May 20, 2013
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Tuesday, May 07, 2013
Braves 7, Reds 4: The Braves weren't going to be able to maintain any sort of momentum if the offense was all Justin Upton -- who can't do it alone -- and Evan Gattis -- who is, after all, a rookie. Last night they had help from Andrelton Simmons who hit two bombs and drove in four.
White Sox 2, Royals 1: James Shields was brilliant for eight innings. Ned Yost didn't let him come out for the ninth, though, going with his closer with a 1-0 lead. His closer blew it and eventually the Royals lost the game. Yost's explanation for why he didn't send Shields out to finish his shutout:
"Everybody has their job to do and Shields had done his," Yost said. "He threw eight shutout innings. It was a one-run game. The runs make all the difference. If it was a two-run or a three-run lead, yeah. But in a one-run game, (if) you send him out he's either going to win it or lose it. You let the closer go out and try to do his job."
It'd be one thing to simply sit back and second guess Yost. If it had worked, great. But that explanation would be brain dead even if Greg Holland had struck out the side and gotten the save. Yost is clearly saying here that he's letting bullpen roles dictate his moves. He has a closer, dadgummit, and he's going to let him close. It'd be one thing if Shields was tired. Or if the guys coming up had historic success against Shields and he didn't want to press his luck. But no, Yost's thinking is "you use this guy in the ninth inning and it is the ninth inning, so ..." Which is just enraging.
Cubs 9, Rangers 2: Scott Feldman threw seven scoreless against his old teammates. He came out though due to a cramp in his hand. Not because Ned Yost called Dale Sveum and told him he should go with this eighth inning guy.
Indians 7, Athletics 3: Man, Mark Reynolds hit that one a long, long way. It was his 10th homer. He's now hitting .296/.363/.622.
Diamondbacks 9, Dodgers 2: I wonder if, on a mutual off day, Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia go boat shopping together. Trevor Cahill allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. Also had a two-run triple.
Red Sox 6, Twins 5: Minnesota had a 3-0 lead at one point but the Sox chipped away, scoring one run in every inning between the fourth and the eighth. Then Stephen Drew, who had four hits on the night, hit a walkoff double with two outs in the 11th. Clay Buchholz gave up four runs on seven hits in four innings and his forearm wasn't glistening nearly as much in this game. Hurm.
Padres 5, Marlins 0: I guess the 14 runs the Marlins scored on Sunday were meant to last them for the week. Andrew Cashner shut 'em out into the eighth inning for his longest start of his career.
Blue Jays 8, Rays 7: Toronto was down 7-0 after three and had pulled to within two by the ninth. Then came a two-run, two-out homer from J.P. Arencibia off Fernando Rodney, who was trying for a five-out save. Maybe someone should have called Ned Yost and talked about what the closer's job description was. Colby Rasmus and Mark DeRosa also hit two-run homers.
Phillies 6, Giants 2: Cliff Lee was solid for eight innings, Michael Young had three hits and drove in two and this, dadgummit, is how it was supposed to look for Philly. The Giants' win streak ends at six.
The 2012 Josh Donaldson seems like Billy Beane's offseason hopes coming true: a player the organization had high hopes for helping out during a playoff run. A former first-round pick and catching prospect with the Cubs who came to Oakland in the Rich Harden trade way back in 2008, Donaldson displayed skills that made it understandable why he'd fit into the Bay Area. He walked a good amount, struck out a good amount, hit for decent power, and was defensively strong and versatile. Despite just a .241/.289/.398 slash line (good for a 90 wRC+), Donaldson played a stellar third base (5.5 runs added in just 75 games) and totaled 1.5 WAR, a solid contribution from a low-salary player on the fringes of the 25-man roster.
The 2013 Josh Donaldson is Billy Beane's wildest dreams coming true: a player the organization had high hopes for really figuring it out. At a time when Josh Reddick (.241 wOBA), Chris Young (.289 wOBA), and Eric Sogard (.268 wOBA) are all struggling at the plate, Donaldson is one of a handful of surprising Oakland hitters stepping up in a big way. The right-handed hitter is hitting .303/.387/.487, good for a 143 wRC+. His .380 wOBA is fourth among all third basemen in the major leagues, ahead of the likes of Pablo Sandoval, Adrian Beltre, Will Middlebrooks, and Manny Machado.
