A Very Different Competition?

It’s March 30th and the Major League regular season has technically already started. Teams are making their final cuts and most roster competitions are winding down. Yet in the Bronx (Tampa, rather) much is still up in the air. The bullpen is not settled and neither is the bench. Cesar Cabral and Clay Rapada are fighting for roster spots. Of far more importance than the team’s second lefty, though, Joe Girardi has yet to name his starting five-man rotation. What once seemed like a cut and dry decision now, apparently, is not.

We’ve known for a month that CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the two veterans in the mix, were guaranteed spots in the starting rotation and would likely pitch the first and second games of the season. We’ve also known that four pitchers – Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes, and Freddy Garcia – were ostensibly competing for three spots at the back of the Yankees’ bullpen.… Click here to read the rest

Teixeira Finally Going the Other Way

Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News

Following hitting for the lowest average of his career over the last two years, Mark Teixeira correctly assessed his problem this offseason, his poor numbers hitting lefty. The initial word from the first baseman in January was to drop a few bunts to help beat the exaggerated defensive shifts that robbed him of hits through the hole in the right infield. The general consensus from our readers and many other fans was that he’d be far more successful taking a different approach hitting right-handed pitchers, going the other way. Only a few weeks ago did we hear that Tex and Kevin Long were working on staying back, and thus moving away from the pull approach from the left side. So now that we’re at the end of March, has the switch hitter been successful with his tweak?

 

Mark Teixeira Hit Locations (2011 versus Spring Training)
Hit Location As L to L As L to C As L to R As R to L As R to C As R to R
Balls in Play (ST) 11 8 7 5 4 3
Percent in Play (ST) 42.31% 30.77% 26.92% 41.67% 33.33% 25.00%
Balls in Play (2011) 60 90 167 88 48 34
Percent in Play (2011) 18.93% 28.39% 52.68% 51.76% 28.24% 20.00%
Hits (ST) 5 4 0 0 3 1
Batting Average (ST) .455 .500 .000 .000 .750 .333
Hits (2011) 5 28 56 33 15 9
Batting Average (2011) .086 .318 .337 .379 .326 .265

 

As you can tell by the chart, the location of his hits while batting from the right side have largely been consistent with last year, but the numbers from the left side have flipped.… Click here to read the rest

What we know about Robinson Cano

There is contextual evidence that Robinson Cano is a valuable commodity. Fangraphs ranked Cano the sixth best second baseman in baseball last year. And over the last three years, that same site ranks Cano third behind Ben Zobrist and Chase Utley. Utley, unfortunately, seems on the wrong side of history with knee problems. Zobrist is not a true second baseman as he plays right and first base too. Both kill Cano with their fielding rankings. Dustin Pedroia is in the same category as knocking Cano silly in fielding metrics. But when it comes to offense, Cano is clearly the leader with the highest wOBA and wRC+ for second basemen over the past three seasons. Fangraphs ranks his play as averaging $23.4 million a year for the past three years.

And for the past three years, Robinson Cano has been remarkably consistent. His OPS totals the last three year are all in the same range, .871, .914 and .882 respectively.  Perhaps Cano could have a  “career year” and blow these numbers away.… Click here to read the rest

Stunned Silence

Maybe I can’t get past the fact that current Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, the guy whose inept management and systematic looting drove the team into bankruptcy, is about to set some kind of record for the largest amount of money ever pocketed in the sale of a sports franchise. It’s as if McCourt tried to shoot himself in the foot, missed, and struck oil instead. It could have happened to a nicer guy.

Last year I wrote that McCourt had to go, and he is finally going to go. But he’ll be a lot richer than he was when he arrived, and that’s not necessarily the way I wanted to see him go. As Smith College’s Andrew Zimbalist put it, McCourt took a $430-million asset and turned it into a $2.15-billion asset by despoiling it over a period of eight years. McCourt is proof that you can make it in America by being so obnoxiously incompetent that someone will pay you a billion dollars just to leave town.… Click here to read the rest

TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012

Thanks for tuning in this week; I’ll be sure to bump these threads months from now so we can all point and laugh.

Matt Imbrogno:

1. Miguel Cabrera will play fewer than 110 games at third base.

2. Raul Ibanez WILL be a Yankee on May 1st.

William Juliano:

1) Bobby Valentine will be fired before September.

2) Hanley Ramirez will be traded before the deadline.

3) After being acquitted of perjury charges, Roger Clemens will reconcile with Andy Pettitte and make an appearance at Old Timer’s Day.

Mike Eder:

1) Zack Greinke will head the discussion for the Cy Young up until the trade deadline when he’ll be traded by the struggling Brewers. Greinke, not Cole Hamels, will be the top starting pitcher available after the 2012 season.

2) All of Jesus Montero, Michael Pineda, and Hector Noesi will struggle in their first seasons on their new teams. The most impressive piece of the trade?… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Ibanez, Cashman, Pearce

  • It looks like Raul Ibanez has finally picked things up. After his homerun on Saturday, he was robbed yesterday, and today we have another homerun off Jason Hammel. The game is currently on YES.
  • Speaking of pitching, Yankees Fans Unite takes a look at how the current bullpen and rotation is built, and how Brian Cashman and the front office have molded their strategy in recent years.
  • The Yankees have signed Baseball America’s #89 prospect from 2008, Steve Pearce. The firstbaseman/corner outfielder is now 28 years old and has struggled in his major league career, however he’s hit .292/.367/.519 in the minors.
Click here to read the rest