Betances to get TJ

Dellin Betances, the Yankees’ towering righty pitching prospect, will undergo Tommy John surgery, Mike Ashmore reports.  Betances, who has been sidelined with a number of elbow injuries in the past few seasons, will finally get things repaired.  This is another blow to the Yankees’ system, though I think surgery was inevitable for Betances given how frequently he has been injured, and mostly with elbow problems.  Hopefully he can get everything fixed and with rest and rehab, be ready to pick up where he left off in 2011.  We have seen what he can do when he is healthy and mechanically sound.

Betances is the 3rd Yankee pitching prospect to get TJ this season, along with George Kontos and Brett Marshall.  In the last few years, Yankee pitching prospects must lead the world in TJ surgeries, with 3 this year, plus Andrew Brackman, JB Cox, and Chris Garcia in the last few years.

h/t to RAB… Click here to read the rest

Hairston A Great Addition

From the NY Times:

Jerry Hairston Jr. started in center field for the Yankees, switched to right field in the eighth inning and finished the game at shortstop. Hairston doubled in the first two runs of the game, and continued to be as versatile as any Yankee.

When Nick Swisher was asked where Hairston’s versatility ranked among other players, he said: “On a scale from 1 to 100, I’m thinking 100. It seems like the guy can do everything.”

Since the Yankees acquired Hairston from the Cincinnati Reds on July 31, he has batted .382 with two homers, nine runs batted in and six walks in the 11 games that he has started. Manager Joe Girardi said he would not hesitate to use Hairston at any infield or outfield position, and also called him an emergency catcher.

“It’s a real luxury,” Girardi said. “You feel that you can almost put him in seven different spots. There’s not a lot of guys that can do that.”

The addition of Hairston was a masterstroke by Brian Cashman, bringing in a veteran hitter who can field every position on the diamond other than catcher.… Click here to read the rest

Discussion: Would An Early Playoff Exit Make For A Failed Season?

During the last Yankees-Red Sox tilt, the ESPN broadcast crew had an interesting discussion regarding expectations in NY and what makes a season a success. Steve Phillips contended that the expectations in NY are too high, and lamented the fact that anything other than a World Series championship for the Yankees would be branded a failure. While I do agree that the Yankees have had some fun seasons over the last 9 seasons, I do have to disagree with Phillips. The crux of my argument can be found in Joe Posnanski’s epic post on the Royals:

So, man-for-man the 2005 team was worse than this team. But that’s not what I’m talking about here. This is why I took you through that bizarre early bit about movies. Maybe the 2009 team would take a seven game series from the 2005 team (though I would fully expect it to go seven games). But my expectations are a lot different in 2009. This team is spending a lot more money.

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Ranking All-Time Yankee Hitters

Jonah Keri recently providing his ranking of the top-10 all-time Yankee hitters. The list (with OPS+ added by me):

1 Babe Ruth (210 OPS+)
2 Mickey Mantle (172 OPS+)
3 Lou Gehrig (179 OPS+)
4 Joe DiMaggio (155 OPS+)
5 Yogi Berra (125 OPS+)
6 Derek Jeter (121 OPS+)
7 Bill Dickey (127 OPS+)
8 Jorge Posada (124 OPS+)
9 Bernie Williams (125 OPS+)
10 Earle Combs (126 OPS+)

Babe Ruth is the no-doubt #1 pick. Beyond that, there seems to be two clusters of potential candidates. Tier 2 contains Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, and Lou Gehrig. They have a 30 point gap in OPS+ versus the rest of the crew. Of the three, only Mantle played the majority of his career in the post-Robinson age, and faced a much tougher level of competition. He has significantly more playing time than either, and played a premium defensive position. I think that he is a sensible #2. Deference then goes to Gehrig’s Pujols-like hitting performance, even though DiMaggio was no slacker himself.… Click here to read the rest

Swisher learning

Here’s Bryan Hoch (MLB) on Nick Swisher’s defense:

Swisher has had a mixed bag of results in the outfield this season with the Yankees, turning in some splendid defensive plays along with a few bloopers — missed diving catches and air-mailed throws to the screen behind home plate among them.

Swisher said the sharp toss home to catcher Jose Molina, picked clean and applied to the sliding Castro, was no fluke.

“I’ve really been trying to concentrate on the defensive end of things,” Swisher said. “I don’t like coming out of games, and early in the season, it happened late in games that I would get a defensive replacement. I’ve really been trying to take a lot of pride in the defensive end so I can stay out there for all nine.”

Swisher said that he has been scoring a little guidance on the topic from a pair of sources that might be less-than-expected — the Yankees’ pitching coach and one of the team’s two left-handed relievers.

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Cano clobbers one for the win

Despite the endless supply of rain, last night’s game was a definite treat. CC Sabathia threw 7 strong innings, striking out 10 ChiSox, in what was a remarkable ballgame. CC was dominant for most of the affair and only gave up 2 ER in the 7th inning (a product of the rain, perhaps). Conversely, the Yankee offense didn’t muster much against Mark Buehrle, plating only 2 runs against the crafty lefty. In the end, in a battle of two very superb lefties, neither was the victor as both team’s had to resort to their respective bullpens for the final innings in what turned out to be a 10-inning game.

However, with a man on first and second in the 10th—surprise, surprise—Robinson Cano hit a walk-off HR to end the game, 5-2. Cano now has 21 HR on the season (19 was his previous season high). Although the Red Sox ended up beating the Blue Jays after another poor outing from Josh Beckett, this win maintains the 6-game lead the Yankees have over Boston.… Click here to read the rest

Chicago White Sox Series Preview 8/28-8/30

Hitting:

.331 wOBA. 14th in MLB, 9th in the AL.

Chicago features a pretty pedestrian offensive team. Their main skill is the long ball, but they have hit eighty-five of their 154 home runs at home, so even that will be partially neutralized in the upcoming series. The lineup features a lot of similar offensive performers, hitters that have perfected the low average, medium to high slugging skill set. Catcher A.J. Pierzynski is the only regular hitting over .300, and Scott Podsednik is the only other player on the team even close. Jim Thome (.258/.383/.509,) Paul Konerko (.281/.354/.493,) Jermaine Dye (.264/.347/.479,) Carlos Quentin (.234/.326/.456,) and rookie Gordon Beckham (.279/.357/.450) all exemplify the low average decent slugging kind of player. Alex Rios has not done anything since being aquired, though he fits into the mold of the five players above. Alexei Ramirez hits pretty well for a middle infielder; he has thirty-five home runs in a little under 1,000 major league plate appearances.… Click here to read the rest

Joba plan tweaked again

From PA (LoHud):

Joba Chamberlain will be in the rotation moving forward, meaning he will pitch every five games. They decided he needed to pitch more regularly. The innings limit hasn’t changed. Some starts will be less than five innings.

So, if Abraham’s report is correct, Joba will remain on a regular schedule and will not be given extra rest (he’s already on track to start Sunday on regular rest). I wonder if this is due to his awful outing against the Rangers which came on 8 days of rest? Shorter outings mean a lot of extra work for the Yankee bullpen in the final month of the season. I understand the need to get Joba ready for both October and the future, however, I hope it doesn’t come at the expense of the relief corps.… Click here to read the rest

Do the Yankees Hit TOO MANY Home Runs??

With the frightening and awesome propensity the Yankees have shown for escorting baseballs off of the field of play this year, I can’t help but wonder if this could actually be construed as a BAD thing.  Home runs = runs scored = cheering fans = excitement and exultation, so how could they possibly be bad?  Am I just a miserable bastard who must always find a negative, even in an apparently unmitigated positive?  Well, yes, but that’s entirely beside the point (perhaps not entirely, but let’s not quibble about details, hmmm?).  My half-a$$ed theory is pretty simple and goes thusly: basically, there are two reasons that longballs could conceivably be construed as harmful to the ultimate success of the ballclub:

  1. You rarely want to go up to the plate looking to hit a home run.  It can screw up your swing, mess up your timing, make you become pull-happy, and mess up your overall approach, encouraging hitters to look for a certain pitch to jack out of the yard instead of staying back and hitting the ball where it’s pitched.
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