Daily Archives: July 12, 2011

All Star Game Open Thread

Hop you all enjoy the game here are the lineups.

American League

  1. Curtis Granderson – CF – New York Yankees 
  2. Asdrubal Cabrera – SS – Cleveland Indians
  3. Adrian Gonzalez – 1B – Boston Red Sox
  4. Jose Bautista – RF – Toronto Blue Jays
  5. Josh Hamilton – LF – Texas Rangers
  6. Adrian Beltre – 3B – Texas Rangers
  7. David Ortiz – DH – Boston Red Sox
  8. Robinson Cano – 2B – New York Yankees
  9. Alex Avila – C – Detroit Tigers

National League

  1. Rickie Weeks – 2B – Milwaukee Brewers
  2. Carlos Beltran – DH – New York Mets
  3. Matt Kemp – CF – LA Dodgers
  4. Prince Fielder – 1B – Milwaukee Brewers
  5. Brian McCann – C – Atlanta Braves
  6. Lance Berkman – RF – St. Louis Cardinals
  7. Matt Holliday – LF – St. Louis Cardinals
  8. Troy Tulowitzki – SS – Colorado Rockies
  9. Scott Rolen – 3B – Cincinnati Reds
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Yankees Grades Part 5: Bench Players & Team Grade

And finally, your grades for the Yankees Bench Players and the team as a whole!

EDUARDO NUNEZ

Final Grade: B

Description: When Derek Jeter was placed on the 15-Day DL, there was one person that Joe Girardi turned to, and that was Eduardo Nunez. Nunez gets as much playing time as some of the regulars, due to injuries to Derek and now to Alex and Nunez has delivered. Nunez is batting .279 with 3 HR’s & 14 RBI’s. Not only is Nunez good offensively but he has some serious speed, stealing 10 bases in 14 tries. Even though Nunez has 9 errors against him this year, he has gotten better. The more playing time that Nunez gets, the better he will get defensively.

FRANCISCO CERVELLI

Final Grade: D+

Description: Francisco Cervelli is one of those guys that you have on your bench just for defense, but sometimes Cervelli’s defense isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. Girardi usually uses Cervelli when it’s a day game after a night game and he used Russell Martin the night before. Cervelli’s bat has some pop, but he can only seem to hit when there are runners in scoring position. That’s not a bad thing at all, but if he leads off an inning, there are no runners on base for him to drive in but he needs to keep that mentality. Numbers wise for a bench player he’s not doing bad. He’s batting .214 with 14 RBI’s in 70 plate appearances. That shows that Cervelli is a clutch hitter when he needs to be. One thing he may want to work on is his aim. If you are throwing the baseball, throw it to either Derek Jeter or Robinson Cano, not the imaginary 10th player in center field.

RAMIRO PENA

Final Grade: C-

Description: Ramiro Pena is another example of the player you want on your team for their defense. Even though Pena has not played a lot, only having 2 hits in 22 at-bats is kinda working the slump there. And even though he’s not as good as A-Rod on defense, he knows how to make a good play now and again. But sometimes Pena’s errors don’t exactly work out for the Yankees. As an example, the Mets game. Pena had one error in the bottom of the 9th and luckily Brett Gardner saved him there. The second time Pena wasn’t so lucky. That error allowed Jason Bay to get the winning run home and the Mets avoided the sweep. Pena needs to be more alert on the field, as well as at the plate. He’ll get better in time, but right now he’s just another bench player that’s on the field.

TEAM GRADE

Final Grade: B

Description: Ending the first half of the season the Yankees are 53-35, ending just one game behind the Boston Red Sox. Even though the Yankees didn’t get the dream team that they wanted (Cliff Lee in the rotation, Andy Pettite coming back), they were still able to make a scene by showing their power. Being first in home runs and lowest bullpen ERA, the Yankees have proven that even though you have setbacks, you can still mount out victoriously.

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO SENT IN YOUR GRADES! ENJOY THE ALL-STAR BREAK!

Yankees Grades Part 4: Infielders

Here are your Yankees grades for the Infielders!

MARK TEIXEIRA

Final Grade: A-

Description:  Mark Teixeira’s average is not where he would like it to be, but in Mark Teixeira’s case, average does not matter whatsoever. Teixeira is tied for 1st with Granderson for the team lead with 25 HR’s, has 65 RBI’s & an OBP of .352. Teixeira also has golden glove defense which has to be one of the best in baseball (seriously, does this guy have a book on how many plays he makes?). Teixeira is on pace to hit 45-50 HR’s, and have 120-130 RBI’s. If Teixeira continues this power streak in the second half, he could continue to be an offensive and defensive threat.

