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HRs Streaks, Multiple HR Games + Top 5 HRs AL + NL IN MLB 2014 So Far: Through Games Apr.12

It was a slow start to the year for Adrian Gonzalez, but now he has hit a HR in 3 straight games, and is hitting for a 3 slash of .267/.333/.623 - with 4 HRs and 11 RBI through his 1st 45 AB.  His play this week is a big reason the Dodgers are back in 1st place heading into action today.

It was a slow start to the year for Adrian Gonzalez, but now he has hit a HR in 3 straight games, and is hitting for a 3 slash of .267/.333/.623 – with 4 HRs and 11 RBI through his 1st 45 AB. His play this week is a big reason the Dodgers are back in 1st place heading into action today.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

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Here at the MLB Reports we look to do things different.  It is one of our many motto’s.

We simply can’t look over every stat, or even chart every HR for that matter, but I have decided that we will carry the top 5 HR hitters for each the AL and NL on a page we have dubbed Stats.

For the HR feature. we will also list multiple HR games for players… Or if they have HRs in multiple games.  Once a week we will post these on the home page for the site as a regular page post. Read the rest of this entry

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Pittsburgh Pirates State Of The Union: 2014 Preview

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling.  Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL's Penguins, and NFL's Steelers.   They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike)

The 2013 Pittsburgh Pirates went from zeros to heroes, after 20 seasons of cellar dwelling. Finally, the people of Pittsburgh PA, finally had something to cheer about besides the NHL’s Penguins, and NFL’s Steelers. They were the last NL team to make the playoffs (Post 1994 Player Strike).

Hunter Stokes (Chief Writer): 

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The Pirates not only kicked the playoff curse in 2013,  but they also embarked on a journey that saw them improve on their win total for a 4th consecutive season.

In a row, it went 59, 72, 79 and 94 wins respectively from 2010 – 2014.

Neil Huntington could finally show the fruits of his labor in assembling his team.

In the last few years particularly, stalwart Draft pick Andrew McCutchen has asserted himself as one of the premiere players to suit up in the MLB right now. Read the rest of this entry

Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): & Jeff Kleiner (Org. Depth Chart Expert)

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The Pittsburgh Pirates broke a 21 Year Old playoff drought in 2013, by winning 94 Games, winning the Wild Card Game to the Reds – before bowing out to the St. Louis Cardinals in 5 games of the LDS.

Neil Huntington has done an exceptional job assembling this club both via trade an drafting.

Not signing A.J. Burnett to a deal is actually a smart move when you figure he is going to earn $16.0 MIL in 2014.  If the Bucs GM would have doled out the 1 YR/$14.1 MIL for the cagey veteran, it would have blown the teams salary structure. Read the rest of this entry

Who Owned Baseball Yesterday (September.21st) – Updated Yearly ‘WOB’ Standings

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

AP Photo/Chris O’Meara

Alex Cobb gave the Rays bullpen a much needed rest after Friday’s 18 inning marathon with 8 1/3 excellent innings, letting up one run and striking out 12 Orioles as Tampa Bay stayed in the Wild Card lead, 5-1.

Clayton Kershaw pitched 7 scoreless innings, striking out 10 and walking 2, earning the 4-0 win for the Dodgers in San Diego and solidifying his Cy Young credentials.

Alberto Callaspo went 4-5 including a homer, driving in 3, helping the A’s top the Twins 9-1 and cut the AL West magic number to 1..

Russell Martin clubbed a game tying home run off of Homer Bailey and helped the Pirates win a critical Wild Card match up against Cincinnati, 4-2.

They all owned baseball on September 21, 2013.

My explanation for “Who Owns Baseball” can be found here.

At the end of the year, we will tally up who owned baseball the most individual days and see how it compares to the final MVP and Cy Young vote.

To view the Yearly Leaders for Who Owned Baseball Standings – Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON.

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Pirates, Dodgers, & Rays Improve Team With Good Deals

Justin Morneau is a great addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team is hoping that he can propel  them to a division title along with the other new faces to their squad. Morneau is having a very productive with him hitting .259 to include 17 HRs and and 74 RBIs. He is not the guy who was the AL MVP in 2006 that hit 34 HRs while driving in 130 RBIs and had an average of .321. He can still provide a team with solid at-bats in a game and is a good guy to have in the clubhouse. The left-hander can hit righties as good as southpaws. He has a .286 average facing right-handers and hist .282 against left-handed pitchers. He still knows how to handle the bat with runners in scoring position, as indicated by him having 54 RBIs in this situation.

Justin Morneau is a great addition to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team is hoping that he can propel them to a division title along with the other new faces to their squad. Morneau is having a very productive season with him hitting .259 to include 17 HRs and and 74 RBIs. He is not the guy who was the AL MVP in 2006 that hit 34 HRs while driving in 130 RBIs and had an average of .321. He can still provide a team with solid at-bats in a game and is a good guy to have in the clubhouse. The left-hander can hit righties as good as southpaws. He has a .286 average facing right-handers and hist .282 against left-handed pitchers. He still knows how to handle the bat with runners in scoring position, as indicated by him having 54 RBIs in this situation.

By Chris Lacey (Lead Baseball Columnist/Minority Website Owner)

The waiver wire during the month of August is way for teams that are either contending for a playoff spot or leading their respective division to improve their team.

Since we are in the final month of the baseball season, there are a couple of teams that made moves to ensure that they have players to help them for the stretch run.

Justin Morneau Career Highlights- Parental Guidance Is Advised 

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Audio Version

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Monday, Aug.12, 2013

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month.  Each show will be about 1 hour

The Triple Play Show will have 5 shows per month. Each show will be about 1 hour. Chuck Booth will guest once a month for MLB Power Rankings,

By The Big Ticket Show ( AKA Triple Play Podcast on http://www.mlbreports.com)

Patrick sits in as the Producer and only representative of the Big Ticket Show – and Chuck Booth joins him to break down all 30 current rankings, plus what the clubs are up to.

To listen to the audio for this Click the READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY logo or past the Triple Play Logo. 

If you want the written version of these rankings click here Read the rest of this entry

MLB 30 Team Power Rankings: Week 20

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Sunday Aug.11/2013

Texas has fought off a July slump - and are 9 - 1 in their last 10 games.  They have added reinforcements in the way of Alex Rios and Matt Garza.  If they can just hold the course - and win the AL West, they have the horses and experience to challenge every other team.  The club was the biggest mover upwards in our rankings this week - going from #10 - #4

Texas has fought off a July slump – and are 9 – 1 in their last 10 games. They have added reinforcements in the way of Alex Rios and Matt Garza. If they can just hold the course – and win the AL West, they have the horses and experience to challenge every other team in October. The club was the biggest mover upwards in our rankings this week – going from #10 – #4.  It was not too long ago that the Rangers were sitting at just a half – dozen games above .500 – and behind the playoff bar.

