Scouting The Free Agent Market For An Ibanez Replacement

I might have watched every game this year, but it’s still hard for me to remember exactly what kind of season Raul Ibanez had in 2012. Our most recent recollection was his three ridiculously well-timed homeruns in the playoffs. For the rest season, the left handed hitter had his good moments, but also some pretty lousy ones. As expected, he was rather awful against left handed pitchers, but a .248/.319/.492 triple slash (115 wRC+) against righties more than made up for it.

Unfortunately, once the Yankees lost Brett Gardner for nearly the entire season, Ibanez saw much more defensive playing time than expected. The 40 year old actually manned 90 games in the outfield, and started nearly half of the regular season games. It’s not a fact, but the extra work apparently caught up to him after the allstar break, where he hit just .190/.287/.341 for the two months of the Yankees most important stretch of the year. From August 16th to September 19th, Ibanez recorded a total of 3 hits over 60 plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Could Nova Be Tipping His Changeup?

Despite his 4-1 win/loss record, Ivan Nova has arguably been the worst pitcher in the rotation. His 5.44 ERA and 4.95 FIP are worrisome numbers for a pitcher coming off a great season, and stats show that he’s pitching to mixed results. Perhaps the scariest indication comes from his H/9, which has increased from 8.9 in 2011, to 12.1 in 2012. Despite an improved K/9, 5.33 in 2011 to 8.37 this season, and an increased flyball rate, 28.9% in 2011 to 35.5% in 2012, opposing batters have gone from hitting .254 last year, to .326 this season. This would appear backwards, a higher flyball and strikeout rate should mean less hits from offenses, but Nova’s BABIP has jumped from .283 last year, to .380 this year. Such a dramatic increase in BABIP can be a warning sign, but with a linedrive rate still at career 18%-ish, we’re likely seeing some bad luck in small sample size. Ground balls sneaking through the infield and bloop singles are likely creating extra baserunners for a guy that’s otherwise shown mostly improvements on the mound.… Click here to read the rest

Addressing the Yankees' areas of weakness: The Designated Hitter

The Yankees haven’t bothered to address their deficiency at designated hitter since Nick Johnson went down, presumably because they’ve managed to get a .350 wOBA out of the position, tied for fifth-best in the American League. When you rotate the kind of Major League hitters the Yankees boast through the DH slot, you’re bound to produce reasonable-enough results; the problem with the rotating DH of course is that you create a complete offensive void elsewhere in the lineup.

When Alex Rodriguez gets half a game off, Ramiro Pena and his .216 wOBA get to waste three to four at-bats that day. When Pena starts a game that also features Francisco Cervelli and the likes of a Colin Curtis or Chad Huffman, you begin to understand (a) why the Yankees’ offensive production dipped the way it did in June, (b) that the Yankees haven’t sought out a replacement DH is fairly mind-boggling, and (c) why you should be thanking your lucky stars that the lack of punch hasn’t significantly affected the team.… Click here to read the rest