Saturday, July 18, 2015

Transcript From My Appearance On The Yanks Go Yard Radio Show

Last Sunday I joined the Yanks Go Yard Radio Show to discuss the 1st half the the season for the Yankees. If you haven't gotten a chance to listen yet then you can click here and check it out.

If you're like me and would rather read an article than sit through a radio show, then I'm going to go over the ten questions that were sent to me, along with my answers. However, I'm not going to include what the show's host, Ricky, had to add. Nor will I give the thoughts given by the show's other guest Chris Carelli, of SNY Yanks and Yankees Unscripted.

A couple things before I let you read on (as if you can't skip this part anyway)...

1. I have to apologize for all my coughing. I didn't realize how bad it was until my girlfriend, who was listening to it live, told me about it later. I don't know what's going on, but I think I have enlarged tonsils and need to get them removed. That, or it's just a nervous tic or something. 

2. A couple hours before joining the show I got back from a bachelor party. My girlfriend's brother is getting married (congrats Mike and Jenny!), and I was invited to join a handful of guys at Cedar Point... an amusement park on Lake Erie. It wasn't your stereotypical bachelor party, where we hit strip clubs and drink a lot, but I can assure you we had a great time. I didn't get on a few of their roller coasters that I wanted to (Cedar Point is the Roller Coaster Capital of the World), but it was fun. I'm telling you all of this because I wasn't able to prepare as well as I wanted to, but I think I held my own. Click the link and hear for yourself.

So, for those that can't listen or don't want to, here is the gist of what was covered...

Did the Yankees exceed your expectations for the first half of the season?


The team's pitching, overall, is about what I expected. While Michael Pineda and Adam Warren exceed those expectations, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka weren't quite as good as I'd imagined. I expected Dellin Betances to get a little worse, I mean... he did have a monster season in 2014, but he's been just as good. In fact, his the only thing that's gotten worse for him is his walk rate, as his strikeout rate has actually increased from last season. 

What I didn't expect was the run production. The Yankees are scoring so much more than I thought they would. I figured the team would live or die by their pitching, but the bats have really come through. While Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are a great 1-2 punch at the top of the order, guys like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira (who had as many home runs at the All Star break this season as he did in all of 2014), and Brian McCann have really stepped up. Not to mention all the kids that have gotten a shot.

Was Alex Rodriguez the most valuable player on the Yankees up to the ASB?


Like I said in my first answer, he's doing way more than was expected of him. Heck, many people (myself included) thought the Yankees might possibly be better off paying ARod to sit at home. We were way wrong on that. However, you have to take defense into account when talking about the team's MVP, therefore ARod is disqualified.

As for the player I'd pick as the first half MVP, that would be Brett Gardner. Not only is Brett a vacuum in the outfield, but the guy is really getting it done at the plate. His triple-slash in the first half was .300/.377/.486, to go along with 10 homers and 15 stolen bases.

Do the Yankees have the best bullpen in the American League now that Andrew Miller is healthy?

I had to say "yes" to this one. Looking at fWAR the Yankees are tied with the Dodgers in the entire Major Leagues, and a few ticks better than the Royals in the AL. And they did that without having Miller around for a while. 

With Andrew aboard you have two sub-2.00 ERAs in the bullpen (Miller and Betances), another just over 2.00 (Shreve), and one more below 3.00 (Wilson). 

Oh, and you can't ignore the fact that the Yankees bullpen had Esmil Rogers and his 6.27 ERA in 33 innings in there.


Was the 1-2 combon of Ellsbury and Gardner at the top of the lineup the missing ingredient last year?

While having those two at the top of the order is great, you can't ignore what the heart of the order has done. 

As bad as it was having Derek Jeter batting 2nd day in and day out was, the fact of the matter is that the team got little to nothing out of their 3-4-5 hitters. So no matter how many times Gardner and Ellsbury could have set the table last year, nobody was hitting them in.

That's not the case this year. I pointed out earlier that Mark Teixiera had as many homers in the first half of 2015 as he did in all of 2014. McCann has gone from a little below replacement level to being in the All Star discussion. And saying ARod is doing better than Beltran did last season is a laughable understatement.

Is the starting rotation in need of a major upgrade?

Not at all. While somebody like Cole Hamels or Johnny Cueto would be a welcome addition, at least in a vacuum, they are hardly necessary for the Yankees to be a real contender. I would like to see a good to great #2 or #3 starter to put with Pineda and Tanaka, especially for the postseason, though. 

While I have high hopes for Nathan Eovaldi (the guy is only 25 years old!), he's just not trustworthy in anything close to a must-win game. After a nice debut after recovering from Tommy John surgery, followed up by a good outing, Ivan Nova was hit around a bit in his next two starts. So I don't trust him, either. CC Sabathia? LOL... NEXT!

What is your biggest surprise and disappointment of the first half?

My biggest disappointment has been CC Sabathia. While I didn't expect we'd ever get back the ace we saw in 2009, I clung onto the idea that he would still know how to pitch. That hasn't been the case. I though he could be a good #3 or #4 starter, but at this point part of me wouldn't mind seeing him released. Heck, you can't even put him in the bullpen for more than mop-up duty, as the 'pen is pretty darn good right now, and he'd probably mess that up.

My biggest surprise was easy... Alex Rodriguez. Just go back to what I said earlier about me thinking the team would be better off releasing him prior to the season.

Will the Yankees make a big trade at the deadline? 

Nope. Every year Yankees fans hold out hope for a blockbuster deal, and it never happens. Brian Cashman has made some nice trades, but nothing worthy of being called a "big splash". 

The one problem is that such a deal would need to involve either big prospects, good/young players already in MLB, or both. There's no way the team is going to part with the only MLBer that would fit here (Gardner), and I don't think the team will deal away somebody like Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, or Greg Bird. 

The other problem, if you want to call it that, is that the Yankees don't need to make a major upgrade. I mentioned that #2 or #3 starter, already. Perhaps a better second baseman or shortstop would be nice. However, I really like Didi Gregorius, and I want to see what Rob Refsnyder can do.

Do you expect the farm system to make a major contribution down the stretch?

I can't see anything "major" happening from a minor league call-up. Maybe Aaron Judge, but I have a feeling we won't see him in MLB until next season. Every other "big" hitting prospect is either too young or currently blocked, and for good reason right now (my first thought here was Greg Bird at first base). 

I suppose Rob Refsnyder could be somewhat "major", but I don't see him hitting above 6th in the order this season, and it's hard for a guy batting that low to be a big contributor. Then again, he's replacing Stephen Drew, so the bar is already set very low, and Rob could blow away Drew's numbers at the plate.

"You call that a challenge?"

Fill in the blank: After Game 162, the New York Yankees will be...

American League East Champions.

It's a combination of the Yankees being able to score runs and prevent them, along with the fact that their division is not exactly the powerhouse it used to be.

There you go. While I think my thoughts are the best and most important (LOL), we did talk a little more about the first half of the season, and you should check out the show for Ricky and Chris' thoughts too. If you don't want to scroll up (you lazy SOB), then click here.

I hope to get your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Van Dusen.....Whom am I looking at ? Is that you in the photographs ?
    I say the Yankees make a significant trade, at the deadline.
    Large / Significant ?...that's interpretation.
    They will still hold onto the best young prospect chips when done.

    1. Just so I can get an idea of what you mean by "significant", give me a name? Doesn't even have to be somebody on the trade block.


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)