Yankees vs. Orioles I: The Buck stops here

Gardner tagged out by Bell last September (photo c/o The AP)

The Yankees (5-4, tied for 2nd) host the surprising Orioles (6-3, 1st place) for a three-gamer at Yankee Stadium beginning tonight, with Baltimore coming into a series with New York playing better baseball than their AL East rivals for the first time in quite a while.

While the season is of course still quite young, what the Orioles have done thus far can’t be ignored, and with the Yankee offense suddenly looking lost at sea along with continued uncertainty about the performances the Bombers will receive from their starters, the Orioles have an opportunity to make a strong early statement in the Bronx this week.

Fortunately for the Yankees, the O’s will attempt to do so without studs-in-the-making Zach Britton — who doesn’t line up to pitch in this series — and the currently rehabbing Brian Matusz, who had several hard-luck losses against the Yankees in 2010 before finally getting the upper hand in a strong Labor Day performance last September.… Click here to read the rest

Trying to relax on Jeter and Posada

The Yankees have been clubbing a bunch of home runs and scoring a bunch of runs, but that doesn’t mean the offense has been without fault. As Larry’s pointed out a few times on Twitter, the offense isn’t working its way on base as frequently as we’re used to. And, as we’ve seen, most of the Yankee runs are coming from the home run. Granted, that will change as things even out and as the Yankees’ crazy low .242 BABIP corrects itself. Long term, I’m not worried about the offense.

Breaking it down on an individual level, there are concerns. Mark Teixeira has suddenly realized it’s April and his bat has quieted down after a torrid start, and the same goes for Jorge Posada. Derek Jeter, meanwhile, hasn’t quite gotten off the ground yet. With Tex, we’re less inclined to worry because we’ve been through this before and he’s young enough that we’ll call it a slump, not decline.… Click here to read the rest

Everything you wanted to know about small samples but were afraid to ask

Readers of this site are probably aware that you can’t read too much into statistics this early in the season because players have only given us a small sample of data to work with. The concept is that there isn’t enough data in a small sample to make an informed conclusion about the data that is available. This is technically true, but one of my biggest pet peeves in baseball analysis is that analysts seldom, if ever, define the population of data they are sampling and therefore do not actually prove that the sample is small. This drives me up the wall because frequently even good analysts suggest that a sample is small, when, in fact, it is not. Good baseball analysts also tend to dismiss trends drawn from small samples too quickly. The purpose of this post is to correct a few of these assumptions, and hopefully offer something helpful to the debate.

The number one mistake baseball analysts typically make when discussing a small sample of data is failing to understand what defines a small sample.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Open Thread | Off Day | Monday April 11, 2011

The Yankees have the day off today. Hopefully the team uses the time to breathe some life back into the offense after Sunday’s Josh Beckett experience. The Yankees are back in action Tuesday, at home against the Orioles. A.J. Burnett toes the rubber for the bombers, while the division leading O’s counter with Chris Tillman. Use this as the open thread tonight. We can use Mark Teixeira as the conversation starter. After coming out of the gate strong, Tex is now batting .182/.325/.545, which isn’t as bad as it seems. That’s actually a 133 OPS+. After nine games last season he was hitting .091/.302/.121, which defies explanation. In 2009 he was hitting .194/.333/.548 through the first nine. So far 2011 looks a lot more like 2009.… Click here to read the rest

The Mystery Of Derek Jeter's New Old Stance

Over the last few days, we have heard reports that Derek Jeter has abandoned the stance that he developed this winter with Kevin Long. In the past, Jeter typically lifted his front (left) leg, did a toe tap, and then took a stride to home plate as he swung. Long wanted to quiet Jeter’s swing and felt the stride was making him late on pitches, so they eliminated the entire process and had him keep his left leg planted for the entire at-bat. However, Jeter started off slowly, admitted that he was focusing too much energy on the changes, and seemed to revert to his old swing. I had a few discussions with some other bloggers on Twitter about whether he had fully reverted or had simply brought back the toe-tap and not the stride, but we all agreed that the entirely motionless stance from Spring Training had disappeared. This is where things get fuzzy.

Ken Davidoff and Andrew Marchand reported earlier today that Kevin Long admitted that Jeter had abandoned the new approach entirely, based upon the following quotes:

“It is more of what Derek Jeter has done for his whole career, yeah.

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Slade Heathcott Finally Showing His Vast Potential

Slade Heathcott has had an eventful 4 games to start the season with the Charleston Riverdogs. He’s hit .500/.474/1.167 with 2 singles, 4 doubles, a triple, and two home runs. This comes following his first professional season where he hit just 16 doubles, 3 triples, and 2 home runs in 76 games. A lot of Yankee fans were rightfully skeptical that Heathcott’s .258/.359/.352 debut was good enough for a 1st round pick and prospect of his caliber. After everyone was insisting for over a year that he really did have power, Heathcott displayed it, for at least this week.

Heathcott is doing everything he can to be compared to former Yankees prospect Austin Jackson. Both players were drafted by the Yankees as superior athletes without much baseball polish. Both are fast center fielders who hit the ball hard, take walks, and strike out too much. Both started their second full season after being drafted by repeating Low-A ball in Charleston at the age of 20.… Click here to read the rest