Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Update

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, I've been kind of busy. Once the season starts I'll probably have a lot more content to post. In the meantime, please check out NYYank.com.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Igawa Project

Kei Igawa has been coined as a failure in the minds of most Yankee fans, but players with several years left on the contracts seldom fade into the dark. The lefthander will not likely make the rotation this spring, but a bullpen spot is a possibility. He's the only southpaw other than Sean Henn who will even have a chance at the majors this year, and the Yanks are hoping he can forget his lousy 2007 campaign and move forward.

Igawa's a very unusual guy. He partakes in a heavy pre-game routine which includes a heavy dose of running. I don't really see it. Supposedly, for sinkerball pitchers, some fatigue can actually make them more effective, but Igawa seems to like throwing his pitches in the upper half of the zone, so it clearly isn't doing it for him. Perhaps under the guidance of a new pitching coach, Dave Eiland, the former Sawamura winner will be able to take form.

Igawa's splits are incredibly useless - he is nearly identical in each comparison. Did he fare best at home or on the road? Well, looking at his home ERA of 6.54 and his road ERA of 5.76, it's tough to see which. There isn't much there. Even more amazing was his lefty/righty line - a 6.23 ERA vs. a 6.26. Wow, we should ask him how he did it.

His biggest problems are walks and home runs. Other than that, which is kind of a big deal, he was good. His main stat line showcases a nice K/9 ratio of 7.05. To me, this is the biggest indication that he does have a chance to be a good reliever. After all, his best performance of year, which came against the Red Sox, was in relief.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The New Joba Rules (Suck)

Joba Chamberlain's role this year was uncertain until just recently. He will be used as a reliever until June or so and then convert to a starter. According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, Joba will also be slated for a month or so in the minors to prepare himself for the rotation.

The Yankee brass is also limiting Joba's innings total to a reasonable 140.

This seems all well and good, but isn't it kind of a big deal that he'll be unavailable, in any capacity, for a few weeks? The bullpen could be a horrendous nightmare. Unless Kyle Farnsworth-less, Edwar "The Stick" Ramirez or someone else can step up, we could be looking at a rough stretch during the summer. My guess is that he dominates as the 8th inning guy once again and that the starters pitch well enough to leave them be, forcing the Yankees to rethink their plan and leave him in the 'pen.

What if you waste all that time getting him ready only to have him pitch with mediocrity as a starter? Not only would it be discouraging, but you would be a reliever short. One that you, I don't know, kind of need. A lot. Let's hope that Ross Ohlendorf can forgo his dorky name and take the job. Or maybe Jonathan Albaladejo. Heck, if he's gone long enough, Humberto Sanchez or Mark Melancon could end up in the bullpen this year.

As a side note, in the article, Sherman spelled Daniel McCutchen's name with an 'O'. Uh, do you read, Joel?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stat References

I've been using MLB.com pages for statistical reference so far, and I'm just wondering what you think. Personally, I think they're not that well designed. Maybe I'll take a cue from Tim Dierkes over at MLBTradeRumors.com and start using a stat site (he uses The Baseball Cube). Let me know what you think by commenting on this post.

Wang Gets Beat Down

Chien-Ming Wang has lost his arbitration case - his 2008 salary will be a paltry $4 million. It's still tough to figure out why there was even a hearing in the first place. Wang submitted a figure of $4.6 million and the Yankees' proposal, which was only $600,00 less, won in the end.

Sure, saving some money is nice, but not at the expense of the morale of one of your best starting pitchers. Furthermore, Wang was disappointed that the Yankees didn't explore a multiyear deal, a la Robinson Cano. I can't imagine that he's too happy now that the Yankees took him to court over a sum of money that makes Hank Steinbrenner's lunch bill look stingy (I presume that it is quite expensive).

To make things worse, trade winds howling Wang's name have been blowing (seriously, no puns intended). The Yanks would need some kind of useful Major League talent in return, so I don't see this happening. What would they do, trade him for middle relief?

No, they'll keep him, and an extension is possible in the future. It must be comforting to Chien-Ming that his "loss" still netted him a bigger paycheck than any previous arbitration salary for a first-year eligible starting pitcher. Even when you lose, sometimes you win, I suppose.

Unsung Yankees Episode 1: Wilson Betemit

This is the first of the videos that I made. Unfortunately, using actual game footage is considered copyright violation by MLB, so this is strictly sounds 'n slides. You may have actually seen this on YouTube at some point in the past few months, but my account was banned for supposed copyright violation in other Yankees vids. Oh well, who needs them anyway, right?



video

Wilson Betemit's Role

Wilson Betemit had some great run production despite a low batting average (.226 w/NYY). He managed to drive in 24 runs - 24 - in just 84 ABs. He's a slugger in the making; the question is whether or not he can make enough contact, especially against lefties. The switch-hitting utility infielder has managed well on the on-base percentage front, however - he posted an impressive .359 before coming over from the Dodgers in addition to a .474 slugging percentage. That definitely takes the sting out of a low batting average. Are you beginning to see a trend with this OPS thing?

The biggest question for Willie is where he plays. If he can man first base with some authority, expect him to get a lot of time against righthanders. His power is certainly good enough for your average first baseman and I would consider him a plus power hitter at any other infield position. He smacked 10 HRs for the Dodgers in just 156 ABs in 2007 - which, if projected over 550 ABs, would mean as many as 35 HRs. Wow. Anything close to that would be fantastic, like 25.

If Betemit can't figure out the decisively slow position that is the cold corner, his playing time will drop significantly. He won't be DH-ing; there's sort of a gigantic roadblock on that road, and third, short and second are locked up unless an injury (God forbid) manifests itself. I always thought he was sort of a diamond in the rough that somebody would figure out eventually. Heck, the whole trade rumor community thought he was going to the Yankees for Scott Proctor for an entire year. Now that he's on a team that could actually use him for something other than a stopgap, it will be interesting to see what he can do.