Mar
19

A peek at some Spring Training numbers

By

Nick Johnson has been a bright spot for the Yankees offensively this spring. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

We don’t spend much time on Spring Training results. They are largely irrelevant, and the teams themselves are looking more at process, strength and red flags than who wins, who loses and who compiles the biggest stats. Some games end with tied scores and others have a bottom of the 9th after the home team has already won so that a pitcher can get some extra work in. It’s a relaxed atmosphere where players who start often don’t even know who won or who lost.

With their win over Tampa Bay last night, the Yanks wrapped up their 15th Grapefruit League game of the year, and in 16 days, 10 hours and approximately 35 minutes from when this post is published, the team will face off against the Red Sox in a game that counts. So at Spring Training’s halfway point, let’s have some fun with numbers.

NJ leading the way

Nick Johnson, the man atop this post who was brought back to the Bronx to the be the OBP machine at DH, has led the team offensively so far. In 18 ABs, he’s hitting .389/.478/1.000 with three home runs, a pair of doubles and four walks. Robinson Cano is having himself a nifty spring as well with a .400/.444/.520 triple slash line in 25 ABs, and Mark Teixeira is right there with him. The switch-hitting first baseman sports a .333/.417/.619 line in 21 ABs.

Of those not likely to make the team, Colin Curtis leads the way. He has just ten at-bats this spring, but two of them have resulted in three-run home runs. His seven RBIs lead all Yankees, and the 25-year-old has certainly flashed some offense this month. Jon Weber is 8 for 15, and Kevin Russo is 6 for 17. Juan Miranda, auditioning for a trade or a bench spot, is just 4 for 23.

The guys fighting for spots and playing time are faring a bit worse. Brett Gardner has four walks but is just six for 25. Jamie Hoffmann has three hits in 21 ABs but has just one strike out. At least he’s making contact. Randy Winn is four for 21 with six K’s, and all four of his hits were singles. Spring Training invitee Marcus Thames is three for 21 with seven whiffs.

Aceves strong in the early going

For the Yankee hurlers, Alfredo Aceves has led the way. He has tossed a team-high 10 innings and has allowed just one run on three hits. He hasn’t issued a free pass and has struck out five. He should again turn out a solid season from the pen as he morphs into this generation’s Ramiro Mendoza.

Beyond Aceves, Javier Vazquez has turned in an admirable spring as well. In three outings, he has unsurprisingly surrendered three home runs, but he has struck out nine while walking just three in eight innings. If he can maintain that K:BB ratio, he’ll be just fine this summer. Sergio Mitre, another year removed from Tommy John surgery, has impressed as well. In nine innings, he has surrendered three runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven. Mark Melancon — 5.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 K — remains a sleeper candidate for the bullpen.

The guys who have struggled on the mound include some big names. CC Sabathia sports an ERA north of 8.00 right now, and Joba Chamberlain, coming off of a strong outing on Wednesday, has allowed 12 in 6.2 innings with a K:BB ratio of 5:7. Jonathan Albaladejo holds the title for worst of camp though. In 2 innings, he has given up 15 hits and 10 earned runs.

It’s tempting to draw conclusions from this numbers, but there’s nothing much here. Players have too few at-bats, and pitchers are working to get a feel for pitchers. As long as no one gets hurt, the results are secondary. We’ll worry about the results in April.

Photo credits: Colin Curtis via AP Photo/Brian Blanco. Alfredo Aceves via AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar.

Categories : Spring Training
  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    I know Tex is a historically slow starter in the regular season, has he generally been poor in spring training as well?

    If not, maybe he just hits better in warm weather. He always struggles early, heats up in the summer and struggled in October. I know that October was an extremely SSS, so you can really throw that out, but if he always hits well in ST before slumping in April, weather could have something to do with it.

    • CountryClub

      I don’t know about his whole carrer, but he had a hot Spring last yr too.

      • CountryClub

        career

    • Chris

      Looking at his career splits, September has been his best month. His OPS is 1.006 in September compared to .781 in April. This may be impacted by the fact that he played in Texas/LA/Atlanta until last season, but even in 2009 he had a 1.056 OPS in September.

      Also, his 2008 post-season numbers were great.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    The guys fighting for spots and playing time are faring a bit worse. Brett Gardner has four walks but is just six for 25. Jamie Hoffmann has three hits in 21 ABs but has just one strike out. At least he’s making contact. Randy Winn is four for 21 with six K’s, and all four of his hits were singles. Spring Training invitee Marcus Thames is three for 21 with seven whiffs.

    Hmmm… if only there was a talented-but-dangerously-mercurial 25 year old high-ceiling toolsy outfielder who was recently released from his contract that we could now sign for a low-risk/high-reward league minimum deal to join that fivesome in camp and compete for that roster spot…

    If only…

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      It never hurts to dream…..

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      then he can bring the whole tea down to last place like milton bradley did when he stabbed lou piniella.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Wasn’t it Ty Cobb who stabbed Lou Pinella?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Fun Fact: Last year, when he wasn’t already on the basepaths, Milton Bradley liked to crouch right behind the batter’s box and poke other Cubs hitters in the back with a pointy stick during their swings, because he didn’t want anyone else on his team to out-produce him.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          And when he was already on the basepaths, he carried a mirror to blind his Cubs teammates with the sun while they were batting.

    • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      What’s the deal with Dukes? I haven’t been keeping close tabs on things lately, are they any rumors of him speaking with any teams?

      Bo made a good point yesterday that he unfortunately obscured behind a wall of unprovoked bitching about other commenters… Signing Dukes just doesn’t seem like a Cashman kind of move. He really does seem to seek out good-character guys. (And I don’t mean to antagonize anyone here, for all we know Dukes is a good-character guy at this point in his career… But that is questionable at best.)

      Just to clarify my position… I’m not necessarily anti signing Dukes, I’m actually pretty on the fence about the whole thing. The talent/potential is pretty tantalizing, especially when the risk is relatively low, but the downside bothers me a bit and I’m just not sure it’s a risk the Yankees necessarily need to take.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I haven’t seen/heard a peep yet as to who would be interested in him.

        I agree, we probably don’t sign Dukes; it’s more of a King George move than a Cashmeezy move. Still, though, it’d be nice.

        Here’s the best reason to sign him, though: Every time he does something good, we can say this:

        http://new.wavlist.com/movies/239/trpl-dukes.wav (safe)

        • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          Haha, that was totally worth turning on the volume on my computer for. What an awesome call.

          The “you dead, dawg” thing would get so freaking played out, but it’d also be fun to have nonetheless.

          • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

            wait wait wait wait, is that the real image? he actually sent that as a text?

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Dude… Yes. He’s fucking insane.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, which is probably a good thing, because it makes it harder for him to stab people.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            If we did sign him, “It Was The Dukes” would instantly become my new RAB 120™ fantasy team name.

            • http://warriorsmovie.co.uk/content/gangs/images/baseballfuries02.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              I kinda want the Yanks to sign him now, just for the Trading Places jokes. I’m not even kidding, I think I’ve been swayed.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

                I give because I love.

            • DCBX

              If we did sign him, I bet Harper’s next headline would be “Dukes A Hazard”.

    • Dalelama

      If only we resigned Damon…..

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    Yankee spring training storylines:
    1.) Who wins the 5th starter spot? Looks like Joba, Hughes still has an outside shot.
    2.) Who’s the 25th man/5th outfielder? Both Thames and Hoffmann have been subpar at the plate; I’d imagine that Hoffmann’s youth (i.e. future years under team control) and defense give him the tiebreaker edge, so unless Thames starts hitting, Hoff probably gets that last spot.

    Only remaining question, then:

    3.) Can we trade one of the two out-of-options bullpen longmen Mitre/Gaudin to clear a spot on the pitching staff to be able to keep all three of Joba/Hughes/Aceves on the big league club?

    Top story on MLBTR:

    D’Backs Looking For Rotation Depth
    A National League executive tells Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the D’Backs are exploring trades for rotation depth. Brandon Webb is recovering from a shoulder injury, so the D’Backs have some concern about their starting five. Right now, that group consists of Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson and some combination of Ian Kennedy, Billy Buckner, Kevin Mulvey and Rodrigo Lopez.
    Sherman says the Yankees are “almost certain” to trade Chad Gaudin or Sergio Mitre before the season starts.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/.....depth.html

    Mitre to the D-Bags for a non-40-man mid-minors SP or OF prospect? Any idea what we could get from their system? With Webb the sinkermaster on the club, I could actually see them having an appreciation for Mitre’s skills.

    • CountryClub

      Tino said last night that the scouts he’s talked to have been very high on Mitre this spring. But he could have been just blowing smoke.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I actually wonder if Mitre’s moved past Gaudin in the org’s view. He’s looked very good, and probably has a slightly higher upside than Gaudin. Mitre also is cheaper and doesn’t have an issue with lefties.

        Perhaps we try to keep Mitre and trade Gaudin instead. The big thing in Gaudin’s favor, though, is that he’s demonstrated an ability to warm up quickly and throw situational relief… Mitre may not be able to do that. We don’t know yet.

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          I think Gaudin’s upside is a bit higher. He can miss bats, fill both a starting and relieving role, and he’s also younger. To boot, he’s not recovering–though I doubt the term still applies to SM–from major surgery.

          But, then again, I have a deep, possibly unfounded hate for Mitre.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      Mitre for IPK.

      • Tampa Yankee

        what the hell, I’ve tried to post 2 comments stating just this then swapping Hoffman and Melky to finally complete the IPK/Melky for Pujols deal before the Phillies trade for him, but they didn’t show up!

