About Domenic Lanza

Domenic is a staff writer for It's About the Money, and the host of the It's About the Money Stupid podcast. By day, he is a mild-mannered real estate attorney on Long Island, and an aspiring intellectual degenerate.

Random Stats for the Night Off

In these early days of the season, it is difficult to offer in-depth analysis without putting a great deal of weight into small sample sizes. Strikeout rates are just about the only statistic that has begun to stabilize at this point, and even something as straightforward as velocity may not be wholly indicative of what’s to come. And so this is not a post wherein I will strongly offer praise, nor will I condemn any performances; instead, I will attempt to let some numbers speak for themselves. There will be the good, the bad, and the ugly … and at least a bit of funny. After all, these are the Yankees that we’re talking about.

Jacoby Ellsbury is batting .243/.296/.342 (75 wRC+) since September 1, 2014. Yes, that is a selective endpoint – but it also represents a stretch of 660 PA. In that time he has 10 HR and 28 SB (11 CS), with a 6.1 BB% and 16.5 K%. He has also cost the team about 5 runs on defense in that span, as per UZR.

Starlin Castro currently has the best BB% and ISO of his career, while also swinging at fewer pitches outside of the zone than ever before (29.4%, which is well-below his career average of 33.3%). And his .306 BABIP is about 15 points below his xBABIP, based upon his batted ball profile. He’s only 26, folks.

Only Colby Rasmus is pulling the ball more often than Mark Teixeira (60.0% to 58.5%). The Yankees first baseman is also making ‘soft’ contact in 26.4% of balls in play; that’s in the bottom 20 of all hitters. He’s 13th in the Majors in BB%, though, and is still an above-average overall hitter, with a strong 121 wRC+.

There are currently 195 players that qualify for the batting title. Among those, Chase Headley ranks 190th in wRC+ (28), and dead last in ISO (.000). He’s the only qualified player without an extra base hit.

Dellin Betances has more strikeouts (23) than Yordano Ventura (21), Matt Harvey (21), Gerrit Cole (19), Marcus Stroman (19), and Jordan Zimmermann (16). Only 52 pitchers have more strikeouts than Betances, all of which have thrown at least 20.1 IP. Betances has 10 IP thus far. He also leads all relievers in K%, K-BB%, and xFIP (-0.28; yes, that’s a negative xFIP).

Luis Severino has the second largest gap between his ERA (6.86) and FIP (3.67) among all starting pitchers (David Price is first). He also has the second highest BABIP, at .417 (behind Chris Archer).

The Yankees bullpen ranks 1st in the Majors in K/9 (11.27) and xFIP (2.64). The unit ranks 4th in total strikeouts, with 81, despite sitting 19th in IP (64.2).

The Yankees rotation is in the top ten in K/9 (8.41), BB/9 (2.40), GB% (49.1), xFIP (3.52), SIERA (3.60), and K-BB% (15.4). It also ranks 25th in the Majors in ERA, with a 5.13 mark.

The Yankees offense ranks 25th in ISO (.131) – every team behind them is either the Braves, or plays in a pitcher’s park. The team’s .273 BABIP ranks 26th, as does its 26.9% hard-hit percentage.

The Yankees have stolen 17 bases – that’s third in baseball. Only the Cubs, Padres, and Indians have added more value on the basepaths in 2016.

Most importantly: the Yankees have 142 games left in their season. Continue reading Random Stats for the Night Off

Quick Hit: SI Yankees Sabermetrics Day Event

Less than an hour ago, Carson Cistulli of FanGraphs posted information about the Staten Island Yankees ‘Sabermetrics Day,’ which will be held on June 19th. Here is the team’s press release:

Say hello to a new season of Baby Bombers baseball and to the leaders of the new school of baseball analysis! On Sunday, June 19, the Staten Island Yankees welcome stat geeks and avid prospect followers to Sabermetrics Day at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George as the Staten Island Yankees take on the Aberdeen IronBirds (Baltimore Orioles affiliate). Don’t miss the chance to ask questions and meet some of the most notable names in sabermetrics research and analysis as the afternoon will be highlighted by writers and analysts from FanGraphs, ESPN, FiveThirtyEight, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, and more!

