Thursday, April 8, 2021

Once A Year...

 ...I sing this song.

The name of the song is " You Win With Strength Up The Middle."

It is the oldest, and truest, baseball maxim there is.  And it is always correct.  Want a quick, empirical check? 

 Look at the Dodgers roster that won the world series last year.  

Here is how the maxim goes:

1.  You have to have a great catcher.  The kind of player we all once though Gary Sanchez was.  A reliable hitter, with power, and top defensive skills. A catcher who allows pitchers to throw their best breaking stuff in the most clutch moments (e.g. breaking balls in the dirt ), and guns runners out who dare to steal. 

2.  Terrific pitching.  Starters and bullpen. And a closer who is dependable all the time. 

3.  A gold glove shortstop who can hit ( usually for average, rather than power ). He puts the ball in play, and you want him at bat when you've got to advance or score a runner.  He is a smart, resourceful, unpredictable baseball player. On defense, this guy turns hits into outs due to his range and arm strength. He makes the catcher look good on throws to second with acrobatic catches, when needed. 

4.  A centerfielder with a gold glove and exceptional speed. Patrols 40-45% of the outfield and is known for spectacular catches.  His work is dis-spiriting to the other side.   And, this is a guy who hits for both average and power.  Anyone remember Micky Mantle?  Or Mookie Betts last year on the Dodgers?  It is not usually a guy whose best offensive asset is earning a walk.  You don't bat him third to do that. 

So, how do you rate the 2021 Yankee team on these measures?

And, having done that, can you realistically think anything other than getting into the wild card game, and then getting incredibly lucky to extend the season?


HoraceClarke66 said...

Brilliantly put, Alphonso!

Except to at least have to have ONE of these attributes for those players.

For instance, the catcher can be a mediocre hitter—but a defensive standout and team leader, like Joe G. in 1996 and 1998.

The shortstop might have limited range—but he is indeed a fine hitter, unpredictable as you say, and a guy who never makes a bad play in a big moment, like a certain individual now serving as general manager of a rising team.

The centerfielder maybe doesn't have to be Mickey Mantle or Joe D....but he at least has to be Bernie, or the Other Mickey, able to infuriate and disrupt the other team with his wily, supernatural ways.

A guy who has forgotten how to field, forgotten how to hit, and now forgotten when to run? A guy who is rapidly turning into the third coming of Steve Sax? That No. 3 hitter who seems to get worse every year—when he can stay on the field?


Can't win with what we're seeing so far up the middle.

Ken of Brooklyn said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YESSS, absolutely agree a bazillion percent with everything above,,,, URRRGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Meanwhile, General Soreness, now in charge of the Yankees general staff, claims that you don't have to have strength up the middle anymore:

"You go VEAK up de middle. Den, ven the enemy tries to exploit dat weakness, you SMASH him de flocks, vere ve got Gardy un Urshela un Bruce un oh boy, hey lady!"