• Bryan Mitchell

    Posted by on February 26th, 2017 · Comments (1)

    I’m not saying that Bryan Mitchell is going to be a stud. But, I really like him and find myself rooting for him. He seems to be a ball player’s ball player kind of guy.

    In fact, in my wildest dreams, I would like to see three of the kids fighting for the rotation – maybe Bryan Mitchell, Luis Cessa and Luis Severino really emerge this spring and have one of them PUSH Michael Pineda. I’ve had enough of Captain Pine Tar and his crooked cap over the last two years.

    Yankees Vs. White Sox

    Posted by on February 23rd, 2017 · Comments (1)

    This is the race that I really want to watch.

    Both teams unloaded established players to obtain blue chip prospects over the last half-year or so. And, both, according to them, had pretty good drafts/international signings the last couple of years.

    Chicago has not won a ring since 2005. The Yankees last won a ring in 2009.

    Both teams play in big markets. Both teams share a city and have their neighbor doing better than them, recently.

    It will be a nice study to see which team/GM did the better job of rebuilding.

    Getting Smart On The Divine Comedy Of Bichette’s ’99

    Posted by on February 21st, 2017 · Comments (3)

    In 1999, Dante Bichette was playing his 7th and last season with the Colorado Rockies.  (After that year, Dante was traded to the Cincinnati Reds – and was done as a major league player after 2001.)

    By conventional baseball standards, most would say that Dante had a pretty good year during that ’99 campaign – where Bichette had 38 doubles, 34 home runs, scored 104 runs and drove in 133 (runs).

    Why would that be considered good? Well, if you wanted to start a fraternity and call it the “38/34/104/133 Club” (meaning you needed to match or better those levels), there are only 27 men in baseball history to ever post a season like “that” –

    Rk Name Yrs From To Age
    1 Lou Gehrig 4 1927 1934 24-31 Ind. Seasons
    2 Carlos Delgado 3 1999 2003 27-31 Ind. Seasons
    3 Hank Greenberg 3 1935 1940 24-29 Ind. Seasons
    4 Chuck Klein 3 1929 1932 24-27 Ind. Seasons
    5 Rogers Hornsby 3 1922 1929 26-33 Ind. Seasons
    6 Todd Helton 2 2000 2001 26-27 Ind. Seasons
    7 Albert Belle 2 1996 1998 29-31 Ind. Seasons
    8 Hal Trosky 2 1934 1936 21-23 Ind. Seasons
    9 Al Simmons 2 1929 1930 27-28 Ind. Seasons
    10 Miguel Cabrera 1 2012 2012 29-29 Ind. Seasons
    11 Albert Pujols 1 2009 2009 29-29 Ind. Seasons
    12 Matt Holliday 1 2007 2007 27-27 Ind. Seasons
    13 Mark Teixeira 1 2005 2005 25-25 Ind. Seasons
    14 David Ortiz 1 2005 2005 29-29 Ind. Seasons
    15 Miguel Tejada 1 2004 2004 30-30 Ind. Seasons
    16 Magglio Ordonez 1 2002 2002 28-28 Ind. Seasons
    17 Frank Thomas 1 2000 2000 32-32 Ind. Seasons
    18 Sammy Sosa 1 2000 2000 31-31 Ind. Seasons
    19 Dante Bichette 1 1999 1999 35-35 Ind. Seasons
    20 Juan Gonzalez 1 1998 1998 28-28 Ind. Seasons
    21 Jeff Bagwell 1 1997 1997 29-29 Ind. Seasons
    22 Rafael Palmeiro 1 1996 1996 31-31 Ind. Seasons
    23 Andres Galarraga 1 1996 1996 35-35 Ind. Seasons
    24 Don Mattingly 1 1985 1985 24-24 Ind. Seasons
    25 Frank Robinson 1 1962 1962 26-26 Ind. Seasons
    26 Ted Williams 1 1949 1949 30-30 Ind. Seasons
    27 Babe Ruth 1 1921 1921 26-26 Ind. Seasons
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/21/2017.

