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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 7/6/21

Luis Severino’s rehab going well; MLB Pipeline highlights two Yankees’ pitching prospects; Joel Sherman talks to Yankees’ head of analytics; the Yankees are one of the league’s biggest first-half disappointments

Oakland Athletics v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: In some good news for the Yankees — a rare thing indeed these days — Luis Severino has made some great strides this past weekend in his return from both Tommy John surgery and the Grade 2 groin strain that delayed his first rehab attempt in his second start last month. He threw a bullpen session this past Saturday, and will have another one later this week. Depending on how that goes, the team can start putting a timeline together to get Severino back into game action as quickly as possible. | Brendan Kuty: As mediocre as the big league roster has been this season, the minor league squads have been stepping up. That trend has continued, as both Double-A Somerset righty Glenn Otto and Low-A Tampa righty Matt Sauer were named to MLB Pipeline’s Prospect Team of the Week. Otto has been having a particularly big year for the Patriots, limiting opponents to a .199 average and posting a 95/14 K/BB ratio.

New York Post | Joel Sherman: Yankees vice president/assistant general manager Mike Fishman, the person behind the team’s analytics department, spoke with the Post’s Joel Sherman to discuss the team’s struggles and the “buzz” that the Yankees rely too much on analytics over traditional scouting. Throughout the piece, Sherman tried to pry into the question of “whether the Yanks have gotten out of whack in what they value, how they value it and who has the greatest say on the value.” In what is perhaps no surprise to anybody, most of Fishman’s responses reiterated that the lineup has been the same group of guys that have been among the league’s best in recent years.

To me, the most interesting line came towards the end, in which he acknowledged that “it’s possible” that other teams have developed new analytics models which have yet to become widespread in the league, noting that every team has its own research department and works to keep its own research methods. He did add, however, that “there are some things [the Yankees] were aware of, but slow to implement.”

ESPN+ | Bradford Doolittle: (Subscription Required) I try to avoid including links to articles that have a paywall attached to them, but given the amount of references to the AL East in Doolittle’s list of “first-half surprises, disappointments and signs of what’s to come” (not to mention the slow news day that comes with an off-day), I figured it was worth at least mentioning.

The third disappointment he includes is “the erratic offense of the New York Yankees,” noting that “there was absolutely no reason to suspect that the Yankees’ offense would fall to a No. 14 ranking in OPS+, right at the MLB average.” He does include a touch of optimism: namely, that with pretty much the entire offense underperforming, there should be significant positive regression in the second half. Under the heading of “four surprises” were the seven no-hitters of the first half — among those Corey Kluber’s, the Yankees’ first no-hitter in over twenty years — as well as Boston’s unexpectedly-strong first half.