Weekend Round-Up – 4/24/2011

Tales from the Sweet Spot Mother Ship:

  • David Schoenfield – Schoenfield puts together the All-Overrated team.  Can’t say I disagree with anyone on the list.
  • Christina Kahrl – Kahrl has the goods on Ryan Braun’s new extension.  Like me, she has short-term and long-term concerns with the deal.
  • Steve Berthiaume – Steve thinks a one game playoff is the way to go.  I respectfully disagree for a number of reasons, but his reasoning certainly makes sense.
  • Joe Janish – Joe examines Anibal Sanchez’s near no-no.
  • Austin Swafford – Austin wonders if the NL Central is due for disparity.

Tales from around the Sweet Spot Network:

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Sunday Notes and Commentary

-Unlike many Yankee fans, players and columnists, there was no feigned outrage in my house over Josh Rupe throwing up and in at Russell Martin last night. I had no big issue with the move, just the execution of it. If you want to brush a guy back, you have to keep it away from his head. But I understand what Buck was trying to do. The O’s have become accustomed to getting clobbered by the Yanks year after year, so Buck is trying to get his guys to show some pride out there. Is it the best way to handle it? No, winning solves all. But he’s trying to get a bad team to stop accepting losing. Once upon a time, Buck did the same thing with a Yankee team that was in the dumps in the early 1990s, and I don’t remember much hand wringing from the Yankee faithful or clubhouse back then. Actually, fans loved him for it.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread-Bombers vs Birds

This picture was taken when he was 6-1.


Buck Showalter sure got dumb in a hurry, huh? After having the best record in baseball since taking over the O’s late last July and getting off to a 6-1 start this year, the Charm City crew has fallen on hard times, losing 7 in a row and 8 of their last 10.  But that’s just baseball, Suzyn. One thing you know about a team managed by Buck, they will show up ready to play. That hasn’t always been the case with Baltimore in recent years. Is it just me, or does it seem like the Yanks haven’t played in forever? Between the bad weather, Knicks and Rangers (sorry) in the playoffs, and an insanely busy week for me at work, it feels like the All Star Break came 3 months early this year. But baseball is back, good weather is on the way and the Yanks are still the only team in the AL East with a winning record.… Click here to read the rest

Should the Yankees Trade Austin Romine?

Russell Martin‘s strong start to the 2011 season has given Yankee fans some confidence in the short-term security of the catcher position.   In the early going, Martin has posted a .983 OPS and a .435 WOBA, and though his walk rate is down from previous years, his power production more resembles the all-star Russell Martin of 2007 rather than the mediocre worn-down version of the past few seasons.  While Martin is unlikely to continue this impressive offensive production, he is looking more and more like he could catch for the Yankees for at least a few years.  Martin’s defense looks quite impressive after years of watching Jorge Posada catch, which further increases his value to the Yankees.

Martin’s strong start has led to much speculation about the future of Jesus Montero in the Yankee organization.  After a sub-par spring, Montero is off to a strong start in AAA, batting .414/.407/.534.  Despite the lack of walks and the uncharacteristically few homers so far, Montero is further demonstrating that his bat is major league ready, even if his defense may not be there yet (or ever?).  … Click here to read the rest

Keeping it Simple: A.J. Burnett

In 2010, there was a stark difference in the distribution of pitch locations of A.J.’s curve compared to earlier years. You can see this in the following graph:

In this graph red represents locations that A.J. threw to less in 2010 than in 2008-2009, and blue represents the locations where A.J. threw his curve more to in 2010 than in 2008-2009. The graph is from the catcher’s perspective, so the right side of the graph is close to left-handed batters and the left side of the graph is close to right-handed batters. The dotted box is the strikezone. You can click on the graph (and all following graphs) to enlarge.

For whatever reason, in 2010 Burnett threw his curve significantly lower than before. As a consequence, he also threw the pitch much less often in the strikezone than 2008-2009. It’s not clear whether or not this was an intentional change, but this kind of dramatic shift in the locations of his curves is not likely to occur by random chance.… Click here to read the rest

Unwritten Rules

Naturally enough, the Cubs were “incensed” by this breach of the unwritten rules. Cubs manager Mike Quade brought up the incident at the post-game news conference. One Cubs player told ESPNChicago.com that “things like that are always remembered down the road.” (In this case, the remembrance will probably take the form of a Cubs fastball aimed between the shoulder blades of a Dodger batter.) In his defense, Dodgers’ manager Don Mattingly claimed that the team meant “no disrespect”, that his third base coach had missed a sign, and that the team did not intend to have its catcher trying to steal bases. But Mattingly also pointed out that the Dodgers had given up eight runs in the ninth inning of a recent loss to the Braves, that runs come easily in games played at the Cubs’ Wrigley Field, and that “we are trying to win the game”.

Maybe it’s because I’m not an ex-Major Leaguer, but my favorite unwritten rule is this: you play to win the game.… Click here to read the rest

Keeping up with the ex-Yanks-2011 premiere

With a few weeks having passed in the 2011 season, it’s time to take this baby out for another spin. Pretty similar cast of characters from last year, since Brian Cashman had a relatively quiet off season this past year devoid of any blockbuster deals. But I will be adding some guys who made big contributions last year like Kerry Wood and Marcus Thames, as well as some of the more forgettable 2010 Yanks in Javier Vazquez. I’m still debating whether to include Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns and would appreciate some feedback on them.
It was a good week for former Yankees. Melky Cabrera had a game winning walk off single for the Royals on Thursday, his 2nd walk off in as many weeks. Mark Melancon was named the setup man for Closer Brandon Lyon after Wilton Lopez landed on the DL. I also wanted to mention that former Padres GM and Yankee consultant Kevin Towers has had some terrific early returns on his revamped AZ bullpen.
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Game Thread | Yankees v. Orioles | April 22, 2011 (Update: Rained out)

Update: Game is rained out.

The Yankees look to continue winning series tonight in Baltimore, sending CC Sabathia to the hill against Brad Bergesen and the suddenly struggling Orioles. The game starts at 7:05 on the YES Network. Here is the Yankee lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Jorge Posada DH
Russell Martin C
Brett Gardner LF

 … Click here to read the rest

Phil Hughes And The Yankee Prospect Poor Work Ethic Phenomenon

In the oddest blog post I’ve seen in a while, Joel Sherman says that Phil Hughes came to camp too fat, but then lost too much weight, but then had no work ethic, and that’s why he stinks. Or something:

I talked to a person with strong ties to the Yankees who threw out a theory I had not yet heard on what happened to Phil Hughes’ velocity: He lost too much weight.

This person said that while everyone was focused on Joba Chamberlain’s weight gain and his having to go for individual workouts following the standard spring training workouts in order to shed pounds, it was missed by the media that Hughes also showed up overweight and was dispatched also to what the team refers to as “The Fat Farm.” This person said he believes Hughes is a player who needs the extra bulk to pitch and that it was possible the loss of the bulk explains the decreased velocity.

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