Tag: Travis Hafner

Grady Sizemore Red Sox

Grady Sizemore’s first two at-bats since 2011: Single, Homer


Grady Sizemore’s comeback story keeps getting better. Playing in his first regular season game since 2011, the Red Sox center fielder singled in his first at-bat and then homered in his second at-bat.

It was Sizemore’s first homer since July 15, 2011, also against the Orioles at Camden Yards.

Some “wow, that was a long time ago” tidbits from that 2011 game: Travis Hafner was the Indians’ No. 3 hitter, Orlando Cabrera was their second baseman and No. 6 hitter, Derrek Lee batted fifth for the Orioles, and Koji Uehara pitched the final two innings for Baltimore.

Anyway, welcome back Grady Sizemore!

Travis Hafner goes into college coaching, but still wants to play

Travis Hafner

Travis Hafner hasn’t officially called it a career despite hitting just .202 with a .679 OPS in 82 games for the Yankees last season, but the former slugger has gone into coaching.

Dennis Manoloff of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Hafner has joined the coaching staff at Notre Dame College–which is not to be confused with the University of Notre Dame–and will be a volunteer assistant coach for the Division II team. Notre Dame College’s head coach is Len Barker, who spent 11 seasons in the majors as a starting pitcher and threw a perfect game in 1981.

However, Hafner made it clear that he’s still hoping to sign with a team and continue playing at age 37: “I’m working out every day, getting ready for the upcoming season. The body and swing feel good.”

The Yankees agree to a one-year, $2 million deal with Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts AP

“Ground ball to Jeter, he tosses it to Roberts, Roberts relays it to Teixeira and . . . oh, man. All three of them broke their hips.”


I guess you have to have someone play second base or else there’d be a lot more singles to right. But this is a pretty icky signing if you ask me. Roberts has very little durability and has been ineffective since, basically, 2009. As Aaron noted last night, Roberts has played a total of 192 games in the past four seasons. His line over that time is .246/.310/.359.

But hey, the Travis Hafner signing worked out so well last year, why not replicate the model?

Let’s not overstate the impact Yankee Stadium will have on Brian McCann

Brian McCann AP

As soon as the Yankees’ signing of free agent catcher Brian McCann to a five-year, $85 million contract was announced, the projections started rolling in. “McCann will hit 35-40 HRs with Yankee Stadium as home ballpark,” tweeted David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Others were less bold, suggesting 35 as a ceiling for the former Brave.

It makes sense at first glance. Yankee Stadium is 314 feet down the right field line, a feature of the park that has turned a catchable deep fly ball in 29 other parks into a fourth-row dinger. According to Statcorner, Yankee Stadium allowed home runs to left-handed hitters at a rate 16 percent higher than average. It was even more garish in 2012, when Statcorner pegged Yankee Stadium at 46 percent above the league average. In 2011, it was 45 percent; 39 percent in 2010; and 14 percent in 2009. As Keith Law noted in Saturday’s column, “Sixteen of his 20 homers in 2013 were to dead right field, as were 15 of his 20 bombs in 2012.” And that was playing half his games in the comparatively much more pitcher-friendly Turner Field.

Since the new Yankee Stadium opened up in 2009, however, a Yankee has crossed the 30-homer plateau just eight times. Two were by Curtis Granderson (43, 41), three were by Mark Teixeira (39, 39, 33), one by Robinson Cano (33), and two by Alex Rodriguez (30, 30). Alfonso Soriano could also join the list if you count his 17 as a Cub and 17 as a Yankee. But with that list, you have only two natural left-handed hitters (Granderson, Cano), a switch-hitter (Teixeira), and two right-handers (Rodriguez, Soriano). About as even a split as you can get.

The lack of left-handed hitters to hit 30 or more homers hasn’t been for a lack of trying. They’ve had Hideki Matsui, Nick Swisher, Johnny Damon, Raul Ibanez, and Travis Hafner, just to name a handful. Matsui hit 25 home runs as a Yankee in 2007. Swisher hit 36 as a member of the Athletics in 2006. Damon hit 24 in 2006. Ibanez hit 34 in 2009 with the Phillies. Hafner has more of an excuse as he hasn’t been a solid regular since 2007 but he hit 42 in 2006 with the Indians. If the short porch in right field is such a friend to lefties, why have only two lefties and one switch-hitter accomplished the feat in the five years of the stadium’s existence?

Let’s try some theoretical math. On FanGraphs, the Steamer projection system pegged McCann at 20 home runs prior to moving to the Bronx. If we buy that projection as realistic, and assume that 60 percent of his home runs (12) will come at home and 40 percent on the road (eight), even boosting the numbers by the highest Statcorner park factor listed above (45 percent), that would only put McCann at 25 home runs. (8 on the road + (12 home + (12 * 0.45 ))) Even if all 20 of McCann’s home runs were hit at home and we boost that by the 45 percent park factor, he only comes in at 29. It’s possible the 20-homer projection is low, but even after the most generous math, McCann still comes in under 35 home runs.

McCann solves a very obvious problem for the Yankees, and he solves it very well. His contract wasn’t outrageous, and he should be productive for them at least for the first few years of the deal. But let’s not overstate how much McCann will benefit from Yankee Stadium. It’ll help, but it won’t be his Popeye’s spinach.

Travis Hafner activated by the Yankees, is still alive

Travis Hafner

I just read that Travis Hafner was activated by the Yankees and I legitimately thought “wait, Travis Hafner still plays?” The stuff where he did moderately well for the Yankees for the first part of the season seemed like two years ago and I swore I remember an interview with him from this summer in which he talked about how he’s all about fishing and stuff now.

But he’s back. After missing action since July with a bum rotator cuff.  For the year he’s at .205/.300/.384, which probably means you shouldn’t blink while he plays out the string in New York, because this is probably the last we’ll see of him.