Observations on the First Two Weeks of the Season, MLB April 14, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Observations, Yankees.
Well, as I stated last night, I have unfortunately been unable to maintain constant posting. So instead of giving game recaps, I’ll provide my observations and analysis of the first two weeks of the MLB season.
- Hideki Matsui doesn’t look good in the field. His ranged has greatly diminished, and that balky knee should surely take away some athleticism in the outfield. Thankfully, his average arm and quick release haven’t suffered. He is best suited as the team’s DH, and he’s been swinging the ball really well.
- Johnny Damon is having a similar start to the season as he did last year, not driving the ball and taking a lot of weak hacks. The problem for the Yankees: this time he is not injured. That tells us the hot end to the season he had last year was a fluke, and he is undoubtedly in the decline. The Yankees often go as he goes, and he needs to get on base and steal bases.
- Bobby Abreu is hitting the ball well, and he looks in great shape, but his fear of walls is sickening, and he needs to steal some bases.
- A-Rod’s bat seems to have slowed down a bit from last year. PItches he caught up to last year are now fouled off or completely missed, as was seen in the second Red Sox game against Jon Papelbon in the eighth inning. He is still having a good season, but look for final numbers in the range of around his 2004 season.
- Derek Jeter was really a butcher on the field before he got injured, and after he establishes himself back after the quad injury, talk of having to move to the outfield will resurface. His bat hasn’t been that impressive thus far, but he’ll come around…hopefully.
- Robinson Cano has been a real disappointment thus far. He is swinging at everything, and isn’t making solid contact–a lot of weak pop-ups and grounders. He is likely conscious about the expectation to increase his power output. Larry Bowa’s impact on his fielding has really been manifested since his departure.
- Jason Giambi’s batting average isn’t close to what he’d like, but he’s hit some solid liners right to people, and even hit two homers off Mike Timlin the Sox series. His defense has been average, largely due to his improved shape, which is a real upgrade compared to what it used to be.
- Earth to Jorge Posada. Yep, that career year isn’t happening again, but there’s not much to worry about particularly except for that balky shoulder. Well, one has to wonder if the shoulder is affecting his swing, which he denies, but he needs to produce for an otherwise lackluster Yankee offense.
- Jose Molina has continued his hot hitting from the last months of 2007. He’s hitting doubles in the gap, and doing really well and playing within himself. His defense really shone until yesterday, with an errant throw and a passed ball, and is now out with a mildly strained hamstring.
- Morgan Ensberg has looked good in limited at-bats, accepting a reduced role from his 2005 break-out season. The fact that Wilson Betemit hasn’t been starting at SS while Derek Jeter was out speaks volumes about his lack of range for the position, and his knack to strikeout isn’t helpful, either. Alberto Gonzalez has looked great in limited at-bats, showing a precocious patience at the plate as well as his typical, great glove. He, like Molina, has played well within himself. Not much should be expected from Chad Moeller.
- Chien-Ming Wang was been dominating. Period. His sinker has been really on and he seems to have recovered from the postseason meltdowns against Cleveland last year.
- Andy Pettitte has pitched effectively since his return from the DL stint. At some point the rotation must be shuffled for him to be the 2nd starter and Mike Mussina the 5th.
- Mike Mussina has pitched better than his overall numbers might indicate. He should not have pitched to Manny Ramirez on Saturday, but other than that (which damaged his numbers), he has had nice command with his reduced velocity (82-86MPH fastball) and a solid knucklecurve.
- Phil Hughes has been an enigma. His first start was a gem, but since then, he seems to have lost his sense of command and control. His fastball is what it was before the injury (91-93; I don’t buy the 96-97MPH hype anymore), but it’s everywhere within and out of the zone. He throws it too much, and should throw more curveballs than he already does. His slider, rated as a major-league pitch when drafted out of high school, hasn’t been seen much and it should be used more, at least as a show-me pitch. His changeup his a work of progress, but it wouldn’t hurt to use it as a show-me pitch as well, but nothing more.
- Ian Kennedy has had a mixed season. After completely blowing his first start, he pitched decently well after an awkward, rain-delayed game, but pitched better than the numbers indicated.
- In the bullpen, Brian Bruney has been a revelation with the strikeouts and control. Jon Albaladejo did a nice job before his demotion. After a rough first week, LaTroy Hawkins has had a nice, scoreless second week. Kyle Farnsworth reverted to form after a promising opening week. Ross Ohlendorf has lived up to the sleeper hype, being able to eat innings, throw hard, and throw strikes at will. And, well, Joba’s been Joba, but command has slipped a bit; he’ll come around though.