His defense isn't as great as it was last year (according to UZR), but he's still in the top third of all third basemen. This from a guy who hit .238 at 24 years old in the immensely hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
Driving Donaldson's success is his high walk rate, which jumped from 4.8 percent last season to 12.4 thus far this year. It isn't too much a surprise, given he had rates of 18.3 percent in Low-A ball, 14.8 in Double-A, and 12.9 in Triple-A; still, that puts him ahead of Miguel Cabrera among all third basemen (trailing only David Wright). Donaldson is a perfect microcosm of the A's as a whole. No real superstars, but solid hitters up and down the lineup. Their shortstop has a .386 wOBA. Their center fielder is at .402. Both their catchers are above average hitters.
There's a subtle but discernible meme out there that the Athletics have reworked their earlier Moneyball philosophy by focusing on defense, speed, and other supposed market inefficiencies, jettisoning their early 2000s approach of Three True Outcomes in favor of a nimble outfield and a higher batting average. That couldn't be further from the truth.
In fact, the current installment has higher strikeout and walk rates than the 2002 version, as well as just as poor defense (a team total of -12.8 UZR so far this year, the worst in baseball). The A's team walk rate is first in baseball, and the difference between them and the second team (Boston) is the same as the difference between Boston and the ninth overall team (Colorado).
Some people think the Moneyball strategy was idiosyncratic, a formula that would not work today. But homers and walks are still valuable, and there's no indication of their decline. In fact, in lower run scoring environments, they're as important as ever. Josh Donaldson is the new Scott Hatteberg.
Ninety years ago today, Casey Stengel completely lost his composure on the ball field.
Everyone has heard of Stengel, but the popular image of him is entirely that of a manager. That makes sense, as he won ten pennants in 12 seasons helming the Yankees, including the unprecedented trick of five straight world titles from 1949 to 1953.
Besides, he had this great folksy, artfully incoherent manner about him that made him colorful and quotable. When I say “artfully incoherent,” I mean that literally. Sportswriter Leonard Koppett once noted that Stengel’s habit of doubletalk was largely an act. It forced the listener to pay closer attention and could get Stengel out of situations through sheer “huh?”-ness.
For example, when he spoke before the US Senate about baseball’s anti-trust exemption, his thoughts were so impossible to follow that Mickey Mantle brought the house down by following up Stengel’s testimony with the great deadpan one-liner, “My views are about the same as Casey’s on this manner.”
Anyhow, when we think of Stengel, we think of the manager. But, of course, before then he’d been a player. Like many managers, he’d been a feisty son of a gun as a player. That makes sense because, if you’re not going to be passionate about wins and losses when you’re in the game, how can you keep that level of interest up as you age and your blood cools? Similarly, a young Tommy Lasorda was always a fighter, and the lovable persona he developed only came later.
But never was Stengel as ornery or as feisty as he was on May 7, 1923, 90 years ago today. Hell, ornery and feisty are far too mild words. Ballistic is more like it.
Stengel was a 32-year-old outfielder nearing the end of his career playing for John McGraw’s Giants against the typically sad-sack Phillies in Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl.
Early on, it looked like a wonderful day for Stengel and his teammates. In the top of the first, they pulverized starting Phillies pitcher, Lee Meadows. They chased him from the game before he recorded a single out. Six up and six in, including Stengel, who singled in teammate Frankie Frisch and then scored himself moments later on Ross Youngs’ double.
So far, so good.
But a few innings later, Stengel came up again, and things went completely off the rails. By this time a southpaw, Lefty Weinert, was on the mound for Philly. When Stengel came up, Weinert threw one right at him, decking him.
Clearly, Stengel thought it was intentional, because he went after Weinert. Stengel didn’t just go after him, though. First he threw his bat at the pitcher, and then went for the mound. Benches clear and all hell broke loose, but Stengel couldn’t be calmed down. Eventually, two of Philadelphia’s finest came on the field and arrested Stengel, walking him off in handcuffs.
Stengel soon would be released, but he did earn a suspension. My source says it was a 10-game suspension, but he didn’t play until June 2. Then again, maybe McGraw was upset with Stengel. Because even when Stengel returned, he didn’t actually start a game until July 12 after serving for nearly six weeks as a pinch hitter.
