Tuesday, May 14, 2013
How Should the Yankees’ Outfield Be Configured Going Forward?
With the news that Curtis Granderson is likely to be activated tonight, the Yankees find themselves with a suddenly crowded outfield picture. These things generally have a way of working themselves out, but let’s take a look at the various ways the Yankees could deploy their outfield for maximum benefit.
The first thing to look at are the projections for everyone for the rest of 2013. Since I haven’t run CAIRO to include 2013 yet and we have close to one-quarter of the season of additional data I’ll just use the ZiPS rest of the season projections available at Fangraphs for this.
First off, here are the overall projections for the six outfielders on the 40 man roster who have seen or will see the bulk of the playing time for the Yankees this year barring more injuries.
I should note that the fielding is based on primary position played over the time that is included in the projection and it doesn’t account for position changes. I should also note that it’s based only on UZR and may not give a completely accurate picture of the defensive ability of these players. That being said, we can assume that Curtis Granderson would project better defensively in an OF corner than Vernon Wells and we can assume that Brett Gardner would project a bit worse as a primary CF. So consider it more of a rough proxy for defensive ability and less a hard and fast number to use.
If you were to go strictly by these numbers, the player that should lose the most playing time of the four primary starting outfield candidates is Ichiro. Vernon Wells’s solid start has made his projection pretty respectable, albeit with a bit less OBP than you’d like to see.
Of course, we also need to consider the platoon advantage. Here’s the same list sorted by projected wOBA vs. LHP.
This is purely looking at offense. RAA/150 PA is runs above the league average wOBA of .314 in 150 PA. That’s for all players, not just outfielders.
It’s hard to justify Ben Francisco’s spot on the roster when he’s not a better platoon option than Granderson or Gardner, particularly since his defense is not likely any better. Although the Yankees don’t need to clear a 40 man roster spot to activate Granderson, I’d assume Francisco is the most likely candidate to go. Clearing the 40 man roster spot would also clear the way for an eventual call up of David Adams in a couple of days, presumably with one of the extra arms in the bullpen sent down.
Let’s look at the platoon splits for wOBA vs. RHP, using 250 PA instead.
It doesn’t look good here for Ichiro either.
If were to look strictly at offense using these projections, Wells and Granderson should play the most going forward. Of course, we shouldn’t just look strictly at offense which means Gardner should not lose much playing time either. So the primary outfield going forward should probably be Wellsy in LF, Gardy in CF and Grandy in RF. Actually, it may be better to have Grandy in LF and Verny in RF but Verny has only played 28 games in RF in his career and may not be comfortable there.
Ichiro can play all three spots and can be used to spell all three. Since Kevin Youkilis is likely done for the year., the Yankees can also DH Wells against LHP and use Ichiro in the OF if they want to shore up the defense and give Travis Hafner some much-needed rest.
The Yankees have gotten 492 PA out of their outfield in 38 games which means they should have about 1600 over the rest of the season. I think they’ll figure out a way to get everyone at least 300 PA, with the ones who perform better earning more.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
DENVER—It was a long leap, and it was just enough for Brennan Boesch and the Yankees. They scored a run in the ninth to beat the Rockies, 3-2, on Wednesday night, their bases-loaded, no-out situation netting the winning run.
The Yankees, who broke a two-game losing streak and have yet to lose three games in a row, have scored just 13 runs in their past five games. Left fielder Vernon Wells hit a two-run homer in the first and, playing third base in the bottom of the ninth, he speared a grounder for the second out. Wells led off the ninth with an infield single, grounding a ball deep in the hole that shortstop Jonathan Herrera caught and made a jump-throw that was off the mark and Wells easily beat.
Wells broke for second on a 2-1 pitch and appeared to be out, but Herrera was unable to hold catcher Wilin Rosario’s throw as he tried to tag the sliding Wells. After Ichiro Suzuki’s sacrifice, the Rockies drew their infield in. Rafael Betancourt pitched out with a 2-0 count, but there was no squeeze play on. Betancourt then intentionally threw ball four to load the bases for pinch-hitter Travis Hafner and struck him out.
Pinch-hitter Boesch hit a grounder that third baseman Nolan Arenado grabbed with a sprawling stop to his left, but could not throw him out as the go-ahead run scored.
Mariano Rivera pitched the ninth for his 12th save in his first appearance at Coors Field.
Two-run homers by Wells in the first and the Rockies’ Todd Helton in the second were all the scoring until the ninth.
This had weird game written all over it when the lineup showed David Phelps batting eighth but it got even weirder later when Vernon Wells was playing 3B in the ninth inning of a one run game. Wells has never played an inning anywhere other than the outfield in his professional career, but he handled his one chance flawlessly and that was good enough to help the Yankees pull off a much-needed win.
Of course the Yankees don’t win if Wells doesn’t drive in the first two runs of the game with a homer and then score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth. They also don’t win if David Phelps and the bullpen don’t pitch as well as they did. You have to figure Phelps has earned at least one more start, right?
The last few innings were tense, but this was a really nice win. The Yankee lineup is terrible right now, but the pitching is keeping them in games and hopefully that can last for a bit longer.
Incidentally, tonight was the first time Rivera ever pitched at Coors.
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
NEW YORK—Lyle Overbay’s smart baserunning on a double-play ball gave the Yankees the lead, and they held on to make it stand up as the difference in a 5-4 victory over the Astros on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
Leading from first base with one out in the sixth inning, Overbay hesitated as second baseman Jose Altuve fielded Ichiro Suzuki’s ground ball, running at Overbay briefly before throwing to first base for the out.
Overbay was tagged out at second base on the unconventional twin killing, but he stayed alive on the basepaths long enough for Eduardo Nunez to touch home plate with the deciding run as the Yanks were victorious for the seventh time in nine games.
Boone Logan picked up the victory in relief of Yankees starter David Phelps, while Robinson Cano and Ben Francisco hit solo homers to lead the charge against Astros starter Erik Bedard, who allowed four runs in four innings.
Cano’s third-inning blast was his team-leading eighth and the 185th of his career, tying Paul O’Neill for 17th place on the Yankees’ all-time list.
Ben Francisco finally became a True Yankee™ tonight.
Phelps looked great aside from the fourth, but he was really bad in that frame. The Yankees stranded something like 25* runners tonight but managed to score the five runs they needed to salvage the series.
Two out of three against probably the worst team in baseball at home isn’t all that impressive to me. It’s even less impressive when you realize that the Astros actually won the Pythagenpat version of this series 1.9-1.1.
But ugly real wins still count as wins, fortunately. So yay for that.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
NEW YORK—The box score doesn’t tell the whole story for Hiroki Kuroda, who seemed to be in danger in each of the first three innings, then figured out a way to cruise for the rest of his night.
The veteran right-hander may have flailed early as he searched for the command of his stuff, but he finished with seven scoreless innings of four-hit ball to help the Yankees defeat the Astros, 7-4, on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Astros had their chances early but stranded seven men against Kuroda through the first three innings, which required 67 pitches. Kuroda righted himself with a six-pitch fourth inning and finished with a season-high eight strikeouts in a 108-pitch effort, walking four.
Travis Hafner drove in two of the Yankees’ four runs against Astros starter Phil Humber, who permitted nine hits in a 94-pitch outing that featured four wild pitches as well as two walks and two strikeouts.
Hafner drove home Brett Gardner with a first-inning RBI single, a sinking liner to left field that Brandon Barnes trapped on a dive, then knocked in Ichiro Suzuki with a run-scoring hit up the middle in the third inning. Hafner’s third and final RBI single came in the bottom of the eighth.
