Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Yankees @ Rangers 4/25/12

Hughes struggles again and the Yankees fall to the Rangers 7-3

The Yankees will face off against the Rangers again tonight at 8:05 pm ET to try and win the series, taking two out of three games. Phil Hughes will be on the mound for the Yanks tonight and I wonder how the Pineda news will affect him now that he does not have to worry about losing his starting rotation spot any time soon.

Here is tonight's Yankees lineup

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

Michael Pineda To Have Labral Surgery

Michael Pineda's MRI results are in and he has a tear in his right labrum, which will require arthroscopic surgery on May 1st.  I cannot wait to read all the Brian Cashman haters and the Mariners "fans" rooting about how they won the trade. 

Should Fans Want Colon?

"You know you want me."

I was reading the chat at the LoHud Yankees blog earlier today, and a question came in about the Yankees bringing back Freddy Garcia over Bartolo Colon. Well, it wasn't so much a question, as the person was clearly just looking to complain at what he thought was yet another poor decision by Yankee management. On the surface it seems as though this person was right, as Colon currently has an ERA of 2.62, while Garcia has a brutal 9.75 ERA. But this wasn't about which guy has been better so far in this young season, this was about the decision the Yankees made in the offseason. So did they indeed get it wrong?

Let's look beyond the fact that we're dealing with smalls sample sizes here. Bartolo Colon has started five games so far this season, three of them being against the Seattle Mariners, and the other two against the LA Angels and Chicago White Sox. I'd like to point out that those three teams are 11th, 10th, and 8th, respectively, in runs scored in 2012. The Mariners have the 2nd lowest team OPS in the American League (.636), while the Angels are directly ahead of them hitting a team OPS of .680. The White Sox are 9th in team OPS in the AL. Colon's start against the White Sox looks good as far as IP and earned runs (7 IP, giving up only 2 ER), however he did have more walks than strikeouts, and gave up 2 home runs. That 2.62 ERA so far in 2012 looks good, but looking deeper it's not so impressive.

That's not to say Freddy Garcia has been so much better than his 9.75 ERA looks. Freddy's worst outing, easily, was against the Red Sox last Saturday night, in which he gave up 7 hits and 5 ER in only 1.2 innings of work. At least that was against the team with the third highest OPS in the AL (.825). Trust me, that's still far from "okay".  But the point I'm trying to make here is that Bartolo Colon is not so much better that people are correct in being up in arms over the fact Brian Cashman brought Freddy back instead.

I'll take this a bit further, and show you why bringing back Garcia instead of Colon was the right choice.

Between 2008 and 2010 Bartolo Colon had started only 19 games, a total of 101.1 innings, which includes missing the entire 2010 season while having surgery on his throwing shoulder. Freddy Garcia wasn't the Tony Little of MLB during that time either, as he'd made only 40 starts, totaling 228 innings. But that did include a full season in 2010. So each player's health record over the previous four seasons says Freddy was the better bet to even make it through an entire season in the rotation.

People like to point out Bartolo's great start to the 1st half of the 2011 season, where he was impressing people with a 2-seam fastball that moved around like Gumby on the dance floor. But it's not as if Garcia was having a poor 1st half himself. Colon's ERA in the first half of 2011 was 3.20, while Freddy's was 3.13. But just like haters of the Montero/Pineda trade point at the 2nd halves of each player, I'd like to point out the 2nd halves that Bartolo and Freddy had.

I'm not saying Freddy had a great 2nd half, as he did allow the opposition a batting average of .283, with a .767 OPS. But Colon was worse, as he allowed opposing teams to post a batting average of .298, with an OPS of .827. In fact, outside of a 24 point bump in teams' batting average against him, Garcia saw very little change in his OBP and SLG against. Colon, though, gave up 58 more points in batting average, 52 more points in OBP, and 93 more points in SLG. Colon clearly had the worse 2nd half.

Getting back to what each pitcher has done so far this season I looked closer at their stats, and saw that Bartolo Colon has a BABIP against of .229. That's incredibly small, especially when you see that his career BABIP against is .295. The scariest part of that is the fact team's are still hitting 18% line drives against Colon, which lines up with his career mark of 20% (it was actually 17% last season). So I fully expect Colon to go from being very effective to being fairly ineffective soon.

