How About That Triple-A Bullpen Carousel?

In a game that had precious few Yankee highlights, one of them last night was Caleb Cotham‘s MLB debut.  As described in the recap, he pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and struck out 4 batters without issuing a walk.  In doing so, he became the 12th different rookie pitcher the Yankees have used out of their bullpen this season and the 8th to make his Major League debut.

That might seem like a sign of major performance/injury problems, but it really hasn’t been the case.  While there have been a few instances of that happening (see “Carpenter, David” and “Miller, Andrew”), the Yankees’ strategy lately in shuttling guys up and down to fill out the back end of the bullpen has been mostly a proactive one.  They know they need to have fresh arms available to cover for their rotation, they know they need to be able to give their bullpen regulars enough rest, and they know they have a stockpile of useful arms in Triple-A to help serve those purposes.…

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Mid-Season Returns on Some Former Yankees

Just under two months ago, I checked-in on ex-Yankees that had packed their bags and headed for greener pastures over the winter. Many of the numbers at that point were best viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism, given how long it takes certain metrics to stabilize. At this point, however, we have reached the halfway point between the actual middle of the season (81 games) and the artificial mark (the All-Star break) – and that means that we can begin to trust integral numbers like strikeout, walk, and home run rates.

This time around, I decided to take a gander at a few players that left the Bronx the previous off-season, as well. And, no, I did not do so strictly to make fun of Robinson Cano – that merely played a significant role in my decision.

Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
.253/.292/.373, 36 R, 6 HR, 29 RBI, 2 SB, 86 wRC+, 0.4 fWAR (346 PA)*

Ouch. Cano has been awful thus far, with the low baseline of second base production and his still solid defense keeping him (barely) above replacement-level.…

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Quick Hit: Why Joe Yanked Eovaldi

There’s been a lot of debate in the game recap comment section about the decision to pull Nathan Eovaldi in last night’s game, and justifiably so.  It turned out to be a decision that negatively impacted the Yankees’ chances to win the game in a major way.

Obviously we’re all looking at this with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and some form of pre-existing biases against both Eovaldi and Joe Girardi.  But there are numbers to support Joe’s decision, numbers that a few commenters brought up.  Just food for thought, but here is how Eovaldi’s slash line against trends through his pitch count:

- Pitches 1-25: .349/.355/.509
– Pitches 26-50: .218/.282/.277
– Pitches 51-75: .295/.327/.442
– Pitches 76-100: .391/.476/.464

At 86 pitches, Eovaldi was right in the middle of the stretch where he tends to give up the most damage.  Opposing hitters go for the highest average, highest on-base, and second highest power output against him in that pitch range.  …

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On A-Rod and the All-Star Snub

So it obviously wasn’t that big a surprise to find out that Alex Rodriguez didn’t make the 2015 American League All-Star team as a reserve player and that he also didn’t make the list of Final Vote candidates, but what is surprising, and, frankly, quite a bit shocking is just how many people are legitimately angered by his being snubbed.

That’s right, people from all over, writers and fans alike, and not just writers and fans from the New York area, are actually calling it a snub.

Give me a minute here. I’m getting verklempt.

Linda Richman is a little Verklempt

Talks amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic: transitional Romanesque architecture was neither transitional or Romanesque. Discuss.

Can I just say how much this whole situation warms the cockles of my heart? I cannot believe it.

I will admit that some people probably want Alex on the All-Star team just to stick it to Bud Selig and Rob Manfred, but others were tweeting statistics and pointing out why he is a worthy All-Star candidate.…

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The Yankees and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad May

This is the story about the Yankees and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad May – in pictures and in numbers.

Record: 13-16 (6-4 at home, 7-12 on the road and putrid 5-13 in their last 18)

119 runs scored
134 runs allowed

They ended May losing three out of four to the worst team in the American League and were shutout in the final game of the month.

Overall, the team batted .249/.309/.401/.710 with a 17.5% K rate and a 7.2% BB rate in 989 total at bats in May.

