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Why A.J. Burnett will be great this year

Posted by Mike on March 6, 2011 at 12:17 PM Comments comments (2)

In the offseason, Larry Rothschild worked with Burnett to keep his movement straight towards the plate. Last year, Burnett would constantly kick his leg back, and would therefore swing towards the plate. When this happened, his arm tended to drag around his body, rather than move straight out and finishing the pitch. Immediately, when that happens, you lose your fastball command – exactly what Burnett would say was the problem every game. When he started to acknowledge that his arm was dragging towards the plate, he began to try to fix that during his motion. He would pull the ball down in order to compensate. That overcompensation would cause to him to yank the curveball down into the dirt or leaving it hanging. By changing the swinging motion, Burnett will be able to command his fastball much more than he had been, and he will no longer (or less often) yank his curveball into the dirt of the lefty batters box. Obviously, I’m no pitching coach, but this is just what I saw last year.

 

We all know that when A.J. has his command, he is unstoppable, and that is what he will be this season.

Prediction Results

Posted by Mike on March 5, 2011 at 9:31 AM Comments comments (6)

The way these optimism points work is the following: For each stat (Sabathia Wins), I ranked each of us in who had the most optimistic or highest prediction. I did that for all the different stats, and then found the total optimism points. As you can see, Ken was the most optimistic while I was the least optimistic about these predictions.

Below are the averages of all our predictions for each stat.

Sabathia W = 20

Sabathia ERA = 3.27

Sabathia K = 195

Hughes W = 17

Hughes ERA = 3.81

Hughes K = 178

Burnett W = 15

Burnett ERA = 4.17

Burnett K = 191

Mariano SV = 33

Mariano ERA = 1.79

Jeter AVG = 0.295

Jeter HR = 12

Jeter RBI = 68

Swisher AVG = 0.290

Swisher HR = 28

Swisher RBI = 90

Teixeira AVG = 0.290

Teixeira HR = 34

Teixeira RBI = 111

Rodriguez AVG = 0.292

Rodriguez HR = 37

Rodriguez RBI = 124

Cano AVG = 0.329

Cano HR = 29

Cano RBI = 114

Posada AVG = 0.275

Posada HR = 20

Posada RBI = 79

Granderson = AVG 0.278

Granderson = HR 26

Granderson = RBI 85

Gardner AVG = 0.300

Gardner HR = 6

Gardner RBI = 61

Martin AVG = 0.270

Martin HR = 13

Martin RBI = 66

Games won = 96

Place = 2

Evening Misc.

Posted by Mike on March 1, 2011 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)
  • The Yankees managed only one walk and four hits -- including Curtis Granderson's triple -- on Tuesday, but Phil Hughes delivered two scoreless innings in a 2-0 loss to the Pirates.
  • David Robertson on Jesus Montero today: "He looked good. He looked real good." So far, all we've heard about Montero's defense this spring is positive, a great sign for the Yankees.
  • Girardi on Montero: "I can’t tell you how many strides he’s made since last year."

Some misc. from Lohud:

Girardi said his only real complaint with Hughes’ outing was that he was up a little bit with his fastball. Otherwise, Girardi was pleased. “First time out, I was happy,” Girardi said.

• Still no game set in stone for Russell Martin to catch, but he’ll probably DH the second half of tomorrow’s game. Jorge Posada will get the start.

• Girardi explained the injury status of Andrew Brackman, Ronnie Belliard and Greg Golson this morning, but he said there are no other pressing issues as far as health. “Everyone else is good,” he said.

• The big hit of the day was Curtis Granderson’s first-inning triple. Otherwise, the Yankees had only two hits, an infield single by Nick Swisher and two bloop singles by Eric Chavez.

• Robertson had a two-strikeout inning. Steve Garrison pitched two innings after Robertson, both scoreless. The Yankees lost 2-0 with the runs charged to Brian Anderson and Andy Sisco.

• Boone Logan made the trip but didn’t pitch. That’s a big unusual for a big leaguer, but I’m sure he’d rather make this trip than Thursday’s, which is pretty far away.

Here is the latest on the Liriano rumors, from Mike Axisa of RAB.

Moshe Mandel of newly formed, The Yankee Analysts talks about the importance of grabbing elite talent as it relates to Twins' pitcher Francisco Liriano.

