Tag Archives: New York Yankees

Innings Eaters: MLB News for 3/26/2015 – Brady Aiken, Bad Opening Day Starters, and More!

Here’s what’s going on over at Innings Eaters for today, Thursday 3/26/2015.

Philadelphia Phillies’ outfielder Ben Revere is once again a part of a really bad team. Would he be useful on a more talented roster? READ MORE

The Houston Astros failed to sign 2014 first overall pick Brady Aiken. This week he underwent Tommy John Surgery. Will this affect his draft status? READ MORE

The New York Yankees open the season without Derek Jeter on the roster. How does Didi Gregorius compare to the rest of the American League East shortstops? READ MORE

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A good majority of the 2015 opening day starters are set. Who are some of the worst? READ MORE

Until tomorrow!

Five Statistical Facts about Enos Slaughter

His name almost makes Rusty Kuntz’s sound normal. Hall of Fame outfielder Enos Slaughter may be best known for a few unpopular opinions about race however as a baseball player he was very good. Elected by the Veteran’s Committee in 1985 to the Hall of Fame, Slaughter is one of the overlooked players from the 1940s and 1950s when baseball was going through major social changes. Admittedly, I’m not so familiar with him either so join me while I too learn these five statistical facts about him.

Why a Hall of Famer?

Most guys in the Hall of Fame have a number or two where it’s fairly obvious why they were elected. For Slaughter, a guy who took over a decade to get in, it’s not as easy. Slaughter happened to miss three seasons from 1943-1945 because he was off battling the Nazis. This was what could have been the prime of his career so his overall numbers are a bit lacking. He still did have 2,383 career hits and a .300 batting average with a .382 on-base percentage. Slaughter happened to play in an era when big offensive numbers were slightly weaker than the ones the superstars put up today, so by comparison he was in or near the elite status.

Walks to Strikeout Ratio

Perhaps Slaughter’s biggest strength was his eye. In total, Slaughter amassed 1,018 career walks while only striking out 538 times. Particularly early in his career when he came back from saving the world, Slaughter was consistently drawing about 3 times as many walks per season as he was striking out.

By St. Louis Cardinals - 1941 Team Issue [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By St. Louis Cardinals – 1941 Team Issue [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Postseason Batting

The first three World Series Slaughter played in, his team won. Overall he was 4-1, only losing with the New York Yankees in 1957 in between winning the year previous and after. Individually, Slaughter hit .291 with a .406 on-base percentage. He also had 3 home runs, including 1 in 1956 when he also had a .350 batting average against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Consistency

Slaughter’s splits between the first and second half are frighteningly identical. In the first half he had 1,174 hits, 84 home runs, and a .295 average. In the second half he had 1,208 hits, 85 home runs, and a .304 batting average. Even from month to month Slaughter was consistent hitting .307 in April, .299 in May, .285 in June, .305 in July, .302 in August, and .306 in September.

All-Star Games

There were 10 times when Slaughter was selected to the All-Star Game. This occurred from 1941-1953 with those absent years in between. All occurred with the St. Louis Cardinals too, making me wonder what happened to him when he joined the Yankees in 1954.

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Graig Nettles

Quite possibly the only man in existence to spell his first name the way he does, Graig Nettles was the third baseman for the New York Yankees for most of the 1970s and into the 1980s. Nettles hit 390 home runs in his career, which is a bit surprising considering nobody really considers him a power hitter. The large number may be thanks to his 22 year career and ability to stay healthy. This autographed baseball card was given to me by my dad partly because it’s most likely something he wishes he had when he was younger.

Graig  Nettles Autograph

New York Yankees’ Prospect Aaron Judge is Gigantic

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Look at this picture closely. To scale, it may look like nothing more than a tall guy in a New York Yankees’ spring training uniform. In actuality, it’s a GIANT standing there in a New York Yankees’ uniform.

Pictured is Yankees’ prospect Aaron Judge along with Philadelphia Phillies’ first baseman Ryan Howard. As I saw in the MiLB Facebook Post I found this on, Howard is listed as 6’4 250 pounds. How big does this make Judge?

