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Entries in Curtis Granderson (16)

Monday
Sep102012

Curtis Granderson becomes the 39th Yankee with 100 homers

Curtis Granderson came up as a pinch-hitter off the bench to hit his 35th homer and drive in five runs, and New York beat the Baltimore Orioles 13-3 on yesterday to regain sole possession of first place in the division. Granderson ended up with three hits and five RBI and according to ESPN Stats, the last player to have 3+ hits and 5+ RBI in a game he did not start was Kelly Gruber of Toronto, on April 11, 1988.

The Grandy Man's 2012 homers

The home run for Granderson was his hundredth as a member of the Yankees (he had 102 for the Tigers), the 39th player to hit 100+ homers for the Yanks and it's a great list of players.

Not surprisingly, the Yankees have had the most 100+ hitters of any franchise.

RkPlayerHRFromToG
1 Babe Ruth 659 1920 1934 2084
2 Mickey Mantle 536 1951 1968 2401
3 Lou Gehrig 493 1923 1939 2164
4 Joe DiMaggio 361 1936 1951 1736
5 Yogi Berra 358 1946 1963 2116
6 Alex Rodriguez 301 2004 2012 1228
7 Bernie Williams 287 1991 2006 2076
8 Jorge Posada 275 1995 2011 1829
9 Derek Jeter 255 1995 2012 2564
10 Graig Nettles 250 1973 1983 1535
11 Don Mattingly 222 1982 1995 1785
12 Jason Giambi 209 2002 2008 897
13 Dave Winfield 205 1981 1990 1172
14 Roger Maris 203 1960 1966 850
15 Bill Dickey 202 1928 1946 1789
16 Tino Martinez 192 1996 2005 1054
17 Paul O'Neill 185 1993 2001 1254
18 Charlie Keller 184 1939 1952 1066
19 Tommy Henrich 183 1937 1950 1284
20 Bobby Murcer 175 1965 1983 1256
21 Robinson Cano 173 2005 2012 1192
22 Tony Lazzeri 169 1926 1937 1659
23 Joe Pepitone 166 1962 1969 1051
24 Bill Skowron 165 1954 1962 1087
25 Elston Howard 161 1955 1967 1492
26 Roy White 160 1965 1979 1881
27 Hank Bauer 158 1948 1959 1406
28 Joe Gordon 153 1938 1946 1000
29 Bob Meusel 146 1920 1929 1294
30 Reggie Jackson 144 1977 1981 653
31 Hideki Matsui 140 2003 2009 916
32 Tom Tresh 140 1961 1969 1098
33 Mark Teixeira 134 2009 2012 590
34 Thurman Munson 113 1969 1979 1423
35 Gil McDougald 112 1951 1960 1336
36 George Selkirk 108 1934 1942 846
37 Mike Pagliarulo 105 1984 1989 703
38 Nick Swisher 101 2009 2012 576
39 Curtis Granderson 100 2010 2012 430
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/10/2012.

 

Here are the totals for each team:

Monday
Nov212011

Cy Verlander MVP, Too

Justin Verlander added the 2011 AL Most Valuable Player Award to his rapidly expanding trophy case on Monday, becoming the first pitcher to win both MVP and Cy Young since Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starter since Roger Clemens in 1986. Verlander posted a 250/57 K/BB ratio in 251 innings, taking the pitcher triple crown by also getting 24 wins and compiling a 2.40 ERA.

Verlander's MVP selection is sure to stir controversy. Going by Baseball-Reference's Wins Above Replacement (which judges pitchers based on actual runs allowed), Verlander's 8.6 WAR puts him neck-and-neck with Jose Bautista (8.5) and ahead of other bandied-about candidates like Jacoby Ellsbury (7.2), Miguel Cabrera (7.1) and Curtis Granderson (5.2). But Fangraphs' WAR, which evaluates a pitcher by his fielding-independent stats, has Verlander with 7 WAR (he got a big boost from a .236 batting average on balls in play, over 50 points below his career average). That's below the likes of Ellsbury (9.4), Bautista (8.3), Cabrera (7.3) and even with Granderson. By results, Verlander was arguably the best. By process, perhaps not (though "luck" arguments can be made for hitters, too).

In any event, Verlander was truly awesome in 2011. Here are 13 tidbits on his MVP-Cy Young season -- one for each first-place MVP vote that he received.

- Verlander led all starters with an average fastball velocity of 95.1 mph. But he had a wide range in velocity, maxing out at 101 mph and going as low as 91-92 mph. Verlander pulled back a little bit early in the count (he averaged 94 mph on the first pitch) and dialed it up when he smelled a strikeout, sitting at 96.3 mph with two strikes.

- That fastball turned collectively turned hitters into Brandon Wood circa 2011. Opponents batted just .215/.290/.358 against Verlander's heat, compared to the .274/.345/.430 average versus starting pitchers.

- Verlander was all about the high heat: about 41 percent of his fastballs were thrown above the belt. David Price and Clayton Kershaw were the only starters to challenge hitters with more high fastballs.

- Lest you think he's fastball-obsessed, Verlander threw his heater a career-low 54 percent of the time. That's down from 59 percent in 2010, and a career-high 67 percent in 2009.

