E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

Author Archives: EJ Fagan

Voting Open: Top-20 Yankee Moments, 1996-2014

Last week, ya’ll did an amazing job nominating 56 Yankee moments from 1996-2014. After I spent a few hours trying to rank all 56, The IIATMS staff narrowed the list down to a more manageable 20 moments. Now, it’s your turn again: we want you to rank the top-20 Yankee moments of that time period.

Here is a link to a Google Document. In it, you will find all 20 moments in reverse chronological order. All you have to do to vote is pick a ‘person’ column, and rank all the moments from 1 to 20, with 1 being the best. To check your work, the column must add up to 210.

Voting closes on Friday. Have at it!

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Update: Best Yankee Moments of the Derek Jeter Era

Earlier this week, we asked you to nominate the best moments in recent Yankee history. The response was massive: by my count, we have 54 nominations, even after consolidated some moments together. Our original plan was to just put all of the nominations on a spreadsheet and tell you to rank them all. Unfortunately, there are way too moments to do that. I tried ranking all 54 this morning, and it would have taken hours had I not given up.

So, we have a new game plan. The IIATMS team will narrow the list down to a more manageable ballot (probably 15 or 20, plus some honorable mentions), and ask you to rank them. This may take a few days, so I will be breaking my promise to put them all to a vote this week.

In the mean time, here is the pretty impressive list (my own typos included) that you put together. Good job, ya’ll.

2014 Regular Season: Derek Jeter Game-Winning Hit in Final Yankee Stadium Game
2013 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera Final Save
2012 ALDS Game 3: Raul Ibanez Game-tying Home Run in the 9th, Walk-off Home run in the 11th
2012 ALCS Game 1: Raul Ibanez Game-Tying, 2-Run Home Run in the 9th Inning
2011 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera Breaks the Save Record
2011 Regular Season: Jorge Posada Plays 1 Inning at 2nd Base
2011 Regular Season: Derek Jeter’s 3000th Hit
2011 Regular Season: Curtis Granderson Hits 3rd Grand Slam on Comeback Win
2009 WS Game 4: Johnny Damon ‘Mad Dash’ Double-Steal
2009 Regular Season: Mariano Rivera RBI Walk off KRod
2009 Regular Seaon: Alex Rodriguez Walk-Off Pop Up Against the Mets
2009 ALDS Game 2: Mark Teixeira Walk-off Home Run in the 11th Inning
2009 ALDS Game 2: David Robertson Works Out of Bases Loaded, No Out Jam
2009 ALDS Game 2: Alex Rodriguez Game-Tying 2-run HR off Joe Nathan
2009 ALCS Game 2: Jerry Hairston Jr.
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Nominations Open: Best Yankee Moments of the Derek Jeter Era

For some reason, I decided to binge on baseball documentaries this weekend. I watched the Ken Burns documentary on the 2000s. I watched ESPN 30 for 30’s House of Steinbrenner. I watched MLB’s 2001 World Series documentary. And in the middle of peak nostalgia and a few held back tears, I thought of a fun idea for this blog: let’s rank the best on-field moments in modern Yankee history.

But first, we need to construct a ballot. I’m sure we can all name 9 or 10 great moments in Yankee history, but I’m really excited to see those moments in the 10-20 range that I forgot about. Every nomination will make the final ballot, which we will open up to voting later this week. Once the results are in, the IIATMS staff will write them up just in time for pitchers and catchers to report and start the post-Jeter era.

What is a moment? For the purpose of this exercise, a moment is a single at-bat or fielding play.…

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Expansion Won’t Help Run Scoring

MLB run scoring is down. A lot:

There are many causes of decreased run scoring. Jeff Zimmernan at The Hardball Times thinks that one solution is to expand the number of MLB teams:

Why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

This is an interesting, testable hypothesis: when there is a more concentrated talent pool of potential MLB players, run scoring decreases.…

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Breakout Candidate: Miguel Andujar

Andujar 2014

Courtesy of Shane Roper/MiLB.com

If I had to pick one prospect to have a break out (defined as being rated a top-50 prospect in all of baseball a year from now) 2015 season, it would be Miguel Andujar.

Andujar was one of the most notable Yankee July 2nd signings in 2011. He spent most of his age 17 and 18 seasons working out at the Yankee facility in Tampa. Some success the second time around with the GCL Yankees (.323/.368/.496 batting line in a small sample) earned him an aggressive promotion to Charleston to start 2014, where he was the 4th youngest player in the South Atlantic League.

At first glance, the numbers don’t look great: .267/.318/.397 with a solid 15.7% strikeout rate. But I think a deeper dive reveals a lot of good news. Here are his splits and park-adjusted rates:

  • Park adjusted batting line: .279/.328/.420 (.362 wOBA)
  • Vs. LHP: .188/.211/.250 Vs. RHP: .295/.355/.449
  • Home: .250/.296/.362 Away: .281/.337/.427
  • First Half: .212/.267/.335 19.4 K% Second Half: .319/.367/.456 14.9 K%

Those splits should be music to all of our ears.…

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Chart: Where the Yankees Position Players Stack Up

The Yankees have made a lot of moves to improve their hitting and defense during this offseason. You know about all of those. But what cumulative effect have these moves produced?

The following chart shows three different numbers by position: the fWAR produced by Yankees playing that position in 2014, the fWAR produced by the average major league team, and the Steamer projections for the Yankees at the position in 2015:

YankeesWARPositionsThe Yankees project to add about 7 WAR over last year. And that’s assuming they get 0 WAR out of designated hitter, which I think they can beat.

You can see that the Yankees project to improve in right field, shortstop, designated hitter and second base, stand pat at catcher, 1st base, center and left, and decline at third base. That all sounds reasonable to me.

You can really see how Derek Jeter and Brendan Ryan at short and Carlos Beltran, Alfonso Soriano and Ichiro in right and DH killed the Yankees last year.…

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Yankees Sign Stephen Drew to 1-Year Deal

The Yankees have signed Stephen Drew to a 1-year deal:

We can relegate the Refsnyder/Pirela spring training competition to Bubba Crosby territory.

Some quick thoughts:

  • This should make Brendan Ryan expendable. Drew gives the Yankees a second MLB-caliber shortstop on the roster. If Gregorius gets hurt, Drew plays. Jose Pirela is potentially much more useful as a bench player than Ryan.
  • I think Drew gets a pass for 2014, for reasons we should all be familiar with. He was a pretty good player in 2013. If he can play a solid 2nd base, I think he’s a 1.5+ win player. If he fails to hit well, Refsnyder can take his place while Drew becomes a bench player.
  • There is going to be a lot of yelling about how the Yankees didn’t give Refsnyder a chance.
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