Thursday, March 15, 2012

Yankees Yearly 2012 – Buy my Magazine!

Borrowed from our friends over at The Yankees Analysts

Longtime readers know that in each of the past four springs, I’ve written for a magazine called Yankees Annual. This magazine used to be published by Maple Street Press, and was distributed pretty widely throughout the Tri-State Area. Unfortunately, Maple Street Press has ceased doing business due to financial difficulties related to the NBA and NFL labor turmoil. That happened just after all of the Yankees Annual writers put together our work. As a group, we decided to self-publish the content online.
A few months later, the result? 109 pages of awesome content. A full 12 of those pages are my work. I wrote three articles: one on Michael Pineda, one on the 2011 ‘last great wild west draft’ class, and finally one on Dante Bichette Jr. I’m very proud of these pieces.
We’re doing this on a profit-sharing deal. This means that, unlike previous years, none of us earn money without selling enough copies to cover expenses. The cost is $9.99, and you can read it on any number of e-reader formats. That’s cheaper than the print edition would have been under Maple Street Press, and we believe well worth it for 109 pages of high-quality content. Don’t be fooled by the cover low-budget cover (no publishing company = no fancy graphic designers), because all of the writing is professionally quality.
If any blogger or member of the media would like a review copy, please email me at fagan.ej (at)
The team that brought you the Yankees Annual (and before that Bombers Broadside) now brings you the newly revamped YANKEES YEARLY! With all the features that fans of the world’s greatest baseball team have come to love and crave every new season, including our Top Prospects List, Team Roster Preview, interviews with current players, former players, and up-and-coming prospects, analyses of the lineup and team strengths, and great historical articles.
The 2012 edition features:
  • Robinson Cano on Hitting, interviewed by David Laurila
  • Top Prospects, by Howard Megdal
  • Jim Bouton on the 50th anniversary of 1962, interviewed by Chip Greene
  • Curtis Granderson’s grand 2011: stacking up against the great NYY center fielders of the past, by Dave Golebiewski 2011 Year in Review by Keith DeCandido
  • E.J. Fagan profiles hot new pitcher Michael Pineda and number one draft pick Dante Bichette Jr.
  • and much more!
ISBN 978-1-61390-048-2 EBOOK ONLY
ISBN 978-0-61561-659-9 paperback

Spring Training 3/15/12

Borrowed from River Avenue Blues

Chien-Ming Wang strained a hammy today. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
The Yankees beat the Nationals today by the score of 8-5. Michael Pineda allowed two runs and struck out four in 3.2 IP before reaching his pitch count (video), and his fastball was sitting right around 90 mph and topping out at 92 [Marc Carig]. He said he only threw about ten changeups, but it felt like a ton more than that, particularly with no one on base. He got a few swings and misses with it (and at least one ground ball), and his slider was stupid good for the most part. Neither Pineda nor Russell Martin think much of the velocity, but the right-hander was pretty thrilled about the changeup. [Jayson Stark]
Bill Hall (2-for-3) doubled off the wall to the opposite field to drive in a pair, and Justin Maxwell went 2-for-2 in garbage time. Jose Gil also drove in two with a single in his only at-bat. Brett Gardner went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts, and he must have seen 20 pitches in the process. He was fouling off everything it seemed. Clay Rapada walked a left-handed batter after getting ahead in the count 0-2, which is a definite no-no. Brett Marshall threw the best 2.1 IP of two-run ball you’ll ever see, I thought he looked very good. Here’s the box score, and here’s the rest from the day in Tampa…
  • Freddy Garcia has a big wrap on his right hand but says it’s just a bad bruise. He thinks he’s only going to miss a few days after getting hit by an Edwin Encarnacion comebacker yesterday, but who knows. [MarcCarig]
  • Joba Chamberlain will throw 50 pitches in the bullpen tomorrow, with the last ten being sliders. No, they’re not stretching him out to be a starter, it’s all about building arm strength at this point. [George King]
  • Austin Romine took some dry swings today, the first time he’s done anything with a bat since hurting his back earlier in camp. He’s still a week away from full workouts. [Carig]
  • Ramiro Pena left today’s game with a sore ankle after sliding into second awkwardly while attempting to steal a base in the fourth. There are no tests planned. Martin is fine following the collision with Wang you see above. Here’s video if you want to see what happened. [CarigCarig]
  • D.J. Mitchell broke out a new cutter during his three stellar innings yesterday, though apparently he started working on it last year. Boone Logan has also been focusing on a changeup during side sessions, which is a pitch he threw a while ago but has since scrapped as a reliever. George Kontos (live batting practice), Ivan Nova and David Phelps (bullpens) threw today. [Chad Jennings]
Here is your open thread for the night. All three hockey locals are in action tonight, plus MLB Network will be airing a game a little later tonight. You folks all know what to do by now, so have at it.

No Expanded Replay in 2012

Although MLB felt the need to push through the extra Wild Card into the postseason quickly, they didn't feel like pushing through expanded replay as fast. Expanded replay will not be implemented for the 2012 MLB season.

Apparently umpires wanted something in return to agreeing to implement more replay this season, which would include fair/fouls calls, trapped balls, and fan interference. But the umpires' union couldn't come to an agreement on what that would be, if anything, with the players' union.

I'm not as cynical as some fans, who are lashing out at the umpires for caring more about their wallets than the integrity of the game, but I do think this sucks. Replay is a great tool for an umpire to make the correct call(s). But, as a fellow baseball umpire, I'm concerned with replay taking over the game. I don't believe a robot could ever do the job as well as a human, and expanding replay too far could make umpires worse due to laziness since "the robots will correct me if I'm wrong".

Face it, there are some calls and decisions that take a human brain. For example, how could a robot determine whether or not a pitcher has an illegal substance under the brim of his hat?

And what if a coach has a question on the rules' interpretation? Is he supposed to type the question to the robot behind home plate?

I understand fans just wanting calls to be right. But that starts with putting the best umpires on the field, instead of those with the most seniority or the ones that are great politicians (I can tell you from personal experience that playing the political game with the guys running the officiating associations can be the difference between working a lot of games, or watching a lot of games). What some fans don't seem to understand though is that umpires get 99% of the calls correct. Some of which are amazing, like bang-bang plays at 1B, or bang-bang tag plays when stealing a base. But people harp on that 1%, and claim that that 1% ruins the game. Sorry, but I call "bullsh*t" on that.

Mitchell in '13?

I'm not the prospect guy around here. In fact, we go outside of TGP in order to post information on them. But I would like to point out something that I've noticed this spring...

DJ Mitchell finished 14th in our Top 20 Prospect list (behind Banuelos, Betances, Campos, Warren, and Phelps), he finished 16th in River Ave Blue's Top Prospect list (behind Banuelos, Betances, Campos, Warren, Phelps, and Marshall), and DJ was 16th according to Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus (behind Banuelos, Betances, Campos, Marshall, and Warren). But so far this spring it's Mitchell that's the one impressing me the most.

I know, Spring Training stats don't mean a whole heck of a lot. But it's hard not to be impressed by his 7 innings this spring, in which he's given up a batting average against of .130 and WHIP of .71. What's stood out to me the most is that he's using a cutter, to go along with three other pitches (fastball, changeup, and curveball).

In 161.1 innings last season Mitchell had an ERA of 3.18 and WHIP of 1.351. His 6.2 K/9 is not going to blow people away, and neither will his BB/9 of 3.5, but there's a chance that DJ Mitchell is in the Yankee rotation to start 2013, instead of some other names that have been discussed well before him.