TiqIQ: NYCFC Kicks Off Next Chapter Of New York Sports At Yankee Stadium

From our friends at TiqIQ:

New York City is the largest market in the country. In sports that’s meant more than one franchise per major sport. But instead of a double dipping in allegiance and an increased chance of a championship for the region each season, the city divides support…even if it’s never been done evenly. And, as the saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. That’s led to plenty of intercity rivalries in the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLB. Now you can add MLS to the mix.
Major League Soccer is a growing sport in the United States, even if it doesn’t feel that way. Soccer has long been an afterthought to the majority of sports fan in the US, and many of those that have paid attention choose to focus on leagues overseas. But that doesn’t mean MLS has remained stagnant. Since it’s inception in 1996 the league has grown from 10 teams to 19. Up until now the lone New York team was the New York Red Bulls, and like the New York Giants and Jets they’re New York only in title, playing their games in New Jersey instead.
Starting in 2015 New York City Football Club will be added to the league as the 20th team, playing their games in Yankee Stadium for their first season. Jointly owned by the Yankees and Manchester City owners, there are already plans to build a new stadium for the club adjacent to Yankee Stadium. The point is, this team will actually play its home games in the city.
Until the new stadium is built, those home games will be played at Yankee Stadium. Yankee Stadium has already been host to several international matches in the past few years, including Manchester City against Chelsea and Spain vs Ireland last year. On July 30, Man City will play Liverpool at the stadium as part of exhibition tournament for European clubs in the US. The Man City-Liverpool matchup will be the fifth soccer game held at Yankee Stadium since 2012. While plans for a new soccer stadium are in progress, the friendlies and NYCFC game will have to schedule their games around the Yankees schedule with two to three days needed to change the field over from a baseball diamond to a soccer pitch. After the July 30 match, the Yankees won’t play at home until August 4.

So with the birth of the latest New York City rivalry and another coming to Yankee Stadium, this one will have an interesting wrinkle. While the New York Red Bulls have been part of the league since the start – though as the MetroStars through the 2005 season – they are far from a longstanding tradition like the Giants, Yankees, Knicks and Rangers were before rival franchises entered the league. With the team actually located in the city confines, former Red Bull supporters may jump ship. With the prime venue of Yankee Stadium for home games, it wouldn’t be a surprise if NYCFC tickets become some of the most coveted in the league on the secondary market.

NYCFC, following suit of the Yankees, has already made some big name additions to the roster mainly David Villa, who played for Spain’s national team in the World Cup, and the rumored signings of Frank Lampard, who played for England and recently Chelsea in the English Premier League while there have also been reports a deal with Spanish midfielder Xavi is imminent.

 

Guest Post: The ultimate Kei Igawa retrospective

The following is a guest post from long-time reader Sung-Min Kim, who you can follow on Twitter at @SungMinKim116.

(Yahoo)
(Yahoo)

I don’t know about you, but whenever I think of the offseason of 2006~07, I always think “what if?” the Yankees had signed Ted Lilly. Theodore Roosevelt Lilly, as you may recall, was a Yankee long time ago until the trade that brought Jeff Weaver to Bronx (“Lilly had cried the day in 2002 when Cashman traded him.”) The lefty went on to have few solid seasons with the Athletics and the Jays – 9.7 cumulative fWAR from 2003-06 – until he hit free agency for the first time after the ‘06 season. Lilly strongly wanted to be a Yankee again but the team let him take the Cubs’ offer. Actually, they had someone else in mind by the time Lilly agreed with the Cubs – on November 29, 2006, the Yankees had won the bidding to talk with the Japanese lefty, Kei Igawa. Lilly signed for a four-year, $40 million contract and the Yankees spent a total of $46 million dollars ($26 million in bidding, and $20 million in 5-year contract) for Igawa.

Safe to say, the Bronx Bombers probably should have gone the other way. During the four-year contract with the Cubs, and later the Dodgers, Lilly compiled 12.8 cumulative fWAR — a top 30 figure among the starters who pitched between 2007-10. Igawa, on the other hand, made only 16 total appearances during the five-year contract while compiling an abysmal -0.2 fWAR. Looking at it any shape or form, the Yankees lost out pretty big on this one. While in the Yankee organization, Igawa became the laughingstock of the fans, toiling in the minors for the most of his contract. But before the ill-advised decision by the Yankees front office, what got Igawa the Yankee attention? Who was he?

