Jul
16

First Half Review: Those who met expectations

By

Over the past two nights we’ve been reviewing the first half of the Yankees’ season, looking at seven players who’ve exceeded expectations and seven who’ve fallen short. We’ll wrap up this short little series tonight by taking a quick look at those who are shooting par for the course. The guys that are doing pretty much exactly what we expected them to.

(AP Photo/Christine Cotter)

Javy Vazquez

GM Brian Cashman brought Vazquez back for a second tour of duty in Bronx not expecting the Cy Young contender from 2009, but instead a back-of-the-rotation horse that would keep the team in games and chew up innings. Javy went on to do anything but that in the early going. He was so bad through his first five starts (.337/.429/.663 against) that the team skipped his turn despite having the opportunity to give everyone in the rotation an extra day of rest.

Since that skipped start, Vazquez has rebounded nicely and given the Yankees exactly what they wanted from him, if not more. He completed at least seven innings in seven of his next 11 starts, surrendering more than three runs just twice. The Yanks would have done better than just six wins during that stretch if they bothered to score more than 30 runs, just 2.7 per game.

Overall, Javy’s season numbers have come back down to respectable levels. His ERA sits at 4.45, his xFIP at 4.53, and his strikeouts at 7.58 K/9. The Yankees have to be thrilled with how well he’s pitched over the last two months, and right now he’s giving them exactly what they wanted.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Marcus Thames

The Yanks brought Thames in for one reason and one reason only: to mash lefthanded pitchers. By and large, he’s done exactly that. In a limited sample of 57 plate appearances against southpaws (due in part to a hamstring injury), Thames has hit .327/.421/.449. He’s even chipped in nicely against righties (.250/.370/.444 in 46 PA).

Thames has picked up the team’s only two walk-off hits of the season , including what the majority of fans consider to be their favorite moment of the first half. Although his defense in the outfield has left everyone speechless for all the wrong reasons, Thames has generally been a fine reserve player for the Yanks.

Joe Girardi

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It’s hard to judge a manager, unless of course he consistently does things that are so monumentally stupid that you wonder how he ever got into baseball in the first place. Girardi’s job is fairly simple given all the talent on his roster, and really all he had to do was not screw it up. A subpar bullpen and colossal failure of a bench are not his fault, yet he’s managed to keep the regulars rested and not tax the bullpen. The Yanks haven’t just tread water, they’ve thrived.

Girardi’s job doesn’t figure to get any easier in the second half with two key pieces in Nick Johnson and Al Aceves unlikely to come back anytime soon, but there’s enough talent on the roster for the team to remain a force. All he has to do to be successful is exactly what he has been doing.

Honorable Mention: Frankie Cervelli went from super hot to super cold in the first half, but a .305 wOBA while taking some of the catching load off Jorge Posada‘s shoulders is pretty much what we all had in mind coming into the season … Damaso Marte‘s primary job function is to shutdown lefthanders late in the game, and he’s crushed them to the tune of a .146/.200/.268 batting line against … The farm system has also done what we expected it to: pump out useful players to plug the occasional hole on a temporary basis, whether it be Ivan Nova or Colin Curtis or Kevin Russo or Juan Miranda.

Categories : Analysis
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    They were who we thought they were.

    • theyankeewarrior

      But they can do BETTER.

      You wanna crown em? THEN CROWN THEIR ASS!

  • PaulF

    Is Jorge Posada not on any of the lists?

    • Johan Iz My Brohan – RIP, Boss and the Voice of God

      how would you categorize Posada?

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        Somewhere between meeting expectations and falling short. Falling short cause of the injuries, but meeting expectations based on performance, in my opinion.

      • forensicnucchem

        For me, this is where I classified him

        http://riveraveblues.com/2010/.....ent-970217

        • Zack

          Then I have to ask what your expectations of him were.

          Because he’s a 38 year old catcher.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    But Girardi ruined the All-Star Game so he sucks!!!

    (fun fact, I saw someone on another site complaining that Pettitte was telling Mauer what pitches he throws in that little segment they showed at the ASG where Andy and Mauer were chatting about the signs to use for whatever pitches. a. Heh, you mean people had reactions beyond my “algkjsgljalgasl;; dead” and b. Erm, yes, because Joe Mauer has never seen a scouting report or tape of/on Andy Pettitte, nor has he ever actually faced him!).

