Yankees Offseason/early 2012 preview

Hey everyone! I am very sorry for not yet posting anything since last December. A lot has happened withe Yankees  since my last post. Here’s a look at some of the off season moves and how 2012 looks for the bombers.

Since 2009 the New York Yankees have had one prospect that seemingly every team in the league wanted to get their hands on. That prospect was none other than Catcher/DH Jesus Montero who ironically was considered by some of the Yankee’s ownership as the savior of the organization. Montero who is only 22 years old has already shown that he is a monster with a bat in his hand. In only 18 games last season the Phenom had 4 HR’s ,12 RBI’s and a BAA of .328 . In most of these games he played as a DH instead of behind the plate. What the 2011 Yankees had in hitting they lacked in their pitching staff. Because of their poor pitching GM Brian Cashman felt that it was a necessity for the team to add at least 2 more arms to its starting rotation.  So on January 14th 2012 in a trade with the Seattle Mariners the Yankees parted ways with their coveted prospect in exchange for a young 23-year-old SP by the name of Michael Pineda. Pineda like Montero had been the prized possession in the Seattle farm system, standing at a towering 6’7 ” Pineda can reach speeds upwards of 99 mph on the radar gun and features a slider that breaks in hard on Left Handed batters. Along with the acquiring   of Pineda the team also sign RHP Hiroki Kuroda who spent the 2011 season in LA with the Dodgers. The 36-year-old Kuroda is a native of Japan and has been in the majors for 3 seasons. Kuroda is not a pitcher that will over power hitters like Pineda will but will instead use strategy and movement with his pitches to fool hitters. His numbers weren’t too shabby with a career ERA of 3.45 2011 was not an awful year by any means for Kuroda. With a 13-16 record and an ERA of 3.07 Hiroki should really benefit from the Yankees offense that is much stronger and more reliable than the bats in LA.

(Left) Pineda and (Right) Kuroda

With the addition of these two arms Manager Joe Giaradi will have some flexibility on how he wants to set up his rotation. Here’s how I would do it if I were in his shoes.

The Rotation:

  1. CC Sabathia LHP : He’s the ACE you’ve gotta put him as your leader
  2. Ivan Nova RHP: Still young Nova proved himself last season
  3. Michael Pineda RHP: The big acquisition,Pineda will have to show he was worth the price of Montero
  4. Hiroki Kuroda RHP: Coming over from the NL his number should dip somewhat but will feel comfortable with Yankees bats behind him
  5. Either AJ Burnett or Phil Hughes : Both Hughes and Burnett had seasons to forget in 2011. Hughes only pitched in 17 games battling with injures throughout the season while Burnett had most of the Yankees Universe asking for his departure. This will be a Spring training decision.

After the Starting rotation the Yankees have one of the stronger bullpens returning from 2011. With old reliable Mariano in the closer role along with Dave Robertson , Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain to set up and even a core group of lefty specialists like Boone Logan,Pedro Feliciano.

As for the lineup and fielding spots here’s my picks.

The Lineup:

  1. SS Derek Jeter :Still captain clutch and continuing to prove his doubters and skeptics wrong look for Jeter to at least start this season 1st in the order
  2. CF Curtis Granderson: Coming off of an MVP caliber season Granderson is a solid lock at 2nd in the order
  3. 1B Mark Texiera: solid, still one of the best in the order
  4. 2B Robinson Cano: Yes I have Cano at 4 over AROD simply because of recent history and potential, Cano will be in the MVP race in 2012
  5. DH Alex Rodriguez: Like Tex he is still one of the better players in the game with the bat but not the same in the field which is why there is a DH next to his name
  6. RF Nick Swisher: A down year in 2011 swish has a lot to prove in 2012
  7. C Russell Martin: Will start the year as the as the number 1 Catcher on the roster but the development of Austin Romine will be something watch
  8. 3B Eduardo Nunez: He earned his spot last season and will be a sight to see in 2012, the latest infielder to come from the farm system
  9. LF Brett Gardner: He will get reps at the leadoff spot but for now he is batting at the end of the order.

As for the season itself I like the Yankees to perform at high level in 2012. They have proven that they can beat the Nation to the north and should be the winners of the AL East if all goes as planned.

