Yangervis Solarte At The Plate

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

With all the Yankees’ major acquisitions this winter, it’s odd to be talking about a 26-year-old who has bounced around the minor leagues since 2006 and yet, here we are because journeyman Yangervis Solarte has been on a tear since spring training began. He batted .429 and had an OBP of .489. during camp and he has not slowed down yet. Since the start of the regular season, Solarte has produced a triple slash of .458/.519/.708 in 27 plate appearances.

Obviously, 27 plate appearances is an extremely small sample size but it got me thinking about whether Solarte could maintain somewhat respectable numbers because as we all know, players don’t usually maintain a .458 BA. So for this piece, I decided to take a look at his mechanics at the plate and to also look at how opposing pitchers are pitching to him so far and to see how well he’s making contact.

His Mechanics

Solarte has some solid mechanics that have helped him be successful thus far.…

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Quick hit: Austin Romine to AAA, Shane Green called up

With the injury and subsequent DL stint for David Robertson, the Yankee bullpen has had to work a little harder the past few days so the Yankees have optioned back-up catcher Austin Romine to Triple A Scranton and called up reliever Shane Greene.

Green and Preston Claiborne were the only guys on the 40-man roster and since this will hopefully only be a short term stint, the Yankees went with Greene. His Spring ERA was a lofty 4.70 in 7 2/3 innings of work but he struck out 10 and walked one batter.

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The Death of the Dynasty

Rivera4

For most of us, it’s easy to remember the magic and the dominance of the late 90’s Yankees, the teams that won four World Series in five years including three straight from 1998-2000. If you remember that then you definitely remember the day the Yankee Dynasty died on a November night in Arizona with the greatest closer of all-time doing the inexplicable and literally throwing the game away.

13 or so years later no team in Major League Baseball has been able to recapture the dominance those late 90’s Yankees teams including the Yankees themselves and unfortunately it doesn’t appear that they ever will again. The Yankees are a victim of their own past success and the way in which they have decided to do business ever since that fateful night in Phoenix. Due to the success of the past two decades, the standard has been set so high that the Yankees are incapable of accepting the notion of a few down years in order to rebuild.…

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The Farm Report: 4/8/14

For the first time since I started doing this every Yankees’ affiliate that was scheduled to play on Monday got rained out. They were all able to get back on the field on Tuesday, however, and for the most part the Yankee hopefuls let their bats do the talking.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre lost to Rochester 5-0 in Game 1:
The RailRiders struggled to put together many hits in the first game of the day. They had a chance to score int he top of the second, as Russ Canzler singled to left and Adonis Garcia reached on an error. A double play ball by Zoilo Almonte was followed by a ground out by Ramon Flores and Scranton came up empty. A RBI double by Eric Farris in the bottom of the inning put the Red Wings up 1-0. The score stayed that way until the bottom of the fifth, when Rochester pulled away. Four straight singles to start the inning gave them another run.…

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A-Rod’s Not Here So Please Shut Up About Him, Thanks

It is very early in the 2014 baseball season but there are already some things that are slightly irritating.

So let’s go through some of them, shall we?

  1. Criticizing Derek Jeter for not running hard out of the box on Monday when he hit his double. Look, I was there, we all thought it was going out and it was the first time in 20 years that Jeter dogged it, slightly, out of the box so let’s not make a federal case out of it, okay? Do you hear that Bill Madden?
  2. Kelly Johnson hit a home run when yesterday’s game was already out of reach which prompted Daniel Barbarisi of the Wall Street Journal to tweet: “Kelly Johnson, brought in to be A-Rod’s replacement, shows he knows how to homer in garbage time like the man he’s replacing. Now 14-5 O’s.” This prompted a bunch of Twitter users to respond with real stats about A-Rod’s 654 career home runs and guess what?
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Infield Woes On Full Display Yesterday

Question.  What do you get when you combine a 40-year-old shortstop with already severely limited range coming back from a series of various leg injuries, a 36-year-old second baseman who’s played in only 29.6% of all regular season games since 2010, a 26-year-old MiL lifer playing third base, and a backup catcher playing first base for the first time since high school?  Why it’s yesterday’s starting infield, course!