Oh, Weinert was thumbed for the fight, as well. There was no suspension for him, though. He played again four days later.
What happened? Was Weinert doing some payback for the first-inning rally? Then why choose Stengel? There were at least three extra-base hits that inning, and Stengel just singled?
Was there some bad blood between them? Stengel had been a teammate of Weinert’s on the Phillies in 1920-21. If this incident tells us anything, it’s that they weren’t best buddies. (Or they were, and Stengel was therefore that much more irate at the beaning).
Looking it up, this was the sixth time that Weinert had pitched against the Giants since Stengel had been traded there from the Phillies. Stengel had appeared in two of those games but never matched up against Weinert. In on case he pinch-hit for a pitcher in the bottom of the sixth, and Weinert pitched in the eighth. The other time, Weinert faced just one batter—the last Giants batter in a 13-inning game—and Stengel should’ve been the man up immediately prior to that.
So this was the first time Weinert ever faced Stengel since they had ceased to be teammates—and he threw a fastball right at him. No, it doesn’t sound like they got along as teammates, and it looks like this was Weinert’s first chance to nail Stengel, and Stengel knew it and went crazy.
That’s as near as I can tell just by looking at the gamelogs. Whatever the rationale behind it, Stengel was as upset as he’s even been on the baseball field, and it was 90 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
Click for more...
Monday, May 06, 2013
Yesterday, I published the American League version of a Team Runs graph—so today is National League Graph day. Every graph deserves its own day, right?
Anyway, to mostly repeat what I said yesterday, here is a simple runs scored/allowed graph for the National League this year, through Sunday's games. Runs scored are on the X axis, and runs allowed are on the Y axis. I changed the Y axis so that teams that allow fewer runs are at the top of the graph—this way, the best teams are in the upper right-hand corner, which is how most people naturally interpret graphs.
I also added dotted lines that represent an expected winning percentage based on runs scored and allowed; the number next to the team's name indicates how far its actual record varies from its expected record. (Recall that teams tend to regress to their expected winning percentage, particularly in one-month samples)
So what does the graph tell us? Here are some of the things I see:
Cardinals 10, Brewers 1: The four-game sweep of the Brewers. Four RBI for Allen Craig. That's six straight wins for the Cards, who are in their customary first place position in rather quiet fashion. The six first place teams right now: Boston, Detroit, Texas, Atlanta, St. Louis, San Francisco. Not many surprises there. I guess the Red Sox would be the biggest one, and it's not like they're some Cinderella story. Viva Big Team Hegemony.
Braves 9, Mets 4: A double, a homer and three RBI for Freddie Freeman. Reed Johnson drove in three two. Meanwhile Brian McCann is likely coming back today, and will take at bats away from Evan Gattis. Reed Johnson will continue to come off the bench. B.J. Upton and Dan Uggla, however, will continue to play every single day to no apparently effective purpose.
Twins 4, Indians 2: Mike Pelfrey: stopper. Or something. He pitched well and the Indians' six-game winning streak comes to an end. Brutal stretch here for the Twins as they came off Detroit to play the hot Indians and now on to Boston. Had to win one in there somewhere lest this become the road trip from Hell which effectively ends the competitive portion of Minnesota's season.
Nationals 6, Pirates 2: Clint Hurdle intentionally walked Adam LaRoche to get to Tyler Moore. Moore then hit a three run homer. Didn't watch the game but I'm guessing there was a nice iso camera shot on Hurdle right after that. And that Hurdle knew it and just chewed his gum and stared straight ahead for a few seconds. Man's a pro. He knows how to handle those situations. Oh, and Bryce Harper's day ended early because of an Ump Show.
Athletics 5, Yankees 4: Not a great day for Andy Pettitte, giving up a couple of homers and walking four. The Yankees clawed back, however, only to see Josh Donaldson take Boone Logan into the upper deck in the eighth inning. Grant Balfour got into trouble late but held on.
Blue Jays 10, Mariners 2: I guess Toronto is going to win some games. And winning one in a blowout will help that embarrassingly poor run differential get better faster. Mark DeRosa hit a three-run homer. Melky hit a solo shot. Brandon Morrow was on point for eight innings.
