While many simply point to the Yankees’ payroll as the reason for their success, general manager Brian Cashman has spent over a decade quietly assembling an analytics department that rivals any in baseball, as Marc Carig and Eno Sarris detail in a fascinating piece for The Athletic (subscription required). Current assistant GM Michael Fishman was hired as the Yankees’ first full-time analyst in 2005, and today, New York has an estimated 20 employees on their analytics team. This ties them with the Dodgers as the largest such staff in baseball by Carig and Sarris’ count, though they note that teams are notoriously secretive in providing any details about their information-gathering practices. The increased focus on analytical data has impacted all levels of the baseball operations and scouting departments, with the results apparent in how the Yankees have built their outstanding bullpen, all their pitchers’ high velocity and spin rate on their four-seam fastballs, and in the sheer number of current Major League players that the Yankees originally signed or drafted.
Here’s more from around the AL East…
- We could know more about Buck Showalter’s future with the Orioles today, as The Athletic’s Dan Connolly (Twitter link) reports that the manager is expected to meet with ownership and the “sense is” Showalter will be offered some type of job to remain with the franchise. It isn’t clear if that job would be a front office role or if Showalter could continue on as manager in the wake of Baltimore’s 115-loss season.
- Questions also surround the job status of Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette, though Duquette didn’t give any hints about his situation, simply telling Dan Connolly (subscription-only piece) “that’s an appropriate question for ownership.” Though Duquette’s contract is up at the end of October, he is still proceeding as if he’ll still be with the organization in 2019. For instance, Duquette is considering joining at least five other Orioles talent evaluators in attending the showcase for top Cuban prospects Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr., and Sandy Gaston on Friday. The O’s have been heavily linked to these youngsters due to the space in the team’s international bonus pool, which Connolly estimates as roughly $6MM available to be spent.
- Hard-throwing Ryan Brasier has become a key contributor to the Red Sox bullpen, posting a 1.60 ERA, 4.14 K/BB rate and 7.8 K/9 over 33 2/3 frames for the AL East champs. It has been quite the showing for the unheralded 31-year-old, who had just nine innings of MLB experience (with the Angels in 2013) prior to this season. As The Athletic’s Chad Jennings (subscription required) writes, it was less than a year ago that a homesick Brasier was pitching in Japan and intent on returning to North America for the 2018 campaign. He sent e-mails to all 30 MLB teams over the offseason in search of a job, finally landing a minor league deal with the Sox, and then excelling after his contract was selected in July.