Projecting Chase Headley in the Second Half

Chase

During the Yankees’ off season (after the 2014 season), I did not want the Yankees to get all crazy signing free agents. But the one signing I coveted was Chase Headley. And then time seemed to drag on until December and the Yankees reeled him in at a fairly modest three-year deal. I was very excited. After a very successful Spring Training, I even picked him for my fantasy team. Flash forward to the All Star Break and Chase Headley has been worth -2.9 runs at the plate and -1 run in the field. What the heck happened to Chase Headley!? And what will he offer in the second half?

The reason for being excited about the December signing was that he was solid at the plate in his late stint with the Yankees in 2014 and was spectacular in the field. Headley’s play at third has been disappointing to say the least in 2015 and his offense at the plate is very reminiscent to what he was like for the Padres in 2014 before the trade.…

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Are the Yankees the Best Team in the American League?

[Please note: This post was written yesterday before Kansas City won and the Yankees, Astros and Twins all lost.]

The Yankees are 33-25, tying them with Houston, Minnesota and Kansas City for the best record on the American League. The Yankees have been on top of the AL East for most of the season, but this is the first time that they are on top of the whole American League.

They’ve scored 271 runs (4.67 per game) and allowed 236 (4.07 per game), giving them a perfectly-matched 33-25 pythagorean record. Despite a killer back end of the bullpen, they are just 8-8 in one-run games. They’ve had key players (Ellsbury, Tanaka), miss a lot of time. Arod and Teixeira might come down to earth, but there is no evidence that the Yankees are just getting lucky to start the season.

Are they the best team in the American League? Let’s compare them to the teams they are tied with:

Houston Astros (34-26, 4.13 RS/G, 3.90 RA/G, 11-8 in 1-run games, 32-28 Expected)

I don’t buy the Astros.…

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So What’s The Deal With Garrett Jones?

Jones vs COL 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

I mean honestly, what’s the deal with this guy?  He’s a right fielder who can’t play right field, he’s a first baseman who can’t play first base.  What’s up with that?  He’s got no first names and 2 last names.  He doesn’t know who he is or what he’s doing.  I don’t get it.

That’s funnier if you read it in Jerry Seinfeld’s voice in your head, but in all seriousness, I am somewhat intrigued by Garrett Jones‘ presence on the roster and what his eventual role on this team might become.  A commenter in the ZiPS post pointed out that ZiPS was actually pretty high on him, something I completely glossed over when I first read through the projection numbers, and there’s some truth to that.  ZiPS doesn’t see much in the way of average or OBP for Jones, but it does project a healthy .449 SLG and 21 home runs.

That kind of production would be very welcome from the DH spot, the most likely lineup destination for Jones and one of the areas of biggest offensive weakness for the Yankees over the last 2 seasons.  …

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Quick Hit: FanGraphs Releases ZiPS Projections For 2015 Yankees

Now that rosters have been mostly set and prospects have been ranked, the next step on the march towards pitchers and catchers reporting is the release of 2015 projections.  Earlier this morning, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the Yankees were released over at FanGraphs.  It’s a mixed bag of good and bad if you’re the kind of person who values projections in any way, and I invite everybody to read through the whole post when you have the time.

If you’re just looking for the highlights, here they are.  ZiPS is high on Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann, projecting all of them to outperform their 2014 slash lines.  It’s also somewhat optimistic about Mark Teixeira, pegging him for a .332 wOBA, albeit in just 377 plate appearances.  A handful of rookies also got favorable WAR projections, most notably Luis Severino, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder, and Aaron Judge.

The pitching, on the other hand, was mostly lowlights.  …

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Blood from a Stone, or Just What Can We Expect from Mr. Rodriguez?

The last time we saw Alex Rodriguez playing Major League Baseball, he was performing quite well, batting .244/.348/.423 with 7 HR and a 113 wRC+ across 181 PA. That is, of course, well below the lofty standards set by his career as a whole, and a rather unattractive slash line in the context of the era – but I would also suggest that it was fairly encouraging. At 38-years-old, with two surgically repaired hips and a surgically repaired right knee, Rodriguez managed to be an above-average hitter over what amounts to a quarter of a season. If you cocked your head and squinted a bit, things were looking up for Rodriguez, as he prepared for the upcoming season. But that was 2013, and ‘the upcoming season’ ended up being ‘TBA.’ And … well, you know the rest.

