Archive for April 9th, 2010

Price Is Right

  • David Price was dominant at times, using a high-90s fastball to overpower several of the Yankee hitters. The 7 2/3 inning stint was Price’s longest of his career, but one wonders if the 111 pitches needed were an unnecessary taxation on the young lefty’s arm, especially so early in the season.

    The Yankees had their hands full with Rays lefty David Price.

  • In the top of the 4th inning, the Yankees got on the board first when Alex Rodriquez tripled in Nick Johnson and then scored on a throwing error by Dioner Navarro. The ball just missed going out of the ballpark, denying Arod sole possession of 8th place on the all-time HR list.
  • Javier Vazquez pitched well for three innings, but then faltered in the 4th inning. It looked as if Vazquez tired a bit in the inning, losing both command and velocity on his fastball as a result. Nearly every base hit was surrendered on the fastball, making it a little odd that Posada kept going back to the pitch, especially when the off speed was working so well. Posada seemed to over-rely on the fastball in both Sabathia’s and Burnett’s earlier starts, so that’s something worth watching. Because Vazquez has four quality pitches, it will be important for both he and Posada to get on the same page. Otherwise, we could have another pitcher-catcher controversy on our hands.
  • Vazquez wound up yielding 8 runs, which was the most he had given up since June 25, 2006, when he was tagged for 9 runs against the Astros.
  • Vazquez also wasn’t helped out by his defense in the 4th inning. Marcus Thames failed to make two plays that Brett Gardner probably would have. The game tying single by Navarro was a questionable play, but the ill-timed dive on Jason Bartlett’s base clearing double was an obvious mis-play. Thames is going to have to hit a ton against lefties to justify his spot in the lineup because he has already exhibited very poor defense in left.
  • Nick Johnson finally filled the hit column with a single and double off Price. Mark Teixeira, however, remained hitless and has now started the season 0-16. The Yankees record (since 1920) for the longest hitless streak to start a season is 27 PAs and 24 ABs, both by Wally Schang in 1921.

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After spending most of the last two months in nearby Tampa, the Yankees return to St. Pete for their first series against the Rays. Javier Vazquez will kick off his second stint with the Yankees and hopefully do his best to erase the memories of his last performance in pinstripes (think Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS).


vs. David Price PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 11 0.100 0.182 0.400 1 1
Nick Johnson DH 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Mark Teixeira 1B 8 0.143 0.250 0.143 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 11 0.333 0.455 0.778 1 2
Robinson Cano 2B 8 0.143 0.250 0.143 0 1
Jorge Posada C 8 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 8 0.200 0.500 0.800 1 1
Marcus Thames LF 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 5 0.200 0.200 0.200 0 0
Total 59 0.157 0.254 0.353 3 5
vs. Javier Vazquez PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Jason Bartlett SS 31 0.267 0.290 0.333 0 0
Carl Crawford LF 27 0.423 0.444 0.692 0 2
Ben Zobrist RF 3 0.288 0.315 0.418 0 0
Evan Longoria 3B 6 0.167 0.167 0.333 0 1
Carlos Pena 1B 17 0.118 0.118 0.353 1 2
B.J. Upton CF 13 0.500 0.538 0.500 0 1
Willie Aybar DH 7 0.143 0.143 0.143 0 0
Dioner Navarro C 12 0.250 0.250 0.333 0 0
Sean Rodriguez 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 116 0.292 0.302 0.425 1 6
  • At the end of last season, the Yankees suspected that the Rays were purposely throwing at Mark Teixeira in retaliation for C.C. Sabathia breaking Carlos Pena’s hand. It will be interesting to see if the Yankees respond in the new season.
  • Lefty power outage: Chase Utley is the only left handed hitter to go deep against David Price.
  • Familiarity breads contempt: Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriquez have faced Price more than any other hitter. While Jeter has struggled (.100), Arod has had a little more success (.333). However, both have hit a homer off the Rays’ lefty.
  • How far has Pat Burrell fallen on the Rays depth chart? Despite having impressive numbers (.310/.333/.476) against Vazquez in a meaningful sample of 45 PAs, he still rides the bench.
  • Brett Gardner is sitting out once again in favor of Marcus Thames. The over/under on how many times Michael Kay complains about this move has been set at 10.
  • Today is David Robertson’s 25th birthday.
  • Alex Rodriguez will move into sole possession of 8th place on the All-Time HR list with his next long ball. Arod is currently tied with Mark McGwire at 583.
  • Nick Johnson and Mark Teixeira are both looking for their first hits of the season. Johnson has walked six times, however, and has taken over 75% of all pitches thrown to him so far this season.

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Yankees Universe

Almost 28% of all major leaguers on Opening Day active rosters and disabled lists were born outside the United States, according to the latest census of players released by Major League Baseball. In total, 231 of the 833 players were foreign born, the largest percentage of which hailed from the Dominican Republic (86), Venezuela (58) and Puerto Rico (21). Since 1980, the number of foreign born players has jumped from 11%. Over the span, the number of players from Venezuela increased the most, rising exponentially from less than 1%, while the number of Dominicans more than tripled.

MLB’s growing diversity has become a real asset to the game. With nearly 50% of all minor leaguers also foreign born (representing an amazing 43 countries and territories), this is a trend that should continue over the near term. Having said that, there are some red flags.

Interestingly, the number of players hailing from Puerto Rico has slowly declined since peaking at 54 in 2000. Starting in1989, players born in Puerto Rico have been subject to the Rule IV Amateur Draft, so the delayed impact of that change could very well be the reason for this downward trend.  That’s something to consider for those who advocate the institution of an international draft. Even amid increased competition for athletes in a growing domestic sports landscape, MLB has been able to improve upon its talent base by a tapping into international players. However, the implementation of a draft structure that discourages the development and recruitment of foreign born players could wind up having a serious detrimental impact on the quality of play.

Then again, the Mets boast the most foreign-born players (18), and that doesn’t seem to be working out too well. Although not as diverse as their cross-town rivals, the Yankees active roster consists of 8 foreign-born players (36%) from six different countries/territories (see accompanying graphic). Extended to the 40-man roster, the Yankees’ international composition increases to 17 players (45%) from seven different countries/territories.

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