The first IIATMS roundtable, pre-season edition

We gathered the “staff” together in a virtual sitdown to cover some of the biggest questions and issues that consumed our off-season and shared our thoughts how things would play out in 2010. There’s a lot here so I’ll just jump into it. Here are the questions thrown to Will, Larry, TheCommonMan, Mark, Tamar and myself:

  1. A general stat line for the Yankees in 2010: number of wins, finish in A.L. East, how they’ll do in the playoffs (including the identity of the team they play when they win the WS or are eliminated).
  2. An explanation for your prediction in (1) above, focusing on what you think will change the most on-the-field from 2009 to 2010.
  3. Predictions for the performance for four of the players we’ve discussed most during the off-season: Granderson, Gardner, Hughes and Joba.
  4. Your prediction for the most important off-the-field Yankees story/distraction in 2010.
  5. Biggest Yankee midseason pickup?

So let’s get started:

1. A general stat line for the Yankees in 2010: number of wins, finish in A.L. East, how they’ll do in the playoffs (including the identity of the team they play when they win the WS or are eliminated):

Will: I look at this current incarnation of the Yankees as the best we’ve seen in my lifetime. I think they’ll test the 100 win mark in the regular season. 99-63, 1st in division; defeat the Phillies in the WS a second year in a row.

TheCommonMan: 94-68, 2nd, Lose in the ALCS

Mark: Most of the projections seem to have the Yankees in the high 90s, and I don’t have a problem with that. But I’ll be conservative and say 94 wins (hey, the Rays and Red Sox are pretty good, too). With the best offense in the majors and a pitching staff that should be around the top 10, injuries are the only thing that could get in the way of another AL East Division Title. Once in the playoffs, they’re still the best team. Unfortunately for this Braves fan, there’s just no reason to bet against the Yankees when they oust the Cardinals for the World Series.

Larry: Yankees stat line: 92 wins, American League wild card winner, loser to Seattle Mariners in 4 games in first round of playoffs.

Tamar: I really think that the Yankees are a better team than they were in 2009. If they stay healthy I wouldn’t be surprised to see them win over 100, but I’ll play it safe and say 97-65. I do think they will win the AL East and win the World Series, beating the Braves.

Jason: 94-68, winning the AL East, but barely. One game or even a tiebreaker with the Sox. TB an unfortunate 3rd, but clearly better than at least the AL West or Central-winning teams, if not both.

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Giving credit to J.D. Drew

Unbeknownst to many baseball fans, for the past three seasons, the Boston Red Sox have had a secret weapon roaming their outfield and anchoring their lineup. Quietly, since donning the white and red and being treated to Neil Diamond on a regular basis, this particular player has produced with both his glove and his bat, to the tune of 10.4 WAR, the eighth best total for an outfielder in the American League since 2007. Yet, many are quick to ignore and neglect J.D. Drew, the silent yet productive player I speak of, in favor of discussing a David Ortiz or Continue reading Giving credit to J.D. Drew

Running Game Should Again be Effective

In 2009, the Yankees were middling in the stolen bases category (at least at first glance). They stole 111 bases, seventh in the American League. However, the Yankees were successful in their stolen base attempts 80% of the time, six percent better than the league average (74%). No player was caught stealing more than five times (both Jeter and Gardner), but even they had high stolen base percentages (86% and 84% respectively). Johnny Damon was never caught stealing (12 SBs), and A-Rod and Melky were both caught only 2 times each (88 and 83 percent). The 2009 Yankees didn’t run Continue reading Running Game Should Again be Effective

What was that about the Yankees coming in third?

Oh happy day. SG’s 2010 Diamond Mind Projection Blowout for both the AL and NL was posted yesterday. For those unfamiliar, this is an aggregate of five noteworthy projection systems, run 1,000 times each for a total of 5,000 iterations. The Yankees unsurprisingly project to be the best team in baseball, averaging 96 wins and 66 losses. Eat it, PECOTA. They also project to score the most runs in the Majors — 895 — and should have a 63% chance of making the playoffs. Is it Opening Day yet?

Food For Thought

Happy Wednesday afternoon, TYU readers. I’ve got some ideas that I’d like to briefly touch on, and of course I’d like your input as well. –Will Andy Pettitte’s lack of meaningful Spring Training innings hurt him in the regular season? I’m not quite sure of this one, but I’d lean towards it hurting him a bit. I don’t think he’ll be awful or horribly ineffective, but I have a good feeling it will affect his stamina, at least for the first start or two. –Can Sergio Mitre be effective a a long reliever? My first reaction is no, but I’m Continue reading Food For Thought

Help me with a rebuttal *UPDATED with our Top 10 list*

Fellow ESPN SweetSpot-ter Evan Brunell of the Fire Brand of the American League posted Top 10 Reasons to Hate the 2010 New York Yankees over at his other place of blogginess, NESN. Before you cast your hate back at Evan, he was nice enough to mention and link to us here:

2. Entitlement is a prerequisite to root for the Yankees.
Ever meet a Yankee fan who thought it was a God-given right that players get to experience the joy of playing for New York? Thought so.

After all, it’s not like any other team can win the World Series or give a player the attention he deserves.

Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest fell in this category, back when the jury was still out on whether Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer would stay in town or not. While discussing the prospect of Mauer being traded to the Yankees, Silva said that “Mauer deserves the big stage of New York.”

Wow, that’s a pretty strong word — deserve.

At least there are some Yankees fans out there who understand. After Silva received flak for his words, he posted a rebuttal and made it even worse by saying, “Why should great players be denied this environment? Why shouldn’t they be rewarded for their talents with sports immortality?”

So here’s my challenge to you guys:

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Should the Yankees trade Joba Chamberlain?

The Yankees should trade Joba Chamberlain. Yes, I said it. Now, before I am criticized – such a response is understandable – or, at the least, ridiculed for that statement, allow me to explain my perspective. First, from a macro standpoint, good starters are generally more valuable than good relievers. Let’s establish that much, at least. As Dave Allen of FanGraphs notes, “an elite reliever is worth about the same as a just slightly above average starter,” which underscores this notion of good starterdom versus good relieverdom, with good starterdom winning every time. With that said, moving from macro (general) Continue reading Should the Yankees trade Joba Chamberlain?

Collection of Yankees quotes

For your amusement this Wednesday morning, a collection of Yankees-related quotes from Baseball Almanac:

  • “A baseball club is part of the chemistry of the city. A game isn’t just an athletic contest. It’s a picnic, a kind of town meeting.” – New York Yankees President Michael Burke
  • “All ballplayers want to wind up their careers with the Cubs, Giants, or Yankees. They just can’t help it.” – Pitcher Dizzy Dean
  • “Baseball is like the United States of America. It’s too big to be loused up by one man and one monumental mistake. It’s even too great to be loused up by three recent monumental mistakes and a passel of small ones. The worst boner was the sale of the New York Yankees to the Columbia Broadcasting System and the clumsy manner in which it was consumated.” – White Sox Owner Arthur C. Allyn
  • “During the 1920s New York Yankee owner Jacob Ruppert once described his perfect afternoon at Yankee Stadium. ‘It’s when the Yankees score eight runs in the first inning,’ Ruppert said, ‘and then slowly pull away.'” – Peter Golenbock in Dynasty: The New York Yankees (1975)
  • “Hating the Yankees is as American as pizza pie, unwed mothers, and cheating on your income tax.” – Columnist Mike Royko
  • “Hating the Yankees isn’t part of my act. It is one of those exquisite times when life and art are in perfect conjunction.” – White Sox Owner Bill Veeck

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Venditte was the star, hands down

While his results weren’t great, clearly the big guys on the Yankees were excited and surprised to see what switch-pitcher Pat Venditte could do:

Swisher said he and the other outfielders were talking to one another when Venditte was on the mound in the sixth.

We were like, he’s about to switch, he’s about to switch right now!” Swisher said.

Sabathia had no idea Venditte could pitch with both hands. When he came out of he game, Sabathia saw a left-handed pitcher coming in from the bullpen. Then he saw a right-handed pitcher on the mound.

I was like, maybe that guy got hurt,” Sabathia said.

Fun to imagine these guys getting excited about something like this. Better yet was Venditte’s reaction/response:

Afterward, Venditte seemed humbled by the experience and said it’s up to him to make himself more than a sideshow.

Continue reading Venditte was the star, hands down