New York Yankees News & Notes: 2/9/13

Jim McIsaac

The Best Pitcher in the World: NoMaas examines Ivan Nova's disappointing 2012 season and compares it to his 2011 campaign. They determine that not a whole lot was different, his velocity was just as good and so was his control, but his ground ball rate and home run rates were ridiculous. The reasons for this trend might have to do with bad command of the slider. He left a lot of sliders up in the zone, which usually translated into dead baseballs. He's going to need to master the slider if he wants to succeed. Larry Rothchild chalks Nova's struggles up to growing pains in the majors.

Too Little Too Late: Hal Steinbrenner wants Robinson Cano to stay a Yankee and has apparently talked about a possible extension with him. At this point there doesn't seem to be much chance of anything coming out of it, but I guess it's worth a shot. Maybe they can sign him to a deal before the Yankees have to compete with other teams, like the Seattle Mariners did with Felix Hernandez. The Yankees really need to revise their extension policy if they want to stay cheap and stay good. The Yankee Analysts ask if you would give Cano a 7/$175.

Platooning Around: The Yankee Analysts examine the platoon splits of Ichiro Suzuki, Brett Gardner, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner in order to determine who should be platooned and who can hold their own against same-handed pitchers. It appears that Ichiro and Hafner should be platooned against lefties, while Gardner and Youkilis need to be in the lineup every day. It's up to Girardi who sits though, so we'll see what the season brings us.

Finding a Right Handed Outfielder: LoHud examines the Yankees need for a right handed outfielder off the bench. There is no one on the open market, so unless Cashman can spring a trade, the Yankees will have to look at the options they currently have. Matt Diaz and Juan Rivera were signed to compete for that job, but there is also less reliable, but younger alternatives in minor leaguers Melky Mesa, Ronnier Mustelier, Zoilo Almonte and Thomas Neal. Unfortunately each has their own drawback to make the veterans a much safer option.

Favored by the Umpires?: NoMaas examines whether or not umpires favor the Yankees lineup. Using a rating system developed by Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs that calculates whether a player sees more or less strikes than they should. They determined that the entire lineup saw less strikes than expected, so maybe the umpires do favor the Yankees. Maybe not: The 2012 New York Yankees were in the Top 5 lowest swing percentage on pitches outside of the strike zone. Perhaps the Yanks earned it.

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