February 25, 2015

Radio Show: A-Rod, Yankees & Mets discussion

So after Alex Rodriguez made his surprise appearance in Tampa on Monday, my good friend Jeremy Schilling invited me on his weekly online radio show. Topics covered include:

  • A-Rod's impact on the Yankees
  • Who's better in 2015: Yankees or Mets?
  • How the NL can avoid being so pitching-heavy
  • Who's the new leader of the Yankees clubhouse?

Check Out Sports Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with JSchil1 on BlogTalkRadio

February 19, 2015

More fun A-Rod reading this week

The official report date for Yankees' pitchers and catchers is tomorrow, but next Wednesday might be the biggest media day for all of spring training. Why? That's the day Alex Rodriguez is due to report.

In case you've been living under a rock this week, here are a few A-Rod stories (and reactions) that are worth your while: 
  • First up, a #longread on the Yankees DH/3B/DH/3B/DH (who knows) from ESPN The Magazine: "The Education of Alex Rodriguez." The story reveals very personal details, such as his encounters with a therapist, but here's a fun little excerpt that caught my eye:

February 3, 2015

LINK: How Phil Hughes turned his career around in Minnesota

Phil Hughes quietly had one of the best seasons by any pitcher in 2014 after leaving the Yankees and moving to Target Field. He even set the all-time single season record for best K/BB ratio (11.63). Who knew? Unreal.

But it wasn't really until now when someone finally cared to look into it more closely. That person was Matt Goldman from Beyond the Box Score, an awesome baseball analytics site that I can't recommend enough.

Most people would take one look at Hughes' record and say that Yankee Stadium is simply a much harder stadium to pitch in than Target Field. Sure, that may have been a factor. But, as BtBS points out, Hughes finally figured out an effective pitching style.

Hughes always had great stuff. In Minnesota, somehow he figured out how to use his arsenal most effectively. Would you bet on Hughes duplicating his 2014 success next year? Do all of your baseball betting here.

Here's the game-changing chart, and here's the full article

Keep up the great work, BtBS!

February 2, 2015

Baseball’s most hated player ever: A-Rod or Barry Bonds?

Barry Bonds has the most homers. A-Rod has the most haters. And now we know the two reportedly worked out together this offseason. Watching how the A-Rod Saga plays out during spring training and the season will really be something, especially with the majority of fans feeling the exact opposite about A-Rod as they did about Derek Jeter during his farewell tour.

I don't think Yankees fans generally hate Barry Bonds any more than the average fan. It's not like he broke Babe Ruth's record (Hank Aaron already took the hate for that). But since A-Rod plays for the Yankees and has lied over and over again (while Bonds has simply denied), I believe A-Rod is the most hated ballplayer ever

Brian Cashman re-signed Chase Headley with full intentions of darting him at third base, thereby shifting A-Rod to full-time DH duties. Still, A-Rod had the gall to publicly undermine Cashman's plans by saying he's vying to play third. What nerve.

January 15, 2015

Storify: PITCH Talks: Yankees, Mets & Hall of Fame

Last night, I watched live as some of the best baseball writers in the country fielded questions from former Boston Globe coworker Pete Abraham and an audience of 300 other crazed baseball fans like me.

And yes, as I said I would, I tweeted my brains out. See below for some of the highlights of the 2-hour panel discussion.

January 14, 2015

NYC Event Tonight – PITCH: Talks on Baseball

While I'm no longer working directly in sports journalism as I was at the New York Daily News and the Boston Globe, I still pay attention to the scene and read various beats and writers daily.

An organization called PITCH: Talks On Baseball, a new speaker series about baseball, has planned what sounds like an awesome event that features some of the top baseball writers in the country: Pete Abraham, Buster Olney, Ken Rosenthal, Matthew Cerrone, Sweeny Murti, Adam Rubin, Tyler Kepner, and Jay Jaffe.

It's not very often an event with this caliber of writers comes along, so I will be in attendance tonight and, of course, tweeting my brains out.

