Who would have thought…

Who would have thought…

  • The Yankees’ pitching staff would allow the fewest walks in the American League after finishing ninth the past two seasons?
  • That same pitching staff would lead the American League in strikeout to walk ratio?
  • That at this point in the season, Eric Chavez would have 220 plate appearances and still have his highest wOBA since 2004?
  • That Derek Jeter would have a lower walk percentage than Robinson Cano and still have his best OBP since 2009?
  • That his same Jeter would have his highest wOBA and slugging percentage since 2009 and be batting .320 in the middle of August?
  • Raul Ibanez would field his position better than Curtis Granderson has fielded his?
  • That Raul Ibanez would field at all?
  • That after last season, Cory Wade would disappear?
  • That two castoffs named Cody Eppley and Clay Rapada would have important roles and both have an ERA of 3.00 or better?
  • That Joba Chamberlain would throw any innings this season after that trampoline accident?
  • That Hiroki Kuroda would be the Yankees’ most reliable starter?
  • That Phil Hughes would have double-digit wins?
  • That Mark Teixeira would bat higher than .250?
  • That Ichiro Suzuki would be a Yankee?
  • That Raul Ibanez would be a more welcome sight at the plate than Andruw Jones?
  • That Rafael Soriano would be this good as a closer?
  • That the Yankees would have one catcher with an 83 OPS+ and the other with a 74 and it would be okay?
  • That by the middle of August, C.C. Sabathia wouldn’t lead the Yankees in innings pitched?
  • That Derek Jeter would have a legitimate shot at a 200-hit season?
  • That every pitcher that has started more than one game for the Yankees has a walks per nine rate of 2.7 or lower?
  • That Hiroki Kuroda would be the only Yankees starter with a homer per nine rate less than one?
  • That Derek Lowe would have a save for the Yankees?
  • That Robinson Cano would have more than five fWAR the way he started the season?
  • That Curtis Granderson would strike out 28 percent of the time?
  • That the Red Sox would be this bad?
  • That the Orioles would be this good?
  • That Nick Swisher would have the second most RBIs on the team?

Of course, a lot of these things have been amazing because, thus far, the Yankees’ season has been successful. Let’s look back at this post at the end of October and see if they feel so amazing then.

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

17 thoughts on “Who would have thought…

  1. jay_robertson

    Somebody's been BUSY. :D

    When they put the lineup graphic on screen last nite, that's when it sunk in for me. There were very few "Yankees" on the field, yet they won a tight game against a tougher opponent than the Red Sox.

    In under three hours.

    Last night gives me hope that there still may be a team, after the "Core Four" and after meeting the 2014 salary cap.

  2. David

    That Derek Lowe earning the save one has to be the most inconceivable one… (that word I keep on saying, I do not think it means what I think it means…)

  3. Bill

    Might want to give some kudos to the manager here. The general manager has already received some well-deserved praise for combing the scrap heap for hidden treasure and, in the case of Kuroda, and old-fashioned free agent coup. A good deal of the success of this team is directly the result of Joe Girardi's ability. Sure he sometimes overmanages and occasionally relies too much on that infamous binder, but the bottom line is that this man has taken a team that has been ravaged by injury to key components (Alex, Gardner, CC, Pettitte, Joba and Mo), hampered by underperformance (Granderson, Martin), undermined by inconsistency (Teixeira, Hughes, Nova) and has it in first place by a comfortable, if not commanding margin. Sure, he's gotten some surprise success (Stewart, Nix, Ibanez and Chavez, Eppley and Rapada), but you can probably relate that to the way they've been deployed. He won't get Manager of the Year because he's managing the Yankees with their huge payroll, but he certainly has earned the right to be in the discussion.

    • David2

      You are right on, Bill. Girardi should receive plenty of consideration. One of the biggest things about this, highlighted by comparison with the fiasco in Boston, is that Girardi runs a ship that is both happy and very focused. He is calm and patient, and that carries over to the team. It is always easy to pick at the manager, but he has done a very good job here.

  4. That Brett Gardner only played in what, 9 games?

    The simple fact that this team contains Ichiro, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Derek Lowe and Raul Ibanez (to a lesser extent), period. All were 1990's-early 2000's studs. Now, relegated to role players and (so far) performing well (enough). (is that enough caveats?) (maybe?) Think about an OF with an in-their-prime Ichiro and Andruw…

    • h.sevush

      I don't think it a good sign for this season or for the organization that we are winning with a 1998 all star team. The pitching of Robertson, Hughs, Nova and Phelps gives me a lot more hope than the hitting of Chavez and Ibanez.

  5. David

    Who would have thought that Melky would have turned his shit around in SFO… and then be SSPD for performance enhancers. :( It makes me sad; I honestly really thought he'd turned it around…

    • THIS ^Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

    • John

      Completely agree David. Very very sad.

    • Jacques

      Indeed, I was amazed how he raise his batting average by 100….

      • jay_robertson

        at least now we know How he did it.

    • friend

      This suspension just might win him the batting title. Let's get a pool started on who will be the first to write an article about that.

  6. Curious

    Is Cory Wade done, or is there any chance he may contribute due to an injury, after the rosters expand and/or even during the postseason (assuming there is one)?

    Just curious if anyone knows.

    • williamjtasker

      Wade is pitching well in Triple-A with a 1.95 ERA. The one caveat against encouragement is that he is only striking out 4.8 Triple-A batters per nine.

  7. roadrider

    Agree on most of these but I wasn't shocked to see Wade turn into a pumpkin. He has unimpressive stuff and his career BABIP was lower than Mariano Rivera's. No way that could continue. On the flip side, not shocked at all at Soriano's success. Didn't he have success in that role elsewhere?

  8. ProfRobert

    Nice summary, William. It’s been a strange season, and Girardi should be given a lot of credit for deploying his mix-and-match bench and bullpen. But this is what I try to explain to my friends who are not baseball fans — you can be, like me, a fan for over 40 years (cripes!) and still be surprised by a team’s season, or by a game or by a moment that you’ve never seen before.

  9. jay_robertson

    maybe it just gave him more "fast muscles?" or perhaps he just wanted to hit for a killer average, as opposed to being Grandy, and either hitting an HR or making an out.

    All I know is what I see – which is Melky not doing a lot until now. Coincidence? Maybe. But you see very few cases of someone like Puhols taking PEDs, and then becoming 2008 Melky. (or 2012 Jay, for that matter.)

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