Will is a lifelong New Yorker and Yankees fan who splits his time between finance, music, and baseball. He was one of the early contributors to IIATMS, though life took him away for some time. He is very excited to be back.

Author Archives: Will@IIATMS

A Painful Posting

For Evan, it didn’t matter that Barry Bonds was, by all accounts, a major ^*^%*. The circus he brought to the ballpark on a daily basis was fine with her, so long as he kept bashing homeruns into McCovey’s Cove. She was a fan–which we often forget is short for fanatic. And for a fan, it wasn’t that hard to convince herself that Bonds was completely natural (as well as both a scholar and a gentleman). From that perspective, I hate the post I’m about to write–because I’m a fan of Andy Pettitte‘s. And this is just one of the many examples I have to show that being both a fan and an analyst can be….difficult at times.

Because compared to the jump Evan was making with Barry Bonds (which required the turning of a blind eye to any number of Bonds’ foibles, the newspaper articles that seemed to come out daily, his own teammates potshots, not to mention his grotesque musculature), the jump I would be taking, nudging Andy over the finish line into the hall of fame would be quite small (though as I’ll show, not insignificant).…

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Possible Trade Partners: Cleveland Indians

The post 2008 version of Rafael Perez walks too many batters (~4/9 innings) and strikes out too few (~5.5/9 innings), and was the beneficiary of a fluky HR rate in 2010 (5.8% compared to his career 11.3%). Still, he throws with his left hand and has been very good (by FIP) in 3 out of the last 4 years. Chris Perez is coming off a good year generated on the strength of an unsustainable strand rate (86%) and an absurdly low BABIP (.236). While he strikes out a ton (9.5/9 innings) he also walks the park (4.3/9 innings). Nevertheless, he’s been worth positive value in all three major league seasons, with FIP/xFIPs hovering around 4.0, and he throws gas (average fastball at 94.6 mph).  Joe Smith is a steady righthander that came up with the Mets in 2007, and could be a solid, if not exciting, member of the relief corps.

And then there’s Fausto Carmona.

I have to admit, even hearing the name Fausto Carmona still sparks PTSD-style flashbacks of the midge game (think Johnny Depp in “Fear and Loathing”).…

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Help Wanted: Utility Infielder

This makes sense. If a player is good enough defensively to play shortstop, and a good enough hitter to justify being given at bats, they typically get snapped up to play shortstop fulltime because there’s also a serious dearth of shortstops worth giving at bats. Just look at how hard the Red Sox have struggled to fill their SS spot since they traded Nomar Garciaparra. This is a big part of why Derek Jeter’s agent thought he could ask for the moon. If Jeter were an outfielder, he’d be in a much deeper pool of talent–as a shortstop, he’s a lot harder to replace.

So why would a player good enough to play shortstop go the utility infield route? Probably due to idiosyncratic situations–the team is has established veterans at each spot, but wants to get him a shot at the bigs. Maybe it’s because the team’s manager is a bit trigger happy on the double switches, and wants a number of versatile defensive players to pick and choose from.…

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Yankees Lack Flexibility This Offseason

For purposes of this discussion, we have to operate under the assumption that all three of the Yankee standards (Jeter, Mo, Pettitte) will return–because even if the Yankees think they won’t, they risk serious fallout were they to add insult to injury by signing a SS or CL before negotiations with Jeter or Mariano conclude–or if they go out and sign (gulp…) two starting pitchers before Pettitte officially retires. The Yankees current agenda isn’t going to include filling these slots until they know that they’re truly open.

It’s already been penciled in that Posada will likely be a part-time catcher/part-time DH this coming season–which would open the door for a signing or a trade if the Yankees weren’t fully stocked in the minors (Montero, Romine, J.R. Murphy, Gary Sanchez are all solid to incredible prospects.) That means the Yankees can’t go out and try to find themselves a bargain at DH, which is typically a good spot to underpay for value (Guerrerro and Thome stick out the most in 2010, and there are any number of candidates in 2011).…

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Change of Plan

Take a look deeper, though, and you’ll see that the Rangers’ midseason pickups turned out to be rather shrewd–as both Benjie Molina and Jeff Francouer hit southpaws pretty well, relative to righties (against whom they are terrible). If I’m reading this right, that means they are taking at bats against lefties away from Julio Borbon (your prototypical black hole) and Matt Treanor (who couldn’t crack a .200 wOBA against southpaws).

They also have healthy versions of Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, who hammer lefthanders, but missed 1/3 of the season each. Between these four players, it appears Texas’ lefty worries from earlier in the season are no longer an issue. If you’re looking for a positive to take out of this, I suppose it’s that the Yankees righty-heavy bullpen will match up well with the Rangers midseason reinforcements. But if you came into this looking to find a platoon split in the Rangers’ lineup, well, sorry to disappoint.

The main motivation behind the change is probably, as Girardi noted, Hughes home/road splits.…

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