Spring Training Game Five: Orioles 10, Yankees 7

This game was an unmitigated disaster from the onset.

Poor Nik Turley gave up five runs – four earned – in 0.1 inning. Yes, he was only able to get one out and he gave up three hits, struck out one, walked one and before the Yankees finally brought in Cody Eppley to clean up the mess. Not that Eppley was much better. He lasted 1.1 innings and he gave up two more runs – both earned – on two hits. He did get two strikeouts.

Adding to the Yankees’ bad pitching were the errors. The team made five of them this afternoon. It wasn’t pretty, it was like watching a little league team at times and because of the sloppy play and bad pitching the game, which started at 1:05, ended at 4:34.

But you do have to give the kids credit, they made the game exciting at the end, scoring three runs in the ninth and actually bringing the winning run to the plate. Alas, it was not meant to be and the Yankees came up short. The loss dropped the Yankees’ record to 1-4.

Some good things from today’s game:

  • Brett Gardner was 1-2 with 3 RBI. He hit a bases clearing triple to help the Yankees cut a 7-1 deficit to 7-4 in the second inning.
  • Francisco Cervelli threw another runner out at second and is looking better behind the plate.

Okay, I guess that was it for the good stuff.

The Yankees will be doing the split squad thing tomorrow afternoon with half the team playing in Osecola County Stadium against the Astros and the other half playing vs the Blue Jays at Steinbrenner Field. Continue reading Spring Training Game Five: Orioles 10, Yankees 7

The Problem With Brett Gardner

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod) Getting Brett Gardner back is going to be a huge boost for the Yankees this year.  His count-working ability and speed on the basepaths brings back a key missing element to the team’s offense and gives Joe another lead-off option, and that same speed makes him arguably the team’s best and most important defensive player wherever he is in the outfield.  When Gardner went down last season, the team’s speed went down with him, and getting that speed back is a huge blessing for a team that’s lost a big chunk of its power. Continue reading The Problem With Brett Gardner

Jay Bruce on choosing his agent

Longtime readers of IIATMS know my equally long-standing appreciation and friendship that I have for agent Matt Sosnick and his agency. It’s with no shame that I can say that if there is one person who helped (unwittingly, mind you) launch my site from a bitty blogspot destination, it’s Matt.

To refresh: I was bored on June 2, 2008, desperately searching for something to write about. So I quickly threw this on the screen. So thanks to a random posting about Josh Hamilton, a fortuitious coincidence with a John Heyman news and notes story an hour later, and a Google alert, I connected with Matt. That lead to interviews with him, his players and other sorts of things that I remain eternally grateful for, things he never needed to do but did anyway because that’s exactly the kind of guy he is. I’ve been very fortunate that this little writing outlet of mine has put me in contact with some truly great people. Matt is at the very front of the line. That interview with Matt gave me my first ever ESPN link. The rest, friends, is history.

Naturally, when my RSS reader refreshed and Tim Dierkes’ posting about why Jay Bruce chose his agent, I jumped, compelled to share it. Am I biased? Damn straight. Sue me.

Here’s my favorite portion, but please head over to MLBTR and read the whole thing yourself:

He made me feel like I was a priority. Matt was on the phone and made it an easy decision for me, and that was the true start of what I consider a great relationship both on and off the field. That showed how Matt is as a person. That means a lot to me. He takes a genuine interest in my family and really goes beyond the job description. That’s important to me, but it’s not important to some people and I completely respect that. I really value my relationship with Matt, and he’s also done a great job, so it works out. I definitely understand that if he didn’t do a great job for me and we were friends, it would be a little tougher to move on or even have that conversation. I consider him a friend, but he does an unbelievable job with contract negotiations.

Continue reading Jay Bruce on choosing his agent

The Yankees are the 10th grittiest team in baseball

In a feature that has both amused and confounded me, Max Weinstein of Beyond the Boxscore has determined who the grittiest players and teams are in the Majors.

I think you’ll be shocked by some of the results.

Weinstein’s summary is as follows:

1) A player steals his share of bases.(SB)

2) A player that can field his position. (Fld+Pos)

3) A player that makes a lot of contact. (Contact %)

4) A player who has a high walk to strikeout ratio. (BB-K)

5) A player who has a good amount of sacrifice hits and flies. (SH+SF)

6) A player that shows best effort by accumulating infield hits. (IFH)

7) A player that sacrifice bunts + bunts for hits. (BU+BUH)

Then Weinstein revealed his formula:

“GRIT” = (0.309)*((SB-lgAVG(SB))+(0.389)*((Fld+Pos)-lgAVG(Fld+Pos))+(0.0319)*((Contact%-lgAVG (Contact%))+(0.5123)*((BB – lgAVG(BB))-(0.2117)*((K -lgAVG(K))+(0.0466)*((SF+SH)-lgAVG(SF+SH))+(0.104)*((IFH+BUH+BU)-lgAVG(IFH+BUH+BU))+(0.283)*((BsR-lgAVG(BsR))+(0.363))

(I’m not much of a stathead so this formula actually scares the bejeezus out of me. I, unfortunately, lost any mathematical prowess I had over the last two decades that I have been out of high school and I purposely picked majors in college that didn’t require a lot of math. Look, I didn’t know baseball blogging would be a thing back in 1992, if I had, I would have signed up for more math classes.)

