A glimpse at the Notre Dame/Army secondary market

Yankee Stadium hosts a sporting event this weekend as the Notre Dame Fighting Irish take on the Army Black Knights in the new stadium’s inaugural football game. For the Yanks, this is a key moment for the House that George Built because they need this non-baseball events to be successful to help offset the costs of building the new facility, and early indications are that this game will have more than 51,000 fans in attendance.

If you’re still looking for tickets or thinking about going at the spur of the moment, our partners at TiqIQ have over 360 tickets available, and their numbers show that the game at Yankee Stadium is outpacing the game Notre Dame played against Navy at the new Meadowlands Stadium last month.

Meanwhile, for those bound for the stadium, Metro-North will be running extra trains through the Yankee Stadium stop both before and after the game. The full details for train service are right here.

Open Thread: More on Scottie Allen

We'll always have that walk-off walk, Juan. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Earlier today the Yankees shipped the out-of-options Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks for Single-A right-hander Scottie Allen. I hadn’t heard of Allen before today so needless to say I couldn’t add much of value, but thankfully Baseball America came through with a scouting report this afternoon. Take it away (no subs. req’d)…

Allen throws four pitches, three of which grade as average at times, but lacks the one dominating offering to put batters away. He sinks his fastball at 87-91 mph and occasionally breaks out a swing-and-miss slider in the high 70s or a changeup in the same range. His curveball is less refined, but he’s around the zone with it and all his pitches. Wiry strong, Allen has a quick arm, but he tends to tire visibly by the fourth inning. Still, he’s worth taking a flier on because he’s a teenager who already shows a feel for pitching.

By no means is Allen a great prospect, as I said in today’s Radio Show, but it’s certainly an interesting arm. Better than losing Miranda on waivers next April, that’s for sure. You really can’t ask for more in exchange. Anyway, our Depth Chart (and Draft Order Tracker) are now up-to-date. The roster’s looking rather sorry at the moment.

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Here’s tonight’s open thread. The Devils are the only local team in action, but who wants to watch them? They’re 5-11-2 with the third worst record in the NHL. Yikes. Oh, and the Bears are playing the Dolphins, but you need the NFL Network to see that one. You guys know what to do, so have at it.

Reality sets in for the Rangers

You have to hand it to new Rangers owners Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan. They’ve shown confidence, even cockiness, since taking over the Rangers. Even before they beat the Yankees in the ALCS they claimed that they had what it took to retain Cliff Lee. Ryan in particular has been outspoken in this stance. Yet it appears that in the last couple of days that has changed.

It started yesterday, when Ryan told SI’s Jon Heyman that he thinks Lee is “about ready to entertain offers.” The most aggressive offers will likely come from the Yankees, Rangers, and Nationals, but we could see a dozen or more teams submit proposals. Now that we’re a step further in the process, are the Rangers as confident as before?

Apparently not. Nolan Ryan talked to Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Costa’s tweet says it all:

Nolan Ryan said he expects Yankees to outbid Rangers for Cliff Lee. Said they’ll try to sell appeal of Texas, but didn’t sound confident.

The appeal of Texas is that Lee wouldn’t have to pay state income tax on about half of his salary, and that he’d be a bit closer to his home in Little Rock. The appeal of New York is that he’ll earn more money and he’ll be in an environment where the front office will consistently surround him with elite talent. And, in my biased view, it being New York City makes it appealing enough.

This situation likely won’t play out until the Winter Meetings, but it does appear that the Yanks have the situation well at hand. It will mean big changes in the future, but I’m sure the Yankees are well aware of the obstacles they’ll face with multiple $20 million contracts on the books.

The RAB Radio Show: November 18, 2010

The BBWAA announced the American League Cy Young Award today, and unsurprisingly Felix Hernandez won. It might not have been Roy Halladay’s unanimous selection, but it was still a landslide. There will be a lot of discussion about what this means for how writers view the game, but I’m not sure that’s the most important point here. We run down the ballot, including CC’s spot in third.

The Yankees made a pair of minor moves today. They signed a Dominican prospect, and they traded Juan Miranda for Scottie Allen. It might sound tough to get geeked out about these, but it appears as though the Yanks made two solid, if unspectacular, moves. Allen’s no front line starter, but he could be useful in a number of ways. Oh, and he’s only 19.

Podcast run time 20:47

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Felix takes home AL Cy Young Award

Felix Hernandez was named the AL Cy Young Award winner today, receiving 21 of a possible 28 first place votes. CC Sabathia received three first place votes and finished third in the overall voting behind Felix and David Price. Hernandez was either first or second in the league in baseball everything, including ERA (2.27) and innings (249.2). He bested Sabathia in FIP (3.04 to 3.54), strikeout rate (8.36 to 7.46), and walk rate (2.52 to 2.80), but not wins (13 to 21). That’s what happens when you play in front of the worst offensive team of the DH era. Congrats to Felix, it’s well deserved.

Yankees trade Juan Miranda to D’Backs for not Justin Upton

The Yankees have traded first baseman/designated hitter Juan Miranda to the Diamondbacks for right-handed pitching prospect Scottie Allen. The moves frees up a 40-man roster spot as well. Allen was Arizona’s 11th round pick in 2009, and this year he posted a 2.97 FIP (9.12 K/9, 2.54 BB/9) in 16 starts (78 IP) with their Low-A affiliate. I can’t find anything on the kid, no scouting report, nothing. He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 lbs., so there’s that. Oh, and he doesn’t turn 20 until next July, so he’s just a pup. Obviously the Kevin Towers factor comes into play here, and chances are this is the “small player moveBrian Cashman teased earlier in the week.

