Archive for Self-Promotion
Just a heads up, I took part in the latest edition of Deep Thoughts over at DRays Bay, which is just a fancy way of saying we talking about baseball. Specifically the Yankees and Rays, and their respective offseasons. Check it out.
The Brien Taylor story is a sad one and a familiar one. Drafted first overall back in 1991, the high schooler from some remote corner of North Carolina was supposed to be the next great Yankee left-hander. Instead, his career was derailed after just two seasons by injury, a self-inflicted injury at that. I wrote about Taylor’s career and life over at FanGraphs on Wednesday, an ode to the best pitcher none of us ever got to see…
Pitching prospects may as well go out to the mound in bubble wrap these days, protected with pitch counts and innings limitations and the like. Back in 1992, things were very different. Less than one year out of high school, a 20-year-old Taylor was assigned to the High Class-A Florida State League and threw 161.1 innings across 27 starts in his pro debut. He struck out 187 of the 663 batters he faced (28.2%), walked 66 (10.0%), and allowed just three homers. Baseball America considered him the second best prospect in the game after the season, behind only Chipper Jones.
“From a development standpoint, Taylor showed the Yankees all they wanted to see: well above-average arm strength, an effortless delivery and the ability to locate pitches with rare precision,” wrote the publication in their AL East Top 10 Prospects issue, published in February 1993. “Taylor’s fastball reached 98 mph on occasion and consistently hit 95. He also threw a power curve and changed speeds off it. Scouts marveled at Taylor’s ability to keep his head as he unleashed his full arsenal of pitches … Scouts say he’ll be ready for New York by September.”
Bumped up to the Double-A Eastern League the next season, Taylor again made 27 starts, this time throwing 163 innings. His strikeout (21.1 K%) and walk (14.3 BB%) rates took a step back, and he gave up more than twice as many homers as the year before, a whopping seven dingers. It was a disappointing performance given the hype, but for a kid less than two years out of high school in Double-A, he more than held his own. That was the last time Taylor would experience success on a baseball field.
Not counting the recent guys, Taylor is one of just three first overall selections to never reach the big leagues, joining Steve Chilcott (1966) and Matt Bush (2004). He was a bust but not the wrong pick, those are two entirely separate ideas. Taylor was a phenom, arguably the best high school pitching prospect in draft history, and he got hurt in a freak, off-the-field accident. You can’t get on the Yankees for that, but that’s never stopped people. Click the link and check out the entire piece, I hear it’s pretty awesome.
As 2011 drew to a close, I poked around on Google Analytics, as I often do. We had over 16 million pageviews last year, and were it not for ALDS Game 5, we would have had more. We had a noticeably significant drop-off in traffic after the Yanks’ early departure from the October dance.
While I’m a few days late on it this year, I always like to highlight our top ten most trafficked posts of the year. As always these do not include game threads or open threads.
1. Predicting MLB Trade Rumors’ Top 50 Free Agents
Our most popular post of the year hit in November when Joe tried to predict landing spots for MLBTR’s top free agents of the winter. So far, out of his top ten predictions, he’s 2 for 9 with one still out there. That one, of course, is Edwin Jackson.
2. 2011 Preseason Top 30 Prospects
Mike ran down his top 30 prospects of the season shortly before Spring Training began. Jesus Montero and Manny Banuelos took the top two spots, and I believe they’ll do the same again next month.
3. Camp Notes: Rotation, Burnett, Jeter, CC, More
This was a post from the first day of Spring Training. While the news was bland, it was baseball. We had waited all winter for that first day of camp.
4. Brian Cashman, Prevaricator Extraordinaire?
As the Yanks’ offseason continued, it’s been one of stasis. The team, in need of a pitcher, seems committed to bringing back nearly the same club — sans Jorge and Bartolo — as last year, and Brian Cashman keeps perpetuating the notion that the Yanks are just waiting out the right move. Moshe wondered in December if it was all just a ruse to keep potential trade partners from trying to take advantage of the club with all of the money.
5. Yankees made bid for Darvish, high bidder could be announced tonight
That bid, we learned today, was for a meager $15 million, but everyone wanted to talk about Darvish.
6. Report: Indians, others have interest in Swisher
Despite the fact that he’s a very solid right fielder who fits well into the Yankee lineup and comes with a very affordable price tag, Yankee fans have searched high and low to find ways to trade Nick Swisher. Just before Christmas, word got out that a few teams, including the Indians, would be interested in a deal. Of course, trading Swisher just opens up another hole in the Yankee lineup and one not easily filled. He’ll be around on Opening Day.
