Revisiting The Debate About The Wave

During last night’s game, some fans at Yankee Stadium started the Wave in the 7th inning of a 9-3 game, spurring some debate between myself, Sean McNally (@SeanMMcNally), and Ben Kabak (@bkabak) about the etiquette of the Wave and whether it is ever appropriate. I defended it as allowable in certain circumstances, while Sean and Ben suggested that it is never appropriate. I wanted to open the discussion up to the readers here, and I conveniently found a debate that Larry Koestler and I had on this very topic last season. I’ll provide a key excerpt from each piece, and Continue reading Revisiting The Debate About The Wave

There’s no such thing as too many catchers

The Yankees minor league depth at catcher has been well documented. Jesus Montero is knocking loudly on the door to the Bronx. Austin Romine is having a fine start to the season. Gary Sanchez has Montero-type upside at this point. J.R. Murphy‘s bat is hot in Charleston right now. This is definitely a position of strength for the Yankees. With Russell Martin looking a bit revived so far in 2011 and Montero and Romine relatively close to the Majors, there might be a logjam that needs clearing soon. I’m against the idea of trading Jesus Montero, but wouldn’t be completely Continue reading There’s no such thing as too many catchers

A Groundball Problem

Brien asked an important question Thursday: What did the Yankees get for Jeter’s contract? This is a complicated subject, but I have a very simple answer: ground balls. Lots. Of. Ground balls. Since 2005, Derek Jeter is second in the majors in ground ball percentage among all players with at least 2,000 plate appearances.

Simply put, ground balls are bad for offense. This is the entire theory behind being a ground ball pitcher. As common sense tells us, if the ball is on the ground, it can’t go out of the park. More modern sabermetric sense confirms this traditional wisdom. The concept of xFIP – a metric that judges pitchers only on strikeouts, walks, and flyball percentage – implicitly includes the notion that ground balls are good for pitchers and bad for hitters. This is because ground ball percentage is inversely proportional to flyball percentage, a major component of xFIP. However, ground balls aren’t all bad news for offense; they actually have a much higher batting average on balls in play than flyballs. This helps players who hit lots of grounders to have higher BABIP’s than those who don’t. Perennial batting title contenders like Ichiro! and Joe Mauer have traditionally hit lots of grounders. Problems arise when a player starts hitting ground balls in situations where they used to hit linedrives. This seems to be exactly what is occurring with Jeter; his 2010 and 2011 seasons have brought career highs in ground ball percentage and career lows in linedrive percentage.

In this post I will assess the potential causes for this ground ball spike.

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CC Sabathia and the Yankee bats pound the White Sox 12-3

After torturing fans with three consecutive low-scoring, dull games, the Yankee bats came alive against Chicago Thursday night, tagging the White Sox for twelve runs and thirteen hits. But the box score doesn’t tell the full story of this game. There were at least four separate storylines. It all went away tremendously, but Edwin Jackson actually had an ugly Edwin Jackson style no-hitter going against the Yankees through the first four innings of the ball game. For those who don’t remember, Jackson actually recorded a 149-pitch, eight-walk no-hitter last season with the Diamondbacks. He started out this game in similar fashion, Continue reading CC Sabathia and the Yankee bats pound the White Sox 12-3

Game 22: White Sox 3, Yankees 12

After a couple nights of low-scoring games, the Yankees’ offense finally broke through Thursday night, in a game that had its fair share of strange plays and big hits.  At the end of the night, the Yankees took a commanding 12-3 victory and managed to split the series against the White Sox after dropping the first two games.

The game did not start well for the Yankees, as Eduardo Nunez bobbled a routine grounder by Brent Lillibridge. Alexei Ramirez lined a single to left, moving to second as Brett Gardner tried to throw out Lillibridge at third, and the White Sox had two on and no outs to start the game.  A grounder to third Carlos Quentin resulted in Alex Rodriguez getting the runner at the plate for the first out of the game, and CC Sabathia battled back and got the next two hitters to fly out, ending the inning without allowing a run.

The Yankees got on the board in the bottom of the third.  Gardner worked a one out walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Nunez walked and they pulled off a double steal. Curtis Granderson followed with another walk and the Yankees had the bases loaded.  Nick Swisher walked, for Edwin Jackson’s fourth straight walk and the Yankees first run of the game.  A sac fly by Robinson Cano pushed Nunez across the plate and New York had a 2-0 lead after three, despite still not having a hit.

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Must-Read Links: The Value of a Split Second, The Importance Of A Farm System

There were two baseball stories that I read today that I found incredibly interesting, and I wanted to highlight them here. The numbers behind a catch and a just-miss Mark Simon had a great post this morning comparing the hang time on a game-changing bloop double the Yankees allowed to the Twins a few weeks ago to Brent Lillibridge’s catch of a Robinson Cano liner that ended a game this week. The takeaway: Young’s fly ball had a hang time of 4.4 seconds. BIS was able to determine that a ball hit to a spot within a 10 foot by Continue reading Must-Read Links: The Value of a Split Second, The Importance Of A Farm System

Minor League Update

AAA- Scranton   Until the unfortunate “ball meets balls” incident, Jesus Montero was still raking albeit still without any walks. He’ll miss a few games to nurse his “situation” back to health… Justin Maxwell has been on fire. The way he’s getting on base and his streak of HRs is pretty impressive. The strikeouts also are really impressive. This is a guy with a lot of holes in his swing and the 49% K rate tells you all you need to know… As Mike Axisa points out, Kevin Whelan has been pitching pretty well for Scranton. He’s benefited from some BABIP luck it Continue reading Minor League Update