Mar
05

Thoughts following the off-day

By
(Star-Ledger)

(Star-Ledger)

The Yankees had their first off-day of Spring Training yesterday, nearly three full weeks after pitchers and catchers first reported. I figure this is as good a time as any to cull together some random thoughts for a post.

1. I mentioned this the other night, but I’ve been really impressed by left-hander Francisco Rondon so far. Obviously three Grapefruit League appearances totaling 4.1 innings means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but his stuff is better than I expected. Usually when the top scouting publications like Baseball America, Keith Law, and even Minor League Ball ignore a player, he’s a non-prospect. The 24-year-old Rondon looks like someone who has legitimately flown right under the radar. His delivery is real smooth and simple, plus he’s been sitting 90-93 with his fastball and showing a real wipeout slider. That’s lefty specialist stuff right there (30.8 K% vs. LHB last two years). Rondon isn’t a finished product despite spending time at Triple-A last year and being placed on the 40-man roster this winter — he needs to work on his overall command, particularly with the fastball to setup the slider — but he’s definitely someone to watch. I probably would have snuck him onto the back of my preseason top 30 prospects list if I hadn’t published it before camp opened.

2. While on the subject of lefty relievers, Boone Logan‘s elbow trouble isn’t very encouraging given that big workload last year. Remember, it’s not just appearances and innings, it’s all the times he warmed up and didn’t get into the game as well. The Yankees do have decent left-handed relief depth but if Logan has to miss the start of the season for whatever reason, I’m guessing his replacement would be a righty like Shawn Kelley or Cody Eppley simply because those guys are better than southpaws like Josh Spence or Juan Cedeno or Rondon. Lefty Cesar Cabral should be ready in late-April/early-May-ish and will be another bullpen option. He needs to spend at least 90 days on the active (non-DL) roster to satisfy the Rule 5 Draft rules before he can be optioned down without being exposed to waivers. Either way, Logan’s elbow will continue to be a question until he actually gets on a mound and throws some innings without breaking down.

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

(AP Photo/David Goldman)

3. Obviously Derek Jeter‘s injury has contributed to this, but Eduardo Nunez has played more innings this spring than anyone other than Melky Mesa. The Yankees have been running him out there at short at pretty much every opportunity, to the point where Jayson Nix — the only other utility infielder candidate in camp — has started just one game at the position. That can change in a hurry of course, but it sure seems like the club is leaning towards carrying Nunez into the season with Jeter’s ankle a question. Even if the Cap’n is ready in time for opening day, he’s going to DH a ton in April — especially against lefties — and someone needs to man short in his place. That’s fine, I’m actually in favor of using Nunez in that role (to a certain extent), but I do wonder if this will be his last chance to correct his defensive issues and stick with the team. I doubt it happens since he’s always been a bad defender, but I can’t imagine the Yankees would tolerate that much longer.

4. Speaking of Mesa, he’s played ten (!) more innings than any of the other left field candidates this spring. That number is a bit skewed because Juan Rivera and Matt Diaz have gotten a healthy share of time at DH, but that ten-inning difference stands out when you’re talking about unproven guys like Zoilo Almonte and Ronnie Mustelier. Again, this could all change in a hurry — it would have had Mesa not withdrawn from the World Baseball Classic — but it’s hard not to think all that playing time means he has a leg up on everyone else in that competition. Given his ability to contribute on both sides of the ball — Almonte and Mustelier are clearly bat-first players — he probably deserves to have a leg up in the competition. None of these guys will replace Curtis Granderson‘s offense, but at least Mesa offers power, speed, and defense instead of just one of the three.

Categories : Musings, Spring Training

128 Comments»

    • MB923 says:

      Someone posted this yesterday and I was just about to mention this again.

      Question, Does anyone know if MLB players were tested yet this year? The players would already have been informed of that if that were true. If they had been tested already, then these guys are full of it. If not, then Cano is a moron and probably cost himself $100+ million at the very least.