        • Tampa Yankee

          Let me try again…

          Maybe we can trade Mitre to the D’Backs for IPK back. Then trade Hoffman to the Braves for Melky. AND then finally complete the IPK & Melky for Pujols trade before the Phillies offer Howard to the Cards because we all know that once the Phillies offer Howard there is no chance the CArds say no because Howard is a home town boy and NO ONE can say no to asinine trade proposals!

          /beating dead horse’d
          /never gets old tough’d

          • Tampa Yankee

            Ok, i see what’s up. I try having http://www.peopleofwalmart.com/?p=11349 as a link in my name and they weren’t showing up because of that. Is there some RAB reviewing process to approve those things?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Heh.

        Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes: Hey, Brian, we’re looking for some starting pitching depth. Interested in making a deal?
        Cashmeezy: Sure.
        Byrnes: What do you want for Sergio Mitre?
        Cashmeezy: Brandon Webb.
        Byrnes: Uh, no, we’re looking to add a starter, not swap a starter.
        Cashmeezy: Ah, okay. I’ll take Brandon Webb.
        Byrnes: No, maybe I’m not making myself clear. You can’t have Webb, we don’t want to give away a starting pitcher in a deal for Mitre. Webb’s off limits.
        Cashmeezy: Oh, okay. I’ll take Edwin Jackson, then.
        Byrnes: No, no starting pitchers.
        Cashmeezy: No Webb and no Jackson? Then I’ll take Kennedy.
        Byrnes: Are you just fucking with me, Brian?
        Cashmeezy: I’ll take Brandon Webb. That’s my final offer, numbnuts.

        … aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, SCENE!

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          Byrnes: Brian, are you just looking at pitchers and saying you want them?
          Cashman: I want Webb.

    • Chris

      3.) Can we trade one of the two out-of-options bullpen longmen Mitre/Gaudin to clear a spot on the pitching staff to be able to keep all three of Joba/Hughes/Aceves on the big league club?

      There really isn’t any need to do this during Spring Training. Send one of those 3 down to Scranton to start the season, and then call them up when someone gets hurt or sucks. If that never happens, you can always trade one of the bullpen arms (Gaudin/Mitre) in May or June. That option would also probably get better value in return as teams are more likely to trust regular season performance than spring training.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        I’d love this strategy, but the FO seems to think that keeping any of those three down in Scranton is either a “waste” or a violation of their “The best 25 guys go north with the big club” edict.

        It seems to inflexible, IMO, but that’s the way the org is leaning.

  • Jim in Bingo

    I’m for giving Hoffmann the last outfielder spot.

    I wonder if Curtis can keep this up in Scranton this year. He’s looked very good at the plate in the games I’ve seen. Maybe the adjustments they’ve made with him that paid off in the Fall League are for real? Then again his minor league numbers are exactly dazzling.

  • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

    I don’t get the love for Nick Johnson. Never been a power hitter. Who cares about OBP. If its so important, why isn’t it on the scoreboard. This team needs PROVEN WINNERS. Not statheads. This isn’t fantasy baseball, oK? This isn’t played on a computer. This is a real game where things like HEART and determination actually count for something.

    Get real.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

      YOU TELL ‘IM, STEVE DAVE!!!!

      • Tampa Yankee

        I DON’T KNOW WHAT WE ARE YELLING ABOUT!

    • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      you had me until why isnt it on the scoreboard. after the first 3 sentences i double checked your name and was like ARTIST NO!!! WHY?!!?! then i kept reading. thank god.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      This just HAS to be sarcasm. Or else someone highjacked Artist’s handle.

      • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

        hi. im the artist formerly known as (sic). i’ve been for awhile, by which i mean over a year. nice to meet you.

    • Jammy Jammers

      I, for one, only select fantasy players based on OBP.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Stop playing fantasy baseball on your spreadsheet, you unathletic creepy effeminate mother’s-basement-dwelling nerd who doesn’t know that the game is all about heart and grit and balls and pitcher wins and runs and RBIs.

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          I’ve always wondered how I fit on the nerd spectrum. I do live w/the parents, play fantasy baseball, and I do sporadically use spreadsheets. I am, though, quite athletic.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Don’t forget the sharks.

            • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

              Oh yeah. And the whole tutoring thing. I don’t think the athleticism can outweigh all those things. The blogging aspect has to carry some sway as well.

              • http://www.audiencesounds.com/ Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                NEEEERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRDS!

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              Real men don’t watch Shark Week like a nerd and discuss it openly. Real men watch Shark Week in the privacy of their own home, never mention watching it EVER, and make fun of those who do discuss watching it as wimpy pussy nerds.

              • Snakes on the mother effin plane

                The first rule about Shark Week…

    • Jeremy

      NICK JOHNSON DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A BALLPLAYER!

      • http://deleted Richard Deegan

        Neither did Yogi Berra and a lot more

        • Jeremy

          /sarcasm

          This reminds me of my favorite Yogi story. When Yogi was batting during his rookie season, the catcher said “You must be the ugliest player in baseball.” Yogi replied, “Good thing you don’t hit the ball with your face.”