New York Yankees Analysis: A new insight to what may be wrong with the Yankees

hal steinbrenner, brian cashman

The big question across all of baseball is what’s wrong with the New York Yankees. The question arises because, at the beginning of the season, most baseball insiders said that the New York Yankees were to team to beat in the 2021 season. It was named a championship-caliber baseball team. Yet, almost two-thirds of the way through the season, the fact is that the Yankees cannot consistently win games and are not the championship team that was advertised.

Even manager Aaron Boone has stopped calling his Yankees a championship team at this point in the season. Instead, he at times hedges that by saying that it is a champion-caliber team that is underperforming. There is no question that that is true, but it remains that the Yankees won’t win the AL East and is fighting for its life to get a chance at a wild card slot. So, getting back to the big question as to why the Yankees stink, the question remains unresolved.

The New York Yankees have had their share of injuries this year. But the bulk of their starting lineup has remained healthy up until the Covid outbreak. For the most part, stars DJ LeMahieu, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton have been able to stay on the field. However, the poster boy for injuries has been Luke Voit, who has missed much of the season with multiple injuries. The Yankees have also had some bad luck with starters. For example, Corey Kluber, after a no-hitter, developed a shoulder problem and pitched his last game on May 25th. But in the end, you can’t say that the Yankees have had more significant injuries than other teams.

The most obvious problem the Yankees have had is not being able to hit the baseball. Only slugger Aaron Judge has been performing as he should. Giancarlo Stanton gets an honorable mention, but beyond that, the hitting has been inconsistent at best, causing the Yankees to lose game after game and deny a good pitching staff any run support.

Yankee fans and industry sources have been wondering all season long as to why this is happening. Why have the Yankees left so many runners on base? Why do the Yankees hit into so many double plays? Why is last year’s batting champion hitting 100 points below his average last year? People just scratch their heads in disillusion bewilderment.

In the past few weeks, a possible answer may be emerging. Yankee fans often sight the dependence that the Yankees have on analytics. That is not a bonified complaint. The teams they can’t beat use analytics as well, if not even more than the Yankees. But it is emerging that it may be the New York Yankees Analytics department, how they interpret facts, and how they use them.

Many Yankees fans feel that the Yankees should throw out analytics and go with managing on the field. However, the fact is that a proportioned mix of what analytics say and what is actually happening on the field has to be taken into account.

First of all, let’s look at what analytics actually is for the sake of those that may not understand it. For the past twenty years, MLB and industry sources have gathered facts from every game and every situation and have created a data bank that stores those facts and predicts an outcome. Like in the insurance industry, they have actuaries that predict how likely you will get into an accident and how long you will live.  Plain and simple analytics work. But how you employ them is more important.

The New York Yankees’ analytics department might be full of the wrong people. Many think this team is worse at understanding the analytics, how to adapt them and communicate them than other teams that lead them.

Michael Fishman is assistant GM and head of analytics in the Yankees front office. He and his team are most responsible for interpreting the data given by analytics and conveying what that data means to the manager. Make no mistake; a computer does not put out the Yankees lineup. There are real people involved that make decisions as to how to apply what they know all the way. People make mistakes, and all too often, too many of them. The biggest mistake the Yankees make is denying what they are seeing on the field at the moment. Analytics is based over time, not what the present trend is. If a player is having the week of his life at the plate, you don’t take him out because analytics say so.

The examples are far too many to mention. Going back to earlier in the season, the Yankees kept Aaron Hicks in the third slot in the lineup even though he couldn’t hit. It’s a case of going by the analytics and paying no attention to what was actually happening. A similar mistake was hitting Brett Gardner second in the lineup. Forget the analytics; if you have to use players that can’t hit, put them late in the lineup.

Analytics does not explain why the Yankee players are not consistently hitting, but it may affect decisions that cost the Yankees to lose games. But remember, the teams the Yankees can’t beat are using the same analytics, but it appears they are using them differently than the Yankees.

 

Bellator books Michael ‘Venom’ Page – Douglas Lima 2

Bellator MMA announced today that they have finalized a welterweight rematch that fans have been waiting on. The promotion announced that they have finalized the matchup between Michael “Venom” Page (19-1) and Douglas Lima (32-9).

