Friday, March 29, 2013

Overbay Not The Only 1B Option

Dan Otero, who was recently released by the Yankees, was claimed by the Oakland Athletics. Their corresponding move was to release Daric Barton. At first I didn't think much of it, as he didn't seem to be an improvement over Lyle Overbay. But I looked a bit deeper and changed my mind.

While Overbay had an extraordinarily high Batting Average on Balls In Play .346, as well as an extraordinarily high Line Drive percentage of 28%, in 2012, he only hit .259/.331/.397 in 131 plate appearances. That tells me that he not only got very lucky last season, but his ceiling is as high as a turtle's knee.

However, the same can't be said for Daric Barton. Daric's BABIP the last couple of years was .275 and .260, while his his LD%s of 19% and 20% were right around his career norms. Daric may not hit double-digit home runs, but if he can repeat or come close to the .393 OBP he had in 2010 (he led the league with 110 walks, which definitely helped), and put up a batting average around the .273 he had in 2010, then he could make a good addition to the lineup.

Oh, and Barton also won a Fielding Bible award in 2010, so if defense is what the Yankees want to see out of 1B then Daric looks to be their guy.

Flurry Of Roster Moves Before The Season Starts

The Yankees have announced that they have sent outfielder Melky Mesa and pitcher Sam Demel to Triple A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

The Yankees have reassigned Jim Miller, Preston Claiborne, Brandon Pinder, Juan Cedeno, Vidal Nuno, Josh Spence, Bobby Wilson, Dan Johnson, Jose Pirela, Gil Velazquez, and Thomas Neal to minor league camps.

The Yankees have officially added Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix to the 40 man roster so they both apparently have made the team.

Verlander and Posey Sign Extensions

Justin Verlander has agreed to a 5 year $140 million extension (which is added onto the 2 years and $40 million he had remaining on his former contract) with the Tigers, that will make him the highest paid pitcher in baseball. Buster Posey also agreed to an extension with the Giants, which will pay him $169 million over the next 9 years.

This is a clear sign of two things...

1. Free Agency is going to get worse and worse, as teams lock up elite players before they even have a chance to be snatched up by another team.

2. The Yankees should throw their old "we don't negotiate extensions" policy completely out the window. Not only have they already broken that policy in the past, but allowing somebody like Robinson Cano or Phil Hughes to reach free agency could make their price go through the roof. If they are two of the best on the market at their respective positions, then there will be plenty of teams with enough money to drive their price way up (*cough*Dodgers*cough*).

Bullpen Shaping Up

A couple of bits of news regarding the Yankees bullpen.

1. The Yankees have DFAd David Aardsma. I really don't understand this move, as Aardsma hasn't been bad in Spring Training. In 8 appearances, totally 7.2 innings, David had an ERA of 3.52 and WHIP of 1.043. I don't mean to say he was the next in line to save games after Mariano Rivera, but I would have liked to see what the guy could do with a little more work after coming back from Tommy John surgery.

2. Shawn Kelley has been told he'll make the team. In 8 innings pitched Shawn had an ERA of 5.63 and WHIP of 1.38.

I don't understand these two moves. I guess the team is trying to make room on the 40-man roster, but to keep Kelley in the 'pen before Aardsma stuns me a bit.

David Adams Re-Signs With Yankees

Some good news for those that were mad that the Yankees released David Adams.

Sweeny Murti has reported that the Yankees and Adams have agreed to a minor league contract, making it so David is set to be the starting third baseman for the Rail Riders this season. Here's to hoping he builds off of that batting line of .306/.385/.450 with AA Trenton last season.

Series Preview: Red Sox vs. Yankees | 4/1/13 - 4/4/13

Pitching Matchup:

Monday, 4/1/13, 1:05 p.m.

Yankees: CC Sabathia (2012: 15-6, 3.38 ERA)
Red Sox: Jon Lester (2012: 9-14, 4.82 ERA)

Tuesday, 4/2/13


Wednesday, 4/3/13, 7:05 p.m. 