Access to the programmed portion of the event will be limited to fans who purchase one of two limited ticket packages. The first package (limited to 50 fans) grants access to all programming and perks, while the second package (limited to 150 fans) grants access only to the Statgeek Picnic.

In addition to the FangGraphs team, ESPN’s Dan Szymborski, FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Lindbergh, and friend of the blog Jonah Keri will also be in attendance. And, perhaps most importantly, I will be there.

If interested, you may purchase tickets here. Use the promo code ‘STATS.’ Continue reading Quick Hit: SI Yankees Sabermetrics Day Event

Game 18: Eovaldi vs. Ramos

The Yankees are at least a bit shorthanded tonight, as both Aaron Hicks and Alex Rodriguez are battling injuries. As of this writing, neither seems capable of playing tonight, but both remain on the active roster. That leaves tonight’s usable bench as Brian McCann and Ronald “Career .400/.429/.600 Hitter” Torreyes.

New York Yankees Texas Rangers
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Rougned Odor, 2B
Brett Gardner, LF Nomar Mazara, RF
Carlos Beltran, DH Adrian Beltre, 3B
Mark Teixeira, 1B Prince Fielder, 1B
Starlin Castro, 2B Ian Desmond, LF
Chase Headley, 3B Mitch Moreland, DH
Dustin Ackley, RF Elvis Andrus, SS
Didi Gregorius, SS Brett Nicholas, C
Austin Romine, C Delino DeShields, CF
Nathan Eovaldi, SP Cesar Ramos, SP

Continue reading Game 18: Eovaldi vs. Ramos

Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, DH Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, LF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Steve Pearce, 2B Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steven Souza Jr., RF Chase Headley, 3B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Starlin Castro, 2B
Curt Casali, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Drew Smyly, SP Michael Pineda, SP

Continue reading Game 17: Smyly vs. Pineda

Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, 2B Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Logan Morrison, 1B Brett Gardner, LF
Evan Longoria, DH Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, RF Mark Teixeira, 1B
Desmond Jennings, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Brad Miller, SS Brian McCann, C
Steve Pearce, 3B Starlin Castro, 2B
Kevin Kiermaier, CF Chase Headley, 3B
Hank Conger, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Blake Snell, SP Masahiro Tanaka, SP

Continue reading Game 16: Snell vs. Tanaka

Game 15: Moore vs. Sabathia

Tampa Bay Rays New York Yankees
Logan Forsythe, 2B Brett Gardner, LF
Brandon Guyer, CF Starlin Castro, 2B
Evan Longoria, 3B Carlos Beltran, RF
Corey Dickerson, DH Mark Teixeira, 1B
Desmond Jennings, LF Alex Rodriguez, DH
Steve Pearce, 1B Brian McCann, C
Steven Souza Jr., RF Chase Headley, 3B
Tim Beckham, SS Aaron Hicks, CF
Curt Casali, C Didi Gregorius, SS
Matt Moore, SP CC Sabathia, SP

Continue reading Game 15: Moore vs. Sabathia

The IIATMS Mailbag, Volume 1

On Tuesday afternoon, I made a call to arms as a means to both encourage discussion, and to ensure that I am writing about something that the readers are interested in. And the fact that our first crack at this exercise resulted in ten-ish (mostly) quality questions is simply gravy. Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Courtesy of Jay Robertson:

Do you really believe the Yankees can get to the playoffs with their current starting rotation; if not, do you think the team will suck it up and stand pat; if they do get a starter – who would they get, and at what cost?