January 11, 2015

Early 2015 Yankees Projections

It's been a long time since my last writing here but thought there'd be no better a time to return to the blog six years and a day after I started it.

Brian Cashman has made a slew of small moves this offseason that has made the the Yankees a younger team, acquiring a pair of 24-year-olds: Derek Jeter's replacement Didi Gregorius and starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi. 

Not exactly the two huge names Yankees fans have become accustomed to welcoming.

But maybe that's just what the Yankees need after missing the playoffs for the second straight season. The Yankees are younger and projected to be a much better defensive team than they've been in years. Getting younger and better defensively are two key ingredients to winning, but in the end it's all about scoring and preventing runs. 

Using pure statistical analysis, FanGraphs projects the Yankees to have a +14 run differential in 2015, ranked 15th overall for an 83-79 record. Doesn't look like the Steinbrenner family can honestly expect a championship in 2015. But that's what faithful fans like me are here for – to attend games, cheer passionately, and not lose hope.

That being said, here's what the Yankees are working with in 2015.

C Brian McCann RHP Masahiro Tanaka
1B Mark Teixeira RHP Michael Pineda
2B Stephen Drew LHP CC Sabathia
SS Didi Gregorius RHP Nathan Eovaldi
3B Chase Headley LHP Chris Capuano (eventually Ivan Nova)
LF Brett Gardner Bullpen
CF Jacoby Ellsbury RHP Dellin Betances
RF Carlos Beltran LHP Andrew Miller
DH Alex Rodriguez RHP Adam Warren
Bench RHP David Carpenter
C John Ryan Murphy LHP Justin Wilson
OF Chris Young RHP Esmil Rodgers
INF Brendan Ryan RHP Gonzalez Germen
OF/INF Garrett Jones

And here's what it will take for these Yankees to win it all.

September 18, 2014

Gatorade's "Made in New York ft. Derek Jeter" commercial is pretty awesome

Teams lucky enough to host the Yankees this season have presented Derek Jeter with farewell gifts, columnists have produced countless tributes to him, and so have his sponsors.

Now batting: Gatorade.

Unlike Jordan's #RE2PECT commercial, this Gatorade commercial doesn't seem staged at all. It captures natural fan reactions to Jeter walking to Yankee Stadium, and shows him interacting with fans too. It's a great 90-second spot and pulls on your heart strings, especially if meeting Jeter was your childhood dream.

Make sure to retweet the following tweet for a chance to win one of these sweet commemorative Jeter bottles. Gatorade gave me 10 to give away to my readers.

August 18, 2014

Upgraded defense could be the difference for Yankees

Yankees fans love Billy Crystal just as Mets fans love Jerry Seinfeld. In this case, I love Seinfeld more than Crystal, but both are pure baseball guys at heart. Anyway, there's a great Q&A with Seinfeld on ESPN that I implore you to read, simply talking baseball. He touches on a variety of topics.
I've been doing this joke lately, because I turned 60 this year, and people around that age make a bucket list. I made a bucket list, turned the "b" to an "f" and was done with it. If you want to kite surf down the Amazon, go ahead. I'm going to crack open a beer and watch a ballgame. 
When I think of retirement, all I would think of is going to a baseball game every day.
Perfection. Couldn't agree more.

Later in the interview, he's asked about the evolution of statistics in baseball, to which he responds, "I love it. ... There's no such thing as too many stats."

Again, couldn't agree more. One area of statistics that I'm especially interested in as defensive metrics. For starters, it relates directly to my job (I help manage the Wilson Ball Glove social media accounts). 

But more important, the defensive stats currently being used (UZR/150, DRS, etc.) are hurting the game because they're so far off. Yes, hurting, because WAR, a metric that is now widely regarded as the best overall metric to rate a player, can be so heavily swayed by defensive metrics.

Eventually, I hope there will be statistics for each portion of defense (range, throwing power, throwing accuracy) that can then be used to form the most accurate overall metric by averaging those three stats properly weighted for each position.