Getting to Freddy Garcia, his BABIP against is an extremely high .419, which is 3rd highest in MLB (note to Fantasy Baseball owners... Tim Lincecum's is the 2nd highest at .421). Meanwhile his LD% is at 26%, which is quite a bit higher than his career number of 20% (it was 22% last year). Meaning there's some reason to be optimistic about Garcia's ability to turn things around a bit. Maybe this is part of the reason Freddy will not be skipped on Saturday.

So how exactly did the Yankees bring back the wrong guy? Could this be another case of some Yankee fans showing no patience, and just looking for somebody to bitch and complain at? I think so.

Meet A Prospect : Mark Teixeira Edition

Mark Teixeira has always been one of my favorite baseball players so naturally I was ecstatic when I learned that the Yankees signed him to a lucrative contract in the shopping spree of 2009. As many of you know I moved to metro Atlanta , Georgia when I was 14 years old and early on in my southerner career I latched on to the local college baseball team, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Mark Teixeira, as I am sure you knew where I was going with this, is a GT Alumni and had a very successful career at GT before coming to the majors. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce you to Yankees slugging first basemen and perennial gold glove defender Mark Teixeira!

Mark Teixeira was born on April 11th, 1980 in Annapolis, Maryland. Texeira is a Portugese American but also has roots in Guyana where he grandfather migrated from as a young man. Tex , a nickname that he has gained, grew up in Severna Park, Maryland and attended Mount Saint Joseph High School in Baltimore. Texeira was a stand out there when he played for the school's varsity baseball team. 

Tex was originally drafted in the ninth round of the 1998 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Boston Red Sox. Obviously Tex decided not to sign with Boston and opted to go to Georgia Tech to play college baseball. In 2000 , at GT, he batted .427 with an 1.319 OPS en route to winning the Dick Howser Trophy as the National collegiate baseball player of the year!

In 2001 Mark, represented by Scott Boras, re entered the draft and was drafted fifth overall by the Texas Rangers. There was speculation that the Philadelphia Phillies would take him with the fourth overall pick but Scott Boras's demands scared away Philly. Straight out of the draft Mark signed a Major League contract worth $9.5 million over 4 years. 

His first, and only, season in the minor leagues was in 2002 and it began in the Florida State League. Mark batted .320 with an 1.000 OPS in 38 games, unheard of stats for the league. He was quickly moved up to AA Tulsa where he continued the torrid pace, batting .316 with a .994 OPS and hit ten home runs in 48 games. After a breakout minor league season he was invited to Spring Training in 2003 and made the team out of camp.

After two good seasons in his rookie and sophmore campaign he earned a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove award in the 2005 season. He also was named to the All Star game after winning the fan vote and started at first base for the AL All Stars. What did he do during that first all star game you ask? Well he hit a home run! He had a great run in Texas before being traded to the Atlanta Braves in July of 2007.  The very next season he was traded to the Anaheim Angels and helped them get their first 100 win season in their team's history. He signed a lucrative free agent contract in the offseason of the 2009 season with the New York Yankees.

Texeira wasted no time while in the Bronx after signing an 8 year deal worth $180 million, turning down lucrative offers from the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals to name a few. His very first season as a Yankee, 2009, he led the American League in home runs, 39, and rbi's, 122, on his way to his first World Series ring behind the arms of CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Andy Pettitte. To add to an already impressive 2009 season he also won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award while finishing second in the MVP balloting behind Twins catcher Joe Mauer. 

Mark is married to his wife, Leigh, and has three children, sons Jack and William and daughter Addison. Tex and his family reside in Greenwich, CT in the offseason. Mark , after signing his first major league contract, set up a scholarship at his high school in honor of a friend who was killed in a car accident. Tex enjoys hunting, golfing, reading, and fishing when he is not scooping errant throws out the dirt and hitting 30 home runs a season. He also enjoys Broadway theatre and is a devout Christian, which anyone can respect. Mark also made a special appearance on the HBO TV Original Series Entourage with teammate Alex Rodriguez and Eduardo Nunez in August of 2011. As always I encourage you to check out Mark and his wife's charity, the Mark Texeira Charitable Fund that supported six $5,000 scholarships at three high schools in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area. What a guy Mark is, he is on the Mark... Texeira. 

Make sure to tune in tomorrow when we continue with our special edition Meet A Prospect series and get introduced to Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain.