About Brad Vietrogoski

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, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Tuesday Morning Links: 4/5/16

It’s Opening Day… again!!  The weather report looks clear and cool today, so no worries about getting this one in.  Brett Gardner will be on the bench, the rest of the starting lineup is exactly as I predicted it, and today’s the day the Yankees break their scoreless streak against Dallas Keuchel and knock him around a little bit.  Now onto the links.

– On Wednesday, Mike Axisa previewed the season to come for the Yankee farm system.

– On Friday, Evan Halpine-Berger of BP Bronx previewed the projected SWB Triple-A roster.

– On Sunday, Andrew Mearns of Pinstripe Alley looked back at some of the great Opening Days in Yankee history.

– William Juliano of The Captain’s Blog laid out his division-by-division 2016 predictions and I respect the hell out of the hustle.  I also hope his third bold prediction doesn’t come true because it would be really sad, but it probably will.

– On Monday, David Schoenfield of ESPN’s Sweet Spot listed the most surprising roster selections across MLB’s Opening Day rosters. Continue reading Tuesday Morning Links: 4/5/16

Quick Hit: Opening Day Postponed (UPDATED)

Well that blows.  But I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a game trying to play through wind and rain and snow all day and night.  The forecast for tomorrow looks much better and that’s why they schedule Opening Day like this.  We’ll pass on more details on tomorrow’s schedule as the Yankees release them.  Looks like I’m updating my PTO request at work.

** UPDATE 8:04 AM **– Tomorrow’s makeup game will also be an afternoon game; first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM local time.  Chad Jennings has all the details on tomorrow’s game.

Continue reading Quick Hit: Opening Day Postponed (UPDATED)

Thoughts On The Opening Day Roster

[caption id="attachment_80796" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Opening Day Sure looks nice without all the rain and snow, huh?[/caption]

It’s here.  At long last, it’s finally here.  It’s been exactly 180 days since the Yankees were shut out by Dallas Keuchel to end their 2015 season.  Now today they’ll get a chance to right that wrong as they take the field to kick off their 2016 season against Keuchel and the Houston Astros again.  Well, weather permitting they’ll do that.  Weather not permitting, I’ll have wasted some valuable PTO at work and I’ll have to burn more to watch Opening Day Part Deux tomorrow.

But for now we’re sticking with positive vibes only and assuming that they will get the game in today.  The Yankees put the finishing touches on their Opening Day roster over the weekend, and to me it’s both very similar and very different to last year’s roster and the rosters of the past few seasons.  There’s still the aging core that’s going to make or break the team and there are still tons of questions in the rotation, but there is a continuation of last year’s commitments to youth and the implication that the playing time balance will be more evenly distributed amongst the regulars and key bench players this season in an attempt to keep everybody (especially that aging core) healthy and productive.  In no particular order of importance, here are some more of my thoughts on the 25-man crew that will take the field today to start the 2016 season.

– Did CC Sabathia deserve the 5th starter spot on merit?  Certainly not.  But his paycheck and veteran status were never going to be ignored, and there is the argument to be made that the team should at least give him a few starts to get it together after his strong finish to 2015.  It’s not like Ivan Nova was pitching better than CC then and his 6-shutout innings in his final ST start wasn’t enough to erase his previous inconsistency, nor should it be.  Joe adjusted his strategy with CC last year and utilized him as a 5-6 inning pitcher.  There’s no reason to think he won’t do that again this season and it’ll be on Sabathia to prove he can be effective enough in that role to keep his job.  If he bombs, get him out of there.

– The challenge for Joe is going to be figuring out how best to use Nova out of the ‘pen.  On paper he should be effective in a shorter role, using his hard sinker and big curveball to generate swings and misses and lots of ground balls.  But that’s the same formula he’s never been able to master as a starter, so who really knows?  I’d like to see Nova get a shot as the Bryan Mitchell/Adam Warren multi-inning middle reliever and I think that’s how Joe will try to use him early to keep him as stretched out as possible.  You never know when another injury could strike and Nova is the clear cut #6 starter behind CC.  But if those injuries don’t come, Nova is going to have to prove he can be trusted with some important relief innings at some point.  If he doesn’t, he could fade into Bolivian.

