Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Rotation Appreciation

(Buck up, guys.  Ya done good.  Courtesy of the AP)

You don't have to be a genius to know that the starting rotation has been really good this season.  They're currently 4th in AL in ERA (3.75), 3rd in FIP (3.75), and 3rd in total fWAR (6.7).  They've put up these numbers despite dealing with injuries to multiple rotation members before and during the season, CC Sabathia's transition away from being a power pitcher, and 2 starts on their ledger when the starter didn't even make it out of the 1st inning.  The collective performance of the rotation, even with the bad starts mixed in, is the main reason the Yankees are still 10+ games over .500 while mired in another brutal offensive slump, and it's time each guy just got some props for the job he's done.

The Preston Claiborne Formula

(Courtesy of Howard Simmons/NY Daily News)

Preston Claiborne has been quite the unexpected surprise for the Yankees this season.  He's gone from relatively unknown fringe prospect to high-leverage bullpen contributor in just over a month, and he's the owner of one of the more notable current streaks on the team.  In 18.1 IP over his 13 appearances, Claiborne has still yet to walk a batter this season.  For any rookie pitcher with any level of command, that's impressive and it's what has helped push Claiborne up the leverage ladder as he continues to work effectively and earn Joe's trust.  How is a player who was so off the prospect radar, who didn't get nearly the ink that a host of other relievers with "more electric" stuff than he, doing what Claiborne is doing right now?  It's actually pretty simple.

What's Our Working Definition Of "Baseball Activities" Here?

We haven't heard much about the status of Derek Jeter lately.  But both the Yankosphere and MSM news outlets got their ears pricked up by this Andrew Marchand tweet yesterday:
And almost immediately there was a flurry of reports coming out about Derek Jeter "resuming baseball activities."

Ummm, did he really?  I don't know if my definition of that phrase differs from everybody else's but I don't consider 25 dry swings and basically standing in place and bending over slightly to catch a ball baseball activities.  I picked up a putter I had laying around my apartment last night and took 25 dry swings while I was watching the Sawx-Rays game and I didn't even break a sweat.  If those are considered "baseball activities" then the 20-25 second I spent in the shower vigorously rubbing shampoo into my head is a baseball activity.  So is the rather brisk walk I take to the coffee room to refill the mug and the walk back to my desk.

Point being, don't get excited about anything Jeter-related that gets reported for the next few months because he's nowhere near coming back.  The Yankees threw out the "after the All Star Break" date after the ankle setback, but that doesn't mean it's going to be the game after.  Jeter has a long way to go and it's going to be a very slow rehab process.  At this point, I feel confident saying that I think Alex Rodriguez will be back on the field before Jeter this season, and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Jeter didn't play at all this year.  I don't consider what he did yesterday to be baseball activities, and I don't think we're actually going to read about him doing real baseball activities for quite some time.