Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reggie Jackson Throws Out First Pitch For RailRiders

Reggie Jackson is throwing out the first ceremonial first pitch for the first time in the Scranton Wilkes Barre's new PNC Field.

David Robertson: Heir to the throne

When Mariano Rivera announced his retirement I just assumed David Robertson would fill the gap. I didn't really see the Yanks going out and getting somebody when Robertson was available. I figured I would just take a wait and see approach to how he does. So I never really put much thought into it until I started hearing murmurs of "Can he do it?" "Can he handle the pressure, the prestige?" At first, like any fan you listen in not giving it much thought, but then I began to smirk every time I would hear such a comment. Is that truly how we regard players today and their status on the field, their pressure handling abilities? The shoes that they fill from ghosts of players past? I began to ask myself, "what do the numbers say?" What type of talent does David Robertson truly bring to the Yankees bullpen and what I found may just surprise you. I am going to compare David Robertson to Mariano Rivera based on two different types of seasons.

1. Same age season
2. Similar WAR season

Using these two sample sets I will highlight both players talents with a variety of statistics to see if Robertson truly has the talent to handle the position. I guess that's if he can handle the "pressure" first..

Same age season (28):
In 1997 when Mo was only 28 and in his third full season in the bigs he had a very solid season, although his performance regressed slightly from the year before when he posted a 4.3 WAR he still came out strong with a 2 WAR. Mo stranded a whopping 87.2% of runners on base that season, he posted a 8.54 K/9 and had a 2.51 BB/9 rate. He had the second highest WHIP of his career in '97 with a 1.19 and one note of concern should of been his lopsided FIP to ERA ratio which was a 1.88 ERA and a 2.96 FIP. This lopsided ratio often suggests a regression in the near future and sure enough his WAR by almost a whole win the next year (although he still had a great season).

David Robertson was 28 in 2013 and he posted a 1.6 WAR. D- Rob posted a very similar LOB% with an 87.5%. Although it was a regression from his 2012 K/9 rate of 12.02, Robertson pounded the K-Zone in 2013 and had a 10.45 K/9. Robertson also posted a 2.44 BB/9 rate which contributed to his 1.04 WHIP in 2013. Robertsons ERA to FIP ratio was much more even keeled, it was a 2.04 ERA to a 2.60 FIP.

Similar WAR season: 
In 2010 Mo posted a 1.7 WAR while having a 6.75 K/9 and a 1.65 BB/9. Mo only stranded 78.5% of runners on base that season and his GB% was 51.2% which represented the last time in his career that he would have that rate above 50% (it regressed by over 5 percentage points the next season which in turn also increased his HR/FB ration by 2 percentage points.) He got batters to swing at 38.2% of balls outside the zone and overall had a 83% contact rate. An interesting point I want to make sure to highlight is that although his K/9 rate was quite small that year he was still very successful and had a very solid defense behind him because he had on overall average of .182 that year and a 0.83 WHIP.

D-Rob posted his 1.7 WAR season in 2012, I also feel compelled to point out the fact that the difference in their IP for their 1.7 WAR seasons was only 0.1. Robertson accomplished his success this season through different means, D-Rob's K/9 that year was more than DOUBLE Mo's with a 12.02 K/9 rate. He did walk more people though and had a BB/9 rate of 2.82. Robertson stranded 81.5% of runners that season and had a GB% of 44.9%. His GB% rate didn't seem to affect him much though cause he only gave up 5 home runs. Rob wasn't as successful at getting batters to swing at balls outside the zone with a 28.9% O-Swing rate. But he was more successful at missing bats and had a very respectable 76.8% contact rate. Robertson's BA that season was .228 and had a WHIP of 1.17.

Ill leave the conversations for the comments section but I find it very intriguing when you look at these numbers. Fairly comparable? Absolutely. Certainty? Is it ever?

Meet A Prospect: Matt Daley

This is sure to make my good friend and fellow Greedy Pinstripes writer Patrick Walsh happy as he is a big fan of local Long Island boy Matt Daley. Matthew Thomas "Matt" Daley was born on June 23, 1982 in Queens, New York and was raised in Garden City, New York. Matt spent his High School years at Garden City High School and graduated in the year 2000 after helping GCHS win the New York State Class B baseball championship. Daley spent his college years at Bucknell University where he was a member of Delta Upsilon. Now he is back for one more season with the New York Yankees trying to crack the bullpen as a long man or middle reliever. Daley will always be remembered, even if he doesn’t throw another pitch in Yankees pinstripes, as the man who followed Mariano Rivera after his final appearance in Yankee Stadium and his Major League career.

Daley made his Minor League debut in 2004 and spent 2005 and the 2006 seasons bouncing around between the Casper Rockies, the Asheville Tourists, and the Tulsa Drillers. Daley repeated AA with Tulsa again in 2007 before bouncing around again between the Drillers and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in 2008 posting a 4-6 record in 63 total games. Daley finally made his Major League debut on April 25, 2009 with the Colorado Rockies against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Daley pitched an inning and got a strike out. Daley had a nice rookie season which included not giving up a single run from July 8 to August 16. Which equates to a 14.2 innings scoreless streak. That scoreless streak was the longest by a Rockies reliever in 2009 and very impressive when you remember the thin air over there in Coors Field.

