The Alfonso Soriano Decline

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Alfonso Soriano was supposed to be a big part of this year’s offense after his amazing performance following being traded to the Yankees last season. However, that has not been the case, as Soriano has fallen off a cliff along with New York’s offense.

Soriano has been abysmal this season, and there is no way around it. He has hit .235/.262/.408 with a .288 wOBA and a 77 wRC+. This is after hitting .248/.321/.513 with a .360 wOBA and a 126 wRC+ during the second half of last season. He carried the Yankees offense with little protection around him, but has been unable to help lift this year’s offense that is in desperate need of help.

Soriano was not expected to keep up with those numbers, but the fact that he is not even a useful player at all anymore comes as a surprise. He averaged a 109 wRC+ over the last three seasons, so this has been a huge fall for him.… Click here to read the rest

Do the Yankees have a run in them?

This has been a frustrating Yankee season, to say the least. The combination of injuries and austerity has sucked some of the fun out of following my favorite team. Losing is part of the game. But it isn’t exactly engaging to know that your team is losing because of a poor combination of frailty and management stinginess.

That’s why these past few weeks have been such a breath of fresh air. Suddenly Yankee fans are getting a taste of the team they could have had. Hate him or really hate him, Alex Rodriguez can still hit, certainly better than guys the Yankees had been putting at third before him (Al’s wRC+ is 114 this year). Alfonso Soriano is currently making Cubs fans wish they’d put some protection around him in the batting order. Curtis Granderson has come back to give the Bombers a .375 wOBA. And it should come as no surprise that at the same time that the Yankee lineup got so much deeper Robinson Cano has started hitting again, improving his season long numbers to .297/.382/.493 (far worse than what he’s done in years before, but still).… Click here to read the rest

Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano, combine to help Yankees walk-off 6-5 versus Rays

Today was a trip in the way back machine. Derek Jeter made his second return from the DL. This time things went better than before. Jeter swung at the first pitch he saw in the first inning and put it in the people. It was a classic Derek Jeter shot to right. The Captain established that he’s back and the Yankees were up one to nothing.

The Yankees would put two more runs on the board in the first inning, on a Vernon Wells sacrifice and an Ichiro Suzuki single. Unfortunately Phil Hughes wasn’t up to the task of holding the lead. Hughes lasted just four innings, allowing five runs.

Wil Myers did the damage for the Rays. Myers had two home runs off Hughes, knocking in four of the Rays runs. The second homer, a solo shot, was the worst. The Yankees were up 5-4 at the time, after an Alfonso Soriano homer in the third. Myer’s shot tied the game.… Click here to read the rest

Desperately Seeking (Alfonso) Soriano

As the off-season continues to roll on at a breakneck pace, it seems as if the Yankees have become lost in the shuffle. Sure – there’s the odd rumor here or there … yet little of substance has arisen beyond the re-inking of Messrs Pettitte, Rivera, and Kuroda. Still, it is a foregone conclusion that the Yankees are very much in need of a right-handed bat with a bit of oomph, and Cody Ross may well be boarding a plane to Arizona as I type. At the cost of 3-years and $26 MM, I cannot help but be somewhat glad that Ross was never in the cards … and yet here we are, righty-less.

Enter the Chicago Cubs, and old friend Alfonso Soriano.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees and Pitching Prospects

Before I get into this, my first post at The Yankee Analysts, I’d like to thank everyone here for giving me this opportunity and for welcoming me so fully to the team. I have accepted this position knowing that TYA is not only among the best Yankees blogs on the internet, but among the best team centered blogs in all of baseball, and I hope I have something worthwhile to contribute.

I thought I’d introduce myself to the readers by exploring a phenomena I’ve been considering for quite some time now. Given plethora of young arms in the system – Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Hector Noesi, David Phelps, and Adam Warren – ostensibly close to their shot with the big league club, it’s worth noting how little success the organization has had developing starting pitchers during Brian Cashman’s tenure as general manager. In fact, since Cashman took over before the 1998 season, his system has succeeded in developing exactly one front of the rotation starter.… Click here to read the rest

The Great Rodriguez Haul of 2004

Following the great heist that was Alfonso Soriano and a player to be named later for Alex Rodriguez in February of 2004, there was speculation about who should play shortstop. Alex had won two Gold Gloves playing shortstop the previous two seasons while in Texas, and was regarded by many to be the best player in baseball; both for his contributions with his glove and with his bat. On the flipside, Derek Jeter had never won a Gold Glove and many had griped about his declining range at short and the unnecessary jump throw that he made famous.

Derek was, and still is the face of the Yankee franchise so there was little chance of him relinquishing shortstop. There was much ado about the relationship between Alex and Derek and how it would affect the chemistry in the clubhouse with the strained relationship after Alex’s infamous Esquire interview in 2001. Needless to say, Derek handled the acquisition with open arms like the captain and class act that he is.… Click here to read the rest

Fantastic Moves from Seasons Past: Trading for Alex Rodriguez

While I’ve been having fun with the Bizarre Moves from Seasons Past series, I also don’t want to come across as overly negative, and so I thought I’d counter some of these criticisms with a post commending the Yankees for a transaction that worked out very well.

Following the Yankees’ 2003 loss to the Marlins in the World Series, Alfonso Soriano was perhaps the most-maligned Yankee this side of Jeff Weaver. While ALCS hero Aaron Boone was actually the worst Yankee batter in the World Series (Soriano OPSed .655 to Boone’s abysmal .422), Soriano’s entire postseason was a nightmare, striking out 26 times with a slash line of .225/.267/.296 (and, as I pointed out after Game 4 of the World Series, eerily similar to Robinson Cano’s struggles in the 2009 postseason), leading many fans to begin questioning just how valuable Soriano was to the Yankees. Unfortunately for Soriano, his miserable 2003 postseason overshadowed the fact that he had just come off two consecutive outstanding seasons for a second baseman, tallying OPS+’s of 129 and 126, respectively.… Click here to read the rest

The least of baseball’s worst

I’m not sure if anyone else has been looking forward to this, but I’ve been looking forward it. Without further ado, I give Yankeeist’s loyal readers the absolute, most overpriced, and worst baseball players of 2009. Call them the anti-Nick Johnsons.

A little history. Recently I posted about baseball’s best value players in 2009. Mostly, these were Tim Lincecum, Ben Zobrist types — young, cost-controlled players who put up at least 5 wins above replacement level for well under $1 million. To find and value these guys I downloaded salary data from the Associated Press and merged it with WARP1 data from Baseball Prospectus. I then divided the salaries by the WARP1 data to estimate how much a player was paid for the marginal wins he contributed to his team.

But, I ran into a problem. The method only worked if a player contributed at least one full win above replacement level to his team. Players who only gave their teams, say, half a win, couldn’t be measured this way.
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Looking Back At 1999

As pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training 2009, Marc Hulet of The Baseball Analysts is looking back at how the baseball landscape has changed over the last ten years. Here is his capsule on the Yankees:

The Yankees had eight players making $5 million or more in 1999, with the highest paid player being outfielder Bernie Williams at $9.8 million, followed by pitcher David Cone at $9.5. Derek Jeter batted .349 and drove in 100+ runs for the only time in his career. Rookie Ricky Ledee was given an opportunity to seize an everyday role, but he failed to impress and was shipped off to Cleveland in 2000. Joe Girardi spent his final season in pinstripes as a player while backing up Jorge Posada behind the dish. Two young Dominican infielders – who were oozing with talent – made their MLB debuts in 1999: D’Angelo Jimenez, 21, and Alfonso Soriano, 23. Jimenez was considered by some to be a more promising prospect than Soriano.

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