Looking at Cito Culver

Cito Culver, Shortstop Ranked 14th best Yankee prospect Year Age Tm Lev G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS 2010 17 2 Teams Rk-A- 56 233 203 23 51 8 1 2 18 7 4 21 51 .251 .325 .330 .655 2010 17 Yankees Rk 41 179 160 21 43 7 1 2 18 6 3 13 41 .269 .320 .363 .683 2010 17 Staten Island A- 15 54 43 2 8 1 0 0 0 1 1 8 10 .186 .340 .209 .549 1 Season 56 233 203 23 51 Continue reading Looking at Cito Culver

Has Phil Hughes’ 2010 been significantly better than Joba Chamberlain’s 2009?

When Joba Chamberlain came out of the bullpen on Tuesday night Larry asked me if I thought we’d ever see Joba in the rotation again. We both felt that the answer was probably not, regardless of the fact that we both endorse the idea of Joba getting another shot as a starter. The bottom line is, the Yankees aren’t treating Joba like a reliever who may eventually be used as a starter. The team has seldom allowed Joba to pitch more than one inning at a time. Converting him back to a starter in Spring Training may not only further Continue reading Has Phil Hughes’ 2010 been significantly better than Joba Chamberlain’s 2009?

Making the Case

Right after the rain delay ended last night, Jack Curry tweeted the following: Yanks expect 11 pitchers for DS. CC, AJ, Andy, Phil, Mo, Wood, Joba, Logan, Rbrtsn r locks. Nova, Vazquez, Gaudin, Mitre fight 4 2 spots Let’s lay out the case for each guy, then, and we’ll see what you readers think. Javier Vazquez has a few things going for him: he’s a veteran and managers always like that in the playoffs. He’s also proven himself to be a good, sometimes great starter. Granted, we haven’t seen that much this year, but he does still have the ability Continue reading Making the Case

Deep diving on AJ Burnett

I love the Internet. I came across a website from a grad student who was doing neat things with heat charts and other stuff relating to baseball, tapping into my inner geek (and my outer geek). A few emails and a request later, and Brian Mills at Prince of Slides sent me what you will see below. One thing about me, I am always and will always be open to sharing this space with talented folks like this who bring a new slant to this old game.

With that, let’s leverage Brian’s charts and graphs and deep dive on AJ Burnett (you can click on each chart/graph to expand):

Where’d AJ’s fastball go? According to Brian, the dark line in the box represents the average speed per inning and Burnett’s average FB is down some 1+ MPH this year and down 2 MPH from 2007. Now, according to FanGraphs, AJ’s throwing that FB more often than last year (69.2% vs 65.9%) at the expense of his curve ball (27.4% vs 31.0%). Does this matter? Well, AJ’s FB “value” remains negative (as it was last year) but less so, so it’s less bad, as it were. The real problem seems to be that his CB value, once a major strength of AJ has turned negative: 16.0 last year vs -2.2 this year.

Much has been made about AJ’s declining (plummeting?) K rate, which currently stands at 7.0/9IP, down nearly 1.5 from last year and and down 2.5+ from his career high (9.56 per) in 2007 in Toronto. AJ’s swinging strike %, per FanGraphs, is at a career low 7.9%. Add a declining FB to a now-ineffective CB and you have AJ Burnett, circa 2010.

We’ve spoken about AJ plenty here this year, but this is a new look at the problem.

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Game 152: Rays 7, Yankees 2

A big lightning storm and a lengthy rain delay in the third inning put an early end to A.J. Burnett and Wade Davis’ Wednesday night.  With lots of innings to make up and David Robertson unavailable due to back spasms, the pitchers Girardi sent out to the mound were not most people’s first choices, as they let Tampa Bay score at least one run in every inning after the fourth.  Meanwhile, the Yankees struggled at the plate and the Rays took a 7-2 victory, while cutting down New York’s lead in the AL East to a game and a half.

John Jaso started things for the Rays, with a lead off grounder to right in the first.  Ben Zobrist walked and both runners moved over when Carl Crawford grounded it.  Evan Longoria drove a sac fly to center, scoring Jaso before Dan Johnson flew out to to end the inning.  Burnett seemed to settle in the second and third innings, but in the bottom of the third a storm rolled in and delayed the game over two hours, while the Rays held a 1-0 lead.

