Texeira on a diet and more

texeira

Mark Texeira has announced that he is on a new gluten free, sugar free, and dairy free diet. He plans to use this diet for the remainder of his career and hopes it will help him play injury free. This along with the return of his weightlifting program have Texeira optimistic. So much in fact that he expects to hit 30 home runs and 100 RBIs again. If he can capitalize on his prediction, that will be music to our ears.

Texeira has added 13 pounds of muscle so far, and has also been losing fat. He said daily one hour treatments throughout the season were not fun, and this is what helped him commit to his new diet. Mark Texeira is not concerned about hitting the ball away from the shift saying: “That’s exactly what the other team wants, to take a middle-of-the-order power hitter and turn him into a slap hitter.” In order to combat the shift, Texeira said that he would try to hit more extra base hits and walk more often.

Mark Texeira finds it ironic how he was once a rookie in Texas being mentored by A-Rod, and now he will be mentoring Alex on how to handle 1st base. Mark said having a decent backup is important and that he plans on teaching Alex Rodriguez some things.

In other news, Hank Aaron publicly said that he supported A-Rod. Hank Aaron says that he has had the opportunity to talk with Alex Rodriguez in the past, and considers him a nice person. Aaron said he would even consider going to games that Alex plays in. Hank Aaron was very forgiving of Alex, and was looking forward to see what he can do this year. All Yankee fans should embrace Hank Aaron’s sentiment.

Mariano Rivera was spotted in Spring Training recently. Mo is working as a Spring Training instructor for about 2 weeks, and Girardi says that it is Mariano’s decision what he chooses to discuss with the players.

Those were the biggest stories of the past two days. My apologies for being unable to post yesterday, had an unforeseen incident occur yesterday that took up the time I set aside typically for blogging. I will try to get another article out today though.

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Why the Banuelos Trade Makes Sense

On the 1st day of the year, the Yankees shipped former top prospect Manny Banuelos to the Braves for 2 relievers, David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.  Surprising to me, the deal received a lot of backlash and criticism.  I can understand some of the concern, Banuelos is still only 23 and he was one of the Yankee’s top prospect just several years ago.  However, the trade couldn’t make more sense for the Yankees.

I for one was never overly impressed with Manny Banuelos, there have been plenty of pitchers over the years who performed well in the low minor and never made a significant impact on their team.  Besides the fact that it seems that sooner or later he might see himself in the pen like Tommy Hunter, Luke Hocheaver and Wade Davis. Banuelos has had trouble pitching deep into games, like another top Yankee prospect Dellin Betances.  Like Betances, Banuelos would probably perform better in relief.  Looking at his minor league career you see two things:

1) His best performances were at Rookie Ball, Single-A, and High Single-A.

2) He has only pitched 100 innings twice in his minor league career.

In fact when he was dominating in Rookie Ball, he did so primarily as a reliever.  In Single-A he was facing players just barely out of High School and College, and also made 7 relief appearances that year.  In 2010 he made 9 starts in the Arizona Fall League and Rookie Ball, and on average threw just 3 1/3 innings.  He had 10 Advanced Single-A starts and threw only 44 1/3 innings.  Only in his three Double-A starts in 2010 did he average 5 innings a game.  In fact he pitched so little in 2010 that he did not win a single start!  His command also was not very good, but was masked when he was facing younger and more aggressive hitters, as seen by his 4.6 BB/9 in Double and Triple-A.  His H/9 were increasing and his SO/9 decreasing each year, and then he had Tommy John Surgery.  As a result he had 6 starts in 2 years before coming back from Tommy John.  In 2014 we again see the same problems from the overhyped prospect.  Banuelos made 25 starts (26 appearances) and threw just 76 innings.  His plus velocity and decent stuff might have been enough in the low minors, but as you move up you need to have solid command and throw strikes.

Ok so now let’s take a look at David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.  David Carpenter is a power reliever with solid command and is kind of an upgraded version of Shawn Kelley. Carpenter is not yet arbitration eligible and is heading into his age 29 season.  Chasen Shreve could be a left-handed reliever with a role resembling the one Boone Logan once had.  Shrever pitched superb in 15 outings with Atlanta last year, giving up 1 run in 12 1/3 innings and having a 5.00 SO/W ratio. Chasen also had an ERA+ of 514, if only it could stay that high over a larger sample.  Realistically though he will still have a solid season at age 24, and he will be under team control for 5 years.  He pitched well in the minors, and it translated into big league success in his small stint in 2014.

So to sum this up the Yankees traded a starter with reliever-like stamina, for two solid relievers with better durability.  Heading into 2014 the Yankees have a surplus of injury prone pitchers, to be able to obtain this much for an unproven player at the Major League level is certainly something that should make Cashman and Yankees fans everywhere smile.

Where Warren has the most Value?

Adam Warren how now been a reliever for the Yankees for 2 seasons.  There has been discussion circling around about whether he gets some starts during spring training, and whether he should remain a reliever.  This is a delicate situation, you can’t just move a player in and out from starting to relieving on a yearly basis.  Just look at how that worked with Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes.  The last season Warren was a starter was in 2012 at Triple A-Scranton.  The big question the Yankees need to ask is: Where does Adam Warren provide more value for the team?

