Saturday, September 19, 2009

6Pound8OunceBabyJoba: ALDS Debate

As you may have heard, the team with the American League’s best record at season end has the privilege of choosing the format of their ALDS series, a 7 day series or an 8 day series.

In an 8 day series, we would only have to start 3 pitchers (assuming we played all 5 games). Those pitchers would presumably be CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and AJ Burnett. CC would get the ball in game one, Andy in game two (AJ hasn’t earned that spot), then AJ would get the ball in game three. CC and Andy would pitch in the next two games. Now, you might say that that would be the best situation. A second start by Andy is better than having a Joba start judging by their recent performance. The problem with the 8 day series is that while we only have to start 3 pitchers, our opponent also only needs three pitchers.

Our opponent right now looks like it will be Detroit, unless Texas overtakes Boston for the wildcard, in which case we’d face the Rangers. The Tigers would presumably send Justin Verlander to the mound in game 1, followed by Edwin Jackson, and then Jarrod Washburn in an 8 day series. If it was a 7 day series though, the Tigers would throw in Rick Porcello while we’d send out our Lord the Savior, Joba Chamberlain.

Verlander has been dominant this year with a 3.34 ERA, and in September his ERA is a mere 3.00. In either format we’d have to face him, so his stats aren’t extremely relevant to the choice. The main key is whether the Yanks would like a Edwin Jackson v. Andy Pettitte matchup in game 5, or a Joba Chamberlain v. Rick Porcello matchup.

Jackson has been phenomenal this year with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. However, in September his ERA is 5.40. He’s already pitched 7 innings more than he did all of last year, and perhaps he’ll experience fatigue as the postseason rolls around. Right now, he’s not the dominating force he was on the mound most of the year, but he’s definitely got the ability to get opposing hitters out. Andy Pettitte has pitched well this year, but in his last two starts he’s allowed seven earned runs over eleven innings. Andy’s got postseason experience though, which could give the team a sense of courage and stability in a crucial game.

Joba has been limited by the new Joba Rules recently, not having a gone 6 innings since August 11th. Porcello, Detroit’s star rookie, meanwhile has been dominant of late with a 3.79 ERA in the past 30 days. I love Joba, but the last thing we want is a starter who could blow up early on in a big game. Joba is either great or he’s bad, and we can’t take that risk in a big playoff game.

Start Andy. He’ll be his typical self, allowing 3 runs over 6 or 7 innings. That’s nearly a guarantee. If he goes seven innings then Hughsie, Mo, series over. We can’t take the risk of throwing out Joba, as big of a savior as he is. In the playoffs, consistency is more valuable than a chance at dominance. Plus, I’d rather face Jackson right now than Porcello, although that could certainly change. If the Rangers win the Wildcard, I’ll put up a new analysis, but for right now, expect Joe Girardi to plan on giving Dandy Andy the ball if a game 5 comes up. To do that, he’d have to pick the 8 game series, which I’m sure he will.

*This post was written by Kevin Seefried of 6Pound8OunceBabyJoba*

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Steiner Sports News

Good afternoon – This from a reader named Matt:

Steiner Sports will be releasing a full line of Derek Jeter commemorative pieces of memorabilia in honor of him becoming the Yankees all-time hit king.

Jeter will be signing all the memorabilia TODAY and pre-orders are being accepted now on

Prices are as follows:

Derek Jeter MLB Baseball Engraved With "Record Breaking Hit, Date"


Derek Jeter Authentic Yankee Inaugural Season Patch Home Jersey w/ Embroidered Stats LE/222


Derek Jeter "Record Breaking Hit, Date" Engraved Game Model Bat



Monday, September 14, 2009

The Pinstriper: Problem: Yankees Wasting Pitchers

The New York Yankees have a great farm system. They develop great players. One thing they cannot say, however is that they hold on to those great pitchers. Most of the AAA Yankees' roster is now on the MLB Pirates (seriously.) Lets name a few:

RP Steven Jackson (MLB Pirates)
RP Eric Hacker (MLB Pirates)
RP Scott Patterson (MLB Padres at the time, now with the MLB A's)

The Yankees also made the horrible trade of Jose Tabata, Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, and Daniel McCutchen for Xavier Nady and Damaso Marte.

At the time it looked great for both sides, maybe better for the Yankees.

Now Tabata is a top-prospect outfielder (which the Yankees can use besides Austin Jackson,) Ross Ohlendorf is an innings-eating starter in the MLB (Yankees can use that) Jeff Karstens is injured, but a solid 5th starter, and Daniel McCutchen is getting a trial in the MLB.

Meanwhile Nady is hurt and Marte has a horrible contract and a horrible ERA.

I would not be ranting if the Yankees had reasons for these moves. Do the Yankees REALLY need Freddy Guzman? They're just going to DFA him in the offseason when Kevin Russo, Austin Jackson, Zach Kroenke, etc need 40-man spots. Why not DFA Juan Miranda? They should try to trade him in the offseason. They have first base locked up for the next 7+years.