Kuroda looked awful over the first three innings but settled down nicely and it was nice to see Ichiro and Nun-E showing some signs of life. With Curtis Granderson working his way back, Ichiro may be playing for his job.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG—The Yankees were handcuffed by Alex Cobb’s masterful pitching performance on Wednesday, managing just four singles as the Rays posted a 3-0 victory at Tropicana Field.
Cobb permitted just two hits that left the infield over his 8 1/3 innings, striking out seven and walking one as the Yankees lost for the 13th time in their last 16 games in St. Petersburg.
The Yankees chased Cobb with Brett Gardner’s single through the right side with one out in the ninth and brought Robinson Cano to the plate as the tying run after Ichiro Suzuki singled, but Fernando Rodney recorded the final two outs to slam the door.
Cobb was great, but the Yankee lineup tonight left a lot to be desired. The Yankees have been better than I thought they’d be so far this year, but I don’t think that can continue with the lineups they’ve been running out there this week. They should get healthier and better, hopefully.
A 3-3 road trip in the division is okay I guess, but neither Toronto or Tampa Bay has been playing all that well this year and it would have been nice to take better advantage of that.
Yankees vs. Lefties through April 24, 2013
BR/650: Linear weights batting runs pro-rated to 650 PA.
A league average hitter in 2013 MLB is probably worth about 77-78 BR in 650 PA. So the Yankees so far have gotten better than average performance against lefties from exactly two players.
Now obviously we have sample size issues here, and we need to be careful to not assume that what these players have done is what they’ll continue to do going forward. I don’t think Ben Francisco is a .087/.192/.087 hitter against lefties, but I do think that’s the most obvious place the Yankees can look to upgrade. I don’t think playing Hafner at DH against all pitching is the answer, because he does need regular rest and doing it when he’s less valuable to the lineup is the best time to give him that rest. It’s also nice to have his bat available for pinch-hitting late in games in high leverage situations with a lineup that’s chock full of holes.
Francisco’s spot on the 40 man and 25 man roster could go to Ronnier Mustelier if he’s healthy, or David Adams, who’s hitting .317/.417/.463 so far this season in 48 AAA plate appearances after hitting .306/.385/.450 in 383 PA in AA last year. Adams is playing 3B now, which possibly gives the Yankees a better option to start at 3B vs. lefties instead of Jayson Nix. Here are the CAIRO projections for Adams, Francisco, Mustelier and Nix given 200 PA.
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Mustelier seems like the best option if you want a pure DH, although he can play 3B in theory. Probably not well, but it’s an option. Adams may offer the best combination of offense plus defense if you want a 3B although he doesn’t project much better than Nix.
The main thing here is that Adams and Mustelier offer upside that Francisco does not. They are also players who could figure into the team’s plans after 2013. It makes a ridiculous amount of sense to have one of them getting the PAs that are going to Francisco right now for negative run production.
Which is why the Yankees will never do it.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
ST. PETERSBURG—Ichiro Suzuki lined a two-run single to center field in the top of the ninth inning, and the Yankees toppled Fernando Rodney and posted a 4-3 victory on Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
The Yankees won for just the third time in their last 15 games at the Trop, taking advantage after Rodney couldn’t keep the score tied for David Price, who started the ninth and was saddled with the loss after permitting a leadoff single to Robinson Cano.
Cano stole second base on Rodney, moving up on a strikeout, and the Rays intentionally walked Travis Hafner. Rodney lost Lyle Overbay to a full-count walk and, after jamming Chris Stewart on a foulout, allowed the deciding hit to the slumping Ichiro.
Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff homer to Evan Longoria in the ninth but recovered to log his sixth save.
David Robertson was credited with the victory in relief of Phil Hughes, who recovered from a shaky first inning to complete seven innings, picking up a no-decision after turning in his second straight solid outing.
Ichiro’s hit saved Joe Girardi from having to explain why he didn’t pinch-hit for Chris Stewart with the winning run on base and one out. No, Brennan Boesch isn’t Ted Williams, but he’s a better hitter than Stewart and would have the platoon advantage. Even if you apply the standard pinch-hitting penalty I’m fairly certain the right move there is sending up Boesch.
OK. Complaints are done, and it was a good win. This team still can’t hit lefties, although they were facing one of the best in baseball tonight. But Hughes salvaged a very good start from an ugly first inning and kept them in it until they were able to pull it out. That makes two strong starts in a row for Hughes, who probably shouldn’t have been making spring training starts in real games that count. Maybe that will make him cheaper to re-sign…
Andy Pettitte goes for the series win tomorrow. Alex Cobb’s a pretty good pitcher, but at least he’s not a lefty.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
TORONTO—The Yankees withstood what manager Joe Girardi described as a hiccup in the eighth inning to win a game that should have never been as close as it was.
But a win is a win, and despite needing extra innings to finish the job, the Yankees have won five of six games and have a series sweep of Toronto on their minds.
Vernon Wells scored the go-ahead run as New York put a pair across the plate in the 11th inning on a throwing error by Blue Jays reliever Aaron Loup to drop Toronto, 5-3, in front of a sellout crowd of 46,095 at Rogers Centre on Saturday.
After Wells and Francisco Cervelli started off the frame with back-to-back singles, Ichiro Suzuki laid down a sacrifice bunt that Loup fielded before throwing it away when trying to get the lead runner at third. The ball sailed into left field, allowing the Yankees to break open the tie game and take a two-run lead.
It would have been a shame to waste a brilliant outing by Kuroda, but fortunately the bullpen was able to recover from a rare David Robertson meltdown and the Jays messed up while Joe Girardi was trying to give them free outs and the Yankees pulled this one out.
Monday, April 15, 2013
2013 Yankees bWAR through April 14
|Position Player Total||2.8|
A replacement level team would win something like 4 out of 11 games, so the Yankees should be about 7-4 or 8-3 according to this.
Friday, April 12, 2013
CLEVELAND — Since becoming a regular with the Orix Blue Wave in 1994, Ichiro Suzuki has never worried about playing time. If he was healthy, he was in the starting lineup — whether the game was being played in Japan or the United States.
Last season, however, Suzuki was traded to the Yankees, and he occasionally had to sit against left-handed pitchers.
But on Wednesday night, Suzuki was left out of the lineup against a right-handed pitcher, Corey Kluber, an occurrence as unusual as his .185 batting average.
“Obviously, I don’t feel good about it,” Suzuki said through his interpreter. “If it felt good, then you don’t deserve to be here. Everyone wants to play, and that is what makes players into major leaguers.”
Suzuki hit a home run in Tuesday’s game, his first of the season. But he had only four other hits on the young season, and Manager Joe Girardi wanted to give him a rest. At the time, Girardi also stated his interest in getting at-bats for Brennan Boesch, suggesting Boesch might also play Thursday.
He’s looked very good so far, but I’m not sold on the resurgence of Vernon Wells just yet. Similarly I’m not ready to write off Ichiro after 30 PA. When Curtis Granderson comes back, there’s a pretty good chance that Ichiro will be the fourth best outfielder on the roster. That being said, the Yankees can probably sit one of Suzuki/Granderson or Brett Gardner every time the team faces a lefty to get Wells in the lineup, which will be roughly 35% of the time. Here are the projected wOBA platoon splits for the five outfielders that are on the roster now plus Granderson in CAIRO.
Despite being a lefty, Ichiro actually projects to hit the best against left-handed pitching of any of them. But Wells projects as the second best and should probably start in some capacity in just about every game against a lefty. Boesch is probably the odd man out since he has an option year remaining and he may be better served getting regular playing time anyway.
Obviously defense changes the calculations here, although you can sub in Gardner for defense late in games when he doesn’t start.
I was ok with bringing Ichiro back for one year. I really don’t understand why the “top of the Yankee hierarchy” was so insistent on signing him for two years but then again I think the top of the Yankee hierarchy are a bunch of buffoons so I shouldn’t bother trying to understand what they do.
Any way, the Yankees will hopefully end up playing the best players most frequently by the end of the year. Time will tell who they will be.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
CLEVELAND—Robinson Cano headlined a five-homer barrage by the Yankees’ lineup, driving in five runs to support another strong Andy Pettitte effort as New York trounced the Indians, 14-1, on Tuesday at Progressive Field.
New York posted its third straight victory, battering Cleveland starter Carlos Carrasco for seven runs before the right-hander was ejected in the fourth inning for hitting Kevin Youkilis in the back following Cano’s two-run homer.
Powered by the long-ball display from Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, Youkilis, Lyle Overbay and Brennan Boesch, Pettitte had more than enough support to log his second victory of the young season.
Pettitte held the Tribe to just Asdrubal Cabrera’s sixth-inning homer over seven innings of effective work, scattering five hits while walking three and striking out four in a 97-pitch outing.
Well, that was fun. More games like that plz.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
A Tale of Four Lineups
Obviously the Yankees as constituted today aren’t as good as the Yankees might be if they ever got to full strength. The question I’m asking myself and then attempting to answer here is whether we can quantify the difference.
First, here are the CAIRO projected wOBAs vs. LHP,RHP and overall for what are probably the best lineups the Yankees can put together today vs. LHP and RHP.
The lineup versus RHP would project to score about 4.64 runs per game, which isn’t bad. The lineup vs. LHP is much worse at a projected 4.45 runs per game. That’s the equivalent of being 31 runs worse than the lineup vs. RHP over a full season.
In the perfect world scenario where Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez come back healthy and nobody gets hurt, how much better would the Yankees’ lineups possibly look?
In a perfect world scenario you’d probably be platooning Youkilis and Hafner at DH with the occasional Rodriguez/Youkilis swap at 3B. Vs. RHP they’d be the equivalent of 45 runs better over a full season, but the big difference comes vs LHP, where they’d improve by the equivalent of 90 runs over a full season.
Tying it all together, you can basically say that the full strength perfect world Yankees would be something like 60 runs better than the current Yankees (ignoring defense).
Now realistically, the most likely scenario is that as some people come back healthy others get hurt, or maybe some never quite come back healthy, or people just keep getting injured and no one comes back ever and eventually the Yankees are the eastern version of the Houston Astros’ Rookie League team. But if you wanted to estimate how much better the Yankees could be than they are right now, this should give you a bit of an inkling.
Monday, April 1, 2013
To open a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster, lefty Clay Rapada has been designated for assignment. The move clears the way for Lyle Overbay to make the Opening Day roster. Here’s the roster.
Unless Rapada’s injury is more serious than the Yankees have let on, I really don’t get keeping Cody Eppley over him. Rapada’s a player who has a very limited role, but he’s really good at it. Eppley’s role is similar, but he’s not as good at it and there’s less of a need for it.
Chad Jennings runs through the 25 man roster and here it is.
52 CC Sabathia
18 Hiroki Kuroda
46 Andy Pettitte
47 Ivan Nova
41 David Phelps
42 Mariano Rivera
30 Dave Robertson
62 Joba Chamberlain
48 Boone Logan
27 Shawn Kelley
38 Cody Eppley
43 Adam Warren
29 Francisco Cervelli
19 Chris Stewart
55 Lyle Overbay
24 Robinson Cano
36 Kevin Youkilis
26 Eduardo Nunez
17 Jayson Nix
33 Travis Hafner
11 Brett Gardner
31 Ichiro Suzuki
12 Vernon Wells
45 Ben Francisco
22 Brennan Boesch
15-DAY DISABLED LIST
65 Phil Hughes
2 Derek Jeter
25 Mark Teixeira
14 Curtis Granderson
60-DAY DISABLED LIST
71 Cesar Cabral
35 Michael Pineda
13 Alex Rodriguez
That doesn’t look like a division-winner to me.
Monday, March 11, 2013
Looking Ahead to 2013 - Ichiro Suzuki
After 11 seasons with Seattle, Ichiro Suzuki became a Yankee on July 23, 2012. He was hitting .261/.288/.353 at the time of his acquisition, but as a Yankee he hit for a solid line of .322/.340/.454. But his overall performance in 2012 was underwhelming, and worse then he was projected to be.
Ichiro hit for a bit more power than projected but it came at the expense of singles and walks and he was about four runs less valuable than he projected to be offensively. He was a fair amount below average for a RF, but still above replacement level.
Shifting to a disgraceful bandbox after Safeco may give Ichiro a raw bump in his projections, but he’s also another year older now. Here are his 2013 projections.
Not every projection here adjusts for park, so you may want to consider that when looking at the lower ones like Marcel and Oliver (which don’t). CAIRO looks maybe a little too exuberant on Ichiro, but he’s a unique enough player that it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hit near that projection.
CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
Ichiro may be able to utilize the short porch in RF to hit a few more HRs than his baseline projection, so I could see him getting to 14-15 HRs. But I am guessing he won’t be the eighth player in MLB history to hit .326 or higher in a season with 500 or more PA aged 39 or older.
Because his offense doesn’t project all that well, a lot of Ichiro’s value will need to come from defense and baserunning.
Ichiro will probably not play much CF, but he projects as a plus defender in the corners and also projects to be worth a bit more than one run on the bases in non-SB base running.
Because CAIRO is projecting a lot more PA for Ichiro than any other system, it’s also projecting a lot more value for him than the others. But it’s also a lot higher on a rate basis, and I’m not sure I agree with it to that level.
I think going to two years for Ichiro was dumb, but I also think he’s a unique enough player that projecting him is more limited than it might be for most other players. He’s still in very good shape, is a quick and flexible athlete and if he can hit .300 should be a reasonably valuable player this year. Yes, batting average is not that meaningful for most players, but for a player like Ichiro who doesn’t figure to walk much or hit for much power it’s the prime driver behind his value. It’s highly unlikely he’ll be as productive as Nick Swisher was over the last four seasons, but I think 2-2.5 wins is realistic. Whether that will be enough give the composition of the rest of the team will be answered in due time.
And if by some miracle the Yankees make the postseason, I would bet significant sums of money that Ichiro would outhit Swisher in said postseason. Then again, you could probably say that about anyone except Robinson Cano.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The serious injury to Curtis Granderson has moved Johnny Damon to make public overtures to the Yankees. Here’s what the 39-year-old, semi-retired outfielder told Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News:
“I don’t expect to hear from them. If they call, if they want me, I’ll go. They are one of the only teams I would do that for. We’ll see what happens in the future. If someone calls, I could definitely get ready.”
Damon adds that he thinks he’s better than “70-80 percent of the guys out there.”
CAIRO still thinks Damon can hit a little, projecting him at .260/.332/.414 as a Yankee. Although that’s better than just about all the other outfielders in camp aside from Brett Gardner (yes, a smidgen better than Ichiro) that only projects to be worth about 2 runs above a replacement level LF over 200 PA and he projects to give that value back on defense. CAIRO may also be slow on picking up if Damon’s cooked since it includes his performance going back to 2009.
