Oct
14

Should the Yankees tweak their roster for the ALCS?

By

Up until a few years ago, teams weren’t allowed to change their rosters between playoff rounds. I don’t remember when exactly they started letting teams do this, but it was 2005 or 2006, somewhere around there. Anyway, now teams can optimize their roster to best match up with their next opponent, which in theory makes for more entertaining playoff games. Does it work? Eh, I dunno.

For the most part, the Yankees roster will remain unchanged. In fact, the only spots that we really need to discuss are the second lefty reliever and maybe the third catcher. As you probably already know, I’m not a fan of letting Jose Molina catch AJ Burnett, but it seems as though the Yankees are, and that’s all that counts. Because of that, it makes sense to carry a third catcher so they can pinch run for Jorge Posada in the late innings of a close game after he already pinch hit for Molina, basically what happened in Game Two of the ALDS.

That leaves just the second LOOGY spot up for grabs, or perhaps it would be more accurate to refer to it as the 11th spot in the bullpen. Unlike the Twins, who had two .900+ OPS lefty hitters in the middle of their lineup, the Angels only have one lefty swinger of note in their starting nine: ex-Yank Bobby Abreu. However, they could pencil as many as five switch hitters into their lineup on any given day, which could/will present some matchup issues. Let’s take a look at the platoon splits of those five switch hitters…

vs. RHP vs. LHP
Erick Aybar .305-.351-.411 .325-.356-.448
Chone Figgins .323-.407-.437 .246-.325-.305
Maicer Izturis .290-.344-.428 .380-.475-.500
Gary Matthews Jr. .261-.341-.352 .221-.323-.384
Kendry Morales .309-.366-.596 .273-.326-.488

Of those five, Figgins has the hardest time with southpaws, and it’s not even close. He basically turns into Yuniesky Betancourt whenever there’s a lefty on the mound, which bodes well for when CC Sabathia or Andy Pettitte start the game. Kendry Morales, who completely annihilated the Yankees this year, drops about 150 OPS points against lefties, but is still a force at the dish. Do you want your second lefty facing him in a big spot, or one of your top righties? Obviously the latter, and you’re not going to carry a second lefty just for lil old Chone.

Based on that, the Yanks would be better off swapping out the 11th man on their staff, currently a second lefty, in favor of another righty. In this case, the second lefty would be Damaso Marte, because no matter how much we want him to be the primary lefty, the Yankees just aren’t going to have it, at least not this year. Who takes his spot? Well the obvious candidate is Brian Bruney, yet another power arm to deploy against the team that struggles against quality fastballs. As long as Joe Girardi understands that Bruney is at the bottom of the short relief pecking order, it’s cool with me. Seriously, there’s no reason for him to enter a game before David Robertson, Al Aceves, Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes unless the Yanks are winning big or losing big.

So, 500+ words later, I think the Yankees should drop Marte off their ALCS roster and replace him with the equally unpredictable Bruney, who is a slightly better matchup because of the arm he throws with and how hard he throws. The ALCS roster isn’t the most efficient because they’re carrying a third catcher, something you don’t often see teams do in the postseason. However, if the Yanks take care of business, it shouldn’t even come into play.

Categories : Playoffs
  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    I wouldn’t mind Bruney over Marte.

  • Doug

    Personally, I’d rather have Marte than Bruney. I just don’t see a role for Bruney. Like you said Mike, he’d be the last guy out of the pen (save Gaudin) and would probably only see game action in blowouts or extra innings.

    At least Marte, in theory, would have a role. Get Abreu, Figgins, or Morales out in a “big” spot in the 6th or 7th inning.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      Yes, but if Marte is on the roster, he might actually pitch, whereas Bruney would probably not. Therefore, go with Bruney.

      • Doug

        then just go with guzman over both

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          Yeah but you need one in case a game goes to extras and Joe does what he did last week and only has Ace go 1. I think we were down to our last pitcher when Tex hit the walk-off.

          • Doug

            was messing with you. definitely need 11 pitchers in a 7-game series. i would just prefer marte over bruney.

            • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

              Sorry, I don’t catch sarcasm this early in the morning haha.

