Story of a Season: Brett Gardner

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Brett Gardner had an up and down season. He started it off as the Yankees’ leadoff hitter, but lost the job after a tough first month of the year (.286 wOBA/73 wRC+). The next three months were much better, as Gardner produced splits of .337/108; .386/141; and .358/122. He crashed again in August with a .281/68 mark, but ended the year well, hitting .332/104 in September.

This isn’t so strange, really. We’ve seen this streakiness from Gardner for the last few years. During the cold streaks, it’s certainly maddening. During the hot streaks, he’s great to watch. He gets on base, takes the extra base (both after hits and on the basepaths), and looks like the leadoff hitter we know he could be.

The more interesting turn for Gardner the last few years has been in his platoon split. We’ll discount 2008 since it was a relatively small sample. Even in 2009, he just got 65 PA against left handed pitchers.… Click here to read the rest

Sherman-Long cold winter in the Bronx

Sorry to bum you guys out, but Joel Sherman thinks we should lower our sights as Yankee fans for this off season because he doesn’t think there will be much activity. He spoke to a highly placed Yankee official about their plans for this winter, and came away with the idea that they will bring the 2011 squad back pretty much intact, hoping to retain CC and otherwise doing little besides filling out the bench. He writes:

..I did not sense they had any real affinity for C.J. Wilson, even before his postseason record fell to 1-4 with a 5.40 ERA and 10 homers allowed in 40 innings. The valuation the Yankees see is a No. 3-4 starter, not a No. 1-2, and Wilson seems headed toward receiving more than A.J. Burnett’s five-year, $82.5 million contract

For those on the Matt Cain bandwagon, I heard the Giants have made it so clear they are not trading him that the Yankees have not asked about the righty in “years.” The A’s want a No.Click here to read the rest

Boston bloodletting may have just begun

When in doubt, I always blame Shaughnessy

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Globe has a piece up where he suggests that changes in Fenway may go far beyond the manager and GM position. He details how little durability and innings they currently have in their starting rotation, how thin the Sox pitching depth is in the upper levels of their farm system, suggesting some big changes may be forthcoming. He writes:

What all this means is that the Red Sox need to aggressively explore the trade market for front-line pitching, something that may require them to part with any number of valuable assets depending on the return.

Yes, Beckett should be able to get them something. But if the Sox can get something valuable in return – and we’re talking a true front-of-the-rotation starter – then they must also consider moving Jacoby Ellsbury, who might very well be the most valuable player of the American League.

With all due respect to Ellsbury fans, do the math.Click here to read the rest

Wait…what?

But Joe Buck? Buck is terrible. Not just because he’s a terrible broadcaster, which he is, but even more so because he couldn’t make it any more obvious that he hates calling baseball games. Seriously, you can almost hear him wishing he were watching a football game between innings. And that’s okay, even broadcasters are allowed to have their preferences, but why do Fox and Buck continue to subject us to the resulting product? Fox has other broadcasters who could take his place, and it’s not like Buck needs the money. Just give it up already.

If I may offer a suggestion, Fox should just replace Buck with Vasgersian permanently. Vasgersian isn’t Vin Scully by any means, but he’s a far sight better than Buck, and his various other broadcasting work certainly establishes that he at least really enjoys baseball, and that fact alone makes him a much better broadcaster. Buck has to be a professional about the work, so to speak, and that can lead to some clunky calls, most notably when Buck can’t affect the proper tone or inflection for the moment.… Click here to read the rest

CC’s credibility issue

If you're so happy, then why opt out?

CC Sabathia is widely expected to exercise his opt-out clause in the coming weeks. In discussing it after the ALDS loss, he said baseball is a business, which is something I think most fans accept. As Joel Sherman noted yesterday, given the lack a true #1 starter on the free agent market this year there will be no shortage of suitors for his services should he hit the open market. The Nats, Tigers, Blue Jays and Red Sox will all have a need and money to spend. Theo may look to make a bold move with the Cubs. The Angels could lure him back home. The Texas Rangers could be big players, especially if they lose CJ Wilson. But a recent tweet from CC Sabathia’s official Twitter account must have been comforting to Yankee fans worried that the big lefty has designs to bolt this offseason. Here’s what CC said in his Tweet last week:
@CC_Sabathia CC Sabathia

Missing the Bronx already,my daughter just asked me “can we go to Yankee game” I love NYC

But if that’s the case, then he really shouldn’t exercise the opt out to begin with.… Click here to read the rest

CC's credibility issue

If you're so happy, then why opt out?

CC Sabathia is widely expected to exercise his opt-out clause in the coming weeks. In discussing it after the ALDS loss, he said baseball is a business, which is something I think most fans accept. As Joel Sherman noted yesterday, given the lack a true #1 starter on the free agent market this year there will be no shortage of suitors for his services should he hit the open market. The Nats, Tigers, Blue Jays and Red Sox will all have a need and money to spend. Theo may look to make a bold move with the Cubs. The Angels could lure him back home. The Texas Rangers could be big players, especially if they lose CJ Wilson. But a recent tweet from CC Sabathia’s official Twitter account must have been comforting to Yankee fans worried that the big lefty has designs to bolt this offseason. Here’s what CC said in his Tweet last week:
@CC_Sabathia CC Sabathia

Missing the Bronx already,my daughter just asked me “can we go to Yankee game” I love NYC

But if that’s the case, then he really shouldn’t exercise the opt out to begin with.… Click here to read the rest

Draftee ages: continued

In my post yesterday, I described a very interesting study by Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus, which found that the youngest high school hitters in a draft class were more valuable relative to where they were drafted than the oldest high school hitters in the class.  The implication of these results was that teams don’t seem to adequately take draftee age into account when they are evaluating draft prospects, which made me curious about the Yankees’ evaluation of Cito Culver and Angelo Gumbs, both of whom were drafted at age 17 in 2010.

My main criticism of the initial study was that it only looked at the outliers: the oldest and youngest high school hitters drafted in the first 100 players, and I was curious to see if this effect held across multiple age categories.  Fortunately, in Part 2 of the study, Jazayerli did just that, dividing all the high school hitters in the study into 5 groups based on their age at the time of the draft, and compared the difference between actual and expected value produced by the players.… Click here to read the rest