Quick Hit: Pinder Diagnosed With UCL Tear

Brendan Kuty with the scoop on the latest injury to afflict the Yankee bullpen.  Branden Pinder, who was placed on the 15-day DL yesterday with an elbow strain, has been diagnosed with a UCL tear in his pitching elbow.  Surgery is still up in the air, so this tear might not be as serious as the injury that ended Nick Rumbelow’s season, but it’s going to keep him out of action for some time.

Pinder was replaced on the active roster by Nick Goody yesterday, and now with he and Rumbelow on the shelf with Bryan Mitchell, relief depth is starting to become an area of concern for the Yankees.  Luis Cessa has been sent back down to Triple-A to work as a starter, Aroldis Chapman is still weeks away from returning, and Johnny Barbato recently experienced his first rough outing.  The SWB Shuttle is short a few bodies and possibly looking for new passengers.

It doesn’t sound promising for Pinder, but hopefully this is a minor tear and something he can return from with the Tanaka rest-and-rehab method.

Continue reading Quick Hit: Pinder Diagnosed With UCL Tear

Quick Hit: Calling All Questions

Less than 7% of the Yankees 2016 is in the books.

Let that sink in for a moment. In this era of hot takes (or #hottakes), instant gratification, and inane (or insane) editorials by Randy Levine, we all want to draw conclusions from the precious little information that we have in front of us. Is Jacoby Ellsbury – he of the .240/.296/.337 (74 wRC+) line since September of 2014 – toast? Is Deldrew Millances a force for fascism in Major League Baseball? Should the rotation’s credo be ‘Masahiro Tanaka, and pray for four days of rain?’ Could Starlin Castro really be one of the five-best second basemen in baseball?

Some of these questions are answerable, based largely on the same information that we had to work with before the season actually began. Eleven baseball games – again, less than 7% of the season – doesn’t offer a whole lot of information, after all. But where’s the fun in that?

With all that being said, I submit the following to you, the readers: ask me whatever question(s) your heart may desire about the Yankees or baseball on the whole. Nothing is too silly or too complex. You may ask it right here in the comments, or on Twitter.

I shall do my best to answer every question with limited sarcasm. Unlike most ‘all questions answered’ posts, however, I will not be responding in the comments or on Twitter. Instead, I will make a longer post right here on Friday.

You may fire when ready. Continue reading Quick Hit: Calling All Questions

Quick Hit: McCann’s Toe Injury

If you watched last night’s game, you were probably a little uneasy seeing Brian McCann limp around the bases for his game-tying home run and move gingerly in general after taking a foul ball off his left foot in the middle of the game.  It was serious enough for him to get checked out by trainers on the field at one point, but not serious enough for him to come out of the game until the 9th inning.

The early concern was that his left big toe could be broken and there were plans to have McCann X-rayed after he came out.  Instead he had some blood drained from the toe and a fluoroscope taken at Rogers Centre.  That doesn’t sound like an actual medical procedure to me, but I’m not a doctor and it showed no break, so for now the team is calling it a bruised left toe and waiting to see how McCann feels today.

Joe announced after last night’s game ended that McCann would get tonight off, so bare minimum this is something serious enough to keep him out of action for 1 game and get him tagged with the old “day-to-day” label.  Beyond that we don’t know right now, although I imagine we will find out more as today progresses.  It goes without saying that losing McCann for any extended period of time would be a big blow.  He’s been the hottest hitter in the lineup since Opening Day.  Hopefully this is something that keeps him out for a day or 2 and doesn’t linger as the season goes on. Continue reading Quick Hit: McCann’s Toe Injury

Quick Hit: Rumbelow Needs TJS

Didn’t get to this last night, but it appears as though we have our first significant arm injury of the year.  As first reported by Chad Jennings, Nick Rumbelow needs Tommy John Surgery in his right elbow and will miss the rest of this season.  The report was picked up by a bunch of other beat guys and later confirmed by GM Brian Cashman.