– I absolutely love the decision to start Aaron Hicks today against the lefty.  Love it.  It’s a smart, simple, logical baseball decision completely removed from things like salary, experience, tenure with the team, etc.  It’s the exact opposite of the CC rotation decision and it suggests that Joe and the rest of his staff has learned from last season.  It’s not just about giving the really old guys like A-Rod and Beltran extra rest.  It’s about giving all the older veteran players rest and playing to the more favorable matchups as a way to facilitate that rest.  Aaron Hicks mashes lefties, Brett Garder and Jacoby Ellsbury really don’t.  Hicks is 100% healthy, Gardner and Ellsbury have dealt with slight injuries all spring.  Go with the guy who’s the better matchup and give those valuable veterans an extra day off early. Continue reading Thoughts On The Opening Day Roster

Friday Morning News And Notes: 4/1/16

Grapefruit League 2016 is over and done with for the Yankees.  They’ll be in Miami for the next 2 games before traveling back to New York on Sunday to prepare for Opening Day.  The news is coming fast and furious now as we draw closer to the deadline to set rosters.  Here’s the latest:

– There were 2 split-squad games yesterday and both of them were losses.  Michael Pineda got knocked around in his final spring tuneup start, giving up 4 home runs.  Actually both Yankee starters gave up 4 home runs in their respective outings yesterday.  Finishing on a high note.

– Joe announced during one of the games yesterday that both Austin Romine and Luis Cessa have made the Opening Day roster.  Romine has been the backup catching favorite for a few weeks now, but Cessa is a bit of a surprise just because he wasn’t considered a big part of the competition when camp started.  I know I saw him as more of a Triple-A starting option with all the other righty relief depth available.  Congrats to them both.

– Joe also announced that Masahiro Tanaka will be the starting pitcher on Opening Day.  As if there was ever any real doubt.  Tanaka will be followed by Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Luis Severino in that order.

– Via Bryan Hoch, the 5th starter decision is still unmade.  Ivan Nova definitely made things more difficult with his 6 shutout innings the other day, but I still say the job is CC’s to start the season.

– Anthony Swarzak and Cesar Puello were reassigned to MiL camp yesterday.  Kirby Yates is the last man standing in the bullpen competition.  Have to think that means he’s the last man in barring another injury this weekend.

– The Reds put Jake Cave on waivers yesterday, so he could be returned to the Yankees if nobody claims him.  They have already received Evan Rutckyj back from the Braves. Continue reading Friday Morning News And Notes: 4/1/16

Mid-Day News And Notes: 3/31/16

Sorry about the lack of updates this morning, gang.  Technical issues.  But we’re back up and running now and there’s a lot to catch up on.  Here we go in rapid fire succession.

– The CT scan on Andrew Miller‘s right wrist revealed a chip fracture to a small bone.  Miller has already said he doesn’t plan to miss time because of this, but he is going to meet with another specialist first.

– The news is not as good for Bryan Mitchell, who basically has a broken big toe in his left foot.  Via Jack Curry, he’s expected to be out at least 3 months and he will also meet with a specialist to decide if surgery is necessary or not.  Such a terrible break for Mitchell.  He was looking like the next big piece of the bullpen.  Now another spot is up for grabs.

– The Yankees announced that Ronald Torreyes beat out Pete Kozma for the final bench spot yesterday.  Good for him and good for the decision makers for making the higher-upside decision.  Now let’s see how Joe uses him and how often.

– The Yankees also triggered Carlos Corporan‘s opt-out clause yesterday by emailing the rest of MLB and letting them know that he was available, so Austin Romine is going to be the backup catcher on Opening Day.

– Haven’t seen it officially announced by the team yet, but it sounds like Johnny Barbato is getting one of the open bullpen spots.  The team did just announce that he was the winner of this year’s James P. Dawson Award as the best rookie in camp. Continue reading Mid-Day News And Notes: 3/31/16

UPDATING: Andrew Miller Suffers Bruised Right Wrist After Taking Liner In Today’s Game

Well that’s not good.

After dodging a bullet on Jacoby Ellsbury’s recent HBP on the wrist, the Yankees will have to hold their breath again on this one.  Andrew Miller, in this afternoon’s game in relief of Ivan Nova, took a line drive off his right wrist and immediately left the field.  Jared Diamond’s description of what happened doesn’t make it sound good, and the Yankees can ill afford to lose another one of their big 3 late-game relievers now that they’re already without Aroldis Chapman for the first 30 games.  The only silver lining here is that at least it wasn’t his left wrist.

More on this story as it develops…

** UPDATE 2:35 PM **Via Wally Matthews, Cash called the injury a “bruised right wrist” for now and said Miller has been sent back to Tampa for X-rays and a CT scan.

** UPDATE 2:47 PM **– Not that this situation needs to get any worse, but apparently Bryan Mitchell also hurt himself in this game.  According to Bryan Hoch it’s a sprained left big toe and he’ll have an MRI on it tonight.

Continue reading UPDATING: Andrew Miller Suffers Bruised Right Wrist After Taking Liner In Today’s Game

Quick Hit: More Bullpen Roster Cuts

I haven’t done a great job keeping up with all the recent roster cuts, but now that we’re coming down to the end of the spring, every one means more in terms of setting the final 25-man roster.  This one announced earlier by the team has a significant impact on the bullpen competition.