Yankees: Hiroki Kuroda (2012: 16-11, 3.32 ERA)
Red Sox: Clay Buchholz (2012: 11-8, 4.56 ERA)

Thursday, 4/4/13, 7:05 p.m.

Yankees: Andy Pettitte (2012: 5-4, 2.87 ERA)
Red Sox: Ryan Dempster (2012: 12-8, 3.38 ERA)

The roster begins to shape up for the Yankees

The Opening Day 25-man roster has to be set by Sunday, but the Yankees got a head start and started making some cuts and additions. Here's what manager Joe Girardi and the Yankees did after the Yankees 4-2 win over the Nationals.

1. The Yankees optioned Melky Mesa to Triple-A Scranton along with newly acquired pitcher Sam Demel.

2. Lyle Overbay officially made the team today. Overbay's defense impressed Joe Girardi enough that he will be the 1B against right handed pitchers while Kevin Youkilis plays third base.

3. Ben Francisco and Jayson Nix also made the team as the 4th OF and a utility guy off the bench.

4. David Aardsma was designated for assignment by the Yankees today. The reason behind it was that Girardi felt the Yankees already felt that they had enough one inning pitchers. Didn't seem the need to carry another one.

5. Shawn Kelley made the team. Girardi liked his approach on the mound as well as the fact that he's a strikeout pitcher.

6. Vidal Nuno along with a handful of other players were reassigned to minor league camp. I guess winning the Dawson Award didn't mean much in the Yankees eyes.

7. Before the game today, Joe Girardi and Mark Teixeira were watching Brennan Boesch do first base drills while Teixeira was giving him pointers. It seems as if the Yankees plan on carrying Boesch as the emergency first baseman although the Yankees didn't officially announce that as of yet.

8. After the Yankees released David Adams, he became a free agent today and the Yankees re-signed him. Seemed like a lengthy process to get him off the 40-man roster and back into the organization.

Trenton Rotation Takes Shape

Just yesterday Josh Norris clued us in as to who will be taking the ball this year in Trenton. Some will come as no surprise, with lefties Nuk Turley and Matt Tracy getting the nod along with Zach Nuding. In an unexpected turn. Francisco Rondon, who had some eyes on him in spring training for his work out of the pen will be the third lefty with Caleb Cotham rounding out the rotation. The notable exception here is Jose Ramirez, who everybody talking, including Mariano Rivera. There’s been mention of an injury to Ramirez but I haven’t seen any specifics. In his second to last start in big league camp he was examined for what was believed to be a blister forming, and then proceeded to tank his following start. The blister theory would make sense. As we’ve seen this several times over the last few years, Nik Turley falling victim last year and missing time to a balky digit. Nardi Contreras, who is in charge of the international pitching scene pointed to the cold weather expected for the Trenton opener where they take on the Sea Dogs, Boston’s AA affiliate. Many of us can attest to the shoddy weather up here in the northeast, so keeping him away from the cold might not be a bad idea. Last year Manny Banuelos had difficulties acclimating, and he ended up with a pulled muscle. Whether or not you can directly attribute the injury to the temperatures could certainly be argued, but you can’t blame them for being cautious. We’ll take a quick look at the starting five that are breaking camp and on their way up north.

Nik Turley

With a solid year under his belt Turley could be looked at as the staff ace. He did miss a bit of time due to a nagging blister on his pitching hand, but the 50th rounder continued to impress on the mound. Nik spent the year in Tampa, with one lone start in Trenton to cap off the year. He tossed 112 innings for the Yanks, posting a 2.89 ERA and solid peripherals in a 9.3 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9. Turley gained a couple of ticks on both his curve and fastball last season, and maintained his changeup, which has some good fade and depth to it and like his fastball he can command it well. He also added a slider to his mix that flashes plus potential. For the last Yankee picked in the draft, you can’t expect much more.