When the game started again, neither starting pitcher was back on the mound, as the Rays put Jeremy Hellickson in for Davis and Royce Ring made his debut in Pinstripes.  Ring had a good fourth inning, setting the Rays down in order, but the Yankees’ offense was still without a hit through four.

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Rain, solo home runs and relievers who probably won't even be on playoff roster undo Yanks in 7-2 loss to Rays

Once the skies came crashing open last night in the bottom of the third inning the Yankees’ fate was pretty much sealed. Down 1-0 to the Rays, barring an unexpected 15- to 20-minute rain delay A.J. Burnett‘s night was going to be over, and Joe Girardi was going to have to milk 5 2/3 innings out of a tired and thin bullpen. I’ve been as vocal as anyone about Girardi’s seemingly endless stretch of bizarre moves this month; however in this case I’m not sure what other choices he had. I’d love to win the division as much as anyone Continue reading Rain, solo home runs and relievers who probably won't even be on playoff roster undo Yanks in 7-2 loss to Rays

Debate Over: Bring on Texas!

There’s been a debate going on about whether or not the Yankees should be resting their ailing starters and preparing for the playoffs, or fighting to the bitter end to secure their spot atop the American League East to secure home field advantage (at least for the first two rounds of the playoffs). The debate is over.

From ESPNDallas:

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton learned Tuesday he has small fractures to the seventh and eighth ribs that previous tests did not identify, and he is hoping to return to action during the final week of the regular season.

Some fans want the Yankees to win the division for home field advantage. Others just think it should be part of the Yankee ethos to win. Me, I just want the Yankees to play the Rangers. Because despite the optimism in the above quote (remember, folks, this is from the Texas portion of ESPN), I just don’t remember the last time I heard about a player with fractured ribs making it back quickly. This is an injury that Hamilton himself described as feeling “like [having] been in a car wreck“. It’s the same type of injury that has caused Jacoby Ellsbury to have a total of 84 plate appearances this season (Ellsbury will not return to baseball activities until December!)

And to be clear, Josh Hamilton is the franchise. His performance this year has been nothing short of incredible. Even having missed nearly three weeks of playing time, he still sits atop the WAR leaderboard, with 8.0 wins above replacement to his name. Ironically, the American League runner-up is the guy who put Ellsbury on the shelf, Adrian Beltre (and raise your hand if you saw that coming). Hamilton has been worth more wins above replacement than the combination of Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler (who combine for 7.4). He’s been worth more than Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira (who combine for 6.5). I could go on, but you get the point.

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Looking at Hector Noesi

Hector Noesi, Right-handed Starting Pitcher Ranked 4th best Yankee Prospect Year Age Tm Lev ERA G GS GF IP H R ER HR BB SO HBP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB 2006 19 Yankees Rk 1.29 5 0 2 7.0 5 1 1 0 1 11 0 0.857 6.4 0.0 1.3 14.1 11.00 2007 20 Charleston A 4.50 5 5 0 20.0 25 10 10 2 8 11 0 1.650 11.2 0.9 3.6 5.0 1.38 2008 21 2 Teams Rk-A- 3.33 14 7 1 48.2 43 23 18 7 10 55 2 1.089 8.0 1.3 1.8 10.2 5.50 2008 Continue reading Looking at Hector Noesi

Next stop on the “WAR Tour:” Cano

The next stop on the “WAR Tour” involves second basemen, specifically Robinson Cano. If you hadn’t had an opportunity to read our Mark Teixeira WAR analysis, click here. Similar to the prior WAR post, I included several of the most productive second basemen in the game. Despite injury-plagued seasons, I also included Chase Utley* and Dustin Pedroia* as a point of reference. Just as before, I also chose my list of candidates based on the 2010 positional league leaders. When taking a look at the pool of second basemen, the results are certainly favorable for the Yankees (surprise, surprise!). Given Continue reading Next stop on the “WAR Tour:” Cano