Issues With The Incumbents: Big Mac

New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox

Courtesy of Ray Stubblebine/NY Post

Brian McCann‘s debut season in Yankeeland wasn’t very good.  That’s not a story that needs to be told and beaten into the ground anymore.  We know the hows, we know the whys, and we know it was disappointing.  What makes it an important story heading into this season is what it does or doesn’t mean about McCann’s future.  He’s not as old or as broken down as A-Rod, Teix, or Beltran, but as a soon-to-be-31-year-old catcher who’s been an everyday catcher for 9 seasons running he’s also not the same physically as your average 31-year-old MLB player.  Last season could have been the beginning of the end for McCann as a well above-average hitting catcher and it could have been first-year adjustment issues.  That’s the worry that Cash and Joe will have as Mac gets ready for Year 2.

If you’re a subscriber to the theory that McCann’s decrease in production was more approach/bad BIP luck/adjustment jitters-related, and that the player we saw in the final 2 months was more representative of the normal McCann, OK.  …

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Following Up On Eovaldi’s Changeup

Shame on me for not recalling this yesterday when I wrote the initial post, but commenters JJToucan and chrisN pointed out to me that Nathan Eovaldi did state that he had started working on a changeup/split-finger fastball hybrid during his final few starts of the 2014 season.  That quote actually came from the Bryan Hoch story that I linked to on January 23rd, so double shame on me for missing it multiple times.  That’s really nothing more than my own forgetfulness.  Yes, Nathan Eovaldi has started working on throwing a changeup a new way, and yes, that new way explains the increase in changeup velocity.

Via Brooks Baseball, Eovaldi threw 19 of these split-changeups last September and the SSS results were much more encouraging than his earlier changeup numbers.  The 90 MPH average is impressive.  We don’t usually think “changeup” when we think 90+ velocity, but when you’re talking about a guy sitting 96 and touching 97, 98, 99 with his 4-seamer and you add some downward movement to the pitch, you can understand how that could be a handful for left-handed hitters.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: A Plan For Esmil Rogers?

Rogers vs TOR

Courtesy of Getty Images

You know what move still doesn’t make a lot of sense to me?  The decision to re-sign Esmil Rogers.  It was one of the first signings made by the Yankees this offseason, well before new deals were worked out with the rest of their arbitration-eligible players.  Rogers wasn’t anything special in his time with the Yanks last year (4.68/4.17/4.05 in 25.0 IP), has been even less special in his 421-inning Major League career, and seemed a sure bet to be quickly and unceremoniously cut whenever the rest of the pitching staff was filled out with better players.

That filling out has happened, in the bullpen at least, and yet here Rogers remains.  Not only has he held his position on the 40-man from the end of last season, he may have improved that position with what he’s done this offseason.  Rogers worked as a starter in winter leagues, and Billy Eppler recently confirmed that he will be coming to camp as a starter along with Adam Warren.  …

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Quick hit: A-Rod and the Yankees meet at the Stadium

So the meeting between the Yankees and Alex Rodriguez that the Daily News I-Team said wasn’t happening, happened earlier today.

Here’s the official statement which was a joint statement from Hal Steinbrenner, New York Yankees Managing General Partner/Co-Chairperson; Randy Levine, New York Yankees President; Brian Cashman, New York Yankees Senior Vice President, General Manager;
Jean Afterman, New York Yankees Senior Vice President, Assistant General Manager; Alex Rodriguez, and Jim Sharp, Legal Counsel to Alex Rodriguez:

“Today we held a meeting at Yankee Stadium between Hal Steinbrenner, Randy Levine, Brian Cashman, Jean Afterman, Alex Rodriguez and Jim Sharp. Alex initiated the meeting and apologized to the organization for his actions over the past several years.

“There was an honest and frank discussion on all of the issues. As far as the Yankees are concerned, the next step is to play baseball in spring training.”

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Quick Hit: Schoenfield Puts Yankees 21st In MLB Team Rankings

For those who’ve been lamenting the increase in Insider-only ESPN links, you should be all over David Schoenfield’s team-by-team ranking exercise of all 30 MLB clubs that he’s doing at ESPN SweetSpot.  He kicked off the annual countdown yesterday with the 30-25 teams and today’s block of 24-19 included the New York Yankees at 21.  If that ranking seems low to you, it did to me too.  My eyebrows went up when I saw it and then I did a double-take when I saw the final record prediction: 78-84.  Wow, 6 games under .500?  Really?  That would be pretty bad.  Schoenfield explains:

“The Yankees have been outscored each of the past two years, although they managed to finish over .500 both seasons. While a lot of people are pointing to a healthier rotation and better seasons from some of the veterans as reasons the Yankees will contend this year, I turn that around and say: Who’s a good bet to improve?

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Reviewing Nathan Eovaldi’s Changeup

Eovaldi vs LAA

Pitch shown- Probably not a changeup. Courtesy of Getty Images

The word that’s been attached to Nathan Eovaldi the most since he was acquired by the Yankees, at least as far as I’ve seen, is “potential”.  It’s not hard to understand why when you look at the basic package: solid frame (6’2″/215), very good fastball velocity, 25 years old with multiple years of MLB experience already.  With that makeup, there’s no reason Eovaldi can’t be a top-of-the-rotation starter in either league.  He has all the potential in the world, potential that he’s slowly started to show in the form of his improving FIP and K/BB numbers over each of his 4 MLB seasons.  He also has the potential to make the leap to upper-echelon starter this year if he can work out some of the kinks in his game and smooth over some of the rough edges.

The roughest of his edges might be Eovaldi’s glaring lack of a reliable third pitch.  …

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Judge, Severino Make Baseball Prospectus’ 2015 Top 101 Prospects List

The offseason of accolades and resume building continues for Aaron Judge and Luis Severino.  Yesterday they were once again the only 2 Yankee representatives on a national top prospects list, this one the 2015 edition of the Baseball Prospectus Top 101.  Judge came in 49th on the list with Severino right behind him at 51.

If this series of prospect rankings has taught us anything, it’s that these 2 are the clear top 2 in the Yankee farm system.  No disrespect to the Birds and Sanchezes and Clarkins of the world, but Judge and Severino are clearly on another level as prospects and 2015 is going to be a big year for both of them in terms of setting up a realistic target date for their MLB debuts.  Ideally, I’d like to see them both perform well and stay healthy in split seasons between Double-A and Triple-A.  That would line Severino up to compete for a spot in the 2016 rotation and Judge for a call up sometime in the early part of next season.…

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Nominations Open: Best Yankee Moments of the Derek Jeter Era

For some reason, I decided to binge on baseball documentaries this weekend. I watched the Ken Burns documentary on the 2000s. I watched ESPN 30 for 30’s House of Steinbrenner. I watched MLB’s 2001 World Series documentary. And in the middle of peak nostalgia and a few held back tears, I thought of a fun idea for this blog: let’s rank the best on-field moments in modern Yankee history.

But first, we need to construct a ballot. I’m sure we can all name 9 or 10 great moments in Yankee history, but I’m really excited to see those moments in the 10-20 range that I forgot about. Every nomination will make the final ballot, which we will open up to voting later this week. Once the results are in, the IIATMS staff will write them up just in time for pitchers and catchers to report and start the post-Jeter era.

What is a moment? For the purpose of this exercise, a moment is a single at-bat or fielding play.…

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