From MLBTR:

•Johnny Damon tells Ken Davidoff of Newsday that his free agent discussions with the Yankees this past winter involved a scenario that would have seen Damon make three starts per week for New York. Damon turned the deal down since the lack of playing time would have hurt his quest for 3000 hits.

A.J. Burnett starts tomorrow for the Yanks against Houston - the game will be shown on YES.

Have a good night.

Late Afternoon Notes

Posted by Mike on February 26, 2011 at 4:47 PM Comments comments (0)

In the Yankees' first game of Spring Training today, they lost to the Phillies 5-4. They did receive some good offense from Mark Teixeira and Jorge Vazquez and some fairly good pitching from Bartolo Colon, Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, Hector Noesi, and Luis Ayala (I think its Luis).

In the trade rumors category, Bob Nightendale of USA Today reported that the Yankees were keeping a very close eye on Francisco Liriano of the Minnesota Twins. The full MLBTR story:

The Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins starter Francisco Liriano, tweets Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Meanwhile, the Twins are keeping tabs on Yankees prospects.

Earlier this month it was reported that the Twins were open to dealing the left-hander. The two sides briefly chatted about a multiyear deal but the talks went nowhere as Liriano was after a three-year, $39MM extension when the sides discussed a deal. While it appears that the talks did take place, the hurler did not believe that they were ever "serious."

Recently, Twins Assistant GM Rob Antony said that the rumors of the club being willing to move Liriano had no truth to them. The 27-year-old holds a great deal of value, however, and is due just $4.3MM in 2011.

Have a good rest of day.

The Adam Wainwright & Chris Carpenter Situation

Posted by Mike on February 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM Comments comments (0)

When throwing batting practice a few days ago, Cardinals' starter, Adam Wainwright felt a tug in his right elbow. Several days later, we have received confirmation from GM John Mozeliak that Wainwright will undergo Tommy John surgery. Wainwright has been one of the best starting pitchers in the game for the last three years going 50-22 with a 2.68 ERA and 516 strikeouts.

With this news, one of two things may happen:

  1. The Cardinals will continue to compete, keeping Chris Carpenter as their ace, while adding another arm from within or from outside.
  2. Or the Cardinals will give up in their division and sell.

If the Cardinals decide to sell, Chris Carpenter would be a huge potential target for the Yankees. Carpenter has pitched extraordinarily well these last couple seasons after arm injuries. In 2009 he had the lowest ERA in the league, while in 2010 his ERA increased to a low 3.22 while increasing his innings to 235.

Yes, he is 36 but he would still be a very signfigant improvement over Garcolitre Novelpesi.

However, there are two major logistical problems.

1. The NL Central is up for grabs as there is no clear favorite. This dramatically decreases the likelihood of the Cardinals selling.

2. If the Cardinals start selling, there is no way that Albert Pujols will want to resign with them. Who would want to resign with a team that is in the rebuilding process, when he could get more money to play on a stronger contender? Not Pujols.

Which of the two things will the Cardinals do? My guess is they will try to contend with what they have and not trade Carpenter. But, then again what does anybody's guess mean? Everyone guessed that Cliff Lee would sign with the highest bidder. And we know that guess was wrong.

 

 

Opening Day Starter = Bartolo Colon

Posted by Mike on February 22, 2011 at 2:37 PM Comments comments (0)

That is opening day of Spring Training. The Yankees think he is more ready than the other pitchers because Colon pitched winter ball. From Chad Jennings of Lohud:

Ivan Nova will start the second game followed by CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia. First time through the rotation, Sergio Mitre will be available out of the bullpen.

Spring Training Notes

Posted by Mike on February 20, 2011 at 5:31 PM Comments comments (0)

Mike Axisa did a pretty good job summing up today's Spring Training events, so here you go (from RAB):

•Derek Jeter held his season opening press conference this morning. “You won’t see anything different [regarding the swing],” said the Cap’n despite his work with Kevin Long. Jeter indicated that he’s looking forward to his pursuit of 3,000 hits, that he’s no longer bothered by his contract negotiations, and that he fully expects to exercise the fourth year player option in his deal. Of course he does. (Chad Jennings, Jack Curry & Mark Feinsand)