Daley had rotator cuff surgery in August of 2011 which ended his 2011 campaign and also cause him to miss the entire 2012 season. Daley signed a minor league contract with the Yankees when fully healed and received an invitation to Spring Training. Daley did not make the team out of camp but stuck around in AAA with the Scranton Wilkes Barre RailRiders and was a September call up in 2013. On September 6 Daley made his first appearance as a Yankee and, as I mentioned earlier, was the man who came in and finished off the inning in which Mariano Rivera made his final appearance of his career at Yankee Stadium. Daley struck out the batter on three pitches only to be non tendered by the Yankees this offseason. Daley is back though on another minor league deal that he signed on December 19, 2013 and will look once again to crack the team out of spring training again.

You have to like Matt Daley, or at least root for him. He is a local boy and pitches from the heart and it’s hard not to get behind him. Good luck Matt this Spring and maybe you can crack the bullpen and finally get the shot you have been working so hard for.  Go Yankees and go Matt Daley.

Construction Happening At The Minor League Complex

If you are one of the few and lucky that have been down to the New York Yankees minor league complex down in Tampa you have noticed the likes of Derek Jeter and Dean Anna, among others, working out getting ready for spring training. You have also seen construction crews all over the place trying to better the Yankees minor league complex with new buildings to house meetings, a cafeteria for players, the four baseball diamonds being refurbished, and a dormitory for the players is also being discussed internally by the Yankees brass.

The Cincinnati Reds used to own this plot of land and Yankees senior vice president of baseball operations mentioned this in an interview from the NY Daily News:

“These fields have been here since Johnny Bench was an 18-year-old”

The Yankees also went all moneyball on us by hiring a guy with a PhD in advanced math and statistics and put his office right next to Newman's. The Yankees have added other scouts and personnel but this guy, who remains nameless, is devoted to the player development area that is really intriguing. Maybe there is some hope for the Yankees system after all.

Yankee Stadium Legacy: #51 Reggie Jackson (Again)

Reggie Jackson only spent five seasons with the Yankees and got his uniform number retired so you know that he did a lot in his short time here. Postseason performances can help that out, especially in New York, and not many had bigger performances in the playoffs and World Series than Jackson. No performances were bigger than his game in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series where he sent three straight pitches over the Yankee Stadium wall against the hated Los Angeles Dodgers to win 8-4 and clinch the title. Of course Reggie was named World Series Most Valuable Player finishing with five home runs, eight RBI's, and 10 runs.

51 days until Yankees Opening Day

Prospects Month: Top 28 Yankees Prospects List #20

Continuing our look at The Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 prospects list as a part of Prospects Month we name our #20 prospect, Rob Refsnyder!

Here is the complete up to date list. Check back every day as the list fills out and we continue our look at the prospects in the New York Yankees system during Prospects Month here on TGP.

20. Rob Refsnyder
21. Nik Turley
22. Cito Culver
23. Ramon Flores
24. Mark Montgomery
25. Rookie Davis
26. Jake Cave
27. Ben Gamel
28. Angelo Gumbs

Exclusive Interview With Yankees Dante Bichette Jr.

What better way to spend a slow and lazy Sunday morning then reading an interview with Yankees prospect and son of a former Major League player Dante Bichette Jr. right? Today we bring our latest interview as a part of Prospects Month here on the blog with Mr. DB Jr., enjoy!

The Greedy Pinstripes: Dante! How are you sir? How is the family? It's been too long since we've talked.

Dante Bichette Jr.: We are doing great man! Thanks for asking. My dad, my brother and I have been killing it in the weight room the entire offseason, and killing it on the field training. Pops is busy dropping bombs and getting intentionally walked in his mens league games, and Bo is about to start his high school season with a new team that seems like a lot of fun. My mom is "baseballed out" for the meantime. haha

TGP: I don't really need to ask because I follow your stuff on Twitter a lot but how important is family to you?

DBJr: Family is everything. No matter what happens, family will always be there for you and have your back.

TGP: I respect the heck out of you for your faith and being so open about it. How do you think it has helped you in your life and in your career?

DBJr: My relationship with God has become extremely important to me over the past year. I was raised to believe in God, pray every night, try to live like him...etc. But only over this last year have I really taken it upon myself to establish a relationship with him and really dive into his word daily. It took some failure in my life to realize a lot of things. I do know a couple things for certain, the first is that God has had huge plans for me ever since I was a little kid. The second is that he won't let me fulfill what I'm supposed to do unless I am going to be a good light for him to shine through. My agent Bill Rose and his wife have helped me along the way with that. I could go on, but bottom line is that now I know I am more than just a ball player.

TGP: Your dad, Dante Sr., pursuing any other hitting jobs since leaving Colorado?

DBJr: Nope! He is going to be with Bo and I this year. Which I couldn't be any happier about!

TGP: What are you doing this offseason to improve on your 2013 season?

