Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 10/17/14

The guy who cuts my hair is from New York.  I’ve been going to him for a while, mainly because I was still a snotty tri-stater when I moved out to Wisconsin and felt much more comfortable letting a fellow tri-state member handle my hair than a mouth-breathing midwesterner.  It really doesn’t make a difference because I get my head buzzed, but that’s neither here nor there.  The point is I’ve been a regular customer of his for years now, and because of this he usually hooks me up with a beer or 2 or a free hair wash or whatever when I come in.  And I gotta tell you, there’s a certain power move feeling that comes with strolling across an entire salon full of women getting their hair and nails done with a beer in hand to get a hair wash they know you’re not paying for.  For that handful of seconds, I’m the belle of the ball.

I’m getting my hair cut after work this afternoon and I can guarantee you that feeling that feeling today will be the highlight of my week.  …

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Quick Hit: Greg Bird Off To A Hot Start In The AZFL

The Arizona Fall League is a little over a week underway and so far it’s been mostly uneventful for the Yankee reps.  Tyler Austin and Dante Bichette Jr. are both off to slow starts with the bat and Aaron Judge has only appeared in 3 games.  None of the 3 pitchers are doing anything special in their first few appearances.

The one player who is making headlines is Greg Bird.  He’s gotten the most burn out of the 4 position players, playing in 8 of the 9 games so far, and he’s been a fixture hitting in prime middle-of-the-order spots and playing first base.  In 36 plate appearances, Bird has a .394/.444/.758 batting line with 3 doubles, 3 home runs, 9 R scored, and 9 RBI.  His 25 total bases are almost double the next highest total on his team.

About the only thing Bird hasn’t done well is limit his strikeouts.  He’s K’d 10 times in his 36 plate appearances.  …

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Random baseball thoughts on a Friday

It has been a while since I’ve written one of these posts but if you’re a longtime reader, you know the drill and if you’re new to the blog, welcome and enjoy the journey into my brain: the thoughts are random and can be silly.

And away we go:

  • I missed Travis Ishikawa‘s walk off last night because I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face before bed, though I did say to my brother that the Giants would walk off in that ninth inning.
  • And how about that walk off? Remember Ishikawa’s time with the Yankees? Probably not because it only lasted two at bats in a game against the Royals in 2013.
  • Mike Matheny really screwed up a lot during this NLCS: he made very questionable decisions and poor Michael Wacha didn’t deserve to be in the position he was in last night.
  • The Giants are unbelievable.
  • I’m also getting sick of seeing them in the World Series every other year.
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The 2014 IIATMS End-Of-Season Awards Post

I know I said last Sunday that the 2014 season was over and we’d be moving on, but the season isn’t really over until you do your year-end team awards post.  Staff voting was held over the last 2 days and the results have been tallied.  Without further ado, I’d like to announce the winners of the 2014 IIATMS end-of-season awards.  The envelopes, please…

MVP- 3-Way Tie (Dellin Betances, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brett Gardner)

The vote: Betances 3 (Scott, Matt B., Tamar), Ellsbury 3 (Katie, Stacey, Dom), Gardner 3 (Matt I., William, Kenny), Masahiro Tanaka 1 (Brad)

In what will surely go down as one of the most controversial votes in IIATMS history, the team MVP award will be split 3 ways.  Betances’ gaudy numbers, the league-high workload in which he accumulated them, and the consistency with which he pitched lights out in big situations all combined to garner him a sizable chunk of staff support.  Ellsbury and Gardner, as the 2 best and most consistent hitters for the whole season and the top 2 WAR guys on the team, did the same.  …

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Report: New Names Added To The Hitting Coach Pool

We know the Yankees interviewed Dave Magadan for their open hitting coach job on Wednesday and we know they were supposed to meet with Chili David sometime this week.  Thanks to this report by Jon Heyman, we now know 3 more names that are on the Yankees’ radar.  According to Heyman, the Yanks have “some interest” in Dante Bichette, Marcus Thames, and James Rowson.  None have been officially linked to them yet and none have any kind of meeting or interview scheduled.

