Friday, July 20, 2012

Should Yankee Fans Be Optimists Or Pessimists?

Over the last 30 days the Yankees are 16-9, a winning percentage of .640. For the record, the best winning percentage in MLB is .620 (coincidentely held by the Yankees). So it's hard to imagine that the team would be able to keep that up. Well, I decided to try and see just how impossible, or possible, it was to keep up that pace.
Yes, Robbie, that was pretty.

Here's what I found on the offensive side of things...

The Yankees have scored 134 runs over the last 30 days, which is 2nd most in the American League over that time period (the Angels have scored 137). The league average for AL teams during that time was 112. That doesn't tell the story, as the good New York team clearly has a better than average lineup.

When it comes to trying to figure out how good or bad hitting is I mainly look at four statistics. I look at Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP), as that helps me figure out if a team has simply been lucky or not. I look at Line Drive Percentage, to see if a team or player is making good contact. And I look at Ground Ball and Fly Ball Percentage, to see where those hits are going (since balls on the ground tend to turn into outs moreso than fly balls).

So here's a chart I made showing what the Yankees have done over the last 30 days compared to the American League average...

Oh, and for those that strongly believe the Yankees need to make a move for a left/center fielder, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have started 20 of the past 25 games in the outfield. The other five games were split between Jayson Nix and Dewayne Wise. All of this telling me the team absolutely does not need to make a trade for 2012. If they can do so while taking care of 2013 and the future, then by all means go for it. But Brian Cashman should not feel obligated to make a move for the sake of this season.

You can see that the Yankees' BABIP is not unusually high, which tells me the Yankee bats haven't simply been lucky. They aren't hitting the ball harder than normal, either. And while the differences in ground ball and fly ball rates are 2-3 points different, they aren't so far off that you'd have to think a correction was on it's way.

In short, what we've seen from Yankee bats over the past month is to be expected the rest of the year. Obviously I'm not saying they will be this way for the remainder of the season, but there's no reason to expect them to fall either.

"That's right, bitches!" -  Note: I'm not positive that is the correct translation.

What about their pitching? Well, the team's BABIP against is .312, which is slightly higher than the league average of .300. So, if anything, the team has been a touch unlucky on the balls they're allowing to be put into play by opposing bats. The team's FIP over the last 30 days was 3.90, while for the season it's 3.87, so in this respect I wouldn't expect the pitching to falter either.

The only place that I can see the pitching fairing a bit worse than they have recently is in terms of their Ground Ball and Fly Ball percentages. The team averages for the entier 2012 season so far are 44.7 for Ground Balls, and 35.6 for Fly Balls. Over the last 30 days the Yankees have a GB% of 40.8, and a FB% of 37.4. The first thing those numbers tell me is that the team isn't allowing as many balls to be put into play recently, but it's hardly be a large amount (80.3% to 78.2%). If anything, the team may see a few more ground balls than fly balls, which... I said before... means a higher percentage of balls in play being turned into outs.

I'm not saying the team is going to win over a 100 games by season's end, but I am saying that it's totally within the realm of possibility.

$189 Million In 2014 Plan

The $189 million dollar luxury tax threshold CAN  be done. Sure it will take some manipulating and sure it will take some creativity, all while finding every loop hole available in the new CBA, but I really truly think it can be done. The Yankees, as of July 2012, have a payroll of $209,792,900. The Yankees would need to cut and trim over $30 million to stay under the tax threshold while still keeping guys like Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson and keeping all their young guys that are arbitration eligible. 

Likely To Happen

AJ Burnett's $16.5 million contract ends at the end of the 2013 season which means we are off the hook for the money that we are paying Pittsburgh for him to dominate the NL Central. The Yankees are paying $9.5 million and $8 million next season. I think in this case the AAV would be $8.75 million but I am not entirely sure how that works with paying other teams players salaries.

Hiroki Kuroda may not be with the Yankees at the beginning of the 2013 season, let alone the 2014 season, so there is AT LEAST $10 million AAV off the books.

We already touched on extending Cano and Granderson before their current deals expire and saving around $15 million in AAV combined.

Rafael Soriano and his $11 million AAV will be gone, whether he opts out or not, by the 2014 season. Joe Girardi may need his binder for everything else but he does not need a binder to build a great bullpen on the fly so this does not worry me whatsoever.