- There's a reason Verlander went to the fastball less often -- he's got three other filthy pitches in his mid-to-high 80s changeup, high-70s-low-80s curveball (each thrown 18-19 percent of the time) and his mid-80s slider (about 8 percent). Check out his opponent slugging percentages with those offerings:

Changeup: .345 SLG%, .385 average for SP

Curveball: .200 SLG%, .339 average for SP

Slider: .276 SLG%, .357 average for SP

- Largely because of the changeup and curve, Verlander had a big reverse platoon split in 2011. He dominated right-handed hitters (.617 on-base-plus slugging percentage), but he torched lefties to the tune of a .504 OPS. That was by far the best for a righty starter against lefty hitters (Matt Cain was second at .523, and Josh Beckett ranked third at a distant .562).

- Verlander threw just one out of every three changeups in the strike zone. You might think that's indicative of below-average control and command, but it was by design. Verlander spotted the change just off the outside corner:

Verlander's changeup location, 2011

Despite his low zone percentage with the pitch, about 80 percent of Verlander's changeups were classified as "competitive" pitches, meaning they were within 18 inches of the middle of the plate.

- With those changeups so close to the plate, hitters chased lots of them -- 42 percent, compared to the 36 percent average for starters.

- Overall, no starter threw more "competitive" pitches in 2011. After all, why nibble when you've got the best stuff on the planet?

- Verlander just about never hung a curveball high in the zone in 2011. Just three percent of his benders were thrown high, compared to 53 percent that were located at hitters' knees. That's a good way to allow just eight extra-base hits on the pitch all season long.

- The curveball was Verlander's main strikeout pitch, ringing up 95 hitters. Those Ks were split just about evenly between the swinging (48) and called (47) variety. That's in contrast to most starters, who get 3.5 swinging Ks with the curve for every called third strike. Verlander couldn't have been better in terms of location on the curveballs that fanned hitters. Talk about right on the black:

Location of Verlander's Ks with the curveball, 2011

- Speaking of painting the black, Verlander threw 47 curveballs right on the corners. Only curveball specialist Wandy Rodriguez did it more often.

- Verlander started fiddling with a slider in 2009 and it has gradually become a bigger part of his repertoire. He tossed it less than three percent of the time in '09, about seven percent in 2010 and 8-9 percent in 2011. The pitch is more of a hybrid cutter/slider, with short break and near-90 mph velocity. Now, hitters have to worry about two nasty breaking pitches in addition to baseball's best fastball and a killer changeup. Verlander's stuff really goes across the velocity and movement spectrum:

Release velocity and movement on Verlander's fastball (red), changeup (yellow), slider (green) and curveball (blue)

Good luck differentiating between fastball/changeup and slider/curve.

Verlander's MVP-winning 2011 season echoes that of Clemens in Boston 25 years ago. The Rocket tossed 254 innings, also won 24 games, led the league with a 2.48 ERA and just missed out on the triple crown by finishing second to Mark Langston in strikeouts. Clemens' WAR totals (7.9 Baseball-Reference, 8 Fangraphs) were right around those of a deserving position player (teammate Wade Boggs, who finished a distant seventh in balloting), though the pitcher got the honor.

Fans might not agree about whether Verlander was the best candidate, or if a pitcher should ever win MVP without being head and shoulders above contending position players. But I think we can all agree on this: Verlander is at his peak, and he'll be in the Cy Young/MVP discussion for the foreseeable future.

 

Monday
Sep262011

Curveball Key for Shields vs. Yankees

James Shields needs to live up to his "Big Game" billing tonight, as the Rays (one game behind Boston in the Wild Card standings) open a three-game set with the Yankees. Shields has shut down New York this year, posting a 27/7 K/BB ratio in 30 innings pitched while holding Bombers batters to a collective .222/.270/.343 line. A big reason for Shields' success against the majors' second-most potent offense is that he's using his curveball, a pitch that makes some Yankees look Cerrano-like, more often.

Shields has increased his curveball usage from 13 percent in 2010 to 21 percent this year. The bender,  dropping a couple more inches compared to last season, is holding hitters to a .199 Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA), well below the .253 league average. The Yankees, meanwhile, haven't hit curveballs well this season. It's the only pitch against which the club has a below-average team wOBA:

2011 Yankees Team wOBA by Pitch Type (league average in parentheses)

Fastball: .382 (.340)

Sinker: .345 (.343)

Cutter: .323 (.311)

Slider: .302 (.263)

Changeup: .299 (.290)

Splitter: .289 (.279)

Curveball: .248 (.253)

Here are the Yankee hitters who are scuffling against curveballs in 2011:

Brett Gardner, .117

Mark Teixeira, .190

Nick Swisher, .239

Curtis Granderson, .251

Alex Rodriguez, .256

Rodriguez (.344 wOBA vs. curves from 2008-2011) typically crushes curveballs, but that hasn't been the case this season. Gardner (.216), Teixeira (.263), Swisher (.226) and Granderson (.241) have long been jelly-legged against curves.  

Shields has tossed his curveball for a strike nearly 70 percent of the time against the Yankees, giving up just one extra-base hit in the process. Look for the pitch to play a prominent role tonight as Tampa continues its late-season playoff pursuit.