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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

One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from the great football coach Bill Parcells. When referring to a team’s performance Parcells said, “You are what your won-loss record says you are.” Well as of June 24, 2013 the Yankees’ record is 41-34 and they are 2.5 games out of first place. According to Coach Parcells’ quote they are having a good season so far. However, the Yankee DL is filled with over 100 million dollars of Yankee players. As of this writing, Youkilis is out for the season, Teixeira will probably  need season ending surgery, Jeter has not played a game and at 38 is a question mark, Rodriguez also has not played a game this year because of two hip surgeries and has a possible suspension hanging over him and Granderson is back on the DL. Cervelli and Nunez are still three weeks away from returning. Their replacements are Nix a utility player, David Adams an unproven rookie who has stopped hitting, Wells, Hafner and Overbay after a hot start are now showing their age and their productivity has spiraled downward. With so many of their key players out of the lineup and their replacements struggling, how were they able to generate such a winning record?  One answer is for the first six weeks of the season their replacement veterans were spectacular. This along with the fact that the pitching has been great all year-long allowed the Yankees to build close to a .600 winning record for the first six weeks. Since the middle of May because of the weakness of their offense the Yankees’ winning percentage has shrunk to .547.

The table below compares the batting, pitching and fielding statistics for the 2013 Yankees to two other Yankee teams. The Yankees of 2009 had a record of 103-59 and won the World Series. The 1990 Yankees had a record of 67-95, the worst Yankee record since 1950. With still 87 games left in 2013 can we Yankee fans even dream of making the playoffs no less winning a World Series? The fact that this year there are two wild card selections will help. The statistics RS/G and RA/G are the runs scored per game and the runs allowed per game. The WHIP is the number of walks plus hits per inning.Yankees 2013

In summarizing the table it is fair to say that the 2013 Yankee batting statistics are very similar to the 1990 Yankee batting statistics (not good). The pitching and fielding statistics for the 2013 teams are better than both the 1990 and 2009 teams. What makes the batting statistics even worse is that since the second week in May the offense has really dropped off. Even if Jeter and Rodriguez can return, without a spring training to get back into shape, I expect very little production from these aged veterans. With the trade deadline approaching, GM Cashman has big decisions to make. If he believes his All-Star players cannot return he must seek out skilled replacement players. However, this becomes difficult since management wants to get below the salary cap next year. This means no new long-term contracts. Right now 5-games separate the five AL East teams in the standings. Clearly, the pitching and fielding have been responsible for the Yankees’ 2013 current record. The pitching staff is solid and Michael Pineda is expected to return after the All-Star game. Gardner and Cano are the only two hitters that other teams fear. Left-handed pitchers dominate the Yankee batters because of a lack of any reliable right-handed batters. In the last few games the first six batters were all left-handed batters. Unless the veteran positional players drink from the “Fountain of Youth” and the youthful Yankee players overachieve, sadly I must predict that the 2013 Yankees will not play in the post-season this year.

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Here I am with my baseball buddy, John-Norman Tuck of Sarasota, FL.  Please read my post below about our day together at a Yankees - Rays game.  We are 2 true fans of opposing teams!

 

Also, check out John-Norman' work at http://john-normantuck.com/

 

Baseball Buddies - John-Norman Tuck and Dr. Stan the Stat's Man

 


 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

My wife Tara and I traveled from our home in Naples, FL to meet my baseball buddy in Sarasota, Florida. My baseball buddy is John-Norman Tuck who is a renowned artist and hair stylist from Sarasota.  John-Norman and I traveled for about one hour to Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, FL. Two blocks from the stadium we pulled into a person’s backyard ($5 parking) and walked to the stadium. The date was May 26 and my Yankees were the opponent of his hometown Tampa Bay Rays. John-Norman is a true Rays fan. He had his Rays shirt and hat on and I had my Yankee shirt and hat on. Before ascending to our seats we stopped at the food court to get our lunch. There were many options. We both chose to have foot-long dogs and French fries. The cost for both of us was a reasonable $20 (not Yankee Stadium prices). Our seats were in Row A Upper Box (face value $23) squarely behind home-plate. Great Seats! Tropicana Field is a domed air-conditioned stadium. Unfortunately the dome is not-retractable.

The starting time for the game was 1:40. The Yankee starter was their ace CC Sabathia and the Rays starter was Alex Cobb. Unfortunately, the game was a blow-out and the Rays led 8 to 0 going into the ninth inning. Sabathia was clearly off his game giving up seven runs in seven innings. You would think that a Rays fan would be smiling and content at this point in the game. But to my surprise all John-Norman could talk about were the past failures of the Rays relief pitchers. He was actually worried about the Rays blowing this game in the ninth inning. I could not believe his concern. Cobb lost his shutout bid in the ninth when Gardner homered for the Yankees first run. After allowing another runner to reach first, Cobb left the game having struck out eight Yankees (remember that number). I could see how upset John-Norman was when Cesar Ramos was brought into pitch. He clearly was not enamored with Ramos. His negatively toward Ramos seemed justified as Ramos walked the next two batters and then yielded a two-run double to David Adams. At this point in time John-Norman became really worried. That was it for Ramos and Joel Peralta was then summoned from the bullpen. John-Norman was relieved at the arrival on the mound of Peralta. He told me Peralta should be the closer, replacing the current closer. Sure enough Peralta ended the game by striking out Suzuki and Nix. If we add the eight strike-outs by Cobb to the two-strike outs by Peralta that makes ten strike-outs by Tampa pitchers for the game. The fans went wild and then I discovered why. Not only did Tampa win the game but every person with a ticket at this game was entitled to a free pizza at Papa Johns!

This free pizza was just one of many promotions and special activities which seemed to appear every inning. Such promotions as free tickets for test driving a car, on the field quizzes given to chosen fans, and races around the field by people dressed in costumes.

Did I enjoy my visit to the Trop? Well, I did not enjoy the non-competitive game especially with my Yankees taking the beating. If I was home I would have shut off the television. But I did enjoy being at the Trop with my good friend. Also, the price was right. For under $50 I enjoyed a Major League game involving my Yankees, paid for parking and lunch and had an excellent seat in an air-conditioned ballpark. The only thing missing was a competitive game. Finally, it was easy leaving the stadium, unlike leaving Yankee Stadium. I walked down a winding ramp and easily walked two blocks back to my car. Within a few minutes we were back on the highway heading back to Sarasota to meet our wives and other friends, Vincent and Diane Celeste, for dinner.

By the way, I still have my ticket stub and will eventually head to Papa Johns for my free pizza!

 

 
Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man


As a long-time Yankee fan, like most of the pundits, I expected the worst for the 2013 year. Many pundits predicted that the Yankees were headed to last place in the AL East. The pundits predicted the 2013 Yankees would have to depend on speed and little ball to score runs instead of the home run. This prediction was based on the opening day roster of the 2013 Yankees. On opening day, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson were all on the DL (based on 2013 combined salaries the Yankees had about $95 million dollars of talent on the DL, which is more than the entire payroll of 16 teams).These four players accounted for 19 home runs in April, 2012. They also lost through free agency Ibanez, Swisher, Chavez, Martin, and Jones. For the month of April, 2012, these five players accounted for 17 home runs. Together these 9 players accounted for 36 of the team’s 37 home runs for April, 2012. To avoid disaster it was assumed the aging pitching staff must carry the team until their stars return. So how did April turn out? For purposes of comparison, the tables below provide the hitting and pitching statistics for the Yankees for April, 2012 and April, 2013.

New York Yankees - April 2013

 

So what do the tables show? First, the Yankees played four more games in 2013 (26 to 22). The 2013 Yankees actually had a higher winning percentage (62% to 59%) and allowed fewer runs per game (4.23 to 4.64); whereas, the 2012 Yankees scored more runs per game (5.45 to 4.62). The 2013 Yankees had a lower ERA (4.00 to 4.33) and a slightly lower WHIP (1.34 to 1.36). The WHIP is defined to be the sum of walks plus hits divided by the total innings pitched and is now used as another important measure of the pitching performance of a pitcher or team. Clearly, the pitching has held up thanks to the April performances of Kuroda (ERA 2.25-the new ace), Pettitte (ERA 3.86) and Sabathia (ERA 3.36) and the return of the great Rivera who accounted for a perfect 10 for 10 saves. So how have the Yankees score runs? Well, they did not steal bases. In fact, they only stole 11 bases in April, 2013. This is two less than what they stole in April, 2012 and ranked them 23rd in the majors. Their 36 home runs at the end of April, tied the Yankees for second most in all of baseball just one fewer than the team hit in April, 2012.

So where is the power coming from? The Yankee GM Cashman used the strategy I mentioned in a previous posting titled “Opening Day in New York.” This strategy is to sign old veteran players to short term contracts and pray these old veterans will get a new life at Yankee Stadium. Enter Hafner, Wells, Overbay, Boesch, and Youkilis. These five players accounted for 20 home runs in April. Add to this total the seven home runs by Cano and the combined four home runs provided by their two belittled catchers (Stewart and Cervelli) and we get 31 of their 36 home runs.

Of course, these results are based on only 26 games. Cashman hopes that Hafner, Wells, Youkilis, Overbay can stay healthy and continue to produce until Jeter, Teixeira, Granderson, and Rodriguez return. If the four stars return just after the All-Star break and Wells, Youkilis, and Hafner stay healthy and the pitching continues to excel, why can’t the Yankees make the playoffs again?


 


 
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