    Don’t get confused here. This does not imply that Bichette’s 1999 was one of the greatest seasons of all-time, or, that he should be in the baseball batter’s pantheon. There’s some funky stuff with the cutting of this club. First, runs scored and runs driven in are just as much a reflection of who is batting around you as they are an indication of your production. Therefore, that factor helps and hurts some with respect to making the group.  Secondly, the doubles-homers thing can get tricky. For example, if a guy is hitting 50, 60 or 70 home runs in a season, then the odds are against him hitting many doubles as well – since his shots are flying over fences rather than falling in for two-baggers. And, the lack of doubles would then leave that great hitter off this list. Lastly, specific to Dante, there’s the whole Coors Field thing – where Bichette played all his home games in 1999. This is an extreme hitter’s park – and it inflates batting production by 25-35%, give or take – due to its high altitude. Balls fly out of Coors Field faster than they do at a brothel with a CDC warning of Syphilis detection posted in the vestibule. Although, while aided by Coors in ’99, it wasn’t as much as you would think for Dante that season.  See his home/road splits that season:

    Home 78 355 67 21 20 82 30 37 .308 .363 .575
    Away 73 304 37 17 14 51 24 47 .287 .342 .502
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 2/21/2017.

    In any event, getting back to the point, sundry caveats aside, albeit layman logic, many would consider Dante Bichette’s 1999 season to be a positive performance.  But, was it?

    That brings us to “WAR.”

    What is “WAR”? It’s an acronym that stands for “Wins Above Replacement.” And, what is “that”? Here’s how Wiki describes it:

    Wins Above Replacement or Wins Above Replacement Player, commonly abbreviated to WAR or WARP, is a non-standardized sabermetric baseball statistic developed to sum up “a player’s total contributions to his team”. A player’s WAR value is claimed to be the number of additional wins his team has achieved above the number of expected team wins if that player were substituted by a replacement-level player: a player that may be added to the team for minimal cost and effort.

    Individual WAR values are calculated from the number and success rate of on-field actions by a player (in batting, baserunning, fielding, and pitching), with higher values reflecting larger contributions to a team’s success. WAR value also depends on what position a player plays, with more value going to weaker hitting positions like catcher than positions with strong hitting such as first base. A high WAR value built up by a player reflects successful performance, a large quantity of playing time, or both combined.

    How do you calculate WAR? Well, it’s sort of akin to Keebler’s Elfin Magic. If you really want to know, then look it up. Just be warned that the explanation has been found to induce narcolepsy at the levels found when listening to Charlie Brown’s teacher.

    Brass tacks, here’s the deal with WAR. Zero means average. Negative is bad. Positive is good. The higher the positive, the better. And, the greater the negative, then it’s really bad. Got it? Coolamundo.

    Let’s go back to those 27 dudes in the “38/34/104/133 Club.” Take a guess at how many of those seasons had a WAR total that was a negative number. And, remember, it was 27 players – but, some of them did it more than once. Therefore, in reality, we’re talking about 42 “player seasons” here in total.

    Whaddya think? Maybe 20 times it was a WAR under zero? Perhaps a dozen? More like six? Three?

    Here is the answer:   JUST ONE – DANTE BICHETTE IN 1999.

    And, it’s not even close. Bichette’s WAR in that “good” 1999 season was -2.3. Yup, negative two point three.

    The next “lowest” WAR in our little club was +3.6. In fact, in 86% of those seasons – meaning 36 times in 42 attempts, the player has a WAR of +5 or higher.

    Crazy, huh?