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    Cervelli’s in mortal danger of ending up on the “guys who suck” list if his wOBA keeps up this whole free fall thing it’s been doing.

    • pat

      So if he makes it on the list, you’re going to kill him?

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        Makes sense to me.

    • Brian in NH

      Maybe a few days off from the all star break will do him a little good.

  • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

    Not only do the yankees have to be thrilled with how well Javy has pitched over the last two months…but we fans have to aswell.

    with that said though…he has really beat up on some bad teams in those 2 months. Which isn’t a bad thing, thats all you can ask him to do. But at some point the Yankees will have to turn to Javy against some good teams down the stretch in some really big games. When that time comes we’re going to need Javy to step up. and hopefully we will see the Javy Vazquez of the last 2 months moving forward regardless of who he is pitching against.

    • Rivera Venue Blues

      Whatever. Out of your 4/5th starter you only expect that he does well against crappy teams and serviceable against the good teams. We’re not depending on him to go out and shut down every team. I have a lot of confidence that he can do that.

    • forensicnucchem

      The only AL team currently above .500 he’s pitched well against was the Tigers, after a 10 day break.

      He’ll be tested soon though with him lined up a against the Angels, and then after a game with the Indians, he’ll apparently face Tampa, Boston, then Texas.

  • Chris0313

    Francisco Cervelli is the most overrated Yankee on our 25-man roster. I know many fans and media-folk alike consider him average, but calling Cervelli average is highly overrating him. He sucks. No stick, no glove. Why is he in baseball?

    • Johan Iz My Brohan – RIP, Boss and the Voice of God

      What’s worse is that people thought that he could be a legit starting catcher (at least on most teams) during his hot streak.

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        I don’t remember any smart fans saying this.

        Your average fan? Yes. They think Cervelli is the future catcher for years to come. He’s definitely not that.

        BUT he will be a decent back-up catcher for the next few years. He’s not terrible. His defense will be better I’m sure.

    • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

      i don’t know if i would say Cervelli has “no stick”. Overall his numbers are very good for what basically amounts to a back up catcher. And he has posted some good numbers with RISP.

      and there is also something to be said for having a guy with his energy on the team. While it would be foolish to put a ton of stock into that, it can’t be completely ignored either.

      • forensicnucchem

        Regarding his RISP numbers, he’s 7-36 (.194 BA) since his 11-14 start.

      • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        Which is a result of being a BABIP god. He’s not good.

        • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

          .305 BABIP is a God?

          • forensicnucchem

            Maybe it was the .375 in April, or .359 in May, or .391 with RISP, or .571 with RISP and 2 outs that he was referring to.

            • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

              This. Thank you.

            • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

              could very well be…but i’m looking at his overall first half as we are in a first half review post.

              • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

                And in his overall first half he has a .305 wOBA and a 88 wRC+. Catchers in general suck but Cervelli is a black hole. He’s Jose Molina at the plate.

                • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

                  I’m not saying Cervelli is god’s gift or anything. But i think he’s a serviceable back up catcher.

                • forensicnucchem

                  Jose Molina might be close for his last couple months, but the overall half season Cervelli’s certainly ahead of the typical Molina.

                  • forensicnucchem

                    Though I will say Molina’s defense certainly helps him a bit based on what Cervelli’s shown this season.

                    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                      Isn’t Molina quite a bit more expensive, too?

                    • forensicnucchem

                      A bit. Molina is making .8 Mil this year (plus performance bonuses) with a 1 Mil option for next year (.2 Mil buyout).

                      Cervelli is making .4108 Mil this year.

      • http://twitter.com/iiKeane JobaWockeeZ

        And I do think a wRC+ of 88 defines ‘no stick.’

    • Mister Delaware

      “He sucks. No stick, no glove. Why is he in baseball?”

      This is silly (and really, not every opinion needs to be polar). He’s a solid 24 year old backup catcher. If he’s starting 130 games for you or you’re paying him $2MM per year, things are bad. If he’s your backup, things could be much worse.

      • http://twitter.com/j_yankees2213 j_Yankees

        worse like this? http://bit.ly/bwJnlu

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Yeah, this all around.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      He’s not overrated any more, I don’t think. However, there are people who simply really hate Posada and don’t realize how important he’s been. They think Cervelli’s defense makes him a more than adequate replacement (yeah I know Posada himself said this too, but players say dumb crap all the time). Of course, his defense has looked spotty of late, too.