Whether you watched it live or read about it later, you probably already know that yesterday afternoon’s game was a disaster.  Ivan Nova and his poor command are mostly to blame for that, but the infield deserves its fair share too.  The argument could be easily made that nobody on that infield deserved to be a Major League starter as his position and yet there the 4 of them were.  On this day, this was the best a team with a near $204 million Opening Day payroll could muster.

There was Derek Jeter, failing to get to a ball to his left in the 1st inning that was about as tailor made a double play ball as the batter could have possibly hit.  …

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Let’s Forget This Game Ever Happened: Orioles 14, Yankees 5

So, how would you describe today’s game against the Orioles?

I would describe it like this:
Dumpster-Fire

The Good Stuff

  • Yangervis Solarte continued his hot hitting. He finished 2-4 with a double. Solarte now has six doubles so far this season.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury also had a strong day at the plate, finishing 3-4 with a double and he also stole a base.
  • Alfonso Soriano and Kelly Johnson both hit their first home runs of the year.
  • Dellin Betances pitched the ninth inning and struck out the side.

The Not So Good Stuff

  • Ivan Nova was completely ineffective in his brief outing. He gave up seven runs on ten hits (including a home run to Adam Jones) in 3 2/3 innings.
  • The bad defense didn’t really help him either. And it’s not that the infielders committed any errors, it’s just that they’re awful, have no range and Francisco Cervelli was playing first base. If Francisco Cervelli is part of your “Mark Teixeira contingency plan,” your team is going to have issues.
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Examining Tanaka’s Initial PITCHf/x Data

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press

Before the Yankees signed Masahiro Tanaka, I looked back to some available PITCHf/x data in 2009, when the Japanese starter pitched out of the bullpen for his home country in the World Baseball Classic. It was one of the only opportunities we had at seeing his PITCHf/x data, and unfortunately it was a very old small sample size.

What we learned from 2009 was that Tanaka had incredible command of the strike zone, and a brilliant ability to spin the ball. His four-seam fastball showed tremendous movement, particularly vertically, which led to scouts calling it straight. His slider’s movement and velocity matched up well with one of the greatest sliders in the MLB, Zack Greinke‘s. His splitter movement was unique, showing both drop and depth like a strong changeup, though it matched up best with fellow Japanese starter Yu Darvish. Here is the pitch movement from this 2009 outing.

chart-1

This brought me to the conclusion that Tanaka could have two very good out pitches in his splitter and slider, due to both movement and velocity that matched other pitchers that had success.…

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Game 8: Going For Three in a Row

The Yankees opened the home portion of their season with a 4-2 victory over the Orioles yesterday afternoon which was great but as with all aspects of life there is always bad news to go along with the good news. In the Yankees’ case it was closer David Robertson being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a groin injury. Because of that and because Shawn Kelley pitched two games in a row, the Yankees don’t actually have a closer for today. At least they don’t according to what manager Joe Girardi told the beat writers before the game.

And in “is this actually happening or are they celebrating April Fools’ Day late” news, Francisco Cervelli will be the starting first baseman this afternoon.

This could be an extremely frustrating game to watch or the Yankees will shock everyone and win convincingly.

Here are your lineups:

ORIOLES
Markakis RF
Young DH
Davis 1B
Jones CF
Wieters C
Cruz LF
Lombardozzi 2B
Flaherty SS
Schoop 3B

YANKEES
Gardner LF
Jeter SS
Ellsbury CF
Beltran RF
Soriano DH
McCann C
Cervelli 1B
Roberts 2B
Solarte 3B

Today’s pitching matchup is Wei-Yin Chen LHP vs.…

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