About Domenic Lanza

Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

Game 25: Sabathia vs. Wilson

Here’s a quick preview and/or pre-emptive recap:

The 2016 Yankees

New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Joey Rickard, RF
Brett Gardner, LF Manny Machado, SS
Carlos Beltran, DH Adam Jones, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B Chris Davis, 1B
Brian McCann, C Mark Trumbo, DH
Starlin Castro, 2B Nolan Reimold, LF
Aaron Hicks, RF Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Didi Gregorius, SS Caleb Joseph, C
Chase Headley, 3B Ryan Flaherty, 3B
CC Sabathia, SP Tyler Wilson, SP

Continue reading Game 25: Sabathia vs. Wilson

The Anatomy of Losing 9 of 12

As of this writing, the Yankees are a bad team. Over the past two weeks, they are – by winning percentage – the third worst team in baseball. It’s no secret, to be sure, but it still feels strange to put it in writing, and see the words staring back at me. The worst part of it may well be that the Yankees are bad at everything right now.

How did we get here?

The Yankees are batting .223/.280/.327 in their last 12 games. That’s a 69 wRC+, good for 28th in the Majors over that time. They’re four points behind the 27th place Dodgers in that metric, so we can’t spin it to say that they’re bunched up with several other teams, either. The team’s .104 ISO is 29th over that same time, ahead of only the lowly Braves. That mark is particularly egregious, as well, as six of those twelve games were in the Bronx, with the other six coming in hitter-friendly Fenway Park and Globe Life Park in Arlington. This may be due to the team’s 27.8% hard-hit percentage, which ranks 26th in the league. And the once patient offense also ranks 26th in BB%.

During this time, Alex Rodriguez (172 wRC+), Starlin Castro (132), and Jacoby Ellsbury (121) have been quite good (if not great). The next-best hitter, however, is Austin Romine, with an 86 wRC+ in 10 PA. Then come Mark Teixeira and Brett Gardner, both sporting a 64 wRC+. The team’s fourth and fifth best hitter’s have slashed a combined .206/.301/.269 in the last two weeks.

Add that all together, and the Yankees are dead last in runs over the last two weeks, with 32 – six behind the 29th place Braves. That’s 2.4 R/G. And the pitching staff has been equally as offensive, pitching to a 5.31 ERA.

Masahiro Tanaka posted two strong starts in that span, and Nathan Eovaldi spun a gem. Despite this, the Yankees starters have a 5.08 ERA during this stretch, as CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, and Luis Severino combined to allow 25 ER in 35.2 IP.

The justifiably hyped bullpen has been even worse, with a 5.73 ERA. Andrew Miller has been lights out in five appearances, and Kirby Yates and Nick Goody have performed well, too. The rest of the bullpen has allowed 22 ER in 24.2 IP – that’s an 8.03 ERA. And, as Stacey recently pointed out, not even Dellin Betances has been immune to this stretch of horrors.

To be fair, the Yankees defense has almost certainly hindered the efforts of the pitching staff. The team ranks 26th in UZR/150 at this juncture, and 28th in Defense Runs Saved. Or, if you prefer non-advanced metrics on this side of the ball, the team has made 6 errors in the last twelve games – a number that does not include some notably poor routes taken by Ellsbury and Aaron Hicks. And this from a team that has largely prioritized defense over the last few years.

An obvious caveat applies here – it’s only May 3rd. Twelve games represents just over 7% of the season, and the team has been bad in the early goings before. The staff’s ERA is more than a run above its FIP, and nearly two runs ahead of its xFIP. Despite the hideous ERA, the pitchers are still 1st in the Majors in GB% during this stretch, 2nd in BB/9, and 12th in K/9. And the defense should rebound, given the reputations and histories of … well … everyone, save for Carlos Beltran.

There is reason for hope when the Yankees take the field.

The offense, however, remains incredibly disconcerting. This may well be a prolonged cold spell (it has been below-average for most of the season, after all) – but this is an older team, with only two regulars under the age of 32. I do not expect this group to continue to battle for a spot in the bottom third of all offenses, but its days as a top-tier team may be over.

Again, though, I am not panicking. And you shouldn’t, either. If that time does come, it will be a few weeks from now, if not a couple of months. But the frustration is palpable at this point, and a glass half-empty approach is more than reasonable. Continue reading The Anatomy of Losing 9 of 12

Game 22: Pineda vs. Porcello

Chase “Deadball Era Power” Headley has not had an extra-base hit since September 27, 2015. That’s a stretch of 24 games and 92 PA with nary a double, triple, or home run. That being said, he is a career .286/.333/.571 hitter against Rick Porcello, with a double and a home run in 15 PA. Could tonight be the night that he rediscovers some semblance of pop?

New York Yankees Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Mookie Betts, RF
Brett Gardner, LF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B David Ortiz, DH
Alex Rodriguez, DH Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Brian McCann, C Travis Shaw, 3B
Starlin Castro, 2B Brock Holt, LF
Didi Gregorius, SS Christian Vazquez, C
Chase Headley, 3B Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Michael Pineda, SP Rick Porcello, SP

Continue reading Game 22: Pineda vs. Porcello

Game 21: Tanaka vs. Owens

New York Yankees Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Mookie Betts, RF
Brett Gardner, LF Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B David Ortiz, DH
Alex Rodriguez, DH Hanley Ramirez, 1B
Brian McCann, C Travis Shaw, 3B
Starlin Castro, 2B Brock Holt, LF
Chase Headley, 3B Ryan Hanigan, C
Didi Gregorius, SS Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Masahiro Tanaka, SP Henry Owens, SP

Continue reading Game 21: Tanaka vs. Owens

Random Stats for the Night Off

In these early days of the season, it is difficult to offer in-depth analysis without putting a great deal of weight into small sample sizes. Strikeout rates are just about the only statistic that has begun to stabilize at this point, and even something as straightforward as velocity may not be wholly indicative of what’s to come. And so this is not a post wherein I will strongly offer praise, nor will I condemn any performances; instead, I will attempt to let some numbers speak for themselves. There will be the good, the bad, and the ugly … and at least a bit of funny. After all, these are the Yankees that we’re talking about.

Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .243/.296/.342 (75 wRC+) since September 1, 2014. Yes, that is a selective endpoint – but it also represents a stretch of 660 PA. In that time he has 10 HR and 28 SB (11 CS), with a 6.1 BB% and 16.5 K%. He has also cost the team about 5 runs on defense in that span, as per UZR.

Starlin Castro currently has the best BB% and ISO of his career, while also swinging at fewer pitches outside of the zone than ever before (29.4%, which is well-below his career average of 33.3%). And his .306 BABIP is about 15 points below his xBABIP, based upon his batted ball profile. He’s only 26, folks.

Only Colby Rasmus is pulling the ball more often than Mark Teixeira (60.0% to 58.5%). The Yankees first baseman is also making ‘soft’ contact in 26.4% of balls in play; that’s in the bottom 20 of all hitters. He’s 13th in the Majors in BB%, though, and is still an above-average overall hitter, with a strong 121 wRC+.

There are currently 195 players that qualify for the batting title. Among those, Chase Headley ranks 190th in wRC+ (28), and dead last in ISO (.000). He’s the only qualified player without an extra base hit.

Dellin Betances has more strikeouts (23) than Yordano Ventura (21), Matt Harvey (21), Gerrit Cole (19), Marcus Stroman (19), and Jordan Zimmermann (16). Only 52 pitchers have more strikeouts than Betances, all of which have thrown at least 20.1 IP. Betances has 10 IP thus far. He also leads all relievers in K%, K-BB%, and xFIP (-0.28; yes, that’s a negative xFIP).

Luis Severino has the second largest gap between his ERA (6.86) and FIP (3.67) among all starting pitchers (David Price is first). He also has the second highest BABIP, at .417 (behind Chris Archer).

The Yankees bullpen ranks 1st in the Majors in K/9 (11.27) and xFIP (2.64). The unit ranks 4th in total strikeouts, with 81, despite sitting 19th in IP (64.2).

The Yankees rotation is in the top ten in K/9 (8.41), BB/9 (2.40), GB% (49.1), xFIP (3.52), SIERA (3.60), and K-BB% (15.4). It also ranks 25th in the Majors in ERA, with a 5.13 mark.

The Yankees offense ranks 25th in ISO (.131) – every team behind them is either the Braves, or plays in a pitcher’s park. The team’s .273 BABIP ranks 26th, as does its 26.9% hard-hit percentage.

The Yankees have stolen 17 bases – that’s third in baseball. Only the Cubs, Padres, and Indians have added more value on the basepaths in 2016.

Most importantly: the Yankees have 142 games left in their season. Continue reading Random Stats for the Night Off

Quick Hit: SI Yankees Sabermetrics Day Event

Less than an hour ago, Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs posted information about the Staten Island Yankees ‘Sabermetrics Day,’ which will be held on June 19th. Here is the team’s press release:

Say hello to a new season of Baby Bombers baseball and to the leaders of the new school of baseball analysis! On Sunday, June 19, the Staten Island Yankees welcome stat geeks and avid prospect followers to Sabermetrics Day at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George as the Staten Island Yankees take on the Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore Orioles affiliate). Don’t miss the chance to ask questions and meet some of the most notable names in sabermetrics research and analysis as the afternoon will be highlighted by writers and analysts from FanGraphs, ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, and more!

Access to the programmed portion of the event will be limited to fans who purchase one of two limited ticket packages. The first package (limited to 50 fans) grants access to all programming and perks, while the second package (limited to 150 fans) grants access only to the Statgeek Picnic.

In addition to the FangGraphs team, ESPN’s Dan Szymborski, FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Lindbergh, and friend of the blog Jonah Keri will also be in attendance. And, perhaps most importantly, I will be there.

If interested, you may purchase tickets here. Use the promo code ‘STATS.’ Continue reading Quick Hit: SI Yankees Sabermetrics Day Event

Game 18: Eovaldi vs. Ramos

The Yankees are at least a bit shorthanded tonight, as both Aaron Hicks and Alex Rodriguez are battling injuries. As of this writing, neither seems capable of playing tonight, but both remain on the active roster. That leaves tonight’s usable bench as Brian McCann and Ronald “Career .400/.429/.600 Hitter” Torreyes.

New York Yankees Texas Rangers
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Rougned Odor, 2B
Brett Gardner, LF Nomar Mazara, RF
Carlos Beltran, DH Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mark Teixeira, 1B Prince Fielder, 1B
Starlin Castro, 2B Ian Desmond, LF
Chase Headley, 3B Mitch Moreland, DH
Dustin Ackley, RF Elvis Andrus, SS
Didi Gregorius, SS Brett Nicholas, C
Austin Romine, C Delino DeShields, CF
Nathan Eovaldi, SP Cesar Ramos, SP

Continue reading Game 18: Eovaldi vs. Ramos

Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, DH Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, LF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Steve Pearce, 2B Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steven Souza Jr., RF Chase Headley, 3B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Starlin Castro, 2B
Curt Casali, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Drew Smyly, SP Michael Pineda, SP

Continue reading Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, DH Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Desmond Jennings, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steve Pearce, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Hank Conger, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Blake Snell, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Continue reading Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka