Daily Archives: July 19, 2013

Game 96 Lineup: Yankees @ Red Sox

Did everyone enjoy the All-Star Break? I did…and now I’m wishing for it back. Anyway, here’s the lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Vernon Wells DH
Zoilo Almonte LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Brent Lillibridge 3B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

LHP Andy Pettitte


— Apparently one week wasn’t enough. The Yankees put Derek Jeter back on the DL with a Grade 1 quad strain. To make room on the roster, Yankees purchased the Major League contract of Brent Lillibridge and brought him up. A 40-man roster move is pending.

Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 last night with Scranton. The one hit as a 2-run HR. A-Rod is expected to return to the Yankees on Monday, when the Yanks play the Texas Rangers in–Texas.

— Yesterday, Brett Gardner was the recipient of the 2013 Yankees ‘Heart and Hustle Award’. In other words, the award was practically given to him because no one else on the team hustles like him.

Five Yankees Questions For the Second Half

We will find out a lot about the Yankees very quickly as they begin the second half of the season tonight in Boston.

They currently sit six games back of Boston in the AL East and three back in the AL wild card race. The first 10 games for the Yankees after the All-Star break have the potential to be a disaster. They play three at the first place Red Sox, four in Arlington against a very talented Texas team and three at home against red hot Tampa Bay.

If I were Brian Cashman I would have desperately been working the phones trying to get an impact bat over the All-Star break because if he waits until after this 10 game stretch it might be too late.

Here are five things to watch over the Yankees second half of the season:

1. What happens at the trade deadline?

The Yankees have recently been linked to Chase Headley and Asrdubal Cabrera and both would be huge gets for the Yankees. Unfortunately, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com wrote that Padres have little interest in dealing Headley despite his down year.

Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain will be continued to be shopped by the Yankees, and it will be interesting to see what happens with them. I do believe that Hughes will be moved because the starting pitching market is very thin, and the Yankees can sell teams on his home/road splits this year. Although, Joel Sherman of the New York Post, wrote that the Yankees would be o.k. with keeping Hughes and offering him a qualifying offer this winter.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe that the time for Cashman to try to strike is right now with this brutal 10 game stretch upcoming. I would be looking for players who are under team control for a few years. I would not be giving up big prospects for rentals this year, since I believe that the Yankees are more than one bat away from being championship contenders this season.

2. Will Ivan Nova’s progression continue?

Nova’s development will probably be the number one thing I will be watching for over the second half. He has looked terrific over his last two starts, as he has 17 strikeouts to only three walks. Nova has always had the talent and if he can finally put it together it will be huge for the future for the Yankees, who have had a tough time developing their own starting pitchers.

What is fascinating about Nova is how he has completely transformed himself as a pitcher from his solid rookie season in which he went 16-4. He only averaged 92.6 MPH and he only was not a strikeout pitcher (5.33 K/9) in that rookie season. He had success because he was able to keep the ball on the ground with his sinker (52.7 GB%), but most thought that he would not have long term success unless he was able to get more strikeouts.

Nova added a slider to his repertoire in 2012 to try to remedy this issue. He threw it 14% of the time and he raised his K/9 to 8.08, but he also allowed a lot of hard contact (16.6% HR/FB%) because he missed location to often with his fastball and that new slider. Also, Nova’s GB% went down to 45.2%.

This year, Nova has mostly scrapped the slider, as he has only thrown it 3.4% of the time compared to 33.5% for his curve ball. Over his last two starts, Nova has thrown 66 curves, 43 of them have been for strikes and 17 of them have induced whiffs. When you combine that dominant curve with a fastball that has been in the 94-97 MPH range, you have a pitcher that has the potential for greatness. His  GB% is back up to 51.4% this year, so hitters are really having a hard time getting good contact on his hard sinker.

3. How much will Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez contribute?

The first question with them is how much will they play? Rodriguez hit a home run for Triple-A Scranton last night and appears set to rejoin the Yankees in Texas on Monday. We should find out more about Jeter’s status today. If Jeter and Rodriguez can stay on the field it will be pretty much impossible for them to not be upgrades, as Yankee shortstops have a slash line of .214/.271/.268/.539 with a 46 wRC+ and Yankee third basemen have a slash line of .218/.281/.293/.574 with a 57 wRC+. They should also add some much needed excitement and buzz to the team as well.

4. What is the plan for Michael Pineda?

At Triple-A Scranton last night, Pineda threw 4.2 scoreless innings and struck out eight. He was dominant in the first three innings before throwing a lot of pitches over the fourth and fifth innings. Right now, with Nova pitching well and Hughes still in New York, the Yankees do not have room for Pineda in their rotation. If there is an injury, or Hughes is traded, than Pineda can slide right in. The Yankees should try to get Pineda to New York as quickly as possible to get more information on what they can expect out of him next year.

If the Yankees continue with their $189 million plan they will need cheap starting pitchers, and Pineda can be one of them. It would be good for him to get as much experience as he can this year and it will be very interesting to see what he looks like if he does come up to the big league club.

5. Can CC Sabathia turn it around?

Sabathia had an uncharacteristically average first half, as he was only 9-8 with a 4.07 ERA. His average fastball velocity has only been 90.6 MPH, although it has been better later in the season. Sabathia has not fully adjusted to pitching with his loss of velocity yet and when he has missed location with his fastball he has gotten hit hard. Sabathia has also had a bit of hard luck this season, as his 3.53 xFIP is very solid. His slider and changeup are still great pitches, and Sabathia has still been an innings eating machine, which is still an under appreciated aspect of his game. I still believe that he is capable of pitching like the Sabathia of old and hopefully we see that in the second half of the season.




Morning Bits

Good morning everyone!

