Goodbye Edwar, Hello Park

With Chan Ho Park arriving at Yankees camp today, the Yankees needed to clear a spot on the 40 man roster. Unsurprisingly, Edwar Ramirez was designated for assignment. Now the question is will he be claimed by a team? In my opinion, he will be claimed by some team out there, but there is always a chance he clears waivers and can go back to AAA Scranton for the Yankees. Anyway, according to Chad Jennings, Park will wear number 61, has been throwing in Korea, and he feels ready to pitch. The plan as of now is that he will do some long toss today and throw a bullpen tomorrow.

I would assume that Park cleaned his hair up, though he does look pretty cool like that.

Link Fiesta: Montero, Gardner, Thames…

On this Saturday after a snow filled week here in New York, here are some links to keep your mind entertained:

Jesus Montero and his unique throwing technique

We’ve all heard about Montero and how his bat is other-worldly but his defense needs work. While his defense may need work he has always been blessed with a powerful arm, and supposedly in order to make up for his big body he makes his throws in a way most catchers do not. “Instead of popping up onto the front of both feet and firing to second, Montero kept his right foot anchored in place after catching the pitch; he took a short stride with his left foot and threw to second base.” (If any of you have ESPN Insider access you can click on the link and read the rest of the article, but I don’t have the access.)

Montero impressing many during spring training

With his bat of course…

Sticking with the Montero theme…

Just a nice article about Montero for those of you wishing to learn more about him.

Brett Gardner a 5 win player in 2010?

Fangraphs has a nice article saying how Gardner could be the 2010 version of Nyjer Morgan and have a 5 WAR. I wouldn’t expect it, but there is a chance.

Andrew Brackman working to get back on track.

Brackman is working hard and has been impressing during spring training this year.

Thames has an opt-out clause.

If he doesn’t make the team out of spring training he can become a free agent if he wishes, so basically it is a competition between Thames and Jamie Hoffmann and whoever doesn’t make the team is gone. I’m going to say Hoffmann makes the team.

Granderson gets contacts.

Hey, it can’t hurt.

Former Yankees…

Two things you need to know about them: They stick together, and they usually end up in Pittsburgh. (H/T to RAB)

Former Yankees, Melky and Coke breaking the Yankees facial hair code…

Will Damon bring back the Jesus look? (Click on Melky and Coke’s name to see a picture)

Save Gate 2 – Before It Is Gone

Our friends of Save Gate 2 need our support:

Old Yankee Stadium Gate 2 - Call to Action

To Friends of Gate 2 and All Yankee Fans in the World,

Fortunately, Gate 2 still stands and it is not too late to continue the fight for its preservation.  In a late October presentation to the NYC Public Design Commission, the NYC Parks Department’s latest proposal for Heritage Field was rejected until they could come back with a design change that conveys the majesty of the structure that once stood on the site of old Yankee Stadium!  While the Parks Department is very aware of the proposal to preserve Gate 2, and the Design Commission even referred to it during the hearing, they are still stubbornly refusing to even consider it.

Please I urge you to head over to the Save Gate 2 website and see what you can do to help, it’s very easy you don’t even have to leave your computer. This is for a good cause, saving a part of what will always be the greatest baseball stadium ever, Yankee Stadium.


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Joba vs Hughes: The 2010 Debate

As we prepare to enter spring training 2010, one of the biggest stories is going to be the competition for the 5th spot in the rotation for the 2010 season. Reportedly, Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Alfredo Aceves, Chad Gaudin, and Sergio Mitre are all in consideration for the spot. However, in my opinion it is just between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes, with Joba coming in with the advantage. I know this issue has split many Yankee fans into many groups, so I’m going to break down the two pitchers making the argument for why they should be in the rotation, and then give my opinion.

Joba Chamberlain

Perhaps the biggest argument for Joba being in the rotation is that he is off his innings restrictions. He is finally off the “leash” and can just go out there and pitch not worrying about leaving the game after 100 pitches or 5 innings. Finally being free of the “Joba Rules” could potentially have a great affect of Chamberlain and let him pitch to his potential. If he were to be put in the bullpen now, it would essentially be rewinding his development, which is not too smart.

