Sizing Up the Second Base Market

Earlier today, Brad discussed the Yankees potentially heading into 2016 with a Dustin Ackley/Rob Refsnyder platoon at second base. That duo represented a breath of fresh air over the last month of the season, combining to hit .325/.375/.638 with 5 HR in just 88 PA. Of course, those 88 PA represent a drop in the bucket, in terms of both sample size (meaning our expectations should not be terribly influenced by those gaudy numbers), and with respect to the team’s overall production at the keystone.  In 2015, Yankees second basemen batted .223/.279/.403, good for a 90 sOPS+ (meaning that Stephen Drew and Co. were about 10% below-average as a group). And despite the front office’s best efforts to maintain strong up-the-middle defense, the Yankees ranked 28th in the Majors in defensive runs saved, and dead last in UZR/150 at second. Add it all together, and the Yankees ranked 29th in the Majors in second base fWAR, at -1.1.

The team was in a similarly awkward position heading into last year’s off-season, and the free agent market offered mostly less than enthusing options.…

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On Joe’s Need To Mend Fences With Jacoby Ellsbury

Ellsbury WC Game

Courtesy of the AP

It doesn’t exist.

Sorry for the lack of intro, but I wanted to make sure I wrote this while it was still fresh in my head.  I saw that Joe addressed it at his end-of-year presser last Friday, and I’ve seen it mentioned a few other times around the blogosphere and Twitter, and I really don’t get it.  Joe doesn’t owe Jacoby Ellsbury anything.  Not an apology, not an explanation, not a phone call, nothing.

Joe did what he thought gave his team the best chance to win by sitting Ellsbury in the Wild Card game.  And he had every reason to do so given the way Ellsbury had hit in the second half and given Ellsbury’s physical condition leading up to that game.  Those two things were linked in some capacity this year, as Ellsbury was clearly not the same player post-knee injury.  He and the team swore he was fine, but his contact rates, low slash line, and lack of steal attempts in the second half say otherwise.  …

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Report: Yanks “Leaning Toward” An Ackley/Refsnyder Second Base Platoon Next Season

Second base was a problem position for the Yankees this past season.  They struggled to find production early from Stephen Drew and Brendan Ryan, seemingly waited too long to jettison Drew in favor of better options, and didn’t get much consistent positive value from the position until very late in the year when Dustin Ackley and Rob Refsnyder got hot and took over as the new platoon.  According to Jon Heyman’s latest report, that late season SSS boost may have influenced the Yankees’ plans for next season.

In Heyman’s most recent “Inside Baseball” piece for CBS, he reported that the Yankees are “leaning toward going with Refsnyder and Ackley next year”, which was something that drew a lot of conversation late in the regular season when they were both hitting.  On the surface, this looks like an easy decision to make for a team not looking to add payroll.  Ackley hit .288/.333/.654 in his 57 Yankee plate appearances and he’s a former top prospect with lefty power potential.  …

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Random thoughts about baseball and life on a Monday afternoon

It’s random thoughts time again.

  • So is everyone enjoying the playoffs?
  • I would be enjoying them more if Texas had swept Toronto but now they (the Rangers) will probably end up losing the series after being up 2-0.
  • Dinks.
  • I like watching teams I have no real interest in, like the Cubs and Cardinals. Games like that are fun because you don’t get stressed out if something big happens.
  • With the Rangers/Blue Jays, I’m finding it hard to watch because I really want the Blue Jays to lose. They annoy me.
  • And what the hell has gotten into Colby Rasmus?
  • My goodness. Maybe the Royals shouldn’t pitch to him.
  • The Astros are a game away from the ALCS.
  • Good for them.
  • They’re two years early on SI’s prediction.
  • Can you believe I went this long without mentioning the Chase Utley kerfuffle?
  • That slide was out of bounds and I’m actually surprised he didn’t get a concussion from smacking his head into Tejada’s leg.
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Qualifying Offers Shouldn’t Factor Into Yankees’ Offseason Plans

With the divisional round in full swing, there was an important piece of offseason news that came out over the weekend.  Via Eric Fisher, the value for qualifying free agent offers will be bumped up to $15.8 million this year.  Last year the QO value was $15.3 million.

