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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Rounding Out The 2011 Yankees 25 Man Roster

I guessed at the Yankees 2011 25 Man Roster a while back, and things have changed since then.

The bench, which was the biggest question mark of all coming into the 2011 spring training camp, will reportedly include Eric Chavez at the corner infield positions, Andruw Jones in the outfield, Eduardo Nunez at the middle infield positions, and Gustavo Molina as the backup catcher.  I think the Yankees did the right thing with the backup catcher position:  Jesus Montero still needs to play every day (it would have been OK for him to come north for a few weeks, but there’s not much of a point) and Austin Romine has never played a game above AA ball, and yes, I understand that they play at a high level down there and Romine has skills, but lets give the kid a break.  Not sure if they’re going to carry four or five outfielders; if they go with five, you assume that Chris Dickerson is a lock for the fifth spot.

Romulo Sanchez, who is out of options and I thought had a shot at the last spot in a crowded bullpen before the Yankees started signing reclamation projects like Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, is out of here.  The Yankees sold his contract to a Japanese team, but I didn’t hear which one.

As expected, Mark Prior is going to stay down in Florida and continue to work on getting stronger – Kevin Millwood will be down there too as he gets his throwing arm ready as he insurance man.  The Yankees are really deep at the fifth starter position this year!  (If it’s not clear, that was a poor attempt at humor.)

Pedro Feliciano is going to start the year on the disabled list – not to be confused with Damaso Marte, another left handed Yankee reliever who is supposed to begin throwing soon, so I wouldn’t count on either of these guys until late April or early May.

It sounds like Curtis Granderson is going to avoid the disabled list, which is awesome because I love that guy – he’s got all the tool I love in an outfielder, but then, I’ve always been a sucker for a speedy outfielder who can hit for power.

Francisco Cervelli is supposed to be out of his cast or whatever by now, but when he’ll be able to return to the team, or even start practicing, I have no idea – so, keep him, Marte, Feliciano, and if needed, Prior and Millwood on your May reinforcements list.

Yankees 2011 Batting Orders

Depending on whether the Yankees are facing a right-handed or left-handed pitcher, you’ll see one of two batting orders this year.  If you watched a ton of spring training, you’ll already have a good feel for what they’re planning.  As for me, I didn’t watch much, but I checked their lineups a lot and I’m pretty sure that Brett Gardner will be the lead off hitter on opening day and on most days the Yankees face right-handed starters.  This will move Derek Jeter back down to second, where he has batted most of his career, although its worth pointing out that he’s had plenty of success in the lead off spot.

Given that Gardner was the on base percentage leader last year, it makes sense to lead him off against right handers.  His speed will also hopefully keep the Yankees out of double plays if Derek Jeter goes into another grounding to short stop spree like last season.

Here is what to expect on a regular day against Right Handed Pitchers:
Brett Gardner, LF
Derek Jeter, SS
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Jorge Posada, DH
Russell Martin, C
Curtis Granderson, CF

Given that Granderson is dealing with an oblique injury but is expected to be available on opening day, you might see Andruw Jones in left field on Thursday , which would move Gardner to center.

Here is what to expect on a regular day against Left Handed Pitchers:
Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF

I would expect Andruw Jones to get the occasional start against lefties, but I don’t think they’re going to straight up platoon Jones and Gardner – unless Jones gets super hot.  Granderson is a tough guy to place in the line up – if he is sluggish like he was for most of last year, he’ll stay down low, batting 7th, 8th or 9th – but if he gets hot like he did at the end of the year and in the playoffs, Joe Girardi is going to have a nice problem to have – expect him to trade spots with Nick Swisher – unless he’s also hitting well.  If that’s the case, then maybe it’ll be Jorge Posada who gets bumped down.  I could make up crazy scenarios all day…  so I’ll stop now.

It’s almost time for baseball!  Too bad opening day is during working hours!

