Son of Yhency

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Off to Japan...

I apologize for not posting anything in the last week, but things have been a little crazy. And the posts will continue to be sparse for a bit as I head off to Japan tomorrow!

The highlight of my upcoming week there may be the Hanshin Tigers and Yomiuri Giants game I'm going to, which is supposed to be the equivalent of Red Sox-Yankees. Should be excellent. So I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures and report back when I return on May 9. Until then, we slowly count down the days until Yhency's glorious return.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Back in the day

I'd like to think that most people know that in exchange for Kevin Brown, Yhency (and others) came to the Dodgers via a trade with the Yankees. However, I don't know how many realize that just a couple of years before that trade, Yhency was actually an outfielder with them darned Yanks. Here he is, featured on an old Bowman card in all of his offensive-minded glory. Not sure about the autograph on the card, as he spells his name "Yhensi."

Nice looking swing, Yhency! Almost Griffey-esque in the follow-through. However, the best picture is on the back of the card, in which he features a full-on sneer:

As part of his mental rehab in preparation for the 2007 season, I think Yhency needs to channel the inner beast he displays in this picture so that he can intimidate hitters and pitch the way we all know he's capable.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The truth about 2005

A little intro to this post -- just about everything written here was done so last week, before Yhency went down for the season to undergo Tommy John surgery. While what I've written isn't nearly as relevant now that he's done for 2006, it nonetheless is an interesting look into a misunderstood 2005 season.


In my post the other day, I alluded to what I believe is an inaccurate but widely-held negative perception of Yhency's performance last year. People look at that ugly 5.33 ERA and automatically assume he was bad. However, it isn't nearly that cut and dry. Because as Catbird in the Nosebleed Seats has already discovered, if you dig a little at all, you'll quickly learn that the high ERA and several blown saves don't tell nearly the whole story.

If we split Yhency's 2005 season into four quarters, all of which coincide with his change in roles in the bullpen, we find that two were very good, one was deceptively good and one was downright awful.

Why the inconsistency? I think the explanation lies in two areas, each of which worked hand in hand with one another. The first, and most obvious one, was his inexperience. Going into the year, Yhency had only pitched 32.2 innings over one year in the majors. Second, the Dodgers coaching staff simply mishandled the kid, and his youth only accentuated his inconsistency. Let me explain.

Quarter 1
With Gagne beginning last year on the DL, Yhency was thrust into the closer role. And in the 15 games he appeared in his first time as closer, he was actually very good: 14.1 innings pitched, 1.88 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a strikeout rate of 10.05 K/9. If you throw out his first three games, which we could very understandably characterize as an adjustment period, he finished this first quarter with 11 IP over 12 appearances, 0 runs allowed, five hits and three walks. That's not just good -- that's dominant.

Quarter 2
This quarter corresponded with Gagne's one-month return as closer and Yhency's demotion to eighth inning setup man. In this new role, Yhency suffered, kind of: 14 IP, a ghastly 5.14 ERA and a considerably lower strikeout rate of 7.07 K/9. However, the WHIP actually improved to 1.07, which indicates that the inflated ERA was due in part to bad luck. (This 2002 article reports that the average ERA for someone with a WHIP of 1.07 is 2.46. Yhency's was more than twice that.) And as before, if we take a three-game adjustment period into account and throw them out, his second quarter numbers were actually very impressive: 11.1 IP, a significantly-improved 1.59 ERA and an even better WHIP of 0.71.

Quarter 3
You know what wasn't impressive? Yhency's third quarter performance, which is what really skewed his numbers on the year. Upon becoming the closer after Gagne was shut down for good, things got ugly: 17.2 IP, 11.21 ERA, 2.09 WHIP and a horrid strikeout rate of 4.58 K/9. (That WHIP was so bad that the chart in the article linked in the section above doesn't even get close to that high.) There's no sugar-coating what happened here. Yhency simply wasn't good.

Quarter 4
There's good news to end this story -- the fourth quarter got much better. Upon again being demoted to the eighth inning, this time in deference of Duaner Sanchez who took over as closer, Yhency again flourished: 26.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and a much healthier K rate of 8.44. Not brilliant numbers, like the first quarter, but quite serviceable.

What do these four very different sets of stats tell us? More than anything, I think they show how important stability is for Yhency, or at least during last year. Look, the guy was a rookie. The last thing you can do to him is throw him around the bullpen and expect consistency. But each time, after a three-game adjustment period, Brazoban proved that he could still flourish. In fact, here are his aggregate numbers from his first three appearances in each of the four quarters: 12 IP, 9.75 ERA and a WHIP of 2.33. Yhency's numbers from the fourth appearance onward in all quarters? In 60.2 IP, he had a respectable 4.45 ERA and 1.22 WHIP.

Here's the section where I was going to argue that this year, things were going to be different. First, Yhency would have had a buffer in the form of Danys Baez between him and Gagne, who would have created an extra layer of stability. Grady could throw Baez around the bullpen and you know he'd still be good. Barring any injury to Baez -- and frankly, for the Dodgers, that would be the least surprising thing in the world -- Yhency would have had a consistent setup role in the seventh or eighth innings.

The second thing working in Yhency's favor is that he would have had an additional year of experience to his credit, and for a 25-year old, that would have paid huge dividends.

But you know what? It's not all for naught. These two factors -- a deeper bullpen and simple life experience -- will still be around in 2007. And with both of them working hand in hand, I'm very hopeful that Yhency will significantly improve upon his 2005 numbers.


A tale of four quarters
Yhency showed last year that his several moves to and from the closer and setup roles ruined his consistency. However, these four quarters not only illustrate his potential, but that he wasn't nearly as bad as his overall numbers appear on a cursory glance.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Surgery a success

Yhency underwent Tommy John surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic in Inglewood yesterday, and everything appears to have gone well. Some details from the Daily Breeze (about halfway down the article):
Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered the procedure, and Dr. Ralph Gambardella performed the procedure, in which they also removed a bone spur that the torn ligament had pulled off from the joint. A team spokesman relayed word from the doctors that the removal of the bone spur should not complicate rehabilitation, which is expected to take from one year to 18 months.

Only 346 days until Opening Day 2007! But if Yhency isn't ready by then, just a short 709 days until Opening Day 2008!!!

Monday, April 17, 2006

Papelbon approaching Yhency

Although news on Yhency will be sparse for the next few months, he's popping up in a few non-injury-related articles concerning Jonathan Papelbon's great performance in Boston.

In just over two weeks into the season, Pap has five saves. For saves by rookie closers in April, that only stands behind Mike MacDougal (nine with the Royals in 1993), Yhency (seven last year) and Salome Barojas (six with the White Sox in 1982).

While he may reach MacDougal, Pap will almost certainly overtake Yhency on this list. And that's fine. All I ask for is that Yhency's career doesn't follow the path of the guys currently sandwiching him.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

This was supposed to be the Summer of Yhency

The Final Line

Wow, how did this happen? Five innings pitched into the season and Yhency is done. I was supposed to give this recap on October 2.


Saturday, April 15, 2006

That doesn't sound pleasant

Some specific info on Yhency's injury in this article in the LA Times today:
Trainer Stan Johnston said Brazoban tore the ligament so severely that he pulled off a piece of the bone attached to the ligament, a rarity that Johnston said would not cause complications for the surgery or rehabilitation.


Friday, April 14, 2006

Holy mother of God

I was concerned today when I read that Yhency may be sent to Triple-A in deference to (a) keeping Cody Ross on the major league squad or (b) bringing Kenny Lofton off of the DL.

I was even more concerned when I read about some talk of discomfort in Yhency's elbow, an MRI and the possibility of a stint on the DL.

But I just found out about the unspeakable. And I can't even believe I'm about to write this -- Yhency is out for the season to undergo Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery.

In the words of George Costanza, I'm speechless right now. I am without speech. I don't even know what to say. Triple-A would have been bad, but Yhency would have worked through it and made his way back to the Dodgers. On the DL, he would have done the same. But out for the year? I can't even comprehend it right now.

What happens from here for Son of Yhency? I'm not sure, but we'll trek on as best we can. This elusive statistical review of Yhency's performance from last year? I'll still post it in the next few days. The completion of Operation Yhency? Hell, this may make it easier. A comprehensive day-by-day breakdown of Yhency's recovery from surgery? I'm not sure I'll have much to say on that, but when there's news, it'll be here. We're down, but we're absolutely not out.

Until next time, there's still plenty going on right now for the Los Angeles Baseball Dodgers, (who are often unrightfully overlooked on this blog), especially with the first game of a three-game series against Barry Bonds and the Giants starting in about 15 minutes. So let's focus on the now. Because we have 11 1/2 months until Yhency returns to Major League action. How sweet that will be...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

As Tracy inspireth, he taketh

The Line

Another rough outing for Yhency tonight, even in Jimmy Tracy's presence. Entered the eighth with the Dodgers down 7-5 and allowed two runs to score, leaving L.A. with a 9-5 loss.

This is Yhency's second bad performance in his last three appearances, but I still have faith that he will be good. And I have evidence to back up that assertion. I promise. It's coming. And you too will believe.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Goodbye and good luck

The moment Penn basketball fans have feared for the last decade has finally been realized, as coach Fran Dunphy is moving on to a bigger and better program at Temple.

