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

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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Why Is Kelly Johnson’s Role Shrinking?

Johnson vs BOS 2014

Has anybody seen this man? Courtesy of Getty Images

Between not finding suitable everyday options for second and third base and finding even fewer for a backup at first base, the general consensus was that Kelly Johnson was going to be an important part of the infield this year.  At the end of Spring Training, he was the starter at third, the backup and perfect world best man for the job at second, and the backup for Teix at first as declared by Joe.  As a guy who’d spent the better part of the last 4 seasons either at second or in left field, that was a lot to handle, and if we’re being fair, I think Johnson has done a nice job handling what was asked of him in the first month of the season.  He’s played a pretty good third, a decent first, and he’s provided the left-handed pop the Yanks were hoping for when they signed him (4 2B, 3 HR in 69 PA).  …

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Prospect Stock Watch: April 2014

Peter OBrien Tampa 2014

Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/MiLB.com)

It’s been a tough start to the year for the farm system.  With a handful of top prospects missing the start of the season as they recovered from offseason health problems (Slade Heathcott, Greg Bird, Ty Hensley), the Yankees have watched more injuries strike down a significant portion of other recognizable names.  From Nik Turley and Jose Ramirez in Spring Training, to Tyler Austin last week, to the announcement of Jose Campos‘ season-ending TJS over the weekend, there’s seemingly been a top guy going on the DL every few days.  That’s created opportunities for other players to step up, but so far nobody has created a bigger name for himself than he already had.  With April 2 days away from ending and the sample sizes growing to an almost meaningful size, here are the guys who’ve helped and hurt their prospect stock the most in the first month.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Stock Up: Dan Burawa

He followed the “Jose Ramirez 2013 Spring Training” career plan and impressed coaches in camp with his velocity and attitude, and he carried that momentum into the start of the Triple-A season.  …

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Mixed Results From Teix In His First Week Back

The defining image of last night’s game was not Masahiro Tanaka walking off the mound after 1 of his 11 strikeouts.  As well as he battled to keep his team in the game against Garrett Richards, the most memorable moment last night was Mark Teixeira turning on a 94 MPH Richards fastball that was belt high and on the inner half of the plate, hitting it high and deep into right field, and pausing for a second to watch it land in the second deck.  I’m talking that “no doubt about it” split second of pimpage that Teix does when he really knows he got one.  I’m talking about this:

Teix HR vs LAA II

Courtesy of ESPN & MLB.com)

That’s a pose we haven’t seen from Teix in a while.  It’s a shame too because it’s one of my favorite home run poses.  Teix absolutely tattooed that ball and he said after the game that he definitely wasn’t holding back on that swing.  One of the criteria he set for himself as far as determining when he was all the way back from last year’s wrist problems was being able to turn on a hard fastball inside.  

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McCann Heating Up As He Adjusts To The Shift

McCann HR vs BOS

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect last night’s game)

It isn’t drawing the attention of Yangervis Solarte‘s hot start or Carlos Beltran‘s splendid all-around hitting performance, but Brian McCann has been coming around lately and his stat line is starting to creep up above the line of respectability.  After last night, he’s now sitting at .261/.292/.420 with 3 HR, 10 R, and 9 RBI, good for a .314 wOBA.  His early bout with selectivity issues appears to over, his swing rates are trending down, and he’s starting to settle into his new AL surroundings.

Another thing he’s settling into is being a constant target of the defensive shift.  McCann has been one of, if not the most shifted against hitter in the Yankee lineup and it’s fair to suggest that he’s lost out on a hit or 2 as a result of it.  Seeing how opposing defenses are approaching him, McCann appears to be adapting his hitting approach in response.…

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On Pineda, Pine Tar, And General Human Stupidity

Pineda Pine Tar Check

Nobody likes a cheater.  We’re all raised to follow the rules and play fair.  But in the sports world, especially the baseball world, the blurring of the line of right and wrong is an unspoken understanding between all players and coaches and there are plenty of familiar phrases that speak to that mindset.  “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying”.  “It ain’t cheating if you don’t get caught”.  And so on.

Michael Pineda was trying last night.  He was very obviously struggling with his grip and command of the baseball in the bottom of the 1st inning due to the colder temperatures and wind blowing through Fenway Park.  The guys on the ESPN broadcast pointed it out no more than 10-12 pitches into the inning.  He labored through it, went to the dugout, and came back out for the 2nd with a little substance aid to help solve his grip problem.  His method of using this substance was so blatant and flagrant that it forced John Farrell to point it out to home plate umpire Gerry Davis, who very easily identified the pine tar smudge on Pineda’s neck and ejected him from the game.  …

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The Good And Bad Of Tanaka In Four At-Bats

Tanaka vs Ortiz

You wouldn’t be wrong to call last night the worst of Masahiro Tanaka‘s 4 outings thus far.  He was uneven with his command at times, he gave up a few 2-out hits, and he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the bottom of the 4th on 2 badly missed fastballs.  You would be wrong, however,  if you called last night’s outing a bad one.  Despite the inconsistencies and homers, Tanaka was efficient with his pitch count and worked into the 8th, allowing only those 2 runs, striking out 7 while walking nobody, and picking up his 3rd win of the year.

The Red Sox got their first look at Tanaka and they had to walk away impressed.  He showcased all his pitches again, mixing them up at all different times in the count, he threw a lot of early strikes to work from ahead or even in the count and keep the guessing game going on their end, and he registered double digit swinging strikes again with an even dozen.  …

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The Potential Long-Term Effects Of Nova’s Injury

Nova vs TB

Ivan Nova‘s Saturday was already a bad one before the injury was announced.  He was up in the strike zone again, getting knocked around the park, and not giving his team much of a chance to win.  His early exit and subsequent UCL tear diagnosis was a stomach punch to him, a sobering blow to what had been a mostly positive start to the Yankee season, and a possible explanation for his early struggles on the mound.

With Nova now out of the picture for the near future and most likely the remainder of the season, the Yankees will have to find a way to cover for that loss.  They appear to have found a suitable replacement for the short-term in Vidal Nuno, but the baseball season is a long one and it’s barely over 10% old.  More injuries are all but certain and it’s the long-term ramifications of Nova’s injury that are now the concern.  The ripple effect of losing Nova could extend from this past weekend into the final month of the season in a variety of ways, all of which the Yankees will have to consider and be prepared to address moving forward.…

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