They batted .255/.319/.404/.723 from the left side.
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They batted .234/.284/.395/.679 from the right side.
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They batted .269/.341/.487/.828 at home.
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They batted .239/.292/.358/.649 on the road.
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May’s best hitter (with over 75 at bats): Alex Rodriguez .316/.369/.571/.941
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May’s worst hitter (with over 75 at bats): Stephen Drew .143/.188/.220/.407
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Carlos Beltran had himself a nice month batting .298/.316/.500/.816, both Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann matched A-Rod’s monthly home run number with six.…

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Checking in on the Yankees’ Defense

Remember when the Yankees were projected as the 3rd best defense in baseball before the season began? Those were the days.

Entering play on May 19th, the Yankees rank 7th-worst in the bigs in UZR. Fangraphs would categorize that as somewhere between “Below Average” and “Poor”.

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UZR through 5/19/15 via Fangraphs

 

While it’s difficult to measure defense with stats, and UZR is far from the perfect defensive metric, you can look just about anywhere and find the Yankees at the bottom of the rankings. They’re 22nd in Fielding Percentage (.981), 6th in Errors (28), and 14th in Defensive Runs Saved (-14).

The additions of Didi Gregorius and Chase Headley were supposed to remedy some of the Yankees’ defensive woes, but it hasn’t quite worked out. Headley (8) and Gregorius (4) have combined to commit 12 errors, with Stephen Drew adding 4. While Gregorius is enjoying the highest UZR of his career (1.3), Headley (-2.9) is far from where he was last year (20.9 with SD & NYY). …

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About CC’s struggles in the batting order

sabathiaSo Brad was right on the money with regards to CC Sabathia‘s failings at the bottom of the lineup, as he mentioned earlier today. CC is absolutely getting OWNED by the bottom of the opposing lineups this year (SSS warnings and all that jazz). But what Brad didn’t really mention is that, for the most part, you can chalk a lot of it up to some really bad luck. Batters 7-9 are posting an unsustainably high BAPiP of 0.429 this year. Compare that to the 0.313 and 0.314 posted by batters 1-2, and 3-6, respectively.

Hell, just look at the SEVENTH hitters have done to CC: 0.800 BAPiP. That’s ridiculous and completely a SSS gremlin. It means that CC has turned the seven hitter into a 1.526 OPS behemoth. Any idea what player that would profile if that OPS held over the course of the year? How about no one EVER. The best OPS over a season was Barry Bonds‘ 2004 wrecking ball when he racked up 1.4217.…

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The Yankees’ Upgraded Fielding

Much was made during the off season on how the New York Yankees focused on defense in targeting acquisitions. And while none of us saw this good of a start to the season the team has brokered to this point, one question is how much that defensive upgrade applies to the current success. According to the major statistical sites, the answer is: Not very much.

Let’s get a few valid points out of the way. First, unlike batting and pitching statistics, fielding statistics to this point have had a larger margin for error. While we feel good about what the two former categories are telling us these days, fielding statistics have been perceived to be on less solid ground. Secondly–and perhaps because of the last statement–we are strongly cautioned against taking much stock in fielding statistics on a short sample size. We have been told in the past that such statistics should be viewed on the long term, perhaps over several years, to take seriously.…

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Quick Hit: The Terrific Top Two

Yesterday wasn’t a banner day for the Yankee offense, but in general it’s been much better this month after a slow start.  Power and patience have been the name of the game, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out the stellar job being done at the top of the batting order by the team’s 2 designated table setters.

In a perfect world, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner would have provided the top of the lineup with a potent combination of average, speed, and occasional power last year.  In 2015’s Jeter-less world, they’ve finally gotten the chance to do that and they’ve responded with exactly the type of performance we (and Joe) hoped for.  Ellsbury sits at .321/.406/.381 after yesterday’s 3-hit effort, with a BB rate of 10.4% and a K rate below 15.  Gardner is right there with him at .311/.400/.410 with a 9.6% BB rate and a minuscule 11.0% K rate.  Between the 2 of them they’ve scored 31 runs and stolen 14 bases, each ranking 1-2 on the team in those categories.  …

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