Zen blogging

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 Continue reading Zen blogging

Notes, Reactions, and Observations from Game 19

Last night’s loss to the Orioles was definitely frustrating for a number of reasons. Let’s start from the end and work our way back a bit. –The top of the ninth was incredibly bitter sweet, as are all comebacks that fall just short. Seriously, where the hell was Julio Lugo playing on that ball Alex Rodriguez hit to end the game? If he’s playing a normal second base, the game is tied. Alex definitely needs to go sacrifice a whole chicken or give the BABIP god some rum after tonight; he hit the ball hard three times and had nothing Continue reading Notes, Reactions, and Observations from Game 19

Cano v. Pedroia (Now Including Intangibles!)

This topic isn’t new. It’s been talked about since Pedroia made his little (can I say that?) push for the AL MVP back in 2008. The Post started talking about it a bit the other day, and Rob Neyer and TYU have since picked up on it. Ultimately, as you’ll see and as they’ve seen, the two players are very valuable, and they actually appear to be similarly valuable. One area, however, that I haven’t seen covered all that often (at least in this debate) are the differences (real or perceived) in their work ethic—or (GASP!) intangibles. So stick around for that part, but first, we have to wave through the nitty-gritty statistical stuff.

Offensively, the two are actually pretty similar in terms of value, but they do it in different ways. Cano’s career OBP is .341 (about average), and Pedroia’s is .369 (pretty good but not elite). Cano gains the edge in SLG, however, by topping Pedroia’s .460 with his own .484. If you take these career marks and wiggle them through some math I don’t understand, Cano’s wOBA is .351 (this is made to appear like OBP, so this is a bit above average), but Pedroia beats that fairly handily with his .365. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Cano had that horrendous 2008 with his .305 wOBA due to a .283 BABIP that was 40 points below his career mark, but his LD% had actually increased from the year before while his K rate dropped a bit. His problems stemmed from a low HR/FB rate (3.5% below his career mark) when he decided to hit quite a few more fly balls (30.9 to 33.2 FB%). I consider 2008 more of a fluke, but there’s considerable debate as to what that season means and how it should be weighed against his other seasons (I tend to favor the three good ones over the one bad. Stuff happens). Otherwise, Cano has actually been a bit better offensively than Pedroia, but not by much. Looking at offensive runs, Cano has been worth 20, 15.5, (-10), and 23.9 runs while Pedroia has been worth 14.3, 29.9, and 15.7. When taking a look at this, I like to look more at trends, and if we do so, Cano is a low +20 player while Pedroia is a mid to upper teens player. Edge to Cano.

Defensively, there isn’t much of a contest. Sorry ladies and gentlemen of Yankee Universe, but Cano isn’t a good defensive player (that’s all relative of course—he might be one of the best defensive second basemen on the planet, but when you’re compared against the best 30, standards are a bit higher). Cano’s UZR has been worth -7.8, 7.3, -10.8, and -2.2 runs on defense, and Pedroia has been worth 3.0, 10.9, and 7.5. Again, we like trends (especially in defensive statistics like this where 3-year samples are best). Therefore, let’s call Cano a -5 defender while Pedroia is about +7. Clear advantage to Pedroia.

On the bases, they are fairly even as well with both grading out around average despite Pedroia’s clear advantage in stolen bases (though getting thrown out 8 times in 28 chances will hurt your stock a bit).

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Bats, bullpen and baserunning betray Yanks in alliterative 5-4 loss to O's

It’s pretty hard to win a game in the American League when you score only two runs (at least, through the first eight innings of a game), although the Yankees seemed poised to do just that after Phil Hughes threw 5 2/3 innings of wild yet ultimately effective one-run ball. With Hughes in line for the win after setting Matt Wieters and Miguel Tejada down to get the first two outs of the sixth, Joe Girardi went to Boone Logan to get lefty Luke Scott and preserve the Yanks’ 2-1 lead. Logan couldn’t get the job done, walking Scott. Girardi Continue reading Bats, bullpen and baserunning betray Yanks in alliterative 5-4 loss to O's

Posada’s greatest “hits”

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports has a good “interview” with Posada, where he gets Posada’s “bests” on a number of categories. Fun stuff:

Scariest guy when he went to the mound

“David Cone. I was just intimidated. I would not even go to the mound. I was, like, scared, you know? He was the nicest guy in the world, but when he pitched, oof, don’t get near him. He was scary. He gave up a home run to Ken Griffey Jr. in Seattle once. I wanted him to come in and he didn’t want to. He gave up a home run on a split. Probably hung in there and Griffey hit a home run. So, I go out there and he says, ‘How the hell would you pitch him?’ I said, ‘I think we gotta come in.’ Next time, Griffey comes up, we go in and he hits a double.’ I go back out and Cone says, ‘How the hell you gonna pitch him now?’ ”

Smartest pitcher

“Mariano’s pretty smart. El Duque was very smart. So was Clemens. Reading batters, El Duque was special because he didn’t know anybody. He came in and they threw him into the fire. He would read their stance. He’d know if he was a low-ball hitter or high-ball hitter, just from the stance. That’s how good he was. He’d read the swing of the bat, foul balls, stuff like that. Clemens was pretty good at that, too.”

And this last one (actually the first one in the interview) had me laughing about the unintended comedy behind Posada’s comment:

Best fastball

“Kyle Farnsworth or Scott Proctor. Proctor would throw 98, 99, 100. Farnsworth is 100-plus. That’s based on straight velocity.”

All Farnsworthless threw was straight stuff. And as we all know, MLB hitters can hit 100mph straight stuff. Continue reading Posada’s greatest “hits”

Game 19: Yankees 4, Orioles 5

The Yankees headed to Baltimore for their first series against the struggling Orioles, but turned in a completely lackluster performance.  A comeback in the ninth innings gave New York fans some hope, but instead the Bombers came up just short and the Orioles won 5-4.

Phil Hughes did not have his good stuff working for him Tuesday night.  Despite not having his fastball and throwing a lot of pitches, Hughes was able to hold the Orioles to two hits over 5.2 innings.  Baltimore was the first to score when Hughes gave up back to back singles to start the second inning.  After getting Rhyne Hughes to fly out, Phil Hughes walked the Nolan Reimold to load the bases and then Cesar Izturis giving the Orioles their first run of the game.

The Yankees got the run back in the top of the third when Nick Swisher and Randy Winn hit back-to-back singles.  Derek Jeter grounded out, moving the runners over.  Brett Gardner then reached on an error by Miguel Tejada, sending Swisher across the plate to tie the score.   A homerun by Jorge Posada to start the fourth inning gave the Yankees the lead, 2-1.

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Hughes grinds one out

The mark of a savvy, veteran pitcher is being able to get through a game even when you don’t have your best stuff. Every pitcher will have to deal with that from time to time, and the top performers avoid the David Wells-ian two inning 8-run performances that inflate your ERA by making in-game adjustments that help them get through an evening when they have nothing. Last night, we watched a 23 year old Phil Hughes do just that. Some of the credit goes to pitching coach Dave Eiland, who saw Phil was off his game early and suggested a Continue reading Hughes grinds one out

Who Is Better, Pedroia or Cano?

[image title=”539w” size=”full” id=”17065″ align=”center” linkto=”full” ] From the NY Post: Reggie Jackson’s belief that Robinson Cano has passed Dustin Pedroia as the premier second baseman in the American League isn’t simply Mr. October’s bias because he works for the Yankees. “After this season he will be the best second baseman in the American League and then chase Chase [Utley],” Jackson told The Post. “He is a better player than Pedroia and I think Pedroia is a great player, an MVP.” Jackson has company from the fraternity that scouts everything from tools to makeup. The Post contacted six scouts and Continue reading Who Is Better, Pedroia or Cano?

The Great Debate: Closing Arguments for the ’98 Yankees

Friends, Yankees, countrymen, lend me your eyes. I come here not to praise the ’98 Yankees, but to bury them. After all, Will says they were crap. And Will is an honorable man.

Will would have you believe that it’s a simple equation. “2009’s offense (.366 wOBA) was better than 1998’s (.361 wOBA), and 2010 is very likely to be better than 2009.” Also, Will believes that the 2010 rotation outclasses the ’98 version, and that the two pitching staffs are roughly comparable, despite the fact that the only spot where the ’10 Yankees have a clear advantage is at the #4 starter. Also, since we don’t have advanced defensive stats, Will wants to basically ignore them and call the clubs even.

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