      • http://soxandpinstripes.net Angelo

        I just think Cervelli has been a bit overexposed and over-worked at times.

        He’s better suited as a backup catcher. He will likely perform better later in the year. He’s a decent backup, people should know this.

        • Brian in NH

          Also maybe factor in to the fact that he’s a young guy on a team full of old guys and he’s got a fresh new excited attitude (or at least did for a while). Maybe his irrational exuberance will calm down as his stats and performance has. He’s a backup catcher. he was fun to watch in the beginning of the season with the small samples and the Gazoo helmet, but he’s been exposed for what a lot of people thought he was.

          • Rose

            Agree. A lot of times you see hungry AAA players play through their shoes when given the chance (or even another chance in some cases). Is this certainly what happened? No. But it may be something like when players play well during a “walk year”. You’re not exactly trying any harder or have gained more talent…there’s just some sort of fire in your belly that increases the chances of these coincidences and circumstances. IMO anyway.

            • Rose

              Although there is a quote my dad used to tell me as a kid.

              The harder you work…the luckier you get.

              Wise words from a wise man.

      • Rose

        I agree. I lived in Western Mass for quite a while growing up and still live more on the Sox side of CT…all of my friends from all over HATE Jorge Posada. He is almost everyone’s most hated Yankee. When I ask them why, most of them don’t really have a reason other than the cliche “he rubs me the wrong way” or “I hate him and his bloop hits!” (referencing several clutch bloop hits against the Red Sox including the game tying bloop double in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS). His appearance isn’t as attractive as the other Yankees so it’s easier to hate. He does somewhat resemble the villain, “The Rodent”, from the 1990 movie Dick Tracy.

        I personally think Jorge Posada is one of the most underrated players to play the game in their careers. Which is quite amazing for somebody who plays in the spotlight everyday…although kind of understandable when you think of the company he’s with. Although, Pettitte and Rivera don’t seem to be as affected by the Jeter-mania as Jorge Posada has. Perhaps it’s because they aren’t position players? Who knows.

        • Januz

          I am shocked at why Sox fans hate Posada so much. Posada is essentially an above average catcher. Not a Hall Of Famer like Bench or Berra, but far superior to Veritek. If I was a Boston fan the guys I would hate the most are: Joba, Arod & Tex for obvious reasons. As a Yankee fan it would be Paplebon (Easy number one), Beckett & Ortiz. In fairness to those three however, they cannot compare with my all-time despise list. 3: Clemens. 2: Manny. 1: Pedro (He might be my least favorite athlete to ever wear a sports uniform).

          • Rose

            What’s ironic is that those same Sox fans do hate Joba. And I always make fun of them for it because he epitomizes the over-the-top Red Sox primitive attitude a lot of them have (i.e. Papelbon – and it actually might just be Papelbon but it’s part of the joke none-the-less). I always tell them I think there was a blip in the overall plan at some point and that the Red Sox should have wound up with the hootin’ and hollerin’ Joba Chamberlain and the Yankees should have had Jon Lester (because of his calm, cool, and collected, yet dominant Yankee-like demeanor lol)

            • Januz

              I happen to like to like Lester (Even as a Yankee fan it is impossible not to, because of his guts and cool demeanor). I have never been a fan of the guys who like to be rude and disrespectful towards their opponents (Like K-rod, Joba, Paplebon etc). What makes Mariano special is the way he conducts himself. He does not rub it in the nose of the opposition. It does not matter if it is getting out of a bases loaded jam, and beating Boston, or a 1, 2, 3 inning against Kansas City, the response is the same. That is the way a professional carries himself, and when he is enshrined in Cooperstown five years after his career is over, he may become the first guy in many, many years no one will find anything negative to say about.

              • Rose

                I think Mariano’s personality plays a big role in his success. He doesn’t let certain situations get to him and has the same approach regardless of what’s surrounding him. I mean obviously I don’t know this for sure…but anybody that has been nervous in a situation or overly anxious about things knows it’s a lot harder to perform or do anything (for that matter) as well as when you’re calm and stress free. This isn’t to say that Rivera doesn’t get anxious once in a while or anything…it just means that he knows how to control it – where the majority of others don’t.