Heading into last night’s action (thirteen starts), the Yankees rotation had the following line:

73.2 IP, 5.01 ERA, 3.70 FIP, 8.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 51.6 GB%, .338 BABIP

That’s the second best GB% in baseball, the third best BB/9, the tenth best K/9, and …the fifth worst ERA. There is some bad luck at play, as evidenced by the very high BABIP (the third worst in the Majors) and the large gap between the team’s ERA and FIP (the fourth highest differential). They’re middle-of-the-pack in metrics like HR/9, hard-hit percentage, and HR/FB, which somewhat belies these discrepancies, but it’s also so early that most if not all of these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

Why bring them up, then? Because they illustrate just how weird baseball is.

All that being said, I don’t think that this is the rotation of a playoff team, unless said playoff team is an offensive juggernaut. The Yankees don’t appear to have the same sort of ‘oomph’ that they had last season (again, though, small sample size), and I’m skeptical that the bullpen can make up for the rotation’s issues. There has been a great deal of discussion about Sabathia being toast, Pineda throwing too many strikes, Eovaldi being style over substance, Tanaka’s elbow, and Severino’s inexperience … and, even if most of that is unnecessary handwringing, we watch much of this story unfold last season.

The Yankees need Tanaka to continue to pitch like a top of the rotation starter, and at least two of the other guys to step-up and perform as competent mid-rotation starters. If that can be done, they could certainly make a push. I don’t know if a trade is really out there at this point (the pending free agent class stinks), but I do think that James Kaprielian could be the ace in the hole, a la Severino just last season.

Courtesy of James Dogg:

Cashman comes back from lunch and he has two messages-

1. Colorado Rockies called and they offer Nolan Arenado and Carlos Gonzalez for Nova, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge.

2. Florida Marlins called they offer Jose Fernandez, Jarred Cosart, and Justin Bour for the same 3 plus Arod.

Which, if either, should Cashman do, and which will be a better deal come say October of 2017.

Gonzalez is only under contract through the end of next season, and I don’t really see a spot for him on the roster right now – and I’m not sure that I’d want to make room, either. He’s a career .257/.312/.444 (102 wRC+) hitter on the road, and he has a lengthy history of injury problems. If Ellsbury wasn’t around, I may be spinning a different tale. But as it stands, I don’t want Gonzalez.

I’m a huge fan of Arenado, and he had no real home/away split last season, with a 120 wRC+ in Coors and a 119 mark on the road. He just turned 25, and he’s a potential franchise player – the greatest issue I see is that he doesn’t have great plate discipline, and his high-contact approach can be a blessing and a curse. And I think Headley would be much easier to move than Ellsbury (and such a move would be much more likely).

With the Marlins deal, I similarly don’t care all that much about Cosart or Bour (though, I suppose Bour would replace Rodriguez as the DH). Fernandez is obviously incredible (both as a talent and a personality), and he won’t be 24 until this Summer. Having a Tommy John Surgery on his resume is a bit disconcerting, though, and there has been a great deal of talk regarding his mechanics leading to further injury.

All that being said … I think the Marlins deal makes more sense right now. Having to make additional moves can cause several issues, and I don’t think that it would look great for the Yankees to have to bench or move at least one of Headley, Ellsbury, and Gardner (unless CarGo went to the bench). That’s my concern with the Rockies deal. That, and the fact that I’m always at least a bit skeptical of Coors guys. Under the gun, though, I’d probably do both deals – Arenado and Fernandez are young, legitimate studs.

As for the end of 2017, I’m not sure which would look better. Probably the Marlins deal, at least artificially, as Judge and Sanchez will look a hell of a lot better hitting in Coors…

Courtesy of yankeerudy:

What’s the over-under on Big Papi HR this season?

ZiPS had him at 30 this season – a mark that he has reached in each of the last three seasons. I’d probably set the over/under right around there; say, 30.5? And I’d take the over. As much as I hate to say it, Ortiz is still an incredible hitter.

Courtesy of anonymous:

Are you a closet Red Sox fan?

I’m not sure that I’ve ever been accused of being a closeted fan of any team, let alone the Red Sox. I try to be as unbiased as possible when writing about or discussing baseball … so much so that I don’t know if this is a joke that I’m humoring, or an actual accusation. The answer is no, though. I like several of their young players and prospects, but I could never root for that organization.

