Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yangervis Solarte vs. Dean Anna: Ultimate Battle

Brendan Ryan as we all know has a pinched nerve in his upper back and will very likely start the season on the disabled list for the Yankees so the question has arose, who will replace him on the roster? We are going under the assumption that Eduardo Nunez, minor league option and all, will make the club as a backup and platoon player at third base and everywhere else in the infield in a pinch or an emergency leaving two men for the job, Yangervis Solarte and Dean Anna.

As everyone probably knows by now I am a big stat guy, sabermetrics and the classic alike, so let's start comparing these two there, seen below using their spring training stats this season:

Dean Anna:
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/22/2014.

Yangervis Solarte
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 3/22/2014.

Obviously no one outside of maybe Francisco Cervelli has outhit Solarte this season, the question is do we chalk them up to simply being spring training stats or is he the real deal? Solarte's career minor league numbers are a .286/.336/.397/.733, obviously a far cry from batting nearly .500, but he is also 26 years old. Could a breakout, and some truth, be that much outside the realm of possibility? Probably not. 

Dean Anna hasn't opened too many eyes with the bat but with his career minor league stat line of .286/.386/.428/.815 suggest that he can be better than what we have seen lately. As with Solarte, Anna is close to entering his true prime seasons and could be in line for a breakout with the bat. The problem is Anna has similar minor league stats to Solarte making it extremely difficult to separate the two offensively.

What about defensively? In his minor league career Solarte has played games at 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, LF, RF, and CF. Anna, in comparison, has played games at 1B, 2B, SS, 3B, LF, and RF. Another deadlock unless you consider Solarte's two games in center field enough of an advantage. Neither have had a cup of coffee in the major leagues really so you can't even use that as an advantage for one or the other.

What do the Yankees do here? flip a coin? Consult one of those California physics on television? Say neither and give the job to Scott Sizemore simply to have #24 back on the field on Opening Day? I don't know, I really just don't know. What say you?

Yankees win streak snapped by Blue Jays, 3-1

Despite getting 6 innings of 3-run (2 earned) ball from starter Michael Pineda (L, 2-1), the Yankees had their seven game win streak snapped today by the Blue Jays, 3-1. Now overall, I'd say Pineda again looked really good in this one, giving up 6 hits while walking none and striking out 2, but in the end he just didn't get any run support. Kinda disappointing, but at least this is just Spring Training. I'd much rather have this sorta thing happen now than in June.

So yea, that's what happened here. It wasn't great, but it also wasn't important. 

New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 3/23

The New York Yankees will host the Toronto Blue Jays at George M. Steinbrenner Field in the latest spring training game in the Grapefruit League. The Yankees have an off day tomorrow before manager Joe Girardi is expected to make his decision on the winner of the fifth starter competition. Michael Pineda will make the start for the Yankees today in his last chance to impress Girardi for the fifth starter race. The game will be televised at 1:05 pm ET on the YES Network, MLB TV, and MLB Network. Enjoy the day Yankees fans.

Predicting The Comeback Player of the Year Awards

Continuing my attempt to predict anything right for this coming season I will take a stab at predicting the feel good stories of the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Grady Sizemore of the Boston Red Sox, as much as this pains me to say, will be the Comeback Player of the Year in the American League. Grady is finally healthy, for real this time, and has the chance to shine in Boston replacing Jacoby Ellsbury in center. While in Cleveland Grady had to be the man, the face of the franchise, and had to carry the team on his back. In Boston he can blend in and relax, as crazy as that sounds, and get back to doing what he does best. It kills me to write it but Grady Sizemore is going to be a great pickup for the Red Sox, one I have been clamoring for the Yankees to make for the past two offseasons.

For the National League I predict the Comeback Player of the Year will be Matt Kemp. Kemp is finally healthy and now has some competition in the Dodgers outfield with Yasiel Puig, Andre Either, and Carl Crawford. Kemp may actually have to earn his spot this time around, sort of anyway, and that should be motivation enough to bring back #BeastMode.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #8 Earle Combs

Earle Combs got his feet with in the Major Leagues with 24 games as a rookie in 1924 and was ready and much improved in his second season. In 1925 Combs batted .342 while scoring 117 runs in his second season in Yankees pinstripes. That second season was the first of eight straight seasons where he scored over 110 runs capped off by a career high 143 runs scored in 1932. Combs was also a three time AL triples champion in his career.

8 days until Yankees Opening Day, can you taste it?

Quick Hit: Does Pineda's Start Today Matter

We all heard yesterday that manager Joe Girardi stated the fifth starter competition winner could be announced as early as Tuesday, does it matter what Michael Pineda does tonight against the Toronto Blue Jays? If Pineda got bombed would it force the hand of the Yankees to put David Phelps in the rotation at the expense of the bullpen? Would Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno get back into the discussion? Would Pineda be sent down to AAA to "figure it out?"

No, no, and no. Unless Pineda gets hurt the fifth starter job is his, bottom line. Enjoy your Sunday everyone.

This Day In New York Yankees History 3/23

On this day in 1990 Howard Spira was arrested for extorting money from George Steinbrenner, the former Yankees owner. The Yankees owner paid Spira $40,000 in January to dig up dirt on outfielder Dave Winfield.