Discussion: Who Is The Yankees MVP?

From Marc Carig:

As you’d expect in a champagne-soaked celebration, the Yankees were quick to hand out credit to others on Sunday afternoon. Take, for instance, Alex Rodriguez, who bestowed MVP honors on at least three different guys.
“You could say Joe Giradi has been our MVP,” Rodriguez said. “He has been phenomenal.”
He continued: “Mark Teixeira, he’s like a four-star general. He’s just an unbelievable player. I’m so proud to be this teammate, Derek Jeter as well. Both guys should be MVP.”
Jeter’s presence atop the lineup has ignited the offense. Teixeira’s blend of power, run production and defense has been invaluable. Girardi should get plenty of credit for his approach to rest and preventing injury. And Cashman should be lauded for the mix of talent he has pieced together.

I asked this question back in August, and the poll to the right suggests that Jeter is the most popular choice. However, a legitimate case can be made for Teixeira, Sabathia, Hughes, Rodriguez, Rivera, and others.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Bits: Roster Decisions

Here are a few quick news items on the day:

  • The Yankee coaches, along with assorted staff members, will meet today in order to construct their respective roster for the ALDS.
  • Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano will have the night off against Kansas City and Anthony Lerew. Most of the other regulars—Tex, Damon, Jeter, Swisher, A-Rod—are expected to return to the lineup after receiving a day-off against Luke Hochevar.
  • Jerry Hairston Jr. will take live batting practice today after being sidelined with tendinitis in his left wrist. Hairston received a cortisone shot a few days ago—his second of the month—in order to help alleviate the issue.
  • Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera will be honored for their historic accomplishments this season, prior to tonight’s ballgame. As we all know, this year, Jeter passed Lou Gehrig on the Yankees’ all-time hits list and Mariano collected the 500th save of his career. It should make for a nice moment, so if you’re going to tonight’s game, be sure to get there early.
Click here to read the rest

The Kansas City Royals: Who even Robbie Cano can get a hit with RISP against

Robinson Cano has had a fantastic bounceback season after a putrid 2008. While I still find myself periodically tearing my hair out after way too many first-pitch swings, the approach seems to mostly be working for him — a career-high 25 home runs (one of which came last night via his second career grand slam) and a highly respectable .870 OPS. The Mario Mendoza-like BA with RISP is generally explained away by bad luck, which is partially true, although changing his approach to situational hitting could help improve on that number, since pitchers are clearly changing their approach to Cano with men on base.

In any event, Cano’s blast was the highlight of an 8-2 win over the Royals that felt like watching a spring training game. That a good number of fans bothered to sit through a two-hour rain delay to watch the Yankees’ scrubs take on a team slightly better than the Orioles is both impressive and a little disturbing.… Click here to read the rest

The Amazing Phil Hughes

Starter -0.86 -0.17 -1.31 -1.92
Reliever 2.66 5.45 0.78
Starter 57% 92.3 20.3% 87.7 21.4% 76.5 1.3% 83.5
Reliever 67% 94.7 13.4% 89.3 19.6% 77.5

wFB/C shows how many runs above average Hughes creates per 100 fastballs thrown. wCT/C is for the cutter, CB is the curveball and CH is the Changeup. The numbers there speak for themselves. On the next chart, the FB% is what percent fastballs he’s throwing, and FBv is the average velocity on fastballs. As you can see, the speed on his pitches has ticked up across the board, and he’s throwing more fastballs (which makes sense given he never has to get through the lineup twice).

Let’s take a look at the differences between his fastball as a starter and a reliever. While I’m currently putting in significant work on creating a more complete pitchFX database, with which I’ll be able to do much more complete analysis of this sort, at this moment I’ll use data from Hughes’ September 22 relief appearance, and his start against Texas on May 25th.… Click here to read the rest

Canó, Gaudin, reserves take down Royals 8-2

With the division clinched and home field advantage locked up, the Yankees had very little to play for in tonight’s game against the Royals.  The long rain delay certainly did not add to their motivation either.  The clinching of home field advantage allowed manager Joe Girardi to rest most of the regulars, with only Robinson Canó, Melky Cabrera (playing leftfield), and Jorge Posada (DH’ing) representing the starters.  The result was very much a B-lineup.  Brett Gardner led off and played center, Eric Hinske was at 3rd base, Shelley Duncan started in right, Juan Miranda started at 1st, and Francisco Cervelli was behind the plate, catching Chad Gaudin.  This B-lineup, full of hungry young players, was enough to defeat the mediocre Royals.

Chad Gaudin continued to make a case for a spot on the postseason roster, and possibly, the 4th starter spot, with a strong outing.  In 6 2/3 innings, Gaudin allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, and struck out 5. … Click here to read the rest

Onwards and upwards

I’ve said it elsewhere, but it bears repeating. The team that wins the world series is not always the best team in baseball. In fact, it very rarely is. As shown in that amazing graphic, the team with the best record in baseball has won the world championship just twice since the introduction of the wild card–the 1998 Yankees and the 2007 Red Sox. You have to be good to get to the rodeo, but you have to be some combination of good and lucky to win it. The Yankees teams of the 40s and 50s? They had a full season to punch their ticket to the world series, whereas now teams have to both get to the playoffs, and then win two individual series.

To make this clearer, note that the best teams in baseball win about 60% of the time, and the worst teams win about 40%. If you model that out, it comes out that the best team in baseball will win a best of five series against the worst team in baseball 68% of the time.… Click here to read the rest

Game 157: Royals @ Yankees

Here are the lineups, via Pete Abraham (LoHud):

YANKEES (100-56)
Gardner CF
Cabrera RF LF
Damon LF
Posada DH
Cano 2B
Hinske 3B
Duncan RF
Miranda 1B
Cervelli C
Pena SS

Pitching: RHP Chad Gaudin (1-0, 3.71).

ROYALS (64-92)
Maier LF
Betancourt SS
Butler 1B
Jacobs DH
Callaspo 2B
Teahen RF
Olivo C
Gordon 3B
Anderson CF

Pitching: RHP Luke Hochevar (7-11, 5.98).

TIME/TV: 7:05, YES.

Obviously, after clinching both the division and the best record in the American League, the Yankees are prepared to give some of their regulars a day off. Despite the missing star power, it’ll be fun to watch this lineup work against Luke Hochevar (who has good stuff).

We’re likely in for a long night as a rain delay seems inevitable. I’ll keep you posted, though.

UPDATE – Johnny Damon has been scratched due to the rain. Shelley Duncan gets a chance in RF and Melky moves to LF. Lineups are amended (sorry, PA).… Click here to read the rest

Robertson ready

After testing his elbow in a bullpen session on Saturday, according to Andy McCullough (Star-Ledger), the Yankees will likely use David Robertson on Tuesday against the Royals. Barring any setbacks, he should be on the team’s postseason roster, as Girardi has demonstrated a willingness to bring Robertson in whenever the team is in need of a strikeout.

Robertson has quietly put together a very productive year in the bullpen, striking out 61 over 41 innings while maintaining a 3.29 ERA (3.07 FIP). In fact, Robertson’s K/9 sits at 13.39—the highest in the AL and the second highest in baseball. Only Jonathon Broxton has been better at striking out opponents (13.50 K/9). If Robertson can lower his walk rate a bit, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him emerge as the team’s setup man in 2010.

UPDATE – Peter Abraham notes that Robertson has been cleared to pitch and will probably make an appearance during today’s game.

UPDATE – Looks like Andy McCullough was right.… Click here to read the rest