The Apocalypse is Nigh


Flip that M to an NY and you might have something. The Yanks better figure out some way to stop that monster from the north before the whole city is in ruin. More awesomeness here. See if you can pick out AJ Burnett.

45 replies on “The Apocalypse is Nigh”

PS: did the yanks really just throw their 1st rnd draft choice on a guy in a knee brace with academic issues, a missing mother, a father in prison, and a college commitment?
but he’s “toolsy” so why worry?

I read on Lohud that the kid had a Beckett jersey on at the high school game last night.

Well, if it’s any consolation, SOSH hates the Sox’ first-round pick, too. Though I don’t have too many problems with it, except that he’s a (yet another) left-handed bat with middling power in an organization chock full of them.

He’s also 18 and weighs 160 pounds, and potentially three or four years away, at which point Ellsbury will be in year 5/6 with the team, and Drew and Bay may be gone. Why worry about a logjam which may or may not exist? I can’t get hung up on shit like this, it’s the height of obsession.
Theo made a point that guys up the middle of the field can always move to the left or right, but guys who play corner positions rarely move to the middle. It’s a sound theory, I think, if the options at the corners aren’t just spectacular at the time you pick.

I think Hughes was a big Sox fan, though not a die hard.
Cole was a huge Yanks fan, so go figure. Grrr.

Yeah it’s hard for me to get too worked up about draft choices. This isn’t the NFL where you need the draft to make an immediate impact – most of these kids are at least 4-5 years away and who knows what the organizations will look like then.
And as for the Yanks’ pick, in recent years they’ve seemed to lean toward high risk/reward guys (Brackman, Joba). personally I think it’s a sound strategy when you’re usually drafting low like the Yanks are. You’ll have a higher bust rate, but if you’re producing enough high quality guys it balances out.

“PS: did the yanks really just throw their 1st rnd draft choice on a guy in a knee brace with academic issues, a missing mother, a father in prison, and a college commitment?”
This is kinda rough, just because the kid has f-ups for parents he shouldnt get a shot? If anything the stability of being with an organization that takes care of him could help him both personally and professionally. The injury was also just an ACL replacement which is routine and has very little long term effect (elway played 20 years without either ACL). I dont know much about him but if he has skills then im all for it….

I agree, Sam. That is rough. The kid’s character issues are almost all his parents. That’s tough to lay on an 18 year old. He did have a minor academic blip. But LSU rsigned him for football and baseball. Hard to quibble with that athletic pedigree even with his ACL. Baseball America also said he was a second-round pick as a outfielder AND as a lefty pitcher.
NoMaas had a good interview with him. He cops to being a Sox fan based on Manny. He also talks about Hamilton being a role model and having read his autobiography.
Besides the Beltran connection, I don’t understand the Sox pick especially since there were better options available. Still, they’ve drafted really well in recent years. Hard to question that track record.

Getting back to the topic of the post, while I hate losing to Boston, I am just not that worried. They’ve had to go 6-0 against the Yanks just to pull even with them in the standings in early June.
The Yankees have been playing some of the best team ball they’ve played in years: contributions up and down the line-up, extremely solid if unspectacular defense, respectable running game, winning many games by slugging and many others by manufacturing runs. All while one of their ostensibly strongest points – starting rotation – has been very very unimpressive (their starters’ ERA ranks 25th in the league, just ahead of Boston’s starters at 26th), their best hitter has been underperforming markedly, and their bullpen has been depleted with Bruney and Marte out for ages.
I fully expect their pitching to improve. Sabathia and Pettitte are both better second-half pitchers – esp. August/Sept – than they are early-season and I don’t think Wang is done. I expect he’ll be his old self in the rotation within the next 2-3 weeks and for the rest of the season barring injury since I see no reason he woudln’t. He is not old, not injured, and seems to be stretching himself out gradually. Barring sudden regression, it looks like Bruney will rejoin within 2 weeks as well. Finally, I expect A-Rod’s numbers to improve assuming there is nothing lingering wrong with his hip.
Now if the Sox continue to blank the Yanks, there is always the danger of a psychological edge getting established and the Yankees tightening up against the Sox, but this a very veteran team and I just don’t think that’s much of a danger.
My only real concern is injuries given the fact that this is still an old team, but we’ll just have to see on that front.
I don’t know – maybe I’m being complacent. I’d of course much prefer the Yanks to beat their brains out. But the fact that they haven’t doesn’t change the fact that I feel better about this team than I have for years. It may just be a result of recalling recent years, when the Yanks were – by mid-June – already far down in the standings and needing huge second halfs just to make the playoffs.

re: Craig Hansen, he had a pretty exciting slider working right before he became part of Manny’s ransom

They’ve had to go 6-0 against the Yanks just to pull even with them in the standings in early June.
Conversely, the Yankees have needed a entire boat load of last at bats homers/walk off hits to even be in the conversation. Do we expect that to continue as well?

