Friday, July 17, 2009

What is CRM?

We've not had a lot of agreement on answering the question - what is CRM? So rather than debate CRM software and customer relationship management software strategies, we going to pitch this one to the experts at What-is-CRM.com. Enough CRM already!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jeremy Bleich Update

Now that we've hit the All Star Break. Its a good time for a check up on Jeremy Bleich's season stats. We all know about his domination of A ball. His performance for Trenton has been questioned though. His ERA is up to 6.00 and he's 0-3. Look at this DIPS stats though. They're not bad at all. 1.78 K/BB isn't great but he's a GB pitcher and his HR/9 is .50. He's been victimized by a .365 BABIP and his FIP of 3.98 is a better indicator of his performance. It'll be interesting to see how he's ranked at the season's end.

I'm Moving

I got an offer to start writing over at the Sliding Into Home Yankees blog and I decided to take it. I've got no hard feelings about my time here and Charlie, Nate, and Domenic have all been great and its been fun writing here. I do not plan on leaving this blog. I will continue the Jeremy Bleich Watch and I'll also continue to make the occasional post here. I'm just going to focus my attention on Sliding Into Home.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I'm Back

I'm home again guys.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

7/8-Yankees at Twins

YANKEES (49-34)
Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Rodriguez 3B
Matsui DH
Posada C
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Gardner CF

Pitching: RHP A.J. Burnett (7-4, 3.83).

TWINS (43-41)
Span LF
Harris SS
Mauer C
Morneau 1B
Cuddyer RF
Kubel DH
Crede 3B
Gomez CF
Punto 2B

Pitching: RHP Anthony Swarzak (2-2, 3.90).

TIME/TV: 8:10, YES.

Monday, July 6, 2009

I Was Wrong

Before this season I didn't think a plattoon of Melky Cabrera and Brett Gardner would be able to handle centerfield effectively. I anticipated a hole in the lineup and wanted a trade for Mike Cameron as a one year fix to hold down the fort for Austin Jackson. However, Gardner and Melky have been pleasant surprises while Cameron has struggled for the Brewers. Obviously, theirs plenty of time left in the season but Gardner and Melky have really held down the fort while Austin Jackson learns how to not to strikeout.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Trading Wang?

Yesterday Jon Heyman mentioned on Twitter that The Phillies and Rangers have some interest in Wang. Its definitely an intriguing idea. I'm torn on this. For now, I'd hang on to him. With another month or two of good performances he could recoup a lot of his old value. Their also has to be an eye focused on next year. If they trade Wang they need to make some tough decisions about whether or not to sign onto yet another big free agent contract or give the spot to Alfredo Aceves or Ian Kennedy. Both would be untrustworthy and if Aceves, they would lose one of their best bullpen arms.

If they offered up a nice package (which Texas can definitely do) I'd take a good hard look at it but my expectations for that are very low at the moment. Tomorrow is another big start for Wang (they're all big from here on out to be honest) and we may have a better idea of where we stand with Wang then.

Is Jesus Montero the second coming?

Great article on fangraphs.com about Jesus Montero. The comments on his defense are dissapointing but nothing we didn't know already. The hype has been building big time over the past couple days for the Yankees man-child.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Checking Out With a Win

I'll be making my getaway to New Hampshire to spend some time with the family tomorrow. So, this was the last game I'll be seeing for the rest of the week. It was a good one though.

A.J. came out of the gate throwing heat. He was thrwoing 95-97 mph consistently and it served him well early on. When that started to fail him, he turned to a vicious breaking ball. Although the score was close, the way Burnett pitched made it feel like the lead was much larger.

He's been fantastic since that start against Boston and I pray he stays healthy because right now A.J. is a guy worth watching every start. He K'd seven in as many innings and gave up only two runs. Much of that was due to the fact that he limited his walk total to three which is a major improvement for Burnett. He was challenging hitters, rather than nibbling and the results were fantastic. The bullpen was just as good as well. The two Phil's worked together for an easy eighth inning and Mariano had a 1-2-3 ninth inning while K'ing two.

