Better Know a Division: The 2013 AL West

In 2012, the American League West may well have been the most exciting division in Major League Baseball – from wire to wire, at that. The Rangers made a splash to sign Japanese sensation Yu Darvish, who lived up to some very lofty expectations (tied for fifth in the Majors in fWAR). Not to be outdone, the Athletics swooped in to bring Yoenis Cespedes on-board, and were rewarded with the best rookie season this side of Mike Trout, as the star of ‘The Showcase’ batted .292/.356/.505 (136 wRC+) with 23 HR and 16 SB. The Mariners even made a bit of a splash, acquiring Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Michael Pineda. And, of course, the Angels sought to capture some of the Yankees 2009 mojo, signing (arguably) the top hitting and pitching free agents of the off-season, in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

Of course, much of this became an afterthought as the Rangers, Athletics, and Angels battled for the divisional crown throughout the season, with all three remaining in the race through the final month of the season.…

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Minor League Preview: Tampa Yankees


Just as the start of 2012 brought a lot of excitement to Charleston, the Tampa Yankees reaped the benefits in the latter half of the year. Unfortunately, a slow start to the season put the Yankees in a big hole in the Florida State League and they ended the year with a 65-70 record, their first losing season since 2005. Additions of Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez and Tyler Austin revived them somewhat, but in the end their inconsistencies early in the season were too much for the Yankees’ hottest prospects to salvage.

While inconsistency was a problem for the Yankees on both offense and defense in 2012, they should have some solid players on both sides of the field this year. Combined with some strong players waiting for promotions down in Charleston, it could be enough to propel the Yankees back to a winning season, if not another FSL championship. Williams and Sanchez will anchor a strong lineup, with Angelo Gumbs probably starting in Charleston.  …

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Some Positive Talking Points To Start The Morning


My lineup post from yesterday morning generated a fair bit of discussion in the comments section, mainly about the topics of optimism vs. pessimism and how it’s way too early in the year to be so negative about the team.  I didn’t think I was being anything other than objective and realistic about the players I listed.  I mean, if Juan Rivera and Brennan Boesch were such world beaters, wouldn’t other teams have scooped them up before the Yankees?  Boesch is in the prime of his career and Detroit threw him out like a sack of garbage.  That said more to me about the type of player the Yankees were getting than any kind of positive projections or hopeful feelings ever could, but I digress.  Before I get officially labeled the Negative Nancy of this new blogging team, I wanted to go on the record and point out some of the things I have very positive feelings about this season, things like…

Brett Gardner Having Another 6 fWAR Season

I’ve always been a big Gardner fan and I think he’s due for a big bounce back this season, both health-wise and at the plate.  …

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Analyzing Wells’ Recent Years And Why The Trade Is Not So Bad

Throughout his career, Vernon Wells has been a beacon of inconsistency. In 2004 and 2005, Wells was barely an above average offensive player, but in 2006, Wells managed to put up a 128 wRC+, 32 home runs, and stole 17 bases. He earned a 7 year $126 million deal because of his production in a contract year. The extremely volatile hitter has since produced ISO’s and OBP’s that have at times fluctuated around .100 points between seasons. In the end, he’s produced a 104 wRC+ over his career, barely average.

At the age of 34, it’s hard to see what the Yankees liked when they decided to pick up $14 million of his contract yesterday. In his two years with the Angels, Wells hit just .222/.258/.409 in 791 plate appearances. Since 2006, his LD% has dropped from 18.3%, to 16.8%(2007), 17.3%(2008), 14.8%(2009), 15.9%(2010), 12.3%(2011), 15.7%(2012). That low line drive rate is accompanied by a declining average on those hits. In his career, he’s hit .723 on line drives, but in 2010 he hit just .691, in 2011 .635, and in 2012 .656.…

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Quick hit: Pineda to face live batters in two weeks

Via Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog:

Continuing his progress from last year’s shoulder surgery, Michael Pineda is scheduled to throw a 45-pitch bullpen tomorrow. He’s not sure how hard he’s been throwing the ball, but he said he’s felt no discomfort, his command has been “perfect” and Pineda said coaches hav told him he looks good and strong. He’s seemed encouraged every step along the way.

Pineda said the next significant step comes in two weeks when he’s scheduled to throw live batting practice for the first time.

I don’t know about you but I feel like doing a jig or maybe some backflips. I like good news so hopefully we’ll keep getting it from Yankees camp.

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Lunchtime Links: Vernon Wells, more Vernon Wells and last place predictions

No, you weren’t dreaming and no, this isn’t shared nightmare by Yankee fans that we will all wake up from, sighing in relief and wiping the sweat from our brows, it is very real and it is not spectacular.

Vernon Wells is really going to be a Yankee – Bud Selig just has to approve the money exchanging hands – and this offseason has now officially hit rock bottom. (At least I hope so, there are six days left and anything can happen…)

As you can imagine there were a ton of articles, blog posts, rants, etc. written about this move. Most of them were of the negative variety. It even got so bad at one point that a well-known blogger/podcaster who happens to be a Kansas City Royals fan was making fun of the Yankees on Twitter. For a fan of a team that hasn’t sniffed the playoffs since I was in elementary school to make fun of the Yankees so viciously, the move has to be terrible, right?…

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Minor League Preview: Charleston RiverDogs


There was quite a bit of excitement in Charleston when the 2012 season got underway, as the RiverDogs’ Opening Day roster boasted some of the Yankees’ most exciting prospects. With Tyler Austin, Mason Williams, Gary Sanchez, Dante Bichette, Jr. and others, it looked like the RiverDogs would be the team to beat in the South Atlantic League. Unfortunately for Charleston, Austin, Williams and Sanchez moved up to Tampa part way through the season, while Cito Culver and Bichette struggled to make up for the lost production and the RiverDogs ended the season 73-63, just short of a SAL playoff berth.

As always, there will be plenty of changes in Charleston this season, and I am not just talking about  the newest addition to their heralded concessions – the beer milkshake. These changes will start in the dugout, as Al Pedrique will take over managing duties for the RiverDogs for Carlos Mendoza, the new roving defense coach for the Yankees minor league system.…

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This Lineup Tells You Everything You Need To Know

1) Brett Gardner– CF
2) Eduardo Nunez– SS
3) Robinson Cano– 2B
4) Kevin Youkilis– 3B
5) Vernon Wells– DH
6) Juan Rivera– 1B
7) Brennan Boesch– RF
8) Ichiro Suzuki– LF
9) Francisco Cervelli– C

That, or some similar variation of that, is what the New York Yankee starting lineup is going to look like one week from today.  It’s a far cry from what the lineup has been the last few years and a far cry from what the lineup was expected to be this season, but it actually perfectly encapsulates everything the Yankees are right now.  It shows how they’re an old, injured team with a lot of payroll tied up in its older, injured players.  It shows how the self-imposed payroll crunch has limited the team’s ability to seek out trade and free agent options that best meet its needs.  And it shows how little impact MiL depth the team has in its own farm system to help overcome the injuries and lack of big-time trade/FA activity.…

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Updated (Again): Vernon Wells looks to be headed to the Bronx

What in the world is going on this year?

Everyone joked that 2012 was “the end times” and nearly everything that occurred, no matter what it was, was turned into an apocalypse joke – and I’ll admit I made my fair share of them – but my goodness, does it seem like we were all off a year?

Check out these tweets by Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports:

Vernon Wells? Really?

Is this rock bottom? Please tell me it is because I’m not sure I can take much more.

UPDATE 4:27pm:

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