Friday, November 11, 2011

2011 recap

So, 2011 season is over. Although it is disapointing I am unable to change the name of the blog to yankees quest for 29 I did see many things I did like. The yankees overcame in september to overtake the division, delt with many injuries to key players throughout the year, and had some young talent really step up.

Our starting pitching exceeded my expectations. CC was a innings eater and a true ace. Nova was ace 1b, his control was outstanding and showed great poise on the mound. Burnett has continued to be a disapointment, Hughes was injured early on the season and hasn't looked quite the same since. Colon and Garcia were both surprises and pitched very well when there numbers were called.

Our bullpen was a true strength to the Yankees. Mo Rivera showed why he still is the best closer in baseball. Ayala and Logan both stepped up and pitched well. Soriano was a disapointment in his first year in pinstripes as he didnt adjust to the setup role well. David Robinson looked unhittable at times and posted a amazing 1.08 era and may have been the biggest unsung hero in the yankees organization. The depth in the bullpen is top notch. I havent even mentioned Noesi, Joba or Wade

The yankees hitting stepped up and was one of the best, if not the best power hitting team in the majors. 7 of our starting lineup had over 10 Hrs, 3 over 100 rbis, 5 players with a OPS over .800. Quite impressive given how #'s heavily decreased last year. Cano and Granderson played at MVP levels both at the plate and in the field. Newly acquired Russel Martin handled the pitching staff well and provided a solid bat in the back end of the lineup. Jeter and Arod started to show there age but also proved they can be solid contributors still. Brett Gardner did a solid job at the top of the lineup with a 364 on base percentage.

The bench was so-so. Eric Chavez and Andrew Jones were two good vetran bats who provided some decent pitch hitting/dh and filled in well when players were injured or needed rest. Edguardo Nunez impressed me with his bat, but looked lost in the field. Montero called up and in his 18 games almost hit a OPS of 1.000 (.996) batted over .300 and had some clutch hits.

Despite all the positives of the regular season, the postseason was a big disapointment. CC looked worn out at times and pitched poorly in the post season. The only pitcher who performed well was Nova. Our hitting was so-so in the series vs the tigers and we were outplayed. Overall without a championship the Yankees series may be classified as a failure, however, I wouldn't say so. I saw some young talent really progress (cano, montero, granderson, nova) who can be central figures going forward for the next 5-10 years.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2011 Offseason Overview Updated December 21, 2010

As a Yankee fan I can't say I've been happy with this offseason, but I don't think its a complete failure either. Us Yankee fans have seen some of our division rival get stronger (red soxs), some get weaker (tampa), and some teams (Toronto, O's) make some interesting moves but still have many question marks on their roster.

What the yankees have done right 

Re-Signing Derek Jeter. Personally, I think we should have just keep Jeter happy and given him what he wanted. I understand he's getting up there in age, he had one of his worse offensive statistical seasons and his range/arm is not the same as it used to be. (How he got a gold glove over alexi ramerez still baffles me). However, he is the face of the yankees and dare I say, baseball. He brings people to the stadium, he still is a good front line hitter, good OBP and takes a lot of pitches. I also like the fact its a 3 year contract because thats the max number of years I still see jeter at Short before he moves to third or the outfield.

Re-Signing Mariano Rivera. This goes without saying. Rivera is the best closer in the game. He is getting up there in age but for two years is worth every penny.

Signing Russel Martin. This one is borderline because I really did want to see what Jesus Montero could bring to the table but for 1 year Martin is a good sign and more then anything, he's not in a red soxs uniform for 2011. It allows the yankees flexibility to trade Montero if we choose to for starting pitching and allows Posada to move to the DH where he can help the team the most at his current state.

Letting Javier Vazquez/Lance Berkman go. Vazquez part 1 in new york was awful, part 2 didn't go much better. Berkman is nowhere worth 8 million right now. Good salary dumps in my opinion.

Not signing Carl Crawford. What? I know many of you are asking how can this be a good thing, Crawford would be a great add. You would be right. However, he was way overpriced, and the only positives over Brett Gardner he has is a better batting average and a slightly better glove in my opinion. For the value he was nowhere near worth it (thank you Mr. Werth for jacking up outfield values) Also Gardiner has a lot of room for improvement and still hasn't peaked and its likely that Crawford is nearing or already reached his peak.

What they have done wrong

Losing out on Cliff Lee
Lee to the Phillies is devastating to the Yankees if Andy Pettite does not come back. It also gives the Phillies the best pitching rotation I have seen since the braves had Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine. Although Lee went the other route (going to a team he was more comfortable with over the money) I wish him the best and I hope the Yankees will see the Phillies in the World Series and beat the living hell out of him. However, it really left the Yankees with little to no off season plans at pitcher. Guys like Brandon Webb, Carl Pravano, Zach Grienke were all injury prone and all have issues to come to New York. Sources have said the Yankees have looked at Freddy Garcia, Carmona, and Carlos Zambrano although to me I don't see any of them emerging to nothing more then a #3 starter in New York. King Felix would deserve a kings ransom, one that the Yankees could possibly afford (Hughes, Montero, and a couple more big name minor leaguers) but it would still leave holes in the rotation. Cashman has said he will look at our young pitching like Andrew Brackmon or Dellin Betances to fill the void behind CC, Hughes, Burnett, and Nova.

