One Positive Thing About The Early Yankee Offense

The 2015 New York Yankees offense looked a lot like the 2014 and 2013 versions before yesterday’s 14-run outburst.

However, there was one thing they did well on Sunday that they were actually doing well during their previous games last week — drawing walks.

According to Sweeny Murti, the Yankees have only swung at 40.8 percent of pitches this season (before last night’s game), which is the fewest in the AL. The Yankees are fifth in MLB with a 9.7% walk rate so far this season. This is a far cry from the last two years when they were 17th last year (7.4%) and 16th in 2013 (7.7%).

Looking at the Yankees individual on-base percentages and walk rates were not pretty last year. Carlos Beltran (.301 and 8.2%), Mark Teixeira, (.313 and 11.4%), Brian McCann (.286 and 5.9%), Jacoby Ellsbury (.328 and 7.7%) and Brett Gardner (.327 and 8.8%) all simply did not get on base enough and were below their career averages.…

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What To Look For From Pineda Tonight

Yankees Spring Training

Courtesy of Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Masahiro Tanaka‘s start wasn’t that great on Monday, and Yankeeland went into near meltdown mode as a result.  After the pesky off-day yesterday, we move from that injury concern storyline to a less serious one tonight in the form of Michael Pineda.  He’ll make his 2015 debut after a very strong spring campaign, one that, even in the context of watered-down ST competition, has built some of the excitement back up that he can be the upper-tier pitcher the team expected him to be when they acquired him.

With Pineda looking and pitching better this spring and with him being further removed from the shoulder surgery, I wanted to touch on a few things worth following in his start tonight.  While it’s equally silly to predict a monster year for him based on 1 start while fretting over Tanaka after 1 start, there are a few factors that could suggest good things to come for a guy who I still think didn’t get enough credit for how good he was last year.  …

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Imagining The Best Case Scenario With The Rotation

Tanaka ST 2015 BP

The key to any best case scenario… Courtesy of the AP

The big names in the projected starting rotation aren’t scheduled to make their 2015 spring debuts yet, but we got our first look at one of the members when Nathan Eovaldi made his first ST start yesterday.  He’s one of multiple best case/worst case unknowns in the rotation, and where he and the rest of his rotation mates fall on that case scale could determine whether the Yankees end up having one of the best or worst rotations in baseball this season.

I’ve been pondering how those best case/worst case scenarios might play out for a while now.  It feels like this season more than the last few is one in which the potential for the rotation leans mostly towards the extremes with not much room for a middle ground performance.  Without getting too detailed or statistically-supported in this exercise, I’d like to ramble for a bit on what I’ve been pondering and try to paint a picture of what the best case scenario for the rotation would look like this season.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Don’t Forget About Andrew Bailey

Bailey ST 2015

Joe’s already got his eye on him. Courtesy of the Yanks’ PR handle

I name dropped him in the ST roster battles post yesterday morning, but I think Andrew Bailey deserves a little more digital ink based on the news that came out yesterday.  Via Chad Jennings, Bailey threw a bullpen yesterday afternoon.  Like Ivan Nova, he’s been back throwing bullpens for a while now and he spoke like a player who felt he was almost back to normal game shape:

“I came in and spent the offseason training, working as I would if I played last year. The doctor gave me 18, 24 months (to be healthy after surgery), and we’re in that 18th, 19th month. Everyone around here, training staff, coaches and strength and conditioning have all kind of (treated it as if) I’m a normal guy with some needs. Hopefully we get rid of those needs. Everything feels great. I’m with the team and doing everything as I would normally, and if I need a little extra work here or there, that’s fine too.

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Previewing The Spring Training Roster Battles

Miller ST 2015

The new closer? Maybe, maybe not… Courtesy of the AP

The dust is still settling from yesterday’s Yoan Moncada decision, and to be perfectly honest I can’t figure out how I feel about it or how I should respond to it.  The Yankees’ entire process leading up to the decision and their explanation after the fact aren’t adding up to me, they have me in a mental pretzel, so I’m just going to back burner that for a second and move forward with normal Spring Training activity.

