I have not been missing from posting because I am falling into old habits: I have been missing because I have very little to say. I have been watching some baseball almost every day, but I am TIRED of games that don’t count, and ready for the real season, still about 10 days away.
Mostly I watch the Yankees, so I guess I’ll give my impressions:
A-Rod looks OK against lefties, pretty lost against righties though. Most expensive platoon DH in history by an order of magnitude?
Sabathia doesn’t look like he is coming back well, but Tanaka has been great despite no fastball at all. He says his fastball is there, but he is 1) taking it easy and 2) working on other things – IF he has a 94-95 fastball (it was 96-97 early last year) AND what he has shown this spring, then he is Clayton Kershaw squared.
The Yankees have NO regular, right-handed hitters. Assuming no roster surprises, the roster will have McCann, Gregorius, Gardner, Ellsbury and Jones as righties, and Beltran, Headley, Drew and Teixeira as switch-hitters. The righties are the bench: Rodriguez, Ryan, Young and Murphy. This means that a right-handed starter for the opposition could face ALL lefties (!!) but a left-handed starter might face only 4 or 5 righties. They have trended this way for a while, but this is pretty extreme. And at least Teixeira and Beltran have historically been better from the left side; not sure about Drew and Headley.
Speaking of Drew and Headley, Drew has picked up where he left off: he hasn’t hit at all. Headley, though, looks pretty solid: I always liked him and I like the signing. I would rather take my chances with Pirela or Refsnyder at second, though. Which part of an OPS under 350 (!!!) suggested they give Drew $5M??? I bet he didn’t have another offer at ANY MLB guaranteed price.
On the pitching side, Pineda, Eovaldi and Warren (my pick for the 5th spot) all look really good, as does Miller. Betances, though, has struggled. I think his game may take longer to come around. I really can’t say about the rest of the pen, but on paper it looks better than the 2014 Royals, hailed as the best bullpen in modern times. We’ll see.
Gregorius can’t hit much, and not at all against lefties, but I would play him every day because: 1) he may get better, with regular PAs against lefties, 2) Ryan can’t hit ANYONE anyway, and 3) his defense might earn a gold glove if he also gets 155 games or so. Plus, he is 23 and may figure it out. Plus, plus, if you play him every day it is easier to pinch-hit in the late innings (say A-Rod) if they bring in a lefty to face him, so he is likely to face a righty in a game-critical situation.
Ellsbury has been out, of course, so I don’t know what to expect of him, though he SAYS he will be ready to go on opening day. McCann has looked great behind the plate, and so-so at the plate. Tex is the same so-so player he was last year. Gardner has always been a slow starter.
Bottom line: no idea if they are the upside Yankees or not. They should score more than last year, and the bullpen should be great, so their chances to surprise with 88-90 wins and a WC slot (or division title in a balanced division) rests primarily on the rotation, and that looks good so far.
Go Yanks! And PLEASE let’s get this thing started!