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.

The Horrors of the 2008 and 2009 1st Round of the MLB Draft

Hindsight being 20/20 makes it easy to say that these two 1st rounds of the MLB draft were the worst in recent memory. In them, two of the games current young superstars were just barely out of the Yankees grasp. Their names are Gerrit Cole and Mike Trout. Looking back at those two 1st rounds, it is easy to look in disbelief at the great things that could have been.

In 2008, the Yankees selected high school pitcher Gerrit Cole with the 28th pick of the draft. With the exception of Buster Posey, Gerrit Cole was the best player selected in the 1st round. Now back then there was no restriction on how big of a signing bonus a player could get. The Yankees failed to sign him, and he went to college instead. He was then drafted with the 1st pick of the 2011 draft and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Gerrit Cole is now just 24 years old, and has a career ERA of 3.45. Imagine how less us Yankees fans would have to worry about the health of the rotation if Gerrit Cole was in it. Injuries were a big killer last year, would having Gerrit Cole helped us get to the Wild Card game? Wouldn’t the 2013 Yankees have done better if instead of Phil Hughes starting every 5 games, we had Gerrit Cole in his spot? Hard to say for sure, but given the devastating state of the rotation he definitely would have been a big help for the team. Plus he would have gotten more minor league experience at a younger age, so maybe he could have gotten called up to the big leagues sooner.

Who would you have rather had, Mark Texeira or Mike Trout? While right now it seems like a no brainer, at the time it was the right move. In the 2009 draft, the Angels used the 25th pick to draft Mike Trout. That pick was originally the Yankees, but they lost it by signing Mark Texeira. The Angels did have the 24th pick as well, thanks to the Mets signing K-Rod, but they drafted Randal Grichuk with that pick. Trout was awfully close to being a Yankee under these circumstances, but maybe the Yankees don’t win the World Series in 2009 without Texeira. Either way, Texeira’s years are best behind him and Mike Trout has finished in the top 2 in the MVP voting in all 3 of his major league seasons. Mike Trout is just 23, and might very well have a HOF career ahead of him. The Yankees hadn’t drafted a college player in the first round since 2001, and Trout being as High School player would have likely been selected by the team.

Now the Yankees might not have had postseason runs from 2009-2012 without Texeira. Trout could have produced for the Yankees from 2012-present, and we wouldn’t have had to sign Ellsbury. If 1B was still an issue we could have signed Prince Fielder for Ellsbury money. If Fielder plays here, maybe he doesn’t get injured and is still an elite 1B. This is all speculation of course, but their was nothing stopping the Yankees from signing Gerrit Cole. Either way, for better or for worse, the Yankees have neither of those two players.

Yoan Moncada to the Yankees?

Today was the 3rd workout that 19 year old Cuban player Yoan Moncada have with the New York Yankees. You can tell the Yankees want him, they have him working out every day like he is part of the spring training roster already. In this workout though, there was a special visitor watching. That would be Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner. Now Hal is a really important piece if the Yankees do aggressively pursue Moncada. Yoan Moncada is expected to get a signing bonus north of $30M, and since the Yankees went over their international bonus they would have to pay a 100% tax. In addition, being over means they can’t sign any international player for over 300,000 in the next 2 years. If the Yankees are going to miss out on other top Cuban players over the next 2 seasons, it is best to sign as many talented international players as they can.

Moncada will be a very pricey move for just about every organization interested in him. Similar to how Tanaka was for the Yankees last year. Last year the Yankees paid a $25M posting fee to Tanaka’s former team and then signed Tanaka to a 7 year $175M deal. With Yoan Moncada though, he will likely begin his career in Single-A or Double-A. If he was eligible for the draft it is said that he would easily go number 1 overall. Moncada might be expensive, but the opportunity for the Yankees to sign a good international is dwindling. The franchise is famous for going after the big time names available, why not add a young promising 19 year old to the list.

Projected 2015 Yankees Lineup

Now that the offseason is over and spring training is here, it is time to look at what the Opening Day lineup should look like. Last year Girardi had over 140 lineup combinations, but it would be ideal to have one lineup throughout most of the season. There were not many changes to the lineup this year, Didi Gregorius replaces Jeter, and Alex Rodriguez will play DH. It seems this year that Stephen Drew will be the starting 2nd baseman, at least until Refsnyder or Pirela takes over the position.

Here is how the Opening Day lineup should look:

1) Brett Gardner LF

Gardner is your prototypical leadoff hitter. He has good speed, and has great plate discipline. Last year he even developed some power.  If he can raise his batting average a bit without it hurting his other numbers than that would be great. The only other person who can leadoff if Gardner is out of the lineup is Jacoby Ellsbury. I also like Gardner in CF, but Granderson and Ellsbury have kept him from getting much playing time at the position over the past few years.

2) Jacoby Ellsbury CF

Jacoby Ellsbury helps provide the Yankees with a solid 1-2 punch at the top of the lineup.  Last year Ellsbury struck out less than Gardner and also stole more bases. Not that Jeter has retired, Ellsbury can finally be in the spot in the batting order that best suits him. Jacoby has decent power and I think he might be able to hit around 20 home runs this year. His batting average is higher than Gardner’s and he drives in more runs. Will be interesting to see if the Yankees call many double steals throughout the season, to help get the offense going.

3) Chase Headley 3B

This was actually tough, as the Yankees don’t have many guys that drove in a lot of runs last year. Originally I would have put Prado but he was traded to the Marlins. Headley played well in his stint with the Yankees last season. Chase Headley has solid plate discipline and gets on base often. I expect his power to increase from 13 to about 18-20 now that he is not playing in Petco Park for 81 games a season. The way the offense struggled last year, I think Headley will be one of our more reliable hitters in 2015.

