About @Jason_IIATMS

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

As Gardner and Ellsbury go, so go the Yanks (or: Crap, Ellsbury hit the DL)

One of my favorite things about this site and the staff here is the off-site chatter amongst all of us that takes place over the course of every day. We talk baseball. We loudly bemoan really bad, hackneyed, trite, ad hominem attacks on players by the MSM, and laugh about silly Twitter spats. We talk about non-work stuff and provide a measure of support for one another when life gets in the way of baseball/writing (we’re all mourning the loss of Stacey’s best buddy, her cat Jack, who had to be put to sleep last night). I haven’t written much in the last few years due to work, but I’m here in the background every day, reading everything we (and you) write. Fun stuff, really.

This morning, William asked/challenged the following: What’s the Yanks record when Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner get on base (H/BB/HBP) a combined 4 or more times in a game? That’s a fine question, William, particularly because we all know how good these two have been so far this year and we’re losing Ellsbury to the DL (did you know he’s in the midst of a $153M contract?!? /snark).

The short answer is, the Yanks could be in for a rough few weeks…With the infield pretty much not producing much as we mentioned the other day a few times, any (further) cool-down from Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira could really spin this team back towards .500 in a hurry.

Because I love charts and graphs as a way to easily depict data, this should be easy enough to grasp:

IMG_2756
Yes, the Yanks are 12-1 when Gardner/Ellsbury are on base a lot. They are 7-12 when they are not. And Ellsbury is now on the DL.

Keep in mind this chart only includes games where the combined times on base (hit, BB, HPB) for Gardner and Ellsbury together. It excludes the one game where Gardner did it when Ellsbury wasn’t playing (the team lost).

Caveat: I’m sure we could create a similar chart for other players and other teams, but the freshness of the Ellsbury DL situation and the painfully obvious split shown above was too interesting not to share.

[all data courtesy of our friends at Baseball-Reference.com and their play index] Continue reading As Gardner and Ellsbury go, so go the Yanks (or: Crap, Ellsbury hit the DL)

Fun with charts?

There’s an obvious lack of enthusiasm we all seem to be sharing with nearly the entire infield (thanks for not being terrible, Mark Teixeira) after six weeks [looking squarely at you, Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, and of course, Didi Gregorius].

Earlier today, Brad, Matt, and Stacey pointed out the failings of Drew (here), Headley (here), and the rest (here) so that spurred me to go take a peek at the oWAR from Baseball-Reference.com for all American League players who have played at least 10 games this season at 3B/SS/2B. Below is the chart of all such players, with the Yanks’ starters (and Gregorio Petit for kicks) highlighted.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 New York Yankees infield (or at least 75% of it):

2015SS3B2BoWar Continue reading Fun with charts?

About CC’s struggles in the batting order

sabathiaSo Brad was right on the money with regards to CC Sabathia‘s failings at the bottom of the lineup, as he mentioned earlier today. CC is absolutely getting OWNED by the bottom of the opposing lineups this year (SSS warnings and all that jazz). But what Brad didn’t really mention is that, for the most part, you can chalk a lot of it up to some really bad luck. Batters 7-9 are posting an unsustainably high BAPiP of 0.429 this year. Compare that to the 0.313 and 0.314 posted by batters 1-2, and 3-6, respectively.

Hell, just look at the SEVENTH hitters have done to CC: 0.800 BAPiP. That’s ridiculous and completely a SSS gremlin. It means that CC has turned the seven hitter into a 1.526 OPS behemoth. Any idea what player that would profile if that OPS held over the course of the year? How about no one EVER. The best OPS over a season was Barry Bonds‘ 2004 wrecking ball when he racked up 1.4217. Yet, CC has managed to turn the seventh hitter into something better. Continue reading About CC’s struggles in the batting order

Bad outcomes do not always result from bad decisions

tanakaThis may seem like a basic statement, but sometimes the right decision made with every piece of data and insight available at the time can result in a bad outcome. The converse is also true. Some call this luck, either good luck or bad luck.

When Ned Yost calls for another bunt that works out in his team’s favor, it doesn’t automatically mean it was the right decision. It just happened to work out. Happens all the time all over sport and clearly beyond it, as well.

On Monday, our favorite Masahiro Tanaka went on the DL for at least a month. Could be longer, but we hope not. It’s a blow to the team, no question.

Let’s remember back to last year, when Tanaka initially got hurt. MRIs, doctors, lots of doctors. The best elbow/arm specialists on the planet. And their unanimous conclusion was rest, treatment, and rehab. These are medical wizards, not a bunch of mopes gathered outside around a food truck (no slight on food trucks; I love them). The suggested method of treatment, given everything known at the time, was conclusively not to operate on the elbow. Surgery, especially for something as invasive and career-risking as TJS, should be the option of last resort, not first. Yet every person with a byline, a microphone, or video camera insisted that Tanaka go ahead with the surgery despite what the best medical advice had to say. As they say in the legal community: “He who represents himself has a fool for a client.“. But that didn’t stop the writers.