      Also, I take the part about him saying Melky will get suspended with a grain of salt. Many people suspected Melky was on something as he was hitting .350 and won the ASG MVP, 2 years after he hit only .255 with the Braves.

      I just can’t picture Granderson doing it though.

      • Jack p says:

        “Also, I take the part about him saying Melky will get suspended with a grain of salt. Many people suspected Melky was on something as he was hitting .350 and won the ASG MVP, 2 years after he hit only .255 with the Braves.”

        What are you talking about dude, he reported it a few weeks before it got confirmed, no one else even mentioned it.

        • MB923 says:

          I’m talking about people as in fans. Not actual reporters. I comment on many sports sites and many people were very suspicious of Melky well before the all star game.

          • Jack p says:

            He was not suspicious he REPORTED IT.

          • RobA says:

            Really? Melkys numbers were not consistant with the narratove of a juicer. Sudden power raises eyebrows. Not sudden batting average.

            Melkys numbers were boosted by an unusually hihh BABIP. This is not indicative of PED use as throughout the entirety of the PED era, league wide BABIP was pretty much static.

            His power numbers (namely HR) were good for him, but ceetainly not excessive and were well within his established parameters. There aas nothing about Melkys numbera last year that suggested steroids.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              You can seriously look at Melky’s numbers, and not jump to that conclusion, while at the same time look at Granderson’s and seeing steroids?

              Holy shit, man.

              • RobA says:

                Clearly your not readong my posts. I dont think Grandy is juicing and would be very surprised. But Im not 100% sure. I wouldnt bet my firstborn.

                What about Melkys numbers scream PED use to you? His OBP and slugging were a direct reshlt of his BABIP (lower his BABIP to career averages and both those numbers also fall more or less into linr) and we know BABIP is not correlated with PED use at all.

                His ISO (the best measurement of power) was entirely in line with his career. His K rate and BB rate were both slightly above averave.

                No, Melkys nu bers did not fit the pattern of how PED’S improves performance.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  Yup, because I disagree, I’m not reading your posts. That MUST be it.

                • Jim Is Bored says:

                  WTF pattern exists? Please, look at this list:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....cing_drugs

                  And show me the pattern. I’ll wait. I’ll keep waiting, and then I’ll wait some more. There isn’t one.

                  • thenamestsam says:

                    So much this. The “pattern” that RobA and so many other people talk about is based on a tiny, tiny percentage of the people who have actually been confirmed as users. Plus the fact that every guy with a power boost is now just assumed to be a user reinforces this false sense of a pattern.

                    • RobA says:

                      Actually, you’ve got it backwards. YOU are looking at individual cases and trying to draw a conclusion. But the problem with that is for every 1 guy caught during the steroid era and into the present, there are probably 10 (or 20 or 30 or whatever) caught, so you’re using an incomplete sample.

                      Whereas the analysis I am using is leaguewide stats, therefore it is encompassing every single steroid user. This is where we can determine patterns.

                      If we look at the PED era (late 80′s to early 2000′s) we can see things like HR going way up. Slugging up. ISO WAY up. But BABIP stayed absolutely static (around .300). Sondid batting average BTW. So we know that whatever boost steroid give you, a higher BABIP is not one of them. A sudden boost in ISO is highly correlated to steroid use however.

                      And so Melkys great numbers – if unaccomponied by a high BABIP- would definitely be suspicious. But he DOES have a high BABIP which absolutely explains them. If you were to move his BABIP in line with his career, his unusually high OBP and SLG would also be moved pretty much to career norms.

                      You may not like this line of analysis, but unfortunately it is correct. Nothing Ive said is my opinion. This is all facts.

                      In short, a sudden jump in ISO is highly correlated to steroid use. High BABIP is not. Melky’s career jumbers are entirely explained by his high BABIP. His ISO was at career levels. Obviously, he WAS juicing, so nothing is set in stone. But considering Melky is one data point, as compared to the many data poknts used to get league wide data, he is the exception raher hen the rule.

                      So no, nothing Melky did last year suggested steroids, if we go by what is established as the correlations of steroid use. I dont know how to explain it any clearer then that.