“Conversely, the Yankees have needed a entire boat load of last at bats homers/walk off hits to even be in the conversation. Do we expect that to continue as well?”
The sox have had their share as well. Including 1 off the yankees.

Not as many as the Yankees though: don’t they have like 22 come-from-behind wins? That’s two-thirds.
The pythag reflects this along with their close games, with the Sox supposedly 3 games higher.

I think it just seems like more with the Yankees — in my mind’s eye they are the Freddy Krueger of the AL East. When they rear their ugly bats in the bottom of the ninth, it gives me nightmares.

The thing is, comeback wins are flukey. Sometimes you get lucky (Melky) and sometimes, it’s more normal (A_Rod), but regardless of that 66% of the wins are come from behind and 12 (yes TWELVE) are of the walk off variety, I have to think the law of averages will catch up.
Only having to hit the ball 210′ and 6′ off the ground when trying to catch up helps too:)

-my assessment of heathcott is harsh, but it’s not really about whether he deserves a chance because his parents are flawed. he does. the question is a pragmatic one: if you’re the yankees, why do you take such a high risk, because those are big red flags, whether or not they’re fair. also, the idea that the organization will “look out for him” is total bullshit. these kids are on their own way too much for that. joba’s a lucky case of a dui that did no harm. anyone remember brien taylor? by all rights, he should be hanging things up after his 300th win about now. what? no?
-i agree fully with ironhorse about the yanks, though. the yanks flukey record against the sox is irrelevant. the sox are an excellent team, so they’re always going to be an issue, but the fact that the yanks dropped 5 early season games w/out arod and then another last night is basically meaningless, over the course of the season. i don’t think the comeback wins are relevant, either. the yanks can pitch and they can hit and play d. the yanks and sox are tied up at the top of the division because they’re the class of the league, and i expect they’ll remain up there duking it out for the rest of the season, though they might have company.

Your line of reasoning is infuriating. Has the kid ever been in trouble with the law or drugs? We should judge people, not context, because the context is really meaningless.
We have a president who had no father and a mother who spent time on welfare. The last president came from the most privileged of circumstances. The one before that didn’t. Of the three, who was the worst?
This whole discussion reeks of class judgments. Brien Taylor failed because it’s rare that young pitchers stay healthy. Just because Mark Prior didn’t grow up in a trailer park somehow he had a better chance at 300 wins?
Josh Hamilton came from a good background. Strawberry didn’t. These outcomes are all over the map because the talent is. Judge the talent unless there are clear red flags (fights, arrests, suspensions).
Heathcott has one academic violation (and missed all of way game). Otherwise he’s clean and an excellent prospect – LSU says so. When’s the last time a company interviewed a potential CEO’s parents? Did you book agent come talk to your parents? It’s absurd in any other context.
The bottomline is the kid has been very successful in spite of his parents. To me, that’s a clear notch in favor. But it’s irrelevant for what the Yankees need to judge. I’m horrified by the notion that somehow society can judge people based on their upbringing. It’s shameful, really.

By the way, the Yankees send a psychiatrist around to meet potential draft picks. I don’t know about other teams, but that seems all that is necessary.

Like Brad said, 12 wins have been walk-offs; 35%. That’s unbelievably lucky, and certainly factors in when trying to judge the value of the team. The Yankees are still a very solid team, but that luck has made them seem better than they are.
Now, if Burnett and Wang start pitching well the Yankees are a great team. And they probably will. But you also have to assume that Jeter is going to slow down in the 2nd half, as well as Posada, Damon and Matsui. And there’s just no way Swisher keeps OPS’ing .114 points higher than his career average. So as time goes on, the Yankees are going to need that pitching to step up just to stay in contention.
Random fun fact: Baseball Reference shows the Yankees as playing in Yankee Stadium III.

