Prospect Profile: Nik Turley

While the Tampa Yankees started slow, Nik Turley had a great first start for the High-A team.  He was unable to get them the victory, but Turley struck out nine in his first outing of 2012.

Nik Turley
Ht: 6’6
Wt: 220
Position: Pitcher
Bats/Throws: L/L
Date of Birth: September 11, 1989

Background:
Turley was drafted late in the 2008Draft, when the Yankees took him in the 50th round out of High School.  He showed some promise in his first few professional games, as he allowed just six hits in eight innings of work in the Gulf Coast League in 2008.  He started strong in 2009, holding opposing hitters to a 2.82 ERA and striking out 46 while walking just 23.

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Ivan Nova’s good is good enough

Ivan Nova is the perfect Yankees pitcher. And yet we live in a statistical world that tells us that Ivan Nova is not quite good enough. And there is no argument here for such proclamations. Statistically, he is not elite. And that is just fine for the Yankees. While Nova will never grace the Fangraphs leaderboard for starting pitchers with a high WAR total, he does not have to. He pitches for the New York Yankees. And as long as he keeps doing what he has been doing so far in his young career, Ivan Nova is good enough.

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Just Say “No” To Raul Ibanez In The Outfield

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) As important as it is for the Yankees to keep their key veteran players healthy this season, and as much as I want to see guys like Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez get regular rest to avoid wear and tear and trips to the DL, I was a little surprised to see Eduardo Nunez starting at shortstop in the second game of the season while Jeter got a DH day on Saturday.  I was even more surprised to see Raul Ibanez in the lineup in right field Sunday while Nick Continue reading Just Say “No” To Raul Ibanez In The Outfield

Selective Sabermetrics & Steve Berthiaume

Yesterday, Baseball Tonight anchor and SweetSpot blogger, Steve Berthiaume posted a pretty straightforward argument, headlined “Brewers rotation not one of baseball’s best.” Building upon statements previously made on Twitter, Berthiaume tried to demonstrate that as solid as Milwaukee’s pitching is, “It is not [] a rotation that should be considered elite or ranked among the 10 best in baseball.” When he discovered that Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo, Shaun Marcum, Randy Wolf, and Chris Narveson combined to post a 11.7 rWAR in 2011, ranking them 12th among 2012 rotations, he declared, “my suspicion was correct.”

This is as blatant an example of confirmation bias as one can find. For starters, all that separates the Brewers from the Nationals at #10 is 1.2 rWAR, which is well within the margin of error for the metric. No rWAR proponent would support making strong statements based on such a narrow differences. In fact, even the separation between the Brewers at #12 and the Rays at #6 is probably not reliable enough to fully substantiate Berthiaume’s claim. At least, not without more context.

The lack of context is what makes Berthiaume’s thesis particularly irresponsible. Baseball-Reference’s rWAR is the only metric he uses to prove the “correctness” of his suspicion, probably because it might be the only metric which supports him. The Brewers 2011 rotation was top ten in the league in ERA (10th), FIP (7th), xFIP (2nd), SIERA (2nd), WHIP (8th), WPA (4th), RE24 (6th), and K/BB (7th). If you wanted to use Berthiaume’s same arbitrary method to prove the opposite thesis, you can merely use fWAR instead of rWAR.

I’m not claiming that fWAR is any more reliable in small margins than rWAR, mind you, merely that to claim that the Brewers are not “elite” because they were 9.3% worse than the Nationals according to a single metric is quite misleading. What makes the use of rWAR even more curious is that it was particularly harsh on the Brewers Ace, Zack Greinke, crediting him with only 1.7 wins in 2011. That’s right, according to rWAR, Greinke was the 83rd best pitcher in MLB in 2011, approximately as valuable as James McDonald, Chris Capuano, and Dillon Gee. fWAR, on the other hand, gives Greinke 3.9 wins above replacement, which ranks him 25th amongst MLB starters. This discrepancy is largely based on the fact that fWAR integrates Fielding Independent Pitching where rWAR uses runs allowed. Greinke’s 2011 season was particularly bizarre in that his FIP was far superior to his ERA, due to an unusually high BABIP, some bad luck (especially early in the season), and Milwaukee’s mediocre defense. This was widely discussed, including by Berthiaume himself. It’s odd that he chose to evaluate Milwaukee’s 2012 rotation using a stat he knew would be disproportionately effected by a pretty noisy outlier.

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Extension parade continues, should the Yankees claim a spot?