Warren had a SO/9 of about 6.5 in 2011 and 2012 and Triple A.  Batters made contact in about 76% of their plate appearances.  In 2012 he gave up nearly 10 hits per 9 innings, and threw 9 wild pitches.  His whip was 1.39, and he only had a 2.33 SO/W ratio.  Pitching to contact in Yankee Stadium is a dangerous thing, but it is not as big of a concern when you only pitch an inning a night.  Now we look at his stats as a reliever in 2013 and 2014. SO/9 increased by about 2, hit went down by 1.5, lower ERA, and an almost identical SO/W ratio.  He pitched ineffectively as a starter for his one appearance in 2012, but that couldn’t have been nerves from making his MLB debut.

Heading into the year the Yankees will have at least 7 pitchers who can start on the 25 man roster, including Esmil Rogers and Adam Warren.  Ivan Nova will be coming back sometime early in the season, which would give them 8 pitchers capable of starting around May and June.  Why move Warren out of the bullpen and have to worry about who can handle his previous job? Keep him as a reliever, if a situation occurs that multiple starters go down with injuries, call up Chase Whitley to pitch for a few starts.  In a very desperate situation, you can put Warren to spot start.  The Yankees have to be careful not to misuse him, we wouldn’t want him to pan out as Joba and Phil Hughes did.  Stay committed to keeping him in one role, and enjoy the dividends it pays off.

CC’s Goal: 30 Starts

With just a few days away from catchers and pitchers reporting to spring training, CC Sabathia aspires to be a consequential contributor in 2015.  After having only 8 starts in 2014 before being shut down by an injury, Sabathia is aiming for 30 starts. CC is heading into his age 34 season and has 2 years and $48M remaining on his contract.  It is unclear what type of player CC will be if he does indeed start 30 games.  Will he perform at his 2013 level, or pitcher better than that but below the output of his peak years?

It is probably not fair yet to say that he is finished.  Yes his 2013 were horrible, but it is something he can comeback from.  Perhaps he played through the season hurt, as has been a growing trend among players.  Even if he wasn’t, even pitchers like Mike Mussina had a bad year or two towards the end of his career.  Interesting enough they do have almost identical ERA+, Mussina has the edge with 123 compared to CC’s 120.  The thing with Sabathia is I am not sure if his health issues will be over now.  We will have to wait and see, maybe he still has enough in the tank left to grind through a season that reminisces Mussina’s final season.

Struggles Not as Virulent

Good day everyone! Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this, it is definitely appreciated. So today I was looking at ways for the Yankees to rebound and reach the postseason for the first time since 2012.  I gave a cursory glance at the team’s records against the rest of the league.  Then I found these troubling statistics mixed in.  The Yankees were 10-10 against the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros.  They were also 14-24 against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles.  That would give them a .414 winning percentage against these five teams over 58 games.  Being an even .500 against the three worst teams in the American league is not something to be proud of.  Just to put things in perspective, the Rangers won 67 games and had a .414 winning percentage this year.  Although in a smaller sample size, that .414 winning percentage the Yankees had in the 58 games against these teams has to go up for them to reach the postseason. Especially considering they will face these same 5 teams 58 games again in 2015. I believe it will, and here is why.

Ok so we said the Yankees went 24-34 against two division rivals, and the three worst teams in the American League.  That also meant they went 60-44 against all other teams this year, which would give them a .577 winning percentage.  Had they been that consistent against each team, they would have been on pace to win 93 games.  This year every division winner won at least 45 games at home, and won at least 43 of 76 games played against their division rivals.  At the minimum that is a .565 winning percentage against the rest of the division, and a .555 winning clip at home.  This year the Yankees did neither and were 4 games out of the Wild Card.  That means that if they had just a .482 winning percentage against the five teams mentioned above, they could have been tied with the A’s for the 2nd Wild Card spot.

So the question then becomes, can the Yankees win an extra 5 or so games that would be needed to play in October?  Starting with the Rays, I believe they can do better that the 8-11 mark they had against them last year.  The Rays no longer have manager Joe Maddon, or front office executive Andrew Friedman.  Both were responsible for the Rays emerging as playoff contenders for the past several years.  I would argue that since the Rays finished 8 games under .500 with those two men, that they will fare even worse without them in 2015.  Their offense is filled with question marks aside from Evan Longoria, and the rotation has lost Price.  Price isn’t the only reason this rotation won’t be as effective though. The other key component in the decline of the rotation is Matt Moore’s recovery from Tommy John Surgery.

Aside from the Rays, the O’s did lose Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz.  Having Manny Machado and Matt Weiters return might help them though.  Still even winning a handful of extra games against the Orioles would make a substantial difference.  Other than Texas having some players who have a chance to put up decent comeback seasons, this team hasn’t improved very much.  Same goes for the Twins.  The Astros have a chance though to be better, but the Yankees only play 6 games against them. Worst case scenario is that they end up 4-2 or 5-1 against them, which would mirror the performance put up in 2014.

