Showing posts with label Melky. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Melky. Show all posts

Friday, November 6, 2009

Yankees Watching LEBRON!!!!

Here are the boys at the Knicks game. Notice the different styles of dress (A-Rod, Melky, Tex). CC and Melky matched their shoes with their shirt. That is very impressive for Melky; he strikes me as a guy who doesn't know what day it is.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Appreciating Melky Cabrera

The Yankees' 2009 season has been filled with storylines, from the arrivals of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett, and Nick Swisher, to A-Rod's return from hip surgery, to Derek Jeter's MVP-caliber season. One storyline that has seemingly been lost in this whirlwind is Melky Cabrera. Melky has had a breakout season of sorts, after most of us, myself included, wrote him off after last year's dismal season, in which he took a big step backward in his development. After losing out to Brett Gardner in the spring training centerfield battle, it seemed as though Melky would never be anything more than a fourth outfielder, and many Yankee fans wanted him traded. Since then, however, Melky has played very well, winning back the centerfield job and essentially splitting time with Brett Gardner in center, as well as seeing some time at the corners. Since Gardner hit the DL with a broken finger, Melky has continued to produce.

Melky's slash line stands at .292/.355/.463, good for an .819 OPS (114 OPS+). This is worlds better than last year, when he posted a .249/.301/.341 line, which comes out to a .641 OPS (68 OPS+). His career line is .272/.334/.389/.723/89. So Melky has gone from a below-average offensive player to an above-average one, at a position where league average play is considered to be very valuable. Let's dig a little deeper to see how Melky has improved. His walk rate stands at 9.4%, which is not great, but is a major step forward from last year's 6.5% and his career mark of 8.4%. We've also seen an increase in his line drive rate, which stands at 20.8% (18.6 last year, 18.9 career). This, as well as his improved plate discipline are reasons why his batting average is twenty points higher than his career mark. Perhaps most surprising about Melky's season is his improved power. Melky is slugging .463 after never having a season of better than .391 (2006 and 2007) and has an Iso of .171 after never doing better than .117 (2007). Now, one might argue that this is a product of the New Yankee Stadium, but his slugging percentage on the road is identical to his home mark.

Now, on to something Melky has always been able to do; play defense. Fangraphs has Melky as a +3.3 defender in centerfield, so he's been an asset on both offense and defense. He's been worth 1.6 Wins Above Replacement, which makes him worth $7.3 million, and considering he's getting paid $1.4 million this year, he's a tremendous bargain.

So what does the future hold for Melky? One thing we tend to forget is that Melky is just 24 years old, so he has plenty of development left, and if he can continue his current trend, he should be a valuable guy for years to come. With his step forward this year, along with Brett Gardner's solid rookie season, what seemed like the team's biggest hole last offseason has been shored up with low-cost players. This will give Austin Jackson more time to develop in the minors, or allow the Yankees to move him for a big return.

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.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

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.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mark Teixeira Appreciation Thread

I was reading an article the other day that called C.C. Sabathia the Yankees MVP for the innings he has produced. I thought about that for a while and I had a tough time coming up with someone else who was a better candidate forthe title of Yankees MVP. Its kind of surprising it took so long for me to think of Mark Teixiera. The biggest signing of all of this past offseason moves to New York and ends up almost unnoticed. Since the start of the season we have only used the Mark Teixeira tag four times since spring training began. As a point of comparison, Melky's tag has been used six times since the start of spring training.

So, I want to take this moment to appreciate the Yankees MVP, Mark Teixeira. He's given us gold glove level defense and silver slugger worthy offense. He doesn't have Alex Rodriguez's flair for the dramatic but last night really was a great example of the type of player he is. He made a great play on defense that could have saved an extra base hit and almost started a rally to win the game in the 9th. A quietly excellent producer who everybody kind of forgot about after his April struggles. Worth every penny, at least so far.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Posada's Return

I don't know why, but this took me completely by surprise. Posada will be activated off of the DL today and I would logically assume that he will be behind the plate today. Kevin Cash has been DFA'ed which I think is a smart move. He really has little to no value to the Yankees and Fransisco Cervelli has clearly outplayed him thus far.

