It may be selection Sunday but I’m still thinking about baseball.
1. Every spring training there’s a flurry of articles and reports about pitchers with new pitches or mechanics and hitters with adjusted stances or swings. Specifically on the Yankees, I’m thinking about AJ Burnett and Phil Hughes with their change ups. Last year we heard quite a bit about them working on those pitches but they were largely shelved once the regular season got going. So how much should we buy into them actually adding these pitches for the regular season? I know that pitchers need to feel a certain measure of confidence in the pitches they throw. Hopefully they can carry over whatever confidence they’ve built up so far into the season. For me though, I think I’d need to see it in order to believe it at this point.
2. Most baseball players adhere to superstitious rituals and dogmatically adhere to specific routines in spring training. But fans have a spring ritual too, don’t they? I know I do. Here’s my routine:
February 20-28: Obtain Baseball America prospect book and Baseball Prospectus: read voraciously
March 1-7: Follow spring games, read team Prospectus capsules
March 8: Obtain MLB the Show, waste remaining free time playing video game
March 9-17: Cruise book store for any good baseball books out there- 2%, Donnie Baseball Bio, paperback Willie Mays bio
March 18-25: Nerd out over fantasy baseball
March 25-31: Repeat yearly ritual reading of Dynasty – 49-64, and old out of print book I found at my grandfather’s house years and years ago
Anyone else have a spring training routine of sorts? I can’t be the only one, right?
3. How do you deal with spring training numbers? My saber side says “IGNORE”. My fanboy side says, “OOOOO Eric Chavez!” My ridiculously paranoid side says, “Uh oh, Jesus”. Really I know that it’s all meaningless. How do you sort through these numbers? I try and shelve it all and not worry too much about anything.
4. Over at Don’t Bring in the Lefty, Lucas Apostoleris uses some Pitch F/X data and looks at Yankee pitching whiff rates. It’s a great site in general and you guys should all check it out. What really stands out to you there? I love it when visuals match up with scouting which matches up with data so I liked seeing Dave Robertson’s fastball was a great swing and miss pitch. It matches up with what we see watching the games. It matches with a report I remember reading in Buster Olney’s blog on how Robertson strides so far forward to the plate his fastball plays up past it’s 92 mph velocity. It also obviously matches with the numbers.
5. How much do you care about the batting order? I’ve read all the studies saying it only has a marginal impact on run scoring and all that. I still want Brett Gardner leading off though. I love Derek Jeter and I hope he rebounds but I think I’d really like to have Gardner setting the table in 2011. It’s just a personal feeling.
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