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Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy: Selecting Pitchers

I think I mentioned in my first Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy post that I (for the most part) got my ass handed to me again and again throughout the 2010 season, and for good reason:  I drafted my team as if I were playing a video game instead of managing a Fantasy Baseball Team.

One of the bigger mistakes I made was when it came to choosing pitchers.  For the most part, I selected starters to fill out my league’s 8 roster spots for pitchers:  2 starters, 2 relievers, and 4 more pitchers of either variety.  See, I just assumed that innings pitched would bring in points, and it did – but in my Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball League, not many.  What really brought in the points were wins and saves, so having a bunch of starters on my roster didn’t help much.  This year, I have three starters – two because they’re required and one more as a back up – my other five pitchers ARE ALL CLOSERS.  I think this is the soundest strategy because there are so many variables going into a starting pitcher getting a win where as a closer generally comes into the game with the lead and just has to get 3 outs.  A starters has to worry about his fielders, run support, and the bullpen not blowing his lead – assuming he pitches well in the first place!  Sure, a closer has to hope his fielders back him up, but that’s about it.

Last season, I think CC Sabathia was my first pick – he got me points all year long, but ultimately, I think I could have drafted him later.  If you take a look at my draft results from this year, I got Cliff Lee in the 5th round with the 41st pick.

I think it’s that simple – draft only as many starters as your league makes you, and grab maybe one backup.  But the best piece of advice I can give about Fantasy Baseball is to LEARN THE RULES OF YOUR LEAGUE!

Yankees Sign Millwood, Trade Mitre, Shape Up Rotation

UPDATED:  GARCIA HAS WON THE FIFTH SPOT IN THE YANKEES ROTATION AND COLON WILL GO TO THE BULLPEN.

With Spring Training winding down, the Yankees tweaks to their roster and starting rotation are nearly complete.

After about a zillion weeks of negotiation, the Yankees have finally landed Kevin Millwood to the minor league deal they’ve been dangling since the beginning of time.  Millwood was holding out for a guaranteed major league deal; I think he must have forgotten he finished the year with an ERA over 5 last season, but whatever.  Now that the music is about to stop and Millwood suddenly took his eyes off the floor and noticed there weren’t any chairs, he’s accepted a stool from the Yankees – not that he has any choice in the matter; given that he hasn’t thrown a pitch in a game yet this spring, he’ll have to go down the minors or extended spring training to get ready, so don’t expect him to be available until nearly May, if not later – and if everyone is pitching well, he could be in Scranton for a while.  (I presume he’s the team’s 7th starter, after whoever is the Yankees MLB long man.)

Sergio Mitre, who I have an irrational soft spot for, has been traded to the Brewers for Chris Dickerson, and outfielder who can play multiple positions and I assume is an insurance policy in case the oblique injury to Curtis Granderson causes him to start the season the DL.  If that is the case, I would expect Andruw Jones to start in left field, Nick Swisher in right and Brett Gardner in center, with Dickerson as the fourth outfielder.  (I hope Dickerson gets some playing time as I have a ton of Dickerson jokes waiting in the wings!)  Given that Brewers hurler Zack Grienke is currently injured, it looks like Mitre is going to get a chance to start there – so good luck to him!  Pitching in the inferior league’s weakest division could have an Ian Kennedy effect on Mitre.  Anyway, rumor has it that Mitre was going to be released at the end of spring training, so this was a good move by Brian Cashman.

It looks like Ivan Nova‘s solid spring has earned him a spot in the rotation, so the Yankees just have to decide if they’re going to start Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia.  It’s a tough decision; Colon has had the better spring, but he’s an older guy with a history of injury and didn’t pitch at all last year while  Garcia pitched over 150 innings in 2010.  I’d guess the Yankees are going to start the year with Garcia as there fifth starter, but we’ll find out for sure early next week.

Bomber Banter 2011 Fantasy Baseball Team Roster

As mentioned in my previous Fantasy Baseball post, I’m targeting short stop and catcher this year, and since I have the first pick, that makes that goal a little easier.

