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








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Whatever
(102 Comments - 8/20/2014 1:47:35 am)

Astros (52-73) @ Yankees (63-59), Tuesday, August 19, 2014,  7:05pm
(94 Comments - 8/19/2014 11:41:08 pm)

North Jersey: Out on Castillo
(24 Comments - 8/19/2014 7:59:05 pm)

Newsday: Ambidextrous Pitcher Pat Venditte Hoping for His Call to the Majors
(6 Comments - 8/19/2014 7:56:25 pm)

NY Times: Thanks to Pitchers, Yankees Finish Trip on an Upbeat Note
(27 Comments - 8/19/2014 12:13:57 am)

Yankees.com: If At First You Don’t Succeed in Losing, Try, Try Again
(14 Comments - 8/18/2014 12:19:42 pm)

Yankees (62-59) @ Rays (61-62), Sunday, 17 August 2014, 1:40pm
(24 Comments - 8/17/2014 7:06:34 pm)

Yankees.com: Well, You Can’t Lose Them All
(29 Comments - 8/17/2014 2:33:24 pm)

Ships That Pass in the Night
(41 Comments - 8/16/2014 7:50:35 pm)

Yankees.com: The Last One to Leave Has to Turn the Lights Off
(11 Comments - 8/16/2014 1:11:47 pm)



Player

Current Projected

Look what people have to say about the RLYW!

CAIRO just takes the Marcels and changes the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.
-alskor

Wow, two stupid posts in one day. I think you’ve reached your yearly quota.
sabernar

I don’t know if any of you current posters were around for that, but if so, I just can’t understand how you can call yourselves Yankee fans. Pathetic quitters is what you sounded like. Of the lame posts I could stand to read, the only person who had any confidence in the Yankees at that point was a (yeesh) Red Sox fan.
Jeter is King

Quite the attitude you have SG. Maybe you should shitcan this blog and join Steve at WasWatching? Or follow some other stupid team that has made the PS 15 of the last 17 years. Jeez… and some people think Yankee fans are entitled.
OldYanksFan




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Friday, August 1, 2014

The “New” Yankees vs. the “Old” Yankees

With the recent acquisitions of Chase Headley, Stephen Drew and Martin Prado, it’s fair to say the Yankees should have a better lineup going forward than they’ve had for most of the season.  The question is, how much better?

Here are the rest of the season Steamer projections for the Yankees’ most frequently used lineup to this point of the season.

Order Player Pos PA wOBA Outs BR
1 Brett Gardner LF 4.45 .328 3 0.54
2 Derek Jeter SS 4.00 .311 3 0.42
3 Jacoby Ellsbury CF 4.00 .332 3 0.51
4 Mark Teixeira 1B 4.00 .348 3 0.54
5 Brian McCann C 4.00 .336 3 0.50
6 Carlos Beltran DH 4.00 .353 3 0.57
7 Ichiro Suzuki RF 4.00 .297 3 0.39
8 Brian Roberts 2B 4.00 .296 3 0.42
9 Kelly Johnson 3B 4.00 .318 3 0.53
36.45 .324 24.00 4.41
p162 714.85

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
Outs: Outs made at the plate per game

Here’s what the lineup could look like now with the new additions.

Order Player Pos PA wOBA Outs BR
1 Brett Gardner LF 4.56 .328 3 0.55
2 Derek Jeter SS 4.00 .311 3 0.42
3 Jacoby Ellsbury CF 4.00 .332 3 0.51
4 Mark Teixeira 1B 4.00 .348 3 0.54
5 Brian McCann C 4.00 .336 3 0.50
6 Carlos Beltran DH 4.00 .353 3 0.57
7 Chase Headley 3B 4.00 .337 3 0.51
8 Martin Prado RF 4.00 .322 3 0.47
9 Stephen Drew 2B 4.00 .306 3 0.43
36.56 .330 24.00 4.50
p162 728.96

Standard caveats about projections apply.  They are imprecise attempts to estimate a player’s true talent and could be inaccurate in either direction for a myriad number of reasons.

The Yankees added about one-tenth of a run per game.  Over a full season that might be worth a win or two.  We can also probably assume that the defense will be better with Headley at 3B and Drew at 2B, although he’s never played the position before.

The Yankees still face long odds to qualify for the postseason given where they are in the standings and the fact that they still aren’t a particularly good team.  But they are better today than they were on Wednesday, and they did it without harming themselves in the long-term.

It’s hard to complain about that.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 26 Comments | - (0)




Monday, June 23, 2014

The Rise and Fall of Yangervis Solarte

Yangervis Solarte seemingly came out of nowhere with a strong spring training to win a spot on the Yankees’ 25 man roster on Opening Day.  He forced his way into a full-time role with his hitting and had an impressive line of .336/.414/.521 entering May 15.  Since then he’s been pretty bad.

Start End PA avg obp slg ops isoD isoP
4/2/2014 5/14/2014 142 .331 .408 .512 .921 .078 .182
5/15/2014 6/22/2014 118 .190 .274 .286 .559 .083 .095

Start End gb% fb% ld% iffb% hr/fb bb% so% babip xbabip
4/2/2014 5/14/2014 39.4% 35.8% 22.9% 1.8% 10.3% 12.0% 12.0% .350 .316
5/15/2014 6/22/2014 46.3% 33.7% 14.7% 5.3% 6.3% 9.3% 11.9% .200 .269

isoD: isolated discipline (obp - avg)
isoP: isolated power (slg - avg)
gb%: ground ball percentage
fb%: fly ball percentage
ld%: line drive percentage
iffb%: infield fly ball percentage
hr/fb: home runs per fly ball
bb%: walk percentage
so%: strikeout percentage
babip: batting average on balls in play
xbabip: expected babip (calculated as 0.15 x fb% + 0.24 x gb% + 0.73 x ld%

Calculating expected batting average on balls in play is not nearly an exact science, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that Solarte was playing over his head to start the year and has probably not been as bad as his numbers since May 15.  I’m encouraged by the fact that his walk rate and strikeout rate have been fairly consistent, but not so encouraged by the drop in his line drive percentage.

The defensive metrics peg Solarte as a hair below average at both 2B and 3B, albeit in too small of a sample size to be particularly useful.

Solarte is probably stretched as a full-time starter, but given the Yankee roster he may still deserve to start at either second or third base fairly regularly.  Here are the wOBA projections for the Yankees’ primary options for 2B and 3B over the rest of the season.

ROS projections steamer zips
Solarte .309 .305
Roberts .303 .304
K. Johnson .316 .319

Kelly Johnson should probably be playing more than he has, especially in lieu of Brian Roberts, but he’s only played two innings at 2B this year despite it being his primary position throughout his career. 

Rumor has it the Yankees are seeking another starting pitcher as their primary target as we move towards the trade deadline.  But I think they would get more benefit from adding an infielder that can outperform what they have at 2B or 3B.  But they seem to love starting pitchers even though their offense is probably their biggest problem right now.

--Posted at 8:23 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)




Sunday, March 30, 2014

CAIRO 2014 v1.0 and MLB Projected Standings

I’ve posted the final pre-season version of the 2014 CAIRO MLB projections and they are available at this link.

Yeah, I know that technically the season has already started.  You can ignore the Dodgers and Diamondbacks projections if you want.

Unfortunately because of time constraints I wasn’t able to run my full set of projected standings this year.  But you can check out the following places for projected standings.

Clay Davenport’s 2014 Projected Standings
Fangraphs’ 2014 Projected Standings using a combination of Steamer and ZiPS
Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projected 2014 standings

And here are CAIRO’s projected standings for 2014.

Date 3/30/2014
Iterations 100,000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Red Sox 90 72 784 734 34.5% 12.5% 11.1% 58.1% 79-99
Rays 86 76 633 580 26.5% 12.2% 11.3% 49.9% 75-95
Yankees 84 78 735 706 15.3% 9.0% 10.0% 34.3% 73-93
Orioles 84 78 751 713 15.0% 8.9% 9.9% 33.7% 73-93
Blue Jays 81 81 798 784 8.7% 6.0% 7.8% 22.4% 71-91
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 90 72 722 650 75.5% 4.6% 3.8% 84.0% 80-100
Indians 81 81 696 678 17.7% 8.5% 8.3% 34.5% 70-90
Royals 79 83 675 731 4.8% 2.4% 3.7% 11.0% 68-88
Twins 73 89 674 749 1.5% 0.7% 1.2% 3.4% 62-82
White Sox 69 93 669 776 0.4% 0.2% 0.3% 0.9% 59-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Rangers 87 75 769 677 57.6% 10.8% 7.5% 76.0% 77-97
Athletics 83 79 696 651 24.9% 12.8% 10.9% 48.5% 73-93
Mariners 82 80 658 660 11.9% 7.7% 8.6% 28.3% 71-91
Angels 78 84 662 681 5.5% 3.9% 5.4% 14.8% 68-88
Astros 68 94 674 848 0.0% 0.0% 0.1% 0.2% 58-78
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 91 71 696 595 76.8% 7.9% 4.9% 89.6% 81-101
Braves 85 77 640 616 17.7% 16.8% 13.5% 48.0% 74-94
Phillies 78 84 620 643 4.0% 4.8% 6.5% 15.3% 68-88
Mets 73 89 581 641 0.9% 1.0% 1.9% 3.8% 63-83
Marlins 73 89 582 658 0.6% 0.7% 1.4% 2.6% 63-83
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Cardinals 85 77 609 570 41.0% 6.5% 7.9% 55.4% 74-94
Pirates 85 77 576 553 32.7% 6.5% 8.2% 47.4% 74-94
Reds 82 80 657 651 19.5% 5.0% 7.1% 31.6% 71-91
Brewers 76 86 696 739 5.2% 1.5% 2.9% 9.6% 65-85
Cubs 72 90 626 693 1.6% 0.4% 1.0% 3.0% 61-81
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 91 71 626 553 58.9% 14.3% 9.0% 82.2% 81-101
Giants 87 75 606 557 27.3% 19.0% 13.7% 60.0% 76-96
Padres 80 82 599 593 6.0% 6.5% 8.9% 21.3% 69-89
Diamondbacks 79 83 617 624 4.2% 5.0% 7.1% 16.3% 68-88
Rockies 78 84 806 831 3.6% 4.1% 6.1% 13.8% 67-87

W: Projected final 2014 wins
L: Projected final 2014 losses
RS: Projected final 2014 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2014 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

This does account for the fact that Dodgers won the first two games against Arizona, which added about one win to their final projection and an extra loss to the Diamondbacks.

This lines up about where CAIRO has the Yankees pegged with my depth charts, around 84 wins and needing some good fortune to contend for the division, particularly since they’re in what looks l like the best division top to bottom in baseball this year.

--Posted at 4:48 pm by SG / 76 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 27, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - The Team

I’m still not sure how the rest of the 25 man roster will fill out by Opening Day, but I figure it will change throughout the year anyway so I took a stab at creating depth charts anyway.  I don’t think I’m going to be able to run my full projection blowout this year, but I should be able to post CAIRO’s projected standings by Monday.  Before that, let’s take a look at what the 2014 Yankees might look like on virtual paper.

I am calculating linear weights batting runs, defense and pitching runs allowed for CAIRO and the three projections available on Fangraphs (Oliver, Steamer and ZiPS) to get an overall view of the team.  We’ll start with the position players.

Player Pos PA cairo oliver steamer zips avg def
Jacoby Ellsbury CF 525 69 69 66 73 69 6
Derek Jeter SS 450 49 45 48 47 47 -9
Carlos Beltran RF 550 83 77 79 76 79 -5
Mark Teixeira 1B 525 70 67 71 73 70 4
Brian McCann C 500 66 71 70 67 68 -2
Alfonso Soriano DH 550 67 68 62 73 67 1
Kelly Johnson 3B 525 61 61 62 61 61 -3
Brian Roberts 2B 350 35 32 36 35 35 -1
Brett Gardner LF 550 67 65 63 67 65 12
Starters 4525 567 555 556 573 563 4
Player Pos PA cairo oliver steamer zips avg def
Ichiro Suzuki OF 360 35 33 37 37 36 7
Eduardo Nunez SS 350 35 31 34 37 34 -12
Dean Anna IF 200 21 19 23 21 21 0
Brendan Ryan SS 250 19 18 19 21 19 10
Francisco Cervelli C 185 18 18 16 18 18 0
Zoilo Almonte OF 175 18 18 19 17 18 2
Bench 1520 146 138 147 150 146 7
Total 6045 713 693 703 723 708 11

As I said, these numbers are an estimate of the linear weights batting runs in each projection and CAIRO’s projected average defense using DRS, UZR and zone rating pro-rated to estimated playing time. 

PA are based on a rough estimate of outs made.  Obviously the hope is that the Yankees can keep their key players healthy.  The Yankees scored 650 runs last season, and they should be a fair amount better than that this year health permitting, projecting around 708 runs on average with these playing time assumptions.  Granted, that’s not a high bar to clear.  Defense does not include catcher framing which is something that Brian McCann has rated well in so maybe you can add another win there.  The defense should be better than average despite Jeter and Nun-E, although I think Jeter’s projection is somewhat rosy.  He was 5 runs below average last season in very limited time and would be close to 50 runs below average if he played a full season in the same way.  Kelly Johnson also hasn’t played a whole lot of 3B in his career and it’s possible he doesn’t play well there.  On the plus side, maybe Nun-E won’t play as much as expected here.

The most glaring thing here to me is that the Yankees don’t have a true superstar hitter.  They’re paying a few players like they are superstars, but they aren’t.  The average AL team scored 702 runs in 2013, so that’s about where the Yankee offense likely projects for this season.

Pitching is obviously going to have to be better than average to make up for that, and it has a good chance to be.

Player Role IP cairo oliver steamer zips avg
CC Sabathia SP 200 96 83 96 96 93
Hiroki Kuroda SP 200 91 83 95 89 90
Ivan Nova SP 190 90 83 90 89 88
Masahiro Tanaka SP 190 88 55 90 88 80
Michael Pineda SP 140 79 61 67 78 72
David Phelps SP 120 61 56 62 65 61
Vidal Nuno SP 65 33 28 35 36 33
Starters 1105 538 450 536 542 516
Player Role IP cairo oliver steamer zips avg
David Robertson CL 65 20 22 22 27 23
Shawn Kelley SU 60 29 24 26 30 27
Matt Thornton SU 50 21 19 23 23 22
Matt Daley MR 40 16 15 17 19 17
Dellin Betances MR 40 25 23 20 28 24
Cesar Cabral MR 30 20 16 14 18 17
Adam Warren LR 60 33 29 29 32 31
Bullpen 345 163 149 152 177 160
Team 1450 701 599 688 718 677

I guess what’s most striking to me here is how much Oliver likes the Yankee pitching relative to the other projections.  Part of that is due to the fact that Oliver does not adjust for park, but that doesn’t explain it all.  Another part of it is that Oliver thinks Mashahiro Tanaka will be the best pitcher in the AL.  It’s certainly possible but it’s not likely in my opinion.

Some of the bullpen projections are probably a bit pessimistic, particularly Dellin Betances who has taken well to the bullpen but whose projection includes a lot of time when he was a bad starter in the minors.  I can also see Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda outpitching their projecctions.  On the downside I’m still concerned about CC Sabathia adjusting to his reduced velocity.

So what does this all mean?

stat cairo oliver steamer zips avg
RS 713 693 703 723 708
RA 701 599 688 718 677
Def 11 11 11 11 11
wpct .515 .574 .518 .510 .529
p162 83 93 84 83 86

If you want optimism, Oliver’s your forecast.  The other projections agree with my gut feeling that this is a mid-80s win team on talent and they will need a few things to go better than expected to contend.

That can certainly happen, of course.  Last year’s Red Sox team looked like an 84 win team heading into the season.  The 2012 Giants looked like one as well.  But I’d feel better if the Yankees had better depth to cover for the risks they are carrying in the infield.

At the very least, this team should be more fun to watch than last year’s team.  So that’s something.

--Posted at 8:53 am by SG / 58 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - David Robertson

The unenviable task of replacing the legendary Mariano Rivera goes to David Robertson.  Robertson has been brilliant over the last three seasons and should be able to handle the closer role if the Yankees can ever get him a lead.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
66 51 5 18 77 2.04 2.61 2.5

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

Robertson had a very strong 2013, include the best strikeout to walk ratio of his career.  Robertson has steadily decreased his walk rate, which was the major concern with him.  His strike out rate has also been declining, but it has led to a more efficient Robertson.  Over his first four seasons Robertson averaged 4.40 pitches per batter faced, over the last two seasons he’s been at 3.98.

2014 Projections

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 67 54 5 24 80 2.64 2.80 1.7
oliver 63 50 5 22 78 2.98 2.75 1.2
steamer 65 53 6 23 72 2.94 3.17 0.9
zips 63 48 6 22 85 2.71 2.42 1.3
average 65 51 5 23 79 2.82 2.79 1.3

The projections generally agree that Robertson will pitch well again this year, although CAIRO likes him more than the rest, as it usually has.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 81 50 17 16 3 20 96 1.91 1.82 1.97 2.8
65% 74 52 19 18 4 22 88 2.30 2.21 2.35 2.3
Baseline 67 54 21 20 5 24 80 2.75 2.64 2.80 1.7
35% 50 46 18 18 5 21 61 3.25 3.12 3.25 1.0
20% 35 37 15 14 5 17 43 3.82 3.68 3.80 0.5

I think Robertson will be his typical self, and should be closer to his 65% forecast than his baseline.

Robertson is in the final year of team control and I am not sure why the Yankees haven’t extended him yet.  I have a hunch that it is at least partially because they want to see if he has the appropriate “closer’s mentality.”  I don’t see any reason to think that Robertson can’t continue to get batters out just because he’ll be starting the ninth instead of the eighth.  It’s true that at this point in his career his save percentage is not good, but that’s because setup men get granted lots of save opportunities in games that they will not be given an opportunity to save, so their blown save rates are disproportionate.  Robertson has 124 saves and holds in his career in 134 chances.  He will be fine.

--Posted at 8:22 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 24, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Phelps and Pineda

Since David Phelps and Michael Pineda are both vying for fifth starter to open the season, I’ll lump them together.  I will resist the urge to call them the Killer P’s.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
86 88 8 35 79 4.98 3.81 0.1

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

Phelps’s 4.98 ERA in 2013 is a bit misleading, as nine of the 48 runs he allowed came in one brutal start in Baltimore.  Phelps saw time as a starter and reliever and his FIP of 3.81 was a better indicator of how he pitched for the most part.

Pineda spent 2013 rehabbing from labrum surgery and pitched 40 or so innings scattered at various levels in the minors.  He appears to be healthy, but his velocity hasn’t recovered back to where it was in his rookie season with Seattle.

2014 Projections
Phelps

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 100 100 14 41 89 4.34 4.37 0.7
oliver 111 112 16 41 98 4.20 4.39 1.0
steamer 144 139 17 57 119 4.43 4.25 1.5
zips 102 101 14 38 92 4.51 4.31 0.9
average 114 113 15 44 100 4.37 4.32 1.0

WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

Phelps projects to be a bit below average as a starting pitcher, but if you can get his projected performance out of your fifth starter you’re going to be very happy about it.  These projections are a hybrid of starting and relieving, so we can probably assume he’d be a bit worse as a full-time starter and bit better if he’s primarily a reliever.

Pineda

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 91 87 14 35 78 4.61 4.53 0.5
oliver 82 77 12 29 75 3.97 4.33 0.8
steamer 48 44 6 18 44 4.02 4.12 0.6
zips 81 80 12 30 75 4.65 4.39 0.7
average 75 72 11 28 68 4.35 4.37 0.7

I debated whether I should even post these, because the data that was used to build them is pretty much irrelevant at this point.  Pineda’s doesn’t have the fastball he had in 2011, and the numbers from last year are meaningless because he was rehabbing and probably not pitching at full strength.  Pineda could be pretty good, or he could be horrendous.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
Phelps

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 165 136 65 62 15 52 148 3.57 3.37 3.38 3.0
65% 131 119 59 56 15 47 118 4.05 3.83 3.81 1.7
Baseline 100 100 51 48 14 41 89 4.57 4.34 4.37 0.7
35% 76 84 43 41 12 36 68 5.15 4.90 4.80 0.1
20% 54 66 35 33 10 29 48 5.79 5.52 5.38 -0.3

Baseline is probably about right for Phelps, but with more innings.

Pineda

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 150 116 66 59 15 43 131 3.94 3.56 3.48 2.7
65% 119 102 59 54 15 40 104 4.47 4.06 3.94 1.5
Baseline 91 87 51 46 14 35 78 5.06 4.61 4.53 0.5
35% 69 73 44 40 13 30 59 5.72 5.22 5.02 -0.1
20% 49 58 35 32 11 24 42 6.45 5.90 5.65 -0.5

I’ll reiterate the uselessness of trying to forecast Pineda right now.

In theory, Pineda has upside that Phelps does not have.  But from what I’ve seen, Pineda isn’t throwing significantly harder than Phelps right now and there’s a pretty good chance he never will.  Pineda’s slider has looked great this spring, and if he can develop a workable changeup he might be able to be pretty good even with diminished velocity.  Pineda has put up a slightly better stat line than Phelps has this spring, although both have been very effective.

There are political reasons to think Pineda has the inside track on the fifth starter job, but even if Pineda does win it out of camp his innings will probably be restricted this year.  Because of that, Phelps will still be an important part of the team.

My guess, Phelps will get 15-20 starts this year even if he doesn’t break camp as the fifth starter.  And he should be up for the task.

As for Pineda, I figure that he should at least be as valuable as Jesus Montero.

--Posted at 12:55 pm by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2014 - Ivan Nova

2013 started out badly but ended well for Ivan Nova, who has had to fight for a rotation spot throughout his career.  He may not have to do that anymore.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
139 135 9 44 116 3.10 3.47 3.7

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

After four mostly bad starts, Ivan Nova was placed on the disabled list on April 27.  He was activated a month later, made two relief appearances and then was demoted to AAA so the Yankees could activate Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira from the disabled list.  Yeah, that worked out.

Nova made three starts for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre then was recalled to start June 23.  From that poiint on he was the Yankees’ best starter, throwing 116.2 innings with a 2.70 ERA.  Nova scrapped his slider that had been a pretty effective pitch for him at points in the past and made more use of his curveball and it made a big difference.

I’ve been bullish on Nova because of his stuff, and I continue to be. But what do the projections think?

2014 Projections

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 156 162 18 51 124 3.99 4.07 2.3
oliver 169 174 19 51 131 3.95 4.06 2.1
steamer 173 168 16 57 138 4.04 3.80 2.6
zips 165 167 16 53 124 3.98 3.94 2.7
average 166 168 17 53 129 3.99 3.96 2.4

WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

The projections are expecting Nova to give back some of his gains from 2013, which is what projection systems do.  But they are all in agreement that Nova is an above average pitcher now.  200 innings of his average projection would be worth close to 3 WAR.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 210 187 81 76 17 55 169 3.48 3.25 3.28 5.0
65% 182 175 78 73 18 54 146 3.86 3.60 3.59 3.5
Baseline 156 162 74 69 18 51 124 4.26 3.99 4.07 2.3
35% 119 135 62 58 16 44 95 4.70 4.40 4.30 1.2
20% 86 105 49 46 13 35 68 5.17 4.86 4.69 0.4

I need to see more of Masahiro Tanaka, but I think Nova has the most upside of anyone in the Yankee rotation.  He throws harder than anyone else in the rotation, and the only pitch that might be as good as his curveball is probably Tanaka’s splitter.  I actually think Nova’s 65% forecast is his floor and think that he could exceed that.

That being said, Nova’s shown flashes before and then disappointed and it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could happen again.  Nova is out of options, so he shouldn’t have to worry about going back down to the minors like he had to in 2011 and 2013.

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I don’t have an emotional connection with a lot of the players that now wear Yankee uniforms.  More and more it feels like I’m rooting for laundry.  Nova is one of the few that I do feel a connection to, and I hope he can pitch like he did last year for many more years.

--Posted at 8:03 am by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Masahiro Tanaka

The jewel of the Yankees’ offseason spending spree has to be Masahiro Tanaka.  The Yankees paid a steep price to land arguably the best free agent pitcher on the market. 

2014 Projections

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 179 173 21 34 141 3.68 3.61 2.8
oliver 205 176 15 32 193 2.59 2.63 6.1
steamer 192 186 22 40 156 3.76 3.66 3.5
zips 191 180 17 35 187 3.68 3.01 3.8
average 192 179 19 35 169 3.41 3.21 4.0

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

I don’t know why CAIRO’s WAR projection is so much lower than the other projections despite similar rate stats and I am not that worried about it since we can project the team using runs and not WAR.  Oliver LOVES Tanaka.  The other projections all think he’ll be solid.  The Yankees are clearly leaning towards Oliver, despite their attempt to temper expectations by calling Tanaka a third starter.  Tanaka has youth on his side, but he’s also thrown a lot of innings in his career.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 217 175 80 70 17 30 172 3.32 2.89 2.91 5.4
65% 196 176 83 73 20 33 155 3.79 3.32 3.28 3.9
Baseline 179 173 83 73 21 34 141 4.16 3.66 3.61 2.8
35% 138 144 70 62 19 30 108 4.56 4.03 3.88 1.5
20% 98 113 56 50 16 25 76 5.18 4.59 4.36 0.4

Because we have more uncertainty in translating what Tanaka did in Japan, his range of forecasts is wider than most pitchers.  He could blow away his baseline and it wouldn’t surprise me, but he will be adjusting to a different workload in a different country against different opponents with a different ball in a disgraceful bandbox so that may be a bit optimistic.  I have some concerns about how much of his good control in NPB was due to not being afraid to catch the plate against weaker opponents and how that will translate to MLB, but I do believe Tanaka will be at least as good as his baseline.

Despite never throwing a pitch in MLB, Tanaka was signed to one of the most lucrative contracts ever signed by a pitcher.  Will he be worth such a massive investment?  It’s tough to say.  I would expect some bumps in the road along the way.  He’s looked great so far this spring, although that’s of limited utility.  But just the fact that he might be worth his contract makes him worth watching, and makes the Yankees a more interesting team.

--Posted at 8:12 am by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda decided to return to the Yankees around the same time Robinson Cano left for Seattle.  Because of that, I wasn’t all that excited about it at the time.  Kuroda’s been great for the Yankees over the past two seasons and although he struggled a bit over the end of the season, there’s little reason to think that it was anything more than a blip.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
201 191 20 43 150 3.31 3.56 4.6

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

Kuroda had arguably the best season of his career in 2012, and followed it up with a very good 2013.  He pitched about 18 fewer innings in the same number of starts, and tailed off appreciably from mid-August with a 7.33 RA and a 4.74 FIP after August 17 compared to a 2.39 RA and 3.41 FIP prior.  His BABIP against through August 12 was .251 and it leaped to .355 after.  His HR/FB rate was 8.3% through August 12 and 16.0% after.  He was likely outpitching his peripherals through the first selective set of endpoints and then was probably a bit unlucky over the second set.

2014 Projections

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 199 198 24 49 149 3.76 3.88 3.6
oliver 205 206 25 48 147 3.74 4.01 2.8
steamer 189 189 20 47 139 3.97 3.78 3.1
zips 178 177 21 42 135 3.74 3.88 3.4
average 193 192 23 46 142 3.80 3.89 3.2

WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

Despite the difference in projected WAR, there isn’t a ton of difference in any of Kuroda’s projections.  The WAR difference comes down to an idealogical one.  CAIRO and ZiPS use RA to calculate WAR, Oliver and Steamer use FIP.  In his career Kuroda has an ERA of 3.40 compared to a FIP of 3.61.  It’s certainly possible that some of that gap is luck, but the projections do account for that with regression.  According to Baseball Reference, Kuroda’s been worth 5.5 and 4.1 wins above replacement for the Yankees over the last two seasons.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 222 191 84 77 20 43 167 3.41 3.13 3.28 5.7
65% 210 194 87 80 22 46 158 3.74 3.43 3.55 4.6
Baseline 199 198 90 83 24 49 149 4.08 3.76 3.88 3.6
35% 154 164 76 70 21 42 114 4.46 4.11 4.16 2.2
20% 111 127 60 55 17 33 82 4.86 4.49 4.49 1.1

In a vaccum I’d peg Kuroda somewhere between the 65% and baseline forecast, but there’s a pretty significant concern with him this year that has nothing to do with him specifically.  Among the 37 starting pitchers who qualified for the ERA title in the AL in 2013 (minimum of 162 innings), Kuroda ranked sixth in highest ground ball percentage.  It’s fair to say the Yankee infield defense right now is questionable at best, and it could be disastrous.  We’ll have to see what kind of impact that has on him.

Kuroda’s still a good bet to be a pretty good pitcher this year in what could be the last year of his career.  He may also serve an important role in Masahiro Tanaka’s transition to MLB, and it doesn’t hurt that his best pitch is a splitter much like Tanaka’s.  Because of that, I think it’s fair to say Kuroda’s value may be greater to the Yankees than just his contributions on the field in 2014, which should still be pretty valuable in their own right.

--Posted at 8:17 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - CC Sabathia

After being worth just about every penny he was paid over his first four seasons as a Yankee, CC Sabathia had a very tough season in 2013.

2013

IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
211 224 28 65 175 4.78 4.10 0.8

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (RA based for CAIRO/ZiPS, FIP based for Oliver/Steamer)

CC’s velocity was down to 91.1 mph last year, continuing a disturbing trend.

2009: 94.2
2010: 93.5
2011: 93.8
2012: 92.3
2013: 91.1

Through the first half of the season Sabathia was actually passable, with a 3.99 ERA but he was brutal after the All Star Break with an ERA of 6.12.  Opposing batters hit .302/.375/.471 against him in 359 PA over his last 13 starts.  I guess if you want some cause for optimism you could look at the fact that his FIP was much lower than his ERA.

2014 Projections

projection IP H HR BB K ERA FIP WAR
cairo 207 209 26 60 182 3.91 3.81 2.8
oliver 216 217 26 56 192 3.74 3.71 3.7
steamer 192 184 19 55 158 3.88 3.67 3.4
zips 196 196 23 53 180 4.03 3.62 3.1
average 203 201 23 56 178 3.89 3.70 3.3

It really is going to come down to whether or not Sabathia can adjust to pitching with a fastball that’s not really fast anymore. 

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile ip h r er hr bb k ra era fip war
80% 230 202 93 84 21 54 203 3.64 3.27 3.20 4.9
65% 218 206 96 87 24 57 192 3.97 3.58 3.48 3.9
Baseline 207 209 100 90 26 60 182 4.33 3.91 3.81 2.8
35% 160 173 84 76 23 51 140 4.71 4.27 4.09 1.5
20% 116 134 66 60 18 40 101 5.12 4.65 4.43 0.6

I think Sabathia can be better than last year but I don’t see him pitching much better than the baseline, particularly given the fact that he was topping out at 88 mph in his spring debut.  If he can hit the baseline, he’d allow 22 fewer runs than last season over basically the same workload, which means a two win improvement relative to 2013.

CC is supposedly tinkering with a cutter now, but I’m not sure adding a pitch a few weeks before the season starts is going to return him back to where he was.  There have been plenty of pitchers who compensated as their velocity declined and there are plenty of reasons to think CC can do the same.  But there’s also a chance he can’t, and the Yankees are going to be stuck with another bad contract.

Including Sabathia, there have been 27 pitchers who amassed at least 45 bWAR by their age 30 season.  Excluding CC, 24 of those 27 pitched from age 31 on.  They averaged 20.6 WAR and 1224 innings over the remainders of their careers.  10 of them did not amass at least 10 more WAR, including Johan Santana who is currently at 4.8 and probably not likely to get to 10.  Roger Clemens is the runaway leader with 73.7 post-30 career bWAR.

The Yankees are on the hook to Sabathia for at least $76M over the next four seasons, $96M if his 2017 option vests.  Will CC age like Santana and essentially provide no value over the rest of his career, or can he change his style and continue to be productive? 

Time will tell.

--Posted at 12:34 pm by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2014 - Kelly Johnson

The Yankee infield is a bit unsettled at this point, but right now it looks like Kelly Johnson will be the primary 3B even though he’s only played 16 games there in his career.

2013

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

Johnson was in Tampa Bay last year and saw time in LF, 2B, 3B and 1B.

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 536 474 113 18 2 20 54 4 131 11 4 .239 .320 .410 .730 .320 1.8
oliver 600 534 126 22 3 22 58 4 155 10 4 .236 .313 .412 .725 .318 1.9
steamer 378 332 79 15 2 13 38 3 93 7 3 .236 .317 .407 .724 .319 1.2
zips 499 444 103 17 3 18 51 4 134 10 4 .232 .315 .405 .721 .321 1.7
average 503 446 105 18 2 18 50 4 128 9 4 .236 .316 .410 .726 .321 1.7

Johnson has a decent walk rate and hits for pretty good power, but his batting average limits his value somewhat.  He’d be a really nice piece on the bench as a versatile defensive player who won’t kill you with his bat but he is probably a bit stretched as a regular.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 590 522 136 25 3 27 67 6 132 15 2 .261 .356 .475 .831 .367 3.8
65% 563 498 124 22 3 23 60 5 132 13 3 .250 .337 .443 .780 .344 2.7
Baseline 536 474 113 18 2 20 54 4 131 11 4 .239 .320 .410 .730 .320 1.8
35% 402 356 81 12 1 13 38 2 103 7 4 .227 .300 .377 .677 .300 0.8
20% 268 237 51 7 0 8 23 1 71 4 3 .216 .281 .345 .626 .277 0.1

Johnson has hit .226/.307/.395 over the last three seasons, so it’s hard to see him exceeding his baseline by much.  He may benefit from playing half his home games in DNYS in the power department but that won’t help his average.

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
3b 294 1 3 1 1 7
2b 800 2 0 -2 0 0
lf 526 -1 -4 -6 -4 -9

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating
avg: Average of DRS, UZR and ZR
p150: avg pro-rated to 150 games

I wouldn’t pay much attention to his 3B projection because of the small sample size there.  He doesn’t project very well in LF but if he’s playing out there the Yankees will have larger problems.  Johnson is also supposedly the primary backup at 1B this season, which means we are probably going to get a lot more Nun-E than we probably want to see.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 1.8 1 2.0
oliver 1.9 1 2.1
steamer 1.2 1 1.4
zips 1.7 1 1.9
average 1.7 1 1.8

Johnson projects to be a borderline average player.  Yankee 3B hit .231/.293/.340 last year so he should be better than that.  That could be the theme of the 2014 Yankees.  Not great, but better than 2013.

Anyway, I liked the Johnson signing.  I think he offers the team some important flexibility and will do enough offensively to be a positive contributor.

--Posted at 8:12 am by SG / 7 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 14, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Mark Teixeira

It’s been all downhill since Mark Teixeira’s fantastic 2009, and now we can add a significant wrist injury to our list of concerns.

2013

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
63 53 8 1 0 3 8 1 19 0 0 .151 .270 .340 .609 .262 -0.2

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

Teixeira injured his wrist while preparing to play in the WBC.  Because of that, his injury was covered by MLB’s insurance. The Yankees used that money to trade for Vernon Wells, which is a whole other issue.

Teixeira tried to rush back without surgery and managed 63 putrid PA before having to be shut down for the season.  Because he was activated from the DL, MLB’s insurance no longer covered his absence.

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 408 351 84 17 0 20 45 6 74 2 1 .240 .331 .462 .793 .342 1.2
oliver 600 518 122 26 0 25 68 8 107 2 1 .236 .329 .431 .760 .332 1.2
steamer 566 490 120 24 1 26 63 7 105 3 2 .244 .335 .458 .793 .346 1.8
zips 351 306 76 15 0 17 40 5 66 1 1 .248 .340 .464 .804 .356 1.4
average 481 416 101 20 0 22 54 6 88 2 1 .242 .334 .451 .786 .345 1.4

Even without his injury, Teixeira’s performance has been plummeting.  The wrist introduces even more uncertainty in how good he’ll be going forward.  The wrist mainly affects him when batting against RHP, which has been his weaker side anyway and is unfortunately the majority of the pitchers he’ll face.  I think trying to project Teixeira is a crapshoot.  There have been hitters who have come back from similar injuries, so it’s not unrealistic to think Teixeira can make it back.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 613 526 140 32 2 37 77 12 98 5 0 .266 .375 .542 .917 .399 3.8
65% 510 439 111 24 1 28 60 9 87 3 1 .253 .353 .502 .855 .372 2.3
Baseline 408 351 84 17 0 20 45 6 74 2 1 .240 .331 .462 .793 .342 1.2
35% 306 263 60 11 0 13 31 3 59 1 1 .227 .308 .422 .730 .318 0.3
20% 204 175 38 6 0 8 19 2 41 0 1 .214 .286 .382 .668 .291 -0.1

I think Teixeira will not hit much better than the baseline, but could get to 500 PA which would make him worth two or three more runs.

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
1b 765 6 5 2 4 8

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating
avg: Average of DRS, UZR and ZR
p150: avg pro-rated to 150 games

Teixeira should add some value on defense, dependent on how much he can play.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 1.2 4 1.6
oliver 1.2 4 1.6
steamer 1.8 4 2.3
zips 1.4 4 1.9
average 1.4 4 1.8

Teixeira’s projected value is suppressed by the reduced playing time.  If he can give the Yankees a full season he could be in the 2 to 2.5 win range.

That’s not worth $22M per season, but it would be about two wins better than what the Yankees got out of 1B in 2013.  So that’s something.

--Posted at 8:20 am by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 13, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Brian McCann

Catcher was a gaping hole on the 2013 Yankees, and one the Yankees addressed quickly in the offseason when they signed Brian McCann to a five year contract for $85M.

2013

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
402 356 91 13 0 20 39 5 66 0 1 .256 .336 .461 .796 .347 2.6

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

McCann missed the first month of the season recovering from shoulder surgery but after that he hit pretty well with an OPS+ of 115 compared to his 87 in 2012 which was likely due in large part to his shoulder injury. 

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 497 439 110 16 0 25 52 4 84 2 1 .250 .334 .460 .794 .345 3.4
oliver 600 529 133 21 0 34 60 7 105 2 1 .251 .333 .484 .817 .354 4.1
steamer 551 486 127 22 1 26 56 4 86 2 1 .260 .339 .468 .807 .348 3.9
zips 472 419 108 15 0 22 49 4 86 2 1 .258 .340 .451 .791 .350 3.2
average 530 468 119 19 0 27 54 5 90 2 1 .255 .337 .468 .804 .352 4.4 3.7

The projection systems like the lefty-swinging McCann as he moves to DNYS, with the average forecasting him to exceed his career high of 24 homers.  As you would expect, McCann’s offense falls of significantly vs. LHP (career .239/.320/.424 vs. LHP and .285/.362/.495 vs. RHP) but the Yankees have an ideal platoon mate for him in Francisco Cervelli if Cervelli isn’t traded, so catcher should be one of the team’s strengths in 2014.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 597 527 145 24 1 36 71 7 112 5 0 .274 .373 .529 .902 .396 5.9
65% 547 483 127 20 0 30 61 6 97 4 1 .262 .353 .494 .848 .372 4.6
Baseline 497 439 110 16 0 25 52 4 84 2 1 .250 .334 .460 .794 .345 3.4
35% 373 329 79 11 0 17 36 2 59 1 1 .238 .314 .425 .739 .325 2.0
20% 249 220 50 6 0 10 22 1 37 0 1 .226 .294 .391 .685 .301 0.9

CAIRO’s baseline is actually the second-least optimistic of the four forecasts shown here.  CAIRO must think McCann is still a Brave and has yet to apply the Yankee bias factor.  I think the baseline is about right in both rate of production and playing time.  He could hit for a bit more power than that, but I have a tough time seeing his average much above .250 given his hitting style and all the shifts he’ll be facing.

Defense

pos Inn DRS
c 953 -2

DRS: Defensive runs saved

In his career, McCann has thrown out about one out every four basestealers attempting to steal against him.  After the aforementioned shoulder surgery last season he was at the same rate, which makes him project as slightly below average in that facet of defense.  What these numbers don’t capture is pitch-framing, something that McCann measures quite well in.  I’m still not comfortable in the magnitude of pitch-framing’s impact on a catcher’s value, but I do think we can probably conclude that the total package of McCann’s defense is at least average to slightly above if the pitch-framing metrics have merit.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 3.4 -2 3.2
oliver 4.1 -2 3.9
steamer 3.9 -2 3.7
zips 3.2 -2 3.0
average 3.7 -2 3.5

If McCann adds five runs of value with pitch-framing, he projects as around a four win player.  500 PA of McCann and 175 PA of Francisco Cervelli could be worth about five wins, which is five wins more than Yankee catchers were worth in 2013.