Until that day comes, it's best to just ignore what's out there and stick with the eyeball test. And let me just say this: anybody with an eyeball can see that the Yankees' infield has taken a turn for the better since Brian Cashman brought in Chase Headley, Stephen Drew and Martin Prado to play third, short and second.

If you only caught the highlights of Sunday's game, you probably saw that Brett Gardner had the key two-run single to give the Yankees a lead. But it was really a win for the defense today. Headley and Prado each had at least a few hit-saving plays and Drew flashed the leather as well. These three are major, major upgrades to Yangervis Solarte, Derek Jeter and Brian Roberts.

They've always had great outfield defense with Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury supplying tremendous range, and we all know what Mark Teixeira can do at first, but now with an infield defense to match the Yankees are starting to win games with their defense.

The Yankees are seven games out of first place but just 3.5 games behind in the wild card race. It may be too early to place bets – if you're into that sort of thing you can do so at william hill online betting – but a few defensive victories could be the difference in playing in October or playing golf. 

July 20, 2014

LAST CALL! Spend Game Day with Derek Jeter

You have until midnight to enter for a chance to have one of your dreams come true.

All you have to do is support Derek Jeter's Turn 2 Foundation with at least a $10 donation, and there's a chance you'll be selected to spend a day with Jeter on game day. The full deets are below, and then try watching the video below and not donating.

It's impossible. #RE2PECT 
The Turn 2 Foundation wants to invite you and three of your friends to come to New York City and go to a private pre-game lunch for four with Derek Jeter at one of his favorite Manhattan restaurants. You will then travel from lunch to Yankee Stadium with Derek and get a behind-the-scenes VIP tour of the Stadium courtesy of the New York Yankees.

State of the Yankees: Midseason Review

The Yankees just finished off a sweep of the Reds to start the second half and sit three games out of first with a 50-47 record. Despite how poorly they've played, the AL East is still, somehow, wide open for the taking.

Last time I checked in, Yangervis Solarte was leading the team in just about all offensive categories and CC Sabathia had just hit the DL for his knee, which, at the time, I thought was a cover for his poor performance. Today, Solarte is back on the active roster after a massive cold streak sent him down to the minors, and we just found out CC is getting season-ending knee surgery.

Injury Bug
While CC's injury is certainly a concern for his career, it doesn't compare to the impact Masahiro Tanaka's elbow surgery will have on the Yankees season outlook. Tanaka was an AL Cy Young candidate, and now he's likely out for the year. Now, the only member of the Opening Day rotation who hasn't spent time on the DL this season is Hiroki Kuroda.

May 12, 2014

State of the Yankees: Quarterly Review

The Yankees (19-17) are 1.5 games behind the Orioles for the division lead and just a half game ahead of the Red Sox. Before the Yankees start this week's Subway Series, there's the good, the bad, and plenty of first quarter surprises to review. Let's get right down to what really matters, shall we?

Opening Day Rotation
1. CC Sabathia – 15-day DL (knee), 5.28 ERA
2. Hiroki Kuroda – 4.43 ERA, had 5.00+ ERA in August, September & April
3. Ivan Nova – underwent Tommy John Surgery, out for season
4. Masahiro Tanaka – 5-0, 2.57 ERA, 58 K's, what else is there to say?
5. Michael Pineda – 15-day DL (muscle strain) out until June, 1.83 ERA possibly spiked with pine tar

Current Rotation
1. Masahiro Tanaka – proven quickly he's the true ace of the staff
2. Hiroki Kuroda – two strong starts in a row is encouraging for 39-year-old
3. Vidal Nuno – coming off very promising start vs. Angels (W, 6.1 IP, ER, 82 pitches)
4. David Phelps – two decent starts as Pineda's replacement, 4.09 ERA
5. Alfredo Aceves – the only real candidate to replace Sabathia, hasn't made a start yet

March 30, 2014

2014 MLB Predictions: Tanaka, Jeter, Trout & Harper

The Yankees haven't missed the postseason two years in a row since the Buck Showalter era. This year, they've got stiff competition yet again in the AL East and I've gotta say, it doesn't look too good for the Bronx Bombers.