I’m guessing it won’t happen unless another injury pops up, although I suppose the fact that almost everyone vying for the open spot in the OF bats right-handed might mean bringing Damon to camp without any commitment would be worth a flier. I don’t really see anything materializing here, but I wouldn’t be opposed to it.
In other news, Kevin Youkilis is being shut down with a sore left oblique. Great.
Friday, December 14, 2012
It’s not much of a surprise that Ichiro Suzuki is going to be returning to the Yankees in 2013.
But 2014, too?
The Yankees and Ichiro were closing in on a two-year contract worth between $12 million-$13 million, a deal that will keep the veteran outfielder in pinstripes through his 41st birthday.
I’m having a tough time reconciling the fact that the Yankees are willing to go two years on Ichiro while targeting a payroll of $189M in 2014. Ichiro would probably project to be worth about the two wins over two seasons he needs to be to make the contract reasonable, but if you can’t produce a one win player for less than $6M what the hell are you doing?
Ichiro may have some impact in revenue and marketing beyond his on-the-field value as he moves towards 3000 MLB hits, but it’s highly unlikely he gets there by the end of 2014. So it’s tough to justify the contract in that regard.
This means that the Yankees have $6M less to play with in 2014 for a team that’s likely to have a lot of holes. They have to replace/re-sign some combination of Mariano Rivera/Phil Hughes/Hiroki Kuroda/Andy Pettitte/Curtis Granderson/Kevin Youkilis/Robinson Cano or they’re likely looking at a 70-75 win team.
Can they do that? Time will tell.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
The Yankees and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki could be reunited by the end of the week.
The two sides are nearing completion of a one-year deal, according to several reports published Monday, which would give the Yankees a stopgap replacement for free agent Nick Swisher.
Ichiro appeared rejuvenated after his midseason trade from the Mariners, hitting .322 in 67 games and making a smooth transition into a Yankees clubhouse filled with fellow veterans.
After making his first postseason appearance since 2001—he hit .217 in the ALDS and .353 in the ALCS—the 39-year-old made no secret about enjoying his time in New York, opening the door for a potential return.
Ichiro would give the Yankees three lefthanded-hitting outfielders, increasing the odds that general manager Brian Cashman will add a righthanded-hitting outfielder for balance.
Here are Ichiro’s CAIRO percentile forecasts as a Yankee for 2012.
Although I agree the Yankees need to add a RHB, Ichiro doesn’t necessarily need to be platooned if you look at his regressed projected wOBA splits.
|%||wOBA vs L||wOBA vs R|
Given his age he should be platooned some, but he can effectively be close to a full-time RF. His offensive projection isn’t all that great for a corner OF, but he projects to be around a +7 defensive RF using an average of DRS, UZR and zone rating. He also figures to add a few runs on the bases (around 5, 2, 12 and 2 runs over the past four seasons). So if he can be around +5 BRAR and +5 on defense and +2 on the bases he’s worth around 1.2 WAR. That’s not great, but maybe he can hit closer to the 65% forecast and most importantly he’ll only be signed for one year.
As far as the RH outfielder, if the Yankees do end up signing Kevin Youkilis they may try to get by with someone like Ronnier Mustelier if they can’t get someone like Cody Ross or Scott Hairston on a one year deal. If they do that then they really need to try and upgrade catcher because there isn’t really anywhere else on the team where they can make a big upgrade.
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
NASHVILLE — In most years, the Yankees are the team that wreaks havoc on the free-agent marketplace and makes it difficult for other teams to fill openings on their rosters. But in a surprising twist this off-season, the Yankees — fearful of luxury tax penalties in 2014 — are seeing the market price them out of the most attractive free agents, causing them to set priorities as they try to fill their many needs.
“I’m not optimistic on the catching side that this market via trade or free agency is going to produce something that I can feel comfortable with,” General Manager Brian Cashman said. “To be honest, if you’re watching what we’re trying to do, you need to focus on the outfield and the left side of the infield. That’s where your priorities should be, because that’s where mine are.”
As uneventful as the Yankees’ offseason has been, the truth is that this year’s free agent class isn’t very good and they are better off not doing anything than paying more than a player is worth just to fill a hole. When Shane Victorino is getting 3 years and $37.5M and a 36 year old Marco Scutaro is getting 3 years and $24M I’m not sure I want the Yankees involved.
I do agree with Cashman that they are better off fixing RF and the left side of the infield than trying to find a catcher unless one falls into their lap via a good trade or something. You can get more offense for less money from the outfield than you can at catcher and this team really needs offense.
My guess is they’ll go with the catchers they have on hand, eventually bring back Ichiro and Eric Chavez and could end up signing Jeff Keppinger and will call it a day. While signing Keppinger will affect 2014 at the very least, it’s not a huge impact and he’s a pretty useful player.
Friday, October 19, 2012
2012 Yankees Final Postseason Stats
WPA: Win Probability Added. Given average teams, this is the change in probability
caused by this player during games A change of +/- 1 would indicate one win added or lost.
RE24: Base-Out Runs Added -Given the bases occupied/out situation, how many runs did the player add in the resulting play. Compared to average, so 0 is average, and above 0 is better than average
WPA and RE24 give us a better idea of how the players’ performances contributed to the team’s bottom line. Both are affected by opportunity, so that should be factored in when looking at these numbers. For pitchers there’s also the impact of the defense behind them so that should also be accounted for.
I tend to like RE24 more than WPA since it doesn’t overrate timing. Here’s how the team ranked from best to worst.
I realize a lot of people are annoyed with Alex Rodriguez being scapegoated, but the fact is no one on the Yankees hurt the team more this postseason. It doesn’t mean he’s horrible or unclutch or whatever. It’s just what happened.
But really, there’s plenty of blame to go around on the position player side. The pitching was very good, but not good enough to overcome the giant morass of awful that the team got from Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Rodriguez.
We’ll see a different Yankee team in 2013. I don’t know if they’ll be better, but they’ll be different. Maybe not a whole lot different, but they’ve got some flexibility and options.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
A Tale of Two Lineups
These are Oliver projections with an estimated platoon split vs. RHP applied.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
2012 ALCS Preview - Tigers vs. Yankees
It took the Yankees and Tigers the full five games for both teams to advance past the ALDS, but here they are. The problem for both teams is that they had to use their aces in the fifth game, which means they can’t start the ALCS with Justin Verlander or CC Sabathia.
The Tigers as presently constituted are better than the 88 win team in the AL Central that they were this year, at least if you believe the projections. Here’s how their offense projects over a seven game series using Oliver from the Hardball Times.
The Tigers obviously have the two best hitters in this series in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The rest of the lineup is not quite as impressive. They’ve been platooning Alex Avila and Gerald Laird at catcher and Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry in he OF, so I’ve assumed they’ll continue doing that. Defense was an issue for them for most of the year, but adding Omar Infante and getting Brennan Boesch out of the lineup seems to have helped them there quite a bit, and with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer striking out everyone it’s probably not going to be a big problem in three of the games at least.
If we give them 27 outs per game they project to score an estimated 36.6 runs over 7 games.
Here’s how their pitching looks.
The Tigers have Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer lined up to pitch the first four games. In theory that would mean Fister, Sanchez and Verlande would pitch games 5-7, but since those games won’t be played it doesn’t matter. The rotation is strong, with only Anibal Sanchez projecting worse than any of the starters the Orioles threw at the Yankees and he’s only .03 runs per nine worse than Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen’s projections. If the Yankees had trouble with Baltimore’s starters, they’re really going to have trouble with Detroit’s.