ROBINSON CANO

Final Grade: A-

Description: Since the beginning of the year, Robinson Cano has been doing well, and I mean really well. He ended the first half with a .296 AVG hitting 15 HR’s, having 57 RBI’s & an OBP of .342. Cano also has made some excellent plays defensively even though he already made 6 errors this season, while he made only 3 last season. But Robbie definetely deserves his A- grade, cause with the plays he does make he is able to save runs, plus winning the State Farm HR Derby is a huge plus as well.

DEREK JETER

Final Grade: C+

Description: When I got the results back from the fans, most of them said Jeter deserved a C. I could see what there concern was, as Jeter’s HR numbers have been down and he didn’t have the “power stroke.” But to make Jeter’s case a little more fair, he was on the DL for about 15 days. But then again, Jeter had struggled. He struggled so much that people wanted Jeter to bat somewhere else in the lineup and move Brett Gardner to lead off.. Then came the march to 3,000 hits which Jeter had completed on Saturday against Tampa Bay. Since then, Jeter had been hitting and found his stroke, but “since then” wouldn’t really count since the first half of the season ended the next day. Jeter defense wise is one of our best shortstops, and has made plays that you might not see anywhere else. Jeter could improve on getting more hits in the second half of the season, but for the fans that say Gardner should bat first and Jeter should bat second? Both of them say it doesn’t matter, as they both lead off in different situations.

ALEX RODRIGUEZ

Final Grade: B+

Description: A-Rod has had an okay first half of the season. His batting average of .295 and 52 RBI’s are very A-Rod like, but what turns off the fans is the power supply. A-Rod only had 13 HR’s in the first half of the season, and A-Rod is a huge power hitter. It turns out that A-Rod had a small meniscus tear in his knee and had surgery on it. There is an explanation for everything and that was the huge explanation for A-Rod’s lack of power. A-Rod probably won’t be back till September 1st or so, but it will be better to have an 100% A-Rod than a 75% A-Rod.

RUSSELL MARTIN

Final Grade: B-

Description: The Yankees were taking a huge risk with Russell Martin when they signed him during the off season. Martin was coming off of knee surgery and is a grade A catcher. Defensively, Russell Martin has done great and has made an impact on A.J Burnett. Offensively though, Russell Martin started off hot, but quickly and quietly got cold, with his average sitting at  .220. The second half should be a time where Martin is thinking of getting more hits and becoming the hitter the Yankees thought he’d be.

JORGE POSADA

Final Grade: C

Description: Jorge Posada has had a down and up year, literally. In the off-season, he finds out he’s no longer the catcher and will spend the final year of his contract as the DH, wasn’t hitting a lick in April and May and benched himself during the Yankees & Red Sox game at Yankees Stadium, but maybe that self benching was a blessing in disguise. Posada had a spectacular June, batting .386 with a .419 OBP. Posada didn’t play much during June due to inter-league play and the no DH rule, but when he did play, he was an offensive threat. The only issue with Posada at this point is his base running. Someone needs to gently remind Posada that he’s not Gardner or Granderson and can’t stretch a single into a double. He was never incredibly fast to begin with, and his base running blunders sometimes cost the Yankees. Other than that Posada needs to continue what he’s doing into the second half of the year, and he could finish strong.

UP NEXT: Yankees Bench Players

Yankees Grades Part 3: Outfielders

Here are your grades for the Yankees Outfielders!

BRETT GARDNER

Final Grade: B+

Description: Brett Gardner has been one of the Yankees streakiest hitters, but even when he’s streaky, he finds a way to contribute no matter what. Gardner had one of his worst starts of his career in April when he was only batting.194, with a .280 OBP, which was very un-Gardner like. Adding on that, Gardner’s base stealing was horrible as he was caught 3 times throughout April. But in May, Gardner all of a sudden started hitting. In May & June, Gardner was hitting .350 and his base stealing had caught up to him swiping 23 bases in the first half. Gardner has begun to cool off, but the good news is Gardner’s OBP and his stealing rate is getting better. All Gardner needs to do in the second half is to not be so streaky and continue to steal bases.