For all we know Claggett can be a valuable MLB pitcher in the future. The Yankees did not give him, or Jackson, or Hacker, or Patterson a decent shot. That is my problem.

*This post was written by Brandon of The Pinstriper*

Sunday, September 13, 2009

And A Player to be Named Later: Damon in 2012

After the disappointing 2008 season, if you had said that the Yankees would resign Johnny Damon after his contract would run out in 2009, most people would have thought you crazy.

Not that Damon played poorly. Not at all. In fact, his numbers generally, across the board were as good, or better than his career averages.

No. It had more to do with the perception of the Yankees after their subpar 89-win season. After 2008, the general consensus was that the Yankees were old, slow and brittle—the complete opposite of the AL-winning Tampa Rays. And to that end, Damon was one of the perceived culprits. He had been moved from center field to left field in Yankee Stadium (he had a -15 tally on Bill James rating system for centerfielders from 2005 to 2007) and wasn't considered an ideal fielder to cover the cavernous ground out in Death Valley. He had a chicken arm, and wasn't a threat to throw out your grandmother taking the extra base. And, he missed time to due foot and shoulder injuries.

So, with the Yankees feeling they had to get younger, faster and more durable, considering Damon to be a Yankee past 2009, seeming like a non-starter.

However, with the new season brings a new perspective. The 2009 Yankees, rebuilt, are cruising. And with their resurgence, comes a Johnny Damon who seems reborn. Or at least playing for a new contract.

Switched to batting second, Damon is on pace for a career high in HRs, RBI, Slugging percentage, OPS and walks. And while he will never be mistaken for Willie Mays in the outfield, he does have 6 assists, and is at the least, holding his own in the OF.

The blog, Pinstripe Alley recently posed the question of what should the Yankees do with Damon in 2010. To that end, Damon has publicly stated he'd like to return. And if a deal was short and relatively market price (and not Yankee-priced), the Yankees would probably be amenable. Why, with Damon aging, youngsters waiting to fill his spot, and the free agent market beckoning, would the Yankees consider resigning him?

Firstly, with Matsui most likely not returning, the DH spot would open up—which would give more options to play Damon’s bat without subjecting the Yankees to his arm out in LF every day. Both Posada, Damon and sometimes, Rodriguez can rotate through the DH spot giving the Yankees some flexibility.

Plus there is the question of the instability of the outfield. With Austin Jackson batting well in AAA, should he have a good spring, the Yankees might try him in CF, but that can’t be counted upon. Is Brett Gardnet or Melky Cabrera the long-term answer? And if Jackson does come up, would Girardi move Cabrera or possibly Gardner to...where exactly, LF, RF? Nady is most likely not resigned, but would the Yankees prefer Cabrera in RF over Swisher and relegate Swisher and Gardner to utility status? Or would they Cabrera move to LF and have Damon fill the DH spot on a regular basis? And what about the rumors that the Yankees would be making a play for Matt Holliday?

By resigning Johnny Damon, the Yankees would give themselves—something Girardi loves, and somwthing they can afford to give themselves—options. And Damon's bat is a very good option. By next year, the Yankees can protect themselves from Damon's arm and declining fielding skills to some degree—no matter what they decide to do in the outfield, be it Austin Jackson, Matt Holliday or whomever. Damon can DH, or spot start in the outfield, or fill in should someone get injured. His bat more than makes up for any declining skills he may have in the limited time he would be on the field. Singing Damon to a 1-year contract with an option makes the most sense. It gives the Yankees the flexibility they could use and keeps a good hitter and a good clubhouse influence in Pinstripes for a couple more years.

*This post was written by P-Cat of And a Player to be Named Later*

Friday, September 11, 2009

Baseball Hot Corner: Joba's Regression

The New York Yankees are enjoying a special season. The best record in baseball isn't a fluke. Success is the story. Lost in the shadows of jubilant walk-off-wins, nightly heroes and prodigious production is the stark regression of Joba Chamberlain. The Golden Child has transitioned from dominant stopper to bullpen draining enigma.

For an objective, expert opinion lets hear from former elite hurler, pitching coach and current ESPN analyst Orel Hershiser:

"There is nothing electric going on here."
"He is still a two pitch pitcher."
"I've always wanted to see him in the bullpen."
" The extra three miles per hour is where the outs are."
You won't hear any of that on the YES network.

Joba's body language tells a story. The adrenaline amped, stalking strikeout machine who powered his way to the Great Rivera has been replaced by a rumpled riddle. The next Clemens is no where in sight. Top of rotation starters take time to develop, frustration enters the mix because progress isn't palpable. Joba has followed a myriad of rules to the brink of nowhere. Time for a new plan.