As of this writing, it has been 488 days since Rodriguez played professional baseball. By the time the Yankees suit-up for their first Spring Training game in March, it will have been one year, five months, one week, and three days since the last time Rodriguez donned pinstripes – and that’s assuming he plays some role in that game.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Consider These Options

Player A 2015 Steamer Projection- .274/.326/.402, 2.6 fWAR
Player B 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.328/.390, 1.7 fWAR
Player C 2015 Steamer Projection- .259/.307/.381, 0.7 fWAR
Player D 2015 Steamer Projection- .262/.349/.400, 3.9 fWAR

Player A is Martin Prado, the originally scheduled programming at second base.  Players B and C are Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela, the rookie tandem now tasked with replacing him.  Player D is Ben Zobrist, newly available second baseman/really, really good utility guy.  Just wanted to toss this up here to try to push my pro-Zobrist agenda a little more.

Think about it.  Prado was written into the starting second base job very lightly in pencil when the roster plans for next year starting coming together.  The safe assumption was that he’d play there as much as injuries allowed him to, with third base and right field both looking like they were going to be most in need of his services at some point.  That plan got scaled down by the signing of Chase Headley, but the opportunity was always there for Prado to be the floating everyday utility guy and for the injuries that proceeded his floating to open up a spot in the lineup for Refsnyder.…

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Is It Really is 2B Rookie Time? Will No Humdrum Vet Displace Refsnyder’s Shot?

I’m oddly excited to read, “the Yankees are not bidding on free agent infielder Asdrubal Cabrera” (Bryan Hoch tweeting, then Chad Jennings re-reporting), leaving 2B likely a competition between Rob Refsnyder, Jose Pirela, and some journeymen minor-leaguers who won’t really have a shot unless both Ref and Pirela badly tank and/or get hurt.

The lack of an Asdrubal Cabrera era for the Yankees is is good news, as is the lack of news, since the Gregorious acquisition, that Stephen Drew might still be signed for 2B. The kids are not only investments in the future, but better bets for 2015:

  • Refsnyder’s Steamer (Fangraphs) projection is .262/.328/.390 (102 wRC+)
  • Pirela’s is .259/.307/.381 (91 wRC+)
  • Cabrera’s is .251/.316/.397 (100 wRC+)
  • Drew’s is .218/.294/.352 (81 wRC+)
  • That’s offense; on defense, Steamer projects Cabrera as a clearly minus defender, but Ref as a slight plus defender. Reports are mixed on Ref’s defense, probably because 2B is new enough to him that he’s been an inconsistent work in progress in the field.…

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    Long term Max Scherzer is a big risk

    (Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

    Signing any player to a long term contract is a risk. Things rarely work out for the life of the deal. Sometimes the player is so good in the first few years of the deal that the back end evens out the worth of the investment. The risk seems even larger for Max Scherzer because, first, he is a pitcher and secondly, all you have to do is look at his teammate from Detroit as a cautionary tale.

    Scherzer famously turned down a large offer from the Tigers to test the free agent waters. And it seems he has set himself up nicely with another ace-like season. The financial rewards of his roll of the dice will pay off handsomely. Someone will give him the money. But will they be happy with the investment?

    Scherzer’s own teammate, Justin Verlander and American League rival, CC Sabathia seem to show the risks involved with signing up a talented power arm up beyond their peak seasons.…

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    Rival Roundup – The Boston Red Sox

    RedSox

    The last of a four-part series, Rival Roundup has been an overview of the Yankees’ American League East rivals. As stated throughout the series, almost half of the Yankees’ games will be against these four rivals. This last installment looks at the Boston Red Sox. Like the first three in the series, we have enlisted the thoughts of member sites of The ESPN SweetSpot Network. For this installment, my good friend, Jeff Polman, of Fire Brand of the American League will provide some insight throughout the piece.

    Of course the last installment had to be the Boston Red Sox. Cue the bad-guy organ music! Actually, a lot of steam has gone out of the antipathy between the two teams. They spend too much time respecting each other these days. Even so, the bottom line for both teams and the teams’ fans is that both ends of the “rivalry” are shooting for the same prize. Only one can win the division.…

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