Fast forward to today. This setback (that’s my ‘optimistic-speak’ talking) has spawned a fresh round of arm-chair doctoring and second guessing at a level I can’t quite ever remember witnessing. Here are a few of the “best” keyboard doctors money can buy; I hope they’re available on your HMO plan:

Dr. John Harper, upon counsel from Drs. Martinez and Schilling:

But is that realistic? If Tanaka has developed a forearm strain, mild as it may be, after four starts this season, it’s logical to think that the ligament tear in his elbow is a factor in some way.

 

This is why so many teams and pitchers opt for getting Tommy John surgery rather than trying to pitch once they have been diagnosed with a ligament tear. This is why the likes of [Pedro] Martinez and Curt Schilling said they thought Tanaka should have had the surgery.

Dr. Pedro Martinez:

Sorry for #Tanaka but I saw it coming. Too bad he had this setback. I wish him the best and a quick recovery

Pedro Martinez (@45PedroMartinez)

Dr. Kevin Kernan:

Tommy John surgery has yet to be scheduled for Tanaka, but that is just a matter of time, too. It always is just a matter of time when it comes to these types of elbow injuries.

 

Tanaka clearly was in a state of denial Tuesday night outside the Yankees’ clubhouse when he was talking about the latest arm issue that will put him on the disabled list for at least 15 days.

[…]

 

It’s time to change game plans. This is not working. He needs to have Tommy John surgery to have any chance of getting back to being the kind of pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they shelled out $175 million.

I could go on and on, sourcing silly stuff like this. It just doesn’t end.

And the hard part for me to swallow is that they might be right. Tanaka MIGHT need TJS at some point. Could be in a month, six months, a year, or three years. Even Cashman, when asked, indicated that this new injury “could” result in elbow surgery. The “I told you so” brigade will not stop.

But ultimately, what’s holding me firmly in Tanaka’s and the Yankees’ camp is the fact that they have ALL of the facts on their side. Not these writers and the commentariat. They have read the MRIs. They’ve spoken to Tanaka. They have made the correct decision with the best information available at the time. If it fails, it doesn’t fail due to logic. If fails because sometimes that happens, regardless of the process leading to the outcome. Trust the process.

These doctors (and the team) also are well aware that TJS is not a cure-all. It doesn’t make you bionic. It doesn’t always return the player to their pre-injury stature. While TJS has unfortunately become commonplace, it, like most invasive procedures, carries some degree of risk and no assurance that your body will return exactly like it was. But the writers and commentariat conveniently disregard that most basic and underlying fact.

Thankfully, Buster Olney keyed on it pretty firmly: (emphasis mine):

As Stephania Bell reported and David Cone reiterated on the Yankees’ broadcast: There is no sure thing about Tommy John surgery. The success rate is not 100 percent, nor close to 100 percent. And Tanaka had been throwing well, with two walks, 14 strikeouts and one run in 13 1/3 innings, before arriving at Yankee Stadium and reporting discomfort with his wrist. He has a 3.22 ERA so far this season, with his velocity down slightly; I’m not sure why there’s a push for an elbow reconstruction given that he’s shown he can pitch well without it.

 

A more appropriate intermediate step is for the Yankees to determine whether to give Tanaka at least five days between five starts, rather than four, given that his wrist discomfort popped up after he made a start last week on four days’ rest.

 

Tanaka has demonstrated that he can pitch well in spite of the partial tear in his elbow ligament. Why would he or the Yankees sacrifice that for the rest of 2015 and into 2016 given that there’s no guarantee of what he’ll be after he gets the procedure done?

 

If Tanaka comes back in late May or June and is terrible, if he’s not functional, then the context changes and surgery could be more appropriate.

The well-reasoned Will Carroll had the following to say:

Sources tell me that the strain is nearer the wrist, in one of the extensor muscles. It’s impossible to say that this injury is not related to the previous elbow injury — you remember, the ligament that healed up after rest, treatment and PRP — but there’s no evidence that it is related either. Maybe he changed his mechanics just enough to cause an issue or maybe the force that was hurting his elbow, now healed, has transferred up the kinetic chain. We won’t and can’t know.

I’m terrified that Tanaka will need TJS, as are most fans of the team and baseball as a whole. No one likes to see the best in their craft disappear. But until that decision is made, I’m going to side with the doctors and specialists here. At some point, the writers will be able to humblebrag with crocodile tears that they knew it was coming and the team should have listened to them so very long ago.

