Ivan the pretty good

Spring Training results don’t matter, except when they do, and we’re getting into that time when quality of performance does begin to matter, at least a little bit, at least for the guys who might not necessarily be guaranteed starting positions, or even big league jobs. After his successful 2011 campaign, Ivan Nova definitely has the inside line on a spot in the Yankees’ rotation, but I can see a scenario in which he’s the guy who winds up without a chair, and his inability to command his fastball in his first two starts this spring has been one of the early story lines emerging during the exhibition season.

Against that backdrop, Nova took the mound against the Red Sox last night somewhat in need of a solid outing to build on, and for the most part he delivered. You wouldn’t have been at risk of confusing him with Roy Halladay or anything, but 35 of the 55 pitches he threw were for strikes, he didn’t walk a single batter in four innings of work, and the mistakes he did make generally weren’t bad enough to do any real harm. In fact, the only extra base hit the Red Sox got off of him (of only two hits he allowed in the outing) was a two out double on a fastball down and away that Jacoby Ellsbury was able to flare the other way to left-field. The pitch might have been a little bit flat, but Nova at least wasn’t making too many mistakes up in the zone last night.

On the whole, it was definitely a successful outing that probably puts Nova’s rotation spot back into the foregone conclusion category. For now. Continue reading Ivan the pretty good

Fun with Pi Day

Hey, math fans. It’s Pi Day today, so I thought I’d indulge in that a little bit. It’s not that I’m a fan of math; I’m really not. At two universities across four years, I took two math classes, the bare minimum for my major. My freshman year at Hofstra, I took a math class that was labeled as so easy, that math, business, and science majors couldn’t take it. I got a B+, I think. It was the first time I’d gotten at least a B in math since my freshman year of high school when I took Algebra Continue reading Fun with Pi Day

Nightly Links: Kuroda, Betances, Banuelos

The Yankees lost last night 4-3. Despite a no run performance through by Hiroki Kuroda in three innings, he didn’t feel good about his second start. He has somewhat of a history of slow starts, so now we can be optimistic about his ability to make adjustment. Joe Girardi was impressed with Dellin Betances‘ two innings of work, he gave up only one hit and earned two strikeouts. The only thing that stood out offensively was Nick Swisher‘s triple. (Box Score) Pinstripe Alley has a piece on whats called the Yankee hype machine. Looking through Baseball America’s top organizational prospect Continue reading Nightly Links: Kuroda, Betances, Banuelos

Checking in on the race for the last roster spot

Before spring training started, I took a look at the possible competitors for the Yankees’ 25th roster spot, saying that the spot would likely go to a pitcher, and probably a lefty.  While Spring Training stats are not especially meaningful due to small sample sizes and the more casual nature of the competition, I thought it would be interesting to see how the main contenders are doing so far, and if any of the competitors look to have in inside track. Cesar Cabral:  The Rule 5 draft selection from Boston has put together a solid spring thus far, giving up Continue reading Checking in on the race for the last roster spot

Young pitchers on parade

Any baseball writer worth his salt will tell you that Spring Training baseball games are meaningless. The games don’t count. The normal batting line-ups rarely play together and of the half or more regulars that start a game, a couple of at bats is all that is expected. As such, there is little to get excited about watching a bunch of Yankee games as the team continues to get ready for the games that do count. This fact is exacerbated by knowing the New York Yankees have so few roster spots available. One can make a case that a bullpen spot might be up for grabs and a decision has to be made about about some bench spots. But despite all of this truth and despite “Small Sample Size!” screaming in our minds, it has been a hoot to watch the young Yankee pitchers do their thing this spring. Several of the Yankees’ top prospects are pitchers and they have been on display. Others that have been the bedrock of the Triple A team last year have also had a chance to get in some work with the big club. With few exceptions, these young pitchers have been impressive.

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Yankee Farm System Timing Looks Good

I want to step back and take a big-picture look at the Yankee organization for a second. The 2012 Yankee roster probably won’t need a lot of help from down on the farm this season, barring a very injury call-ups. They have plenty of guys – Ramiro Pena, Adam Warren, David Phelps, Brandon Laird – who can fill those roles, along with your higher ceiling prospects guys like Betances, Romine, and Banuelos sitting at Triple-A. But the Yankees have enough guys either in their prime (Sabathia, Granderson, Cano, Gardner, Swisher, Robertson) or close enough (Kuroda, Teixeira, Martin, Pineda) to contend Continue reading Yankee Farm System Timing Looks Good

Spring Training Stock Market: Stock Up

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) We’re over two weeks into Spring Training now, and over a week into the game schedule.  Pitchers still aren’t stretched out long enough to throw a full outing, and position players are still only playing half a game at most, but there’s been just enough baseball activity to start noticing some trends in players’ performance.  While the majority of the media focus so far has been on the trends of the rotation candidates, and with good reason since that part of the team still has the most unanswered questions right Continue reading Spring Training Stock Market: Stock Up

The Other Outfielder

One way or another, the Yankees are going to lose an outfielder in the next year or two and the decision on which one could be made by this time next year. Nick Swisher‘s contract is up at the end of the year and given his performance, he may be “too rich” for the Yankees’ $189M blood. This is unfortunate because Swisher is essentially perfect for the Yankees: he’s a well above-average producer and is, by all accounts, a a great teammate and a joy in the clubhouse. There’s also Curtis Granderson, who’s got an option for 2013, but nothing Continue reading The Other Outfielder

Robertson’s foot feeling fine

David Robertson was out of a walking boot for the first time since injuring his foot falling down some stairs yesterday, and the Yankees’ strikeout artist indicated that he felt no pain in the foot playing catch. That’s certainly good news after an injury that was originally characterized as cause for concern, but now appears to have just been a bruise. I would assume there’s no reason Robertson won’t be ready for Opening Day at this point.
Continue reading Robertson’s foot feeling fine