Saturday, April 9, 2011
Epstein only spoke for three or four minutes, but his words hit the mark. The Red Sox went out and beat the Yankees 9-6 to earn their first win, avoid the worst start in team history and start what feels like a new season.
Seriously? I could have swore that Phil Hughes, Mark Teixeira, Boone Logan and Derek Jeter were the ones that got them going.
In other news, Manny Ramirez has chosen to retire rather than be suspended for 100 games for failing a second steroid test. I’m pretty sure that means that anything his teams did while he was in their employ should be stricken from the record. What I find most surprising is that George Mitchell’s steroid investigation didn’t uncover any evidence about the only MLB player who’s failed a test twice (that we know about). Shocking.
Monday, January 24, 2011
Updated Still Too Early 2011 AL East Standings Projection
With the Rays signing Johnny Damon/Manny Ramirez and the Jays trading Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli/Juan Rivera I was curious to see how it may AL East projected standings from this post may have changed, and here it is.
W: Projected 2011 wins
L: Projected 2011 losses
RS: Projected 2011 runs scored
RA: Projected 2011 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC: Wild card win percentage
PL: Playoff percentage (Div + WC)
Things appear to be getting pretty tight. This is going to make Boston beating out the 1927 Yankees as “best team of evah” particularly noteworthy.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Question Of The Day
Would you rather have?
a) Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, a first round draft pick in a deep draft and $28.75 million dollars
b) Rafael Soriano
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Fourth Outfielder Roulette
Despite my less than enthusiastic response to the Yankees signing Rafael Soriano for too much money and for too many years, it has upgraded the team. When I last ran my CAIRO projected standings for 2011 I had the Yankees at around 89 wins, with about a 23.2% probability of winning the AL East and with a 21.7% of taking the wild card, which put them at around 44.9% for qualifying for the postseason.
I’ve run more projections since then but am not going to post the full set because you’d be amazed how many people ignored my recommendation that they were too early to be taken seriously and went ahead and took them seriously. However, I can say that the Yankees have moved up a bit and are now looking more like a 91 win team. Here are the revised projected standings for the AL East as of roster moves from yesterday.
Div: Percentage of times team won division
WC: Percentage ot times team won wild card
PL: Percentage of times team qualified for the postseason (Div + WC)
The Yankees’ odds didn’t increase as much as my initial estimates of Soriano’s potential impact because Toronto and Baltimore have both made some moves that increased their projected win totals. In fact, they now sit in almost a dead heat for fourth place at 77 wins. That is the primary reason Boston’s gone from 98 projected to wins to about 96 now.
It’s looking like there’s a pretty good chance the Yankees will be adding Andruw Jones to the mix, although that’s still not certain. The Yankees do need to add someone as a fourth outfielder because right now their fourth outfielder would be one of Kevin Russo, Colin Curtis or Greg Golson, none of whom project to be any better than replacement level.
The names that have come up either here or other places are Jones, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez and Scott Hairston. As far as which one would be the best fit, let’s see what the numbers say.
For now, the primary Yankee lineup is probably going to look something like this.
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Outs: Outs made batting (PA times 1 minus OBP)
BR: Linear weights batting runs for PA (not position-adjusted or compared to average/replacement level)
Def: Estimated runs saved defensively compared to average over nine innings.
I’m showing the lineup based on 27 outs and nine defensive innings, or one game.
Here’s how that lineup projects vs. LHP.
They lose almost one-half run per game.
And here’s how it projects vs. RHP.
The good news is that the lineup vs. RHP is strong. Since the Yankees will probably get around 2/3 of their PA vs. righties, that’s a good thing.
Because of the drop-off vs. LHP, I do think it’s imperative for the Yankees to get a right-handed hitting OF. I will include Damon’s projection here since his name’s come up as well.
Jones’s defensive projection is based on a very limited sample in LF that shows him around -15, but I’d say he’s probably closer to average since that’s what his RF and CF numbers show.
In terms of offense, Ramirez is the best of the bunch but Jones is second. While Ramirez as DH over Posada would be an upgrade, I’m not sure it’s what I’d want the Yankees doing. If Posada can’t hit as DH or gets injured and Martin’s doing the bulk of the catching then I’d rather see Jesus Montero as the primary DH. He probably wouldn’t hit as well as Ramirez would in 2011 but he’d be a hell of a lot more fun to root for, at least for me.
Hairston projects similarly to Jones with a bit less offense and a bit more defense.
Here’s the team’s bottom line vs. LHP with each of the four players assuming Brett Gardner shifts to CF and they play LF with Posada at DH.
If Jones is more like an average defender then the net is 5.54. So he probably does make more sense than Damon or Hairston if hitting LHP and playing adequate defense is the primary concern. Over 200 PA vs. LHP the difference between Jones and Ramirez is only about five runs total.
That being said, we can’t just ignore how these players may do against RHP since they will almost certainly be used against them at some point, and may have to play a lot if one of the starters gets hurt, so here’s how the team’s net lineup looks with each of the four in LF vs. RHP.
And getting right back to the basics, here’s how the lineup would look overall with each of the four players.
Given the margin of error with projections in general and especially with defensive projections, I just can’t say definitively that the Yankees are better off with one of Jones, Damon or Hairston. While the idea of Ramirez in the lineup may be interesting, I just don’t think he’s up to playing defense full-time if the need manifests. This team doesn’t need a second full-time DH. If they need to replace Posada’s bat, they can rotate their OF through DH and play whomever they sign in the outfield, or they can use Montero and hope he’s ready.
Friday, January 7, 2011
I’ve uploaded the latest version of CAIRO 2011 MLB projections for anyone who’s interested. The primary changes from version 0.3 are a few additional requested players and roster changes. I also found a bug that was causing Manny Ramirez to be over-projected. So he’s gone from .298/.406/.540 to .285/.395/.519 (as a White Sock). I think that’s still too optimistic, but who the hell am I to argue with CAIRO?
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Aside from their top priorities - starting pitching and relief pitching - the Yankees are talking about adding outfielders to round out their bench. They want a righthanded-hitting outfielder with an eye toward spelling starters Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher and to possibly serve as designated hitter in the small amount of games regular DH Jorge Posada is expected to catch. But there is an emphasis on landing a defense-first player.
While Ramirez is a righty-hitting outfielder, he was essentially a full-time DH once he landed with the White Sox. And his fielding has never been a thing of beauty.
Dear Santa, this is not what I asked for.
No truth to the rumor that the source for this was Scott Boras BTW.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Where Do We Go From Here (Outfield/DH Edition)?
Picking up from the prior post, here’s a look at how the Yankee outfield and DH spots project heading into 2011.
wOBA: weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: Position-adjusted batting runs above replacement level
Def: Projected defense in terms of runs saved above/below average
We start in LF. One note about wOBA here is I do NOT include SB/CS, so when you compare them to Fangraphs you’ll see a big gap for high SB guys. I do this because I like to look at platoon splits a lot with wOBA and base running has no impact there. Figure you should add between .015 and .020 points to any guy who’s likely to steal 30-50 bases at a high success rate.
BR and BRAR do include SB/CS though, so that’s the main thing to look at here.
Anyway, I think Gardner’s offensive projection is a bit pessimistic, but I also think his defensive projection is a bit optimistic. His MLEs still drag his offensive projections down a bit, but that’s starting to become less of an issue. He projects to be a bit above average overall as a LF.
The problem the Yankees have right now will become apparent as we move around the OF though, and that’s the fact that they don’t really have any great options for fourth OF. I’ve listed the non-starting OF on the 40 man roster in this depth chart. Melky Mesa’s got the tools to be a prospect, but not the performance to this point. He still strikes out way too much to be an MLB hitter (297 times in 943 AB the past two seasons at Charleston(A) and Tampa(A+). He’s also 24, which means he’s probably not young enough to expect enough improvement to become an MLB player, although you never know.
How about center field? Funny you should ask.
Curtis Granderson’s projection combines pretty good offense and defense and makes him almost 3 wins better than a theoretical replacement level CF. If his hot end to the season was the result of the changes in his swing, he may be able to exceed that projection, but even if he doesn’t that’s plenty good.
Gardner’s the actual #2 CF, but since I already gave him 550 PA in LF I’m only giving him 50 in CF. Golson is the only other OF on the 40 man roster who has played much CF. From what I’ve seen and from what the scouting reports say, he definitely has the glove for CF. Unfortunately, he doesn’t even have the bat for backup catcher.
