Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yankee Doodle Grandy

Of the nine Opening Day starters in the Yankees lineup, six have either exceeded or been somewhere around expectations. The three that have not are Nick Johnson, Derek Jeter, and Curtis Granderson. Nick Johnson is injured, nothing more to say about that. Although he's more important to the team because of who he is and where he bats in the order, Jeter has not only been less disappointing but you feel better about him turning it around and doing it when it matters most because of, well, who he is. He might not, but it's difficult to bet against him.

Granderson is more of an unknown. His career trajectory has been unusual because he goes up and down in different statistical categories every year. He is clearly immensely talented in almost all facets of the game, but after two huge years he hasn't been able to put it all together at once the last two years. Which is fine, even though you'd obviously like him to, because few players put it all together and you can still get a lot of production from someone who is doing certain things well. The problem this year is that, outside of some decent defense and some big hits early in the season, Granderson hasn't really been doing much of anything well on the baseball field.

Since just before the All-Star Break, this has started to change. People are just starting to talk about it the last two days because he hit two homers Sunday, and followed that up with a go-ahead, game-winning, two-run homer in the 8th on Monday. Rightfully so, because those types of performances stand out. But he has been sticking the baseball pretty consistently for most of the month. Despite the small sample, when a player as talented and as capable of going on a hot streak as Granderson is was as cold as he was for most of the first half, you take notice.

All that matters is what Granderson does from this point forward. The overall totals are unimportant. The last few weeks are a good start, and I think Granderson can really build off of it, especially the last two games. I don't think we are dealing with someone who is scared of New York. He seems to be a very comfortable guy, and has gotten a number of massive hits late in games for this team, which is usually a sign of someone who does not lack confidence and is not afraid of the the bright lights. We also have to remember that he missed an entire month, which can interrupt your rhythm.

It would be much easier to be even more positive that Granderson was poised for a big second half had he not had the last year or so that he's had. Prior to that, you had an All-Star caliber player on your hands. If you're the Yankees, you're hoping that the last year was the outlier and that the player he was before that - the player we've seen the last few weeks, playing great defense and crushing the baseball all over the field with good power - is the player he is going to be moving forward. The Yankees have had the best offense in baseball thus far. Some players might regress a bit. They might not. Either way, Jeter and Granderson having big second halves will either help offset those regressions or push this offense over the top. Both of those would be good things. You feel good about Jeter. The last few weeks, in conjunction with his pre-2009 stat line (and even in 2009 he hit 30 homers), have given you reason to feel very good about Granderson too. Let's hope it continues.

14 comments:

The GM said...

I was embarrassed on your behalf when I saw this post sitting in draft with that title. Who are you, John Sterling? Michael Kay? Chris Berman? The back-page headline writer for the Daily News? Look, I know I have campy titles all the time while yours are like "Good Win" or "Javier Vazquez," but mine are usually ironic, clever, or sarcastic. I see none of those characteristics in yours.

In Granderson's defense, he has also been injured. The career-long inconsistency is enigmatic though, as you mentioned. The pickup was no Carl Crawford trade.

I didn't notice his cold steak, partially because I knew he was hurt, partially because he homered the game I went to, and partially because the team was in the process of going up 30 games above .500.

Which brings me to my main question: If Granderson's going on a hot steak is so important to the Yankees down the stretch as they cruise to a playoff spot, why isn't AJ Burnout's cold steak important?

Enjoy yo day.

PF said...

If you weren't on a constant quest to create controversy where there is none, you would be able to answer that question yourself. before I get to the answer, I'd like to point out that it's interesting that despite granderson being far less productive than burnett this year, you aren't concerned about the lack of attention ove given him, but yet are concerned about the lack of attention I've given burnett. It's almost august, and this is really the first time I'm discussing this topic despite him being bad essentially all year prior to july. Burnett was bad for less than half that and you want discussion on that. So before you get on your high horse trying to get me in some sort of double standard, let's acknowlege your own.