Rumbelow was in the running for an Opening Day bullpen spot earlier in Spring Training.  He pitched to a 4.02/3.84/3.87 tripleslash in 17 big league appearances last year and figured to factor into the SWB shuttle at some point this season, although the Yankees had been experimenting with stretching him out as a starter after he was reassigned to MiL camp.  He made a relief appearance on Sunday and had to leave the game with an injury.  That injury was to his pitching elbow and it will require TJS.  Major bummer for Rumbelow.

Also a major bummer for the Yankees, who have lost another piece of relief depth.  They’re already without Bryan Mitchell for at least the next 4 months and Aroldis Chapman for the next 24 games.  Now without Rumbelow they’re down to Nick Goody and Branden Pinder as the only righty relievers left on the 40-man roster, along with lefties James Pazos, Jacob Lindgren, and Tyler Olson. Continue reading Quick Hit: Rumbelow Needs TJS

Quick Hit: Don’t Stress About The Rest

I mentioned this briefly in my game recap on Saturday night, but I wanted to go back and revisit Joe’s decision to use Dellin Betances with a 4-run lead in the 8th inning of that game.  There were people asking why he would use Betances in that situation and some early chatter of concern on Twitter about Joe overusing him.  I honestly almost laughed out loud reading some of the comments.

I tweeted this out yesterday morning, but if you’re unfortunate enough to not follow me, I’ll do it again here.  This was Dellin Betances’ workload last week:

Monday- Did not pitch (rainout)
Tuesday- 0.2 IP, 30 pitches
Wednesday- Did not pitch
Thursday- 1.0 IP, 13 pitches
Friday- Did not pitch
Saturday- 1.0 IP, 26 pitches
Sunday- Did not pitch (rainout)

3 appearances, 2.2 innings pitched, 69 pitches thrown.  Now the rainouts certainly helped limit Betances’ usage, but I would be willing to bet that Joe would have given Betances the night off anyway yesterday just in the interest of not using him back-to-back early when he threw 25+ pitches the game before.  Either way, Betances would have gotten another day off before going into today’s scheduled off-day, which Joe surely knew he had available to rest his bullpen.  5 off-days and 3 days of work.  That’s not a very strenuous schedule for the first week of the regular season.  For the sake of comparison, Betances pitched 4.1 innings in 4 appearances and threw 95 pitches over the first week of last season.  None of those appearances were back-to-back either.

The point here is that it is foolish to start getting worked up about Betances’ workload and whether he’s getting enough rest in the first week of the season.  He’s had plenty of rest and Joe hasn’t been working him too hard.  Had Betances not walked the yard and thrown the ball away on Opening Day, he wouldn’t have had to throw so many pitches.  Joe gave him a day off after that outing and he’ll have 2 days off after a 25+ pitch outing on Saturday.  He’s fine. Continue reading Quick Hit: Don’t Stress About The Rest

Quick Hit: Two-Strike Mike

[caption id="attachment_80873" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Pineda 2-Strikes vs HOU Courtesy of Brooks Baseball[/caption]

It’s foolish to make too much out of one start, but take a look at that pitch plot from Michael Pineda‘s start last night.  That’s pitch location broken down by strikes in the count and the yellow dots indicate where his 2-strike pitches were thrown.  Unless you have some kind of color blindness, you can see that a lot of those 2-strike pitches are located in the strike zone and too many of those pitches in the strike zone are in the middle portion of it.

As I discussed in the game recap, poor 2-strike pitch location was a problem for Pineda again last night.  It wasn’t his downfall, as all the home runs off him came early in the count, but it perfectly exemplifies the command and location problems that have hounded him during his time in pinstripes.  We should be seeing a lot more of those yellow dots down and out of the strike zone, in places where hitters either can’t make contact and strike out or make weaker contact that leads to easy outs from the defense.  I only count 3 of those such pitches, compared to 13 in the strike zone.