What I will also say about 2012 is that like in 2007 the team will showcase and feature young talented arms. Back in 07 it was Joba Chamberlain , Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy that showcased their talents for the Yankee Universe, now guys like RHP Dellin Batances,RHP D.J. Mitchell and C Austin Romine will showcase their talents and cor=tribute to not only;y this team but also for teams to come in the future.

Fantasy Baseball Playoffs Update

For this year’s fantasy baseball playoffs, Matt decided to give playoff spots to eight teams, as opposed to four.  It is what it is.  And it will be fun to see what it turns out like!

My Team, now named Kevin’s Highlights, after one of my favorite show’s segments, called, what else, Kevin’s Highlights, is he front runner with a 17-2 record.  For those of you who didn’t immediately get it, the show is called Intentional Talk; it’s on weekdays at 5 PM EST on MLB Network.  Check it out, it’s the greatest.

Anyway, I’ll give you all out there a look at each playoff team’s record, notable players, and my finishing prediction.

Andy Mosner – Kevin’s Highlights (17-2)
Overall Finish: 1st
Notable Players:  Jacoby Ellsbury OF, Ryan Braun, OF, Clayton Kershaw SP
Player to Click: Stephen Strasburg SP

Andreas Kaiafas – Old Glorifiers (13-6)
Overall Finish: 7th
Notable Players:  Asdrubal Cabrera SS, Curtis Granderson OF, CC Sabathia SP
Player to Click:  Melky Cabrera OF

Matt Burrill – VT HOKIE HAVEN VT (12-7)
Overall Finish: 6th
Notable Players:  Dustin Pedroia 2B, Roy Halladay SP, Ian Kennedy SP
Player to Click: Evan Longoria 3B

Chris Burrill – REDSOX NATION (11-8)
Overall Finish: 3rd
Notable Players: Adrian Gonzalez 1B, Michael Bourn OF, Cliff Lee SP
Player to click: Desmond Jennings OF

Matt DeBlasio – Clarkstown Stars (11-8)
Overall Finsish: 5th
Notable Players: Troy Tulowitzki SS, Justin Verlander SP, Felix hernandez SP
Player to Click: Carl Crawford OF

Luis Noia – Crimson Chin (9-10)
Overall Finish: 4th
Notable Players: Ian Kinsler 2B, David Ortiz DH, Jered Weaver SP
Player to Click: David Price SP

Mike Doddy – THE BOSS (8-11)
Overall Finish: 2nd
Notable Players: Prince Fielder 1B, Brandon Phillips 2B, Carlos Gonzalez OF
Player to Click: Tim Hudson SP

Matt Cummings – I Am Grimace (6-13)
Overall Finish: 8th
Notable Players: Dan Uggla 2B, Lance Berkman OF, Justin Upton OF
Player to Click: Michael Young

So, my final standing predictions go like this:

1st Place – Kevin’s Highlights
2nd Place – THE BOSS
3rd Place – REDSOX NATION
4th Place – Crimson Chin
5th Place – Clarkstown Stars
6th Place – VT HOKIE HAVEN VT
7th Place – Old Glorifiers
8th Place – I Am Grimace

PS, MATT, I BETTER BE GETTING SOME COOKIES WHEN IT’S ALL SAID AND DONE.

The Once Great Migration

I never really realized it until recently, but have you ever noticed how as players get older and stop producing at “elite” levels, they move out West.  Whether the player gets injured or just gets old, they do, in fact move.  I’ll give you some examples of that in a bit.  All I’m saying is that the East has the better players than the west.  The AL and NL East have the best teams; the AL and NL West have the worst teams; and the AL and NL Central are somewhere in the middle.

Obviously, there are some exceptions to the rule.  The East has some pretty pathetic teams.  Most notably, the lowly New York Mets, and the ‘wrong place, wrong time’ Baltimore Orioles.  The San Francisco Giants, the reigning WS champs, and the ‘slug you to death’ Texas rangers are in the West.  Meanwhile the Central has the most diverse pool of teams.  The fact that are 11 teams, rather than ten or  nine, may lend to that fact.