        • ADam

          Agreed,

          Dump Marte, Go with 3 starters, 7 relievers, and add guzman…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            No.

            10 pitchers is not enough for a best of 7 series with only 3 scheduled off days.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      At least Marte, in theory, would have a role. Get Abreu, Figgins, or Morales out in a “big” spot in the 6th or 7th inning.

      Phil Coke says hello.

      • Doug

        i’m saving him for another spot

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Pulling a Torre, eh?

          The spot you’re saving him for is going to be occupied by Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera. Moot.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    BOLD MOVE Drop CC for Freddy Guzman. They have to counterbalance the Angels’ unbelievable speed!!!

    • Sam

      Only if Guzman can pitch the 8th too

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      My mind? Blown.

  • MattG

    You nailed it. I noticed TSJC posting reasons to keep Marte in another thread, and his logic totally defied me. Marte is not needed in this series. There are not enough matchups to need two lefties in one game. Both he and Coke shut down lefties beautifully, but Coke is the harder thrower, and he’s more on his game.

    Bruney’s power fastball should supposedly give the Angels trouble…if the scouting reports are to be believed.

    Here’s hoping the Angels continue to run Figgins and Abreu out back-to-back, so that Coke can mow them both down every day.

    Can we talk about Pettitte and how he profiles vs the Angels next? I would say games 3 and 6 look bleak.

    • andrew

      If by “shut down lefties beautifully,” you meant “gives up back to back lefty hits in the biggest spot of the year,” then yes, Marte shuts down lefties beautifully.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      You nailed it. I noticed TSJC posting reasons to keep Marte in another thread, and his logic totally defied me. Marte is not needed in this series. There are not enough matchups to need two lefties in one game. Both he and Coke shut down lefties beautifully, but Coke is the harder thrower, and he’s more on his game.

      You might have missed it in last night’s open thread, but I apologized and conceded the point to you.

      http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-625336

      • MattG

        You are a good man.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Why would they tweak their roster for a series that’s already happened? lol

    • http://twitter.com/JamalG_BB Jamal G.

      I like when you post just so I can keep looking at that picture.

  • http://twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    I agree. Marte looked terrible. Bruney can be so dominating at time and while the Angels have been patient you have to wonder when the pressure gets on them if they will keep that approach or follow back into bad habits.

    • MattG

      Abreu and Figgins have been patient. The others are pretty much the same old Angels.

      And that’s another reason to chose Coke over Marte: Coke throws more strikes.

      • Bo

        Coke throws more strikes than someone? Wow.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

          Jesus Christ, Bo, these ridiculous comments have to stop. Phil Coke threw 62% strikes this year, which is in the upper half of the team. He threw strikes at a better rate than Andy Pettitte.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Facts never stopped SalBoGrantLanny before, they won’t stop him now.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    Aside from Aybar and Izturis…our 2 starting LHP seems to look pretty good. And Aybar and Izturis have pretty good numbers against RHP as well so it doesn’t really matter…

    • Doug

      Izturis doesn’t start against lefties. Kendrick does (.831 OPS vs. southpaws)

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        Yeah, slugs .500 too. He’ll definitely be in there then. Although he’s significantly worse on the Road than he is at home. Might be a thorn in Andy’s side in Game 3…

        • Doug

          and he’s ALWAYS been a thorn in the yankees’ side…. 42/115 (.365) over the last 4 years

          • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

            Most of those guys have been a thorn in our side. The Yankees are 68-80 against the Angels dating back to 1995.

            Although I’m hopeful that our pitching staff can improve from its combined 6.08 ERA it put up over the past 2 playoff series against Anaheim…

            • Doug

              yeah, we certainly haven’t matched up well

  • Mike Pop

    At first I wasn’t for swapping Bruney over Marte. Over the past couple days though, I’ve become convinced.

    I doubt either would play a huge role in the series, just because you go to your best guys all the time in the playoffs so Hughes, Mo, Joba, Robertson, and Coke would be the main relievers.

    Since Bruney has that quality fastball, he seems like the better option.

