Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS and An A-Blog for A-Rod, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

A/Another Chance For A Couple Of Fringe Guys

If there’s a silver lining to be had in this recent bout of injury problems, one might say it’s the opportunity for the Yankees to call up more of their young players and get a look at what they might have in them.  Nothing makes the “play the kids” decision easier than a lack of healthy bodies, and the Yankees are short more than a couple at the moment.  To deal with that, they’ve called up outfielder Zoilo Almonte and right-hander Chase Whitley from Triple-A SWB, 2 older, fringe prospects who’ve spent plenty of time at the highest levels of the farm system.  We’re definitely going to see one of them in action tonight and we may not see the other one at all, but each has a chance to carve out a role for himself and possibly earn a more long-term roster spot.

The player we might not get to see is Zoilo.  He was called up when Shawn Kelley was placed on the DL, but the actual need for him and opportunity to play is based solely on the health of Carlos Beltran and Ichiro Suzuki.  …

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Yangervis Solarte Should Probably Be Batting Second

Solarte HR vs MIL

Courtesy of the AP

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect last night’s game.  Solarte went 2-4 with a BB and a HR)

If you had Yangervis Solarte as your pick for the player who would be leading all qualified Yankees in batting average, OPS, wOBA, and RBI on May 13th, then congratulations.  You’re a smarter person than I.  Even after cooling off from his smoking hot initial start, Solarte has maintained a level of consistent aboave-average production over the last month that nobody else on the team can match.  He’s got a hit in each of the last 7 games (multiple hits in 4 of those 7), 11 of the last 13, and he’s either scored or driven in a run in 6 of the last 7.

This latest stretch of good hitting has come at a time when the Yankees aren’t getting much from the middle of their lineup, and in that respect Solarte has been a quiet lifesaver.  …

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Matt Thornton: Ineffective Or Unlucky?

Thornton vs LAA

Courtesy of Getty Images

There have been plenty of problems in the Yankee bullpen in the first 6 weeks.  One that isn’t getting a lot of attention is the performance of Matt Thornton.  Brought in as the lone free agent reliever to replace Boone Logan, Thornton didn’t inspire confidence that he had a lot left with his ST effort (7 H, 3 ER, 2 K in 4.0 IP), and so far in the regular season he’s been pretty meh.  In 6.2 innings pitched spread over 16 appearances, Thornton owns a 5.40/3.85/5.02 tripleslash with only 5 strikeouts and 3 walks.  He’s been perfectly mediocre despite mostly being used correctly in short outings by Joe, but has it really been all his fault?

Looking at his performance against left-handed hitters, it seems like he should have a better line.  Lefties are hitting .263/.333/.263 in 21 plate appearances against him (.280 wOBA) with 0 XBH and 4 K.  Thornton was brought in to be the lefty specialist and for the most part he’s gotten lefties out and prevented them from doing any real damage.  …

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An Airing Of Grievances From A Frustrating Weekend At Miller Park

Jeter vs MIL

Avoiding this dude on Friday night was literally the only good play Jeter made all weekend. Courtesy of Getty Images

For those who didn’t know, my family came out to Milwaukee this past weekend for the Yankees-Brewers series.  They hadn’t been out here in a few years and our favorite baseball team coming out to my neck of the woods was as good a reason as any to break that streak.  The girlfriend was also along for the ride, so with her meeting the fam for the first time and them meeting her for the first time, it was a pretty big social event.

More relevant to this post than that were my expectations for the series.  Despite losing the DH and coming in not playing the best baseball in May, those expectations were very high.  The Brewers were 4-6 in their last 10 games before this series and had been playing .500 baseball for the past few weeks after their white hot start.  …

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Murphy Adapting Well To Backup Role

JR Murphy vs LAA

Courtesy of Getty Images

There was a lot of talk about the Yankees possibly trading one of their surplus catchers in Spring Training, and it was widely known that multiple teams were scouting those catchers in March.  But after wallowing through last season with Chris Stewart and Austin Romine, I think the front office learned its lesson and they wisely chose to hold onto all of them.  When Francisco Cervelli went down with his annual April injury, the Yanks had a decision to make on who to call up to take his spot.  Rather than go with the more experienced Romine, they chose last year’s breakout prospect John Ryan Murphy, signifying a passing of the prospect torch from Romine to Murphy and the team valuing talent over experience.