The whole come from behind victories stat is basically meaningless for the purposes of this discussion. A team would be coming from behind if they go down 1-0 in the first and score 12 runs in the second to win 12-1. There are surely other ways of measuring this.
Secondly, I dont see how the argument that they are winning their games in this fashion means they arent as good as their record says they are. A team that wins alot of games and finishes in first needs to win all sorts of games: close, blow outs, come from behind, protect a lead, etc, etc. Im sure you can go look at the 07 sox and see they had lots of come from behind victories and their share of walk offs, thats because they won lots of games. Same with the 1998 yankees. I would be more willing to accept a stat saying the yankees have won X number of games that they only had a less than 5% chance of winning given the game situation but saying a walk off is simply luck that will come back around is way too simplistic. A manufactured run in the 9th inning of a tie game to win is not purely luck and at least a few of the walk offs this year have been of this variety.

The Yankees are 9-4 in one-run games. More than the walk-off wins — and certainly more than the come-from-behind wins “stat” — that indicates the Yankees may have some regression coming. It’s not an insane total, but it’s a better record than the Yanks have in blowouts (11-7), which is not something you want to see because it is not indicative of a truly balanced team (and the Yankees at this moment are not balanced, given their pitching woes). By contrast, the Red Sox are 8-8 in one-run games and 11-5 in blowouts. It has some predictive power because teams tend to regress toward .500 in one-run games.
I can’t help but recall the 2006 season for the Sox, when they won the 12 straight with a lot of exciting last-at-bat victories. It shouldn’t have been a surprise when that all came crashing to a halt (though the extent of the injuries that accompanied and exacerbated the regression was shocking).

brad- saw that piece about the actuality of the dimensions in new yankee stadium.
“Taking into account the dimensions of the field and wall height, has calculated that 19 percent (an estimated 20 out of 105) home runs would not have flown out of the old stadium. If the first 29 games are any indication, 293 home runs will be hit by the end of the year at the new Yankee Stadium, just short of the record of 303 home runs hit at Denver’s Coors Field in 1999. If this is the case, as many as 56 home runs could be attributed to the size of the new playing field.”
only yankee stadium and the trop have had at least one homer hit in every game. last nite the rays needed an 8th inning homer by zobrist to keep their streak intact.

YF, I think IH needs to clarify – was he talking about the irrelevancy of the record against the Yankees, or that he is not that worried about the Sox because their record is “inflated” by their success against the Yankees. I read it as the latter: IH was saying that the only reason the Sox are in the hunt is because of their record against the Yankees, and otherwise they’d be somewhere else in the standings. Maybe IH will clarify.
I agree with you if his intent was the first, if it is the second well that’s an absurdity.

I read it as IH saying that there’s no need to panic just because the Yankees are 0-6 against the Red Sox; the Sox are a strong team, just as the Yankees are.

rob: this isn’t a social experiment. it’s a baseball draft, and you’re bet on a rd1 draftee is costly in any number of ways. if the yankees truly believe the kid is not going to be a stability problem, then great.
-the whole, they have a bunch of walkoff wins thing makes no sense to me. you have 9 innings to score runs. those scored in the 9th or the 10th don’t come with asterisks. it’s all the same. and getting too hung up on run differentials or other small sample stats is pointless at this point, as one or two outliers (like a 20 run loss to cleveland) can skew your numbers. there’s so many yeah buts and what ifs that you can argue yourself into anything. bottom line: the teams are tied for first. how they’ve gotten here has zero bearing on what happens henceforth.

