Quick Hit: Strong Spring Training Showing For A Lot Of Top Prospects

There hasn’t been much to get all aflutter about in terms of Opening Day roster production so far this spring.  Many of the lineup regulars are off to slow starts with the bat, but for the most part we don’t care about their ST numbers if they’re good or bad.  That’s not necessarily so when it comes to prospects in camp, however, and the Yankees have had the good fortune of seeing many of their top prospects perform very well in the early going*:

And that’s not all of them.  …

Read more

Who’s on first? Not Sabathia

Sabathia vs TB 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

I fully understand that CC Sabathia gets paid to pitch. And him having a bounce-back season or even a somewhat decent full season is what is important for the Yankees in their quest for a playoff spot. I get all that. I also fully appreciate what Brad wrote yesterday about the big man’s weight. He was a great pitcher as a big guy and can be a good pitcher as a big guy. The one irritant for me during Sabathia’s tenure with the Yankees is that he pitches with only eight fielders because he is not one of them.

During Sabthia’s abbreviated season in 2014, the Yankees’ pitcher recorded only one putout. That would be an unfair statement if 2014 wasn’t the fifth time in his career that he recorded only one putout for a season. He has a string of three of those seasons in a row. Sabathia does not cover first base very well.

The only putout Sabathia recorded in 2014 was on a Robinson Cano dribbler to first.…

Read more

Expansion Won’t Help Run Scoring

MLB run scoring is down. A lot:

There are many causes of decreased run scoring. Jeff Zimmernan at The Hardball Times thinks that one solution is to expand the number of MLB teams:

Why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

This is an interesting, testable hypothesis: when there is a more concentrated talent pool of potential MLB players, run scoring decreases.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Yanks Set New Team Strikeout Record

From the “Small Morale Victories” department, the Yankees did set a new team record in last night’s game as their playoff chances were whittled down to the smallest possible speck of existence.  The 11 combined strikeouts by the pitching staff gave them 1,319 on the year, breaking the previous team record that was set 2 seasons ago.

That 1,319 total is good for 4th most in MLB this season, and the 551 that have come from the bullpen is the most in MLB by over 30.  The Yanks have 3 relief pitchers in the top 20 in K rate this year: Dellin Betances at 4 (39.6%), David Robertson at 10 (37.0%), and Shawn Kelley at 20 (30.7%).  That’s really impressive.  But it’s not just the relievers.  They’ve gotten plenty of punchouts from their starters as well.  Masahiro Tanaka still boasts a 26.3% K rate, Shane Greene has struck out over 1 batter per inning, CC Sabathia was doing the same before he got hurt, and Brandon McCarthy, David Phelps, and Michael Pineda have all turned in some very good strikeout nights.…

Read more

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.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Betances’ Race For Strikeout History

Dellin+Betances+85th+MLB+Star+Game+4sIzWavT7orl

All Star, Yankee record holder, all-time great? Courtesy of Getty Images

Last night, Dellin Betances became the new Yankee record holder for most strikeouts in a single season by a relief pitcher with 132.  He passed Mo to do it after entering the night tied with him at 130, and considering that Betances needed 87.2 innings to set the new record compared to the 107.2 Mo needed in 1996, I think it’s safe to say that it’s quite the accomplishment.

With the Yankee record now in his possession and 11 games remaining in the season, the focus shifts to where Betances will end up on MLB’s all-time single-season reliever strikeout list.  The 132 currently puts him tied for 15th with Duane Ward of the ’91 Blue Jays, and looking ahead he’s got a pretty good shot to crack the top 10.

The all-time record is held by Dick Radatz, who struck out 181 batters in 157.0 relief innings pitched for the 1964 Red Sox.  …

Read more

Here Are Some Offensive Numbers To Get You Psyched For Tonight’s Game

Offered up without commentary:

– The Yankees have been shut out 5 times in the last 16 games.

– They have been shut out 10 times this season.

– They have scored 42 runs in their 14 September games.

– They’ve scored 6 runs in their last 5 games.

– They’ve been held to 2 runs or fewer 9 times in the last 3 weeks.

– They’ve been held to 3 runs or fewer in 73 of 149 games this season, a shade under 50%.

– Their record in those game is 18-55.

– They’ve been held to 4 runs or fewer in 96 of 149 games.  That’s almost two-thirds of the season.

– Interesting enough, they’ve also held opponents to 3 or fewer runs 73 times this season.  They’re 56-17 in those games.

Read more

The 2014 Yankees and the lack of a superstar

Photo credit: Getty Images

Photo credit: Getty Images

Even in the leanest of lean times, there is one thing that you could always count on with the New York Yankees: an everyday star player who was considered among the elite in the league.

Last year’s team may have been one of the worst in recent memory, but it still had Robinson Cano, who finished fifth in the MVP voting and ranked third in the AL in Wins Above Replacement (7.6).

But that guarantee of stardom is a pipe dream this season.

For the first time in nearly 25 years, the Yankees will not have a player with more than 5.0 WAR, a mark that is considered the threshold for a “Superstar” player. Entering this week Brett Gardner leads the team with 4.4 WAR and its unlikely he’ll be able to add half a win in the final 13 games.

The last non-strike season in which the Yankees did not have a 5-WAR player was 1991, when Steve Sax led the team with 4.1 WAR.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Can I Start Calling Them The B-Team Now?

If you’ve been hung up on the horrific offense, you might not have noticed this positive trend that Sweeny touched on last night.  The bullpen has been lights out for the last week.  20.2 scoreless innings is damn good and 7.2 of those innings have been pitched by the bargain bin collection of Huff, Whitley, Rogers, Hill, and Outman.  Add in another 3 from Shawn Kelley in 4 appearances and that’s more than half of that 20.2-inning scoreless streak being attributed to the 2nd, 3rd, and maybe 4th levels of the relief corps.

They don’t fill you with the level of confidence that comes with Betances and D-Rob, but give a tip of the cap to this crew.  They’re doing the job and doing it well when their name gets called.

Read more