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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Coke’

I was going to write about the sudden spate of injuries that hit the Yankees this past week. But I figured enough has been written and said regarding Andy Pettitte‘s groin, Alex Rodriguez‘s calf, Nick Swisher‘s forearm, Alfredo Aceves‘ back and Lance Berkman‘s ankle that you probably know more about their injury status than I do. Besides, after a post about Javier Vazquez‘ dead arm, I’ve had my fill of negativity. ESPN loves to talk about how the Red Sox have overcome their injuries to remain in the hunt, but they generally neglect that some pretty important players in the “Evil Empire” have dealt with – and are still dealing with – some significant injuries. So, if Boston is playing with such extreme grit and fortitude, than the Yankees must
be doing something even better – after all, the Beaneaters are still 5 ½ games back. So I decided to write about one of those things. (Ok, enough of the digression – but it gave me a chance to get a dig in on the Red Sox, and I can’t pass those up!)

One of those good things for the Yankees lately is the play of Curtis Granderson. Traded to the Yankees for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke during last offseason, Granderson has been largely a disappointment this year. Many fans (me included) have wondered what happened to the guy who hit 30 home runs last year; who blended speed and power into an all-star caliber player. Just 5 short weeks ago I wondered aloud if just maybe, Dave Dombrowski had snookered Brian Cashman. Even Joe Girardi had seemed to lose faith in his stating center fielder – after acquiring Austin Kearns in a deadline deal, the skipper looked to be employing a platoon between Granderson and Kearns.

But something magical happened between then and now. I’m not sure what it was, but the Yankees should patent it and sell it to every player in a season long slump. Most folks point to Kevin Long instilling a new swing and enhanced plate discipline during a 3 game respite on the last road trip. I’m not quite sure that’s all there is to Granderson’s revival. After all, you have to presume Long was working with Granderson over the previous 100 odd games, so I suspect there was a riot act read to him either before or during that hiatus. Whatever the case, Granderson has emerged from that brief interlude with a revamped approach – he’s quieter at the plate now, holding his hands closer to his body and slightly lower, and his crouch isn’t as exaggerated as before. Don’t listen to all of those folks saying Long adjusted Granderson’s swing – the one thing anyone who’s played the game knows, is a player’s swing is as natural as breathing. Even if you need to make changes, it’s not something that can be done in a few days. But the approach can. In Granderson’s case, those adjustments have made a world of difference. His bat was always quick; he just found himself swinging at air too often because his approach at the plate inhibited his view of the ball. It caused his head to bob; his hands had to drop and come in to get into hitting position. As a result, pitchers knew they could bust him inside, leaving Curtis vulnerable to off-speed pitches away.

Although hardly a sample size to get excited about, the results from a few tweaks in Granderson’s in Granderson’s hitting style have been eye-popping:

Date

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

BAbip

k%

Before 8/12

0.239

0.306

0.415

0.722

0.317

22.0%

Since 8/12

0.364

0.440

0.727

1.167

0.421

12.0%

The last two columns are the ones that may indicate this isn’t a temporary change in Granderson’s fortunes. Granderson is swinging and missing less often (though still more than I’d like for a speed guy) and when he hits the ball, he is scorching it more often. I doubt he can maintain that average on balls in play for an extended period (or the OPS – both are in Barry Bonds territory), but if he can hold that metric at a .350 or so clip and keep the strikeouts down it translates to a .308 batting average and .414 on base average for the rest of the season, very respectable numbers that the Yankee will gladly take from their 7 hole hitter.

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To say Damaso Marte’s 2009 season was full of success would be stretching the truth a little bit. Marte unfortunately missed almost 4 whole months due to shoulder problems stemming from the World Baseball Classic. Outside of the time he spent hurt, his season was largely forgettable as he was 1-3 with a 9.45 ERA over 13.1 innings. However, in the postseason, Marte was money in the bank as he didn’t allow a run to cross the plate while yielding only 2 hits and striking out 5 in 4 innings.

Looking Ahead to 2010: As long as Marte is healthy, expect career norms for him as he will likely serve as a LOOGY or as a left handed setup for Mariano Rivera. Outside of that, there is not much Marte will be asked to do, as long as he pitches better down the stretch than Phil Coke and if not Boone Logan will be available to pick up the pieces.

2010 Projection: 62 games, 1-3, 3.84 ERA

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How can anyone question whether the Yankees or better or not? Some are debating the topic, and I’m looking to settle the argument.

Gone: Hideki Matsui, Chien-Ming Wang, Jerry Hairston Jr., Brian Bruney, Austin Jackson, Melky Cabrera, Phil Coke, Shelley Duncan, Eric Hinske, Mike Dunn, Arodys Vizcaino

Newcomers: Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson, Boone Logan, Jamie Hoffman, Reid Gorecki, Royce Ring, and David Winfree

Still up in the air: Johnny Damon

Let’s do a quick overview:

The Goners

  • If Matsui didn’t have the postseason he had, nobody would be crying if he left us. You have to judge him based on his regular season. He was nothing spectacular during the regular season, and he locks up the DH spot since he can’t play the field at all with his knee problems. This is coming from a fan of his. He is one of those players you respect in the game, but you need to know when to cut your ties.
  • Chien-Ming Wang fell off the charts dramatically. The guy has thrown only 137 innings over the past two years. He went (W-L) 1-6 with a 9.64ERA last season. What makes you think he can pitch right now? He was a 19-game winner. Not anymore.
  • Hairston, Bruney, Cabrera, Coke, Duncan and Dunn will not be missed. As for Hinske..we could use him, but he’s not a major loss.

The Newcomers

  • Curtis Granderson is taking over centerfield. He brings another power bat to the lineup, more speed, and serves as a defensive upgrade in the outfield.
  • Javier Vazquez will take the 4th slot in the rotation. He didn’t fair so well with the Yanks his first time around, but can you give him another chance? This guy could be an ace on many major league ball clubs. Power pitchers are key in the playoffs…just remember that.
  • Nick Johnson walked 17.8% of the time in ’09, which was the highest percentage in the major leagues. His .426 on base percentage was second-best in the league to Albert Pujols. Enough said? Don’t give me that..”Oh..he’s going to get injured.” You never know how the season will go. You can’t predict injuries. How did A.J. Burnett do last season?
  • The club also brought in a young bunch of players: Boone Logan, Jamie Hoffman, Reid Gorecki, Royce Ring, and David Winfree. Hoffman will compete for an outfield spot come Spring Training.

and those still up in the air

  • Johnny Damon is still undecided where he is going to play next season. His options are running out, and there is still a chance he can return to the Yankees. Let’s wait and see what happens.

This off-season, the Yankees basically got rid of players that were over the hill, had injury problems, weren’t anything special at the major league level, and some prospects that haven’t proven a damn thing. Instead, they brought in an all-star center fielder, a pitcher that could be an ace on many ball clubs and a DH that finished behind Pujols in OBP last year. This team should be stronger than last year’s. I am well aware that things don’t always work out, but this team is clearly better on paper. Now, let’s see if they can do it on the field.

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As recently as the last few days ago a majority of Yankees fans likely haven’t heard of Mike Dunn, which is reasonable since he only pitched 4 innings for the Yankees this year. In the Yankees 3 way trade for Curtis Granderson, the Detroit Tigers originally wanted Mike Dunn, however, the Yankees did not want to trade him for Granderson.

If you have been following Zell’s and read our forums, you would know that I am high as a kite on Dunn and so are the Yankees. Dunn is a 24 year old power lefty that throws a mid-90’s fastball and also features a slider and change up.

Dunn was originally drafted in 2003 by the Houston Astros, but did not sign and thus was drafted as the 999th overall pick in the 2004 draft by the New  York Yankees. Originally an outfielder by trade, the Yankees in their infinite wisdom converted him into a pitcher because he couldn’t hit himself out of a wet paper bag. He did not make his pitching debut until 2006 in the Gulf Coast League. In his 4 years in the Minor Leagues, he had an era of 3.62 in 375.1 innings with 390 K’s with 166 BB’s. In 2008, Dunn was added to the 40-man roster to be protected from those filthy prospect hungry teams in the Rule 5 Draft.

Tommy Phelps, Trenton Thunder pitching coach had this to say about him earlier this year:

Another power, left-handed arm.  He’s got a really good slider and a really good changeup, too.  Them having him as a starter has prepared him well to be long relief or a lefty-lefty situational guy, because he’s got three pitches he can use to both hitters.  He goes out there and he attacks hitters, he’s not afraid.  I think he had one game where he had a few walks, but other than that, he goes right after them.  He’s real aggressive.

Dunn pitched 4 years in the minor leagues before getting the call to come up to the Majors in September 2009. While his short time in the Major Leagues wasn’t that great as he allowed 3 ER’s, 5 BB’s in 4 innings. However, being a power lefty and having the ability to strike out batters in bunches certainly appeals to the Yankees and most major league teams, however they have to deal with his occasional wildness. Considering he’s a converted outfielder, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt, for now.

In the trade for Granderson, it is of my opinion that the Yankees might have not traded Phil Coke if they didn’t have Mike Dunn waiting in the wings in AAA. It is likely that the Yankees will break camp in 2009 with Mike Dunn in their bullpen and if not, it won’t be too long until he receives the call for good.

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Update: 12:30AM ET: Joel Sherman of the New York Post hears that the Tigers were never satisfied with the blockbuster talks. 

Via MLB Trade Rumors:

The D’Backs pushed for a blockbuster three-way deal with the Yankees and Tigers today, only to see one of those two teams veto it, according to Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. However, the teams are discussing the following scenario.

The deal would send Curtis Granderson to the Yanks, along with a prospect or two from the D’Backs. Arizona would obtain Edwin Jackson from the Tigers and Ian Kennedy from the Yankees. The Tigers would obtain Max Scherzer from the D’Backs and Austin Jackson, Phil Coke and Michael Dunn from the Yanks.

Talks are apparently at an “impasse” now, though the D’Backs continue to push for a trade

Ian Kennedy and Austin Jackson? Does that mean our hopes for Roy Halladay are over? I didn’t realize it would take this much to land him.

Jon Heyman of SI.com reported that the Yankees spent “much of the day” trying to acquire Granderson, and that they still haven’t offered Johnny Damon a contract. I didn’t realize the Yankees were spending the whole day in talks with Detroit, so I guess this is some serious business here.

Earlier today, Buster Olney said the Tigers wanted Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson from the Yankees for Granderson. I didn’t even want to part with him for Halladay, so it wouldn’t make much sense to do that.

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David Robertson WS

During the 2009 Postseason one thing became very clear. The bridge to Mariano Rivera as compared to the regular season was slightly more shaky than thought it would be going into the Postseason. With Hughes and Chamberlain’s status for 2010 practically set, as of now, the bridge to Mariano is even more shaky one would think. That leaves Robertson, Aceves, Coke, Marte, Melancon, Bruney and a cast of other characters.

With Marte’s re-emergence in the Postseason, it is likely he will be viewed as the left handed option in said bridge. Even so, the Yankees have Coke and a hard throwing prospect in Mike Dunn who strikes out batters in groups, but is untested at the Major League level. While Aceves has pitched well for the Yankees so far, it is likely they believe that he is more valuable in the middle relief role than at the end and I agree with that assessment.

(more…)

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Cliff Lee was amazing tonight, the offense was horrible, and the bullpen couldn’t get the job done when they were called upon.

CC Sabathia pitched seven solid innings, allowing two earned runs and didn’t get one run of support from his offense.You can give credit to Cliff Lee because he pitched really well, but the Yankees didn’t look good at the plate at all. CC’s line was: L, 7IP 4H 2R 2ER 3BB 6K. Phil Hughes come on in relief and couldn’t record a damn out. It’s very frustrating to watch him struggle, considering he was so good for us throughout the season. He wound up walking two batters and left the game without recording an out.

Damaso Marte was brought into the game and recorded two outs without giving up a run. David Robertson came on in and tried to get the last out of the inning, but instead he gave up a walk to the first batter he faced. D-Rob gave up a single, scoring two runs which were both charged to Phil Hughes.

Briany Bruney entered the game in the 9th inning and was absolutely dreadful. The guy gave up 2 runs on three hits, and was replaced by Phil Coke. Coke recorded the last two outs of the 9th with no problem at all.

The Yankees had a total of 6 hits on the game. Derek Jeter had 3 hits, which was half of the offensive production. Damon, Posada, and Matsui each had a hit on the game. Sad, isn’t it? That’s all the offense we saw today.