The offense didn't score to many runs but were solid and four runs sould be enough to win a game. Cano opened up the scoring by leading off the second with a homer. Its been a long time since Robi's flashed his power. It wasn't that long ago that some people were talking about 30 home run potential with him and its nice to see him show some of that again. The fifth inning was what sealed the deal. Brain Tallet started the inning by walking Brett Gardner, big mistake. The Toronto lefty was clearly distracted by Gardner throughout the rest of the inning. He ended up walking Mark Texeira with the bases loaded and throwing a wild pitch to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. Vernon Wells got the Jays a run closer in the following inning with a solo homer but that was all they would get and A-Rod would tack on another run with a ninth inning homer off of Jeremy Accardo anyway.

Great bounceback win after a clunker by Sabathia and the Yankees are rolling right now.

Vacation

I'm going away with the family for the week and I'll be out of contact with all civilization so no posts from me for the next week or so.

We're leaving tonight so I might have another post or two for today but that's it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Wrapping Up June

The Yankees have finished June and now let's check totals from that month.

Time for some statistical fun!

Hitting
The Yankees came in with the 17th best team average (.253) behind both the Red Sox (.260) and Rays (.284) who lead the MLB. As for long-balls the Yankees finished 8th best in the league in home runs totaling up to 33 much less than last month (42) due to the many away games. Scoring 140, 4th in the league, and driving in 140, 4th in the league. Yankees team OBP is 2nd in the Majors coming in
at .354 which is similar to last month. Their slugging % is 5th best in the game, .433. A slightly lower BABIP (.269).

Since the Yankees started the month poorly but ended with a 7 game winning streak. So they earned some pretty average numbers. Hopefully in the next month they will keep the streak going.

Season Totals: Avg: 272 (4th), HRs: 116 (2nd), RBIs: 404 (2nd), OBP: 355 (2nd)

Pitching
The Yankees clocked 15 wins this month (8th) and 11 losses (7th). Coming in at 10th the Yankees ERA 3.55. The K were sweet this month the Yanks came in 2nd (215). Giving up an insane 26 HR (13th)
Starting Pitching had a 4.07 ERA (16th)

Relief Pitching had a 2.63 ERA (6th).

Season Totals: W-L: 16-11, ERA: 4.24 (21), K's: 227 (4th)

Fielding
The Yankees team UZR is -6.7

Here are the current standings:

Pitching Improving

Yankee's FIP's by month:

April- 4.85

May- 5.02 (Last in baseball)

June- 3.89

July- 3.48 (Obviously a small sample size)

It looks like after struggling the first two months, the Yankees pitchers finally settled into a groove. Girardi has seemingly found the right mix of relievers and the big money guys (Burnett/Sabathia) have started to live up to their contracts. Chien Ming Wang has also pitched much better of late.

Pena Optioned Down

When I made my daily trip around the blogosphere I was surprised to read that the Yankees will be sending down Ramiro Pena and having him learn centerfield. Not surprised to see him being sent down but I didn't expect to see them teaching Pena centerfield. I like both moves by the Yankees though. Versatility can never hurt and might save them a roster spot down the line.

Here's a few reasons I prefer Ransom over Pena right now:
  • Ransom clearly has a better bat. Pena's hitting has been epically bad and Ransom hit .302/.400/.651 in the majors last year. Yes in a small sample size but you have to give the guy a ML roster spot if he does that.
  • If you keep Ransom on the ML team you can still keep Pena around in the minors. While if you wanted to keep Pena around, you'd have to DFA Ransom and probably lose him. If theirs an injury it'd be nice to have both of them around. If Ransom struggles they can just replace him with Pena but it wouldn't work the other way around.
  • Pena is only 24 and is fantastic in the field. If he could ever learn to hit he'd become a valuable player. If he could just have an OPS+ around 100 then he could be a future everyday player. He can work on this in the minors. If he were to get hot in the minors, it would help him build up some trade value.

Andy Pettitte Appreciation Thread

Pettitte has been one of the more underappreciated Yankees this year in my opinion. During the offseason, fans were divided over whether they even wanted him back or if he should retire/leave and make away for Phil Hughes. He started off well but as soon as he ran into a rough patch fans were calling for his head. Apparently he was finished, had a bad back, and some fans even wanted him in the bullpen.

