News and Notes: Rosenthal, Underdog Yanks, Analytics, Octavio Dotel

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The Yanks are back after their off day. They’ll take on Oakland tonight at 10:07 pm. We’ll have you covered as usual, with a game thread and takeaways, which will go live tonight after the game ends, so check out for that.

In the meantime, here are some assorted links and news about the Yankees to hold you over to first pitch.

Yankees Sign Trevor Rosenthal

The Yankees have signed reliever Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league contract, according to Anderson Pickard. Rosenthal, was once a force for the St. Louis bullpen, sporting a 2.66 ERA in 237.0 IP from 2012-2015. He surrendered just 197 hits (11 HR) in that time, with over 300 strikeouts.

He missed all of 2018 while recovering from Tommy John, and he has been abysmal in limited time back from the injury. Rosenthal threw 15.1 innings for Washington and Detroit with a 13.50 ERA (6.87 FIP), which is pretty bad.

However, it’s pretty clear what the Yankees are thinking here. Rosenthal walked an astounding 30% of all batters he faced, which is the obvious problem he’s had this year. The rest has been fine. He’s held batters to a .208/.488/.226 line and retired more than 20% of them via punch out. He’s also clearly not allowed much hard contact.

Now, obviously, that could be because batters just never had to swing. In fact, it probably was that. But given the nature of the deal–an absolutely no-risk MiLB agreement–it’s hard to complain. It’s a no-risk move, and besides, the Yanks have really excelled at turning junk into gold. I wouldn’t hold my breath, but if Rosenthal finds his control (huge if!) he could turn into something useful, even just as an organizational arm on the Scranton Shuffle™.

Underdog Yanks

ESPN’s Sam Miller wrote a very fun piece today about the underdog Yankees. He tells a familiar story–that the Yanks have suffered an incredible amount of injuries with incredible resiliency–in a unique and interesting way befitting his writing. You should definitely check this one out. I think you’ll enjoy it. Here’s my favorite part:

So to add it all up: Had we known before the season exactly how much playing time the Yankees would distribute to the Urshelas and Tauchmans and Mike Fords and Thairo Estradas and the rest, ZiPS would have projected the Yankees to win somewhere around 84 games — around where the A’s, the Rays and the Twins were before the season. The Yankees’ front office built a team that, even with $60 million to $80 million of talent on the IL, projected to be a competitive team in the American League. If you told almost any other team in baseball that a dozen high-impact players would miss a couple thousand games, they would probably conclude they had no chance; they might conclude they were better off using the season to rebuild. The Yankees, though, were still, even on paper, contenders. What an incredible roster.

Sam Miller

That’s pretty remarkable, isn’t it? I actually didn’t realize that the Yankees would have been projected to be that good if we knew how playing time would be allocated. Separately, not sure how I missed that ZiPS projected Tauchman for  .281/.344/.438 and 1.9 WAR, but apparently it did! Whatever the Yankees saw in Tauchman, and they apparently saw something and had him on their radar for a while, the available projections saw, too. It was all of us who missed it. What an incredible roster, indeed.

Yankee Analytics Department

As usual, The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler brings us a story (subs req’d) we wouldn’t find anywhere else. This time, it’s about Christina Williamson, young member of the Yankees’ front office. Essentially, Williamson helps convey complex quantitative methods in digestible ways to the Yanks’ coaching staff. The Yanks’ head of performance science, Dave Whiteside, called it “the toughest and most important job in sports, and as Adler notes, it’s especially so as a woman in a male-dominated field.

It’s a very nice read and it’s insightful to hear the stories of the men and women who make up the Yankees “analytics department”, which is often written about and discussed as a sort of vague behind-the-scenes operation. This helps put a face to the department. Pretty cool.

Here is a notable quote from the piece, which, out of respect to the paywall, I won’t talk about too much:

But the Yankees, in particular, are interested in hiring people who bring a different perspective to the table, oftentimes someone like Williamson who would not enter the industry with the emotional baggage that accompanies many lifelong baseball fanatics.

I think that’s interesting for a lot of reasons, and one I think is encouraging. As Miller noted in the piece above, the Yanks have the largest analytical staff in the game, so it’s nice to see that they’re interested in hiring folks with different experiences and backgrounds. That’s how you create an intellectually-stimulating environment. Hopefully, we’ll see more of insight like this going forward.

Octavio Dotel Arrested in Dominican Republic

Former Yankee Octavio Dotel (remember him!) was reportedly arrested in the Dominican Republic today, along with potentially former Met (and Yankee hero) Luis Castillo, in the largest drug bust in the history of the country. (Ed Note: Castillo’s agent denies he was arrested). Their role in the matter was unclear, though they are “linked” to a criminal operation supposedly run by the man who called the shots on the botched assassination attempt of David Ortiz.

Both former players have a Yankee connection, so I figured it was worth a mention. Dotel, in case you forgot, pitched 10 innings for the 2006 Yankees (an underrated fun team!) but was horrible. He had a 10.80 ERA in August and September for the Bombers. It was nothing to write home about, though I remembered it, for some reason.

Castillo, of course, contributed to one of the most memorable moments from the very memorable 2009 season. It needs no introduction, just a video. Enjoy:

Shout out to Mark Teixeira for absolutely busting his ass from first to home on a pop-up nearly all of us could have caught, eventually scoring the winning run. I distinctly remember watching this game, and I suspect I always will. If you watched it live, you probably will, too.


Oakland Athletics Series Preview: 8/20 to 8/22


Game 127: Oakland Nights

1 Comment

  1. bardos

    It seems to me that although Mike Ford is not a bad defender, he is obviously overmatched on offense. Has anyone in the front office thought of Ryan McBroom instead?

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