I saw McCann play quite a bit when I lived in Atlanta and he was wildly popular there.  Only Chipper Jones got louder cheers, and I saw him hit some rockets, including the one in this game which may still be airborne.  I realize he had a couple of incidents last year that make him seem like kind of a jerk, but I think he’ll win most Yankee fans over if he hits like I think he will.

We got spoiled from 1998 through 2010 with the offense that Jorge Posada provided out of catcher.  You can count the number of catchers who hit as well as Posada did over his career in a significant number of PAs on two hands and two feet.  Through age 29, McCann actually has a higher OPS+ than Posada did (117 vs. 115) although McCann has 2100 more PAs through that point.  That being said, one of the things that made Posada unique is what he did from age 30 on (.276/.376/.478, OPS+ of 124).  It’s not likely McCann will hit better over the next five years than he has so far. 

I don’t know if McCann’s prior shoulder injury and surgery makes him more at risk to get re-injured than the typical catcher given all the risks they typically face anyway, but it can’t help.

I wasn’t crazy about some of the Yankee moves this offseason, but I am fully on board with the McCann signing.  He will only be 34 in the final season of his contract, and barring injury he should be an asset through the life of it.

--Posted at 8:21 am by SG / 40 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Carlos Beltran

Supposedly, Carlos Beltran has always wanted to be a Yankee.  The Yankees could have signed him after the 2004 season but chose to go with trading for Randy Johnson instead.  Over the last nine years Beltran has provided his teams with 35.1 WAR.  Nine years too late, the Yankees have finally brought Beltran in.

2013

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
600 554 164 30 3 24 38 1 90 2 1 .296 .339 .491 .830 .359 3.2

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

Beltran had another very good offensive season for St. Louis, but gave up a fair amount of his value on defense. 

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 571 511 147 27 2 27 54 2 95 5 3 .287 .356 .504 .860 .369 3.3
oliver 600 541 151 31 2 23 50 3 93 3 1 .279 .341 .471 .812 .352 2.4
steamer 609 546 153 29 2 26 53 3 105 5 3 .280 .345 .484 .829 .357 2.7
zips 542 495 132 23 2 26 46 1 105 5 3 .267 .327 .479 .806 .353 1.7
average 581 523 146 28 2 25 51 2 99 4 2 .278 .342 .484 .827 .360 2.5

I think CAIRO is making too much of Beltran’s move to DNYS.  The other projections seem more in line with what I would expect from Beltran.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 611 547 170 35 4 34 65 4 91 7 1 .311 .392 .574 .965 .419 5.4
65% 591 529 158 31 3 30 60 3 93 6 2 .299 .373 .539 .912 .396 4.3
Baseline 571 511 147 27 2 27 54 2 95 5 3 .287 .356 .504 .860 .369 3.3
35% 428 384 106 18 1 18 38 1 75 3 3 .275 .337 .469 .806 .350 1.8
20% 286 256 67 11 0 11 23 0 52 1 2 .264 .319 .435 .753 .328 0.8

I think the 35% forecast is what I would expect from Beltran, maybe with a bit more playing time.  Beltran’s been pretty healthy after missing the bulk of 2009 and 2010, but at 37 I’m not sure how long the Yankees can count on his continued good health.

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
rf 1124 -1 -8 -2 -3 -4

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating
avg: Average of DRS, UZR and ZR
p150: avg pro-rated to 150 games

There was a time when Beltran was a good defensive CF.  Now he’s probably a below average RF. 

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 3.3 -3 3.0
oliver 2.4 -3 2.1
steamer 2.7 -3 2.4
zips 1.7 -3 1.3
average 2.5 -3 2.2

Beltran is probably more average player than star at this point.  There’s nothing wrong with average, but I don’t think it’s worth a three year, $45M contract.  Especially when the player is 37.  Similarity scores aren’t necessarily all that predictive, but Beltran’s 10 most similar players averaged 1.8 WAR over the remainder of their careers.  Dave Winfield had the most WAR at 4.6 and he was a far better hitter than Beltran was at 36 (OPS+ of 159 vs. 128).

I guess it’s obvious that I’m pessimistic about Beltran.  I think the Yankees will be lucky to get four wins out of him over the next three seasons due to general decline and health risk.  I also think part of the reason he was signed is because of the belief that he is a clutch postseason player, which is nonsensical.  There’s no reason to think that because Beltran has hit well in prior postseasons it will carry into subsequent postseasons and if your team isn’t good enough to make the postseason who cares?

Maybe the Yankees can rest him and use him at DH to keep him healthier than I’m expecting, and it’s certainly possible he’s got enough left in him to be useful over the next three years.

Is the 2014 version of Beltran better than the 2013 Ichiro?  Yeah.  Is it a significant difference?  I guess it depends on how much you trust the defensive metrics that still peg Ichiro as a positive contributor.

If you go by Jay Jaffe’s JAWS Beltran has put together a Hall of Fame resume.  His 67.5 career bWAR is 2.9 WAR behind the average of the 18 CFs that are in the Hall.  His counting stats fall a bit short of the typical milestones (2228 hits, 358 HRs), but if he can stay healthy and productive over the next three seasons he could end up over 2600 hits and 400 HRs. 

Unfortunately for Beltran he probably won’t be able to add to his postseason resume over the next three years but what he’s done so far may put him over the top.

It would have been nice to have Beltran closer to his peak, but it wasn’t meant to be.  Hopefully he can stave off aging for a few more seasons.

--Posted at 8:13 am by SG / 53 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Brian Roberts

The Yankees decided to let their best player leave, and replaced him with Brian Roberts.  Roberts was a pretty good player as recently as five years ago, but since 2010 he’s suffered from concussion-related issues and injuries that have kept him off the field and hindered his performance when he was on it.  He did manage to stay healthy in the second half of 2013 and he’s penciled in(hopefully very lightly) as the Yankees’ starting 2B this year.

2013

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
681 605 190 41 0 27 65 6 85 7 1 .314 .383 .516 .899 .384 5.8

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

Oh, sorry.  Wrong 2B.

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
296 265 66 12 1 8 26 0 44 3 1 .249 .312 .392 .704 .309 -0.2

Roberts didn’t hit much in 2013, but he did stay on the field for most of the second half and he hit .250/.306/.450 in September.

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 683 611 186 40 1 28 58 7 93 6 2 .303 .368 .514 .882 .379 5.4
oliver 600 533 154 31 1 19 56 6 77 5 2 .289 .360 .458 .818 .353 4.2
steamer 644 576 170 41 1 21 54 7 88 4 3 .295 .360 .477 .837 .359 5.0
zips 665 602 171 37 2 22 55 8 94 6 2 .284 .349 .462 .811 .358 5.5
average 648 581 170 37 1 23 56 7 88 5 2 .293 .360 .479 .839 .366 5.0

Oh, sorry.  Wrong 2B.

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 279 248 61 12 1 6 24 1 45 4 1 .245 .309 .366 .675 .298 0.5
oliver 600 539 126 26 1 10 52 1 101 7 3 .234 .300 .341 .641 .286 0.4
steamer 305 274 67 14 1 6 24 2 47 5 2 .245 .308 .369 .677 .300 0.6
zips 212 195 48 9 1 4 17 0 35 3 1 .246 .304 .364 .668 .299 0.4
average 349 314 75 15 1 6 29 1 57 5 2 .240 .303 .356 .659 .293 0.4

If you can’t say anything nice…

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 558 497 137 31 3 16 58 3 77 12 0 .276 .356 .447 .803 .355 3.0
65% 419 373 97 21 2 10 40 2 63 7 1 .260 .332 .407 .738 .326 1.5
Baseline 279 248 61 12 1 6 24 1 45 4 1 .245 .309 .366 .675 .298 0.5
35% 209 186 43 8 0 3 16 0 36 2 1 .229 .283 .326 .609 .270 -0.1
20% 140 124 26 4 0 2 10 0 26 1 1 .213 .258 .285 .544 .241 -0.3

I suppose if Roberts can get 560 PA he would be worth a win or so offensively.

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
2b 436 -2 -1 0 -1 -3

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating
avg: Average of DRS, UZR and ZR
p150: avg pro-rated to 150 games

Roberts was once an above average defensive 2B.  At this stage, he’s probably not.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 0.5 -1 0.4
oliver 0.4 -1 0.3
steamer 0.6 -1 0.5
zips 0.4 -1 0.3
average 0.4 -1 0.4

I used to call Roberts PITA, because he was a pain in the ass when he was on Baltimore.  I am surprised his career line against the Yankees is only .288/.344/.429.  I could have sworn it was 1.000/1.000/2.000.

I’d be surprised if Roberts is the Yankee 2B by the All Star Break.  I don’t see any reason to think he’s going to suddenly remain healthy after four seasons of not being healthy.  I also see no reason to think he’s going to hit particularly well if he does remain healthy.  So at some point he could be replaced by Scott Sizemore or Dean Anna or Yangervis Solarte or (heaven forbid) Eduardo Nunez.  But it’s safe to say no matter who ends as the primary 2B for the 2014 Yankees, he will be significantly worse than Robinson Cano was in 2013.

I think the Cano contract was a bad one.  I don’t think that signing a 31 year old player to a 10 year deal no matter how good he is at the moment is prudent.  It probably won’t be as bad as the Jacoby Ellsbury contract, but I digress.

I don’t see Roberts and whomever eventually replaces him changing the fact the Yankees will miss Cano greatly.

--Posted at 12:03 pm by SG / 54 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Brett Gardner

I was on vacation when the surprising news came that the Yankees had extended Brett Gardner for four seasons.  Gardner’s become one of my favorite players and I was certain he would be gone after this year since the Yankees had signed Jacoby Ellsbury to his horrendous contract.

Extending Gardner was interesting for two reasons.  The first is that it seems to signal a shift from the Yankees’ general aversion to extending players before they enter free agency.  The second is that it gives us evidence that the Yankees are cognizant that a player that Gardner is valuable even if his value comes in ways that traditional offensive statistics don’t fully capture.

2013

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
609 539 147 33 10 8 52 8 127 24 8 .273 .344 .416 .759 .335 3.1

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

Gardner followed up a 2012 season essentially lost to injury with a very good 2013.  He set a career high in plate appearances and slugging percentage, although his OBP was down a bit and he wasn’t very aggressive on the bases, stealing successfully only 24 times in 32 attempts compared to 47 of 56 and 49 of 62 in his preveious two full seasons.  Gardner missed the second half of September with a rib cage injury but should be healthy to start 2014.

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 480 419 112 21 5 7 48 6 94 22 7 .267 .348 .393 .741 .328 1.9
oliver 600 533 142 27 7 8 52 7 126 23 7 .266 .338 .388 .726 .322 2.0
steamer 655 573 147 27 7 9 65 7 128 29 11 .257 .338 .372 .710 .317 1.8
zips 455 405 105 20 7 6 44 6 86 23 7 .259 .339 .388 .727 .325 1.7
average 548 483 126 24 6 8 52 6 108 24 8 .262 .338 .385 .723 .321 1.8

Gardner will be in left field this year, which means his offensive value relative to position will be a bit less.  But he projects to hit a hair above the average LF with a wOBA of .321 (average LF is usually around .320).  The significant amount of time he missed in 2012 is suppressing his playing time projections in CAIRO and ZiPS here.  Then again, Gardner tends to miss time for various reasons so it’s probably not realistic to pencil him for 650 PA this year.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 649 566 165 34 9 14 74 11 140 36 6 .292 .386 .459 .845 .374 4.7
65% 565 493 138 27 7 10 60 8 116 28 7 .280 .365 .426 .791 .350 3.2
Baseline 480 419 112 21 5 7 48 6 94 22 7 .267 .348 .393 .741 .328 1.9
35% 360 315 80 14 3 5 33 3 67 15 6 .254 .324 .360 .683 .303 0.9
20% 240 210 51 8 1 2 21 2 42 9 5 .242 .303 .327 .630 .280 0.2

I think the gains Gardner made in power last year were real as his swing appeared a bit stronger.  His line drive percentage of 23.3% was higher than the 18.6% and 19.4% he put up in 2011-2012, and he hit the highest percentage of fly balls in his career.  Losing some grounders may cost him some batting average, but the increase in power may help him recoup some of that in other ways.  Because of that, I think Gardner’s 65% forecast is reachable.

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
cf 769 4 0 1 2 3
lf 640 11 13 6 10 21

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating
avg: Average of DRS, UZR and ZR
p150: avg pro-rated to 150 games

One of the points of contention regarding Gardner’s value is if he’s really as good as the defensive metrics think he is.  I do think defensive metrics need to be taken with a grain of salt, but when all the systems come to the same basic conclusion I feel more comfortable that they are close to the truth.  He projects more around average as a CF but elite as a LF.  Keeping a second true CF on the team is probably important given Ellsbury’s frequent “fluke” injuries.  As Gardner ages, we should expect his defense to get a bit worse, but he should be above average in LF through the duration of his contract.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 1.9 12 3.1
oliver 2.0 12 3.2
steamer 1.8 12 3.0
zips 1.7 12 2.9
average 1.8 12 3.0

Defense here is just adding his CF and LF projections.  As a full time LF he may be worth 2-3 runs more.  And you can add even more if he can exceed his average projected 548 PA.

The Yankees are likely valuing Gardner closer to 4 wins this year.  That would put him around 12 wins over the next four seasons using a 0.7 win per year decline. That means his contract would pay him about $5M per win.  It would also add a win to the Yankees’s in 2014 vs. his 3 win projection.

Can he do that?  I wouldn’t bet against him.

My guess is Gardner will be hitting ninth this year, which is sub-optimal.  But I can’t imagine the Yankees won’t lead off Ellsbury with Derek Jeter batting second so I don’t see anywhere else where he’d fit.

I’m happy Gardner will probably be a Yankee for the next few seasons although he does not have a no-trade clause so he could wind up elsewhere.  I just find myself more emotionally connected to players who came up through the Yankee system and with the Core Four down to one there are only a handful of those guys on the team now.

--Posted at 9:33 am by SG / 13 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Looking Ahead to 2014 - Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter made a somewhat surprising announcement a few weeks ago that he would be retiring after this season, although I suppose it’s not so surprising given his age and his health issues last season.  While he could change his mind, I doubt it.

2013
Because of his broken ankle in the 2012 ALCS, Jeter wasn’t able to do his normal conditioning work in the 2012-2013 offseason.  Because of that he never got healthy enough to contribute much.

pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
73 63 12 1 0 1 8 1 10 0 0 .190 .288 .254 .542 .247 -0.2

woba:  Weighted on-base average
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement level, position-adjusted

It was a disappointing followup to a great 2011 where he led MLB in hits.  Jeter claims to be healthy now and ready to go, but his health is probably a major concern this season.

2014 Projections

projection pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba oWAR
cairo 457 412 115 16 1 7 35 4 68 6 3 .280 .339 .376 .715 .318 1.8
oliver 600 544 143 21 1 8 46 4 90 4 2 .263 .323 .349 .672 .300 1.7
steamer 412 373 104 16 1 5 29 3 57 6 3 .279 .335 .371 .706 .314 1.6
zips 322 294 76 12 1 5 25 3 47 7 3 .259 .322 .357 .679 .305 1.3
average 448 406 110 16 1 6 34 4 66 6 3 .270 .328 .362 .689 .307 1.6

Jeter still projects to provide better than replacement level offense relative to other shortstops, but a large part of his value will be tied into how often he can play.  CAIRO and Steamer are essentially projecting the same performance for Jeter this year, while Oliver and ZiPS are in agreement that he will be less productive.

2014 CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

percentile pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb hbp so sb cs avg obp slg ops woba owar
80% 617 556 170 28 2 13 55 8 104 12 2 .306 .378 .436 .813 .361 4.2
65% 537 484 142 22 1 10 44 6 85 9 2 .293 .357 .406 .763 .339 2.9
Baseline 457 412 115 16 1 7 35 4 68 6 3 .280 .337 .376 .713 .317 1.8
35% 343 309 82 11 0 4 24 2 48 4 3 .267 .316 .346 .663 .294 0.8
20% 229 206 52 6 0 2 14 1 30 2 2 .254 .296 .316 .612 .272 0.2

I thought Jeter was done after 2010 but then he had a strong 2011 and an even better 2012.  I would not be surprised to see him at his 65% forecast, but I would bet he’ll be around the baseline in both rate stats and playing time. 

Defense

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
SS 763 -10 -8 -9 -9 -16

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate Zone Rating
ZR: Standard Zone Rating

I’ve been blogging about the Yankees for 10 years.  WTF?  Anyway, in that time, I’d guess I’ve written more about Jeter’s defense than any other singular topic.  Except maybe about how awesome Mo was.  We can debate the precision of the various defensive metrics and how accurately they capture Jeter’s defensive value like we have for 10 years, but I feel comfortable saying Jeter will almost certainly cost the Yankees runs on defense this year, like he has throughout his career.  If Jeter plays half of the games at shortstop he projects to be about 9 runs below average. It will be interesting to see if Joe Girardi is willing to use Brendan Ryan in late innings of close games.

Value

projection oWAR def WAR
cairo 1.8 -9 0.9
oliver 1.7 -9 0.8
steamer 1.6 -9 0.7
zips 1.3 -9 0.4
average 1.6 -9 0.7

Yankee shortstops hit .228/.286/.312 in 645 PA in 2013 and were somewhere around 20 runs below average defensively.  I’d like to think the combination of Jeter and Ryan can do better than this year.

Jeter’s the last link to an era that was one of the best times ever to be a fan of the Yankees.  Yes, he was overrated by many.  No, that’s not his fault.  The farewell tour will likely get nauseating at times, but I’m sure the Rays will make up for it with a hideous sand sculpture of some sort.

It will be tough to see Jeter go, but I prefer that to the alternative of seeing him playing past the point of usefulness and dragging the team down.  I don’t think we’ll see that in 2014.

--Posted at 10:06 am by SG / 49 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, January 23, 2014

CAIRO tries to project Masahiro Tanaka for 2014

Part of the reason I created a projection system was to understand the factors to look at when a player like Mashiro Tanaka is making the move to MLB.  I have no idea how valid the projections that will follow will end up being in the specific case of Tanaka, but building his projection is an interesting exercise in and of itself.

Tanaka’s projection is based on the principles that I discussed in this post.  In a nutshell, I’m looking only at pitchers who were starters in NPB and came over to MLB and remained starters, and I accounted for the fact that they pitched in varying run environments both before and after they entered MLB.  Tanaka’s raw performance in Japan blows away just about everyone who came over prior to Yu Darvish.  Tanaka’s allowed runs at a rate of 54% of his leagues’ averages.  For comparison’s sake, here are some numbers for the pitchers who have come over from Japan since 2007.

Pitcher R HR BB SO
Darvish 50.4% 40.3% 72.6% 152.8%
Igawa 94.0% 99.8% 92.4% 122.3%
Iwakuma 78.4% 81.0% 66.4% 99.9%
Kawakami 82.5% 106.7% 60.4% 123.9%
Kuroda 78.5% 82.4% 61.4% 99.5%
Matsuzaka 63.6% 59.1% 71.9% 148.7%
Tanaka 51.4% 50.9% 45.3% 144.7%

These are all rates based on batters faced.  For everything except strikeouts, a lower percentage is better.  Tanaka has pitched in a more advantageous environment for hurlers thanks to a smaller baseball and that needs to be accounted for.  Comparing him relative to his peers is probably about as good of a method as any to do so.

One of the important things to remember when you look at a projection is that it’s an educated estimate with error bars.  The more uncertainty we have in building it, the larger the error bars.  Since Tanaka’s MLB projection is built exclusively on attempting to translate his performance in a different league, our error bars are big.

% G GS W L IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP RAR WAR
80% 33 33 15 9 215 187 82 72 18 32 1 188 3.45 3.01 2.83 51 5.1
65% 30 30 13 9 197 180 83 73 20 33 3 164 3.81 3.34 3.22 39 3.9
Baseline 27 27 11 9 179 173 83 73 21 34 4 141 4.17 3.68 3.61 28 2.8
35% 22 22 8 8 143 144 72 63 19 30 4 107 4.50 3.99 3.97 17 1.7
20% 19 19 7 7 125 132 67 60 19 29 4 89 4.84 4.30 4.33 10 1.0

FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
RAR: Runs saved above replacement level using RA
WAR: Wins above replacement level (RAR divided by 10)

From what I’ve read, the Yankees have scouted Tanaka extensively.  According to Brian Cashman they’ve been scouting him since 2007 and watched 15 of his games this year. Given the total outlay they were willing to give to Tanaka, it’s seems that their scouts think his stuff will translate to the majors well enough to put him at his 65% projection or better.  Tanaka doesn’t have the velocity or diversity of pitches in his arsenal that Yu Darvish has, but he has much better walk rates.  My concern would be that it is easier to exhibit control when the people you are throwing too aren’t as scary.  It’s not as easy to get away with grooved pitched in the majors as it is in any other baseball league in the world.

Even though Tanaka’s fastball doesn’t measure up to Darvish’s, there’s more to pitching than velocity.  Hisahi Iwakuma has been brilliant since coming to MLB and he barely averages 90 mph with his fastball.  Hiroki Kuroda is another pitcher who doesn’t light up radar guns but has been very effective.

Tanaka is a risk.  He’s supposedly a ground ball pitcher who will be pitching with a mostly horrific infield defense behind him.  He’s thrown a lot of innings for his age.  He’ll be transitioning to a new country.  He’ll be asked to pitch on four days rest instead of the more typical 5-6 he pitched in Japan.  If he gets hurt or he’s ineffective, the Yankees are going to be on the hook for seven years.  If he turns out to be a legitimate number one type starter, he’ll probably be opting out after four seasons, but that’s the best case scenario for the Yankees because it means he’s been good enough to think he can get more than $22 million a year for more than three years.

Although the official contract is 7 years and $155M, it’s more realistic to think of it as a 4 year/$108M contract (including the posting fee) with a 3 year/$67M player option.  Despite never throwing a pitch in MLB, Tanaka’s going to be paid like one of the top 10 starters in baseball.  Will he be?  I won’t even attempt to answer that.  I’ll just say that he could be, and that instantly makes the Yankees a more interesting team in 2014. 

--Posted at 8:49 am by SG / 87 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

CAIRO hates the Jacoby Ellsbury Contract

My first thought when I saw that the Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury was that it was almost certain to be a bad move.  But I’ve felt for a while that whomever signed Ellsbury would regret it, because he has had problems staying healthy, and teams will be wish-casting on his MVP level performance in 2011.  Of course, we have 2400+ other PA where he’s never approached anything close to that.

Anyway, after looking at his CAIRO projection for this year and for the next seven years, I’m even more convinced this contract is bad one.  But don’t take my word for it, here are the numbers.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 658 596 100 181 35 5 23 74 42 4 58 87 7 8 .303 .374 .492 .378 101 52
65% 579 525 83 153 28 3 18 61 34 4 47 82 8 6 .291 .355 .460 .356 80 37
Baseline 526 477 71 133 23 2 14 52 29 5 40 79 9 4 .279 .336 .427 .334 65 25
35% 421 382 54 102 16 1 10 39 21 5 29 66 8 2 .267 .317 .395 .313 45 13
20% 368 334 44 85 13 1 7 31 16 5 23 61 8 1 .255 .299 .363 .291 34 6

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Strictly going by hitting and stolen bases, Ellsbury projects to be worth about 2.5 wins above a replacement level CF in 2014.  He projects to be somewhere around a +4 defender, and we can maybe give him another run or two for non-SB base running.

Now obviously, if he could hit that 65% or 80% forecast we’d love this contract, but that’s not the baseline for a reason, because it’s just not that likely.

So if you have a player who’s 30 and he’s signed for 7 years and you’re paying him an average of $22M per year, how much does he have to be worth to justify it?  Only the team really knows that, but let’s look at how CAIRO projects his next seven season.

Year Age PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR oWAR
2014 31 526 477 71 133 23 2 14 52 29 5 40 79 9 4 .279 .336 .427 .334 65 25 2.5
2015 32 505 458 65 126 22 2 13 47 27 5 38 75 8 4 .275 .333 .418 .330 60 22 2.2
2016 33 485 440 60 118 20 2 12 44 23 5 37 74 8 4 .269 .328 .405 .323 55 18 1.8
2017 34 465 422 57 111 19 2 11 41 20 5 36 73 8 4 .262 .322 .395 .317 50 15 1.5
2018 35 447 405 52 102 18 1 11 38 17 4 34 73 7 4 .253 .313 .382 .307 45 11 1.1
2019 36 424 385 49 96 17 1 10 35 15 4 32 70 7 3 .249 .310 .377 .305 42 10 1.0
2020 37 403 366 42 90 16 1 8 30 12 4 32 65 7 3 .246 .310 .366 .301 38 8 0.8
Start 18 3255 2953 2953 776 135 11 80 288 142 32 248 509 54 26 .263 .323 .397 .318 383 134 13.4

Yeah.  Even if you want to assume he will continue to provide +5 defense for all seven seasons, he’s doesn’t project to be worth more than 17 wins or so.  So the Yankees would be paying about $9M per win in a league that pays between $5M-$6M on the free agent market.

The key number in all these projections is plate appearances.  Because he has missed significant parts of the season over the time that is in his projection, he only projects to have 526 PA in 2014 and it only goes down from there.  If he can give the Yankees 650 PA in 2014, we can up his overall projected oWAR to 16.5.  It’s still a crappy deal, but a bit less so.  650 PA at his 65% forecast in 2014 and now we’re looking at 22.2 WAR and yeah, it’s still a crappy deal.

This deal has all the earmarks of a deal that was not made by a baseball person, rather by a person who thinks signing a big name and making a splash will put asses in the seats.  Guess what, you do that by putting a better team on the field than you put out there last year.

Ellsbury is not a bad player, and he should be an asset on the field.  But he’s not nearly the player that Robinson Cano is, and won’t make nearly the difference to this team’s fortunes that Cano would.  How do you tell Cano you won’t give him 8 years and $200M when you are willing to give a player that’s half as valuable as he is 7 years and $153M?  And if signing Ellsbury means Cano is playing elsewhere in 2014, this team will be lucky to finish .500. 

You also have to think this means the end of Brett Gardner’s days in pinstripes is close, if not before this season then almost surely after it, and I’m bummed about that. 

Just like with the McCann signing, I’m reserving judgement on this move until I see what else they do.  But unlike the McCann move which I liked in a vacuum, in a different vacuum I think this move was stupid.

--Posted at 10:44 pm by SG / 87 Comments | - (0)




Monday, November 25, 2013

So, Brian McCann…

When the rumors began about the Yankees being interested in Brian McCann I posted his CAIRO projections but now that it’s official let’s go through them again.  First up, his 2014 percentile forecasts.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 509 450 60 123 21 1 31 82 4 0 61 77 9 6 .274 .373 .529 .391 78 48
65% 502 444 55 116 18 0 28 76 3 1 56 80 11 5 .262 .353 .495 .368 69 40
Baseline 497 439 51 110 16 0 25 71 2 1 52 84 13 4 .250 .334 .460 .345 61 32
35% 447 395 43 94 13 0 20 60 2 2 43 80 13 3 .238 .314 .425 .322 48 21
20% 398 351 35 80 10 0 16 50 1 2 36 74 13 2 .226 .294 .391 .298 36 13

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

McCann projects to be a couple of runs below average in throwing out baserunners but he’s typically rated well in pitch-framing in the studies I’ve seen so he should be an asset defensively.  As far as the impact of that, we can probably assume somewhere between 5-10 runs.

McCann is on a guaranteed five year contract with a vesting option for the sixth season.  Here’s how CAIRO sees him projecting over the next six years.

Year Age PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR oWAR
2014 30 497 439 51 110 16 0 25 71 2 1 52 84 13 4 .250 .334 .460 .345 61 32 3.2
2015 31 477 422 50 104 15 0 25 70 2 1 51 82 12 4 .247 .333 .460 .345 59 31 3.1
2016 32 458 405 46 99 15 0 22 64 2 1 49 79 12 4 .244 .331 .448 .340 54 27 2.7
2017 33 440 389 42 93 13 0 21 58 2 1 47 77 11 4 .239 .327 .433 .333 50 24 2.4
2018 34 422 373 40 87 13 0 20 55 1 1 45 76 11 3 .233 .322 .424 .328 47 22 2.2
2019 35 405 358 37 80 12 0 18 51 1 1 43 76 10 3 .224 .313 .410 .318 42 18 1.8
2699 2385 2385 573 84 1 130 369 11 7 287 473 68 22 .240 .327 .440 .335 337 176 17.6

This doesn’t really account much for injury risk and McCann is a year removed from shoulder surgery which could be a pretty big concern.

As a lefty pull hitter, McCann should be able to take great advantage of playing half his games at DNYS.  He projects to have a pretty big platoon split.

split pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb so hbp gdp avg obp slg woba
vs. LHP 149 134 31 4 0 5 11 30 2 4 .231 .305 .424 .318
Vs. RHP 349 305 79 12 0 20 41 54 2 9 .259 .355 .475 .356
Overall 497 439 110 16 0 25 52 84 4 13 .250 .340 .460 .345

Francisco Cervelli projects to hit .246/.371/.357 vs. LHP, which is actually a .310 wOBA that is worse than McCann’s projected .318, but platooning McCann with Cervelli at least some of the time would be a good way to rest McCann without losing too much value.

McCann projects well enough vs. RHP to probably be their best DH candidate against RHP, so that would be a way to get him more PA which would probably increase his value to the team further.

For whatever it’s worth, CAIRO only sees about 16 runs of difference between McCann and Cervelli given the same playing time, but the Yankees should also get a few runs of improvement by having a better backup catcher now too.

If McCann really can give them 17.6 wins above replacement over six years, this seems like a fair contract.  And the likely improvement from what the Yankees got out of catcher last season is pretty big.

In a vacuum, this is a good move.  In the context of the Yankees as presently constituted, it barely moves the needle.  They still have a lot of holes to plug, and if they are going to try and do that while sticking to their $189M payroll limit this year, they probably aren’t going to be a contender in 2014.

But they are better now than they were before they signed McCann, and he’s young enough to be an asset past 2014 provided he can stay healthy.  The Yankees lose the 18th pick in the MLB entry draft with this signing, but I’m ok with that, more so than I would have been if they had lost it signing someone like Carlos Beltran who is not likely to be a part of a contending Yankee team.

I’ve seen McCann play quite a bit when I lived in Atlanta, and he’s got a lot of pop.  He was beloved at Turner Field, getting more cheers than anyone except Chipper Jones.  I think he can be a pretty good player for the Yankees over the next few years.  Despite all that, I’m just not enthused about this move.  McCann is the kind of player who could push a 90 win Yankee team into favorite status in the AL East.  As it is now, they still look like the worst team in the AL East and now they have $17 million fewer per year to change that.  Does moving from 71 wins to 75 wins really matter that much?

Bottom line, I like this move in isolation, but I need to see the rest of the offseason unfold before I really get excited about it.

--Posted at 9:45 am by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, November 20, 2013

CAIRO 2014 v0.2’s Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2013 Projected MLB Standings

I figured I had a long offseason ahead of me if I was going to do everything in my power to make the Yankees look better than they are. The thing that needed to be done first was put the Yankees in the context of the rest of MLB.  So I’ve been working on building my CAIRO season simulation disk and gave it a trial run last night.  This was current through rosters as of yesterday morning.

As the title says, this is extremely early and completely useless so think of it more as a goof than anything too serious.  So using CAIRO v0.2 which I’ll probably post tomorrow and the depth charts from MLB Depth Charts and Rotochamp as a rough gauge of playing time, here’s how the 2014 MLB season looks as of November 20.

Date 11/20/2013
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 92 70 808 728 53.4% 10.7% 9.8% 73.9%
Rays 87 75 664 587 21.3% 11.6% 11.7% 44.5%
Blue Jays 86 76 816 761 14.9% 10.2% 11.7% 36.8%
Orioles 84 78 750 711 10.4% 6.3% 8.7% 25.4%
Yankees 71 91 674 801 0.1% 0.2% 0.2% 0.5%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Tigers 91 71 773 661 71.1% 4.9% 4.5% 80.6%
Indians 85 77 725 670 21.6% 10.1% 10.0% 41.7%
Royals 79 83 703 758 6.1% 2.0% 4.1% 12.1%
Twins 74 88 707 774 1.2% 0.2% 0.8% 2.2%
White Sox 70 92 711 804 0.0% 0.1% 0.2% 0.3%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Rangers 91 71 760 641 61.4% 12.9% 9.0% 83.3%
Athletics 86 76 710 641 24.6% 17.6% 16.4% 58.6%
Angels 84 78 664 643 13.8% 12.8% 12.4% 39.0%
Mariners 72 90 617 684 0.2% 0.4% 0.7% 1.4%
Astros 54 108 660 970 0.0% - - -
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Nationals 90 72 697 608 52.9% 19.3% 10.1% 82.3%
Braves 90 72 645 589 45.1% 23.5% 10.5% 79.1%
Phillies 77 85 634 676 1.4% 1.6% 3.8% 6.9%
Marlins 73 89 574 641 0.5% 0.9% 1.7% 3.2%
Mets 68 94 589 682 0.1% - 0.1% 0.2%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Reds 87 75 676 620 34.6% 9.8% 9.3% 53.7%
Pirates 87 75 593 551 36.3% 8.7% 10.3% 55.2%
Cardinals 85 77 621 574 27.1% 9.0% 10.5% 46.5%
Brewers 75 87 706 763 1.3% 0.8% 1.5% 3.6%
Cubs 73 89 625 680 0.9% 0.3% 1.0% 2.1%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Dodgers 88 74 640 584 42.3% 7.0% 10.4% 59.6%
Giants 85 77 607 574 20.0% 6.5% 10.5% 37.1%
Diamondbacks 84 78 618 588 20.0% 6.3% 9.9% 36.2%
Rockies 81 81 852 861 9.9% 3.2% 6.4% 19.6%
Padres 80 82 602 596 7.8% 3.0% 4.1% 14.9%

W: Projected final 2014 wins
L: Projected final 2014 losses
RS: Projected final 2014 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2014 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

Let me reiterate, these are extremely early and completely useless.  There are literally hundreds of free agents still out there to be signed, and trades to be made, and players to be injured.  There’s also the traditional error bars that projections have, which means you should probably look at this with a 10 game swing on either side of a team’s average projected win total, particularly right now with so much roster churn to come.

But if you are a Yankee fan, like I used to be, this is pretty disheartening.  It’s not surprising, and if you put the lineup and pitching staff together based on how they project in 2014 you will see they are about as far from championship caliber as any team in the American League.  Maybe moreso considering the relative strength of their division. 

No, the Astros are not an AL team, even if they use a DH.

Don’t worry though, the Yankees will sign Carlos Beltran and he’ll make them a 95 win team.

--Posted at 8:09 am by SG / 61 Comments | - (0)




Monday, November 18, 2013

NY Times: For Yankees’ Sabathia, It Appears Less (Weight) Is Less (Success)

Theories about C. C. Sabathia’s declining performance the last two seasons include the effect of his heavy workload — an average of 227 innings over 16 seasons — and his operation for bone chips in his pitching elbow after the 2012 season.

But then there is the theory, maybe not that far-fetched, that there is less life on Sabathia’s pitches because there is less of Sabathia these days.

A 6-foot-7 pitcher with a wide girth and a longtime fondness for Cap’n Crunch cereal, Sabathia said he lost 25 pounds after the 2011 season to help take pressure off his knees after arthroscopic surgery.

Then, Sabathia said, he lost about 20 pounds after the 2012 season.

He indeed looked thinner on the mound in 2013, down to perhaps 270 pounds after weighing more than 300 in his first seasons in New York, which included a World Series championship in 2009.

But coincidence or not, and maybe that is all it is, Sabathia’s pitches have lost velocity and crispness over the last two seasons. According to Fangraphs, the hefty version of Sabathia threw a fastball that averaged 93.9 miles per hour in 2011. Two years later, that velocity dropped to 91.2 m.p.h.

Sabathia, 33, gave up a career-high 28 home runs. He also allowed more hits (224) than innings pitched (211) for the first time.

Dr. Orr Limpisvasti, a sports medicine surgeon at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles and an orthopedic consultant for the Los Angeles Angels, said that Sabathia’s weight loss should not be dismissed as a possible reason for his struggles.

I don’t buy this theory.  My guess is Sabathia’s workload over his 13 year MLB career is the reason he’s lost velocity, just like just about every pitcher does as he enters his 30s.  And I don’t feel comfortable that Sabathia should put weight back on at the expense of his long-term health on the off chance that it makes him a better pitcher.

Part of the reason I’m so pessimistic about the 2014 Yankees is the morphing of CC from ace to a #3 or #4 starter.  CAIRO has 50 pitchers projected to throw at least 165 innings with a better RA than CC’s projected 4.33.

Now CAIRO has no idea if Sabathia is going to be able to make adjustments to his pitching style and be more effective than that.  And I suppose it’s possible that including his performance prior to 2013 in his projections is overrating him and he’s even worse than a 4.33 RA.  We just don’t know.

On the plus side, Sabathia’s peripherals in 2013 were better than his actual performance would indicate.  His FIP of 4.10 and xFIP of 3.76 both paint a rosier picture than his 4.78 ERA.  But I’m not ready to say that his BABIP against was flukishly high because of bad luck alone.  There wasn’t a ton of change in opposing hitters’ batted ball profiles against him in 2013 (22.3% line drives vs. 23.1% in 2011 and 21.1% in 2012) but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t getting hit harder.  His runners stranded percentage of 67.4% was a fair bit worse than his career rate of 72.7% but again we don’t know if that was just bad fortune or bad pitching.

Steamer has CC projected for 192 innings of 4.22 RA.  CAIRO has him at 207 innings of 4.33.  For every 0.40 points of RA at those innings total, you can add a win or so this projection.  If Sabathia can replicate his RA of 3.62 from 2009-2012, then he’d be about 1.5 wins better than projected.  And that goes up if he can pitch more innings as well.

I don’t think I’ve hidden the fact that I’m skeptical about the Yankees adding enough in the way of outside talent this offseason to make themselves into legitimate contenders, but if they can get better than expected performances from some of the holdovers it becomes a bit more feasible.  Sabathis is one of those holdovers that I think has a legitimate chance to better his projections, if he can adjust to life at 91 mph.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 8 Comments | - (0)




Friday, November 8, 2013

2014 CAIRO MLB Projections v0.1

It’s time for the first set of my 2014 CAIRO MLB projections. 

They can be downloaded via this link.

cairo_2014_v0.1.xls

I expect there to be some errors in here so let me know if you see anything that looks off.

Things like pitcher wins, losses and saves and hitter runs and RBI are based on a weighted average of the last four years and will change as roles and teams change so keep that in mind.  At some point I’ll add projected platoon splits as well.  I’ll also be adjusting playing time and rosters as the offseason unfolds so expect several updates as we move towards spring training. 

--Posted at 9:02 am by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, November 7, 2013

2014 CAIRO Projections for Current MLB Free Agent Position Players

I’ll probably release the 2014 CAIRO v0.1 projections tomorrow, so here’s a taste, looking at just the current free agent position players.