Their are some conflicting reports about whether or not Melky is available tonight so I guess we'll have to wait until game time to find out.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Some Positive Injury-Related News

We'll do this in bullet form, courtesy of Pete Abe:
  • Melky Cabrera had an MRI today and he likely will not need to go on the DL, as he should only be out 5-7 days after running into the wall and injuring his shoulder yesterday
  • Brian Bruney visited Dr. James Andrews, who examined his elbow and found no structural damage. He has a flexor muscle strain, and apparently it was not fully healed when he came back. He'll likely be out 2-3 weeks, but it could be a lot worse, as many of us thought he may need TJ
  • Jorge Posada is playing in extended spring training games and should be activated in Cleveland on Friday. That should be a boost for the offense
Nothing new on Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte, or Jose Molina, but hopefully all those guys will be back soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

New Memories

Going to my first game at the new stadium today felt very much like my first game at the old one. I'm older and I know much more about the game now but it felt very much the same. Part of it was because I went with my mom (seeing as I she lets me live in her basement, it seemed only fair) and some of the rest of my family that went with me to my first game but it was mostly the feeling of awe at my surroundings.

For the first time, their was no giant bat or stands selling jerseys. Their were certainly some feelings of nostalgia as we walked past the old, condemned stadium as well. However, it was impossible to feel all that sad when the new stadium came into view. Walking into the "Great Hall" was simply mind-blowing. The massive pictures of great Yankees players and moments are just great tributes to their history and the spaciousness of it all is very welcome. Monument park was unfortunately closed two hours before the game so we couldn't get it, so we went straight to our seats after a quick trip to the (miraculously clean) bathroom.

We then proceded to watch eight of the worst innings of baseball I have even seen in person. It started out perfectly fine. Andy Pettitte held the other team scoreless for the first two innings before taking a hit in the third. Raul Ibanez absolutely crushed a ball to dead center to give the Phillies a run and a 1-0 lead. It would last though. Robinson Cano, who had a great game, led off the Yankees half of the third with a leadoff double (or error, depending on what team you root for) and scored with some small ball. Melky bunted him over to third and Nick Swisher got the RBI with a sharp groundout to the shortstop.

Both pitchers kept the opposition quiet for the next few innings, aided by a sliding catch in foul territory by Mark Teixeira. Then came the 5th and John Mayberry. Pettitte had been struggling with his control all afternoon and started off the inning with back to back walks before giving up a three run homer to a rookie making his ML debut named John Mayberry, of course inciting a mass orgasm amongst the Phillies fans arou
nd me. One, slightly drunk fan directly in front of me just kept repeating Mayberry's name. From here on out things were pretty dismal. Pettitte battled through seven innings without giving up any more runs and was followed by nearly perfect performances by Phil Coke (1 and 2/3 innings) and Jose Veras (1/3 of an inning). However, the only run they got was a solo shot by Jeter in the 6th. The only other time they came close to scoring was in the 8th when Brett Gardner got a pinch-hit double with one out. Even then, Matsui and Jeter followed up with back to back strike outs to blow the big chance. What was really incredible was how they failed to capitalize on Charlie Manuel removing dominant starter, J. A. Happ after only about 75 pitches.

By the time the ninth rolled around the stadium was pretty quiet. The fans woke up in a hurry though. Damon led off with a huge walk and took second while Mark Teixeira struck out. Then came who else but A-Rod. I have to admit that I didn't harbor much hope for him when they got two strikes on him and nodded in agreement when my dear mother felt a need to say, "He's so bad in the clutch." A couple pitches later he ties the game up against Brad Lidge with an opposite field home-run, hit the way only Alex can. The cheers and clapping went on long after Alex crossed home plate. The Yankees didn't waste any time winning it either. Robinson Cano quickly followed him up with a base hit and a rare steal of second which proved to be of the utmost importance. Melky Cabrera then laced a single to right centerfield and Cano ran on home drawing a late throw. It wasn't long before he got the now traditional pie in the face. Not a bad introduction to the new stadium at all.

