Looking at RF options beyond 2012

In case you missed it, Yankee president Randy Levine spoke to CBS Sports Jon Heyman in a piece published yesterday, where he clarified the 2014 payroll situation. He said “The plan contemplates (Robinson) Cano, (Curtis) Granderson and a full championship team”. That removes any doubt that the Yanks austerity plan would suddenly mean they no longer retain their star players, which of course would also mean they would no longer be ‘the Yankees’ as the brand we know them as today. That’s the easy part, and comes as little surprise to those of us who have looked at this already. Continue reading Looking at RF options beyond 2012

Still lagging, Pineda increases velocity

All eyes were on the radar guns in Michael Pineda‘s second start of the spring, after whispers of his lagging velocity followed his first outing last Monday in Clearwater. And though he wasn’t in mid-season form, Pineda did make strides, hitting 93 MPH multiple times and topping out at 94 MPH. That’s still below what he’s capable of (Pineda averaged 94.7 MPH with his heater in 2011), but it’s also early in the spring, and everyone indicates that, at this point, Pineda is more focused on getting his secondary offerings in order than on dialing up the fastball.

“I never want a pitcher going out there and just trying to air it out,” Girardi said. “That’s not pitching. As he develops more and more arm strength you’ll see more consistent (velocity). On the board I saw a lot of 93s today, and that’s up from the other day, and that’s what you expect. You expect that arm to continue to build.”

That Pineda increased his velocity from one outing to the next is certainly a reason to feel good that this is all that’s going on with him, and that he’ll get that arm strength built up before it’s time to go north next month. Besides, though the big fastballs are the sexy pitches everyone loves to watch, Pineda’s slider is his best pitch and, of course, the Yankees have put a lot of emphasis on Pineda improving his changeup as well. If those two pitches are set/improved, there’s no reason Pineda shouldn’t be able to get by sitting at 92-93 MPH with the fastball, rather than 94-95, so long as he still has the ability to dial up the velocity when he needs to.

On a related note, Brian Cashman reads Fangraphs. Continue reading Still lagging, Pineda increases velocity

Okay all you Boone Logan Haters

Apparently Jason has forgotten to pull my password to the site in the hubbub from his recent vacation. That gives me one more chance to make a case for Boone Logan. Writing as an ex-patriot living in northern Maine far from the childhood spent in the suburbs of New York, I had not realized the extent of the antipathy of Yankees fans to the island lefty of the Yankees’ bullpen last season (including the proprietor of the best Yankees site on the Internet). And frankly, I can’t understand it. His overall stats from the last two years seem to show a pretty effective reliever. So to either prove to myself that I am right or wrong or you Logan haters are right or wrong, I decided to take another look.

(click “view full post” to continue reading Continue reading Okay all you Boone Logan Haters

Robertson diagnosed with bone bruise

After a couple of days of holding their breath at the news that ace reliever David Robertson was in a walking boot after falling down some stairs, Yankee fans can rest a little bit easier as D-Rob has been diagnosed with a bone bruise. as Chad Jennings notes, this is pretty much the best case scenario for Robertson at this point, and manager Joe Girardi is optimistic that Robertson will be ready for Opening Day. At the least, you wouldn’t expect Robertson to miss any sort of significant time with an injury like this, so the deep Yankees’ bullpen ought to be able to carry the additional load if need be.

On a more positive injury-related note, Joba Chamberlain threw five sliders and a curveball as part of his most recent bullpen session, the first breaking balls he’s thrown since undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer. Continue reading Robertson diagnosed with bone bruise

Nightly Links: Banuelos, Robertson, Teixeira

The Yankees faced the 1-5 Braves today and now made them 1-6, with a 3-0 victory. Freddy Garcia had a solid three innings to start the game, but I thought the star of the show was Manny Banuelos. His stuff was electric today and was consistently hitting the mid 90’s. There were a few instances you could see him overthrowing, but his curveball command seemed to be spot on today. He finished two innings with two hits and three strikeouts. The bats woke up a bit today, with Nick Swisher, Russell Martin, Eric Chaves, and Doug Bernier all doubling. (Box Continue reading Nightly Links: Banuelos, Robertson, Teixeira

Questions for the Yankees’ top prospects: Part 2

Dante Bichette: Defense Around the time of the draft, Bichette was considered a bat-only prospect with plus raw power but a funky swing.  Bichette largely silenced the doubters about his swing by raking in the Gulf Coast League to the tune of a .438 wOBA, but also got better reports on his defense than he did previously.  Around the time of the draft most prognosticators thought he was a future corner outfielder or 1st baseman, but the consensus has shifted to thinking that he has a chance to stick at 3rd base.  2012 will be an opportunity for Bichette to Continue reading Questions for the Yankees’ top prospects: Part 2

The Cost of David Robertson

I hate to say it, but Mariano Rivera is probably going to retire after the 2012 season. No, he hasn’t said as much and the 42-year-old future Hall of Famer has more lives than your average middle reliever. But the always quiet, humble, politically correct Rivera has been dropping hint after hint for the past month. Rivera claims to have made a decision, definitively, as to whether he will pitching in 2013. He also indicated earlier this week that he’d likely make an announcement at some point prior to the All-Star break and that should he decide (well, should he Continue reading The Cost of David Robertson

Testing the new draft restrictions

The new bonus restrictions in the collective bargaining agreement promise to have a significant impact on the way the Yankees, and other teams, approach the draft.  Previously, the Yankees had the freedom to use their financial resources to deal out overslot bonuses to players who dropped in the draft for various reasons.  However, the new CBA assigns every team a bonus pool that depends on their draft slot, and teams spending more than their allotted amount face a luxury tax and loss of future draft picks.  The Yankees will have a $4,192,000 bonus pool for 2012 per Baseball America, a fairly low Continue reading Testing the new draft restrictions

In the third year of “The Decade of the Pitcher,” who will be the breakout Ace?

A couple years ago, I worked up a formula for identifying what I called “21st-Century Cys.” The project was inspired by back-to-back seasons in which the Cy Young winners – Tim Lincecum, Cliff Lee, and Zack Greinke – ascended from relative obscurity. To be deemed a “21st-Century Cy” I postulated, one must never have received a Cy Young vote prior to the season in question, must have an elite prospect pedigree, must be between 22 and 28 years old, and must be demonstrably capable of posting the kind of innings necessary to be a realistic candidate. I use these characteristics to filter a field of potential candidates, then index those candidates based upon a cross-section of statistics from the previous year, and weight things which Cy Young voters like (K, ERA, IP/GS). The formula successfully identified breakout seasons by Ubaldo Jimenez, Jered Weaver, Ian Kennedy, Ricky Romero, etc., but is perhaps most interesting because it draws attention to young players who may never be superstars, but who have track records more impressive than perhaps they’re generally given credit for. This year, in part because there is a larger field of pitchers who fulfill the baseline qualifications, I’ve broken the candidates into types:

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading In the third year of “The Decade of the Pitcher,” who will be the breakout Ace?