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.

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

Monday Morning Musings A Week Away From Opening Day

It’s close now, real close.  In less than a week the 2016 MLB regular season will officially be underway, and in a few hours more than a week the same will be true for the New York Yankees.  The roster trimming continues, the speculation about who will and won’t nab the last few Opening Day 25-man slots has intensified, and the anticipation of first pitch next Monday is rising.  Here are some assorted thoughts on where the Yankees stand a week away from that first first pitch.

– At the start of camp, I didn’t think there was any way that Gary Sanchez wasn’t coming out of ST as the backup catcher.  I also didn’t think there was any way that Rob Refsnyder would come out of camp with a big league roster spot.  Two weeks ago, I completely flip-flopped on both of those thoughts and then Refs took a few ground balls off the dome and everything changed again.  The Yankees have made a clear commitment to get younger and build from within over the last few seasons, but it’s good to know that they still recognize when guys aren’t quite ready and are willing to give them the time they need to be fully prepared to come up to the show and contribute.  Sanchez has swung a cold bat all spring and Refsnyder needs more work at third base if he’s truly going to be an option there for Joe.  There’s nothing wrong with letting them work on those things in the lower-pressure environment of Triple-A, especially when there are other options for their positions available.

– We already know who that other option is going to be at backup catcher.  Now with Refs getting sent down yesterday, the question becomes who fills in for him as the final utility infielder.  It’s a 2-man race between Pete Kozma and Ronald Torreyes and I’m hoping with every fiber of my being that it ends up being Torreyes.  If ST stats mean anything, he’s been the much better hitter this spring (.313/.333/.375 in 32 ABs compared to .167/.231/.250 in 24 ABs for Kozma) and that should give him a leg up.  He’s also younger, he’s been healthier in camp, and he can play the same mix of positions that Kozma can.  I’ve said all along that I don’t want Kozma on this team.  He’s basically a Brendan Ryan clone and I think using a roster spot on a player like that is a waste.  Torreyes comes with a little bit of projectability thanks to his young age and his high-contact approach is a great fit for a part-time bench gig.  If it comes down to these 2 for the last bench spot, Torreyes is the clear choice in my mind. Continue reading Monday Morning Musings A Week Away From Opening Day

Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks 4 Jays 3

I don’t intend on missing any of Buddy Hield’s second half, so here’s the really short version:

Bryan Mitchell pitched well in his 4 innings of work today, allowing no runs, no walks, and striking out 4.  He’s absolutely locked up a spot in the Opening Day bullpen, and if we’re being honest with each other, he should probably be in consideration for the 5th starter spot because he’s outpitched both CC and Nova.

– The Yankee scoring started almost immediately as Aaron Hicks led off the game with a solo home run, his 2nd of the spring.  He’s been really good all-around so far.  Ellsbury can take his time coming back from the bruised wrist.

Rob Refsnyder showed his inexperience at third base again today, taking another bad hop off the grillpiece.  I don’t care who you are or what level it happens at, taking a grounder off the face in 2 consecutive games is pathetic.  Maybe we should pump the brakes on the “Refs can handle third base” thing for a bit.

– Semi-related, Ronald Torreyes went 2-4 today.  A-Rod went 1-3 with a ribbie and Carlos Beltran also had a hit in 3 trips.

Branden Pinder threw a scoreless inning to pick up the win, although he did give up a hit and walk a batter.  Wouldn’t be surprised at all to him in the Opening Day ‘pen, but I wouldn’t take him personally. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Yanks 4 Jays 3

Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Rays 6 Yanks 2

The Yankees and Rays squared off last night and it was another chance for CC Sabathia to gain or possibly lose ground in the 5th starter competition.  Things didn’t get off to a great start for him, but he was able to battle through 5 innings and give his team a chance.  The offense couldn’t generate much against the Tampa pitching contingent, however, and the Yankee bullpen gave the game away late as the Bombers dropped to 9-11 this spring.

It was tough going for CC in the early innings last night.  His fastball was only sitting in the upper 80s, his offspeed stuff wasn’t fooling the Tampa hitters, and the Rays got to him for a run each in the top of the 1st and 2nd.  The first came on an Evan Longoria solo bomb and the second came on a Desmond Jennings leadoff double and Kevin Kiermaier ribbie single.  Lotta hard contact in the early going for the Rays, but give CC credit.  He got it together and pitched the next 3 innings scoreless, getting the ball down in the zone and picking up 7 of his final 9 outs either via strikeout or groundout.

The Yankees answered Tampa’s second run with a carbon copy of that rally.  Brian McCann started the inning with a double and came around to score on Carlos Beltran‘s single.  They didn’t score again until the bottom of the 7th, when Pete Kozma hit a 1-out triple and came home on a wild pitch, but by then it was too little too late.  The Rays racked up 4 runs against a wild Tyler Olson in the top of the 6th to put themselves comfortably ahead.

Game Notes:

– Final line on CC: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K.  In general I think the Yankees would take that from their 5th starter every time out.

– McCann went 2-3 and was the only Yankee with multiple hits.  He’s quietly having a nice spring.