According to Baseball-Reference, Judge is 6’7 230 pounds. He’s also a right fielder, not a first baseman or pitcher like most men of his stature might play.

The only question I have is about the height of the right field fence at the new Yankee Stadium. Will he even have to jump to rob a home run?

Five Statistical Facts about Bernie Williams

If Derek Jeter was the lead singer of the New York Yankees during the 1990s then Bernie Williams was definitely the lead guitar player; which he can actually play. Manning center field from 1991-2006 for his entire big league career, Williams had a huge impact in baseball that often went overlooked because of the talent around him.

1998 Batting Title

Williams finished the season with a batting average of .333 or higher three times in his career. His best was in 1999 when he hit .342 however he did not win the batting title. The only time he did win the honor was in 1998 when his .339 average was the best in the American League.

100+ Runs Scored and 100+ RBIs

Based on his statistics it’s clear that Williams was more of a run-scorer than a guy knocking them in. That said, he did have multiple seasons where he scored 100 runs and knocked the same in. In 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, and for a fifth time in 2002 Williams finished the season with 100+ runs scored and 100+ RBIs. From 1996-2002, he scored 100 or more runs each time.

Googie man at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons
Googie man at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Postseason Batting

There throughout everything the Yankees did in the 1990s, Williams played in 121 postseason games. He finished with a .275 batting average and 22 home runs along with 80 RBIs. Williams seemed to struggle the most in the World Series, hitting only .208 in 32 games.

Switch Hitting Splits

Williams took advantage of the short porch in left field and right field at Yankee Stadium from both sides of the plate. He was a bit better hitting from the right side, a lifetime .308 batter from there. As a left handed batter he hit a still credible .292. What makes me believe most that Williams was batter off swinging right handed is not only his .397 on-base percentage from that side, but also the .316 average he had as a right handed hitter while facing righties; something he did 23 times.

Fielding

Winning four Gold Gloves in the primes of his career from 1997-2000 lets us know Williams was an above average fielder. His best fielding season may have been in 2000 when in 1117 innings played at the center field position he didn’t commit a single error. His range was at about the league average too so this was not a case of simply failing to get to the ball.

Five Notable Players from the 2003 World Series Retired this Offseason

I’m writing about Juan Pierre‘s retirement like it’s the end of an era. In actuality, I finally have some time to write about baseball and it’s the biggest thing going other than the Adam Wainwright injury.

Pierre’s retirement had me looking into the 2003 Florida Marlins a bit more. Immediately, I saw another member of the team was a recent retiree: Josh Beckett. Beckett was the MVP of the 2003 World Series and threw the last pitch before defeating the New York Yankees in what turned out to be a 5-hit shutout in Game 6.

This brings me to even more recent retirees from the Marlins’ opponent. The New York Yankees also employed some very memorable guys who retired following the 2014 season.

The first, and the one we knew was done long in advance, was Derek Jeter. One of baseball’s best, Jeter hung up his cleats following a Hall of Fame career.

By Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Also retiring from the Yankees were Alfonso Soriano and most recently Jason Giambi. By contrast to Jeter, neither compares. In fact, neither ever won a World Series with the Yankees. For the most part, they were with the Yankees during the leaner playoff years.

Reviewing both rosters, not many players remain active. A few like Brad Penny are clinging onto hope that they can come back. The only player still playing at an elite level is Miguel Cabrera who at the time was just a utility player.

The 2003 World Series wasn’t a particularly memorable one without a rooting interest, however, there was a bit of significance. It was the last year Joe Torre took them to the finals before Joe Girardi won it with the team in 2009. Getting beat by dominant the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 was one thing. Losing to the Wild Card nobodies on the Marlins in 2003 was another. The Yankees Dynasty had ended and this offseason, so did the careers of several players who were there to see it happen.

2015 MLB Prediction: The American League East Disappoints Us All

Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, the American League East was one of the best divisions in baseball. This was in part thanks to the Toronto Blue Jays in the early part of the 1990s, the New York Yankees in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the Boston Red Sox in the 2000s up through 2013.

