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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

A-Rod’s statistics paint a picture of one of the greatest baseball players of all-time. The table below list some of his eye-popping career batting statistics.

A-Rod Stats
 

What about his honors? He was a 3-time MVP. He was one of only five Yankee greats--- Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Berra and Maris --- to win multiple MVP Awards. He was a 2-time Gold Glove SS, a 10-time Silver Slugger, a batting champion in 1996 and a 14-time All-Star. Clearly, I could go on with his yearly accomplishments but no more proof is needed to declare his greatness. He is second only to the Babe in most home runs hit in one decade (Babe 467 [1920-1929], A-Rod 435 [2000-2009]) and is the only player to hit at least 150 home runs for three different teams (NY, Sea, Tex).

My original draft of this blog written on Thursday painted an ugly picture of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a manager who I really respect. Here are some of the pieces I wrote in that first draft. “Thursday night in Boston, Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez played his final road game of his career. For his final rode game, A-Rod was slotted in the 4th position in the batting order serving as the DH. A-Rod made it clear he wanted to start all three games against the Red Sox and start at third base in his final game at Yankee Stadium. Unfortunately, his manager refused both his requests. Why did Joe Girardi refuse his requests? For some absurd reason A-Rod sat out the first two games against the Red Sox. Did Girardi sit A-Rod for the first two games because he felt these were must win games and he had better player alternatives for winning these games? I don’t think so! Remember, the Yankees already waved the white flag several days ago by getting rid of two of the top closers in baseball and their best hitter. Considering A-Rod has been a model citizen this year--- never complaining about his lack of playi­­ng time, leading the cheers from the dugout and working with younger players such as Castro and Gregorius---, A-Rod earned the right to start the final four games of his Yankee career. Would the Yankees have turned down the same request if it was made by Jeter?  

Friday has come and has gone. A-Rod played his last game for the Yankees. The game was scheduled to start at 8 PM instead of the usual 7 PM. The reason for this was the Yankees planned a small celebration for A-Rod. The night started with a storm that one might have reasoned was delivered by the baseball gods to represent A-Rod’s career. Mariano walked his two daughters out of the dugout and they were embraced by their father. The sellout crowd continually cheered and chanted A-Rod’s name. He started the game but not at third base. In his first at bat he delivered a scorching line drive to right that split the outfielders and drove in the Yankees first run. You could see the joy in has face as he stood on second base. This was his only hit in four at bats. But there was a ninth inning surprise. With the Yankees leading 6 to 3 and Betances pitching, out trotted A-Rod with his glove on his left hand. Yes, he would play third base for one out and then leave the game as the fans cheered. Arriving at the dugout he was hugged by Girardi. Yes, Joe granted his wish to play third base in his final game even though it was just for one out.

So what about A-Rod’s future? Well, the Yankees are obligated to pay him the $27.5 million he is owed along with a nominal amount in his new position as advisor and instructor for the Yankees. From my readings the bilingual A-Rod loves to work with young players and will be valuable working with such Latin players as Gleyber Torres (just acquired in a trade) and Jorge Mateo (promising minor league SS).

More on A-Rod’s future in a follow-up blog.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The Yankees and Mets both had important weekend series before the All-Star Game. What happened between the Yankees and Indians and the Mets and Nationals will affect the baseball decisions going forward for the Mets and Yankees. The series between the front-running Nationals and the Mets revealed weaknesses for both teams. The Mets came into the series with momentum after taking care of business winning 7 out of 8 against the Cubs and Marlins. Their four scheduled pitchers were Colon, Verette (replacing Harvey), Syndergaard, and Matz. I could see the Mets winning three of four and at worse splitting the four games. Of course, it turned out that the Nationals won three out of four. Some of the points that I observed in Sunday’s finale were Papelbon as a closer for the Nationals needs to be replaced. Yes, he picked up the ninth inning save but the Mets hit the ball hard and suffered from the atom ball. Papelbon’s velocity is down to about 91 and he is very hittable. What Washington needs is the Yankees Chapman. Yes, Washington is a now team and should be willing to part with two very high prospects to get Chapman. As for the Yankees they have made it clear that for the right price Chapman could be gotten. The Yankees need top prospects as part of their rebuilding for the future. This trade makes all the sense in the world for both teams. The statement you never have enough starting pitchers applies to the Mets. With Harvey out and Wheeler questionable to return and Syndergaard’s tired arm, they need to get another starter. The other thing that stood out about the game was in the ninth inning with runners on base and two outs Terry Collins decided to let De Aza bat and put Loney in the on deck circle to bat for the next batter. What is Collins thinking? Da Aza is batting less than .180. Loney should have taken his bat back to the dugout because he had no chance of ever using it. Yes, De Aza struck out to end the game.

