The Yankees haven't produced many successful homegrown starters, but they have been churning out a wave of cheap relief arms.
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Josh Norris has covered the Trenton Thunder and the Yankees farm system for The Trentonian for the last six seasons and spends his free time filming prospects in plush locales like Scranton, Allentown, Wilmington, Lakewood and Staten Island. Previously, he covered the Eugene Emeralds for Scout.com and Oregon club baseball (before NCAA baseball returned) for the Oregon Daily Emerald.
Bret takes a look through this past week's streamer picks and looks at where he went right (and wrong).
For those of you unfamiliar with the #streameroftheday process, I recommend one starting pitcher per day who is owned in fewer than 10% of leagues (lower than your typical standards) and post it on Twitter at @dynastyguru. And this Friday post is where I stand in front of the firing squad, fully accountable for these recommendations. I ran a longer introduction in my first post of the season, explaining why my ownership limit is much lower than most others out there, but essentially it's to be helpful in deeper mixed leagues. If you want to read the whole thing, the link is here. With the pleasantries out of the way, let's jump into the action.
New York relievers from both the Bronx and Queens get examined in this week's Reaper.
Mariano Rivera| Yankees
Shallow (30 Keepers): No Medium (60 Keepers): Fringe Deep (90 Keepers): Yes AL-only (60 Keepers): Yes Super Deep (200 Keepers): Yes
As recently as last offseason, it was difficult to imagine Mariano Rivera as anything other than the ideal keeper candidate as far as closers go. It made perfect sense. While most stoppers have a shelf life comparable to that of an NFL running back, Mo’s run of sustained excellence more closely resembled that of a 40-something placekicker. Sure, he was bound see a decline in performance at some point, but when? Every year, we wondered: “Is this the year?” But it never seemed to arrive.
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David Robertson walked two consecutive batters on Saturday night, which was something he'd done either zero or 12 times before, depending on whom you ask.
Tim McCarver is a baseball broadcaster. His job is to talk during the hours that a baseball game is in progress—usually about baseball, but sometimes about TV shows, if a FOX sitcom star happens to be in the booth. Once in a while, in the course of those hours, he says something that isn't entirely accurate. So I just got this brilliant idea: catch him saying one of those inaccurate things! For too long has Tim McCarver's reputation gone unbesmirched by baseball bloggers. For too long has the broadcast team of Buck and McCarver been universally beloved. Well, no more. I'm here to tell you something you won't want to hear: even Tim McCarver makes mistakes.
Josh Hamilton pulled off a rare feat on Tuesday night against the Orioles.
The Tuesday Takeaway
Step aside, Matt Kemp—there’s a new name atop the home run leaderboard. That would be Josh Hamilton, who hit not one, not two, not three, but four long balls at Camden Yards in the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Orioles.
Hamilton, whose absurd 1.298 OPS still trails Kemp’s by seven points, went 5-for-5, adding a double to those homers to finish just one total base shy of Shawn Green’s single-game record of 19. He is the first player to hit four homers in a game since Carlos Delgado did it on September 25, 2003, the first Rangers player ever to accomplish the feat, and the second player to join the club against the Orioles. The other was the Indians’ Rocky Colavito on June 10, 1959.
We debut a new staff column that collects what talent evaluators in the industry are saying with a look at some scouting scuttlebutt about young pitchers with bright futures.
Many of our authors make a habit of speaking to scouts and other talent evaluators in order to bring you the best baseball information available. Not all of the tidbits gleaned from those conversations make it into our articles, but we don't want them to go to waste. Instead, we'll be collecting them in a regular feature called "What Scouts Are Saying," which will be open to participation from the entire BP staff and include quotes about minor leaguers and major leaguers alike. Welcome to the first edition.
Though we're just two weeks into the season, scouts have gotten to see quite a few performances from notable prospects (and one notable player in a big-league bullpen). Here's what they're saying:
David Robertson battles a staircase while other players nurse their respective wounds.
David Robertson, New York Yankees (Right Mid-Foot Sprain)
Not all injuries occur on the baseball field. Robertson was moving boxes, missed a step, and fell down a flight of stairs. He went for an x-ray Wednesday night; the result was negative. An MRI was used to confirm a mid-foot sprain, but Robertson needed further tests, including a CT scan and a weight-bearing x-ray.
This combination of testing raises the concern for a Lisfranc injury, the same one that felled Chien-Ming Wang in 2008. The CT can provide a very detailed picture of that joint, including a 3-D reconstruction. The standing x-ray is the tip-off, though. The MRI reveals a mid-foot sprain in severe Lisfranc injuries, while the CT may or may not reveal a fracture in the area. The standing x-ray most likely won’t show a fracture, but it will show if there is any increased space between the bones, indicative of instability in the area. When there is instability, there is a significant risk of severe long-term damage if the area does not heal through conservative measures or surgery. Without knowing the results of all of the tests, we cannot definitively say surgery is necessary.
A look at three middle relievers who could be poised to take a big step forward in 2012.
Those of you who play in mixed leagues rarely have to look at middle relievers for anything more than reserve roster filler, if that. Those who play in AL- or NL-only leagues, however, are well aware of how endgame relief picks in March can play a difference within a season, and nailing the right ones can often turn huge profits. Some relievers, like David Robertson, can be valuable assets even while not getting any saves while others can perform well and then step in for a closer when the closer is injured or ineffective.
The short-handed Yankees relief corps has succeeded by limiting homers and outpitching its collective track record, but can its run of success be sustained?
As the season began, the AL East bullpens took center stage in this space. As I noted then, the team whose bullpen had the highest WXRL had won the division in each of the past five years, and with some AL East clubs saddled with starting staffs chock full o’ question marks, relief arms figured to play a key role this season.
Last week, the division’s bullpens again drew headlines. The Yankees, armed with the American League’s best bullpen, saw their last remaining depth crumble away as set-up man Joba Chamberlainlanded on the disabled list with a strained right elbow flexor. He has since undergone Tommy John surgery and will not return until early 2012. Although he says he felt no pain and couldn’t pinpoint when he was injured, it's clear that the Joba Rules failed to protect him, if indeed they didn't contribute to the damage.