It’s definitely disappointing to lose the first game of the series, especially when your ace was on the hill. This was an even pitching match up, and I thought either team could’ve taken this one. Cliff Lee made the Yankees look like little leaguers and it was painful to watch.

We saw the 1996 Yankees come back from 2-0 in the series against the Braves, so why can’t these Yankees come back? These guys have done nothing but fight back day-after-day. (Game#1 of ’96 Series: Atlanta Braves – 12, New York Yankees – 1) Girardi has to rally his troops…

There’s always another day in this game. That’s whats great about it. Tomorrow the Yankees will head back onto the field in the Bronx, as A.J. Burnett will face off against Pedro “Who’s your daddy?” Martinez in Game#2. Should be a fun night in the Bronx. Remember guys..this is a best out of seven series. “It Ain’t Over ’til It’s Over”- Yogi Berra (more…)

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     Chase Wright is no longer a Yankee.He got his chance in the majors, and he got rocked. He gave up four consecutive HR’s to the BoSox in a game, and after that..he never really had a chance of making it big with the club. It’s a shame really, because the kid showed some promise, but the Yankees aren’t very patient with their youngsters.  

Chase Wright’s reaction…

“I felt like I definitely had a good run,” Wright said. “The ’07 season was my first year out of [Class] A-ball and I had two good starts at Double-A before I got called up to the Yankees, and I knew that if I put together a good run [in 2008] I would have a shot at an opportunity. It just didn’t happen. The Yankees system is just loaded, and unfortunately, I kind of got buried.”

“I’ve been in the Minor Leagues a long time and I’ve learned a lot,” Wright said. “I think I could help out a big league team.”

     The Yankees obtained OF/C Eric Fryer (23) in return for Wright from Milwaukee. I’m actually quite impressed with this kid’s statistics. He batted: .335AVG  10 HR and 63 RBI in 104 games with Single-A West Virginia this past season. He led the league in batting average and on-base percentage. Fryer also was ranked 3rd in slugging percentage (.506). Eric will be assigned to Single-A Tampa at the start of the season.

in other news…

     Former Yankee, Ramiro Mendoza was given a Minor League contract and a Spring Training invitation from the Bewers. The last game Mandoza appeared in was back in 2005 regular season  for the Yankees. Mendoza shined in the Venezuelan Winter League, and posted a 1.62 ERA  in 33 1/3 innings. He is also on the preliminary roster for Team Panama in the ’09 WBC.

     Ramiro Mendoza was a big part of the Yankees dynasty. He won four World Series rings with the Yankees and really helped them out in the postseason.

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An evening with Brian Cashman / LOYAL DAMON DEFENDS A-ROD

Phil Coke: ’09 Rookie Development Program / BRIAN’S LOYAL TO HIS BOSS

Torre still keeps his cool under pressure / He has no regrets about book..

Kelly Ripa hugs Joe Torre, interviews him, hugs again / Captain, Oh Captain

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     According to The Ghost of Moonlight Graham, the Boston Red Sox do. I believe that the Yankees had the best bullpen in all of baseball last year, but things have changed since Joba moved into the rotation. The Joba Chamberlain/Mariano Rivera duo was unhittable and created the best 1-2 punch in the game. After the 7th inning..the game was pretty much over. I’m not trying to make a case that he belongs back in the pen..but I’m just stating the facts.

     The Yankees bullpen this year is filled with a lot of talent. They have a bunch of young guys in the pen, including David Robertson, Edwar Ramirez, & Phil Coke. They still have the best closer in the game. The statistics prove it.

this was his analysis of the Yankees:

4. New York Yankees – 24 Points

RH – Edwar Ramirez, Brian Bruney (2)

LH – Damaso Marte (6)

C – Mariano Rivera (10)

2008 bullpen era – 3.79 (6)

Analysis – With Joba Chamberlain slated to be in the starting rotation in 2009, the Yankees don’t have a dominate RH set up guy in pen. But when you have the greatest closer of all-time still on top of his game, you will always have a good bullpen.

     If the Yankees get Juan Cruz, then things could change. It should make things very interesting. Bullpens can be very difficult to grade, because they could be very good one year and very bad the next.

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Alan Horne wants a shot at the show  /  Projecting The Yankees Start In 2009

Yanks may need a co-starting catcher  /  No team for corner outfielders

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