The Best And Worst Of The 2014 New York Yankees (The Outfield)


Not pictured: The starting right fielder. Courtesy of Getty Images

The 2014 season review series began yesterday with a look back at the infield.  They were a sad, slow, frustrating group for most of the season.  They didn’t hit well or field well.  The best contributions came from players who weren’t expected to do anything or weren’t on the roster at the start of the season (Solarte, Headley, Prado), and the biggest letdowns came from the players who had the highest hopes/expectations attached to them (Teix, McCann).

While the general expectations for the infield were low from the beginning, they were much higher for the starting outfield.  That group was rebuilt in the offseason, with 2 big outside free agent signings joining an extended homegrown talent to form one of the potentially most balanced and talented outfields in baseball.  It didn’t quite work out that way, as team-wide injury problems prevented this group from ever performing in the roles they were expected to.…

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R.I.P. “Gus” Gotsulias

Friends of the site, as many of you know, Stacey’s dad, Constantine “Gus” Gotsulias, had been fighting some pretty serious illness the last few weeks. Which, understandably, is why you haven’t seen or heard from her much. She’d been too busy by her Mom’s and brother’s sides, trying to nurse Gus back to health. Unfortunately, this weekend (10/3/14), Gus succumbed and passed away. Although, Stacey told me they watched Jeter’s last game together in the hospital and was able to point up at the TV when Jeter doubled in the first inning, before falling asleep before the end of the game.

I’ve been reluctant to write about this out of concern for Stacey’s privacy, but at the calling hours last night, Stacey told me it was OK to post something. It’s worth noting that Stacey and her brother had a tremendous “NY” flower arrangement last night, and her brother James had on display a 1941 style Yanks cap in honor of the year of Gus’ birth.…

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Quick Hit: AZFL Begins Today

The season never really ends in the world of prospects, and the next stage of the 2014 cycle kicks off today with the opening of the Arizona Fall League season.  From a Yankee perspective, things have changed some since they announced the initial batch of participants.  Here’s a quicker refresher on who’s going and why.

Position Players: Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Dante Bichette Jr., Kyle Higashioka

Bichette is in for the injured Eric Jagielo, who will miss the season due to his facial HBP and resulting surgery.  Bichette re-established his prospect value some this season with a .271/.352/.410 season at High-A Tampa, but he’s 4 years into his pro career now and just had his first good year since 2011.  There’s nothing he can do to really help or hurt his standing here.  Same goes for Judge, Austin, and Bird, although it would be great to see all of them continue their hot-hitting finishes to the regular season.  …

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The Yankees Off-Season Shopping List

Last week, I opined on what the Yankees should do with their free agents to be. As a result of injuries and poor performance, there was a great deal of roster flux this season, The team ended 2014 with in-season acquisitions seeing the majority of the at-bats at second base and third base, as well as a significant amount of playing time between right field and left field (as Brett Gardner slumped and Jacoby Ellsbury got hurt). The Yankees best position players in the second half were Chase Headley and Martin Prado (by fWAR), for example, and Brandon McCarthy may well have been the team’s best starting pitcher over that time. While that sort of performance is more than welcome, it does not change the fact that a team full of disappointments will see the return of the most egregious offenders.

As Cashman and co. create their gameplan for the off-season, it seems wise to tend to the team’s own free agents before delving into the marketplace.…

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2014 Season Review: The Best And Worst Of The 2014 New York Yankees (The Infield)

Jeter Walk-Off vs BAL

The highlight of the year for the starting infield, one of precious few. (Courtesy of Getty Images)

It was a strange and disappointing season.  Disappointing in that the Yankees once again failed to make the postseason, this time after spending big to revamp the roster from the previously miserable 2013 season.  Strange in that it felt like the team never changed from game 1 to game 162.  There were plenty of player changes, sure, but all year long it felt like the big talking points were the same.  Rotation injury concerns, questions about the batting order, failure to hit in the clutch, and problems with bullpen workload.  It was like watching a baseball team play out McConaughey’s “time is a flat circle” speech from “True Detective” over 1 season.