The other two teams in the division, the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Devil Rays, also had competitive seasons including a World Series appearance by the latter in 2008.

In 2015, the Red Sox enter the season with a revamped offense and completely new pitching staff. The Blue Jays have added Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin while the Orioles are the defending division champions and still rather dangerous.

Overall, it’s still a strong division on paper. However, I’m predicting in 2015 this once dominant division falters and disappoints us all.

I’m not buying the Red Sox. If Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the one who cooked up all of their transactions, I’m smelling some bad news. There’s no true ace and several of their starting pitchers had bad seasons last year. Just because they’re in a new city that has won in recent years doesn’t mean they’ll bounce back.

The Orioles are also a major concern for me. Matt Wieters and Manny Machado will return from injury and there’s really no telling at what percent and when they actually will be back in the lineup. The loss of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis without any significant replacement is also troubling.

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Then there’s the Blue Jays. I’m rooting really hard for them. I love the offense they have, but the pitching staff still seems to lack something. R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle are old enough to die of natural causes. I’m not sure that even with their potent offense we’ll see the Blue Jays in the postseason, who by the way are the only team since 2000 absent from playoff baseball.

Finally I’ll lump the Yankees and Rays in together because I don’t see either having a particularly good year and for completely opposite reasons. The Yankees are old, getting older, and make Dickey and Buehrle look like toddlers. As for the Rays, their experience makes a virgin seem confident in bed.

By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By james_in_to on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
In the end, though, the division may remain competitive and not in a particularly good way. Maybe, they’ll battle for the playoff spot with one of the lowest win totals. The best pitcher in the entire division is probably Masahiro Tanaka and even he is a bit of a mystery.

For the first time in a while, I see the American League East placed firmly near the front door and given the job of “mat” for the rest of the league.

The Story Behind the ‘Graph: Johnny Callison

At the time when I pulled this authenticated autograph of Johnny Callison I was not familiar at all with him and dismissed it as a loss. Now though, much more familiar with baseball history and particularly about the Philadelphia Phillies, I’m very happy to have it. Of course, he’s in a New York Yankees’ uniform in the card so not everything is perfect.

Johnny  Callison

Jason Giambi Retires and New York Yankees Retire Andy Pettitte’s Number

It was a big day for two former New York Yankees. Jason Giambi officially retired and Andy Pettitte found out the team will be retiring his number later this summer.

Both pieces of news are upsetting. Giambi was a big part of my childhood baseball in the late 1990s into the 2000s. The Pettitte news was tragic because it is yet another time the Yankees have retired the number of someone really good, but not great. Plus, both are admitted steroid users. The difference is Pettitte came clean a lot sooner so we forgive him for cheating.

Yankees’ fans are a bit blind with their love of Pettitte. While his 256 career wins is more than any active pitcher, his 3.85 ERA and 1.35 WHIP are far below someone who deserves a plaque in Monument Park. As a Yankee, he had a 3.94 ERA and 1.37 WHIP. So why retire his number?

By Keith Allison on Flickr. Cropped by User:Staxringold. (Originally posted to Flickr as "Andy  Pettitte") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Keith Allison on Flickr. Cropped by User:Staxringold. (Originally posted to Flickr as “Andy Pettitte”) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
The Yankees are entering a really boring era of baseball. They need some excitement. They need to relive their glory days from the 1990s and 2000s. Ron Guidry is the last starting pitcher the Yankees can claim was really good and belonged to them.

Pettitte never won a Cy Young Award and he was only an All-Star three times. Two of those trips to the All-Star Game it was because his manager was the one selecting the pitchers.

Monument Park is beginning to get a little ridiculous. The addition of Tino Martinez may be the silliest. There’s no question he was a great player for the Yankees. In the realm of baseball lore, he doesn’t belong in the same sentence as the other names the team has out there. Only 7 of his 16 years were spent in New York too. Martinez may have had his best years as a Yankee, but he’s not a Yankee. The fact that he received only 1% of the vote when eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2011 says a lot about the Yankees and their confusion about what makes a great player and what makes a really good one.