Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The biggest surprise of Yankees’ camp is…

Alex Rodriguez.

The New York Yankees might have expected a circus and a completely overmatched player. They saw the former thanks to the mainstream media (not A-Rod) and they witnessed something completely different from a player performance standpoint – competence.

Throughout the first few days of camp it was difficult to stay away from the condescending and unnecessary tone of some beat reporters and their constant tweets about Rodriguez's performance during batting practice. They had already soaked up enough ink detailing for days on end what it was going to be like when the "circus came to town," and in fact the circus did not arrive until the beat and national baseball media did.

Rodriguez stayed above the fray, worked out, played baseball and was accessible to the media.

Monday, March 30, 2015

One week to go; Yankees have unanswered questions

In one week the New York Yankees officially begin their 2015 regular season slate of 162 games at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays. As Spring Training winds down and the club begins to pack up to head north, the Yankees still have a handful of unanswered questions. Some of these are simply official announcements that need to be made; others have been handled with flat out vagueness to date.

Is Adam Warren the fifth starter or what?

It’s an uncertainty as to what the holdup is here. Warren has established himself as the best option and whether good or bad for the Yankees, it hasn’t been much of a competition. So, why not just say it?

Esmil Rogers is simply not to be trusted and the only other player who I suspect was given a true look was Scott Baker, who was released Sunday after getting knocked around Saturday. Bryan Mitchell was in the proverbial competition, but I believe a lot had to go wrong with the rotation for Mitchell to break camp.

Warren will get the official nod at some point soon.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Who grabs Yankees’ final bullpen spots?

Now that Adam Warren is 99 percent of the way to being named the New York Yankees fifth starter, who is going to claim the last three bullpen spots?

The certainties in the bullpen are Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller, David Carpenter and Justin Wilson. Earlier this week, we discussed why the setup guys are every bit as important as Betances and Miller.

Make no mistake; the final three spots are fairly crucial as well. The candidates on the 40-man roster are plentiful – right-handers Esmil Rogers, Chase Whitley, Chris Martin, Danny Burawa and Jose Ramirez with Chasen Shreve the lone lefty.

There will be at least two pitchers placed on the disabled list when the season begins; Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova, with the latter potentially hitting the 60-day DL which would open up one spot on the 40-man roster. Of that crop, the Yankees have Scott Baker, Andrew Bailey, Nick Rumbelow and Wilking Rodriguez from the right side and Jacob Lindgren, James Pazos and Tyler Webb from the left side.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Training stats do matter for certain Yankees

Spring Training is just practice, right? The New York Yankees should not be overly concerned or exceedingly hyped about statistics generated over the course of a few weeks which are mixed with minor league and rehabilitating players.

Not so fast.

There are certain circumstances in which the Yankees should take heed in the stats produced this spring particularly when they make roster decisions or anticipate future moves this season.

The argument is that while Spring Training statistics cannot be looked at as the sole factor in determining the future results of a player, they should and can play a large part in comparing like players, verifying whether a player is on a path similar to previous seasons, understand if injuries are resolved or help to alert the coaching staff to inefficiencies in the player’s mechanics.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Setup men are equally important to Yankees’ success

The news around New York Yankees camp the last couple of days is that the club is not ready to name a closer between Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller; and they might not name one once the regular season begins. But, of equal importance to the club's success, the Yankees employ some very competent arms who will provide setup support for whoever grabs ninth inning duties.

The Yankees have a fragile starting staff, one which manager Joe Girardi might choose to handle with kid gloves early on this season. There could be plenty of situations where the starter is ahead in the game and could be out by the sixth inning requiring up to four innings from the bullpen.

That type of situation necessitates a strong setup crew and the Yankees have exactly that. Obviously Betances and Miller will handle the eighth and ninth innings on most nights regardless of the order they are used, but how would innings six and seven be handled?