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

Bullpen arms and anti-regression velocity

(Originally published at The Flagrant Fan)

In a post yesterday, I pondered relief pitchers like Chad QuallsMatt Albers and Jake McGee who have unexpectedly increased their fastball velocity with age. Their careers piqued my curiosity. And so I took a look at pitchers who have pitched in relief since 2010 and if their velocity has regressed or not. Let me share what I have discovered.

First, let me disclaim a few things. As always the disclaimer that I am not a math guy with a great handle on how to figure these things out. I am more like Joe Posnanski in knowing enough to be dangerous but not nearly as good at him at writing about my feeble discoveries and calculations.

Secondly, I am using Fangraphs.com’s Pitch Type tool which lumps all fastball types together (4-seam, 2-seam, sinker). While that is inconvenient, it does make it easier than tracking three different pitch types.

And lastly, I am not talking about success rates, movement, the value of the fastball or anything but velocity.…

Read more

Opening Day Trivia with answers

Bill must have taken an open book test? Heh. Here are the questions with the answers:

Ten Years Ago

  • In the 2004 opener, the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tokyo, Japan. Who was the only Japanese player to play in the game? An easy one to start with, right? – Hideki Matsui
  • Which...
Read more

Yankees Opening Day Trivia

While we wait impatiently for the season to really start, I figured we could play a little game of trivia concerning Yankee Opening Days through the years. You are on your honor system for not cheating (All you B-R searchers) and the answers will be posted tomorrow:

Ten Years Ago

  • In the 2004 opener, the Yankees played the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in Tokyo, Japan. Who was the only Japanese player to play in the game? An easy one to start with, right?
  • Which Yankee pitcher was the Opening Day starter and lost?
  • What former Yankee player went three for three for the Devil Rays including a double and homer?

Twenty Years Ago

  • 1994 was the year that ended with shame, wasting a great Yankee team that could have xhgone far in the post season. On Opening Day of that season, what Yankee pitcher–who would end up with a winning percentage over .800 for the season–got the win?
  • What Yankee pitcher got the save?
Read more

The Yankees’ last roster spot is a real puzzle

Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com reported on the last roster spot and what he reported is mind-blowing. We already know that Dean Anna has made the team and that Joe Girardi hates tweets. But if Matthews is on top of the last roster spot situation, the Yankees have a very...

Read more

A voice crying in the infield wilderness

Shoot me if I disagree with just about everyone in the universe, but I like this infield. All due respect to my colleagues who I respect highly and most of our regular comment folks and most experts everywhere, I think the Yankees’ infield will be okay. I don’t want Didi Gregorius or Stephen Drew or Darwin Barney. I am fine taking this infield into the season. Wow…it’s lonely out here.

I have watched a lot of the spring games and I like what I see. I am a little worried about Derek

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

Jeter at the plate. Brian Roberts is moving around real well and looks like the Brian Roberts of five years ago. Mark Teixeira looks healthy and focused. And Kelly Johnson will be better than advertised. After all, he played for the Rays last year. Mick Kelleher likes what he sees.

The Yankees are in a very competitive division. As last year showed, a poor showing hit the attendance and television ratings hard, so there is a lot at stake this year.…

Read more

Game Thread: Yanks versus Red Sox 3/20/2014

The Yankees are not showing the Red Sox their “A-game” as they travel to that cute little Fenway knockoff in Fort Myers. David Phelps gets the start for the Yankees and pitches in front of a lineup that only includes Mark Teixeira among the regulars.

The Lineups:

New York Yankees:

  1. Ichiro Suzuki CF
  2. Brendan Ryan Dean Anna SS
  3. Eduardo Nunez 3B
  4. Mark Teixeira 1B
  5. Francisco Cervelli C
  6. Scott Sizemore 2B
  7. Yangervis Solarte LF
  8. Zoilo Almonte RF
  9. Zelous Wheeler DH

SP – David Phelps

Boston Red Sox:

  1. Grady Sizemore CF
  2. Shane Victorino RF
  3. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  4. David Ortiz DH
  5. Mike Napoli 1B
  6. Daniel Nava LF
  7. Xander Bogaerts SS
  8. David Ross C
  9. Jonathan Herrera 3B

SP – Clay Buchholz

The game starts at 7:00 and will be telecast on the YES Network and apparently on ESPN. For those of you north of here, NESN has it too. Other than seeing Grady Sizemore, I would love to be more zealous for watching this game, but I will have to settle for Zelous.…

Read more

Rival Roundup – The Boston Red Sox

RedSox

The last of a four-part series, Rival Roundup has been an overview of the Yankees’ American League East rivals. As stated throughout the series, almost half of the Yankees’ games will be against these four rivals. This last installment looks at the Boston Red Sox. Like the first three in the series, we have enlisted the thoughts of member sites of The ESPN SweetSpot Network. For this installment, my good friend, Jeff Polman, of Fire Brand of the American League will provide some insight throughout the piece.

Of course the last installment had to be the Boston Red Sox. Cue the bad-guy organ music! Actually, a lot of steam has gone out of the antipathy between the two teams. They spend too much time respecting each other these days. Even so, the bottom line for both teams and the teams’ fans is that both ends of the “rivalry” are shooting for the same prize. Only one can win the division.…

Read more

Game Thread: Red Sox at Yanks 3/18/2014

The Yankees host the Boston Red Sox for a 1:05 ET at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.

The Lineups:

Boston Red Sox:

  1. Jackie Bradley, Jr. – CF
  2. Jonny Gomes – DH
  3. Mike Carp – LF
  4. Ryan Lavarnway – 1B
  5. Xander Bogaerts – SS
  6. Corey Brown – RF
  7. David Ross – C
  8. Brandon Snyder – 3B
  9. Jonathan Herrera – 2B

Felix Doubront – SP

New York Yankees:

  1. Brett Gardner – LF
  2. Derek Jeter – SS
  3. Carlos Beltran – RF
  4. Mark Teixeira – 1B
  5. Alfonso Soriano – DH
  6. Francisco Cervelli – C
  7. Brian Roberts – 2B
  8. Kelly Johnson – 3B
  9. Ichiro Suzuki – CF

SP – Michael Pineda

Of course, we will all be interested in how Michael Pineda performs. Enjoy the game and if you are watching, comment on how the big pitcher does.

Read more

Rival Roundup – The Toronto Blue Jays

20111118-blue-jays-logo

Part three of a four part series, Rival Roundup takes a look at the American League East rivals the New York Yankees will have to navigate for almost half of the team’s games in 2014. After visiting the Orioles on Friday and the Rays on Monday, our next stop is the Toronto Blue Jays. To offer insight and perspective of someone who covers the Jays closely, we turned to one of our fellow members of the ESPN SweetSpot Network, Matthias Koster of Mop Up Duty. Koster’s thoughts will pop up throughout.

Imagine being told by someone close to you that you were going to get a shiny new car for a present, but when the day finally arrives, you find out the car was a Matchbox car and it wasn’t even one that was made in England. That’s what it felt like to be a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays last season when a series of moves were made after the 2012 season and everyone predicted a renaissance of Canada baseball.…

Read more