Right now, my emotions are torn. Should I be upset that the man who led the Quakers to 310 wins (first all-time at Penn, second in the Ivies) as well as nine Ivy League Championships and NCAA appearances in 17 years is leaving us? Or happy for him that he's moving on to a program where he can actually succeed on a national level? I guess I'm feeling a little of both.

Fran, thanks for everything and good luck with the Owls.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tracy continues to inspire

The Line

Today, Yhency rebounded from his disastrous outing on Sunday with a solid ninth inning performance to shut the door on the Pirates, giving the Dodgers an 8-3 win. Was it Jimmy Tracy's presence in the stadium that inspired Yhency to perform as he did? We can only assume that and look forward to the remaining three games in Pittsburgh...

This is how it’s supposed to be done

Major League players and teams alike, take note. For the second time in three years, the Red Sox and David Ortiz have come to terms on a contract extension in midseason, this one being absolutely massive -- $50 million over four years.

To all the players out there who say the "right" things in a contract year -- "I couldn't imagine myself with any other team," "I love the fans here," etc -- only to stall on negotiations until after their contract has expired, take note.

And to all the teams who, again, say all the "right" things in a player's contract year -- "We're going to do everything in our power to bring him back," "He's the key to our future," etc -- but suspiciously allow negotiations to slide until after the contract expires, you too, take note.

Enough with the posturing. State your intentions and act upon them. Even if that pisses people off, lying will piss them off tenfold. Because the truth will come out. I'll take the slightly crazy Latrell Sprewell "I'm playing the market -- I got kids to feed" truth over the Johnny Damon/Roger Clemens "I will never wear pinstripes" lie any day of the week.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


The Line

Couldn't catch the Dodgers-Phils doubleheader on TV today but Yhency made an appearance in the first game, and it wasn't good. The line above is ugly enough as it is, but the full story is even worse than it appears.

According to Not Another Sports/Poker Blog (who unfortunately has a less-than-positive opinion of Brazoban), Yhency came on in the top of the seventh after D-Lowe surrendered a double to Mike Lieberthal. After Abraham Nunez entered to pinch run, Yhency threw four consecutive balls to Shane Victorino, with the last being a wild pitch that Dioner Navarro made less than a valiant effort to block. That put Nuney at third, Victorino to first. After getting Jimmy Rollins to pop out, Yhency threw another wild pitch, so Nuney broke for home. Fortunately, Navarro recovered the ball and threw it to Yhency, who tagged out Nuney at the plate. (Ravings from Behind the Plate at Chavez Ravine even wonders if Yhency did that on purpose, because that seemed like the only way he was gonna get anyone out.) Unfortunately, Yhency followed that fortuitous play up by giving up a hit to Aaron Rowand, thus allowing Victorino to score from second. That made for a 3-3 tie and a blown save.

Grady mercifully stopped the bleeding by bringing in Hong-Chih Kuo to match up against Bobby Abreu. (While Kuo got the out, I'd like to think that Grady brought him in because he killed the Phils on Friday, not because it was a lefty-lefty matchup. Because while I have no idea if the info in the post in this blog is accurate, it claims that Kuo is actually more effective against righties than lefties.)

Just an ugly appearance for Yhency. And it could have been much worse. The Dodgers ultimately lost the game, 6-3, but thankfully won the second one, 6-2.

On a side note, James Loney is looking like a beast, both offensively and defensively. Guess Colletti knew what he was doing when he signed Nomar for only a year. Can't wait to see him in action with Joel Guzman, Andy LaRoche, Chad Billingsley and others in a few years. (Although I wouldn't mind Nomar coming back soon, so I have him for fantasy. Gotta love that shortshop and third base eligibility.)

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Gagne surgery a success

I'd think anyone that's interested in the Dodgers probably knows this by now, but Eric Gagne's surgery yesterday has been deemed a success by his doctors, and they say he could possibly be back by the end of May. I'm not gonna believe that until I see it, but that would be great for Los Doggers. Let's hope.

Also in the linked article above is Grady's not-so-shocking revelation that upon returning, Gagne would assume the closer role, thus pushing Baez back to the eighth inning and (presumably) Yhency to the seventh.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Opportunity's a-knockin'

From 2002 to 2004, Eric Gagne was without a doubt the most dominant closer in baseball. He entered 84 consecutive save opportunities without blowing one, had a ridiculous ERA of 1.79 and boasted a K/9 ratio of 13.30. In his best year, 2003, here were some of his key stats: 1.20 ERA, 0.69 WHIP, .133 BAA and 137 Ks in only 82.1 innings pitched. That's just stupid.