That will make me even sicker. Continue reading Bad outcomes do not always result from bad decisions

Game 16: #TANAK vs. Sanchez

Tanaka vs TOR 2015Happy #TANAK Day, peeps. Afternoon game today, starting at 1:08ET. Let’s see if Tanaka (2-1, 3.94 ERA) can continue his momentum from his last outing and lead the team to a series win against Annibal Sanchez (1-2, 7.71) and the Tigers.

Feel free to bash whatever dumb, trite, hackneyed narrative the writers are pounding on, as well. Here’s a non-exhaustive list to start from:

  • Didi Gregorius is not a proper replacement for Derek Jeter
  • Carlos Beltran has looked old [OK, this is kinda true, sorry Carlos, last night’s triple not withstanding]
  • Jacoby Ellsbury is not earning his $153 million
  • If George were still alive…
  • Tanaka’s elbow could snap any second. LOOK OUT!
  • Tanaka should have had surgery despite three (or more) doctors advising against it
  • ARod can’t keep this up; he must be back on the juice
  • Teix is done and can’t hit against the shift

Lineups:

New York Yankees Detroit Tigers
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Anthony Gose, CF
Brett Gardner, LF Ian Kinsler, 2B
Carlos Beltran, DH Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Brian McCann, C Victor Martinez, DH
Chase Headley, 3B J.D. Martinez, RF
Chris Young, RF Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Garrett Jones, 1B Alex Avila, C
Stephen Drew, 2B Nick Castellanos, 3B
Didi Gregorius, SS Hernan Perez, SS
Masahiro Tanaka, SP Annibal Sanchez, SP

  Continue reading Game 16: #TANAK vs. Sanchez

Who are you calling old?

With a large tip of the interlocking NY cap to devoted reader/commenter UYF1950, below are the anticipated rosters of the Yanks and RedSox, with their ages as of the beginning of the season. I swapped out the injured Brendan Ryan for Jose Pirela, but it could just as easily be Rob Refsnyder (or not, as he was just sent to AAA, sorry!) or newly acquired Gregorio Petit (please, no). Either way, dumping Ryan for either of the kids helps the Yanks (both in terms of production and for comparitive reasons, as shown below):

2015 Yanks. vs Sox by age Continue reading Who are you calling old?

What they’re saying about the Gregorius trade

[caption id="attachment_71174" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Gregorius vs COL Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

As expected, there’s a lot of discussion out there regarding the Yanks – Tigers – Diamondbacks second three-way (trade, you people) in the last few years. You know, the one that lands us a new shortstop. While this puts the team back in the market for pitching (a very deep end of the pool), it takes us out of “Stephen Drew (that wasn’t fun, was it?)/Asdrubal Cabrera (no, just no)/Brendan Ryan (living on an outdated reputation only, along with 1/4 the Yanks 40-man)/some other guy” trade market. I still think Everth Cabrera (PED, DUI, other unsavory things) was worth a cheap dip in the unpatrolled, non-tendered kiddie pool, but alas, the Yanks decided to go get one of the guys they apparently wanted for quite some time: Didi Gregorius.

While I, and others, will miss Shane Greene, I’m not heartbroken. We needed a legitimate shortstop more and there’s LOTS of pitching to go after, either high-priced or bargain-bin.

So here’s what they are saying about the deal, from the Yanks side of the ledger: Continue reading What they’re saying about the Gregorius trade

Behold, the Nerd-cast is upon us!

RobNeyerFellow baseball NERDS, PJ-wearing basement dwellers, know-it-all-number-crunchers-who-never-played-the-game… REJOICE, a baseball broadcast specifically designed with YOU in mind is now here.

The main broadcast of Saturday’s opener between the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals will be on Fox. Cable channel Fox Sports 1 will also show it, with extended replays and statistical analysis of batter-pitcher matchups, umpiring tendencies and defensive shifts.

Kevin Burkhardt will call the game from the studio alongside Gabe Kapler, CJ Nitkowski, Rob Neyer and San Diego Padres manager Bud Black. The broadcast will sometimes use a ”double box” to show the commentators and live action at the same time.

Long time readers might remember that it was the esteemed Rob Neyer who had the audacity (read: stupidity) to ask me to be his Yankees blog back when the ESPN SweetSpot Network was being formed in 2009. I will never forget to thank him for that kickstart, for without him, this site might not be up and running today, manned by these excellent writers around me.

So do Rob and his nerdy band of nerdfarmers a solid and tune into FS1 instead of Joe Buck and his gang, will ya? And if you don’t like it, just remember: One game is a SSS and don’t draw conclusions from it!

Sadly, however, Neyer won’t be in his traditional flannel. Continue reading Behold, the Nerd-cast is upon us!