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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

The last Yankee dynasty which began in 1996 was triggered by the young players’ rookie Derek Jeter, second-year pitcher Andy Pettitte and second-year pitcher Mariano Rivera. Soon afterwards Jorge Posada joined the other three and the four became known as the “Core Four.” Beginning in 1996 and ending in 2007 the Yankees made the playoffs every year and were 4-time World Series Champions.

What a weekend August 12-14 was in Yankee-Land. On August 12 the Yankees celebrated A-Rod’s last Yankee game, on August 13 the Yankees celebrated the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team and on August 14 the Yankees honored Mariano Rivera by adding his plaque to Monument Park.

With A-Rod unconditionally released on Friday, the Yankees on Saturday brought up from their Triple A farm team Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge. Both players in their first at bats on Saturday powered back-to-back home runs. The feat of two players hitting back to back home runs in their first at bats in the majors had never been done before in the history of baseball. Austin’s home run was to right field and just cleared the 314-foot sign, whereas; Judge’s home run traveled 457 feet and tied for the fourth longest home run ever hit at Yankee Stadium. In that same game home runs were also hit by Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro and Aaron Hicks. Manager Girardi has stated Aaron Judge will be their permanent right fielder and it is clear that Gary Sanchez is their catcher of the future. All of the above mentioned players are under the age of 27 or as Yankee broadcaster John Sterling put it, the “Baby Bombers” have arrived.

It is fitting that after celebrating the 20th anniversary of their 1996 World Series Championship team, which also marked the first year of the last Yankee dynasty, we can talk about the next Yankee dynasty.  Clearly the strategy of GM Cashman is working better than I expected and probably even better than Cashman expected. The Yankees as of this writing are still in the hunt for the second wild card spot. But there are too many teams in front of them and their starting pitching as it stands now is suspect to say the least. Except for the Tanaka and Sabathia the rest of the starters including Pineda, Eovaldi and Severino have been woeful. However, the bright side for the next couple of years will be watching these young players develop into solid major leaguers triggering the next Yankee dynasty. 

Why do I call this the early stage for the next Yankee dynasty? Over the next two years the Yankees will be rid of many costly salaries. After the 2018 season, with Beltran’s $15 million, Teixeira’s $22.5 million, Sabathia’s $25 million, A-Rod’s $21 million and other bad contracts gone, the Yankees will have globs of money to throw at almost any great player they want. What about signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez, a free agent in 2019? Cashman’s strategy of unloading Chapman, Miller and Beltran to receive back 12 very good prospects has rebuilt the Yankee farm system into one of the best in baseball. These good prospects can be used as trade bait to bring back to the Yankees top starting pitchers. I predict the new Yankee dynasty will start at the beginning of the 2018 season. The Yankees will be very competitive in 2017 and possibly can be a second wild card team. This will depend on the Yankees fortifying their pitching staff in the off season. Remember, the Yankees could resign Beltran and Chapman for the 2017 season. The addition of 29-year old Adam Warren this year has already helped the pitching staff.

It would be hard to predict now which of the young Yankees will be the “Baby Bombers” that trigger the new Yankee dynasty. But for the next few years Yankee fans can really enjoy watching the new Yankee dynasty taking shape


 
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

Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner have finally faced reality. The 2016 Yankees are not an awful team but are simply a .500 team. After a 25-year run which began with the Core Four, the Yankees realize that the future is not now. Let us Yankee fans never forget the 25-year run which began with the Core Four and produced five World Series Championships. However, after being swept in a three-game series by the Rays, the Yankee owner and GM finally admitted they are now sellers. The list of Yankees traded before the August 1 non-waiver trading deadline included Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller, Carlos Beltran and Ivan Nova. In return for these veterans they received ex-Yankee Adam Warren and 12 prospects, of which at least 6 have been evaluated by scouts as top prospects. GM Cashman has transformed the Yankee farm system from an eyesore to one of the best in baseball. Since Beltran and Chapman will become free agents and both have said they are open to resigning with the Yankees, it is possible both will be in pinstripes next year. IF they wanted to they could also bring back Ivan Nova for next year. If all that should happen Cashman would have received the 12 prospects and Adam Warren for Andrew Miller. What a heist?

The bad news for the Yankee fans is that, by giving away their best hitter Beltran along with two of the top five closers in baseball in Chapman and Miller, the Yankees have waved the white flag on the 2016 season.