CURTIS GRANDERSON

Final Grade: A

Description: Is there anyone hotter than Curtis Granderson on the Yankees? I wouldn’t think so. Granderson has completely opened the eyes of Yankee fans with 25 HR’s and a .269 BA. Ever since Kevin Long fixed Granderson’s swing in the middle of last year, Granderson had been on fire and unstoppable. And to top that off with 15 SB’s, the second highest on the team behind Brett Gardner. If Granderson continues to homer like he did in the first half, he is on pace to hit 45-50 HR’s,

NICK SWISHER

Final Grade: B

Description: Nick Swisher usually gets off to a very hot start, but the difference with this year is that Swisher looked absolutely sluggish. His batting average was creeping to the low .200′s in April and May, but the thing that had helped Swisher was always having a good OBP. In June, Nick Swisher completely dominated with a June high batting average of .326 and a .445 OBP. A guy that couldn’t buy a hit left handed, now has plenty of hits left handed, and the main is most of them are in the clutch. In the second half, Swisher should work on trying to get more HR’s, but that’s all I can say that he could improve on cause right now, Swisher is on fire.

ANDRUW JONES

Final Grade: D-

Description: In order to give Jones playing time, Joe Girardi decided to platoon him with Brett Gardner. From what Jones has proven, we should have just stuck with Gardner for the whole year so far. Gardner may be streaky, but at least he has a higher average than Jones. Jones so far is batting .195 versus Gardner’s .265. Now, which one sounds better to you? Jones may have less at-bats than Gardner, but everytime Girardi puts in Jones, Jones either has one hit, or goes hit-less and he seems to go hit-less a lot. If Girardi and Cashman are going to platoon Gardner with Jones v.s lefties, shouldn’t Jones be able to hit lefties? In Jones’s last 10 appearances, Jones had 3 hits in 21 at-bats. That’s a .143 AVG. If Jones wants to make it through the second half as a Yankee, he needs to prove everyone wrong and show that Girardi didn’t make a mistake by platooning Gardner for Jones.

CHRIS DICKERSON

Final Grades: B

Description: Chris Dickerson was gotten in a trade for Sergio Mitre during Spring Training, and everytime Dickerson has been called up, he has delivered. Dickerson is batting .300 and a .364 OBP. Even though Dickerson has options and keeps moving from the minors to the majors, he should be the one on the bench to give the bench some depth. Dickerson is a CF by heart, but can play all 3 positions so he would be the best bet to help replace Gardner, Granderson or Swisher if they ever needed a day off. I have no doubt in the second half that Chris Dickerson will be back with the Yankees, and hopefully he can continue his good hitting.

UP NEXT: Yankees Infield

Yankees Grades Part 2: Bullpen

Here are your grades for the New York Yankees Bullpen!

DAVID ROBERTSON

Final Grade: A+

Description: One of my favorite topics is David Robertson and apparently he is one of the Yankees fans favorite topic as well. Ever since Joba Chamberlain had Tommy John Surgery, David Robertson came up and took the task at hand. Robertson’s numbers were phenomenal, with a 2-0 record, a 1.27 ERA in 35.1 innings and if you think that’s not great, Robertson had 56 K’s. Robertson also has the second lowest ERA in the American League and has earned the name “Houdini” for his daredevil pitching style. If Robertson continues to pitch the way he did in the first half, then he could be in for a big contract with the Yankees.

MARIANO RIVERA

Final Grade: A-

Description: When you hear Enter Sandman in Yankees Stadium, it only means one thing: Mariano Rivera is coming. Mo has had a good season thus far, with a 1-1 record and a 1.84 ERA. The only reason Mariano Rivera gets an A- is because he had already blown 4 save opportunities for the Yankees. Last year Rivera had only blown 5 saves the whole year and this year he already has 4. But guess what? Mariano is human. Just like Robertson or Logan might mess up, Mariano messes up as well. Mariano overall has been dominant and is the best closer in baseball. Lets hope (and we all know) that Mariano will be dominant in the second half as well.

BOONE LOGAN

Final Grade: C-

Description: In the beginning of the year, Boone Logan looked like a lost cause. He couldn’t get either righties or lefties, and he was apparently the lefty specialist. Everything seemed lost for Logan, until the pitching whisperer sat him down and talked to him, and by pitching whisperer I meant Alex Rodriguez (running for future pitching coach anyone?). It was after Boone Logan plunked Joey Votto in the inter-league game against the Cincinnati Reds that A-Rod had a talk with him. Since then, Boone Logan had gained confidence and was always brought in to deal with the heart of the opposing team’s lineup, and easily retiring them. Logan still gets into trouble here and there, but he has learned the ways of “Houdini” and strands them there. If he can bring that into the second half, there will be no doubt that his grades will go up.

