Quick Hit: FanGraphs Releases ZiPS Projections For 2015 Yankees

Now that rosters have been mostly set and prospects have been ranked, the next step on the march towards pitchers and catchers reporting is the release of 2015 projections.  Earlier this morning, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections for the Yankees were released over at FanGraphs.  It’s a mixed bag of good and bad if you’re the kind of person who values projections in any way, and I invite everybody to read through the whole post when you have the time.

If you’re just looking for the highlights, here they are.  ZiPS is high on Chase Headley, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Brian McCann, projecting all of them to outperform their 2014 slash lines.  It’s also somewhat optimistic about Mark Teixeira, pegging him for a .332 wOBA, albeit in just 377 plate appearances.  A handful of rookies also got favorable WAR projections, most notably Luis Severino, Jose Pirela, Rob Refsnyder, and Aaron Judge.

The pitching, on the other hand, was mostly lowlights.  …

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Expansion Won’t Help Run Scoring

MLB run scoring is down. A lot:

There are many causes of decreased run scoring. Jeff Zimmernan at The Hardball Times thinks that one solution is to expand the number of MLB teams:

Why should there be expansion? One reason is the run scoring environment. Run production has dropped from from a steroid-era high of 5.1 runs per game per team in 2000 to 4.1 last season. Pitching is now the dominant force in the game. The last four times the majors expanded, runs increased as the pitching talent was spread thinner. Looking at the two seasons before an expansion of teams and the two seasons after, the average increase in runs scored per game was a third of a run. Without expansion and if things remain static, scoring will likely go even lower as pitching talent becomes more and more concentrated.

This is an interesting, testable hypothesis: when there is a more concentrated talent pool of potential MLB players, run scoring decreases.…

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Are You Ready For Some Baseball?

Yankees Players

Courtesy of the AP

I don’t want this to turn into another one of the zillion “now it’s officially baseball season” lines that was going on around on Twitter last night.  I’m an all-sports guy, so I’ll actually be using the next few weeks to catch up on what I’ve been missing in the NBA, NHL, and college basketball.  But make no mistake, the end of the Super Bowl and football season is definitely the time when baseball’s return starts to feel really close and starts to get fun.

The date for Yankee pitchers and catchers to report is February 20th.  That’s 18 days away, less than 3 weeks.  That’s nothing.  That time will pass before you even realize it and then baseball will officially be back.

Every minute of every hour of every day that passes over the next 18 days is bringing us closer to the return of baseball.  Closer to seeing what Tanaka and Pineda and CC look like after an offseason to strengthen and condition their bodies to survive another long season.  …

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Saturday News And Notes: 1/31/15

It’s the last day of January and the start to a monster sports weekend.  I spent my morning hanging curtains and washing dishes, so I hope everybody else’s has been more exciting than that.  Here’s what’s going on around the Yankosphere.

– The dollar figure on the Scott Baker deal is in.  Via Jon Heyman, he’ll make $1.5 million if he makes the Major League squad.  I’d say that’s a longshot possibility at best, but you never know.

– MLB.com unveiled its top 100 prospects list yesterday.  2 Yankee farmhands made the cut, with Luis Severino coming in at 23 Aaron Judge at 68, and Greg Bird nowhere to be found.  Byron Buxton was #1 for the second year in a row.  Check out the whole list here.

– If you missed it the other day, Yankee MiLer Tyler Palmer was suspended 50 games for testing positive for Amphetamine.  Bummer for him.

– It didn’t make the ‘Palooza yesterday afternoon, but Mike Axisa wrapped up his ranking of the 40 players currently on the 40-man roster.  …

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 1/30/15

It’s Super Bowl weekend, which means I’ll temporarily forget how terrible I am at sports betting and lay some coin down on the game and a bunch of prop bets.  If you aren’t already following me on Twitter and are in the mood to make lose some money on Sunday, take the plunge and be on the lookout for my bets this weekend.  I’m actually less excited for this game than I’ve been for a Super Bowl in a long time.  All the lame #DeflateGate talk and the MSM crawling up its own butt about Marshawn Lynch has been agonizing.  But I digress.  We’ve got a batch of links to cover so let’s get to it.