7. 2011 Draft: Yankees take Dante Bichette Jr. with 51st overall pick
Many raised eyebrows and a good number of complaints were silenced by a stellar Gulf Coast League debut for the now-19-year-old Bichette.
8. Hideki Irabu, 42, found dead in Los Angeles home
The troubled former Yankee took his own life after a battle with his own inner demons and lofty expectations. Irabu was a heralded Japanese import who never lived up to his reputation.
9. Repeating History with Yu Darvish
Considering the Yanks were never that into Yu Darvish, he certainly garnered a lot of discussion this fall. He and the Rangers, by the way, have yet to work out a deal, but indications are that he will sign. Can he front a rotation that’s been searching for a true ace for a while?
10. Yankees win bidding for Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima
The Yanks put in a $2 million bid on Nakajima seemingly as an afterthought, and scouts say he’s not much of a hitter or fielder. Right now, it doesn’t sound as though a deal is on the horizon, but the two sides have until Friday to work out a contract.
So the hot topics were mostly about free agency and the winter of our discontent. The Yanks lost an ALDS they could have won and have yet to make a splash with Spring Training just a few weeks away. We yearned for Darvish; we got Nakajima; and we’re still waiting for some of those top 50 free agents to sign. It was a great ride in 2011, and we’ll be here again, of course, for 2012.
Another heads up, here’s something I wrote for YESNetwork.com today. Just like last night, it’s basically a recap of the day, a dumbed down version of what you’ve seen on RAB. I also put this little thing together on the Hiroyuki Nakajima winning bid. You read now!
Just quick heads up, I wrote this short little article for YES about the latest Yankees goings-on here at the Winter Meetings. It’s a slightly dumbed down version of what you’ve seen on RAB throughout the day, but go read it anyway.
Sorry folks, but it’s time for a little shameless self-promotion. With free agency now open for business, Joe took part in a three-person panel over at the YES Network, attempting to predict the landing spots of twenty of this winter’s top free agents. This is different that his top 50 predictions from earlier this week, so make sure you check it you.
As for me, I’ve got a pair of posts up at FanGraphs covering two recent Yankees’ transactions: CC Sabathia’s extension and Andrew Brackman’s release. Over at The Yankee Analysts, Hannah wrote about how Sabathia’s deal gives us Yankees fans some piece of mind heading into the offseason. Ain’t that the truth?
It’s been a while since we promoted our merchandise, so it’s a good time to get a new design up there. I think this one (courtesy of Tyler Wilkerson) is pretty self-explanatory. There’s a total of a dozen designs available at the RAB Shop now, and you can get them all on t-shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, all sorts of stuff in a variety of colors. Check it out.
I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Head on over the RAB Shop to get your own 3K themed RAB swag, and keep in mind that there are two different versions of the design. One worst better for light colors, the other for darker. You can customize it all, from size to style, and you don’t even need to get a shirt. There’s coffee mugs, onesies (no adult onesies, sorry), license plate frames, and much more. Thanks to Tyler Wilkinson for the design, as always.
As Derek Jeter slowly inches his way toward his inevitable 3000th hit, River Ave. Blues and our partner TiqIQ are hosting a contest to celebrate the milestone. The winner will get two tickets to a sporting event of their choice courtesy of TiqIQ.
So how to enter: First, readers will have to head on over to Facebook and “like” RAB Tickets. Then, post on the RAB Tickets Facebook wall a guess for Jeter’s 3000th hit that includes the date, the inning and the count of the at-bat on which Jeter will reach that milestone. If more than one person guesses correctly, winner will be decided by a pitch count tiebreaker. If there is still a tie, winner will be picked based on order of submission.
If you’d like to get a sense of how the secondary ticket market is responding to Jeter’s quest, take a look at this graphic. It looks like most buyers think Jeter will reach 3000 at home this weekend on either Friday or Saturday. Personally, I’m betting on Friday, but that’s because Joe, Mike and I are all going to be at the stadium that evening.
Now that a certain right fielder has re-learned how to hit left-handed, I figured it was time to break out the SwishHawk design for the RAB Shop. We have ten other designs as well, so make sure you check them all out. They look great on shirts, hoodies, coffee mugs, clocks, you name it, plus you can customize the color and style of almost anything in the shop.
(h/t to Tyler Wilkinson for the design, as always)