E.J. Fagan been blogging about Yankee baseball since 2006. He is a Ph.D. student at University of Texas at Austin.

Author Archives: EJ Fagan

Yoenis Cespedes Wins Walkup Songs

Previous walkup song winner Jayson Werth has been dethroned. Yoenis Cespedes decided to buck tradition, flaunt his millions of dollars, and commission his own custom walk up song. Here it is:

We here at IIATMS have a long tradition of not saying nice things about the New York Mets. But I think this is a proper time to break that tradition. Props, Cespedes. Let’s hope he decides to sign somewhere else and awkwardly keep the same song. Or just play it against the Mets.

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Ranking the World Series Matchups

flickr user egvvnd CC

flickr user egvvnd CC

The divisions series are underway. Four teams in each league are fighting it out for two spots in the World Series. The Yankees are off to the emergency room/golf course, but baseball is still going on. There are 16 different possible combinations of teams in the World Series. Today, I will rank them all. What is the best matchup?

The Bottom 4: Anyone but the Mets

16. Mets v. Blue Jays
15. Mets v. Astros
14. Mets v. Rangers
13. Mets v. Royals

These are easy. Any scenario where the Mets make the World Series is a bad scenario. They don’t have any interesting rivalries on the AL side to deal with. Their fans say stupid things like, “Take Back New York” after a decent spring training showing. The team itself was almost certainly the worst team in the NL regular season. Booo Mets.

The Next 4: Acceptable, If Boring

12. Cardinals v. Blue Jays
11. Cardinals v. 

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Just Two Days Left! Steiner Sports $100 Gift Card Giveaway

Steiner Sports, who generously helps keep the lights on here at IIATMS, has given us a $100 gift card to give to you. For under $100, you can get some fantastic Yankees memorabilia such as:

Jason Giambi

Yes, Giambi was/is a badass. I know Stacey would love to frame this and place it on her wall.

How do you get said gift card? You can listen to our podcast! We gave out pretty simple instructions for entering the contest on last week’s episode. There is no catch. You don’t have to give anyone your email or sell your soul to some tech overlord in order to enter. Really, it’s easy. And right now, the odds that anyone who enters will win are about as good as any contest out there.

Why are we making you listen to our podcast in order to find out? Mostly because we want more people to listen to the podcast. And really, the podcast is great.…

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Why I Am Quitting Daily Fantasy Baseball

Creative Commons license via flickr / DraftKings Andrew Atkinson

Creative Commons license via flickr / DraftKings Andrew Atkinson

I love playing daily fantasy baseball at Fanduel.com. The game that has rapidly evolved over the past few years is thrilling. I have always loved playing Texas Hold ‘Em poker, but moved to a city far away from the nearest decent casino. Daily fantasy baseball filled the game of skill game in my heart for a short period of time, made all the better by my love of baseball.

I am quitting daily fantasy baseball.

Why? I had long suspected that a great number of players on Fanduel were professional gamblers, but their true impact on the game stunned me this week. The best part about a game of skill is that the best players can win money. The house (Fanduel in my case) takes a rake and provides the infrastructure, but you are fundamentally competing against other people on the site. If you’re smarter and better than those people, you win money.…

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Why is Garrett Jones on this Roster? The Yankees Need a Left-Handed Bench Bat

You probably watched the game on Friday night: tied in the 9th inning with one out, Carlos Beltran hits a single off LHP Brett Cecil. Chase Headley is about to come up to bat. Chris Young, probably the best lefty-masher on any MLB bench, is available to pinch hit. I’m at the game, waiting for Joe Girardi to make the no-brainer move. And then… Chris Young pinch runs for Carlos Beltran.

What the hell happened? Why did Girardi, who plays the percentages as well as any manager, not make the switch to his best hitter? I react:

Pinch-running Young, who hardly steals bases these days, felt like a tremendous waste that took me a little bit to process. Even if you want to let Chase Headley bat, Young can hit for Didi or Stephen Drew if Headley hits a single or takes a walk.…

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Against David Ortiz, Hall of Famer

Ortiz 2015

Courtesy of the AP

Before Pedro Martinez‘s ceremony at Fenway Park last night, the Red Sox introduced David Ortiz as, “David Ortiz, future Hall of Famer.” By any reasonable standard, David Ortiz is not a Hall of Famer.

Here’s Ortiz’s case:

  • 48.3 career bWAR. Hit .283/.377/.543
  • Best 5 seasons by bWAR: 6.4, 5.7, 5.3, 4.4, 4.2
  • 3 World Series rings, .295/.409/.553 in the postseason, lots of big clutch hits
  • 273 career games at 1b. 1,837 at DH.

