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

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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The Goliath Syndrome

“Parker (W), Doolittle (SV), Cespedes (HR) — all rookies. Instrumental in defeating the #Yankees and their $209,792,900 payroll.”

And the personal favorite:

“The #Yankees just paid $78,167 for that A-Rod flyout to end the inning.”

Why not focus on the real story? A hot A’s team has won three straight with brilliant young pitching. Isn’t that enough of a great story without pulling out the old Goliath Syndrome? Like, whatever, dude. For a supposed journalist like Pratt, this is a chance to build up the drama. Painting the team you are covering like they are the pathetic underdogs is one way to build the story. For those of us that have read the story, the David story is compelling, isn’t it? Look! He toppled the giant.

In case anyone has not noticed, there is a lot of money floating everywhere in baseball. The sport is rolling in the dough with its television deals, its merchandising arm and the success of the MLB Network.…

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Cutting Nova some slack

That is not to sugarcoat the fact that Ivan Nova is super-prone to giving up extra base hits. They showed a graphic on the YES Network telecast last night revealing that Ivan Nova has given up more extra base hits than anyone in the American League–by far. Opposing batters are hitting .283 against Nova with a slugging percentage of .510. That is like All Star slugging. Nova does have a 1.5 homers per nine rate. All of those things are unacceptable and troublesome.

So what causes the problem because it is easy to see from his K/9 that Nova has had good stuff all season? The possibilities can be: lack of concentration, lack of execution, tipping pitches, poor pitch selection, good advanced scouting or bad luck. All of those possibilities look good. Too many times, a pitch is called to be inside and Nova’s pitch will drift out to the middle of the plate. That is either concentration or mechanics.  Every mistake he makes is bashed.…

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Freddy and the dreamers

David Phelps showed the Yankees again in tantalizing fashion that he could be a better option than Garcia. Phelps has made three starts this season. None of them lasted five innings. All three featured far too many pitches thrown per inning. But all in all, they were not bad innings. In those three starts, he has pitched twelve and a third innings. He has allowed eleven hits and three runs. The walks are a problem as he has allowed six of those in his three starts. His game scores were 47, 57 and 60 (51 is average). That is a far better game score average than Freddy.

It would seem silly for the Yankees to pick up a starter in trade as Pettitte will be back in September and should be ready for the post season. Any starter brought in would be a stopgap that would either cost money or prospects. Why not give Phelps the job until Pettitte returns? Seriously, what could it hurt?…

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Kuroda sharp, Yankees strike early and finish sweep

Kuroda cruised through the early innings. He worked around a two-base throwing error by A-Rod in the first and a two-out single in the second. Kuroda then had two straight 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.

It appeared that Romero had settled down after the first and retired the Yankees without incident in the second and third. But he ran into trouble again in the bottom of the fourth.  He retired Andruw Jones on a ground out to start the inning, but Jayson Nix hit a ringing double to the gap in left. Russell Martin walked. And then Dewayne Wise–making a rare start against a left-handed pitcher–hit a ground rule double to right to score Nix and make the score, 5-0. Romero would then walk Derek Jeter to load the bases, but Nick Swisher hit into a double play to end the inning.

Kuroda, with the help of his defense, did great work to prevent a run in the top of the fifth.…

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