                      Here is data. Note ISO AND BABIP.

                      http://www.fangraphs.com/leade.....;players=0

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Yikes. That is a lot of bullshit quasi-statistical analysis right there.

                      I really hope no one spent the time I did to read it and gave you the benefit of the doubt at first.

                    • Jim Is Bored says:

                      Just fyi, YOU’RE ignoring MY points now.

                      High ISO is also correlated to high BABIP. Mostly because it’s completely dependent on batting average.

                      Grandy had high BABIP’s in both of his high-power years. And his SLG was completely in line with his career norms. If you’d left Grandy out of this, no one would have cared.

                      I’m wondering why you’re shocked at the outrage you’re finding when you parade idiotic conclusions about a Yankee on a Yankee blog when you’re a self-admitted blue jay fan.

                    • MannyGeee says:

                      For the record, RobA argues like my wife…

                      “You are definitely doing something wrong because you probably did this and that and the other thing…”

                      Facts based on guesses and feelings. Well done.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting) says:

                  Except his ISO post Atlanta disaster was not within his career norms.

                  Career ISO pre-2011 – .112
                  ISO 2011-12 – .167

                  An almost 50% power boost over his career norms isn’t within his established paramaters and would raise suspicion for any player. It could be explained by normal development or improved conditioning, but he most definitely did have a power jump.

        • RobA says:

          we were talking about this last night. For sure, from a character standpoint, Grandy seems i.possoble. Hes one of the games “good guys”.

          But sometimes real life isnt so black and white.

          But if you compiled a list of the most likely juicers in baseball going by JUST the numbers, hed probably make the top 10. Late career jumps in power – while definitely possible – are uncommon, and if you had to build an alhorithm designed to predict whos juicing, it would probably be the #1 variable. And I say this as a Blue Jay fan (see: Bautista and Encarnacion)

          • Jim Is Bored says:

            What? Most guys develop power as they age, until they start to decline. Granderson most certainly does NOT fit that mold. His biggest power jump came after a move to Yankee Stadium. If you want to jump to steroids to explain that, you go right ahead.

            I’ll take the simpler explanation that it’s much friendlier to lefty power than Comerica is/was.

            • RobA says:

              Yeah absolutely the move to YS contributes, and could be the only reason. This is not a certainty thouhh. For one, the jump in ISO was huge and sudden. And it occured after his first year at YS. He got a small boost his first year, which I thi k is more consistant with a move to YS. the jjmp his second year was huge tho.

              And yes, players get stronger as they age. But a huge jump in ISO at age 28 is unusual, and not the typical way that players increase their power.

              And Im definitely not jumping to steroids. I said I think its unlikely.

              • Jim Is Bored says:

                Please. That’s a classic “I’m not saying but I’m saying” defense.

                If you’re going to build a case for Granderson on steroids, then do it. Don’t hide behind some non-committal bull.

                Granderson’s iso went from .178 to .250 between 2006 and 2007, then back down to .204 by 2009.

                The jump from 2010 to 2011 was almost the exact same difference as that. You know what correlates the most with his jumps in ISO? Batting average and BABIP. Which is literally the same explanation you used to explain away Melky as being beyond suspicion.

                There is no good way to predict who and who isn’t using steroids. Outside of the mid-90′s guys, there hasn’t been any pattern in who’s been busted. Let MLB’s testing worry about that.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            I log on this ridiculousness of bullshit?

            1) Shame on whoever keeps on posting this bullshit blog story. Looking at Melky’s improvement from the naked eye and having an already existing bias does not mean some asshole on the internet has a mole in MLB that bigtime reporters don’t have. If you’re going to be prone to believing nonsense like this, maybe you need parental supervision before going on the net.

            2) Life isn’t so black and white. We all, hopefully, know this. I don’t buy into the idea of anyone’s public persona meaning a damn thing as related to what they do behind closed doors. Lance Fucking Armstrong has done a ton of public good, but all that public good was built on a foundation of doping. What any of this has to do with Curtis Granderson being more likely to do anything is beyond me.

