Wednesday, October 7, 2015

2015 Yankees: Alex Rodriguez Highlights

Highlights from Alex Rodriguez's age 40 season. Enjoy and have a good evening. 

Yankees Will Bring Nova Back for 2016

The New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters that he is immediately working on 2016 after the tough loss in the Wild Card game last night in the Bronx. One decision for that 2016 season has already been made, Ivan Nova will be with the team in some capacity next season. Nova enters his final season of team control and arbitration after making $3.3 million in 2015 and the Yankees intend to tender him a contract for 2016.

Nova pitched through his first year removed from Tommy John surgery this season and had his ups and his downs. Nova looked flat out dominant at times and at other times he was looking like an 11-game loser and a pitcher bound for the bullpen. Nova will receive a contract but that doesn't mean he won't be traded later but if he sticks with the team into spring training he joins a laundry list of names vying for the starting rotation including Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda, Luis Severino, Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren, Chase Whitley, Brady Lail, Bryan Mitchell and CC Sabathia to name a few.

Shifting in Baseball Still Prevalent in 2015

Major League Baseball has seen teams shift more and more over the past few seasons and the 2015 season was no exception to that. When all the shifts were tallied and all the games were played MLB teams combined for a whopping 17,733 defensive shifts on balls in play this season. That whopping number is a 33% increase from the 2014 total of 13.298.

In 2011 Major League Baseball saw just 2,357 shifts while the numbers jumped to 4,577 in 2012 and 8,180 in 2013. The stats don’t lie on the effectiveness of shifts. Sure they giveth and they taketh away from game to game and situation to situation but over the course of a 162 game schedule the shift giveth much more than it could ever think of taking away.

Colorado has the biggest increase in shifting this season as they finally adopted the strategy shifting 897 more times in 2015, up from just 114 times in 2014. Tampa Bay, the team that likely began the shifting strategy we see in the game today, led Major League Baseball in shifting this season with 1,462 shifts, a rise of 638 shifts from 2014, while the Houston Astros were second with 1,416.

The Atlanta Braves (211) and the Washington Nationals (216) have still yet to adopt the shifting strategy yet and were the two teams with the fewest shifts in 2015. The New York Yankees are known for their shifting and continued to showcase it often in 2015 taking some of the pressure off their starting pitchers and when the Yankees are doing it you know it’s time to change. They still won’t allow beards for crying out loud!

The Final 2015 USA Today Weekly MLB Power Rankings

The New York Yankees had an absolutely miserable final week of the season. The team’s last 11 games included four games each with the Chicago White Sox and the Boston Red Sox before finishing with three games in Baltimore against the Orioles. The Yankees had to win one game to clinch a playoff spot, which they did, and win two games or get some help to host the Wild Card Round in the Bronx. Well the Yankees got the help as they basically backed into the postseason going 1-6 in their final seven games. Ouch!

The New York Yankees were ranked 8th last week but after being the biggest fall of the final week, falling two spots, the Bronx Bombers finished the season with the #10 position. Meanwhile the biggest rise of the week went to the Tampa Bay Rays who rose two spots to the #17 position. To round out the rest of the American League East you have the Toronto Blue Jays ranked 3rd overall heading into the postseason while the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox finished the season ranked 16th and 18th respectively.  

The Top Five teams according to the rankings were the St. Louis Cardinals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago Cubs. The five worst teams in the league according to the rankings were the #26 Milwaukee Brewers, the #27 Colorado Rockies, the #28 Atlanta Braves, the #29 Philadelphia Phillies and the #30 Cincinnati Reds.

All this and five bucks will get you a 10 pc. Chicken nuggets meal at McDonalds. Second season. 

Predicting the 2015 World Series

The Chicago Cubs and the Toronto Blue Jays, a 2015 World Series that I doubt anyone had before the season started. I know I didn't, I had the Washington Nationals and the Seattle Mariners, but I do know. I had the Blue Jays taking an easier route than the second Wild Card winning Chicago Cubs but the end result is the same. Who takes home their first World Series championship trophy in a long (and for the Cubs I mean A LONG) time.

Just as a reminder the American League won the 2015 All-Star Game so the Toronto Blue Jays will have home-field advantage throughout the World Series with games one, two, six and seven inside the Rogers Centre.

Game 1 - Rogers Centre
Jake Arrieta vs. David Price
Blue Jays win 4-1
Toronto leads best of seven series 1-0

Game 2 - Rogers Centre
Jon Lester vs. Marcus Stroman
Blue Jays win 9-4
Toronto leads best of seven series 2-0

Game 3 - Wrigley Field
Marco Estrada vs. Jason Hammel 
Cubs win 7-3
Toronto leads best of seven series 2-1

Game 4 - Wrigley Field
RA Dickey vs. Kyle Hendricks
Cubs win 3-1
Toronto and Chicago tied at 2-2

Game 5 - Wrigley Field
David Price vs. Jake Arrieta
Toronto wins 2-0
Toronto leads best of seven series 3-2

Game 6 - Rogers Centre
Jon Lester vs. Marcus Stroman
Cubs win 5-4
Toronto and Chicago tied at 3-3

Game 7 - Rogers Centre
Jake Arrieta vs. Marco Estrada
Cubs win 5-3
Cubs win 2015 World Series 4-3

That's it, the Chicago Cubs pull the upset. I've watched too much Back to the Future II.

