Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Looking Ahead To 2011 - Jorge Posada
Jorge Posada is heading into the final year of his contract and what may be the final year of his career. For the first time since 1998, he won’t be the Yankees’ starting catcher, as post-concussion symptoms and a continued defensive decline have caused the Yankees to move him to DH.
Here’s how Posada projects heading into 2011.
wOBA: Weighted on-base average (does not include SB/CS)
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAA: BR above an average player in projected playing time (adjusted for park, but not for position)
BRAR: BR above a replacement level player (adjusted for park and position)
2010: Un-adjusted 2010 performance
*average does not include bill_james or fans
Despite approaching 40, Posada’s still been a a better than average hitter. Of course, his bat is more valuable when it’s compared to a catcher than it is when compared to a DH. The average catcher is about 12.5 runs worse than an average hitter over a full season. An average DH generally needs to be at least that much better than an average hitter, and perhaps more than that if you want to account for the fact that they provide no defensive value. The standard position-adjustment for a DH is -17.5 runs. So over a full season, a DH who is about 30 runs better than an average defensive catcher offensively is probably not any more valuable relative to position.
Aside from CAIRO, this doesn’t set a good tone for how much Posada’s going to help the Yankees in 2011, but it may not be as dire as it seems on first blush.
There was a discussion in this post at The Book Blog about when a catcher can no longer catch. In it, Tango Tiger references research he’s done that shows that a catcher’s offense will improve by about a win if they’re not catching. I think the actual research was in one of the Hardball Times Annuals, but I can’t find a direct link to it. We don’t know if this is what will happen for Posada obviously, but we can hope. CAIRO is regressing Posada’s offense towards DH, which is the primary reason it appears so bullish on Posada. I don’t think the other projections have done anything in that regard. Then again, wear and tear is cumulative, and the fact that Posada won’t be catching in 2011 doesn’t change the fact that he caught a lot of games in his career and a lot of the damage has already been done.
Here are Posada’s CAIRO percentile forecasts.
Given how optimistic the baseline is in relation to the other projections, that may be about as much as we can realistically hope for.
Posada is a brilliant baserunner, who combines blazing speed with uncanny instincts.
ga_opps: opportunities to advance on grounders
ga_r: run value of advances on grounders
aa_opps: opportunites to advance on air outs
aa_r: run value of advances on air outs
ha_opps: opportunites to advance on hits
ha_r: run value of advances on hits
oa_opps: opportunites to adance on other (wild pitches, passed balls, etc.,)
oa_r: run value of advances on other
total_opps: ga + aa + ha + ao opportunities
total_r: total run value of non-SB base running, compared to average
Posada’s such a good baserunner that he cannot be measured by the limited tools we currently have at our disposal. When we get BaseRunning F/X we may be able to better understand him.
I suppose I can throw his defensive projection at catcher up for the hell of it.
DRS: Defensive runs saved compared to average using John Dewan’s plus/minus system
zRS: Runs saved compared to average using Chris Dial’s zone rating system
uRS: Runs saved compared to average using UZR
tRS: Runs saved compared to average using Total Zone
rARM: Runs saved with arm compared to average (OF only)
avg: average from 2006-2010
w_avg: weighted average from 2006-2010 (5/4/3/2/1 weight)
This is only looking at SB/CS. If you add in the passed balls and wild pitches I’m fairly certain you can double the negative numbers. It shouldn’t be an issue in 2011, as I’d be surprised to see Posada catching in anything other than emergency situations.
The nice thing about having Posada around as an emergency catcher is it should give the Yankees the flexibility to use Jesus Montero as a DH or pinch-hitter if necessary without the fear of not having a backup catcher should something happen to Russell Martin. It seems like the Yankees are extremely concerned about Posada’s concussions though, so I am not sure how much they’d be willing to use him there.
With Andy Pettitte’s retirement, we’re down to Posada, Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera from the 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 World Series Champion Yankees. Unless Posada has a monster year, I’d be surprised to see him back in 2012, at least as a Yankee. Unfortunately, at this point he looks like a long shot for the Hall of Fame, but if he can tack on a few productive years as a DH that might change.
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