They’ve had some issues with their closer, who projects worse than Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel so it’ll be interesting to see if Jim Leyland sticks with him if he struggles in his first appearance or two. Our old friend Phil Coke is their main lefty out of the pen, although Drew Smyly provides depth there as well. You can futz around with how I assigned the bullpen innings but if you don’t they project to allow 27 runs in this series.
36.6 runs scored and 25 runs allowed equals a team that would win about 63.8% of their games, or 103.3 over a 162 game season.
How does that compare to the Yankees? Let’s see. First, the position players.
I’m kind of hoping that Alex Rodriguez will be back in the lineup for good but I’ve given some of his PA to Eric Chavez in case. With Detroit’s rotation all right-handed, the Shockmaster™ should be mostly full-time. We may see Nun-E and Nixy a few times so I threw them a few PA as well. With these assumptions they’d project to score a bit less than one run more than the Tigers over seven games. Of course, they’ll have to hit a lot better than they hit in the ALDS to even sniff that number.
The pitching is a mess. By blowing Game 4, the Yankees lost the option to start CC in Game 1. The good news is they have Andy Pettitte fully rested to start Game 1. Unfortunately, they have no one else from the ALDS rotation who can start on full rest in Game 2. They could try Hiroki Kuroda on three days rest but he’s never started on three days rest and I don’t think they’ll go that route. My guess is they’ll use David Phelps with Derek Lowe caddying him in Game 2 and hope for the best, then bring back CC on three days rest to match up against Verlander in Game 3. That would set him up to pitch in the theoretical Game 7 that won’t happen since Detroit’s going to sweep but let’s let our imaginations run wild.
So my guess at the rotation is something like: Andy Pettitte, David Phelps, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia.
The order could change. Pettitte would have four days rest before Game 5 so he could start that one. I’m more concerned about how the innings get allocated than the order for this so let’s press on.
Because of the mess that is the rotation I gave Derek Lowe more innings than I’d typically give a long reliever and the worst projected pitcher on the staff. It shouldn’t make a huge difference on the bottom line though.
Based on this playing time the Yankees figure to allow around 28 runs, which makes them a roughly 62.7%/101.6 win team.
Detroit has a slight edge at .638 vs. .621. Having home field advantage gives the Yankees about a .006 boost, so you’ve got something like a .633 team playing a .624 team. Given that, here’s what my playoff simulator says for this series.
The Tigers are slight favorites, but it’s basically a tossup. It’d be nice for the Yankees to avenge the last two times Detroit knocked them out of the playoffs, but I’m not betting on that happening.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
From years of studying my Girardi-to-English dictionary, I’m pretty sure that when Joe Girardi said this yesterday:
“I think that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series. Nothing that we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction.”
What he meant was this:
“Yeah, of course I’m seriously thinking about dropping A-Rod in my lineup. I may be stubborn, but I’m neither blind nor deaf nor dumb.”
And demoting Alex Rodriguez in tonight’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series would be the right, necessary decision. More than anything, given all the ridiculous knocks Girardi takes for being overly reliant on using information — as if this were a horrible proclivity — it would be the logical move.
I don’t really have a preference on where Rodriguez hits in the lineup. He could stay at #3 or get moved down and I don’t think it matters. What matters is what he does at the plate.
That being said, here’s what the difference is using Oliver projections between Game 1’s lineup and the same lineup with Rodriguez hitting sixth and everyone before sixth moving up a slot.
|1||Derek Jeter||5.00||3.31||0.62||Derek Jeter||SS||5.00||3.31||0.62|
|2||Ichiro Suzuki||5.00||3.40||0.57||Ichiro Suzuki||LF||5.00||3.40||0.57|
|3||Alex Rodriguez||5.00||3.32||0.69||Robinson Cano||2B||5.00||3.30||0.80|
|4||Robinson Cano||5.00||3.30||0.80||Nick Swisher||RF||5.00||3.26||0.70|
|5||Nick Swisher||4.26||2.78||0.60||Mark Teixeira||1B||4.28||2.82||0.62|
|6||Mark Teixeira||4.00||2.64||0.58||Alex Rodriguez||3B||4.00||2.66||0.55|
|7||Curtis Granderson||4.00||2.64||0.59||Curtis Granderson||CF||4.00||2.64||0.59|
|8||Russell Martin||4.00||2.80||0.44||Russell Martin||C||4.00||2.80||0.44|
|9||Raul Ibanez||4.00||2.80||0.51||Raul Ibanez||DH||4.00||2.80||0.51|
BR: Projected Linear weights batting runs over # of PA
So there you go. Dropping Rodriguez to sixth makes the Yankees about .01 runs per game better. That may not seem like much, but over 1620 games (10 full MLB seasons) that’s a gain of about 10 runs, which is worth a bit more than one win!
In an interesting coincidence, 10 years is how much longer Rodriguez is signed for, I think.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
2012 ALDS Preview - Orioles vs. Yankees
After battling down to the wire, the Yankees were able to stave off the Orioles to win the AL East by two games. Their reward for that is to play the Orioles on the road for two games to start the ALDS.
All season long, we’ve heard/read/said that the Orioles were not for real, that they were lucky and that they were due to crash at any point. That was mainly a function of a run differential that was negative for almost the entire season as well as seemingly unsustainable records in both one run games (29-9) and extra inning games (16-2). In general, teams approach about .500 in those games although having a strong bullpen can help a team win a higher percentage of close games and that’s something the Orioles have had all season.
None of what the 2012 Orioles got lucky with matters right now. The only thing that matters is how good the 25 man roster they will have for the ALDS is, and how it may match up against the Yankees. Because of that, I’m going to look at projections for the Orioles and Yankees which will account for their performances this year as well as in recent prior seasons. This will account for the fact that some players may have over/under performed expectations and are possibly better or worse than their 2012 numbers, but more importantly it will account for the fact that the rosters and playing time distributions in a five game series are a lot different than they are in a 162 game season and simply comparing two teams’ over 2012 Pythagenpat records is the height of laziness when it comes to statistical analysis. Well that or using FIP for pitcher WAR. But I digress.
For the projections, I’m using Oliver from the Hardball Times. They’ve been updated as of last week and include 2012 MLEs for players that spent time in the minors so I feel they are the most complete version of forecasts available right now.
So, as I mentioned, it’s all about rosters and playing time. Based on what is out there, here is my rough guess at those two things. First up, the Orioles’ lineup and bench.
The idea here is to try and allocate PA over a 5 games series. So basically it was a case of adding PA until the team got to 135 outs (27 outs times 5 games). That includes double plays and obviously there may be games where teams don’t need to bat for 27 outs (home wins) but as long as the scale is the same for both teams it doesn’t matter.
The Yankees will be throwing lefties CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the first two games and if there was a game 5 it’d probably be CC again so that might impact some of the PAs for the lefties. So I gave some DH PA to Lew Ford instead of Jim Thome and some 2B PA to Robert Andino instead of Ryan Flaherty. For the most part I don’t expect the other bench guys to play much.
Basically this estimates that the Orioles would score about 24.5 runs in an average five game series using this allocation of playing time.
And here’s what the Yankees lineup and bench should like.
Yes, I know Andruw Jones and Chris Dickerson are not on the roster. They are just place holders. Anyway, the only spot I see some finagling of playing time is DH with some combination of Raul Ibanez, Eduardo Nunez, Alex Rodriguez and Eric Chavez. I threw Jayson Nix three PA for the hell of it as well.
