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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Wild Card Game Recap: Astros 3 Yankees 0

Yankees WC Loss vs HOU

Courtesy of the AP

Well that was a huge bummer.  The Yankees went out of the postseason as sadly and quietly as they entered it, getting shut out and 3-hit at home in the Wild Card game by Dallas Keuchel and the Houston Astros.  The bats never showed up, Tanaka’s home run problem was front and center again, and the Astros will advance to play Kansas City in the ALDS while the Yankees will go home and start preparing for next year.

This was the biggest start to date for Masahiro Tanaka and he came out looking pretty good.  His fastball was lively and popping the glove and he threw a lot of good, tight sliders in a 1-2-3 1st inning with 2 strikeouts.  Colby Rasmus came up to lead off the top of the 2nd and hit the first pitch he saw DEEP into right for a solo home run.  It was a fastball meant for the outside corner that ended up about thigh high on the inside corner and Rasmus was all over it.  …

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The Wild-Card Game: Tanaka vs. Keuchel

This is it – the most important game of the season. That’s a line that has been utilized over and over again this season (and in most every season), but it is true in the purest sense of the phrase tonight. If the Yankees win, they advance to play the Kansas City Royals in the ALDS. If they lose, their off-season begins, as does planning for 2016.

Do or die. Win or go home. Put up or shut up. Here’s your game thread for this evening. Tonight’s lineups are:

Houston Astros New York Yankees
Jose Altuve, 2B Brett Gardner, CF
George Springer, RF Chris Young, LF
Carlos Correa, SS Carlos Beltran, RF
Colby Rasmus, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Evan Gattis, DH Brian McCann, C
Carlos Gomez, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Luis Valbuena, 3B Greg Bird, 1B
Chris Carter, 1B Rob Refsnyder, 2B
Jason Castro, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Dallas Keuchel, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Enjoy the game!…

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Breaking down how the Yankees have fared against Dallas Keuchel in 2015

Here’s a look at how the Yankees have done against tonight’s Astros starter, Dallas Keuchel, so far in 2015:

As a team, they batted .161/.175/.179/.354 in two games against Keuchel with a strikeout rate of 36.8% and a walk rate of just 1.8% (Yikes).

Here’s their spray chart:

export (71)

Nine hits – eight singles and one double. The double came off an 87 mph cutter, six of the singles came off fastballs that ranged between 88 – 90 mph and the other two singles were off an 87 mph cutter and an 80 mph changeup.

Here’s their heat map against him:

trumedia_baseball_grid (29)

As you can see, they can get to his stuff when he throws it over the plate because he doesn’t have traditionally overpowering stuff.

And as you will see below, Keuchel thrives on his sinker.

Brooksbaseball-Chart (11)

This chart breaks down each pitch in his arsenal by percentage used. The sinker is far and away, his most reliable and most thrown pitch.…

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