So there are your observations on the whole team in the first week of the season. The minors observations should be coming tomorrow, and if not then, Friday or Saturday.
Some things to Note April 13, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Uncategorized.
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I apologize for the severe lack of updating since the beginning of the season. I have been extremely busy, and from Wednesday through Friday morning I’ll be away in Washington, D.C. During packing tomorrow I’ll do the best I can to recap what’s happened so far, with observations on the major and minor league teams. Hopefully I’ll get to it by tomorrow.
Links, April 1st April 1, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in Looking Around.
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- We beat the Red Sox in every way, even with wine.
- The Warrior’s number is being used…treason!
- Chad Jennings has minor league assignments, the Scranton W/B roster and rotation
- Yep, we’re an expensive team. Yet we still won’t get to the playoffs.
That’s it for today, folks. Now go watch Opening Night!
Humberto Sanchez traded for Scott Proctor April 1, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in April Fools.
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In a shocking move today, Humberto Sanchez was traded to the LA Dodgers for RHP Scott Proctor. Proctor, 30, was previously traded to LAD for INF Wilson Betemit, and pitched well. He was a workhorse and fan favorite before that, as Andrew can attest to. But thankfully he’s back, mainly to effectively eat bullpen innings and shore up the Yankee bullpen if Kyle Farnsworth and LaTroy Hawkins falter. “We felt we had to do this deal for the best interest of our team, and it will really help our ‘pen. Hopefully Scott will give us the same effectiveness he had before we traded him,” said Yankees GM Brian Cashman (source).
Sanchez, a 25-year-old received in the Gary Sheffield trade, had yet to pitch an inning for the Yankees’ system due to Tommy John surgery. He has top-of-the line stuff, but it remains to be seen in what capacity he will (ab)used by Joe Torre and the Dodgers.
The deal was approved by Commissioner Bud Selig despite the fact that Sanchez is on the 60-day DL.
If you couldn’t tell yet, April Fools!
Opening Day Postponed April 1, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Opening Day.
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Yesterday’s Opening Day was postponed until today, 7:05 PM ET.
Season Predictions April 1, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 AL Standings Projections.
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Presenting my season predictions for the 2008 season:
Red Sox, 97-65
White Sox, 75-87
ALDS: Red Sox over Indians, 3-2; Tigers over M’s, 3-1
NLDS: Mets over Dodgers, 3-2; D-backs over Cubs, 3-2
ALCS: Red Sox over Tigers, 4-3
NLCS: D-backs over Mets, 4-3
WS: D-backs over Red Sox, 4-3
AL MVP: DET 3B Miguel Cabrera; runner-up: NYY 3B Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP: CHC OF Alfonso Soriano; runner-up: ARI OF Chris Young
AL ROY: NYY RHP Joba Chamberlain; runner-up: TB 3B Evan Longoria
NL ROY: CHC OF Kosuke Fukudome; runner-up: CIN OF Jay Bruce
AL CY: DET RHP Justin Verlander; runner-up: NYY RHP Chien-Ming Wang
NL CY: SD RHP Jake Peavy; runner-up: NYM LHP Johan Santana
So there they are. Some out out-of-the ordinary predictions, but we’ll see how it plays out.
Yankees 25-man Roster April 1, 2008Posted by Pablo Zevallos in 2008 Opening Day, 2008 Opening Day Roster.
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LF Johnny Damon
SS Derek Jeter
RF Bobby Abreu
3B Alex Rodriguez
1B Jason Giambi
2B Robinson Cano
C Jorge Posada
DH Hideki Matsui
CF Melky Cabrera
C Jose Molina
INF Wilson Betemit
1B-RF Shelley Duncan
3B-1B Morgan Ensbeg
SP Chien-Ming Wang
SP Andy Pettitte*
SP Mike Mussina
SP Phil Hughes
SP Ian Kennedy
CL Mariano Rivera (R)
SU Joba Chamberlain (R)
MR LaTroy Hawkins (R)
MR Kyle Farnsworth (R)
MR Ross Ohlendof (R)
MR Brian Bruney (R)
MR Billy Traber (L)
MR Jon Albaladejo (R)
60-Day DL: Andrew Brackman, Humberto Sanchez, Carl Pavano
15-Day DL: Pettitte, Sean Henn, Jeff Karstens
Pretty similar to the roster I predicted. I was surprised and disappointed that Scott Patterson didn’t make the team, but hopefully it was for the best, as Albaladejo make the team to fill garbage innings and only as an 8th reliever while Pettitte is down. Next up: season predictions.