Apr
26

Thoughts on a Random Friday

By

1. YES had an interesting graphic displayed during last night’s game. It showed which teams had the lowest batting averages in the American League versus left-handed pitching. As you may have expected, the Yankees (.199) were number two on this dubious list, trailing only the offensively inept Mariners (.189). What you may not have known, was that among the five worst lefty hitting teams, three teams came from the AL East. Trailing right behind the Yankees are the Red Sox (.215) and the Blue Jays (.220). The White Sox (.243) round out the bottom five.

We knew this would be an issue coming into the season given the configuration of the lineup. However, as is so often the case, we are either unaware of dismissive of the rest of the league’s struggles in relation to our own. Ideally, the Yankees simply would not have such drastic splits. However, seeing as they do, it’s of some comfort to know that some of their divisional rivals are experiencing the same dilemma. Perhaps, to some degree, this makes one of the Yankees more noticeable vulnerabilities a bit less alarming at the moment. Obviously, it’s still a problem the team should look to address as quickly as possible. You know their competition will look to as well.

2. Yesterday was a pretty gratifying win. Hiroki Kuorda didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the team in the game. We saw some displays of power from both likely and unlikely contributors, and of course we enjoyed the perks of a dominant bullpen. On top of that, the Yankees managed a come-from-behind win (against a lefty no less). Ideally, the Yankees won’t get into the habit of trailing the other team. However, it’s good to know that when they do they can muster up some resilience occasionally. We’ve seen them come from behind several times this year already – a few times against the Diamondbacks and against the Rays if memory serves. These early season wins are especially gratifying while the team is navigating through all the injuries.

3. How about Robinson Cano? Turns out he’s pretty good. He looked lost at the plate against the Red Sox and Tigers in the first two series of the season. Since then, well … he’s been himself. He’s now batting .322/.372/.632 (.424 wOBA, 171 wRC+). He’s tied for fifth in all of baseball in home runs (with seven), and trails only Chris Davis and J.P. Arencibia in the American League (with eight). Not too shabby, especially considering his position. What is interesting though, is that his K% is a few percentage points higher than his career norms in the early goings of the season. That said, I would certainly expect that to normalize as the season progresses a bit further (but we’ll keep an eye on it nevertheless). If the Yankees are going to have any kind of sustained success this season, they’ll need Robinson’s bat to remain hot — especially if some of the other overachievers begin to slow down.

4. Since it’s Friday and I’m feeling frivolous, let’s take a quick pit stop into the world of arbitrary and meaningless observations. Yesterday was my 29th birthday and the Yankees won, which was perfect. I remember telling my wife that it had seemed like forever since the last time the Yankees won on my birthday. Well, as it turns out, that wasn’t too far from the truth. The last time they won on the 25th of April was 2006. Since 1984, they’ve gone 9-16 (there were five off days since that time). So there’s that.

Categories : Musings

50 Comments»

  1. Vern Sneaker says:

    I’m assuming more than a few of the RAB prospect nuts like myself already have discovered him, but it was a new one for me today: Dan Fiorito at Tampa, a 22 yo shortstop. Undrafted and he’s only played in 3 games after a D3 college career, but the few scouting reports I found online about him are impressive. I’m probably wrong, but I can’t recall seeing his name on RAB ever. Anybody know about his guy?

    • jjyank says:

      Granted I know nothing about him, but I’m not about to get excited over an undrafted 22 year old SS in class A ball who didn’t appear on the club’s top 30 list. I mean, stranger things have happened, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

  2. Hiddenfox says:

    Happy belated birthday!

  3. kenthadley says:

    Yanks have never won on any of my 63 birthdays Matt, so your record is better than mine. Of course, they don’t play many games in November…..

  4. Eddard says:

    1. This could be corrected with Hafner playing instead of Francisco. 2/30 will drag us down. The RHB like Nuney and Youk need to hit better vs LHP.

    2. I said it in the Dback series, this club reminds me a lot of that 09 team. It seems like just 4 years ago Johnny was stealing 2nd and 3rd on the same play and Hideki was hitting 3 HRs in the world series clincher. Now we have Hafner and Wells to fill their places. We have 3 good starters just like 09.

    3. He’s the MVP right now. With all the injuries he has been carrying the offense. I don’t care about Trout whose team is floundering and I don’t care about Miggy. Robbie is the front runner for MVP.

    4. Happy Birthday. One more year and you’ll be out of the 2s. I have another 2 and half years before I get to the 3s. We need to stop getting old.

    • LK says:

      The 2009 Yankees had Johnny Damon as their 8th best hitter, and he put up a 122 wRC+ that year. This team could end up being good, and maybe even go all the way, but there’s no way they’re mashing like 2009, and that’s even after all the injured guys come back.

    • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball) says:

      Eddard, dude; compare this lineups

      JETER – Gardner
      DAMON – 13′ Kevin Youkilis
      TEIX – Cano (This is PROBABLY the only spot in wich this lineup comes on top)
      A-ROD – Vernon Wells
      MATSUI – Hafner
      POSADA – Cervelli
      SWISHER – Ichiro
      CANO – Nuñez
      MElKY – Overbay

      Similar rotations, and Bullpen probably… but that 09′ lineup was so much more talented than the one there is today even more when you consider the players that are overachieving and are likely to come down.

      • jjyank says:

        You’re forgetting one thing.

        None of that matters in Eddard World.

      • LK says:

        I think the pitching is probably better this year, assuming people stay healthy.