Pinder and Goody were both prime candidates for one of the last bullpen spots based on their SWB shuttle service time last year.  I thought Goody was in good shape for a spot heading into the end of last week based on how he had been pitching, but he served up 3 home runs in a 24-hour period and that surely got him cut.  Pinder just didn’t pitch all that well this spring, not well enough to stand out against the rest of the competition at least, and Olson was too far below others on the lefty depth chart.

So with these 3 gone, I think we’re down to 34 or 35 guys still in big league camp.  The remaining candidates for the ‘pen are Kirby Yates, Johnny Barbato, Anthony Swarzak, and Luis Cessa.  Yates has to be close to a lock at this point, so it’s the other 3 for 1 spot.  Based on ST performance and what’s best for the organization, I think we’ll see Barbato get the final spot.  There’s no reason to convert Cessa from a starter now to be the 7th guy in the big league ‘pen when there are already a ton of other righty options available for that job.

Continue reading Quick Hit: More Bullpen Roster Cuts

Wednesday Morning Links: 3/30/16

Remember when the Yankees did the tandem starter thing with Phil Hughes and David Huff at the end of 2013?  Neither of them could be trusted to navigate a lineup more than 1.5 or 2 times, so Joe just started with one, got a few innings out of him, then brought in the next one to at least try to make it through 5 or 6.  Maybe he should think about trying that again with CC and Ivan Nova this year.  They’re both so inconsistent that it might be worth it to try if the rest of the pitching could be counted on for extra length when needed.  Eventually when rules and rosters expand in the future and everybody operates with a 6 or 7-man rotation, we’ll probably see every team do that as a way to minimize the potential damage caused by their weakest starters.  That’ll be fun.  Now onto the links.

– Last Wednesday, Mike Axisa previewed year 3 of Brian McCann’s Yankee tenure and wondered if it was time to start limiting his workload behind the plate.

– On Saturday, el duque of It Is High… commented on the frustrating unpredictability of Ivan Nova after his latest ST outing.

– On Sunday, Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley rattled off the long list of prospects who could contribute at the Major League level this season.

– On Tuesday, Stacey jumped into the time machine to look back at the 2006 Yankees for BP Bronx.

– Wally Matthews had Joe and Larry Rothschild’s thoughts on Tanaka after his uneven performance yesterday.  I’m sure no Yankee fans will overreact to this.

– Chad Jennings mused on how yesterday’s poor starts could influence the rotation decisions to open the season.

– Baseball Prospectus released its organizational farm system rankings today.  The Yankees come in at 16, up 5 spots from last year.  The post has links to every team’s top 10 and it’s all free.

From the IIATMS team:

– Last Thursday, I locked in my final Opening Day roster prediction.  Naturally Nick Goody went out there immediately after this and started giving up moonshots, so I’m already in midseason prediction form.

– I also commented on the night and day difference between Dellin Betances’ ST this year and last year and what that might mean for him when the games start to matter.

– On Monday, Stacey dissected CC Sabathia’s major home run problem from a couple different angles to see if it’s something that can be fixed this late in his career.

Have a good day, y’all.

Continue reading Wednesday Morning Links: 3/30/16

Spring Training Game Quick Recap: NYY 3 DET 2

It was basically the starting lineup paired with a contingent of roster-contending pitchers last night as the Yankees ticked another game off the rapidly shrinking ST schedule.  Of course the game wasn’t televised, and it’s a shame too because it ended up being a pretty good one.  The offenses were quiet early, but some late fireworks from the Yankee bats made for a satisfying comeback victory.

– Joe started Luis Cessa in this game, not wanting to show any of his regular starters to a Tigers team that the Yankees will face early in the regular season next week.  Cessa continued his strong spring with 3 shutout innings and 4 strikeouts.  He’s definitely a candidate for a bullpen spot right now, but I think it would make more sense for the Yanks to keep him working as a starter in Triple-A.

– It was mostly zeros for all the Yankee pitchers last night.  Johnny Barbato, Chasen Shreve, and Aroldis Chapman all threw shutout innings and Diego Moreno, who was reassigned to MiL camp after the game, pitched 2 clean frames to pick up the win.

– The only black mark on the pitching ledger came in the top of the 6th, when Nick Goody served up back-to-back home runs to Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton.  No shame in giving up dingers to those guys, but when it happens late in a ST roster battle it’s going to stand out.  Really bad timing for Goody.

– The Yankee bats finally stirred in the bottom of the 7th on a Mark Teixeira leadoff home run.  The comeback was completed in the 8th with a 2-out rally that culminated in a Dustin Ackley 2-run double.  The homer gave Teix a hit in 2 consecutive games, so maybe he’s starting to come out of that early spring funk. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: NYY 3 DET 2