Audio Version Of These Power Rankings

Audio Monthly Rankings – Aug

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

It is time for the MLB Power Rankings.  These are based on my thoughts on whether who has the best chance to win the World Series.

A lot of these positions are based on who has the toughest Strength of Schedule left, who their competition is for the Division, and possibly even the League they are in,

The races for the Divisions in the NL are becoming less competitive every week.  The NL East and NL West look to be done.  The Pirates are within weeks of ending a 20 year playoff drought.

The Braves rattled off a 14 game winning streak – and should cruise to the NL East crown.

The Athletics are in big trouble with some of their talented offensive players not putting up numbers like they did in 2012.  They now find themselves in 2nd place in the AL West.

Adrian Beltre 2 HR day in July

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2 And A Hook Podcast #10: All Star Chat, Yankees, Dbacks + Trade Deadline Talk

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Friday, July.12, 2013

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast

MLB reports and The Benchwarmers Show present 2 and A Hook Podcast.

’2 And A Hook’ is an expression from Baseball:  ‘Throw the guy 2 Fast balls and then a Hook’ (AKA Curve Ball, Wiggly one, Chair etc..)

By James Acevedo – Host (Podcast Veteran )

Guests On The Show

Im back & ready after being off during the 4th of July week to give you all another baseball packed podcast. On today’s show, brought to you by MLB Reports ( www.mlbreports.com ) & yours truly The Bench Warmers Show.

I star by paying respect to the great Yankee Stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard on the 3 year anniversary to the day that he passed away…

I talk to the boss man Chuck Booth as he returns to do his segment!  16 Minutes in and a 31 Minute Segment

Chuck makes some notions about the New York Yankees and Brian Cashman needing to risk it all for this year – for the legacies of Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and Robinson Cano.  Plus whether the club can trade Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes – and maybe acquire a bat. Read the rest of this entry

The Yanks Are In Desperation Mode + Need Cashman To Be A Riverboat Gambler!

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Monday July.01/2013

The Yankees do have some decent prospects coming along the way like Mason Willians, Tyler Austin, Will the club stay true to their word and go under the 189 Million Dollar Luxury Tax Threshold next year?  If yes, the club could struggle for a few years like it hasn't for two decades.  Meanwhile, who cares about 2013's payroll.  The club will stand to receive over $50 MIL in insurance dough for their hurt players.  Why not reinvest the loot - and take some free swinging stabs?

The Yankees do have some decent prospects coming along the way like Mason Willians, Tyler Austin and Gary Sanchez. Will the club stay true to their word and go under the 189 Million Dollar Luxury Tax Threshold next year? If yes, the club could struggle for a few years like it hasn’t for two decades. Meanwhile, who cares about 2013′s payroll. The club will stand to receive over $50 MIL in insurance dough for their hurt players. Why not reinvest the loot – and take some free swinging stabs?  The club begins play today at 42 – 38, 4 games out of playoff spot, but 17 -24 in their last 41 Games Played.  They play 2 series versus the Twins, and also have  other series versus the Indians and Royals before the Break.  Will they make hay, or freefall by then?

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

It wasn’t always a rosy picture for the New York Yankee fanbase after the 1982 season.  In 1985, I became a fan of the team and Don Mattingly when I saw them smoke the Toronto Blue Jays like 22 – 0 or something on a  Nationally televised game.

My dad was a huge Thurman Munson fan – and told me the legend of the Yankees when I started being able to hear.  I even caught like his hero in little leaguie.  Sometimes you pick up your love for the team based on your dad.

We still both love them to this day.  I was there for 11 years of struggling from 1985 – 1995.  Even when the club cashed in their 1st World Series in 1996, to me while it was cool, it would have been so much better had ‘Donnie Baseball’ been part of the ride.

The Bronx Bombers ripping off 3 more titles from 1998 – 2000 – and then another in 2009, have made me happy to be a fan.  It is not just the playoffs that I have savored.  This team has averaged 94 – 95 wins for the last 20 seasons.

The Yankees would be lucky to be in the 2013 ALCS like 2012

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30 MLB Team Power Rankings: Week 14

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Monday July.01/2013

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 - 30.  You have to think that the club will put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak - with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining.  Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season.  At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB - and have reached #2 in our power rankings

The Bucs have won 9 straight games and now possess a record of 51 – 30. You have to think that the club will finally put the nail in the coffin on its 20 year losing streak – with just needing to win 31 of their 81 games remaining. Better yet, ESPN has them listed as a 88 Percent chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 1992 season. At the halfway point in the season, the Bucs have the best record in the MLB – and have reached #2 in our power rankings.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Another Week has come and gone in the MLB.

Week Stats Ending – June.29/2013

(MLB Reports) AL Hitter Of The Week -  Jason Kipnis (CLE – He reached base 24 times in the 8 games (14 hits, 9 Walks and 1 HBP) – with 3 HRs, 6 – 2B, 9 Runs and 11 RBI.  He hit .519 for the week).

Runners up were:  Miguel Cabrera (DET – OPS of 1.583, with 4 HRs and 7 RBI), Dustin Pedroia (BOS – .560 BA, 14 hits), and Raul Ibanez (SEA – OPS of 1.455 – 3 HRs and 5 RBI.)

(MLB Reports) AL Pitcher Of The WeekR.A. Dickey (TOR – 2 hit CG Shutout versus the Tampa Bay Rays.)

Runners up were: Koji Uehara (BOS – 3 Perfect Saves) and Joe Blanton LAA (1 – 0, with a 1.88 ERA in 2 GS). Read the rest of this entry

The Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 2: The Hitters

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Monday, June.17/2013

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018.  If he can be amongst the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary.  He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

McCutchen is signed for about an average of 8.5 Million Dollars a year until he hits FA in 2018. If he can be among the running for NL MVP every year like 2012, this will bode well for the Pirates value in his salary. He is the best player the franchise has drafted since Barry Bonds.

Chuck Booth (MLB Reports Owner/Lead Analyst)

Neil Huntington has done a great job assembling this Pirates team – and has spun some great trades in order to see his club actually be competitive over the last few years.

At the MLB Reports, we intend to show you the Roster Tree for the Bucs – and how they assembled their current rosters.  It will work in a six degrees of separation like format.

Once we figure out the origin of how many trades going back in time it takes to see w here the tree started, it will be time to dissect how the team fared on the deals.

If a player has never left the organization at all, the tree will be easy – as it will just be the year they were drafted.

