Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 5/3/13

So my buddy turned 30 yesterday and he's having a big rager of a house party tomorrow to truly celebrate the milestone.  I'm still in my prime, got a few more years before I cross that threshold into oldness, but goddamn do I not want to turn 30.  I really should have planned things out better and worked a regular trip or two into Neverland every year to stay in that 24-26 range because 30 just seems like it's going to be a drag.  And no offense to any of you dear readers who may already be 30 and older.  I'm sure you're all wonderful people who live wonderful lives.  I, on the other hand, am not.  I fell asleep right at the start of the Warriors-Nuggets game last night, around 9:30 PM, and woke up right as the game ended.  That's terrible.  Who does that?  By the time I'm 30 I might be in bed before the "Seinfeld" re-runs come on.  That'll be a tragic day.  Now onto the links!

- On Monday, Chris Mitchell of Pinstripe Pundits analyzed Vernon Wells' hot start to see how real it was and how likely it was to continue.

- On Tuesday, Mike Axisa of RAB searched for signs of an offensive breakout from Eduardo Nunez, who's been almost invisible with the bat thus far.

- William Juliano of The Captain's Blog pointed out the Yankees' weakness in hitting to the opposite field.  Not surprising considering the guys they signed and the lack of Jeter in the lineup, but something worth keeping an eye on.

- On Wednesday, Jack Moore of FanGraphs investigated the impact that hitting in the new Yankee Stadium is having on Travis Hafner's early-season resurgence.

- Daniel Burch of The Greedy Pinstripes mused on the idea of trading for Brian McCann, who's scheduled to  return from the DL soon.  He'd be an offensive upgrade at catcher, but I wouldn't want to give up much for him.

- Martin Riggs of NoMaas broke down the numbers from Phil Hughes' recent stretch of good starts to see what the causes were and if he can continue this trend of success.

- Greg Corcoran of Bronx Baseball Daily interviewed top prospect Slade Heathcott, and talked to him about a wide variety of topics.  Definite must-read if you're a Heathcott fan.

- On Thursday, Mason Stark of Pinstriped Bible examined the Yankees' April to see just how much luck and skill went into that 16-10 record.

- Hunter Farman of Yanks Go Yard offered up 3 predictions for the month of May.  I have to say, all 3 of them are pretty ballsy predictions.

- William Tasker of IIATMS/TYA looked back at some of Bobby Murcer's best WPA games in history, a fitting topic for Murcer since he's the all-time Yankee leader in 1-game WPA scores over .800.

- El duque of It Is High... confessed his baseball crush on Lyle Overbay, knowing that eventually he will have to say goodbye.  I feel ya, Duke, I feel ya.

- Chad Jennings of LoHud compiled some of Cash's thoughts on various players, both injured and healthy, from yesterday's conference call.

- SG of RLYW showed the team's offensive production by position, and where they rank in the AL, to give an idea of where they're hurting the most.

We're going acoustic for the Friday Jam today, and we're going with another cover.  Nirvana's version of "Plateau" from their "MTV Unplugged" performance is my personal favorite cover of theirs, and it's a good tune to relax to tonight in preparation for tomorrow's rager.

Enjoy your weekends, everybody.  Don't be surprised if all you get is a game recap here tomorrow morning.

Lyle Overbay Is Doing A Pretty Good Mark Teixeira Impression

(Courtesy of the AP)

(Originally published at IIATMS/TYA)

As was the case with most of the non-Hafner players the Yankees added late in spring camp, the feelings about Lyle Overbay were filled more with trepidation and worry than confidence and hope.  Overbay had been cut by Boston following a light-hitting Spring Training of his own, and he hadn't really hit with any kind of authority since 2009.  He was brought in almost solely because of his defensive skills, skills which he has showed off in his first month in pinstripes.  All defensive metrics rate him positively so far this season, and his .995 fielding percentage at first base has been right on par with what Mark Teixeira would have provided had he been healthy.

What Overbay was not expected to do was replicate Teix's offensive production, and it's what he's managed to do with the bat thus far that's made him another surprisingly smart and positive pick up by the Yanks.  That has a lot to do with the fact that Teix sucks in April, but if we're being honest here I think we can agree that, for at least the month of April, the Yankees really haven't lost much going from Teix to Overbay.

Preston Claiborne, Come On Down...

(Courtesy of the AP)

You're the next contestant on "Unheralded Yankee Minor League Relief Pitcher Breaks Into to The Show."  After Joba Chamberlain was put on the DL yesterday, the buzz was that Mark Montgomery would get the call up to take his place in the bullpen, buzz that only grew when Cash name dropped him among others yesterday afternoon.  One of those others was Preston Claiborne, and based on a round of tweets from teammates this morning it's all but confirmed that Claiborne is going to be the one to get that call.

Claiborne has been a steady fixture in the Yankee system since being drafted in 2010, but comes with none of the hype and fanfare of someone like Montgomery or Joba back in '07.  If you aren't familiar with Claiborne and his body of work, feel free to get brought up to speed after the jump.

Positive Injury News Roundup

Joba and D-Rob's ailments put a little damper on things yesterday, and added to the already too long list of injured regulars.  As new guys continue to get acted to the DL, however, the group of players already there continue to work their way back to the playing field and the reports on almost all of them have been very positive in the last day or so.  In case you missed any of it, here's your quick update.

- Curtis Granderson has been taking BP at the team's complex in Tampa, and Joe confirmed during his pregame presser on Wednesday that Curtis actually got 2 at-bats in an ExST game.  He still needs a full ST's worth of ABs to get ready, but he's progressing nicely.

- Mark Teixeira has started taking BP as well.  It was first reported that he was still limited to dry swings on Wednesday, but Teix himself confirmed that he hit in the cage on Wednesday afternoon.  Good news.

- Michael Pineda pitched in an ExST game yesterday, and Cash told reporters on a conference call that Pineda was sitting mid-90s with his fastball and touched 95 at one point.  For as early as he is in his actual in-game rehab work, this is incredibly encouraging to hear.

- Last but not least, everybody's favorite scapegoat, Alex Rodriguez, was cleared to resume full baseball activities yesterday and he will travel to the team complex next Monday to begin said activities.  A-Rod had begun running full speed this week, so he appears to be right on track for his July return.

Nothing on Derek Jeter, which is probably a good thing given his setback.  With the recent round of DL additions, it's good to know that there aren't any problems with this group of walking wounded.