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

Hal Is Drinking The Small Sample Size Kool-Aid

Hal S 2014

Yesterday’s rainout gave everybody an extra day to process the first 13 games and form some more opinions on what this team needs right now.  Obviously the infield is the biggest area of concern, but not according to Hal Steinbrenner.  Speaking to reporters for what I believe is the first time since the regular season started, Hal shared his thoughts on the Yankees’ current infield situation.  They were unanimously positive:

“I’m pretty content with our infield right now.  I think guys like Anna and Solarte have been pleasant surprises. Kelly Johnson has been good. Derek is healthy. So so far, so good. But it’s early.”

Nothing to really argue with there.  If I wanted to pick nits, I could say that calling Derek Jeter “healthy” when he just had to miss a few games due to a sore quad is a bit of a stretch, but I won’t go there.  Hal’s basically right about everybody he mentioned in that statement.  …

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The Implications Of The Murphy And Canzler Call-Ups

Bryan Hoch tweeted that out last night, after it was reported that John Ryan Murphy, and not Austin Romine, would get called up to replace Francisco Cervelli as the Major League backup catcher.  It has yet to be reported by any other beat guy or confirmed by the team itself, but I have to imagine this is the decision that will be made.  When the Yankees take the field tonight against the Cubs, they will be back to full strength.  Well, at least in terms of number of healthy bodies on the active roster.  That’s better than where they were at on Sunday night.

While these moves provide the obvious benefit of getting the Yanks back to a standard 5-man bench/7-man ‘pen roster breakdown and filling in the cracks on their injured infield, it’s what’s between the lines that is the real story here.  …

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Yanks Limping (Literally) Into Their First Off-Day

Cervelli Injury vs BOS

Very often in sports, commentators or writers like to say that something “couldn’t have come at a better time” to help a struggling team.  In the Yankees’ case, this first scheduled off-day of the year really could not have come at a better time after last night’s injury casualties.  If the Yankees had to play a game tonight, it’s doubtful they’d have enough healthy bodies to fill out the starting infield.

They were already short-handed heading into the game last night when it was revealed that Derek Jeter has a tight right quad and Joe was keeping him out of the lineup to steal a few more days of rest.  Once the game started, we found out that Brian Roberts was out not to get a simple day of rest, but because his lower back was bothering him and he went for a precautionary MRI earlier in the day.  We also found out that Francisco Cervelli still can’t escape his crappy injury luck when he appeared to seriously pull his hamstring trying to beat out a play at first base in the 4th.  …

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Examining Derek Jeter’s Early Contact Trends

Jeter vs BOS 2014

For all the concern about how he’d be physically coming into spring camp this year, concern that I admittedly shared, it was a pretty quiet Spring Training for Derek Jeter.  He was on his own schedule, he got into games early enough, he never reported any problems with his ankle or legs, never had any issues really.  He worked at his pace, felt good, and was ready to play when the regular season started.  What was a small concern was how quiet his bat was in ST.  Jeter hit .137/.214/.157 in 51 spring at-bats, striking out 10 times and hitting a ton of groundballs.

Regular season production is what really matters and Jeter’s was going to be watched closely regardless of how he hit in the spring simply because he was a shortstop turning 40 and coming off a season lost to injuries.  He’s played in 9 of the Yankees’ first 10 games and so far that production has been pretty good.  …

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McCann’s Slow Start Could Be Due To Lack Of Selectivity

McCann vs TOR

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

Despite spending more than a few bucks to upgrade the offense this past offseason, the Yankees have been slow to see any fruit from their free agent labor.  They’ve scored 29 runs in their first 8 games, good for 18th in MLB, and their 3 HR are still just enough to keep them out of the basement in that category and tied for 29th.  The biggest reason for this sputtering offensive start is the lack of production from the middle of the order.  Mark Teixeira hit the DL before he even got going, Alfonso Soriano is just now starting to find his stroke after a rusty start, and both Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann are sporting sub-.500 OPS values in 60 combined plate appearances.

