Jeter, Swisher, and Fundamentals

Nick Swisher has come to be defined as a classic Moneyball player. One of Billy Beane’s picks in the draft that the book chronicles, Swisher is a power hitting outfielder that sees a ton of pitches and draws an obscene number of walks. He is a decent defender but not particularly fleet of foot, and is not the most instinctive player out there. In recent weeks, he has made a number of mental mistakes, with three of them being magnified due to their coming against the Red Sox. This has led those that favor grit and “clutchness” over production to proclaim that Swisher is nothing but a platoon player, and let his 5th among all right fielders and 12th among all outfielders OPS be damned. However, as Derek Jeter just illustrated over the last few days, poor stretches like the one that Swisher just went through happen to even the most fundamentally sound of players over a season, and Swisher just happened to bunch his poor fundamental plays for the season in a two week span.… Click here to read the rest

Much A-Rod About Nothing

Yesterday I discussed the Yankees decision to sit A-Rod for the first two games against Florida. This was the report on that story from the NY Post:

“That’s not true,” the GM said before tonight’s Yankees-Marlins game at Land Shark Stadium. “Dr. (Mark) Lindsay said he would benefit from more than a day (off). It was a medical decision. The doctor ordered two days and see you on Sunday. (Joe) Girardi and I am firmly on board.”

According to Cashman, he and Girardi talked after Thursday’s game about giving the slumping Rodriguez a day off. “The next day (Friday) we had a conference call and Alex fessed up and Mark Lindsay said he probably needs more than one day,” Cashman said of Rodriguez’s chiropractor. “I called Joe and it was two days. The club got into Miami at 4 a.m. (Friday) and it (two days off) was a no-brainer.”

Cashman talked to Girardi after Girardi had the ice-cold Rodriguez in the lineup for Friday night’s game.

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Minors Recap, 6/21


Scranton’s double-header against Indianapolis was postponed.

Trenton beats Binghamton, 9-3 (7 innings, game 1)

  • Jason Stephens started, giving up 3 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks in 6 innings.
  • JB Cox allowed a hit and a walk and struck out 1 in 1 inning of relief.
  • Austin Krum was 1 for 4 with a walk and a steal.
  • Reegie Corona, Eduardo Nunez, and Marcos Vechionacci were each 2 for 4.
  • Jorge Vazquez, back after 3 weeks on the DL, returned in style, going 3 for 4 with a 3-run shot and a walk.
  • Jesus Montero, catching, was 2 for 4 with a double, raising his average to an even .300.
  • Chris Malec was 1 for 3 with a walk.
  • Richie Robnett was 2 for 4 with a double.

Trenton blanks Binghamton (7 innings, game 2)

  • Kanekoa Texeira started, giving up 3 hits and 2 walks in 3 scoreless, and fanning 3.
  • Kevin Whelan got the win, giving up a hit and a walk in 2 shutout innings, and striking out 2.
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Sabathia leaves game with bicep injury

The announcers on YES just reported that the Yankee ace, who was pulled early from today’s game, has tightness in his bicep, and will be day-to-day.  No tests are going to be done at this point, and hopefully, he’ll be able to make his next start.  Alfredo Aceves replaced CC, and has shut the Marlins out in 2 innings of work.

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The A-Rod Situation


Alex Rodriguez sat out the last two games due to fatigue related to his offseason hip surgery. The circumstances regarding the decision to place him on the bench are a bit muddied, as no one is clear on exactly what happened. From Jon Heyman:

Some controversy was sparked when the Miami Herald in a lengthy story about Rodriguez’s unexpected two-day rest included a “rumor” that A-Rod and manager Joe Girardi “spoke sharply to each other” in a meeting before Friday’s game here. However, people familiar with the Yankees’ decision to sit Rodriguez say the decision came from Cashman and higherups, not Girardi. The conference call did take place with Rodriguez when he was at the stadium, but Girardi wasn’t believed to be on the call.
Yankees bosses believe Rodriguez was trying to play through the fatigue and would have happily continued to do play had they not called a halt Friday. Rodriguez is hitting .145 for the month with two home runs.

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Jeter Improves In The Field

From Rob Neyer:


That’s right, he’s not. In fact, at the age of 34 (35 in 9 days, don’t forget to send a card), Jeter is putting together his finest defensive season since they’ve been keeping advanced defensive metrics.

Looking at two fielding stats, range runs and UZR, Jeter has improved immensely since 2005, when he contributed to one of the worst defensive teams to ever make the playoffs.


The improvement clearly started last season, when Jeter rededicated himself to defense, employing “exercises designed to improve his lateral quickness and first-step explosiveness.”

So how has Jeter gone from being among the worst defensive shortstops in baseball to a slightly above-average one?

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Is it something simple like these exercises he’s doing? His diet? The fact that no one wants to hit the ball on the ground at the new Yankee Stadium?

Normal statistical fluctuation? Dumb luck?
Seriously, nobody would be more thrilled than I were Jeter to finish this season with decent defensive stats.

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