Link Dump: Prior, Obliques, Projected Standings

All about pitchers & extension
The Rafael Soriano edition of 'Stalking The Yankees'

Some random linkage on a rainy afternoon in the Tri-State…

Prior's still in Tampa, working his way back. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

A brief Mark Prior scouting report

Right-hander Mark Prior was the feel good story of Spring Training this year, striking out a dozen batters and allowing just one run in 8.2 innings. He was clearly a shell of his former self, but his stuff was good enough to get guys out. Baseball America’s Jim Callis passed along an updated scouting report on the former phenom in this week’s Ask BA: “Prior’s fastball usually ran from 87-91 mph, his breaking ball and changeup were nothing special, and neither was his control (five walks) … Prior will need more fastball and a quality second pitch if he’s going to help New York in a relief role later in the year. I’m rooting for him, but I’ll believe it when I see it.”

The Yankees have until mid-June before Prior’s opt-out clause becomes an issue, so there’s no rush to make a decision. He recently appeared in back-to-back games for High-A Tampa and came out of that okay, but he’s obviously got a long, long way to go.

Even more on oblique issues

We’ve heard quite a bit about oblique injuries early in the season, as a number of Yankees missed time in Spring Training because of them. They’re not alone though, oblique issues have become an epidemic around the league. Fourteen players have already hit the disabled list with oblique injuries this season, and Michael Schmidt of The New York Times is trying to figure out why. We’ve heard about imbalanced training already, and another theory is that players are going from offseason training to game conditions too quickly. The Yankees were playing Grapefruit League games less than a week after position players reported. It could also be a classification issue since a lot of these injuries were just called abdominal or ribcage strains in the past. Whatever it is, there’s a lot of money being wasted on the disabled list, and you can be sure teams will get to the bottom of it.

Update projected standings

Before the season, Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS system projected the Yankees to finish third in the AL East with an 87-75 record. The Red Sox occupied the top spot at 93-69 while the Rays trailed at 88-74, but because of their 2-8 starts, the playoff odds for Boston and Tampa Bay have taken a significant hit. In an ESPN Insider piece, Szymborski shows that updated ZiPS projections call for the Sox to finish 86-76 now, one game back of the Yankees in the division. The Rays are now projected to finish third at 85-77. A 2-8 start certainly isn’t the end of the world, but that’s ten games each team won’t get back, and that absolutely takes a bite out of their playoff hopes.

If nothing else, look at it this way: the Sox came into the season as the favorite in the division and understandably so, but the tangible benefit of being four wins better than New York in terms of roster construction is gone, if it ever existed in the first place.

The wannabe lefty

Earlier today we learned what makes David Robertson so effective: his extension. But did you know he’s ambidextrous? No, he’s not Pat Venditte, who will throw with both hands in game, but as Dan Barbarisi explains, Robertson shags fly balls every day using a glove on his right hand, firing balls back to the infield with his left. He’s even worked out an arrangement with Brett Gardner, who gives D-Rob his gloves to break in during batting practice. No, Robertson isn’t close to throwing left-handed in a game, he’s just working on it as a hobby. “If I can do it with my right hand, I can do it with my left hand. Why not?” said David. “I’m pretty ambidextrous. I just can’t write left-handed. That’s my only problem.”

All about pitchers & extension
The Rafael Soriano edition of 'Stalking The Yankees'
  • YankeesJunkie

    Those Zip projections seem way off. I cannot see that all the team would finish below 90 wins. While the AL East is a tough division it was just as tough last year and three teams were better than 90 wins if I remember correctly. I feel that scenario might be the case, if not both the Yankees and the Sox will finish above 90 wins.

    • CS Yankee


      All three of those teams are capable of winning 10+ in a row and taking it out on the lesser teams.

      While the 3 BoSox losses against the Tribe hurts them, they lost the other 5 to Texas, NYY & Tampa.

      NYY four losses were against the Tigers, Twins & BoSox; all decent playoff type teams.

    • Ted Nelson

      They’re just projections of what to expect based on one mathematical model… Teams will surprise in both negative and positive ways relative to their projections.

      I think the AL East will be a bit tougher (at least in terms of parity, but maybe also overall strength) than last season, but we’ll have to see.

      Boston won 89 last season… close to 90, but not 90

  • Esteban

    After starting 0-5, I think David Cameron wrote a post, suggesting that it shouldn’t affect projected standings that much, because lots have good teams have 5 game losing streaks, and it doesn’t matter that the Red Sox’s streak came to start the season. Now, I think that the Red Sox were overrated for sure, but does he have a point? Or is that sort of like the gambler’s fallacy? I’m not sure.

    • king of fruitless hypotheticals

      i’m torn, because part of me wants to be rational and agree with you, and the other part says ‘boston sucks!’ because of all that irrational disgust.

      about the best i can do is assume they go the rest of the season with the same percentage they were projected to have, but you get to tack on the record they’ve already earned…

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s an interesting question. 10 games still isn’t all that much. The Yankees finished 29-30 last season to win 95 games… so whatever the projections say I don’t think this seriously impacts Boston’s ability to win 90, 95, 100 games this season. Heck, in 2009 the Yankees started 15-17 and went on to win 103.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I can’t say what I enjoy watching more. A Yankee win or a Red Sox mauling like last night. But back to this thread-JJ Hardy out 2-3 weeks with an oblique and I believe that pic of Prior was taken at the O’s park in Sarasota fwiw.

  • Cy Pettitte

    I’m impressed with D-Rob, I feel like if I tried shagging fly balls with my other hand I’d be taking a few to the face

    • jdp

      This blog has always been head-over-heels in love with Robertson, and I’ve never understood why.
      So he had one good outing this year.
      Anybody remember how many times he came in to a game at a key spot last year and blew it?
      His 33 walks in 61 innings?
      His 1.50 WHIP?
      Ks are cool, but how about not walking guys?

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Anybody remember how many times he came in to a game at a key spot last year and blew it?

        Yes. We also remember how many times he came into a game at a key spot last year and didn’t blow it. That happened quite a bit as well.

        Taken together and in context, there’s valid reason to be high on DRob.

      • Rey22

        2009 Houdini act. Enough said.

        • jdp

          Oh yeah, I forgot.
          He did something impressive in 2009, so I should forget about all the inherited runners he allowed to score in 2010.

  • ultimate913

    “If I can do it with my right hand, I can do it with my left hand. Why not?” said David. “I’m pretty ambidextrous. I just can’t write left-handed. That’s my only problem.

    Not with that attitude you can’t.

    • Drew


    • CS Yankee

      After all, there are only two can’ts…if you can’t do it, you can’t stay.

  • mike_h

    i’ve noticed Robertson catching balls during BP with his right hand and throwing with his left. I thought it was his natural hand like CC who throws left but writes right and Joba who throws right and signs left

    • Monteroisdinero

      and during games CC always catches the ball back from ARod after an out with his pitching hand and not his glove.


  • baby elephant

    didnt drink his milk as a kid

  • Rookie

    Regarding Mark Prior… To my very untrained eye, in the few games I saw him this spring, Prior looked untouchable. If he can stay healthy, I’ll be very curious to see if my Yankee fandom got the best of me and I saw what I wanted to see or if Callis is the one who’s wrong based on Prior’s results if and when he’s called up. Like I said, if he can stay healthy, I expect him to be very, very good — no worse than the third best option in the Yankee bullpen only after Mo and Soriano.