            Just careless shitmongering of the highest order, and the THIRD time this has been linked to in about 12 hours on here.

            Mike, please dispose of this comment if any of this proves to be true.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              No, don’t, because whether it’s true or not is COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT.

              This guy has admitted he has zero inside knowledge. He’s using the same things all of us can see, and drawing a conclusion. He has no more credentials than you or I do.

              It’s bullshit to be shitmongering even if some of the shit is true.

            • The Big City of Dreams says:

              1) Shame on whoever keeps on posting this bullshit blog story

              —————-

              I’m surprised it made it’s way into this thread. I thought it would have died a slow death in the open thread last night but the first post in here is about the report wtf.

              • Havok9120 says:

                It’ll be happening all week, even if nothing comes from it. Enough people on blogs for other teams know about RAB that they’ll be filtering in to toss grenades and watch the fireworks. RobA is here a lot, so he’s one thing, but I’d bet we’re going to be seeing a lot of randoms and people we’ve never seen before saying: “just wondering if you guys have seen this…???”

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  There’s a meta conversation here somewhere which I don’t mind having on here, and is actually quite interesting.

                  Treating this story as probable fact? Please.

                • The Big City of Dreams says:

                  I’m willing to toss the grenades right back if that’s the case.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Please don’t link to that garbage here, it’s a page view grab. He’s quick to point out his correct guess on Melky but not all the other “reports” he got wrong. If someone credible reported anything like that, it would have been on the site.

  1. JohnC says:

    I saw Omar Luis Rodriguez listed on one of the work group lists of the Yankees minor league assignments for camp. Does that mean that he has finally gotten his visa to come here?

  2. RobA says:

    Yeah thats kind dof the elephant in the room right now….dunno if Mikes ignoring it or didnt hear of it.

    Still unlikely, but the guys history (called the Melky suspension first, a month before it happened) means it is at least relevent and should be talked about.

  3. Chris says:

    Cano should have took the offer . Greedy. Now he’s screwed.

  4. RobA says:

    this was just postes. Not really “new info” more of a clarification

    http://daps.tv/more-info-about.....braun/this was just posted. Not really “new info” more of a clarification

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Can we stop with that link, please, until literally any reputable source picks it up?

      It’s been talked about ad nauseum yesterday, and we don’t need to rehash it today unless something changes. Nothing has changed. Leave it alone.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        Can we stop with that link, please, until literally any reputable source picks it up?

        ————–

        How about those other posters don’t talk about it in this thread or any other that isn’t an open one. It feels like they work for the website

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          The Big City of Dreams is reporting that RobA is actually Joe Bisceglie!

          I agree with you. I won’t talk about it any more, even in the open threads.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            I agree with you. I won’t talk about it any more, even in the open threads.

            ———————
            It’s crazy how they high jacked this thread. I post on Lohud and threads take on a life of their own and I’m ok with that because I do it too but on RAB the rule is don’t go off topic and these guys have done it more than once. If they want to bring it up go to the open thread. Ppl are still replying in there.

            Keep up the good fight *salutes*

            • Betty Lizard says:

              Unreal Bloggers,
              Under the dead gray of a listless Spring
              A crowd flowed over Dog and Pony, so many,
              I had not thought death had undone so many.
              Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
              And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.

            • The Big City of Dreams says:

              *hijacked*

              The goal this winter is learn how to spell

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I am hereby reporting on the internet that someone, whose name I can’t comfirm or deny at this time is Jim is Bored, tried to grab my ass.

      I also cannot confirm or deny that it was my wife.

      Let’s take a look at the possible reasons for each:

      JiB: Well, he’s clearly bored, for one. I also do have a nice ass. Nothing really more there. Draw your own conclusions.

      Wife: I married her almost eight years ago and she mothered my child. Also, I have a nice ass.

      So it could be Jim is Bored who just grabbed my ass. Time well tell if I will continue to shock you with these predictions, or if I’ll just go back to procrastinating on administrative paperwork while posting bullshit comments on here.