Listed Below is Part 1 of the Roster Tree

Pittsburgh Pirates Roster Tree Part 1: The Pitchers

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MLB Top Teams 1 – 30 + (Best 200 Stats of 2013)

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Monday May.06/2013

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season may have just become the New York Mets "ace". Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings - only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818  For his awesome 5 weeks we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

Matt Harvey with his stellar outings so far this season – may have just become the New York Mets “ace”. Harvey is now 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA. Harvey has pitched 40.1 innings – only given up 21 hits, 12 Walks for a League Leading WHIP of .0818. For his awesome 5 weeks – we name him the MLB Reports NL Pitcher Of The Month

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

Stats all Prior to May.06th games. 

The time has come for the 1sy May Power Rankings.  There will be one each for May, June, July, August, September – and then a special playoff edition Power Rankings will be done in October.

I will not do a weekly Power Rankings during this weeks, because in essence, these are the weekly rankings done on a much larger scale.

These Reports are done with a heavy thought to how the teams project by the end of the season – along with how the clubs have fared so far.

I will point out who has had great months for the all 30 MLB Teams.  I reward the good performances in these rankings – and leave the poor ones for the Podcasts or future articles. CLICK THE READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY ICON

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Yankees Update: Week 4 – The Injuries Mount Yet They Are Still The Bronx Bombers!

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Wednesday May 1,2013

After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, Francisco Cervelli has broken his hand and added his name to the long list of Yankee injuries in 2013.  Cervelli worked to get back to the Majors and won the Yankee starting job out of training camp.  Now only time will tell whether Cervelli can return from injury with the same skill that he opened the season.

After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, Francisco Cervelli has broken his hand and added his name to the long list of Yankee injuries in 2013. The man worked his way back to the Majors and won the Yankee starting job out of training camp. Now only time will tell whether Cervelli can return from injury with the same skill that he opened the season.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

The end of April was supposed to signal the beginning of the end of the Yankee injury woes. Upon breaking camp, it was thought that Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira would all be returning in the next week or two.  

Now, it has become clear that the Yankee injury woes are just beginning.

As discussed in last week’s piece, Jeter’s set-back already has extended his time table until the middle of July at the earliest.  Big Tex has been unable to meet his time table as well and is not prepared to take live swings yet.

Granderson is the only player on track to return from injury based on the original timeframe.  Grandy is slated to return in at some point in May.

Frankie Being Frankie:
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MLB Power Rankings – Apr.29/2013

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Monday Apr.29/2013

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in     2011 and 67 Last Year.  he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49.  It was a Sept/Oct swoon   of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles - before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series.  He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal.  Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games - including sweeping the Atlanta Braves

Papa Grande had led the AL in Games Finished during each of the last 2 seasons (70 in 2011 and 67 Last Year.) he also led the AL in Saves in 2011 with 49. It was a Sept/Oct swoon of a 5.02 ERA that started his troubles – before giving up 6 Earned Runs in 1 combined Inning Pitched between the ALCS and the World Series. He remained unsigned by everyone until the Tigers gave him an incentive laden 1 Year Deal. Valverde nailed down 2 Saves this week and the Tigers have won 4 out of 5 games – including sweeping the Atlanta Braves in Detroit this past weekend.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

With it coming up to the 4 week Report, the biggest mover this week where the Detroit Tigers.  Jose Valverde came back to the club, looked trimmed down – and more like his 2011 self compared to when we last saw him.  The Motown Boys pasting the Braves over the weekend speaks volumes about their talent.

The worst week went to the Giants – who plummeted from #1 to #11.  It has to be concerning for the fans that Matt Cain and Ryan Vogelsong do not look right. Decent start by Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito have been wasted.  The club may be lacking the hunger to repeat.  I see the whole team having up and down campaigns.

The Toronto Blue Jays may not have plunged down the rankings that much this week, however they have free fallen the most out of any franchise from the start of the year.  The projected AL favorite – have started 9 – 17 and are looking up at 4 good teams in the AL East now. 

I am predicting they will have a good second half, yet they will not make the playoffs now based on the Jose Reyes injury mostly.  John Gibbons also has to be on the hot seat. 

Papa Grande’s Contract is purchased

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Pittsburgh Pirates 2013 Team Salary, Pirates Roster + Organizational Depth Charts (MLB and MiLB)

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Friday, Apr.26/2013

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years.  They have had 20 Losing season in a row - and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction.  The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970's

The Pittsburgh Pirates organization is looking a lot better over the last few years. They have had 20 Losing season in a row – and are one of the 3 teams to not make the playoffs since the 1994 Player Strike (KC and Toronto) and are the the only National League team to hold this distinction. The club were one of the best franchises around the game of the MLB in the 1970′s.  The club has started 13 – 9 in 2013.  This pattern has formed over the last few campaigns, – in the NL Central contention until just after the ALL – Star Break – before swooning in 2011 and 2012.

By Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner): and welcome Jeff Kleiner (Salary, Roster and Depth Chart Expert for the MLB) – visit his website  here  

You guys are all in for a treat.  Jeff Kleiner recently contacted me about a partnership merge for the website.  He has developed a site (prosportsrosters.com) that covers all organizational affiliates in the Minors for all of the Major League Baseball Clubs.  We are going to combine efforts to bring you the best look at salaries, current 25 Man Player Rosters and Depth Charts for all 30 teams. 

Jeff is going to provide the documents in form of spreadsheets and I am going to accompany the posts with deep analysis of what the numbers tell us from my perspective.  If you can’t wait for all of my assessments for each club, go and visit Jeff’s website over at http://www.prosportsrosters.com.

In Speaking with Jeff, he is one of the more passionate fans I have come across towards the game of baseball.  He spends enough time in updating his MLB Facts for it to be a Full-Time Job.  So after the usual Video Clip and READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY button, you will find some serious &*!@?!#!

For a Full 3 year Salary Outlook plus last years Stats for every player in the Pirates Organization click here

Pittsburgh Pirates Look at Buc Nation 3 Videos:

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Yankees Week Two – Getting Right in Cleveland + A Triple Play = 4 – 1

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Week Two for the New York Yankees was a far more fun ride than Opening Week.  An offensive outpouring in Cleveland followed by taking 2 out of 3 from Baltimore has left the Yankees within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.  Now the Yankees enter the second half of April within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.

Week Two for the New York Yankees was a far more fun ride than Opening Week. An offensive outpouring in Cleveland followed by taking 2 out of 3 from Baltimore has left the Yankees within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East. Now the Yankees enter the second half of April within striking distance of 1st place in a very strange AL East.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent):

In baseball, a momentum turn can be a slight thing.  A player getting a seeing eye single through the infield that turns him from slumping to streaking. A pitcher getting a lucky hop that turns a rally into a double play.