Pedro Feliciano's $4 million AAV will be gone after the 2012 season. Thanks for nothing.

Somewhat Likely To Happen

Mariano Rivera is making an AAV of $15 million through the 2012 season. It is somewhat likely that Mo will still be around in 2014 if you listen to the way he talks. Surely he will not sign for higher then $15 million either. I think the smartest thing to do is to sign Mo to a modest contract, if possible, for the 2013 season with a option (club or player) for the 2014 season to keep the AAV down.

Ivan Nova fools the world and convinces that double digit wins in his first two seasons in the Bronx and long win streaks makes him a Super 2... which only hurts our chances.

Not Likely To Happen

Somehow convince Derek Jeter to decline his $8 million option after the 2013 season and sign a new contract with the Yankees for significantly less then the current AAV of $14 million , but more then the $8 million dollar option that he will command. Then again, with performance bonuses, the contract could go as high as $17 million so this all be a BIT premature. Then again I dont see him winning an MVP ($4 million), coming in 2nd - 6th place in MVP ($2 million), or winning a silver slugger ($1.5 million). Then again the gold glove($0.5 million), the ALCS MVP ($0.5 million) , and World Series MVP's ($0.5 million) are not exactly out of the question.

The Yankees offer Alex Rodriguez a 1 year extension worth $18 million. The $18 million eliminates three of the milestone kickers that he would get for passing Willie Mays, Hank Aaron,  Babe Ruth, and for tying and passing Barry Bonds on the home run list. That would make the $18 million guaranteed, rather then performance based, and would lower Alex's AAV from $27.5 million to $26.6 million. Is it worth 1 more year of ARod for 900K savings though?

Not Going To Happen

CC Sabathia's AAV is $23.875 million.

Mark Teixeira's AAV is $22.5 million

Guys like David Aardsma (believe it or not he has less then 6 years service time), Ramiro Pena, Darnell McDonald, Cory Wade, Francisco Cervelli, Clay Rapada (MAYBE), Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Jayson Nix, David Robertson, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan, Brett Gardner, Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda, and Russell Martin are going to be arbitration eligible and more then likely command raises. Obviously this is GUARANTEED to be constantly changed but still.

Yankees @ Athletics 7/20/12

Yankees drop their 2nd consecutive game to Oakland 3-2

Robinson Cano extended his hit streak to 22 games with an 8th inning home run

Game two of the Yankees and A's series starts tonight and game two of a seven game west coast trip for the Yankees. Ivan Nova will be on the mound for the Yankees and will be facing off against the A's Tommy Malone. The game will be televised on the YES Network at 10:05 pm ET.


Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano DH
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones LF
Jayson Nix 2B
Russell Martin C

Go Yankees!!

Meet A Prospect : Ty Hensley

The Yankees, with their first overall pick in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 MLB First Year Players Draft selected high school pitcher Ty Hensley. Ty spent his high school years pitching for Santa Fe High School in Oklahoma. Ty ended up signing a below slot deal for $1.2 million instead of going to College and burning the Yankees. 

Hensley is definitely a project at this point in his career but there is absolutely no reason he should have fallen to us at the 30th pick. Hensley was an absolute steal at the back end of that first round, with or without those "abnormalities" in his throwing shoulder. Hensley is considered "tall and projectable" while throwing his fastball comfortably in the low 90's , although hitting as high as 94 mph. Although he struggles with command of his secondary pitches, namely his curveball, he gets great movement on those pitches which is a good sign for pitching coaches. 

I think the earliest we could see Ty Hensley is in the 2015 season because he is still sort of raw in his development right now. He tends to pull his front side open too quickly sometimes on his delivery to the plate and does not always have the full extension needed to be a consistent starting pitcher. In my opinion Hensley is either going to be a big hit or a big miss but the great thing is the Yankees can afford, both player wise and fiscally, to take the chance on a guy like Hensley and fail. I will personally be watching Hensley very closely as I am extremely intrigued. 

Follow Ty Hensley on twitter @TyHensley17

Brett Gardner's Season Likely Done

Brett Gardner's season is likely done after his MRI revealed that he will need arthroscopic elbow surgery. The surgery will be to go in and remove some inflamed tissue in the elbow. The good news is though we only have 11 more days of hearing Justin Upton trade rumors and "my package of scrubs for your superstar" trade proposals.