So the Yankees have a very slight offensive edge here, 26.4 runs to 24.5 runs.
How about the pitching? Here’s my stab at the Orioles first.
Apparently the Orioles will be using Jason hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez in the first three games. It’s expected that Chris Tillman would pitch the fourth game if necessary although it could also be Zach Britton or Joe Saunders. So a lot of this could be impacted by how that plays out.
Although Hammel is on tab to pitch the opener which should make him available for Game 5 if needed, he hasn’t been healthy in the second half so I restricted him to one start and gave a start to Joe Saunders. Because Oliver doesn’t like most of the O’s starting pitchers after Hammel and Chen and I think it may be underselling them a bit I limited them to five innings and gave more innings to the bullpen where they have better projected performers.
The big question for Baltimore is whether Gonzalez and Tillman are closer to the 3.25 and 2.93 ERAs they posted in the regular season or to their 4.78 and 5.22 projected ERAs. It’s the difference of two runs in this scenario. That may not seem like much, but it’s the equivalent of a swing of about six wins in a five game series but I’ll get into that in more detail shortly.
Same crap for the Yankees.
The Yankees should be in very good shape if the CC Sabathia we saw in his last three starts is the CC Sabathia we see this postseason. His velocity still hasn’t been overly impressive to me and the fact that he pitched well against an awful Blue Jays team and an even worse Red Sox team isn’t overly impressive to me either. But let’s hope for the best.
So we’re looking at a Yankee pitching staff that projects to allow around 20 runs vs. a Baltimore staff that projects to allow 23. Running the offensive and pitching numbers through Pythagenpat looks like this.
If you instead think that Gonzalez and Tillman are the guys they were in 2012 it looks like this.
That seems a bit closer to reality for me. The Yankees should be favorites to win this series, but not overwhelmingly so.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Building the 2012 Yankee Postseason Roster
With the Yankees’ playoff position locked in, it’s time for the always fun postseason roster thread. For the postseason this year I’m going to be using the Oliver forecast from the Hardball Times because I haven’t had a chance to run MLEs yet for CAIRO. I think they’re pretty solid projections, plus they aren’t designed to make the Yankees look better which should help us be a bit more realistic about their chances.
Here are the projections for everyone on the active roster as of yesterday, starting with the position players.
|Player||Age||Pos||Tm||Lg||PA||H||2B||3B||HR||SB||CS||BB||SO||GDP||avg||obp||slg||wOBA||v LHP||v RHP|
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
v LHP: Regressed projected wOBA vs LHP
v RHP: Regressed projected wOBA vs RHP
Oliver doesn’t project platoon splits, so I’m using CAIRO’s projected platoon split ratios to calculate the wOBA platoon splits for everyone.
Obviously you start with the locks, which is the primary starting lineup of:
Derek Jeter, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Raul Ibanez, DH
Russell Martin, C
Then you have some locks for the bench.
Eric Chavez, 3B
Chris Stewart, C
Eduardo Nunez, IF
There’s room for more on the bench, but it depends on the composition of the pitching staff, so here are those projections.
Again, we start with the locks, which are:
So we’ve got 12 position player locks and 9 pitcher locks. So who should the remaining 4 spots go to?
Here are the projected wOBA of the six remaining candidates from the position player side (I’m assuming Jayson Nix is out) in descending order.
|Player||Pos||wOBA||v LHP||v RHP|
I’m guessing quite a few of us would quibble with Andruw Jones’s projection. But he does have the ability to pop one out and I’m guessing that’ll be enough to get him onto the roster. I’m guessing the Yankees will want to take at least 11 pitchers. That leaves two spots for bench players, one of which will go to Brett Gardner. Since Dickerson and Gardner have similar skill sets, that probably leaves the last spot to Casey McGehee since he can at least play 1st and 3rd.
Here are the projections for the remaining pitchers sorted by ERA in ascending order.
If they go with 11 pitchers, then I’d assume the last two will be Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley. But they may decide to punt McGehee and add another long man, which would probably be Ivan Nova or Derek Lowe. Lowe seems to have moved to the front of the pack for the spot, although I don’t see the sense in carrying 12 pitchers for a five man series.
So my postseason roster would look like this.
But I’m guessing they’ll put Lowe on instead of McGehee which isn’t a big deal.
I forgot the Shockmaster™ so scratch Lowe and McGehee. Then, the next question to ask will be, how good is that team? I’ll tell you in the next day or two.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Optimizing the Yankee Lineup by Platoon Splits
Last week I posted the revised CAIRO projections for the Yankees for the rest of 2012 including their projected platoon splits. So now let’s see how we can make use of that information.
Here are the team’s projected woBA splits, both overall and vs. RHP and LHP. You can sort this table by clicking on the column heading.
|Player||Overall||vs RHP||vs LHP|
Versus right-handed pitching, this is how the Yankees’s rank by projected wOBA.
I have no idea if we’ll see Mark Teixeira again this year. I’m sure they’ll give it a go, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to hold up. If you were to take the best group of players vs. RHP while ensuring each one can play a position passably well (sans Teixeira) you get a group of Cano, Granderson, Swisher, Rodriguez, Ibanez, Jeter, Chavez, Ichiro, Martin. This is purely looking at offense. You could probably make a case that Chris Dickerson’s defense and baserunning make him a better overall option than the Shockmaster™, but with the Shockmaster™‘s shocking Lazarus-like revival it’s probably moot.
So the best lineup for the Yankees vs. RHP probably looks something like this.
|Team||Yankees||Vs. RHP Projected|
BR are linear weights batting runs and the team total is based on an estimated 25 outs at the plate and factoring in double plays. You can quibble with the order, but I tried to arrange it to minimize the number of same-handed batters hitting back-to-back. You could conceivably move Ichiro up to second and move everyone else down a notch. That would reduce their estimated BR to 5.09 but would also split the lineup as R/L/S/L/R/L/L/R/L which may be advantageous tactically later in games.
If the Yankees are the 4.19 RA team they’ve been this year, vs. RHP with this lineup they’d project as around a .591/96 win team.
If we flip the script, here’s what we’re looking at.
You’d ideally get Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano, Swisher, Martin, Pearce?, Jones??, McGehee??? and Granderson into the lineup if you were taking the top nine hitters vs. LHP, although I’m guessing that CAIRO is wrong on Jones. You could conceivably do that with a lineup that looks like this.
|Team||Yankees||Vs. LHP Projected|
That lineup would project to be around a .569/92 win team.
I think if you factor in defense you probably want Ichiro in there. You could put him in LF, put Jones at DH where his indifferent defense would be a non-issue and put Rodriguez at 3B and go with Pearce or McGehee at 1b. Unfortunately for McGehee I have a hunch today will be his last day on the 40 man roster since they need to clear a roster spot for David Aardsma. I suppose it could be Cory Wade who goes instead, which I’d be bummed about but I completely understand it.
FWIW, if they can get Teixeira back they improve to about a .600 97/win team vs. RHP and a .578/94 win team vs. LHP.
If you assume the Yankees will see lefties 40% of the time over the rest of the season and that they’ll pitch the way they’ve pitched so far this year then they’re roughly a 94 win team right now, and a 96 win team with Teixeira. We have to figure they’ll be resting some guys over the rest of the season which will make them a bit worse than that.