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    As I said yesterday, Papelbon is head and shoulders above Bruney…and the Angels didn’t have any problem clocking his regular fastballs around…even with 2 outs and the game on the line.

    That being said, Bruney certainly doesn’t have better movement…and certainly doesn’t have the numbers to say he’d be any different.

    While I don’t like Marte one bit…he at least offers something seen less often…if anything at all.

    • MattG

      Yet the scouting report says the Angels struggle with plus fastballs. So, what to do? Ignore the scouting report based off a year’s worth of data, or ignore the results of a handful of at-bats?

      I would like to say that I am skeptical of that scouting report, though. But as I really don’t see Bruney or Marte pitching before the 12th inning or so, I would rather have Bruney than Marte. The fact that Bruney dovetails well with the scouting report is more confirmation than anything.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Well, the report is backed up by some numbers. Via B-R:

        LAA vs. power pitchers: .245/.325/.379
        LAA vs. Avg P/F: .299/.363/.452/.815
        LAA vs. Finesse: .295/.344/.493/.837

        • Mike Pop

          B-Ref is awesome.

        • Doug

          does it break it down by batter?

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            On the players’ individual splits pages they do.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              The big hitters vs. power pitchers:

              Vlad: .794 OPS
              Torii: .681
              Bobby: .713
              Napoli: .778

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          It’s basically a coin flip. They have a good team…they can hit basically anything. Just like us. Would you rather have the extra bad lefty or add a bad righty? That’s the question…

          • Mike Pop

            Well, Marte is pretty much death to lefties.

            .120 /.214 /.280

            So if you need to get Figgins, Morales, or bobby out in a tough spot…

            • Doug

              this

              (except he’s pitched so little this year, that you have to factor that in, along with the fact that he gave up hits to both lefties he faced in the ALDS)

              • Mike Pop

                But I’m shot. I wasn’t thinking that Morales and Figgins are switchers. Yes, they have struggled against lefties but righties have killed Marte this year.

                .414/.485/.690

            • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

              It says that Figgins has 1 plate appearance batting lefty against a LHP…wonder why he chose to do that then?

              • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                Nobody knows? lol

  • A.D.

    hey could pencil as many as five switch hitters into their lineup on any given day

    Isn’t it more likely only 4 since Kendrick, Izturis, and Aybar are 3 guys for 2 middle infield spots?

    • Doug

      yeah, against righties (AJ), aybar and izturis will play. against lefties (CC, andy), aybar and kendrick start

      • Doug

        and matthews doesn’t usually start at all. so against lefties, you have 3 switch hitters and against righties, you have 4.

  • Will

    I would drop Marte even if it meant leaving the 25th slot vacant.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Hyperbole FTL!

      (Damaso Marte does NOT suck. He may not be whom we want or need when facing the Angels, but he does NOT suck, and I’ll gladly put him back on the roster for the WS when facing the Phillies or Dodgers.)

      • Will

        In Marte’s 31 innings in pinstripes, he has sucked mightily. He should never throw another pitch for the Yankees.

      • Bo

        No, he sucks.

        Giving him a 3 yr deal when they could have picked up his option was one of the dumber moves of the off season.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    “no matter how much we want him to be the primary lefty, the Yankees just aren’t going to have it, at least not this year.”

    You would carry Marte over Coke?

    • Doug

      going into the season that was the plan (signing him to a 3-yr deal). think that’s sort of what mike was referring to.

  • Rob in CT

    I’d rather Guzman than Bruney. Bruney should never see action.

    • Bo

      If Bruney is in the game we r either losing or winning by more than 6.

      Hes pretty worthless. At least Guzman provides defense and elite speed.

  • ansky

    I dont see how the Marte arguement continues. There is no reason to bring him on. He had one job in the Twins series and failed miserably. He scares the crap out of me. And he is prone to create messes when he gets out there.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      That’s based on what? 2 or 3 AB’s?

      • ansky

        Against the Angels…thats enough. Every AB is critical with that F’in team.

    • Chris

      Hughes had three appearances in the ALDS and failed (to some degree) in all three. Should he be left off the roster too?

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        Hughes has proved himself all season, Marte has not.

