Wednesday, December 31, 2008

CC versus 1927 Murderer's Row at Yankee Stadium

Seeing that it's New Year's Eve and a slow day news-wise, I thought it would be a good time to run a simulation at for kicks.

CC Sabathia of 2008 faced the 1927 Murderer's Row 10 times at Yankee Stadium, an era when would have likely been called upon to go on 2/3 days rest through the whole season (so think tail end of last season for a full 6 months).

Murderer's Row:

CF Earle Combs .356, 6 HR, 64 RBI, 231 H
SS Mark Koenig .285, 3 HR, 62 RBI
RF Babe Ruth .356, 60 HR, 164 RBI
1B Lou Gehrig .373, 47 HR, 175 RBI
LF Bob Meusel .337, 8 HR, 103 RBI, 47 2B
2B Tony Lazzeri .309, 18 HR, 102 RBI
3B Joe Dugan .269, 2 HR, 43 RBI
C Pat Collins .275, 7 HR, 36 RBI

Average result from the series of trials:

4.3 IP 4.5H 1.7R 1.6ER 0.9BB 4.7K 0.2HR ERA:367 Pitch Count: 63.7 WHIP:1.25 9.8k/9 IP

First knee-jerk reactions:

-Impressive 10 whiffs per 9 IP
-Why did he only pitch 4.3 IP a game (63 pitches)? Did he have a baby being born mid-game to rush out to every time? Not enough innings to even earn a 'win', Especially surprising back in'27 teams before we had ultra-specialists in the pen. [I am presuming this was because the model simulates games as a 'Must-Win' 1 game series scenario and feels the need to include as many arms in the attempt]
-0.2 HR per innings pitched. Not bad at all against these boppers

Happy New Year. Stay tuned for more updates in 2009!! Let's hope the Yanks pull off a monster season.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bedard for Matsui?

Update: Just got word that this was an unsubstantiated rumor at this point in time

There is a developing rumor that the Mariners are talking about moving Erik Bedard (the oft-injured high strikeout lefty who is a free agent after 2009) for Hideki Matsui (himself coming off an injury and similarly a free agent after 2009). Peter Gammons has speculated about this move. If this pans out then this would solidify an already strong looking rotation next season. It would close the door on Pettitte's return and leave Phil Hughes out of the rotation. Erik Bedard had a strong 2007, going 13-5 with 221k in just 28 games. He has weathered the grind of the competitive AL East well and with the surplus of outfielders that the Yankees have I don't see the harm in giving up one of them in exchange for a wild card. The Mariners did not get what they were hoping for after trading 5 players for him and they dangled him before the trade deadline last season as well. It would probably help roster management issues for Girardi in making the lineups. I am not overly worried about bench depth if we lose one of the bats and gain a strong pitcher. At some point one of them will have to go (common speculation is Swisher will be trade bait) so why not make the move now and get a full season's worth out of the acquired player? He's only due $7 million and he's in a contract year so he will likely be anxious to rebound. Pitching is where we need the most help to guarantee a successful journey. If he gets hurt then we have Phil Hughes waiting in the dock as the insurance starter. I love the sound of it. Two lefties:

L (Sabathia)
R (AJ)
R (Wang)
R (Chamberlain)
L (Bedard)

I already believe the Yankees have the best rotation in the AL. Taking a #2 guy and moving him to the 5 hole will provide stability at a cheap price.

On a practical standpoint, I would even serve up Kennedy + Cabrera. The benefits still outweigh the costs and this is the year where we are moving ahead with a new confidence and to make a big splash. Let's go all the way.

What are your thoughts?


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dave Eiland talks about AJ and CC

Dave Eiland, pitching coach, over the Christmas talked about CC and AJ and the plan to get them into form as carefully as possible.

"That's as good a 1-2 punch for me as you're going to find...We're going to be careful with them and make sure they peak April 6 [Opening Day], not March 20. We've already got a plan in place...We're not going to jump right in the fire of spring training...We're not going to push them too early."


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Bill James' projection

CC Sabathia, LHP
: 16-10, 3.48 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 34 GS, 240 IP, 226 H, 70 BB, 205 K, 21 HR

Bill James projects that CC will log his 3rd consecutive season fo 240 IP (last pitcher to do this was the Big Unit from '98 thru '02). His other numbers are a little down but we'll take them with our lineup. I disagree with the wins being at 16. The last time the Yankees had a horse who went that many innings was in 1997 (Andy Pettitte) and this could give him strong Cy Young consideration.

Yankees are giving just under $100k per inning pitched for the big guy's service as it breaks out which is nearly two A-Rod at-bats (at just over $50k/AB)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Projected rotation

Members of the organization are questioning if Wang should be #2 and dismissing him as #3. Wang is 46-15 with a 3.74 ERA and losing him was a major part of the meltdown last season. There's no question in my mind that he, along with CC, are the 2 main cornerstones of the rotation. AJ Burnett is too unproven and does not have the career record to showcase consistency. It's a new stage for AJ. Wang is a proven commodity.