The fight will take place at Bellator 267 on October 1st. The fight will take place in Page’s hometown of London and the rematch will headline the card. This rematch is a couple of years in the making after the two first fought back in 2019.

At Bellator 221, these two met for the first time. Page was doing his thing and showing off a lot of flashy striking. However, during one his entries, Lima took his footing and planted Page. When Page was trying to get up, he was caught with a perfect shot and Lima put him out cold.

That is still the only loss in Page’s professional career. The striker has been saying that Bellator needed to run this back for the last two years and now they finally are. However, the Bellator welterweight title won’t be on the line after Lima lost the title last month.

Bellator 267

While Douglas Lima won back at Bellator 221, he’s going to be the one coming into this fight with no momentum. When these two fight in October, Lima will be carrying a two-fight losing streak and neither fight was particularly competitive.

Meanwhile, Page is 5-0 with four knockouts since the first time these two met. Most recently, Page fought back in May when he broke the nose of Derek Anderson and stopped him after the first round. Despite Lima having won the first fight, Page will likely be the betting favorite at Bellator 267.

These two men were destined to fight again and I can’t wait to see it. Page has long talked about his desire to move over to the UFC once he completes everything he needs to in Bellator. The two things he wanted to do were avenge the loss to Lima and win the Bellator title. He gets his chance at the first one in October.

Report: Knicks having trouble moving up into lottery, Wizards a potential trade partner?

Trey Murphy, Knicks

The New York Knicks hold the 19, 21, and 32nd overall picks in the first round of the 2021 NBA draft. On paper, the Knicks have plenty of draft capital, but they are having a difficult time moving up into the lottery. They have reportedly discussed a trade with the Golden State Warriors, who turned down the 19 and 21 overall picks in exchange for 14.

While it is still possible New York moves up a few spots, they might land outside of the lottery, which would still give them a decent shot at a few talented players.

Per Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, the Knicks are trying to move up into the lottery but are having trouble:

A source says the Knicks have made calls to late-lottery teams about trading up. I’m told the Warriors turned down Nos. 19 and 21 for No. 14. The Knicks don’t have strong enough draft assets to get into top 10, and now it seems like a long shot they can get into the late lottery. Keep an eye on Murphy for New York, given how his reputation has blown up during the predraft process. The Knicks worked him out, and it sounds unlikely he’ll be available at No. 19. Depending on their level of interest, New York could talk to the Wizards about a deal for No. 15.

The Wizards are in an interesting spot, as Bradley Beal desires to stay with the team as long as they retain Russell Westbrook. Adding more draft capital would allow them to bolster the squad through means of the draft. The Knicks would gain the 15th overall spot, giving them a shot at a player like Trey Murphy III, who has been connected to the team recently.

“He’s a prototypical NBA player with his size and his ability to shoot. He just fits the style of what the NBA likes and what they are right now,” UVA assistant coach Jason Williford told Alder Almo of Empire Sports Media.

Murphy is an intriguing player. He averaged 11.3 points, 1.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds, and shot 50% from the field this past season. Oddly, Murphy connected on 43% of his shots from three but only attempted 4.8 per game. That could change at the NBA level, as the Knicks would likely ask him to be a deep shooter while also providing physical defense (3-and-D).

With the Draft just two days away, expect the front office to be strategizing to find a trade partner. They have a few players in mind who might not be available at 19. Draft-day trades are no rarity, and the Knicks will likely be looking to make a move in the final moments.

Yankees News: Wild trade for relief pitcher sees Yanks send RailRiders’ top hitter on his way

yankees, Clay Holmes

In an interesting turn of events, the Yankees finalized a trade to acquire Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Clay Holmes. In exchange, general manager Brian Cashman sent Triple-A phenom Hoy Park to Pittsburgh and Double-A infielder Diego Castillo.

Park was having himself a fantastic 2021 season, leading the Triple-A East with a 1.042 OPS over 48 games. On the season, Park is hitting .327 with 46 strikeouts and 46 walks, including 10 home runs. He has been one of the brightest lights for the Yankees’ minor-league system and barely earned an opportunity at the major-league level despite injuries this year. At 25-years-old, the Yankees saw it necessary to send him on his way in exchange for a relief pitcher.

