Watch Out Ben Francisco, Ronnier Mustelier Wants Your Job


After the Mark Teixeira injury, the Yankees gave prospect Ronnier Mustelier every chance in the world to win a job with the major league team. Between the first day of Spring Training and an unfortunate play on a foul ball on March 15th, Mustelier only missed 4 games. Despite being a 28 year old without a plus glove, the organization wanted to see his bat everyday. Before the Yankees showed so much interest in him, it was hard to know what to make of Mustelier’s 2011 .925 OPS, and his 2012 .859 OPS. While he was far older than the competition, Mustelier has continued to hit through increasing competition inside pitcher’s ballparks. Projecting his bat in the major leagues would be a difficult task, but he was certainly the Yankees’ most competent  and mature right-handed batter this spring.

It wasn’t through a lack of hitting or effort that he missed the Major League roster in April. After hitting .314/.368/.571 this Spring, Mustelier overran a foul ball against the Marlins one afternoon, and planted his knee right into a fence. It bothered him enough to hold him back over the next few weeks, and landed him in extended Spring Training. Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix ended up getting the call as the team’s right-handed DH and utility player, each of which have hit a wRC+ of 39 and 48. Meanwhile, the Yankees have gone on to trade for Chris Nelson to try and pick up some of the slack that these players couldn’t.

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading Watch Out Ben Francisco, Ronnier Mustelier Wants Your Job

Lunchtime links: Twitter Tuesday

I’m going to do something a little different today so instead of linking to articles for your lunchtime links, I’m going to post some Yankees related tweets from beat writers, columnists and fellow bloggers.


Some news on Francisco Cervelli:

Cervelli said its going to be about 5 weeks till he can do baseball activities. In 3 weeks he’ll do hand strengthening exercises.

Well, that’s not good. This means more Chris Stewart in the lineup and since Joe Girardi is not too keen on Austin Romine, the Yankees will probably have to try and make a deal for another catcher. At least I hope they will…

This is actually a Mets tweet but still pretty funny:

One can only hope. RT @DPLennon: A joke right? RT @Jay_HorwitzPR: Harvey has Mets permission to skip game and be at MSG to root on Rangers.

Jay Horwitz is the Mets’ PR guy and he is a special kind of flower. The kind that tweets stuff that seems like it could be real but usually isn’t. A few weeks ago he tweeted that the Mets and Rockies were going to play a triple header because of the snow delays they were facing. I fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Next up, Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk, thinks you’re a dummy if you believe the Yankees are better off with Jayson Nix over Alex Rodriguez. (Okay, he didn’t say dummy, I did. But he is implying it.)

How one can say, with a straight face, that the Yankees are better off without A-Rod while Jayson Nix is starting …

And my tweet of the day:

klapisch leans back from his typewriter, stretches, and smiles at his Arod dartboard.”You’ve been Klapped” he says with a twinkle in his eye

In case you missed it, Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record wrote something silly about A-Rod. Many people had varying reactions to it and this was my favorite one. I will not be linking the piece because it’s pretty awful but you can google it if you’d like.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! Continue reading Lunchtime links: Twitter Tuesday

Minor League Review: April

Well, the first month of the 2013 season is in the books, so it is time to check on the minor league teams and players. Due to a busy start to my May, I am a little behind in getting these out, but here is a look at how the Yankees’ affiliates look so far.

railridersScranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
After spending 2012 on the road, there was a lot of excitement for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate this season. Not only did they have a newly renovated stadium, but they had a new name and look to go with it. The first month of the RailRiders’ existence has not gone quite as planned, but they seem to be picking up steam. Scranton fans had to wait until the fifth game of the season to see the RailRiders pick up a victory, as they started April with a 1-6 record. As if that wasn’t enough to overcome, their next six games were postponed due to rain and/or wet grounds, giving them five days between games and a slew of doubleheaders during the rest of the month. The RailRiders seemed to regroup and quickly made up for lost time. Despite seeing ten games postponed during April, Scranton seemed to adjust well and ended the month by sweeping two straight doubleheaders. In fact, Scranton is currently riding an eight game win streak and finds themselves two games behind Buffalo in the International League North. Interestingly, Donnie Collins pointed out this morning that the RailRiders continue to do much better on the road (12-2) than they do at PNC Field (5-9).