Reds 7, Cubs 4: Was at a restaurant last night. In the bar there was some greatest highlights of the year kind of show. They showed Ben Revere's amazing catch in center at Great American Ballpark against the Reds from earlier this year. I didn't recognize the show as a past highlights show at first because I wasn't really paying attention. Thought it was SportsCenter or something. My brain: "wait, the Phillies aren't in Cincy, whaaaaa ....?" It took me far longer to reconcile all of that than it should have. In other news, the restaurant I was in last night makes great, great martinis. Maybe that should be "in related news ..."
Royals 6, White Sox 5: Late heroics in Kansas City. Billy Butler with a two-out, two-run double in the ninth to tie it on a pitch which, had he missed it, would have ended the game. Alex Gordon hit a bases-loaded single in the 10th to win it. The Royals have come from behind in 11 of their 17 wins this season. Also: the Royals have 17 wins this season. And a lot of people laughed when I picked them to finish ahead of the White Sox back in March.
Marlins 14, Phillies 2: Is this the end for Roy Halladay? Adeiny Hechavarria hit a grand slam and a bases-loaded triple off of him, and now he's heading to the DL. This is the stuff of long absences and, in some cases, the end of a pitcher's career. Let's hope this isn't a Brandon Webb or Johan Santana situation.
Rangers 4, Red Sox 3: I watched this one until it was 3-0 Red Sox and thought "well, Darvish has some good stuff, but he's leaving things up, so this probably won't end well." It ended well, as the Davids Ortiz and Ross homers were all the damage the Sox would do, while Darvish struck out 14. He's doing a lot of that striking out hitters thing lately.
Padres 5, Diamondbacks 1: Back to back homers by Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable and a solid outing from Edinson Volquez, as the camo-clad Padres win. The once-struggling Padres have won eight of 11. Arizona is on a mini-skid.
Orioles 8, Angels 4: I feel like the O's have been on the west coast for three years. OK, just checked: it was 11 games. And they won seven of them. Not too shabby. The Angels, meanwhile, continue their worst start in franchise history and have dropped seven of nine. Not that Seven of Nine is a bad thing at all.
Tigers 9, Astros 0: This was more of a snuff film than a baseball series. I kept wanting to throw a towel into the ring. The Tigers outscored the Astros 39-8 in the four-game series.
Rays 8, Rockies 3: If you give up three runs in Coors Field you can win as long as there aren't runners on base. That's what Alex Cobb did anyway. [Craig randomly looks at the box score, notices James Loney is hitting .398/.444/.532, spits coffee out all over the screen].
Giants 4, Dodgers 3: I have a houseguest from Los Angeles at the moment. We got home and watched some of the Dodgers game last night. It's a month into the season and this Dodgers fan already has a feeling of inevitable blah, predicting the bad things like first-pitch-swing outs for Juan Uribe and stuff. The Dodgers have a new feel about them, but they also have an old feel about them.
Sunday, May 05, 2013
I've been creating these graphs for about 20 years or so. For a while, I mostly created them for myself, because I'm kind of a visual person. When the Internet came along, I posted them on a website of my own (http://www.baseballgraphs.com) and then I moved them here to the Hardball Times nearly ten years ago. They've stood my own subjective test of time, so I'm going to force one of them on you today.
Here is a simple runs scored/allowed graph for the American League this year, through Saturday's games. Runs scored are on the X axis, and runs allowed are on the Y axis. I changed the Y axis so that teams that allow fewer runs are at the top of the graph—this way, the best teams are in the upper right-hand corner, which is how most people naturally interpret graphs.
I also added dotted lines that represent an expected winning percentage based on runs scored and allowed; the number next to the team's name indicates how far their actual record varies from their expected record. (Recall that teams tend to regress to their expected winning percentage, particularly in one-month samples.
So what does the graph say? A few fundamental, probably unsurprising, things:
Saturday, May 04, 2013
Fifty years ago today, the Braves made the history books—but not in a good way. It wasn’t a terrible day they had, but it sure was a terribly frustrating day for their pitchers, especially starter Bob Shaw. He committed a record five balks and the club ended the day with the all-time high, six.
On May 4, 1963, the Milwaukee Braves hosted the Chicago Cubs, and it didn’t take long for Shaw to start bulking up on balks.
With two outs in the first, Shaw allowed a single to Billy Williams. That was the first Cubs base runner. A few minutes later Williams stood on second, thanks to the first balk of the day.
