The Curse of Jerry Hairston, Jr./Eric Hinske:
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Yankees.com: Yankees invite 44 players to Major League camp

NEW YORK—The Yankees announced on Thursday that they have invited 44 players to Major League Spring Training, with 84 total players scheduled to report in February.

Five players have been signed to Minor League contracts with spring invitations to big league camp: infielder Dan Johnson, outfielders Matt Diaz, Thomas Neal and Juan Rivera and catcher Bobby Wilson.

The Yankees had previously acknowledged some of the signings during the winter. Diaz and Rivera—a former Yankee who started his career with New York from 2001-03—will have strong chances to make the team as a right-handed outfield bat, while Wilson is pegged to serve as Triple-A insurance behind the plate.

New York’s list of spring invitees also includes two of the club’s first-round Draft picks: outfielder Slade Heathcott (2009) and shortstop Cito Culver (2010).

Additionally, two players named on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects list have also been invited to camp: catcher Gary Sanchez and outfielder Tyler Austin.

The Yankees will also give a close look to right-hander Mark Montgomery, who could help in the big league bullpen at some point this season. Mason Williams, the club’s top outfield prospect, did not receive an invitation to big league camp.

The only guys I see with a realistic chance at making the team to start the year are Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera, and it’s possible neither one will make the team if Russ Canzler shows enough to be the primary RH OF.  But hopefully we’ll get a glimpse at a couple of the prospects in some of the early spring training games.  I think Tyler Austin and Slade Heathcott are two guys who could force themselves onto the MLB roster by some point in 2014 and hopefully we get to see them in a few games.

--Posted at 9:06 am by SG / 38 Comments | - (0)

Comments

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SG - what’s the deal with the classic comment exhortation? Inspired personal creation? Carbon copy filler? Secret sauce that you can’t reveal?

Also, Culver? C’mon, really? I’m thinking they’re inviting him just to give him a whiff of the big leagues, maybe it will encourage him to work harder or something. Just be better, dammit, that’s what I always say to people.

They are inviting Culver because they need some SS reps. At this point I think it is pretty doubtful that Culver will make it closer to the MLB than an ST invite.

SG - what’s the deal with the classic comment exhortation?

I think Larry came up with it when he created the blog, and I never really thought about changing it.

The only guys I see with a realistic chance at making the team to start the year are Matt Diaz or Juan Rivera

From the above snippet or the entire 44 person invitee list?  From the above I agree.  From the entire list I think Cedeno, Montgomery, Pope, and Whitley have a shot at the bullpen (though only Cedeno would be considered good, since the rest would require one or more injuries).  Nix and Pirela (long shot) for IF, and Mustelier in addition to Rivera/Diaz for OF.  So of the 44 I think 9 of them have a realistic shot - it’s realistic that one or two guys expected on the 25 man would go on DL and Yanks may prefer to add one of these to the 40-man - and I expect two to make it (betting Nix and Cedeno).

[2] Culver is going to teach Jeter how to play defense.  Jeter is going to teach Culver how to hit.

It’s definitely too early to give up on Culver, but yeah he needs a breakout this year.  Like at least a .750OPS at Charleston, as well as playing good D and some SB.  That will put him back on radar.  In addition to SS reps they probably feel he’ll learn more in the big league camp.

From the above snippet or the entire 44 person invitee list?

From the snippet, although unless there are injuries I don’t think they’ll take anyone who’s not on the 40 man roster north at the end of camp unless they can clear some roster space.  I’m really wondering who will go when Hafner becomes official.  They may hold off on announcing the signing until they can put someone on the 60 day DL I guess, but I’m not sure when they can start doing that.

Answering my own question, at least according to this.

A player placed on the Emergency Disabled List (60-day DL) does not count against his club’s Active List or Reserve List. A player can be placed on the MLB Emergency Disabled List (60-day DL) during Spring Training or anytime during the MLB regular season (a minor league player can be placed on a minor league club’s 60-day DL only during the regular season), and a player can be transferred from the MLB 15-day DL to the MLB 60-day DL (or minor league 7-day DL to minor league 60-day DL).

So they may hold off on an ‘official’ Hafner announcement until they can put Banuelos and A-Rod on the 60 day DL.

A fair number of people gave up on Culver the day he signed. This may be face-saving for the organization as much as anything else. Does anyone have a good theory why Mason alone of the Fab Four is uninvited?

[8] He has the least experience above A ball.

[9] He is also recovering from surgery IIRC.

Hey guys, looks like Brian Cashman will be doing a chat at ESPN at 1:45PM EST.  I know I’ll be checking it out.

[6] Agree they’ll probably try to hold off making Hafner official until they can put ARod on the 60-day.  They also have Pineda likely to go on the 60-day, and Banuelos.  IDK about anyone else.

The Yankees currently have 22 pitchers on the 40-man.  5 of them aren’t even options (IMHO) for April - Pineda and Banuelos (injury), Betances (sucking), Turley and Ramirez (experience).  Rondon (barely pitched above AA) and Marshall (not even) are long-shots, even if there’s a need AND they pitch great.  So that leaves 15 pitchers and 12 slots. And if Phelps wins the 5th starter job I think Nova goes to AAA to start.  So they could quickly be a few injuries - and some of these guys are older or have a recent injury history - away from promoting a pitcher.