                • Januz

                  I agree with you that Mariano controls is emotions better than others. But in his case, it is more than that. Just like Walter Payton or Jerry Rice who handed the ball to the referee after scoring a touchdown (Instead of humiliating someone who missed a tackle or got beat in pass coverage). He understands the way to play the game. Is he the only one who is like that? No Jeter and Tex certainly are. But they are the exceptions rather than the rule.

                  • Rose

                    Yup. I love those types of players. Unfortunately, they’re very seldom because a lot of athletes these days were either raised military style and bread into becoming what their parents wanted them to be, weren’t properly educated, or various other kinds of bad parenting and/or upbringing.

                    Some athletes are better than others depending on the scenarios and circumstances they have been involved in.

                    This is even more amazing when athletes like Mariano Rivera, who have come from absolutely nothing, were still raised as gentlemen with good parenting (and of course their faith has a lot to do with it most of the time too).

  • Rose

    So do you think everything kind of evens out for everybody? If not, who stays playing through their shoes, who stays below expectations, and who remains who we thought they were?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

      I will go out on a limb and say Joba will exceed second half expectations. I know he has stunk, but the guy throws like 95-99 mph. He should get it together.

      • Rose

        I sure hope so. Allowing 1.5 batters to reach base per inning…as any kind of pitcher is awful…but as an 8th inning set up guy it’s that much worse. His pitch-choice percentages seem to be in line with what he had been doing before as a reliever and his velocity is around where it should be. The only thing I can think of is his injury (and Joba Rules?) may have affected his mechanics and he lost a lot of movement on his pitches? The only thing with that is, he’s still striking out a lot of batters and walking even less…so it’s very hard to explain. Perhaps players are just figuring him out like they are Papelbon but at a better rate…

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

          Could be. Who really knows? He is just too good not to go on like a 15 inning scoreless streak. I smell it for the second half.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=9370232 Mike HC

            And Granderson is also too good not to get hot. He will also start to heat up.

            • Rose

              I agree on both accounts. I think if the Yankees keep playing like they are and nobody else gets injured…they’ll be fine. They were erratic and inconsistent (individually for the most part) in the first half and they came out with the best record at the end of the half. If some of them can gradually get better (which isn’t that hard to hope for) and avoid injury (not as easy to hope for), there is no reason to think the Yankees can’t bring home the trophy for George and Bob come October (November?)

            • CS Yankee

              Different things mean different things to different people.

              I know Long is the man in getting hitters to correct their flaws and we have seen nothing but solid-great strides…with that said, maybe curtis isn’t recieving the message clear or maybe he’s trying to correct too much all at once.

              I hope Curtis gets his mojo back as that what might be the biggest thing missing, and maybe long should spend the holidays this winter with the Granderson’s.

        • CS Yankee

          If Joba keeps working hard, stays positive the results will come…if he doesn’t the results will still come (except from the Ninja).

          I hope they get in the mode to make him a starter in the off season as he has too many pitches to just close…but Heyman & others say that ship has sailed. I just don’t see him as the closer come the post-Mo era (which i hope doesn’t start until after he reaches 700 saves).

  • AltaJoe

    I get a kick out the manager’s discussion. How many clowns think that every managerial move that works out is brilliant and everyone that doesn’t is stupid?

    For the record, a stupid managerial move is one I saw the Royals manager make earlier this year. Bottom 9. 1 run lead…runners on 2nd & 3rd…2 outs…best hitter coming up…he decides to walk him…BUT, he decides to A) walk him and B) change pitchers for a better matchup with the guy on deck.

    What does he do? He brings in the new pitcher and has HIM intentionally walk the 1st batter. You may already see this coming. He’s just soft tossed 4 balls 5 feet outside. Now he has to throw with intent and guess what. A 4 pitch walk to force in the tying run.

    That’s a mistake that a LL manager makes…once…

    That’s a bad managerial decision. Not leaving a starter in 1 batter too long.

  • http://www.itsaboutthemoney.net Will@IIATMS

    Mike,

    One quibble. Marte has decidedly *not* been just what we expected. That line hides tremendous luck on balls in play (his BABIP is .175). In truth, he’s been flat awful, and extremely lucky.

    Will