        • Jerkface

          Marte once struck out David Ortiz. GOOD David Ortiz.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          B-ref begs to differ.
          http://www.baseball-reference......#038;year=

          He’s been bad before his injury but has been fine except for one clunker when he has returned.

          • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

            The keyword there being “all,” not for a month.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Touché. My retort:

              Marte has proven himself for 8 years. That month, plus those 8 years, is enough to validate his ability to get lefties out.

              • ansky

                At some point several pitchers have struck out a good David Ortiz…he’s not superman.

            • JobaWockeeZ

              Then if you want all then look at hsi career which TJSC conviently put up for us and we’ll see that his stats prove that he is an effective pitcher.

              • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

                His career didn’t get us to the ALCS, this season did. And all season Coke has been our dependable LOOGY.

                Basically no matter who makes it, Marte or Bruney, neither should pitch until at least the 12th inning.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  His career didn’t get us to the ALCS, this season did.

                  That’s an irrelevant red herring. We’re not here to decide “who got us to the ALCS”, we’re here to decide who has the most value to our postseason roster for the ALCS and WS. Marte’s career record most definitely has value to that discussion, because his career record speaks to a consistent ability to get out lefties. If we face a team that has multiple quality lefties (like the Phillies and Dodgers), then Marte’s career + his good 2009 should validate his inclusion on the WS roster.

                • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

                  Agreed. I was going off the idea that the Yanks only need one LOOGY against LAAAAAA and therefore it should be Coke.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I agree with you on that point. I just hated the red herring and wanted to kill it.

                  I’m all for swapping Marte for Bruney for the ALCS, but I’m going to want Marte back on the WS roster to face Loney/Either/Pierre/Thome or Howard/Utley/Ibañez/Stairs.

                  Dodgers and Phillies lefties, v LHP, 2009:
                  Loney – .274/.368/.411
                  Either – .194/.283/.345
                  Pierre – .320/.414/.400
                  Thome – .209/.314/.429
                  Howard – .207/.298/.356
                  Utley – .288/.417/.545
                  Ibañez – 285/.359/.639
                  Stairs – .000/.250/.000 (only 4 of his 129 PA are against lefties)

                  Utley, Ibañez, Pierre, and to a lesser extent Loney hit lefties well enough that you may just ignore the LOOGY situation, but having both Marte and Coke available to eliminate Ethier or Howard, or to neutralize PH AB’s by Thome or Stairs… those are why you want both Coke and Marte on the WS roster.

      • Bo

        I cant believe I just read defend Marte by giving evidence that Hughes was shaky in 3 appearances. Wow.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Damaso Marte v LHB:
      Career: 854 PA, .197/.294/.287 allowed
      This year: 28 PA, .120/.214/.280 allowed

      This postseason: 2 PA, 1.000/1.000/1.000 allowed

      ZOMG DAMASO MARTE IS TEH HORRIBLE HE CANT GET TEH LEFTIES OUT!!!!!1!!!

      • ansky

        Point made. but you know if Girardi leaves on him on he comes in and lays an egg and blows the game…everyone will be asking why he was put on the roster.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Stupid people asking pointless questions is not an acceptable rationale for refusing to do something smart.

          • Bo

            Eric has failed to actually you know watch Marte pitch this yr. Its a good example of how one can be totally swayed by stats. Stats that were accumulated in low pressure spots in Sept for that matter.

            Marte doesnt pass the eyeball test. Every spot he’d come into would be a high pressure spot. And he cant do it. No matter what stats he accumulated during 1 inning stints against the Orioles and Royals.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        One of those 2 batters he faced was the 2009 MVP Joe Mauer also…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Good point.

          Mauer does not have a significant platoon split, so bringing Marte in to face him isn’t even really an ideal LOOGY situation. Mauer hits everybody.

        • Mike bk

          and the other one was jason kubel who went 1 for 14 in the series with 9K’s and that one hit was Marte.

  • Pingback: In Defense of Damaso Marte | Bronx Baseball Daily

  • Bo

    Marte should be off but Girardi loves having the 2 lefty’s. It gives him more opportunity to over manage and play and match ups.