Not Signing Kerry Wood
1 year 1.5 mil to the Cubs. Let me repeat that.... 1.5 million. You got to be kidding me. Wood, besides Rivera was our most constant middle reliever in September going into October for just a little more (2, maybe 3 million) we could have solidified our bullpen. Although I would understand the move if we bring in a guy like Rafeal Soriano, Grant Balfour, Jon Rauch, Brian Fuentes, or Jason Fraiser. There is still a lot of good bullpen help out there (unlike Starting Pitching) but wood at that price would have been a great move.

What does the Current Yankees 25 Man Roster Looks Like 

Starting Rotation
1. C.C. Sabathia
2. Phil Hughes
3. Aj Burnett
4. Ivan Nova
5. Andrew Brackmon/Dellin Betances

How we can Improve the rotation
I liked what Nova did last year and project him as a #4 or 5 on the Yankees for the next few years if the Yankees choose to keep him there. Brackmon and Betances have both posted up great minor league numbers and are ranked very high on minor league radars so I wouldn't mind taking a flyer on them. However, I would prefer to give them both another year in the minors. We also have a man by the name of  Manny Banuelos who many scouts are saying that he has been the best lefty in the yankees system since Pettite. Speaking of which, one way to improve the rotation is to give Pettite his money and have him come back for one more year. Adam Warren and Hector Noesi could also pitch, but are best suited for bullpen/minors at this current time. I would prefer to see Mitre out of the bullpen for long relief as well. Some Free Agents that would upgrade our #5 are Brandon Webb, Freddy Garcia, Justin Duchscherer, and Chris Young could all be targeted if Pettite decides to retire.

Closer - Mariano Rivera
Set up - Joba Chamberlain
Lefty Specialist - Boone Logan
Long Relief -  Sergio Mitre
Middle Relief - David Robinson
Middle Relief - Damanso Marte/Romulo Sanchez

How we can Improve the Bullpen 
We do have a lot of good bullpen pitchers the only truly dominate one is Mo. The last spot between Marte/Sanchez will be interesting to see who will get it. Sanchez has a lot more potential but Marte has the experience. There is a chance that neither will if the Yankees bring in someone. Some free agents to look out for are Grant Balfour, Brian Fuentes, Kevin Gregg, Jon Rauch, and of course Rafeal Soriano. However, each has a type A or B designation on them so besides Soriano it is likely we wont see any of them sign before Spring training.

Starting Lineup
Catcher - Russel Martin
First Base - Mark Teixeira
Second Base - Robinson Cano
Short Stop - Derek Jeter
Third Base - Alex Rodriguez
Left Field - Brett Gardiner
Center Field - Curtis Granderson
Right Field - Nick Swisher
DH - Posada

How we can Improve the Starting Lineup 
The yankees have a very solid lineup 1-9, one of the best in the majors. Cano, Teixeria, A-Rod are one of the best 3-4-5's the yankees have seen in a long time. The lineup has good power, what is questionable is who is the leadoff. Jeter? Gardiner?  Maybe even Granderson or Martin? It would be good to figure that out midway through Spring Training. I personally think it should be Gardiner and move Jeter down in the lineup, just as long as he doesn't turn into a drama queen about it. Some options to upgrade our starting lineup is Acquiring Left fielders Justin Upton from the Diamondbacks, Matt Kemp from the dodgers, or to Sign designated hitters Vlad Guerrero, Manny Ramirez, or Jim Thome to be DH (all 3 are better hitters then Posada) however most likely this lineup will be the opening day lineup.

Bench (backups for each position) 
Catcher - Fransico Cervelli, Jorge Posada
First Base - Nick Swisher
Second Base - Ramiro Pena, Kevin Russo
Short Stop - Eduado Nunez, Ramiro Pena
Third Base - Eduardo Nunez, Ramiro Pena
Left Field - Colin Curtis  or G. Golston
Center Field -  Colin Curtis Or G. Golston
Right Field - Kevin Russo

How we Can Improve the Bench 
Because we have 11 pitchers, 9 players in the starting lineup, we have room for only 5 players on the bench. Cervelli, Nunez, Pena make the cut, as well as Russo for his ability to play both corner outfield spots and second base. However, Colin Curtis and Greg Golston are fighting for the last bench spot and lets face it, I don't like Russo, Curtis, or Golston as solid bench options in the Outfield. I would prefer bringing back Marcus Thames or  Johnny Damon because the Yankees don't have much power and nobody suited as a pitch hitter off the bench. Outfielder Lastings Millage (only 25) still has a lot of potential and I think could be a great backup, but doesn't have much power.