Arizona Fall League Wrap-Up

The Arizona Fall League has ended, with the Championship game slated for tomorrow when the Salt River Rafters will take on the Peoria Javelinas. The Yankees’ prospects spent the season with the Scottsdale Scorpions, who ended up 15-16 and 2.5 games behind the Rafters. There were some performances to get excited about, but – as has been the theme for the Yankees’ this season – the players closest to the Majors continued to struggle. I’ll get the bad news out of the way first.

Dellin Betances wasn’t able to get past the rest of his rough 2012 season, going 1-3 with a 5.25 ERA over eight appearances and twelve innings, though the news wasn’t all bad. After an ugly first outing, Betances did string together some solid performances, keeping opposing teams scoreless over four games (5.2 innings). He only allowed three hits and one walk, which was a good sign for a pitcher whose lack of control was particularly problematic this season.…

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Finding The Next Great Swish/C-Grand-Type Trade Candidate

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

Barring a a big-time unexpected swerve, the Yankees seem pretty well set in their plans to not add significant payroll this offseason as they try to address their team needs.  They’ve engaged pretty much every older free agent from last year’s...

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Vested interests are always the last to see change

Okay, one more post about the A.L. MVP award race, because I haven’t quite gotten over this yet. Yes, that’s Daily News beat writer and MVP voter Mark Feinsand actually pulling out the “I watch all of the games” card to justify his ballot not including Robinson Cano anywhere in the top ten (though fellow Yankees Derek Jeter and Rafael Soriano were third and eight, respectively). I like Feinsand and think he’s probably the best reporter on the Yankees’ beat, but yeah, there’s pretty much no way this one is getting by me.

What makes this whole thing especially hilarious is that Feinsand is responding to Michael Eder, who’s currently the head honcho of TYA. Implicitly dismissing baseball fans as people who don’t watch the games (and that’s what Feinsand was doing, there’s no sense in denying that) is usually ridiculous enough, but it’s even more so when it’s directed at someone writing daily for one of the biggest and most respected blogs out there.…

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Jeter may not be ready for Opening Day

The ALCS seems like it happened so long ago, that I’d almost forgotten that Derek Jeter suffered a broken ankle in the first game of the series in all honesty, but Joe Girardi‘s comments on that brought it back into stark relief. The skipper’s message? His starting shortstop might not be ready to play on Opening Day. “He’s still basically non-weight-bearing, I believe, so, I really believe it might be a little push,” Girardi said.

Initial freak out aside, Girardi is a pretty conservative manager when it comes to his public statements, and it seems as though he’s just being as non-committal as he can without ducking the question entirely. That’s not without merit, either, as there’s pretty good reason not to be tossing numbers around yet, as how Jeter’s rehab work progresses will be the biggest factor in determining when he’s ready to return. As we saw with Andy Pettitte over the summer, putting too much effort into trying to heal quickly can easily lead to setbacks that leave you missing even more time, so putting the pressure on Jeter to be ready for Opening Day is likely counterproductive.…

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Miguel Cabrera Deserved To Win The MVP

Admittedly, when we held our very own TYA awards, my MVP vote went to Mike Trout. Why? Because by all measurable statistics, no matter how you crunch the numbers, Mike Trout had the best season in baseball. No matter what awards he loses, no matter how many critics unwittingly joust against WAR, wRC+, and...

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Cone crowns Jays division favorites

Apparently we’re moving from hot stove season to prematurely bullish prediction season in record time this year. Speaking to reporters at a charity event yesterday, YES broadcaster David Cone reacted to the big trade between the Marlins and Blue Jays by declaring the Blue Jays the division favorites already. “I would think they’d have to be the favorite, right now, in the American League East,” Cone said. It may seem a touch early to be crowning presumptive favorites, but then, if the 2012 Marlins taught us anything it’s that making a big splash to acquire Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle instantly makes you the best team in your division.

Alright, I’m mostly just kidding here, but I can’t help but chuckle that this trend is still with us. It seems that every year someone makes a big, unexpected move in the offseason, and everyone immediately proceeds to the knee jerk reaction of declaring them a massively improved team who have to be favored to win something.…

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Bad arguments, postseason awards, and reactionary impulses

I don’t feel like saying anything about the A.L. MVP award which will be unveiled in a couple of hours, but whatever your thoughts on that question, this article by Dave Cameron is well worth a read, especially if you subscribe to the notion that an MVP has to come from a playoff team. The premise is pretty simple: if not making the playoffs means Mike Trout can’t be the American League MVP, then how does he get on your ballot at all? If Miguel Cabrera finishes ahead of him because he got the Tigers into the playoffs, don’t you then have to rank any player that the same could be said about on all five postseason teams ahead of Trout? And yet. there’s basically no chance that even the most ardent Cabrera supporter will have Trout outside of the top five, let alone the top ten.

My new working theory on this “race” is that it’s all just an elaborate ruse concocted by the baseball gods to lay waste to the traditionalist/anti-saber position for good.…

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The Yankees and international free agents

There was a time when the Yankees were usually seen as the favorites to land any international free agent they coveted. From Orlando Hernandez and Hideki Irabu to Jose Contreras and Hideki Matsui, the Yankees (and their checkbook) were the big players on the block, and the international free agent market was a way for them to add new talent without going through the more traditional channels of acquiring and developing new players. In recent years, however, they’ve been remarkably quiet on that front, especially given that we’ve seen some of the most intriguing talents in the history of international free agency come to the states since 2009. Last year alone, the Yankees let the Rangers and A’s have Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes, respectively, with little more than a token show of interest from The Bronx. As Brad Vietrogoski wrote at TYA the other day, those are two players that could have helped them quite a bit in retrospect.…

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A Path to the Majors for this 16 Year-Old Girl With a Killer Knuckleball?

This story, which I first read on Fangraphs, fascinates me:

Who would willingly throw a knuckleball in high school when scouts are looking for fastballs and curveballs? Well, for a 15-year-old native of Plant City, Florida, knuckleballs have been the key pitch to a young successful repertoire — ever since Joe Niekro taught the...

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