With news that both Carlos Santana and Ian Kinsler have received contract extensions from Cleveland and Texas, respectively, the line of teams giving their core players multi year contracts before becoming eligible for free agency grew a little bit longer. These extensions, of course, come on the heels of contracts given to Matt Cain (the largest contract ever given to a right handed pitcher) and Joey Votto (the longest contract ever given to a major league baseball player) last week. One team you wouldn’t expect to join this parade is the New York Yankees, as general manager Brian Cashman has a policy of not engaging in contract talks with current players until their contracts expire. But with the rest of baseball suddenly flush with cash and all too willing to use that cash to keep their core players in town, might it be time for the Yankees to re-think that policy?

In some ways, Cashman’s policy has always had its loopholes, and arbitration years have been the biggest. The Yankees were trying to sign Russell Martin to a multi-year contract this past offseason, even though they already controlled his rights for 2012, and they gave Robinson Cano a four year $30 million contract before he was even eligible for arbitration back in 2008, gaining team options for Cano’s first two season of free agency with team options that will make Cano a pretty big bargain this year and next. More recently, they agreed to extend C.C. Sabathia‘s contract in lieu of having their ace opt out of his contract and hit the open market. Now, with an ownership mandate to get under the luxury tax threshold before the 2014 season, the Yankees will need to find savings wherever they can to put the best team possible on the field in two years, and that might mean leveraging short term control into long term savings.

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Ivan’s and Phil’s first starts by Pitch f/x

  The two youngest members of the Yankees’ rotation pitched in the last two days, with Phil Hughes going on Sunday, losing to the Rays, and Ivan Nova throwing last night against the O’s, helping to notch the team’s first win of the 2012 season. Hughes looked fantastic at times, but couldn’t make it out of the 5th because of a high pitch count. Nova, on the other hand, pitched deep into the game, scattering 10 hits in 7 innings, allowing 2 runs and zero (!) walks, while striking out 7 Baltimore batters. Hughes did something in Tampa on Sunday Continue reading Ivan’s and Phil’s first starts by Pitch f/x

Nova carries Yankees to first victory of 2012

Spring Training is over. It’s a mantra we keep repeating during the first week of the regular season, and one that Ivan Nova appears to have taken to heart, putting an abysmal exhibition season behind him and turning in the best starting pitching performance the Yankees have gotten yet in this young season. Nova was sharp pretty much from start to finish on this night, throwing 66 of his 92 pitches for strikes and walking not a single Oriole over 7 innings. He did allow 10 hits, but also struck out seven and, other than a Matt Wieters second inning home run, was able to avoid giving up too many big hits. A couple of well timed double plays didn’t hurt matters either.

The Yankees struck first with a first inning RBI single from Mark Teixeira, the first time they’ve opened the scoring this season, but opened it up when Orioles’ starter Brian Matusz really began to unravel in the fourth. After back to back walks to Curtis Granderson and Andrew Jones, Russell Martin lined a single into left that Nolan Reimold misplayed, allowing Granderson to score and Jones to move to third. Jones would subsequently score on a sacrifice fly by Eduardo Nunez, and Martin would come around to score in the very next at bat on a Derek Jeter double. Matusz would get out of the inning by inducing a ground out from Robinson Cano two batters later, but the damage had been done and Matusz was done after just four innings.

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Nightly Links: Recap, Stoneburner, PANIC!

Tonight, the Yankees won 6-2 to the Orioles for their first win of the year. Ivan the Stopper This spring, no one was worse than Ivan Nova, who had an 8.06 ERA through 22.1 innings. After less than quality starts from CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, and a strong but short outing from Phil Hughes, the team called upon the 25 year old right handed pitcher to stop their losing streak and win their first game of the year. In the first inning, Nova looked like a different pitcher. According to both the stadium radar gun and Gameday, Nova was Continue reading Nightly Links: Recap, Stoneburner, PANIC!

The Farm Report: 4/9/12

There were a lot of close games down on the farm today, but the big news was Andy Pettitte’s first minor league start since his unretirement.

Empire State lost a close game to Syracuse, 6-5:
The Chiefs got to Adam Warren early, scoring three runs in the first and the second innings for a quick 6-0 lead.  The Yankees started to chip away at Syracuse’s lead in the fourth, when Dewayne Wise knocked a solo homer to right, putting them on the board.  The Yankees rallied in the seventh, as Wise led off with a double and Brandon Laird reached on a fielding error.  Colin Curtis hit a RBI single, but was out at second.  Kevin Russo followed with a grounder to right that scored Laird.  A sac fly from Ramiro Pena pushed another run across the plate, putting Empire State within two runs of Syracuse.  They threatened in the top of the ninth, as Pena started a rally with a double to center.  A wild pitch moved him to third and a single by Francisco Cerelli made the score 6-5.  Unfortunately, the Yankees were unable to come up with another run and they took the loss.

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