    But, just to be fair, what killed Bichette’s value in 1999 was his fielding and base running – where, per the sabermetric determinations that are part of WAR, he had somewhere around “way below average” to “terrible” production in those departments. His hitting stats were what they are – pretty good even if assisted somewhat by Coors. Yet, in terms of “overall value,” his 1999 season was not good – per WAR – since the shortfalls in his “other than hitting” game offset the positive contributions from his offensive production. And, “that,” ladies and germs, is what WAR is good for – much more than “ab-soul-loot-lee nut-tin.”

    Lastly, don’t feel bad for Dante.  Sure, his 1999 season was not really all it was cracked up to be at first blush.  However, he did alright for himself.  He played in over 1,700 big league games.  Got paid over $40 million in the process.  And, he produced two sons who went on to become very high (round) major league draft picks – Bo and Dante Jr. That’s all pretty impressive.

    He’s always got that…along with his 1999 season being the poster child for the difference between conventional offensive counting stats and overall value (or worth) according to WAR.

    Cashman Is Still Talking…

    Posted by on February 20th, 2017 · Comments (1)

    And he says the Yankees are done being big spenders –

    Surely, more grandiose competitions await in free agency for the old stalwarts of spending.

    “I know one thing. We’re not planning that way,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told the Herald. “We’re waiting to transition out of some contracts and some older players and then eventually I’m hoping that we develop enough young players that would prevent us from having to go crazy in the free agent market. Because that’s . . . you get slaughtered doing that. Doesn’t mean we won’t participate in free agency, but we’re hoping to develop.”

    If the GM of the Yankees, a man who worked under late owner George Steinbrenner, thinks free agency can be tantamount to slaughter, everyone else is doomed.

    “Just pure dollars,” Cashman said. “Bottom line is free agency creates an open competition, so that’s why players come out of free agency so much more financially higher than when you’re in the arbitration arena or in the control arena. It’s just a huge — completely different animal.”

    Cashman’s not wrong. But Orioles third baseman Manny Machado and Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper are set to hit the market after the 2018 season. Surely, then the big-boy bidding starts anew. Exceptions to be made.

    “I know a lot of people are speculating about some of these young, some of these superstars that are with other clubs currently that their contracts are expiring and potentially could be free agents in years in the future,” Cashman said. “And my attitude is, I’d rather develop our own so I don’t have to go to marketplace to spend $100 million plus to go get somebody else. Somebody else’s asset that’s now older and got some wear and tear on ’em.

    “So our hope is that some of our young talent can emerge like (catcher) Gary Sanchez just did. But I mean, the Yankees and Red Sox have been knocking heads in international and the draft as well as free agency for decades, and that will always be the case, but the way the game’s set up now too, Toronto, Baltimore, Tampa (Bay), anybody can compete.”

    Here’s the joke – Cashman, because of his talent and skills, and lack thereof, will never be able to build a championship team with a payroll under $200 million. Never…ever. Not…going…to…happen.

    Dellin Betances

    Posted by on February 18th, 2017 · Comments (2)

    Might as well trade him now while his value is high. He’s got three more years until he can be a free agent. I bet that a team like the Nationals would he very interested in him.

    They’re going to win 84 games with him. And, they can win 84 games without him.

    Mad Dog

    Posted by on February 17th, 2017 · Comments (0)

    This was awesome:

    Maddux. What he did from 1992 from 2002 was amazing. Probably need a better word for it than amazing.

    I always remember how bad Stick Michael want to sign him for the Yankees after 1992. And, I wonder if his career would have been any different if he had signed with the Yankees. (Not that it hurt him, in any way, not to pitch for the Yankees.)

    Clemens, Seaver, Unit and Maddux – easily the best starting pitchers in modern baseball history.

    Cashman Speaks!

    Posted by on February 12th, 2017 · Comments (3)

    It’s a good read. Unless, of course, if you are Tyler Austin. Cash doesn’t seem too high on him.

    Chris Carter

    Posted by on February 7th, 2017 · Comments (15)

    Brian Cashman, making the Yankees not great again.

    I just don’t get this one. When there are more reasons for something not making sense than there are for it making sense, why do it?