On the other hand, there is much good news in what has just occurred. The 12 prospects included SS Gleyber Torres --- the top prospect of the Cubs --- and outfielder Billy Mckinney---the 24th pick in the 2013 draft ---, both received in the Chapman trade. The Miller and Beltran trade brought back outfielder Clint Frazier --- who according to Cashman has “legendary bat speed” --- and pitcher Dillon Tate, the fourth pick in the 2015 draft. Adding these prospects to the already existing Yankee prospects including Greg Bird --- who has already shown he is a big league 1B ----, Adam Judge --- a power hitting outfielder ---, Gary Sanchez --- a highly thought of catcher ---, Jorge Mateo --- their prior number one prospect ----, pitcher Luis Severino and others, the Yankees have assembled a prospect pool that not only can make the Yankees better in the future but also can be used to trade for other teams’ talent. There is still more to Cashman’s plan. Over the next two years the Yankees will be rid of many costly salaries. After the 2018 season, with Beltran’s $15 million, Teixeira’s $22.5 million, Sabathia’s $25 million, A-Rod’s $21 million and other bad contracts gone, the Yankees will have globs of money to throw at almost any great player they want. What about signing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado or Jose Fernandez, a free agent in 2019?  

Well, what about the 2017 and 2018 seasons? I believe the Yankees can remain a competitive team by combining their major league ready prospects with players like Ellsbury, Gardiner, Gregorious and Castro. They may also pick up a pitcher like Chris Sale or some other ace who becomes available. Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Luis Severino will still be there. Also, Dellin Betances should be more than just a capable closer. There will now be room for many of these young prospects to have a chance to show that they are really Major League players. It will be fun watching these young players develop and just maybe a new Core ???? will emerge.

Yes, Yankee fans, if Cashman’s plan is successful we can look forward to the beginning of a new Yankee dynasty starting in 2019. 


 
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

After being swept by the Orioles and almost losing home-field-advantage for their wild-card playoff game against the Astros, the Yankees limped into the 2015 MLB playoffs. The 2015 Yankees are not a championship team. This became evident by watching their games against Toronto and other very good teams. In fact, I think the Yankees have overachieved in 2015. A lot of credit has to be given to their manager Joe Girardi. Girardi has been a wizard at dealing with the loss of key players such as Teixeira and Eovaldi for long periods of time as well as the loss of Ellsbury, Pineda, Sabathia, and Tanaka for short periods of time. Girardi has gotten the most out of his older players, A-Rod and Beltran, by giving them their needed rest. He also stuck with Didi Gregorius as Jeter’s replacement when many critics said giving up Shane Greene for Didi was a terrible trade. With his great second half of the season, Didi now looks like the Yankee shortstop for the future while Shane Greene has disappointed. Girardi also knows how to use his bullpen effectively. He has built a formidable seventh, eighth, and ninth inning trio in Wilson, Betances, and Miller. This being said I think the probability of the Yankees winning the 2015 WS is very small. The rest of this blog is meant to be a reminder of why the Yankees are considered the greatest professional franchise in American sports.

The Yankees 4-1 victory against the Red Sox on Thursday marked their 17,567th victory since their beginnings in 1901 (the year the AL was founded). This victory also was special in that it was the 10,000th victory in Yankee franchise history. The Yankees rank number 1 in the AL for career victories. However, there are seven NL teams with more wins (Cardinals, Pirates, Reds, Braves, Cardinals, Cubs, and Giants). Of course, the NL was founded in 1876.

What about World Series (WS) wins? The Yankees have won 27 titles. Their first WS win was in 1923 and their last WS win was in 2009. Of the total of 110 WSs, the AL has won 63 and the NL has won 47. Thus, the Yankees have won 24.5% of the WSs. They also had an amazing 5-year WS winning streak (1949-1953). Behind the Yankees in WS wins are the St Louis Cardinals with 11 titles (first win 1926, last win 2011). Holding down third place are the Boson Red Sox with 8 (first win 1903, last win 2013).

The other eight 2015 playoff teams are listed in the form (total WS wins, year of first win, year of last win). The list is Los Angeles Dodgers (5, 1959, 1988), Pittsburgh Pirates (5, 1909, 1979), Chicago Cubs (2, 1907, 1908), NY Mets (2, 1969, 1986), Toronto Blue Jays (2, 1992, 1993), Kansas City Royals (1, 1985, 1985), Houston Astros (0), Texas Rangers (0).

How about the all-time Yankee player and manager win list? 

Yankee Playoffs 2015 1

Finally, where does Jeter rank in the all-time win list for players? The list below is based on all players since 1954.

Yankee Playoffs 2015 2

This is another reason why many people consider Jeter the sixth greatest Yankee of all-time behind Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, and Berra.


 


 
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