  5. mick taylor says:

    jose ramirez has been real impressive. does he have upside to be a potential 1 0r 2 starter.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Ramirez may have been responsible for half a point on my confidence score this week. SSS, sure but, if this is the improvement we’re going to see from some prospects this year, this system is going to produce some nice pieces and chips very quickly.

    • CountryClub says:

      Jim Callis just tweeted that his ceiling is a closer.

      He also tweeted that he can see the arguement for Austin being the Yanks most likely prospect to make it because his bat is just that good.

      • The Big City of Dreams says:

        Austin seems like a safe bet to make it. I try not to get too hyped up when it comes to prospects but Austin feels like the type of player that will be a steady force for yrs to come. He may never put up monster numbers but who does in this day and age outside of a few guys

        • CountryClub says:

          Yes, barring injury I think he’s with the team for years. His ceiling may not be as high as Williams/Heathcott, but I think he’s just going to flat out hit.

          • The Big City of Dreams says:

            True.

            By all accounts he doesn’t have the highest ceiling but has the highest floor of the outfield prospects. At least that’s what ppl have said.

  6. Darren says:

    Who’s going to play second?

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Robinson Cano. NEXT!

      • Darren says:

        Hey my man. Were you one of those people in ’98 cheering on McGuire and Sosa?

        I guess I’m a cynical fuck, but I’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop on Cano and Grandy. Sorry, I don’t believe ANYONE. I certainly don’t believe that Grandy’s sweet smile, intelligence and pleasant tone mean that he isn’t a steroid user.

        And it’s laughable that people are discrediting this guy because he’s not MSM, when the rest of the time MSM is treated like a joke.

        I hope it’s not true, but it’s been a long time since I’ve trusted athletes to be honest.

        • Jim Is Bored says:

          As if there were people in 98 not cheering on McGwire and Sosa.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          I’ll put it to you this way: Believe everyone and don’t believe anyone. Is that fair?

          I was cheering McGwire, FWIW. Never liked Sosa. I thought it was possible he was doing something there other than the Andro at the time. Sure.

        • Havok9120 says:

          You don’t believe anyone except a sole BS report from a not all that reputable site? I’m not familiar with the guy that made the tweet or wrote the piece, but that site is….yeah.

          Your Belief-O-Meter seems somewhat screwy here.

        • Laz says:

          Anyone can open up a website on the internet and start flinging shit. Unless some reliable source will back it, or he gives some credible evidence I won’t believe it.

        • Bob Buttons says:

          Yet you believe that sports writer for a website that’s short for Dogs and Pony Show.

          • OldYanksFan says:

            I live in the Concord, NH area.
            It’s pretty out-of-the-mainstream up here.
            One day, a guy comes into my ex-wifes office. She is a nutritionist.

            The guys name is Bobby Tewksbury, and at the time, he played for the NY Yankees.

            So my wife found out all kinds on interesting things.
            And she told them to me.

            I have absolutely ZERO credentials to do any sports writting.

            But I do/did know some stuff that very few people had access to.

            Sometimes people do know stuff… just by coincidence.

            It would not surprise me at all if the Cano-ARod-Granderson suspension stuff is true. The DAP site is not frequented by baseball fans. I don’t think flying a story like that, if false, is in their best interest.

            You never know, but it smacks of the truth.

            • Jim Is Bored says:

              The DAP site is not frequented by baseball fans. I don’t think flying a story like that, if false, is in their best interest.

              Are you kidding? What better way to drive up traffic? If they’re wrong, their other audience won’t care at all.

            • Bob Buttons says:

              I was just saying that if he was to doubt every athlete, the “sports writer” at Dogs and Pony Show shouldn’t get the benefit of the doubt either.

  7. Jim Is Bored says:

    I really really hope Mesa pans out. If, and it’s a big if, he can cut down on his strikeouts, he could be a fun guy to watch in the outfield, and could play a nice part in the Quest for 189.

  8. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Let’s talk about actual real things occurring, as well as mentioned, in Mike’s actual post, and not LoHud this thing with remnants from the worst of last night’s Open Thread.

