All posts by greenfieldmax18

The Two Biggest Reasons Why the Yankees are in First Place.

The New York Yankees came into the season with the expectation that is set before them every year, to win a world series. Yet, a mountain of injuries to the roster should have put them in trouble. Losing the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Didi Gregorious can hurt your lineup quite a bit. The Yankees have not only exceeded the new expectations after all of the injuries, but they are sitting on top of the AL East division. The two biggest reasons for that are two people, Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman.

At the end of the last season it took Yankee fans (myself included) a lot to remind ourselves that Aaron Boone was just a first-year manager. Watching another first-year manager on the rival Red Sox seemingly have every move he made turn to gold was a driving force behind fans frustration as well. Yet, the Yankees ownership and front office said to remain patient. They had confidence in Boone being able to adapt and learn from his mistakes. The Yankees skipper has done that and so much more.

Boone’s biggest fault last year was bullpen management. This could be leaving starters in too long or not bringing in the right guy in the right situation. Boone has more weapons this year than he did last which helps but even without that, Boone has made the right call on when to leave guys in and when to pull them. He’s learned from his mistakes and isn’t afraid to go to Adam Ottavino or Tommy Kahnle when he’s in trouble. Both have responded with each having sub 2 ERA’s and getting big outs in tight spots. Yet, he’s also turned to Luis Cessa in tight spots and he’s delivered too. Last year going to Cessa would be seen as risky and foolish. Now Boone brings in anybody out of the pen and fans can have confidence they’ll get the job done.

The Yankees manager has also found a way to balance the lineup and offense while getting players rest. Luke Voit has been the main contributor to this Yankees team and he has come up big throughout the year while also seeing rest. The rise of Urshela has given DJ LeMahieu needed off time and both are high contact hitter who have a knack for coming through with runners in scoring position. Balancing time between Brett Gardner and Clint Frazier hasn’t been easy with both streaking at different times yet he’s been able to do so. The improvements Boone has made as a manager should put him in the forefront of the conversation for Manager of the Year.

The other person is Brian Cashman. The steady hand behind the Yankees for the last 20 years is once again proving to the baseball world why he is one of the greatest general managers of all time. In the off-season, Cashman cleared through the noise and made the moves he wanted to make. The biggest being acquire James Paxton and sign Adam Ottavino. The pressure to sign both Harper and Machado was being frequently discussed on MLB Network, the Michael Kay show, and from the fans on twitter. Cashman never budged, made offers to Machado and Patrick Corbin that worked best for the team. He quietly built depth and relied on his farm system that he had built.

His faith in the farm system has worked well for the Yankees. Domingo German has emerged as one of the best starters in the AL right now and could see an all-star bid. Thairo Estrada has done well in his utility role off the bench with solid offensive work and defensive work as well. Clint Frazier has double digit home runs and was slugging over .600 for a few weeks. Cashman knew what they had, and he knew that he had the depth to survive anything that came their way. He showed restraint and knew exactly what he was looking for and it worked out. Billy Beane in a recent piece in the Athletic described dealing with Cashman as a “pain in the ass” because he operates with a small market mentality and finds value in players where others don’t look.
Guys like Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, Domingo German, Tommy Kahnle, and Aroldis Chapman have been major contributors. But without the moves both Boone and Cashman have made. The Yankees aren’t sitting at the top of the division.


Analyzing the Hall of Fame Case for CC Sabathia.

It’s the final year of CC Sabathia’s 19-year journey. The veteran left-hander announced before the season that all he had left to give was one more season. The 2007 Cy Young award just became the 17th pitcher all time to get 3,000 strikeouts which leads to the question, is Sabathia a Hall of Famer?

The other two lefties with at least 3,000 strikeouts – Randy Johnson and Steve Carlton – are both in the Hall of Fame. Compiling “Ks” is one measure of pitching success but Sabathia also checks other boxes in the Hall metric. Sabathia has a career record of 247-153. One of the biggest arguments behind Mike Mussina’s case – he goes into the Hall in July – was that he had 100 more wins than losses. Sabathia is right on that edge and if he pitches well this year, his career won-loss record could go 100 games over .500. And if that happens, he’ll surpass 250 career victories.

His career 3.69 ERA may give some pause on his case. However, Sabathia pitched most of his career in Cleveland and New York. Those aren’t pitcher-friendly parks, especially New York. Sabathia has a career 117 ERA+ including 7 seasons where he had over a 125 ERA+ value. He has a well above average park- adjusted career ERA. Sabathia has the hardware to back up his case as well. He is one of 14 members of the “Black Aces” A group of African- American pitchers who have won 20 games in a season. That is particularly meaningful to Sabathia as he talks about legacies of those pitchers often and has paid tribute to the Black Aces during games in the past wearing cleats with the artwork of the group.

He is a six-time All-Star, a former ALCS MVP and was a key contributor to the Yankees’ World Series team in 2009. He has earned the reputation as a big- game pitcher. Since 2017, Sabathia has made 27 starts after a Yankees loss and is 15-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 149.1 IP. He is the Yankees stopper. Fans and the team have confidence when he takes the mound.

While statistics like his 63.6 career WAR and 3.72 career FIP are impressive, it
doesn’t tell the story of Sabathia’s career. From the young kid who came in pumping gas, to the man who lost his way on and off the field. Entering rehab during a playoff series in order to better himself as a husband and father. After that, the former world champ completely reinvented the way he pitched. He developed a cut fastball and sinker to go along with a great slider. Even now, Sabathia produces some of the softest contact in baseball. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame just for the way he reinvented himself and found a way to be just as productive.
because of it.

One thing that may not be valued enough is what Sabathia meant for the game of baseball as a black athlete. He is one of the most vocal players in the game and thought of as one of the best teammates. people have ever played with. That was never more apparent when he willingly ignored the opportunity to receive a bonus at the end of 2018 so he could defend his teammate by throwing at Rays catcher Jesus Sucre. It was a moment that defined Sabathia’s career and a moment that gained respect from the opposing team even.

The amount of young black baseball players who were inspired by Sabathia is immeasurable and baseball should thank him for it. The charity work he has done in his career for his hometown of Vallejo in northern California is another testament to his humanity.
CC Sabathia deserves to be in the Hall of Fame not just because he was a great pitcher but because he was a great person, an amazing teammate, and a personality that baseball needed and still needs to connect with younger generations of black baseball players. One day, CC Sabathia will give a speech in Cooperstown and I’ll just be glad I got to see him pitch.

The Rays are a Threat in the American League

The Tampa Bay Rays have the best record in baseball early in 2019 and a wave of people still don’t think they have a chance to win the division. With the Yankees and Red Sox getting off to slow starts, the Rays have capitalized and are trying to create a wide gap between those teams in the division race. Do the Rays have a real chance to win the division and compete for a title in 2019?

Continue reading The Rays are a Threat in the American League

An Appreciation of Andrelton Simmons

The Angels have 2 of the most dynamic players in baseball: Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. Trout is undisputedly the best player in the game and likely going to be a top 10 player all-time when it’s all said and done. Ohtani is the first player since Babe Ruth, to consistently hit and pitch in the same year. Yet, when people talk about the Angels, Andrelton Simmons is often not in the discussion for the 2nd best player on the team but that’s exactly what he is.

Continue reading An Appreciation of Andrelton Simmons