On the way out we ran into a friend who used to sit near our old seats in years past. We also saw that Freddy (of the spoon and pan) had made the trip across the street and that today was his 84th birthday. On the way to the car, I couldn't resist taking a peek through the fence encircling The House That Ruth Built. However, their's no arguing that the new stadium is beautiful and makes powerful tributes to the Yankees proud past. Today gave me confidence that Mystique and Aura have moved across the street and that we to can make a new home for ourselves in this baseball nirvana.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Leche!

This was a back and forth game for the first few innings. Burnett clearly wasn't at his best and gave up a few early runs. However, Manny Ortega did much of the same, giving up some big hits. In the end the difference was Melky Cabrera who has seemingly won the starting centerfield job back.

Sorry this is so short but I'm in a rush.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Leche!

Thank god for Melky Cabrera. Obviously, his two home runs were the leading story yesterday. He's hit well when he's played and Gardner hasn't. They need to give him a few starts in center at this point. However, if it wasn't for him the lead story would be C.C. Sabathia's continued struggles. So far, his control has been non-existent. I'm still not worried but its something to keep in the back of the Yankees section of my mind. The bullpen looked fantastic though. They shut down the critics for at least one day.

The Yanks are off to a pretty good start so far and a sweep in the upcoming series vs Boston would be real nice.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Gardner Versus Melky

Its bizarre to look at how much money the Yankees are spending at each position, only to come to center field where nothing is set. The Yanks have struggled to replace Bernie Williams at this position ever since he hit his sharp decline. We thought we had something with Johnny Damon but then we discovered his arm was worse than Williams'. We thought we had something with Melky as well but he's declined steadily every year. Hopefully, these two will just be keeping the seat warm for Austin Jackson but in the super-competitive AL East, they can't have a black hole in center field for even one year. So, we`re relying on either Melky Cabrera or Brett Gardner.

Melky's been in the big leagues for three years now. Intially, he displayed a ton of promise and earned himself some comparisons to perennial all-stars like Carlos Beltran from crazy people like myself. However, his offensive stats have declined across the board every year. Why? I don't know, but for some reason he lost all semblance of strike-zone judgement. After displaying some impressive plate discipline in 2006, that virtually vanished the next year and slipped even further in 2008. The dirty little secret that nobody realizes about Melky, though, is that he's not really such a great fielder after all. He's not really any better than average. His arm is great but his range, not so much. Melky is still young and he could still end up as a serviceable center fielder but probably not for the Yankees.

Gardner made his relatively unimpressive debut last year. A sub .300 SLG% won't cut it for the Yankees. However, 42 games is way to small a sample size to draw any conclusions from and he traditionally has started slow at new levels. In the minors Gardner profiled as the perfect leadoff hitter. He hit for a fairly high average and managed to walk a ton. The combination gave him an excellent OBP and when you combine that with the fact that he's the fastest white guy Nick Swisher has ever seen you`re going to get a really annoying and really good player. The problem is he has zero power. The theory that some fans, like nomaas.org, have been preaching is that with no home run threat, ML pitchers won't have to pitch around him. Then all those walks, and a huge chunk of his value, disappear. I can't really argue to much with that logic. Still, I`d give the job to Gardner. Simply because of his vastly superior fielding. Any of the stats we saw were of to small a sample size to use but just by watching the games we could tell that this guy is genuinely one of the best center fielders in baseball. I doubt either of them will hang onto the position past this year but for a one year fix, Gardner seems like the better option.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

News and Notes

  • The Yankees and Padres are bidding for the Mexican pitcher, Walter Silva.  
  • Melky will not take part in the World Baseball Classic.
  • Hank the Tank fires back full force at John Henry's salary cap whining. Hank had this to say:
    “Along with a few other teams, we’re basically baseball’s stimulus package,” he said. “As long as we’re..giving all this money to other teams in revenue sharing, a staggering amount, we should be able to spend on salaries what we want to. Because of revenue sharing and because of the popularity nationwide, the Yankees are critical to baseball.”
  • A-Rod talks a little bit about something besides steroids.
  • Pete Abraham has some great spring training coverage from toady. Tino and Bernie were in camp!
  • The Head Stein made a rare appearance at camp today, meeting with some of the players and coaches. 
  • Meet A-Rod's cousin's trainer.
  • The MLB wants to have a few words with A-Rod.
  • Thursday, October 2, 2008