[Read more…]

Yankees Tickets For Series vs. Red Sox 20% Above Average

By Mike Shackil, Tiq IQ

The AL East standings are pretty much the reverse of what everyone thought they’d be before the season started. The Tampa Bay Rays are safely in the basement as the Toronto Blue Jays lead the division. Even the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are currently out of a playoff spot, with the Red Sox a far ways away just a season after winning the World Series.

But some things turn out as expected, and the latest installment of the famed Red Sox and Yankees rivalry is looking like a pretty expensive series. Currently the average price of the series is 20 percent over the average ticket price for the remaining home games at Yankee Stadium. That average was already the highest in the league at $144.65, and Yankees tickets for the series are averaging $173.98. For fans who have purchased the Yankees Six-Game Flex Pack, you can add one of these three games to your package.

6/27 BOS Brandon Workman at NYY Vidal Nuno | Avg. Price: $241.09 | Get-in Price: $73

Brandon Workman is making his first start since serving a suspension for throwing at Rays’ third baseman Evan Longoria. Workman has been a solid addition the Red Sox pitching staff since making his major league debut in the bullpen last July, and has likely earned a spot in the rotation after filling in due to injuries. In five starts he has a 3.21 ERA and has gotten better and better as he’s been stretched out. But despite his improvement it’s still shocking to see this as the most expensive game of the series by far, especially with Vidal Nuno starting for the Yankees. In 12 starts Nuno ranks at replacement level with a 5.29 ERA and 1-4 record. The average for the game is $241.09 and the get-in price is $73. To put that get-in price in perspective, half the league has an average season price around $73.

6/28 BOS Jon Lester at NYY Masahiro Tanaka | Avg. Price: $178.77 | Get-in Price: $50

The following game is the true marquee matchup of the series, with aces Jon Lester and Masahiro Tanaka taking the mound for the Red Sox and Yankees, respectively. Both have WARs above 3.0 this season and rank near the top of the league in most statistical categories, and Tanaka is the likely runaway winner with AL Rookie of the Year after coming over from Japan. The game is averaging $178.77 a ticket and has a get-in price of $50.

6/29 BOS John Lackey at NYY Chase Whitley | Avg. Price: $102.08 | Get-in Price: $26

The final game of the series is easily the cheapest. With an average of $102.08 it is the only game below the Yankees season average in the series. Even the get-in price of $26 is pretty reasonable. The pitching isn’t bad either. John Lackey gets the start for the Red Sox, and he has been their best pitcher outside of Lester. For the Yankees, rookie Chase Whitley gets his ninth start, and he has been surprisingly solid for the Yankees. He’s got a great K/BB ratio, and despite a 4.07 ERA, he has a FIP that only trails Tanaka on the team.

Guest Post: Everything you need to know about Yankees target Hyo-Jun Park

The following is a guest post from long-time reader Sung-Min Kim, who you can follow on Twitter at @SungMinKim116.

(Sports Q)
(Sports Q)

As many of us know, the Yankees are set to pour a lot of money into international signings come July 2nd. The reports say they already have come to an agreement with three big-name prospects in Latin America and there is possibly one more coming from Korea. On Tuesday, it was reported that 18-year old SS prospect Hyo-Jun Park will sign with the Yankees and it sounds official — his parents have quipped on it as well. What does this signing mean and what kind of talent is he?

In terms of the Asian market, the Yankees have a richer history with signing Japanese and Taiwanese players, but not much with Koreans. In the 2004-05 offseason, the team was actually strongly linked to LHP Dae-Sung Koo (who, by the way, was a beast in KBO in the 90’s and did a decent job in Japan as well. At the age of 44, he was the saves leader in the Australian league in 2013-14) and reportedly came to an agreement, but the lefty ended up signing with the Mets and this ended up happening. Before the 2010 season, the team signed veteran RHP Chan-Ho Park, who had rejuvenated his career as a reliever, but he proved to be ineffective (5.12 FIP in 35.1 IP) for the Bombers and was DFA’d within few months.

