The Mets and Reyes, Tampa Bay as buyers or sellers?

But even putting that aside, does anyone else look at Reyes and see a really bad candidate for a mega deal? Reyes reminds me a lot of Carl Crawford; a good player most years, a very good player some years, who put up a great season in his walk year and parlayed that into a $142 million contract I’m sure the Red Sox are already strongly regretting. And though Reyes has been a little bit better than Crawford in those “very good” years, he’s also got reasons to make you worry about his durability. But in any event, paying well into the nine-figure range for a player with one 7 fWAR season to his credit just strikes me as a huge mistake unlikely to pay off for you in the long run (and that’s assuming Reyes stays healthy enough the rest of the season to get to 7 wins above replacement).

On the other hand, the report that Tampa Bay could begin selling pieces intrigues me.… Click here to read the rest

Is Gardner getting help at the plate?

This graph shows the likelihood of a called strike by horizontal location, with Gardner being the blue line and the average lefty being the red line. The dotted lines represent the horizontal borders of the strikezone, adjusted because we’re looking at left-handed batters with numbers by Mike Fast. Gray bands indicate confidence. Data includes 2008-2011 seasons by Gardner.

This graph shows the likelihood of a called strike by vertical location, with Gardner being the blue line and the average lefty being the red line. The dotted lines represent the vertical borders of the strikezone.

And now a graph that combines the two variables:

This “heap map” shows the difference in called strike likelihood between Gardner and the league average lefty. Blue indicates locations where pitches were called a strike less often to Gardner than the league, which is what we want to focus on here. Light red indicates locations where pitches were called a strike more often to Gardner than the league, but there’s very little of that.… Click here to read the rest

Grandy, Nuney, Freddy help Yanks top Rays 4-0

(Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

First Bartolo Colon. Then Freddy Garcia. Less than a week after putting together back-to-back mediocre starts against the Blue Jays and prompting a fresh round of questioning as to whether the Yankees will be able to continue to count on their improbable contributions, Garcia followed Colon’s lead with a beauty of his own against the Rays, throwing 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball and striking out seven. David Robertson came on and did what K-Rob does, adding two more Ks to his AL reliever-leading total, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with two Ks of his own as the Yankees beat the Rays 4-0. This marked the Yankees’ 5th shutout of the opposition this season.

The Yankees scored early — with first inning runs coming off the bat of Curtis Granderson, who once again took David Price deep — and late, as Eduardo Nunez cashed in two baserunners in the eighth with a big two-out hit.… Click here to read the rest

Game 95: Yankees 4, Rays 0

Freddy Garcia gave up back-to-back singles to Kotchman and Longoria in the first, but was able to keep the Rays scoreless.  He gave up a couple singles in the third as well, but Tampa again came up empty.  Johnny Damon singled to center in the fifth and Kotchman doubled, putting runners on second and third.  Evan Longoria followed with a long fly ball to center, and Granderson caught it, crashing into the wall.

The Rays had another opportunity to score in the seventh.  Sean Rodriguez laid down a bunt that rolled foul before coming back and hitting the corner of third.  Garcia got the next two hitters out, but Robinson Chirinos reached when Eduardo Nunez committed an error, putting runners on the corners.  Garcia was pulled for Boone Logan, who struck out Kotchman to end the threat.

The Yankees added some insurance in the ninth.  Nick Swisher took a one out walk.  Russell Martin also worked a base on balls.  Both runners moved over on a groundout by Chris Dickerson. … Click here to read the rest

Ubaldo probably not going anywhere, Yankees still fine

With Ubaldo pretty much out of the question, my assumption now is that the Yankees probably won’t make a trade to acquire a starting pitcher this month. A quick look at the pitchers likely to be available and what their teams are probably going to want in return just makes it very hard to see where the Yankees are likely to be able to find an upgrade worth the cost. So the rotation they have right now is probably the one they’re going to be going to battle with the rest of the way in 2011.

And I’m okay with that. Sure, there’s no one that feels like a sure thing in the rotation beyond C.C. Sabathia, but a lot of teams around baseball can say that. Heck, quite a few would rather like to be able to say that. The truth of the matter is that, even amongst contenders, pitchers are just funny beasts, and they can be pretty inconsistent at times.… Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 7/20/11 – Lots of wins and Chavez continues his rehab

Trenton outlasted Erie with a walk-off 13-12 win in the ninth:
The Thunder scored first, when Austin Romine hit a solo homer in the first.  They added another run in the second, but the Seawolves tied the game in the fourth.  A homer by Robert Lyerly put the Thunder in front again, but Erie scored seven runs in the top of the sixth, giving them a 9-3 edge.  Trenton did not let the game get away from them, however, as they scored three runs in the sixth and retook the lead with a four-run seventh.  The lead changed again, as Erie plated three runs in the eighth for a 12-10 edge.  Corban Joseph started the bottom of the ninth with a single to left.  Romine walked and Lyerly hit a RBI single.  Melky Mesa reached on an error, allowing Romine to score the tying run.  Zoilo Almonte then singled to left for a walk-off victory.   Romine went 3-4 with four runs scored and two RBIs.  … Click here to read the rest

7/20: Yankees vs. Rays

Good evening, Yankee fans! Hope you all had a good day and are settling in for the night to watch the Bombers take on David Price (3.73/3.11/2.95 E/F/x) and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I’ll be enjoying one of these while I watch this lineup try and back up starting pitcher Freddy Garcia (3.43/3.94/4.23 E/F/x):

1. Derek Jeter, SS. .401 wOBA vs. LHP this year.
2. Curtis Granderson, CF. .108 IsoD and .268 IsoP for July.
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B. .381 wOBA vs. LHP, .361 vs. RHP
4. Robinson Cano, 2B. .402 wOBA vs. LHP, .346 vs. RHP. Holy reverse split, Batman.
5. Nick Swisher, DH. BA/OBP back up to career norms, SLG/IsoP just need to catch up.
6. Russell Martin, C. wOBA by month: .423; .322; .242; .226. Jesus help us?
7. Andruw Jones, RF. 10.4 BB%, 29.2 K%
8. Eduardo Nunez, 3B. .519 SLG, .250 IsoP, .352 wOBA vs. LHP
9.… Click here to read the rest

Phil Hughes and the Case of the Curiously Effective Curveball

(Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)

As those of you who read my game recap know, a funny thing happened on the way to Phil Hughes delivering his first strong outing of the season on Sunday. Following the game, I noticed that his curveball — the one that he told everyone he was going to revert back to utilizing his original grip on, an admission that I was admittedly pretty skeptical of — had racked up -1.1172 linear weights*.

A quick check of the spreadsheet I pulled together this past offseason that contains ridiculous amounts of data from every start Hughes made in 2010 for a series of PitchFX posts breaking Hughes down pitch-by-pitch confirmed that this linear weights tally was better than his curveball in every single start he made least season.

A few days later I went back and checked the game logs for Hughes’ starts in 2009 and 2008 (unfortunately there isn’t reliable PitchFX data for 2007), and it turned out that Hughes’ -1.1172 linear weights from this past Sunday’s game was his third-best ever among the data set available — the only starts he registered better linear weights on the curveball were his final two in 2009 — May 25 against Texas (-1.1946) and May 31 against Cleveland (-1.3905).… Click here to read the rest

As Yanks’ Offense Starts to Lag, What, not Who, Is Biggest Question at the Deadline

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

The Yankees offense currently ranks second among American League teams in just about every meaningful category, including wOBA, OPS+ and runs per game. However, the lineup has seemed to lack consistency as well as a definitive positive trend. As a result, the aggregate numbers look good, but to the naked eye, something seems to be missing.

Most recently, that “something” has been Alex Rodriguez. In the eight games played during his absence, the Yankees has posted a line of .244/.307/.333 along with a wOBA of .294 and per game output of four runs. Thankfully, the pitching staff, namely C.C. Sabathia, has been good enough to give the team a 5-3 record in that span, but if the bats don’t pick up, the Yankees may not be able to keep up with the division leading Red Sox.

Top-10 Offenses Compared to League (R/G Basis), 1901-2010 (click to enlarge)

Source: Baseball-reference.com

The Red Sox have been able to pull ahead in the American League East because of the prolific production by their lineup.… Click here to read the rest