Matt Tracy

Another lefty, Tracy made his move from the pen last year and threw 99 innings for the Tampa club. He finished the year with a 3.27 ERA and decent strikeout totals with a 7.2 K/9 but his control wavered a bit, walking 5.4 every 9. Nik will throw both a four and two seamer with above average command in the low to mid 90’s. His two seam doesn’t have enormous movement, but he does control it well. Tracy’s secondary stuff (changeup, curveball) still needs polish, but he’s not afraid to throw them in any count. Further work on them would put him in another tier, so look for him to focus on commanding them this year. Tracy is adept at pounding the lower half of the zone with all of his pitches and keeps the ball in the yard, so he’s got some potential to make his way to the big leagues.

Zach Nuding

Zach logged 85.2 innings in Tampa last year and will get his shot at AA Trenton. Nuding pitched to a 3.89 ERA and limited the walks to 2.7/9, but his strikeouts were a bit lacking, knocking out fewer than 7 batters every 9. He’s always had a big fastball, sitting low to mid 90’s but reaching 98 at times. It’s a heavy ball that batters have a hard time getting the barrel on, and he generally keeps it in the lower half of the zone. Zach’s second best pitch is his slider, which he’s been working on to get a bit more movement on. It’s not yet a swing and miss type pitch but it has potential. He backs that up with a changeup, which again needs work, and if he is to be a successful starter he’s going to need it.

Francisco Rondon

Rondon hasn’t started a game since 2009, but the crew likes him enough that they’re going to see what they can get out of him. With Rapada on the DL and Logan coming off of a season where he led the league in appearances you’d think they might push Rondon on to AAA to serve as a possible backup, but they do have Nuno in the fold and Cabral on the way back. Rondon spent time across three levels, pitching to a 3.93 ERA over 71 total innings. His strikeouts were outstanding, at 10.1/9, but he walks way too many, giving up 5.3 free passes every 9. He’s a fastball/slider guy, hitting the mid 90’s with his fastball that gets good glove side run to it but is also a bit harder to command. His power slider is also a plus pitch when he’s commanding it. His changeup has made some big strides lately, showing good depth and fade, and will play a big part in him succeeding as a starter.

Caleb Cotham

Cotham is more or less a place holder until the weather warms up and Ramirez is ready. He’ll head back to the pen upon Jose’s return so they can better manage his innings. Caleb’s fastball sits in the low 90’s, but can ramp it up to 95 at times. His command of the pitch took a step forward last year as he got in a full seasons worth of work. His secondary stuff hasn’t quite returned to form yet, as his slider velocity is there but the movement isn’t. Cotham also sports an average to above average changeup that sits around 80, and should help him get through the lineups until Ramirez returns.

New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals 3/29

The New York Yankees will travel to Washington DC to take on the Washington Nationals for the first of two consecutive exhibition games before the start of the regular season. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte to the mound for his last tune up before the regular season. The game will be televised on YES and on MLB Network at 2:05 pm ET.

Exhibition Game 1: Yankees vs. Nationals Lineup

Brett Gardner CF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Kevin Youkilis 3B
Travis Hafner DH
Vernon Wells LF
Lyle Overbay 1B
Eduardo Nunez SS
Chris Stewart C

Andy Pettitte LHP


2013 Predictions : The Playoffs & World Series Winner

Yesterday I shared my predictions on who I think will win their divisions and the wild cards in the coming season and today we will go over how each team will fare. If you missed yesterdays post it can be seen HERE. On to the predictions!

Wild Card Round:
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers

Tampa Bay Rays vs New York Yankees

Cleveland Indians vs. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels Of Anaheim

New York Yankees win the American League Pennant and advance to the World Series

Wild Card Round:
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Atlanta Braves vs Washington Nationals

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers

I fully predict the Atlanta Braves to go to the World Series and try to create the beginning of yet another dynasty.  #UptonBrothers

 How awesome is it going to be when the Yankees win the 2013 World Series beating the Atlanta Braves in 7 games spoiling the Upton brothers party and reminding the world that the best closer in baseball still resides in New York and will not reside in Atlanta until NEXT year.