*This post was written by Mark Serio of Baseball Hot Corner*

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Blogging Along

Hey guys it's Brandon the moderator here. I am only available to work from 3-11ish on weekdays and anytime on weekends. Posting will still be often, however.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

No, You're A Towel: Yankees Good No Matter What

The Yankees are currently at 85-48, sporting the best record in baseball. They're also the only team with a .600 winning percentage. How do they rank in the advanced standing categories?

Best in baseball with a 45-20 record at home

Best in the American League with a 40-28 road record

Best in the American League with a 7-3 extra innings record

Best in baseball with a 55-34 record vs right-handed pitching

Best in baseball with a 30-14 record vs left-handed pitching

Best the American League with a 42-32 record against teams with a record greater that .500

Best in baseball with a 45-18 record against teams with a record less than .500

Best in the American League with a 8-2 record in their last 10 and 15-5 record in their last 20

Tied for best record in baseball with St. Louis with a 23-7 record in their last 30

Currently have the longest winning streak in baseball at 6 games

Best in baseball with 763 runs scored

Best run in baseball with a run differential of +141

They're also an MLB-best 23-8 against the AL Central division, which is probably where they'll find their first round opponent. Let's hope they can keep this up heading into the playoffs.

*This post was written by Andrew Katz of No, You're A Towel on September 3rd

Behind the Moat: Playoff Roster

With the Yankees 8.5 up on September 5th, I think it’s safe to look ahead to the postseason.

C (2):
Jorge Posada
Jose Molina

Mark Teixeira
Robbie Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Jerry Hairston Jr.

The Swish
Melky Cabrera
Johnny Damon
Eric Hinske
Brett Gardner



CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
AJ Burnett
Joba Chamberlain*

Mariano Rivera
Phil Hughes
David Robertson
Alfredo Aceves
Phil Coke
Damaso Marte
Sergio Mitre
Mark Melancon*


-I think the Yankees should only carry 12 pitchers. Matsui’s lack of mobility makes having pinch runners important and more fielders an absolute neccessity.

-I ordered the bullpen in order of importance in a big game.

-Joba could get knocked down to the ‘pen if need be.

-I penned Melancon in, but if Bruney turns it around, he’s back the mix. I just don’t trust him right now.

-Brett Gardner’s in, assuming he comes back okay.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Pinstriper: The Brian Bruney Problem

About a week ago I wrote about the Phil Coke problem. He was not pitching effectively as the main lefty reliever. Now I will talk about Brian Bruney. Bruney is 4-0 with a 4.55 ERA this season. Last season he was 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA. The year before, however, he was 3-2 with a 4.68 ERA. Bruney has shown the ability to be lights-out and started the year as the Yankees set-up man. I felt this was a great idea at the time and that he would be an awesome set-up man. I've changed my mind. Since June 28th Bruney has pitched 16.2 innings with a 4.44 ERA. That is mediocre. Bruney had an 11.81 ERA in July and a 0.87 ERA in August. The August ERA looks great. Here are the facts though:

-Bruney has gone 6 innings without recording a strikeout.

-In Bruney's last 9 appearances, only 2 of them were with a lead of 2 or less runs.

-Joe Girardi has only used Bruney in big lead or low-risk situations.

-Bruney has a 8.71 ERA with runners on when he enters the game.

-Bruney has a 15.00 ERA with runners in scoring position when he enters the game. (The ERA doesn't include runners that were already on base when he entered the game)

-Bruney has a horrific 38.57 ERA with runners in scoring position and 2 outs when he enters the game.

Pete Abraham listed Bruney as a borderline candidate for a postseason spot. If Girardi isn't willing to use him in tight can he help in the postseason?

I'd like to see Bruney be used in close games this month. If he pitches poorly: no playoff spot, if he pitches well: postseason spot. That simple.

*This post was written by Brandon of The Pinstriper*

Baseball Hot Corner: Yankees Provide Answers

I was flipping through the Sporting News MLB Preview issue. (March 30, 2009.) A column titled, "What Could Stop The Yanks?" caught my eye: "Sporting News asked three members of the defending World Series champion Phillies to identify the Yankees' biggest weakness: OF Shane Victorino: Defense. OF Geoff Jenkins: Middle relief. Closer Brad Lidge: Too much talent.

A formidable list considering the context of recent seasons. Safe to say, the question marks have been replaced by exclamation points. I'll let the experts provide the graphs but my eyes tell me '08's defensive problems have been solved. Especially noteworthy is the right side of the infield. Teixeira's range and soft hands provide a stark contrast to Giambi's imitation of a fire hydrant. Cano's arm combines with fluid grace to routinely rob potential hits. The pitchers are grateful.

The middle relief hole was shrewdly plugged when Girardi changed Phil Hughes' job description. A struggling starter transformed to a dominant stopper. The Great Rivera finally had company.

"Too much talent?" The New York Yankees are the only team that can afford this unconventional issue. A rich group of disparate mercenaries have gelled into a cohesive unit. The results speak. The questions have been answered.

*This post was written by Mark Serio of Baseball Hot Corner