For this Yankees team, the momentum turn seems to have been C.C. Sabathia‘s gem against the Tigers on a Sunday afternoon.  

The Yankees used that 7 Inning performance to jump-start the second week of the season. In almost every regard, Week Two was the anti-thesis of Week One.

After Sabathia dominating the Tigers’ line-up and the Yankees getting after Detroit ace Justin Verlander, the Yankees headed to Cleveland where it was either raining or the Yankees were scoring runs.

After Opening Week, the 11 and 14 runs scored in the first two nights in Cleveland allowed the fan base to breathe easy.  This run shed some light on an issue I wanted to look at this week.  

Before the season got under way, my pre-season piece focused on the Vernon Wells trade and keeping the faith in a Yankees front office.  

The line-up’s ability to score runs has been largely based on the performance of their veteran acquisitions in the off-season (and the fact that Robinson Cano is absolutely an offensive superstar).

Pronk Cometh:

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NL Trade Deadline Targets

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Monday April.8/2013

If all goes well with the team this year, the Astros could improve on their 2012 year.  If all else fails, Houston might challenge the ALL-Time Loss Record.  Whatever happens, any Veteran Player with a heartbeat will be on the trading block by June.  The Astros will continue to dissolve any of their assets (with expiring contracts) onto other teams in order to pick off some more prospects.  The Astros will also Draft 1st overall at the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft.

If all goes well with the team this year, the Astros could improve on their 2012 year. If all else fails, Houston might challenge the ALL-Time Loss Record. Whatever happens, any Veteran Player with a heartbeat will be on the trading block by June. The Astros will continue to dissolve any of their assets (with expiring contracts) onto other teams in order to pick off some more prospects. The Astros will also Draft 1st overall at the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft.  The Astros also play in the toughest Division in the Majors for pitching, plus have already put up back to back 100 Loss Seasons.  Their second half Won – Loss Records might challenge historic rates.

By Jordan Gluck (Prospects/Baseball Operations Correspondent)

Likely Mid season trade targets NL:

I’m assuming these teams will have a winning percentage of at least .475 and therefore will not be sellers although that doesn’t entirely rule out being sellers at the deadline. We are far away from the deadline but it’s nice to see who might be available. Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies (sleeper).

I believe these teams will be sellers and there are not many in the NL because of the parity. Many of these teams don’t have that much to offer so it would not surprise me if a team above (Brewers?) makes a few trades for over slot prices. Marlins, Mets, Pirates, Cubs and Padres.

Giancarlo Stanton (Formerly Mike Stanton hits it out of Dodger Stadium):

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3 Reasons That The Pirates Will – Or Won’t End 20 Years Of Consecutive Losing Records

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Tuesday, April.2/2013

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball to beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

The Pirates are hoping to bring winning baseball for the beautiful PNC Park in 2013.

By Brad Cuprik (Pirates Correspondent)

The statistical improvements are easy to decipher in Clint Hurdle‘s first two years as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2011, the Bucs were 72-90, scored 610 Runs and gave up 712 Runs. Those were improvements of 15 victories, 23 Runs Scored and an impressive 154 less Runs Allowed.

This past season, Pittsburgh improved in all three categories again – earning 79 victories with 651 Runs Scored and 674 Runs Allowed. If it seems like an excruciatingly long time since Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke and Doug Drabek were leading the Pirates to a winning season and a third consecutive NLCS, that’s because it has been – two decades to be exact.

Bill Clinton was just starting his first term as President of the United States and something called Color Me Badd was popular on the radio.

Questionable music aside, if the Pirates want to put an end to all that losing, another year of similar improvement will get them over the .500 hump.

Here are three reasons why 2013 will be the year it happens for them and three reasons why the longest consecutive streak of losing seasons in professional sports will reach 21 years.

Sid Breams 1992 NLCS Game 7 Slide kicked off a 20 Year Consecutive Losing Records Streak

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Trust In Cash: Vernon Wells And Getting Through Early 2013

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Monday April.1, 2013

Our own Chuck Booth predicted that Mr. Wells could be wearing pinstripes this season and low and behold, Chuck was right.  Now, to see if Wells can bridge the gap for the Yankees until Curtis Granderson returns.

Our own Chuck Booth predicted that Mr. Wells could be wearing pinstripes this season and lo and behold, Chuck was right. Now, to see if Wells can bridge the gap for the Yankees until Curtis Granderson returns.

By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees + Trade Correspondent)

There have been few moments as divisive for Yankees fans over the past year than last weekend’s trade for Vernon Wells.  While I will get to the trade analysis of the Wells deal, I find it incredibly interesting the conversations and general disdain Yankee fans are currently showing for the management team in the Bronx.  

The Yankee universe took to social media after the announcement of the trade.  A large contingent were calling for Brian Cashman’s job, which I’m sure is not anything unusual for the General Manager of the Yankees.  It did get me thinking about where the team is coming into the season.

Vernon Wells Highlights – Parental Guidance is Advised:

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The Method To Pirates GM Neal Huntington’s Team Building Strategy

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Tuesday March 12, 2013

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 and has yet to produce a winning season.

Neal Huntington was named General Manager by the Pirates in 2007 – and has yet to produce a winning season.  Expectations are becoming higher with each passing year.  The Pirates are the only NL Team not to make the playoffs since the 1994 Lockout.

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

There is no question that the Pittsburgh Pirates have gone through their fair share of struggles. They have not had a winning season since 1992, and the closest the team has come to a .500 season was last year, when they went 79 – 83. It looks, though, as if there is light at the end of the tunnel for Pirates fans. 

General Manager Neal Huntington has made some nice moves to strengthen the team since he was named in 2007.

He immediately went to work, hiring a new manager and making major trades up to the 2008 trading deadline. One of two major trades included sending Xavier Nady to the Yankees for pitchers, notably Jeff Karstens, Ross Ohlendorf, and Outfielder Jose Tabata.

The second major trade was sending Jason Bay to the Red Sox for Brandon Moss, Andy Laroche, and others. Although these deals never really came to fruition, Huntington made it clear that he would not stand idly by and let his team suffer.

Pittsburgh Pirates Highlights – Mature Lyrics so Parental Guidance is advised:

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New York Yankees Payroll In 2013 And Contracts Going Fwd Updated Mar.4/2013

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Monday, March.04/2013

You are looking at the #1 and #2 Hits Leaders of ALL-Time for Active Professional Hitters in the World. Having them hit 1-2 in the lineup only makes sense. You might as well have them both retire at the same timeJeter is signed for one more year at 17 Million Dollars plus a player option ($8 MIL) for 2014. The Yankees signed Ichiro to a 2 year deal worth $13 MIL this past winter.

