A-Rod Has Slowest Yankee Home Run Trot

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Just in case the local media needed another reason to rip on A-Rod, here are the results of a study done by the WSJ on time around the bases:

In case New Yorkers needed another way to compare Derek Jeter to Alex Rodriguez, we’ve found something new. When Mr. Jeter hits a home run, it takes him 20.19 seconds to round the bases, the second-fastest time among Yankees starters. Mr. Rodriguez needs 24.94 seconds, the slowest mark on the team….

The average home-run time in the majors is 21.89 seconds, according to Marquette University data coordinator Larry Granillo. As a team, the Yankees are the 12th-fastest, edging the Mets by two-tenths of a second.

Outfielder Curtis Granderson is the fastest Yankee at 18.81 seconds, but that’s partly because many of his home runs barely leave the yard—he runs quickly because he doesn’t know where the ball will end up.

Most of Mr. Rodriguez’s home runs are sure things.

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Yankees Enjoy Their Day At The White House (Mediocy Ensues)

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After visiting the veterans at Walter Reed From Lynn Zinser:

President Barack Obama welcomed the Yankees to the White House on Monday, lauding them for the franchise’s 27th championship, and poking a bit of fun at how long it took to win this one.

“Now, it’s been nine years since your last title — which must have felt like an eternity for Yankees fans,” Obama said. “I think other teams would be just fine with a spell like that. The Cubs, for example.”

Obama, famously a devoted White Sox fan, said he did find something to admire in the Yankees’ expectations.

“That attitude, that success, has always made the Yankees easy to love — and, let’s face it, easy to hate as well,” he said. “For a White Sox fan like me, it’s painful to watch Mariano’s cutter when it’s against my team, or to see the Yankees wrap up the pennant while the Sox are struggling on the South Side.

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Inside Brett’s Hot Start

Brett Gardner is batting .340/.436/.404/.841. I’m going to repeat that. Because it bears repeating. Brett Gardner is hitting .340/.436/.404/.841. Now, a few things–obviously, it’s a small sample and I don’t think Gardner will even dream of keeping this up. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t examine what Brett’s doing during this hot streak to start the year.

One of the knocks on Gardner was that he’s stuck out way too much for a guy with as little power as he has. So far in 2010, he’s cut down on the whiffs. He’s got just five strikeouts, compared to seven walks, good for a 10.6 K%, which is a full ten points below the league average (20.6%). Last year, Gardner was at a 16% strikeout rate.

As noted, Gardner has more walks than strikeouts. As he has knocked a few points off of his strikeout rate, he’s bumped his walk rate up a bit. He’s all the way up to 12.5% this year, about three points over the league average (9.4) and where he was last year (9.2).… Click here to read the rest

Labeling Javy Vazquez

I saw this over at Sliding Into Home and figured a response was necessary:

I think it’s time we accept that Javier Vazquez is a gutless bitch who cannot handle New York or the American League. After today’s stinker, the goat of 2004 is now 1-3 with an ERA of 9.00, and clearly the weak link of the 2010 New York Yankees. Am I being too harsh? Possibly, but for now I think my criticizm is well deserved.

Today was his fourth bad start in four chances. In just 3.2 innings, the pathetic right-hander allowed five runs on five hits, walked three, and struck out three on his way to his third loss of the year. And once again it was a game where the Yankees handed him a lead which he couldn’t hold.

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but is this not the dictionary definition of an overreaction? To criticize a Yankee for his lack of effort or for a mindless play is fair game, however, to label Javier Vazquez a “gutless bitch” and then to deem him “pathetic” seems excessive to me (it reeks of unbridled anger, as if Vazquez just kicked a small child).… Click here to read the rest

Building a Professional Resume – Graham Stoneburner

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What’s the perfect distraction for a burnt-out graduate student with a bunch of papers due in 3 days? Minor league baseball blogging.

Graham Stoneburner pitched about as good as he could on Saturday – 8 innings, 1 earned run, 8 strikeouts, no walks. At one point, he retired 20 straight batters. Stoneburner’s line on the season: 25 innings, 4 starts, 10.8 K/9, 2.16 BB/9. The Yankees started him this season at Low-A Charleston, ending some speculation that he might spend the year in short season baseball.

