Eagerly awaiting Vazquez's return

Above was the last we saw of Javier Vazquez, when he served up a pitch that was the final dagger in the hearts of the 2004 team’s chances to return to the World Series. Worse yet, it was facing our hated rival the Boston Red Sox, and we could only sit back and watch as they coasted to a World Series win, ending their ‘curse’ of 86 years. It was the on-field nadir of every Yankee fan’s existence. Charlie Brown finally kicked the Football, and Vazquez was the placeholder.

It’s the kind of moment that should be a chance for redemption, but Javier would never get that opportunity the following year. It was 2004, George Steinbrenner was still in charge, and his take was that Vazquez was ‘gutless’ and he sent Vazquez packing in exchange for a pitcher he had long coveted in Randy Johnson. A more sober assessment would have been it was just one bad pitch, and Javy was unfamiliar with working out of the bullpen.… Click here to read the rest

Minors Recap, 4/8

Hi all.  I am finally making my triumphant return from thesis-related exile, and should be back writing for TYU on a relatively frequent basis.  Without further adieu, a recap of the first day of minor league action.  We’re trying out a different format, where rather than transcribing the box scores, I am going to try to highlight a few players every night and write a more in-depth report.  Let us know in the comment section what you think about this change.

Scranton shuts out Buffalo, 1-0

  • Ivan Nova started for the Yankees, lasting 4 innings before being removed following a rain delay.  Nova fanned 4 and allowed 3 hits and no walks throughout 4 shutout innings, a strong season debut for the 23 year-old righty.  Nova is coming off a solid season in 2009 in which he dominated at AA Trenton (2.36 ERA, and a 2.47 GO/AO ratio), but struggled somewhat upon being promoted to AAA Scranton (5.10 ERA).  Nova has always been a player whose stuff and scouting reports have been more impressive than his actual results. 
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Gardner solid at the bottom of the order

Beyond the Box Score’s Satchel Price has an interesting article out, in which Price compares number nine hitters across the American League (right off the bat, Price admits that the piece is somewhat cursory, in that number nine hitters are subject to change give certain situations, as we saw last night with Curtis Granderson). Each player is ranked according to perceived offensive potential – that is a key phrase here – with our boy, Brett Gardner, coming in at number five (out of fourteen hitters). The only players ahead of Gardner are Travis Snider, Alexei Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach, and Marco Scutaro. Looking at the list, CHONE actually projects a .335 wOBA for Gardner, which, if we exclude Snider, is the highest out of that group of remaining four. It says a lot about Gardner, who is considered a defensive player, but actually brings some good offensive stuff to the table relative to the rest of the AL’s number nine hitters.… Click here to read the rest

Pettitte to help determine Joba’s future

Andy Pettitte pitched well last night, giving up only one earned run over six innings at Fenway Park. The vintage performance actually made me wonder about his future with the Yankees, as well as Joba Chamberlain’s future, for the two are intimately connected.

Pettitte has been a reliable free agent piece for the Yankees since returning to them in 2007, going year-to-year, which provides considerable short-term roster and financial flexibility. That has been the allure of re-signing Pettitte, who has been effective with each new annual contract. But, although Pettitte allows the Yankees to control their team on a short-term basis, re-signing him does have additional costs that are applied long-term, costs that are not as apparent.

Essentially, whenever the Yankees choose to bring Pettitte back, they are acting on a win-now strategy. It is the easy decision, not the hard one. Rather than plan for the future, they are planning for the present. Thats is where Joba Chamberlain comes in.… Click here to read the rest

Are The Yankees Really Taking Too Long To Play Games?

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I thought this was an issue that had gone away, but Joe West decided to dredge it up again last night when speaking to The Record:

“They’re the two clubs that don’t try to pick up the pace,” said West, the chief of the umpiring crew working the three-game series, according to the report. “They’re two of the best teams in baseball. Why are they playing the slowest?

“It’s pathetic and embarrassing. They take too long to play,” he said, according to the report.

The common response from Yankees fans is that these games simply have more pitches thrown and pitching changes, and that the longer game times are simply a natural extension of the game. Let’s take a closer look at the 2009 numbers (all numbers are rounded off).

Average Game Time
Yankees: 3:08
Red Sox: 3:04
Lg. Avg: 2:52

Total Pitches Per Game (includes for and against)
Yankees: 304.3
Red Sox: 306
Lg.… Click here to read the rest

Granderson's New Handset

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Twitter is an amazing tool for fans and bloggers, in that it provides access to people with expertise that many fans would not have had the ability to speak with in the past. Last night, I was able to learn something about Curtis Granderson’s stance from one such interaction. After Granderson hit his home run, senior scout Steve Carter of Project Prospect stated that he loved Granderson’s new handset. When I asked for clarification, he graciously sent me the following explanation:

Granderson is holding his hands further away from his body, and much more out over the plate. His struggles in the past against LHP was a result of him flying open trying to protect inside, which left the outer half wide open. Now that his arms are out away from his body he can win the race on the inner half and still cover and/or fight off pitches away.

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Forbes gives baseball the business

The ESPN piece fails to report a number of other interesting facts in the Forbes analysis. That’s OK, because the Forbes piece is a treasure trove of data, and we’ll be mining this data here on IIATMS for some time to come. Just for the fun of it, I’ll give you a few facts that you won’t learn by reading ESPN’s take on the Forbes piece:

  • Here’s one Yankee tidbit you won’t learn from ESPN: according to Forbes, the Yankees finally turned a profit in 2009. According to Forbes, the Yankees LOST money every year between 2003 and 2008. But note that the Forbes numbers do not include the Yankees’ share of the profits earned by their YES regional sports network – so it’s likely that the Steinbrenners are not in any immediate financial danger.
  • Next time you hear a Red Sox fan complain about the size of the Yankees payroll, remember this gem of information: the Red Sox are now the second most profitable team in baseball (trailing the Marlins, of course), with net revenues of $40 million.
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