Now it's over. Let's all admit it. Because after missing most of the 2005 season with pain in his right elbow and undergoing surgery, he will now miss a very large portion of the 2006 season (at the very least) so he can again have surgery on the same elbow to remove a nerve that has been causing pain.

Clearly this hurts the Dodgers as a team, and for that, I am not happy. But I would be remiss if I didn't address how this affects Yhency.

Despite all the turmoil he's been through so far this year and his non-appearance in tonight's 5-3 win over the Phillies, I think he immediately becomes the eighth inning setup man. Baez is the closer, no doubt, but with Yhency's experience and the early struggles of Hong-Chih Kuo and Franquelis Osoria, Grady has no one else to turn to. And unlike what those at other sites think (see point #6), this isn't a bad thing. For Yhency will shine.

Agree with the majority, that Yhency will be a dud? Then stay tuned for my post in the next few days in which I'll detail why Yhency's 2005 numbers (5.33 ERA and 1.40 WHIP) are supremely deceiving and must be broken down to understand his effectiveness. To say how the Dodgers coaching staff handled him in the bullpen had some effect on his performance would be the understatement of the century.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Yhency performs. Osoria doesn’t.

The Line

Yhency did his job last night. He did his job well.

Entering the top of the seventh with the Dodgers down to the Braves, 8-5, Yhency quickly took care of business. And when the Dodgers offense faced off against the Braves’ John Thomson, Mike Remlinger and Oscar Villarreal in the bottom of the inning, they responded to Yhency’s stellar performance by putting three runs on the board to tie the game.

In the top of the next inning, on comes Franquelis Osoria, who, along with Hong-Chih Kuo, tore it up in Spring Training as Yhency struggled. And as Kuo proved on Opening Day, we saw for the millionth time why you can’t place any stock in spring performance, for Osoria promptly gave the lead back to the Braves by allowing an RBI double to Ryan Langerhans. It turned out to be the winning run, as the Braves won, 9-8.

Damn you and your deceptive spring performance, Osoria. You too, Hong-Chih Kuo.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

April begins as March ends

Just as Opening Day came and went two days ago -- we're gonna have to start getting better at providing prompt updates -- so has Yhency's first appearance in the 2006 season! Unfortunately, while his line may not show it (1 1/3 IP, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts), his performance was less than stellar.

Hong-Chih Kuo, who was a monster in Spring Training, came on in the top of the 6th with the Dodgers down 8-5 and promptly retired the first two men he faced. But then he walked two. And Grady, who seems to be tempted by Yhency as much as Jimmy Tracy was, called for the big guy. So Yhency came... and quickly gave up a two-run double to Edgar Renteria, thus allowing both of his inherited runners to score.

After following that up with a walk to Larry Jones, Yhency settled in. Struck out Andruuuuw Jones to end the inning, and upon reentering the game in the top of the seventh, he went right back at it by striking out Adam LaRoche and inducing two more outs from Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann. In doing so, he took the honors of completing the first perfect inning from a Dodger pitcher this year. Unfortunately it was all for naught, as the Dodgers lost, 11-10.

Yes, no runs allowed for Yhency, but he entered the game with the Dodgers down by three and left with them down by five. Clearly the acts of Spring Training are hard to shake for Yhency.

Opening Day thoughts

Made it to Opening Day at Shea Stadium on Monday to see the Mets beat the Nationals 3-2, and while freezing my ass off, I had a few thoughts:

- Xavier Nady is not only the all-time Pac-10 leader in slugging percentage, but after an astounding 4-for-4 performance, he currently leads the Mets in slugging with at a clip of 1.500. I'm no baseball scout, but I think we could be witnessing the start of the greatest baseball career in the history of the sport.

- Alfonso Soriano did not run to the Mets dugout and seek amnesty, as I was convinced he would. Too bad. But he looked as good as he could have at the plate and made all the routine plays in the field. I think he'll be alright this year.

- If you ever want to see a good fireworks display, do not go to Shea Stadium. After a day of shopping for M-80s and bottle rockets in Ensenada, Mexico, I've put on a better show. Wow.

- I understand that Billy Wagner has been entering games to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" since his days in Houston, but even back then, how do you choose the same song as someone else, let alone the guy who Peter Gammons calls the most dominant player (not just pitcher, but player) of the current era? Mariano Rivera doesn't mind, and actually claims he doesn't even love the song, and that's a shame. I want to see him start something, just so we can divide New York and get any of those 50/50 fans to choose a friggin' side.

- I know nothing about the man as a person, but I love Julio Franco. What a guy.

And with that, we're under way!