I picked the following players for my Yahoo Sports Fantasy Baseball League – the number displayed with a period after it is the order I picked them in and the number in parentheses is the order the player was chosen in the entire draft.  Troy Tulowitzki and Víctor Martínez were my two top picks and I got to pick them one and two, so overall, I’m pretty happy with who I got.  I knew which positions I wanted to target, but I didn’t get a draft guide until a few hours beforehand, so by my third pick, I was already in chaos.

  1. troy_tulowitzki

    First pick of the draft: production out of the short stop!

    (1) Troy Tulowitzki (Col – SS)

  2. (20) Víctor Martinez (Det – C,1B)
  3. (21) Dustin Pedroia (Bos – 2B)
  4. (40) Justin Morneau (Min – 1B)
  5. (41) Cliff Lee (Phi – SP)
  6. (60) Heath Bell (SD – RP)
  7. (61) Tommy Hanson (Atl – SP)
  8. (80) Hunter Pence (Hou – OF)
  9. (81) Jonathan Broxton (LAD – RP)
  10. (100) Jim Thome (Min – Util)
  11. (101) Ty Wigginton (Col – 1B,2B,3B)
  12. (120) Chris Young (Ari – OF)
  13. (121) Alex Rios (CWS – OF)
  14. (140) Ryan Franklin (StL – RP)
  15. (141) Matt Lindstrom (Col – RP)
  16. (160) Andrew Bailey (Oak – RP)
  17. (161) Jered Weaver (LAA – SP)
  18. (180) Luke Scott (Bal – 1B,OF)
  19. (181) Carlos Pena (ChC – 1B)
  20. (200) Adam Lind (Tor – 1B,OF)
  21. (201) Edwin Encarnacion (Tor – 3B)
  22. (220) Mike Aviles (KC – 2B,SS)

Now that you’ve read through my roster of players, there’s one screaming omission:   I don’t have a single New York Yankee on the damn team!  This wasn’t intentional; I specifically wanted CC Sabathia, Robinson Cano, Phil Hughes and Mariano Rivera, but Cano went early and by my fourth pick, all of the really good Yankees were gone and by my sixth pick, nearly the entire starting lineup was gone.

It’s great and it sucks that I don’t have any Yankees on the team; last year, I had CC, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Jorge Posada… a veritable cornucopia of Yankees, and it kinda interfered with my enjoyment of the game.  I like to represent and have Yankees on the BomberBanter.com Fantasy Baseball Team, but whatever.  I think that by the end of season, this non-Yankee roster will have made the season more fun.

I haven’t decided on who’s going to start in the outfield yet as I have a lot of choices, but the infield is sealed up tight.  Maybe with more preparation,  I could have done a much better job… but there it is.

Yankees Starting Rotation Battle

Bartolo Colon, Freddy Garcia and Ivan Nova are still in a battle for a place in the Yankees starting rotation.  From the very little I’ve seen, I’d say that in terms of performance, I’d rank Colon and Nova fairly close (although Nova’s 6 IP of shutout ball was impressive) and rank Garcia last.  Still, I think the Yankees are best served to slot Garcia and Colon as the fourth and fifth starters.  I don’t think anybody knows what the number is, but Nova has an innings limit this year, and even if they skip him a few times, I don’t see a good way to manage that at the major league level.

I like Nova a lot, and I don’t want to see his development retarded in any way.  I don’t think his ceiling is much higher than a number 3 starter, but that’s nothing to sneeze at.  The Yankees will need a number five starter a lot more this April than they have in the last few seasons (or, at least that’s how I remember it), so they won’t really have the luxury of skipping anyone in April much.  Frankly, the Yankees may as well find out what Garcia and Colon have – if a guy can’t get it done, they’ll get released, and that will be that.  On the other hand, if you bring Nova north, you have to manage a developing starter with an innings limit while trying to win a pennant, something I don’t feel the Yankees have excelled at over the last few years.  If Nova does poorly and they have to send him back down, then they’ve just wasted an option on him.  They might as well send him to Scranton-Wilkes Barre (I hate typing that – why can’t they just be the Scranton Yankees?), limit his starts to five innings and not call him up until Colon or Garcia stink or get hurt, because one (or both) of those things will happen at some point this season – I guarantee it.