•Despite hiring Scott Boras this offseason, Robbie Cano does not plan on asking the Yankees for a contract extension. “I would never do that,” he said. It really doesn’t matter, Robbie could ask all he wants, but the Yankees still have contractual control of him (through club options) through 2013. (Marc Carig)

•Alex Rodriguez is showing off improved flexibility after shedding ten pounds (down to 223) and three percentage points of body fat (down to nine percent). I guess it was the popcorn diet (/easy joke). Kevin Long said A-Rod‘s swing is “as good as I’ve seen it since ’07.” I’ll believe it when I see it. (Buster Olney & Pete Caldera)

•You can add Mark Teixeira to the list of players that shed some weight this offseason, at least based on visual inspection. (Carig)

•Jorge Posada is going to see some playing time at first base, which only makes sense. If he can do it once every two weeks to spell Tex, then great. (Andrew Marchand)

•Hector Noesi has arrived in camp after his visa issues, and he was scheduled to throw a bullpen today. (Erik Boland)

•Here’s the full list of bullpen assignments, batting practice groups, and infield/outfield assignments. (Jennings)

•The Yankees aren’t going to play any intra-squad games this year. The first exhibition game is next Saturday against the Phillies. (Bryan Hoch)

Have a good night.

Something Interesting

Posted by Mike on February 19, 2011 at 11:33 AM Comments comments (1)

If you look at this graph, you see that last year, Phil Hughes' ERA and BB/9 were as close to exactly inverse to each other as they could get.

 

What this means:

The inverse relationship means that when Hughes was on top of his game, was when he was less careful, and challenged the hitters to hit it. When he started becoming too careful with strikes and balls in May on, his ERA quickly rose. This spells out that Phil Hughes absolutely must back to challenging hitters with his fastball and electric curve, and worry less about walks. He had many walks in March and April, but he was not allowing nearly as many runs.

 

Without any doubt, Hughes is a vitally important piece in the rotation. To perform the way he needs to perform, he needs to start challenging the hitters again.

Open Thread: A Random WAR Comparison

Posted by Mike on February 18, 2011 at 8:25 PM Comments comments (0)

These are the individual WAR's for Halladay, Oswalt, Sabathia, and Santana. Sabathia had the highest WAR youngest. Halladay has the highest WAR oldest. Highest overall went to Halladay (who also had the lowest). Fairly interesting. Have a good night.

Spring Training Notes

Posted by Mike on February 18, 2011 at 7:07 PM Comments comments (1)

(Montero and Burnett photos from Chad Jennings of Lohud and Joba photo from RAB)

 

Some miscellaneous from the first couple days of Spring Training:

  • Once again, Brian Cashman has stated his openess of adding more rotation options - at the right price. Joel Sherman of the New York Post says that the Yankees are interested in Kevin Millwood. Unless it's a minor-league deal for Millwood, the deal would be a big ugh for me. Let's face it - he was done last year.
  • Cashman told Mark Feinsand of the Daily News that prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances will not start with the MLB team. They are set to be on the AA team in Trenton. It's better to move them slowly through the system than to rush them and not get a good outcome, so this isn't too surprising.
  • Former Yankee outfield, Gary Sheffield has retired. Sheffield says, "It's time to say goodbye."
  • The YES Network has been nominated for 46 New York Emmy awards. According to a press release, on-air talent Bob Lorenz, Paul O’Neill, John Flaherty, Marv Albert and Jim Spanarkel received individual nominations. (Chad Jennings, Lohud)
  • Phil Hughes, David Robertson, and Joba Chamberlain have already begun mixing up their pitches in their bullpens sessions so far. (Chad Jennings, Lohud)
  • Bartolo Colon: "The problems not the weight, it's the arm. I feel really good right now the way I am. But I feel like I need to go down with my weight a little bit more.” (Chad Jennings, Lohud)
  • Yankees set-up man, Rafael Soriano is yet to throw a bullpen session. According to Joe Girardi, he will get on a mound next week. The Yankees aren't expecting a big workload at the start of the spring training game schedule. Girardi said, "We're not going to ask him to make 13 or 14 appearences." (Chad Jennings, Lohud)
  • Although Hector Noesi has been having some visa issues, Girardi says there's a chance he'll be in camp and ready to pitch on Sunday. (Chad Jennings, Lohud)
  • Freddy Garcia: "I don’t really think of it before like you have to pitch good (in spring training),” he said. “If you don’t pitch good in the regular season, that’s when you have a problem. I think spring training, you get your job done… In the past, I don’t really concentrate in spring training games, but this year I have to be different.” (Chad Jennings, Lohud)