Three starts ago he turned in one of his best performances he's had in a while. However, he struggled in his next one and again fans were calling for his head. Last night he turned in another great start and he still is overshadowed by Alex Rodriguez's mammoth homer. His ERA is down to 4.25 and his FIP is only a little higher at 4.51. After Sabathia he also has the highest IP total of any Yankees starter.

He hasn't been an ace for them but he's not getting paid like one either. The Yankees brought him back to be an innings eater. He's been exactly that for them. He's given been sometimes good and sometimes bad but its more good than bad. So, the next time he throws a bad game, can we please refraim from saying he's done or that this is only going to get worse for Pettitte? He's a battler and he's stilll a very solid pitcher that the Yankees are going to need.

Pettitte and Pen Dominates, Yankees Win

Man this game was short wasn't it? That's really due to Andy Pettitte and Jarrod Washburn who both turned in very nice starts. Andy was really impressive in this one. Unlike in past starts at the Stadium he seemed to be challenging guys more, he wasn't nearly as afraid to throw strikes as he was in other starts. Jarrod Washburn matched him as well as you could have hoped for him to though.

The Yankees got a lead briefly in their half of the third on a Johnny Damon homer but the Mariners managed to manufacture a run in the fourth after a leadoff double by Javier Lopez to tie it back up. In the fifth when Melky hit a solo shot the Mariners came right back the next half an inning to tie it up again on a Ken Griffey Jr. homer. I'll say this for the Mariners, they definitely don't give up easily.

This tie wouldn't last that long though. With Washburn still in, Mark Texeira led off the sixth with a ground ball base hit jsut beyond the reach of the Mariner's third baseman. Next up was A-Rod and he continued his hot hitting with an absolute bomb to dead center. This was no cheap New Yankee Stadium home run. When it finally dropped into Monument Park, the Yankees pulled ahead for the final time. Andy would throw one more scoreless inning before giving way to Phil Coke and Alfredo Aceves, who combined for a scorelss eighth. Mariano ended it with an easy 1-2-3 inning in with the Mariners couldn't even lift the ball off of the ground.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jesus Montero

I wanted to give you guys an update on Jesus Montero because he's been so good its just blowing me away. First of all, lets remember the kid is twenty years old. Just being in AA at 20 is an accomplishment in and of itself. In Tampa he curshed pitchers to the tune of .356/.406/.583. That earned him an early promotion to Trenton. That's were he is now and although he got off to a slow start, he's picked it up since then. After hitting two home runs last night he's hitting .367 over his last 30 at bats with all three of his home runs in Trenton hit over that span.

Let's slow down for a minute with all the Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera comparisons but its clear he has a chance to be the first star position player the Yankees have developed since the late '90's.

The Eighth Inning

No this isn't a post about Joba. It actually has nothing to do with him. This is about me wondering why Brian Bruney is still be trusted with that critical inning while Phil Hughes gets mop up duty, cleaning up other guy's messes.

Bruney was a revelation back in April but since then has not been the anchor that we've been waiting for. As a result of his struggles his ERA has shot up to 3.94. His FIP is still low but not what it was a week or so ago. I'm hesitant to throw Bruney right into the fire immediately after returning from his injury.

Meanwhile Phil Hughes has been trending the opposite way. As a starter he has mixed results. Some great starts, others were mediocore, and he has that one awful one that caused his ERA to balloon. Since switching to the bullpen he's been nothing but great. His numbers are all solidly above average now. His K/BB is well over 2.00, his ERA is 4. 34, and his FIP is down to 4.43. Take out that one awful start and his numbers easily match Bruney's. Still, for whatever reason he's not being entrusted with key innings.

Their are some very strong arguments for moving Hughes back to AAA, chief among these is the argument that if he doesn't build up his innings total, his innings limit next year will prevent him from moving into the rotation for the whole year. I believe that its worth that small sacrifice to take advantage of his dominating pitching out of the bullpen right now. However, if he's not going to be trusted with big innings then why bother keeping him here?

The Hinske Trade

And so we begin the 2009 trade deadline tag. A little earlier then I expected but that's okay.

First a look at the players in the deal:

Eric Fryer- Fryer came over from the Brewers in the trade that sent them Chase Wright. Other than that I don't know to much about him. I do know that he didn't appear on any of the Yankees prospect lists I raed before this year and he's done nothing to move onto them so far this year. He's hit .250/.333/.344 this year in A+ ball after hitting .335/.407/.506 last year in A ball. He was originally a catcher but hasn't seen much time there since his rookie year. If he has a ML future, its as a corner outfielder. He's also 24 which seems a little old to still be in A ball. No great loss here.