First Last Age Pos PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO avg obp slg wOBA BR oWAR def WAR
Robinson Cano 32 2B 683 88 186 40 1 28 98 6 2 58 93 .303 .368 .514 .379 108 5.4 2 5.6
Jacoby Ellsbury 31 CF 526 71 143 31 4 11 50 29 5 37 79 .300 .352 .455 .351 76 3.4 4 3.9
Brian McCann 30 C 497 51 109 17 0 20 67 2 1 50 84 .249 .328 .423 .329 60 3.2 0 3.2
Carlos Beltran 37 CF 571 76 140 27 2 19 82 5 3 50 95 .273 .336 .445 .339 73 3.6 -4 3.2
Jhonny Peralta 32 SS 541 56 135 29 2 13 64 2 2 42 103 .277 .332 .427 .331 66 2.7 2 2.9
Jarrod Saltalamacchia 29 C 422 53 99 30 1 15 53 3 1 36 122 .260 .323 .462 .337 56 2.9 0 2.9
Shin-Soo Choo 32 RF 634 84 144 32 1 15 60 17 8 77 126 .271 .376 .422 .355 87 3.5 -6 2.9
Mike Napoli 33 1B 521 67 120 31 2 22 74 3 1 60 147 .267 .358 .487 .365 77 2.4 4 2.9
Marlon Byrd 37 CF 485 58 122 25 3 14 59 2 3 28 100 .274 .326 .441 .332 60 2.5 3 2.7
Curtis Granderson 33 CF 509 72 106 17 3 25 63 11 4 56 132 .239 .327 .463 .340 68 2.8 -1 2.7
Stephen Drew 31 SS 487 55 114 30 6 11 54 5 2 49 109 .264 .337 .439 .337 63 2.8 -1 2.7
Carlos Ruiz 35 C 434 45 102 24 0 10 49 2 0 34 56 .267 .338 .411 .329 53 2.7 0 2.7
A.J. Pierzynski 38 C 537 50 139 25 1 15 63 2 1 20 73 .279 .312 .425 .318 61 2.6 0 2.6
Chris Young 31 CF 486 60 93 25 2 14 55 12 4 52 110 .218 .306 .381 .304 52 1.9 5 2.4
John Buck 34 C 465 43 97 19 1 20 58 2 1 39 112 .233 .305 .426 .317 54 2.4 0 2.4
Omar Infante 33 2B 561 59 152 24 6 10 51 8 3 27 66 .292 .325 .420 .321 65 2.2 1 2.3
Nelson Cruz 34 RF 531 60 130 28 1 27 76 7 3 41 119 .270 .329 .498 .353 76 2.5 -3 2.1
Juan Uribe 35 SS 394 42 84 17 1 11 48 3 1 26 78 .236 .291 .377 .291 38 1.5 5 2.1
Kelly Johnson 32 2B 536 60 112 20 3 15 57 11 4 52 131 .237 .314 .387 .309 58 2.0 -2 1.9
Kendrys Morales 31 1B 561 63 136 26 1 19 75 1 1 37 107 .267 .319 .428 .325 66 1.7 1 1.9
Dioner Navarro 30 C 293 28 68 10 1 12 32 1 1 24 45 .259 .322 .438 .327 36 1.8 0 1.8
Mark Ellis 37 2B 510 55 114 18 1 7 46 6 2 33 78 .249 .306 .334 .286 46 1.2 6 1.8
Mark Reynolds 31 3B 559 64 109 20 0 29 70 4 3 66 170 .224 .323 .449 .336 71 2.7 -10 1.7
Andres Torres 36 CF 429 54 86 20 3 7 37 12 4 41 92 .227 .303 .348 .290 41 1.3 4 1.7
Nate McLouth 33 CF 499 59 107 21 2 13 36 16 4 48 84 .244 .323 .387 .313 57 1.8 -2 1.6
James Loney 30 1B 577 56 140 27 0 11 69 4 2 41 77 .266 .316 .382 .308 60 1.0 5 1.5
Justin Morneau 33 1B 537 57 127 29 1 14 68 1 0 45 96 .264 .330 .418 .327 65 1.4 1 1.5
Rajai Davis 34 CF 446 55 106 24 3 8 36 35 9 26 85 .259 .308 .390 .305 51 1.6 -1 1.5
Yorvit Torrealba 36 C 310 25 83 17 1 6 26 2 1 22 51 .294 .347 .422 .335 38 1.4 0 1.4
Kurt Suzuki 31 C 440 42 89 18 1 8 46 3 1 30 61 .225 .285 .336 .276 37 1.3 0 1.3
David Murphy 33 LF 499 53 118 24 2 14 50 6 4 44 73 .262 .328 .417 .327 59 1.2 1 1.3
Chris Snyder 33 C 308 28 62 11 0 11 35 1 1 32 78 .228 .311 .396 .311 33 1.4 -1 1.2
Brendan Ryan 32 SS 449 44 84 17 1 4 34 8 3 32 85 .210 .272 .287 .251 30 0.3 9 1.2
Eric Chavez 37 3B 290 30 69 14 2 9 37 1 0 23 54 .268 .324 .435 .328 35 1.3 -2 1.1
Placido Polanco 39 2B 464 43 109 16 1 4 35 2 0 28 48 .258 .310 .327 .285 40 0.6 5 1.1
Michael Young 38 SS 631 70 160 29 3 9 66 3 1 40 90 .276 .320 .384 .310 66 2.5 -14 1.1
Clint Barmes 35 SS 443 37 89 19 1 10 39 2 1 28 90 .222 .280 .344 .273 37 0.8 3 1.1
Nick Punto 37 3B 311 33 64 13 1 2 24 4 2 32 59 .239 .317 .318 .285 28 0.6 5 1.1
Juan Pierre 37 CF 498 57 118 15 3 3 29 25 9 28 42 .262 .313 .329 .284 45 0.9 1 1.0
Kelly Shoppach 34 C 265 25 48 11 0 7 24 1 0 20 83 .209 .286 .354 .282 24 0.9 0 0.9
Willie Bloomquist 37 SS 299 35 78 13 3 3 26 6 6 17 43 .284 .326 .382 .312 31 1.1 -1 0.9
Brayan Pena 33 C 276 22 67 12 1 4 27 1 1 13 37 .263 .299 .361 .289 25 0.8 0 0.9
Dan Johnson 35 1B 502 49 97 19 0 19 51 1 1 63 94 .227 .327 .409 .324 59 1.0 -1 0.9
Chris Dickerson 32 LF 302 39 66 14 1 7 25 10 3 27 79 .248 .319 .385 .311 34 0.6 3 0.9
Carlos Pena 36 1B 506 60 93 19 3 16 56 3 3 70 137 .220 .336 .389 .324 58 0.9 -1 0.9
Munenori Kawasaki 33 SS 328 33 65 9 3 3 26 6 2 34 55 .233 .323 .323 .288 30 0.7 1 0.8
Lance Berkman 38 1B 368 42 85 15 1 12 45 2 2 47 67 .271 .365 .437 .353 49 1.1 -3 0.8
Kevin Youkilis 35 1B 372 47 76 17 1 11 43 2 1 37 78 .238 .331 .403 .325 44 0.9 -1 0.8
Paul Konerko 38 1B 588 58 139 20 0 22 72 1 1 58 91 .268 .344 .432 .341 75 1.6 -8 0.8
Corky Miller 38 C 246 17 44 9 0 6 23 1 1 23 43 .209 .297 .338 .283 22 0.7 0 0.7
Wil Nieves 37 C 252 20 59 11 0 3 23 1 1 13 44 .256 .295 .352 .283 22 0.7 0 0.7
Miguel Tejada 40 SS 302 29 74 11 0 4 31 2 1 15 43 .266 .306 .356 .292 28 0.7 -1 0.7
Ramon Santiago 35 SS 311 30 64 11 2 4 23 1 1 24 49 .235 .301 .327 .277 26 0.5 2 0.7
Alexi Casilla 30 2B 273 32 60 12 1 3 23 11 2 20 43 .246 .302 .349 .286 27 0.6 1 0.7
Jamey Carroll 40 2B 419 47 94 14 2 2 26 5 2 37 64 .254 .321 .313 .287 37 0.6 0 0.7
Jose Molina 39 C 307 29 62 11 1 4 26 2 1 21 69 .226 .282 .315 .265 23 0.7 0 0.7
Humberto Quintero 35 C 273 21 57 13 0 6 27 1 1 13 58 .225 .268 .353 .270 23 0.7 0 0.7
Franklin Gutierrez 31 CF 396 42 79 18 1 8 42 8 3 24 94 .218 .267 .339 .266 32 0.6 1 0.6
Ronny Cedeno 31 SS 370 35 77 15 3 5 32 4 3 24 82 .229 .283 .330 .270 29 0.8 -2 0.6
Brian Roberts 37 2B 279 28 61 12 1 6 29 4 1 24 45 .244 .310 .371 .300 29 0.7 -1 0.6
Chad Tracy 34 3B 209 16 47 9 0 5 21 1 1 13 39 .246 .294 .372 .291 20 0.5 1 0.6
Taylor Teagarden 31 C 162 15 32 6 0 6 15 1 1 12 45 .220 .280 .389 .288 16 0.5 0 0.5
Travis Hafner 37 DH 363 37 74 14 1 11 45 2 0 36 79 .233 .322 .389 .315 40 0.5 0 0.5
Jason Kubel 32 LF 447 46 99 20 2 12 60 1 1 41 111 .248 .316 .401 .314 49 1.0 -6 0.4
Skip Schumaker 34 2B 409 43 93 16 1 4 38 2 2 31 64 .255 .315 .334 .291 37 1.0 -6 0.4
Luke Scott 36 DH 381 41 77 17 2 12 51 3 1 34 82 .229 .303 .399 .306 41 0.6 -1 0.4
Reed Johnson 38 LF 259 28 64 14 1 4 22 2 1 12 58 .274 .325 .387 .313 28 0.5 -1 0.4
Jerry Hairston 38 2B 339 32 70 12 0 5 33 3 2 22 43 .231 .284 .320 .268 26 0.4 0 0.4
Lyle Overbay 37 1B 437 42 93 23 1 9 47 2 1 39 95 .239 .306 .370 .299 44 0.4 0 0.4
Henry Blanco 43 C 180 17 33 6 0 4 18 1 1 15 41 .206 .271 .325 .264 14 0.3 0 0.3
Ryan Langerhans 34 LF 339 37 65 12 2 9 32 4 5 41 101 .221 .317 .374 .308 35 0.5 -2 0.3
Brock Peterson 31 1B 392 40 84 18 1 11 47 2 2 26 100 .235 .292 .386 .296 39 0.4 -1 0.3
Rob Johnson 32 C 275 25 50 10 1 4 24 2 2 20 57 .203 .262 .300 .251 18 0.3 0 0.3
Raul Ibanez 42 LF 526 60 109 21 1 16 71 2 1 41 115 .229 .289 .375 .291 51 0.9 -6 0.3
Cesar Izturis 34 SS 235 18 48 9 1 3 17 2 1 13 32 .223 .269 .316 .256 17 0.1 1 0.2
Austin Kearns 34 RF 205 23 42 8 1 3 17 2 1 21 49 .235 .329 .339 .304 20 0.2 0 0.2
Quintin Berry 30 LF 432 44 90 18 2 4 33 23 6 39 105 .235 .316 .327 .290 42 0.2 0 0.2
John McDonald 40 SS 223 22 43 7 0 3 20 1 1 12 38 .212 .255 .290 .241 13 0.0 2 0.1
Brandon Snyder 28 1B 312 32 70 19 1 7 33 2 1 17 80 .245 .295 .396 .300 32 0.2 0 0.1
Michael Morse 32 LF 441 49 95 18 0 13 53 1 1 27 102 .235 .289 .382 .293 43 0.7 -7 0.1
Matt Diaz 36 LF 211 18 49 11 1 3 20 4 1 14 37 .252 .306 .358 .294 20 0.2 -1 0.1
Adron Chambers 28 LF 450 49 89 15 2 5 40 11 7 36 101 .224 .298 .313 .274 36 -0.1 1 0.0
Koyie Hill 35 C 278 23 50 12 0 3 17 1 0 16 67 .197 .245 .282 .234 16 0.0 0 0.0
Endy Chavez 36 CF 351 35 77 13 1 4 26 5 4 17 46 .238 .275 .315 .260 25 0.1 -2 -0.1
Mark Kotsay 39 CF 257 19 50 8 1 3 24 1 2 19 38 .217 .274 .296 .257 17 0.1 -2 -0.2
Delmon Young 29 LF 527 51 120 22 1 14 63 2 1 25 101 .246 .286 .378 .289 50 0.7 -9 -0.3
Felix Pie 29 LF 373 39 76 17 3 4 33 16 6 22 78 .222 .269 .321 .261 29 -0.1 -5 -0.6

wOBA: Weighted on-base average.
BR: Linear weights batting runs.
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement (adjusted for park and position).
def: Projected runs saved compared to an average defender using an average of DRS, UZR and zone rating with regression and aging factored in.
WAR: oWAR plus def divided by 10.

You may now play GM.

--Posted at 9:37 am by SG / 57 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, November 6, 2013

CBS Sports: Heyman: Yankees inquire about Brandon Phillips; price said to be very steep

The Yankees, looking to set themselves up in case star second baseman Robinson Cano signs elsewhere, have checked in with the Reds regarding Brandon Phillips and also asked about free-agent second baseman Omar Infante.

Phillips is said to be available in the right trade, but word is, the initial price is way too steep. Of course, that’s the way the Yankees look at Cano’s $300 million asking price, as well.

Phillips batted .261 with 103 RBI for the Reds, but is on the market after a couple incidents—one where he complained in a Cincinnati magazine article about how ownership handled his negoitations and another where he went ballistic on a Cincinnati Enquirer reporter after the reporter, Trent Rosecrans, formerly of CBSSports.com, tweeted about Phillips’ low on-base percentage.

Phillips has $50 million and four years on that $72.5 million, six-year contract he signed despite what he suggested were rocky negotiations.

In my opinion, Phillips is one of the most overrated players in baseball.  The fact that something like this was made public makes me think the Yankees understand that to some extent and it’s more of a negotiating ploy with Cano than actual interest.

Here is how CAIRO projects Phillips and Cano as Yankees in 2014.

Player PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
Phillips 659 600 83 161 27 1 17 86 10 5 41 95 17 8 .268 .318 .404 .316 68 21
Cano 683 612 88 186 40 1 29 103 6 2 58 93 18 7 .303 .368 .514 .379 100 51

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

I still haven’t done defensive projections for 2014 but eyeballing it I’m guessing Phillips would project as 2-4 runs better defensively.

CAIRO says the four remaining years of Phillips’s contract would have him hitting .258/.309/.390 over 2476 PA and being worth about six WAR offensively.  Maybe you can give him another win for defense although given the fact that he’ll be 36 by the end of his contract we can assume decline from his current level.  Is seven wins or so worth $50M?  Not if you have a self-imposed budget, it’s not.  And if you actually have to give up something of value on top of an already bad contract, does it really make any sense at all?

Now, would I rather have Phillips for four years and $50M than Cano for 10 years and $310M?  Probably.  But those aren’t the only two alternatives, so let’s hope we don’t see either one come to fruition.

--Posted at 9:16 am by SG / 64 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, October 22, 2013

NY Post: Yankees’ top free-agent targets

Yankees brass convenes this week for organizational meetings. Clouding the issue of what the Yankees can do in the free-agent market this offseason are what free agent Robinson Cano will do and how long Alex Rodriguez will be suspended.

But here are five players who emerged from recent scouting meetings as among the Yankees targets, as reported by George A. King III:

Masahiro Tanaka

I’m down.

Shin-Soo Choo

If they’re going to piss away their draft pick, I guess Choo is a decent enough player to do it for.

Brian McCann

I’m lukewarm on McCann unless he can be signed short-term.

Paul Maholm

Whatever.  CAIRO is not a fan of Maholm, projecting him to put up an RA of 5.25 and a WAR of -0.2 if he were to don a Yankee uniform.  May as well just bring back Phil Hughes if that’s what they are looking for.

Stephen Drew

Drew had a strong year in 2013, but he missed essentially a full season between 2011 and 2012 while putting up an OPS+ of 87.  His 111 OPS+ in 2013 was significantly higher than his career mark of 98.  He hit .283/.367/.491 in Fenway compared to .222/.295/.392 on the road, so he may have taken particular advantage of playing half his games in a disgraceful bandbox.  As a lefty hitter, you’d assume he could take similar advantage of DNYS, but if he’s an opposite field hitter and that’s partly to blame for his home stats, that may not necessarily be the case.

Then again, Yankee shortstops were worth something like -10 WAR this season, so Drew might be a 12 win upgrade if he’s league average.

If these are the players the Yankees are targeting (Choo, McCann and Drew are all likely to get qualifying offers) I think we can assume they don’t care about their first round pick.  While I’m not crazy about that, at least they’ll all be between 30-31 in 2014 and could be useful for more than just next season when the Yankees probably aren’t going to be a contender whether they delude themselves into thinking they will be or not.

--Posted at 8:11 am by SG / 37 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, October 17, 2013

NY Post: Free agent Brian McCann on Yankees’ radar

So while the Yankees have many pressing needs, they are no closer to finding answers for 2014.

One of those answers could be Braves catcher Brian McCann, who is set to become a free agent. The Yankees’ lack of power was an issue throughout the season and the absence of offensive production from behind the plate was particularly damaging.

McCann, who will turn 30 in February, would help in both areas, but he might be too expensive to end up in the Bronx. He has hit at least 20 homers in each of the past six seasons and was selected to his seventh All-Star Game last year.

Let’s see how CAIRO projects McCann as a Yankee in 2014.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 509 450 60 123 21 1 31 82 4 0 61 77 9 6 .274 .373 .529 .391 78 48
65% 502 444 55 116 18 0 28 76 3 1 56 80 11 5 .262 .353 .495 .368 69 40
Baseline 497 439 51 110 16 0 25 71 2 1 52 84 13 4 .250 .334 .460 .345 61 32
35% 447 395 43 94 13 0 20 60 2 2 43 80 13 3 .238 .314 .425 .322 48 21
20% 398 351 35 80 10 0 16 50 1 2 36 74 13 2 .226 .294 .391 .298 36 13

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

The Yankees got about 0.5 WAR out of catcher in 2013.  So McCann plus a good backup could be a 3-4 win upgrade.  McCann’s missed a fair amount of time over the last two years which is why CAIRO has him around 497 PA but if he can get to 550 or so he’d be worth about 3.6 WAR offensively.

This doesn’t include defense, but McCann’s been a hair below average over the last two seasons so it shouldn’t affect his value much.

Unfortunately, you can’t sign McCann for just 2014, so here’s how he projects over the next four seasons.

Year Age PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR oWAR
2014 30 497 439 51 110 16 0 25 71 2 1 52 84 13 4 .250 .334 .460 .345 61 32 3.2
2015 31 477 422 50 104 15 0 25 70 2 1 51 82 12 4 .247 .333 .460 .345 59 31 3.1
2016 32 458 405 46 99 15 0 22 64 2 1 49 79 12 4 .244 .331 .448 .340 54 27 2.7
2017 33 440 389 42 93 13 0 21 58 2 1 47 77 11 4 .239 .327 .433 .333 50 24 2.4

That totals up to about 13 WAR.  Maybe subtract one from that assuming a slow decline in defense over four seasons.  So a fair deal over four seasons is probably in the $60M-$70M range.  If you get him for 3 years he’s probably worth about 10 WAR and something like $50M would be fair.

McCann doesn’t come without risk, considering he had shoulder surgery prior to the season and although he’s only 30 he’s more likely to decline than maintain at this point.  But he’d be a big upgrade for the Yankees.  Unfortunately, he’d be a big upgrade for roughly 25 other teams as he trails only Buster Posey, Carlos Santana, Joe Mauer and Yadier Molina in CAIRO’s projected offensive WAR (among catchers).  So it may be difficult to sign him to a contract that makes sense.  He’s also almost certain to cost a draft pick since I can’t see the Braves not extending him a qualifying offer.

If the Yankees do pursue McCann, it helps, but it’s not enough by itself to turn them into contenders.  Especially if they sign him while still trying to get their payroll under $189M.

Incidentally, I found a pretty major issue with the Yankee CAIRO projections I posted on Tuesday.  The good news is it means that all the pitcher projections were overly pessimistic.  The bad news is it means the offensive projections were optimistic.  It doesn’t change the big picture all that much, just the shape of it.

--Posted at 8:22 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How Bad are the 2014 Yankees on October 15, 2013

One of the hardest things about doing my CAIRO projections is finagling the numbers to make the Yankees look better than they are.  And that was hard when the Yankees were actually good.  Now that they are not so good, it makes it even harder.

Anyway, I finally figured it was time to put some empirical evidence together to see what the Yankees look like right now.  So I ran my first set of 2014 CAIRO projections, which I’m sure have bugs and will change as we move further into the offseason.

I’ll warn you now, it’s not pretty at all.

The assumptions here are that Alex Rodriguez remains suspended for the entire 2014 season and the Yankees don’t sign anyone or trade for anyone.  Basically, this is what the Yankees have under contract right now for 2014.  First up, the position players.

Lineup Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
1 Brett Gardner CF 575 .278/.355/.408 .328 371 74 28 3.5
2 Derek Jeter SS 400 .278/.336/.383 .311 266 44 15 -7 0.8
3 Mark Teixeira 1B 600 .249/.339/.504 .343 396 88 27 7 3.3
4 Alfonso Soriano LF 600 .262/.313/.485 .323 412 80 23 -2 2.2
5 Eduardo Nunez 3B 500 .262/.310/.377 .293 345 53 13 -8 0.5
6 Ichiro Suzuki RF 600 .281/.315/.366 .294 411 62 5 7 1.2
7 Vernon Wells DH 500 .241/.290/.428 .295 355 56 2 0 0.2
8 Francisco Cervelli C 400 .241/.321/.354 .295 272 40 14 0 1.4
9 David Adams 2B 500 .238/.311/.362 .291 344 49 9 0 0.9
Starters 4675 .260/.321/.412 .310 3172 547 136 3 13.9
Bench Player Pos PA avg/obp/slg wOBA Outs BR BRAR Def WAR
Chris Stewart C 275 .228/.297/.322 .271 193 24 5 0 0.5
Jayson Nix IF 350 .232/.295/.362 .280 247 34 7 0 0.7
Zoilo Almonte OF 300 .247/.300/.385 .290 210 30 3 0 0.3
Ramon Flores OF 300 .226/.304/.322 .278 209 25 -2 0 -0.2
Austin Romine C 100 .239/.292/.355 .277 71 9 0 0 0.0
Bench 1325 .234/.299/.350 .280 929 123 14 0 1.4
Team Total 6000 .254/.316/.398 .303 4102 670 150 3 15.3

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

I haven’t done the defensive projections for 2014 yet so these are 2013 projections.  Adjust them down a bit since there’s no one young enough on the Yankees to be improving defensively.

If you think that’s bad, get a load of the pitching staff.

Role Player IP H R HR BB K RA ERA FIP WAR
SP1 CC Sabathia 200 199 103 29 58 175 4.61 4.13 4.12 3.9
SP2 Ivan Nova 185 189 95 25 62 147 4.63 4.33 4.34 3.6
SP3 Michael Pineda 165 149 97 26 64 141 5.18 4.70 4.61 2.2
SP4 David Phelps 160 156 87 24 66 143 4.86 4.62 4.59 2.7
SP5 Vidal Nuno 150 157 80 24 46 106 5.15 4.37 4.65 2.0
SP6 David Huff 65 75 46 12 22 44 6.01 5.46 5.15 0.3
SP7 Brett Marshall 50 60 43 9 29 33 7.13 6.44 5.93 -0.4
SP8 Manny Banuelos 40 45 28 6 23 30 6.14 5.44 5.24 0.1
SP9 Jose Ramirez 35 41 32 8 22 26 7.83 6.71 6.37 -0.6
SP10 Nik Turley 20 22 16 3 14 14 7.03 6.10 5.95 -0.1
Starters 1070 1093 627 166 405 858 5.27 4.72 4.67 13.7
Role Player IP H R HR BB K RA ERA FIP WAR
CL David Robertson 70 55 22 7 25 83 2.94 2.83 2.98 1.7
SU Shawn Kelley 70 61 34 11 28 77 4.52 4.01 4.09 0.5
SU Preston Claiborne 70 70 46 9 41 53 5.95 4.98 4.99 -0.6
MR Cesar Cabral 50 59 38 5 34 47 5.95 5.64 4.78 -0.4
MR Dellin Betances 50 51 41 6 41 46 6.67 6.04 5.32 -0.8
MR Chase Whitley 40 41 23 5 18 29 5.09 4.62 4.55 0.0
MR Mark Montgomery 30 27 15 3 20 30 4.78 4.39 4.52 0.1
MR Matt Daley 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.52 3.27 3.22 0.0
LR Chase Whitley 0 0 0 0 0 0 5.09 4.62 4.55 0.0
Relievers 380 365 220 45 207 365 5.22 4.55 4.39 0.4
Total 1450 1459 847 211 612 1224 5.26 4.67 4.60 14.1

WAR: Wins above replacement level (using RA)
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching

Now obviously the error bars around some of these projections are huge.  Maybe CC Sabathia makes the adjustments to get closer to his past numbers and maybe converting Michael Pineda’s rehab numbers to an MLE and using it as part of his projections for 2014 ignores that rehab games are approached differently than competitive games and that he’ll be stronger as he moves further away from his injury.  Maybe Ivan Nova scrapping his slider will let him pitch more like he did over the second half of 2013 than his projection.

That’s an awful lot of maybes.

The bottom line is this.  If these projections and playing time assumptions are reasonably close, and they may not be, this is what the overall picture looks like.

RS 670
Def 3
RA 847
wpct .392
p162 63

The Yankees need to add 27 wins to get to 90.  I can’t see them doing it without going past their self-imposed payroll limit of $189M, and I’m not sure the market is there to do it even if they decide to.

Maybe they can lobby Bud Selig to add five more wild cards.  Then they can pretend they’re still contenders.

--Posted at 9:03 am by SG / 61 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, September 5, 2013

The AL East Postseason Implications of this Series with Boston

The Yankees have no chance of making the postseason, but this series could impact the Rays and Orioles, so here’s how the various potential outcomes of this series affect the various postseason odds for the teams in the AL East.

Now
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 96 66 826 678 97.5% 0.5% 0.5% 98.5%
Rays 89 73 706 650 2.0% 21.0% 43.3% 66.3%
Yankees 87 75 678 667 0.5% 4.5% 19.5% 24.5%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% - 3.2% 3.2%
Red Sox 4-0
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 98 64 826 678 99.5% 0.5% - 100.0%
Rays 90 72 706 650 0.5% 21.8% 48.7% 71.0%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% 0.3% 9.5% 9.8%
Yankees 85 77 678 667 0.0% 0.5% 3.8% 4.3%
Red Sox 3-1
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 97 65 826 678 98.0% 0.8% - 98.8%
Rays 90 72 706 650 2.0% 21.8% 45.9% 69.8%
Yankees 86 76 678 667 0.0% 2.3% 8.4% 10.8%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% 0.3% 5.3% 5.6%
Split
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 96 66 826 678 96.5% 2.0% - 98.5%
Rays 89 73 706 650 3.5% 11.8% 51.3% 66.7%
Yankees 87 75 678 667 0.0% 4.8% 16.8% 21.7%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% 1.0% 4.5% 5.5%
Yankees 3-1
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 95 67 826 678 90.8% 2.3% 2.0% 95.2%
Rays 89 73 706 650 7.8% 16.0% 32.0% 55.8%
Yankees 88 74 678 667 1.3% 4.0% 20.0% 25.3%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% - 6.5% 6.5%
Yankees 4-0
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 94 68 826 678 82.5% 6.3% 3.8% 92.7%
Rays 90 72 706 650 13.0% 12.9% 26.6% 52.5%
Yankees 89 73 678 667 4.5% 7.6% 34.5% 46.6%
Orioles 85 77 762 729 0.0% - 8.9% 8.9%

Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)

A few notes.

1) 100.0% is more like 99.999999999%.  No team is actually 100.0% until they clinch but I don’t want really wide columns.
2) I removed team strength variability from these simulations to focus on the delta.  In actuality we should expect lower percentages near the top and higher percentages near the bottom.  Despite that there may be some fluctuations around the team win totals due to rounding.
3) I’m estimating the Yankees as presently constituted as around an 89 win team.  In actuality they are more like a 40 win team so just replace every number that’s not a 0 with a 0.

Anyway, this isn’t worth all that much because over a 20-25 game stretch anything can happen.

Anything except the Yankees qualifying for the postseason.

--Posted at 10:33 am by SG / 18 Comments | - (0)




Monday, August 26, 2013

NY Times: Yankees Find a Way to Avoid a Sweep

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At age 37 with cranky knees, Alfonso Soriano is not nearly as swift as he once was. In an earlier life with the Yankees in his middle 20s, Soriano was able to rely on sheer speed and agility as he twice recorded seasons with 40 stolen bases.

Now, stolen bases come more from his mind and the knowledge he has accrued in 15 years in the major leagues, and few were as critical as the one he swiped in the 11th inning Sunday that led directly to a vital 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Summoning every bit of information about the craft of base stealing that he had gleaned from his previous 365 attempts — and with his manager’s blessing — Soriano set out on an 85-foot sprint that changed the course of the game, and perhaps the Yankees’ playoff hopes.

The Yankees really needed to win two of the three games in Tampa Bay over this weekend, but alas they couldn’t do it.  Saturday’s game was the killer, as CC Sabathia looked like vintage CC for just about the whole game except for a four batter stretch that cost the Yankees their 2-0 lead and the game.  CC was pretty much sitting 94-95 all game, something he hasn’t done all year.  Unfortunately, even if he pitches well going forward it’s probably too little and too late.

The big problem the Yankees face now is that they need a lot of help from a lot of crappy teams.  They’re fighting against Cleveland and Oakland teams that have easier schedules going forward, even if the Yankees were able to take care of their own business against Baltimore, Boston and Tampa Bay.  Here are my estimated projected strengths of schedule for each team over the rest of the season, accounting for home field advantage.

Team Opponent W%
Indians .486
Athletics .490
Rangers .492
Yankees .500
Rays .509
Red Sox .512
Orioles .522

And here’s how many wins every team ahead of the Yankees project to end the season with.

TM W
Tigers 98
Red Sox 94
Rangers 93
Rays 93
Athletics 90
Indians 88
Orioles 86
Yankees 85

Let’s put that in the perspective of the expected W-L records over the rest of the season.

Team W L
Yankees 16 16
Rays 19 15
Rangers 18 14
Athletics 18 15
Red Sox 17 13
Indians 17 15
Orioles 16 17

Let’s forget about Boston, Tampa Bay and Texas for now.  I can’t see the Yankees making up the seven or eight games in projected record over the rest of the season to catch any of them.  Yeah, they play Boston seven more times, all at home, but even if they win five of those seven games they still have to make up another five games.  They play the Rays just three more times, so even if they sweep that series they would have to make up another four games.

The Yankees play the Orioles seven more times (three at home, four on the road so they can pass them by beating them.

Which means it’s basically down to winning the games they can win and then watching what Oakland and Cleveland do in these remaining games.

Game #
Angels@Athletics 3
Astros@Athletics 4
Athletics@Angels 3
Athletics@Mariners 3
Athletics@Rangers 3
Athletics@Tigers 4
Athletics@Twins 3
Rangers@Athletics 3
Rays@Athletics 3
Twins@Athletics 4
Game #
Astros@Indians 4
Indians@Braves 3
Indians@Royals 3
Indians@Tigers 3
Indians@Twins 4
Indians@White Sox 4
Mets@Indians 3
Orioles@Indians 3
Royals@Indians 3
White Sox@Indians 2

I’d feel better about the Yankees’ chances if Oakland didn’t have so many games left against the Angels, Astros, Mariners and Twins and Cleveland didn’t have so many games left against the Astros, Twins, White Sox and Mets.

I fear the Yankees have run out of time.  They are probably one of the six best teams in the AL right now, but they haven’t been for too much of the season to make up for it.

--Posted at 8:03 am by SG / 18 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How Much Better May the Yankee Lineup Be Now?

We know the Yankee offense has been lousy for most of the year.  We were waiting impatiently for the arrival of the reinforcements that would push them back towards a good offense but that has been a bit of a letdown with Mark Teixeira’s return never quite materializing and Derek Jeter’s suffering from two setbacks already.  But the Yankees have added Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson to the mix and what I want to know is how much better they may be going forward.

If we just look at the lineup as comprised of the players who have started the most games at each position in a typical batting order and what they’ve done to this point it looks like this.

Player Pos PA Outs BR
Brett Gardner CF 5.0 3.3 0.61
Ichiro Suzuki RF 5.0 3.4 0.52
Robinson Cano 2B 5.0 3.2 0.77
Vernon Wells LF 4.1 3.0 0.39
Travis Hafner DH 4.0 2.9 0.42
Lyle Overbay 1B 4.0 2.9 0.46
Jayson Nix 3B 4.0 2.8 0.33
Eduardo Nunez SS 4.0 2.7 0.33
Chris Stewart C 4.0 2.8 0.29
Total 39.1 27.0 4.13

BR: Linear weights batting runs

This is placed in the context of how many runs the Yankees would be estimated to score over 27 outs.  Now obviously they’ve also gotten subpar play from most of their non-regulars and that’s pushed them down to their actual 3.86 runs scored per game.

If we add Soriano, Granderson and Rodriguez to the lineup and look at how ZiPS projects them over the rest of the season the lineup looks more like this.

Player Pos PA Outs BR
Brett Gardner CF 5.0 3.3 0.64
Ichiro Suzuki RF 5.0 3.5 0.54
Robinson Cano 2B 5.0 3.3 0.77
Alex Rodriguez 3B 4.1 3.0 0.49
Alfonso Soriano DH 4.0 2.8 0.50
Curtis Granderson LF 4.0 2.7 0.55
Lyle Overbay 1B 4.0 2.9 0.43
Eduardo Nunez SS 4.0 2.8 0.39
Chris Stewart C 4.0 2.8 0.31
Total 39.1 27.0 4.62

Half a run per game is about 80 runs over a full season which is about eight wins.  If Derek Jeter ever makes it back, the lineup goes up to 4.70 runs per game, which is equivalent to another win over a full season.

If the Yankees were a .500 win team before, then they might be a 90 win team now.  To get to the 93 wins that Joe Girardi and I estimate will be needed to at least grab one of the wild cards, they have to win 32 of their remaining 44 games which is a 118 win pace.

Can a 90 win team play at a 118 win pace over 44 games?  They could, but I wouldn’t bet on it.  If the Yankees can get better pitching from CC Sabathia, Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes they could in fact be a 93 win team.  Still not exactly a juggernaut, but closer.

But they can’t play the optimal lineup every day so they are probably more like an 86 or 87 win team.  That means they should win about 23 of their remaining games.

So no big deal.  Play 9-10 games better than expected over 44 games and they should be in.

--Posted at 8:28 am by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Stick a Fork in the 2013 Yankees

Losing four of five games to the Padres and White Sox has effectively eliminated the Yankees from any realistic postseason consideration at this point.  The last thing this team could afford was to lose games against the handful of teams they are better than, but that’s exactly what they’ve accomplished.

Date 8/7/2013
Iterations 1000000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Red Sox 95 67 821 711 59.2% 24.2% 9.5% 92.8% 87-103
Rays 93 69 727 642 37.1% 31.7% 15.3% 84.2% 85-102
Orioles 86 76 754 739 3.3% 6.2% 13.3% 22.9% 78-94
Yankees 81 81 662 672 0.4% 0.8% 2.6% 3.9% 73-89
Blue Jays 77 85 761 764 0.0% - 0.3% 0.4% 69-85
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 98 64 817 647 92.0% 2.6% 2.5% 97.2% 90-106
Indians 88 74 752 710 6.4% 12.6% 22.2% 41.1% 80-96
Royals 83 79 671 653 1.6% 2.0% 6.1% 9.7% 75-91
Twins 71 91 662 765 0.0% - - - 63-79
White Sox 64 98 630 725 0.0% - - -56-72
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Athletics 92 70 715 643 55.5% 9.2% 12.0% 76.7% 84-100
Rangers 91 71 727 672 44.3% 10.6% 15.9% 70.8% 83-99
Angels 76 86 744 728 0.2% - 0.2% 0.4% 68-85
Mariners 73 89 657 735 0.0% - - 0.1% 65-81
Astros 54 108 629 861 0.0% - - -46-63
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Braves 99 63 713 581 99.9% - - 99.9% 91-107
Nationals 79 83 626 632 0.1% 0.2% 2.8% 3.1% 71-87
Mets 74 88 653 708 0.0% - 0.3% 0.3% 66-82
Phillies 73 89 631 723 0.0% - 0.2% 0.2% 65-81
Marlins 63 99 553 673 0.0% - - -55-72
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Cardinals 97 65 767 605 59.0% 29.8% 10.8% 99.6% 89-105
Pirates 94 68 641 592 32.8% 44.5% 21.1% 98.3% 86-102
Reds 90 72 710 620 8.2% 24.7% 55.0% 87.9% 82-98
Cubs 72 90 643 690 0.0% - 0.1% 0.1% 64-80
Brewers 68 94 651 727 0.0% - - -60-76
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 89 73 648 616 79.1% 0.3% 2.7% 82.0% 81-97
Diamondbacks 83 79 685 669 19.1% 0.5% 6.4% 26.0% 75-91
Rockies 75 87 720 769 0.6% - 0.2% 0.8% 66-83
Padres 74 88 643 705 0.6% - 0.2% 0.9% 66-82
Giants 74 88 631 672 0.6% - 0.2% 0.8% 66-82

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

At this point, .500 looks like where they’re heading and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised to see them worse than that by the end of the year.  I’m sure they’ll continue to delude themselves into thinking they are contenders and will make more stupid and desperate moves depending on what shows up on the waiver wire, but it doesn’t matter.  They are done.

--Posted at 3:03 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, July 31, 2013

This Team is Buying?  Really?

My Monte Carlo postseason odds updated as of this morning.

Date 7/31/2013
Iterations 1,000,000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Rays 94 68 741 641 47.4% 29.0% 10.9% 87.2% 86-102
Red Sox 94 68 813 714 44.7% 28.6% 11.7% 85.0% 85-102
Orioles 86 76 754 734 6.0% 12.2% 17.4% 35.6% 78-94
Yankees 82 80 677 676 1.0% 2.5% 5.5% 9.0% 74-90
Blue Jays 76 86 764 763 0.1% 0.2% 0.6% 0.8% 68-84
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 94 68 819 667 78.2% 4.0% 7.1% 89.3% 86-102
Indians 88 74 763 714 17.7% 12.4% 20.2% 50.2% 80-96
Royals 81 81 666 663 3.2% 1.1% 4.5% 8.8% 73-89
Twins 70 92 667 767 0.1% - 0.1% 0.2% 62-78
White Sox 64 98 641 735 0.0% - - - 56-72
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Athletics 94 68 727 643 80.9% 2.4% 5.5% 88.8% 85-102
Rangers 87 75 725 689 17.5% 6.8% 15.0% 39.4% 79-95
Angels 76 86 744 726 0.5% - 0.6% 1.1% 68-84
Mariners 74 88 652 726 0.2% - 0.2% 0.4% 66-82
Astros 54 108 622 865 0.0% - - - 46-62
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Braves 94 68 702 594 97.0% 0.3% 0.6% 97.9% 86-102
Nationals 80 82 635 630 2.0% 0.5% 6.1% 8.6% 72-88
Phillies 75 87 635 714 0.2% - 0.8% 1.0% 67-83
Mets 75 87 663 714 0.0% - 1.2% 1.2% 67-83
Marlins 62 100 554 688 0.0% - - - 54-70
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Cardinals 94 68 742 611 48.5% 30.7% 16.5% 95.7% 86-102
Pirates 93 69 645 591 37.4% 38.1% 19.1% 94.6% 85-101
Reds 89 73 714 608 13.3% 28.5% 46.2% 88.0% 81-98
Cubs 73 89 647 690 0.0% 0.1% 1.0% 1.0% 65-81
Brewers 69 93 663 731 0.0% - 0.1% 0.1% 61-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 86 76 657 627 72.2% 0.3% 2.5% 75.0% 78-94
Diamondbacks 82 80 689 672 21.5% 0.7% 3.8% 26.0% 73-90
Rockies 76 86 737 766 3.0% - 0.9% 3.9% 68-84
Padres 74 88 647 709 1.8% - 0.4% 2.1% 66-82
Giants 72 90 636 684 0.7% - - 0.7% 64-80

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

The phrase “lipstick on a pig” comes to mind.

Right now 90 wins looks like the Yankees’ upper-bound for wins within one standard deviation.  The average wins in my simulations for the first wild card in the AL was around 92.6, and the average for the second was about 90.

The Yankees’ postseason odds are now roughly equivalent to those of the Royals.

Keep buying middling outfielders signed for another year after this one though.

--Posted at 9:31 am by SG / 75 Comments | - (0)




Friday, July 26, 2013

IIs Alfonso Soriano Even an Upgrade?

Although it’s not actually official yet, all indications are that Alfonso Soriano will be a Yankee by this weekend.  Soriano left the Yankees as a shaky defensive second baseman with speed and power in the Alex Rodriguez trade and returns as a plus defensive LF who still has pop but doesn’t run all that much.  Soriano has never been much of a walker although his 3.9% BB/PA this season would be his lowest since 2002.  He still loves swinging at pitches in the left-handed hitters batters box, so that will be fun to watch.

In order to determine what Soriano adds to the team, you have to figure out who he’s replacing.  He’s an option for LF and DH, and that’s pretty much it.  So his playing time is going to come at the expense of Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells, most likely.  Here are their rest-of-season ZiPS projections, pro-rated to 250 PA.