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Analyst/Website Owner):

I am not like a lot of people thinking that there should be a full-scale blow-up of the Yankees current roster this year (past that I am acknowledging this will happen.)  They are old and 2013 will not make them younger.  However, there are some small tweaks that the team could do in order to make the payroll make sense.  1st priority was to sign Ichiro Suzuki.

The Japanese Superstar was not  and Yankees obliged to let him play RF in New York.  Adios to outgoing Nick Swisher.  He was much too pricey and Yankee fans have to be sick at his lack of production in his playoff career.  Swisher commanded a nice 4 or 5 year deal in the 56 – 70 Million Dollar Range from the Indians -  and was not a fit into the Yankees current payroll structure.

The Yankees were initially looking to spend just a little over 178  Million Dollars in 2013, but that didn’t happen.  At a 40% penalty (for every dollar spent over the 178 Million Mark)  for abusing the Luxury Tax Threshold, the team will need to have made financial considerations in moving forward each time they sign another new player.  Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano are on the last year of their contracts.  Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and A-Rod still have multiple years left in their contracts. 

I would immediately move Alex Rodriguez to a permanent DH (when he returns to the lineup) -  and play Kevin Youkilis at 3B for all of 2013.

To the Readers on our Payroll Breakdowns:   Keep in mind these are all just estimates as we are all not forensic payroll accountants.  For a better look at how Payrolls work in the MLB please check out this article here.

Derek Jeter Highlights:

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The New York Yankees Hitting Roster In 2013: State Of The Union Part 1

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Wednesday, February.13, 2013

The Yankees have 27 World Series Titles and 13 Losses in the Fall Classic since 1921.  That is 40 Appearances in  91 years.  They have had the highest payroll team in MLB for the Majority of that span.  As of 2013, they will not be able to claim that stake anymore.  Will they still make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 years?

The Yankees have 27 World Series Titles and 13 Losses in the Fall Classic since 1921. That is 40 Appearances in 91 years. They have had the highest payroll team in MLB for the Majority of that span. As of 2013, they will not be able to claim that stake anymore. Will they still make the playoffs for the 18th time in 19 years?

Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

The Yankees had a precarious winter after failing miserably in the ALCS, (AKA the last time the country saw them play on Television) – when the team was decimated by the Detroit Tigers in a sweep.  So what has happened since?  A lot of status quo:  Re-signing Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda, while saying good-bye to Raul Ibanez (SEA), Andruw Jones (FA), Nick Swisher (CLE), Eric Chavez (ARI), Russell Martin (PIT), Derek Lowe (FA), Steve Pearce (BAL), Casey McGehee (FA), Freddy Garcia (FA) and Rafael Soriano (WSH).  All they really added back was former arch-nemesis Kevin Youkilis (CWS) and Travis Hafner (CLE).  The team is sitting around 215 Million Dollars at Payroll right now, yet they have are heading into the 2013 campaign with Catchers that are of limited experience. 

For the first time in years, the club will need to see some internal progress from their farm system to help the big club.  With A-ROD out with his hip injury, plus the Miami fiasco, can you really count on the prima-donna to play at all this season?  Derek Jeter is coming off a brutal ankle injury that occurred in the aforementioned Post Season Series vs the Tigers .  The club is also hoping that ‘MO’ Rivera can find it within himself to make it through another year as a 43 Year Old.  Just like The ALL-Time Saves Leader, this team is aging fast.  Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson are Free Agents after 2013 is over.  Brian Cashman is also going to take advantage of the reset option f the Luxury Tax loophole in 2014.

This means that when the Luxury Tax goes from 178 Million to 189 Million next year, that the club can stop paying its 40% annual penalty if they can get under for just one season.  The Yankees will be sure to blow up the Payroll from 2015 and beyond that, it is just to not start the new luxury lax at the maximum penalty.  Had the Luxury Tax not moved from its current spot, the Yankees would always pay the 40% penalty (even if they decided to skip one year).

Yankees Highlights 2012:  Mature Lyrics So Parental Guidance is Advised:

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The Yankees Will Surpass A 200 Million Dollar Payroll in 2013 And Are Pinching Pennies At Catcher!

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Thursday, December.27, 2012

This guy might be a great defensive catcher when all is said and done, but how can you trust this team with a rookie catcher with their limited window to win?

This guy might be a great defensive catcher when all is said and done, but how can you trust this team with a rookie catcher with their limited window to win?

Chuck Booth (Yankees Correspondent/Website Owner):

As of this very moment, you are not the happiest of campers if you are a Yankees fan.   Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart and Austin Romine look to start the year out catching for the Bronx Bombers!  Really??? You are telling me that you will spend 215-225 Million Dollars on (Luxury Taxable) Payroll and you couldn’t find a mere 7.5 Million for a 1 Year Deal to sign A.J. Pierzynski?  The club will receive some insurance money for A-Rod’s injury this year, however the Luxury Tax is not affected by that.  So maybe knowing that they will pay 40% more for a guys salary (more than he really makes as a salary) is another thing stalling the franchise from plunking some serious cash down on a real quality veteran catcher.  In my opinion, this is a brutal mistake that will leave the fans frustrated beyond belief if it blows up in the Yankees face.  The good news is that if the team is playing well in every other department other than the Catchers position, they can always address the situation at any point next year by a trade.  With no significant catchers left on the FA Market, New York will probably go this route. If you can manage to keep atop of the standings, then you may land a veteran catcher that will only have a pro-rated salary for the rest of the year.

If I were Ichiro Suzuki, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera or Andy Pettitte, I would not be happy with the club not landing a proven offensive or defensive catcher.  (Boy does that Jesus Montero Trade not look so favorable right now.) These 4 veterans are in the last year or two of their contracts and possibly their careers will end once their contracts.  While these guys would never panic, you only need to look what the Blue Jays are doing north of the border for real ‘transaction aggression.’ I just think that you have re-signed and brought in Free Agents that all point to a “Win Now” mentality, yet you are going towards one-dimensional catchers that all have limited experience.  It doesn’t feel right and the Yankees ‘Faithful’ will have a field day on Management and ownership should this position end up being a crutch on the teams success chances for 2013.

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Russell Martin: How Will He Fare in Pittsburgh?

Thursday December 6th, 2012

Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees

Bernie Olshansky (Baseball Writer):

Russell Martin recently signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-year deal worth $17 million—a bit much for a just-above-decent aging catcher. Unfortunately for the Pirates, if they want to sign a free agent, they will most likely have to overpay. This was not the worst deal in the world, for Martin is better than any catcher the Pirates have had in the last few years, but is he really worth an average of $8.5 million a year? I don’t think so. The Pirates have been in contention up until the Trading Deadline the last two years, so maybe they think Martin will make the difference.

