"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Spring Training Status Report

I thought I’d take advantage of the lone off-day in the Yankees’ spring schedule to take a look at some of the overall performances we’ve seen this spring, with the caveat that spring training stats are largely meaningless, of course.

First, here’s how the starting nine have performed:

Player Pos AVG/OBP/SLG Notes
Johnny Damon CF .250/.386/.333 Damon homered in the Yankees’ first spring training at-bat, but hasn’t had an extra base hit since. He leads the team with eight in walks.
Derek Jeter SS .302/.348/.326
Bobby Abreu RF 0 for 3 Abreu didn’t make his spring debut until Tuesday due to a strained oblique muscle that appears to be fully healed.
Alex Rodriguez 3B .324/.419/.405 Leads the team in strikeouts with ten.
Jason Giambi DH .189/.286/.459 Leads the team in homers with three.
Hideki Matsui LF .357/.386/.524 Among Yankees with more than 31 plate appearances, only Robinson Cano has had fewer end in a walk or strikeout.
Jorge Posada C .320/.414/.600 The only Yankee other than Giambi with multiple home runs this spring.
Robinson Cano 2B .375/.375/.563 Leads the team in hits, runs scored, doubles, RBIs, and total bases. Hasn’t drawn a walk, but has struck out just thrice.
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B .074/.257/.111 Not hitting, but second on the team in walks.

Because of Abreu’s injury, Melky Cabrera has lead the team in plate appearances, but struggled mightily, hitting just .200/.216/.220. He has, however, played strong defense at all three infield positions. For the same reason, Kevin Thompson has lead the team in games played, also cycling through all three pastures and hitting a far more robust .296/.367/.556, not that you’d know it with all of the attention heaped upon Bronson Sardinha’s .303/.324/.424. The other Kevin, Reese, his hitting just .267/.281/.400.

In the infield, the breakout star has been Chris Basak, who’s crushing at a .414/.433/.690 clip and leading the team in slugging. Miguel Cairo is leading the team in stolen bases, a perfect five-for-five, and is tied with Mientkiewicz with six walks, hitting .300/.405/.333 overall.

The man leading the team in batting average and on-base percentage is righty first-base combatant Josh Phelps, who’s hitting .435/.481/.609 and has struck out just three times in 26 plate appearances. His rival, Andy Phillips has gone 3 for 12 with no walks or extra base hits since returning from his mother’s hospital room, but has struck out just once himself.

As for the catching battle, neither Todd Pratt nor Wil Nieves, both of whom missed time due to a sore heel and elbow respectively, has an extra-base hit or a walk. Pratt is 2 for 14, Neives is 2 for 11. Raul Chavez, meanwhile is hitting .294/.278/.471 on the strength of a homer and four singles. And that’s no typo, Chavez has indeed pulled off the odd trick of having a lower on-base percentage than batting average thanks to having a sac fly, but no walks. Ben Davis has only come to the plate eight times, but has more extra base hits than the other three men have produced in a combined 43 trips (.250/.250/.625 thanks to a walk and a triple). Yes, you read that right, not one of these four men has drawn a walk in 51 plate appearances.

Of the position players already reassigned to minor league camp, the most impressive by far was 18-year-old Jose Tabata, who hit .429/.529/.643.

As for the pitchers, here’s the starting five:

Player ERA etc. Notes
Chien-Ming Wang 2.57, 14 IP, 1 BB, 7 K Wang has uncharacteristically given up two home runs.
Mike Mussina 3.46, 13 IP, 2 BB, 4 K Moose has give up a team worst three homers.
Andy Pettitte (L) 0.00, 10 IP, 2 BB, 7 K Pettitte has allowed just five hits, less than half of the next lowest total by a Yankee starter.
Kei Igawa (L) 3.00, 12 IP, 10 BB, 15 K Igawa leads the team in both walks and strikeouts.
Carl Pavano 5.63, 8 IP, 5 BB, 3 K Pavano missed one start for personal reasons but has thus far had no serious injury concerns.

Of the two sixth-starter options still in camp, neither Jeff Karstens nor Darrell Rasner has walked a man in a combined 20 2/3 innings. Karstens has a 2.70 ERA and 11 Ks in 13 1/3 innings. Rasner has a 2.45 ERA and 4 Ks in 7 1/3 innings. Actually, that’s not entirely fair. Rasner pitched in one minor league game. Factoring in that outing, Rasner has a 2.38 ERA and 7 Ks in 11 1/3 innings, but did walk one batter.

Phil Hughes left camp with a 7.71 ERA having walked 6 men in 4 2/3 innings and struck out just two. Tyler Clippard and Chase Wright both left camp with 1.35 ERAs. Steven Jackson split camp with a 9.82 ERA.

Finally, the bullpen:

Player ERA etc. Notes
Mariano Rivera 0.00, 7 IP, 0 BB, 7 K Mo’s allowed just three hits.
Scott Proctor 0.00, 6 IP, 0 BB, 5 K Proctor allowed a run in a minor leage appearance, pushing his overall ERA to 1.17.
Kyle Farnsworth 3.60, 5 IP, 2 BB, 3 K Farnsworth hasn’t given up a home run this spring.
Luis Vizcaino 2.25, 8 IP, 2 BB, 10 K Vizcaino has allowed just one homer.
Mike Myers (L) 1.80, 5 IP, 1 BB, 3 K In eight appearances.

And the contenders for the final two spots:

Player ERA, etc. Notes
Ron Villone (L) 3.86, 4 2/3 IP, 1 BB, 5 K But eight hits and over six games.
Sean Henn (L) 0.00, 4 2/3 IP, 2 BB, 3 K Henn hasn’t allowed a hit this spring.
Chris Britton 13.50, 4 IP, 2 BB, 1 K Things get uglier when you factor in his minor league apperance, which pushes his overall ERA to 16.88 ERA.
Brian Bruney 0.00, 3 IP, 2 BB, 5 K Bruney’s allowed just one hit.
T.J. Beam 0.00, 4 IP, 2 BB, 3 K Beam has allowed just two hits.
Jose Veras 0.00, 3 1/3 IP, 1 BB, 2 K Veras has not pitched in a week due to elbow pain.
Colter Bean 0.00, 6 2/3 IP, 0 BB, 8 K Bean has allowed just two hits . . . like it matters.

Bean and Henn look like the leaders there, but don’t count out the team’s prejudice against Bean or toward Villone. Of the two I’d say Henn has the better chance of making the team because he’s out of options. I wonder if north Jersey native Villone, who’s in camp on a minor league deal, would be willing to start the year in nearby Scranton. On the flip side, Andy Phillips and Wil Nieves, the other two Yankee campers who are out of options, are likely to slip through waivers at the rate their going, which means Josh Phelps just might make the team after all.

All of that said, there’s still a week and a half left to go in camp (ten games to be exact). Anything could happen . . .

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver