Huge days for Williams & Gumbs in SI win

The Rockies again had a scout at tonight’s Double-A Trenton game, but they’re not sticking around for the rest of the homestand. Jose Quintana was the High-A Florida State League Pitcher of the Week while Casey Stevenson took home Short Season Staten Island Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Triple-A Scranton (7-6 loss to Columbus, walk-off style) they faced an old buddy, who threw an inning before the rain then came back out after the two hour delay … that’s seems pretty dumb
Kevin Russo, 2B-3B: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB – capped off a four-run, ninth inning comeback with the game-tying single
Greg Golson, CF: 0 for 5, 2 K
Jesus Montero, C: 1 for 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 3 K – the homer was the left-center, so this one wasn’t oppo … that’s ten strikeouts in his last 18 at-bats
Jorge Vazquez, DH: 0 for 4, 2 K – 11 strikeouts in his last 24 at-bats
Terry Tiffee, 1B: 1 for 2, 1 2B - left the game after getting hurt on a slide
Luis Nunez, PR-2B: 1 for 2, 1 R
Mike Lamb, 3B-1B: 2 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Jordan Parraz, RF & Austin Krum, LF: both 1 for 3, 1 R – Parraz doubled, walked, and struck out twice … Krum stole a base and drove in a run
Doug Bernier, SS: 2 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 BB
Greg Smith, LHP: 1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 1 WP, 0-2 GB/FB – 12 of 25 pitches were strikes (48%) … picked a runner off first … he pitched before the rains came
Buddy Carlyle, RHP: 1.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 K, 3 WP, 1-2 GB/FB – 25 of 44 pitches were strikes (56.8%)
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 3 WP, 2 HB, 5-1 GB/FB – 31 of 60 pitches were strikes (51.7%) … he and Carlyle combined to throw five wild pitches in the third inning, which helped set a new franchise record for wild pitches in a game … apparently he started out slow but finished strong
J.C. Romero, LHP: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2-1 GB/FB – half of his 22 pitches were strikes
Eric Wordekemper, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K – just six of his 14 pitches were strikes (42.9%)
Randy Flores, LHP: 0.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0-1 GB/FB – five of his nine pitches were strikes … took the air out of the comeback by serving up the walk-off homer

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Soriano, Chavez will begin rehabs assignments tomorrow

Via Chad Jennings, both Rafael Soriano and Eric Chavez will begin their rehab assignments with High-A Tampa tomorrow. “You just kind of keep your fingers cross that everything goes well for both of them tomorrow,” said Joe Girardi before tonight’s game, who confirmed that Soriano will need at least three rehab appearances before rejoining the team. They also want him to pitch on back-to-back days at least once before activated. Chavez is likely to DH at first, but playing the field can’t be far behind if they’re willing to start his rehab clock.

Game 93: A rookie!

(AP Photo/Christine Cotter)

The Yankees have never faced Alex Cobb before. Well, maybe the recently recalled Brandon Laird saw him in Triple-A this season, but that hardly counts. He’s a rookie pitcher that lives off his offspeed stuff, and that usual spells certain doom for the Yankees. Tampa’s bullpen took a beating over the weekend, so now it’s time to step it up a bit and really put some pressure on them in the first game of a four-game set. Please, no flailing at changeups. Here’s the starting nine…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF
Eduardo Nunez, 3B

The game starts a little after 7pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Enjoy.

Rays Moves: Tampa made a series of roster moves before the game today. Juan Cruz and third catcher Jose Lobaton were both placed on the disabled list while Adam Russell was designated for assignment. In their place comes tonight’s starter Alex Cobb, left-handed Alex Torres (a starter, though I’m sure he’s here to work out of the bullpen), and catcher Robinson Chirinos, who can also play the infield. Torres came over in the Scott Kazmir trade, Chirinos for Matt Garza.

The $180M Tino Martinez

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

This season started out so promising for Mark Teixeira. He put any concerns about an April slump to bed pretty early, homered in each of the first three games of the season as well as four of the first five. Tex had a .279/.408/.656 batting line with six homers to his credit through the team’s first 17 games, which would have started some ridiculously early MVP talk if Curtis Granderson wasn’t matching him shot for shot while Jose Bautista was busy doing his superman impression.

It’s been a series of ups and down for Teixeira since that completely arbitrary 17th game cutoff. He’s hit .231/.331/.466 in the team’s last 65 games and .209/.313/.419 in their last 34 games. His series in Toronto featured just two singles, and you have to go all the way back to the final game of the Mets’ series in CitiField to find his last extra base hit. He may be second in the league with 25 homers, but a .240/.346/.500 batting line (.368 wOBA) and 2.8 fWAR is not exactly what he or the Yankees had in mind when he signed that fat $180M contract two and a half years ago. It’s very good production, but not elite.

