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

Teixeira, Roberts, Beltran key to World Series title

You expect biting analysis from this site. Obviously, that differs greatly from analysis that bites. For anyone who studies the game, the hope is for an “aha” moment. I had one this morning and I could not wait to share it with you. This is one of those dope statistics that is going to land me on all the lists of writer geeks of all time. Here it is: Data suggests Mark Teixeira, Brian Roberts and Carlos Beltran all have to play significant time for the Yankees to win the World Series.

Whoo…that sounds good, doesn’t it? So what is the data that is going to shake the world? Every Yankee World Series champ in the Jeter-era featured at least three significant contributions from switch-hitters. Therefore, Teixeira, Roberts and Beltran all have to make significant contributions this season for the Yankees to win the World Series.

You are stunned, right? Brilliant, eh? If I do this right, now I have to throw a bunch of data at you to prove that I am a full-fledged Saberboy.…

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The great batting race of 1984

Thirty years ago, the New York Yankees were a month away from starting a season that would be another in a long line of forgettable teams in the 1980s. They had finished in third place the year before, seven games behind the Orioles and Billy Martin was again replaced, this time by Yogi Berra. It was the famous year when the Detroit Tigers started the season 9-0 and then 19-2 and would run away and hide from the rest of the American League East. The Yankees best starter was a 45-year-old Phil Neikro. Graig Nettles, Don Baylor and Goose Gossage were gone. Ron Guidry and Shane Rawley had rough seasons after Marin fried them a bit in 1983. But despite the Yankees being toast by May of that season, it was also the year of one of the most exciting in-team batting races of all time.

Batting average was still a big deal back then. Though much less important today in the grand scheme of statistics, back in 1984, it was one of the most cherished titles in batting.…

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Some Sunday news, links and notes

On this last Sunday with no baseball to watch, here are a few notes and some news about the Yankees:

Mark Feinsand has video of Michael Pineda throwing batting practice.

Feinsand also provides us a handy-dandy Spring Training television schedule you can print and put on your fridge.

Vidal Nuno...

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Faces of the Yankees

Several of my colleagues here have shared thoughts on Derek Jeter‘s retirement announcement. Coming on the heels of Mariano Rivera‘s and Andy Pettitte‘s last year and Jorge Posada‘s the year before, the Core Four will be no more. I guess I have sadness at the end of...

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The case for youth at second base

Back on February 6, Brad imagined a world where Brian Roberts suddenly stayed healthy and regained some of his old form and beat all current projections. The very entertaining and well written article surmised that such a scenario could net the New York Yankees a 2.3 WAR season from Roberts. Toward the end of the piece, the author talked himself out of such a thing happening. If such a season for Roberts is as long shot as it is, why not invite both Jose Pirela and Dean Anna to Spring Training and let them fight for the position?

Brian Cashman himself hinted at such a thing happening and stated that second base is open to a “cast of characters.” Let’s make a case for the younger guys. According to MLB Depth Charts, Pirela has a Spring Training invite but Anna does not. Anna should be there in camp to see what he can do.

As Brad pointed out in his piece, most projection systems (if not all) give Roberts no shot at being anything more than a 0.2 to 0.9 WAR player.…

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Ralph Kiner and the 1955 pennant race

Most New York baseball fans think of Ralph Kiner in association with his 53 amazing years of broadcasting for the New York Mets. But eight years before he first sat behind the microphone for the Mets, he almost had an impact on another New York team. Ralph Kiner was a member of the 1955 Cleveland Indians that fought down to the wire with the Yankees in that year’s pennant race.

1955 was Kiner’s tenth and last season in Major League Baseball and it was his first legitimate opportunity to play with a team that could go all the way. Just the season before, the Indians had won 111 of its 154 games to win the pennant by eight games over a Yankees team that won 103 games. The Indians were swept in the 1954 World Series by the New York Giants in one of the biggest upsets of the century.

Despite Kiner’s prodigious career to that point, the Indians picked him up as the player to be named later in a deal that sent Toothpick Sam Jones to the Cubs from Cleveland the previous September.…

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Scrapbooking and scorecards

Long before there was the Internet or ESPN or even cable television, there were three ways for me to keep up with the sport of baseball and my team, the New York Yankees. There were broadcasts of games on WPIX: Channel 11 (or on radio), newspapers like the New York Daily News and the Bergen Record and The Sporting News (TSN). The Sporting News of my youth was an over-sized magazine printed on newspaper paper. Its arrival on Friday or Saturday was always one of the highlights of the week.

At that time, TSN really covered sports in depth and baseball in particular. Each team was given at least a full page or possibly two from journalists who covered those teams. The writing was fantastic and probably sowed some of the seeds of my own desire to write.

After I devoured that thing from cover to cover over a four or five hour period, my fingertips would be black from the ink.…

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Girardi versus Torre in bullpen use

There is a common narrative when it comes to looking back on the two great Yankee managers over the last eighteen years. The narrative goes something like this: Joe Torre burned out his bullpens and Joe Girardi‘s use of his bullpen is one of his strengths as a manager. I have heard variations of those memes over the years and wondered if there was a way to measure the bullpen usage to see how true these narratives were. Once I put together all the numbers, the conclusion I came up with is that Torre really did not earn his reputation until the last five years of his tenure.

First, let’s look at the most basic of numbers, things like ERA, WHIP and bullpen losses. Each provides some insight to the conclusion.

Joe Girardi’s bullpens have beaten the average American League bullpen in ERA every season he has been the manager. His accumulative average bullpen is then higher than the league over that time period.…

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Nova better beat his projections

I was thinking about starting a series called, “Things that have to go well.” The idea was to talk about certain Yankees players and how they have to stay healthy and play well if the Yankees are to compete in 2014. But you can probably see the obvious problem with such an idea. EVERYTHING has...

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