Player PA avg obp slg wOBA BR
Alfonso Soriano 250 .251 .295 .469 .327 31
Vernon Wells 250 .249 .294 .427 .313 29
Travis Hafner 250 .238 .333 .427 .332 32

If you factor in defense and believe the defensive metrics, Soriano probably adds a run or two of value above Wells.  So in theory if Soriano is replacing Wells he adds three runs or so to the Yankees over 250 PA.  That may not seem like much, but that’s about a week’s worth of offense for this team.

It’s entirely possible that Hafner’s projection is way off and that his days as an effective player are over.  It’s also a fact that he adds no defensive value at all, whereas Wells can at least man the OF and 3B in an emergency.  But at least for now Hafner projects as the best hitter of this sordid cast of characters.  But once you factor in defense I’d say that Soriano is a more valuable player to have than Hafner as well.

My guess is for now we’ll see Soriano in LF, and a Wells/Hafner platoon at DH, with Wells also occasionally resting one of Brett Gardner and Ichiro!  What will be interesting to see is what happens if Curtis Granderson ever comes back.  It’s hard to see a spot for Hafner at that point and while his play since May 1 hasn’t deserved a spot, I am still holding out hope he can bust out of his slump.

My thought on this trade, and really on the way this team has done business over the past season is this.  It stinks.  They’ve blown so much money on players like Kevin Youkilis, Wells and now Soriano to build a team that’s got a lower chance at the postseason than half the teams in the league.  They’ve done it with an eye on getting below the salary cap in 2014 so they can get some savings, but I don’t think the savings they’ll get will even come close to making up the $40+M of essentially wasted money that they’ve spent on replacement level production and the ratings and attendance drop that this team has spearheaded.

I guess they should go ahead and try and make one last push for the postseason at this point because I can’t see any way this team is competitive in 2014.  But someone like Soriano isn’t really a push, he’s more like a slight nudge.  And if they ended up giving up a viable prospect for him I will really dislike this move.

--Posted at 7:54 am by SG / 75 Comments | - (0)




Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 MLB Postseason Odds Through Games of July 21

Date 7/22/2013
Iterations 1,000,000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Red Sox 94 68 825 730 51.6% 23.9% 10.6% 86.1%
Rays 92 70 743 651 34.7% 29.4% 16.5% 80.7%
Orioles 88 74 763 740 11.0% 16.1% 20.9% 47.9%
Yankees 83 79 694 684 2.3% 4.4% 8.9% 15.5%
Blue Jays 77 85 758 748 0.0% 0.8% 1.1% 1.9%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Tigers 91 71 806 682 75.1% 2.2% 4.9% 82.2%
Indians 86 76 758 730 21.6% 4.7% 8.8% 35.2%
Royals 78 84 668 679 2.7% 0.5% 1.7% 4.8%
Twins 70 92 672 778 0.1% - 0.2% 0.3%
White Sox 69 93 658 734 0.1% - 0.1% 0.2%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Athletics 93 69 725 641 74.0% 5.2% 6.6% 85.8%
Rangers 88 74 733 690 23.7% 11.2% 16.6% 51.5%
Angels 80 82 747 709 1.7% 1.2% 2.5% 5.4%
Mariners 74 88 660 727 0.2% 0.1% 0.5% 0.7%
Astros 55 107 625 868 0.0% - - -
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Braves 93 69 694 600 90.0% 0.6% 2.7% 93.2%
Nationals 81 81 635 622 5.9% 1.6% 8.3% 15.8%
Phillies 78 84 647 698 3.2% 0.5% 3.2% 6.8%
Mets 75 87 666 715 0.6% 0.4% 1.0% 1.9%
Marlins 61 101 559 701 0.0% - - -
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Cardinals 98 64 757 614 68.0% 21.5% 9.7% 99.1%
Reds 91 71 718 622 15.3% 38.6% 31.4% 85.4%
Pirates 91 71 638 603 16.2% 34.8% 32.7% 83.7%
Cubs 73 89 659 695 0.1% - 1.3% 1.4%
Brewers 69 93 660 728 0.0% - 0.2% 0.2%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Diamondbacks 84 78 688 672 41.5% 1.0% 3.0% 45.6%
Dodgers 83 79 647 631 37.9% 0.5% 3.5% 41.8%
Rockies 78 84 742 765 12.6% 0.2% 1.6% 14.3%
Giants 77 85 652 670 6.9% - 0.9% 7.8%
Padres 71 91 642 714 0.7% 0.1% 0.2% 1.0%

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)

At least the Yankees have a good chance of not finishing last.

Should they sell?  Probably.  Will they sell?  Probably not.

--Posted at 9:27 am by SG / 59 Comments | - (0)




Friday, July 19, 2013

Boston Globe: Finally, Yankees arrive at Fenway Park

The Red Sox and Yankees, who last met on June 2 in the Bronx, are teams going in opposite directions. The Sox have the most wins in baseball at 58-39 and are in first place in the American League East. The Yankees are in fourth place at 51-44, six games back. They’re closer to last than first, sitting 5½ games ahead of the Blue Jays.

The Yankees have never finished fourth or lower since baseball switched from a two-division format to a three-division format with the advent of the wild card in 1994. The last time the Yankees finished fourth, George Herbert Walker Bush was in the White House — 1992. That capped a six-season span starting in 1987 in which the Yankees finished fourth or lower every year in the then-seven-team AL East.

The Yankees are one of the few teams that do not put names on the backs of their road uniforms. That’s too bad because their current lineup is unrecognizable. The Yankees are in life-preserver mode, treading water and floating aimlessly until their stars come back.

The Bronx Bombers have been more shooting blanks. They’re only 20th in baseball in runs scored and 20th in home runs.

This article would annoy me if it wasn’t mostly accurate.

The Yankees have 67 games left on the season, and 9 of them are in Fenway.  That means 13% of their second half schedule is going to be spent playing in a dingy, dilapidated and disgraceful bandbox.  The good news is that means the Yankees can control their own destiny if Boston remains the team to beat in the AL East.  The bad news is that the Yankees stink, and playing the better team in their ballpark in 13% of your remaining games is likely not going to lead to a good outcome.

I’ve tried to write the blog post about how good the Yankees could be going forward when they get some key players back a few times now but every time I start it I read about Derek Jeter going back on the DL or Curtis Granderson not yet cleared to take swings off a half mound or whatever else and I realize this team probably isn’t going to ever become all that good.  They aren’t likely to trade for any significant upgrades because they don’t have all that much worth trading for.

Can a .500 team go the 39-28 they would need to do to get to the 90 wins that will keep them in the race for at least a wild card by the end of the season?  This post All Star Break seven game road trip against Boston and Texas will probably tell us if that’s feasible or a pipe dream. 

I’m assuming the Yankees right now are maybe an 82 win team through the end of August.  In that case, here’s what log5 sees for them.

Date Road Team Home Team rW% hW% xW xL
7/19/2013 7:10 PM Yankees Red Sox .509 .552 .437 .563
7/20/2013 4:05 PM Yankees Red Sox .509 .552 .437 .563
7/21/2013 8:05 PM Yankees Red Sox .509 .552 .437 .563
7/22/2013 8:05 PM Yankees Rangers .509 .535 .454 .546
7/23/2013 8:05 PM Yankees Rangers .509 .535 .454 .546
7/24/2013 8:05 PM Yankees Rangers .509 .535 .454 .546
7/25/2013 2:05 PM Yankees Rangers .509 .535 .454 .546
7/26/2013 7:05 PM Rays Yankees .557 .509 .471 .529
7/27/2013 1:05 PM Rays Yankees .557 .509 .471 .529
7/28/2013 1:05 PM Rays Yankees .557 .509 .471 .529
7/30/2013 10:10 PM Yankees Dodgers .509 .510 .479 .521
7/31/2013 10:10 PM Yankees Dodgers .509 .510 .479 .521
5.5 6.5

rW%: Road team projected winning percentage
hW%: Home team projected winning percentage
xW/L: Expected wins/losses using log 5

So I think .500 is the benchmark for the rest of this month.  If they can go 6-6 I’d consider the rest of July reasonably successful.  But if I were a betting man I think 4-8 is more likely.

--Posted at 10:51 am by SG / 4 Comments | - (0)




Friday, June 21, 2013

A Tale of WOE

One thing I am certain of is that the Yankee offense has been terrible this year.  Another thing I am certain of is that while they have been terrible, they should be better than they have been, even given the injuries they’ve been dealing with.  What I wanted to look at this morning was just how much the Yankee offense has underperformed relative to projections.

Since we do have 43% of a season’s worth of additional data that we didn’t have at the start of the season, I’m going to compare the Yankees’ position players year-to-date wOBA to their rest of season ZiPS projected wOBA. 

Player Pos PA wOBA rWOBA diff
Robinson Cano 2B 312 .357 .372 -.015
Brett Gardner CF 307 .346 .329 .017
Vernon Wells LF 270 .274 .312 -.038
Ichiro Suzuki RF 248 .288 .299 -.011
Jayson Nix SS 226 .281 .292 -.011
Lyle Overbay 1B 224 .314 .302 .012
Travis Hafner DH 205 .335 .346 -.011
Chris Stewart C 140 .292 .286 .006
Kevin Youkilis DL 118 .289 .349 -.060
Eduardo Nunez SS 95 .258 .287 -.029
David Adams 3b 83 .233 .295 -.062
Mark Teixeira 1B 63 .261 .351 -.090
Francisco Cervelli C 61 .382 .294 .088
Austin Romine C 58 .137 .275 -.138
Brennan Boesch RF 53 .355 .315 .040
Ben Francisco OF 50 .195 .289 -.094
Reid Brignac SS 98 .208 .266 -.058
Chris Nelson 3B 117 .255 .273 -.018
Curtis Granderson LF 31 .318 .349 -.031
Thomas Neal OF 13 .244 .301 -.057
Alberto Gonzalez SS 35 .275 .265 .010
Corban Joseph IF 7 .279 .307 -.028
Zoilo Almonte 2 .442 .296 .146
Total 2816 .297 .314 -.017
Runs per 162 games 628 733 -105

wOBA: Year to date weighted on base average
rwOBA: ZiPS projected rest of season wOBA
diff: woBA - rwOBA

If the Yankees had hit at their ROS projected wOBAs instead of their actual wOBA they would have scored about 42 more runs.  Relative to a full season they’ve been more than 100 runs worse than they project to be over the rest of the season.

We can convert the difference between actual wOBA and rwOBA to run values to see which players have helped/hurt the most so far.

Player RV
Francisco Cervelli 4.7
Brett Gardner 4.5
Lyle Overbay 2.3
Brennan Boesch 1.8
Chris Stewart 0.7
Alberto Gonzalez 0.3
Zoilo Almonte 0.3
Corban Joseph -0.2
Thomas Neal -0.6
Curtis Granderson -0.8
Chris Nelson -1.8
Travis Hafner -2.0
Jayson Nix -2.2
Ichiro Suzuki -2.4
Eduardo Nunez -2.4
Robinson Cano -4.1
Ben Francisco -4.1
David Adams -4.5
Mark Teixeira -4.9
Reid Brignac -4.9
Kevin Youkilis -6.2
Austin Romine -7.0
Vernon Wells -8.9

RV is just the difference in runs between the player’s current wOBA and rwOBA given their 2013 plate appearances.

It seems like no matter what type of analysis you do, Vernon Wells shows up as the biggest problem on this team right now.  Getting Curtis Granderson back and using Wells as a pure platoon player should mitigate that as Wells has a passable .312 wOBA against lefties but is being held to an abysmal .253 against righties.  Granderson’s projected ROS wOBA of .349 would break down as around .308 vs. LHP and .364 vs. RHP.  250 PA of .364 instead of .253 would be worth in the neighborhood of 24 runs, which is massive.

So yeah, right now this team stinks.  But they shouldn’t stink this bad, even if none of their injured players return.  I’m not saying they’re ever going to be good because the returning cavalry comes with their own question marks and limitations but I guess we can still hold out some hope that all is not lost.

Yet.

--Posted at 8:15 am by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)




Sunday, May 19, 2013

MLB: Yankees add Brignac to their infield fold

NEW YORK—Twice this month, the Yankees have traded with the Rockies for a reserve infielder. New York acquired Reid Brignac from Colorado for cash considerations on Saturday, using the same avenue that brought Chris Nelson to the team on May 1.

Nelson has since been designated for assignment, and he was claimed off waivers by the Angels on Saturday. Brignac’s acquisition moved Alberto Gonzalez off the active roster. General manager Brian Cashman said Saturday that Brignac will platoon with Jayson Nix at shortstop and David Adams at third base, giving the Yankees more depth.

“This is just an evaluation of Alberto Gonzalez vs. Reid Brignac,” said Cashman of Saturday’s trade. “We feel we’re upgrading. It’s incrementally, but an upgrade nonetheless.”

Let’s see if CAIRO agrees with Cashman.  Here are Brignac’s projections.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 444 406 51 104 21 3 12 51 6 2 39 82 4 5 .256 .335 .413 .334 55 13
65% 407 372 43 91 18 2 10 44 5 3 33 80 5 4 .243 .314 .379 .309 43 5
Baseline 370 338 36 78 14 1 8 37 3 3 28 77 6 3 .230 .293 .345 .285 32 -2
35% 333 304 30 66 11 1 6 30 2 4 22 73 7 2 .217 .272 .312 .261 23 -8
20% 296 271 24 55 8 0 4 25 1 4 18 69 7 1 .204 .250 .278 .237 15 -12

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Here are Gonzalez’s.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 299 278 34 76 16 3 6 35 3 0 18 39 4 4 .274 .329 .412 .327 36 8
65% 274 255 28 66 13 2 4 29 2 1 15 39 5 3 .258 .304 .373 .299 27 2
Baseline 249 232 23 56 10 1 3 24 1 1 12 39 6 2 .241 .280 .334 .272 20 -4
35% 224 209 19 47 7 1 2 20 1 1 9 38 6 1 .225 .255 .295 .244 13 -8
20% 199 185 15 39 5 0 1 15 0 2 7 36 6 0 .209 .230 .256 .216 8 -11

So yes, the Yankees have upgraded offensively from a .272 baseline wOBA with Gonzalez to a .285 baseline wOBA with Brignac.  The upgrade is bigger if you assume Brignac will play mostly against RHP and you factor in their respective platoon splits (.283 vs. LHP/.267 vs. RHP for Gonzalez vs. .260/.291 for Brignac).  Brignac’s .291 projected wOBA vs. RHP is actually identical to Jayson Nix’s projected wOBA vs. righties, but he’s probably a better defender (projects around +1 per 382 innings at short vs. Nix’s -1 at 224 innings).  Gonzalez didn’t project much differently than Brignac defensively.  Joe Girardi also noted that Brignac is a fly ball hitter and may be able to take advantage of playing in a disgraceful bandbox.  Not necessarily his exact phrasing, but something along those lines.

So you have a lefty bat who can play SS, 2B and 3B reasonably well defensively. 

With the way this season is playing out, seeking out every marginal upgrade no matter how insignificant it may seem makes sense.  The Yankees’ depth is being tested heavily so adding to it whenever the opportunity presents itself is logical, especially when the cost is minimal.

--Posted at 9:51 am by SG / 7 Comments | - (0)




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.

 Player  Pos PA  avg/obp/slg  wOBA vL  vR outs  br fld  br+fld
 Brett Gardner OF  400  .257/.346/.369  .319  .302  .324  262  47   11  58 
 Vernon Wells OF  400  .263/.308/.474  .336  .354  .330  284  52   4  55 
 Curtis Granderson  OF 400   .243/.329/.483 .348  .307   .363  271  56  -3  52 
 Ichiro Suzuki OF  400  .278/.307/.387  .298  .293  .300  284  43   2  45 
 Brennan Boesch OF  400  .249/.300/.418  .310  .300  .313  289  44   -5  39 
 Ben Francisco OF  400  .227/.301/.357  .292  .301  .287  282  39   -2  37 

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
vL/R: Regressed projected platoon split for wOBA vs LHP/RHP
br: Linear weights batting runs
fld: Projected fielding runs saved compared to average using UZR

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.

 Player  Pos vL  RAA/150 PA
 Vernon Wells OF .354   4.8 
 Curtis Granderson OF .307   -0.8 
 Brett Gardner OF .302   -1.4 
 Ben Francisco OF .301   -1.5 
 Brennan Boesch OF .300   -1.6 
 Ichiro Suzuki OF .293   -2.5 

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.

Player Pos vR RAA/250 PA
Curtis Granderson OF .363 9.9
Vernon Wells OF .330 3.1
Brett Gardner OF .324 2.1
Brennan Boesch OF .313 -0.2
Ichiro Suzuki OF .300 -2.8
Ben Francisco OF .287 -5.3

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.

--Posted at 8:33 am by SG / 34 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, May 2, 2013

NJ.com: Yankees acquired Rockies third baseman Chris Nelson

NEW YORK – The Yankees have found a stop-gap solution for their infield: They acquired third baseman Chris Nelson from Colorado for cash considerations or a player to be named later. To make room on the 40-man roster, the team transferred catcher Francisco Cervelli (broken hand) to the 60-day disabled list.

Nelson, a 27-year-old former first-round pick, was designated for assignment by the Rockies over the week. He is a right-handed hitter. With Kevin Youkilis on the disabled list, the team lacks a backup third baseman. Nelson posted a .600 on-base plus slugging percentage in 21 games this season.

It’s tough to gauge how good a player coming from the Rockies is, because of the way the park in Colorado plays.  Nelson had a superficially strong season in 2012 (.301/.352/.458)but it was only good for a wRC+ of 105.  For his career he’s hit .279/.322/.416 which translates to a wRC+ of 86.  Although he played 522 of his 604 minor league games at shortstop he’s primarily played 3B in the majors with some time at 2B as well.  His defensive numbers aren’t very good as he’s been around -17 by both defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating in about 2/3 of a full season at 3B and -12 or so in less than 1/3 of a full season at 2B.  He projects around a -18 defender at 3B over a full season, and a -25 defender at 2B.

The thing is, Nelson doesn’t really have to be all that good to help the Yankees.  By all accounts, Corban Joseph can’t play 3B and David Adams is still two weeks away from being an option for the MLB roster.  Ronnier Mustelier could have been an option to play 3B but he’s just coming back from an injury and apparently the Yankees weren’t willing to wait.  So assuming Eduardo Nunez is locked in at SS, they literally have one 3B on the roster in Jayson Nix.

Here’s how CAIRO projects Nelson as a Yankee.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 324 300 50 88 20 4 12 52 6 2 24 54 5 5 .293 .361 .505 .377 51 18
65% 297 275 42 76 16 3 10 45 5 2 20 53 6 3 .277 .336 .460 .346 40 10
Baseline 270 250 35 65 13 2 7 37 3 3 16 52 7 2 .261 .310 .415 .316 30 3
35% 243 225 29 55 10 1 5 31 2 4 13 50 8 1 .245 .285 .370 .286 21 -3
20% 216 200 24 46 7 0 4 25 1 4 10 48 8 1 .229 .260 .325 .256 14 -8

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Not particularly overwhelming, but he was once a top prospect and at 27 may still have some growth in him.  Then again, the Coors factor could be overrating him if he took more advantage of hitting there than the typical Rockie.  For whatever it’s worth, Nelson has a career line of .316/.363/.460 at home vs. a career line of .238/.275/.366.  Now, that doesn’t mean you can just take his road stats and assume that’s his ‘true’ talent level.  First of all, he’s got fewer than career 700 PA in the majors.  Second of all, just about every player hits better at home and you can’t just throw away half of a player’s line.

He projects to out-hit Nix (baseline of .227/.290/.396) at a level that would be worth about 4-5 runs over a full season.  With defense, it’s probably a safe bet that he’s not any better overall than Nix.  But he adds depth and likely didn’t come at too high of a price.  He also adds another right-handed bat to a team that hasn’t hit lefties well at all so far this year.

I was a bit surprised that the Yankees rushed to put Francisco Cervelli on the 60 day DL when there was a chance he could be back in 6 weeks but I suppose it was the easiest move to make.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with this move and it may turn out to be a decent one.

--Posted at 7:58 am by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Yankees vs. Lefties through April 24, 2013

Player PA avg obp slg BR/650
Vernon Wells 32 .333 .375 .600 119
Robinson Cano 36 .242 .306 .455 81
Brett Gardner 37 .250 .306 .438 70
Travis Hafner 9 .167 .444 .167 69
Brennan Boesch 11 .273 .273 .364 59
Ichiro Suzuki 19 .294 .278 .353 52
Jayson Nix 20 .235 .300 .235 40
Francisco Cervelli 21 .211 .286 .211 29
Eduardo Nunez 23 .105 .217 .105 6
Ben Francisco 26 .087 .192 .087 -4
Kevin Youkilis 21 .053 .143 .105 -9
Chris Stewart 7 .143 .143 .143 -12
Lyle Overbay 18 .056 .056 .056 -52

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.

Player avg obp slg wOBA BR
Adams .255 .323 .388 .316 22
Francisco .244 .311 .391 .309 22
Mustelier .278 .331 .437 .336 25
Nix .227 .290 .396 .298 21

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.

--Posted at 8:23 am by SG / 21 Comments | - (0)




Friday, April 19, 2013

FoxSports: Can Yanks endure in Jeter’s absence?

No one should be surprised that a shortstop who is nearly 39 will not recover from a broken ankle as quickly as he or his team wants.

Derek Jeter no longer possesses miraculous healing powers. Among the Yankees’ 30-somethings, he hardly is alone.

Third baseman Alex Rodriguez, 37, is supposed to return from hip surgery at the All-Star break. Believe it when you see it.

First baseman Mark Teixeira, 33, is supposed to return from a partially torn tendon sheath in his right wrist in early May. Believe that when you see it, too.

Teixeira is trying to recover from a similar injury that Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista had last season — one that ultimately led to season-ending surgery.

The point is, these rehabs aren’t always smooth, or easy. Fans always should view all timetables on injuries skeptically, prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

For the Yankees, the question of the moment is just how effectively they can endure their latest bit of bad health news — that Jeter will be out until after the All-Star break with a new crack in his surgically repaired left ankle.

The obvious question is just how much having Eduardo Nunez as the primary shortstop instead of Jeter hurts the Yankees.  If we assume 650 PA for both, here’s how their CAIRO projections compare on offense.

Player PA H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
Jeter 650 173 25 2 10 12 4 47 96 17 6 .294 .348 .393 .329 76 15
Nunez 650 157 26 1 11 28 8 37 102 15 6 .260 .309 .363 .299 66 5

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

A full season of Jeter would be worth about 10 runs more than a full season of Nunez on offense according to these projections.

The list of shortstops who are good enough to play in MLB while being worse than Jeter defensively is probably pretty short, but there’s a very good chance Nunez makes that list.  While he’s cut down on his errors so far this year (18 in 541 shortstop innings prior to this season, 1 in 80 innings this season) he still rates as below average by every defensive metric, admittedly in a very small sample size.  Jeter projected to be about a -12 shortstop over a full season heading into this year and Nunez projected to be around -14.  If he can sustain his improved error rate he could end up being better than Jeter, but let’s call it a wash for now.

Jeter’s not nearly as valuable as he was at his peak, and that’s the important thing to remember.  Losing him doesn’t help, but they’re not losing the Jeter from 1999 or 2006 or 2009.  So while Nunez figures to be worse, the impact is likely not going to be much more than a win at most, even if Jeter ends up missing the rest of the season.

But for a team that’s got a lot of issues, that win could be a big deal.

REMINDER: It’s not too late to sign up for our free promotion with Draftstreet.com.  Rosters lock at 7 pm this evening so you’ll need to sign up by then and draft your team by then to have a chance to win $300 and support the site.  I think my drafting strategy guarantees my winning (pick every possible Blue Jay) but maybe someone else will get lucky and sneak past me.

--Posted at 8:09 am by SG / 43 Comments | - (0)




Friday, April 12, 2013

NY Times: Suzuki Facing Less Playing Time

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.

Player vsL vsR
Ichiro Suzuki .315 .320
Vernon Wells .313 .290
Brett Gardner .297 .323
Curtis Granderson .289 .344
Brennan Boesch .288 .300

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.

--Posted at 7:56 am by SG / 64 Comments | - (0)




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.

Vs R vsL vsR overall
Brett Gardner .297 .323 .317
Ichiro Suzuki .315 .320 .319
Robinson Cano .348 .370 .363
Kevin Youkilis .350 .327 .334
Travis Hafner .315 .350 .339
Vernon Wells .313 .290 .296
Lyle Overbay .283 .321 .312
Eduardo Nunez .292 .290 .291
Francisco Cervelli .300 .283 .289
Total .312 .320 .318
R/G 4.40 4.64 4.58
Vs L vsL vsR overall
Brett Gardner .297 .323 .317
Eduardo Nunez .292 .290 .291
Robinson Cano .348 .370 .363
Kevin Youkilis .350 .327 .334
Vernon Wells .313 .290 .296
Ben Francisco .309 .292 .297
Ichiro Suzuki .315 .320 .319
Jayson Nix .300 .279 .286
Francisco Cervelli .300 .283 .289
Total .313 .309 .310
R/G 4.45 4.31 4.35


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?

Vs R vsL vsR overall
Brett Gardner .297 .323 .317
Derek Jeter .344 .314 .321
Robinson Cano .348 .370 .363
Alex Rodriguez .330 .323 .325
Travis Hafner .315 .350 .339
Mark Teixeira .346 .331 .336
Curtis Granderson .289 .344 .329
Ichiro Suzuki .315 .320 .319
Francisco Cervelli .300 .283 .289
Total .320 .328 .326
R/G 4.67 4.92 4.85
Vs L vsL vsR overall
Brett Gardner .297 .323 .317
Derek Jeter .344 .314 .321
Robinson Cano .348 .370 .363
Alex Rodriguez .330 .323 .325
Kevin Youkilis .350 .327 .334
Mark Teixeira .346 .331 .336
Curtis Granderson .289 .344 .329
Ichiro Suzuki .315 .320 .319
Francisco Cervelli .300 .283 .289
Total .324 .326 .325
R/G 4.78 4.86 4.84

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.

--Posted at 12:57 pm by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)



April 2013 Log 5 Expectations for the Yankees

Last year on April 8, I wrote a post about the April Log 5 expectations for the Yankees.  To quote from that post:

To determine how much I should panic after an 0-2 start, I put together a log 5 expectation chart for the Yankees in April.  Bil James developed the log 5 methodology to assign win probabilities for a baseball game, and it’s basically team 1’s winning percentage plus 0.5 minus team 2’s winning percentage.  For winning percentages I’m using the average of my 2012 projection blowout and I’m also incorporating a 0.04 home field advantage.

Guess what?  They’re 0-2 again!  So, do we panic this time?

I’m using the CAIRO winning percentages instead of the averages, but other than that the concept is the same.  Figure out the Log 5 win expectation for the games in April and try and estimate where the Yankees should end up if our estimate of their talent level is reasonably accurate.

Date Road Team Home Team rW% hW% xW xL aW cxW cxL caW diff
4/1/2013 Red Sox Yankees .488 .542 .55 .45 0 0.6 0.4 0 -0.6
4/3/2013 Red Sox Yankees .488 .542 .55 .45 0 1.1 0.9 0 -1.1
4/4/2013 Red Sox Yankees .488 .542 .55 .45 0 1.7 1.3
4/5/2013 Yankees Tigers .507 .559 .45 .55 0 2.1 1.9
4/6/2013 Yankees Tigers .507 .559 .45 .55 0 2.6 2.4
4/7/2013 Yankees Tigers .507 .559 .45 .55 0 3.0 3.0
4/8/2013 Yankees Indians .507 .516 .49 .51 0 3.5 3.5
4/9/2013 Yankees Indians .507 .516 .49 .51 0 4.0 4.0
4/10/2013 Yankees Indians .507 .516 .49 .51 0 4.5 4.5
4/11/2013 Yankees Indians .507 .516 .49 .51 0 5.0 5.0
4/12/2013 Orioles Yankees .472 .542 .57 .43 0 5.5 5.5
4/13/2013 Orioles Yankees .472 .542 .57 .43 0 6.1 5.9
4/14/2013 Orioles Yankees .472 .542 .57 .43 0 6.7 6.3
4/16/2013 Diamondbacks Yankees .509 .542 .53 .47 0 7.2 6.8
4/17/2013 Diamondbacks Yankees .509 .542 .53 .47 0 7.7 7.3
4/18/2013 Diamondbacks Yankees .509 .542 .53 .47 0 8.3 7.7
4/19/2013 Yankees Blue Jays .507 .578 .43 .57 0 8.7 8.3
4/20/2013 Yankees Blue Jays .507 .578 .43 .57 0 9.1 8.9
4/21/2013 Yankees Blue Jays .507 .578 .43 .57 0 9.6 9.4
4/22/2013 Yankees Rays .507 .562 .45 .55 0 10.0 10.0
4/23/2013 Yankees Rays .507 .562 .45 .55 0 10.4 10.6
4/24/2013 Yankees Rays .507 .562 .45 .55 0 10.9 11.1
4/25/2013 Blue Jays Yankees .543 .542 .50 .50 0 11.4 11.6
4/26/2013 Blue Jays Yankees .543 .542 .50 .50 0 11.9 12.1
4/27/2013 Blue Jays Yankees .543 .542 .50 .50 0 12.4 12.6
4/28/2013 Blue Jays Yankees .543 .542 .50 .50 0 12.9 13.1
4/29/2013 Astros Yankees .349 .542 .69 .31 0 13.6 13.4
4/30/2013 Astros Yankees .349 .542 .69 .31 0 14.3 13.7

rW%: Road team projected winning percentage* adjusted for HFA
hW%: Home team projected winning percentage adjusted for HFA
xW/L: Expected wins/losses using log 5
aW: Actual wins
cxW/L: Cumulative expected wins/losses
caW: Cumulative actual wins
diff: Difference between caW and cxW.  Positive means team is ahead of their projected pace

The Yankees are already 1.1 games behind where they projected to be based on this.  If they would have played as expected they’d have finished April around 14-14 but now they are expected to finish at 13-15.  Another loss today before heading to Detroit for three games gives us the very realistic possibility of the Yankees starting the year 0-6.  At that point, they’ll be 3 wins behind their 85 win projection and essentially looking like a .500 team.

Hopefully Andy Pettitte can outduel Ryan Dempster and get the Yankees heading back in the right direction.

--Posted at 8:08 am by SG / 64 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 29, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Mariano Rivera

2013 will be the final season of Mariano Rivera’s career.  Rivera’s rehabbed his way back from a serious knee injury and looks like he’s healthy and good to go.  Here are his projections for this year.

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 39 31 12 11 2 8 1 34 2.74 2.59 2.86 1.1
davenport 55 50 21 21 6 12 2 49 3.44 3.44 3.43 1.1
marcel 35 32 14 13 3 10 1 30 3.57 3.31 3.39 0.7
oliver 34 29 12 11 2 7 1 29 3.14 2.91 2.81 0.8
steamer 56 53 24 22 6 19 2 48 3.81 3.54 3.83 0.9
zips 23 21 9 8 2 5 2 22 3.52 3.13 3.18 0.5
average 40 36 15 14 4 10 1 35 3.40 3.20 3.31 0.8
2012 8.1 6 2 2 0 2 0 8 2.22 2.22 1.82 0.3

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Between his age and the limited number of innings he pitched last year, most of the projections are expecting a pretty big drop for Rivera.  But projections have never handled an outlier like Mo very well.

I think if he’s healthy he’ll beat most of these projections, but I think it’s possible the knee could have some residual effect on his mechanics which would affect his command.  Rivera’s command is the key to his performance as he’s lost a few mph.  So that’s one thing to watch for this year, more than velocity IMO.  Is he hitting his spots?  If he is, he should be fine.

CAIRO is the most optimistic projection for Rivera, and here are his percentile forecasts.

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 62 41 13 12 1 9 0 64 1.94 1.81 1.71 2.3
65% 50 37 13 12 2 9 1 48 2.34 2.20 2.28 1.6
Baseline 39 31 12 11 2 8 1 34 2.74 2.59 2.86 1.1
35% 31 27 11 10 3 8 2 25 3.14 2.98 3.43 0.7
20% 23 22 9 9 2 7 2 17 3.54 3.37 4.00 0.5

On one hand, I’d love to see Mo go out in a blaze of glory at the 80% forecast.  On the other hand if he does do that this year I’ll wonder just how much longer he could have pitched if he wanted to.  That being said, I’m just happy we’ve had him pitching for our favorite team for as long and as well as he has.

Rivera’s postseason splits are obviously the most well-known of his splits, but this split is a fun one too.

Years G IP H R ER HR HBP BB SO ERA+ ERA FIP
1996-2003 493 582 444 151 139 26 13 147 531 216 2.15 2.68
2004-2012 539 570 425 130 120 28 30 100 537 234 1.89 2.54

He’s gotten better as he’s gotten older.

There are two numbers I’ll be watching this year.  Mo has a career WHIP is just under 1 at 0.998, and his career ERA+ is 206 (best ever for a pitcher who’s thrown at least 161 innings in their career).  I’m hoping he’ll retire with both of those intact(WHIP under 1, ERA+ over 200).

I don’t know if Rivera will get one last shot to shine on the postseason stage this year.  Right now the odds are better that he won’t than that he will.  But however 2013 plays out, Rivera will be one of the main reasons to watch this season.  Savor every chord from Enter Sandman.  Savor the cheers he’ll get from the fans in every stadium he’ll pitch in this year.  Savor every cutter in on a left-handed batter that breaks their bat, and every called strike that might not have been a strike if it wasn’t Mo throwing it.

We’ll never see anyone like him again.

--Posted at 12:23 pm by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2013 - David Robertson

David Robertson had another good year in 2012, even if it wasn’t quite as good as his 2011. Robertson actually cut his walk rate pretty significantly last year.

2008: 11.5%
2009: 12.0%
2010: 12.1%
2011: 12.9%
2012:  7.7%

His strike out rate was down from 2011 but still higher than his career average (32.7% vs. 31.5%).  Here are his 2013 projections.

2013 Projections - David Robertson

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 65 55 21 19 4 26 2 80 2.85 2.64 2.76 1.8
davenport 65 58 25 25 6 23 2 78 3.46 3.46 3.01 1.3
marcel 62 53 22 21 5 24 2 72 3.19 3.05 3.03 1.4
oliver 62 48 23 22 3 26 2 82 3.35 3.19 2.39 1.3
steamer 66 54 23 22 6 27 2 76 3.14 3.00 3.25 1.6
zips 63 50 22 21 6 26 3 84 3.14 3.00 3.00 1.5
average 64 53 23 22 5 25 2 79 3.19 3.06 2.91 1.5
2012 60.2 52 19 18 5 19 1 81 2.84 2.69 2.44 1.6

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Robertson’s a closer-quality pitcher pitching the eighth inning and he provides a safety net for the Yankees should Mariano Rivera miss time.  That didn’t go so well last year, but I wouldn’t make any sweeping generalizations about Robertson’s incapability of closing games because of three or four games where he struggled in 2012.  CAIRO likes him a bit more than the other forecasts, and I think that’s always been the case for whatever reason.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 78 57 19 18 3 25 0 107 2.22 2.03 1.77 2.7
65% 72 56 20 19 4 26 1 93 2.53 2.34 2.27 2.2
Baseline 65 55 21 19 4 26 2 80 2.85 2.64 2.76 1.8
35% 52 47 18 17 4 23 2 61 3.16 2.94 3.26 1.2
20% 39 37 15 14 4 19 2 43 3.47 3.24 3.75 0.8

I’ll take the baseline here.

Rivera has confirmed that 2013 will be his last season.  The heir to Mo seems like about the hardest job for a relief pitcher to inherit, but right now Robertson looks like the guy who’ll get it.  He’s got the stuff to do it, and the performance results back that up.  But let’s hope he spends all of this year setting up the greatest closer of all time, and doing it as well as he’s been doing it over the last two years.

--Posted at 10:42 am by SG / 19 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2013 - Eduardo Nunez

With Derek Jeter starting the year on the DL, the Yankees will have a new Opening Day shortstop for the first time since 2001.  And it’s Eduardo Nunez.  Because of his defensive struggles early in 2012 Nunez spent most of 2012 in the minors, with part of that spent on the DL.  He dit hit .292/.330/.393 in his 100 MLB PA, pushing his career MLB line to .272/.318/.384 which is a lot better than his career minor league line of .271.314/.365.  Here’s how he projects in 2013.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 366 341 40 89 15 1 6 35 16 5 21 3 57 9 .261 .310 .366 .301 38 67 10
davenport 283 267 32 70 13 1 1 28 17 4 15 1 38 6 .262 .306 .330 .285 27 61 5
marcel 284 257 36 71 14 2 6 30 16 4 20 1 39 6 .276 .326 .416 .322 35 80 14
oliver 444 411 51 108 18 2 6 39 20 6 24 3 60 9 .263 .306 .360 .294 44 65 11
steamer 298 274 31 71 14 1 4 29 17 7 17 2 38 6 .259 .304 .361 .293 29 64 7
zips 427 400 46 106 17 2 6 38 21 6 21 2 57 12 .265 .302 .363 .294 42 64 10
average 350 325 39 86 15 1 5 33 18 5 20 2 48 8 .264 .309 .365 .297 36 66 9

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

Nunez’s bat can play at shortstop, no matter what projection you look at.  Marcel thinks he’d be a 3.0 WAR offensive shortstop if he got 600 PA since it doesn’t pay any attention to his minor league numbers.  For whatever it’s worth, Nunez has controlled the strike zone much better in MLB than he has in the minors.

MLB PA: 491, 6.3% BB, 10.4% K
miLB: PA: 2961, 5.5% BB, 12.8% K

Walk and K rates tend to stabilize more quickly than other stats and major league performance should get more weight than minor league performance, but 2961 PA vs. 491 PA is also an important consideration.

I do think Nunez has some offensive upside, and here are his percentile forecasts in CAIRO to see what it may be.

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 476 444 60 128 25 2 12 53 26 3 33 7 64 7 .289 .353 .432 .349 67 91 31
65% 374 348 44 96 17 1 8 38 18 4 24 5 54 7 .275 .332 .399 .325 45 79 17
Baseline 366 341 40 89 15 1 6 35 16 5 21 3 57 9 .261 .310 .366 .301 38 67 10
35% 293 273 29 68 10 0 4 25 11 3 15 2 48 8 .247 .288 .332 .277 25 56 3
20% 220 205 20 48 7 0 2 17 7 2 10 1 39 7 .233 .267 .299 .252 15 45 -1

I could see Nunez in the .275/.330/.400 area.

Unfortunately, we can’t talk about Nun-E without mentioning his defense…

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
eduardo nunez 2b 129 0 0 0 0 -2
eduardo nunez ss 282 -3 -3 -2 -3 -14
eduardo nunez 3b 228 -1 -2 -1 -1 -9
eduardo nunez lf 141 0 0 0 0 0

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

You can’t spell Eduardo or Nunez without ‘E’.

The Yankees seem convinced that Nunez is strictly a shortstop, although his defense there hasn’t been any better than his defense at 3B.  He hasn’t played enough 2B to really judge him there, but if he’s needed to play there this year the Yankees have major issues so I wouldn’t worry about it.  He’ll be asked to play SS almost exclusively this year, perhaps a lot depending on how Jeter’s health plays out.  The Yankees have supposedly been working with Nunez on his throwing to see if they can cut down on his errors, and that entails skipping throws to first to avoid sailing them.  This was probably a key factor in the Yankees choosing Lyle Overbay over Juan Rivera at first base.

Nunez is a good base runner, not just in stolen bases where he’s 38 for 46 in his MLB career but in other areas as well.

gar sbr aar har oar brr
-0.3 1.5 0.7 0.6 -0.1 0.8

gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
brr: gar+aar+har+oar

In a full season Nunez would probably add 2-3 runs on the bases in non-SB base running.

Nunez’s average projection calls for 350 PA, which is about one half of a full season.  So his -14 defense at short would be around -7.  In terms of value, here’s how his projections would look.

Value BRAR+brr Def WAR
cairo 10 -7 0.3
davenport 7 -7 0.0
marcel 18 -7 1.1
oliver 9 -7 0.2
steamer 9 -7 0.2
zips 9 -7 0.2
average 10 -7 0.3

I honestly think Nunez can hit enough to be a decent to good offensive shortstop.  It all comes down to his glove.  You can’t really learn range, which Nunez seems to have, but you may be able to learn how to cut down on errors.  If Nunez can do that, he can be a useful player, maybe even a starting shortstop for a few years. 