Very good player. By today’s standard, not even close to a Hall of Fame player. Let’s compare Ortiz to some contemporaries:

Edgar Martinez

  • 68.3 career bWAR. Hit .312/.418/.515
  • Best 5 seasons by bWAR: 7.0, 6.5, 6.5, 6.2, 6.1
  • 0 World Series rings. Hit .266/.365/.508 in limited postseason time, mostly late in his career
  • 564 career games at 3b. 1403 at DH. Handful at 1b
  • Comparison to Ortiz: More bWAR in fewer games. Twice as much time in the field. No postseason accomplishments.
  • HOF Case: Probably should be in, but probably won’t break 50% in the voting

Jim Thome

  • 72.9 career bWAR.
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Four Reasons Why the Yankees Should Trade for Papelbon, Make Him Closer

The trade deadline is just two weeks away. The Yankees are in a great position to the buyers. That said, I don’t think anyone wants the Yankees to completely sell the farm and mortgage the future yet again. So here’s a trade target they can pick up for little while still improving the team: Jonathan Papelbon.

You know him. The Phillies have him signed to an over-market contract at $13 million with a vesting option that is almost sure to hit for next year. They don’t want him. He doesn’t want to be there. You probably hate him too. I know I did for years. But he’s the perfect low-cost piece for the Yankees to add at the deadline. Here’s why:

He’s still very good

Papelbon has been on a terrible Phillies team for a few years now, so I know I’ve tended to forget how good he is. His headline numbers since signing:

  • 2012: 70 innings, 2.44 ERA, 2.90 FIP, 11.9 K/9, 2.3 BB/9
  • 2013: 61.2 innings, 2.92 ERA, 3.05 FIP, 8.3 K/9, 1.6 BB/9
  • 2014: 66.1 innings, 2.04 ERA, 2.53 FIP, 8.5 K/9, 2.0 BB/9
  • 2015: 33.2 innings, 2.60 ERA, 2.75 FIP, 9.4 K/9, 1.9 BB/9

He’s pretty good!…

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Sandy Koufax is Criminally Overrated

Last night, MLB announced the result of its effort to name the best four living baseball players. They came up with: Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench and Sandy Koufax.

Koufax may be the most overrated player in baseball history. He began his career with 5 forgettable seasons from a young player trying to find his game. Then, from 1962 to 1966, he was the best pitcher in baseball. He led the league in ERA each year, and posted the following bWAR:

  • 1962: 4.4 bWAR
  • 1963: 10.7 bWAR
  • 1964: 7.4 bWAR
  • 1965: 8.1 bWAR,
  • 1966: 10.3 bWAR

He then retired due to an arm injury at the age of 30.

Sandy Koufax is the ultimate “peak value” Hall of Fame player. Or at least, he is the most-cited example of a peak value HOFer. In reality, his peak was excellent, but not unique. Let’s look at some of the best seasons from other players with a claim to being one of the best living pitchers:

Randy Johnson:

  • 2002: 10.9 bWAR
  • 2001: 10.0 bWAR
  • 1999: 9.2 bWAR
  • 1995: 8.6 bWAR
  • 2004: 8.5 bWAR

Pedro Martinez:

  • 2000: 11.7 bWAR
  • 1999: 9.7 bWAR
  • 1997: 9.0 bWAR
  • 2003: 8.0 bWAR
  • 1998: 7.2 bWAR

Greg Maddux:

  • 1995: 9.7 bWAR
  • 1992: 9.2 bWAR
  • 1994: 8.5 bWAR
  • 1997: 7.8 bWAR
  • 1996: 7.1 bWAR

Roger Clemens:

  • 1997: 11.9 bWAR
  • 1990: 10.6 bWAR
  • 1987: 9.4 bWAR
  • 1986: 8.9 bWAR
  • 1992: 8.8 bWAR

All of these guys had comparable peaks to Sandy Koufax.…

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The Yankees Need to Platoon Mason Williams and Chris Young

The Yankees will call up Mason Williams to the big team:

You can read my recent post on Mason Williams to get my thought on him. Summary: He’s hitting well in 2015, could be really good, and also has a pretty high floor thanks to defense and a low strikeout swing. He’s been hitting even better at Triple-A since I wrote that post.

With Jacoby Ellsbury out, Chris Young has been getting a lot of playing time. The results haven’t been pretty. Check out these splits:

  • Vs. RHP: 77 PA, .149/.171/.284
  • Vs. LHP: 52 PA, .327/.407/.673

And Mason Williams in 2015:

  • Vs. RHP: .331/.414/.411
  • Vs. LHP: .280/.345/.360

This should be a no-brainer, and probably should have been the day after Ellsbury got injured: Mason Williams and Chris Young should be strictly platooned. Combined, the Yankees could have all-star level production simply by preventing each player from facing their weak sides.…

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