The Central divisions of Major League Baseball are, like I said, the most diverse.  In the NL, there are some teams that make me scratch my head and others that make me rip out my hair.  The Cubbies, who haven’t won a World Series in OVER 100 YEARS, the Pirates, and the Astros, all make me scratch my head.  I was worried that the Astros might in fact break the Mets’ record 40-120 season.  Thank god that prestigious honor still belongs to New York.  The other half of theleague, being currently, the Brewers, Reds, and Cardinals, all knwo how to play baseball.  The AL Central is in a constant state of flux with the royals 5th, Tigers in 1st, Whitesox, Indians, and Twins somewhere in the middle.

NOW, enough with the teams, let’s get to the players.  I find it to be remarkable how older players just move out there.  Some players start in the West, get good, and move East, then move back.  It’s funny.  I’m going to try and give you a full team of examples, so here goes.  These players don’t have to still be playing, just fit my description.

Catcher:  Mike Piazza, Todd Hundley
First Base:  Jason Giambi, Mike Sweeney
Second Base:  Aaron Hill, Kelly Johnson
Third Base:  Robin Ventura, Jorge Cantu
Shortstop:  Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra
Left Field:  Manny Ramirez, Hideki Matsui
Centerfield:  Andruw Jones, Vernon Wells
Right Field:  Carlos Beltran, Reggie Jackson

Starters:  Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Greg Maddux, Scott Kazmir, David Wells
Relievers:  Francisco Rodriguez, Heath Bell  Mets Rejects both…..

Now, just before I go, I want to point out that the New York Mets recently put David Wright on waivers.  He was claimed by the Colorado Rockies.  David Wright would join the 3B list if a trade gets completed.  Being the die-hard Mets fan that I am, you might think, ‘WHY would he want David Wright to be traded?!’  I mean, the Mets trading Wright would be like the Yankees Trading Jeter, or the Giants trading Lincecum, or the Nationals trading Ryan Zimmerman!  Well, my reader friend, because if the Mets can get one of or both of the following prospects, I would do it: the Tulsa Drillers’ Drew Pomeranz and/or Alex White, also of the Drillers.  Here’s the deals I would do:

David Wright

Mets give:
David Wright           for               Drew Pomeranz and a PTBN

or

David Wright, Jefry Marte, PTBN             for                 Alex White, Tyler Matzek

The Mets need young pitchign and speed.  And I’m willing to pay David Wright for it.  If any deal goes down, though…  the Mets have sent David Wright on the “Once Great Migration.”

                               

HIS NAME IS DAN UGGLA!!!

AH!  The famous homerun call by the Marlins announcers for any time Mr. Dan Uggla hits a homerun
 
Generally, when I think of Dan Uggla, I think of a guy who will absolutely slug you to death.  A 90-30-100 guy who is going to hit around .250.  This season up to about a month ago, was not the same.  The power numbers were still there, but he was hitting about .170.  Which is below that good ol’ Mendoza Line.

However something magical is happening now.  He is on something of a tear.  He is hitting in the middle of a 32 game hitting streak.  Over this hitting streak, he is looking a lot more like the Yankee Clipper!  Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio and his 56 game hitting streak appears to be a record that will stand for the foreseeable future.  I’m not gonna say anything about Mr. Uggla, but I will say that I am enjoying seeing him in such good company.

Moving on to some big names on the DL, such as Alex Rodriguez, Hanley Ramirez, and my guy, Stephen Strasburg!

Strasburg made his second rehab start on Friday, going 3.0 innings, striking out 5 and walking 0.  While I don’t why the Nationals organization is doing this, I’m certainly in favor of it.  I love seeing this guy Pitch.  He just had Tommy John Surgery and he comes back throwing 99 mph.  Another reason I’m so excited about his return, is that in Mr. Matt’s fantasy league, Matt Deblasio, Matt’s cousin, was about to pick him up, but he said he would do it after he went to his baseball game.  Meanwhile, in the Nation Moze, I decided to add him approximately when Matt got to the field.  He came home to look for him on the waiver wire, and POOF!  He was gone and on my DL!!

Steven Strasburg

 
 Alex Rodriguez made his first rehab start the other day.  In his first AB, he smashed a homer to left.  This is good news for the Yankees, getting back their star third baseman.  However, it’s not going to help out in the long run.  The AL East title as well as the American League Pennant is firmly in the hands of the BOSTON REDSOX!

As I sit here, watching the fine programming on MLB Network, I think about just how AWFUL the New York Mets are.  I see former Yankee REJECT, Ian Kennedy, pitching seven strong innings of 1 run baseball against them.  I can NOT stand being a Mets fan…

Mr. Met

With that I leave you fellow baseball nuts!  Remember, always believe and enjoy in the magic of “It aint over till it’s over”

And to close, Imagine a single player winning all three major awards of the 2011 season.With no SP standing out in the NL, a possible candidate for the RoY, Cy Young, and if his team wins the WS, possibly the MVP, Mr. Craig Kimbrel!!!!

Craig Kimbrel

Performance Enhancers

The phrase performance enhancer means various things to different people.  Some people believe it to be anything that makes you perform better than your highest level and others just think of it or them to be anabolic steroids or human growth hormone otherwise known as HGH .

I bring this up because many of the people who hold great names in sports are accused of using performance enhancers such as Barry Bonds.

Now lets analyze this a little bit… If steroids are outlawed shouldn’t other things that make you perform better be outlawed?  For example golf is a game that relies a lot on depth perception and golfers such as tiger woods have received laser surgery on their eyes to improve depth perception therefore making them play better.  doesn’t this do the same thing as steroids improving how they play the game.

Not taking anything away from Tiger or giving anything to Bonds but didn’t they really just both want to play better and they improved their games? Its just Tiger’s way was legal and Barry’s wasn’t.

Tiger after lasik did this…

  • Wins his next five PGA tournaments after undergoing laser eye surgery
  • Wins five straight golf tournaments after Lasik and for $2 million endorses the center that performed his laser eye treatment.
  • Wins seven of his next 10 golf tournaments after Lasik.  Tiger Woods went into his LASIK surgery on a losing streak and he came out and then won seven of his next 10 tournaments

I would say his game got better

Here are bonds stats his power increased so much that teams didn’t want to pitch to him…