Martin, over his seven year career, is a .260 hitter. Just about the major league average. For a catcher, .260 is not terrible. .260 could be just what the Pirates need in their lineup. From 2008-2011, Ryan Doumit was the Pirates’ primary catcher. He was on and off, hitting .318 in 2008 and .303 in 2011, but also hitting .250 and .251 in 2009 and 2010. Last year’s catcher Rod Barajas did not exactly cut it. He hit .206 with only 11 home runs and 31 RBI. Last year, Pirates catchers spent most of their time in the 6-7 hole of the lineup. Martin will fit nicely here and will have occasional opportunities to drive in Andrew McCutchen. Martin’s primary job will to drive in the leftovers from the top/middle of the lineup and to get in scoring position for the bottom of the lineup. I can’t see Martin as a 4-5 hitter due to his relatively low career average (the Pirates will not be able to trust him with driving in McCutchen). Read the rest of this entry

Alex Rodriguez: Ready for 2013

Thursday October 25th, 2012

Bernie Olshansky:  Over the past couple of years, Alex Rodriguez has been a Yankee disappointment. For the humongous 10-year $275 million contract that he is signed to, his production should be a lot more than hitting .272 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs. A-Rod was injured for a bit and played in only 122 games this year, but come on—someone with that type of contract should drive in 100 runs every year. Rodriguez is signed through 2017, so his contract is not one that another team would be excited to take on. Not by a long shot.

The Yankees will likely be paying Rodriguez the majority (or all) of the rest of his contract (no team in its right mind would trade for Rodriguez without making the Yankees pay for him). So at the end of the day, I think the Yankees will keep him. Without a much better option at third base (Eric Chavez), the Yankees will be forced to use Rodriguez. Although there is a lot of pressure put on Rodriguez and the Yankees after getting swept by the Tigers in the ALCS to end the season, the dust will eventually settle. This will provide Rodriguez with the environment he needs to make his comeback.

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A.J. Pierzynski: Going for the Gold in 2013

Thursday,  September 20th 2012

Alex Mednick:  A.J. Pierzynski has undoubtedly done himself a great justice by having a career year in 2012.  Given that he plays the sport’s most physically demanding position and is encroaching on his, “golden years” in this game, the veteran catcher will meet free agency in 2013 with a lot going for him.  All he has done this year, in his 435 at bats so far, is hit .280 with 26 home runs, 15 doubles and 73 RBIs.  Those number are not something to take lightly, and it goes without saying that AJ and his agent are going to have a lot of leverage while negotiating with various front offices this off-season.

A.J. Pierzynski is a “heart and soul” player that drives the White Sox. He works well behind the plate with one of baseball’s top rotations, and has proven consistent offensively while having a career year in 2012.

The White Sox have had the career .284 hitter as their back stop for 8 years now, including the 2005 season (AJ’s first season in Chicago), when the then 28-year-old played an integral role in the franchise winning a world championship.  Since Pierzynski began his tenure in the south side, he has played no fewer than 128 games behind the plate and has been a beacon of consistency.  Part of this durability can be attributed to A.J.’s conditioning regiment that he participates in 365 days a year, including after every single game.  Pierzynski has been very open with the fact that as he has gotten older, he has put more mind into the importance of staying in great shape, especially being that he is required to remain in a squatting position for over 1000 innings a year. Read the rest of this entry

The New York Yankees Are Back Folks!

Friday June 29th, 2012

John Burns:  As July approaches, the New York Yankees have one of the best records in baseball with a record of 46-29.

One of the main reasons for the great play of New York has been the long ball, which the Yankees lead all of baseball with a team total of 118 homers. Curtis Granderson (21 HR), Robinson Cano (18 HR), Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez (13 HR each) have shown the most power for NY this season so far, but really the majority of the lineup has been fairly steady al year for this team. Read the rest of this entry

The Yankees Should sign Vlad Guerrero

Wednesday June.13, 2012

Chuck Booth (Lead Baseball Writer and @chuckbooth3024 on twitter)- The events that happened yesterday with the Blue Jays and Vlad Guerrero are strange and totally warranted for further review.  In my opinion, the Blue Jays dropped the ball on this one. Guerrero lit up the Minor Leagues for a couple of weeks and should have been called up when Edwin Encarnacion was hurt on June.4th.  It was the perfect opportunity to have Vladdy come up and replace EE in the lineup.  It should have prompted a return to first base for Encarnacion when he came back from his injury just 5 days later.

The top average on the team actually belongs to EE, who is hitting .281 currently.  Vlad Guerrero has never hit worst than .290 in the last 15 years.  He tore it up in the minor leagues, and was said to have showed up in decent shape.  The Blue Jays had to know that Vladdy would be upset when he was bypassed on in favor of David Cooper or Yan Gomes.  I give full credit to the agent for Guerrero in this case, he negotiated a verbal contract with Alex Anthopoulos that the slugger could opt at any time and request to be released from his player contract with the club.  In the only thing that makes the Jays look okay on this, they never had to go through with letting Vladdy out of this contract.  Really it is a shame that the two sides could not work out something to have Vlad stay with the club.  It may actually work out better for both sides in the long run.

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Can the Yankees Win It All in 2012?

Sunday January 22nd, 2012

Sam Evans: Last year, the Yankees won 97 games in the talented American League East. 97 wins was enough for the Yankees to win the division and guarantee themselves home field advantage in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they ran into the Tigers and their superb pitching staff. The Yankees long season came to a early close when the underdog Tigers took three out of five from New York in the ALDS. Now, with only a couple of new faces on a veteran roster, the Yankees will try yet again in 2012 to return to the World Series.

If the Yankees win the World Series, it will be with their veterans leading the way. The average age of the Yankees Opening Day lineup will be 32. This might be something that Yankees GM Brian Cashman should be worried about in the future, but not especially in 2012. Position by position, the Yankees are one of the strongest teams in baseball. Their weak spots are obvious, but let’s see how they stack up against the other teams in the A.L. East.

Catcher: Russell Martin: Martin struggled in 2011. He had a 57 wRC and hit only .237 in 125 games. Part of his offensive struggles were due to a .252 BABIP; but the reality is that he has never been able to play at the level he did in 2007. For 2012, Martin should play five days a week with Francisco Cervelli getting the other starts. I love watching Cervelli play because of his competitive grittiness. If he could learn how to hit, he’d be one of the best catchers in the league. Overall, the Yankees catchers aren’t very good. Luckily for them, they have top prospect catchers Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine on the way. In two years, the Yankees will have some of the best catchers in the league.