Obviously there’s going to be improvement from all 4 of these guys as the season progresses, everybody gets settled in, and Teix gets healthy again.  …

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Infield Woes On Full Display Yesterday

Question.  What do you get when you combine a 40-year-old shortstop with already severely limited range coming back from a series of various leg injuries, a 36-year-old second baseman who’s played in only 29.6% of all regular season games since 2010, a 26-year-old MiL lifer playing third base, and a backup catcher playing first base for the first time since high school?  Why it’s yesterday’s starting infield, course!

Whether you watched it live or read about it later, you probably already know that yesterday afternoon’s game was a disaster.  Ivan Nova and his poor command are mostly to blame for that, but the infield deserves its fair share too.  The argument could be easily made that nobody on that infield deserved to be a Major League starter as his position and yet there the 4 of them were.  On this day, this was the best a team with a near $204 million Opening Day payroll could muster.

There was Derek Jeter, failing to get to a ball to his left in the 1st inning that was about as tailor made a double play ball as the batter could have possibly hit.  …

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Adam Warren, Shutdown Reliever

Adam Warren

Gas face…

I guess that’s what we get for being on the right side of the injury luck coin in Spring Training, huh?  After making it through March almost completely unscathed, the Yankees have now lost 2 key players as a result of last weekend’s series in Toronto.  On Friday night, it was Mark Teixeira straining his hamstring and heading to the 15-day DL.  On Sunday night, David Robertson joined him when he strained his groin.  The team officially announced his DL trip yesterday afternoon, creating more stir in an already very new and unsettled bullpen and giving the Yanks another early-season obstacle to overcome.

With Robertson unavailable for the next few weeks, Joe will go with Shawn Kelley as his closer.  He was already working as D-Rob’s primary 8th inning setup man, so it’s the natural role progression when the closer goes down.  The bigger issue now may be who fills Kelley’s spot in the 8th.  There is more than one viable option out there, albeit none that are proven options.  …

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What Is Up With David Phelps?

Phelps vs TOR 2014

When Joe made his selections for the Opening Day roster, I expected nothing but good things for David Phelps.  Even though he didn’t beat out Michael Pineda for the final rotation spot, he entered the season as one of the more experienced pitchers in the bullpen.  With all the changes in that group and the middle relief hierarchy in front of D-Rob unsettled, I thought this was going to be the year that Phelps established himself as a key part of the bullpen going forward.

We’re only 6 games in, so that may very well be the case when all is said and done, but the start to Phelps’ season has been bad, bad enough to wonder if there’s something wrong with him.  In 2 appearances, Phelps has allowed 4 ER on 4 hits and 2 walks.  Of the 4 hits, 3 of them have been home runs, leaving Phelps with a brutal 10.80 ERA and 13.60 FIP.  As he’s gotten knocked around, fellow young righty reliever Adam Warren has shined in his 2 appearances and Dellin Betances was outstanding in his first.  …

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Joe’s Lineup Decisions Suggest Lessons Learned From Last Year

Joe vs HOU II

When you’re coming off 2 straight losses to what was the worst team in MLB by a wide margin last year and you decide to sit your leadoff hitter, cleanup hitter, and starting third baseman in the 3rd game of the season, that’s normally a decision that will draw some questions.  I certainly had a few in my head when I got a look at the lineup before last night’s game.  I didn’t understand why Joe would want to rest Brian McCann already when he’s got a Friday night/Saturday afternoon setup this weekend in Toronto, and I really didn’t understand why he felt the need to play the platoon matchup game with Kelly Johnson and a guy making his MLB debut in Yangervis Solarte when Johnson has a higher career OPS against lefties than righties.

As it turns out, Joe knew exactly what he was doing.  Solarate and Ichiro Suzuki combined for 5 hits and 4 runs scored from the bottom of the order subbing for Johnson and Jacoby Ellsbury, leading the offensive charge in the team’s first win.  …

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