Saturday, March 26, 2011

2011 Spring Training #3

I mentioned the bullpen is the best in baseball in a previous blog.

Many people were upset we grabbed a Met and Felciano has done nothing this spring, but I think getting Feliciano was a good move. The guy has been a quality option to get lefties out for a long time. He is 34, but for 6 straight years, lefties have an OPS under .600 against him. The last 3 years he is .583 against lefties and .898 against righties so he is a guy who must be used correctly. You bring him in to face a lefty or lefties and you only let him face a righty if more lefties are behind him. He is a guy you would like to face 60% lefties if you can. Many of you know I have wanted a 2nd lefty for awhile so I thought this was an excellent move. I am not sure why Cashman finally made it a priority, but I think they realized how it hurt their flexibility in the playoffs (should have just read this blog). Maybe Marte can also still be an option for us later in the year; he is a solid option if healthy. Of course, we now have Logan who really pitched well for us last year. He was a surprise last year, but he has the stuff to be effective.

The Soriano move was/is an interesting one. He is not really a stuff guy, but he has excellent control and was fantastic last year. He seems to really know how to pitch. Dollar wise, we might have spent a little more than expected, but there is no question the team is better with him and if he pitches as well as he did last year he will be well worth it, even in a setup role. Overall, this would not be a signing one would do, but in the situation the Yanks are in, it isn’t bad. We may even get the 1st round pick back if Soriano decides to back out after one year. One way to look at it is that the better he pitches the more chances of him opting out and thus getting us a 1st round back when he is signed by someone else. If he doesn't pitch as well as he has in his career then it will not be a good move, but while he might not be as lights out as last year, there is no reason to think he will not be very effective...

With Joba and Robertson as quality options form the right side and probably Colon or Garcia (I get the feeling Colon) the bullpen is stacked. We could take a 5 inning start and easily shut the opponent down with one run or less the rest of the way; with our offense, we should be in good shape.


Before I get into them, I want to say that I like the limited amount I have seen from Rothschild (new pitching coach). He went after the main thing I saw in Burnett and that was that Burnett used to swing his front leg (left) and his plant spot was all over the place. Rothschild just focused in coming straight down with the leg in a consistent spot and that is one area that will make a big difference in Burnett. The lack of consistent delivery is what hampered AJ the most. As much as AJ is annoying to watch (and if you remember I was not in favor of even starting him in the postseason last year), it is really very hard to predict anything other than a better year out of him. Will he pitch to his prior levels? Hard to say that, but getting for a guy who has a career ERA of under 4 to all of a sudden jump his OPS against up 100 points and ERA to 5.26, I project him in the mid 4’s which would still be above his norm. Even though predictions with AJ are hard, I would be expect his ERA to drop at least a half a run and I would not be surprised if it approached a full run. I was much happier going out on a limb with Cano than a head case like Burnett, but I just feel that way.

CC is a solid #1

Hughes had a 4.19 ERA and finished 18-8 last year. The ERA seems about right to me; it is now up to Hughes to make his own corrections after 2nd half of the year that saw his ERA jump to 4.90 after a 3.65 before the All Star Break. I don’t think he is a 4.90 guy or a 3.65 guy, but I think splitting the difference and moving a little closer to the 3.65 makes sense.

Colon and Garcia. I think both of these pickups were excellent. It remains to be seen whether these guys help us or not, but I really like the VERY low cost of finding out. Garcia can be fine as a #5. Colon’s stuff looks pretty good in the one game I watched. He had a lot of movement on his pitches and if you can throw strikes (and spot the ball) with good movement you can pitch in this league. Colon’s stuff projects a little better in the pen than Garcia, but I think Colon has a better upside than Garcia. Either way, I think these were two good signings.

Nova – I already stated that I think this kid will be pretty good for us this year. I like his makeup and think his stuff is pretty good. He gets erratic in his wind up and needs to clean that up, but he will not be a liability for us and we will like our chances with him on the mound.

And the Genius Maker hopefully keeps going!

Last quick note, I am fine with the Yanks trading Mitre for a 4th/5th OF’r. He is ok, but I would rather keep Colon and Garcia (I never felt Nova was in jeopardy). For Mitre, the Yanks got back Chris Dickerson who is a 28 year old lefty OF’r who showed that he run pretty well and isn’t an auto out at the plate. In 454 big league AB’s he has a .759 OPS. Seems like a 4th or 5th platoon OF’r as almost most of his AB’s have come against right handed pitchers.

I will discuss hitters later this weekend and then go through last year predictions and see how I did.

Please feel free to post your feedback.

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