Then we have right field.
There’s nothing wrong with Nick Swisher in RF, but as with LF we see the problem once you get past him.
So we’ve identified fourth OF as a possible place for an upgrade. So how should the Yankees approach it?
Obviously, the first thing you’d look for is offense. So what outfielders are available that project to outhit Messrs. Curtis, Russo, Mesa and Golson?
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Yankees aren’t going to go for Randy Winn 2, Electric Boogaloo. Delwyn Young is a switch-hitter who can also play bad defense at 2B/3B and corner OF. He’d probably outhit the other fourth OF candidates on the Yankees, but once you factor in defense I don’t know that he’s much of an upgrade. I suppose his defensive flexibility makes him useful in an emergency, but I don’t know if it’s enough to make him someone the Yankees should consider.
Brad Hawpe looks like he can hit, but he’s absolutely horrendous defensively and I am very skeptical of trying to figure out how a guy who’s spent most of his career in Colorado will hit elsewhere.
Hmm, I’m drawing a blank here. Damon Johnny? That name sounds familiar for some reason.
Honestly, none of the lefty hitting OF excite me and they don’t really address the platoon issue that I’m going to talk about after I get through this list.
Obviously Manny Ramirez and Magglio Ordonez would be nice additions to any team’s offense, but they’re probably likely to get full-time jobs and as Type A players they’d cost you a draft pick. I’d ignore Jermaine Dye’s projection since he didn’t play last year, and he’s a bad enough defensive OF that he probably gives away any offensive value.
That brings me to Scott Hairston. He is a right-handed hitting OF who can play all three OF spots, although he’s primarily been a LF. Given the construct of the Yankee OF, adding a RHB makes sense.
|Player||Pos||Bats||Projected wOBA||Vs L||Vs R|
Hairston would project as the second-best Yankee OF vs. LHP, which would allow you to stick him in LF when you want to rest Gardner or Granderson, with Gardner moving to CF on the days you want to rest Granderson. Over 200 PA, the difference between Hairston and Granderson’s wOBA vs. LHP is about 8.5 runs, which is a bit less than one win.
I wouldn’t be opposed to the Yankees bringing back Marcus Thames if they can’t get another RH outfielder, but he really shouldn’t be in the OF and I don’t know if he’s going to be needed enough at DH to warrant the roster spot.
Speaking of DH.
I restricted DH to 725 PA because the ludicrous interleague play that still infests MLB means the Yankees will have to allow their pitchers to strike out three times a game for nine games.
Jorge Posada’s bat still projects very well as a catcher. Unfortunately, as a DH it’s nothing special. A lot of catchers end up hitting better when not catching so Posada may be able to beat that projection, although I actually think his projection is too optimistic. Given his contract, the Yankees probably aren’t going to look for someone else to be their primary DH and are probably going to hope Posada can hit reasonably well. I hope he does, especially if this is his swan song. He’s been criminally underrated and should probably be a Hall of Famer, but I think he’s a long-shot.
The Yankees will also probably use DH to give some of their players a half-day off, so I threw a few of those guys in there. For the hell of it since I’m sure someone will ask, if the Yankees signed Manny Ramirez here’s how he’d project.
I think he’d probably end up closer to that 35% projection but that’s still about a one win upgrade on Posada. I don’t know if he’s worth the headaches and the drama that will come with him though, and I’m personally not a fan of the guy so I’d rather not see him in pinstripes.
Unless he’d sign for $4M for a year.
So if the Yankees add Scott Hairston they can probably improve by another win. That probably moves them into about 90 win territory.
But the real improvements to the team are probably going to have to come from the pitching staff, which will be the subject of the next post in this series.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
The White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers may be closing in on a deal to send Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez to the South Side in exchange for minor league prospects.
The deal appeared to be close Wednesday when reports surfaced that Ramirez was claimed by the Sox on waivers. The right-handed slugger must approve any potential deal because he has a no-trade clause in his contract. But Ramirez may have approved a move, having said he wants to return to the American League next season when he becomes a free agent.
Of course they are. Why should the Yankees get to face the White Sox with Mark Kotsay at DH?
I think the Yankees were playing earlier tonight, but I’m not sure what happened.
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