In the second inning, Shaw allowed three base runners, but managed to get out of the inning without issuing a balk.
Sure enough, in the third, Williams led off with another single. He must’ve been dancing around off the back something fierce, because soon enough Shaw had once again balked him to second. And things weren’t done yet. Before you knew it, Williams induced another Shaw balk. That was three, all of which advanced Williams.
And the inning still wasn’t over.
After two outs failed to advance Williams, leaving him seemingly stranded on third, Shaw walked shortstop Andre Rodgers. And wouldn’t you know it—Shaw balked yet again. That finished off balking Williams around the bases. Three balks in one inning, and four on the day.
In the fourth inning Shaw managed to avoid another balk despite putting base stealing threat Lou Brock on base, but that was his last hurrah. In the fifth, he allowed singles to Williams (of course!) and Ernie Banks. And that’s when Shaw unleashed balk No. 5. No one else has ever balked five times in one outing, and Shaw did it in five innings. Rather interestingly, Williams was the lead runner for all five balks. Did Williams have the whammy or him or was it just a coincidence? Who knows?
Anyhow, after the fifth balk Shaw walked two straight batters and then had to take a walk to the showers. The bullpen generally avoided balks, but in the eighth Denny Lemaster issued their sixth balk of the game. The runner? Would you believe it was yet again Williams. Whatever Williams did on the bases that day sure was working.
Oh, and the Cubs issued a balk of their own, one that scored a run when umpires called Paul Toth for it in the seventh. Truly the umpires were looking for the balk that day. The Cubs won, 7-5, but more memorable than the score were all those pesky balks.
Aside from that, many other events celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that occurred X-thousand days ago) today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
Click for more...
Friday, May 03, 2013
Cardinals 6, Brewers 5: Jake Westbrook with career win 100. And get this: dude allowed only one run in six innings and his ERA increased. Which, yes, will happen when you come in at 0.98. It's now an unsightly 1.10. He talked after the game how 100 was a goal for him. And while, no, it isn't 300, it represented him being a grinder and sticking around and stuff. I think there's all kinds of underrated glory in that: 300-game winners are spectacular, but they're on that far right side of the bell curve with which most folks don't have a frame of reference. Hundred-game winners have been around the block and seen a good deal of bad to go with the good and all of that.
Orioles 5, Angels 1: Chris Tillman with eight shutout innings. He's from Orange County, so maybe it was the home cooking. Unless maybe his mom can't cook and it was really just like, "hey, awesome, we get to eat at Del Taco!" or something.
Tigers 7, Astros 3: Fourteen innings in Houston, decided when Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to get to Don Kelly. Kelly was up to the challenge and singled in the go-ahead run. Matt Tuiasosopo then doubled in two more followed by a Jhonny Peralta sac fly. Get this: seven shutout innings from the Tiger bullpen. You don't expect that very often.
Nationals 3, Braves 1: Washington earns the split behind a nice outing from Dan Haren, who was really in need of a nice outing. It was the first time he'd gone past the sixth inning this season. First time he reached the eighth in nearly a year.
White Sox 3, Rangers 1: You know what the real tragedy about all this is? Hector Santiago was not even supposed to be here today! But he was and pitched well (5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6K). Then he closed the store to play hockey, went to a wake and tried to win back his ex-girlfriend without even discussing how he felt about his present one.
Phillies 7, Marlins 2: Kyle Kendrick: Phillies ace. He picks up his third win after allowing only two runs over seven innings. Domonic Brown was 3 for 4 with a homer. Ryan Howard had a solo shot. Juan Pierre notched his 600th career steal.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1: The Blue Jays waked a lot of Red Sox. How many times did they walk the Red Sox?
This many times!
Haha, no, actually it was 10. And David Ortiz even took the day off. Man.
Padres 4, Cubs 2: Travis Wood deserved better, but bad defense and bad bullpen work did him in.
Rays vs. Royals: POSTPONED: Last time I was here, it was rainin, doesn't rain here anymore. The streets were drowned, and the water's waining, all the runes washed to shore. Now I'm here lookin' through the rubble, tryin' to find out who we were. Last time I was here, it was rainin, ain't rainin' anymore.
Fifty years ago today, something very strange happened, something that had happened only once before in baseball history.