The QO process is one that the Yankees have been heavily involved in and influenced by since its inception.  They have made qualifying offers to multiple internal free agents and recouped extra draft picks when those players have signed elsewhere.  Aaron Judge and Ian Clarkin were both supplemental 1st round picks granted to the Yankees by the QO rules.  They have also surely altered plans to pursue free agents that would have been good roster fits due to the draft pick forfeiture that comes with signing guys who have QO status.

For the first time in maybe forever, this coming offseason is shaping up to be one in which the Yankees are not influenced at all by the QO process.  …

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Saturday Morning Linkapalooza: 10/10/15

I didn’t bother with the linkaround yesterday.  I figured nobody was going to pull themself away from wall-to-wall postseason baseball to read stuff on the internet.  But there’s no games on this morning, so let’s catch up with the week that was in the Yankosphere.

– On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB pinpointed swinging earlier in the count as the smart strategy for the Yankee hitters against Dallas Keuchel.  Didn’t say anything about taking so many strike 3s though.

– On Wednesday, Kenny Ducey of BP Bronx commented on the Yankee leadership’s statements after the WC game and how that predicts more of the same in 2016.

– Tanya Bondurant of Pinstripe Alley took a positive approach and explained why this season was not the failure that many older, traditional Yankee fans see it as.

– On Thursday, el duque of It Is High… looked ahead to next season and all the things that will continue to trend in the wrong direction if the Yankees stand pat this offseason.…

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Ranking the World Series Matchups

flickr user egvvnd CC

flickr user egvvnd CC

The divisions series are underway. Four teams in each league are fighting it out for two spots in the World Series. The Yankees are off to the emergency room/golf course, but baseball is still going on. There are 16 different possible combinations of teams in the World Series. Today, I will rank them all. What is the best matchup?

The Bottom 4: Anyone but the Mets

16. Mets v. Blue Jays
15. Mets v. Astros
14. Mets v. Rangers
13. Mets v. Royals

These are easy. Any scenario where the Mets make the World Series is a bad scenario. They don’t have any interesting rivalries on the AL side to deal with. Their fans say stupid things like, “Take Back New York” after a decent spring training showing. The team itself was almost certainly the worst team in the NL regular season. Booo Mets.

The Next 4: Acceptable, If Boring

12. Cardinals v. Blue Jays
11. Cardinals v. 

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Friday Morning Post-Season News And Notes: 10/9/15

Good morning, gang.  As I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’re still collectively recovering from the disappointment of Tuesday night’s loss here at IIATMS.  Personally I’ve been struggling to come up with stuff to write about over the last few months, sort of Ellsbury-ing my way through the second half of the blog season, if you will.  We’ll start ramping up offseason coverage more once the actual offseason starts, but for now here are some quick notes on what’s been in the Yankeeland news this week.

– Via George King, we learned from Cash that there was an offer out there for Ben Zobrist at the deadline.  The A’s wanted Adam Warren and Rob Refsnyder for Zobrist and Cash wasn’t willing to make that deal.  I think that was a good decision.  I’m fine with.

– Also via King, and I don’t know how I missed this one, Triple-A manager Dave Miley will not be back next year.  He’s been the SWB manager for 10 years, which I didn’t know.  …

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Checking in on the IIATMS Top 30

With the Yankees season having ended with a whimper, it is officially the time to look to the future – in terms of both the team that will take the field in 2016, and the farm system that will (hopefully) keep it competitive for the rest of the decade (and beyond). And what better place to start than with our pre-season prospect rankings?

30. Hoy Jun Park, SS
Pulaski (Rk) – .239/.351/.383, 5 HR, 12 SB (7 CS), 109 wRC+, 262 PA

Every report about Park has been positively glowing. The 19-year-old South Korean flashed above-average power at times, demonstrated patience at the plate, and played excellent defense at short. His overall numbers may not jump off of the page, but his overall skillset is enticing, and despite his distance from the Majors he may be the closest thing to a pure shortstop in the system.

29. Gosuke Katoh, 2B
Pulaski (Rk) – .287/.426/.416, 5 HR, 9 SB (0 CS), 143 wRC+, 254 PA
Charleston (A) – .161/.264/.202, 1 HR, 8 SB (2 CS), 42 wRC+, 149 PA

Katoh was solid but unspectacular with Charleston in 2014, posting a 96 wRC+ in his full-season debut.…

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