Rather than go back and recap all those boring talking points in depth again, I thought I’d break the season that was down in the good old “Best & Worst” format.  It’ll give the posts a more balanced tone, touch on the high and low points of the year while still considering those general talking points, and hopefully make the exercise a little less painful to write and read.  …

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Aaron Judge Ranks 15th In Baseball America’s Top 20 Florida State League Prospects List

Fresh off his 8th place showing on the South Atlantic League’s list last week, Aaron Judge showed up again on the latest list released by Baseball America today.  His .283/.411/.442 tripleslash (.397 wOBA, 149 wRC+) was good enough to get him 15th place on BA’s top 20 Florida State League prospects list, and the dual recognition for both leagues gives him another feather in his cap heading into the Arizona Fall League season.  He was the only Yankee farmhand to make the list.

I was a little surprised to not see Jake Cave or Greg Bird crack the bottom of that list, but neither spent a lot of time at the level and both have already been shuttled up to Trenton.  Based on his .308/.419/.486 season batting line and selection for the AZFL, I have to imagine Judge will be joining them there to start 2015.

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part II)

Teix-Ellsbury vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

On Friday I compared the basic counting statistics for the 2013 and 2014 offenses and the results weren’t pretty.  The Yankees, the team built on the “power and patience” offensive concept, had turned into a middle-of-the-pack team at best in both categories and found themselves in the bottom half of MLB in scoring in each of the last 2 seasons.  Strangely enough, despite hitting for a higher average, more power, and striking out less this year, the 2013 team scored 17 more runs than this year’s edition.  Even in an offense-starved baseball environment, there’s no reason to expect that the team that gave 2,175 combined plate appearances to Ichiro, Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez scored more runs than the team that didn’t.

Time to dig a little deeper into this mess and look at the situational hitting.  That has to be the explanation.

Situational Hitting Statistics:


Batting Line at Home-.252/.323/.387
Batting Line on the Road- .234/.292/.366
Batting Line Bases Empty- .239/.299/.381
Batting Line w/ Men On- .248/.317/.368
Batting Line w/ RISP- .255/.338/.380 (in 1,509 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 32
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 468
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .251/.336/.402


Batting Line at Home- .247/.309/.396
Batting Line on the Road- .244/.305/.365
Batting Line Bases Empty- .238/./292/.381
Batting Line W/ Men On- .256/.328/.379
Batting Line w/ RISP- .252/.324/.364 (in 1,480 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 23
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 421
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .247/.314/.369

That’s some pretty damning evidence as to why the 2014 team was so bad.  …

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Another Martin Prado Would Be A Very Good Thing

Pirela vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before the emergency appendectomy abruptly ended his season, Martin Prado was having a nice little go as a Yankee.  At the time, he was the hottest hitter on the team and his bat was carrying the Yankees to victories they probably didn’t deserve.  All in all he hit .316/.336/.541 in 137 plate appearances as a Yank, with 7 HR, 18 runs scored, and 16 RBI.

While there’s no chance that Prado replicates those numbers over a full season next year, he figures to be a very important part of the Yankee roster.  For now he’s penciled in as the starting second baseman, but his flexibility combined with the Yankees’ age and tendency to get hurt in some spots should lead to him playing multiple positions at multiple points next year.

Yesterday Chad Jennings wrote a post over at LoHud about Jose Pirela and the similarities between he and Prado.  The point of Jennings’ post was that Pirela could serve as a second version of Prado on the Yankee bench next season and provide additional defensive flexibility that the team will assuredly need.  …

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 10/3/14

Caught my first cold of the year on Wednesday.  That’s way early for me.  Definitely not a good sign.  Whatever.  Gives me an easy excuse to spend all weekend on the couch watching football.  Now onto the links!

– On Monday, SJK of NoMaas wondered if there was something impairing Cash’s judgment when it came to Beltran and Teixeira.

– On Wednesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits compared Dellin Betances’ 2014 season to Mo’s 1996 to see who had the better year.

– El duque of It Is High… revealed his 11-point plan for next season.

– Mike Axisa of RAB began the always-fun process of looking at next year’s payroll.  I don’t care what the final number is next year.  I just want a greater return on investment.

– On Thursday, Bryan Brunati of Pinstripe Alley mused on which big contract player the Yankees could trade before his deal is up.

– On Friday, Chad Jennings of LoHud previewed the upcoming 40-man roster flexibility the Yankees can create heading into the offseason.…

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