Thursday Morning Thoughts And Afterthoughts

I haven’t written much lately and I really didn’t follow the last few days very closely save for the box scores, but as usual there’s been a lot going on in Yankeeland during that time.  This post serves as my short form, hot take catch-up on a lot of those happenings.

– Yesterday’s win was a welcome change of pace from the preceding 3 games.  Those were really ugly.  You never get too worked up about 1 start when you’re talking about guys like Tanaka and Pineda, unless you want to look like a fool in front of your reading audience, but they were both pretty bad in their games and 34 runs in 3 is waaaaaayyyy too many runs.  There’s practically zero chance to win when that’s what your pitching staff gives you.

– As little concern as I have about those 2 guys going forward, CC Sabathia is another matter entirely.  He was responsible for a chunk of those 34 runs himself, and once again they came in what has become the all-too-common fashion for CC.  …

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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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Why The Yankees Got Rid Of David Carpenter

The Yankees created some roster waves yesterday, and not just because they activated Masahiro Tanaka from the DL.  To clear a 25-man roster spot for him, the Yanks elected to designate David Carpenter for assignment, the same David Carpenter they traded former top prospect Manny Banuelos to Atlanta to acquire just a handful of months ago.

Carpenter was the unquestioned worst pitcher in the Yankee bullpen as of yesterday morning.  His consistent inability to keep guys off base, strand runners, and prevent runs in key middle relief situations was a surprise and a disappointment to many given what he had done over the prior 2 years with the Braves.  And yet I noticed a fair amount of criticism for the decision to DFA him around the Yankosphere and on Twitter yesterday.  People referring back to the trade and how bad it made giving up ManBan look, people arguing that Carpenter’s past results should have granted him more time, people bringing up Carpenter’s “upside” relative to that of Esmil Rogers or Chris Capuano.…

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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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The Myth About “Bad” Big Contracts

Courtesy: NY Newsday

The prevailing wisdom around the Yankees is that big contracts like the ones Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have are what is killing the team. In reality, those contracts have been fine and fans in general worry way too much about them.

I never get fans who would rather see the money go into the pockets of the owner than into the players’. The difference in the Yankees over the last two plus seasons is that they’ve been spending less and the performance on the field has suffered. Sure, Hal Steinbrenner fooled most people with his shopping spree in the 2013-14 offseason. People didn’t realize how much money came off the books and that the payroll was only about $120 million to begin that offseason, so the Yankees didn’t really go above and beyond at all.

The business model the Yankees used from 2001 through 2012 absolutely worked. The lack of championships are lamented, but the reality is that the Yankees put themselves in the best position to bring home rings every season winning 95 plus games.…

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This Year’s Yankees Already Mastering The Art of Being Consistently Inconsistent

It’s only the last week of May and already this has been quite the season for the New York Yankees.  Barely a step or 2 past the quarter pole and it already feels like we’ve experienced multiple seasons in one.  The Yankees started off 3-6 in their first few weeks, then rattled off a white hot 18-6 stretch into early May to ascend to the top of the American League, and followed that up with an ongoing 2-10 run that has dropped them back to .500 and started many fans and writers scrambling for the towers to wave the white flags.

More important than the streakiness itself has been the way the Yankees have looked like completely different teams during the respective streaks.  They looked sluggish and old to start the year 3-6, showing little on offense and getting inconsistent starting pitching at best.  When they were 18-6 they were a lethal combination of speed at the top of the order and power in the middle with a lockdown bullpen preserving a lot of close wins.  …

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Monday Morning Food For Thought: Offense Living And Dying With The Top Of The Order

Last Tuesday I wrote this post about the Yankees using the simple “get ‘em on, get ‘em in” formula with the top 4 spots in their batting order to fuel their recent hot streak.  They were coming off an 11-5 thumping of the Rays the night before in a game that saw the team hit 5 home runs and the top 4 spots in the order combine for 9 hits, 8 R scored, and 7 RBI.

Since that game, the Yankees have fallen on hard offensive times.  They’ve scored 11 runs in their last 6 games and gone 1-5 in those games.  5 of those 11 runs came in their only win during that stretch on Saturday afternoon, leaving the other 6 to be lightly dusted across the 5 losses.  This level of semi-extended offensive ineptitude is a call back to the last few seasons, something nobody wants to revisit.  While there are plenty of logical explanations for this regression: small sample size bias, bad luck, tired team desperately in need of an off-day, my biggest takeaway from these 6 games and the handful before them is just how top-heavy the Yankee lineup has become and just how little chance they have of winning when those top 4 spots aren’t producing.…

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Sound the Alarm! Relievers Are Overworked!

When it comes to the New York Yankees, there always has to be an alarm bell. Call it a meme or a talking point, a clarion bell, whatever: There always has to be one. Remember a few years ago when the Yankees were hitting too many homers? Yeah, we still yuk it up over that one. The latest seems to be about the Yankees’ bullpen being overworked. Is it really?

Mike Axisa probably had it drilled down a little bit better. He only mentioned Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller the other day. But are even those two overworked? Part of their workload is the success the Yankees have had this season. The Yankees are winning…a lot. Thus there is more need for your setup and closer to finish out games. But again. are they overworked?

How can you tell with Dellin Betances? He pitched 70 times last season and compiled 90 innings. That’s a new breed of animal. Was that abuse?…

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Yankees Using The Simplest Formula In The Book To Drive Their Offensive Success

Teix-A-Rod vs BAL

Bash bros. Courtesy of Getty Images

I made this point on Twitter earlier today, but since not everybody in the world has had the good sense to follow me yet I figured it was worth expounding on here.  The Yankees are the cat’s meow right now.  They’re all that and a bag of chips.  They’re 18-6 in their last 24 games, at 21-12 they now own the best record in the American League, and they’re 4 games clear of Tampa Bay in the division with the chance to put more room in between themselves and the Rays tonight.

With all due respect to Michael Pineda and the ace relief duo of Betances & Miller, this blazing hot run has been driven by the insanely productive top of the batting order.  Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira have been the 4 best position players on the team thus far, and that’s reflected in all 4 of them currently ranking inside the top 25 in the American League in wRC+.  …

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