        Man was that ’09 lineup awesome though. No matter who was leading off the inning they had a fantastic chance to score.

  5. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Matt, you da man.

    I’m almost out of my thirties. Nothing to worry about. Hopefully you come out of them making a bit more money. :)

  6. Craig says:

    Vidal Nuno’s first Yankee Starts comes against ________ with Nuno making _______ starts this year. GO!

  7. Guns says:

    I saw that graphic too. I think the Yankees vulnerability against LHP is more real than that of the Red Sox and Blue Jays. Obviously, that has a lot (everything) to do with injuries. The Red Sox have Pedroia, Napoli, Victorino (historically kills LHP), Ellsbury historically hits well against LHP. Encarnacion and Bautista have yet to really get going offensively for the Blue Jays.

    That should all correct itself. A lineup with Teixeira, Jeter and Youkilis in it should go a long way for the Yankees.

    • Vern Sneaker says:

      Except we won’t have Jeter back for quite a while and I’m pretty anxious about Texeira’s injury. This was not a minor injury, despite Yanks’ characterization as a “wrist strain.” His production this year is possibly much in doubt. Let’s hope Youk gets back pronto.

  8. Mark says:

    In regards to the info about teams in the AL East having a low BA vs lefties, I believe that is due in large part to teams having to face CC, Andy, Lester, Price and the young Baltimore southpaws each series.

    • Yeah, that’s certainly a valid point Mark. To wit, given the quality of those pitchers, the lack of effectiveness against lefties may be a bit overstated. I mean, the team is bad against the lefties, no doubt, but maybe not absurdly bad if they’re not facing so many elite arms. Just spitballing….

      • jjyank says:

        True. If Moore and Price were righties, they may not have done any better. Sometimes the handedness doesn’t matter if they’re just really good pitchers. Hopefully those numbers start to come up, preferably tonight against Laffey and tomorrow against Happ.

  9. 28 this year says:

    Quick fantasy question:

    I have Torii Hunter and have been offered Josh Hamilton in return. The categories are AVG, R, HR, RBI, SB. Its a no brainer right? I should do it, right?

  10. Mike, we have an old toast in my family” Health, wealth, and the Yankees in seven.”

  11. JoeyA says:

    Surprised we havent gotten a post about the abandonment of the $189M austerity plan.

    Mike is probably still celebrating.

    • trr says:

      I saw that –

      http://sports.yahoo.com/news/y.....33974.html

      Wonder if it’s accurate?

      • jjyank says:

        Who knows. His sources are “one source familiar with the Yankees’ plans”, “one American League executive”, and “one Yankees official”. I get that he’s protecting his sources, but it seems pretty generic stuff. The rest of the article just seems like speculation filling in the blanks.

        He could be right, I have no idea. But there doesn’t seem to be a lot of substance to go on here.

      • I can’t speak for Mike on this, but my reactions were twofold:

        1. If it’s true, that’s outstanding news. I absolutely agree the team can (and probably should) have a $189M roster in theory. That’s plenty of money for a playoff contending team. The problem is that this plan wasn’t gradually implemented. The austerity budget was a seemingly sudden and drastic shift in organizational philosophy. The moves made to implement this shift in philosophy ran counter to the spending trends seen around the rest of the league and the Yankees general lack of roster flexibility. Flexing financial might certainly helps the team’s chances in the short term landscape.

        2. I just won’t believe it until I see it. This would represent a huge change of plan and would be counter everything we’ve seen and heard from the team up until this point.

      • Havok9120 says:

        We were talking about this some in the Game Thread last night. There’s nothing to see there. His quotes are jokes in terms of sources and he’s got nothing but speculation based off those vague quotes for the rest of the piece.

      • Guns says:

        I wonder if it has anything to do with attendance so far this season. They’ve already set four record lows for the new stadium.

        • Havok9120 says:

          Yeah, but it’s down around the league again. They’re still averaging 38K and sitting at 6th overall in home attendance.

  12. PFOJ says:

    On my birthday last year, Mariano Rivera tore his ACL. Your birthday complaints are insignificant to mine.

  13. Bob Buttons says:

    Not that anybody asked, my birthday involves multiple day offs in the last decade. And roughly 20% of the years I’ve been alive (though technically strikes aren’t off-days, I counted them).

  14. forensic says:

    Those lefty numbers are something, but BA isn’t necessarily everything.

    At the moment, the Yankees are last in the AL against in BA at .209. Toronto is 13th (.220), Boston is 12th (.236), and Tampa is 10th (.245). While it’s nice that they are lowly ranked too, it’s still quite a jump from .209 to .236 or .245.

    The Yankees are 13th in OBP (.284), ahead of Seattle (.283) and Toronto (.259). Tampa, Baltimore, and Boston are 11th, 10th, and 9th, respectively, and all are .305 or higher. That’s a bit of a jump too.

    The Yankees are 14th in SLG (.331), only ahead of Toronto (.317). The next team above the Yankees is Minnesota at .347 and the next AL East team is Tampa in 9th at .376. Again, that’s quite a jump to try to reach their league rivals.

    Overall, this puts them 14th in OPS at just .616, only ahead of Toronto at .576. Tampa is 11th at .682 and the next team ahead of the Yankees is Seattle at .641. Again, that’s quite a jump.

    Only the Blue Jays, who have been pretty horrible the first few weeks of the season are really sort of close to the Yankees. It’s quite a jump for them to reach the rest of the AL East, and even any other teams in some areas, in this split. It’s not overly reassuring to me that they’re still that far back from so many teams.

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