DBJr: I have been in the gym, running sprints, and on the field everyday. I realize the opportunity I have this year is gigantic and I am ready to go!

TGP: What do you do during the offseason to keep yourself occupied?

DBJr: When I'm not doing any sort of training, I either am pwning newbs with Bo (what we call playing video games), or doing something with Morgan, my parents, or my grandparents. Not a whole ton of off time.

TGP: How is the group Navy 58 doing? Are you guys still pursuing the whole music thing as well?

DBJr: Well Mason and I haven't been in the same place for a little while now so haven't had any opportunities to get on the mic. But he did send me a video of some new turn tables he got, so you haven't heard the last of Navy58 ;)

TGP: Favorite restaurant to eat at?

DBJr: Well my favorite food is sushi by far but favorite restaurant is Texas de Brazil.

TGP: How tough is it to be on the road so much and know your girlfriend is at home waiting for you?

DBJr: Well actually she came to a bunch of games last year. Big props and thanks to her for all the driving she did. She definitely deserves some sort of award. I don't think they makes those. haha. But to be honest, it wouldn't be hard at all, all my focus is on the season and getting to the Big Leagues, and she is on board with that 100%. It was in her contract ;)

TGP: I see your a Hunger Games fan, I assume you read the books? How crazy is that last movie (or two more than likely) going to be? It's about go down, lol. 

DBJr: Oh man... Greatest question I've ever been asked. I love the Hunger Games. Even more than I loved Avatar. Which was a lot. I watched the movies first, and am now reading the books so no spoilers!

TGP: Speaking of Hunger Games I was kind of stalking your Twitter for this interview and saw that Christmas dinner spread you had. First off, nice work. Secondly, where was my invite D? Third, do you consider yourself a foodie?

DBJr: Haha! Thanks! I only recently started cooking. My Vovo' and Vovo^ have taught me absolutely every dish I know. Except for my dads famous hot dog sandwich.  

TGP: I think this answer may be obvious but in my time around social media I have noticed there are two kinds of fans when it comes to prospects. You have the "prospect humpers" (myself being a self professed prospect humper) and a name yet to be determined (due to my lack of creativity) describing those who want to sell all the prospects off for the 37 year old "sure thing." Which category do you think yourself as a fan falls into?

DBJr: That's a funny one. I don't actually know if I fall into the "fan" category at all. You can ask Bo. If we ever need to know any stat, score, name, anything he is the one we go to. 

TGP: What current Major League player do you think you compare to the most?

DBJr: In the past I would have gave you an answer, but I really don't think there is a comparison. I could be my own type of player.  When I make it, you'll see what I mean. 

TGP: I know you probably don't think of things like this but how long before you think we could see you in the Major Leagues? I have your ETA down as late 2016, is that accurate?

DBJr: The way things usually work is whenever the higher ups feel a player is Big League ready, they move him fast. I plan to be ready this year. But I don't make the moves so who knows!

TGP: If you could be the Yankees GM for a day what would you do? Don't have to really be realistic here. 

DBJr: Hmmmmmm... I don't think it would be smart for me to answer this one. But I will say I would move Bo Bichette to the top of my Draft Board. That's a no-brainer. 

TGP: We'll finish with this one, where do you see yourself in life and your career in five years?

DBJr: I see myself as a FEARLESS star in the Big leagues. Bringing glory to God with the spot light he has given me every day.

TGP: Like Ty Hensley, and many other Yankees beat writers and prospects, we just wanted to take a second to really thank you for being so gracious and generous with us. There are so many people either in the organization or covering the organization that do not understand the "social" part of social media and you are always active and willing to talk with us. This is the second time we have interviewed you and you are always a pleasure to talk with. I personally appreciate you and I know our readers do too, we just wanted to let you know that. Thank you!

DBJr: Awesome man! No problem. God Bless. 

We want to thank Dante again for taking the time to do this interview and for always taking the time out for his fans, it is appreciated more than you know. You can follow Dante on Twitter by following @DBJr19. I have a real feeling, and remember where you heard it first, this is going to be Dante's breakout season. Between him not letting anyone outwork him and having his father there to guide him all season long I think this will not be the last we have heard from Dante Bichette Jr. this season. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 2/9

On this day in 1980 the late Yankees catcher Thurman Munson is inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame at Kent State University. Munson was a college outfielder at Kent and was taught to play catcher by Hal Schoonover, a coach of the Ken Golden Flashes baseball team.

On this day in 2001, after 13 months of negotiations, Derek Jeter and the Yankees finalized a 10 year deal worth $189 million. Jeter would become the highest paid player in the game behind only Alex Rodriguez who was making $252 million over 10 seasons.

On this sad day in 2007 Bernie Williams shared with reporters that he planned to decline the Yankees invitation to Spring Training on a minor league contract. Williams mentioned that he had been working out but has not ruled out retirement.

On this day in 2009, two days after the story broke on, Alex Rodriguez admitted to and then apologized for using steroids when he was a Texas Rangers shortstop from 2001 to 2003. A Rod conducted the interview on ESPN and told us that he was hoping to live up to his mega contract that he got with the Rangers for 10 years and $252 million.