Looking at Tex’s Plate Discipline and Batted Ball Data

Mark Teixeira has a .152 IsoD. His .127 IsoP is disappointing, but he’s at least taking his walks. And, despite the poor raw stats, he’s still seeing a robust 4.20 pitches per plate appearance. When his batting average does start to rebound, he’ll look a whole lot better. Let’s start with that upcoming rebound.

Tex has started to hit the ball a bit harder of late, or so it’s seemed, but his BABIP still sits at an unthinkably low .153. This comes despite a solid 19.7% line drive rate and first rate raw power. When those line drives start to fall in for hits, the rebound will begin. Obviously, Tex doesn’t have much control over this. All he’s got to do is keep hitting the ball hard.

What’s different from last year, but not wildly different from his career, is that he’s hitting the ball on the ground more. So far, he owns a 41.0% ground ball rate (36.4 in ’09, 39 career).… Click here to read the rest

Discussion: What Would You Do If Nick Johnson Went Down

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As we have stated many times since he signed with the team, Nick Johnson is not the greatest bet to make it through a season unbothered by injuries. Nick has never played more than 147 games, and missed all of 2007 and most of the 2008 season. He has had myriad injuries of all sorts, with various different body parts being afflicted. Already, he has sat a few games with a sore back, and missed a bit of time in Spring Training as well. The question I pose to you is, what would you do if he got injured and was slated to miss a long stretch of games? How would you alter the roster?

As I see it, outside of a trade, there are three options. One option that is quite unlikely to happen is to call up Jesus Montero. While his potential is enticing, he has struggled a bit at AAA and likely needs to log some more at-bats there to adjust to superior pitching.… Click here to read the rest

Robinson Cano and “clutch”

According to FanGraphs, a “clutch score” measures “how much better or worse a player does in high leverage situations than he would have done in context neutral situations.” Therefore, one can do extremely well in “neutral” (low-leverage) situations, and perform admirably in high leverage situations, yet their performance in high leverage situations isn’t as good as their performance in the neutral situations. Clutch score, in this context, is predicated on the notion of going above and beyond in those pressure packed, game-changing moments. So, if a hitter hits .300 in a neutral situation – no men on base, for example – he should hit .330 with RISP.

Last season, Robinson Cano owned the lowest clutch score in baseball at -2.37. Basically, the disparity between his offensive production in high leverage and neutral situations was tremendous (everyone knew that, too). Thankfully, that has changed this season, in 2010.

Currently, Cano owns a clutch score of -0.42, which is the lowest on the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

Chicago Series Preview 4/30-5/2

The Yankees will face two pitchers who have struggled at times this season, but they will also see John Danks, who is having a stellar start to 2010.  He’s given up just eleven hits and four runs over his last three starts and has kept opponents batting just .183.  While President Obama made it clear that he wishes Mariano Rivera was closing for his White Sox, Bobby Jenks is not one to ignore.  His ERA after nine innings of work may sit at 5.00, but his FIP is just 2.00.  He has walked six batters this season and struck out fourteen.

The White Sox defense shows some need for improvement.  They are last in MLB in Team UZR this year at -7.8, though their UZR/150 ranks just above the Yankees at -12.1 (as opposed to -12.4).  Third baseman Mark Teahen has four errors on the season and an UZR of -2.8.

The White Sox also rank last in the Majors in batting average (.222) and BABIP (.224).  … Click here to read the rest

Heyman: Ryan Howard’s bat > Mark Teixeira’s bat

Here’s an interesting comparison via Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated:

That [Ryan] Howard received $2 million more than [Mark] Teixeira also seems about right under the circumstances. Teixeira has a more diverse set of skills, is slightly younger and signed in New York as a free agent, but he couldn’t make a case that he has the same offensive impact as Howard, a classic slugger. With the $39 million Howard is making this year and next on his current deal, that means he’ll get $164 million though 2016, or just $16 million less than the eight-year contract Teixeira signed with the Yankees. Teixeira’s defense is superior, but considering all the variables, $164 million isn’t unreasonably high for Howard.

I would have to disagree with Heyman’s notion that Mark Teixeira “couldn’t make a case that he has the same offensive impact” as Ryan Howard and therefore, because of that advantage, Howard will receive more annual money than Teixeira. I think, because Teixeira walks more, hits for a higher average, strikes out less, and does not give up much to Howard with regards to power (Howard’s ISO is higher, but Tex is no Melky Cabrera), he is as impactful, and maybe even more so.… Click here to read the rest

When is a long slump cause for alarm?

The Yankees’ 14-7 start to the season has been well-rounded. ESPN reports that the team’s pitching staff is in the top 3 in the AL in ERA, WHIP and BAA while its hitters lead the junior circuit in OBP and SLG, and therefore OPS. In light of these numbers, the strong April should not come as a surprise. The team is playing great on both sides of the ball.

But if the component parts of the offense, or defense, are analyzed independently it become fairly surprising that the team is playing so well. Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson are all slumping. The non-Mariano edition of the bullpen has been shaky. Javier Vazquez has underperformed the already low bar many Yankee fans set for him, and so on.

It is not surprising that a team with a top 3 offense and defense is one of the best in baseball. That is to be expected.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. White Sox in the unbalanced schedule era

I’ve been enjoying taking a look back at how the Yanks have historically fared against their opponents (hopefully you have too) and so I thought I’d take a look at the Yanks’ record vs. the White Sox in the unbalanced schedule era given that Ozzie Guillen’s group of underachievers comes to the Bronx for a three-game set this weekend. I don’t have anything against Chicago as a team per se, although I think Ozzie Guillen is ridiculous and wouldn’t mind seeing the Yanks not only beat the ChiSox this weekend but also embarrass them.

In case you missed our previous installments, here are some links for your Friday reading pleasure:

Yankees vs. Orioles in the unbalanced schedule era [4.27.10]
How the Yankees have fared against the Red Sox at home since 2003 [4.02.10]
How the Yankees have fared at Fenway Park since 2003 [4.01.10]

And here’s the Yanks vs. the White Sox since 2001:

As you can see, there’s obviously not as much history between these two teams as the Yanks have with the Red Sox and O’s.… Click here to read the rest

Cano's Success Not A Product Of Melky's Absence

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When Robinson Cano hit his second home run in last night’s game, I sent out a sarcastic tweet about his success being tied to the fact that long time buddy Melky Cabrera was no longer on the team to distract him. Much to my chagrin, a number of people responded by taking my statement literally, and agreed that the absence of Melky was at least part of the reason for Cano’s amazing start. Quite frankly, I think that this is a bit ridiculous, for a variety of reasons.

Most notably, this sort of performance is nothing new for Cano, as he had a similarly hot April in 2009. Robbie hit .366/.400/.581 in last season’s first month, notching 5 home runs and knocking in 16. While his 2010 April has been better than that, the difference is certainly not stark enough to conclude that we are looking at an entirely reborn or more focussed player.… Click here to read the rest

Game 21: Yankees 4, Orioles 0

Bronx Cheers:
Nick Swisher: Hitting second, Swisher went 0-5 with a strikeout.

Curtis Granderson: After looking like he got his swing back in the last game, Grandy’s bat went missing again Thursday night.  He went 0-4 and stranded four runners on base.

Curtain Calls:
Robinson Cano: Cano went 3-4, with three runs scored, two RBIs, a double and two home runs.  His line right now is an impressive .407/.444/.790. Oh, and he also made a spectacular play on a ball hit by Nolan Reimold up the middle.

A.J. Burnett: If Cano hadn’t been so ridiculous last night, the story would have been AJ.  He threw eight innings of scoreless ball, giving up just three hits and one walk while striking out four.

Marcus Thames: It really is hard to complain about Thames defense when he keeps mashing the ball like he has every chance he’s had to get in the lineup.  Girardi had him in as the DH last night and Thames did not disappoint against the lefty Brian Matusz.  … Click here to read the rest