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “Is he going to mention Sergio Mitre or Manny Banuelos as a rotation candidate or not?”  The answer is not.  Mitre stinks; he’s a serviceable long man/mop up man/emergency starter, but that’s where it ends – and Banuelos is not of legal drinking age.  I know he’s great (I’ve seen him pitch), but he’s never thrown a pitch in AAA.  Banuelos is the real deal – he might be a number 2 or even a number 1 some day – let’s allow him develop and bring him up when he’s ready.  As for Andrew Brackman, I love all six feet eleven inches of that guy (yeah, update your score cards, he grew an inch over the winter), but he’s not ready yet either – he’s also never thrown a pitch in AAA.  I don’t think Brackman will ever be as good as Banuelos, but again, let’s wait till he’s ready before we bring him up – and if you look at his numbers and injury history, he doesn’t need any extra pressure of trying to make the big league roster…  oh sorry, he’s already been sent to minor league camp.  Never mind.

To the Readership:

I really appreciate that so many people have been dropping by the site and I’m sorry there hasn’t been much in the way of posts this month, but frankly, there hasn’t been much to write about.  The Yankees don’t have many question marks this year and the first half of spring training is, for lack of a better phrase, boring as hell.  The starters hardly play, the rotation pitchers only pitch a few innings… I think Mariano Rivera has made one appearance so far this spring… my point is, it’s early.  There’s still an entire season to go, and I don’t want to get burned out.  I also don’t want to write those filler posts that make up the bulk of March content on a lot of other Yankees blogs…  I can only read so many ‘how so-and-so might perform this year before I throw in the towel, you know?  A lot of people have been writing that Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson will have better seasons this year than they did last year…  brilliant writing!  Anyway, all I really wanted to say was thanks for dropping by and I promise that come April, the posts will be fast and furious!

Luther Petty At Old Yankee Stadium Tunnel Playing Sax, Fife, Flute

According to this article, the guy I passed in the tunnel  that connected the parking lot to the old Yankee Stadium all those times was named Luther Petty.  I made a serious attempt to study music for several years, and let me tell you:  this guy was the real deal.  (For all I know, this guy is still around, rocking out, but I haven’t seen him – I watch most Yankee games at home on HD TV these days!)

Luther Petty yankee Stadium Tunnel Parking Lot YS2 flute fife sax

Now it wasn’t enough that Mr. Petty played the sax (maybe a soprano sax and an alto sax?  or was there a different guy who played an alto sax by the parking garage?), the flute and the fife, but outside of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game,” and “Yankee Doodle,” he played a lot of old TV show themes, like “The Adams Family,” “The Flintstones” and “F-Troop.”  (I would always ask, “What’s this song?” every single time I heard him play the theme from “F-Troop” as I never watched the show, so it just never sunk in.)

Yankee Stadium Tunnel Sax Luther Petty

Some people called him “The Flute Man,” but I called him The Guy Who Kicked ASS.  Mr. Petty played exceptionally well every single time I heard him play, and that was on many occasions.  If he played the theme from, “The Adams Family,” you had to bash the tunnel’s Plexiglas walls when he got to the ‘snap’ parts – it was required, and even more than that, it was irresistible.  His rhythm was precise, and even if yours wasn’t and you bashed out of time, you couldn’t mess his  beat up.  I never heard the guy make a mistake once, and yeah, I’m sure he played the same 10 or so songs at every single game, and agreed, they weren’t exactly Bach, but I bet he could play every song he knew backwards and probably on all three of his instruments – three of them!

Totally weird… the tunnel looks so much smaller in the video than it does in the above photos.

 

FYI, my photos above are from a Yankees vs Blue Jays game in 2004 – I probably took these photos before or after the Carlos Delgado Protests The Iraq War In 2004 game.

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