LUIS AYALA

Final Grade: B

Description: With all the talk of David Robertson and Mariano Rivera, Luis Ayala has slowly made a name in the Yankees clubhouse. In 27 innings, Ayala has a 1-2 record with a 1.33 ERA & 19 K’s. Ayala is not as splendid as Robertson, but he has done his job in retiring hitters, and making it look easy as well. If Luis Ayala continues this into the second half of the season then he will be a valuable piece in the bullpen.

CORY WADE

Final Grade: B

Description: Cory Wade has been another valuable piece in the bullpen for the Yankees and he doesn’t seem to slow it down. Wade is currently 1-0 with a 1.86 ERA after signing a contract with the Yankees. Wade’s appearance between the Cleveland Indians was the reason that his ERA is creeping towards 2, with 2 earned runs on a homer. Ironically those are the only 2 runs that Wade has given to an opponent team. If Wade can continue this performance into the second half, again he would be another valuable piece as with Ayala.

SERGIO MITRE

Final Grade: F

Description: Oh Sergio Mitre, I am going to say this in the nicest way possible: why did the Yankees get you back? In the beginning of the season Mitre was traded to the Brewers for Chris Dickerson (Who I might add has done well for the Yanks, but we’ll get to him later). For whatever reason possible, the Yankees brought him back into the bullpen for an undisclosed amount. Well, I think the Brewers gave us a defunct pitcher cause Yankee fans are demanding a refund. In his 2 innings that he pitched as a Yankee he has a 15.43 ERA and opponents are batting .250 against him. Isn’t the job of a pitcher getting hitters out and not giving up runs? Unless Sergio Mitre picks it up in the second half of the season, then he will lose the faith that the Yankees fans have left in him. Want an example Mitre? Take a look at Mike Gonzalez for the Orioles.

RAFAEL SORIANO

Final Grade: D

Description: The Yankees had originally gotten Rafael Soriano as an 8th inning guy, and originally the Yankees had the bullpen layout JoSoMo (Joba in the 7th, Rafael in the 8th & Mariano in the 9th), but Soriano had not been able to get the job done. Soriano had a 1-1 record with a 5.40 ERA. To add to the Soriano drama, Soriano was placed on the 60-Day DL for elbow soreness. We’ll see how Soriano performs once he comes off the DL, or if he comes off the DL at all. From this point, Soriano has not sparkled, but hopefully he will open our eyes soon.

JOBA CHAMBERLAIN

Final Grade: B+

Description: I was surprised when a lot of people didn’t include Joba Chamberlain in there grading, as he was apart of the bullpen in the 1st half of the season before getting season ending Tommy John Surgery. From what I’ve seen of Joba Chamberlain, he had pitched very well. He had looked dominant. Chamberlain had a 2-0 record with a 2.83 ERA. If that’s not dealing then I don’t know what it is. It was a shame that Chamberlain had surgery which ended his season, cause he was on fire. Hopefully we will see more great things from Chamberlain next season, but till then even though his season was short, he had been a very important part of it.

UP NEXT: Yankees Outfielders

Yankees Grades Part 1: Pitching

Since last week I have been asking fans to grade the New York Yankees on how they believed they performed in the first half. First off, I would like to say thank you so much to everyone who participated. This would not have been possible without you.

Here is how the grading works. I looked over all the grades and rounded off what the potential grade was for each Yankee. The grading results will be released in 5 parts. The pitching, the bullpen, the infielders, the outfielders & the bench. At the end of the grading process the team will get an overall grade.

I asked and you answered, so here are the final grades for your Yankees starting rotation!

CC SABATHIA

Final Grade: A

Description: CC Sabathia has been an ace in every single way. He keeps the Yankees into games, he is able to shut out other teams with ease, and brings a warm atmosphere into the Yankees Clubhouse. Don’t believe that CC is an ace? Check out his numbers. In the first half, he was 13-4 with a 2.72 ERA. His final start of the first half, he shut down the Tampa Bay Rays with a 1-0 victory, and looked as if he was just playing catch with Francisco Cervelli. Sabathia’s stuff is nasty: nasty curveball, nasty slider and a good fastball which is able to rack up K’s. If CC can keep this up, he can be well on his way to a Cy Young award.