Murphy has been Brian McCann‘s backup for less than a month now, but he already seems to be settling into the role nicely.  He’s played in 9 games since coming up, started 6 of them, and after last night he’s hitting .348/.348/.522 in 23 plate appearances with 1 homer, 1 double, 2 runs scored, and 5 RBI.  …

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The Maturation Of Dellin Betances

Betances vs LAA

Courtesy of Getty Images

He toiled away in the Minors for so long that I didn’t even consider him a prospect anymore coming into this season.  If anything, Dellin Betances was still a project at 25 years old and turning 26 before Opening Day.  Despite being in the Yankee system since 2006 and making his Major League debut in 2011, Betances only had 7.2 innings pitched in 8 games in his Major League career.  Once thought of as a potential ace starting pitching prospect, the Yankees finally gave up on that dream early last season and converted Betances to a full-time relief role.

While he did flourish in the role, Betances’ lack of experience in it combined with his wildly inconsistent command and tendency to fall apart when things started going wrong made him far from a sure thing as a reliable Major League reliever.  Joe took him out of camp mostly because he did earn it with a strong performance but partially because this year was the final year for Betances to show something.  …

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Is Carlos Beltran Slumping Or Not?

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to include last night’s game, but it’s all good because Beltran didn’t play last night)

The recent dearth of offense from the revamped lineup has been driven primarily by the lack of production from the middle of the lineup.  Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, and Alfonso Soriano have been swinging cold bats for the better part of the last 2 weeks, and there simply hasn’t been enough production from the other 6 spots in the batting order to make up for that.  McCann and Soriano have never really found their stride since Opening Day, even with a few big power days mixed in, but Beltran was arguably the best hitter in the lineup for the first few weeks.  He’s cooled down to the point of being frigid at the plate, and with him being older and having a history of leg problems, I thought it was worth investigating the legitimacy of his downtrend in production similar to how I looked at Derek Jeter over the weekend.…

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Big Al Reintroduces Himself To Yankeeland

Aceves vs TB

Courtesy of the AP

The easy headlines from yesterday afternoon’s stinker were CC’s horrific performance and the offense’s continued non-existence.  About the only positive one, which Kenny wisely covered in the IIATMS/TYA recap of the game, was the successful re-debut of Alfredo Aceves in the Yankee bullpen.  Called up after the bulk of the ‘pen got worked hard in Friday night’s 14-inning loss, Aceves got the call when CC failed to get out of the 4th.  Although initially brought in to be more of a sacrificial lamb to save the rest of the bullpen for the road trip, Aceves made Joe look doubly smart by tossing 5.1 shutout innings and keeping the Yankees in the game.

It was a pretty unexpected outcome if you’ve followed Aceves’ career since he left the Yankees after 2010.  He joined the Red Sox in 2011 after being non-tendered and put up a season reminiscent of his career best 2009 season in pinstripes, pitching 114.0 innings of mostly relief work with a few spot starts and posting a 2.61 ERA.  …

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Where Has All The Offense Gone?

Ellsbury K vs BOS

I feel ya, Jacoby. I feel ya. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees should have been catching a big break last night.  Seattle choosing to push back Wednesday’s scheduled starter Roenis Elias rather than skip him meant the Yanks got to avoid getting carved up by Felix Hernandez for the 457th time.  Of course, there’s always that pesky theory about the Yankees never being able to hit rookie pitchers and it played out in full effect last night as Elias held the lineup to 2 runs (1 earned) through 7 innings while striking out 10.  2 runs isn’t enough to get it done with the rotation in the kind of shape it’s in these days and it didn’t get it done last night.

The 2-run output marked the 5th straight game in which the Yankees scored 4 runs or fewer and the 13th game this season in which they’ve been held to 3 or fewer.  Since beating Boston 14-5 last Thursday, the Yankees have scored 13 runs in their last 5 games.  …

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