I admittedly have soft spots for the Rays and Mets, though. The former because of how much I admire the organization’s strategies, and the latter because much of my family and friends are Mets fans. I never root for either over the Yankees, though.

Courtesy of Longtimefan:

Realistically can we look forward to getting to the playoffs and if so going deeper than last season with primarily the same offense that disappeared last September?

If they make it to the Wild Card game again, anything can happen – particularly if Tanaka is on. Winning that game is technically getting deeper in the playoffs, right?

I don’t think that that’s the spirit of your question, though. I’ve worried about the team as a whole since the off-season, as I always kind of felt that the offense peaked last season, even with some of the injuries and underperformance. I’m trying to avoid confirmation bias with the early season struggles, but their offense hasn’t changed my mind thus far.

Again, though, it’s so early in the season that we’re still a couple of weeks from worrying too much (barring a significant injury, of course).

Another from James Dogg:

Will Ellsbury be worth $21 mil in 2020?

or

Will Ellsbury’s production in 2020 be more worth $21 mil than Arod ‘s will be worth $21 mil this year? 2017?

The answer to both may end up being yes as salaries escalate, and the value of a win increases. And that’s the only way I see the answer to the first question being yes.

Last night’s 3-for-5 performance notwithstanding, Ellsbury hasn’t looked like a legitimate hitter since last May. I know that he was hurt at that time, but his injury history is so extensive that I have to wonder if the cumulative effects are simply too much for him to completely recover from. The fact that his defense and base-running appear to be slipping don’t help matters, either.

That being said, I don’t know what to make of Rodriguez’s value. FanGraphs pegged last season’s performance at $21.4 MM, so he just made it. I’m not sure if that happens again, considering his late Summer swoon, early season issues, and age. I’d rather have Rodriguez’s next two years than Ellsbury’s next five, though.

Courtesy of Nate the Great:

Is there anything to Luis Severino’s early struggles?

Most of the discussion about Severino’s flaws hinges on mechanics and size. His delivery is not the most efficient, and he’s on the smaller side for a power-pitcher. That being said, the greatest issue with his mechanics is not the injury risk – it’s the fact that his command has been consistently inconsistent as a result. His release and landing points often shift dramatically over the course of the game, and that oftentimes results in him leaving the pitch up and over the plate (which happened last night, resulting in a home run by Mark Canha).

To be fair, though, I don’t think that there’s anything new to worry about. The defense torpedoed his efforts in his prior start, and last night he was fine but for one pitch. I’m not too concernced.

Courtesy of Allen:

Can we get a podcast soon?

I shall do my best to get one in the works. We have plenty to talk about, after all.
Continue reading The IIATMS Mailbag, Volume 1

Game 14: Hill vs. Severino

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Mark Canha, 1B Starlin Castro, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF Carlos Beltran, RF
Jed Lowrie, 2B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Stephen Vogt, C Alex Rodriguez, DH
Chris Coghlan, 3B Chase Headley, 3B
Khris Davis, DH Aaron Hicks, LF
Coco Crisp, LF Austin Romine, C
Marcus Semien, SS Ronald Torreyes, SS
Rich Hill, SP Luis Severino, SP

Continue reading Game 14: Hill vs. Severino

Game 12: Surkamp vs. Pineda

Oakland A’s New York Yankees
Billy Burns, CF Brett Gardner, LF
Chris Coghlan, LF Starlin Castro, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF Carlos Beltran, RF
Danny Valencia, 3B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Stephen Vogt, C Alex Rodriguez, DH
Jed Lowrie, 2B Brian McCann, C
Khris Davis, DH Aaron Hicks, CF
Yonder Alonso, 1B Chase Headley, 3B
Marcus Semien, SS Didi Gregorius, SS
Eric Surkamp, SP Michael Pineda, SP

Continue reading Game 12: Surkamp vs. Pineda