A.J BURNETT

Final Grade: B

Description: After a horrendous 2010 season, A.J Burnett has really stepped it up for the Yankees. Don’t let the 8-7 record fool you about Burnett, cause if you watch Burnett pitch during the first half, he was nothing but consistent and nasty. Last season, everyone remembers that Burnett would get shaken up and give up 7-8 runs in almost all of his starts. Well this season it was a completely different story. Out of all of Burnett’s start, only 1 or 2 of his starts have gotten out of hand. Burnett has pitched fabulous for the Yankees, but the only reason Burnett has an 8-7 record is because the Yankees don’t give him run support. Pitching one run ball and still losing the game is pretty heartbreaking, especially for Burnett. If the Yankees can get Burnett some run support in the second half of the season then Burnett’s win record could climb dramatically.

BARTOLO COLON

Final Grade: A

Description: When the Yankees called upon Bartolo Colon during Spring Training, they were not expecting the former Cy Young winner to pitch as if it was 2005. Colon already has some shutouts under his belt this season with a 6-4 record and a 3.20 ERA. Colon started the year in the bullpen after a rotation spot went to Freddy Garcia, but after Phil Hughes went onto the DL, Colon got his shot in the rotation and has exceeded expectations. If Colon can pitch the same way in the second half as he did in the first half, then he will go a long way as to be one of the best pitchers on the Yankees.

FREDDY GARCIA

Final Grade: C+

Description: Freddy Garcia was picked up by the Yankees in Spring Training along with Bartolo Colon and he won the rotation spot that the Yankees had open in the beginning of the year. Garcia is sometimes off and on. Like last year we didn’t know whether we were going to get Good A.J or Bad A.J, it feels the same with Bartolo Colon. True he has a 7-6 record, which isn’t bad and a 3.13 ERA, but he had to work a bit to get that ERA down, which meant either giving up only 1 run or 0 runs. If the Yankees remember, Garcia had his worst start ever against the Red Sox, but since then Garcia had been mostly good. If Garcia can work on being more dominant then he will be a great addition to the Yankees.

IVAN NOVA

Final Grade: B+

Description: There is not a bad thing that you can say about Ivan Nova. Since Joe Girardi had assigned Nova to the rotation at the beginning of the year, Nova had been great. With an 8-4 record and a 4.12 ERA, Nova had been able to hold runners to 1-4 runs to allow the Yankees to come back. One thing I noticed about Nova was last year, he was unable to get out of the 5th or 6th inning, but this year he has proven he has what it takes to be a starter by going as far as 8 innings. Unfortunately to make room for Phil Hughes, Nova was sent down to the minors to continue getting starts. Girardi assures though that if something happens to another Yankees pitcher, Ivan Nova will be the first to be called up, and he has done well. We will most likely see more of Nova as September comes around as the Yankees have double headers to take care of.

PHIL HUGHES

Final Grade: N/A

Description: It would have been unfair to give Phil Hughes a grade in the first half, seeing as he hasn’t pitched much in the first half. He made 4 starts in the first half, but I wouldn’t count the first 3 as Hughes velocity wasn’t there and he had a dead arm. What I will say is that Hughes had worked hard and made starts in Trenton (which I was scouting for myself) and noticed how well he was doing down there. When Hughes came back, he was probably nervous when he was in the first inning, giving up 2 runs, but he had locked down and kept the Indians to 2 runs in 5 innings. Hughes unfortunately lost as the Yankees couldn’t get run support and the other pitchers made the lead larger and larger. I predict that Hughes will have a good second half and the first half shouldn’t effect him much since his velocity is back.

UP NEXT: Yankees Bullpen

Morning Bits 7/12/11

Congrats to Robinson Cano who won the home run derby last night and making it cooler was that he beat Red Sox Adrian Gonzalez.  Tonight is the All Star game.

and here are your morning links…

* Outside of the NY area many fans and writers are upset with Jeter for missing the All Star Game. Tim Brown of Yahoo thinks Jeter deserved taking the exhibition game off this year.

* Curtis Granderson is slowly working his way into the MVP race.

* In Trade Rumors K-Rod does not have the Yankees on his No Trade List.

* Cano set the finals record for home runs in the the Home Run Derby last night.  What was even cooler is that his dad was the one pitching to him.

* Alex Rodriguez had his surgery already and here is an article about it.

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