Another reason Joba Chamberlain should be in the rotation is that he has the arsenal of a starter. He throws a changeup, a curveball, a slider, and a fastball. The bullpen is more suited to guys who just have a fastball, and a decent second pitch. That description does not fit Joba at all. In fact Joba’s best pitch in 2009 was his slider with a 7.5 value. Chamberlain’s fastball was actually one of the worst in the majors in 2009 with a -21.0 value, but I would think that had to do a lot with him worrying about his pitch count, his innings count, and saving his arm which shouldn’t be an issue this year.

Phil Hughes

People argue that Hughes had success in the bullpen in 2009 because it caused his fastball velocity to jump which increased his confidence. Sure, his confidence did increase in the bullpen, but the velocity argument is silly. Of course his velocity increased in the bullpen, but so would any other starting pitcher’s velocity. Hughes can be successful in the rotation with a low 90s fastball, he doesn’t need to crank it up to 96 to be successful. In fact, the game in which he had the lowest velocity in 2009, was his best game of the year. I am referring to his 6th appearance of 2009, in which he threw 8 scoreless innings against the Rangers in Texas. During this game Hughes averaged about 91 mph on his fastball. The reason he was successful, was that he used he other pitches such as his cutter, his slider, and his changeup more often than usual. This shows that he can be very successful without a blazing fastball.

Here is Hughes' velocity chart via Fangraphs (click on it if you want to see it larger)

Just like Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes has the arsenal of a starter. He throws a fastball, a cutter, a changeup, a curveball, and he used to throw a slider which he ditched in 2009 but he could bring it back. Two pitches that stand out for Hughes’ are his fastball which had a 10.9 value in 2009, and his cutter which had a 4.6 value. His curveball had a -0.5 value, but he didn’t get to throw it much too much in the bullpen. Like his curveball, Hughes did not get to throw his changeup very much in 2009 because he was in the bullpen, but he has been told by Dave Eiland that they will work on it extensively this year. “It’ll be a big focus for me this spring,” Hughes said. “I have to get used to throwing it. It may not be the most comfortable thing at first, but it’ll be a good pitch for me down the line. … Now is the time it needs to come back.”

Another reason Hughes should be in the rotation is that his innings limit is still presumably high enough to get a good year’s worth of starting from it. “Just a guess, I’d assume it’d be around 175-180 innings, but that’s pure speculation,” said Hughes. “I haven’t been told. With any young guy, there is going to be some innings consideration.” If Hughes spends another year in the bullpen it would presumably lower his innings cap and be an issue in 2011 if he is a starter.

Conclusion

It is a tough decision (especially since I am obsessed with Phil Hughes) but I think Joba Chamberlain should be the 5th starter in 2010. It comes down to him finally being off his innings limit, making it counterproductive to put him in the bullpen. 2011 will be Hughes time to shine in the rotation, but hopefully he gets some spot starts and many long relief outings in 2009. I’ll end this with a Joba quote, “I could win 20 games and people are still going to think I could save 50.”

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Pitch data and graph via Fangraphs

Hughes’ quotes via Anthony McCarron

Chamberlain quote via Bryan Hoch

It is almost here

Later today, millions of people will be watching Super Bowl XLIV. For many baseball fans, this game will take their minds off baseball for a few hours. But after that, our minds will shift back to waiting for spring training which is only 11 days away. So many of us are anxiously awaiting for pitchers and catchers to report, but the funny thing is that once they do report nothing really changes for us fans. We will just get stories of how the pitchers did some fielding practice, or how Posada is working with Javier Vazquez to get him adjusted, or how player X is in the “best shape of his life.” All of these stories are pretty generic for spring training, and they won’t really fulfill our need for baseball. It won’t be until the first spring training game shown on YES that we will begin filling that need. Anyway here’s some links to look at on this fine Sunday morning.

“Hughes Should Start in Scranton” via TYU I agree, if Hughes does not start 2010 in the starting rotation I feel he would be better off starting in Scranton than relieving in the Bronx. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain are starters.

“Rival GMs praising Cashman” via RAB He deserves the praise, he has been running the organization wisely lately.

“Nick Johnson vs Johnny Damon: Who’s the better two-spot hitter? via Pending Pinstripes

Petcoa picks the Yankees to win the East now

Only 11 more days until pitchers and catchers report!