The Significance of the Yankees Farm System Going Forward

The 2015 season has been the Year of the Prospect, and not just for the New York Yankees but for the entirety of Major League Baseball. Without the concrete numbers in front of me I would think we have seen more Major League debut’s in 2015 then we have in quite a long time, I know for a fact that the New York Yankees set the record for the most by one team in a single season with 18 this season. Yesterday when the Yankees released their Wild Card postseason rosters I couldn’t help but be amazed at just how much homegrown talent was on the roster. Sure a few spots would have been filled if it had not been for injuries to Stephen Drew, Mark Teixeira and Nathan Eovaldi and had CC Sabathia been available but still, in years past those losses would have been a death sentence and in 2015 it has made the team win almost in spite of it all.

Breaking down those rosters from yesterday’s game you can see just how the Yankees farm system is going to play a significant role for the team going forward. Luis Severino, Greg Bird, James Pazos, Robert Refsnyder, Gary Sanchez, Rico Noel, Bryan Mitchell and Slade Heathcott all made the Yankees Wild Card roster as rookies and all but Noel, who was originally in the San Diego Padres organization before the middle of 2015, came from the Yankees farm system. Sure a case could be made that if the team hadn’t lost Eovaldi that Severino wouldn’t be in, if the team hadn’t lost Drew that Refsnyder would be in, if the team hadn’t lost Teixeira that Bird wouldn’t be in and if it wasn’t a one-game playoff that allowed the team to reset their rosters after the game if they won that Sanchez wouldn’t be in but I don’t think I would necessarily feel comfortable agreeing with that.

Severino was held back early in his minor league season with the hopes of him coming up late and providing the boost that he has. Bird was up when both Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira were healthy and was being groomed slowly, that plan just never came to fruition. You likely have a point with Refsnyder, only because his second half numbers were atrocious, and Sanchez but the fact of the matter is the Yankees have been preparing for this day all season long.

The reason David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist to name a few are not wearing Yankees uniforms these days is because of the significance of the farm system going forward. That farm system will only get more and more important as the contracts of ARod, CC Sabathia, Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira come off the board and I, for one, am excited to see it happen. 

Unofficial 2016 MLB Draft order

With the 2015 regular season now in the books and the unofficial draft order is now set. Just like in years past the Top 10 picks in the draft are protected meaning that these ten teams cannot lose their first round picks. Also no picks in the first 29 picks went unsigned from the 2015 draft meaning that teams will not get compensation picks until the 36th overall pick (Los Angeles Dodgers). A lot can change between now and the June, 2016 draft with free agency and qualifying offers so stay tuned.

1. Phillies 63-99
2. Reds 64-98
3. Braves 67-95
4. Rockies 68-94
5. Brewers 68-94
6. Athletics 68-94
7. Marlins 71-91
8. Padres 74-88
9. Tigers 74-88
10. White Sox 76-86
11. Mariners 76-86
12. Red Sox 78-84
13. Diamondbacks 79-83
14. Rays 80-82
15. Orioles 81-81
16. Indians 81-80
17. Twins 83-79
18. Nationals 83-79
19. Giants 84-78
20. Angels 85-77
21. Astros 86-76
22. Yankees 87-75
23. Rangers 88-74
24. Mets 90-72
25. Dodgers 92-70
26. Blue Jays 93-69
27. Royals 95-67
28. Cubs 97-65
29. Pirates 98-64
30. Cardinals 100-62

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/7: Torre on the Block

George Steinbrenner was known for his hiring and firing of his manager’s but easily the longest tenured manager during his reign as Yankees manager was Joe Torre. After winning four World Series championships with the club and reaching the postseason every single season as the Yankees manager Steinbrenner threatened Torre’s job on this day in 2007 stating that if the team did not beat the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS this season that his job would be in jeopardy. The Yankees trailed 2-0 in the best of five series and would rally behind Mr. Torre on this day to win 6-4 in come from behind fashion.

Also on this day in 1988 Billy Martin was once again replaced as the manager of the Yankees by Dallas Green. During his tenure Martin compiled a 1253-1013 record as the manager of the Tigers, Yankees, Twins, A’s, and Rangers in 19 seasons.

Finally on this day in Yankees history New York clinched two different World Series titles. The first was in 1950 when rookie pitcher Whitey Ford helped the Yankees sweep Philadelphia for the team’s second consecutive World Series title. In 1952 the Yankees would win their fourth consecutive title, also on this day, as the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in seven games.