    Centerfield

    Going into the offseason one of the Yankees biggest problems to adress will be the hole in centerfield. I was hoping Melky Cabrera could fill the hole and back in April it looked like he would. However, he dropped off and now seems to be a failure. Brett Gardner stepped in to finish the year in centerfield, however, does anyone really trust him and Melky for next year? The offense is getting old and they can't afford to have holes in the lineup. So they can either stick with Gardner/Cabrera, sign a free agent, or trade for a guy. I`ve already said I don't like the first option and the free agent market looks pretty barren. Mike Cameron is the best guy available and he`s a huge injury risk.

    So, they`re probably going to have to trade for somebody. Nate McLouth, Matt Kemp, and David DeJesus have all been suggested.

    Matt Kemp would be great to get. Cano for Kemp rumors were suggested at the trade deadline and now they`ve been revived. However, they seem unlikely to me. Besides, I`m not sure I`d be willing to give up Cano and other prospects for Kemp.

    David DeJesus and Nate McLouth are much better options. They`re not great fielders, however, they can hold their own and, hopefully, Austin Jackson can bump them over to right or left field in 2010. Neither are to old and both are cheap.

    Could Kennedy, Wright, Gardner, and Britton get a deal done for either of them? They would be getting two potential starters, an immediate replacement in centerfield, and a solid reliever who, for whatever reason, will never get a shot with the Yankees. I`m just speculating right now and I`d love any thoughts on this trade proposal in the comments section, even if you think I`m a ridiculous homer.

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Richie Sexson Is Not The Answer

    In the post below this, Charlie applauded the Yankees signing of Richie Sexson. While it's true that he may help out against lefties, he probably won't do too much. I'm not really against the signing, but at best Sexson will add about half a win. Maybe. The Yankees are averaging 4.59 runs per game, good for 15th in the majors, and 8th in the AL. This middle of the road performance is far from what was expected, and it can't continue if the Yankees want to make the playoffs. Obviously there is room for improvement. Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu, Robinson Cano and Melky Cabrera are all having sub-par seasons and could theoretically improve. There has been a lot of speculation about trading for Ichiro, Matt Holliday, Xavier Nady, etc. These are all solid options, but there is one player who could be had for a lot less in terms of money and prospects: Barry Lamar Bonds. True, he hasn't played baseball in a while, but he wants a contract, so he has been staying in shape. Give him two weeks in the minors and he should be ready. After all, he's one of the best hitters ever. He had a 1.045 OPS last year. It's safe to say he will regress from that mark, maybe by a lot, but would .850 be a safe estimate, wouldn't it? That's basically Matsui, so there you go, Bonds is the replacement, and he doesn't cost Phil Hughes or Austin Jackson. If Bonds doesn't produce, he can be cut easily, since he will be making the pro-rated minimum.

    Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Yankees at Red Sox

    Tonight it will be Phil Hughes, vs. Dice-K

    The lineups from Pete Abe:
    YANKEES
    Johnny Damon CF
    Robinson Cano 2B
    Bobby Abreu RF
    Alex Rodriguez 3B
    Hideki Matsui LF
    Jorge Posada DH
    Jason Giambi 1B
    Jose Molina C
    Alberto Gonzalez SS

    RED SOX
    Jacoby Ellsbury LF
    Dustin Pedroia 2B
    J.D. Drew RF
    Manny Ramirez DH
    Kevin Youkilis 3B
    Sean Casey 1B
    Jason Varitek C
    Coco Crisp CF
    Julio Lugo SS

    For those of you screaming over the fact that Melky is not playing and Damon is, it is because of these numbers:
    Melky vs. Dice-K: .000/.125/.000
    Damon vs. Dice-K: .385/.429/.615
    Also, everyone needs a rest from time to time. I won't be liveblogging tonight, so unless Charlie steps in there won't be one.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Spring Recap #2

