Thoughts from the Yankees' first 2011 game action

Sorry, this just looks weird (Photo: AP)

The Yankees kicked their 2011 Grapefruit League schedule off this afternoon against the 2011 World Series Champion (too soon?) Phillies, losing 5-4. Rather than author my regular comprehensive and authoritative game recap, given the whole exhibitioness of it all I wanted to share a few bullet point observations:

Bartolo Colon threw two innings of one-run ball, and looked OK save for a Ben Francisco triple. He started out the game throwing a troubling 89mph fastball, but dialed it all the way up to 94mph in his second inning of work. I still don’t expect much of anything out of Colon, but I’m glad he didn’t get throttled.

Derek Jeter grounded out to shortstop and third base in his two at-bats. I will refrain from comment.

– Michael Kay noted that Mark Teixeira was the only starter to remain in the game for a third at-bat, and postulated that the Yankees might try to get him more work in the spring than usual as a way to try to counter Tex’s notoriously slow April starts.… Click here to read the rest

Bud Selig: Lord of the Realm

Baseball has a standard line of credit teams can access to cover short term cash flow issues. But as the article points out, the Mets exhausted the limits of that, and Bud Selig apparently authorized additional funds for them without telling anyone. Does that strike anyone else as really crazy? After we just found out that Selig has basically signed Frank McCourt’s ownership death warrant (rightly, for what that’s worth) we’re also finding out that the commissioner is taking extraordinary steps to preserve his friend’s ownership of one of baseball’s most valuable franchises after they were embroiled in one of the most famous cases of criminal fraud in American history?

I suppose at the end of the day I don’t really care about this. The fortunes and travails of Frank McCourt and Fred Wilpon really aren’t important to me in any meaningful way, except in so much as I watch them as a baseball story and occasionally write about the developments.… Click here to read the rest

Lineups, First Pitch, Baseball!


1. Pete Orr 2B

2. Ross Gload DH

3. Raul Ibanez LF

4. Ryan Howard 1B

5. Ben Francisco CF

6. Domonic Brown RF

7. Jeff Larish 3B

8. Brian Schneider C

9. Wilson Valdez SS

Cole Hamels SP


1. Derek Jeter SS

2. Nick Swisher RF

3. Mark Teixeira 1B

4. Alex Rodriguez 3B

5. Robinson Cano 2B

6. Jorge Posada DH

7. Curtis Granderson CF

8. Francisco Cervelli C

9. Brett Gardner LF

Bartolo Colon SP

Also schedule to pitch; Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Hector Noesi, David Phelps, and Eric Wordekemper

Cervelli is getting the start with the regular lineup because Russell Martin‘s knee isn’t 100% yet.

There’s been some speculation that the fact that Colon is getting the start in the opener shows the Yankees have the most faith in him of all of the candidates for the last two rotation spots. For my part, I think that’s probably exactly wrong, and the fact that Freddy Garcia will be the last guy to pitch in the spring rotation is a good sign that the Yankees are pretty sure he’ll be the 4th starter, while Colon and Ivan Nova battle for the 5th spot.… Click here to read the rest

The scouting scale explained

In light of the recent release of EJ’s excellent Top 30 list (and new grading methods) and Baseball America’s Top 100, I thought this would be an excellent opportunity to delve a little deeper into the traditional scouting scale.  Often, when reading a scouting report of a prospect, you’ll see something like “Player X has average speed but a plus arm” or “Player Y is a 60 hitter”, and generally you have an idea of what the scout is trying to convey.  However, the specific meaning of these grades is often lost.  I’d like to address this topic in two parts:  First, I will give a (brief, I promise) explanation of the statistical theory behind the scale, to give a better idea of how it is supposed to work.  And second, I will provide some operational definitions for what objective measurements/statistics the grades are supposed to correspond to, with some examples from current major leaguers and Yankee prospects.

The 20-80 scale is the means by which a scout evaluates the 5 tools (power, speed, hitting, arm, defense) in the case of a position player, or the repertoire of a pitcher.  Each tool or pitch is given a grade ranging from 20 (the lowest) to 80 (the highest), usually in increments of 10 (though occasionally you will see some 5’s).  The scouting scale is theoretically based on the normal distribution (see below, and if basic statistics make your head hurt, feel free to skip the next 3 paragraphs).… Click here to read the rest

Trying to Turn Brett Gardner into Another Babe Ruth?

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

As Moshe Mandel covered in detail yesterday afternoon, Brett Gardner has made improving his bunting skills a priority during spring training. Hopefully, that means more drag bunts for base hits and not maddening sacrifices when the team can ill afford to give away an out. Unfortunately, if history is the judge, it could be more of the latter.

Over the past two seasons, Gardner ranks second on the team in sacrifice bunts, one behind Francisco Cervelli, who should probably bunt more often considering his less than potent bat. Despite being second, however, Gardner’s 11 sacrifice bunts really aren’t all that many. In fact, considering how often Girardi is criticized for employing the sacrifice, the total number for each player is surprising low (especially Derek Jeter’s five). Perception is hard to overcome, but the truth is the Yankees have ranked toward the bottom of the American League when it comes to sacrifices in all three seasons that Girardi has been manager.… Click here to read the rest

2011 American League Preview: Detroit Tigers

Offseason analysis: The Tigers set the market for what turned to be a crazy market for relievers by giving Benoit a three year deal to leave the Rays, and then pried Martinez out of Boston with a 4 year, $52 million contract. V-Mart should add some pop to the middle of the lineup alongside Cabrera, but Detroit may wind up regretting that deal if he can’t perform adequately behind the plate in a couple of years.

Projected lineup: (2010 wOBA)

Victor Martinez C (.364)

Miguel Cabrera (.429)

Carlos Guillen 2B (.323 in 275 PA’s)

Jhonny Peralta SS (.309)

Brandon Inge 3B (.314)

Ryan Raburn LF (.354)

Austin Jackson CF (.333)

Brennan Boesch RF (.323)

Magglio Ordonez DH (.375 in 365 PA’s)

Projected rotation: (2010 FIP)

Justin Verlander (2.97)

Max Scherzer (3.71)

Rick Porcello (4.31)

Brad Penny (3.40 in 55.2 IP)

Phil Coke (1 game started)

2011 outlook: The Tigers added some back of the bullpen depth and another bat in the middle of the lineup, and depending on how the Miguel Cabrera mess turns out, stand to improve in 2011.… Click here to read the rest