Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sporting News: MLB leadoff hitters have evolved into reliable power source

Leadoff hitters have been the spark plugs for baseball teams since the game began, but these days there isn’t a solitary mold for hitters who sit atop the batting order.

Some of today’s table-setters ignite their club’s offense in a different way, hitting for more power and running less than ever before. In speaking with a few of the more prolific leadoff hitters in terms of slugging from the No. 1 hole this season, Sporting News found there is little difference in how they approach the role.

While the players do not believe they make wholesale changes to their game when leading off, there is clear evidence that the performance of leadoff hitters has been completely transformed in the past few seasons.

Teams are more willing than ever to sacrifice speed for power at the top of the order, and lineups across the game reflect the shift. Here's a look at how it's playing out.

Read more at Sporting News >>>

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Sporting News: Five ways the All-Star Game can inspire more fun in baseball

Bryce Harper once uttered a simple phrase: "Make baseball fun again."

That simple phrase — uttered by one of the game’s most popular and polarizing players — was on full display in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

We witnessed wonderfully amusing impulse moments like Nelson Cruz’s photo op with umpiring legend "Country" Joe West and awkward ones such as Alex Rodriguez traipsing through the infield during warmups, asking questions of the fielders.

These particular circumstances might not fly in a major league game that counts, however there were some exceptionally fun aspects to the All-Star festivities that should inspire how MLB works to create an improved fan experience.

Read more at Sporting News >>>

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Sporting News: MLB's worst bangs for the buck

We recently set out to determine the best contract values in MLB, turning up some very interesting players who are outperforming their respective deals.

Of course, organizations don’t always get contracts right. In fact, sometimes the teams get them completely wrong.

Using FanGraphs' WAR values (fWAR) and the average annual value (AAV) of contracts for each player, we’ve zeroed in on which players have provided the worst bang for the buck at each position, designated hitter, starting pitcher and reliever through games played July 5.

Our investigation again turned up some surprises.

One team has four — FOUR! — players making the list, while two other clubs have two players soaking them dry. There are six former All-Stars among the group. One of those players was an All-Star last season AND owns the worst fWAR measure in the game in 2017. All but one of the 11 players produced positive fWAR values in 2016. Finally, there is one no-doubt Hall of Famer creating a financial mess.

Read more at Sporting News >>>

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sporting News: Andrelton Simmons finds motivation in "glove-first" label

Andrelton Simmons provides defense on a level that makes his offensive contributions secondary, maybe even a bonus. But for much of Simmons' big-league career, the imbalance between his defense and offense was so lopsided that he was collared with a dreaded baseball tag: glove-first.

Still, Simmons’ glove was so exceptional that the Braves plugged him in every day for more than three seasons after his debut in 2012. The Angels were then interested enough to trade for him despite weak runs created plus (wRC+) marks of 71 and 81 in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

Read more at Sporting News >>>

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sporting News: MLB's best bangs for the buck

MLB organizations strive to maintain balance between players of all salary levels when constructing rosters. Even for clubs swimming in cash, the goal is to find the best value based on the disparity of expected performance worth and competitive balance commitments for 25 players.

Using FanGraphs’ WAR values (fWAR) and the average annual value (AAV) of contracts for each player, we’ve zeroed in on which players have provided the best bang for the buck at each position, plus at designated hitter, starting pitcher and reliever through games played June 11.

Our investigation turned up five players on first-place clubs, a rookie delivering the best value, four first-round picks, eight players in or beyond their arbitration seasons, an average age of 24.9 and a total value to clubs that stretched beyond $231.6 million.

Monday, May 22, 2017

SNY: May 2017 Features


Below are links to my features from SNY.tv for May 2017.

SNY: April 2017 Features

Below are links to my features for SNY.tv from April 2017.

Yankees young foundation needs time to cement before building structure, comparing to past

Yankees minor league report: April 7

Who will step up for Yankees in Sanchez's absence?


Yankees' Judge is converting raw power into visible development


Yankees minor league report: April 14


Yankees rotation quiets doubters during win streak


Yankees' Bird should not be part of strict platoon

Yankees minor league report: April 21

Will Yankees be forced to take less in Gardner deal?

Is Yankees' Ellsbury hitting in the right spot in batting order?


Yankees minor league report: April 28

Thursday, February 23, 2017

SNY: Winning or losing, the Yankees must stay the course in 2017

Rebuild. Transition. Whatever we call it, the Yankees are operating the organization differently than they have in recent memory. What remains to be seen is whether the Yankees will stay the course regardless of whether they are winning or losing. I suggest it is imperative they do.

Read more at SNY.tv >>>

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SNY: Yankees 2017 spring training primer

Courtesy: SportsLogos.net
While a good number of players have already reported to Tampa, Tuesday marks the official beginning of spring training for the New York Yankees. As any other club, the Yankees have several areas of uncertainty which they hope will be resolved by April.

Read more at SNY.tv >>>

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

SNY: Series -- 2017 expectations for key Yankees

Updated: February 22, 2017

This is the complete series covering the 2017 expectations for key Yankees compiled by position. Links to each feature commentary are below.

Position players

Catcher - Gary Sanchez

First Base -- Greg Bird and Tyler Austin competition

Second Base -- Starlin Castro

Shortstop -- Didi Gregorius

Third Base -- Chase Headley

Designated Hitter -- Matt Holliday

Left Field -- Brett Gardner

Center Field -- Jacoby Ellsbury

Right Field -- Aaron Judge, Aaron Hicks, et al competition

Rotation

Masahiro Tanaka

CC Sabathia

Michael Pineda

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman

Dellin Betances

Manager

Joe Girardi


SNY: Links to Yankees' features from December 2016

Links to my feature commentaries for SNY.tv from December 2016.

Yankees contract decisions with arbitration eligible players loom

Yankees head to Winter Meetings with voids to fill

The Matt Holliday signing fits the Yankees mold

Chapman makes Yankees stronger but risks cannot be ignored

Brett Gardner is key to the remainder of Yankees' offseason

Yankees have intriguing in-house options for 2017 rotation

Holland, Ziegler among reliever options for Yankees

Should Yankees begin extension talks with Masahiro Tanaka?

Top moments from 2016 could define Yankees' 2017 season