Hopefully that’s still good enough to hold on to their tenuous lead in the division.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
NEW YORK—Ichiro Suzuki continued his campaign for more playing time with another three RBIs and Nick Swisher slugged his seventh career grand slam, leading the Yankees to a 10-7 victory of the Blue Jays on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
Phil Hughes completed five innings of four-run ball, tying a franchise mark with four strikeouts in the fourth inning, to log the win as the Yankees completed a series sweep of Toronto coming off of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Toronto added three runs in the eighth off Cory Wade to create a save situation for David Robertson, who picked up his second save. With the win, the Yankees moved a full game ahead of the idle Orioles atop the American League East with 13 games remaining on the schedule.
It’s been a while since the offense looked this good, huh?
I’m not sure how you can justify not playing Ichiro against every one now.
2012 CAIRO Rest of Season Position Player Projections for the Yankees (with platoon splits)
I figured with 15 games left in the season most of the projections for the Yankees shouldn’t change much so I could run these. Ichiro thanks me for not running these yesterday.
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Platoon splits are calculated using the methodology detailed in The Book, an illustration of which can be found here. That means they are regressed and based on a player’s career platoon splits, which tell us more than a single season does.
What will come next will be figuring out how the Yankees should deploy their players to take best advantage of platoon splits as they try to hold off the unstoppable Orioles juggernaut. I’ll try and do that over the next few days.
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
NEW YORK—The “Ich-i-ro” chants started at Yankee Stadium before Ichiro Suzuki recorded his seventh hit of the day, but they reached a crescendo after the veteran outfielder drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning of the Yankees’ 2-1 nightcap win over the Blue Jays, giving New York victories on both ends of Wednesday’s day-night doubleheader.
Ichiro went 4-for-4 with four stolen bases in the nightcap, singling in Curtis Granderson against Aaron Loup to help the Yankees earn a win that ensured they would wake up on Thursday with at least a half-game lead in the American League East, regardless of the Orioles’ result against the Mariners at Seattle later Wednesday night.
Seven hits in one day for Ichiro. As Michael Kay pointed out during the broadcast, Andruw Jones has nine hits in two months. It was smart to start Ichiro in this game because Romero’s best pitch is a changeup, which means lefties have hit him better than righties in his career. Girardi has been loading his lineups vs. Romero with righties and Romero’s pitched better against them than he has against any other team in the league. So thankfully he tried something different tonight. In his press conference Girardi just mentioned the fact that lefties have hit better than righties against Romero, which is encouraging.
David Phelps set his MLB career high in pitches and pitched pretty well, albeit against a team that looked more like the 2012 Red Sox than the 2011 Red Sox. Still, with the doubleheader limiting the availability of the better relievers, getting into the seventh while holding the Jays to one run was really big. He probably won’t make another start this year, but he’s got a chance to be a very important part of the late inning mix and he’s surely put himself into contention for a rotation spot in 2013.
We can fret about the offense, but at this point they just need to win. The how is less important.
Friday, September 14, 2012
|RISP 9/11 - 9/13||AB||Hits||2B||3B||HR||RBI||BB||IBB||HBP||K||SH||SF||GDP||BA||OBA||Slug%|
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
How To Blow a 10 Game Lead in 47 Days
|David Phelps||11||4||2||1||33 1/3||24||12||12||5||10||34||2||1||0||3.24||3.24||4.04|
|Clay Rapada||20||0||1||0||9 2/3||10||4||4||1||3||9||0||1||0||3.72||3.72||3.46|
|David Robertson||21||0||0||2||20 2/3||18||5||5||1||4||19||1||0||0||2.18||2.18||2.57|
|Rafael Soriano||17||0||0||1||17 2/3||14||6||6||2||2||19||1||0||1||3.06||3.06||2.88|
|Boone Logan||18||0||2||2||13 2/3||11||6||6||1||7||16||0||0||0||3.95||3.95||3.20|
|Cody Eppley||16||0||0||2||13 1/3||18||8||7||0||4||11||0||0||1||5.40||4.73||2.30|
|Derek Lowe||8||0||0||1||9 1/3||17||7||6||2||2||8||0||0||0||6.75||5.79||4.76|
|Joba Chamberlain||10||0||0||0||8 2/3||17||9||9||2||5||7||2||0||0||9.35||9.35||6.86|
|Cory Wade||1||0||0||0||1 2/3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.00||3.05|
The interesting thing on the offensive side is the fact that the Yankees’ seeming lack of clutch ability doesn’t really show up if you compare their linear weights batting runs to their actual runs scored. They haven’t done a bad job of converting their hits and walks to runs, they just haven’t done a good job of getting hits and walks.
I knew Curtis Granderson has been pretty bad for most of the second half, but I didn’t realize it was quite that bad. Missing Mark Teixeira hasn’t helped of late, but a .256/.319/.402 line from a 1B who plays half his games in DNYS isn’t exactly something that’s going to make a big difference. Teixeira’s probably better than that, but over the last 25-30 games of the season it wouldn’t surprise to see him do no better than that or even worse.
I won’t get into all of the team’s splits over the past 47 days, but here’s a link from David Pinto’s Day by Day database so you can see them for yourselves. Some highlights:
The team is hitting .234/.288/.400 when trailing. That wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t trail in every game.
The team has gotten a sparkling line of .210/.283/.338 from left field
They’ve hit .222/.296/.369 vs. LHP. Luckily they won’t face LHP in every single game over the rest of the year, only maybe half of them.
They’re hitting .175/.259/.283 so far in September. It’s like they switched to bizarro National League rules where only the pitchers hit.
The gap between the pitching staff’s FIP and ERA is about 6 runs, so they haven’t been the victims of exceedingly bad luck in terms of BABIP either. Hiroki Kuroda is really the only starting pitcher doing well, and as we all know they’re effectively down to a two man bullpen, maybe two and a half if you give Boone Logan partial credit. Maybe Cory Wade can re-discover whatever it was that made him effective during the first half of his Yankee tenure, and maybe a healthy and effective Ivan Nova can push David Phelps back into the bullpen and they can beef it up a bit.
Again, I won’t get into all of the pitching staff’s splits but you can see them at this link.
A team that scores 193 runs and allows 190 should be about a .507 team, so I suppose you could point to the Yankees’ record in close games as the primary culprit for their fall from grace. They’ve gone 19-25 over the past 47 days instead of their Pythagenpat expected record of 22-22.
All is not lost of course. The Yankees are still tied for first place. If you remove the “contributions” of Ryota Igarishi, Derek Lowe, Casey McGehee and DeWayne Wise from their overall stats they’ve played more like a .513 team. I’m not sure why Lowe is still on the roster, and I’m hoping he never throws another pitch in pinstripes.
Here is a random and not necessarily meaningful split of the team’s record in games that a player has appeared in. The obvious takeaway from that is that since they’re 13-4 in games that Rafael Soriano has pitched in he should pitch every day. Another “fun” stat? The Yankees are 1-7 in games that Derek Lowe and Alex Rodriguez have appeared in since July 19. I can’t wait for the MSM to latch onto that last one.
Since the Rays and Orioles play each other six more times this season, the Yankees have a chance to gain some ground on at least one of them. Of course, they can’t do that if they don’t start winning freaking games.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira was forced to exit Monday night’s loss to the Blue Jays in the fourth inning with a strained left calf, but the news got worse from there.
An MRI has revealed a Grade 1 strain and Teixeira believes he’ll miss one to two weeks, reports Sweeny Murti of WFAN.
Teixeira, 32, is hitting .255/.335/.478 with 23 homers, 81 RBI and 65 runs this season.
