Captain Comeback: Jeter’s Rebound Quiets Critics

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

Lost amid the power explosion in yesterday’s 22-9 victory over the Athletics was another three-hit game by Derek Jeter, which momentarily vaulted the short stop over the .300 mark for the first time since the second game of the season.

Game-by-Game Progression of Derek Jeter’s Batting Rates

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Even though his status as a .300 hitter only lasted for one at bat (he struck out in the ninth to drop back down to .299), simply attaining the mark stands out as a remarkable accomplishment when you consider the depths to which the Yankees’ Captain had sunk. When Jeter went on the disabled list in mid-June with a strained calf, he was hitting a paltry .260./.324/.324. At the time of his sabbatical, there was rampant speculation about a lineup demotion, and even suggestions that the Yankees gradually replace him with Eduardo Nunez. In fact, for some, the countdown to 3,000 hits was more like a clock ticking away on Jeter’s time as a prominent member of the team.… Click here to read the rest

Has CC gotten too slider-happy?

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Inspired by commenter Russ, who in the Thursday morning game recap thread asked whether CC was giving up more fly balls of late than he’d been, I turned up the following data.

Beginning of the season through August 5:

GB: 48%
LD: 20%
FB: 32%

From August 6 on its:

GB: 41%
LD: 23%
FB: 36%

I also found that over his last four starts he’s been throwing quite a few more sliders than he had been.

That roughly 8% uptick in sliders has corresponded with a 5% drop in the changeup and 3% decline in sinker use. CC’s location for each of his four main weapons is nearly identical in both data sets, so it hasn’t been a control issue. He’s coaxed slightly fewer swings out of the slider but maintained his whiff rate and has also seen significantly fewer sliders fouled off. So far nothing in the slider data really jumps out.

The other notable changes are the fact that the sinker saw a 10% increase in being put in play, while the changeup jumped from a 16.3% whiff rate to 26.3%, which is crazy.… Click here to read the rest

Come on Irene

As I’m sure you’re all well aware, Hurricane Irene is bearing down on the East Coast, and most reports are predicting quite a bad storm from North Carolina to New England. And though it’s hardly the most important thing in the world, baseball will be affected as well. The Yankees are in Baltimore this weekend, scheduled to play five games in four days against the Orioles with a doubleheader Saturday, just as Irene is scheduled to be at its worst here in the Mid-Atlantic.

The Yankees, anticipating bad weather, suggested rescheduling the double header to today, but the Orioles and MLB refused. I don’t really know why, as there seems to be very little chance that all of the games will be played as scheduled, but MLB claimed that Monday could be used as a “cushion.” Nevermind that if more than one game is rained out there will need to be two twin-billings to get the games in, meaning that they likely would have needed that Monday cushion even if they played two games today.… Click here to read the rest

The 2011 “Should Hit” Yankees

Yesterday at FanGraphs, Bradley Woodrum posted an article about predicting performance for batters. Go to the post for the particulars and go here to download/play around with the spreadsheet. The basic tenet is that we need to look at BB%, K%, HR%, and BABIP to get a good idea of how a player should be hitting. Like the article says, let’s think of this as a sort of FIP for hitters. I’m going to run through the regular starting lineup to look at what the players are hitting and what they “should” be hitting based on the above parameters. I’ll put each player’s current numbers through the spreadsheet, using his career numbers as the “expected” output and see where we’re at. All stats are current as of BEFORE yesterday’s outburst.

Russell Martin (wRC+, BB%, K%, HR, PA, BABIP):

Current: 101; 10.6; 16.5; 15; 395; .243
Career: 103; 11.6; 14.0; 69; 3108; .295
“Should Hit” wRC+: 114

Mark Teixeira (same order)
Current: 133; 11.6; 15.2; 35; 560; .230
Career: 134; 11.5; 17.2; 310; 5190; .296
“Should Hit” wRC+: 157

Robinson Cano
Current: 136; 5.2; 13.0; 21; 540; .314
Career: 119; 5.0; 11.3; 137; 4272; .321
“Should Hit” wRC+: 134

Alex Rodriguez
Current: 130; 9.2; 19.2; 13; 349; .330
Career: 148; 10.9; 18.0; 626; 10555; .319
“Should Hit” wRC+: 157

Derek “I’m not dead yet, Matt and Larry” Jeter
Current: 105; 7.6; 11.7; 4; 486; .330
Career: 125; 8.9; 14.8; 238; 11034; .355
“Should Hit” wRC+: 129 (!!)

Brett Gardner
Current: 110; 9.3; 16.1; 5; 473; .323
Career: 108; 10.7; 16.8; 13; 1467; .324
“Should Hit” wRC+: 111

Curtis Granderson
Current: 160; 12.4; 24.0; 35; 558; .308
Career: 122; 9.9; 21.8; 161; 3982; .314
“Should Hit” wRC+: 135

Nick Swisher
Current: 128; 15.5; 20.1; 18; 517; .305
Career: 118; 13.5; 21.3; 180; 4271; .288
“Should Hit” wRC+: 121

Jorge #notdeadyet Posada
Current: 95; 10.3; 19.6; 11; 341; .278
Career: 123; 13.1; 20.3; 272; 7104; .316
“Should Hit” wRC+: 125 (!!)

