AL East Looks As Expected Thus Far

ALEastStandings420

The 2015 AL East was expected to be totally up for grabs and that’s the way it has looked for the first two weeks of the season.  Obviously with only two weeks gone by there will not be a ton of separation anywhere, but parity has ruled so far in the AL East with everybody divided by only 1.5 games between 7-5 and 6-7. With the Yankees playing a series against everyone in the division to start off the year it has given us a nice look at their division foes.

The best thing the Yankees have going for them is that they clearly have the best pitching in this division and it’s not even very close. The Orioles rank 20th in MLB in team ERA (4.73) and 21st in FIP (4.07), the Red Sox rank 26th in ERA (4.73) and 19th in FIP (3.99), the Rays rank 23rd in ERA (4.56) and 22nd in FIP (4.10) and the Blue Jays rank last in ERA (4.50) and last in FIP (5.06).…

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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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Sunday Morning Musings: 4/12/15

Before we get into the musings, I’d like to announce that I’ll be getting off the sidelines and doing my part to help the Yankees turn this season-opening slump around.  No, I won’t be attending the game tonight, but in a way I will be.  Those who remember my AB4AR days may remember some of my drunk Sunday Night Baseball live blogs.  They were a way for me to celebrate the Yankees being on national TV and I’m pretty positive the team has a .400 record or so when I do them, so I’m taking that tradition to Twitter tonight and drunk live tweeting the hell out of this game.

A stagnant offense, an inept defense, a chance to get swept at home by the Yankees’ biggest rivals, Masahiro Tanaka pitching with the ESPN crew there to diagnose his elbow problems, a fridge full of beer, and a fully-charged phone.  What could possibly go wrong?  For those interested in being a part of this most time-honored tradition, feel free to follow me.

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Transition and Tradition

Judge ST

How long until Judge-ment day? Courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

I have to admit that I am a bit lost. I don’t know how to love these Yankees. Oh boy…that doesn’t sound very journalistic. Well, heck. I’m not a journalist. I have always written from the point of view of a fan. My name on Twitter should give you a clue. On my site, I stay neutral and write as a fan of baseball as a whole. When I write for IIATMS, I am a Yankee fan. That’s what I am. And as such, I don’t know how to feel about this 2015 team.

Oh, there are plenty of writers that will tell me how I should feel. The team is old. Our writers have already blown up that notion. The starting pitching is a time bomb. Excuse me, but every rotation in baseball is a time bomb. Any rotation can blow up in the blink of an elbow. I should be dissatisfied because there were no big deals this off season.…

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Disaster Scenario Fun!

Every team starts the season thinking, “we’re world-beaters if only youngsters A & B develop like we hope, injured-last-year folks C & D stay healthy, and aging vets E & F return to form!” But life doesn’t work that way. If possibilities A-F all are coin tosses, you never flip six straight “heads” — or, at least, the odds are only 1 in 64 of doing so, in which case, congrats, you’re the 2014 Royals. So it’s unrealistic to muse, “how great will we be if everyone stays healthy and plays to max potential?”

The more realistic and interesting question is, “what if the most likely problems happen?” What if youngster A (Didi Gregorious?) doesn’t develop, injured guy B (Carlos Beltran) doesn’t recover, or aging vets C-F (Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann, Stephen Drew, Alex Rodriguez) don’t bounce back? With pitching, the answer is obvious: losing a #1-2 starter means you’re screwed to the tune of 3-5 wins each; you’re replacing a good-to-great pitcher with someone too scrubby to be one of your top five starters – Esmil Rogers replacing Masahiro Tanaka or Michael Pineda.…

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Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, And Learning A Lesson From Last Year

A few weeks ago, it seemed like there was a real chance for some change in the planned Opening Day roster construction for the Yankees.  Brendan Ryan was injured, Stephen Drew wasn’t playing all that well (obligatory SSS disclaimer), and both Jose Pirela and Rob Refsnyder were doing enough in the early going to make legitimate cases for consideration.

A few weeks later, that chance has evaporated completely.  Ryan has returned to game action, Drew has swung the bat a little better and basically been guaranteed the starting second base job by Joe, and Pirela will be out for an extended period of time after colliding with the outfield wall in yesterday’s game and being diagnosed with a concussion.  Barring any more unforeseen injuries, the Opening Day bench now looks as if it will be the rather bland group of Ryan, Chris Young, Garrett Jones, and John Ryan Murphy, with Drew at second.

There’s nothing wrong with any of that, and that’s coming from the guy who’s been openly campaigning for Ryan’s immediate dismissal from the team and for Drew to be penciled into his backup infielder spot to open up a job for Pirela or Refsnyder for a while.  …

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Early Spring Training Winners And Losers

Pirela ST 2015

This year’s Solarte in the making? Courtesy of Getty Images

I wanted to write this post Wednesday, wanted to write it again yesterday, didn’t get to it either day, and now I’m going to rush it to try to get it in before roster cuts start.

We’re over a week into the Spring Training game schedule now, and while that still isn’t enough time to make concrete determinations on who will end up where and what the Opening Day roster will be, it is enough time to start making some informed comments on whose stock is rising and falling in those key roster battles.  Real quickly, here are some of the early winners and losers from the first 11 St games.

Winner- Jose Pirela

He’s swinging the bat well (8-15, 3 XBH, 2 BB) and drawing a lot of positive chatter from coaches, players, scouts, and fans alike.  His defensive value as a guy who can play multiple positions has been on display and right now he looks like the best option for one of the 4 bench spots.…

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Imagining The Worst Case Scenario With The Rotation

Whitley vs TOR 2014

If Whitley is back in the rotation, you know it’s all gone wrong. Courtesy of the AP

Yesterday I laid out the rosiest, happiest, best possible best case scenario for the 2015 starting rotation, a starting rotation that we all know is pretty high risk and potentially high reward.  As some commenters were sharp enough to point out, the worst case scenario is the one that has a higher probability of happening and that fact was not lost on me when I wrote up the first post.  I always intended to do the worst case scenario too, even though it’s not something I particularly enjoy writing about.  So if everybody promises to stay calm and help each other through this, we can make our way through this hypothetical worst case scenario together.  Fair enough?  Alright, here we go.

If the best case scenario for Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda involves them staying healthy above all else, then of course the worst case scenario involves them both getting hurt.  …

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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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