The Yankees are back in action today as they will play the first of nine remaining games at Fenway Park this season.

Andy Pettitte(7-6, 4.39 ERA) will face Felix Doubront(6-3, 3.91 ERA) tonight in a game that starts at 7:10 PM ET that will be televised by YES.

Now on to today’s news links:

John Harper of the New York Daily News says that the ten games coming up are vital for the Yankees.

Ted Berg of the USA Today thinks that A-Rod’s return will greatly improve the Yankees.

Howie Kussoy of the New York Post writes about the trade that almost sent Mariano Rivera away from the Yankees in 1996.

Have a great day everyone!

2013 First Round Picks

This year the Yankees sported three first round picks thanks to qualifying offers made to Nick Swisher and Rafael Soriano, who both left for longer and more lucrative commitments. First taken in the draft was Eric Jagielo, who some were surprised fell so low followed by the towering Aaron Judge and southpaw Ian Clarkin. Overall the Yanks had a pretty strong draft…and hey, they drafted a kid named Ty Webb! For those of you who don’t get the reference, shame on you. Today we’ll take a quick look at our first three picks, starting at the top.

Eric Jagielo

Eric-Jagielo-perfectgame.com_Eric raked in the fifth highest bonus handed out to a draftee at 1.8394M, which was right at slot money. A former Notre Dame third baseman, he stands in at 6’3″, 215 lbs and hits from the left side. In his three years at ND, Eric hit .321, slugged .432 and hit 27 home runs. He’s also proven he can handle the wood bats, as he went deep 13 times in the Cape Cod league, walking away with the MVP. In the box Jagielo has quick hands that allow him to get in on the inside pitch. His swing is built for power, with good loft and backspin, but could lead to him making less contact. His coach from ND praised him as the most talented hitters he’s ever seen, now keep in mind Eric is only the third position player drafted from his school, but it has been noted that he is disciplined at the plate and could see an OBP in the mid 3’s. His defense at the hot corner isn’t exactly inspiring; think a fringy defender with limited range. In the event that he is unable to remain at the hot corner, his bat could carry him over to first. He’s not by any means a speedster, but he isn’t bad on the bases and his arm is quite enough to get the job done but isn’t amazing, which would have been a bonus. At 21 years old and having some college experience behind him, he should be able to move quickly which is something the Yankees could use in the near future with the Ow My Hip Alex spending less and less time on the field. If he manages to put in the work and make the adjustments he’ll need to make, he could be getting a cup of joe next September. That’s on the aggressive side, but possible.

Jagielo has begun his Yankee career in the minor league system, first starting in rookie ball for a single game and then on to Charleston. In 52 plate appearances he’s both walked and struck out five times, good for a 9.6%. *small sample noted With his profile i’ll take all the walks I can get. His slash line is at .364/.462/.477, but this is riding a torrid .395 babip. For the Fangraphs friendly fans, it adds up to a .446wOBA, 187wRC+. Pretty great start so far, but without batted ball profiles it’s hard to say how much he’ll fall off when when “luck” runs out and regression sets in. If he does continue to tear it up he’ll be in Tampa by years end.

Aaron Judge

thAaron Judge is huge. Really huge. At 6’7″ 255lbs. there’s something like a handful of guys near his size ever to play the OF; he’ll be the second tallest ever. Previously drafted by Oakland, Aaron opted to attend Fresno State where in his junior year he hit .369 with 12 HR’s, 36 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases. Judge is athletic considering his size, and while he has been playing center, will probably profile more as a right fielder due to his strong and accurate arm. He has to rely on his athleticism as his routes nor his first step are much to speak of. RF in Yankee Stadium is a perfect fit for a guy like him. For a guy his size you would expect big power, and he has it but only in batting practice. His swing doesn’t give him enough loft to get out of the park, but he’ll hit a lot of line drives. His swing is not without its warts for sure. For one his size makes for a lot of long moving parts and makes it difficult for him to repeat his swing consistently. He has some issues with pitch recognition, making him susceptible to breaking and offspeed stuff. Overall he has tons of power that could be tapped in to with a respectable average to back it up. Judge was the last to sign, and pulled off an above slot bonus of 1.8M. Both he and Clarkin have yet to start in the minors yet as they both came up injured (surprised?) before they got rolling.

Ian Clarkin

th-1Ian Clarkin does not hate the Yankees. Apparently. I still haven’t read the actual story about all that, and damn does that feel good. As soon as I heard the ruckus I filed it away in the don’t give a spit bin and moved on, which leads us to our third pick, courtesy of #untuck. Clarkin is the baby of the group as a HS senior out of Madison High School in San Diego. The southpaw measures up at 6’2″ and runs his fastball in the low to mid 90’s on a downward plane. His butter pitch is his curveball, which was talked about as the best of all HS pitchers in the 2013 draft and could be a plus plus offering at the ML level. His changeup is a work in progress, sitting around 78 but could be average or better. Baseball America had him going quite a bit higher at 17th, and Keith Law had him as the second best HS lefty in the draft. It seems as there were some signability questions, but he who hates the Yankees signed for 1.65M, right at slot. Ian’s greatest hurdle will be to turn his show me change into a real pitch he can go to when he doesn’t have one of his primary pitches. If he gets caught without his big bad curveball he’s going to need another offering to keep hitters off of number one. I suppose at worst you have a late inning reliever with a filthy strikeout pitch, at best he’s a number two if he’s got a handle on all three pitches and can command the zone. At 18 there’s always room to add a tick or two to that fastball and so long as he’s still commanding it it only makes him that much stronger. Another victim to the injury plague throughout Yankeeland, Clarkin has yet to get into a game. There is one player I will mention who is alive and pitching, and that’s Ty Webb…na na na na na na na na na na na na na na. Be the ball.