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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 2/10/21

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Chapman’s new pitch; PECOTA standings are out; Vaccination efforts succeeding at Yankee Stadium; MLB to provide anti-harassment training

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The Athletic | Lindsey Adler: Pitchers typically lose velocity as they age, especially flamethrowers who throw mostly fastballs. Unfortunately, that means Aroldis Chapman won’t be able to throw 100+ mph heaters forever. With an awareness that his fastball velocity is gradually losing speed as he gets older, Chapman has been working on a new pitch to add to his standard repertoire: a splitter. He began tinkering with the pitch during the long delay leading up to the 2020 MLB season and briefly used it on the field. After continuing to refine it this offseason, it will be fun to take note when he breaks out the pitch in 2021.

Yahoo Sports | Scott Thompson: PECOTA standings for the 2021 MLB season have been released by Baseball Prospectus. The Yankees are projected to be the strongest team in the American League by a significant margin. For the full 162-game season, PECOTA projects the Yankees will average 97.4 wins and 64.6 losses. The Yankees were projected to be the best team in the American League in 2020, as well. For those unfamiliar with this forecasting tool, PECOTA uses players’ historical performance and tries to project the most likely outcome for the following season.

The New York Post | Nolan Hicks, Bernadette Hogan and Kate Sheehy: Yankee Stadium is beating Citi Field with regard to distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations. This might be the only time when New Yorkers can root for both the Yankees and the Mets without being ridiculed.

ESPN | Joon Lee: The lack of ticket revenue, coronavirus protocols and empty ballparks dominated a lot of conversations during the 2020 season, so much so that it’s easy to forget another side effect of a pandemic baseball season: leftover bobbleheads and other unused promotional giveaways. Jay Deutsch, the CEO of the company that produces the majority of promotional bobbleheads for MLB teams, estimates there are roughly four million extra player bobblehead dolls. If MLB decides to allow fans to attend games IRL during the 2021 season, none of them will go home empty-handed.

The Athletic | Lindsey Adler: MLB has taken steps to curb harassment and sexual harassment in the workplace. The league’s new workplace code of conduct regarding sexual harassment and discrimination comes in the wake of two recent investigative stories revealing [alleged] harassment toward women by now-former Mets GM Jared Porter and currently-suspended Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway. MLB will also provide a third-party anonymous hotline for reporting incidents of harassment and will require Club executives to engage in anti-harassment and discrimination training, as well. The specific training geared toward club execs will take place during spring training. That the league thought it was necessary to create a specific anti-harassment training program for team executives speaks volumes.

The new measures aim to protect all employees, and especially women who work in baseball. Are anti-harassment training and a reporting hotline enough? Considering the covert nature of sexual harassment, it might be challenging to judge the efficacy of the new steps.

*We don’t normally highlight pieces behind paywalls in the news, but Lindsey’s two articles from yesterday were especially good and definitely worth your time if you can read ‘em.