Roster battles are always one of the more fun ST storylines.  Something about the spirit of competition and the possibility of an unsung player performing well enough to earn himself a shot at the big time, it’s classic sports storytelling.  The Yankees don’t have a ton of really exciting roster battles on tap this spring, but there are a few that are worth following.  Here’s a quick roundup of the key ones to watch.…

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Monday Morning Rapid-Fire Reactions To What I Missed Over The Last Week

hank-steinbrenner-smoking

There was a Hank sighting and I missed it?? Damn

Good morning, dear IIATMS readers.  How’s everybody feeling this morning?  It feels good to be back after a week off, and it feels even better to have had nothing go majorly wrong in Yankeeland while I was away.  It was a bummer to miss pitchers and catchers report day last Friday, but that disappointment is overwhelmed by the excitement that comes with the start of Spring Training and the return of baseball to our lives.

Last week was not an inactive one, and naturally I have my own opinions on the comings and goings of that last week.  Before proceeding with what’s going on in the present and getting back to business as usual around here, I wanted to circle back and give my quick takes on the major stories I missed last week.  I promise this won’t take long.

A-Rod’s Apology Letter

Loved it.  Loved everything about it.  He was obviously in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation when it came to the public apology, and I think he made the right decision to handle it the way he did.  …

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Quick Hit: Cash Sets The Stage For Refsnyder

Brian Cashman was a guest on Mike Francesa’s show yesterday afternoon.  He talked about a variety of topics, including where the team stands on Yoan Moncada and James Shields, what the expectations are for CC Sabathia, and the health of Masahiro Tanaka.  But the most telling comments might have been the ones about the situation at second base.

Via Brendan Kuty, Cash explained that the Stephen Drew signing was a low-risk one and one the team is willing to cut bait on if he doesn’t rebound from his putrid 2014.  He also didn’t come and declare that Drew was going to be the starter at second base, saying of Rob Refsnyder:

“The bottom line is, he’ll go into camp, and he’ll compete, and he’ll have a chance to potentially earn a spot on the roster.”

That quote should be music to the ears of the Yankee fans who were against the Drew signing.  One of their biggest problems with the decision was the perceived blocking of Refsnyder at second.  …

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A Quick Word On All This Relief Prospect Depth

The talking point of the Yankees acquiring more organizational depth this offseason has been hammered home for a while now, perhaps nowhere more than with the bullpen.  There are already a ton of arms that are in competition for the last bullpen spot or 2, and there are going to be a ton of young arms waiting in the wings for their chance to break in and contribute.  I mean really, a ton of arms.  In somewhat of a particular order, here’s a breakdown of the current relief prospect depth:

1) Jacob Lindgren
2) Jose Ramirez
3) Chasen Shreve
4) Nick Rumbelow
5) Tyler Webb
6) Danny Burawa
7) James Pazos
8) Branden Pinder
9) Mark Montgomery
10) Nick Goody

That doesn’t even include guys like Phil Wetherall, Dietrich Enns, and Diego Moreno who have had some success working in relief in the middle levels of the system, and 2014 draft picks like Jonathan Holder, Jordan Foley, Sean Carley, and Jake Kelzer.  …

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Resetting The Organizational Catching Depth

As usual, the Yankees are experiencing the pains of a 40-man roster crunch.  They have yet to make a move to open up a spot for the recently-signed Stephen Drew, and when they do they will have to deal with a possible surplus of infielders on the roster.  That’s not the worst problem to have when you’re coming off a year in which your infield was as bad as the Yankees’ was in 2014, and it should work itself out by the time Spring Training comes and goes.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Bombers were going through a similar crunch with their catching depth.  They opened the offseason with 5 catchers on the 40-man and not enough spots for all those catchers.  Francisco Cervelli was traded to Pittsburgh for Justin Wilson, which opened up the backup MLB job for John Ryan Murphy and eased the playing time concerns at the rest of the upper levels.  With that issue cleared up, let’s do a quick review of the team’s current catching depth.…

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