 

 

Yankees Acquire F. Hernandez

Posted by Mike on February 16, 2011 at 6:28 PM Comments comments (0)

In a suprising devlopment, and one that no one saw coming, the Yankees have acquired right-hander F. Hernandez. He will slot right into the number two spot in the starting rotation. Oh wait, it's Fernando Hernandez! Just playing with you. (I kinda copied this trick idea from Mike Axisa of RAB.) He'll probably be a part of the AA or AAA team at the start of the season. Hernandez pitched to a 4.11 FIP  in 77.1 IP with the Athletics’ Triple-A affiliate last summer, though in 2009 he was pretty darn good: 2.81 FIP with 9.05 K/9, 3.23 uIBB/9, and 0.26 HR/9 in 69.2 IP.

Afternoon Notes

Posted by Mike on February 16, 2011 at 2:38 PM Comments comments (0)

A few afternoon notes:

  • According to Marc Carig of the Star Ledger, Joe Girardi has said that he will use Andruw Jones in the corners rather in center.
  • Also from Carig, Brian Cashman on Joba: "He's heavier." Joba did say that he feels good and stronger.
  • Gary Sanchez has undergone a heart exam. Cashman only acknowledged that Sanchez is fine now. (Carig)
  • According to Ken Davidoff of Newsday, Nick Swisher confirmed his change of agents from Joe Bick to Dan Lozano.
  • Neal Cotts has been released today after being signed to a minor league deal in November. (Carig)

Morning Misc. - Burnett,

Posted by Mike on February 16, 2011 at 5:54 AM Comments comments (0)

Some words from A.J. Burnett on last year:

"I’m a force out there. Guys don’t want to face me. I just felt like guys didn’t care if they faced me (last year). I feel like I gave them that edge… I came here to win. I came here to pitch. I came here to be behind Big Man. And I wasn’t last year."

Brian Cashman on A.J. having a good year this year:

"I certainly hope it, believe it. He’s had a history of some really high times when he’s been extremely good, and then there have been some times when he hasn’t performed up to his abilities. Whenever he’s had some dips, he’s always bounced back. I count on that. He’s coming off his worst season, but he’s had some tough stretches before and he’s responded to it. He’ll respond. I believe that. Need him to, but I believe it (too)."

Joe Girardi on the same matter:

"There’s a few reasons I have confidence in A.J. (One), I’ve seen what he can do. Two, I know his heart, and I know how disappointed he was about some of his starts last year. I saw how it affected him… I know that until the season, until we see him pitch, it’s going to be asked a lot. But I’ve just got a feeling in my gut that he’s going to have a good year because of those reasons."

Larry Rothschild:

“It’s hard to say right now, but going into it, look, this guy’s had success at a pretty good level in the major leagues. We’re not trying to rebuild anything. We’re just trying to get it where he can repeat deliveries so he can throw the ball loose. This isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a rebuilding or anything. It’s just kind of tooling it back a little bit, and refining things, and simplifying.”

Burnett:

“It got me depressed every time I thought about it, so I just stopped thinking about it. It’s in the past. I’ve had seasons before that were bad. You just have to come back. It will bury you if you don’t. Figure out a way to let it slide. I realize how important I was last year, for the first time in probably my whole career. It should be a little different."

Have a good day.

 

 

 

***Quotes thanks to Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog

 

Evening Misc. - Sabathia, Posada, Schlitter,

Posted by Mike on February 15, 2011 at 6:33 PM Comments comments (0)
  • Mariano Rivera was not in camp today because his kids have been sick and Rivera wanted to stay home until they were better.
  • Joe Girardi on Jesus Montero: “I think he sits more comfortable,” Girardi said. “I think his hands work better. He’s in outstanding shape. We’ll see as spring training goes along, we’ll get a chance to see him do everything, but he just looks more comfortable."
  • Larry Rothschild on A.J. Burnett: "Really, for him, it’s getting the ball downhill, creating the angle so it’s not flattening out going up to the plate,” Rothschild said. “I think that will help the slider. Pretty much, I think it’s that simple.”
  • Brett Gardner came to camp today (earlier than the other position players) because he's doing rehab work for his wrist. He said that his wrist feels good.