Now for the Yankee versus Indians series. The Yankees limped into their series against the division-leading Indians. Boy what a sloppy baseball game on Sunday. Two particular events come to mind. The Cleveland excellent shortstop Lindor with the infield in and the bases loaded had a ball hit right at him. He fielded the ball cleanly and then did not know what to do with the ball. In the end he threw the ball wildly to second base causing two runs to score leading to a Yankee big rally. There should be no thinking because with the infield in just throw the ball to the catcher. The second Little League screw-up was made by the Yankees number one pitcher Tanaka. With one out the ball was hit right back to him. Forgetting there was only one out he threw the ball to first instead of starting a double play. Language has nothing to do with the pitcher not knowing how many outs there are.

The Yankees are now a .500 team at 44-44. I think GM Cashman was hoping for an Indians sweep so he could become a seller. Winning 3 out of 4 keeps the Yankees thinking playoffs, even though they are currently competing with at least seven teams for the second wild card spot. The Yankees are clearly just a .500 club and in my opinion have very little chance of making the playoffs. A further Yankee headwind is their first 10 games in the second half are against the very good Orioles, Red Sox and Giants. The Cubs are another team that has shown interest in Chapman. Whether it’s the Nationals or the Cubs I encourage Cashman to trade Chapman. Cashman can always resign Chapman as a free agent next year. At 40 years old Beltran is having a season like he had 10 years ago and could also fetch a top prospect.  

The Mets manager Terry Collins was out-managed by the Nationals Dusty Baker. The Yankee manager Joe Girardi used his bullpen effectively to win a series against a better Indians team.


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man
On opening day of the season all the teams are tied for first place in their respective divisions. Sportswriters and ordinary fans digest all of the off-season team personal changes and use this information to make predictions about how the teams will finish in their respective divisions after the 162 games are played.

Now that close to 40 games have been played by each team, I would like to look at the four teams that have provided the biggest surprises. One team has exceeded what was expected and the other three have flopped so far.

Let’s begin with the New York Yankees. If you have been in outer space for a couple of years you might say: Aren’t the Yankees expected to win every year so how could they have exceeded their expectations? Their four core players Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez have not played in a single game in 2013. Only Granderson is expected back before the All-Star break. After 17 games, Kevin Youkilis joined them on the DL. Add to the DL list Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli and Joba Chamberlain. Although not on the DL, Ivan Nova is sidelined. These players represent the starting and replacement third baseman, the starting and replacement shortstop, the starting first baseman, the starting centerfielder, the starting catcher, the seventh-inning specialist and their fifth starter. Of course, second baseman Robinson Cano is as advertised and is in good health. Ichiro Suzuki is also a returning starter who can play any of the three outfield positions but is mainly used in right field. The return of Brett Gardner after missing most of last year has solidified the centerfield position.  

How have the Yankees filled their six vacant positions? General Manager Cashman signed a combination of veteran players thought to be past their prime along with young utility players. The veteran players signed include Vernon Wells (34 year-old, LF), Kevin Youkilis (34 year-old, 3B or 1B), Lyle Overbay (36 year-old, 1B) and Travis Hafner (36 year-old, DH). Currently third base is manned by Chris Nelson and the shortstop is Jayson Nix. Both these players, considered utility players discarded by other teams, have replaced HOF players Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez on the left-side of the infield.

So how has it worked out? Vernon Wells seems to have reverted to his 2010 form (31 HRs and 88 RBIs in 157 games). He currently is tied for eighth in the AL with 9 HRs and also has contributed 22 RBIs. Hafner has hit 6 HRs with 18 RBIs in 31 games. All-Star Robinson Cano has hit 10 HRs with 23 RBIs. Gardner has successfully returned batting .252 with three HRs and 14 RBIs and patrolling centerfield flawlessly. Overbay has provided timely hitting (6 HRs and 20 RBIs) and has played a sparkling first base.

At the end of play on May 13, 2013, the Yankees are in first place in the AL East with a record of 24-14. The Yankee Team, compared to the other 29 ML teams, ranks 13th in batting average, 11th in runs scored (RS) and 5th in HRs.

However, it has been the Yankee pitching that has saved the day. The six starting pitchers (Kuroda, Sabathia, Pettitte, Hughes, Phelps, and Nova) have a combined 3.23 ERA. Looking at all the Yankee pitchers their combined ERA of 3.49 ranks 8th best in the ML. Their pitching and defense have a runs allowed (RA) total of 139 runs (9th best in the ML). If we look at the important statistic of RS-RA, their 25 run difference ranks them 7th in the ML. Rivera is still as good as ever with a perfect 15 for 15 in saves. Joe Girardi has a wonderful dilemma. When the first string returns from the DL, how does he divide up the playing time?

The next posting will examine what is wrong with the Dodgers, Angels, and Blue Jays.

 

 

 
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