Here, yours is the only one that exists. First, I didn't say that granderson is so essential to the yankees down the stretch. I said good productiin from him would be nice, because it will likely balance out other players' regressions. If nobody regresses, than his production is a bonus. Players balancing each other out is part of the ebb and flow of a season, and the teams that win the most games are typically those with the most talent, because the more talent you have the more guys you have to offset cold streaks by others, and you'll typically hae more guys playing well than not. And there in lies your burnett answer, and I'm sorry to report that it is very bland and uncontroversial. Players get hot, players get cold. You can't get too worked up over cold streaks because that guy is going to get picked up by someone elses hot streak on a good team, and then he'll get hot and pick up someone else who os cold. That's why vazquez getting cold, then burnett getting cold, now hughes getting cold, or teixeira getting cold, or granderson getting cold, or heter getting cold is something I don't get too worked up about. These are all good players. And, all have struggled between a lot and mightily at one point this season. You only point out burnett because you don't like him. But he's no different than any of the other guys mentioned above, and there are more on this team.

Anonymous said...

GM- liked your last comment on the previous post.

PF- the title of this post makes me think your recent silence on the blog is due to the fact that you've been taking classes at the new jersey school for metrosexual studies.

Anonymous said...

PF-

What do you think the Yankees do with Jeter after season as far as length of contract and money per year?

the gm at work said...

Granderson's making $5.5 million this year and his failure was not spectacular. That's the difference. If they acquired Crawford in exchanged for the farm system instead of acquiring Granderson in exchange for AJax and Scranton Patrick Wilkes-Barre, you bet your ass I'd be all over him, NH.

All you write about nowadays is sunshine and rainbows. Since mid-May, you have only written seven negative posts, one being on umpires and four being on Girardi/lack of focus. This is from someone who used to tell Johnny Damon to lose weight and tell Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano to stop doing handshakes. Only people you ever rip anymore are me and From the Bronx. It's like when Steinbrenner stopped sending public admonitions for 7-8 starts through press releases: just a very sad development.

the gm at work said...

Anonymous 10:06, hopefully we can get a full post out of him about that topic. I hate to see 632-word love letters summed up as "Player is playing well. This makes me happy." up on the front page with all the real analysis in the comments section.

PF said...

His underperformance hasn't been spectacular? We traded our second best prospect for him, and that prospect is out-playing him this season, by a lot (and you like this prospect). On top of that we traded a lefty reliever who has a 2.40 era, and a starter who has already turned in 123 innings of 109 era+ baseball this year, which, you know, is kind of useful in situations when andy pettitte is out for a few weeks and you have to turn to sergio mitre. All this for a guy whose ops was under .700 (!) just five days ago, despite playing reasonably well this month. Did I mention he's getting out played by the guy the main guy in the package, who is 6 years younger and, since you're so worried about every dollar, making 5 million less than him? This is a bad spot by you if you think that situation isn't in the same ballpark as aj burnett having 8 really bad starts, when all he cost the team is money, not potential stars like austin jackson plus two other useful pieces. For the record, I still think this move has potential, because I think granderson is better than this. But you distinguishing this from burnett makes me think you aren't paying attention to the yankees, or at least don't have a pulse for what is going on. Which is not your obligation as a red sox fan. But in that case don't make comments that are that far off base. There are yankee fans who say they wouldn't trade ajax for grandy straight up now, let alone throw in 2 other pieces. And then we have you saying his .700ish ops isn't that spectacular of an underperformance.

I don't write negative posts anymore because there aren't many negative posts to write. The yankees are on pace for 103 wins, have no bad personalities on the team, and everybody cares about winning. A few years ago I wrote negative posts because they were floundering around .500, had a bunch of bad personalities, and had people who were worried about other things besides winning. So there were negative things to write about. This might sound crazy, but I write based on how the team is doing. It's called giving an accurate reflection of a team's standing. I'm not goung to feign anger when there is little to be upset about, just like I'm not going to make everything seem great if the team stinks. You're constant complaining might fit now, but in 2007 and 2008 you just seemed like a crybaby when you're team was busy winning divisions and world series. I'm not going to do the same unless and until there is reason to.

PF said...

His underperformance hasn't been spectacular? We traded our second best prospect for him, and that prospect is out-playing him this season, by a lot (and you like this prospect). On top of that we traded a lefty reliever who has a 2.40 era, and a starter who has already turned in 123 innings of 109 era+ baseball this year, which, you know, is kind of useful in situations when andy pettitte is out for a few weeks and you have to turn to sergio mitre. All this for a guy whose ops was under .700 (!) just five days ago, despite playing reasonably well this month. Did I mention he's getting out played by the guy the main guy in the package, who is 6 years younger and, since you're so worried about every dollar, making 5 million less than him? This is a bad spot by you if you think that situation isn't in the same ballpark as aj burnett having 8 really bad starts, when all he cost the team is money, not potential stars like austin jackson plus two other useful pieces. For the record, I still think this move has potential, because I think granderson is better than this. But you distinguishing this from burnett makes me think you aren't paying attention to the yankees, or at least don't have a pulse for what is going on. Which is not your obligation as a red sox fan. But in that case don't make comments that are that far off base. There are yankee fans who say they wouldn't trade ajax for grandy straight up now, let alone throw in 2 other pieces. And then we have you saying his .700ish ops isn't that spectacular of an underperformance.

Anonymous said...

I like the level of blogger tension. All we need to do know is teach pat how to only post a comment once.

the gm at work said...

PF,

It has not been spectacular. If it were spectacular I would have known about it. I'll be completely honest here: my main sources of Yankee news are your posts, the Tank's comments, and nomaas.org. I think NoMaas is partial toward Granderson and neither you nor Tank have any kind of vendetta against him. Therefore I know about Burnett. I know about Teixeira at the beginning of the season. I know that Jeter's underperforming, and I feel like the absence of Nick Johnson has been more of a pressing issue for the team than Curtis Granderson's overall suckitude before July 1st. I may be wrong. You tell me.

Please forgive me for not looking at every line of the Yankees' stat sheet. It's hard enough to keep the Weak Ground Ball Counter updated on a consistent basis.

You can enlighten me here, and I'm not even saying this sarcastically, where the following three issues have ranked in importance so far this season:

1. Jeter
2. Johnson
3. Granderson

I'd guess it would be in that order, not the least bit because of the fact that Granderson's replacing Melky Cabrera, who isn't exactly an offensive juggernaut.

the gm at work said...

And you know how I feel about Austin Jackson. While I do not think the world of IPK or Phil Coke, I definitely thought Jackson was a sure thing someday. Someday he could become Granderson 2008 or better.

But I don't think anyone anticipated he'd become Granderson 2008 in time to contribute to getting a sixth ring for the Five Rings Club. Granderson had - and has - a better chance to do that.

Ross Kaplan said...

So I disappear from the Blog for 2 months and it turns into a Blue Collar, elitist bashing blog?

Not to worry, at 4:30 on Friday I will have finished the NJ bar and with no job prospects and the fact I'll be moving back to LI to live with my mom I am going to come back with a vengeance. Be prepared

TimC said...

Kaplan! I guess this is the start of a 48 hour countdown of sorts.

In fairness to DV, the '07/'08 editions of the Red Sox were so unlikeable that I think his negative rantings were completely justified. Maybe he was spoiled by the '03/'04 teams or maybe he was getting fed up with the Theo Regime. So, crybaby or not, I think what he had to say then was justified. And some of the long-term thinking shown in those posts are starting to look pretty solid now, anyway.

My thoughts on Granderson kind of mirror yours, PF. Obviously the injuries played a hand in his slow start. I think the move to New York also has to be taken into account. Even an established "professional" like Johnny Damon dropped off a little bit in production when he moved to NY. It took him two years, but eventually he produced at the level he had reached in previous years. Once Granderson gets his feet settled and his injuries taken care of, he'll return to the type of player the Yankees traded for- it sounds like it is starting to happen already, which is bad news to Rays fans.

As for whether the team should have made the trade in the first place, the question isn't just a comparison of the two, it's also things like whether the team could afford to deal with the ups and downs of a young player while locked in a pennant race. Granderson, as a veteran player, is bouncing back from a tough start as we speak. Would Jackson, had he gotten off to a bad start in NY, be able do the same? Could he shake off a slump in mid-August while the team is locked in a run of difficult games? How about the "rookie wall"? Maybe a team like Baltimore would have been foolish to trade a prospect like that for Granderson, but the Yankees are one of a handful of teams that need steady hands when things get tough.

the gm at work said...

Tank,

That's what happens when the kid from Strong I and the kid from a private school/lax powerhouse in Jersey make fewer comments and leave the comments section to three public school kids from more blue-collar places. It is up to you and Pat to restore the traditional Colby/NESCAC tradition here. Only disadvantages you have are the fact that he's Catholic and you're Jewish.