But if he can’t, he’s replacement level.

--Posted at 9:01 am by SG / 15 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2013 - Joba Chamberlain, David Aardsma and Boone Logan

There’s still some uncertainty with the back-end of the Opening Day bullpen but as far as I can tell these three guys are locks so they get a post.

2013 Projections -

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 46 50 24 21 6 16 2 41 4.61 4.07 4.16 0.3
davenport 50 51 25 24 6 16 1 47 4.50 4.32 3.77 0.4
marcel 38 38 18 17 4 12 1 35 4.23 3.99 3.60 0.5
oliver 38 36 17 16 4 11 1 36 4.01 3.79 3.47 0.5
steamer 58 54 23 22 6 21 2 53 3.61 3.41 3.73 1.1
zips 40.3 39 20 19 6 12 1 41 4.47 4.24 3.92 0.4
average 45 45 21 20 5 15 1 42 4.22 3.95 3.78 0.5
2012 20.2 26 11 10 3 6 2 22 4.90 4.46 3.99 0.1

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Probably not quite what we were hoping for back in 2008, Chamberlain basically projects as a serviceable middle relief arm.  He may be better as he moves further away from ligament replacement surgery.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 78 72 32 28 6 20 2 80 3.67 3.18 2.83 1.4
65% 62 62 29 25 6 19 2 60 4.14 3.63 3.49 0.8
Baseline 46 50 24 21 6 16 2 41 4.61 4.07 4.16 0.3
35% 37 42 21 19 6 14 3 30 5.09 4.52 4.82 0.1
20% 28 34 17 15 5 12 2 21 5.56 4.97 5.49 -0.1

You can’t help but think back to 2007 and 2008 and imagine 80% Joba, but regardless of what he does this year I’m guessing he’ll end up signing elsewhere after the year, and may get a chance to start again.

2013 Projections - David Aardsma

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 19 17 10 10 3 10 1 17 4.86 4.62 4.70 0.1
davenport 45 42 22 21 5 17 2 40 4.40 4.20 3.97 0.4
marcel 26 24 12 11 3 9 1 22 4.20 3.85 4.02 0.3
oliver 15 16 10 9 2 8 1 13 5.89 5.40 4.77 -0.1
steamer 47 47 24 22 6 22 2 36 4.60 4.21 4.70 0.4
zips 14.7 14 9 8 2 7 1 14 5.51 4.90 4.55 0.0
average 28 27 15 13 3 12 1 24 4.71 4.37 4.39 0.2
2012 1 1 1 1 1 1 0 1 9.00 9.00 17.05 0.0

Aardsma’s projections aren’t very useful given how much time he’s missed since 2010 and the fact that he’s been rehabbing from a ligament replacement surgery of his own, but they’re not very good.  Aardsma used to average over 94 mph with his fastball but has been around 91 mph this spring, although he was throwing a bit harder over his last few appearances.  Whether he lost velocity after surgery or is still rebuilding his arm strength is something we won’t know for a while, but to be honest I think projecting him is a waste of time.  He could end up being pretty useful or he may provide nothing.  Because of the uncertainty of his return to health I am not going to run his percentile forecasts in CAIRO.

2013 Projections - Boone Logan

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 56 53 24 23 6 24 3 58 3.91 3.66 3.72 0.9
davenport 45 42 21 20 5 19 2 51 4.20 4.00 3.60 0.5
marcel 57 53 26 24 6 22 2 58 4.11 3.79 3.65 0.8
oliver 51 46 24 22 4 22 2 56 4.21 3.88 3.27 0.6
steamer 53 45 22 20 5 23 2 55 3.68 3.40 3.61 0.9
zips 52 47 25 23 6 22 5 58 4.33 3.98 3.88 0.6
average 52 48 24 22 5 22 2 56 4.06 3.78 3.62 0.7
2012 55.1 48 23 23 6 28 2 68 3.76 3.76 3.63 0.9

The projections basically expect more of the same from Logan as last season, who alternates flashes of brilliance with flashes of non-brilliance.  Logan picked up some velocity last year but was used pretty heavily by Joe Girardi and you wonder if it may have worn him down some.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 67 55 23 21 4 23 1 79 3.11 2.89 2.54 1.6
65% 61 54 24 22 5 24 2 68 3.51 3.27 3.13 1.2
Baseline 56 53 24 23 6 24 3 58 3.91 3.66 3.72 0.9
35% 44 45 21 20 5 21 3 43 4.30 4.04 4.30 0.5
20% 33 36 17 16 5 18 3 30 4.70 4.43 4.89 0.2

None of these guys are signed past this season, for whatever that’s worth.

The Yankee bullpen figures to be solid because that’s been the hallmark of the Joe Girardi Yankees.  There’s some obvious upside here with all three of these guys, and I think Girardi will do what he can to get it out of them.

--Posted at 7:40 am by SG / 9 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Ivan Nova and David Phelps

There’s no question that Ivan Nova and David Phelps are important to the Yankees in 2013.  But what they do in 2013 will be even more important in the long-term.  With three-fifths of the likely 2013 rotation unsigned past this year, can they establish themselves as part of the Yankees rotation in 2014 and beyond?

Nova had a bizarre season in 2012.  Despite improving his walk rate and strikeout rate, he got hammered.  Nova gave up more extra base hits than any pitcher in the league, and by some measures (component ERA, tERA) was actually lucky to only have a 5.02 ERA.  But by other measures he was unlucky.  Here are his 2013 projections.

2013 Projections - Ivan Nova

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 164 183 91 84 22 62 7 117 4.99 4.61 4.64 1.4
davenport 112.7 120 59 58 15 38 5 95 4.71 4.63 4.24 1.3
marcel 161 165 82 77 20 53 7 131 4.59 4.31 4.16 2.1
oliver 177 184 89 84 18 59 8 138 4.55 4.27 3.94 2.4
steamer 166 166 81 76 15 56 7 122 4.39 4.12 3.90 2.5
zips 167 181 96 90 23 57 4 125 5.17 4.85 4.44 1.1
average 158 166 83 78 19 54 6 121 4.73 4.46 4.21 1.8
2012 170.1 194 100 95 28 56 10 153 5.29 5.03 4.55 0.9

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Nova’s average projection has him about a win better than 2012.  Steamer is the most optimistic, and ZiPS is the most pessimistic although Dan Szymborski (creator of ZiPS) likes Nova more than his projection system does.  As do I.

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 188 194 93 86 20 62 5 147 4.46 4.11 3.94 2.7
65% 174 186 91 84 21 61 6 130 4.72 4.36 4.29 2.0
Baseline 164 183 91 84 22 62 7 117 4.99 4.61 4.64 1.4
35% 131 152 76 71 20 53 7 90 5.25 4.87 4.98 0.7
20% 98 118 60 56 16 42 6 64 5.51 5.12 5.33 0.3

I have been an unabashed Nova fanboy and I continue to be one, although perhaps a bit less unabashed than I was.  I think he has the best stuff of any pitcher currently in the running for a spot in the rotation and I like the fact that he’s confident.  I just wish he’d stop throwing so many pitches over the middle of the plate.  We’ll see if the adjustement he’s made to his mechanics change his performance, although the spring results were mixed. I really think his 80% forecast is within his reach, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him end the year as the Yankees’ second-best starter.

David Phelps doesn’t have Nova’s arm or stuff, but he probably has a higher floor.  Here are his 2013 projections.

2013 Projections - David Phelps

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 134 153 71 64 18 45 6 97 4.72 4.30 4.44 1.5
davenport 102.7 106 52 51 14 32 5 87 4.56 4.47 4.20 1.4
marcel 87 76 37 35 11 31 4 81 3.84 3.63 4.04 1.8
oliver 132 124 57 54 12 43 6 116 3.89 3.68 3.59 2.7
steamer 127 126 61 58 14 46 6 99 4.35 4.11 4.15 2.0
zips 118.3 124 65 61 16 41 2 93 4.95 4.64 4.33 1.1
average 117 118 57 54 14 40 5 96 4.40 4.15 4.12 1.8
2012 99.2 81 38 37 14 38 6 96 3.45 3.36 4.28 2.5

Marcel ignores Phelps’s minor league numbers, but Oliver doesn’t and I’m a bit surprised to see it projecting him that well.  The projections are a hybrid of starting and relieving so we can expect Phelps would be a bit worse as a full-time starter and a bit better as a full-time reliever.  Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts.

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 155 161 71 65 15 44 4 123 4.16 3.76 3.68 2.7
65% 143 155 70 64 16 44 5 108 4.44 4.03 4.06 2.1
Baseline 134 153 71 64 18 45 6 97 4.72 4.30 4.44 1.5
35% 108 127 60 55 16 39 6 74 5.00 4.57 4.81 0.9
20% 81 99 47 43 13 31 5 52 5.28 4.84 5.19 0.4

My guess is that if Phelps was a full-time starter, his 35% forecast is about what he’d do over a full year, but with more innings, because of the whole starter/reliever difference.

With Phil Hughes starting the season on the DL, Phelps will be in the rotation.  But when Hughes comes back, unless Nova is getting shelled or someone else is injured he may get shifted to the bullpen.  I’d rather see him starting games in the minors if that happened, because he probably needs innings if he’s going to be in the rotation in 2014, but the Yankees have a habit of doing things that appear sub-optimal.

Since 2009, here is the average number of starts made by starters 1-7.

#1: 34
#2: 33
#3: 29
#4: 28
#5: 18
#6: 11
#7: 7

Phelps got 11 starts last year.  He has worked as many as 158 innings in a season, but that was in the minors where the innings are less taxing and it was in 2010.  I’d like to see him getting at least 160 innings this year, but it doesn’t look like it’s likely to happen.  Then again, Phelps will be 27 next year and is perhaps not the injury risk a younger pitcher would be.

I have to admit I’m not 100% sold on Phelps.  He’s looked good so far, but I need to see more.

I think Nova has the potential to be the biggest difference maker on the Yankees in terms of upside relative to projection.  He’s about the only player I can realistically see being two wins better than his projection.  I wouldn’t bet on that happening, but it could.  That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him being worse than replacement level either, although he’ll likely have a short leash if he does struggle.  Nova does still have at least one option year remaining so he could be sent back to the minors if he doesn’t pitch well.

I think Phelps will be a useful part of the team, even without similar upside.

The Yankee rotation should be a strength this year, and could be better depending on Michael Pineda’s progression and the development of Brett Marshall and/or Adam Warren.  And it’s probably going to have to be a strength given the way the position players look at this moment.

--Posted at 8:37 am by SG / 44 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout

With Opening Day rapidly approaching, it’s time for my 2013 MLB projected standings blowout.  The idea behind this series of posts is to try and project how the 2013 MLB season might look given what we think we may know right now.  I’ve been doing a version of this since 2005, and you can see the results by looking at the following links.

2005
2006
2007
2008 Pt 1
2008 Pt 2
2009 AL
2009 NL
2010 AL
2010 NL
2011 AL
2011 NL
2012

A quick look at the previous seasons shows that the results are hit and miss.  Projections don’t pretend to be omnisicent, so they can only tell us so much about how things play out.  Hence the following disclaimers.

1) Projection systems are inherently limited in their accuracy, particularly for pitchers. We can get a rough idea of how most players will perform by looking at their past histories and how similar players have performed, and factoring in aging and regression, but abilities/talent can change in ways that can’t be forecasted.

2) Playing time distribution in these simulations will not match actual 2013 playing time. I used the rosters and depth charts available at MLB Depth Charts plus whatever I’ve read over the offseason as my guide to set these up as realistically as possible, but it’s a possible source of error. Rosters were set up to have 35-40 or so active players per team, and to get a reasonable amount of playing time from the bench and extra pitchers, to more closely model reality. Basically, no players are set to play more than 90% of the time, starting catchers are restricted to at most about 75% of the games, and I’ve made sure teams get a non-trivial amount of starts from their 6-8 starters. The healthier a team is in 2013, the more likely they will be to exceed these projections, and vice versa.

3) We cannot predict injuries and/or roster changes. These simulations do try to adjust projected playing time based on past health issues, so someone like Erik Bedard is not expected to make 30 starts. I’ve also included random injuries which may lead to some of the outlying results you see, but there’s no way to account for all the fluctuations that will happen with rosters this season.

4) These are NOT my predictions. These are projections based on running a computer simulation hundreds of thousands of times with projection data that is inherently limited. If your favorite team doesn’t project well, don’t blame me, blame the computers and spreadsheets that projected them. I guess you can blame me for the CAIRO results if you want, otherwise you can take heart in the 2006 Tigers projecting to win 80, the 2010 Giants projecting to go 81-81 or the 2012 Orioles projecting to win 70 games.  These are not meant to tell you how the season is going to play out.  I prefer to think of them more as a starting point for discussion, with a range of something like 10 wins in either direction based on how things actually end up playing out.  You can look at them and argue about why you think some teams will be better or worse.

5) Since this is all automated, I don’t break ties. I simply award all ties a share of either the division title or wild cards when it happens which is why you may see some funny decimal places in the standings that follow.

6) These are the averages of hundreds of thousands of simulated seasons, so the results will tend to regress towards the mean. The final standings will not look like this, because they only play the season once.  If the first place team in a division projects to win 85 games, it doesn’t mean 85 wins will win the division, but I’ll get into that into more detail further down in this post.

7) Even if you knew exactly what every player would do, and exactly how much they’d play, you would not get the standings right.  A few one run games or a disparate performance in more crucial situations can cause any team to over/under achieve what their stats say they should have done.  So if that’s true, you have to figure that since we have no idea what any individual player do or how much they’ll play, the margin of error on these is massive.

There’s too much stuff to fit it all into one post, so I’ve created a separate post for each projection system.  I will use this post to show the results of the aggregate/average of all the projections. You can follow the links below to look at the individual projection systems’ results.

This year, I’m using five different projection systems.  You can click on each of the links below to get some more information about each system and to see how their specific projected standings look.

CAIRO
Marcel
Oliver
Steamer
ZiPS

I should note that the Marcel projections used here were generated using Python code provided by Jeff Sackmann and are not the “official” projections, although they should be almost identical.  I’ll also mention that ZiPS will have its own projected standings so these should not be considered the official version.  Playing time distribution, run environments and park factors may cause some divergence between what ZiPS forecasts and what mine say.  When in doubt, go with the official version.

With all the disclaimers out of the way, on to the projected standings.  These are the combined results for all five projection systems.  The standings are rounded to the nearest win so if the total W-L doesn’t add up to 2430-2430 that’s why.

American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Blue Jays 89 73 795 728 29.1% 9.9% 9.6% 48.5% 77-100
Rays 88 74 715 644 27.6% 9.5% 8.8% 45.9% 77-100
Yankees 85 77 774 745 18.6% 7.9% 8.2% 34.7% 73-96
Red Sox 82 80 819 803 15.4% 6.6% 8.2% 30.2% 70-93
Orioles 79 83 738 766 9.3% 4.5% 5.8% 19.6% 68-90
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 89 73 797 714 46.4% 6.6% 6.8% 59.8% 77-100
Royals 81 81 716 721 19.3% 5.6% 6.5% 31.4% 70-92
Indians 80 82 741 744 18.7% 5.0% 6.2% 29.9% 69-91
White Sox 76 86 718 767 12.4% 4.0% 4.8% 21.2% 65-88
Twins 67 95 693 825 3.2% 0.9% 1.6% 5.6% 56-78
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 91 71 763 656 40.0% 12.3% 9.3% 61.7% 80-103
Rangers 88 74 795 727 30.1% 12.0% 10.0% 52.1% 77-100
Athletics 87 75 731 679 24.6% 12.1% 10.0% 46.6% 75-98
Mariners 73 89 660 722 4.7% 2.9% 3.8% 11.4% 61-84
Astros 60 102 649 866 0.5% 0.3% 0.7% 1.6% 49-72
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 90 72 690 598 44.5% 11.3% 8.3% 64.0% 79-102
Braves 88 74 673 622 32.3% 11.5% 9.7% 53.5% 77-99
Phillies 80 82 665 680 15.1% 7.2% 7.9% 30.1% 69-92
Mets 73 89 645 703 5.3% 3.1% 4.2% 12.6% 61-84
Marlins 69 93 624 731 2.8% 1.9% 2.5% 7.3% 57-80
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 89 73 741 662 41.0% 8.9% 7.9% 57.8% 78-101
Cardinals 85 77 686 655 26.8% 8.8% 7.8% 43.4% 73-96
Brewers 79 83 704 733 13.4% 5.5% 6.5% 25.3% 67-90
Pirates 78 84 665 691 11.6% 4.3% 5.6% 21.5% 66-89
Cubs 74 88 652 705 7.2% 3.3% 4.1% 14.6% 63-85
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 87 75 677 618 30.9% 9.4% 8.9% 49.2% 76-99
Giants 87 75 665 613 28.3% 9.1% 9.0% 46.4% 76-98
Diamondbacks 84 78 716 696 22.7% 8.1% 8.0% 38.8% 73-95
Padres 78 84 643 668 11.0% 4.4% 5.4% 20.8% 66-89
Rockies 74 88 775 847 7.2% 3.2% 4.2% 14.6% 63-85

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation

As noted earlier, this is NOT saying that you can win the NL West by winning 87 games.  It’s saying that the team that finished in first most frequently in that division averaged 87 wins over hundreds of thousands of seasons.  Here are the average win totals for each spot in each division.

Place ALE ALC ALW NLE NLC NLW
1 94 91 95 94 92 92
2 89 84 89 87 85 87
3 85 79 83 80 81 83
4 81 74 73 73 76 78
5 75 66 60 66 70 71
WC1 91 90
WC2 87 86

Here is how each division broke down in terms of percentages using the aforementioned pie charts.

In the AL East, we’ve got the mostly tightly bunched group of teams in baseball, with just 10 wins separating Toronto at the top and Baltimore at the bottom.  Toronto and Tampa Bay look like they’re neck and neck as of right now.  The Yankees are already ravaged by injuries and at this point it doesn’t seem like it would take a lot for them to end up having a losing season and even finish last.  Should they lose Robinson Cano or CC Sabathia for any significant amount of time that may be exactly what happens.  Boston has improved quite a bit from where they were at the end of last season, although they apparently still have a ways to go.  The projections are expecting a big regression from Baltimore, although they have enough talented young players with upside that they could beat their projections by quite a bit.
     

The AL Central basically looks like Detroit and everyone else.  Kansas City and Cleveland are jockeying behind the Tigers.  It’ll be interesting to see what the Indians get out of Scott Kazmir, who did not have a Steamer projection and projected pretty poorly in all the other systems.  He’s throwing harder than he was when last seen in the majors and could surprise some people.  For the Royals, it looks like Big Game James may not get into many big games this year, although stranger things have happened.  The White Sox are projected to fall off a bit from last season, and the Twins look like they aren’t going to be very good.

There’s a new floormat in the AL West, and it’s the Houston Astros.  Can they lose 100+ games for the third year in a row?  The projections think they can.  Houston projects to be so bad that they have essentially balanced out the league difference between the AL and NL.  Last year, the AL went 1150-1118 thanks to interleague play.  If you add Houston’s 55-107 to that you get a record of 1205-1225.  Los Anaheim looks like the favorite here and project to win more games than any other team in baseball, with Texas a strong second.  The Angels do have some concerns in their rotation, which could open the door for the Rangers.  Oakland projects to fall back a bit from last year, but still should be in contention.  Seattle still doesn’t look particularly good, although they should score some more runs this year, which is something.

The Nationals project as favorites in the NL East, especially now that the restrictions are off Stephen Strasburg.  The Braves aren’t quite at their level, but project to be pretty good as well.  The Phillies appear to be showing their age, and if Roy Halladay doesn’t bounce back they could be in trouble.  The Mets don’t look good to me, especially with Johan Santana looking iffy and the Marlins may be as bad as the Astros.  If Placido Polanco is hitting cleanup to ‘protect’ Giancarlo Stanton, it’s hard to see them winning 60 games.

In the Central, the Reds look like the clear favorite.  The Cardinals were closer before losing Chris Carpenter and Rafael Furcal, but they seem like the second best team in the division.  Pittsburgh and Milwaukee are neck and neck with each other and the Cubs look to be bringing up the rear.

In the West, the Dodgers are spending money like there’s no tomorrow but I’m not so sure they’re spending it all that well.  They project a hair better than San Francisco but given the margin of error inherent in projections there’s really no difference in their projections.  The Diamondbacks had a bizarre offseason and losing Adam Eaton for two months hurts, but they should be in the mix if a few things go their way.  The Padres look a bit better than I expected, although still not good and the Rockies stink.

Usually there’s a surprise team or two in here but this year nothing really stands out.  In general it seems that aside from a handful of really bad teams we’re seeing more parity.  Between that and the second wild card you can pretty much see any team in baseball sneaking into the postseason.  Except the Astros.

And there you have it.  The 2013 projection blowout.  Results are not guaranteed.

On an unrelated note, our sister site, the Replacement Level Red Sox launches today. Check them out at replacementlevelredsox.com.

--Posted at 6:59 am by SG / 45 Comments | - (0)



The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout - CAIRO Edition

CAIRO is my own projection system, built on the basics of Marcel but with a few major differences.
1) I use four years of data instead of three with different weights.
2) I adjust for park.
3) My regression towards the mean incorporates multiple factors(including age and position) and regresses components differently.
4) I include minor league data translated to major league equivalencies.

The latest spreadsheet for CAIRO can be found here and here is how it projects the 2013 season.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Blue Jays 91 71 803 719 34.3% 11.1% 9.2% 54.6% 79-102
Rays 88 74 714 641 26.3% 10.3% 9.4% 46.0% 77-99
Yankees 85 77 781 749 17.8% 8.6% 8.9% 35.3% 74-96
Red Sox 82 80 809 797 12.7% 6.8% 7.9% 27.5% 70-92
Orioles 79 83 734 760 8.8% 4.7% 6.1% 19.6% 68-91
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 88 74 794 717 43.7% 6.6% 6.8% 57.2% 76-99
Indians 81 81 743 735 21.1% 5.3% 6.1% 32.5% 69-92
Royals 80 82 719 731 18.9% 4.7% 5.7% 29.2% 68-91
White Sox 76 86 725 779 13.1% 3.4% 4.9% 21.5% 65-88
Twins 67 95 697 832 3.3% 0.9% 1.5% 5.7% 55-78
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 91 71 762 652 41.3% 12.1% 9.6% 63.0% 80-103
Rangers 88 74 797 739 29.8% 11.8% 10.1% 51.8% 76-99
Athletics 85 77 734 694 23.8% 10.7% 9.5% 44.0% 74-97
Mariners 72 90 666 729 4.6% 2.6% 3.7% 10.9% 61-83
Astros 59 103 651 886 0.5% 0.4% 0.6% 1.5% 48-71
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 93 69 702 587 48.7% 11.6% 8.0% 68.3% 81-104
Braves 88 74 681 627 30.1% 12.9% 9.4% 52.3% 77-100
Phillies 81 81 665 674 14.3% 8.0% 8.4% 30.7% 70-92
Mets 73 89 663 716 5.4% 3.1% 4.0% 12.5% 62-84
Marlins 66 96 623 755 1.6% 0.9% 1.6% 4.1% 54-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 91 71 743 652 45.1% 8.2% 7.5% 60.8% 79-102
Cardinals 85 77 684 657 24.6% 8.1% 8.3% 41.0% 73-96
Pirates 78 84 670 692 11.5% 4.6% 5.7% 21.8% 67-89
Brewers 78 84 707 745 11.3% 4.7% 6.0% 22.0% 66-89
Cubs 74 88 650 694 7.5% 3.3% 4.1% 14.9% 63-86
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 89 73 687 615 32.4% 9.6% 9.1% 51.1% 77-100
Giants 88 74 671 607 29.4% 9.5% 9.4% 48.2% 77-100
Diamondbacks 85 77 711 685 23.8% 8.5% 9.0% 41.3% 74-97
Padres 77 85 657 685 9.6% 4.3% 5.7% 19.6% 66-89
Rockies 72 90 776 867 5.0% 2.7% 3.7% 11.4% 61-84

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation






--Posted at 6:57 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)



The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout - Marcel Edition

The Marcel projections were developed by Tangotiger as a baseline for reasonable player forecasting.  The 2013 projections are available here.

Although it’s considered the most basic projection system, it is generally as good as any other system since added complexity really hasn’t been shown to add all that much accuracy over Marcel, and the principles behind it are solid and should be the basis for any good forecasting system.  Marcel tends to regress more heavily towards the mean, so the standings here will be more compressed in the other systems.  Marcel does not factor in minor league performance or performances in other leagues, and does not adjust for park.  Any player who has not played in MLB will project as average.  Here’s how it sees things looking in 2013.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Rays 88 74 707 645 30.2% 9.2% 9.0% 48.4% 78-100
Blue Jays 86 76 775 725 21.9% 8.3% 8.3% 38.5% 77-99
Yankees 83 79 760 742 17.2% 7.3% 7.6% 32.0% 73-96
Red Sox 82 80 831 805 17.0% 7.4% 7.2% 31.6% 70-93
Orioles 81 81 740 741 13.6% 6.1% 7.0% 26.7% 68-91
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 89 73 796 711 47.6% 7.6% 6.9% 62.1% 79-102
Royals 82 80 711 714 19.4% 6.4% 6.9% 32.7% 69-92
Indians 80 82 739 747 16.6% 5.4% 6.1% 28.2% 68-91
White Sox 77 85 704 739 11.3% 4.1% 4.8% 20.2% 65-87
Twins 71 91 705 797 4.8% 1.9% 2.7% 9.5% 54-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 91 71 775 682 41.2% 11.0% 8.5% 60.8% 82-104
Rangers 87 75 779 723 27.0% 10.4% 9.2% 46.6% 78-100
Athletics 85 77 734 706 22.1% 9.5% 8.8% 40.4% 73-95
Mariners 76 86 657 703 8.2% 4.5% 5.4% 18.0% 59-82
Astros 66 96 642 792 1.4% 0.7% 1.4% 3.5% 47-70
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Braves 89 73 662 604 39.3% 9.3% 8.4% 57.0% 81-104
Nationals 86 76 667 627 31.4% 9.4% 8.2% 49.0% 76-99
Phillies 77 85 664 701 11.3% 5.6% 5.6% 22.5% 70-92
Marlins 76 86 651 704 9.6% 4.7% 5.4% 19.8% 61-84
Mets 74 88 622 669 8.1% 3.8% 4.8% 16.8% 56-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 86 76 734 687 31.9% 10.1% 8.3% 50.3% 79-102
Cardinals 86 76 696 656 30.0% 10.0% 8.4% 48.4% 73-95
Brewers 82 80 712 696 22.2% 8.6% 7.8% 38.6% 69-92
Pirates 75 87 658 710 9.2% 3.4% 4.9% 17.4% 67-89
Cubs 73 89 647 718 6.5% 3.2% 3.7% 13.4% 61-84
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Diamondbacks 84 78 731 709 28.8% 8.1% 8.1% 45.0% 77-100
Giants 84 78 653 628 26.2% 7.8% 7.8% 41.8% 77-99
Dodgers 84 78 659 636 24.6% 7.8% 8.2% 40.6% 73-96
Rockies 76 86 756 802 11.1% 4.7% 5.7% 21.5% 68-91
Padres 74 88 624 674 9.0% 3.3% 4.4% 16.7% 61-83

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation






--Posted at 6:55 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)



The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout - Oliver Edition

Formerly available from The Hardball Times and now available on Fangraphs, Oliver is the work of Brian Cartwright.  It’s a very comprehensive system that projects just about every professional baseball player.  Here is how it sees things in 2013.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Blue Jays 90 72 802 727 31.2% 10.3% 9.1% 50.7% 78-101
Rays 89 73 718 640 29.1% 10.5% 9.5% 49.1% 78-100
Yankees 85 77 783 753 18.9% 7.8% 8.7% 35.4% 73-96
Red Sox 82 80 813 794 15.0% 7.0% 8.4% 30.4% 71-93
Orioles 76 86 731 785 5.8% 3.0% 4.2% 12.9% 65-88
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 87 75 794 729 41.4% 5.8% 6.3% 53.6% 75-98
Royals 81 81 721 719 22.8% 5.1% 6.2% 34.1% 70-93
Indians 80 82 744 746 19.2% 4.3% 5.7% 29.2% 68-91
White Sox 77 85 727 778 13.7% 3.6% 5.8% 23.2% 66-88
Twins 66 96 695 834 2.8% 0.8% 1.2% 4.8% 55-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 93 69 758 638 43.3% 13.5% 9.7% 66.5% 81-104
Rangers 89 73 796 720 31.5% 13.8% 10.6% 55.9% 78-101
Athletics 86 76 734 689 21.8% 12.3% 10.3% 44.4% 74-97
Mariners 70 92 665 740 3.0% 2.1% 3.6% 8.7% 59-82
Astros 59 103 649 888 0.4% 0.3% 0.6% 1.3% 48-70
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 93 69 703 585 51.0% 10.8% 7.4% 69.2% 82-104
Braves 87 75 675 630 26.8% 11.3% 9.5% 47.6% 76-99
Phillies 81 81 660 670 15.1% 8.2% 8.3% 31.5% 70-92
Mets 72 90 661 719 4.7% 2.5% 3.8% 11.1% 61-84
Marlins 68 94 623 733 2.4% 1.5% 2.3% 6.2% 57-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 91 71 741 648 44.1% 8.5% 7.9% 60.5% 79-102
Cardinals 84 78 679 657 23.5% 8.6% 8.6% 40.7% 73-95
Brewers 81 81 701 712 15.7% 6.5% 6.6% 28.8% 69-92
Pirates 78 84 663 685 11.8% 5.0% 5.3% 22.1% 67-90
Cubs 72 90 637 701 4.8% 2.4% 3.2% 10.4% 61-84
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 89 73 681 610 32.1% 9.1% 9.9% 51.1% 77-100
Giants 88 74 669 606 30.0% 9.7% 8.8% 48.5% 77-99
Diamondbacks 84 78 703 684 21.8% 7.7% 8.4% 37.8% 73-96
Padres 79 83 659 669 11.5% 5.9% 6.8% 24.1% 68-91
Rockies 72 90 774 868 4.7% 2.3% 3.3% 10.3% 61-83

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation






--Posted at 6:54 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)



The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout - Steamer Edition

A relatively new system, Steamer has made a name for itself with a strong showing so far.  It was the first projection system to incorporate velocity data when projecting pitchers and that seems to have helped their accuracy.  Here are the projected standings using Steamer.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Blue Jays 89 73 801 730 29.3% 9.6% 9.6% 48.5% 78-101
Rays 89 73 719 641 28.7% 10.3% 9.2% 48.2% 77-100
Yankees 85 77 783 752 19.4% 8.4% 8.7% 36.6% 73-96
Red Sox 83 79 813 793 16.2% 7.0% 8.1% 31.3% 71-94
Orioles 76 86 728 783 6.4% 2.7% 4.8% 13.9% 65-88
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 87 75 796 727 41.0% 6.4% 6.6% 53.9% 76-98
Royals 81 81 719 719 22.7% 5.0% 5.8% 33.5% 70-92
Indians 80 82 745 745 20.5% 4.8% 6.0% 31.3% 69-92
White Sox 76 86 723 778 12.8% 3.3% 4.6% 20.8% 65-88
Twins 66 96 694 833 2.9% 0.7% 1.6% 5.2% 55-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 92 70 757 639 41.7% 14.3% 10.7% 66.7% 81-104
Rangers 90 72 797 718 32.8% 13.5% 10.9% 57.1% 78-101
Athletics 86 76 730 686 22.2% 11.3% 10.3% 43.9% 74-97
Mariners 71 91 662 736 2.9% 2.5% 2.7% 8.1% 59-82
Astros 59 103 648 885 0.3% 0.2% 0.5% 1.1% 48-70
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 93 69 704 584 52.7% 9.7% 8.0% 70.4% 82-104
Braves 87 75 674 631 26.3% 12.2% 10.1% 48.7% 76-98
Phillies 81 81 661 669 14.6% 8.2% 7.6% 30.4% 70-93
Mets 72 90 660 720 4.0% 3.0% 3.8% 10.8% 61-83
Marlins 68 94 620 735 2.4% 1.4% 2.1% 5.9% 56-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 91 71 740 647 45.1% 8.5% 7.7% 61.2% 79-102
Cardinals 84 78 678 656 24.5% 8.6% 8.1% 41.2% 73-95
Brewers 81 81 698 712 14.0% 6.8% 7.0% 27.8% 69-92
Pirates 78 84 662 687 10.8% 4.9% 6.1% 21.8% 67-89
Cubs 72 90 640 703 5.6% 2.3% 3.4% 11.4% 61-83
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Giants 89 73 675 603 30.9% 9.3% 8.6% 48.7% 78-100
Dodgers 89 73 686 615 32.1% 9.0% 8.9% 50.0% 77-100
Diamondbacks 84 78 700 683 21.0% 8.4% 8.6% 38.0% 73-96
Padres 80 82 660 667 11.2% 5.7% 6.9% 23.8% 68-91
Rockies 72 90 775 871 4.8% 2.0% 3.1% 9.9% 61-83

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation






--Posted at 6:52 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)



The 2013 MLB Projection Blowout - ZiPS Edition

ZiPS is one of the best-known projection systems around.  Dan Szymborski has been plying his trade for a while and his track record speaks for itself.  Dan does his own projected standings for ESPN so these should be considered unofficial.  Different roster configurations and playing times as well as variability when importing his projections into my simulator could cause some discrepancies between what his projections say and what these say.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS% W+/-
Blue Jays 89 73 798 728 30.7% 9.2% 9.4% 49.4% 78-101
Rays 88 74 712 640 27.7% 9.2% 9.7% 46.6% 78-100
Yankees 84 78 779 753 17.9% 8.2% 8.5% 34.7% 73-96
Red Sox 82 80 806 794 14.2% 6.5% 7.4% 28.1% 71-93
Orioles 79 83 732 753 9.4% 4.9% 6.0% 20.3% 65-88
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Tigers 90 72 793 689 52.2% 6.7% 6.5% 65.3% 75-98
Royals 81 81 717 719 18.3% 5.7% 6.7% 30.7% 70-93
Indians 80 82 740 745 16.2% 5.4% 6.3% 27.8% 68-91
White Sox 76 86 720 779 10.8% 3.8% 5.1% 19.7% 66-88
Twins 66 96 689 834 2.5% 0.7% 1.4% 4.7% 55-77
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Angels 93 69 762 635 46.1% 12.8% 8.8% 67.7% 81-104
Rangers 89 73 793 719 31.6% 14.0% 10.6% 56.2% 78-101
Athletics 84 78 730 705 18.6% 10.5% 9.8% 38.9% 74-97
Mariners 71 91 662 739 3.3% 2.0% 3.3% 8.6% 59-82
Astros 59 103 648 888 0.4% 0.2% 0.6% 1.2% 48-70
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Nationals 93 69 701 584 50.6% 10.5% 7.7% 68.8% 82-104
Braves 87 75 674 630 27.1% 11.6% 9.7% 48.4% 76-99
Phillies 81 81 661 669 15.4% 7.9% 7.9% 31.3% 70-92
Mets 72 90 660 719 4.7% 3.0% 4.0% 11.8% 61-84
Marlins 67 95 620 735 2.2% 1.3% 2.2% 5.6% 57-79
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Reds 91 71 741 646 45.2% 8.5% 7.9% 61.6% 79-102
Cardinals 84 78 679 658 22.7% 8.2% 8.1% 39.0% 73-95
Brewers 80 82 700 712 15.2% 6.5% 7.0% 28.7% 69-92
Pirates 78 84 665 687 11.6% 5.0% 6.0% 22.7% 67-90
Cubs 72 90 640 704 5.3% 2.6% 3.5% 11.4% 61-84
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS% W+/-
Dodgers 89 73 684 613 31.7% 10.0% 8.7% 50.4% 77-100
Giants 88 74 668 605 29.4% 9.2% 8.6% 47.2% 77-99
Diamondbacks 85 77 702 684 21.8% 8.0% 8.8% 38.6% 73-96
Padres 79 83 656 667 12.1% 5.3% 6.4% 23.8% 68-91
Rockies 72 90 775 871 4.9% 2.4% 3.4% 10.8% 61-83

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)
W+/-: Projected wins within one standard deviation






--Posted at 6:50 am by SG / No Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes

With the Yankee offense looking suspect this year, the pitching staff is going to be carrying a lot more of the load.  While perhaps not as important to the team’s fortunes as CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees are going to need pretty good years by Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes if they want to win the AL East.  Both players have the chance to be quite good, but they also come with risks.

2013 Projections - Andy Pettitte

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 116 120 55 48 12 35 2 91 4.22 3.73 3.80 2.0
davenport 136 135 64 62 17 46 3 120 4.24 4.10 3.99 2.3
marcel 98 94 42 39 11 32 2 82 3.87 3.59 3.88 2.0
oliver 102 98 44 41 8 31 2 82 3.90 3.62 3.43 2.1
steamer 147 148 74 69 15 50 3 106 4.55 4.22 4.02 2.0
zips 90.3 90 44 41 10 27 1 73 4.39 4.09 3.80 1.4
average 115 114 54 50 12 37 2 92 4.22 3.92 3.84 2.0
2012 75.1 65 26 24 8 21 0 69 3.12 2.88 3.44 2.2

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Projecting a 40 year old pitcher is tricky, but most of the projections expect Pettitte to be pretty good on a rate basis.  The bigger issue with Pettitte is how many innings the Yankees can get out of him.  He hasn’t thrown a full season since 2009.  Last year’s injury was more fluke than age-related, but that doesn’t mean his age and ability to stay healthy for a full year aren’t a concern.  It’s probably also worth mentioning that Pettitte’s 2012 FIP and xFIP were a fair amount higher than his ERA and that his fastball velocity was down to 87.8 mph vs 89.0 mph in 2010.

Here are Pettitte’s CAIRO percentile forecasts.

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 174 163 71 62 13 44 1 150 3.65 3.19 3.06 4.1
65% 128 126 56 49 11 35 2 105 3.93 3.46 3.43 2.6
Baseline 116 120 55 48 12 35 2 91 4.22 3.73 3.80 2.0
35% 93 100 47 41 11 31 2 69 4.51 4.00 4.18 1.3
20% 70 78 37 33 9 25 2 49 4.79 4.27 4.55 0.7

I’m less concerned about how Pettitte will pitch than how often he’ll pitch.  I’d take 150 innings at the baseline in a heartbeat.

Moving on to Hughes…

2013 Projections - Phil Hughes

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 187 198 100 92 30 53 6 148 4.83 4.46 4.53 1.9
davenport 149.3 156 77 76 22 41 5 128 4.64 4.58 4.17 1.8
marcel 162 160 83 77 25 47 5 137 4.62 4.29 4.33 2.0
oliver 154 150 73 68 19 44 5 138 4.28 3.97 3.81 2.5
steamer 189 190 97 90 27 56 6 143 4.62 4.29 4.38 2.4
zips 156 161 88 82 26 45 1 129 5.08 4.73 4.45 1.2
average 166 169 86 81 25 48 5 137 4.68 4.38 4.29 2.0
2012 191.1 196 101 90 35 46 6 165 4.76 4.24 4.52 2.1

Hughes hasn’t developed into the ace we were hoping for when he was one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, but he seems to be establishing himself as a league average starter with perhaps some upside still left in the tank.  ZiPS is a little less enamored of Hughes than the others which are all relatively tightly bunched.  Here are Hughes’s range of percentile forecasts in CAIRO.

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 214 212 104 95 28 53 4 184 4.35 4.00 3.86 3.3
65% 198 203 101 93 29 53 5 163 4.59 4.23 4.20 2.5
Baseline 187 198 100 92 30 53 6 148 4.83 4.46 4.53 1.9
35% 149 164 84 78 26 46 6 113 5.07 4.70 4.87 1.1
20% 112 128 66 61 21 36 5 81 5.31 4.93 5.20 0.5

I still have no idea what Hughes will do next year and none of those lines would surprise me.  It actually wouldn’t surprise me to see him put up an ERA in the low 3s even.  He’s likely to start the year on the DL as a precaution so he probably won’t get much over 180 innings or so.

Hughes had an interesting home/road split last season.