On the position player side, it really comes down to how they feel about Nunez out of ST I think.  If they believe he’s ready to be a good enough defender to play in a utility role, Nicks goes to AAA for depth.  If they don’t, Nunez goes down (or is traded) and Nicks gets activated.  Or of course if there’s an injury to either Youkilis or Teix (Youkilis would move to 1st), I think Nix gets called up.  Maybe Canzler starts every day at 3rd then.  But 40-man roster or no, I don’t think they’re going to put Adams at the ML roster out of ST.

Anyone want to feel smarter than an ESPN Senior Sportswriter?

read me

Best part is the last paragraph…

[12] If they don’t, Nunez goes down (or is traded) and Nicks gets activated.

Nicks was a big part of why they didn’t win last season and will be a big part of the team this coming year. Manning needs a big receiver on the outside to cause coverage problems and open up the slot for Cruz.

<Sigh> All alone…(EDIT: oh hi J!)

Decent article by David Schoenfield
on value of draft picks.  Basically, if you look at Yankees’s last 10 top 30 picks, you’d expect maybe 1 star, and that could be Heathcott. Potentially depending on how rest of careers go, they could have 3 or 4 (Hughes and IPK could be minor stars, Cole was still drafted by Yanks, jury still out on Bichette).  So basically…they’re average or better when it comes to drafting in the 1st round.  We just like to think it’s more than a roll of the dice when a team ends up with a CC, a Trout, etc.

[13] He has some decent points but the article as a whole is a complete disaster.

[14] Yeah yeah my mind’s still on football…

Nix

[16] Yes I agree.  Though I feel he stumbled into the useful points.  Especially when he starts talking about all the things you need to consider when evaluating a player’s worth, and all of them - other than useless things like RBI and Runs - are included in WAR.

And most of his good points I think the main proponents of WAR agree with.  Also obligatory…WAR is a framework, not a statistic.

[13] Oh lord.

Mental note: Understand the definition of something before you write an article about how stupid it is.

This reminds me of an episode of Family Guy, where they abolish the government in Quahog, and eventually replace it with a group of people that do things like make and enforce rules and figure out how much tax money to collect. They decide which people get to do that by everyone writing down who they wanted and adding up the totals.  And they figured that system out all by themselves, without the help of some stupid government!

[19] I don’t recall that episode.  Which now means I know what I’m doing tonight!

[18] WAR is going to problematic until fielding metrics are figured out and I continue to dislike fWAR using FIP for their calculations (it should be called something different, xWAR?)

WAR is generally accurate but imprecise, a thing that detractors tend to misundertsand/ignore. Also, it’s disappointing that he does not point out that both Fangraphs and BR split up their WAR into the various components.

[21] Using FIP is OK, from my persepctive, as long as the ‘blame’ for the runs allowed lands some place else. I never could tell if fWAR that used FIP also had the defensive metrics aligned so that what they weren’t calling the fault of the pitcher they called the fault of the fielder.

The idea of “incalculability” is why I would like to see wOBA get replaced by something like Runs Created per PA, which is essentially what wOBA is, except instead of the arbitrary scaling wOBA has to make it look nice, RC/PA would have the slightly less arbitrary scaling of an out being zero runs created. RC/PA isn’t any easier to calculate, but at least it plays nice with PA, so you can napkin math something meaningful if you want.

Basically, if you look at Yankees’s last 10 top 30 picks, you’d expect maybe 1 star, and that could be Heathcott. Potentially depending on how rest of careers go, they could have 3 or 4 (Hughes and IPK could be minor stars, Cole was still drafted by Yanks, jury still out on Bichette).  So basically…they’re average or better when it comes to drafting in the 1st round.  We just like to think it’s more than a roll of the dice when a team ends up with a CC, a Trout, etc.

Uhh… err… Mike, aren’t the words “could be” in the phrase “could be Heathcott” the weak link in this chain?
 
Also, on a post a thread back - Fuse and Chamber Ream came from the floating dreams (lantern) thread.  And although some of the posts were amusing, Clay’s experiment proves rather emphatically that you don’t get that gold automatically simply by feeding just any old text through the translator and back.

[21] IDK if “problematic” is the word I’d use.  It is certainly true that it will not have the precision we desire until we get better fielding metrics.  And it would certainly be nice if that metric was public/accepted and every WAR implementation used it (though TotalZone will probably always be sed for historical numbers, and it’s better than guessing).  But I think for position-player WAR, as long as we acknowledge which implementation we’re using (fWAR, bWAR, Coco-B-Ware), we’re okay.

