Believe it or not, the Spring Training is nearing it’s halfway mark, and Chad Jennings took it as an opportunity to take stock in what’s gone on so far. The rotation and infield have basically been set since December, but the bullpen, outfield and bench – as well as just about the entire Triple-A Scranton roster – still have some unanswered questions. I’ll tell you what, Brett Tomko is making one helluva case to win that long man job, especially after tonight’s effort. Anyway, make sure you give it a look, as usual Chad is spot on. · (16) ·
The Yankees are playing the Red Sox in Fort Myers tonight, but alas the game will not be seen by those of us in the New York area. YES asked MLB Network to black the game out (as well as the ones on March 22nd and 28th), which is their right. I’m not sure why, but it’s dumb. Apparently no one ever bothered to ask them if MLBN could broadcast Yankees’ games. In case you’re one of the lucky ones who will be able to watch the game, here’s the lineup:
Scheduled Pitchers: Chien-Ming Wang, Brett Tomko, Mike Dunn, Anthony Claggett
Teams are only required to send three regulars on road trips, so they obviously took advantage of it this game. Here’s a slightly abbreviated hodgepodge of Friday Randomness links:
- Hey look, Michael Ynoa exists. Oh, and it’s not Inoa anymore.
- John Dewan, the man behind The Fielding Bible I & II, made a pretty significant discovery. Apparently defense is worth roughly half as much as offense. That’s higher than I would have though, but he backs it up with some evidence. (h/t MLBTR)
- Project Prospect profiled first round draft prospect Kyle Gibson. I am an unabashed Gibson fan (I love the combination of super projectability and college seasoning), so you’l be hearing lots about him between now and draft day. (h/t CBB)
- Things aren’t looking so hot for Dustin McGowan as he battles back from major shoulder surgery.
- Speaking of injuries, Alan Horne’s doing well on his comeback trail.
Here’s your open thread/game thread for the night. In addition to the Yanks, the Knicks and Nets are both in action tonight. Anything goes here, just be civil.
The Yankees missed Jorge Posada last year. It was mostly for his bat — most catchers are there for defensive purposes, so it’s a huge plus when a team has a catcher who can hit. Jorge has been one of the top offensive catchers for years, and losing his bat, especially considering the drop-off to backup Jose Molina, was devastating. However, that’s not all the Yankees missed from their backstop.
Jorge has always been described as a strong clubhouse personality, someone who will get in your face if he thinks you’re doing something wrong. I know we can’t quantify what kind of effect that has on players, but it certainly means something. It might rub some players the wrong way, thus creating a negative effect, but it can also motivate players. That seems to be the case with Joba Chamberlain.
After Joba’s putrid start against Team Canada, Jorge approached the ace-in-training and let him know what time it is:
“I caught him in the bullpen after that and I told him what I saw was embarrassing,” Posada said Thursday before a spring training game against the Tigers. “I told him to throw the fastball and stop waiting for things to happen. I told him he has to pitch like he can every time no matter what. Whether it’s as a starter, reliever or even in the bullpen, people are watching.”
Would Joba have pitched the same game had Jorge not gotten in his face? Perhaps. We really can’t know. That’s why there’s always a debate over the value of intangibles. You can see something in someone — Jeter’s cool, calm demeanor, or Jorge’s firecracker personality — and say it’s good for the team. But how good is it really? And is it good at all? We can only know these things anecdotally, and no matter how strongly we feel we have no idea of how it actually affects other players.
That said, I’m glad Jorge got on Joba’s case. Young players often need reminders from vets of what the game’s all about. Jorge seems to understand that, and he’s not afraid to do something about it. I’m glad to have him back on the field and in the clubhouse.
As promised, we have an update on the status of the opportunity to purchase single-game tickets to Yankee games this season. Per New Stadium Insider comes word that the Yankees will be holding an online-only sale for 12 hours on March 23. Not everyone, however, will be eligible for this sale. Those that want to be entered into a drawing to earn a spot at this sale need to enter here by 10 p.m. on March 17. It sounds like most of us will have to go the StubHub/CraigsList/eBay route to get any single-game tickets this year. · (48) ·
Fresh off a dramatic and historic loss to the Netherlands in the WBC, Robbie Cano and Damaso Marte returned to the Yanks today nursing some minor injuries, says Pete Caldera. Marte has pain in his left pectoral, believed to be the result of weighlifting, while Cano’s right shoulder is barking. It’s possible Cano’s injury is a result of the workload and intensity of the WBC games. Both players are going to get checked out by the Yanks’ medical staff today, and won’t see action this weekend as previously thought. The injuries sound minor, so hopefully they won’t be out very long. · (19) ·
When Barry Bonds broke the single-season home run record in 2001, most baseball fans knew he was on the juice. They had noticed his transformation from slender leadoff man to hulking power hitter. Not only that, but they noticed how he achieved such a mutation at such a relatively late stage of his career. It was pretty obvious, though it took a few years for anyone to do anything about it.