Derek Lowe, a month ago rumored to be high on the wish list, may actually end up in New York but with the Mets.

Still no updates on Pettitte. Is he going to be the odd man out? I honestly am thrilled with the rotation even with Hughes. He's had strong winterball results and Bill James penciled him in a 3.35 ERA. There's no doubt Phil has good stuff.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More offense as Yanks sign Gold glover 1B Teixiera!

This means more run support for CC. Also indicates that Jorge won't be moving to first anytime soon and I'm glad as he's a great battery mate and should be the guy assigned to work with CC and AJ. This move also leaves a strong possibility that Swisher could be trade bait!

I've always been a big fan of the 28 year-old switch hitting Gold Glover so I'm pumped! The Yankees swooped down and picked up Johnny Damon similarly in the 11th hour. What a knock to the Red Sox and I hope he has a monster season (I don't agree that he is overrated and I've got sick of hearing the Bo Sox media lament this again and again). Is this lineup going to be murderers row? Only if Posada, Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano return to their healthy form. And it all starts at the top of the lineup. If Damon and Jeter can pick it up they'll be a catalyst. Thus far, we have exchanged Abreu+Giambi for Swisher+Teixeira so we saw an upgrade with both guys. If you ask me though, if this was going to be the big spending year why didn't we just keep Abreu and go all the way?

Giambi vs Teixeira

"From 2005 through 2008, Jason Giambi had 123 RCAA (Runs Created Above Average) and Mark Teixeira had 173 RCAA over the same time span... Basically, in terms of being a force they’re both about the same type of offensive player." -

It's a stretch to say they both are "about the same type of offensive player" based on one metric even if one were to build a case solely using numbers.

1) Teixeira is a clubhouse leader. The only influence which Giambi had in the dugout was cooling Rocket (by way of sharing his porn stash) when he was going for win # 300.
2) Giambi is in his 'twilight'. He may have some pop left but he also has too many holes in his swing and subsequently his average has been dipping (even the 'lip fur' campaign couldn't fully revive his numbers). Teixeira on the other hand is in his prime, pitchers will build him into their game plan, he has impressive on base percentage numbers and he can offer the protection which A-Rod needs.
3) Aside from the bat, Teix brings along Gold Glove defense. Giambi was a poor option at first base defensively.

Giambi and Teixeira are very different offensive players and this is a huge upgrade!

01/07/09 update: Very relevant article on how Giambi and Teixeira are polar opposites

Sunday, December 21, 2008



Yanks will spread the C-notes for CC at roughly $23 mill/year with an opt-out clause which kicks in after 2011.

Ozzie Guillen - "Wow!..For $161 million I could put two teams on the field. I just want to be his agent. Heck, I just want to be his wife.''

Damon, Jeter and Reggie Jackson (in the Bay Area) were an integral part of his recruitment process. The Yankees knew last year that they were going to hit him up. They obviously win out from the standpoint that they only give up money here (versus with Santana/Twins). Santana's numbers with the Mets were nothing spectacular so in retrospect the way it turned out sounds better on many levels

Performance in '09.

There is already a lot of speculation. Many who have been part of his big league career cannot say enough good stuff. One executive said "Miserable. He's a happy, nice guy who is comfortable in a small-town environment. He's not going to like those expectations. Look what he's done in the playoffs. It is true enough that Sabathia's hesitation about New York is a yellow flag.."
Truth is we won't know for a while if we overpaid. In the Bronx Zoo anything can happen. There's the adjustment period and in the end some hit their groove while others do not. Roger Clemen's 1st year was difficult but he adjusted. Randy Johnson never hit his groove in New York. The obvious plus here is that he's still in the under 30 group.

Some of the concerns coming in
1) He has a 1-4 record and 8.61 ERA at Yankee Stadium and the new park looks to have very similar dimensions
2) Sabathia's postseason record in five starts: 1-3, 7.92 ERA, 22 walks and 24 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched
3) He had a 7.76 ERA in his first 5 starts last year. Something obviously clicked thereafter when he had phenomenal numbers the rest of the way but still the bump in the road brings a lot of questions. Was most of his fix disguised largely by the NL ERA deflation?
4) Will all those 3-day rest games catch up with him?

In 2008, with the Indians and Brewers, Sabathia's record was 17-10 with a 2.70 ERA - Over his eight year MLB career, he has averaged 14.6 wins/year.

My prediction for '09:

18-10 3.65 ERA 225 IP. He goes deep enough to games to get a lot of decisions and his ERA will go up facing the AL East bats and DH (versus the National League). If everyone else on the rotation averages 14 and CC gets 18 then the starting squad could reel in 74 decisions collectively.

Thanks for stopping!

60 days to go until Spring Training and interestingly the new stadium's regular season home opener will be against the Indians, the team which CC played for since he was 17 (93% of his career starts). "And now ladies and gentleman pitching for your New York Yankees number 52 CC Sabathia Number 52"

Thanks for stopping by and feel free to email me or leave a comment

Here's the press conference for those missed it