FanGraphs of course now gives you the ability to choose which “fWAR” to use.  Their leaderboards, WAR graphs and such still use FIP-based.  I still don’t think it’s that bad.  It matches up nicely for most pitchers, and the ones for whom it doesn’t I think there are usually fair questions for just how much value that pitcher added.  Since we already acknowledge we have difficulty with saying just how many runs a fielder saved in 1000+ innings in a season, I think we understand how much more difficult it can be to figure out how many runs a defense saved for a particular pitcher in ~200 innings.  Ideally, eventually, something like Field-F/X is public (or computing power allows us to use publicly available video to approximate), and we can see with some certainity how many runs the pitcher’s defense cost him.  I certainly agree that FIP based WAR has issues.  But so does Runs-based WAR.

[21] Using FIP is OK, from my persepctive, as long as the ‘blame’ for the runs allowed lands some place else. I never could tell if fWAR that used FIP also had the defensive metrics aligned so that what they weren’t calling the fault of the pitcher they called the fault of the fielder.

This is a serious problem with Fangraphs’s valuation system.  If you add up their pitching WAR and their fielding WAR you don’t get a realistic representation of a team’s run prevention far too often.  Part of the problem is that FIP doesn’t account for sequence, but the bigger problem is that you can’t just assume that pitchers would allow a league average BABIP against with a league average defense behind them and any deviations from that can be tracked by a fielding metric(UZR) that is limited.

[19] And here I thought you were one of the resident libertarians…

I didn’t mind that article so much, except the “problem” it pretends to address is already addressed by people who are into WAR—namely that versions vary, defense is hard to quantify, and there are components of what goes into WAR which can be pulled out and discussed individually when trying to determine a player’s real worth.  That’s why the Morris debate still rages—a point he seems to miss.

RC/PA would have the slightly less arbitrary scaling of an out being zero runs created

You could always do it yourself.  RC and PA are both available on FG and BBRef.  However, wRC+ should already do everything you want.  How much better (or worse) a batter is at everything offense except baserunning.  The only scaling is to league average, which you need anyway.

Uhh… err… Mike, aren’t the words “could be” in the phrase “could be Heathcott” the weak link in this chain?

Oh yeah, there’s definitely still some uncertainity.  But Schoenfield’s conclusion was that less than 1 in 10 of the top-30 picks in the last 23 rounds have become stars.  From a draft perspective, Yankees could potentially have as many as 4 (though IPK and Hughes more likely to be “good” than stars, there’s a non-zero chance), and 2 are still in the minors and highly rated.

[29] wRC+ does everything I would want, but it’s another statistic that you can’t use to calculate anything without deconstructing it in a spreadsheet, which seems to be what that writer is opposed to, and I do see the appeal of having statistics that are useable more than qualitatively without a computer.

[26] Right it isn’t perfect.  But it also isn’t perfect if you use just RA-9 with park adjustments.  IMHO, both systems are throwing their hands up in the air and saying we don’t want to deal with figuring it out (though to be fair, bWAR has some attempt at quantifying fielding).  So if/until one or both systems does a better job of separating the pitching from the fielding, I like to see both.  If both are similar (which they usually are), I have a pretty good idea that’s how valuable the pitcher was for the given season.  If the numbers are way off, that tells me I should dig deepers?

Is the problem that the pitcher has an unusually good (or bad) LOB%?  If that’s the main difference, I’d still give him full credit for the runs, for that year.  If he was a GB pitcher that had a particularly bad IF defense (Porcello and Tigers), maybe I wouldn’t want to doc him fully; it’s not his fault the fielders couldn’t make routine plays.

Rick Porcello and the Tigers sounds like a doo-wop group from Arthur Avenue.

[31] I guess I’m not sure what the problem is then.  If you go to the two main sites that display WAR implementations, just about any stat breakdown that you could want is easily accessible.  Both aggregate stats - WAR, the components that go into it, runs created, - raw stats, and rate stats.  As well as the league-averages.  So I don’t think there is anything you need to deconstruct to get what you want.

[33] I can’t beat that.

[34] The only use I can think of is something like if you have two players and want to compare how many runs they will produce in, say, 100 PAs. You would have to compute their runs per PA first from the available statistics (it doesn’t matter what type of runs) and then look at the difference. You need to do this because there is no rate stat for runs, just “PA independent” run stats like wOBA and wRC+.

You can convert the difference betweeen wOBAs to runs fairly easily.  wOBA1 - wOBA2 divided by 1.15 times PA = run difference.

For wRC+ I’d assume you just need to figure out league average runs per PA and multiply by wRC+ divided by 100 to get a run value.  A rough rule of thumb is 80 runs/650 PA (77 runs the last couple of years).  So in theory a player with a wRC+ of 166 would be worth 128 runs over 650 PA, or about 50 runs better than league average.

Sure, that’s not too bad if you are doing 100 PAs, but it’s messier if for some reason you want to do 173 PAs. My rule of thumb for napkin math is that you are allowed one fuzzy calculation, which for wOBA would be taken up by dividing by 1.15, but as you can see, the practical justification is kind of weak.

I do like RC/PA though, since you can say to someone “it’s about how many runs a player will make compared to you standing up there getting out all the time,” which should sort of make sense to a person not familiar with baseball statistics, even though you are glossing over what run environment dependent weights are.

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