Adam Warren v. Dave LaPoint (and Starter v. Reliever Velocity)

Warren vs BAL II

Courtesy of Getty Images

Ever have a job you were performing decently, but that still left you wondering every day if a demotion is coming? Adam Warren does. While he’s not killing it, or pitching deep into games, his average of just under 5.5 IP/start isn’t awful, and not many teams have both 4th and 5th starters beating Warren’s 4.50 ERA / 4.15 FIP. But Chris Capuano‘s return was sure to cost the rotation spot of one guy a decade younger – either Warren or, it turned out, TJ patient Chase Whitley.

Old Man Capuano versus The Kids reminds me of my favorite obscure baseball quote: rookie Sterling Hitchcock‘s too-bold yet dead-on blasting of the Yankees’ impatience with trusting young starters over crappy vets. Hitchcock is a Yankee immortal to me, but for this quote, not his forgettable pitching:

You hear a lot about our young guys, but then there’s no slot for us … It’s, “Go back to [AAA] and have a great year, and thanks for coming.” It’s frustrating because you look at other teams … and you see you pitched against them in the minors.

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On Using These Off-Days To Plan For The Near Future And Improve The Roster

The Yankees had their first scheduled off-day since April 30th yesterday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.  At the end of a stretch that saw them play 30 games in 31 days, they were playing baseball like a tired team that needed a rest.  The bats had gone cold, the bullpen had been worked hard, and there wasn’t much energy to their losses during their 1-5 week last week.  Despite that long stretch and rough finish, they still wake up today in first place in the division, with a respectably positive run differential (+15), and with another scheduled off-day on the horizon before they head home for the weekend.

The Yankees are still in a good spot, and they’re going to hopefully get some more pitching help back in the weeks to come.  I’m confident that 2 days off this week will help bring some life back to those old legs and cold bats.  But to make the most out of this now friendly off-day schedule, I think the Yankees need to do more than rest.  …

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Monday Evening News And Notes: 5/18/15

You know the drill.  Here’s the latest:

Masahiro Tanaka threw his latest bullpen session this morning at Nationals Park.  29 pitches, no reported issues, and it sounds like he’s ready to start his official MiL rehab.  The team has yet to announce any formal plans, but both Double-A Trenton and Triple-A SWB are at home later in the week.  Assuming Tanaka feels fine tomorrow, I bet he’ll be lined up to pitch for one of those teams on Thursday or Friday.

– Sounds like everything is OK with Mark Teixeira‘s toe.  X-rays were negative and both he and Joe sounded optimistic that he would be able to play on Tuesday.  Here’s hoping.  The offense really can’t afford to have him start breaking down right now.

Chase Whitley had his follow-up right elbow exam today with the team doctor and the decision was made to have him undergo TJS to repair the tear in his UCL.  The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow and will be performed by Dr.…

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Fun with charts?

There’s an obvious lack of enthusiasm we all seem to be sharing with nearly the entire infield (thanks for not being terrible, Mark Teixeira) after six weeks [looking squarely at you, Stephen Drew and Chase Headley, and of course, Didi Gregorius].

Earlier today, Brad, Matt, and Stacey pointed out the failings of Drew (here), Headley (here), and the rest (here) so that spurred me to go take a peek at the oWAR from Baseball-Reference.com for all American League players who have played at least 10 games this season at 3B/SS/2B. Below is the chart of all such players, with the Yanks’ starters (and Gregorio Petit for kicks) highlighted.

Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 New York Yankees infield (or at least 75% of it):

2015SS3B2BoWar

Now I’m no SABR-magician like Michael Kay thinks Stacey is, but just using the old fashioned eyeball test, this ain’t good.

I hold some irrational faith in Headley, as at least he’s manning 3B quite well.…

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Chase Headley’s Slow Start

Courtesy: Brad Penner/USA Today

Courtesy: Brad Penner/USA Today

When Chase Headley re-signed with the Yankees for a four-year, $52 million contract there seemed to be a very wide range of opinions on the deal. What I noticed was a lot of the mainstream media guys didn’t get it, while the “stat geeks” loved it and thought Headley was undervalued.

As usual for me, I was on the “stat geeks” side. The narrative in the mainstream media was that Headley had not been a productive player since his MVP caliber season of 2011, which was completely false. He has never been nearly as good as he was in 2011, but he had a .330 wOBA and a 114 wRC+ in 2013 and a 4.2 WAR last season. According to Fangraphs’ WAR to dollar based scale, Headley was worth $31.7 million last season.

Through a month and a half of the season Headley has surprisingly stunk. He’s hitting .236/.285/.386/.670 with five home runs, a .294 wOBA and a 83 wRC+.…

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The Yankees can’t quit Stephen Drew

Drew vs BOS

Stephen Drew is a hot button topic among Yankee fans (and blogs) these days and with good reason. Most people want him designated for assignment because he’s taking up valuable real estate in the field and in the lineup when there are seemingly better and more attractive players waiting in the wings at second base.

Right now, Drew is the worst second baseman in the American League and if it weren’t for poor Chase Utley stinking up the joint in Philadelphia (.138/.214/.241/.455), Drew would be the worst second baseman in all of baseball.

In Drew’s last “full” season (I say full even though it was only 124 games) he batted .253/.333/.443/.777 with 13 home runs and 67 RBI. Last year, through 32 games, Drew was batting .178/.254/.346/.600 with a .168 ISO and this year, through 35 games, Drew is batting .177/.264/.345/.609 with a .168 ISO which is uncanny because the numbers are almost identical.

He’s hitting .213/.291/.362/.653 in 15 games at Yankee Stadium, .152/.243/.333/.577 in 20 games on the road and has one home run at home and three on the road.…

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Monday Morning Food For Thought: Offense Living And Dying With The Top Of The Order

Last Tuesday I wrote this post about the Yankees using the simple “get ‘em on, get ‘em in” formula with the top 4 spots in their batting order to fuel their recent hot streak.  They were coming off an 11-5 thumping of the Rays the night before in a game that saw the team hit 5 home runs and the top 4 spots in the order combine for 9 hits, 8 R scored, and 7 RBI.

Since that game, the Yankees have fallen on hard offensive times.  They’ve scored 11 runs in their last 6 games and gone 1-5 in those games.  5 of those 11 runs came in their only win during that stretch on Saturday afternoon, leaving the other 6 to be lightly dusted across the 5 losses.  This level of semi-extended offensive ineptitude is a call back to the last few seasons, something nobody wants to revisit.  While there are plenty of logical explanations for this regression: small sample size bias, bad luck, tired team desperately in need of an off-day, my biggest takeaway from these 6 games and the handful before them is just how top-heavy the Yankee lineup has become and just how little chance they have of winning when those top 4 spots aren’t producing.…

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Game 39 Recap: Royals 6 Yankees 0

Capuano vs KC

Welcome back, or something. Courtesy of the AP

Today was getaway day, the first one the Yankees have had in quite some time.  They played like it, which is not a good thing when you consider how crappy they’ve been for the better part of this week.  Chris Capuano returned to the rotation today, and his return was not a good one.  It didn’t help that the offense no-showed for at least the 3rd or 4th time since Big Mike’s 16-K game and once again the Yanks went down quietly heading into a much-needed rest day.

Capuano threw 76 pitches in his last rehab outing and he said he felt good enough to throw 100 coming into today, but talk is cheap when you’re talking about facing a contact-heavy team like the Royals and it didn’t take them long to figure him out.  He needed 18 pitches to get through the 1st inning, surrendered a solo home run to Salvador Perez in the 2nd, and then seemed to settle down in a 1-2-3 3rd.  …

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