“I was obviously bummed that I wouldn’t get to spend the rest of this year with Hoy, just because I enjoy being around him and obviously, he’s a really good player and helps us a ton,” RailRiders hitting coach Casey Dykes said of hearing the news, per The Times Tribune. “But I think also there was a lot of excitement for Hoy, too, to see him going to Pittsburgh where, if they’re making a trade like that for him, I would think that they have plans for him to be in the big leagues, hopefully sooner than later. And if that’s the case, then I’m extremely excited for him. He’s worked hard to get that opportunity and that’s what this is, this is an opportunity for him to get to Pittsburgh and make an impact there now. I’ll be excited to watch him.”

In exchange, the Yankees are acquiring a big relief option in the bullpen. At 6’5″ and 230 pounds, the 28-year-old hosts a 4.93 ERA over 44 games this season. With a 9.43 strikeout rate and 5.36 walk rate, his blazing sinker tops 95 mph but unfortunately curates many walks. On the bright side, he also produces a ton of ground balls, which is exactly what the Yankees need to turn double plays and get out of innings.

While this was an interesting trade for a pitcher who’s struggled in the past, the Yankees will utilize him situationally. Hopefully, for their sake, Park doesn’t end up becoming a great starter at the MLB level.

New York Rangers: GM Chris Drury needs to consider Gabriel Landeskog

The NHL’s free agency is set to begin on Wednesday, New York Rangers general manager Chris Drury needs to consider the biggest fish in the pond, Colorados’ Gabriel Landeskog.

The New York Rangers have been making adjustments to their roster over the last 14 days. They have traded Brett Howden and Pavel Buchnevich while acquiring Barclay Goodrow. They completed their NHL draft with players built for the future.

On Wednesday, the start of the free agency period, the team has the opportunity to recruit the best player available on the market, Gabriel Landeskog.

The 28-year-old has played his entire 10-year career for the Colorado Avalanche. The 2011-’12 Calder Trophy winner ( Rookie of the Year) was named captain of the team in 2012 becoming the youngest captain in NHL history.

An End To An Incredible Career

Landeskog’s stats in Colorado displayed his hard work and will to win while wearing the “C” on his chest. While appearing in 687 games, he recorded 512 points which included 218 goals. At the face-off dot, he has won 53% of the draws he has taken.

Last season in 54 games, he netted 20 goals with 52 points while winning 56.6% of the face-offs he had the opportunity to take. The Stockholm, Sweden native has had a 50% or better face-off winning percentage in every season since 2017-2018.

Understanding that Landeskog is normally a left-wing, his skill and success at the center position and on draws, in general, would absolutely help the Blueshirts with puck possession.

The center position has been a topic of conversation with the Blueshirts for several seasons. Chris Drury has addressed the situation twice this offseason. The first time when he traded for Goodrow and then at the expansion draft when he elected to protect Kevin Rooney and expose Colin Blackwell. Blackwell was selected by the Seattle Kraken subsequently.

Failure To Sign In Colorado

His current contract ended at the end of this NHL season. It was a seven-year deal worth $39 million and included an NMC clause in the final three years.

Landeskog is probably looking for $6 million a year for six years.  The question is are the Rangers willing to make that kind of commitment?  A signing of this magnitude could be detrimental to future signings of players such as Alexis Lafreniere, Kappo Kakko, Mika Zibanejad, and Igor Shesterkin.

The club has been intrigued with the possibility of making a trade with the Buffalo Sabres for Jack Eichel. Eichel is four years younger than Landeskog, but signing him would save the Rangers a decision of who to give up in a trade with Buffalo.

Salary wise, the Rangers would be better off signing the Avalanche captain.  The team would be able to work out a deal with Landeskog that fits better into the salary cap structure as opposed to trading for Eichel who has four years remaining on his contract with an AAV of $10 million.

Let’s not forget the almost certain neck surgery Eichel is anticipating having which could see him missing the first three to four months of the season.