Well, the reports strongly indicate that the Yanks are an official announcement away from sealing Park as their farm commodity. The bonus amount is reported to be around $1 to $1.2 million and the team is ready to supply Park a good amount of accommodation for his adjustment to the new culture, including a full-time translator, a “hotel-quality dormitory,” etc. He would be the first Korean IFA ever to sign with the Yankees.

As a junior of the Yatap High School of Kyung-gi province, the shortstop is tearing the cover off the ball in the Gogyo Yagu Jumal League (high school weekend league), hitting for a .467/.614/.967 slash line in 44 plate appearances in 10 games. Out of his 14 hits, 7 of them are extra-base hits with three homers. Considering that Park’s been considered a cream of the crop tier prospect since his sophomore year, when he hit .371/.475/.557 with 1 HR, his offensive performance so far this year has put him into a formidable prospect status. Another note about his power performance is that he’s done it all with a wood bat in a league that banned the use of aluminum bats back in 2004. Also, he has shown a good eye throughout his high school career. For example, during his freshman year, even when he hit for only .256 avg., he managed a .468 OBP. So far in 2014, he has a 13-to-4 BB-to-K ratio in 10 games.

Garnering attention since his sophomore year, a lot of Korean scouts have pegged Park as the possible No. 1 overall pick of the 2015 KBO Draft. At this point, it’s unlikely any KBO team will choose Park. Back in 2006, the Kia Tigers selected RHP Young-Il Jung, who had already generated strong ML interest, and the righty ended up signing with the LA Angels and the Tigers ended up wasting their 1st-round pick. The team with the first pick on the upcoming KBO Draft, the KT Wiz (an expansion team that will make its debut in KBO next season), has already announced their first two picks they received as an expansion team (RHP Sung-Moo Hong and RHP Kwon Joo). Many speculate that had Park not maintained a strong connection with the Yankees, the shortstop would have been the Wiz’s pick.

According to this article, before this winter Park looked forward to being selected in the KBO draft. “I was approached by the Yankees during the sophomore year of high school,” Park said, “my parents liked the idea of going to ML but I wasn’t sure what to expect so I declined their offer at the time.” Park’s decision changed when he trained in Los Angeles over this past winter. “I played with American players few times then and I felt they had better power and basics,” said Park, “despite all that, I felt that I played very well against them, so I started to feel confident about (playing in America in the future).”

(dearsanta.tistory.com)
(dearsanta.tistory.com)

The Yankees were not the only team that showed an interest in Park. The San Diego Padres reportedly made a $1 million offer and their scout said that “(in his sophomore year) Park was a $500K-worthy player and after I saw him in Los Angeles, he was more of a $1 million-worthy talent.” The Padres are not alone. According to Chi-Hoon Lee, Park’s agent, seven ML teams, including the Yankees, have shown interest in the shortstop, but the link also states the Yankees are Park’s sole priority.

The $1.2 million bonus is not as high as what the Yanks are giving to few other IFA signees but it’s still a lot of money. In fact, it rivals the top-tier annual salary of KBO. The highest-paid player of the league, 1B Tae-Kyun Kim, is set to receive $1.403 million for 2014. For another point of reference, OF Hyung-Woo Choi, a 30-year old proven offensive commodity, gets paid only $421K for 2014 season. A 18-year old prospect Park has a chance to receive 3x the money that an offensive star Choi is – who is hitting for a 1.074 OPS so far this season. It is suffice to say that the amount is too good to easily pass up on.

The biggest Korean IF prospect to have signed with an ML team prior to Park is SS Hak-Ju Lee for the Rays farm system. Park has gotten comparisons to Lee for both his offensive and defensive game. This would have been a more thrilling thought last year, before Lee tore his ACL while hitting for 225 wRC+ for the Durham Bulls in AAA level. He has yet to find his offensive groove so far this season (73 wRC+) but he is still only a 23-year-old in AAA and have some time to work himself into position to be a future SS for the Rays. Lee was signed by the Cubs as a 17-year-old back in 2008 with a $1.15 million bonus. Park may get around that figure (or a little more). In six minor league seasons, Lee has hit for a .285/.360/.380 line overall.