I’m sure the cold weather had something to do with Pineda’s location struggles last night, especially when it comes to his slider.  It would be a gross over-reaction to say that last night’s poor showing is a predictor of things to come this season.  At the same time, this is not a new problem for Pineda and it is one that he needs to correct regardless of what the weather is.  We know he’s got the stuff and the command to be a very good starting pitcher.  That’s reflected in his K and BB rates and we’ve seen him be dominant in a few starts.  But he needs to be better with 2 strikes and the best way to do that is to throw more pitches out of the strike zone.  2-strike counts are not the time to let a hitter square the ball up. Continue reading Quick Hit: Two-Strike Mike

Quick Hit: Draft Bonus Pools Announced

As per MLB.com’s Jim Callis, the Yankees have a total draft allotment of $5,831,200, which is the 24th highest in Major League Baseball. Their 1st round pick, 18th overall, has a slot value of $2,441,600. In 2015, those numbers were $7,885,000 and $2,543,300, respectively – the extra pool money came from a compensation pick for David Robertson signing with the White Sox. Here’s a quick refresher on what these numbers actually mean (taken from the same link):

Each pick in the top 10 rounds comes with an assigned value, and the total for each of a team’s choices covers what it can spend without penalty in those rounds. Any bonus money in excess of $100,000 given to an individual player selected in rounds 11-40 also counts against a club’s bonus pool. The amounts rise each year in accordance with Major League Baseball’s revenue growth and increased by 4.62 percent compared to 2015.

If a player chosen in the first 10 rounds doesn’t sign, his pick’s value is subtracted from his club’s pool. If a team surpasses its allotment, it faces penalties.

A club that exceeds its pool by 0-5 percent pays a 75 percent tax on the overage. At higher thresholds, teams forfeit future picks: a first-rounder and a 75 percent tax for going beyond their pool by more than 5 and up to 10 percent; a first- and a second-rounder and a 100 percent tax for more than 10 and up to 15 percent; and two first-rounders and a 100 percent tax for more than 15 percent.

Continue reading Quick Hit: Draft Bonus Pools Announced

Quick Hit: Opening Day Postponed (UPDATED)

Well that blows.  But I guess it wouldn’t have been much of a game trying to play through wind and rain and snow all day and night.  The forecast for tomorrow looks much better and that’s why they schedule Opening Day like this.  We’ll pass on more details on tomorrow’s schedule as the Yankees release them.  Looks like I’m updating my PTO request at work.

** UPDATE 8:04 AM **– Tomorrow’s makeup game will also be an afternoon game; first pitch scheduled for 1:05 PM local time.  Chad Jennings has all the details on tomorrow’s game.

Continue reading Quick Hit: Opening Day Postponed (UPDATED)

Quick Hit: More Bullpen Roster Cuts

I haven’t done a great job keeping up with all the recent roster cuts, but now that we’re coming down to the end of the spring, every one means more in terms of setting the final 25-man roster.  This one announced earlier by the team has a significant impact on the bullpen competition.

Pinder and Goody were both prime candidates for one of the last bullpen spots based on their SWB shuttle service time last year.  I thought Goody was in good shape for a spot heading into the end of last week based on how he had been pitching, but he served up 3 home runs in a 24-hour period and that surely got him cut.  Pinder just didn’t pitch all that well this spring, not well enough to stand out against the rest of the competition at least, and Olson was too far below others on the lefty depth chart.

So with these 3 gone, I think we’re down to 34 or 35 guys still in big league camp.  The remaining candidates for the ‘pen are Kirby Yates, Johnny Barbato, Anthony Swarzak, and Luis Cessa.  Yates has to be close to a lock at this point, so it’s the other 3 for 1 spot.  Based on ST performance and what’s best for the organization, I think we’ll see Barbato get the final spot.  There’s no reason to convert Cessa from a starter now to be the 7th guy in the big league ‘pen when there are already a ton of other righty options available for that job.

Continue reading Quick Hit: More Bullpen Roster Cuts