Year ▴ Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1985 20 PIT-min A 71 296 254 49 76 16 4 13 37 15 3 37 52 .299 .383 .547 .930   139   0 1 4 0 PRW · CARL
1986 21 PIT NL 113 484 413 72 92 26 3 16 48 36 7 65 102 .223 .330 .416 .746 103 172 4 2 2 2 2 *8 RoY-6
1986 21 PIT-min AAA 44 186 148 30 46 7 2 7 37 16 5 33 31 .311 .435 .527 .963   78   2 0 3 0 HAW · PCL
1987 22 PIT NL 150 611 551 99 144 34 9 25 59 32 10 54 88 .261 .329 .492 .821 114 271 4 3 0 3 3 *78/9  
1988 23 PIT NL 144 614 538 97 152 30 5 24 58 17 11 72 82 .283 .368 .491 .859 148 264 3 2 0 2 14 *7/8  
1989 24 PIT NL 159 679 580 96 144 34 6 19 58 32 10 93 93 .248 .351 .426 .777 126 247 9 1 1 4 22 *7  
1990 25 PIT NL 151 621 519 104 156 32 3 33 114 52 13 93 83 .301 .406 .565 .970 170 293 8 3 0 6 15 *7/8 AS,MVP-1,GG,SS
1991 26 PIT NL 153 634 510 95 149 28 5 25 116 43 13 107 73 .292 .410 .514 .924 160 262 8 4 0 13 25 *7/8 MVP-2,GG,SS
1992 27 PIT NL 140 612 473 109 147 36 5 34 103 39 8 127 69 .311 .456 .624 1.080 205 295 9 5 0 7 32 *7 AS,MVP-1,GG,SS
1993 28 SFG NL 159 674 539 129 181 38 4 46 123 29 12 126 79 .336 .458 .677 1.136 204 365 11 2 0 7 43 *7 AS,MVP-1,GG,SS
1994 29 SFG NL 112 474 391 89 122 18 1 37 81 29 9 74 43 .312 .426 .647 1.073 183 253 3 6 0 3 18 *7 AS,MVP-4,GG,SS
1995 30 SFG NL 144 635 506 109 149 30 7 33 104 31 10 120 83 .294 .431 .577 1.009 168 292 12 5 0 4 22 *7 AS,MVP-12
1996 31 SFG NL 158 675 517 122 159 27 3 42 129 40 7 151 76 .308 .461 .615 1.076 188 318 11 1 0 6 30 *7/8 AS,MVP-5,GG,SS
1997 32 SFG NL 159 690 532 123 155 26 5 40 101 37 8 145 87 .291 .446 .585 1.031 170 311 13 8 0 5 34 *7 AS,MVP-5,GG,SS
1998 33 SFG NL 156 697 552 120 167 44 7 37 122 28 12 130 92 .303 .438 .609 1.047 178 336 15 8 1 6 29 *7 AS,MVP-8,GG
1999 34 SFG NL 102 434 355 91 93 20 2 34 83 15 2 73 62 .262 .389 .617 1.006 155 219 6 3 0 3 9 7/D MVP-24
2000 35 SFG NL 143 607 480 129 147 28 4 49 106 11 3 117 77 .306 .440 .688 1.127 188 330 6 3 0 7 22 *7 AS,MVP-2,SS
2001 36 SFG NL 153 664 476 129 156 32 2 73 137 13 3 177 93 .328 .515 .863 1.379 259 411 5 9 0 2 35 *7/D AS,MVP-1,SS
2002 37 SFG NL 143 612 403 117 149 31 2 46 110 9 2 198 47 .370 .582 .799 1.381 268 322 4 9 0 2 68 *7/D AS,MVP-1,SS
2003 38 SFG NL 130 550 390 111 133 22 1 45 90 7 0 148 58 .341 .529 .749 1.278 231 292 7 10 0 2 61 *7/D AS,MVP-1,SS
2004 39 SFG NL 147 617 373 129 135 27 3 45 101 6 1 232 41 .362 .609 .812 1.422 263 303 5 9 0 3 120 *7/D AS,MVP-1,SS
2005 40 SFG NL 14 52 42 8 12 1 0 5 10 0 0 9 6 .286 .404 .667 1.071 174 28 0 0 0 1 3 7  
2006 41 SFG NL 130 493 367 74 99 23 0 26 77 3 0 115 51 .270 .454 .545 .999 156 200 9 10 0 1 38 *7/D  
2007 42 SFG NL 126 477 340 75 94 14 0 28 66 5 0 132

 

You decide for yourself should all performance enhancers be outlawed or are some ok and some not ?

You Can Put it On the Board… YES !

July Fourth, WHAT A GREAT DAY FOR SOME BASEBALL!  As I sit here and watch the Cleveland Indians come back against the EVIL Empire, New York Yankees, I start to think.  I love baseball so much.  Today has been an exciting day of Independence Day baseball!

The Washington Nationals host the Chicago Cubs:

This game was won in ten by the Nats.  They were up 2-1 until an outburst by the Cubbies.  The score went back and forth until the bottom of the tenth.  it was tied 4-4.  Jayson Werth led off with a walk, advanced to second, stole third, then scored the winning run on a passed ball by one of the WORST closers in the game, Carlos Marmol.  This coming from a man whose teams’ closer is earning Mariano weight in gold, but pitching like someone who was charged with assault on his father-in-law, not mentioning names, Francisco Rodriguez…

Jayson Werth

The Yankees Game:  at Progressive Field, against the hometown Indians

Josh Tomlin, Indians Starter had a no-hitter working into the seventh inning when it got broken up by a single into center field by first baseman, Mark Teixeira.  It was followed by a weird roller off Robinson Cano’s bat and then a two RBI double by my favorite position player, NICK SWISHER!!!  The Score was then 2-0 Empire.

Swisher Salute !!

In the bottom of the seventh, AJ Burnett was still in the game.  AJ BLEW IT  he let up for runs.  So, 4-2 Tribe.  As a side note, the four runs were all earned.  Shelly Duncan and Austin Kearns, two former Yankees, got those RBI’ s  Kearns’ three were from a homerun to right.