The key strength for the RailRiders has come from the mound. Vidal Nuno, Chris Bootcheck and Chien-Ming Wang have given Scranton some strong starts, while Preston Claiborne, Sam Demel and Mark Montgomery have worked well out of the pen. If Brett Marshall and Dellin Betances can pull together some strong starts, the International League will truly have a tough time against Scranton pitching. Thomas Neal, Austin Romine, David Adams and Zoilo Almonte have all put together strong offensive performances this season. Ronnier Mustelier missed all of April with an injury, but he is now back in the lineup and should prove to big bat for the RailRiders.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading Minor League Review: April

Cutter Problems Killing Andy Lately

Pettitte vs OAK

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

After allowing just 7 ER in his first 4 starts of the season, and going at least 6 innings in each of those starts, Andy Pettitte has struggled mightily in his last 2 outings, the second of which came yesterday Sunday against Oakland.  In 9.1 IP over both starts, Pettitte has allowed 10 ER on 14 H and 5 BB, with just 5 K to show for his effort.  According to Andy, his cutter has been the source of his struggles in the last week.  He just hasn’t had any kind of control over the pitch let alone command, and a quick look at the pitch location plot is proof of that:

Pettitte Cutter Location Last 2 Starts

That’s pretty brutal right there.  Either in the good middle part of the hitting zone or so far off the edges of the zone that it doesn’t even warrant a swing.  The cutter is Andy’s groundball pitch, the one he uses to keep his pitch count down and get quick outs when he needs them.  Without command of the pitch, it’s no surprise to see that his GB rate in each of his last 2 starts has been below 40%.  It also doesn’t help that his 2-seamer command hasn’t been that great either:

Pettitte 2-Seamer Location Last 2 Starts

Normally that’s a pitch that Andy will throw to both sides of the plate and throw for strikes pretty consistently.  In these last 2 starts he’s only been able to throw it to one side of the plate and with a similar “good to hit or not even close” distribution as his cutter, cutting his strike % down from near 67% to 58.6%. When you’re working with lower velocity like Andy is at this stage in his career, your command needs to be on point.  Andy’s was earlier in the season when he was cruising through his first 4 starts.  He’s hit a snag here in the last week and he needs to find that command to get himself right again.

It’d be easy and not unfair to question Andy’s health and how that may be affecting his performance.  He did skip a start and miss over a week with back tightness last month, and we know back problems tend to linger.  Andy’s ability to pitch through back problems at age 40 is surely not what it was at age 30, and to a certain degree it would be understandable that he struggle if the back is giving him trouble.  Andy himself swears that’s not the problem right now, though, and I’m willing to believe him.  If this trend with the cutter continues over another start or two, that feeling might change.

(Pitch plots courtesy of Texas Leaguers.  Pettitte photo courtesy of the AP) Continue reading Cutter Problems Killing Andy Lately

The Farm Report: 5/6/13 Tracy strikes out nine in best start this season

The Yankees’ major league club isn’t the only one hit by injury, as Josh Norris fills us in on some bad news for Trenton. Kyle Higashioka, who was having a pretty strong start to 2013 as JR Murphy’s backup catcher, is done for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Rob Segedin is also on the DL after hurting his hip on the 24th, with no clear return date yet. Walter Ibarra is starting to work his way back from an abdominal injury, but has a ways to go before he will be cleared.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was blanked by Indianapolis 5-0:
Chien-Ming Wang got the start for the RailRiders, making short work of the Indians through the first three innings. The RailRiders had a chance to score first in the bottom of the third, when David Adams (making a start at first base) lined a double to left. Zoilo Almonte reached on an error, put Dan Johnson grounded out and Scranton came up empty. Indianapolis rallied with two outs in the top of the fourth. Matt Hague lined a single to center and Jared Goedert singled to center. Ivan De Jesus grounded a two-run double to right and then scored on a single by Jerry Sands for the 3-0 lead. Felix Pie hit a two-run homer in the top of the fifth, giving the Indians plenty of breathing room. Scranton had a chance to make a move in the bottom of the eighth. Adams doubled to right and Almonte singled, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Johnson and Ronnier Mustelier both struck out and Melky Mesa flew out, as the Indians held on for the 5-0 win.

Adams went 2-4 with a pair of doubles. Almonte and Bobby Wilson were the only other RailRiders to pick up hits. Corban Joseph and Mesa went 0-4 and Mustelier went 0-3. Wang gave up five runs on eight hits over five innings. He did not walk anyone and struck out five. Kelvin Perez went two innings and allowed just two hits and a walk, striking out four. Clay Rapada and Josh Spence each gave up one hit in an inning of work. Rapada allowed a walk and Spence struck out two.