It is very possible that of those 58 games played against the O’s, Rangers, Twins, Rays, and Astros, that the Yankee can win 5 more.  Minus the Astros who look to be on the rise, none of the other teams looks poised to improve.  While it is not reasonable to expect the Yankees to just go in cruise control every year straight into the playoffs, the Yankees are better than at least 3 of these teams. If nothing else, the Yankees don’t have to be any better than these teams.  They just have to compete and perform more adequately when they play against these opponents.  The Yankees won 85 games with Robinson Cano and Mariano Rivera, and 84 without them in 2014.  Not losing anyone of their caliber this year, it is seems reasonable to say that the Yankees have not gotten any worse.  Having their starters appear more frequently in the lineup and with less trips to the DL might be enough to push the Yankees in.

Yankees Offseason Part III

It seems that throughout my 2 part segment on offseason moves made by the Yankees, that I happened too leave out two of them.  One was the Cervelli for Justin Wilson trade, the other was Hiroki Kuroda heading back to Japan to play ball.  Just want to apologize for not covering these things at all when looking at the offseason additions and subtractions.  Now that they are fresh in my mind, it is time to determine the impact these moves have on the Yankees.

Hiroki Kuroda went back to Japan to play baseball there, after spending 3 season with the Yankees.  Although the Yankees are likely saving at least $10M because of this, Kuroda was consistent and durable while with the team.  In a rotation filled with injuries last year, Kuroda was the only opening day starter who played all year long.  His ERA was higher this year than it was in the 2 years prior, but that was mainly because of a bad month of April and mediocre month of May. Afterwards he got back in a groove and had a 3.16  ERA in the 2nd half of the year.  If the rotation stays healthy then I think his departure will not harm the team very much, unless if it ends up that we have guys like Capuano and Esmil Rogers starting often throughout the year.

From a personal standpoint I kind of grow attached to the players, probably just an experience most fans deal with.  Even if the deal is in our favor, I can’t help but miss guys like Cano, Robertson, and Cervelli who spent several years with the team.  Justin Wilson is a left handed reliever, but was more effective against righties in his career.  I would compare this move to when we signed Boone Logan and he emerged as an effective reliever in the pen. As for Cervelli, he just doesn’t get on the field enough.  Yes part of that is because of his role as a backup catchers, but he also missed time as a part of the Biogenesis scandal and was hit with injuries.  On top of that he had minimal power and has only played in 69 games over the past 3 years.  I see this trade as a win for the Yankees, but then again the Pirates have been faring well with ex Yankees.  Such as AJ Burnett, Russell Martin, Mark Melancon, Jose Tabata, and even got a better hitting Chris Stewart than we did.  I don’t see Cervelli making that trend with the lack of games he has played in the last few seasons though.

Yankees Birthdays (February 10th)

Good day everyone, we are back with another installment of Yankee Birthdays.  Within the long history of the franchise, it is safe to assume that the Yankees have at least one player born on every day in the year.  On this day, we have 6 players who spent time in pinstripes during their professional career.  Not all of them are still with us today, but their contributions to one of the best franchises in North American sports cannot be ignored.  Let’s say Happy Birthday to each of these six men.

Happy 39th birthday to Lance Berkman.  Acquired on the trade deadline (July 31st) in 2010, Berkman only played in 37 regular season games with the Yankees.  Berkman spent most of his years as a 1B for the Houston Astros, before they were perennially in last place.  Lance was a 6 time All-Star and played 15 seasons in the big leagues.  The Yankees did give up Mark Melancon in that trade, who has performed well in relief since the trade (with the exception of 2012).

Happy 40th birthday to Hirokoi Kuroda.  Kuroda started of his career in Japan, before being signed with the Dodgers during the Frank McCourt Era.  After having 4 solid season in LA, he spent 3 years with the NYY.  Showing once again that age doesn’t matter, Kuroda played effectively with the Yankees through his age 39 season. He is now returning to play in Japan.

Happy 98th birthday to Allie Reynolds.  Allie Reynolds was the ace of the staff that included Eddie Lopat and Vic Raschi.  Reynolds was a key contributor from 1949-1953 when the Yankees won 5 consecutive WS championships under Casey Stengel.  Reynolds was a 5 time all star, and came 2nd in the MVP voting in 1952.  He would win 6 WS rings with the Yankees and was out of baseball after 1954.  He died in 1994.

Happy 121st Birthday to HOF Herb Pennock. Winning 3 WS with the club, Pennock was acquired in one of many trades throughout the 20’s with the Boston Red Sox.  Herb pitched in 11 season with the Yankees, and was in the top 5 in the MVP voting twice.  Herb Pennock finished his career with the Red Sox in 1934, and died in 1948.

Happy 45th birthday to Albert Castillo.  Never appearing in 100 games in a single season, Castillo was a backup catcher.  He played 15 games with the Yankees in 2002, and ended his career with the Orioles in 2007.

Happy 31st birthday to Luis Cruz.  Cruz played 16 games for the injury riddled 2013 team.  A utility IF throughout his career, his most notable moment with the Yankees occurred on Manny Machado’s web gem throw that robbed Cruz of a single. He last played in 2013 at the major league level..