Now, in my head, I have a list of players that I assume would be named as the grittiest and Weinstein’s list didn’t stray from that. Players like Jose Reyes, Dustin Pedroia and Coco Crisp are in the Top 25. I also wasn’t surprised about the  Top 25 least grittiest list which features players like Alfonso Soriano, Josh Hamilton and Curtis Granderson. Though I was surprised to see Cody Ross on the “not-so-gritty” list. I figured his bat flips alone would bump him up to the gritty list.

Weinstein also listed which teams are the grittiest using his formula and, well, I was actually pretty surprised that the Yankees even made the Top 10. I don’t think of the Yankees as gritty, I think of a team full of David Ecksteins and Ben Zobrists.

The Atlanta Braves led the way with the highest GRIT score in the Majors and the surprising least gritty team honor goes to the Baltimore Orioles.

Be sure to read Weinstein’s entire piece, which is linked in the beginning of this post, to see the rest of his findings, the results and the full lists. Continue reading The Yankees are the 10th grittiest team in baseball

Wednesday morning Yankees news and notes: 2/27/12

In news that wouldn’t shock anyone, Brian Cashman started shaking his head and saying, “No. No. No. No,” before reporters even started asking any questions regarding the possibility of placing Eduardo Nunez in left field while Curtis Granderson works his way back from his broken forearm.

Cashman talked about a few things yesterday but it wasn’t in person, it was via text message and phone calls. The topics included why Johnny Damon won’t be getting any calls from the Yankees’ front office about playing LF and the Nunez situation. Cashman said about, “I don’t think he profiles as an outfielder with the bat.” He also said that the Yankees would be looking from within even though a few free agents had gotten in touch with them.

Some more notes:

  • Phil Hughes expects to be reevaulated today.
  • Kevin Youkilis will sit out again today just for precautionary measures.
  • And here’s some funny Yankees news, well, not really news but Nunez joined Twitter recently – he’s verified and everything! – and he tweeted this gem last night, “People ask me all the time why my helmet falls off… I would also like to know why lol.”

I had mentioned on Twitter that I was going have a “Nunez Helmet Counter” in the sidebar of the website to keep track of how many times he loses his helmet during the season but it may break down by mid-May at the rate he’s going in Spring Training.

Here’s today’s lineup:

Brett Gardner LF
Jayson Nix SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Juan Rivera DH
Dan Johnson 1B
Zoilo Almonte RF
Slade Heathcott CF
Chris Stewart C
Corban Joseph 3B

LHP Nik Turley

The Yankees are taking on the Baltimore Orioles at 1:05 p.m. at Steinbrenner Field. The game will be on YES. Continue reading Wednesday morning Yankees news and notes: 2/27/12

A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder

Over the last few years, the Yankees organization has emerged as one of the best system for producing relievers. David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford, Tyler Clippard, Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves, and a number of others have all been products of Yankee scouting and development. The big relief prospect at the moment is Mark Montgomery, who will probably see the Major Leagues by the end of 2013. There are a number of other relievers, such as Tom Kahnle and Nick Goody who could be fast movers, but Branden Pinder is one of the biggest names to watch this Spring Training. Continue reading A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder

Spring Training Game Four: Phillies 4, Yankees 3

The Yankees dropped another game in Grapefruit League action, this time in Clearwater against the Philadelphia Phillies but regardless of the “L” there were a few bright spots for the team.

Ichiro Suzuki finished his day 3-3, J.R. Murphy who came in for Bobby Wilson finished 2-2 with a double and a two-run home run that had given the Yankees a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning.

Jose Ramirez, who started for the Yankees, pitched two scoreless innings and didn’t give up a hit, Joba Chamberlain pitched a scoreless inning and struck out two batters and David Robertson also pitched a scoreless inning.

The Phillies scored their runs in the sixth and seventh innings – the runs in the seventh came thanks to two home runs off Yankees’ reliever Zach Nuding. Domonic Brown hit his solo shot to center field and Tommy Joseph hit his – a two-run shot – into the tiki bar in left field of Bright House Field.

It is the Phillies’ first win of the Spring. The loss dropped the Yankees’ spring record to 1-3.

The Yankees will be back in Tampa tomorrow to face the Baltimore Orioles at Steinbrenner Field. Continue reading Spring Training Game Four: Phillies 4, Yankees 3

Joba Chamberlain doesn’t think this Spring is exciting enough

After his appearance in today’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies, which is currently in the top of the eighth inning, Joba Chamberlain decided to “ignite” the whole starter vs. reliever debate, you know, because we don’t have enough to talk about in regards to the 2013 Yankees.

Here are his quotes in full, courtesy of Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:

“This is probably going to spark a bunch of stuff and (Yankees PR director Jason) Zillo is going to be mad at me, but it’s one of those things where it’s like, do you think you have the capability to start? Yes. Do I have four pitches that I can throw for a strike? Yes. Do I have two plus pitches in the bullpen that I can throw at any time? Yes.

“I guess I’m trying to have my cake and eat it, too. I feel like I’m good enough to do both. I’ve proven that I can do both. Whatever it is, if I close, I want to be one or the other. I’ve been in the role of in the bullpen for a while, but am I confident that if I got the chance to start again somewhere – wherever that’s at – I could do it? Without a doubt. I just have to focus on this year and what I can do to improve to help this team win, continue to try to win ballgames for them.”

I’m amused by Joba’s candor in regards to how Jason Zillo will react to this and I also appreciate his candor in regards to how he feels about his role on the team but I’m wondering what your thoughts are on what Chamberlain said. Leave them in the comments. Continue reading Joba Chamberlain doesn’t think this Spring is exciting enough