    You’ve got Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, Greg Bird, Matt Holliday and Aaron Hicks all fighting for time at RF, 1B and DH. That’s five into three. And, now, it’s six into three.

    Maybe they have no faith in Judge, Austin and/or Bird? But, if you’re ever going to try and find out, this is the year for it.

    Best case scenario? Judge, Bird, Austin AND Carter each bat .600 this spring training with 8 home runs…and then you trade Carter to someone who is stupid enough to take him. Otherwise, this will go down with the signings of Ike Davis, Mark Bellhorn, Travis Lee, Angel Berroa, Richie Sexson, Travis Haffner, Brennan Boesch, Casey McGehee, Matt Lawton, Randy Winn, Bubba Trammell, Morgan Ensberg, Josh Phelps, Eric Hinske, Kevin Youkilis…well, you get the idea.

    Flashbacks Of 2004

    Posted by on February 6th, 2017 · Comments (6)

    Watching the Patriots comeback from the dead last night to win the Superbowl in overtime brought back painful memories of 2004. Now, New England has two resurrection pelts on their belt. And, I still can’t get over the first one.

    It’s been 4,492 days since the end of the 2004 ALCS, and it still haunts me.

    I do like to jest about it now and say it was the Red Sox who choked in that ALCS, since they let the Yankees win the first three games. But, really, who am I kidding with that one? The Yankees had the Red Sox number for 85 YEARS and then they let it all fall to pieces in 2004. And, since that time, the Red Sox have gone on to win three World Series rings in 13 years. (The Yankees, meanwhile, have won just one in the last 16 years.)

    I mean…that Yankees had it! Game 4, just three outs away…and then the walk to Millar and the steal by Roberts. So, damn, freaking close.

    Then there was the Tom Gordon meltdown in Game 5 – when the Yankees were 6 outs away from taking it.

    Don’t even get me started about the Bloody Sock Game – I was there. The Yankees had no plan of attack on Schilling. Plus, getting beat on a 3-run homer from the nine-hitter? That’s sort of Bucky Dent kind of painful. And, there was no way the Yankees were winning Game 7 and dropping four, five and six they way that they did…no chance, at all.

    Gordon, Quantrill, Vazquez and Brown. Gosh, they were arsonists in this one. But, that’s what Cashman gave Torre – and, Joe was going to use them if they were on the roster. Vazquez, Brown and Gordon, known headcases when the pressure was on…

    Twelve years later, New England does it again.

    I’m not a football fan. Last night doesn’t bother me – other than the fact that it brings back the pain of 2004, which is hard to forget (and forgive!) in the first place.

    Clint Frazier

    Posted by on February 1st, 2017 · Comments (7)

    When Ginger Frazier gets called up to the Yankees, the ladies and kids are going to love him.  Remember Nick Swisher? It will be something like that…right on the sweet spot for the Millennials and younger. Lots of personality, swagger, tweets, etc.

    But, anyone who thinks he’s going to be the Yankees’ Mike Trout is mistaken.

    At his worst, I think he can be an Eric Byrnes at his peak: a 20-20 player with an OPS in the high 700’s. And, that’s a very useful player. But, it’s not Andrew McCutchen…at least not in terms of the OPS.

    Since 1973, the Yankees best right-handed batting outfielders have been Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Roberto Kelly, Jesse Barfield, Lou Piniella and Gary Sheffield. And, that’s it. So, you can make a case that the Yankees don’t exactly have a history of bringing up young right-handed hitting outfielders and seeing them have a lot of success.

    Remember Hensley Meulens, Juan and Ruben Rivera, Gerald Williams…? Some of them turned out to be useful big leaguers, in time. But, no stars. Heck, maybe the last time the Yankees had a young right-handed hitting outfielder come up and be a star for the team was Hank Bauer?

    Maybe Frazier can be that guy? I just hope the hype and expectations are not his downfall.