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

A historical perspective on Jeter and Cano

One of the ways fun is had from this seat is using the stat sites to make lists. Just yesterday, a list was created to find the ten worst wOBA scores for Yankees since 1961 with a minimum of 1,000 plate appearances. The thought was that 1,000 plate appearances gave the player at least two equivalents to full seasons to prove how bad a hitter he was. The data includes the time with the Yankees only and not with other clubs. The list came out to look like this from lowest to highest:

  1. Fred Stanley – 1,157 plate appearances, .269 wOBA (1973 – 1980)
  2. Gene Michael – 2,659, .270  (1968 – 1974)
  3. Alvaro Espinoza – 1,528, .270  (1988 – 1991)
  4. Jake Gibbs – 1,795, .274  (1962 – 1971)
  5. Sandy Alomar- 1,005, .278  (1974 – 1976)
  6. Bucky Dent – 2,429, .282  (1977 –  1982)
  7. Bobby Richardson – 4,217, .286  (1961 – 1966) **started career in 1955
  8. Bob Meacham – 1,591, .288  (1983 – 1988)
  9. Tony Kubek – 2,251, -289  (1961-1965)  **started career in 1957
  10. Horace Clarke – 5,143, .289  (1965 – 1974)

As you can see from that list, only Gibbs was not a middle infielder.…

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What to expect from Casey McGehee

So what do we expect from McGehee? That is hard to peg as he has been a National League player for his entire career. He has played for the Cubs, Brewers and Pirates. McGehee was acquired mostly to serve as a stopgap for Alex Rodriguez at third with A-Rod out for six to eight weeks with a fractured bone in his hand. McGehee will likely platoon with Eric Chavez at third and the duo will give the Yankees very good defense at that corner no matter who plays. McGehee has had very positive fielding metrics the past two seasons. He had a low fielding percentage in 2011 with twenty errors, but his overall fielding was still regarded as above league standard.

So, McGehee will hold his own on defense. What about offense? His splits the last couple of seasons have strongly favored his right-handed bat against left-handed pitching. But his overall career numbers show a much closer balance between the splits.…

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Nova flames out. Yankees lose to O’s, 11-5

It seemed from this angle that the game’s balanced changed with Mark Reynold’s at bat in the top of the second. Nova had started the inning by allowing consecutive singles to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Nova then blew away both Lew Ford and Wilson Betemit on strikeouts. It looked like he was going to get out of the inning as he had Mark Reynolds, one of the most prolific strikeout batters in history, down 0-2 in the count. Nova and Martin had a little conference to decide what the next pitch would be. It would be a terrible decision. Nova threw the flattest of sliders and Reynolds punished it for a ground rule double to left. Here is pictorial proof of how bad that pitch was (from Brooks Baseball):

From there the floodgates opened and Nova could not hold back the flood. Omar Quintanilla singled to score two. Nick Markakis singled and J.J. Hardy walked to load the bases.…

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Some thoughts from the Red Sox series

- As faithful reader, Jay Robertston, stated in a recent comment, the Yankees have reached a tipping point with their outfield defense. Granderson’s gaffe was awful on Saturday night and makes this writer look totally stupid for defending his defense the other day. And Andruw Jones could not have had a worse game in the outfield yesterday. Watching Jones play outfield is sort of like watching Joe Namath after he left the Jets. It is obvious that this once gifted outfielder could not run down a racing president at a Nationals game. Hopefully Swisher will return tonight and Ichiro Suzuki will end the misery in left.

Derek Jeter looked almost rangy in two plays yesterday up the middle. One he converted into an out and the second was victimized by too speedy a runner. It was still nice to see.

– It was a few weeks back when the Yankees had several runners thrown out at the plate, or is the memory mistaken?…

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Lindy McDaniel

There is nothing in Lindy McDaniel‘s composite stats that make you shiver with delight. His 3.45 ERA sounds pedestrian. His career 1.272 WHIP sounds ordinary. He gave up his share of hits. The only thing his stats show us is a long and reliable career where he consistently took the ball and threw for as long as you wanted him to throw the ball. For example, in 1973, one of the years mentioned in the first paragraph, Lindy pitched 47 times, 44 of them in relief. He finished the game as the team’s last pitcher 32 times. And yet he threw 160.2 innings! His record that year was 12-6 with ten saves AND a complete game start.

It was one of those games in 1973 that stands out more than any other. The date was August 4, 1973 in a game against the Detroit Tigers. Ralph Houk’s Yankees were only a half a game out of first place and faced Billy Martin in the opposite dugout.…

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Grappling with Granderson’s fielding stats

Granderson is a case where these old eyes do not get where the metrics are coming from. These eyes watched a lot of Bernie Williams in center and Granderson runs circles around Bernie. And yet, not only is Granderson ranked dead last among major league center fielders, he is dead last by a huge margin. His defensive metrics are downright Bernie-like.

Now people are always saying to not get wrapped up in just one year’s fielding data. They say to look at chunks of three years. Okay. Let’s do that. His first year with the Yankees was positive according to all the major sites. But last year’s fielding valuation threw Granderson under the bus and this year is heading in even deeper chasms than last. So the three year trend is sinking faster than Best Buy’s profit margin. And look at his UZR, which currently sits at -16.8. Of all qualifying center fielders, that is more than ten points worse than the second worse guy.…

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Yankees cannot solve King Felix, lose 4-2. A-Rod hurt

Freddy Garcia pitched a good game if you look at his stats casually. But if you give up three runs to a team that has difficulty scoring and has John Jaso as its cleanup hitter, do those three runs count more like five? To be sure, he ended much better than he started. After Granderson gave the Yankees the quick lead in the top of the first, Garcia gave the run right back as Michael Saunders hit a bomb way out to right. Garcia then struck out the side in the second after a lead off single.  But he did not fare as well in the third and in the end, it was the third inning that cost the Yankees the game.

Brendan Ryan started the inning with a grounder up the middle that kicked off of Garcia’s foot. By the time the ball got to A-Rod, it was too late to make a play. After a deep fly ball to right, Michael Saunders hit a sharp single to right.…

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Ichiro a great pickup

While Ichiro has lost a step, his speed is still just slightly behind Gardner’s. He has stolen fifteen bases in seventeen attempts and stole forty just last year. Look for him to run more often with the Yankees. Both Ichiro and Gardner have been .260 hitters at this point in their careers. Gardner’s career batting average is .261. Brett Gardner walks more than Ichiro ever has as his .355 career 0n-base percentage and eleven percent walk rate attest. But when Ichiro was in his prime, he hit enough to mask his lack of walks. Ichiro’s career on-base percentage of .366 is higher than Gardner’s. So let’s say that in the best case scenario, Ichiro hits .300 for the rest of the season for the Yankees. That should put him a just a little behind what could have been expected with Gardner’s OBP.

Slugging is perhaps a wash between the two. Ichiro’s slugging this season sits at .353. Gardner’s career slugging percentage is .355.…

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