One thing's for sure: the Yankees' farm system isn't going to dazzle this year. That means it will be up to this year's 25-man roster to bring the Yankees back to the postseason. As you'll see below, I believe these 25 can do it. But I've chosen my words carefully, and health – as it always is with the Yankees – will be the X-factor. These 25 can do it.

Sure, there are plenty of questions about this year's team, starting with Masahiro Tanaka. And what about CC Sabathia's velocity? Mark Teixeira's wrist? Derek Jeter's ankle? Thinking about all of that makes your nervous, and let's not forget about David Robertson's attempt to fill in for the great Mariano Rivera. Well, my sixth annual preseason predictions are below!

Results for my 2013 MLB predictions

There was no way I was going to match the success I had last year, when I hit .327 (16-for-49). Starting from the top, I practically picked the AL East in perfect reverse order. That's not an easy feat.

Anyway, this year I was 12-for-50. However, 3-for-8 for the awards section isn't too shabby!

February 8, 2014

A nice primer for Yankees spring training

Yankees beat writer Mark Feinsand for the New York Daily News put together a good preview for spring training. Go give it a read.

As Feinsand writes, the Yankees' chances success in 2014 really boils down to five key questions. See my takes below:

January 11, 2014

A-Rod suspended for 2014 season

Five years ago last night I started this blog.

Last night, reports surfaced of an "imminent" ruling from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz on the A-Rod case.

This morning, the ruling came. All 162 games of 2014, plus the postseason. Alex, your thoughts (with my emphasis):

December 10, 2013

Numbers Never Lie: Mariners overpaid for Robinson Cano [Video]

Of course, we won't know for sure if the Mariners overpaid for Robinson Cano until 2023, but ESPN's Tim Kurkjian reminds us that big contracts for older players don't usually pan out.

Seeing Cano wearing an M's cap so soon was tough to take, but this video should help fans deal with the pain.

December 7, 2013

Back to blogging with a bang

With my last post before today coming about 12 weeks ago, pumping out five blog posts and 2,000 words felt pretty good. It reminded me how much fun I had doing this on a daily basis for three years.

I guess I owe thanks to Brian Cashman for getting me excited enough to write about the Yankees again. The last few months were pretty dismal. Thanks, Cash.

Anyway, my fingers are getting pretty tired, so I hope you’ll give these fresh posts a read. There’s a lot to talk about if you’re a Yankees fan!


Keep an eye on the MLB favorites with future odds by Mybookie.ag

The cold season might be fast approaching but nothing will hinder an ardent baseball fan from preparing for the 2015 Major League Baseball Future Odds scheduled for spring. Keeping up gives you an idea of just who is positioned best to win the world title so any fan can keep up with the teams and perhaps wager on the teams with the best odds. Here is how you can experience the baseball season with predictions and MLB odds.

While a few roster moves here and there might bring forth changes, you can still speculate on the teams to focus on as early favorites based on preparedness, player acquisitions, records of winning and general updates on team performances closely followed by competent bookies.

My 2014 Hall of Fame ballot submitted to Deadspin

For those unaware, Deadspin claims to have bought a Hall of Fame vote from an unnamed BBWAA voter to “make a mockery and farce of the increasingly solemn and absurd election process, and to take some power from the duly appointed custodians of the game's history and turn it over to the public.

“The voter will announce his/her name and motivations once his/her vote has been officially cast.”

Of course, there’s no proof that a voter actually sold his or her vote to Deadspin. And, if it is true, why would this voter reveal himself and open himself up to discipline from the BBWAA?

Regardless, Deadspin’s ballot is now open and I’ve already submitted my picks. Unlike the current voting process, fans are allowed to vote for as many players as they’d like. So, here’s my ballot.

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