Another guy clearly on steroids at the time was Jason Giambi, then with the Oakland A’s. As we all know, he signed with the Yankees after the 2001 season. Giambi was outed for his grand jury testimony after the 2004 season, at which time the Yankees claimed they had no knowledge of his alleged steroid use. In fact, they knew so little of his steroid use that they thought it perfectly okay to remove any language referring to steroids from the guarantee of the contract. Yeah, that argument really holds up.
According to Jeff Pearlman’s new book, “The Rocket That Fell to Earth,” due in stores later this month, Brian Cashman seemed fully aware of the situation. Pearlman — he who wrote about Barry Bonds’s conversation in which he said he was going to use some hardcore stuff after the 1998 season — talked with a then-Yankee (or maybe a current Yankee?), who related this anecdote:
The book said that when Giambi went through a slump in the 2002 season, his first with the Yankees, Cashman was heard yelling at a television in the Yankees’ clubhouse during a game. Citing “one New York player,” the book said that Cashman screamed, “Jason, whatever you were taking in Oakland,” get back on it.
The book said that Cashman then added, “Please!”
Cashman, of course, denies the story, saying that Pearlman didn’t even bother to call him to confirm the quote. Pearlman owns up to that oversight, but stands by the story.
It’s tough not to believe Pearlman here, at least in that Cashman knew of Giambi’s steroid use prior to signing him (which was under directive from George Steinbrenner). Maybe the scene didn’t unfold exactly as told, but something similar might have happened.
It’s a funny scene, Cashman yelling at a televised Giambi to get back on the juice, because I’m sure many of us had similar sentiments at the time. The public outrage had not quite hit full swing, and there certainly weren’t any penalties at the time for players using. We knew players were using, and Giambi was one of the obvious cases. Which leads to an obvious conclusion: if we fans knew about Bonds, Giambi, and others using steroids, how could front offices not? The answer, of course, is that they did, but aren’t letting on more than they have to.
John Reilly, the V.P. of their music department, writes in with a denial:
Yesterday evening we learned of the filing of a complaint against Mr. Bernie Williams. The news has taken us all by surprise. On the night in question, Mr. Williams had gone out after accepting an invitation to be a guest performer with a local music act. Mr. Williams denies any wrongdoing and we feel that some published media reports today are inaccurate. At this time, Mr. Williams has been advised by his legal counsel, José M. Marxuach, to not make any further comments, inasmuch as we do not want to interfere with the ongoing investigation. We want to assure everyone that Mr. Williams will fully cooperate with the local authorities to have this matter clarified as soon as possible.
Bernie and the Puerto Rican WBC team is scheduled to take on Team USA on Saturday night. There’s no word yet on Bernie’s status for the game, but we’ll track this story as it develops.
As swan songs go, Bernie Williams’ efforts in the WBC haven’t been what he wanted. While he was internationally walked a few days ago, his play in the field and on the base paths nearly cost Puerto Rico a key game against the upstart Netherlands team. Now, a woman in Puerto Rico has filed a complaint against Williams, alleging that the former Yankee hit her and took her camera while at a nightclub early Thursday morning. Police are investigating, and I hope they find evidence to clear Bernie. He was always one of my favorites, and I’d hate to see him go out like this. · (76) ·
Maybe Nate Silver can predict the success or failure of a baseball team, but can he predict how many times they’ll head to extra innings? Well, probably, but he’s not the only one. From the Albany Times Union, a senior at Russell Sage College has published a study predicting certain events in baseball games. It has won Rebecca Gregory a place at the Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin in April.
For those who don’t have a degree in mathematics:
The purpose of this research was to apply probability theory to determine if the 2008 New York Mets and New York Yankees baseball teams followed the same scoring patterns that other baseball teams have historically done…In addition to analyzing the 2008 New York Mets and New York Yankees scoring patterns, this paper extends the research by Glass & Lowry to include the probability that an average game would require extra innings…This research concludes that the 2008 New York Mets and New York Yankees had scoring patterns that:…were similar to the historical scoring patterns of the average major league baseball team.”
The rest talks about quasigeometric distributions, so I was lost before I even started. I did Google it, though every single result is a reference to “Quasigeometric Distributions and Extra Inning Baseball Games,” which is the work cited and elaborated on by Gregory.
I haven’t seen the whole study, but here are some highlights, from the Times Union article:
The bottom line is that Gregory determined that a baseball team, in theory, has an 11.5 percent chance of scoring two runs during a game. When analyzing the data for the 2008 Mets, she found the team scored two runs 11.9 percent of the time. The Yankees score was a much smaller percentage.
She also determined that, theoretically, 10.2 percent of Major League games should reach extra innings. But in reality 9.2 percent of all baseball games went into extra innings. And there was more, having to do with the odds of getting a first and second run.