(click “view full post” to read more) Continue reading The Farm Report: 5/6/13 Tracy strikes out nine in best start this season

Yankees Lead Baseball In Days On The DL

The news isn’t too shocking, but through May 6th, the Yankees lead all of baseball in days on the DL with a total of 358. The Blue Jays aren’t far behind, ranking second with 349 days, and the Marlins are third with 323 days.


Though the numbers appear close, the Yankees have undoubtedly taken the biggest hit in terms of disabled players. The majority of their days lost come from their projected starting lineup and rotation, while the Blue Jays have pitchers Kyle Drabek and Luis Perez sitting on the 60-day DL. Though the Yankees ranked just 12th overall in pitchers days lost, their position player injuries have far outweighed the amount and scope of other teams. Their 234 days lost by offensive players is 29 days ahead of the Brewers, and none of these injuries came against bench-types. Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Francisco Cervelli, and Kevin Youkilis would all be included in the starting lineup if healthy.

In terms of other teams, the Dodgers have probably taken the biggest hit when it comes to pitching. Their 197 days on the DL come from Chad Billingsley, Scott Elbert, Ted Lilly, Chris Capuano, and Zack Greinke. The Braves have also had a number of big name players DL’d, including Brandon Beachey, Brian McCann, Jonny Venters, Freddie Freeman, and Jason Heyward. Though the Red Sox have are ranked high, the majority of their days come from Ryan Kalish, Craig Breslow, and Franklin Morales. The Indians and Padres have also taken major hits.

The best surviving teams have been the Phillies, (though they added Roy Halladay to the DL today), Tigers, Nationals, Mariners, and Rockies. Surprisingly, the Mets, Rangers, and Royals haven’t DL’d a single position player in 2013, pretty remarkable. Before the Halladay DL, the Phillies’ only disabled players were Delmon Young and John Lannan. The Rockies have also survived with short 15 day DL stints to just Jhoulys Chacin and Todd Helton, while Edwar Cabrera sits on the 60-Day DL.

Pitchers have spent a lot more time on the disabled list in comparison to position players. Their total of 3,519 days is 54% more than the 2,282 days that hitters have seen. In terms of leagues, the AL and NL are very close to days missed, with the AL seeing 2,830 and the NL with 2,710. Going by division, the AL East seen the most injuries by far, with 1,247 days lost, which is followed by the NL Central (1,070), the NL West (1,014), the NL East (887), the AL West (839), and the AL Central (744). Here are the total days missed and ranks by teams for pitchers, hitters, and their totals.

(click “view full post” to see the data) Continue reading Yankees Lead Baseball In Days On The DL

Quick hit: He’s baaaaaaaaack

As I said in my previous post, Alex Rodriguez is back in Tampa and working his way back to the Yankees.

Members of the media weren’t allowed to watch his workout but they reported on his arrival in great detail:

A-Rod arrived at the Yankees’ spring training complex at 10:33 a.m. on Monday, rolling up in a black Cadillac Escalade and accompanied by a female companion and a driver. Rodriguez’s driver spoke to the security guard and then drove around to the back entrance, out of the view of reporters and photographers gathered outside the entrance.

I was watching Rachael Ray at 10:33 a.m. this morning so I think standing around in a parking lot waiting for A-Rod’s arrival was probably a bit more exciting.

Okay, maybe not.

A-Rod seemed enthusiastic about getting back to baseball. He posted this picture on his Facebook page with the caption “Tampa Bound.”


(Where can I get that carpet? I’d like to put it in my bedroom.)

A-Rod spoke with reporters after he finished his workouts which included running, catching and hitting off a tee. The Yankees and Rodriguez are eyeing a post-All Star game return for the 37-year-old third baseman.

Hopefully there will be no setbacks and he will remain healthy so that timetable will become a reality. Continue reading Quick hit: He’s baaaaaaaaack

On tweets, Alex Rodriguez’s impending return and hypocrisy

In case you didn’t know, Alex Rodriguez is on his way to Tampa to join teammates like Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Youkilis on the road back to recovery and more importantly, on the road back to baseball. He had been cleared by his doctors to begin partaking in baseball activities starting today.

And how do members of the New York sports media react to this news?

(click “view full post” to continue reading) Continue reading On tweets, Alex Rodriguez’s impending return and hypocrisy