Rank at the Catcher position out of A.L. East teams: 3 out of 5

First base: Mark Teixeira: Tex had just an average 2011. He is still one of the best offensive and defensive first basemen in the American League. Teixeira hit .248 with 39 home runs. A lot of his bad average was due to his miniscule BABIP ( .239)- which compared to Matt Kemp‘s .380 BABIP, shows how unfortunate Teixeira was. Teixeira should see some of his numbers get back to where they were before last year.

Rank at the First Base position out of A.L. East teams: 2 out of 5

Second Base: Robinson Cano: Robinson Cano wasn’t ever considered a highly touted prospect, but he never failed at any level the Yankees had him at. Ever since Cano was called up in 2005, he has been morphing into a perennial All-Star. 2011 was a great year for Cano. He won a Silver Slugger award, the Home Run Derby and he was the second best hitter in a loaded Yankees lineup. In 2012, Cano could improve his defense and keep producing offensively, in order to improve as a player and possibly become the best second baseman in the game.

Rank at the Second Base position out of A.L. East teams: (A close) 2 out of 5

Shortstop: Derek Jeter: Derek Jeter has seen his overall production plummet in the last two years. He had a solid second half in 2011, but you have to wonder how many more years he’ll be the Yankees starting shortstop. There’s no question that the thirty-seven year old will be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer one day. However, there will be a time when the Yankees need to find a new shortstop… and that time is coming soon. 2012 could be Jeter’s last year at the position, and I’m sure he’d like nothing more than another World Series championship.

Rank at the shortstop position among A.L. East teams: 3 out of 5

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez: As much as I can’t stand him, A-Rod is one of the best players in baseball. The only thing that has kept Rodriguez from numerous MVP awards is his health. He hit 16 homers in 99 games in 2011. This offseason, A-Rod went to Germany to have an experimental procedure done on his knee. In the NBA, Kobe did a similar thing, in going to Germany receive some sort of voodoo procedure on his knee. He came back feeling rejuvenated with a new healed knee. I’m not sure that the surgery will work for Alex Rodriguez, but if it does- it could add a year or two to his career. If A-Rod is healthy this year, the Yankees will have a huge boost to their lineup.

Rank at the hot corner amongst A.L. East teams: 2 out of 5

Corner Outfield: Nick Swisher: Nick Swisher is known as one of the most likeable and funny players in the league. The one time Oakland Athletic has been a solid outfielder for the Yankees the last three years. Swisher got off to a rough start in 2011. He hit only .213 up until June, causing Yankees fans to wonder if they would need to trade for a new outfielder. Then all of a sudden, Swisher starting making solid contact and he hit .326 and .323 in the coming months. Swisher is a solid outfielder who is capable of hitting .260 with 25 homers and ninety walks in the coming year.

Corner Outfield: Brett Gardner: Gardner is one of the best players on the Yankees, but he never seems to get enough recognition. The pesky outfielder played resplendent defense and posted 5.1 WAR last year. He stole 49 bases in 2011, and in 2012 he should get the steal sign from his coaches more often. The biggest mistake the Yankees could make would be to trade Gardner away.

Rank among other A.L. East Corner Outfielder pairs: 1st out of 5

Center Field: Curtis Granderson: The ” Grandy Man” has become one of New York’s most beloved players in recent memory. Granderson had a bounce back year in 2011, hitting 41 home runs. Granderson’s contract has a team option in 2013, which they Yankees will most likely pick up. For 2012, Granderson probably won’t hit forty home runs again, but he could easily take advantage of the short porch in right field at Yankee Stadium and hit 30 to 35 bombs.

Rank among other A.L. East Center Fielders: 2nd out of 5

Rotation: C.C. Sabathia is one of the best pitchers in the games and the perfect candidate to lead the Yankees pitching staff. With his large frame, it should come as no surprise that Sabathia has thrown over 180 innings eleven straight years. Sabathia showed no signs of age last year. He posted a 2.88 FIP and struck out 230 batters during the regular season. Sabathia’s 2011 WAR ( 7.1), was worth over $32.2 million according to fangraphs. Sabathia is set to make $23 million in 2012. So while it might not look like it, the Yankees are actually getting a bargain for Sabathia’s production.

A week ago, the Yankees traded their most promising young bat (Jesus Montero) for Michael Pineda. The Yankees are betting that Pineda will evolve into a top of the rotation arm for years to come. Pineda is by no means a complete pitcher. He has an above-average fastball and slider, but his changeup is below par. The impressive thing about Pineda is that he’s already learned how to control his pitches and he demonstrates great command. If he wants to take his game to the next level, then he is going to have to improve his changeup.

On the same day the Yankees acquired Pineda, they also signed former Dodger Hiroki Kuroda to a 1 year, $10 million deal. This is a low risk deal for a team with such a high payroll. Kuroda didn’t come cheap, but this looks like a solid acquisition for the Yankees. In 2011, Kuroda had a 3.07 ERA in thirty-two starts. His numbers might not be as strong moving from a pitcher’s park to the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium. I could see Kuroda struggling somewhat in New York, but he brings much-needed talent to the Yankees rotation.

C.C. Sabathia was the only Yankees pitcher who threw two hundred innings in 2011. The Yankees need their pitchers to work deeper into games, so they don’t have to overwork the bullpen. The back-end of the rotation will be critical for the Yankees success. They have the veterans A.J. Burnett and Freddy Garcia, and then the younger pitchers Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes. Most likely, all of these guys will see time starting in 2012. I think that Nova is the best of the bunch, but Burnett might have a slight advantage for a rotation spot with his huge contract.

Starting Rotation rank out of A.L. East teams: 2nd out of 5. They would’ve been third or fourth without adding Pineda and Kuroda. Adding those pitchers were good moves, since they want to keep up with the best teams in the East.

Bullpen: is as strong as it’s been in years. As all Yankee fans know, Mariano Rivera doesn’t age so he should be ready for another year of closing for NY. David Robertson was last year’s unsung hero out of the Yankees ‘pen. The difference between Robertson in 2011 and the Robertson of old, is simple. In 2011, he increased his fastball velocity. This led to a higher strikeout rate (13.50 K/9 in 2011, 10.42 K/9 in 2010)  and a lower amount of home runs allowed(0.14 HR/9 in 2011, 0.73 HR/9 in 2010).

The Yankees bullpen should also include Joba Chamberlain, who fell into a nice groove as the Yanks 7th inning man last year before falling to Tommy John surgery, should be back.  He will face competition from those pitchers who lose the race to become the Yankees’ fifth starter. Dellin Betances, considered by most as one of the Yankees top prospects, might see more innings this year as a long reliever. The loss of Noesi will hurt, but the Yankees have the pieces in place to trade midseason for extra bullpen help as they have done in the past.

Bullpen Rank out of A.L East Teams: 2nd out of 5

With a loaded team and a smart General Manager who knows how to operate a large payroll, Manager Joe Girardi should led the Yankees back to the playoffs in 2012. There are not very many teams that can compete with this Yankees offense… and if Pineda and Kuroda thrive in New York, they will have a very solid rotation. Yankees fans have a lot to be excited about for the upcoming year. But then again, don’t they always?

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter***

 

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The Grandy Man Interview: Curtis Granderson Talks Pizza, Wrestling and Choosing Your Friends

Friday December 9, 2011

Playing in his second season with the New York Yankees, Curtis Granderson had one of the best seasons of his career, which entered him into MLB records books.  This season, Granderson was voted to the American League All Star game as starting center fielder.  The left-handed hitter has home run power, a great glove, speed, along with athleticism on the field.   His efforts off the field are as remarkable as his play on field.  Curtis represented MLB at the White House in their anti-obesity effort and created the Grand Kids Foundation, focused on improving the educational experience for youth nationwide.  Ten-year-old Haley had a chance to sit down with Curtis Granderson before a game in July, and talk baseball, but discovered the Yankees center fielder is an avid WWE fan along with being a published author and all- around nice guy.

Haley:  In August my family is following the Yankees to US Cellular Field, Kauffman Stadium, Target Field and Camden Yards with stops at Miller Park, Wrigley and Busch Stadium.  Do you have a favorite ballpark and why? Is there a ballpark where you feel you always play well other than Yankee Stadium?

Granderson:  I like the Anaheim Angles Stadium because it has good weather to play in and the playing surface is well taken care of, making it a nice place to play ball.  I also enjoy the Rally Monkey because he is fun to watch but as a player it means that the Angels are doing well.  Other stadiums that I like to play in are Mariners Safeco Field and of course at home in Chicago at US Cellular Field and Wrigley.

Haley:  Since I am going to be in Chicago, who has the best Pizza in Chicago?  Who in New York? Do you like Deep Dish or Thin Crust Pizza?

Granderson:  My favorite Pizzerias in Chicago are Lou Malnali’s, Giordanos and Gino’s and in New York Artichoke Basille’s.  Sometimes I like Dominos thin crust pizza, because I like my crust crunchy.  If I am really hungry, I will order deep dish.

Haley:  Coney Island Hot Dogs or Nathan’s Hot Dogs?

Granderson:  Since I played in Detroit, I would have to say Coney Island Hot Dogs.

Haley:  What is your favorite meal?

Granderson:  I really love Thanksgiving dinner because you get to eat a little bit of everything and you can go back over and over for more helpings.

Haley:  My little brother is a fan of WWE, I heard you are as well. Who are some of you favorite wrestlers of today?

Granderson:  Of course I like CM Punk because he is a great wrestler and from Chicago.  Jon Cena is another favorite.   I also like the Divas because they work hard and are as good as the guys.

Haley:  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Granderson:  I have an older half-sister, Monica.

Haley:  In your book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It, you share the lessons that you learned growing up. What is one lesson you would tell the Baseball Youth readers if they haven’t read the book?

Granderson:  The selection of friends, good and bad, positive or negative and the people you surround yourself with, will shape your whole life.

Haley:  I also know you are an ambassador for MLB and have traveled to England, Italy, South Africa, China, and New Zealand. Is there any place you would really like to go and represent MLB?

Granderson:  I have never been to South America so that would be amazing.  I would also like to go to Japan and Australia, those would be on my top-3 list.

Haley:  Why did you choose the #28 in Detroit and #14 in New York?

Granderson:  I was given the #28 in college, which was great because the numbers 2 and 8 are my favorite numbers, so it was both of them together.  When I became a Yankee, Joe Girardi was #28 so I chose #14 because that was my number from high school.

Haley:  I get to go to a lot of Yankees games and have noticed that you have two rituals can you to explain them?

Haley:  1)  When you step up to the plate you tap it with the bat from left to right then the top. Why?

Granderson:  No particular reason. I guess it is just a habit.

Haley:  2)  When you are leading off from first and the pitcher makes a move you always walk around first base same way every time. Why?

Granderson:  Because I don’t want to get picked off or called out.

Haley:  Do you have any other rituals or superstitions?

Granderson:  I only chew sugar-free bubble gum. (Curtis asked Haley: “Do you like gum?” Make sure you take a hand full when you leave the dugout.)

Haley:  What is it like in the Dugout before and after a game?

Granderson:  It is a fun place filled with energy and lots of handshakes. We are always meeting people before games.  After the game it depends if we won or lost.  If we win everyone is happy and celebrating and if we lost we need to move on to the next game.

Haley:  When you are on the road do you share rooms with your teammates?

Granderson:  In the majors we get our own rooms.  In the minors we share rooms. I used to share with Ryan Raburn, Joel Zumaya and David Espinosa.

Haley:  A.J. Burnett has created a celebration for a walk off win, a pie in the face.  Have you ever gotten pied?

Granderson:  No, I have not been pied.  If I get pied it means we won but I am afraid it will burn.  (The pies are Shaving Cream)

Haley:  Who is the biggest practical joker you have ever been on a team with? Have you ever been the victim of a practical joke?

Granderson:  Brandon Inge on the Tigers will do funny pranks, silly ones and even some gross ones.  We had a little battle going when I played for Detroit.  Once I opened his car and filled it with paper and construction tape, making it a big mess inside the car and out.  Jorge Posada is a real joker as well.

Haley:  In 2007 you became just one of four players in MLB history to record 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs & 20 stolen bases in a single season. What are some of your other accomplishments you are proud of?

Granderson:  Graduating from University of Illinois-Chicago and that I am 1 of only 37 players with college degrees.  Making it to the 2006 World Series.

Haley:  Do you have any other favorite sports besides baseball?

Granderson:  I like basketball, especially college ball. I also like hockey, football and bowling and I used to run cross-country.

Haley:  What’s your favorite team?

Granderson:  The Kansas City Jay Hawks.

Haley:  Who would you consider your closest friends on the Yankees?

Granderson:  Of course I have special bond with my fellow outfielders Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.  But I also like to hang out with C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Russell Martin we go out to dinner and movies together.

***Reproduced with permission from Baseball Youth Magazine.  This interview originally appeared in the Nov/Dec 2011 edition of Baseball Youth Magazine***

https://www.facebook.com/baseballyouthmagazine
http://www.baseballyouth.com/

Curtis Granderson Social Networking links:

http://grandkidsfoundation.org/

http://www.facebook.com/cgrand14

http://twitter.com/cgrand14

Haley Smilow Social Networking Links:

http://www.wix.com/smilow/home-field-advantage

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Home-Field-Advantage/108037172615547

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