Nightly Links: Lopez, Kay, Valentine

The biggest news today, the 10 playoff system will begin this year. Though Cashman might blame himself, this is really Selig’s money making idea. I really dislike the decision, in fact I hate it, but I’m sure the next week will be filled with more opinions than one needs to read. The Greedy Pinstripes posted their top 20 prospect list today, surprisingly Romine came in 4th and Santana came in 6th. Their sleeper prospect is Daniel Lopez, and they provided a nice writeup about his season and his outlook. Today is leap day, and Pinstriped Bible examined the baseball history Continue reading Nightly Links: Lopez, Kay, Valentine

The Competition That Isn’t

January twelfth of 2012 is undeniably a day that will live on in the hearts and minds of Yankees fans. It was that evening that the balance of power in Yankee-land shifted for the foreseeable future. Since then the picture of what this rotation will look like next season has crystalized. With Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia at the top, Michael Pineda and Hiroki Kuroda following him up, Ivan Nova in the fourth spot and one of Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia rounding things out. Except, like he always says, like all managers always say, Joe Girardi claims there is competition. He claims Continue reading The Competition That Isn’t

Future Free Agent Classes and the Impact of Long-Term Extensions

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog). Because free agency is often expensive and unpredictable, baseball teams have become more amendable to negotiating long-term extensions with players already under contract. Earlier in the week, I examined this trend from the perspective of the Yankees and smaller market teams, but what about the players who have not yet signed or been offered an extension? The charts below provide the contract status for the “best” young position players and pitchers in the game. Among the position players listed, only four will be free agents after this season (assuming Yadier Molina’s extension is consummated and the Continue reading Future Free Agent Classes and the Impact of Long-Term Extensions

Expanded playoffs coming to 2012

Via Ken Rosenthal, Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have agreed on a plan to expand the postseason to 10 teams this season. An announcement will be forthcoming tomorrow. This isn’t anything we didn’t already know was coming, but there was some question whether this year or next year would be the first season the new format was in play. With five teams (the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers, and Angels) figuring to be solid wild card contenders if they don’t win their divisions, the new rules figure to make for a pretty fun stretch run heading into the ALDS. At least one of those teams will find themselves left out of the playoffs altogether, and two of them will probably square off in a one game wild card playoff. How does Jered Weaver vs. David Price in a one-game playoff (with the Red Sox the team missing out entirely, naturally) sound? Continue reading Expanded playoffs coming to 2012

Montero determined to stick at catcher

If you aren’t a big fan of the Yankees’ decision to trade Jesus Montero to Seattle this winter, you might want to stay clear of this report from Bob Harkins of Hardball Talk. Harkins talked to Montero at Mariners’ camp, and Jesus talked up his desire to stick at the catcher position in the big leagues while comparing himself to another bat first catcher with questionable skills behind the plate you might have heard of before (that would be Jorge Posada, if you don’t appreciate opacity. And yes, that was me trolling for an excuse to use “opacity” in a sentence.).

If Montero can stay at catcher long term, the trade is going to start to look a lot better for Seattle than it has, to me, since it was finalized, and if Michael Pineda doesn’t develop into an ace, Brian Cashman may well regret agreeing to the move. However, I’m extremely skeptical that Montero can actually handle catching on a regular basis. What was once a polarizing discussion of his defensive tools slowly turned into a near consensus that Montero lacked the receiving skills and athleticism needed to handle the position last season, and while the Yankees always insisted that they viewed him as a catcher, they never put their money where there mouth was on that contention in terms of the big league team. Indeed, if the Yankees actually thought he could be a catcher, say, next season, I very much doubt they would have even seriously considered trading him for anyone this side of Felix Hernandez or Clayton Kershaw.

The Mariners have every incentive to give Montero a chance to develop behind the plate, and it’s a good thing that Montero wants to work hard at mastering the position, I suppose, but if Montero does develop into a serviceable major league backstop, it would be quite the surprise at this point. Continue reading Montero determined to stick at catcher

Yankee Top Ten Relief Prospects (Part 1)

As I’ve said before, the Yankees have been the best organization at developing relief pitchers over the last decade. With all these top prospect lists heading our way, I rarely see much loving handed out to the relief pitchers, so I figured we could focus on an impressive group of guys that could become the team’s future. Who knows, one of these guys might be the next Mariano Rivera. While guys like Dellin Betances might ultimately become relievers, this list is for players that currently project out of the bullpen. While closeness to the majors was a factor, upside was Continue reading Yankee Top Ten Relief Prospects (Part 1)

A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats

Back in December, I briefly discussed the new rule in the CBA governing the usage of low-density (LD) maple. A reminder on the rule in question:

The ban would only apply to new major leaguers. Other players would be grandfathered and could continue using low-density bats if desired.

