Derek’s Plate Discipline Dipping?

Derek Jeter’s gotten off to a fine start. He hasn’t quite heated up yet, but he’s not exactly been cold either. Going into last night’s win against the Orioles, his wOBA was at a solid .344, and that’s going to be higher today thanks to a double and a single last night. There is one thing, though, that’s been troubling about the Captain thus far in 2010: his walks. Well, really, it’s the lack of walks that is concerning.

Derek didn’t walk last night and has been sent down to first by four balls only three times this season. At this (very early) point in 2010, Jeter’s walk rate sits at 3.5%. Remember, league average is around 9% and Jeter’s career mark is exactly 9.0%. So while Derek hasn’t been Nick Johnson up there in terms of walks, he’s at least average at taking his free passes. This year, it’s a different story. What’s leading to the lack of walks?

(Note: these numbers do not include last night’s game vs.… Click here to read the rest

More like it

The Yankees jumped on Jeremy Guthrie right off the bat, picking up two quick runs in the top of the first and never looking back en route to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Wednesday night.

The Yankees would pick up seven runs off Guthrie (six earned), more than enough for starter CC Sabathia. Sabathia went 7 2/3 innings, striking out five and giving up three runs, all of which felt fairly cheap and may not have even been plated had Sabathia not had such a big lead to work with.

Seriously, was there anyone who thought the outcome of this game was in doubt once the Yanks jumped to a 5-0 lead in the second with their ace on the hill? As per RAB, their win percentage was already at 87.3% after Nick Swisher’s two-run triple. While nothing in baseball is set in stone, you have to like your chances for a victory with CC Sabathia on the hill staked to a five-run lead.… Click here to read the rest

What the All Star Game changes mean to me

The DH change. For the purposes of this “game”, I am fine with this move.  However, to me, it’s a major “tell” by MLB of its intentions to eventually move the NL to using the DH as well.  Time line?  Ya got me, but clearly this is coming.  Get ready, Senior Circuit. For the All Star Game, it’s a good move.  It allows teams to keep pitchers in the game while showcasing extra bats.  Great. All for it. 

The extra roster spot helps a bit, too, because it mitigates the “Mandatory Representation” rule.  Thankfully, it seems that every team, even the bad ones, have at least one player worthy, but what really chafes me and others is when someone who would otherwise be unworthy of a spot takes the spot of someone more deserving.  Adding the extra roster spot helps get rid of this potential situation.

As does the new rule about pitchers starting on the Sunday leading up to the ASG itself. … Click here to read the rest

Game 20: Yankees 8, Orioles 3

In the bottom of the third, Nick Markakis singled.  Ty Wigginton hit a double to right and Markakis scored on a ground out by Miguel Tejada, giving Baltimore its first run of the night.  The Yankees got the run back when Johnson walked to lead off the fifth.  He scored after back-to-back singles by Cano and Cervelli.  The Yankees got their final run in the top of the sixth when Swisher, Brett Gardner and Jeter hit back-to-back-to-back singles, giving the Yankees a commanding 8-1 lead.

Tejada led off the bottom of the inning with a double and moved to third on a single by Garrett Atkins.  Nolan Reimold sent a sac fly to right and Tejada scored.  Markakis hit a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, to put the score at 8-3, but that was as close as the Orioles would get as Joba Chamberlain and Sergio Mitre did their part to finish out the game.

Bronx Cheers:
(really not much to complain about in last night’s game)

Alex Rodriguez: He did have a RBI, but he was also the only Yankee (with an at bat) to go without a hit.  … Click here to read the rest

Away to Teixeira

Prior to last night’s game, on the season, Mark Teixeira has hit .119/.280/.254.

Against right-handers, Teixeira has hit .109/.281/.217. Here’s pitchFX data of those 46 at-bats.

Teixeira is a switch-hitter, so notice how most pitches have been away. He hasn’t hit those pitches, obviously.

Against left-handers, Teixeira has hit .143/.280/.333. Here’s pitchFX data of those 21 at-bats.

Again, Teixeira is a switch-hitter, so left-handers are also trying to get him out by aiming away.

It seems Teixeira, whether right-handed or left-handed, is attempting to pull anything that crosses the plate – I base this on what I have seen, thus far, and his inability to hit pitches away – which might explain his early struggles. If pitchers continue to pepper the outer portions of the strike zone, Teixeira is going to have to adjust and go the other way (or at least square up and try to drive the ball up the middle). Right now, he’s just extremely pull-happy.

For further proof of this, note Teixeira’s season spray charts versus right-handers and left-handers.… Click here to read the rest

Damon’s updated UZR not all that bad

Recently, FanGraphs updated its UZR measurements for 2010 (for park factors, power of the batter, speed of the batter, etc.), which subsequently influenced player ratings in previous seasons. In most cases, even with the alteration to UZR’s formula, the fielding numbers for players did not change significantly to the point where one player went from an excellent fielder to a poor fielder and vice versa. However, I did notice that our former left fielder, Johnny Damon, did experience a noticeable shift in his 2009 rating, and it is a shift that seems worthy of discussion.

Prior to the UZR update, last season, Damon posted a -9.2 Ultimate Zone Rating. Though the rating was largely dependent upon the 36-year old’s poor arm rating at -4.1 runs, his range was also an issue at -3.7 runs (add his negative error runs total to the two measures and you get -9.2). After the UZR update though, Damon’s 2009 UZR now stands at a much more manageable -4.1 runs (-5.5 UZR/150).… Click here to read the rest

Guest Post: Zen Blogging

This is a guest post from Larry Koestler of the excellent Yankeeist blog. It was inspired by a Twitter discussion that Larry and I had, and Larry was gracious enough to allow TYU to reprint his work. It is a highly recommended read. The original post can be found here.

On Monday morning TYU’s Moshe Mandel and I had an interesting back-and-forth that began on Twitter and spilled over to e-mail. The crux of our discussion was Moshe’s initial contention that Greg Cohen of Sliding Into Home “probably shouldn’t be blogging” for his “gutless bitch” comment re: Javy Vazquez, which ended up getting a fair amount of attention (thereby supporting Greg’s reasoning for writing it in the first place).

This got me thinking somewhat about my own reasons for blogging about the Yankees, and the level of difficulty a passionate blogger can face when trying to check his or her emotions at the door while writing about the team they’ve loved for their entire life.… Click here to read the rest

About MLB and Twitter

[Moshe asked me to share this with you, so I have]

[Caveat:  This story is still developing.  Recommend reading this post from Fang’s Bites for background info, and updates.]

This evening, news broke that MLB.com is now preventing their writers from tweeting anything non-baseball related.

I wish I could adequately put into words how much that this policy, if true, is quite simply the wrong way to go.

I’ll try to put this simply, so I don’t bore you with my waxing philosophical:  the great benefit social media gives to us is that it allows us to humanize those that might otherwise seem distant.

In terms of baseball, social media has had the advantage of making the game seem closer and more accessible to us humble viewers.  I’m not going to lie–I’ve been blogging now for two and a half years, and it’s still an awesome thrill when an MLB’er responds to one of my tweets.  Yes, I’m a total fan girl. … Click here to read the rest