Could Ivan Nova be the 6th man?

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, it is worth asking the question; does Ivan Nova have a guaranteed spot in the Opening Day rotation? Joe Girardi says he doesn’t, but he also says Michael Pineda doesn’t either, which doesn’t pass the chuckle test. As stated above, Pineda was an All-Star last season who struck out over 9 batters per nine innings with a sub 3.00 BB/9 and should be ready to pitch ~200 major league innings at this point in his development. Changeup or no changeup, Pineda is going to be one of the Yankees’ five starters when the regular season rolls around, unless perhaps something goes terribly wrong over the rest of this month.

Is Nova in the same boat? He did finish the season strongly after being recalled from Triple-A in late July, strong enough to win the designation of being the team’s second starter in the ALDS, but he also rocked a 4.50 ERA as late as June 3rd, and even in that stretch of good pitching to end the season, his peripherals suggest there will likely be some level of regression down to the mean from that.… Click here to read the rest

The over/under game

It’s Friday, so let’s take it easy here. There’s less and less to write about every day and I’m a bit fried this week, so here’s a fun game to pass the time on a Friday morning. It’s simple: I’ll throw out a player and a stat, you tell me if you think he’ll go over or under that number. Feel free to add your own in the comments. Have a great weekend!

Russell Martin: 105.5 games caught

Mark Teixeira: .495 SLG

Robinson Cano: 29.5 Home Runs

Alex Rodriguez: 130.5 Games Played

Derek Jeter: 165.5 Hits

Brett Gardner: 50.5 Stolen Bases

Curtis Granderson: 30.5 Home Runs

Nick Swisher: 90.5 walks

Raul Ibanez: 400.5 Plate Appearances (with the Yankees, obviously)

CC Sabathia: 230.1 Innings Pitched

Hiroki Kuroda: 3.75 Earned Run Average

Ivan Nova: 6.5 Strikeouts per nine innings

Michael Pineda: 8.5 strikeouts per nine innings

Phil Hughes: 160.1 Innings Pitched

Mariano Rivera: 0.1 innings played in center field

Joe Girardi: 3.5 ejections

Brian Cashman: 2.5 trades made… Click here to read the rest

Nightly Links: Nova, Robertson, Hughes

  • The Yankees have now lost four straight games. It was a 6-1 loss motivated by Ivan Nova‘s shaky command, giving up 5 runs over 2.2 innings. David Phelps went 2.1 IP and went scoreless with 2 walks and a hit. The rest of the pitchers also struggled with baserunners, Cabral, Betances, and Burawa each allowing two men on within their single innings. Offensively, Colin Curtis scored the only run of the game with a homerun, and Ramiro Pena went 2 for 3 with a double. (Box Score)
  • The biggest and worst news today was on David Robertson‘s ankle. The man who could successfully walk the tight-rope all last year, can’t walk down stairs, and suffered at least a mild sprain. Girardi said that further MRI tests gave the team a cause for concern, so we can hope that the injury will only sideline him for a few weeks.
Click here to read the rest

Poll: Prospect Most Likely To Breakout This Spring

At the moment, any vacancy on the 25 man roster appears to be open for a reliever. Regardless, a strong enough spring could force management to consider one of the organizational prospects. Zoilo Almonte has impressed the most so far, going 5 for 6 with a double and a triple. Top prospects, Dellin Betances and Manny Banuelos were scoreless in their debuts. Last year’s Scranton starters David Phelps and D.J. Mitchell were also scoreless, with teammate Adam Warren giving up one run through his first two innings. There’s also David Adams going one for four so far, a strong bat as a middle infielder who was only held back due to injury.

My pick is Zoilo Almonte, who has shown some very impressive numbers at his age, but has struggled when advancing to different levels. An impressive spring from the outfielder could put him in line to replace Nick Swisher after next offseason. The pitchers, Phelps, Mitchell, and Adams, could break camp with the team as a reliever or even as a starter assuming injuries.… Click here to read the rest

Bold Prediction: Phil Hughes The Number Two Starter

In my first post here at TYA, I was optimistic about Phil Hughes due to a relationship I saw between FIP and velocity. I don’t necessarily think that the faster he pitches the better he’ll be, but perhaps the relationship depends on good health or confidence. Regardless, we watched the right hander make his debut on Tuesday, and Hughes was hitting 93 on the radar gun.

Matt Slocum / AP

As I speculated in my previous post, Hughes’ work at Athletics Performance Institute this winter could bump his velocity to numbers we saw the last time he worked out there. During the 2008-2009 offseason, him and Ricky Romero spent extensive time at API working out, and the results were very encouraging. PitchFx showed a 2.7 mph gain between an average 91 mph fastball in 2008 and a 93.7 mph fastball in 2009. He continued his work at API in the next offseason, as a starter he kept his fastball at around 92.5 mph in 2010 and had arguably his most valuable season.… Click here to read the rest

The Incredible Disappearing Opposite-Field A-Rod

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Alex Rodriguez‘s home run off of Roy Halladay this past Sunday, meaningless as it seemed from a statistical standpoint, was actually more important than you might think because of the swing he took to hit it.  It was a compact, balanced, fluid swing that drove the ball to the opposite field with power, and in terms of the eye test it passed with flying colors as it represented a part of A-Rod’s game that has become increasingly absent over the past four seasons.  As he’s dealt with his litany of injuries, A-Rod has struggled with his swing mechanics, likely compensating for whatever was ailing him at the time.  As a result, his effectiveness as a hitter has been seriously compromised, most noticeably his ability to hit to the opposite field with authority.  Whether it’s been the hip, knee, or groin, Alex hasn’t had the same lower body torque and fluid rotation in his swing that he showed on Sunday, and that lack of lower body drive has sapped him of his opposite-field potency.

Click here to read the rest

Great moments in axe grinding

And which prospects, exactly, have lost their luster as they approached the big leagues. Going back to the time of the Big Three of Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of objective data points to back that up. Hughes was the fourth ranked prospect in all of baseball according to Baseball America prior to the 2007 season, the last year he was eligible for the rankings, and after that season the Twins wanted him as the main piece of a potential Johan Santana trade. The Diamondbacks traded away their own prized youngster, Max Scherzer, in exchange for Kennedy (and Edwin Jackson), and Kennedy finished fourth in the balloting for the Natinal League Cy Young award last season. As for Banuelos and Betances, they’re still in Baseball America’s top-100 this year as well, with Banuelos even cracking the top 30 and, today, being ranked as the fifth best left-handed pitching prospect in baseball.… Click here to read the rest

April and the Rotation

The trickiest thing when managing a starting rotation is attempting to strike the ever delicate balance of rest and optimization. While a four man rotation–hence, three days rest–may get a teams ace more starts, it’s possible that, unless closely monitored, the pitchers will get overworked. But even with today’s five man rotations, there are occasionally opportunities to skip the fifth starter and give that start to the staff’s ace. We saw the Yankees use this strategy last April, as they were able to take advantage of some off days. This April, the Yankees have just two off days, and only one will allow them to skip the fifth starter.

Before going any further, I’m going to make one assumption, and it’s that the rotation will look like this:

1. CC Sabathia
2. Hiroki Kuroda
3. Ivan Nova
4. Michael Pineda
5. Phil Hughes (substitute Freddy Garcia in his spot, if you’d like)

Now, here’s how the schedule will line up, with that day’s potential starter.… Click here to read the rest