Bichette’s name has been on the rumor mill since the minute Kevin Long was let go.  He is a very good friend of Joe Girardi, his son plays in the Yankee farm system, and he was the Colorado Rockies hitting coach in 2013.  Thames is an interesting name because he’s already coaching in the Yankee system.  He was the hitting coach at High-A Tampa in 2013 and got moved up to Double-A Trenton this past season.  …

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Quick Hit: You Can’t Predict Baseball, Royals Edition

arod-300x3007

The Royals have just gone 8-0 against three of the best teams in baseball, and they’ve done it under the brightest lights on the most important nights. This team is flat out fun to watch, and more fun to root for, precisely because they are, in fact, significant underdogs (the last eight games be damned). You’ve heard this so often that it’s nearly cliche: The playoffs are a crapshoot. This Royals team is the most clear example of that meme that we have seen in my lifetime.

Consider a few statistics:

Athletics Angels Orioles Royals
Team WAR 23.4 30.3 29.0 22.6
Team OFF Runs 10.4 68.7 23.3 -40.8
Team ISO .137 (13th) .140 (11th) 0.166 (2nd) .113 (30th!)
HR per game PS 1.0 1.3 0.9 1.0
R per game in PS 8.0 2.0 4.7 5.3
FIP (AL only) 3.67 (6th) 3.57 (3rd) 3.96 (11th) 3.69 (8th)
Run Differential 157.0 153.0 112.0 27.0

The Royals were the bottom quarter of the league offensively, and flat last in power, well behind the Angels, O’s and A’s.…

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To Qualify Or Not To Qualify: Hiroki Kuroda

Hirok vs TOR

How could anybody not want this guy back next year??? Courtesy of Getty Images

On Tuesday we weighed the cases for and against making David Robertson a qualifying offer this offseason.  Today we do the same for the other potential qualifying offer candidate, reliable right-handed starter Hiroki Kuroda.

Case For:

  • Consistent Very Good Performance- In his 3 seasons as a Yankee, Kuroda ranks 12th in MLB in IP (620.0), T-12th in BB rate (5.1%), T-20th in WHIP (1.15), and 18th in fWAR (11.0), with a 3.44/3.68/.360 slash line.
  • Consistency Within The Consistency- Made 33, 32, and 32 starts in his 3 Yankee seasons; pitched between 199-220 regular season innings in each season; had ERAs between 3.31-3.71, FIPs between 3.56-3.86, and xFIPS between 3.54-3.67 in each season; K rate between 17.8%-18.7% in each season; 11+ wins in each season; 3-year fWAR values of 3.7, 3.8, and 3.5
  • Rotation Health Questions- Tanaka, Pineda, Sabathia, and Nova all enter 2015 with health-related concerns.  
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Quick Hit: Giving Props to Larry Rothschild

The Yankees pitching staff this season felt as if it was cobbled together from rubbish and assorted cadavers, and held together by Scotch tape and some good ol’ fashioned Elmer’s glue. A total of thirty-three players threw a pitch for the team this year (and I say ‘players’ and not ‘pitchers’ because of Dean Anna), and thirteen pitchers started at least one game. The Yankees Opening Day rotation – CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ivan Nova, Masahiro Tanaka, and Michael Pineda – combined to make only seventy-seven starts. Twenty-seven games were started by pitchers in their first taste of the Majors (Shane Greene, Chase Whitley, and Bryan Mitchell), and another twenty-seven went to folk that were on another team when the season kicked off (Brandon McCarthy, Chris Capuano, and the immortal Esmil Rogers). And, finally, the team used twenty-six different players out of the bullpen. To call it a staff in flux may be the understatement of the year.…

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Yanks Reportedly Start The Interview Process For A New Hitting Coach

Didn’t take long for the new hitting coach hiring process to start.  Per a George King report yesterday afternoon, the Yankees were set to interview Texas Rangers hitting coach Dave Magadan for their vacant hitting coach job.  The interview was scheduled for yesterday afternoon.

“Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and Magadan were slated to meet Wednesday in New York to discuss the job that opened when former hitting coach Kevin Long was fired Friday with a year to go on his contract.

On Tuesday, Magadan said he had been contacted by the Yankees and that ‘it was in the preliminary stages.’’’

The report also named the Mets as another team to have contacted Magadan.  He is currently under contract with the Rangers, but due to ex-manager Ron Washington‘s recent departure, the team is allowing all its coaches to interview elsewhere.  In addition to Magadan, King’s report named Oakland hitting coach Chili Davis as the other scheduled interview for the Yankees this week.  …

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