    Todays game was in Kissimme, against the Astros. The Yankees won 7-6. Here are some notable performances:
    Hitting:
    Melky had a good day (2 for 3 with a double, walk and 2 runs) as did his buddy Robinson Cano (3 for 4 with 2 RBI and a run). Shelley Duncan continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 4 with a double. Morgan Ensberg also went 2 for 4 with a double. One player I was really happy with was Francisco Cervelli, who threw out two runners attempting to steal, and showed patience at the plate, going 1 for 1 with two walks.
    Pitching:
    Moose got roughed up a bit, but I wouldn't start worrying yet. Jeff Karstens pitched well, allowing no runs in three innings of work, giving up two hits and striking out two. Edwar Ramirez allowed an unearned run while striking out one in an inning of work. Steven Jackson pitched a perfect inning. Dan McCutchen pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a hit and striking out a batter. Mark Melancon got the save, pitching a perfect ninth, while getting two groundball outs.

    Saturday, January 26, 2008

    Cash Speaks

    Brian Cashman, along with Theo Epstein spoke yesterday to an audience at William Paterson University in New Jersey. He voiced his opinion on many topics, including the possible Johan Santana trade. He had this to say:
    "My strong recommendation is we stick with our young pitching staff and keep it in-house.That's my recommendation, and we've fought hard to take one step back to take two giant steps forward."
    I agree, and it looks like they will stick with the youngsters. He later mentioned that Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu were out of shape last spring. Hopefully that will change this year. He then said that Bernie's 2005 season was poor, and Joe Torre should not have played him over Melky.

    Monday, January 21, 2008

    Breaking News: Yankees to Score Runs in 2008

    I know, it surprised me too. David Pinto of Baseball Musings has projected the Yankees to have the best lineup in baseball in 2008. Makes sense. They really didn't lose anyone from last year, so the lineup should stay the same. It will be hard for A-Rod and Jorge to duplicate last year's seasons, but at the same time, Melky and Cano will likely improve, and Johnny Damon will be healthy. Also, There's always a chance that Jason Giambi will remember how to hit.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2008

    Melky Cabrera=Alex Rios?

    Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus ranks Melky as a potential breakout this year:

    Cabrera went backwards in ’07, but not by enough for concern. Remember that he is just 23 years old and has more than 1100 plate appearances in the majors, with average to average-plus defense (good physical tools, but very raw, takes bad routes) and a very good 129/96 K/BB. He is a mature player offensively, patient at the plate and fair on the bases (25-for-35 stealing in his career). One interesting quirk is his G/F ratio, which is 1.63 for his career and was a whopping 1.81 last season. Cabrera is listed at 5’11” and 200 pounds. He’s not Willy Taveras, but rather a player who should be developing power and learning how to drive the ball, rather than hitting the ball on the ground 60 percent of the time.

    I’m reminded of Alex Rios, who doesn’t look a thing like Cabrera. Rios was largely disappointing in 2004 and 2005, hitting just 11 homers in more than 900 at-bats, with an isolated power of 117. The problem: Rios was hitting the ball on the ground too much, a 1.82 G/F in those two seasons. Starting in ’06, Rios put the ball in the air more than half the time, and became a star. When you look at Cabrera’s body, his established control of the strike zone, and his ability to hold his own at a young age, you recognize that all it’s going to take is for him to start elevating the ball. Cabrera may not get there in 2008, but he’s going to pop 80 extra-base hits and slug .500 in a season very, very soon.

    I'm not sure I buy this. Okay, the stats are similar, but the difference is that Rios has a lot more power potential. Melky, as Sheehan mentioned, is small (5'11'', 200 according to Sheehan, 170 according to Baseball-Reference). Rios is 6'4 and 194. He's not much heavier, but overall he is bigger. Plus, Rios has room to fill out his frame, while Melky isn't getting much bigger.

    Sheehan could be right, and if he is I would be elated. I think people underrate Melky. I think he could be a productive MLB hitter, but not as good as Rios. His production will come mostly from his OBP and not his SLG.

    Friday, January 11, 2008

    Brewers Save us From Ourselves

    The Brewers signed centerfielder Mike Cameron to a one-year deal. That means he can't sign with the Yankees! I realize that Melky is not a long-term solution in center, but I'd rather have him than Cameron, and just wait until Austin Jackson is ready.