So, it would appear that this system really likes most of the Yankee hitters.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Orioles V: Oh, the humanity

Expect to see a LOT of this over the next several days. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Note: Given the fact that a hurricane is expected to hit much of the east coast this weekend, bear in mind than at least one if not more of these games is likely to be washed out, so the probable pitchers, game times and even dates on which these games will be played on are likely to change.

Oh, to be Buck Showalter. We’ve already covered the myriad ways in which this has been a disappointing season for the O’s and their skipper, so no need to rehash all that here. All you need to know as the Yankees and Orioles embark on a five-game set this weekend (the Yankees’ first five-game set since the still-unbelievable Boston Massacre at Fenway Park back in August 2006) at Camden Yards is that the Orioles have gone 8-14 since dropping three of four at Yankee Stadium last month (and are 1-9 against the Yankees this year), though it’s not for lack of hitting.… Click here to read the rest

Game 128: Athletics 9, Yankees 22

David DeJesus tripled with one out in the top of the second.  He scored on a double by Cliff Pennington to give the A’s a 2-1 lead.  It was the third inning, however, where Hughes really fell apart.  Weeks singled to center and Matsui lined a single to left.  Josh Willingham singled in Weeks and DeJesus singled in Matsui.  Girardi pulled Hughes and called on Cory Wade who gave up a three run homer on his first pitch, giving Oakland a 7-1 lead.

Russell Martin hit a solo homer in the bottom of the fourth, but it was the bottom of the fifth that got the Yankees back in the game.  Jeter started the inning with a single and Curtis Granderson worked a walk.  Alex Rodriguez singled to left, loading as Robinson Cano sent the second pitch he saw into the seats in right, putting the Yankees down by just one.  The Bombers had the chance to take the lead, as Nick Swisher drove a double to right and Martin worked  a walk.  … Click here to read the rest

The Farm Report: 08/25/11 – Ugly rehab for Marte in the GCL

Trenton lost 11-8 to New Britain:
The Thunder drew first blood as Zoilo Almonte doubled to start the second.  Melky Mesa walked and Jose Pirela loaded the bases with a single.  Jose Gil followed with a sac fly, as did Addison Maruszak giving Trenton a 2-0 lead.  It was short lived, however, as New Britain came back and scored five runs in the fourth.  After six innings, the Rock Cats led 9-2.  The Thunder rallied in the eighth.  Corban Joseph got things started with a single to center. Austin Romine singled to third and Robert Lyerly reached on an error.  Almonte reached on an error as well, as two runs scored.  Mesa doubled, plating another run.  Gil singled, scoring Almonte and Mesa, before scoring on a RBI single by Joseph.  At the end of the eighth, the Thunder trailed 9-8, but that was all they could get as the Rock Cats scored two more runs and took an 11-8 win.   Joseph ended the day going 3-5 with a run scored and a RBI.  … Click here to read the rest

Yankees ride “4 Train” to victory over A’s

Hey, remember when it was 7-1 because Phil Hughes couldn’t get out of the third and Cory Wade gave up a two run homer and the Yankees were about to get swept by the A’s at home for the first time since 2006? Yeah, I don’t either.

This was the lead in that Larry was going to have for the recap after Hughes was removed:

I guess the A’s didn’t take too kindly to me assuming they were pushovers and also weren’t too jazzed about playing doormat to the Yankees these last few years, as they jumped all over Phil Hughes early en route to a 7-1 throttling and a series sweep of the Yankees at home for the first time since June 2006. This was also the third time the Yankees have been swept in New Yankee Stadium, all three coming in this season.

Well, as Mr. Burgandy might say: That escalated quickly. I mean it really jumped up a notch.… Click here to read the rest

Pondering the postseason rotation

Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images

Last night, I had an excellent time at the Wood-n-Tap with some of my favorite fellow Yankee fanatics. We ate, we drank, we laughed, we mocked the bunt (along with anything else worth mocking), and generally chatted about all things baseball. It was a great time, especially as I haven’t had a chance to really focus on a game for this past week or so (been very busy with wedding planning stuff!).

At one point during the middling innings of the game, Rebecca Glass of YDB and I mused over the rotation that the Yankees might deploy come the postseason. Granted, the discussion is a little premature as the Yankees haven’t technically clinched a playoff berth yet (I believe the magic number is around 27 or so), but it’s still a fun conversation to have nevertheless.

Let’s take a look at some of the potential options:

CC Sabathia — Although CC hasn’t looked as sharp during his past few starts (not to mention his performances against the Sox this season), there is absolutely no reason why he wouldn’t lead the charge into each round of the postseason.… Click here to read the rest