As you might remember, too, I have been pretty darned vocal about this shattered bat thing for, well, ever. Because of this obsession of mine, I developed a new BFF in the baseball universe, Wendy Thurm from FanGraphs and Baseball Nation. She asked me a few questions via email and I send a whole mess of a response her way. She turned it into something much better, as you can read here. Like the pro she is, she took only a quote from me:

I’ve been as outspoken as anyone about this issue. The new restriction on bat density for new players is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough.

A number of potential solutions have been developed. Some include radical multi-piece bats that will likely never see a major league game under current MLB Rule 1.10 as they fundamentally change the time-honored equipment of the game. Other solutions include ultra-thin polymer films that wrap the bat to keep the barrel and handle in place should the bat suffer what the manufacturers call a “multi-part failure”, something that has passed significant MLB-approved testing at their Lowell, MA facility. [videos here]

Regardless of the possible remedies available now or in the future, as long as the players want the thin handle, heavy barrel bats that create a whip-like action, bats will continue to shatter. According to MLB regulations, the difference between the bat length and weight can be no greater than 3.5. In other words, a 35” bat cannot be lighter than 31.5 oz. Bats with bigger barrels and narrower handles that push the limits of physics and this rule (or exceed them due to player modification such as sanding the handles for weight/narrowness) all greatly contribute to this problem.

If you want to see/read/learn a bit more about bats, low-density vs. high-density, maple vs. ash, read on friends. After the jump, be warned, my mess of a response to her questions in its completeness. So yeah, I ramble a bit. Sue me.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading A bit more about the new rule regarding maple bats

TYA Roundtable: Overrated prospects

While we all love our Baby Bombers, we try to temper our expectations or rein in our enthusiasm. This morning, we’re going to tell you which Yankee prospects we think are getting a little too much love. E.J. Fagan: Ravel Santana. I love a true 5-tool guy who hit .298/.361/.568 as a 19 year-old in the Gulf Coast League as much as anyone, but Santana has two major knocks against him. His ankle injury was truly horrible to end last season. Although his prognosis has been relatively optimistic and the ankle isn’t as much of a problem area as the Continue reading TYA Roundtable: Overrated prospects

Bobby V’s schtick a non-starter

Bobby Valentine said something about the Yankees yesterday, and apparently it was inflammatory enough that New York media outlets other than Valentine’s official stenographer ESPN New York picked it up. This is supposed to get under the Yankees’ skin or make people like me write something about it, but…meh. Maybe it’s just me, but I think all this does is make Valentine come off as a buffoon. On the other hand, maybe Valentine is just trying to re-establish the Red Sox’ identity. As many wise people pointed out last winter when the Red Sox acquired Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford; when new players come to the Yankees, they talk about winning championships, but when they go to Boston they talk about beating the Yankees. So I guess Bobby V is just integrating himself into the local culture?

Most of all, I can’t for the life of me understand why I’m supposed to care about or be impressed with Bobby Valentine at all. Honest question; has any other manager created such a legend for himself while accomplishing as little on the field as Valentine has? Heck, the guy hasn’t even worked in Major League Baseball for a decade now so, if anything, you’d think his hiring by the Red Sox would have been greeted with at least a fraction of the snickering the Orioles got for hiring Dan Duquette. But Valentine knows how to give the writers material, and that makes him popular with the people who control the narrative. That’s great for his career and his public image, but it isn’t plugging the holes on the Red Sox roster or keeping Kevin Youkilis off of the the disabled list, which is a lot more important to the Red Sox win-loss record than what sort of “clever” shots at the Yankees Valentine can think up.

And maybe that’s why I just can’t bring myself to care about Valentine like I’m “supposed” to; I don’t think his schtick is going to wear well in Boston if things start going South on the field, and I honestly don’t think he’ll have his present job for very long at all. Continue reading Bobby V’s schtick a non-starter