Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Baseball Roundup

I don't get too worked up about All-Star selections, because there are always going to be snubs. Some are more egregious than others, and while the egregious ones often make no sense at all, at the end of the day it's not that big of a deal. This is especially true for the Yankees who typically have more All-Stars than anybody else. That's the case again this year with 6. As usual, they had a few in contention who didn't make it: Sabathia, Teixeira, and Robertson.

Teixeira I understand. He lead the majors in homers at the times selections, and is Top 5 in RBI. His OBP and SLG are very good, and would be excellent if his average wasn't so poor. Average is hardly the most important thing (especially for a guy like Teixeria, whose job is to hit homers and drive in runs not put up impressive triple-slash stats, those are just a bonus), but you have to have distinguish these guys somehow. Especially at first base, a crowded position, especially in the AL. On most other teams he probably makes it, but totally understandable that he wouldn't on the Yankees at that position.

Robertson I also understand. His numbers are as deserving as anyone in the game at any position, so unlike Teixeira there is no performance rationalization, even a relative one like Teixeira's. But a set-up man isn't going to make it on the Yankees in most cases unless the Yankees' manager is picking the team and can take care of his own guys. There are too many other teams that need to get a single representative on the roster, going to be tough for the Yankees to get a set-up man on. If anyone has ever been proof of this, it's Robertson and his 1.05 ERA and 55 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. I get it though, completely.

Sabathia I do not understand. He leads the AL in wins with 12 (11 at the time of the selection). He has a 2.90 ERA. He's Top 5 in the league in strikeouts. He is the best starter on the best team in the league to date. He is a clearly better candidate than some of the manager's selections, importantly including certain guys from teams who already had representatives. But here's the real kicker: he is scheduled to pitch on Sunday, which would automatically DQ him from the All-Star Game. This makes it a no-brainer for Ron Washington. You name Sabathia, he becomes an All-Star in title, and you immediately get to name his replacement. So Washington gets the guys he wants for whatever reason, and does the right thing with Sabathia at the same time. The All-Star Game is all about recognizing guys for this season. But even if Sabathia wasn't the most deserving pitcher left off this year (he likely is), you want to give a little extra consideration to guys who are among the games elite every year. Sabathia has unequivocally been the best overall pitcher in the American League the last five seasons, so you give him the nod. He's a guy that should be involved in the All-Star Game. Especially when he's not even eligible to pitch, you give him the honor of being named and then get someone else in the game. Bad job here.

This hasn't been much of a roundup, more All-Star focused, but a few other quick thoughts.

Good to see Papelbon back to his old ways. He's already given up more runs that he did in 3 separate full seasons, and is on pace to go over 30 for the second consecutive year. Considering closers are usually somewhere in the 60's in terms if innings pitched, that's not good. At all. I know Papelbon is the closer, and has been for a long time. It's tough to pull a guy in the middle of a season because of the fallout. But Daniel Bard hasn't allowed an earned run since May. When you look at their bodies of work the last 1.5 seasons it's not even close. No matter what they decide to do, it wouldn't hurt for someone to help Papelbon with pitch selection. When you're struggling you don't need to throw 0-2 fastballs like Papelbon did on the single that resulted in the play at the play last night, a pitched that was called with CAPTAIN VARITEK BEHIND THE PLATE. Papelbon has always had poor pitch selection in my opinion (I always go back to that 0-2 fastball he threw Rodriguez in the zone in June 2007 with nobody on and two outs in a tie game, when Rodriguez was on that absolute tear. Rodriguez promptly deposited it to right center to put the Yankees up 1 and they went on to win. Absolutely senseless to not try to get Rodriguez to chase there, and there are plenty more examples like this.) but he could get away with it more when he was a better pitcher. He needs better pitch selection now.

Finally (and sorry for the length, I haven't had a chance to post as much lately so getting some thoughts I've had recently out now), I remember thinking back in the middle of May, when Gonzalez had been going off for a few weeks, that Teixeira was getting outplayed. Badly. Almost like he was getting called out (even though obviously he wasn't.). Since May 19, just after that first Boston sweep at Yankee Stadium when Gonzalez went bananas, Teixeira has hit 16 home runs and driven in 43 in 43 games. That's what I'm talking about as far as an answer.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

PF,

My analysis of the Yankees in contention, as you put it, would be the same as yours. I think Teixeira and Robertson were definitely All-Star worthy but it's a bit of a toss up at the positions they play unless you are really running away from the field. While I would say they are both having good/great years there were other choices that you understand. Personally thought I still think Teixeira should have been on the team. I'm not sure how you have 25 home runs at the All-Star break and don't make it but oh well.

The C.C. oversight is egregious. I think his ERA was over 3 at the time the voting took place but he still led the league in wins and was pitching in the toughest division. When you look at C.C., I think that any rational thinker would have him AT WORST as the third best pitcher in the AL this year, with Weaver and Verlander as the two you could argue are better.

Your point about CC also not even being able to pitch in the All Star game (so you just name him then replace him) is another good one and something I thought of as well. Apparently it was too difficult for Washington to figure out.

Anonymous said...

PF

Teixeira and Sabathia both should have been All-Stars. And Sabathia is probably one of the worst snubs ever. It's really, really hard to imagine. I know 'everybody hates the Yankees' is cliche at this point, but that's really the only explanation as to why Ron Washington wouldn't name Sabathia. And this is coming from a guy who hates the Yankees.

The only thing about the All-Stars is that at least it kind of balances out for the fact that Derek Jeter made the All-Star team. I understand there's some Cal Ripken Jr. sentiment at play,(and that the fans voted) but he's just been terrible. Marco Scutaro's triple slash numbers are all better than Jeter's. And Scutaro's OPS+ is only 90! So, if anything maybe the fact that a guy as undeserving as Jeter balances out a guy who is completely deserving like Sabathia, but on the whole, with Teixeira not making it, it feels like the Yankees were done a bit of an injustice.

--the Gunn

Anonymous said...

good points all around. my father brought the point about jeter up the day of the announcements, and there is no doubt it balances it out. just as the yankees are likely to have more snubs based upon the amount of star players, they are also likely to have guys make it who don't deserve it based on career status and name recognition based upon the amount of star names they have. i can't specifically remember another example of this as the yankees stars have mostly continued to play well late into their careers, but jeter certainly does not deserve to be an all-star, name recognition and career status or not. at the end of the day i don't get overly worked up about this stuff either way, but it's interesting to talk about.

what i'm really interested to hear from you guys on (specifically the two of you as you have been, at times, papelbon defenders) is the papelbon situation. i know he has largely been able to avoid the blown save - which is the most important thing - but when you look at his peripherals and the amount of games he's allowed runs in (11 out of 35 appearances), there is obviously factors of having a cushion and luck involved there. that may not always be the case.

he's allowing too many baserunners, and while he's been able to mitigate that with an improved strikeout rate over the last few years, you have to at least wonder how long a 4.15 era is sustainable without the save/blown save ratio regressing. i also understand the the distraction of making a change like this in-season. but daniel bard looks awfully attractive as a shut-down guy right now, both in terms of stuff and results. one thing i will say from the opposition's perspective is that daniel bard is the guy i don't want to face between the two of them. it has been well documented how much the yankees have gotten to papelbon (4.23 era against), but they have gotten to bard too (4.19 career era against). and i still want no part of him. he has stuff that makes you flinch, where as papelbon really doesn't anymore.

interested to hear you thoughts.

- pf

Anonymous said...

PF,

Papelbon is an adventure everytime he comes in given the number of baserunners he allows. Not really what you want to be saying about your closer. I have defended Papelbon's antics in the past because I think he is a goofy guy and is entertaining and I like having a few of those guys on the teams I follow. I think people have made a lot of the hairbrained stuff he's said/done but I've typically taken it in stride.

I cannot really defend his inconsistency the last 2 years. I can't remember his contract situation but I believe he's on year to year? If so I would not bring him back next year. If he signs somewhere else I think he's got the potential to be a big free agent bust. Maybe he could resuscitate his career in the NL?