The Yankees have had just four primary first baseman over the last three decades or so, and every single one of them has been an above-average player. The second of those four was Tino Martinez, who like Teixeira was very good but not elite during his time in pinstripes. Tino’s first two weeks with the Yankees were awful (.088/.255/.118 kind of awful), awful enough that he was regularly booed at home. He of course went on to turn things around and help the Yankees win the World Series in his first year with the team, just like Teixeira. The similarities don’t end there though.

From 1996-1998, Tino’s first three years with New York, he posted a .364 OBP and a .516 SLG. In his two and a half years as a Yankee, Teixeira owns a .368 OBP and a .518 SLG, identical to Martinez’s output for all intents and purposes. Of course these two guys are very different hitters. OBP and SLG are output stats, they tell you what happened rather than why it happened (SLG is an even bigger culprit than OBP). Tex is pretty close to a classic three true outcomes type, hitting for big power while drawing lots of walks and striking out a fair amount. Tino was much of a contact oriented hitter. He had power but not Tex power, he drew walks but not an overwhelming amount, and he also had a knack for avoiding the strikeout. The OBP and SLG might be identical, but little else is …

Teixeira has a pretty big edge in the WAR department (remember, he’s still got another 70 games to play this year). The one part of OBP we don’t see here is hit-by-pitches, which is a repeatable skill to a certain extent. Tex is a HBP magnet and has been for most of his career, getting hit by 33 pitches since becoming a Yankee. Tino got hit by 27 pitches in his entire seven years in pinstripes. Unfortunately we don’t have batted ball data for the late-90’s, otherwise I’d love to compare the two that way. It’s pretty obvious that Tex has gotten a little homer happy at New Yankee Stadium, just look at his ever increasing fly ball rate…

I do think that Teixeira’s low batting average this year can at least be partially blamed on bad luck; a .219 BABIP is extreme even for a guy that faces a defensive shift and puts 47% of his balls in play in the air. His expected BABIP (xBABIP) based on his batted ball profile is something like .294, which almost matches his career .297 BABIP. Even if you don’t buy the xBABIP idea, I still find it very hard to believe a .219 BABIP is suddenly Teixeira’s true talent level. Exactly two players have single season BABIP’s that low this century (min. 400 PA): Aaron Hill last year (.196) and Dan Uggla this year (.205). Carlos Pena was at .222 last year, then you have to go all the way back to 2004 to find someone else in the .220’s (that would be Tony Bautista at .225). I expect some kind of regression from Tex, even if it’s just getting his BABIP into the .260’s or so. Maybe it happens this year, maybe it doesn’t*.

It’s worth pointing out that Tino’s offensive output started to slip after 1998, which is easiest to see here. He hit just .267/.333/.461 from 1999-2001 and was 31 when that decline started, the same age Teixeira is now. Both of these two are slick defensive players (I think Tex is a little better, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen Tino play first regularly) and neither ever really hit in the playoffs (though Tino has two huge World Series homers to his credit), plus they’re both pretty boring interviews and what not. Tino has achieved True Yankee™ status but I get the sense that Teixeira earned it in 2009 but has somehow lost it since. I didn’t know that was possible. Either way, their first three years with the Yankees were very similar in terms of overall production even if they went about the offensive end of things very differently. The odds of the Yankees (or any team, really) coming out ahead during an eight-year contract worth nearly $200M is pretty small, but it’s still pretty disheartening to see Teixeira’s decline to Tino levels so soon. I expect there to be some kind of rebound, hopefully it comes soon.

* And besides, the only reason I really care about his batting average is because it’s dragging his OBP down. It would be nice if everyone hit .300, but I’d be much happier with .240/.400 than .300/.360.

Peña out with emergency appendectomy; Laird up

Brandon Laird, come on up. You’re the next contestant on “Can the Yanks’ Back-Up Infielder Field Cleanly?” As per George A. King III, Ramiro Peña will be on the disabled list for four to six weeks after undergoing an emergency appendectomy this morning in the Tampa Bay Area. The Yanks have recalled Laird to take his place. Ranked 14th in our pre-season prospect list, the 23-year-old was hitting .266/.296/.415 with 10 home runs in 362 plate appearances for AAA Scranton. He’ll likely share some time at third base with Eduardo Nuñez unless the Yanks acquire an offensive upgrade before the trade deadline.