On Monday, Wally Matthews of ESPN NY discussed the strained relationship between A-Rod and the Yankees and how it should not override the importance of winning ballgames.  Duh.

– On Tuesday, Jason Cohen of Pinstripe Alley reviewed the Ichiro Suzuki trade on the heels of his new deal with the Marlins.  …

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Report: Yankees Sign RHP Scott Baker To MiL Deal

Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed right-hander Scott Baker to a MiL contract.  There’s been talk for a while on whether or not they would add some cheap potential rotation depth, and Baker fits that mold perfectly.

Baker, now 33, was a consistent 2-3 WAR pitcher for the Twins from 2007-2011.  He suffered an elbow injury and had TJS in 2012 and has never regained his form since then.  He’s pitched a total of 95.2 innings over the last 2 seasons, 1 with the Cubs and the other with the Rangers, and has had a FIP around 5.00 and precious few strikeouts during that time.

If you want to put a positive spin on this, you could point out how his IP and K numbers were better in 2014 than in 2013, but it’s difficult to see Baker being much of a contributor this year.  He’ll get his work in during ST and make a few appearances.  He’s a good emergency arm to have around in Triple-A if he stays there after spring camp, but nothing more.  …

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Tanaka Update: He Says “So Far So Good” For The Elbow During Offseason Workouts

Tanaka Workout

Courtesy of Kyodo

We’ve heard pretty consistent information on CC Sabathia‘s offseason rehab and workout programs, but precious little on Masahiro Tanaka and what he’s been up to.  That changed recently when Kyodo Sports in Japan did a quick story updating his offseason workout progress.

Tanaka has been back in Japan working out with some of his former Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates, and according to the article he has been running, doing fielding drills, and playing catch.  Those throwing sessions have included breaking balls, although it goes without saying that these sessions are a fraction of the intensity level of a real bullpen session or actual game throwing.

When asked about how everything was going, Tanaka said “So far so good — including that (the elbow),”  He also said he’s not planning on changing his approach now that he’s pitched in MLB and teams have had a chance to face him and scout him firsthand.

“Whether I’m the ace or I’m used in different roles within games, I’m always thinking I’m going to win, so I’m not going to change anything I do.”

The concern level for his UCL is going to be sky high all season, but for now this is all good news.  …

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Yanks Put 3 In Scout.com’s Top 100 Prospects

There’s another top 100 prospects list out, and the Yankees did a little better on this one.  Scout.com posted their top 100 yesterday afternoon, and while the Yanks did not put anybody in their top 50, they did have 3 representatives in the 51-100 section.  Luis Severino was 51st, Aaron Judge was 57th, and Greg Bird was 96th.

Severino’s inclusion and team-high ranking on this list goes to show how widely spread the opinions on him are, and once again exemplifies the high level of subjectivity and personal bias that goes into each and every one of these rankings.  Everybody has their own thoughts, their own criteria, and that’s what makes this type of stuff fun and interesting to follow if nothing else.

For the sake of comparison to Law’s list, Scout.com’s top 5 was Bryant, Correa, Buxton, Lucas Giolito, and Francisco Lindor.  Addison Russell was 8th.

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Thursday Night Open Thread: 1/29/15

Another slow day in Yankeeland as we click them off on our way to pitchers and catchers reporting.  The prospect thing is still going strong though, and today’s big news was Keith Law’s top 100 MLB prospects list on ESPN.  I still haven’t decided whether I think Greg Bird being ranked 80th or Luis Severino not at all is the bigger mistake, but they’re both pretty bad.

Feel free to continue to discuss Severino, Bird, the top 100, the Yankee farm system in general, how very, very good the starts to the new seasons of “Archer” and “Justified” have been. or anything else that tickles your collective fancies here.  And for members of the Greg Bird Fan Club, official or unofficial, you’ll be happy to know that I made some major progress on my quest to get his name updated on his Baseball-Reference page.  B-R actually tweeted back at me today and I politely explained the problem to them.  So far no dice on the update, but if you’d like to help that cause, feel free to join the fight and let them know how critical it is that the name be updated.…

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