 

From MLBTR:

•Yankees GM Brian Cashman told Joel Sherman of the New York Post he won't have regrets about granting Sabathia's opt-out clause even if the left-hander exercises it, since the Yankees won a World Series with him (in 2009).

Yahoo's Jeff Passan says Sabathia will opt out after the season, because the market will allow him to earn more than $92MM in guaranteed money (that's how much will remain on his contract after 2011).

Sherman says Cliff Lee haunts the Yankees' past, present and future and guesses that it would cost at least seven years and $175MM for the Yankees to re-work Sabathia's contract, partly because of Lee.

•Jorge Posada told Tyler Kepner of the New York Times that it would be "real tough" to play elsewhere after the coming season, when he hits free agency (Twitter link).

Some notes from Chad Jennings of the Lohud Yankees Blog:

• Hector Noesi is...not in camp. He had some visa issues and hasn’t been able to report. No word on when he’s supposed to get here.

• Brian Schlitter has been claimed off waivers by the Phillies. He reported to Yankees camp yesterday morning, was designated for assignment yesterday afternoon, threw a bullpen for the Yankees this morning, and was packing his bags this afternoon.

• Brett Gardner has been hitting and throwing with no pain or discomfort. Apparently because he’s a rehab guy, he’s allowed to be in camp before the other position players.

• Despite Jorge Posada’s comment this morning that he wouldn’t be surprised to see Andy Pettitte come out of retirement before the end of the season, Joe Girardi said he’s not counting on such a return. “Andy has always been pretty true to what he says,” Girardi said.

• One day down with no major injuries to report. Girardi said nothing unexpected popped up today.

 

 

 

 

Brian Schlitter Designated for Assignment

Posted by Mike on February 14, 2011 at 6:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Via MLBTR:

The Yankees announced that they designated right-hander Brian Schlitter for assignment today to create roster space for Andruw Jones, whose signing finally became official. The Yankees claimed the 25-year-old off of waivers from the Cubs last month.

 

Schlitter appeared in seven games for the Cubs last year and surrendered 18 hits and five walks in eight innings, striking out seven. He spent most of the season at Triple-A Iowa, where he posted a 3.15 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 45 2/3 innings in his first season at the highest level of the minors.

 

Chad Jennings of the Journal News heard last month that "Schlitter is built around a fastball that sits around 92 mph and reaches 94-95 with good sink. He also has a changeup and a slider’s that’s “OK” but could get better with a little work."


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40 Man Roster

PITCHERS
Dellin Betances - RH
Andrew Brackman - 66 / RH
AJ Burnett - 34 / RH
Joba Chamberlain - 62 / RH
Pedro Feliciano - 31 / LH
Robert Fish - LH
Steve Garrison - LH
Phil Hughes - 65 / RH
Boone Logan - 48 / LH
Damaso Marte - 43 / LH
Sergio Mitre - 45 / RH
Hector Noesi - 74 / RH
Ivan Nova - 47 / RH
Ryan Pope - RH
Mariano Rivera - 42 / RH
David Robertson - 30 / RH
CC Sabathia - 52 / LH
Romulo Sanchez - 64 / RH
Rafael Soriano - 29 / RH
Daniel Turpen - RH
CATCHERS
Francisco Cervelli - 17 / R-R
Russell Martin - 55 / R-R
Jorge Posada - 20 / S-R
INFIELDERS
Robinson Cano - 24 / L-R
Reegie Corona - 76 / S-R
Derek Jeter - 2 / R-R
Brandon Laird - R-R
Eduardo Nunez - R-R
Ramiro Pena - 19 / S-R
Alex Rodriguez - 13 / R-R
Mark Teixeira - 25 / S-R
OUTFIELDERS
Colin Curtis - L-L
Brett Gardner - 11 / L-L
Greg Golson - 27 / R-R
Curtis Granderson - 14 / L-R
Andruw Jones - 18 / R-R
Justin Maxwell - R-R
Melky Mesa - R-R
Kevin Russo - 60 / R-R
Nick Swisher - 33 / S-L

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