4) Mark Texeira 1B

I was originally going to put Brian McCann in this spot, but decided Texeira was a better fit.  I am hoping that being furthered removed from his wrist surgery will allow him to generate more power this year. Expect to see his XBH go up from last year, and even his batting average should improve slightly.  He has solid plate discipline, and if he can hit the ball away from the shift more frequently that would definitely improve his stats.

5) Brian McCann C

I was originally going to put Alex Rodriguez in this spot, so he could have better protection in the lineup. I decided against it however, as we don’t know how much production to expect from A-Rod. McCann did struggle a bit at the plate last year, but did have a power surge towards the end of the season. Whether he was working to hard to live up to his contract or was adjusting to life in a new city that is definitely a lot different than Atlanta, I fell Brian McCann will rebound. He had a higher slugging than Texeira last year, so it can be argued that he should be in the #4 spot. Still I don’t think McCann should have to have the pressure of being the biggest power hitter and leading an injury prone rotation. Besides maybe Texeira can recover some power that could have been lost with the wrist surgery

6) Alex Rodriguez 3B

Right not the production the Yankees receive from Alex is a mystery. Will be play at his 2012 level, or compete with Stephen Drew for who could be the worst player on the 25 man roster. Alex is 39 and hasn’t played in 100 games since 2012. He has been struggling to catch up to high velocity fastballs for years, especially up in the zone. I expect his plate discipline will be fairly good, but that won’t be enough to justify having the 6th spot in the lineup.

7) Carlos Beltran RF

The lineup just keeps getting worse from here. Beltran struggled with injuries last year, and was not nearly as effective as the $15M  a year the Yankees paid him. Maybe a healthy Beltran can produce similar to how he did with the Cardinals. If not then I think Chris Young deserves the playing time in RF. Chris Young had the highest slugging last year of anyone who is still on the team, aside from Jose Pirela. 55% of his hits were XBH in his stint with the Yankees, and impressive clip regardless the number of ABs he had. Plus he is a better defender than Beltran.

8) Didi Gregorius SS

I was originally going to put Stephen Drew here, so when the lineup rolled around they wouldn’t have an automatic out awaiting them. However being that he hits like a pitcher, and the #9 spot receives the fewest PAs I felt it was only fair to put Drew their instead. This spot is where Derek Jeter should have been hitting last year. Regardless I think Didi hits about the same or better than the 2014 Jeter.

9) Stephen Drew 2B

Like I said above, he is probably more of an automatic out than some pitchers in the National League. Not much hope for him. You can be optimistic and say he can’t hit any worse than last year, and hopefully that would be correct. The Yankees signed him as a placeholder pretty much until they have confidence that Refsnyder can handle 2nd base at the big league level. Only bright side for him is that when the lineup gets this far down he will have Brett Gardner hitting after him, probably won’t affect Drew’s performance though.

A 6 Man Rotation

Starting on April 17th, the Yankees will play 30 games in 31 days.  Not the kindest of stretches for a team that racked up more doctor visits than the rest of the country. Other than Nathan Eovaldi, Tanaka is the only pitcher to have 20 starts last year.  Larry Rothschild is faced with the difficult task of keeping Humpty Dumpty (Oops I meant the starting rotation) together again.  Rothschild said that the Yankees will be considering using a 6 man rotation at different times during April and May.

That couldn’t be a better idea.  Last year the Yankees used 13 starting pitchers, and only Hiroki Kuroda had 30+ starts.  Kuroda is no longer with the team, making the most durable pitcher Nathan Eovaldi instead.  Nothing wrong with that, except that he is projected to be the 4th or 5th starter.  Now the Yankees can help there pitchers stay fresh by implementing a 6 man rotation.  That would be mean that either Chase Whitley, Esmil Rogers, or Adam Warren would be called on to pitched during April and May.

Rothschild said “It’d be nice to go through a season with five starters, but there’s a good chance we’re not going to. There’s a good chance every team in baseball won’t, so it doesn’t hurt to see who might fit in as a sixth starter…It’s something that if we need to deal with when it comes up, we will.”

The concept is great in that it is intended to keep the rotation healthy and well rested.  At the same time, however, there is a potential negative.  Using a 6 man rotation for a period of about a month means that there is one less roster spot for a reliever.  That could exhaust the reliefs corps and counteract against its strength.  The Yankees also have great depth in the bullpen this year, why not just have a shorter leash on the rotation during the stretch and let the team’s strength carry you through.  Regardless how the Yankees chose to attack this situation, we are just two days away from baseball season.

A-Rod calls Chase Headley

It seems that A-Rod is looking to make a new friend, with a teammate he has never played with.  Alex is coming off a yearlong suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis case.  After making amends with Commissioner Manfred and the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez is having yet another conversation. Chase Headley says that Alex reached out and introduced himself to him.  Headley says that they both care about winning and that they didn’t talk about battling for the 3B position.  A-Rod is expected to meet with the media at Yankee Stadium early this week.

Rodriguez is hopeful he can win back his old spot at 3B.  This seems unlikely after the Yankees extended Chase Headley to a 4 year deal worth $52 million.  It is unclear how much playing time Alex will be able to get this year.  He is likely to be the backup 3B, part-time DH with Garrett Jones, and a pinch hitter.  A-Rod is owed 61 million over the next 3 years, and it seems like the Yankees will not receive any value from it. Headley is ranked 3rd in my stats called VIM, and is known for his superb defense.