Shelly Duncan (NYY Edition )

Shelly Duncan (Tribe Edition )

TO  

    TO  

Curtis Granderson hit a solo shot in the eighth, 4-3 Tribe.  But, the Yanks crept closer.  THe score remained the same until Carlos Santana hit a BOMB to deep left to give Cleveland a 6-3 lead.

OH WAIT, MY BAD ;D

And then Indians All-Star closer, Chris Perez closed it out for the win!

The Famous summer of 1961

   With summer baseball right around the corner I thought it would be fitting to do a post on the famous home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle from 1961, After all it is the 50th anniversary!

  When ever someone thinks of the New York Yankees the 1st thing that usually pops into their head is a tradition of pride and winning. This all started back in 1923 with George Herman Ruth aka “The Babe” who had 60 Home Runs in the year 1927 with the bombers. Ruth’s record was known as the greatest record in all of sports and not one person thought that it would ever be broken.  Ruth played for over 22 years with three different ball clubs (Yankees,Red Sox, and Braves ) and hit 714 out of the park.

The Babe

Then in December of 1959, the Yankees made a big time trade with the Kansas City Athletics(Who were known as the Yankees “Major league farm team). The Yankees received 7 players in the deal including big time stars in the making: Don Larsen, Hank Bauer and of course Roger Maris.  All three were stars in the making and really shined while playing for the Bombers in the 60’s.

Maris had an amazing season in 1960, winning the American League’s Most Valuable Player award and led the league in Slugging percentage, RBI’ s and extra base hits. Second to Maris in MVP voting was another Yankee who had becoming a fan favorite entering his 10th season with the club.That player was Mickey Mantle who had a Hall of Fame career, winning 7 Championships , 20 All Star seasons and was the  most recent player to accomplish a Triple Crown season. Mantle and Maris both came into the 1961 season with high expectations from both the media and each other.
 
 Both Maris and Mantle started out the season slow  but came on by the end of April. Once this great accomplishment was thought to be in reach both the people of New York and the harsh and overly critical media began to try to make the quest for 61 Home Runs into a competitive contest between Mantle, the “True Yankee” and Maris “The Outsider”.  This constant attention and sensation with the media was not handled well by Maris who coming from North Dakota never knew this kind of media or attention for a sport existed. 46 games into the season both Maris and Mantle had 15 HR’s(1 pace off from the Babe) which again made all the critics chirp about how this record that had been untouchable for nearly 35 year would never be broken.
As the season rolled on so did the nagging injuries of the great Mickey Mantle. The Mick had been known for his injuries since 1951 and was aging a lot faster than he should have been. From his knees to his arms Mantle was practically a walking casket for 5 to 6 years of his career. At the peak of the race both players were in the mid 50’s for HR on the year when Mantle knee and hip finally gave out on him. Mantle would finish the season with a total of 54 HR and leave Maris with the quest for 61.
 
There was a bit of contrevesory with this record. When Ruth hit 60 back in 1927 the MLB season only had 154 games on the schedule. In 1961 the MLB and league commissioner, Ford Frick expanded the schedule to 162 games and added 2 expansion teams to the AL (Angels and Twins). Because of this a question began to arise… Would it still be a valid record if it is broken after 154 games ? To answer this question Commissioner Frick decided to put an * next to Maris’ 61 HR if he were to break the record.  With this added pressure the 154th game of the Yankees season was in a series in the hometown of the Babe, Baltimore,MD against the Orioles. Maris hit 1 HR in the series giving him 59 with 8 games remaining on the schedule. Maris then struggled getting only 1 HR in his final 7 games going into the season finale against the Red Sox in Yankee Stadium. On October 1st 1961 Maris stepped up to the plate in the 4th inning of the game to face 24-year-old Tracy Stallard and the rest they say is history!  
 
 
Maris had done it ! He had single handedly passed the Babe and became the record holder. And to make things even better the Yanks would go on to win the 1st of 2 back to back chamionships with Maris leading the way. Maris would go on to play another 5 seasons in the Bronx.
Till this day a true baseball fan will say that Maris still has the record even though some JUICERS may have passed him he will always live on in history as the man who passed the Babe !