Kirby Yates strengthened his case for a bullpen spot by recording 4 scoreless outs after Olson’s implosion.  He struck out 2.

Chasen Shreve also K’d 2 in a scoreless frame to continue his stellar spring.

– DH A-Rod went 1-2 with a BB and a K. Continue reading Spring Training Game Quick Recap: Rays 6 Yanks 2

Quick Hit: An Even Better Betances?

[caption id="attachment_80672" align="aligncenter" width="575"]Betances ST 2016 Courtesy of Corey Sipkin/NY Daily News[/caption]

He’s a lock to make the Opening Day roster and there’s no doubt about what role he’s going to play in this year’s bullpen or how well he’ll handle that role, but Dellin Betances is an interesting case this spring.  You’ll recall that last year one of the leading ST storylines was “what’s wrong with Betances???”  His early velocity was down, his command was spotty at best, and his ST stat line was ugly: 8.1 IP, 9 H, 5 ER, 6 BB, 9 K.  Coming off his spectacular (and strenuous) debut relief season, there were questions aplenty about the impact that his heavy workload had on him and how that would carry over into the regular season.

Of course all that worry was for naught because Betances was lights out again in 2015.  But he did stumble a bit down the stretch, posting season-worst FIP, K %, and BB % values in September and giving up as many home runs then (3) as he had in the previous 5 months combined.  It would have made sense for some of last spring’s worry to follow Betances into this year’s camp after the rough finish to 2015, but that hasn’t happened.  What also hasn’t happened is a repeat of last spring’s problems, as Betances has been utterly brilliant in his 2016 ST appearances thus far: 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 K.

Betances said all along last year that there was nothing to worry about and that he just needed some more time to get loose and get back into his normal groove.  Once he did, he was money.  I’m equal parts curious about what he’s done differently this spring to get locked in so quickly and excited about what that may mean for the season to come.  Betances has always and to a certain degree will always battle bouts of inconsistency with his command because of how big he is, and it was a major problem for him in camp last year.  The fact that he hasn’t walked a single batter this spring is an encouraging sign that he’s learned how to be even better at repeating his mechanics and a frightening sign of what may be in store for the rest of the AL if that is true.

Betances has been arguably the best relief pitcher in baseball over the last 2 seasons, top 3 at the absolute worst.  If his ST performance so far compared to his ST performance last year is any indication, we may be in for his best season yet in 2016. Continue reading Quick Hit: An Even Better Betances?

Predicting The 2016 Opening Day Roster Part IV

I haven’t updated my Opening Day roster prediction since before Spring Training started and a lot has gone down since then.  With less than 2 weeks until Opening Day, I think it’s about time for another revision and I think this is going to be the final prediction.  So mark it down, lock it in, here we go.  Barring injuries, here is the official prediction for Joe’s 25-man roster on April 4th:

Starting Lineup:

1) Jacoby Ellsbury– CF
2) Brett Gardner– LF
3) Alex Rodriguez– DH
4) Mark Teixeira– 1B
5) Carlos Beltran– RF
6) Brian McCann– C
7) Chase Headley– 3B
8) Starlin Castro– 2B
9) Didi Gregorius– SS

Starting Rotation:

1) Masahiro Tanaka
2) Michael Pineda
3) Luis Severino
4) Nathan Eovaldi
5) CC Sabathia

Bench: Austin Romine, Dustin Ackley, Aaron HicksRob Refsnyder

Bullpen: Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, Chasen Shreve,Bryan Mitchell, Ivan Nova, Kirby Yates, Nick Goody

A few notes:

– I have no clue why I had Beltran over A-Rod in the batting order in the first few editions.  That’s obviously not happening.

– It looks like it’s going to be Austin Romine’s backup job based on the last few weeks.  He’s playing better than Gary Sanchez, he’s getting more work, and he’s hitting higher in the batting order.  Again, this ultimately isn’t a big deal.  Sanchez will get his turn and there’s nothing wrong with using a little more Triple-A time to get him swinging a hot bat again and bump back his free agency.  And if Romine surprises us in the first month and plays well, well that’d be just fine.

– If you would have told me the last time I did this that Rob Refsnyder was going to make the roster as the backup third baseman, I would have laughed in your face.  But who else could it be at this point?  Nobody left in camp to compete with him has hit worth a lick and Refs’ added positional flexibility and better stick make him even more valuable to Joe as a bench piece.

– Those first 5 bullpen spots are rock solid in my opinion, and I think Mitchell could already be starting to carve out a role as the #2 righty reliever behind Betances.  After that, though, it’s still wide open.  When the dust settles, I think we’re going to see Yates and Goody and in there.  Goody has pitched a lot and he’s been the most consistent of last year’s shuttle group.  He also hasn’t walked a batter in 7 appearances.  Yates has been sneaky great so far in ST (4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K in 4 apps.) and he has 50+ innings of big league experience.  That’ll carry some weight with Joe when it comes time to make a decision, so go ahead and call Yates this year’s Chris Martin, the guy nobody expected to get a spot when camp opened but ended up sneaking on in the end. Continue reading Predicting The 2016 Opening Day Roster Part IV