Chris Drury has had a rocky start to this offseason in the opinion of many throughout the Rangers Twitterverse. Though most do not know what the GM’s plans are, one thing is certain. The Blueshirts need to acquire a string center who can win faceoffs and contribute on the scoresheet.

Landeskog checks all the boxes on the team’s punch list. If he gets to free agency on Wednesday, the Rangers need to jump on this opportunity.

New York Yankees: Tampa Bay Rays series preview of a must-win series

Last week, the New York Yankees went into a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, hoping to win that series. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen; the Yankees couldn’t even split the series. That loss makes the series that starts tonight with the Tampa Bay Rays even more important to put it into the win column for the struggling Yankees. The series will be played under the dome at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees are now just one half-game from 10 games out in the AL East. The Yankees started the season with what most thought was a championship team. Performance has shown that that has not been proven to be true. A championship team wins more than they lose, a lot more wins than the Yankees have been able to win. A championship team leads its division. The fact is that the Yankees have not been able to beat the teams ahead of them in the division.

Tampa Bay is one of those teams. In the first series of the season, the Yankees won one of 3. Then, in mid-April, the Rays swept the Yankees. In mid-May, the Yankees took 2 of 3. Finally, in early June, they split a four-game series. Going into this series, the Yankees are 5-8 against the Rays this season. The Yankees really need a win in this series to begin a difficult climb up in the AL East standings.

Tonight, July 27, 7:10 pm:

The New York Yankees, tonight, will send Jordan Montgomery to the mound to face Shane McClanahan. The game at Tropicana Field will begin at 7:10 pm. Montgomery has been the bad luck kid getting little, if any, run support. The Yankees have only scored 10 runs in his last 6 starts. That’s less than 2 runs a game. Monty is 3-5  with an ERA of 3.96  with 105 strikeouts. However, he has pitched much better than the stats suggest. Monty hopes in this important game against the Rays; he will get some help.

Shane McClanahan will start for the Tampa Bay Rays. He is a lefty that is 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA and 78 strikeouts. McClanahan coming off two wins in a row, one against the Blue Jays and one against the Orioles. This month he has allowed two walks per game. All of the regular Yankees have hit well off of McClanahan this season. Tonight’s game is televised on WPIX and its affiliates in New York, Bally Sports Sun in Florida, and MLBN out of market nationally.

Wednesday, July 28, 7:10 pm:

Back off the Covid list, Nestor Cortes Jr. will start the Wednesday evening game against Michael Wacha. Cortes has pitched masterfully, replacing Corey Kluber in the rotation. The Yankees have won his last four starts giving up just one run. He is 0-0 with an ERA of 1.95 with 34 strikeouts. Most of the Rays players have not seen much of Cortes. Only Yandy Diaz has hit well off of Cortes.

The Rays righty Michael Wacha will start for the Rays. He is 2-2 with a 5.16 ERA and 34 strikeouts. The Rays have won his last three starts while giving up eight runs.  Both Brett Gardner and DJ LeMahieu have .333 batting averages off him. Gio Urshela has had the best record going .400 in five plate appearances. Wednesday night’s game will be televised on the YES Network, Bally Sports Sun, and nationally on ESPN.

Thursday, July 30, 1:10 pm:

Thursday’s matinee will feature New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole pitted against righty Luis Patino. Cole has been the Yankee’s most successful pitcher. He is 10-5 with an ERA of 2.74 and an incredible baseball-leading 166 strikeouts. He is coming off a loss to the Boston Red Sox. Back on July 10th, he pitched a complete-game shutout of the Houston Astros. Only one Ray has Cole’s number. Ji-Mon Choi has a .667 batting average against Cole in 12 at-bats.

The Rays will send out Luis Patino to face Cole. Patino is a righty that is 1-2 with an ERA of 5.26. Patino is a starter and long reliever for the Rays. He seldom goes more than four innings. This will be the seventh start of his pitching career. The Yankees have little experience with Patino. Only DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela have gotten a hit off him. The matinee game will be televised on the YES Network and Bally Sports Sun.

