About Katie Sharp

Former ESPN researcher; forever baseball and Yankees fan. Now living in northern Vermont and the color of the front door of our house is Yankee blue. Also write about college football and basketball and the NFL. Bleed Huskies blue (that's UConn, of course).

Nathan Eovaldi’s putaway problem

Nate Eovaldi has electric stuff, so why are his strikeout totals so underwhelming? (Photo: NY Daily News)

Nate Eovaldi has electric stuff, so why are his strikeout totals so underwhelming? (Photo: NY Daily News)

The scouting report on Nathan Eovaldi is pretty simple: a hard-throwing yet hittable right-hander, who has struggled to rack up strikeouts despite a blazing fastball that he throws consistently in the mid-to-high 90s.

The stats back up the scouts, too. Eovaldi’s heater last season averaged 95.7 mph, tied for third-highest among starting pitchers, yet his strikeout rate of 16.6 percent ranked 70th in that group of 88 qualified starters. He racked up just 142 strikeouts in 199 2/3 innings last year, one more than Masahiro Tanaka managed in his injury-shorted season of 136 1/3 innings.

Eovaldi even admitted that his lack of strikeouts remains one of the biggest holes in his resume. “That’s one of the big issues I’ve had, not being able to finish the batters off,” Eovaldi told reporters this spring.

So why does Eovaldi struggle so much to get strike three and put away hitters, despite a fastball that nearly reaches three digits?… Click here to read the rest

Imagining a Didi Gregorius that crushes lefties

I'm smiling because I know I can hit lefties. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports/Kim Klement)

I’m smiling because I know I can hit lefties. (Photo: USA TODAY Sports/Kim Klement)

Didi Gregorius‘ biggest challenge as a baseball player this season won’t be trying to follow in the footsteps of a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. That’s a storyline for the mass media to hype and write about it, and Gregorius knows himself that he can’t replace the Yankee shortstop legend.

“What Jeter did, nobody else is going to do that,” he told reporters during the first week of spring training. “If they compare me to Jeter, there’s nothing I can do.”

The most daunting task he’s going to face come April will be whether he can hit left-handed pitching and show Joe Girardi that he is capable of being the Yankees everyday shortstop.

Gregorius’ career stats against southpaws are ugly. He is one of 105 left-handed batters with at least 150 plate appearances against lefties since his debut in 2012. Here’s how he ranks among this group:


BA OBP Slug pct OPS Miss Pct K Pct
Stat 0.184 0.257 0.233 0.490 31.2% 25.0%
Rank 99th 95th 104th 103rd 87th 73rd

**Min.… Click here to read the rest

IIATMS Top Moment #17: Rauuuuuuuuuul!

Source: Fangraphs.com

Source: Fangraphs.com

Raul Ibanez was never supposed to be the hero for the Yankees in Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS against the Orioles.

But thanks to a gutsy move by Joe Girardi — pinch-hitting Ibanez for the slumping Alex Rodriguez with one out in the ninth inning and Yankees trailing by a run –- the 40-year-old etched his name among the pinstriped immortals with a couple swings of the bat.

The Yankees and Orioles had split the first two games of the best-of-five series, giving added significance to this critical Game 3 at Yankee Stadium. The loser would be on the brink of elimination, the winner would be one step away from advancing to the ALCS.

The Orioles struck first with a solo homer by rookie second baseman Ryan Flaherty in the top of the third inning, but the Yankees quickly answered back in the bottom of the frame when Derek Jeter tripled home Russell Martin to tie the score at 1-1.… Click here to read the rest

Why Garrett Jones could become your favorite Yankee

That short right porch looks really enticing. (Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

That short right porch looks really enticing.(Photo: Kim Klement, USA TODAY Sports)

One of the more under-the-radar moves by the Yankees this winter was the acquisition of Garrett Jones, who came over in the trade with the Marlins for Nathan Eovaldi. Jones is likely to be used as a platoon bat (81 percent of his career plate appearances have come against right-handed pitching), but he still could end up being one of the more valuable Yankees even in his role as backup first baseman/outfielder.

It’s no secret that the Yankees have been starved for power over the last two seasons. Since 2013, they rank 11th in the AL in homers and second-to-last in slugging percentage; only the Royals have hit fewer extra-base hits.

Garrett Jones has a chance to really help the Yankees reverse that trend in 2015.

In fact, there might not be a more perfect fit for Yankee Stadium than the left-handed Jones, who’s potential as an above-average power bat is largely untapped after spending his entire career in pitcher-friendly parks.… Click here to read the rest

The numbers behind Adam Warren’s transformation

How did he become a key part of the Yankee pitching staff in 2014?

How did he become a key part of the Yankee pitching staff in 2014?

To put it mildly, Adam Warren‘s first outing in a Yankee uniform did not go well. In June 2012, Warren was summoned from Triple-A to make an emergency start against the White Sox in the wake of injuries to both Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia. The 2009 fourth-round pick couldn’t make it out of the third inning, allowing eight hits – including two home runs – and six runs in a 14-7 loss.

Nearly three years removed from that disastrous debut, Warren has established himself as one of the team’s most valuable middle relievers, and this spring has been given a chance to compete for a potential spot at the back of the rotation (and, at worst, will be the third-best arm in a deep bullpen).

Warren improved his performance dramatically across the board over the last two seasons, reducing his walks and homers allowed while increasing his strikeout rate to nearly one per inning.… Click here to read the rest

Yankeemetrics: The Final Series

The final hit of The Captain's career. (Photo: Steven Senne/AP)

The final hit of The Captain’s career. (Photo: Steven Senne/AP)

A rare meaningless Red Sox-Yankees game
Following Thursday’s dramatic Yankee Stadium finale, the Yankees rested most of their regulars on Friday night at Fenway Park in the opener of the final series of 2014, but still managed to beat the Red Sox, 3-2.

This was the first time since October 2-4, 1992 that the Yankees and Red Sox played a series with both teams eliminated from playoff contention; that date was also the last time both teams entered a head-to-head series at least 13 games out of first place in the division.

The Yankees started five rookies and all five got at least three at-bats. Since rookie rules were established in 1958, the only other time the Yankees had five rookies get at least three at-bats in a game vs Red Sox was on Sept. 10, 1966, a 5-1 Yankees win at Fenway Park.

Chris Capuano finished his season with a strong outing, allowing just one unearned run on four hits over 6 2/3 innings.… Click here to read the rest

Yankeemetrics: Captain Clutch edition

Captain Clutch does it again. (Photo: John Munson/NJ.com)

Captain Clutch does it again. (Photo: John Munson/NJ.com)

We’re leading this one off with The Captain, Derek Jeter

Captain Clutch’s last stand
You could not have scripted a better sendoff for The Captain in his final game at Yankee Stadium. His life really is a Hollywood movie, no joke.

Derek Jeter played his first and only game at Yankee Stadium with the Yankees eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night, and he made sure that it would be a historic one.

Jeter came to bat in the ninth inning with the score tied and Antoan Richardson on second base, and lined a single to right field that scored Richardson for the game-winning run. It was his seventh career walk-off hit and first since 2007. Since his rookie season in 1995, no other Yankee has more walk-off hits than Jeter.

Four of those seven walk-off hits came in the ninth inning with the score tied. In the last 75 years, the only Yankees with more such hits than Jeter’s four are Mickey Mantle (6) and Graig Nettles (6).… Click here to read the rest

Yankeemetrics: Jeter farewell edition

Derek Jeter's career is unmatched in baseball history.

Derek Jeter’s career is unmatched in baseball history.

As Derek Jeter‘s incredible career comes to an end, let’s celebrate the amazing accomplishments of the soon-to-be Hall of Famer with a list of my 10 favorite stats from Jeter’s 20 seasons with the New York Yankees. Special thanks to the Baseball-Reference.com Play Index and the Complete Baseball Encyclopedia for many of these notes.

1. Jeter is the only player in major-league baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 350 stolen bases, 250 homers and 1,300 RBI. Nada, no one else has done it.

2. Jeter and Hank Aaron are the only two players in MLB history with 16-or-more seasons of at least 150 hits, 20 doubles and 10 homers.

3. Arguably Jeter’s most iconic hit was his 3,000th, a home run off David Price on July 9, 2011. The only other player to reach the 3,000-hit milestone with a homer was Wade Boggs on August 7, 1999.

4. He is one of two players all-time with at least 3,460 hits for one franchise and none with any other team, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.… Click here to read the rest

Yankeemetrics: Sept. 18-21 (Blue Jays)

Derek Jeter is on fire in his last homestand. (Photo: NY Times)

Derek Jeter is on fire in his last homestand. (Photo: NY Times)

Chasing the hero
The Yankees started Derek Jeter‘s final homestand with a dramatic walk-off win against the Blue Jays on Thursday night.

In the bottom of the ninth inning with the scored knotted at 2-2, Chase Headley hit a groundball to Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind, who let it go through his legs, allowing Antoan Richardson to score the winning run from third base.

If you remember, the Yankees also lost a game via a walk-off error in Toronto on June 24. Hmmm… This is the first time in at least the last 75 years that the Yankees lost via walk-off error and won via walk-off error against the same team in a season.

Shane Greene held the Blue Jays without a run into the seventh inning, the second time he’s had a scoreless start at home this year. He is the first Yankee rookie with at least two scoreless starts at Yankee Stadium in a season since Orlando Hernandez in 1998.… Click here to read the rest