Miranda was a man without a home with the Yankees, getting buried behind Mark Teixeira and even Nick Swisher on the first base depth chart. He crushed Triple-A pitching (.377 wOBA) in his three years down there, but he never got much of an opportunity with the big league team. In 94 plate appearances with New York, he put up a more than respectable .343 wOBA. Miranda was out of options, so if he didn’t break camp with the Yanks next year he would have had to clear waivers to go back to minors. He’ll get a better shot in Arizona, so good luck to him.

Joel Sherman has a mini-scouting report on Allen. Says he’s 88-93 with a chance for an above average curveball. They like his arm action and his control, evidenced by his walk-rate this season. Interesting arm, they weren’t going to get much for Miranda since he was out of options. A prospect of Allen’s caliber is about the best they could have hoped for.

What Went Right: Phil Hughes

Other than winning the World Series, there’s perhaps nothing more enjoyable in baseball than watching a young player come into his own. At least for me, anyway. The Yankees and their fans witnessed just that in 2010, when Phil Hughes made the jump from being a prospect to a bonafide big leaguer.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

It all started back in 2009 really, when the team shifted Hughes to the bullpen because at the time they had six starters for five rotation spots. It was either the minors or the bullpen, and unsurprisingly Phil chose the bullpen. He dominated the rest of the season and emerged as Mariano Rivera‘s primary setup man, showing confidence in his stuff and attacking hitters, a welcome change for the young kid that got himself into trouble by nibbling in years past. That confidence and mindset carried over as a starter, and Hughes was given the fifth starter’s job out of Spring Training this year, winning a competition that was for all intents and purposes rigged. It was Phil’s job to lose.

Because of the early season schedule, the Yankees didn’t need Hughes until the ninth games of the season, a home game against the Angels. It was a somewhat rocky start to the season, as he walked five and allowed a pair of runs in five innings, but it only got better from there. Hughes took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Athletics next time out, striking out ten and walking just two. Oakland scored one run, and it came when Joba Chamberlain let the inherited runner score. From there, the then 23-year-old Hughes held the Orioles to one run in 5.2 innings, then came seven scoreless against the White Sox, then seven innings and two runs against the Red Sox in Fenway, then seven more scoreless against the Tigers. Through his first six starts, Phil was sporting a 1.38 ERA and a .214 wOBA against.

Unsurprisingly, there was a regression to normalcy. Sustaining that kind of pace in AL East is near impossible. Hughes started to give up more homeruns, especially at home, and batters started to lock in on his fastball and foul off more pitches than before. As Joe explained yesterday, Phil’s season can be broken down into three distinct periods…

Thankfully for him, the home run problem is a new development. It might not even be a big concern going forward. For starters, seven of his 25 homers came against the Blue Jays, and six of those came in just two games. Furthermore, 12 of those 25 game during an eight game stretch during which Hughes struggled mightily. It’s the kind of stretch that many pitchers his age experience.

Before: 11 GS, 69.2 IP, 56 H, 21 R, 21 ER, 20 BB, 68 K, 4 HR

During: 8 GS, 47.2 IP, 53 H, 33 R, 32 ER, 14 BB, 34 K, 12 HR

After: 10 GS, 59 IP, 53 H, 29 R, 29 ER, 24 BB, 44 K, 9 HR

Hughes tossed up a gem in his ALDS start against the Twins (video), limiting them to four hits and one walk in seven shutout innings. He stunk in the ALCS like everyone else on the team, but the overall 2010 result for Phil Hughes was an overwhelming positive. First and foremost he stayed healthy, something that had been a bit of problem in the past. He soared past his previous career high of 146 innings (set in 2006) and threw 192 innings this year, playoffs included. The Yankees had him skip a few starts throughout the season to keep the workload down, and by and large it worked.

As for performance, Hughes’ ERA (4.19), FIP (4.25), xFIP (4.33), and tRA (4.25) all lined up, so there was little-to-no luck involved. He struck out 7.45 batters and unintentionally walked 2.91 for every nine innings pitched. Batters mustered just a .307 wOBA off Hughes (basically what Austin Kearns did as a Yankee), and his overall value was 2.4 fWAR and 2.7 bWAR. That puts his performance on par with guys like Tim Hudson (2.7 fWAR), Ted Lilly (2.3 fWAR), Zack Greinke (2.4 bWAR), and Tommy Hanson (2.5 bWAR), who are certainly among the league’s better hurlers.

Hughes is far from a finished product, and there’s a lot he has to work on both this offseason and going forward to take that next step towards being an elite starter. He needs to be more efficient and put batters away earlier, although going 0-2 on everyone and struggling to get the out is better than falling behind everyone 2-0 like he had been in the past. Hughes also needs to improve his changeup to better combat left-handed batters, who tagged him for a .320 wOBA this year (.292 vs. RHB). There’s more work to be done for sure, but the emergence of Phil Hughes as a legitimate big league starter was undeniably one of the best developments for the Yankees this year, and also one of the most enjoyable to watch as a fan.