William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

Author Archives: William Tasker

Who is the 2012 Yankees’ MVP?

Let’s start with the pitching. There really is not a starter that has run away from the pack. C.C. Sabathia, despite missing two stints on the disabled list, still leads the team’s pitchers in fWAR. But has he had a better season really than Hiroki Kuroda? His season is better than Phil Hughes and certainly Ivan Nova. But it hasn’t been a typical Sabathia season. If it was, he would be the team’s MVP hands down. What about the relief pitchers?

Rafael Soriano could probably make a case. His 42 saves after Mariano Rivera got hurt have been invaluable and is a good reason why the Yankees won those 42 games. But how do you valuate a relief pitcher? Is his 64 innings as valuable as Kuroda’s 200+? That doesn’t feel right. He does have a WPA of over three, which leads the team. And his three to one strikeout to walk ratio is nice. But his actual fWAR is 1.5 and David Robertson‘s is 1.6.…

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Sabathia brilliant. Soriano blows save. Martin homers to win it.

Sabathia pitched the kind of game the Yankees have been hoping for weeks. And it could not have come at a better time. He threw eight shutout innings and gave up only three hits and two walks and struck out eleven batters. He was at 113 pitches after his eighth inning and Joe Girardi did not let him go out in the ninth to complete the shutout. Girardi’s decision is defensible in that Sabathia had to work out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the eighth to preserve the 1-0 score.

Instead, Rafael Soriano was asked to go after another save and this time could not get it done. With one out, Moss pinch hit for Chris Carter and golfed a low slider out of the park. Soriano was not at his best and the batter before Moss, Yoenis Cespedes, hit a deep drive to center to the biggest part of the park. And Soriano would put two more base runners on after Moss’s homer before escaping without further damage.…

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Phil Hughes has a problem against right-handed batters

Logic without statistics (don’t worry, I’ll back this up) would dictate that the type of pitcher Hughes is would be advantageous to a RHB. He is a high ball pitcher. Most of his pitches are either mid-level or high in the strike zone. Most LHBs like the ball down. So a high ball pitcher gives them more trouble. Most RHBs like the ball up and that is what they get from Hughes. Not only do they get the ball middle/up, they get it out over the plate. With too many pitches in the upper left-outer quadrant of the plate, RHBs have the choice of hitting the ball hard the other way or jacking it out by hooking it to the left. Either will work with a pitch that is up in their eyesight and where they can extend their arms to swing at the pitch.

Okay, now to back up that statement. Here is a heat map of all of Hughes’ pitches against RHBs this season (courtesy of Fangraphs.com):

To get a perspective on the heat map, you are looking at the strike zone from the catcher’s perspective.…

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How about that Ichiro!

Ichiro now has a triple slash line with the Yankees of .317/.337/.439 good for an OPS of .776 and an OPS+ of 108. Sure, a seven for eight double-header did much to fatten those numbers. But consider also that his seven hits in those two games are two less than the nine hits Andruw Jones has collected since August 1 and only four less than Raul Ibanez has collected since August 1! Ichiro has now played 53 games for the Yankees (some as a defensive replacement) and has 52 hits. Jones has 45 hits in 90 games. Ibanez has 77 hits in 119 games. And yes, all hits are not created equal. Jones and Ibanez have combined for 28 homers. But Ichiro’s slugging percentage with the Yankees is higher than both of those guys for the season.

Yes, Ichiro only has three walks. He’s never been one to take a walk. But his production has certainly helped and according to Baseball-reference.com has added 0.4 rWAR for his efforts since joining the Yankees.  …

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Perspective about the Yankees’ offense

Rob’s response basically was scolding my comment (probably rightfully so since it was on the snark side) because the Yankees have the second best offense in baseball. And yes, he is technically correct. Of all thirty major league teams this season, the Yankees are second to only the Texas Rangers in team OPS. And yes, the entire season counts as it is a 162 game season. But it can also be said that a lot of that quality was built in the first half of the season. The second half for the Yankees has shown a much weaker offense and September has been particularly brutal. Let’s look at the numbers:

In the first half, the Yankees’ team triple slash line was .262/.336/.459 good for a .796 OPS. In the second half, that triple slash line looks far less impressive: .258/.328/.431 for an OPS of .758.  In September, those same numbers are .237/.326/.385 for an OPS of .711. The Yankees have struck out at a slightly higher rate in the second half and their runs per game has gone from 4.84 in the first half to 4.73 in the second half.…

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Small ball helps Yankees sweep double-header

David Phelps started the nightcap for the Yankees and pitched very well. For the second time in a row, he pitched to Chris Stewart as his catcher and in those two starts has pitched a total of twelve innings while only allowing two runs. Tonight, he pitched six and a two-thirds innings and allowed only three hits. He also walked three and struck out six. The only run he allowed was in the second inning. With one out, Phelps walked J.P. Arencibia, which is pretty darned hard to do as the Blue Jays’ catcher had only walked fourteen times all season prior to that plate appearances. Phelps then walked Kelly Johnson. Phelps had a chance to escape the inning as he struck out Yan Gomes for the second out, but Adeiny Hechavarria singled to drive in Arencibia.

Phelps would not get into trouble again until the seventh inning. With one out, Derek Jeter made a poor throw to first on a grounder by Arencibia.…

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