Stoneburner is a raw and largely untested college Sophomore that the Yankees picked up with an above-slot bonus last season. He was exactly the kind of player that the Yankees should be targeting with their inflated draft budget – later round, risky college players with upside. Although he pitched one inning in the minors last year, this season is for all intents and purposes his professional debut.… Click here to read the rest

Home Run Javy continues to party like it's 2004 as Yankees drop first series of the season

The Yankees lost for the third time in four games yesterday, falling to the Angels 8-4. Things started out well enough, and dreams of a 4-2 west coast road trip (along with a 4-2 record vs. the Los Annoying Annoyings of Annoyanceland) started dancing in my head after the Yankees jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the early going.

Of course, as he has been wont to do for the most part this young season, Home Run Javy Vazquez gave it all back and then some, failing the Yankees yet again. While I don’t believe you can bury a guy after four starts, it would seem that something is wrong with Vazquez–while
some inconsistency is to be expected, Vazquez really isn’t this bad (at least one would hope).

I tend to take Yankee losses harder than I should, though I’m trying to readjust my expectations after the torrid start, and so I didn’t quite feel crushed by Sunday’s game–the Angels are a great team, and the Yankees have a history of playing like shit in Anaheim.… Click here to read the rest

Small sample size or time to panic?

So what jumps out at you?  Is it the:

  • Jump in HR allowed (to 2.3 per 9IP, up from 0.8 last year)
  • Jump in BB allowed (to 5.0 per 9IP, up from 1.8 last year)
  • Jump in Hits allowed (to 11.3 per 9IP, up from 7.4 last year)
  • Fall in K/BB ratio (to 1.64, down from 5.41 last year)
  • The “slash line” of .309 / .398 / .580; essentially turning EVERY HITTER INTO AN ALL STAR (compared to the “slash line” of .223 / .266 / .346 in 2009, when he finished 4th in the Cy Young voting in the NL)

Or does his .345 BABIP (compared to the average of his prior five years of ~.303 BABIP) mean the most?  Is it bad luck that’s dooming Javy, or is he simply “unable” to handle the stress of pitching in NY, or rather, FOR the Yankees?

Me, I’m not ready to bail on Javy just yet.  I remember when the Yanks traded for him before 2004 and telling my father how excited I was, that we got a young guy in his prime who will be a horse for this team… and then I had to gag down my claims after the playoff series that NEVER HAPPENED. … Click here to read the rest

Yankees Payroll At League Average (well, not really)

Here are the facts and figures (payroll numbers are as reported in the Biz of Baseball, revenues are from Forbes):

The average payroll in baseball equals 46.4% of average team revenues.  So in this sense, the Yankees have an average payroll.

Aren’t statistics fun?

Yes, I understand: the Yankees do not have a small payroll.  The truth is,  the Yankees have huge revenues.   If the Yankees spent revenue on payroll at the same percentage as the Tigers, the Yankees could add another $80 million in player salaries!   They could add Ryan Howard, John Lackey, Matt Holliday and Roy Halladay, with money left over.

Scary.  The Yankees are actually showing salary restraint? 

The numbers also show that the Red Sox have a large payroll.  Our neighbors to the north spend aggressively on their 25-man roster.

I’ll close with a statistic about the Red Sox payroll, to match the statistic from Mark Attansio about the cost of the Yankees infield:

  • The salaries for five part-time Red Sox players spend more on salaries for five part-time players (David Ortiz, Mike Lowell, Bill Hall, Jeremy Hermida and Jason Varitek) represent more total* money than the Padres spend for their entire team
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Random thoughts on yesterday’s loss

Photo courtesy of the NY Daily News

-First and foremost, Javier Vazquez. Yes, it’s time to start worrying about him. He clearly has no confidence in his fastball, and for good reason. He’s only throwing it about 1/3 of the time, so from a hitters’ perspective pretty much everything is off speed. He needs to challenge hitters and set up his breaking stuff with the fastball, or else hitters can just sit back and look for the slow stuff. He says he feels fine physically, so much like with Phil Hughes in recent years it’s just a matter of getting him to trust his stuff more and let it loose. I wouldn’t go so far as bumping him from the rotation, but with the off days coming up it may be time to let him skip a start and clear his head.

Marcus Thames. Have you ever seen a worse defensive Left Fielder? He makes me pine for Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui’s gloves.… Click here to read the rest