Well, on the face of it, things weren’t that strange—a man hit a home run. Yawn. That happens every day, right? Aye, but there was something special about this home run, something the set it apart.
It came in the man’s only plate appearance of the year.
Yup, a batter hit a home run in his first trip to the plate of the season and his reward was never to be allowed to grab a bat again all year. You've got to admit, that is different.
As you might guess, there is a catch to this story that explains it, and odds are some of you out there in reader-land have guessed it: The slugger was actually a pitcher.
On May 3, 1963, the Baltimore Orioles played in Detroit against the Tigers, and soon fell badly behind. The Tigers scored once in the first, twice in the second, and added another pair in the third for a quick 5-2 lead.
That was enough to chase starting pitcher Chuck Estrada from the scene and bring on the hero of our story, young Buster Narum. At age 22, Narum was a rookie making just his fifth career appearance. After entering two games in mid-April, he sat on the shelf for two weeks, but this was his third straight day of work.
Narum put out the fire in the bottom of the third with a double play grounder, and was due up for his first ever major league at bat a few moments later. He made it count with a two-run homer that trimmed the Tigers' lead to 5-4. The Tigers were so mortified they immediately pulled starting pitcher Don Mossi for reliever, Paul Foytack. The good news was that Foytack didn’t let any pitcher hit homers. The bad news for Detroit was that he did allow three homers, with the go-ahead run coming from the bat of the decidedly power-deprived shortstop Luis Aparicio. Baltimore won the game, 8-5.
But the memorable moment was Narum’s blast. He made two more pitching appearances before getting sent down to the minors. He actually pitched well in his time up—a 3.00 ERA—but the Orioles were stocked to the rafters with young pitchers and they clearly felt he needed more seasoning.
Instead of being part of Baltimore’s youth movement, Narron was traded Narum in the offseason to Washington for a young prospect named Lou Piniella. Yeah, that Lou Piniella.
Prior to Narum, only one person had a homer in his only at-bat on the season, and it was also a pitcher: Bill LeFebvre with the 1938 Red Sox. Since then, it’s happened thrice more. Twice it’s been pitchers – Montreal’s Guillermo Mota did it in 1999, and Gustavo Chacin did it for Houston in 2010. In between, Baltimore’s Eddie Rogersbecame the only non-pitcher to do it. Normally a pinch runner in 2005, he homered in his only time up. He ended his career with 30 PA in 30 games—but only the one homer.
It’s a small club, and Buster Narum joined it 50 years ago today.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary” (which is something that happened X-thousand days ago). Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through them.
Click for more...
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Citing injuries and a need for a right-handed bat, the Yankees sent either cash or a player to be named later to Colorado for middle infielder Chris Nelson. With the success of Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay, maybe the Yankees are thinking they can take any below-average hitter and turn him into a star.
Nelson is an interesting player. He was called up in 2010 for 17 games and was awful; despite a .280 batting average, he finished with a wRC+ of just 57. In 2011 he found himself more playing time with 189 plate appearances, but although his power increased (.383 slugging average), he struck out almost 20 percent of the time and still had a poor wRC+ of 65.
Things turned around last year pretty dramatically for Nelson; he played in more than two-thirds of the Rockies' games and hit .301/.352/.458, good for an above-average wRC+ of 105. However, his defense was apparently awful according to UZR, which pegged him at -18.4 runs for the season, a strikingly high number (DRS had almost the exact number and the Fans Scouting Report pegged him for below average). Still, a second baseman who can hit is always a welcome part of the lineup.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, it seems that much of Nelson's success was aided by the friendly confines of Coors Field. Nelson hit .347/.411/.500 at home last year, but just .257/.292/.417 on the road. His 2011 was no different, with a .276/.300/.419 line at home and .213/.253/.333 line on the road. So far this season he's off to a rough start with a career-low wRC+ of 50 (.242/.282/.318). ZiPS has projected him for a .314 wOBA for the rest of the season, although that may be assuming he's playing in Colorado.
There is some bright news for Yankees fans on Nelson. First, he's turning 28 this year, so he's at the standard peak of his age curve. Second, he can play both third and second (and if needed, shortstop). Finally, he won't be a starter for the Yankees, and he's a more than an adequate bench player. And since he's on the Yankees, he'll probably hit 50 homers anyway.