SF, my comment was not a comment on how good or bad the Sox are. On that point, I think they and the Yanks are probably the two best teams in baseball (Dodgers?) and that they are fairly evenly matched. If I were looking at the Sox I assume many of the expectations I rely upon to feel fairly good about the coming months for the Yanks could also be said about them. Their best slugger has gone in the tank and I would be really surprised if he stayed there – either he’ll improve markedly or get moved down/out – strengthening their lineup either way. I expect their rotation to get better with either Smoltz or a deal but either way – I am assuming Penny will either improve or be replaced.
My comment was an assessment of the Yankees and an expression of not being that worried that the Sox are 6-0 aganst them. While a bit embarassing (that word again!) going 0-6 vs. Boston hasn’t put the Yankees in a hole standings-wise and I don’t take it as an indication that the Sox are better than the Yankees over the course of the season – and certainly not better by the wide margin that the record alone might suggest. If I ahd to predict, I’d expect one to win the division and the other to win the WC and I think it’s a toss-up which is which.
As for Brad’s “Conversely, the Yankees have needed a entire boat load of last at bats homers/walk off hits to even be in the conversation. Do we expect that to continue as well?” my answer is no – I expect the Yankees to be leading more often as their starting rotation improves.
In the meantime, the comebacks have certainly instilled in the team a sense that they are never out of it, which doesn’t hurt their focus or the way they approach late-game at-bats, defense, etc. With the rare exception (last night) it is very hard to think of a game in the past month that the Yankees were not into until the last at-bat.
They’re just fun to watch right now and I think they are pretty good – at least in the top 3 in the AL, which is good enough for October ball.

Exactly, it’s not a social experiment. Their job is to evaluate *baseball* talent. Sure, if a kid gets into trouble a lot then that affects the judgment of his ability to produce on the baseball field. But that’s not the case with Heathcott. He’d never been in trouble. His parents have exactly nothing to do with it. Anyone pretending otherwise has some weird, blank slate-type notions about the role parents play. Are we going to blame Hamilton’s parents for his problems?
The knee brace might be a concern if it wasn’t his ACL. The academic “issue” was one game.
So from your first comment, the only thing that remains is the college commitment (two-way at one of the best two-way schools in the country). Except he’s said it’s something they can work around and that his future is in baseball.

I defer to Paul on all statistic-related arguments.
One thing is for certain: it feels good to have the Yanks and Sox at the top of the AL East again. When you consider how good the rest of the division is (Toronto and Tampa both have 34 pythag wins) we’re probably the two best teams in baseball, the Dodgers be damned.

those scored in the 9th or the 10th don’t come with asterisks. it’s all the same
The results are worth the same, but the likelihood of the result isn’t equal. Just look at expected win percentage, fangraphs, etc. This is statistics, YF, and wins in the bottom of the ninth, and in particular come-from-behind wins in the last three innings are statistically rare. I don’t see any reason to be defensive about that fact. You seem to be awfully testy about this. I think IH nails it: the Yankees will not keep up their late inning heroics, but they will also need fewer of those heroics as the season goes on.
On the other hand, if they keep needing those heroics, that will be a bad sign. Who would deny this?

Statistically rare, but just a friendly reminder that “regression to the mean” is a logically fallacy! They certainly can, but they certainly does not have to – the season is too short to have enough of a sample size!
That said, I think the point of IH is that the Yanks might score earlier (and maybe more “evenly distributed”) in other games – meaning winning a 4-3 game where the run is scored in say, the 5th or something.

SF: i’m just looking at it globally. a team scores x number of runs in a game. distribution by inning isn’t relevant. if the team is scoring on one side and preventing runs on the other, they’ll be in good shape. the yanks are scoring plenty. they’ve allowed too many runs, but a series of early season hammerings skew their numbers. so i’m not that worried. the best way to avoid reliance on comeback wins is to increase run differential, and i think the yanks will be steadily increasing their run differential for the rest of the season.

a series of early season hammerings skew their numbers.
It may skew their Pythag numbers, but not their record in blowouts vs. one-run games. Though Lar is absolutely right. I’m not saying the Yankees will without a doubt regress — just that I would expect it to happen.

From a new interview with Slade Heathcott at NoMaas:
Lane Meyer: Scouting reports said there were “character issues” that may be a problem with you. What would you want to tell the fans that ask about that?
Slade Heathcott: I checked into that myself because I was kind of curious why that came up. I haven’t lived with my parents for two years due to various issues between them- things that happened that I have no control over. Historically, society has a tendency to see kids having troubles when they don’t have parental guidance in their life, that if they have parent issues it tends to carry over onto them. Well that’s not the case with me. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t change me, I don’t get into trouble, and I’m not going to get into trouble. But the parents issue is why that popped up, and that makes sense to me, but I’m not like everybody else or the stereotype that people want to associate with my situation- It doesn’t affect me in anything I do.

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