New York Giants: Can Dante Pettis find his way onto the active roster?

dante pettis, new york giants

The back end of the wide receiver corps for the New York Giants is filled with talented players, but the reality is, there are only so many spots on the 53 man active roster. Beyond the regular starters, including Kenny Golladay, a Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton, there may only be one or two spots left for grabs.

One veteran who is eyeing a roster spot is former San Francisco 49ers receiver Dante Pettis, who was picked up by the Giants and spent two games trying to elevate their passing game. With the often sputtering and Daniel Jones struggling to find open targets, Pettis offered athleticism and speed at a position that lacked both during the second half of the season.

With Slayton bogged down by injury and Golden Tate unable to create separation, Pettis recorded 76 yards over four receptions, including a beautiful touchdown catch up the same against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17.

He caught 80% of his targets, and while the sample size was minimal, he was one of the only bright spots on the offense to close out the year.

The Giants currently have Pettis on a one-year, $1.3 million deal, but without any dead money, they can cut him without any financial implications. That puts him in a tough spot during training camp, but given his close to the 2020 campaign, there’s hope he can re-emerge as an adequate option.

During his time at the collegiate level with Washington University, Pettis was also known for returning punts, an application that could be utilized this upcoming season. Ultimately, if you are a reserve receiver, you must have value outside of your position, otherwise, an option like CJ Board might get the nod (gunner on ST).

Pettis is three years removed from my 467 yard, five-touchdown season during his rookie campaign. Since being a second-round selection, Dante has been a bust, but he showcased some of his flashy abilities last year with Big Blue. He’s a player to keep an eye on, and he is undoubtedly talented enough to grab the No. 5-6 spot in the WR unit.

New York Knicks Mock Draft 4.0: Packaging picks and finding impact players

quentin grimes, knicks

With the NBA Draft just two days away, the New York Knicks are gearing up to potentially make a big move to acquire an impact player who can produce in year one. Last year, the team selected Obi Toppin 8th overall and Immanuel Quickley 32nd overall, surprisingly seeing more production out of their second pick. Quickley had himself a fantastic first year in the NBA, serving as a primary shooting guard and being tested as a point guard on occasion. He averaged 11.4 points, 2.0 assists, and shot 39% from three over 4.7 times per game.

This time around, the front office needs a player who will elevate his teammates, specifically Julius Randle, especially if the team is preparing to offer him a max contract. Someone who can facilitate and maximize the center position would be ideal, which leads us to one of the best passers and transition players in the draft class.

New York Knicks Mock Draft 4.0:

1.) Knicks package picks 19, 21, 58 moving up to No. 15 with the Washington Wizards, selecting Sharife Cooper

In this scenario, the Knicks move up four spots, selecting Sharife Cooper out of Auburn. Some might believe that Cooper isn’t worth being selected at 15, but if you have a player who you hold in high regard, it’s never too early to select them. Just think about all the players who teams have passed on over the years based on big boards.

Nonetheless, Cooper averaged 20.2 points, 8.1 assists, and shot 46% from the field this past season. From range, he only connected on 23%, but he is believed to be a far better shooter than statistics indicate.

While he’s a bit undersized at 6’1″, 180-pounds, Cooper is arguably the best assist man at the collegiate level, and the Knicks desperately need a point guard who can share the ball effectively while also creating shots of his own. Cooper has Trae Young potential, but of course, we can’t guarantee he will ever get to that level. He’s worth taking a big chance on, simply based on his vision and instincts.

2.) Knicks draft Quentin Grimes with the 32 overall pick out of Houston

After trading away three packs to move up to number 15, the Knicks settle at 32 with Houston shooting guard, Quentin Grimes.

The Knicks are reportedly intrigued by Grimes, who worked out with the team just a few days ago. At 6’4″, Grimes transferred from Kansas to Houston in 2019, and while some believe he could be a target in the mid-20s, in this scenario he drops to 32. He currently ranks as the 29th best player on ESPN’s Draft board.

With Houston this past season, Grimes averaged 17.8 points, shooting 40% from three, over 8.3 attempts. Averaging 32.8 minutes per game over 30 contests, Grimes is clearly prepared to take the next step in terms of live-action and endurance. It seems as if the front office keying in on shooters from range, and Grimes fits the bill nicely with the addition of adequate defense.