.12 50 5.0
65% 30 30 11 10 185 158 84 78 21 54 4 180 4.07 3.77 3.45 41 4.1
Baseline 28 28 10 9 168 150 82 76 21 53 5 157 4.37 4.06 3.79 32 3.2
35% 22 22 7 8 134 125 70 65 19 45 5 121 4.67 4.35 4.13 21 2.1
20% 19 19 6 7 118 114 65 61 18 42 5 101 4.98 4.64 4.46 14 1.4
Player Hiroki Kuroda
mlbam_id 493133
Age 37
% G GS W L IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 33 33 13 9 202 199 90 78 18 43 3 155 4.00 3.49 3.32 47 4.7
65% 31 31 12 9 191 196 91 80 20 44 4 141 4.29 3.75 3.62 38 3.8
Baseline 29 29 11 9 182 193 92 81 21 45 5 128 4.57 4.01 3.92 31 3.1
35% 24 24 8 8 146 160 79 69 19 39 5 98 4.86 4.28 4.22 20 2.0
20% 21 21 7 7 127 145 73 64 18 36 5 82 5.14 4.54 4.52 13 1.3

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs saved above replacement level using RA
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

The Yankees added two pitchers that project to be better than their second starter a few hours ago.  I hate losing Jesus Montero’s long-term potential, but truthfully, his CAIRO projection as a DH was barely above replacement level.  The Yankees may regret this trade at some point, but it makes them stronger in 2012 and at least they traded Montero for a 23 year old with five years of team control left and with a big-time arm. 

Back of envelope projection says that as long as they add a league average bat to serve as either the primary DH or to play all over the field while they DH the regulars, they went from something like:

CC Sabathia, 220 IP, 5.5 WAR
Ivan Nova, 190 IP, 2.0 WAR
Phil Hughes, 175 IP, 1.9 WAR
A.J. Burnett, 175 IP, 1.2 WAR
Freddy Garcia, 150 IP, 2.2 WAR
Hector Noesi, 50 IP, 0.0 WAR
Adam Warren, 25 IP, 0.0 WAR
David Phelps, 15 IP, 0.0 WAR
Starters, 1000 IP, 12.8 WAR

to something more like:

CC Sabathia, 220 IP, 5.5 WAR
Hiroki Kuroda, 180 IP, 2.3 WAR
Michael Pineda, 175 IP, 2.3 WAR
Ivan Nova, 175 IP, 1.8 WAR
Phil Hughes, 100 IP, 1.1 WAR
A.J. Burnett, 100 IP, 0.7 WAR
Freddy Garcia, 100 IP, 1.4 WAR
Starters, 1050 IP, 15.2 WAR

I am being somewhat conservative on innings with Pineda and Nova by design, and if the Yankees would dump Burnett I’d give his innings to Hughes and Garcia and it would make them look even better. 

They’ve probably added about three wins tonight, which if added to the last batch of still early and mostly useless projections makes them the best team in baseball.  Yay.

--Posted at 8:26 pm by SG / 135 Comments | - (0)



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