Thoughts on Irabu

By now, I’m sure you’ve all heard about the tragic news regarding former Yankee pitcher Hideki Irabu. If you haven’t, I’ll just assume that you live either in a cave, or a home where you’re TV gets three channels and your PC is connected to the internet via CompuServe. Six in one hand, half a dozen in another–but that’s besides the point.

Either way, Irabu’s untimely and particularly sad death has shaken the sports world. Even though he hasn’t been at the forefront of our conscience since he was unceremoniously released by the Texas Rangers in 2002, his death has still created a groundswell of emotions among fans, analysts, and journalists that have been both (mostly) positive and (rarely) negative. In the case of Joel Sherman of the New York Post, his reaction was mostly negative.

“Sad news on Irabu who I will remember as a guy who could not integrate into a veteran #Yankees clubhouse, nor deftly handle hitters here #RIP.”

Classy. While this may not have been how he meant it to come out, he comes off as saying, “I guess I should say something about Irabu dying. It’s sad, but he sucked and was kind of a jerk. Oh, rest in peace.” Again, I’m not saying this was intent, but this is how it comes off. A man took his own life, and yet Sherman feels it’s appropriate to discuss Irabu’s perceived faults? Really? I’m not saying that his death forever inhibits Sherman from takling about Irabu’s legacy, but there’s a time and a place for everything. That time is not now. It’s not tomorrow. And it’s not next week. Sherman should, quite frankly be ashamed of himself. What he said was in poor taste.

To Hideki: where ever you are, I hope you found your peace. We may never understand your motives for doing what you did, but rest assured your demons can’t hurt you anymore. Continue reading Thoughts on Irabu

After bad start, almost everything at normal for Swisher

Nick Swisher started off 2011 pretty poorly. I remember him driving in some runs in April, but the rest of it wasn’t so great. He had a nice .340 OBP, but his SLG was terrible at .286 (.060 IsoP). From May 1 on however, Swisher’s been hitting like his old self. His line since: .271/.385/.470/.855. Nick’s career line? .253/.359/.465/.824 So after a disastrous start to the year, he’s hitting like a slightly better version of himself. His 2011 line is starting to look like his career line, too. In fact, parts of it are a little better. He’s got a Continue reading After bad start, almost everything at normal for Swisher

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Orioles IV: What's up, Buck?

It all started out so promising for Buck Showalter and his crew. After taking over for the beleaguered Orioles on August 3, 2010, Showalter guided the O’s to a 34-23 record over their final 57 games, and following several upgrades to the offense over the winter, the O’s looked to be on their way to perhaps finally posting a season that mattered. After kicking the season off with a 6-1 record, the preseason calls proclaiming that Baltimore was back were starting to look prophetic, but the team followed their promising start up by going on an 8-game losing streak which Continue reading Series Preview | Yankees vs. Orioles IV: What's up, Buck?

The Farm Report: 7/28/11

Scranton beat Buffalo 6-3:
The Yankees got an early lead in the second when Jordan Parraz doubled with two outs and scored on a double by Luis Nunez.   Brandon Laird and Parraz hit back to back doubles to start the fourth, and Nunez hit his second RBI double of the evening, putting Scranton up 3-0.  Buffalo came back in the bottom of the inning, when Jason Botts walked and Joshua Satin singled.  Two runs scored on a single from Jesus Feliciano and the Yankees held a slim 3-2 lead.  Buffalo tied the game in the bottom of the sixth on a Valentino Pascucci homer, but the Yankees put together a big eighth inning to retake the lead.  Jorge Vazquez led off with a homer.  Laird singled and Parraz was hit by a pitch.  Nunez singled, followed by a RBI single from Doug Bernier.  Kevin Russo hit a sac fly and the Yankees took a 6-3 win.

Luis Nunez was 3-4 on the day with two doubles and two RBIs.  Parraz was 2-3 with three runs scored, two doubles and a RBI.  Buddy Carlyle pitched two hitless, scoreless innings and picked up the win, while starter Greg Smith went six innings and gave up three runs on nine hits, two walks and three strikeouts.

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Continue reading The Farm Report: 7/28/11

Pitchers not named CC

As the trade deadline approaches, I’m increasingly certain that the Yankees aren’t going to make a trade for a number two starter. The Yankees have a legitimately deep, talented farm system that they intend to squander with value that needs to be assessed carefully. That big, empty-the-farm pitcher isn’t available this year. Ubaldo Jimenez was that guy in 2010. He’s not in 2011. James Shields wasn’t in 2010, is this year, but probably won’t be traded within the division, if at all. At the beginning of the season everyone took it as a given that the Yankees would be in Continue reading Pitchers not named CC

Balancing The Present and The Future

With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, general managers of teams in or close to contention are faced with the dilemma of balancing the present and the future of their ball clubs. Yesterday’s trade of Carlos Beltran to the Giants for top-35 prospect Zack Wheeler is a perfect example of a move that raises the question of whether it is prudent to sacrifice a possible future star for the chance to win now. On the one hand, general managers are tasked with building a consistent winner, a team with a strong core that can be in the playoff picture on a Continue reading Balancing The Present and The Future

Minor League Update

Not having done this in awhile, I put together some lists you all might find interesting to look at. Hitters this time, pitchers next time. These are system leaderboards and as always, the cautionary small sample size warning is given.   If you’ve been following the Staten Island Yankees or GCL Yankees, the top of this list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Shane Brown is a 2010 draft pick from the 23rd round from Central Florida. Last year Baseball America called him a future utility type although he was drafted as a catcher. After dominating at Staten Island, Continue reading Minor League Update

TYA: Mailbox

Thanks for all of your submissions, folks. Please keep them coming; we’ll certainly address each e-mail as quickly as possible! To submit, simply click the “Contact Us” tab under the site’s banner and send us your thoughts. This week’s TYA Mailbag question come compliments of TYA reader, Alex.  Alex actually submitted two excellent questions, but I figured I’d address each separately.  That way I could thoroughly address both points.  Question : [Brandon Inge] Is he anything worth going after? I know he seems to have left his bat in the bat rack, but I think I’d rather have him than Nunez at Continue reading TYA: Mailbox

Montero’s walk rate

I’m mostly running out of energy to argue about Jesus Montero anymore, but one thing I did want to correct is the notion I’ve seen someone frequently that his walk rate has decreased this year. To wit, it’s true in a strict sense, but it’s not really meaningful at all. Consider:

So as you can see, in a nominal sense Montero’s walk rate is down from where it was last year, but not by much, and it’s still right in line with where he’s been for the rest of his minor league career, at a level where he was putting up some really gaudy numbers. To put that in perspective, Robinson Can’s best walk rate for a season was 8.2% in 2010, and prior to that he’d never even walked in 6% of his plate appearances. So while I don’t expect criticism of Montero to abate anytime soon, it’s just wrong to bring up his supposed lack of walks this year as part of the case against him. Continue reading Montero’s walk rate