With Teixeira out, the Yankees have several options at first base. Newly-acquired Steve Pearce is an option. Nick Swisher could play first with Ichiro Suzuki sliding to right field while either Andruw Jones or Raul Ibanez plays left. Casey McGehee could also fill in, as could Eric Chavez, with Jayson Nix playing third. The best guess is they play matchups instead of sticking with one specific lineup until Teixeira returns.
Not great news for a team that’s already limping to the finish line. I suppose the silver lining is that the rest will be beneficial to his wrist as well.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
NEW YORK—Hiroki Kuroda turned in yet another stellar outing and Ichiro Suzuki homered twice as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 4-1, on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Running his scoreless-innings streak to 16 2/3 before Adrian Gonzalez’s homer ended the run, Kuroda continued his stretch as arguably the Yankees’ most effective starter in recent months, piling up zeros into the seventh.
Undaunted, Kuroda finished with eight innings of one-run ball, logging his second victory in as many starts while limiting Boston to just four hits—three of them singles. The right-hander walked none and struck out four.
Kuroda was once again excellent, and is now sporting an ERA of 2.96. He’s pitching like a number one starter.
Ichiro’s now hitting .322/.344/.506 in 92 PA as a Yankee. I was doubtful he had much left but hopefully he can keep getting on base at a similar clip, even if the power is a fluke.
I’m pretty happy with how this series went. The starters all pitched well and the offense did well in two of the three games.
Friday, August 10, 2012
TORONTO—Freddy Garcia turned in another strong performance and was backed by a collective effort by his offense—including five RBIs from Ichiro Suzuki—that helped guide the Yankees to a 10-4 win over the Blue Jays in the first of a three-game set at Rogers Centre on Friday.
When the worst team in baseball history regresses back towards their mean it’s going to be ugly.
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Justin Verlander, the reigning Cy Young Award winner and most valuable player in the American League, outshined Nova in every way at Comerica Park, even on a night when he was not necessarily at his best. But he was awfully good.
Verlander matched his career high by striking out 14 in eight impressive innings, and he allowed only two unearned runs and eight hits as the Detroit Tigers beat the Yankees, 7-2. Verlander threw a season-high 132 pitches, and he looked in command right down to the final out, a nasty curveball that made Ichiro Suzuki look abnormally awkward.
Are the Yankees on the verge of collapse?
Monday, July 30, 2012
NEW YORK—The Yankees hit three home runs off Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, but that power display wasn’t enough to avert a 5-4 defeat on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium, marking the Bronx Bombers’ third consecutive loss.
Yankees starter Freddy Garcia permitted three runs over six innings, but the Orioles added two key runs in the seventh charged to reliever Boone Logan, winning for the third time in their four games played in the Bronx this season.
Back-to-back seventh-inning homers by Eric Chavez and Ichiro Suzuki off Gonzalez—Ichiro’s first home run in pinstripes, and the 100th of his career—closed the deficit, but the Yankees couldn’t push a final run across.
Homers aren’t enough should be the theme song of the 2012 Yankees. I suppose it would help if it was a song and not a headline.
Mark Teixeira left the game with a hand injury after a fielding play and obviously that’s the bigger concern than yet another one run loss. There’s no official word on the extent of the injury, with tests planned for tomorrow.
The nice thing about losing a bunch of one run games is it generally means you’ve been a bit unlucky and aren’t really as bad as you’ve looked. While the logical part of me can use that to somewhat mollify the annoyance of the Yankees dropping eight of their last 11 games, the fan in me is pretty freaking annoyed these days.
Girardi said that the Yankees continue to expect Pettitte to return to their rotation in September, and that this recent update doesn’t constitute a change in that thinking. Doctors have been encouraged by Pettitte’s healing thus far.
“I feel like Usain Bolt right now, just not quite that fast,” said Chamberlain when asked if he sees a finish line. “Just to know it’s there and the hard work’s paid off, and to know there is an end in sight, is awesome.”
Chad Qualls is probably a bit less enthusiastic about said return.
And if you’re hoping for a magic deal coming down to save the day, according to Brian Cashman, stop hoping.
Cashman said that the trade landscape has “gotten quiet all of a sudden,” and though he wouldn’t completely rule out the chances of the Yankees making a trade before 4 p.m. ET Tuesday, Cashman said he is “not at all” optimistic because prices have been too high.
“There are some very motivated buyers that you’ve seen, and some very reluctant sellers,” Cashman said. “It’s always difficult to agree on price regardless. I’m very comfortable that I know we’re getting our guys back from the DL. It’s just trying to maintain health, stay healthy and get healthy, and keep going with what you’ve got.”
Translation, I’m about to trade Mason Williams and Gary Sanchez for Brandon Beachy.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
July 2012 West Coast Road Trip Stats
Runners in supposed scoring position splits
I think the most frustrating part of this trip is that the Yankees scored 21 runs (should have scored 24 according to BR/linear weights batting runs) and allowed 21 runs and went 2-5.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Teams that use advanced statistical models incorporate a player’s defense and base running into their evaluations.
Put it all together, and the newest New York Yankee, outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, is still an above-average player — “a lot better than you think,” according to one rival executive.
Suzuki, the exec said, is only an average hitter at this point, maybe even a tick below. But he remains a terrific base runner and great defender, the exec added, compensating for his offensive decline.
The Yankees, one of the most aggressive teams in their use of statistical analysis, likely viewed Ichiro in that light.
The Yankees, aggressive users of statistical analysis? What is this world coming to?
Ichiro’s Defensive Metrics in 2012
Defensive metrics have limitations, but when three independent measures say the same basic thing, we can generally feel comfortable that they’re in the ballpark in that specific instance.
Monday, July 23, 2012
SEATTLE—Ichiro Suzuki doffed his batting helmet and bowed before entering the batter’s box for the first time as a New York Yankee, having switched clubhouses at Safeco Field hours before first pitch.
Ichiro singled and quickly stole a base, but the former Mariners icon played just a supplementary role on Monday, helping his new club defeat his old one, 4-1, in the opener of a three-game series.
Hiroki Kuroda (10-7) hurled seven strong innings of one-run ball as the Yankees snapped their four-game losing streak, having made headlines earlier in the day by acquiring the 38-year-old Ichiro from Seattle for two pitchers and cash considerations.
Even before tonight, Kuroda has almost certainly been the most valuable pitcher on the Yankees and he added to that value tonight. I really underestimated how well he’d make the transition to the superior league. I really like watching him pitch.
The Yankees have acquired Ichiro Suzuki for RHPs DJ Mitchell and Danny Fahrquar, a source said. Yanks also get undisclosed cash in deal.
Projections to follow once I change the underlying assumptions to make Ichiro look better.
OK, that’s done.
Here is how CAIRO had Ichiro! projected entering the season.
So far he’s hit .261/.288/.353 in 423 PA, which a hair better than his 20% forecast in terms of wOBA. His baseline projection as a Yankee would have been ..310/.351/.397.
We don’t really care about what he’s done this year aside from how it may inform his projection going forward. CAIRO says something like .295/.332/.384 over the rest of the year. ZiPS is harsher at .273/.309/.348 but that’s in Seattle which probably shrinks the gap a fair amount. Suzuki actually has been a bit better vs. LHP than RHP in his career, but that’s not been the case this year ( .236/.242/.267 vs. LHP and .278/.318/.411 vs. RHP).
He’s a better defensive OF than Raul Ibanez (then again, I may be) and probably Andruw Jones, and he can still run pretty well. The Yankees are probably hoping moving into a pennant race revives him a bit, and they didn’t give up anything significant in taking the gamble.
Seems like a meh move, but I suppose it’s something.
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