    From Mike’s mouth to God’s ears on Rondon. Always good to find yourself a quality lefty.

    I find myself wishing the team would have utilized that brief window his off-season to sell a bit high on Logan, but it is what it is. Get some rest. Luckily, it seems like there’s some, albeit untested, depth with bullpen parts.

    I wonder if Cabral has switched to working on elbows this spring. Has anyone spotted him?

    Obviously, Melky Mesa FTW. Would love to see him get the first crack at the Grandy fill-in while Rivera slides more into his intended role.

    I am legitimately afraid of Eduardo Nunez, but something has to give at some point. He’s been with the franchise long enough that they hope he becomes a long-term piece, but exposing him further would hurt his value if he doesn’t measure up. Sometimes, the only way out is through.

    • Jim Is Bored says:

      Eduardo Nunez brings out the most bipolar emotions I have. I love watching his enthusiasm, how he runs the bases, how damn fast he is.

      I just wish he could throw straight.

    • Mickey Scheister says:

      It would be great to see Mesa force himself on the roster with a good March and April, even after Grandy gets back Same with Rondon with Logan’s elbow barking at him. I’m loving these spring training game BTW.

    • Havok9120 says:

      The thing with the Boone Logan laments (and with all the TRADE LOGAN NAO! stuff from the winter) is that there wasn’t a single report that I can remember of anyone being overly interested in the guy. Or even any speculation that maybe the Nationals or someone else needing a lefty was heavily interested. Almost all of the trade Logan talk came from here, with commenters pitching ever-more-convoluted schemes which would send Logan, Granderson, ARod, and a couple of kids out and net us Stanton and King Felix.

    • Laz says:

      I’m excited about Nunez. It’s not like Jeter is a gold glover anymore, if Nunez can get his throws under control he will be fine.

      I wanted them to trade Logan. I feel a regression season from him, and they have too many Loogy already.

  9. Vern Sneaker says:

    Nunez made 224 errors at SS in 600 games in the minors and 18 more in 77 games at SS in majors. I’ve given up, and I think the Yanks will too sooner or later and would have already if we had anybody else who could get to anything that isn’t right at him and hit at least 260.

  10. Pat D says:

    This thread has become the Anchorman fight. Usually I’m amused when that happens, but when it’s about something as stupid as this “report” it makes me so dumbfounded that I’m afraid I’ll have a stroke.

  11. Upstae Yanks says:

    I want to like Nunee but as soon as he air mails a throw and an inning starts to snowball I’m done. I’ll take quality defense behind over pitching over a guy who can beat out an infield single anyday.

    • Laz says:

      I would agree, but at the same time I can’t tolerate Nix playing out there at shortstop as the starter several times a week.

  12. Pat D says:

    As long as we’re hijacking threads, here’s comedy:

    http://fullcount.weei.com/spor.....um=twitter

    111 in a 45 zone!

  13. mt says:

    Mesa also plays center which means Gardner stays in left where he will be when Grandy comes back.

    Got a chance to watch JoRam (new nickname :-)) on DVR last night from Red Sox game on Sunday – I was impressed; he seemed to have easy heat.

    If Logan can’t go will be interesting to see if we carry a 2nd lefty or the best righty like Eppley/Kelly – we know Joe now likes his 2nd lefty (which is funny because a couple of years ago before Logan got here we sometimes only had 1 lefty and that lefty sometimes was not that great). It could be a good situation for a limited look at Rondon before Cabral is healthy (of course asuminG Logan really is down.)

    • Laz says:

      Gardner played center until he came up, and needs the reps there. Mesa has far from locked up being on the roster.

      I think they really like the lefty because it is efficient. Can get absolute scrubs like Rapada and by having them only work oh lhb they become solid relievers. Means you have less worry about in finding relievers.

  14. trr says:

    things posted on the internet carry no more validity then something written on the men’s room wall

  15. MB923 says:

    Jon Heyman ?@JonHeymanCBS
    that ped rumor thats been floating out there today is compete BS, and thats capital BS. lets move on.

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