Thursday, May 17, 2012

Yankees @ Blue Jays 5/17/12


The Yankees have acquired Matt Antonelli from the Orioles off waivers and will send him to AAA Empire State Yankees. They have moved Cesar Cabral to the 60 Day DL to make room on the 40 man for Antonelli. He is a infielder with a weak bat so do not expect much out of him but some insurance. Welcome to the club Matt.

Robinson Cano with an rbi double to give the Yanks a quick 1-0 lead in the 2nd inning. 

Joey Bats hits a two run home run to put the Jays up 2-1. #Steroids
Hughes has been very home run prone, even when effective, this season. 

Another two run home run allowed.... 4-1 Jays. 

Jays sweep the Yankees in the 2 game series and take over 3rd place in the AL East by 0.5 games.
Jays win 4-1

Philthy Going For The Split

Phil Hughes and the Yankees are back at it today against the Toronto Blue Jays north of the border in this quick two game set. The Yankees lost last night so they will be trying to split the series and stay ahead of the Jays in the AL East. Game will be televised on YES at 7:07 pm ET.

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Robinson Cano 2B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Raul Ibanez LF
Nick Swisher DH
Eric Chavez 3B
Andruw Jones RF
Russell Martin C

Meet A Prospect : Dante Bichette Jr

Meet a prospect is back and this time we're meeting Mr. Dante Bichette, Jr. Dante, the son of major leaguer Dante Bichette and Hot Yankee Mom Mariana Bichette, was born September 26th, 1992 in Orlando ,Fl. Dante, born Alphonse Dante Bichette Jr., was drafted 51st overall by the New York Yankees in the 2010 MLB First Year Player Draft as a third basemen. Dante is part of that very talented Charleston River Dogs team so now is a good a time as ever to meet Mr. Bichette.

Dante, nicknamed "D" by his mother, was part of the very talented Staten Island team that won the championship in 2011 in the Gulf Coast League. Dante actually hit the game and series deciding home run in that series on the way to the title. Here is a list of his accomplishments in that same 2011 season for the Staten Island Yankees, seen here

12/22/ Organization All-Star
11/30/2011Topps Short-Season/Rookie All-Star
09/16/2011Baseball America Rookie All-Star
09/13/2011GCL Most Valuable Player
09/13/2011GCL Post-Season All-Star
07/31/2011GCL Player of the Month

Bichette's mother actually got Dante to start doing yoga while in high school, maintaining that it would keep him quick, flexible, and healthy. At first, naturally, Dante hated it but not admits that he loves doing it because of the fact that it does in fact keep him healthy.  Dante also has a brother, Bo Bichette, and he claims that his brother is "twice the player" that Dante is.... which so far is a scary thought. 

The Yankees caught a lot of flack from the fans and from the baseball minds around the league for taking Bichette as they thought his minor league success would be short lived. They also said that his defense was less then stellar and he was destined to be a left fielder and a Shelly Duncan type hitter. All of these thoughts, and more, are quickly being reversed as he has done nothing but be successful and quite the haters. Bichette just may be the steal of the 2010 draft.

Yankee Defense, Then & Now

Any picture that shows Youkilis getting out is a great one.

I've always been a big proponent of baseball teams that play great defense. I've been a part of teams that could put a decent amount of runs on the board, so if they could just play solid defense and prevent the other team from scoring, then wins wouldn't be that hard to come by. Of course, since I was hitting on those teams, scoring runs became more of a challenge. But one team that hasn't had trouble scoring a lot of runs is the New York Yankees.

From 2002 to 2011, the Yankees have scored a total of 8,885 runs, which is 109 more runs than the team with the 2nd most... the Red Sox. Over those same 10 years, the Yanks also have the highest wOBA, the highest wRC+, and the 2nd highest OPS. The 2012 version of the Bronx Bombers are 3rd in all three of those categories. So it should be pretty obvious that this is not a team people should worry about when it comes to putting crooked numbers under the "R" on the scoreboard.

This photo appeared on Page 1 of a Google search for "crooked number". Why? I have no idea, and I don't want to know. Monkeys rule!

So how about their team defense, which is the focus of this post?

Well, in 2002, the Yankees were ranked 27th in Fielding Percentage, and 25th in errors, in all of MLB. If it wasn't for the fact the offense scored 38 more runs than any other team in the league, then there would have been a really good chance the Yankees went from 5 World Series appearances in the previous 6 seasons, to missing the playoffs entirely. Which would have been pretty damn embarrassing.

To put that in perspective, the Yankees actually had a higher Fielding Percentage (.984 vs. .979), and committed 32 fewer errors (127 vs. 95), in 2005 than in 2002. Yet Moshe Mandel of The Yankee Analysts wrote a piece in 2009 saying that the '05 Yankees had the "Worst...Defense...Ever!!" (yes, he used two exclamation points). So as a defensive-minded person, I was not pleased.

The Nunez to the outfield experiment went about as well as the first test of radioactive material.

Which tells you why I was okay with the Yankees trading Jesus Montero. The team already scores plenty of runs, so I really wouldn't have liked to see the team use Jesus Montero even as a part-time catcher. Jesus Montero has 3 passed balls in 125 innings as a catcher this season, while Russell Martin has 3 passed balls in 253.1 innings. And while Montero's caught stealing percentage is 20%, Martin's is at 30%. And I don't want a guy with that low a CS% in the AL East, where the Rays and Blue Jays are 2nd and 5th in stolen bases in the American League.

What about now? Is the defense still that bad? Do we need them to score nearly 900 runs again to have a shot at the playoffs?

Well, so far in 2012, the Yankees are ranked 1st in Fielding Percentage, and 1st in errors (tied with the Mariners), in all of MLB. As I write this I'm watching/listening to the Yankees vs. Jays game on, and the Toronto announcers spent a good chunk of one-half inning talking about how good the Yankee defense is these days. They mentioned all the Gold Gloves by Derek Jeter and Mark Teixiera. Although Robinson Cano dropped a ball while trying to turn a double play the very same inning, Robbie has been an outstanding second basemen, who's currently got the 3rd best UZR/150 of all 2B in MLB. Last week, on MLB Network, it was said that Curtis Granderson was voted the 3rd best outfielder in MLB by players. ARod is playing really well at 3B, and Nick Swisher is average at worst in RF.

It doesn't have the history of others, but in my mind, this is the most beautiful trophy in all of sports.

So New York has really turned things around over the past 5 or so years, putting together a team that not only hits the snot out of the ball, but also fields it really well too. It's no wonder Brian Cashman pulled the trigger on a trade for Michael Pineda, and is working hard to hold onto top pitching prospects like Manny Banuelos.

Oh, and Andruw Jones and Raul Ibanez have both played more innings in LF than Brett Gardner, and have UZR/150s that are much lower than Brett's (-2.4 and 3.6 for Jones and Ibanez, versus 14.1 for Gardner). Which tells me the defense would be even better if it weren't for Gardy's injury.

Get well soon, kid.

I truly believe that if the Yankee starters can get their... stuff... together, then winning another World Series is a strong possibility.