Here’s MLB.com’s scouting report on Park – he ranks #12 in the overall list (also the site misspelled his name as “Hyu-Jun Park”).

Scouting Grades: Hit: 60 | Power: 45 | Run: 60 | Arm: 55 | Field: 60

Park and his teammates from Yatap High School in South Korea spent more than a month in the United States playing against top high school teams from California earlier this year. There’s a real possibility the young infielder will get a chance to see a lot more of the country in the near future.

A legitimate shortstop prospect, Park has the tools to stay at the position as he develops. What’s more, some scouts think he has the potential to be above average in every facet of the game, except for power. That said, there’s the belief that he could still hit at least 10 home runs when he gains strength. He can also spray the ball to all fields.

Scouts view him as a good defender with solid fundamentals and compare him to Tampa Bay infield prospect Hak-Ju Lee. Park has been scouted heavily by the Yankees.

Based on what I hear about Park, the scouting grades and report sound about right. Personally, I’d like to see Park fill out his frame and have a better power display than projected (because power is sexy), but he’s still projected to show plus hit, run and field tools. If his high school slash lines are any indication, he also has some plate discipline.

Of course, the tools translating in pro ball are all big ifs. He could develop as well as Lee or he could be a costly flop like Kelvin De Leon. The odds for the latter is much bigger than the former — especially considering the cultural adjustment and language issues — it won’t be an entirely smooth ride for Park. Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo is the main example of a Korean position player who enjoyed success after years of toiling in the minors and going through cultural and language adjustment as a teenager. However, for every Shin-Soo Choo, there are a bunch of failed prospects who never adjusted to the American lifestyle and English language and returned to their home country.

Lee started out at a low-A level instead of any short-season leagues and, according to reports, Park may start at the same level as well. The shortstop himself said he wants to be a ML regular in “three years” but I think it will take longer. The tools and the hype are there. Will he be the next Shin-Soo Choo or the next Carmen Angelini? Too early to speculate what will he be like in 3-4 years, but as a Korean and a Yankees watcher (who wanted to see Choo sign with the Yankees over the offseason), I’m looking forward to seeing his development in the system.

TiqIQ: Prices For Tickets To See Yankees Honor Tino 26% More Expensive Than Old Timers Day

From Mike Shackil, TiqIQ:

It’s an eventful weekend for the New York Yankees this week. After a three-game series with the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays, the Yanks welcome the Baltimore Orioles to Yankee Stadium. More importantly, there will be a couple events to celebrate some of the most storied players in Yankees franchise history. On Saturday the team is honoring Tino Martinez, and Sunday is 68th Annual Old Timers’ Day at the Stadium.

Tickets for the game hold an average price well above the season average. Yankees tickets are averaging $185.37 for a 29 percent increase over the season average of $144.06. The get-in price for the game is $44. The Yankees will unveil a Monument Park plaque for the former star before the game.

The next day is Old Timers Day and the ceremonies will start at 11:30 am. Rich “Goose” Gossage will have his own plaque unveiled before the Old-Timers game. In addition to being a former Yankee great, Gossage is a Hall of Famer after having being inducted as part of the 2008 class. He was with the Yankees for seven seasons and won a World Series with the team back in 1978, his first season with the team.

The Old Timers game will follow the ceremonies, and will also be aired on the YES network, and the final game of the Yankees vs. Orioles series will come after. The game is currently scheduled for a 2:05 pm start.

Tickets for the game are averaging $147.53 for a two percent increase over the season average. The get-in price for the game is $27. Yankees fans will have an added treat for Sunday’s game, as phenom Masahiro Tanaka will be making the start. He’s the current frontrunner for AL Rookie of the Year, and has been one of the top five pitchers in the entire league.

The Yankees are currently 2.5 games behind the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays with a 37-33 record. The Orioles are just a half a game behind them at 37-34. The Yankees have actually fared better on the road this season, posting a losing 15-16 record at Yankees Stadium, while the Orioles have a winning road record at 20-17. It should be an exciting weekend for Yankees fans young and old.