The plot thickens for Yankee DH

I swear, sometimes following the Yankees is like reading a mystery novel. You find yourself piecing together shreds of evidence and jumping to conclusions on who the real killer is, or in this case who the next Yankee is. We all know Brian Cashman operates like a ninja, and for good reason. He can’t let details of free agent and trade targets leak, lest other teams (read the The Boston Red Sox) jump into the mix and jack up the price. But they will feed their media beast with tiny bits of info to fill up the tabloids and blogs and keep fans talking about the team. On Thursday, we had one of those shreds on what should be the final major move of the Yankee off season, namely who will fill the everyday DH role.

Jack Curry
@JackCurryYES Jack Curry
Yanks aren’t doing anything about DH now. Reasons? No $. Montero/Pineda deal not official. When deal & Kuroda official, could deal 4 hitter

Well well well.… Click here to read the rest

Brett Gardner’s value

Finally the most exciting part of the offseason, salary arbitration, has arrived.  Teams and agents get to place values on cost-controlled players too young to get free agency, and if they can’t reach an agreement, submit their offers to an objective panel of arbitrators.  The Yankees recently have reached agreements with several of their important young players, including David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, and Brett Gardner, for reasonably affordable contracts (1.6 million, 1.675 million, 3.2 million, and 2.8 million respectively).

The arbitration process has been critiqued for not adequately rewarding the true value of the involved players, relying too much on stats such as wins, saves, and RBI instead of numbers more closely correlated with runs produced (or prevented, in the case of pitching).  Since the arbitration system is strongly based on previous precedents, it is unlikely that this will change anytime soon.  As such, a players who don’t necessarily rank highly on traditional metrics but provide value in other ways (such as defense and OBP) are often undervalued by the arbitration process.… Click here to read the rest

Playing Around with Comps

A couple of days ago I decided to put my thoughts regarding the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero deal down on paper and I got a lot of excellent feedback in the comment section. Originally I had no intention to do a follow-up post but an interesting exchange with a commenter, MJ Recanati, left me feeling as though I had not entirely justified my position.

To sum up this exchange: In defending the wisdom of dealing a 1B/DH bat for a more proven starting pitcher, I stated that it was “difficult to imagine this deal going poorly” while “easy to imagine it going well.” MJ (rightfully) called me out on this. After all, it’s easy to imagine such a devastating scenario as could make this trade look foolish from one perspective or another. We don’t have to look too far back to find a top of the rotation starter who’s career was destroyed early on by the injury bug. I restated my position as follows:

I think it’s easy to imagine a situation in which it goes bad yet hard to imagine this bad scenario aside from some significant and unforeseeable development (a major injury or major regression).

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Who is Gerardo Concepcion?

You wouldn't like Gerardo Concepcion when he's angry.

So you’ve heard of Yoennis Cespedes, and you’ve heard of Jorge Soler, but have you heard of Gerardo Conception? He is the latest Cuban player to hit the hot stove news circuit after emerging as a free agent on Wednesday. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes Los Angeles reported that the left-handed pitcher was scheduled to attend a training session at the Yankees’ Dominican camp on Thursday.

Concepcion projects to be everything the Yankees value in young pitchers. At 17, he broke out in the Cuban National Series, winning rookie of the year for his 2010-2011 performance. In that season he posted a 10-3 record with a 3.36 ERA through 101.2 IP. Now, 18, Concepcion is listed at 6’1” and 175 lbs, a thin frame that figures to grow and add velocity to his 89-91 MPH fastball. Concepcion’s secondary pitches include a plus curveball and solid slider and changeup.

2010-2011 Cuban League
18 10 3 3.36 21 16 101.2 103 42 38 6 43 53 9.1 3.8 4.7 4.75

As you can tell by the chart, the 4.75 FIP indicates Concepcion’s success in Cuba was most likely luck.… Click here to read the rest

More on Kuroda

Kuroda overlay

What you see there is a fairly simple chart. That’s the overlay of Hirkoki Kuroda’s performance at Dodger Stadium onto Yankee Stadium III. The dark blue dots are home runs. The light blue dots are doubles. The orange dots are fly outs.

Though Hiroki Kuroda is a ground ball pitcher, we can’t help but think that moving from cavernous Chavez Ravine to the Bronx could have a negative effect on his fly ball numbers. As RLYW noted in this post, the dimensions alone cannot be responsible for any sort of change:

If dimensions were the only factor, the answer would be none. But they’re not the only factor. Weather and altitude can also affect how a park plays.

There’s also the competition, which is going to be a bit fiercer in the A.L. East than it was for Kuroda in the National League. Regardless, it’s comforting to know that just two doubles alone at Dodger Stadium would’ve been out at Yankee Stadium.… Click here to read the rest

Charleston looks loaded for 2012

There has been and likely will continue to be a lot of great discussion surrounding the merits of the recent Michael PinedaJesus Montero deal, but I thought I would leave that topic largely alone in this post.  Instead, the less-publicized acquisition of teenage RHP Jose Campos got me thinking about the Yankee farm, and in particular, the highly impressive array of talent that will likely be suiting up for the Yankees’ low-A club, the Charleston Riverdogs, next season.

Campos, who tore up the short-season Northwest League (equivalent to the New York-Penn League) for the Everett AquaSox is likely to be a fixture of Charleston’s 2012 rotation to begin the season.  Since he has already pitched a season in the Northewest League, however, I imagine he will be on the fast track to Tampa if he repeats his dominant 2011 performance.  The Sally League is not a tremendous jump in competition from the Northwest League, so it is certainly conceivable that Campos could have similar success there in his Yankee debut.… Click here to read the rest

Jim Callis of BA on Yankee Prospects

The It’s About the Money blog scored a great interview with Baseball America’s Jim Callis. I recommend reading the whole thing. Some excerpts:

Chip Buck:  While Michael Pineda‘s no longer a prospect, can you give us a preview for what we might be able to expect out of him playing in New York this year?

Jim Callis:  Safeco Field is much more forgiving than Yankee Stadium, but that said, I think Pineda is going to win 15 games, strike out 200-plus batters and be New York’s second-best starter, behind only C.C. Sabathia.

CB:  After being listed as Baseball America ’s 108th best prospect prior to the 2011 amateur draft, the Yankees selected Dante Bichette, Jr. with the 51st pick.  He signed quickly and promptly set the Gulf Coast League afire hitting .342/.446/.505 and winning league MVP honors.  Looking back, do you think your initial evaluation was accurate?  If not, what has changed?

JC:  Our initial evaluation was based in part about suspicions that he’ll eventually wind up in the outfield.

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