Casey Erickson- I don't know much about Erickson either. I don't recall seeing him on any top prospect lists either. Anyway, he's a 24 year old reliever in A ball. His numbers this year are undeniably good, a 2.54 FIP is always nice, and his numbers in past years are also good but you would hope that at 24 and being a reliever, he would be at least in Trenton by now. He's a non-prospect . I'm really at a loss as to what the Pirates might see in him. Their moves just don't make any sense to me.

Eric Hinske- Hinske has never truly lived up to the potential that many people say in him when he won the Rookie of the Year award as a young third baseman for the Blue Jays. He stuck around with Toronto for a couple years before being acquired in mid 2006 by Boston to bolster their bench. Hinske played the part well providing them with some power and demonstrated his versatility at first, third, and both corner outfield spots. He would be brough back in the the same role in 2007 for them but was much less succesful. He has never been an average hitter but its tough to hit .204 and still be useful. The Red Sox let him go but he caught on with the Rays and enjoyed a career renaissance with his most valuable year since his rookie season. His EQA jumped from .269 and .256 in his year and a half with Boston to .288. This past offseason he found very little interest but still managed to wring a one year, 1.5 million dollar deal from the Pirates and started out well with a .280 EQA. The question with Hinske is whether we're getting the Pirates/Rays version of him or the Red Sox version of him. If his resurgence is for real then we're getting a very solid bench player who can spell A-Rod, Texeira, Matsui, Damon, and Swisher as well as anybody and quite possibly better than Nady. The Pirates are also pickin up half of what little remains on his contract.

All in all I think this was a very nice under the radar move by Cashman. Its not a huge flashy acquistion like, say Huston Street or Matt Holliday, but in a tight division like the AL East when things could be decided by a game or two, this one guy could be a difference maker while Fryer and Erickson will probably amount to nothing. I have no idea what the Pirates were thinking though. It doesn't make sense to me for them to sign this guy and then trade him and pick up his one year contract in a trade for two guys like Fryer and Erickson.

Streaking

This is the kind of game that a team has when things are going good. Since that last game against Atlanta they've been riding a six game winning streak and show no signs of slowing down. Last night was clearly not one of those nights when Joba dominates deep into a game. However, he gutted it out for a solid performance and let his all-star offense do the job its supposed to do.

Joba seemed unwilling or unable to throw strikes, yet again at the New Stadium. He walked three, not horrible but not great either, but it really showed in the fact that he had 96 pitches when he got pulled from the game with one out in the sixth. He was having a very nice game until he tired late into his outing. Through the first four inning the Mariners only got one run off of him on a homer by Ronny Cedeno. However, in the fifth they tagged him for two runs on a series of singles, walks, and three stolen bases. He gave way to Phil Coke in the sixth with a guy on second and one out. Coke finished the inning without further incidence and Hughes pitched an uneventful seventh.

At this point the Yankees had already blown their first lead of the game in the sixth and let the M's tie it back up at three. When Alex Rodriguez hit a two run homer (following a Johnny Damon double) to give them a 5-3 lead the game should have been over. Brian Bruney and Mariano Rivera were due to finish the game. Brian Bruney blew the lead again though, leading to another tie at 5-5. I suppose if you're being optimistic you could say this just set the scene for the drama in the ninth and gave Matsui, Jeter, Swisher, and Melky chances to be heroes but I'm concerned about Bruney. Since returning, he has not been the same pitcher.

Luckily they did retake the lead had Mariano Rivera to save the game in the ninth but it was definitely a lucky win.

Jeremy Bleich's AA Debut

Bleich's Trenton debut wasn't exactly what we were hoping for. The first four innings were fine, he shut down Erie, giving up no runs. After the fifth, when he gave up a run, his line still looked fine. He really ran into trouble though in the sixth inning though when Erire exploded for four runs, Bleich reposnisble for all of them. He only got one out that innings before being replaced.

The final result was him giving up five runs, on seven hits and three walks, in only 5.1 innings, and only four K's. Not good but its just one start.