Jeter and Rivera
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It’s always fun to generate and debate lists. Since I’m a Red Sox fan I am doing the dreaded New York Yankees second. Here’s the All-2000 to Present New York Yankees Lineup.
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C – Jorge Posada
1B – Mark Teixeira
2B – Robinson Cano
3B – Alex Rodriguez
SS – Derek Jeter
RF – Nick Swisher
LF – Brett Gardner
CF – Bernie Williams
DH – Hideki Matsui
SP – Andy Pettitte
SP – Mike Mussina
SP – C.C. Sabathia
SP – Roger Clemens
SP – Masahiro Tanaka
Closer – Mariano Rivera
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Baltimore Orioles
Boston Red Sox


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By Jeff P.
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The cutter. A game saver, reviver, the magical pitch which can change a pitcher’s career. The pitch where home runs become strikeouts.
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Mariano Rivera isn’t the only one. How about 2010 Cy Young Roy Halladay? Or Josh Beckett’s recent dominance after suffering an injury-riddled 2010.
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John Danks, who had started the season with zero wins, has found his pitch. The pitch he introduced in 2008 and stopped since then. Now he started using it again, and since then, he is more dominant than he ever was.
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The future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera created the cut fastball and revolutionized baseball. Since the late 90′s, a myriad of hitters have approached the Yankees closer with looks of despair.
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When hitters stepped up to the plate and laid their eyes on the sandman standing on the mound, they thought to themselves, “oh no, not this guy again.” However, nowadays, the reality is, every time hitters step up to the plate they are faced with that mentality. Mike Adams, James Shields and Dan Haren are among the myriad of new “sandmans” ready to “cut” at bats, hits, homers and the hitter’s advantage.
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Even pitchers such as Ryan Vogelsong and Kyle Lohse have re-emerged out of the depths of doom, and returned to the ageless world of dominance. After all, It’s not age, speed, athleticism or even skill: It’s the pitch.
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This pitch has truly ended the era of hitters and unleashed a new era with endless opportunities for pitchers and endless despair for hitters.
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It’s time for the game changing cutter to evolve. For it to change history. For it to make the Most Valuable Player award into the new Cy Young award and vice versa.
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The cut fastball is a new way to extend careers. It stymies hitters, and shifts the edge from hitters to pitchers.
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When the cutter comes near you, you’re thinking fastball. The ball breaks and just like that leaves the hitter baffled with shame, as the umpire jerks his arms and declares a strike. Home runs become strikeouts, H becomes K, stats change and nothing stays the same.
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You can follow Jeff @ http://twitter.com/#!/TheMLBNBAexpert.


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Mariano Rivera had 33 saves last year. Solid number, but there were eleven closers with more saves than Mo last year. Of the 18 closers with 25 or more saves last year, only Ryan Franklin (42) had fewer than Mo’s 45 strikeouts. In fact, the other 16 closers had at least 52 strikeouts. Brian Wilson, Heath Bell, Carlos Marmol, and Jonathan Papelbon rung up at least 76 batters.
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Of course Rivera’s ERA of 1.80 and WHIP of 0.83 are what you’re looking for when you take him as one of the first closers off the board. That’s the stuff he’s been doing his whole career, and part of the reason he’s considered the greatest closer of all-time. That, of course, and his postseason heroics.
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You, though, aren’t drafting him for what he does in October. You are drafting him to anchor your fantasy bullpen. Save totals can vary from year to year so I wouldn’t put too much weight into that total, especially for a rock like Mo. The strikeouts drop does concern me, but Mo had 55 in 2006 before posting three consecutive 70+ strikeout seasons.
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What does concern me though is Mariano’s decreasing innings pitched. His innings have decreased every year since 2004. With the addition of Rafael Soriano, that trend could continue. The Yankees will want a fresh Rivera for the postseason so they could be more conservative with Mo during the regular season. With fewer innings pitched, there is a real concern that the strikeouts and saves will be on the low side once again.
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Unfortunately to acquire his services, you’re going to have to take him early. His average draft position, according to Mock Draft Central, is 62 and before every other closer. That’s the sixth round in 12-team leagues. Heath Bell’s ADP is 92. My feeling is that if you’re drafting Mo, you’re paying a premium based on his name. Do yourself a favor and let somebody else pay that and get better value later.
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This is an update to a previous post. I have secured the audio for the interview. If you are interested, click the arrow below.  It may take a little while to load so please be patient.

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I was fortunate enough to be asked to talk baseball on Sacramento’s Sportsline 1140 KHTK AM with Grant & Mike.  I was a little nervous as it was just my second radio interview.  We started off talking about Ken Griffey, Jr. in the wake of his 600th career Home Run.  I was asked if Griffey had stayed healthy would he be approaching 800.  My take was probably not 800, but he very well could be giving chase to Hank Aaron’s record.  Next we turned to the Yankees and the Joba Chamberlain situation. Although it may help their rotation it leaves a gaping hole in their bullpen.    Having to rely on Kyle Farnsworth is not a pleasant thing.  They pointed out that the Yankees have used Mariano Rivera twice in games that were tied, which makes very little sense.  We finished up talking about the San Francisco Giants and the disparity of Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum’s salaries.  I pointed out that although Zito isn’t earning his keep based on that high salary, he had allowed 3 or fewer Runs in six of his last seven outings so at least he’s giving the Giants a chance.  When addressing Lincecum I pointed out that it’s not uncommon for young guys to produce far beyond what their salaries would dictate, and that the new trend is for the smaller market teams to lock up their guys soon rather than later (Hanley Ramirez, Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria for example) so they don’t have to pay the ridiculous contracts (Carlos Silva – $48 million over four years ) when their players hit the open market. 

All in all, I think I did fair for an inexperienced interviewee.  It was a rewarding experience and one I wouldn’t mind repeating.  I am going to try and track down an audio file of the interview, and if I get my hands on it, I’ll post it on my site.


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