Home: 22 HR, 26 BB, 85 K, 5.18 FIP, 4.61 xFIP
Road: 13 HR, 20 BB, 80 K, 3.90 FIP, 4.08 xFIP

That’s actually less interesting than this:

Home: 3.74 ERA
Road: 4.76 ERA

Why the difference?  He had a .251 BABIP against at home compared to a .319 BABIP against on the road and that was likely the bulk of it.  He would probably benefit from moving to a different park, and that’s a very distinct possibility as he heads towards free agency after this season.

Pettitte and Hughes have an interesting link, in that Hughes was drafted with the compensation pick that the Yankees got when Pettitte signed with the Houston Astros.  They may also be linked in 2013 being their final seasons in pinstripes.  In Pettitte’s case, he may decide to retire again.  In Hughes’s case, the Yankees may decide to let him walk instead of adding dreaded dollars to the 2014 payroll.  That decision will likely be influenced by how Ivan Nova, David Phelps, Michael Pineda and some of the other pitchers on the farm look.

It really wouldn’t surprise me to see Pettitte pitch well enough that returning again in 2014 is a no-brainer.  Of course the Yankees wouldn’t be able to afford him. 

It also wouldn’t surprise me to see Hughes have a good enough year that he’ll entice several teams to bid for him as a free agent.  The better the year he has, the less likely it is that he’ll be a Yankee in 2014 unfortunately.  And the worse he is, the less we’ll want him back.

So I don’t know what the hell I want to see him do this year.

I’m hoping Hughes and Pettitte can combine for 320-340 innings of 4.00 ERA.  That plus healthy seasons from Sabathia and Kuroda will be a good part of competing for a spot in the postseason.

--Posted at 9:39 am by SG / 20 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 25, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda

All due respect to Vernon Wells, we’ve got a week until Opening Day and I still have a pitching staff, team and league to project (and of course pie charts) so it’s time to move on.

In the interest of time, I’m doubling up on the pitchers and I’m not going to bother with their 2012 projections compared to their actuals. 

For the first time in his Yankee career, CC Sabathia missed some starts.  In fact, he wound up on the disabled list twice.  Once for a groin strain in June and then again in August due to elbow soreness.  He returned from the second stint and finished out the season, highlighted by a dominant nine innings to beat Baltimore in the clinching game of the ALDS, but he followed that with a brutal start against Detroit in the ALCS and after the season got arthroscopic surgery on his elbow to remove a bone spur.

Sabathia’s velocity was down by about 1.5 mph from 2011.  His BB rate and K rate actually both improved from 2011 to 2012, but he gave up more homers.  I don’t know if the bone spur affected his velocity, but let’s hope he can get some of that back.

For the first time in his Yankee career, Sabathia was not the Yankees’ most valuable pitcher.  Hiroki Kuroda ended up being the most valuable pitcher and second most valuable player on the team.  Kuroda made a seamless transition to the better league and into a disgraceful bandbox, putting up a career best ERA+ in a career-high 219.2 innings.  Over his first nine starts it seemed like he was going to be unable to do that as he put up a 4.56 ERA over 53 innings with 20 walks and 34 strikeouts while allowing 10 homers.  After that he was sublime, finishing up with a 2.92 ERA over his last 166.1 innings while walking 31, striking out 133 and allowing 15 homers.

What do the projections expect this season?

2013 Projections - Sabathia

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 210 206 90 79 21 54 7 186 3.83 3.37 3.42 4.5
davenport 210.3 206 92 90 24 53 7 192 3.94 3.85 3.56 4.2
marcel 184 174 78 69 18 49 6 172 3.82 3.38 3.35 4.0
oliver 221 205 92 81 17 55 7 209 3.73 3.30 3.00 5.0
steamer 219 206 97 86 19 57 7 190 4.00 3.53 3.32 4.3
zips 202.3 193 87 81 20 52 3 184 3.87 3.60 3.33 4.2
average 208 198 89 81 20 53 6 189 3.86 3.51 3.33 4.4
2012 200 184 89 75 22 44 8 197 4.01 3.38 3.29 3.9

RA: Runs allowed (earned + unearned) per nine innings
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA)

Sabathia’s average projection is expecting him to be about a half-win better in 2013.

2013 Projections - Kuroda

Projection IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
cairo 184 185 85 78 22 45 6 136 4.17 3.78 3.93 3.2
davenport 193.3 195 88 87 25 48 6 156 4.10 4.05 3.96 3.5
marcel 190 185 80 74 22 50 6 149 3.78 3.50 3.87 4.2
oliver 204 198 92 85 21 52 6 158 4.05 3.75 3.70 3.8
steamer 197 201 96 89 20 53 6 138 4.40 4.07 3.87 3.0
zips 186 192 94 88 26 45 3 136 4.55 4.26 4.18 2.5
average 193 193 89 83 23 49 6 145 4.17 3.90 3.91 3.4
2012 219.2 205 86 81 25 51 8 167 3.53 3.33 3.82 5.4

The projections are expecting a big drop with Kuroda this year.  His peripherals in 2012 indicate that he may have been a bit lucky but he’s got a career ERA of 3.42 vs. a career FIP of 3.62 and a career BABIP against of .282 (vs. around .304 for league average) so he may have some skill there.  Anyway, Kuroda seems to be a unique pitcher.  No starter from Japan’s NPB has been able to translate as well as he has in his career, and the fact that he’s done it from ages 33-37 makes it even more impressive. 

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts - Sabathia

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 231 211 88 77 18 51 5 220 3.43 2.99 2.87 6.0
65% 221 209 89 78 19 53 6 203 3.63 3.18 3.14 5.2
Baseline 210 206 90 79 21 54 7 186 3.83 3.37 3.42 4.5
35% 168 171 75 67 18 46 7 144 4.04 3.56 3.70 3.2
20% 126 132 59 53 15 37 6 104 4.24 3.75 3.97 2.1

I’m optimistic that CC will be in that 65% area with the removal of the bone spur.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts - Kuroda

Percentile IP H R ER HR BB HBP SO RA ERA FIP WAR
80% 221 206 91 82 20 46 4 177 3.72 3.35 3.33 5.0
65% 203 196 89 80 21 46 5 156 3.94 3.57 3.63 4.1
Baseline 184 185 85 78 22 45 6 136 4.17 3.78 3.93 3.2
35% 148 154 72 66 19 39 6 104 4.39 4.00 4.24 2.2
20% 111 119 57 52 16 31 5 74 4.62 4.21 4.54 1.4


I don’t think Kuroda can repeat 2012.  I do think he can beat the baseline projection though. 

Starting pitching is probably the deepest area on the Yankees, but these are the two key guys.  I think Andy Pettitte can approximate Kuroda on a rate basis, but he hasn’t thrown a full season since 2009.  If CC can return to something approximating his 2011 form and Kuroda doesn’t lose much from 2012, the Yankees will be able to lose quite a few 1-0 games instead of 2-0 games.

--Posted at 2:42 pm by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)



Vernon Wells’s Projections

2013

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 430 398 51 95 19 1 19 53 6 3 28 2 66 9 .238 .289 .438 .312 49 74 7
davenport 344 323 39 76 14 1 13 41 4 2 19 1 55 7 .235 .279 .406 .296 35 66 1
marcel 384 356 46 86 17 2 17 47 5 2 23 2 60 8 .242 .289 .444 .314 45 75 7
oliver 486 445 54 108 22 1 15 58 6 3 34 3 79 10 .243 .298 .398 .304 51 69 3
steamer 297 273 34 67 13 1 11 38 4 2 18 2 45 6 .245 .293 .421 .308 33 72 3
zips 449 420 53 104 20 2 17 52 7 3 24 2 67 9 .248 .290 .426 .308 50 72 6
average 398 369 46 89 18 1 15 48 5 2 24 2 62 8 .242 .290 .422 .307 44 71 5
2012 262 243 36 56 9 0 11 29 3 1 16 1 35 5 .230 .279 .403 .295 27 66 1

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

BRAR is assuming Wells is a LF.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 602 558 82 146 33 3 33 85 12 1 46 4 82 9 .262 .326 .512 .359 91 98 31
65% 516 478 66 119 26 2 26 68 9 2 36 3 75 9 .250 .307 .475 .335 68 86 18
Baseline 430 398 51 95 19 1 19 53 6 3 28 2 66 9 .238 .288 .438 .312 49 74 7
35% 344 319 38 72 14 1 14 40 4 1 20 1 56 9 .225 .270 .401 .288 34 64 0
20% 258 239 26 51 9 0 9 27 2 1 13 0 45 7 .213 .251 .363 .264 21 53 -4

Defense and Baserunning

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
vernon wells rf 152 0 0 0 0 -2
vernon wells cf 495 -3 -4 -2 -3 -8
vernon wells lf 811 -2 4 1 1 2

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

gar sbr aar har oar brr
0.1 0.5 -0.4 0.5 0.1 0.3

gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
brr: gar+aar+har+oar

Value
Assuming 398 PA.

Value BRAR+brr Def WAR
cairo 6 0 0.6
davenport 1 0 0.1
marcel 7 0 0.7
oliver 4 0 0.4
steamer 4 0 0.4
zips 6 0 0.6
average 5 0 0.5

If you can’t say anything nice…

--Posted at 5:20 am by SG / 78 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 22, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Robinson Cano

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight seasons since Robinson Cano saved us from the scourge of Tony Womack.  Joe Torre was roundly mocked when he compared Cano to Rod Carew (a comparison based more on style than ability), but here’s how they compare through age 29.

Carew: .328/.383/.430, 130 OPS+
Cano: .308/.351/.503, 123 OPS+

Cano has really stepped up his game over the last four seasons, as he’s hit .314/.365/.534 with an OPS+ of 136 and has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting for each of the last three seasons.  By raw numbers, his 2012 was the best season of his career and not one that the projections saw coming.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 676 620 97 188 42 4 25 100 5 3 42 84 19 8 .303 .352 .504 .368 101 97 46
davenport 639 590 86 175 38 5 26 107 6 3 41 79 16 8 .297 .351 .510 .370 97 99 46
marcel 610 559 89 171 38 4 23 91 6 3 39 77 16 7 .306 .356 .512 .372 93 99 44
oliver 637 586 82 178 42 4 19 89 5 3 38 71 19 7 .304 .350 .486 .361 92 93 40
pecota 708 659 93 194 43 4 24 99 5 3 41 88 19 8 .295 .344 .482 .357 100 92 43
zips 663 609 92 182 41 5 25 103 6 3 40 76 19 8 .299 .347 .506 .365 99 97 45
average 655 601 94 182 41 4 24 98 6 3 40 79 18 8 .303 .351 .502 .365 98 97 45
2012 697 627 105 196 48 1 33 94 3 2 61 96 22 7 .313 .379 .550 .398 119 111 61

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

Cano added doubles, homers and walks well above his projections.  He struck out a bit more but the tradeoff was definitely worth it.

It is worth mentioning that Cano’s season was probably not as valuable as his raw numbers indicate because his performance in more crucial situations as measured by run expectancy wasn’t as good.  It may have cost him about 15 runs of value.  He was still pretty clearly the Yankees’ most valuable position player in 2012, and figures to be again in 2013.  Speaking of 2013, here are his projections for his final season as a Yankee.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 686 623 104 189 44 3 30 97 5 3 52 8 93 19 .303 .362 .525 .380 109 103 52
davenport 645 590 89 170 42 3 27 97 3 2 45 10 91 18 .288 .349 .507 .368 97 98 44
marcel 617 558 91 170 39 3 27 92 5 2 47 7 87 17 .305 .363 .530 .382 99 104 48
oliver 642 578 86 170 36 2 28 100 4 2 52 8 89 18 .294 .358 .509 .373 98 99 45
steamer 671 606 88 178 42 2 26 98 3 2 52 8 90 18 .294 .355 .498 .367 100 97 45
zips 672 611 94 184 42 3 29 100 5 3 49 8 86 20 .301 .359 .522 .377 105 102 50
average 655 594 92 177 41 3 28 97 4 2 49 8 89 18 .298 .358 .515 .375 101 100 47
2012 697 627 105 196 48 1 33 94 3 2 61 7 96 22 .313 .379 .550 .398 119 111 61

Cano is expected to be less productive in 2013, which makes sense given his age and regression towards the mean.  He still projects to be in the range of an MVP candidate.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 720 654 120 213 53 5 37 112 7 1 62 11 88 16 .325 .397 .590 .422 136 123 77
65% 700 635 112 200 48 4 33 104 6 2 56 9 90 18 .314 .379 .557 .401 122 113 64
Baseline 686 623 104 189 44 3 30 97 5 3 52 8 93 19 .303 .362 .525 .380 109 103 52
35% 549 498 79 146 32 2 21 74 3 2 38 5 79 17 .292 .345 .493 .359 79 94 34
20% 411 374 57 105 22 1 14 52 2 1 27 3 62 14 .281 .328 .461 .338 53 84 19

The 65% forecast is basically Cano over the last four years, and I think he can do that again this year.  I don’t expect the fact that he’s playing for a huge payday to impact his performance either positively or negatively, although I suppose that’s always a possibility.  One thing I could see is his walk rate doubling.

Defense and Base Running

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
robinson cano 2b 1447 9 3 -3 3 3

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

Cano won the AL Gold Glove at 2B in 2010 and 2012.  The defensive metrics are mixed on him, although the overall net is that he’s a plus defender.

gar sbr aar har oar brr
0 0 0 0 0 0

gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
brr: gar+aar+har+oar

According to these numbers Cano is about as average of a base runner as one can be, neither adding or deducting value in any specific area.

Value
I’m going to say 10 years, $270 million.  At least, that was supposedly Scott Boras’s opening bid to the Yankees.

Value BRAR+brr Def WAR
cairo 50 3 5.3
davenport 45 3 4.8
marcel 51 3 5.4
oliver 46 3 4.9
steamer 44 3 4.7
zips 49 3 5.2
average 47 3 5.0

My general rule of thumb for a possible MVP candidate is someone who projects to be in the 5 win range.  The Yankees probably need more than that given their weaknesses and injuries, and you can make a case that the only way they win the division is with an MVP season from Cano.  Last night’s spring training game was a nice example of this, as a Cano single was the lone hit against Liam Hendricks, Cole DeVries and Pedro Hernandez.

As far as after 2013, we’ll see what happens.  I don’t think it’s a good idea to lock up a player long-term starting from their age 31 season, and that’s the dilemma facing the Yankees with Cano.  He’s their best offensive player and an MVP candidate now, but what will he be when he’s 35 or 36?

My guess is actually that the Yankees will end up keeping Cano.  Even if he ends up on the open market.  As far as how I’ll feel about that, maybe he’ll age more like Jeter and Mo than A-Rod.

--Posted at 7:23 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 21, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Curtis Granderson

It was a pretty safe bet that Curtis Granderson would not be able to replicate his MVP-caliber 2011 season.  The question was whether or not the changes that Kevin Long implemented would carry over more than the projections expected them to.  Here’s how he projected heading into 2012.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 644 560 103 147 24 7 32 86 16 6 73 142 7 6 .263 .353 .502 .366 97 98 45
davenport 607 532 86 139 29 8 31 83 18 6 68 131 7 7 .261 .354 .521 .374 96 103 37
marcel 598 522 93 132 22 7 28 80 18 6 63 131 7 6 .253 .338 .483 .351 85 92 37
oliver 612 534 82 131 22 8 25 79 15 5 65 135 6 5 .245 .330 .457 .339 81 86 32
pecota 724 642 95 167 29 11 30 102 21 6 75 159 8 7 .261 .347 .481 .357 105 94 47
zips 628 547 104 140 22 8 31 92 16 7 71 143 7 6 .256 .347 .495 .361 92 95 42
average 635 553 102 145 25 8 30 87 17 6 69 140 7 6 .263 .349 .492 .358 95 97 43
2012 684 596 102 138 18 4 43 106 10 3 75 195 5 5 .232 .319 .492 .345 95 90 40

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

None of the projections expected Granderson to hit 40 HRs again, but he did.  Unfortunately he also struck out about 44 more times than he projected to on a rate basis and had 21 fewer non-HR hits, dropping his average to a career-low .232 and his OBP to a career-low .319.  Whereas Granderson likely figured into the Yankees long-term plans after 2011, 2012 essentially removed him from them.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 657 572 105 139 21 5 34 92 15 5 71 6 161 7 .243 .330 .475 .345 90 89 36
davenport 451 398 60 94 15 4 24 62 8 4 48 5 121 5 .236 .327 .475 .345 61 88 24
marcel 611 531 97 131 20 6 34 92 14 5 66 6 154 7 .247 .333 .499 .354 88 94 38
oliver 615 533 83 129 24 5 30 87 14 5 71 6 168 7 .242 .336 .475 .349 86 91 35
steamer 646 560 85 134 23 5 31 88 9 5 72 6 168 7 .239 .329 .464 .341 86 86 32
zips 624 547 94 133 20 6 33 93 13 5 66 6 161 6 .243 .329 .483 .348 87 90 35
average 601 524 87 127 21 5 31 86 12 5 66 6 155 7 .242 .331 .478 .347 83 90 33
2012 684 596 102 138 18 4 43 106 10 3 75 5 195 5 .232 .319 .492 .345 95 90 38

Granderson’s 2013 projections expect him to recoup some of that lost average and OBP, and also expect him to hit fewer homers.  Granderson projected to be roughly equivalent to his 2012 in terms of value, even if the value came in different ways.  Of course, this was all before Granderson got injured.  It appears he’ll miss 8-10 weeks recovering from a fracture in his foream.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
I am estimating Granderson will get around 450 PA this year due to the injury, so here’s how his percentile forecasts in CAIRO look.

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 495 431 88 116 20 6 31 78 15 2 61 7 109 3 .268 .371 .556 .396 87 114 46
65% 473 412 80 105 17 5 27 70 12 3 55 5 110 4 .256 .350 .516 .371 74 102 35
Baseline 450 392 72 95 14 4 23 63 10 3 49 4 110 5 .243 .329 .475 .345 62 89 25
35% 360 314 54 72 10 2 17 47 7 2 36 2 92 5 .231 .308 .435 .320 43 78 13
20% 270 235 38 51 6 1 11 33 4 1 25 1 72 4 .218 .287 .394 .294 28 67 5

Normally you can chalk up a big part of a low batting average to the fluctuations inherent in batting average on balls in play.  But in Granderson’s case we can also point to the high number of strikeouts and the shift that a lot of teams employ against him costing him singles.  I don’t see him hittng much over his baseline unfortunately.

Defense and Base Running

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
curtis granderson cf 1408 -3 -8 -6 -6 -5

I’m considering Granderson as a CF now because the injury effectively ended the Yankees’ experiment of swapping him with Brett Gardner.  Granderson was very good in CF in 2010 for the Yankees, but has followed that up with a below average season and then a pretty bad season.  He projects to be a below average defensive CF in 2013.

gar sbr aar har oar brr
0 1 0 2 0 2

gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
brr: gar+aar+har+oar

Granderson has typically added value on the bases and projects to do so again this year.

Value
450 PA of Granderson figures to be worth about this much according to the various projections.

Value BRAR+brr Def WAR
cairo 27 -5 2.2
davenport 26 -5 2.1
marcel 30 -5 2.5
oliver 28 -5 2.3
steamer 25 -5 2.0
zips 27 -5 2.2
average 27 -5 2.2

Losing Granderson for the first two months of the year probably costs the Yankees about a win. 

Granderson’s probably one of my favorite current Yankees, both for what he does on the field and the way he carries himself off of it.  After 2011 I was hoping to see him in pinstripes for a few more years and I was disappointed that he fell off as much as he did in 2012.  But given that, at this point it doesn’t appear to be in the Yankees’ best interest to bring him back after this year.

Here’s hoping he has a great season and makes them at least think about it, anyway.

--Posted at 1:21 pm by SG / 20 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2013 - Alex Rodriguez

Heading into 2012, my biggest concern with Alex Rodriguez was his health.  He actually ended up playing a bit more than I thought, but his rate of performance was worse than expected.  Here are his 2012 projections compared to what he actually did.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 459 398 65 109 21 1 19 78 6 2 53 82 10 5 .273 .364 .474 .365 67 95 30
davenport 476 418 62 113 22 1 21 72 5 3 55 86 10 4 .270 .361 .478 .367 69 95 29
marcel 474 412 63 110 21 1 20 78 7 2 51 86 10 5 .267 .350 .468 .355 67 92 29
oliver 523 457 66 121 23 1 22 73 5 2 56 91 12 5 .265 .348 .464 .353 72 90 30
pecota 572 499 80 137 24 1 30 84 9 2 67 112 12 6 .275 .368 .507 .379 90 102 44
zips 466 405 61 107 20 1 21 81 7 2 51 89 11 5 .264 .350 .474 .357 66 93 29
average 495 429 70 117 22 1 22 78 6 2 55 91 11 5 .273 .359 .481 .362 73 96 33
2012 529 463 74 126 17 1 18 57 13 1 51 116 13 10 .272 .353 .430 .346 71 87 28

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

His average and OBP were right around his projections and he picked up a bit of value with better than expected base stealing, but his power was down pretty significantly, as he hit 6 fewer doubles and 6 fewer homers than he projected to on a pro-rated basis.  Rodriguez was hitting .276/.358/.449 through July 24 when he got hit on the hand by a Felix Hernandez pitch that cost him about six weeks and hit .261/.341/.369 after his return.  As you are likely aware of, he had a dreadful postseason including getting pinch-hit for although it was eventually revealed that his hip had been bothering him for quite a while and may have had something to do with his disappointing late season performance.

Rodriguez ended up having hip surgery this January and will likely miss at least the first half of the season.  Here are his 2013 projections.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 464 405 66 107 18 1 16 66 8 2 45 6 94 10 .263 .339 .433 .337 60 84 21
davenport 268 241 34 61 10 0 11 37 3 2 24 3 56 6 .253 .328 .432 .334 33 80 10
marcel 507 446 68 118 21 1 20 71 8 2 48 6 102 12 .265 .339 .451 .343 67 86 25
oliver 526 462 58 108 21 1 15 58 5 2 53 6 115 12 .234 .317 .381 .311 56 70 12
steamer 337 295 41 76 14 1 12 43 4 2 35 4 70 8 .258 .341 .434 .340 43 83 15
zips 451 396 59 100 16 1 15 54 8 1 44 7 99 12 .253 .335 .412 .330 55 79 17
average 426 374 54 95 17 1 15 55 6 2 42 5 89 10 .254 .333 .422 .332 52 80 17
2012 529 463 74 126 17 1 18 57 13 1 51 10 116 13 .272 .353 .430 .346 71 87 26

The only projections that appear to be accounting for the amount of time Rodriguez is expected to miss are Clay Davenport’s and Steamer.  Oliver’s projection is a bit jarring, but the rest are basically in-line with each other.

I’m estimating about 300 PA for Rodriguez, which would be worth around 12 BRAR according to his average projection.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts
If I adjust Rodriguez’s baseline CAIRO forecast for 300 PA, here are his percentile forecasts.

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 360 314 59 93 18 1 17 59 9 0 41 7 64 5 .295 .391 .520 .397 62 112 32
65% 330 288 50 80 15 1 13 50 7 1 35 5 63 6 .279 .365 .476 .367 50 98 22
Baseline 300 262 42 69 12 0 11 43 5 1 29 4 61 7 .263 .339 .433 .337 39 84 13
35% 210 183 27 45 7 0 6 28 3 0 19 2 45 6 .247 .313 .389 .308 23 70 5
20% 150 131 18 30 4 0 4 18 1 0 12 1 34 5 .232 .287 .346 .278 13 57 1

It’s possible his hip surgery will allow him to perform better than the baseline, but I’m not convinced that even if that was true something else won’t go wrong.  But I suppose I could see the 65% forecast happening in both playing time and performance.

Defense and Base Running

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
alex rodriguez 3b 900 3 0 -2 0 1

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

Rodriguez had a very good defensive season in 2011 but fell below average again in 2012.  He projects around average in 2013.

gar sbr aar har oar brr
0 0 1 -1 0 -1

gar: ground-advancement runs
sbr: stolen base runs
aar: air-advancement runs
har: hit-advancement runs
oar: other-advancement runs
brr: gar+aar+har+oar

Rodriguez used to add value on the bases but these days he doesn’t appear to.

Value
Given 300 PA, here is how Rodriguez’s value looks in each of the various projections.

Value BRAR+brr Def WAR
cairo 14 0 1.4
davenport 7 0 0.7
marcel 17 0 1.7
oliver 8 0 0.8
steamer 10 0 1.0
zips 12 0 1.2
average 11 0 1.1

Here’s an exercise for the readership.  Is that worth what he’s being paid?

I have no idea if Rodriguez will be punished for the whole BioGenesis thing, although I’m hoping if he gets suspended it happens now so he can serve his time while on the DL.

At this point I don’t think Rodriguez will ever stay healthy for a full season again, and I also don’t think he’s going to get to 700 HRs.  I can see him out-hitting his projections when he plays, especially if he can get more drive from his hips.  If he can manage 13 homers this year he ties Willie Mays and gets a $6M bonus.  If he can’t do that and it happens in 2014, it could screw up the Yankee’s goal of getting under a $189M payroll. 

The good news is that he’s signed for only four more seasons after 2013.

--Posted at 8:17 am by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Cervelli and Stewart

Although it looks like Francisco Cervelli is the likely starting catcher heading into the season, I figured I’d run both he and Chris Stewart through the projection gauntlet.  I’m not going to go over their 2012 since neither played that much.

First up, here are Cervelli’s 2013 projections.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 276 246 29 60 10 1 4 29 3 1 24 3 54 6 .245 .321 .337 .297 26 62 6
davenport 305 271 29 68 11 1 2 25 2 1 26 8 62 7 .251 .338 .321 .303 29 61 7
marcel 215 189 24 51 8 1 4 27 3 1 19 3 37 5 .270 .343 .386 .323 25 74 9
oliver 404 356 43 86 15 1 8 39 4 2 33 9 89 9 .242 .320 .357 .302 40 65 11
steamer 278 246 28 58 12 1 3 24 4 2 23 4 54 6 .236 .309 .329 .286 25 58 5
zips 328 291 29 68 11 2 3 31 3 1 25 8 69 10 .234 .308 .316 .285 28 55 4
average 301 266 30 65 11 1 4 29 3 1 25 6 61 7 .245 .323 .339 .298 29 62 7
2012 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 .000 .500 .000 .360 0 75 0

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

The bar for being above replacement level offensively for a catcher is low.  Cervelli projects to clear that bar, although not by a ton.  If he gets 450 PA his average projection puts him around 10 BRAR. 

Stewart actually doesn’t project much differently than Cervelli, which surprised me.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 276 246 27 58 12 0 4 24 2 1 23 3 41 5 .234 .308 .339 .290 25 60 6
davenport 152 139 14 32 4 0 3 11 1 1 12 2 23 2 .230 .306 .324 .286 13 55 2
marcel 297 266 32 64 14 1 6 26 3 1 23 2 45 4 .241 .303 .368 .294 29 64 8
oliver 338 301 35 73 14 1 6 33 3 1 27 4 52 5 .243 .311 .355 .295 33 63 9
steamer 266 238 26 55 12 0 3 24 4 2 21 3 36 4 .231 .300 .319 .279 23 55 4
zips 241 218 24 52 11 0 3 21 2 0 17 4 34 4 .239 .303 .330 .286 22 59 5
average 262 235 26 56 11 0 4 23 3 1 20 3 38 4 .237 .306 .342 .289 24 60 5
2012 157 141 15 34 8 0 1 13 2 0 10 1 21 1 .241 .287 .319 .270 13 55 2

The difference between them over the same # of PA doesn’t appear to be worth more than a run.

So the question becomes defense.  Cervelli had a pretty good defensive season as he threw out 10 of 23 base runners attempting to steal (43.5%) and was worth 4 runs above average in just 241 innings according to DRS.  Since then he’s only thrown out 13 of 92 runs (14.1%) and has been 4 runs below average in about 1040 innings.  DRS doesn’t consider pitch framing, although Mike Fast’s data on Cervelli shows him as around -4 over 141 games.

On the other hand, Stewart has had very good DRS numbers over the last two years.  He was +12 in 460 innings in 2011 and +4 in 395 innings last year.  According to the data from Mike Fast’s study linked above shows Stewart as being worth another 10 runs over 93 games.

Obviously we have a bit less certainty about quantifying a catcher’s defense than we do about their offense.  Cervelli’s looked very good so far in spring training, which I do think has value from a scouting perspective.  I also think he is a better bet to at least provide some OBP at the bottom of the lineup than Stewart will.  But at least according to the offensive projections and defensive numbers Stewart’s probably the better choice for starting catcher.  If we assumed 450 PA of each, figure something like:

Cervelli: 11 BRAR, -6 defense, 0.5 WAR
Stewart:  9 BRAR, + 10 defense, 1.9 WAR

If Cervelli’s fixed his throwing issues and Stewart’s defense isn’t really quite that good then maybe it’s closer to even.

Because of the Yankees’ relative weakness all over the field this year, a lot of attention has been focused on catcher.  The days of getting 4-5 wins from Jorge Posada or 2-3 wins from Russell Martin appear to be gone, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think they can get a 1 - 1.5 wins out of some combination of Cervelli and Stewart.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be enough for a team that’s looking like a mid 80s win team right now.

 

--Posted at 7:31 am by SG / 58 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 15, 2013

Yankees.com: Yanks agree to terms with outfielder Boesch

The Yankees have tossed another name into the mix as they search for solutions to their outfield issues, agreeing to terms on a Major League contract with free agent Brennan Boesch on Friday.

CBSSports.com first reported that the 27-year-old Boesch has agreed to a deal worth $1.5 million, plus $600,000 in possible performance incentives.

Boesch was released by the Tigers earlier this week after Detroit was unable to trade him, having settled on Andy Dirks as their starting left fielder. He is now expected to compete for a corner-outfield job with the Yankees while Curtis Granderson recovers from a right forearm fracture that should keep him out of New York’s lineup until early May.

I saw that the Yankees had some interest in Boesch earlier, but the reports were that they were worried about his defense. He is two years removed from a 2.2 WAR season but one year removed from a -1.6 WAR season, so, well, I don’t know what will happen. I imagine that this means that Melky Mesa won’t make the team and Boesch, Francisco and Ichiro will platoon between left and right while Juan Rivera will get first base.

I eagerly await how they’re going to handle the 40-man implications of adding Boesch, Francisco and Rivera.

Update(SG): I’m not that in to this signing.  Here are Boesch’s percentile forecasts in CAIRO.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 631 580 84 155 36 3 25 85 11 1 50 117 8 9 .267 .340 .468 .353 89 17
65% 579 532 73 136 30 2 21 74 9 2 43 113 9 7 .256 .321 .437 .332 73 6
Baseline 526 484 62 118 25 1 17 63 7 3 36 108 10 5 .245 .303 .405 .310 58 -3
35% 473 435 53 102 20 1 13 53 5 3 30 102 10 4 .234 .285 .374 .289 44 -10
20% 421 387 44 86 16 0 10 44 3 4 24 95 10 2 .222 .267 .342 .267 33 -16

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

The lefty-hitting Boesch has a career reverse platoon split (.338 wOBA vs. LHP compared to .312 vs. RHP) but you still have to regress that heavily towards the league average platoon split.  Here’s what that looks like.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .342 .357
65% .322 .335
Baseline .301 .313
35% .280 .292
20% .259 .270

Boesch has been a below average defensive RF and projects to be one again in 2013.

pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
RF 782 -6 -7 -4 -5 -9

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average per 150 games

If you overlay his 2012 fly ball outs in Comerica over DNYS using Katron it looks like this.

By distance and dimensions, none of Boesch’s fly ball outs would have been homers in DNYS.

Now dimensions are only part of the story, and it’s likely the wind/altitude/humidity/temperature are part of the reason that Comerica has a lefty HR park factor of 98 (average is 100) since 2008 compared to Yankee Stadium’s 150.

The main benefit I see here is a backup lefty DH for the inevitable case that Travis Hafner gets hurt.  Boesch is still young enough to have some upside, and he’s got some pop, but he’s a hacker and a sub-par defender.

Like I said, I’m just not into this move.

--Posted at 9:31 pm by Brian Cronin / 13 Comments | - (0)



Looking Ahead to 2013 - Travis Hafner

From 2004-2006 Travis Hafner was probably the best pure hitter in the American League, as he hit .308/.419/.611 for an OPS+ of 170 and led the AL with an OBP-heavy OPS+ twice.  He dropped off precipitously in 2007 despite being healthy(OPS+ of 120).  Since then he’s struggled with injuries and has averaged 342 PA over the last five seasons while hitting .259/.353/.436, good for an OPS+ of 117.

That’s not a bad line for a player who plays a position, but it’s not all that good for a DH and lousy base runner.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 326 285 36 74 16 0 10 41 1 1 33 67 5 5 .260 .346 .424 .340 42 83 6
davenport 421 374 46 101 17 1 13 58 1 1 42 81 6 5 .270 .352 .425 .344 54 83 10
marcel 430 378 46 102 22 0 14 53 2 1 42 86 6 7 .270 .351 .439 .348 57 87 10
oliver 458 404 55 110 23 0 15 59 1 0 45 89 7 8 .272 .356 .441 .351 62 88 12
pecota 533 464 66 118 24 1 16 59 1 1 60 109 7 9 .255 .351 .414 .341 67 82 9
zips 370 324 39 84 17 0 12 46 1 0 38 74 5 6 .259 .346 .423 .340 47 83 7
average 423 370 46 96 20 0 13 53 1 1 43 84 6 7 .260 .346 .429 .344 54 83 8
2012 263 219 23 50 6 2 12 34 0 0 32 47 9 9 .228 .346 .438 .345 34 83 5

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

On a rate basis, Hafner was right around where he projected to be, although he traded some singles and doubles for HRs and outs.  But he fell far short of his projected PA thanks to knee surgery and then lower back inflammation.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 310 269 32 70 14 1 11 40 1 0 33 6 60 6 .262 .356 .440 .351 42 87 7
davenport 374 326 40 85 14 1 14 48 0 1 38 10 78 7 .261 .356 .439 .352 49 86 8
marcel 368 320 38 83 16 1 13 46 2 1 37 8 75 7 .259 .348 .438 .345 48 85 8
oliver 415 356 50 88 17 0 17 55 1 1 46 10 90 8 .247 .347 .438 .346 54 85 9
steamer 380 329 44 82 16 2 13 45 1 1 40 7 76 7 .249 .339 .429 .337 48 82 6
zips 322 279 34 72 13 1 13 47 0 0 33 8 65 6 .258 .351 .452 .352 44 88 8
average 361 313 40 80 15 1 13 47 1 1 38 8 74 7 .256 .349 .439 .347 48 85 8
2012 263 219 23 50 6 2 12 34 0 0 32 9 47 9 .228 .346 .438 .345 34 83 5

The projections are basically expecting the same Hafner from last year, with about 100 more PA.  It’s worth mentioning that Hafner has gotten about 31% of his career PA vs. LHP and if the Yankees can get most of his PA vs. RHP he can be more productive on a rate basis.  CAIRO has him at around a .329 projected wOBA vs. LHP compared to .365 vs. RHP.  FWIW, it has Derek Jeter at a .354 wOBA vs. LHP and Ronnier Mustelier would be around .350 if we assume a league average platoon split, but most of the other players that would take DH PA vs. LHP project worse than Hafner.

Matt Diaz: .304
Eduardo Nunez: .301
Juan Rivera: .311

So the Yankees may be better off giving some DH playing time vs. LHP to Hafner anyway, even if he’s not as good against southpaws.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 465 403 56 118 26 3 21 70 3 0 59 13 78 5 .293 .409 .529 .412 82 115 31
65% 387 336 43 93 20 2 15 54 2 0 45 9 70 6 .278 .382 .484 .381 60 101 18
Baseline 310 269 32 70 14 1 11 40 1 0 33 6 60 6 .262 .355 .440 .351 42 87 7
35% 248 215 23 53 10 0 7 30 0 0 24 4 51 6 .246 .328 .395 .320 28 74 1
20% 186 161 16 37 6 0 4 20 0 0 17 2 41 5 .231 .302 .351 .290 17 60 -3

Progressive field has a lefty HR park factor of around 103 over the past five seasons.  DNYS has a lefty HR park factor of around 150.  In theory that means that Hafner may have hit 3-4 more HRs per year over the last five seasons if he was calling DNYS home.  His hit chart for 2012 doesn’t indicate any fly outs in Cleveland that would have been HRs at Yankee Stadium, but he may be able to take advantage of the park and outhit his baseline HR projection.  I’m not particularly sanguine about a 36 year old Hafner approaching a .300 average again, but he should provide pretty good pop and walks.

Defense and Base Running
Yeah.  Hafner hasn’t played defense since 2007, and won’t be playing any this year.  And he will clog the bases when he gets on there (projected BsR of -0.7) although the alternative to that is making outs at the plate.

Value
It comes down to health and homers for Hafner.  At 361 PA here’s how his value projects.

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 7 0 0.7
davenport 8 0 0.8
marcel 7 0 0.7
oliver 8 0 0.8
steamer 5 0 0.5
zips 7 0 0.7
average 7 0 0.7

You can add 3-4 more runs if he gets 500 PA.  You can also add around 1.4 runs for every additional HR he hits.

I think Hafner’s going to out-hit his baseline projection, but I don’t think he’s going to stay healthy all year.  Hopefully he stays healthy long enough in the early going while the Yankees wait for Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez to come back.

--Posted at 8:53 am by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 14, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner set career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging in 2012 as he hit .323/.417/.387.  In fact, Gardner’s .417 OBP would have led the American League.  Unfortunately, it didn’t because he only got 37 PA before an elbow injury effectively ended his season although he got 3 PA in September and October and some postseason PA as well.  Because he only got those 37 PA, there’s no real point in going over his 2012 projections so we’ll jump right into 2013.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 372 321 58 84 13 4 5 28 24 7 42 4 63 4 .262 .355 .375 .327 45 79 9
davenport 602 529 76 132 20 6 6 40 43 13 64 8 114 7 .250 .343 .344 .312 66 72 7
marcel 277 240 42 64 10 3 4 22 19 5 30 3 48 3 .267 .354 .383 .329 35 81 7
oliver 417 363 55 96 16 3 7 37 23 7 44 4 73 5 .264 .349 .383 .326 50 79 9
steamer 587 504 74 131 25 5 7 51 32 11 68 6 99 6 .260 .353 .371 .324 70 77 12
zips 338 293 50 76 11 5 3 24 28 7 40 4 58 3 .259 .355 .362 .326 41 80 8
average 432 375 59 97 16 4 5 34 28 8 48 5 76 5 .259 .351 .367 .323 51 77 9
2012 37 31 7 10 2 0 0 3 2 2 5 0 7 0 .323 .405 .387 .359 5 82 1

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

Gardner’s average projection is effectively what he’s done so far in his MLB career (.266/.355/.368).  It’s hard to believe, but this will be Gardner’s age 29 season and odds are he’s already at his peak.  We may not know precisely where that peak is because of the large chunk of missed time last year, which gives us less data to work with when we try to estimate how good Gardner is right now.

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 558 481 99 140 24 10 11 50 43 14 73 9 83 3 .291 .398 .449 .379 87 102 32
65% 465 401 78 111 18 7 7 39 33 10 57 6 74 4 .276 .374 .412 .353 65 90 19
Baseline 372 321 58 84 13 4 5 28 24 7 42 4 63 4 .262 .351 .375 .327 45 79 9
35% 298 257 44 64 9 3 3 20 17 4 31 2 54 4 .248 .327 .338 .301 31 68 2
20% 223 192 30 45 5 1 2 14 11 2 22 1 43 4 .233 .303 .302 .275 19 57 -3

Gardner’s having a great spring so far(.400/.486/.467 in 35 PA) which is pretty much useless although I suppose it tells us that he’s healthy.  I think he could get to that 65% forecast in average and OBP but I don’t think he’ll ever slug .400.

Defense
This is where Gardner’s value really lies.  Curtis Granderson’s injury effectively ended the likelihood that Gardner would play CF this year, but here are his projections in both LF and CF.

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
brett gardner lf 671 11 12 6 10 20
brett gardner cf 419 4 1 2 2 7

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

We don’t have as much certainty about defensive metrics as we do about offense.  But every single objective measurement says the same thing.  Gardner has been a great defensive LF.  Now it helps that he is being compared to a bunch of lumbering oafs, and he wouldn’t rate nearly as well if he was being compared to the better defenders manning CF.  But I think he’d still show as a slightly above average CF.

Whether he plays LF or CF doesn’t really affect his overall value by much.  You compare his offense to better hitters and worse defenders in LF, or worse hitters and better defenders in CF but the end result is about the same.  Defense tends to peak early and he’s probably going to start losing some defensive value but it should still be a strength in 2013. 

Based on the average distribution of outfield chances, and in honor of Pi Day, here’s a pie chart of percentages of outfield chances seen by each position.

It doesn’t get more gratuitous than a pie chart on Pi day, does it?

Gardner projects to add a bit more than one run on the bases in non-SB base running as well.

Value
If Gardner plays to his average projected PA of 432, here is how his estimated value in 2013 looks as a LF.

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 10 12 2.2
davenport 8 12 2.0
marcel 9 12 2.1
oliver 11 12 2.3
steamer 13 12 2.5
zips 9 12 2.1
average 10 12 2.2

If we give him 600 PA and the same relative bump in defense (to +17) it looks like this.

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 14 17 3.1
davenport 12 17 2.9
marcel 12 17 2.9
oliver 15 17 3.2
steamer 18 17 3.5
zips 13 17 3.0
average 14 17 3.1

If you’re looking for one way the Yankees can replace Nick Swisher’s 2012, a 3+ win Gardner gets you most of the way there.  Although Gardner’s starting to be labeled as injury-prone, I don’t think last year’s injury was predictive and am optimistic he’ll be pretty healthy and have a good year.  And that’s good, because the Yankees really need it.

--Posted at 12:32 pm by SG / 35 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Derek Jeter

From May 3, 2010 through July 4, 2011, Derek Jeter hit .258/.330/.336 over about 900 PA and for all intents and purposes looked like he was effectively done as a useful major league hitter.  Since July 5, 2011 he’s hit .322/.370/.436 in over 1000 PA.  His 2012 performance was significantly better than his projections entering the season as he ended up with the second highest hit total in MLB history for a player aged 38 or older.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 581 519 82 149 22 1 8 56 16 5 46 83 14 6 .286 .347 .384 .325 67 75 25
davenport 560 510 72 147 27 2 9 54 14 4 46 73 13 4 .288 .354 .402 .336 69 80 25
marcel 577 518 79 147 23 2 9 54 16 5 47 83 13 5 .284 .347 .388 .327 68 76 25
oliver 635 574 73 162 25 3 8 60 14 5 49 85 17 5 .282 .342 .378 .321 71 73 24
pecota 694 632 82 180 28 3 9 66 18 6 56 106 16 6 .285 .351 .382 .328 81 76 30
zips 598 542 78 145 22 4 7 58 14 5 46 84 13 6 .268 .331 .362 .310 63 68 19
average 607 543 86 156 25 3 8 58 15 5 48 85 14 5 .286 .346 .386 .325 71 76 26
2012 740 683 99 216 32 0 15 58 9 4 45 90 24 5 .316 .359 .429 .348 95 84 40

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Given his age and the fact that 2010 and the first half of 2011 did happen, a repeat of 2012 is not expected by any of the projection systems.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 601 545 86 161 23 2 9 53 11 4 44 5 89 16 .295 .350 .394 .330 71 76 25
davenport 594 548 66 151 22 2 9 51 9 4 40 6 86 16 .276 .333 .372 .316 63 69 18
marcel 631 573 85 164 26 2 11 57 12 4 45 5 91 17 .286 .341 .396 .326 73 76 26
oliver 646 588 68 156 24 2 8 59 10 4 46 5 96 17 .265 .322 .354 .302 64 64 15
steamer 603 546 74 157 26 1 9 53 7 3 43 5 81 16 .288 .342 .388 .323 68 74 23
zips 551 501 69 139 20 4 6 53 13 6 40 5 75 9 .277 .334 .369 .315 59 70 17
average 604 550 75 155 23 2 9 54 10 4 43 5 86 15 .281 .337 .379 .318 66 71 21
2012 740 683 99 216 32 0 15 58 9 4 45 5 90 24 .316 .359 .429 .348 95 84 40

Marcel, CAIRO and Steamer are projecting a better Jeter than Davenport, Oliver or ZiPS, but the consensus is that Jeter will lose nearly 20 runs of offensive value relative to his 2012. 

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 668 605 106 192 31 4 13 66 16 7 56 8 88 13 .318 .384 .448 .369 96 94 46
65% 632 572 95 175 26 3 11 59 13 5 49 7 88 15 .306 .366 .421 .350 83 85 35
Baseline 601 545 86 161 23 2 9 53 11 4 44 5 89 16 .295 .348 .394 .330 71 76 25
35% 481 436 65 123 16 1 6 39 7 3 32 3 75 14 .283 .330 .367 .310 50 68 14
20% 361 327 46 89 11 0 4 27 5 1 22 2 59 12 .271 .312 .340 .291 33 59 6

I don’t know how realistic that 80% forecast is.  There have been 27 seasons where a player who was 39 or older put up an OBP of .375 or higher over 500 PA so it’s feasible, even if it’s not likely.  Jeter’s walk rate has dropped pretty heavily over the last few years and he really needs to hit around .300 to have much value, so I’m hoping we’ll see something like .300/.350/.400 this year, especially because of the section to follow.

Defense
Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but there is some question about how good of a defensive shortstop Derek Jeter is.  Here are his defensive projections for 2013.

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
derek jeter ss 1267 -13 -8 -13 -11 -12

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

Jeter’s ankle injury in the ALCS is another factor that needs to be considered that could make him an even worse defender than these numbers say.  I figure Jeter will probably DH against LHP in an effort to keep him healthier, so his defensive impact may not be so negative.  While he doesn’t have the bat you want out of a typical DH, he projects to hit around .316/.381/.423 vs LHP in CAIRO.

Jeter has historically added some value on the basepaths but he now projects as a slightly below average base runner in 2013.

Value

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 26 -12 1.4
davenport 19 -12 0.7
marcel 27 -12 1.5
oliver 15 -12 0.3
steamer 24 -12 1.2
zips 18 -12 0.6
average 21 -12 0.9

Because of his defense, Jeter’s value is edging towards replacement level.  He’s got an $8M player option with a $3M buyout for 2014, and my guess is if he has a good year he’ll decline it, get his $3M and then try to get more than $5M and probably multiple years.  If he’s a 1 win player now, you probably don’t want him after 2014, or even in 2014, but there are other factors in play.  We know Mariano Rivera is retiring after this season, and there’s a pretty good chance Andy Pettitte will as well.  Factor in the fact that on virtual paper this looks like the worst Yankee team in maybe 18 years and you wonder if the Yankees can afford the PR hit of letting Jeter walk after this season, particularly if they end up failing to make the postseason.

My hope is that Jeter has a great year, good enough to justify bringing him back for 2014.  He’s currently 11th on the all-time hit list with 3304. 

1.Pete Rose: 4256
2.Ty Cobb: 4189
3.Hank Aaron: 3771
4.Stan Musial: 3630
5.Tris Speaker: 3514
6.Cap Anson: 3435
7.Honus Wagner: 3420
8.Carl Yastrzemski: 3419
9.Paul Molitor: 3319
10.Eddie Collins: 3315
11.Derek Jeter: 3304

If he stays healthy and hits his worst projected number of hits (139) then he gets to 3443 and sixth place on the list. 100 more hits in 2014 moves him into fifth place.  327 hits over the next two seasons moves him past Stan Musial into fourth place.  Does he have the 468 hits left that he’d need to pass Hank Aaron for third place?  The Bill James Favorite Toy thinks he’s got an 11% chance to get there.

It’d require him playing in 2015 at the very least, but it’d be pretty freaking cool, as long as he’s not killing the team while pursuing it.

--Posted at 12:14 pm by SG / 22 Comments | - (0)




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.

2012

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 711 662 82 196 24 5 6 48 30 7 40 85 7 3 .296 .337 .375 .317 80 73 13
davenport 596 560 64 164 27 2 6 36 26 9 35 61 6 1 .293 .337 .380 .319 68 74 11
marcel 634 591 69 172 24 3 7 42 31 7 35 75 6 2 .291 .331 .377 .314 72 74 12
oliver 656 617 78 180 24 3 5 56 29 8 34 69 6 1 .292 .329 .365 .309 71 70 8
pecota 653 615 74 183 22 3 4 58 33 7 36 80 6 2 .297 .339 .362 .315 73 73 11
zips 665 625 81 174 23 3 6 43 35 8 36 69 7 1 .278 .318 .354 .300 69 67 6
average 652 607 75 180 24 3 6 47 31 8 36 73 6 2 .296 .335 .372 .312 74 73 12
2012 663 629 77 178 28 6 9 55 29 7 22 61 12 2 .283 .305 .390 .302 71 70 8

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.

2013 Projections
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.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 692 648 72 197 29 4 10 55 32 7 35 2 75 9 .304 .340 .408 .328 86 81 18
davenport 622 593 55 170 24 3 5 51 29 8 28 1 69 9 .287 .321 .363 .304 65 68 4
marcel 604 565 66 156 23 4 7 45 28 6 30 2 70 9 .276 .312 .368 .300 63 68 4
oliver 647 602 71 158 22 3 7 53 25 8 35 1 71 10 .262 .301 .344 .286 60 60 -4
steamer 620 580 71 168 24 4 7 58 23 8 29 2 64 0 .290 .322 .381 .309 68 71 7
zips 625 596 84 168 26 5 10 61 29 7 24 7 1 11 .282 .318 .393 .314 71 74 9
average 635 597 70 169 25 4 8 54 28 7 30 3 58 8 .284 .320 .377 .307 69 70 6
2012 663 629 77 178 28 6 9 55 29 7 22 2 61 12 .283 .305 .390 .302 71 70 6

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

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

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 726 680 85 221 36 6 14 66 40 11 43 4 70 6 .326 .369 .459 .364 108 97 36
65% 709 664 78 209 32 5 12 60 36 9 39 3 73 8 .315 .354 .434 .346 97 89 27
Baseline 692 648 72 197 29 4 10 55 32 7 35 2 75 9 .304 .338 .408 .328 86 81 18
35% 553 518 54 152 21 2 7 41 24 5 25 1 64 8 .293 .323 .383 .311 62 73 7
20% 415 389 38 110 14 1 4 29 16 3 17 0 50 7 .282 .307 .357 .293 41 65 0

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.

Defense
Because his offense doesn’t project all that well, a lot of Ichiro’s value will need to come from defense and baserunning.

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
ichiro suzuki rf 1316 4 7 9 7 7
ichiro suzuki cf 238 -3 -1 -1 -2 -9
ichiro suzuki lf 436 -2 2 1 0 1

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

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.

Value

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 19 7 2.6
davenport 5 7 1.2
marcel 5 7 1.2
oliver -3 7 0.4
steamer 8 7 1.5
zips 10 7 1.7
average 7 7 1.4

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.

--Posted at 11:04 am by SG / 23 Comments | - (0)



NY Times: Yankees Are Said to Pursue Derrek Lee as Replacement for Mark Teixeira

DUNEDIN, Fla. — With few obvious options available to replace the injured Mark Teixeira at first base, the Yankees are becoming creative in their search. They have asked the retired first baseman Derrek Lee whether he would come out of retirement, according to a person with knowledge of the talks who asked to remain anonymous.

As of Sunday night there was no deal pending, the person said, but Lee was interested and the situation could always be revisited.

I’d rather see the Yankees figure out a way to deal with the temporary loss of Teixeira by seeing who from the organization can be useful past 2013, but here’s how Lee projects in the only two projection systems that have projected him for 2013 (CAIRO and Marcel).

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 460 409 58 107 21 1 15 60 2 2 41 3 98 13 .261 .328 .426 .329 55 78 8
marcel 248 222 29 57 11 1 8 30 2 1 22 2 55 8 .257 .327 .423 .328 30 78 4

wOBA: Weighted on-base average
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR per 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for park and position

He projects as average defensively.

I suppose there’s no harm in bringing him to camp to see if he’s got anything left, but I don’t think he’s likely to be all that good.  I’d probably rather see them sign Lee than any of the people mentioned in this post but I’d still rather see Ronnier Mustelier get that roster spot.

--Posted at 8:03 am by SG / 25 Comments | - (0)




Friday, March 8, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Kevin Youkilis

This year, one of the most hated Yankee rivals will be donning the pinstripes.  Most Yankee fans despise(d) Kevin Youkilis because of his demeanor on the field, but it’s also probably due to the fact that he has hit .300/.432/.483 in 442 PA against the Yankees.  Anyway, like Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens before him, Yankee fans will probably learn to accept Youkilis if he’s productive.

2012
Youkilis is coming off the worst full season of his MLB career, which is not exactly unusual for a 33 year old player.  Here’s how he projected to hit in 2012 compared to what he actually did.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 462 391 69 109 27 2 17 70 4 1 57 87 9 11 .280 .383 .492 .381 72 102 25
davenport 591 508 79 140 30 2 26 88 4 2 70 109 9 13 .276 .377 .496 .381 92 102 32
marcel 502 424 73 118 29 3 19 72 5 1 61 94 9 11 .278 .378 .495 .379 79 102 28
oliver 521 441 69 120 26 3 19 70 3 1 64 94 10 13 .272 .378 .474 .374 78 98 25
pecota 538 463 75 132 30 2 19 72 4 2 63 102 10 12 .284 .384 .480 .379 83 100 28
zips 500 421 63 113 28 3 18 67 4 1 62 94 9 12 .268 .374 .477 .371 75 98 24
average 519 439 77 123 28 3 20 73 4 1 63 97 9 12 .280 .381 .488 .377 81 101 28
2012 509 438 72 103 15 2 19 60 0 0 51 108 10 17 .235 .336 .409 .331 61 78 9

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Youkilis projected to have a BABIP of around .320 but instead was around .270.  That meant about 17 fewer hits (13 of them doubles) than his average projection pro-rated to his actual 2012 PA.  His line drive percentage was no different than his 2011 rate although that doesn’t necessarily mean he was totally unlucky.  Not all line drives are created equal and it’s possible he just wasn’t hitting the ball quite as hard.  But we can’t really tell that from one season.  Here’s how he projects this year.

2013 Projections

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 455 387 70 95 19 2 18 57 3 1 52 12 91 9 .246 .349 .444 .348 61 87 23
davenport 536 463 63 115 27 3 18 67 1 1 58 15 106 11 .248 .351 .436 .348 71 86 26
marcel 506 433 71 111 24 3 19 67 3 1 56 13 100 10 .256 .356 .457 .356 70 91 28
oliver 514 441 59 107 22 2 16 60 3 1 56 13 111 10 .243 .342 .410 .335 63 80 20
steamer 498 425 61 108 24 2 18 62 2 1 56 11 102 0 .254 .351 .447 .350 68 89 26
zips 475 403 63 103 20 2 20 63 2 1 54 3 14 9 .256 .337 .464 .343 64 87 24
average 497 425 65 107 23 2 18 63 2 1 55 11 87 8 .250 .348 .443 .347 66 87 24
2012 509 438 72 103 15 2 19 60 0 0 51 17 108 10 .235 .336 .409 .331 61 78 18

The projections are pretty similar accross the board and are expecting a better Youkilis in 2013.  Not quite at his 2011 level, but about nine runs better than he was last year if he plays a full season. 

CAIRO Percentile Forecasts

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 546 464 95 126 27 4 27 78 5 2 71 18 98 7 .271 .394 .520 .399 92 109 46
65% 500 426 82 110 23 3 22 67 4 2 61 15 95 8 .259 .371 .482 .374 75 98 33
Baseline 455 387 70 95 19 2 18 57 3 1 52 12 91 9 .246 .349 .444 .348 61 87 23
35% 364 310 53 72 13 1 13 43 1 0 39 8 77 8 .233 .327 .406 .322 42 76 12
20% 273 232 37 51 9 0 8 30 1 0 27 5 60 7 .221 .304 .368 .297 27 64 4

I’m less concerned about Youkilis’s rate of performance this year and think he’ll be around the baseline.  I just worry about his health, especially since he’s likely going to be playing 3B more often than not.  Speaking of 3B…

Defense

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
kevin youkilis 1b 375 3 1 2 2 6
kevin youkilis 3b 804 -1 -3 0 -1 -2

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating
p150: Average defense pro-rated to 150 games

Youkilis projects a hair above average at 1B and a hair below average at 3B.  He also projects as a slightly-below average baserunner (-0.5 runs).

Value
If we assume Youkilis will be worth about 2 runs below average at 3B this year defensively and he gets his average projected PA total of 497, here are how his projections translate to an estimated value.

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 22 -2 2.0
davenport 25 -2 2.3
marcel 28 -2 2.6
oliver 20 -2 1.8
steamer 26 -2 2.4
zips 23 -2 2.1
average 24 -2 2.2

The consensus is a bit above average, which likely makes his $12M one year deal fair if a marginal win is worth $6M to the Yankees.  This is assuming he’ll be a full-time 3B, so I guess you need to account for the position-adjustment if he plays 1B and DHs some, although that flexibility may have value that a positional adjustment wouldn’t capture.

I never really hated Youkilis the way a lot of Yankee fans did.  I didn’t like him, but I never felt hatred for him.  I don’t think I’ll have a hard time accepting him as a Yankee.  While I don’t think he has any chance of coming close to the .308/.404/.560 line he averaged from 2008-2010, I think he’ll be pretty good when he can play.  Hopefully that’s just about every day.

--Posted at 9:42 am by SG / 95 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jon Heyman’s Off The Cuff 1B Suggestions

Not that NYY asked, but some off-the-cuff 1B suggestions: cuddyer, morneau, c pena, dobbs, kotchman, carlos lee, huff

Eh, let’s run through each of their CAIRO projections as 1B for the Yankees, with one additional name.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
Dan Johnson 650 555 78 134 25 0 29 90 1 1 87 124 13 6 .241 .349 .444 .348 87 7
Morneau 650 576 77 154 34 1 25 92 2 1 60 110 17 5 .267 .337 .458 .344 87 7
Pena 650 541 76 114 24 1 31 89 3 3 94 184 8 9 .210 .333 .428 .335 82 2
Cuddyer 650 588 90 151 34 2 24 83 9 3 53 114 21 3 .257 .320 .445 .331 81 2
Huff 650 571 66 145 30 2 20 81 5 3 69 98 15 5 .254 .338 .420 .334 80 0
Lee 650 589 63 155 30 2 17 90 4 2 54 62 14 3 .264 .326 .408 .323 75 -4
Kotchman 650 589 55 149 24 1 16 73 3 1 49 77 17 9 .253 .318 .377 .310 68 -12
Dobbs 650 601 58 152 28 1 15 73 5 2 36 121 15 3 .253 .294 .377 .294 63 -16

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Johnson’s got a total of 262 MLB PA over the last four seasons where he’s hit .184/.313/.373.  So his projection is based pretty heavily on his 1408 AAA PA over the last three years where he’s hit .279/.399/.521.  He’ll be 33, and I tend to think there’s a reason he hasn’t gotten more of a chance at regular big league playing time.  Even with that being said, I see no reason to think he’s any worse of an option than the people Heyman names, especially as a LHB who’ll have the platoon advantage more often than not. 

I guess we can do a Looking Ahead to 2013, Dan Johnson edition while we’re at it.  Here are his projections in all the systems I have access to.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 540 461 64 111 21 0 24 72 1 1 72 5 103 11 .241 .349 .444 .348 72 87 17
davenport 67 57 7 14 2 0 3 7 0 0 9 0 13 1 .246 .345 .439 .342 9 84 2
marcel 225 195 26 44 8 1 8 26 3 1 25 2 43 4 .226 .317 .400 .315 25 73 2
oliver 554 470 69 117 22 0 25 79 1 0 74 5 106 10 .249 .355 .455 .354 77 90 20
steamer 56 48 6 11 2 0 2 6 0 0 7 0 10 0 .229 .323 .396 .316 6 74 1
zips 530 455 59 107 17 1 20 65 1 0 65 5 4 100 .235 .334 .409 .329 54 67 0
average 329 281 39 67 12 0 14 43 1 0 42 3 47 21 .240 .342 .431 .340 41 80 7
2012 31 22 8 8 1 0 3 6 0 0 9 0 3 0 .364 .548 .818 .554 9 178 5

CAIRO, Davenport and Oliver are a lot more bullish on Johnson than the other systems, which see him as essentially replacement level.

And here are his percentile forecasts in CAIRO.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 648 553 87 146 30 1 35 100 3 0 97 112 9 8 .264 .388 .511 .393 107 27
65% 594 507 75 128 25 1 29 87 2 0 84 108 10 6 .253 .368 .477 .371 89 16
Baseline 540 461 64 111 21 0 24 75 1 1 72 103 11 5 .241 .349 .444 .348 72 6
35% 486 415 54 95 17 0 19 63 1 1 61 98 11 3 .230 .329 .410 .326 57 -2
20% 432 369 45 81 13 0 15 53 0 1 51 91 11 2 .219 .309 .376 .303 44 -9

We really don’t have enough data for Johnson’s baserunning and defense, but he has been a shade below average in both in MLB.

Here are his projected wOBA platoon splits.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .376 .400
65% .355 .377
Baseline .333 .354
35% .312 .331
20% .290 .308

What’s interesting to me is this.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .410 .392
65% .386 .369
Baseline .362 .346
35% .338 .324
20% .314 .301

Those are Mark Teixeira’s projected platoon splits.  CAIRO actually thinks Johnson is a better option vs. RHP than Teixeira, although the standard caveat about the limitations of projections applies.

I say give Johnson a shot.  The offensive difference between 200 PA of Johnson and 200 PA of Teixeira only projects to be a run or two in CAIRO, and the defensive difference projects similarly.  So maybe the Yankees will only lose a half win or so.

--Posted at 8:00 am by SG / 22 Comments | - (0)




Monday, March 4, 2013

Looking Ahead to 2013 - Mark Teixeira

I usually start these with catcher, but since catcher will likely be one of the biggest holes on the team I’m starting with 1B.

For the fourth straight season, Mark Teixeira’s performance declined.  That’s normal for a player as he moves from age 29-32, but that doesn’t mean Teixeira hasn’t been a disappointment.  That’s easy enough to see if you compare his 2012 projections to his actual 2012 performance.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 692 594 98 156 34 1 33 109 3 1 81 113 14 11 .263 .359 .493 .368 104 97 33
davenport 656 570 90 150 31 2 35 103 3 2 75 112 12 11 .263 .360 .509 .375 101 100 29
marcel 613 528 85 137 29 1 30 94 3 1 69 103 12 10 .259 .352 .489 .363 90 95 27
oliver 647 560 80 142 32 1 28 92 1 1 71 101 13 10 .254 .345 .464 .351 89 89 23
pecota 700 604 98 164 35 1 34 100 2 1 85 122 14 11 .271 .371 .501 .379 109 101 37
zips 655 562 88 148 32 1 32 109 2 1 76 112 13 11 .263 .359 .495 .368 98 97 31
average 661 567 94 149 32 1 32 101 2 1 76 110 13 11 .263 .357 .494 .367 99 97 31
2012 524 451 66 113 27 1 24 84 2 1 54 83 11 7 .251 .332 .475 .345 72 89 18

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Teixeira hit worse than expected on a rate basis and also missed a large chunk of the year with a hamstring injury.  Because of that he was worth roughly 1.3 wins less than he projected to be offensively. 

The difference between Teixeira’s 2012 and his average projection pro-rated to 524 PA was essentially this.  7 singles, 1 HR and 6 BB. 

Teixeira had a good defensive season which ended up boosting his value by about a win.  He ended the year at 2.9 wins above replacement according to Fangraphs or 3.6 according to Baseball Reference. 

We’re left hoping like we have for the past two seasons that Teixeira will rebound.  Here’s what the projections say.

Projection PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
cairo 633 545 89 136 29 1 29 95 3 1 71 10 107 12 .250 .343 .469 .351 88 90 23
davenport 650 573 80 136 26 1 31 93 1 1 65 12 116 13 .237 .328 .449 .339 83 83 17
marcel 530 458 71 115 24 1 26 81 3 1 57 8 90 11 .251 .340 .478 .352 74 91 20
oliver 596 514 73 130 28 1 26 84 2 1 68 9 99 12 .253 .347 .463 .353 82 90 21
steamer 612 527 82 136 30 1 29 92 2 1 71 9 102 0 .258 .353 .484 .362 90 96 27
zips 574 492 73 126 27 1 26 90 2 1 65 3 9 11 .256 .338 .474 .348 79 89 20
average 599 518 78 130 27 1 28 89 2 1 66 8 87 10 .251 .341 .469 .351 83 90 21
2012 524 451 66 113 27 1 24 84 2 1 54 7 83 11 .251 .332 .475 .345 72 89 18

The projections are expecting the same Teixeira that we saw in 2012 but with increased playing time to be worth a bit more.  At this point it sure seems like the shift has killed his batting average against RHP, which stinks since that what he faces the majority of the time.

What if we were able to change the underlying components and assumptions in a bunch of ways to make Teixeira look better?  It may look something like these CAIRO percentile forecasts.

Percentile PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB HBP SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR
80% 759 654 118 178 41 3 42 126 5 3 95 15 116 11 .272 .379 .534 .394 127 109 49
65% 696 599 103 156 35 2 35 110 4 2 82 12 112 12 .261 .361 .502 .373 106 99 35
Baseline 633 545 89 136 29 1 29 95 3 1 71 10 107 12 .250 .342 .469 .351 88 90 23
35% 506 436 67 104 21 0 21 72 2 1 53 6 90 11 .240 .324 .437 .330 63 81 11
20% 380 327 48 75 14 0 14 51 1 0 37 4 70 10 .229 .306 .404 .308 41 71 3

I’m going with the baseline here.  I see no evidence to think Teixiera’s been all that unlucky the last few years. 

As I mentioned, Teixeira’s defense was a bright spot in 2012 and he projects similarly for 2013.

player pos Inn DRS UZR ZR avg p150
mark teixeira 1b 1261 9 6 5 7 7

DRS: Defensive runs saved
UZR: Ultimate zone rating
ZR: zone rating

Teixeira’s been about an average baserunner the last few years, and projects to be a hair below average this year (-0.7).

So what does it all mean? 

Value BRAR+BsR Def WAR
cairo 22 7 2.9
davenport 16 7 2.3
marcel 19 7 2.7
oliver 21 7 2.8
steamer 27 7 3.4
zips 20 7 2.7
average 21 7 2.8

Teixeira figures to be worth a hair under three wins this year by most of the projection systems, with Steamer the most optimistic and Clay Davenport the most pessimistic.  CAIRO has failed in its quest to make a Yankee look better than he is this time, but there are still dozens of players left to run through.

I’m pretty much done hoping for a return of the .290/.390/.550 version of Teixeira.  At this point I’d be happy with him staying on the field and reaching the CAIRO baseline projection.

--Posted at 1:58 pm by SG / 59 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CBSSports: Johnny Damon wants to be a Yankee, still bitter toward Rays

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.

--Posted at 9:07 am by SG / 51 Comments | - (0)




Monday, February 25, 2013

Who Should Replace Curtis Granderson in LF?

Obviously, losing Curtis Granderson for what looks like around 6 weeks of the regular season stings.  Based on who’s in camp, here are some CAIRO baseline projections for Granderson and the other potential candidates to fill LF.

Player B PA AB H 2B 3B HR SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BR/PA wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
Granderson L 650 566 137 21 5 33 15 5 70 159 7 6 .243 .328 .474 .345 89 0.137 .302 .360
Mustelier R 650 600 167 35 2 19 13 8 42 107 14 6 .278 .331 .437 .336 81 0.125 .350 .330
Neal R 650 595 155 34 2 14 10 9 46 135 15 9 .260 .322 .394 .318 71 0.109 .331 .312
Rivera R 650 591 147 28 1 21 4 4 47 91 20 5 .249 .305 .406 .310 70 0.107 .325 .303
Diaz R 650 592 148 32 2 14 9 4 42 130 20 8 .250 .305 .382 .303 67 0.103 .319 .287
Almonte S 650 602 139 28 2 21 17 9 43 169 13 5 .230 .287 .389 .296 65 0.100 .296 .296
Mesa R 650 598 131 28 3 22 21 13 44 206 13 7 .220 .281 .388 .293 63 0.097 .305 .287
Garcia R 650 601 140 38 2 15 7 9 40 125 15 6 .232 .285 .377 .291 61 0.094 .303 .285

BR: Linear weights batting runs
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

I’ve sorted the list by BR/PA and pro-rated everyone to 650 PA.  Ronnier Mustelier projects to be the best offensive replacement in the list and it’s really not close.  However, his defense is questionable.  After that there really isn’t a ton of separation between the rest of the candidates on offense.  One thing worth noting is that every single player with the exception of Almonte projects better than Granderson vs. LHP, which really means you’re only losing that .360 wOBA vs. RHP which should account for at most about 2/3 of the total time Granderson will miss.

I’m kind of hoping Mustelier hits enough to claim the spot because he’s got some positional flexibility and because I fear the Yankees’ preference will be to go with Rivera or Diaz because of their veteranness even if they are both cooked.  But really it probably doesn’t matter who the Yankees decide to go with, at least on offense.  If you give each player 150 PA here’s how many BR they project to provide.

Player BR/150
Granderson 20.6
Mustelier 18.8
Neal 16.4
Rivera 16.1
Diaz 15.4
Almonte 15.0
Mesa 14.6
Garcia 14.1

Defense and baserunning is likely an issue, although I doubt it’d be more than 5 runs over 150 PAs worth of games.  But it may tip the scales in favor of someone like Mesa who by all accounts is a very good defensive player and baserunner(until he gets to third base). 

So at worst, the Yankees should only lose about one win assuming Granderson can come back by mid-May.  Hopefully he doesn’t suffer any lingering effects from this injury.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)




Friday, February 15, 2013

NJ.com: McCullough: Nova hopes to rebound from miserable second half of 2012

TAMPA, Fla. – Do you like sabermetrics? I like sabermetrics. I appreciate how statistics underpin the game. You should remember this, going forward.

As a sabermetrically-inclined person, I looked at some of Yankee starter Ivan Nova’s statistics and saw a pitcher who took a step forward in 2012. He raised his strikeout rate from 5.3 per nine in 2011 to 8.1 last year, while maintaining his walk rate (3.1 in 2011, 3.0 in 2012). He lowered his xFIP from 4.16 to 3.92.

If you subscribe to DIPS* theory, as I do, you would posit that Nova experienced progress from his 16-win campaign in 2011. You might even say he had a good year.

But, of course, Ivan Nova did not have a good year. Ivan Nova had a terrible year. His ERA was 5.03. His ERA was 6.38 after June. He missed two weeks with an inflamed rotator cuff. Manager Joe Girardi twice left him off the postseason roster.

If you’re looking for one way for the Yankees to add to their projected win total, McCullough’s on the right track with this.  The question is if Nova’s improved walk and strikeout rate came at the expense of leaving more hittable pitches over the middle of the plate, or if he had some bad fortune last year and can take the gains between 2011 to 2012 forward and pitch closer to that 3.92 xFIP than his 5.02 2012 ERA.  Nova’s baseline CAIRO RA is 4.99.  If he can pitch to his 80% forecasted RA of 4.36 over 164 innings, that’s a 1.1 win improvement.

I’m cautiously optimistic on Nova, but I was cautiously optimistic all of 2012 too…

--Posted at 7:26 am by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

CAIRO 2013 v0.4 and Still Slightly Early and Somewhat Useless 2013 Projected MLB Standings

I found some problems with my pitcher WAR calculations so I’ve made an update to CAIRO which is now up to version 0.4.  It can be downloaded at the following link.

cairo_2013_v0.4.zip.
Version v0.5 now available.  cairo_2013_v0.5.zip

Aside from the pitcher WAR fix the only other changes are moving players to new teams.  And for the hell of it, I ran more projected standings reflecting those moves.

Date 2/12/2013
Iterations 100000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 90 72 810 727 29.1% 10.2% 9.6% 48.9%
Rays 88 74 715 645 25.4% 10.2% 9.6% 45.2%
Yankees 87 75 790 739 24.2% 9.6% 9.1% 42.9%
Red Sox 82 80 812 798 15.0% 7.2% 7.8% 30.0%
Orioles 76 86 731 790 6.2% 3.5% 4.7% 14.4%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Tigers 87 75 800 735 40.1% 5.6% 6.9% 52.6%
Indians 81 81 746 735 21.8% 5.1% 6.0% 32.8%
Royals 80 82 723 734 19.2% 4.9% 5.7% 29.7%
White Sox 77 85 730 783 15.1% 3.7% 4.8% 23.6%
Twins 66 96 694 837 3.8% 0.9% 1.7% 6.4%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Angels 91 71 757 652 35.9% 12.0% 9.5% 57.3%
Rangers 89 73 795 722 31.7% 12.5% 9.8% 54.0%
Athletics 87 75 731 675 26.2% 11.5% 9.9% 47.6%
Mariners 73 89 668 724 5.7% 3.0% 4.4% 13.1%
Astros 58 104 647 894 0.5% 0.3% 0.6% 1.4%
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Nationals 92 70 707 592 46.7% 10.5% 8.2% 65.4%
Braves 88 74 682 632 28.0% 11.5% 8.8% 48.3%
Phillies 82 80 665 668 17.1% 8.2% 8.3% 33.5%
Mets 73 89 666 721 6.0% 3.4% 4.5% 13.9%
Marlins 66 96 625 759 2.2% 1.2% 2.1% 5.5%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Reds 91 71 746 650 41.9% 9.5% 7.6% 59.0%
Cardinals 86 76 699 660 27.3% 8.6% 8.0% 43.9%
Brewers 78 84 713 751 12.7% 5.2% 5.9% 23.8%
Pirates 78 84 670 691 11.7% 4.9% 6.3% 22.9%
Cubs 73 89 646 707 6.4% 2.8% 3.7% 12.8%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Dodgers 89 73 689 609 32.5% 9.3% 8.7% 50.6%
Giants 88 74 673 606 28.9% 8.5% 9.4% 46.7%
Diamondbacks 84 78 705 684 20.7% 8.1% 8.3% 37.1%
Padres 80 82 663 670 12.9% 5.6% 6.8% 25.3%
Rockies 72 90 776 884 5.0% 2.7% 3.6% 11.3%

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)

The big mover here is Cleveland, as they’ve gained 7 wins from the last set of projected standings and now look like about a .500 team.  The Yankees stayed where they were, at about 87 wins and third place in the East. 

I probably won’t run more standings until right before the season starts, which will include other projection systems and better rosters and depth charts.  Then they’ll probably be only kind of useless.

--Posted at 6:33 am by SG / 70 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, February 7, 2013

NY Times: Report Clouds the Picture on Yankees’ Catching

The Yankees’ thin catching corps was left more vulnerable when it was revealed Tuesday that Francisco Cervelli, one of the two leading candidates to be the team’s starting catcher, had visited a Miami clinic under investigation for dispensing performance-enhancing drugs.

Cervelli said on his Twitter account that he took no banned substances and was only seeking “legal ways” to heal a foot injury he sustained in March 2011.

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman said he could not discuss the issue because it was in the hands of Major League Baseball, but he said nothing had happened in the last 24 hours that would make him rethink the Yankees’ plans at catcher.

“We have Cervelli and Chris Stewart, with Austin Romine on the outside looking in,” he said.

Based on what’s come out so far, it doesn’t seem like there’s enough evidence that Cervelli will be suspended.  I don’t know if Cervelli or Stewart is the better option for primary catcher.  Cervelli projects to be the better offensive player, but Stewart has the edge defensively.  For the projections I have now (CAIRO, Clay Davenport, Marcel, Oliver and Steamer) Cervelli would project to be worth about 64 runs per 650 PA(.248/.318/.352) and Stewart would project to be worth about 61(.237/.304/.349).  Based on the defensive numbers we have for both, Stewart probably makes up the difference.  Cervelli projects to be worth about 2 runs worse than average over 130 games, Stewart projects at around 14 runs above average, with the appropriate small sample size issues for both.

The problem with losing Cervelli would be having Austin Romine on the big league roster when he’s likely to get sporadic playing time.  He’d be best served playing full-time in AAA in my opinion.

But I am guessing it will be a non-issue.

--Posted at 9:05 am by SG / 30 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yankees.com: Yankees interested in Hafner for vacant DH role

NEW YORK—The Yankees have expressed interest in free-agent slugger Travis Hafner, as the club is looking toward the remaining late-winter options for its designated hitter slot.

Hafner, 35, batted .228 with 12 home runs and 34 RBIs in 64 games for the Indians last season, and is among a group of players the Yankees are looking at to serve in a DH role.

Cleveland cut ties with Hafner in October, choosing to pay the left-handed hitter a $2.75 million buyout instead of a $13 million option for the 2013 season, but the Indians and Hafner are believed to have remained in contact.

Hafner, the owner of 201 home runs over 11 seasons, has not played the field in a big league game since 2007. As a full-time DH with the Yankees, he would essentially fill the role envisioned last season for Raul Ibanez.

Hafner hasn’t been able to stay healthy and he can’t play defense at all, but the Yankees could use a lefty DH and he’s about as good of an option as any that would be available on their terms.  He’s not the power hitter that led the AL in OPS+ a few years back but he still projects to get on base at a good clip and may be well-positioned to take advantage of a disgraceful bandbox.  Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts in said disgraceful bandbox.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 372 323 44 94 20 2 18 58 3 0 47 63 4 10 .291 .407 .539 .414 67 18
65% 341 296 38 81 17 1 15 49 2 0 40 62 5 8 .275 .381 .494 .383 54 10
Baseline 310 269 31 70 13 1 12 42 1 0 34 60 6 6 .260 .354 .449 .353 42 2
35% 279 242 26 59 10 0 9 35 1 1 28 58 6 4 .244 .327 .404 .322 32 -4
20% 248 215 21 49 8 0 7 28 0 1 22 54 7 3 .229 .300 .359 .291 23 -9

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

If he can stay healthy, he probably gets a few more than those 310 baseline PAs.  Here are his projected platoon splits for wOBA.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .375 .416
65% .351 .390
Baseline .328 .364
35% .304 .338
20% .280 .311

I have no idea who the Yankees would use at DH if they don’t sign Hafner.  The best option is probably Russ Canzler who projects to have a wOBA of .315 vs RHP.  Over 400 PA, the difference between that .315 wOBA and Hafner’s .364 projection vs. RHP would be worth close to 17 runs. 

I’d like to see them sign Hafner but keep Canzler as well since he has more positional flexibility (as in more than none).  I’m not sure the Yankees will do that though.  But I’d be cool with Pronk for one year in the $5M area.

--Posted at 1:45 pm by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, January 29, 2013

NY Times: Yankees Sign Juan Rivera to Minor League Deal

The Yankees signed the right-handed-hitting outfielder Juan Rivera to a minor league deal, according to a person with knowledge of the agreement. Rivera, a 34-year-old veteran from Venezuela, will compete with Matt Diaz and Russ Canzler for a spot as a reserve outfielder.

I don’t know how much Rivera has left, but on a minor league deal he’s worth a flier I guess.  Here are his CAIRO projections as a Yankee.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 316 287 38 81 18 1 14 53 3 0 28 36 6 4 .283 .359 .498 .373 49 12
65% 279 254 30 68 14 1 11 44 2 1 22 35 7 3 .266 .332 .453 .342 37 4
Baseline 243 221 24 55 10 0 8 35 1 1 17 34 8 2 .249 .306 .407 .311 26 -2
35% 219 199 19 46 8 0 6 29 1 2 14 33 8 1 .233 .279 .361 .280 19 -7
20% 194 177 15 38 6 0 4 23 0 2 11 32 8 0 .216 .253 .316 .249 12 -10
Baseline 243 221 24 55 10 0 8 35 1 1 17 34 8 2 .249 .306 .407 .311 26 -2

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

Since he’s likely to be a platoon player if anything, here are his projected wOBA splits.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .373 .348
65% .349 .326
Baseline .326 .304
35% .302 .282
20% .279 .260

So who’s the best choice between Rivera, Canzler and Diaz?  Here’s how their baseline platoon splits compare.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
Rivera .326 .304
Canzler .334 .315
Diaz .321 .288

Canzler’s projection is based more on his MLEs, but given his positional flexibility and relative youth I think he’s the best option.  But we’ll see how it all shakes out.

--Posted at 8:17 am by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)




Monday, January 28, 2013

CAIRO 2013 v0.3 and Still Too Early and Mostly Useless 2013 Projected MLB Standings

I figured it was about time for an update to CAIRO, so here it is.  The spreadsheet can be download via the following link:

cairo_2013_v0.3.zip.

Update: CAIRO v0.5 is now available

As far as what’s changed, not a ton aside from moving players to new teams but there are a couple of updates.
- Added Hiroyuki Nakajima and Ryu Hyun-jin
- Found major problems with Carlos Gonzalez’s projection (apparently there are about 50 Carlos Gonzalezs playing professional baseball) and corrected them
- Fixed some playing time issues with a few players

Things like wins/losses and saves haven’t been adjusted for team strength and expected roles so those will change as we get closer to the start of the season.  Other than that most changes should be limited to fixing any other errors I find or moving players to new teams.

Here’s how this update sees the projected standings as of this morning.  Rosters are current through all moves as of last night. 

Date 1/28/2013
Iterations 100000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 91 71 809 720 31.0% 10.3% 9.8% 51.1%
Rays 88 74 709 641 24.8% 10.0% 9.2% 44.0%
Yankees 87 75 778 735 22.9% 9.3% 9.4% 41.6%
Red Sox 83 79 811 796 14.7% 6.7% 8.1% 29.4%
Orioles 76 86 726 782 6.5% 3.8% 4.6% 14.9%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Tigers 89 73 800 717 44.9% 6.1% 6.9% 58.0%
Royals 82 80 724 715 24.1% 6.2% 6.8% 37.0%
White Sox 78 84 731 770 16.4% 4.7% 5.6% 26.7%
Indians 74 88 703 761 10.2% 2.7% 4.1% 17.0%
Twins 67 95 695 830 4.4% 1.1% 2.2% 7.7%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Angels 93 69 759 636 43.2% 12.8% 9.0% 65.1%
Rangers 90 72 797 719 31.1% 13.0% 10.6% 54.7%
Athletics 86 76 720 679 22.4% 11.4% 10.3% 44.1%
Mariners 67 95 635 748 2.5% 1.4% 2.5% 6.3%
Astros 61 101 663 871 0.8% 0.6% 1.1% 2.5%
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Nationals 93 69 702 586 47.8% 10.3% 7.6% 65.7%
Braves 86 76 677 640 26.9% 10.1% 8.3% 45.3%
Phillies 81 81 661 671 15.8% 8.0% 7.9% 31.7%
Mets 72 90 661 728 5.6% 2.9% 4.3% 12.9%
Marlins 69 93 616 721 4.0% 1.7% 2.8% 8.4%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Reds 90 72 739 659 38.7% 8.4% 8.0% 55.0%
Cardinals 87 75 696 650 30.1% 8.8% 8.5% 47.4%
Brewers 79 83 708 736 13.1% 5.7% 6.5% 25.2%
Pirates 78 84 670 688 11.5% 5.3% 6.0% 22.8%
Cubs 73 89 641 706 6.6% 3.0% 3.8% 13.4%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Giants 89 73 668 602 30.3% 9.6% 8.5% 48.4%
Dodgers 88 74 681 611 29.0% 9.1% 8.7% 46.8%
Diamondbacks 85 77 702 663 21.8% 8.0% 8.3% 38.1%
Padres 80 82 661 662 13.9% 6.4% 7.0% 27.3%
Rockies 72 90 767 871 5.1% 2.7% 3.7% 11.5%

W: Projected final 2013 wins
L: Projected final 2013 losses
RS: Projected final 2013 runs scored
RA: Projected final 2013 runs allowed
Div: Division win percentage
WC1: Wild card win percentage
WC2: Wild card win percentage
PS: Postseason percentage (Div + WC1 + WC2)

As the title says, this is still too early and mostly useless.  So view them in that way.

--Posted at 9:32 am by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lohud: Jennings: Yankees have no interest in Kottaras

Was told today that the Yankees have no interest in C George Kottaras, who was recently DFA by Oakland.

CAIRO says Kottaras would project to hit around .235/.330/.416 as a Yankee.  More importantly than that, he’d project to have a wOBA of .334 vs. RHP, in contract to Francisco Cervelli’s projected wOBA of .292 vs. RHP and Chris Stewart’s projected wOBA of .283 vs. RHP.  About 400 of the Yankees 619 catcher PAs last season came against RHP.  Here’s the difference in run value over 400 PA with those numbers.

.334 vs. .292 = 14
.334 vs. .283 = 17

Is it possible defense nullifies that gap?  It’s possible, but I also think it’s doubtful. 

I really don’t get this team.

 

--Posted at 7:58 pm by SG / 68 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Alex Rodriguez Projections vs. Actuals 2008-2012

In the previous post, j wondered:

I’m just wondering what we would have projected to had he not gotten the hip injruy - which I figured would be him hitting his 50% each year since 2008 or so, and it’d probably be close to what he did in 2009.

One way to answer this question would be to look at how Rodriguez has projected since 2008 compared to how he actually ended up doing.  I have projections for four systems (Cairo, Marcel, Pecota and ZiPS) going back to 2008, and here’s what they say compared to his actual performance.

Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2008 cairo 689 581 174 27 1 43 19 4 90 128 14 .299 .403 .570 127
2008 marcel 621 525 157 26 1 36 17 4 79 118 12 .299 .399 .558 111
2008 pecota 684 572 169 34 2 36 23 4 94 130 11 .294 .401 .550 123
2008 zips 698 590 180 30 1 44 16 3 93 132 15 .305 .413 .583 132
2008 Actual 594 510 154 33 0 35 18 3 65 117 14 .302 .392 .573 109
Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2009 cairo 654 554 164 30 1 37 17 4 82 126 14 .296 .398 .553 116
2009 marcel 568 484 140 26 1 32 15 3 68 110 7 .289 .379 .545 97
2009 pecota 624 537 151 29 1 30 18 4 72 124 9 .282 .373 .508 99
2009 zips 641 548 160 30 0 37 15 17 78 124 15 .292 .395 .549 108
2009 Actual 535 444 127 17 1 30 14 2 80 97 8 .286 .402 .532 93
Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2010 cairo 605 509 144 23 1 37 18 3 79 114 12 .282 .389 .546 106
2010 marcel 527 447 128 22 1 31 15 3 66 100 10 .286 .387 .548 92
2010 pecota 541 465 134 20 1 34 10 5 64 94 12 .288 .388 .555 93
2010 zips 558 477 134 25 1 30 15 3 69 106 12 .281 .385 .526 94
2010 Actual 595 522 141 29 2 30 4 3 59 98 3 .270 .341 .506 86
Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2011 cairo 594 510 143 27 1 32 11 3 69 111 7 .280 .370 .525 96
2011 marcel 551 479 129 24 1 26 10 3 60 103 6 .269 .354 .486 81
2011 pecota 621 533 145 25 1 34 13 4 75 116 7 .272 .370 .514 98
2011 zips 537 459 127 23 1 30 10 3 63 100 6 .277 .369 .527 86
2011 Actual 428 373 103 21 0 16 4 1 47 80 5 .276 .362 .461 61
Year Projection   PA   AB   H   2B   3B   HR   SB   CS   BB   SO   HBP   AVG   OBP   SLG BR
2012 cairo 459 398 109 21 1 19 6 2 53 82 5 .273 .364 .474 67
2012 marcel 474 412 110 21 1 20 7 2 51 86 5 .267 .350 .468 66
2012 pecota 572 499 137 24 1 30 9 2 67 112 6 .275 .368 .507 89
2012 zips 466 405 107 20 1 21 7 2 51 89 5 .264 .350 .474 66
2012 Actual 529 463 126 17 1 18 13 1 51 116 10 .272 .353 .430 70

Season by season doesn’t necessarily tell us as much as the totals would, so here are those.

Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2008-2012 cairo 3001 2552 734 128 5 168 71 16 373 561 52 .288 .386 .539 511
2008-2012 marcel 2741 2347 664 119 5 145 64 15 324 517 40 .283 .375 .523 447
2008-2012 pecota 3042 2606 736 132 6 164 73 19 372 576 45 .282 .379 .526 502
2008-2012 zips 2900 2479 708 128 4 162 63 28 354 551 53 .286 .385 .537 486
2008-2012 Actual 2681 2312 651 117 4 129 53 10 302 508 40 .282 .370 .503 419

I’d like to thank A-Rod for making CAIRO look terrible, although ZiPS essentially projected the same numbers aside from SB/CS.  But really, this chart shows how much worse Rodriguez has been than expected.  In terms of BR (linear weights batting runs) he’s been worth anywhere from 26 to 92 fewer runs than expected.

If Rodriguez had hit his projections over each of the last four seasons and if we give those seasons a 4/3/2/1 weight by recency here’s how Rodriguez would project in 2013 (minus any other regression or aging).

Year Projection   PA  AB   H  2B   3B  HR   SB  CS   BB  SO   HBP  AVG   OBP  SLG BR
2013 cairo 548 469 132 24 1 28 11 3 66 102 8 .281 .375 .517 88
2013 marcel 517 446 122 23 1 25 10 3 58 96 7 .274 .362 .499 79
2013 pecota 586 506 140 24 1 32 11 3 69 111 8 .277 .371 .518 94
2013 zips 523 450 124 23 1 27 10 4 61 99 8 .275 .368 .511 82

One thing to consider is that if his performance has been affected by his hip to the point where it’s manifesting itself in his actual performance, that is also dragging down his projection in each subsequent season.  So in theory he’d project even better than any of those lines.

I don’t have all the projections for 2013 yet, but CAIRO says .263/.339/.433 and my unofficial version of Marcel says .265/.341/.451.

We really have no idea if the hip injury is to blame for Rodriguez’s steeper than expected decline in his rate of performance.  It certainly seems like a major reason, but it’s not the only possible explanation.  So while there’s a chance that correcting this issue can help him be more productive going forward, I wouldn’t count on it.

But who knows?

--Posted at 1:43 pm by SG / 24 Comments | - (0)




Monday, January 7, 2013

Swapping Russ Canzler for Chris Dickerson

When I saw that the Yankees had picked up Russ Canzler off waivers I was intrigued.  However, when it turned out to come at the likely loss of Chris Dickerson I was a bit less happy about it.  But let’s take a look at what CAIRO thinks about the swap.

Here are Canzler’s CAIRO percentile forecasts.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 480 435 60 119 32 3 20 67 5 2 49 111 6 6 .274 .362 .500 .376 75 20
65% 440 398 52 104 27 2 16 57 4 2 42 107 7 4 .261 .340 .462 .351 60 10
Baseline 400 362 44 90 22 1 13 49 3 3 35 102 8 3 .248 .319 .425 .326 47 1
35% 360 326 36 76 18 1 10 41 2 4 29 97 8 2 .235 .298 .387 .300 36 -6
20% 320 290 30 64 14 0 8 33 1 4 23 90 8 1 .221 .276 .349 .275 26 -11

And here are Dickerson’s.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 480 417 76 118 28 4 14 47 27 3 65 112 5 6 .283 .393 .473 .384 80 24
65% 440 382 66 103 23 3 11 40 23 4 56 108 6 5 .269 .370 .436 .359 64 14
Baseline 400 347 56 89 19 2 9 33 19 4 47 103 7 3 .256 .348 .399 .333 51 5
35% 360 313 47 76 15 1 7 28 15 5 39 98 8 2 .242 .325 .362 .308 39 -3
20% 320 278 39 63 12 1 5 22 11 5 32 91 8 1 .229 .302 .325 .283 28 -9

In a vacuum over 400 PA, Canzler doesn’t project as well as Dickerson.  Of course, with an all left-handed starting OF, the more important consideration is their respective projected platoon splits.

Canzler Dickerson
% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .392 .370 .355 .390
65% .366 .345 .331 .364
Baseline .339 .320 .308 .338
35% .313 .295 .284 .312
20% .286 .270 .261 .287

In terms of runs, over 250 PA Canzler’s projected wOBA of .339 vs. LHP would be worth about 7 runs more than Dickerson’s projected wOBA of .308.  Dickerson’s almost certainly the better defender and baserunner and could play CF, but the Yankees already have three outfielders that can play CF.  The fact that Canzler can play the OF corners as well as 3B and 1B behind Kevin Youkilis whose health is a pretty significant concern in and of itself probably makes Canzler a more valuable piece of the roster.

Obviously we’re dealing with projectons and the inherent limitations therein, so there are huge error bars around all of this. So keep that in mind.

I’d like to see Dickerson get a chance somewhere (seems like a no-brainer for Houston) and think he’ll do pretty well if he gets that chance, but it seems to me that this was a pretty good move on its face.

--Posted at 9:05 am by SG / 10 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, December 26, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Yankees To Sign Matt Diaz

The Yankees have agreed to terms with Matt Diaz on a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (on Twitter).  Feinsand tipped the signing earlier this week when he noted that the outfielder would be a potential fit for the Bombers.

Eh.  Diaz hasn’t been good since 2009, and CAIRO projects him as worse than replacement level in LF.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 347 316 41 89 22 3 11 46 7 0 28 59 7 7 .283 .359 .469 .364 51 11
65% 307 280 33 75 17 2 8 38 5 1 23 57 8 5 .267 .333 .427 .334 39 3
Baseline 267 243 26 61 13 1 6 30 4 2 18 53 8 3 .251 .307 .384 .304 28 -3
35% 240 219 21 51 10 0 4 25 2 2 14 51 9 2 .235 .281 .342 .275 20 -8
20% 214 195 17 43 8 0 3 20 1 2 11 48 9 1 .219 .255 .299 .245 13 -12

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

He does have a pretty good career split vs. LHP, and here are his wOBA platoon split projections.

% wOBA vs L wOBA vs R
80% .383 .344
65% .352 .316
Baseline .321 .288
35% .290 .260
20% .258 .232

He’s battled injuries the last few years so maybe good health and a disgraceful bandbox will help him out.  It worked for Eric Chavez.

It’s a minor league deal so it doesn’t hurt to take a flier on him I guess.  He projects as a slightly below average defender in LF and RF and can’t play CF, but the Yankees do have three or four (if they keep Chris Dickerson) OF who can play CF so that’s not really an issue.

--Posted at 7:24 pm by SG / 16 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NYDN: Dickey to Jays makes Girardi’s job tougher

Joe Girardi’s job got a little tougher this week — and he knows it.

The Blue Jays continued their busy winter, trading four players to the Mets in exchange for R.A. Dickey, the National League’s reigning Cy Young Award winner.

Dickey joins a rotation that had already bulked up with the additions of Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, adding them to incumbent starters Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero to form a very deep starting five.

“The Blue Jays have done a lot to improve their team,” Girardi said in an e-mail to the Daily News. “Adding a pitcher like Dickey gives them another quality starter at the top of their rotation. When you look at Toronto’s rotation, it now has a lot of different looks and a lot of experience with Johnson, Buehrle and now Dickey.”

I don’t expect Dickey to repeat his 2012, but CAIRO still likes him a lot in 2013.  As a Jay he projects to put up an ERA of around 3.65 over 211 innings which would be worth somewhere in the area of 4.5 - 5 wins.  Here’s how the AL East now projects adding Dickey to the Jays, Stephen Drew to the Red Sox and a few other tweaks to the other teams’ depth charts.

TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 90 72 805 724 28.2% 10.3% 9.9% 48.4%
Yankees 88 74 790 739 24.4% 10.4% 9.7% 44.5%
Rays 87 75 699 636 23.9% 9.8% 9.2% 42.9%
Red Sox 84 78 815 782 16.6% 7.8% 8.5% 32.9%
Orioles 77 85 729 781 6.8% 4.1% 5.6% 16.6%

The teams are still pretty tightly bunched, but Toronto’s got a bit of a separation from the pack now.  Anyway, projected standings in December don’t really tell us all that much so please Orioles fans don’t kill me.

--Posted at 9:09 am by SG / 36 Comments | - (0)




Monday, December 17, 2012

NY Post: Yankees’ Cashman: ‘More work to do’

“We have more work to do,’’ said general manager Brian Cashman, who is looking for a right-handed hitting outfielder and somebody to absorb DH at-bats. “But a lot of the players who were substantial contributors over the last number of years have been January signs.’’

I’m starting to think the Yankees’ best option for a RH backup OF is Ronnier Mustelier.  Then they can try and get the best available bat that will sign for one year to DH, be it the Shockmaster™ or Lance Berkman maybe?  CAIRO would project Berkman to hit around .270/.383/.475 in 408 PA, which would be worth about 10 runs better than a replacement-level DH.  Plus he can backup 1B and can probably play a pinch of RF if needed.

--Posted at 10:54 am by SG / 55 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

How Does Signing Youkilis Impact the AL East?

I re-ran my projected standings with Kevin Youkilis getting 500 PA split among 3B, 1B and DH and here’s how it impacted the AL East projected standings.

Before:

TM  W   Div  WC1   WC2  PS%
Rays 86.0 25.8% 8.4% 10.2% 44.4%
Blue Jays 86.0 25.3% 9.2% 8.2% 42.7%
Yankees 85.0 23.0% 8.6% 7.7% 39.3%
Red Sox 84.0 20.1% 7.7% 8.4% 36.2%
Orioles 73.0 5.8% 3.1% 5.0% 13.9%

After:

TM W Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 86.5 25.3% 9.0% 8.7% 42.9%
Yankees 86.4 25.0% 8.7% 9.2% 42.9%
Rays 86.0 24.6% 8.7% 8.8% 42.1%
Red Sox 82.6 17.9% 6.9% 8.4% 33.2%
Orioles 74.1 7.3% 3.7% 4.8% 15.8%

Difference:

TM W Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Blue Jays 0.5 -0.2% 0.5% 0.2% 0.7%
Yankees 1.4 0.1% 1.5% 3.6% 5.0%
Rays 0.0 0.3% -1.4% -2.3% -3.6%
Red Sox -1.4 -0.8% 0.0% -3.0% -3.0%
Orioles 1.1 0.6% -0.2% 1.9% 1.7%

This includes all the other moves that were made since I ran these as well as some adjustments in playing time so that also affects this, but basically adding Youkilis if he can get 500 PA is worth about a win and a half or so.  Is that worth $12M?  It depends on how much you value a 5% increase in qualifying for the postseason I guess.

--Posted at 8:24 am by SG / 65 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, December 11, 2012

MLB: Yanks agree to one-year deal with Youkilis

Kevin Youkilis and the Yankees have agreed to a one-year, $12 million contract, pending a physical, according to a source.

Youkilis, who will turn 34 in March, was one of the top corner infielders available on the free-agent market. He will fill in at third base while Alex Rodriguez recovers from left hip surgery that he’s expected to undergo in January. Rodriguez is likely to be sidelined for four to six months after the operation.

Youkilis has obviously struggled with performance and health over the last two years, but he’s not far removed from being one of the better hitters in baseball.  Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts as a Yankee.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 592 503 102 137 30 4 29 87 5 0 77 106 8 20 .271 .394 .520 .399 100 41
65% 523 445 86 115 24 3 23 72 4 1 64 99 8 16 .259 .371 .482 .374 79 26
Baseline 455 387 70 95 19 2 18 59 3 1 52 91 9 12 .246 .349 .444 .348 61 15
35% 410 348 60 81 15 1 15 50 2 1 43 86 9 9 .233 .327 .406 .323 47 6
20% 364 310 50 68 11 0 11 41 1 2 36 81 9 7 .221 .304 .368 .297 35 -1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

His BRAR are as a 3B, so assuming he sees time at 1B and DH he’d be a bit less valuable but if he can get more than those 455 baseline PAs he probably gets close to about 2 wins in value and may push the Yankees back to the top of the AL East.  He projects a bit below average as a 3B and a bit better than average as a 1B defensively and has generally been about average on the bases although he was about 3 runs worse than that in 2012.

We learned to root for Wade Boggs and we learned to root for Roger Clemens.  Hopefully Youkilis forces us to root for him too.

--Posted at 6:57 pm by SG / 28 Comments | - (0)



Newsday: Yankees, Ichiro Suzuki reportedly closing in on one-year deal

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.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 699 655 81 213 35 6 13 64 38 5 41 68 6 4 .325 .369 .458 .363 106 25
65% 695 651 77 205 32 5 12 60 35 6 38 72 7 3 .314 .353 .433 .345 96 15
Baseline 692 648 72 197 29 4 10 56 32 7 35 76 9 2 .304 .338 .407 .328 86 6
35% 554 518 54 152 21 2 7 42 24 7 25 64 8 1 .293 .322 .382 .310 61 -3
20% 484 454 44 128 16 1 5 34 19 7 20 59 8 1 .282 .307 .356 .292 46 -9

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

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
80% .359 .365
65% .341 .347
Baseline .324 .329
35% .306 .312
20% .289 .294

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.

--Posted at 8:51 am by SG / 59 Comments | - (0)




Monday, December 10, 2012

CAIRO 2013 v0.2’s Extremely Early and Completely Useless 2013 Projected MLB Standings

Since I was curious about how the big trade between Kansas City and Tampa Bay affected the AL East, I ran some projected standings based on rosters as of last night.  As the title says, this is extremely early and completely useless so think of it more as a goof than anything too serious.  So using CAIRO v0.2 and the depth charts from MLB Depth Charts and Rotochamp as a rough gauge of playing time, here’s how the 2013 MLB season looks as of December 10.

Update: CAIRO v0.5 is now available

Date 12/10/2012
Iterations 100000
American League
TM W L RS RA Div WC1 WC2 PS%
Rays 86 76 698 643 25.8% 8.4% 10.2% 44.4%
Blue Jays 86 76 789 741 25.3% 9.2% 8.2% 42.7%
Yankees 85 77 771 738 23.0% 8.6% 7.7% 39.3%
Red Sox 84 78 788 759 20.1% 7.7% 8.4% 36.2%
Orioles 73 89 718 780 5.8% 3.1% 5.0% 13.9%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Tigers 91 71 791 709 46.2% 7.3% 6.0% 59.5%
Royals 84 78 717 701 24.7% 6.4% 8.3% 39.4%
White Sox 80 82 725 755 18.2% 4.4% 6.5% 29.0%
Indians 73 89 692 768 7.3% 2.7% 4.0% 14.0%
Twins 65 97 696 854 3.7% 1.6% 1.6% 6.9%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Angels 95 67 726 616 43.4% 12.8% 9.3% 65.6%
Rangers 88 74 762 699 24.7% 12.1% 10.6% 47.5%
Athletics 88 74 712 653 25.2% 11.0% 8.6% 44.8%
Mariners 74 88 626 692 6.0% 4.3% 5.0% 15.3%
Astros 60 102 651 850 0.6% 0.4% 0.8% 1.8%
National League
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Nationals 94 68 699 590 46.4% 9.9% 8.0% 64.2%
Braves 86 76 686 630 23.8% 11.2% 8.9% 43.9%
Phillies 82 80 666 657 18.0% 7.0% 7.9% 32.9%
Mets 75 87 665 715 8.3% 4.7% 5.3% 18.2%
Marlins 69 93 625 729 3.5% 2.0% 2.9% 8.4%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Reds 91 71 722 635 41.9% 7.9% 7.5% 57.3%
Cardinals 86 76 696 645 28.0% 7.9% 8.7% 44.6%
Brewers 78 84 711 742 12.7% 5.2% 6.5% 24.4%
Pirates 77 85 663 688 11.1% 5.5% 6.6% 23.1%
Cubs 71 91 635 721 6.3% 2.4% 3.5% 12.1%
TM W L RS RA Div WC WC2 PS%
Dodgers 90 72 677 587 35.0% 9.3% 9.0% 53.4%
Giants 87 75 663 598 27.6% 9.8% 8.2% 45.6%
Diamondbacks 81 81 692 678 15.9% 7.1% 7.1% 30.1%
Padres 81 81 659 654 15.9% 7.7% 7.6% 31.3%
Rockies 71 91 770 865 5.6% 2.4% 2.5% 10.5%

The Astros are going to make it awfully easy for the AL West teams to win the wild cards, aren’t they?

Did I mention that these are extremely early and completely useless?

--Posted at 8:50 am by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, December 6, 2012

NESN: Report: Brian Cashman Lacked Authority to Make Free-Agent Offers at Winter Meetings

The winter meetings — and the baseball offseason in general — has normally been a place where the Yankees have reigned supreme. If there was a free agent they wanted or needed, they got that free agent, money be damned.

The times, though, they are a changing.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Yankees general manager Brian Cashman went to the winter meetings in Nashville this week lacking the authority to make any sort of deals to free agents. New York reportedly offered Kevin Youkilis a one-year deal eventually, but that was only after Cashman was able to gain approval from Yankees ownership.

Agent Scott Boras hinted earlier in the week that Cashman was being held back. “He had indicated that right now, he’s working with ownership on getting advance authority,” Boras said, according to the Journal. “He really is not involved in a lot of dealing right now, but is doing due diligence to go back and meet with them about that.”

Why would a GM need authority to make free agent offers anyway?

A lot of people are getting mad at Cashman, but if you are going to get mad you probably need to shift your attention to the guys who tell him what to do.  Hal Steinbrenner has every right to operate his team the way he wants, and fans have the right to not support the product if they don’t like it.

So who should our new team be?  I need an hour or so to change the underlying assumptions and components in CAIRO to make them look better.

--Posted at 3:08 pm by SG / 61 Comments | - (0)



2013 CAIRO MLB Projections v0.2

I’ve decided to post an update for CAIRO since the Yankees have made so many significant moves.  Well, maybe not but some teams have.

It can be downloaded at the following link.

cairo_2013_mlb_projections_v0.2.zip

Update: CAIRO v0.5 is now available

As far as what’s changed since version 0.1:
- I’ve moved players that have switched teams
- Added a few players like Kyuji Fujikawa
- Added a tab for projected wOBA platoon splits.  You can replace CAIRO’s projected wOBA with any other you like and it will recalculate them.  These are based on the work done on platoon splits in The Book and a spreadsheet designed by berselius from ObstructedView.net.
- Since I don’t bother with projecting playing time aside from whatever CAIRO spits out, I’ve got additional tabs for batters and pitchers based on the depth charts at RotoChamp.  CAIRO’s more for statistical analysis than Fantasy but hopefully this will help out any people that want to use it for Fantasy and it’s set up so that I can update it very easily in future releases.

As a goof I ran 100 iterations of the 2013 MLB schedule to get some projected standings but won’t post the whole thing.  Here’s how the AL East looks as of last night.

Team W L RF RA Div WC1 WC2
TAM 88 74 687 620 33.5 10.8 11.5
NYA 87 75 773 732 32.0 8.0 7.5
TOR 86 76 797 754 24.5 7.5 14.5
BOS 80 82 793 782 5.0 4.5 5.5
BAL 77 85 728 777 5.0 2.8 4.5

Get to work Cashman!

--Posted at 7:08 am by SG / 60 Comments | - (0)




Monday, December 3, 2012

CBS Sports:Yankees in the mix for outfielder Nate Schierholtz

The Yankees are interested in adding outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who was non-tendered recently by the Phillies, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.

The 28-year-old outfielder split time between the Giants and Phillies last season, hitting .257/.321/.407 in 269 plate appearances. The Yankees will have competition, as nine teams called Schierholtz once he hit the market.

Schierholtz would be half of a platoon most likely since he hasn’t hit righties much over the last few seasons.

Split G PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
vs RHP (2010-2012) 284 690 625 169 36 8 18 65 13 10 55 105 .270 .334 .440 .774
vs LHP (2010-2012) 118 193 178 41 7 1 0 14 1 1 9 40 .230 .271 .281 .552

Regular readers of this blog should know that you can’t just assume that a player’s recent or career platoon splits are what they will do going forward.  We have a pair of pretty good examples in Paul O’Neill and for Curtis Granderson(at least for one season).  So you have to factor in everything a player’s done and then regress his platoon splits appropriately as discussed in this post at The Book blog.

Here’s how Schierholtz would project as a Yankee in CAIRO for 2013.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 407 370 47 107 23 5 15 49 9 2 36 63 3 5 .289 .364 .496 .375 64 17
65% 373 339 40 93 19 3 12 41 7 3 30 62 3 4 .274 .341 .456 .348 51 8
Baseline 339 308 33 80 15 2 9 35 5 3 25 60 4 3 .260 .318 .415 .321 39 0
35% 305 277 27 68 12 1 7 29 3 4 20 58 5 2 .245 .295 .374 .293 29 -6
20% 271 247 22 57 9 1 5 23 2 4 16 54 5 1 .231 .272 .334 .266 20 -11

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

If you break that projection down into his regressed platoon splits it looks like this.

split pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb so hbp gdp avg obp slg woba
vs. LHP 71 65 16 3 1 2 4 15 1 1 .244 .297 .391 .302
Vs. RHP 268 243 64 13 2 8 22 45 2 4 .264 .335 .422 .326
Overall 339 308 80 15 2 9 25 60 3 4 .260 .327 .415 .321

He’d essentially project as a league average hitter against RHP, which is below average for a RF.  You don’t necessarily need a better than average player at every position on the diamond, but CAIRO thinks he’s a worse option in RF than Chris Dickerson who they already have and won’t cost them anything.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 407 353 65 101 24 4 12 40 24 2 55 94 4 5 .285 .397 .479 .389 69 22
65% 373 324 56 88 20 3 10 34 19 3 47 91 5 4 .270 .372 .439 .361 55 12
Baseline 339 294 48 75 16 2 7 28 16 4 40 88 6 3 .256 .348 .399 .333 43 4
35% 305 265 40 64 13 1 5 23 12 4 33 83 7 2 .241 .323 .359 .306 32 -3
20% 271 235 33 53 10 0 4 18 9 4 27 78 7 1 .226 .299 .319 .278 23 -8
split pa ab h 2b 3b hr bb so hbp gdp avg obp slg woba
vs. LHP 44 37 9 3 0 1 5 11 1 1 .237 .362 .369 .308
Vs. RHP 238 208 54 11 1 6 28 62 1 4 .259 .359 .404 .338
Overall 282 245 63 13 2 6 33 73 2 5 .256 .359 .399 .333

It’s certainly possible CAIRO is underrating Schierholtz and or overrating Dickerson.  And for whatever it’s worth Schierholtz’s defensive numbers in RF are pretty good, equivalent to about 5 runs above average per season in DRS and 9 runs per season in UZR.  Schierholtz is also two years younger than Dickerson.  But Dickerson is easier to type.

I guess I’d be okay with Shierholtz as long as the Yankees do what they need to do anyway and add a good righty bat that can backup all three OF positions.

 

--Posted at 9:22 am by SG / 6 Comments | - (0)




Friday, November 30, 2012

NY Times: Martin Leaves the Yankees for the Pirates

Russell Martin’s two-year tenure with the Yankees ended Thursday when he agreed to a two-year, $17 million deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates, leaving the Yankees without a No. 1 catcher.

“I had a great time in New York,” Martin said by phone from Montreal, his hometown. “It was probably the best baseball experience of my life. But this is the business, and it was time to move on.”

It seems to me the Yankees could have matched this deal and I’m not sure why they didn’t.  If it would have taken three years to keep Martin I’d have felt better about letting him walk, but at 2 years and $17M he only has to be worth about 3 wins over two years to be worth it.

We got spoiled by the elite offense that Jorge Posada provided for years as a catcher that makes it a bit harder to appreciate Martin I think.  No, he’s not a great hitter, but neither are the majority of catchers in baseball and there’s pretty some evidence that Martin’s defense makes him even more valuable than his basic stats indicate.

I think this confirms that getting to the target of a $189M payroll in 2014 may be the Yankees #1 focus right now, and that’s going to make it a bit harder to build a super team for 2013.  Of course, you don’t need a super team to win a World Series, but it helps.

I’m not sure where the Yankees will go from here.  I’d be surprised if the starting catcher on Opening Day is on the roster right now.  Here’s the list of free agent catchers and how CAIRO would project them as Yankees.

Last First Age Pos Tm Lg PA AB H 2B 3B HR BB SO GDP avg obp slg wOBA BR BR/650 BRAR oWAR
Napoli Mike 32 C NYA AL 394 342 86 16 1 22 44 98 9 .250 .344 .493 .360 55 91 29 2.9
Pierzynski A.J. 37 C NYA AL 458 424 114 20 2 12 22 53 12 .270 .309 .412 .313 49 69 18 1.8
Blanco Henry 42 C NYA AL 168 152 36 7 0 6 14 35 3 .234 .298 .396 .304 17 67 6 0.6
Shoppach Kelly 33 C NYA AL 287 251 54 10 1 11 23 90 4 .214 .299 .387 .303 29 66 10 1.0
Snyder Chris 32 C NYA AL 237 202 43 7 0 8 30 57 5 .213 .319 .366 .308 24 65 8 0.8
Barajas Rod 38 C NYA AL 315 286 64 11 0 12 19 60 5 .225 .280 .391 .291 30 62 9 0.9
Olivo Miguel 35 C NYA AL 436 410 95 18 1 18 20 120 8 .231 .265 .415 .290 41 62 13 1.3
Schneider Brian 37 C NYA AL 160 143 31 6 0 3 13 30 4 .219 .291 .335 .281 13 54 3 0.3
Treanor Matt 37 C NYA AL 183 157 33 5 1 3 20 36 3 .211 .304 .312 .282 15 52 3 0.3
Nickeas Mike 30 C NYA AL 267 239 54 11 0 4 24 49 6 .224 .298 .315 .279 21 52 4 0.4
Paulino Carlos 24 C NYA AL 305 287 62 14 1 4 14 58 7 .215 .257 .310 .252 20 42 -1 -0.1

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
oWAR: Offensive wins above replacement (BRAR divided by 10, although maybe it should be more like 9.5 now)

Not a particularly inspired bunch.

Napoli’s almost certainly not an option, and I’m guessing Pierzynski will want(and get) two years.  So he’s not an option either.  I don’t even know if Henry Blanco is still playing and I’m not sure why CAIRO thinks so highly of a 42 year old catcher, although I guess it probably has to do with him being utilized in a way that plays to his strengths which makes his rate stats better.  He’s not a starter anyway.  Actually, almost none of these guys are except for Pierzynski and Olivo.

So maybe someone like Olivo, Shoppach, Barajas or Snyder will be on their radar, with an eye on anyone who may get non-tendered.

I don’t know that it’s a huge deal.  I ran some projections last night that have the Yankees as around an 89 win team right now.  Considering they were an 80 win team if they had done nothing and have since re-signed Hiroki Kuroda (4.8 wins), Andy Pettitte (2.8 wins) and Mariano Rivera (1.0 win without leverage, maybe 1.5 with)  that seems about right.  They can probably add a win or two in RF if they can’t upgrade catcher.  I’m also assuming Michael Pineda won’t pitch this year, so if by some miracle he’s able to contribute in the second half that could add a win or two.

For whatever it’s worth at this early stage(ie, not a whole hell of a lot), I’ve got Toronto at around 88 wins assuming relatively good health from Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson but between Bautista’s wrist, Reyes’s hamstrings on turf and Josh Johnson’s injury history that may be somewhat optimistic.  The Rays are at around 86 wins but they can add a bat and get to 90 wins pretty easily by upgrading 1B or the OF (or both).  The Orioles are in the 77 win range, and Boston’s bringing up the rear as they should be at about 74 wins.  Of course those teams aren’t done with their offseasons yet so all of this is subject to change.

--Posted at 9:10 am by SG / 31 Comments | - (0)




Monday, November 19, 2012

MLB Daily Dish: Yankees rumors: New York in conversations with Scott Hairston

Free agent outfielder Scott Hairston is drawing interest from both New York clubs, with the Yankees holding ongoing discussions with the veteran, reports Dan Martin of the NY Post:

[The Mets] remain interested in Scott Hairston, but will get competition for the outfielder from the Yankees.

The Yankees continue to have conversations with Hairston, who is coming off arguably his most productive offensive season.

The 32-year-old Hairston hit .263/.299/.504 and blasted a career-high twenty home runs in one hundred thirty-four games for the Mets this past season. The righty slugger has always struggled with his on-base numbers but his .276/.325/.500 career line versus left-handed pitchers could make him a solid platoon option for any club.

I’ve touted Hairston a couple of times and I still think he makes a lot of sense on a one year deal, but I’m not sure he’ll have to settle for that.  CAIRO says Hairston would be in the neighborhood of .253/.311/.468 with an overall wOBA of .335 as a Yankee, with an estimated platoon split of a .352 wOBA vs. LHP and a .325 wOBA vs. RHP.

In other outfield rumors, NY Post: Play it again, Raul replay.

Ibanez hopes the fun will continue. The 40-year-old, a free agent, said he intends to keep playing and his first choice is to re-sign with the Yankees. “If I get an opportunity to play for the Yankees again,” he said, “it would be fantastic.”

At this point I’m not sure Ibanez is any better than Chris Dickerson when you factor in all the stuff that the BBWAA ignored when they voted for AL MVP.  You know, stuff like defense and base running.  CAIRO projects Ibanez at around .256/.320/.454 with an overall wOBA of .334 (.315 vs. LHP and .349 vs. RHP) which would be worth about 80 runs over 650 PA.  It projects Dickerson at .256/.349/.401 with an overall wOBA of .334 (.316 vs. LHP and .347 vs. RHP) which would be worth… 80 runs over 650 PA.

I suppose it’s possible that there’s room for both AND Hairston, although that makes it harder to fit two backup infielders on the bench and the Yankees probably need two backup infielders given the age of the left side of the infield. 

If the Yankees can get a .348 wOBA out of RF by platooning Dickerson and Hairston they’d only lose about 8 runs compared to Nick Swisher’s projection for 2013.  That seems like a pretty good stopgap to me while they see if any of their minor league outfielders makes a case for getting into the 2014 lineup.

--Posted at 8:51 am by SG / 18 Comments | - (0)




Wednesday, November 14, 2012

MLB: IF David Adams (Yankees), LHP Robbie Erlin (Padres) Arizona Fall League Players of the Week

Scottsdale Scorpions infielder David Adams (Yankees) and Peoria Javelinas left-handed starting pitcher Robbie Erlin (Padres) are the Arizona Fall League’s week five player of the week and pitcher of the week, respectively.

Adams — The 6-1, 205-pound infielder hit three home runs while batting .571 for the week. He added 4 runs, 1 triple and 6 RBI. He led the league in home runs, extra-base hits (4) and total bases (17). His on-base and slugging percentages were .474 and 1.063, respectively.

Through the first five weeks of the Fall League season, the Margate, FL native was hitting .261 with 9 runs, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 3 home runs and 14 RBI and a .363 on-base percentage.

He also was the starting second baseman for the East Division in the November 3 Rising Stars Game.

Adams, 25, spent the 2012 season at Double-A Trenton where he hit .306 with eight homers and 48 RBI in 86 games. He is a .295 hitter over five minor-league seasons.

He was the Yankees’ third-round (106th overall) draft choice in 2008 out of the University of Virginia.

Adams lost a big chunk of development time over 2010-2011, his ages 23 and 24 seasons, due to a severe ankle injury.  He appears to be past that now and had a good year in Trenton and is doing pretty well in the AFL.  He’s mostly played 2B but saw some time at 3B this past season and he has a decent chance to make the Yankees out of spring training in a utility role.  CAIRO likes him a fair amount, projecting him at .256/.324/.390 which would be worth about 1.5 WAR over 600 PA.  If Adams has a good 2013 it may give the Yankees some ammunition when negotiating with Robinson Cano.  It’s one thing to lose a 5-6 win player without a viable fall-back, but a 1.5-2 win replacement makes it sting a bit less.

I’m not saying the Yankees shouldn’t try and re-sign Cano, because losing him would hurt a lot.  But I really don’t want to see him signed into his late 30s at “top of the market” dollars, and we know that’s what he’s looking for.

--Posted at 8:21 am by SG / 47 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Camden Depot: Measuring Bullpen Management: Bucking Up the Bullpen

A Hardball Times article suggested using WPA - WPA/LI as a measure of bullpen performance that would be useful in assessing bullpen management.  WPA is the acronym for Wins Probability Added.  This is calculated as the difference in win expectancy before and after an event. LI is the Leverage Index.  It is a measurement of how consequential a specific scenario is based on the inning, outs, score, baserunners, and baserunner position.  By using the two statistics in concert, you arguably have a measure that gives you a context neutral wins added metric.

WPA WPA/LI WPA - WPA/LI
Bob Melvin 3.75 0.83 2.92
Bruce Bochy 2.98 0.13 2.84
Joe Giraldi 7.37 4.88 2.49
...

Joe Girardi makes the top three, which confirms my belief that he manages his bullpen about as well as anyone in baseball and has done so since he’s come to the Yankees.  I mean, the man got useful innings from Jose Veras.

 

--Posted at 1:46 pm by SG / 8 Comments | - (0)



Hardball Talk: The Yankees are interested in Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli, the Texas #Rangers free-agent catcher, is drawing interest from the New York #Yankees

— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) November 12, 2012

For a team that values catcher defense, I’m a bit surprised they’d be considering Napoli.  He’s not a full-time catcher, having averaged 74 games at catcher since 2009.  His defensive projection for SB/CS is -3 but according to the catcher framing work I’ve seen he’s just a shade below average, maybe one run a year or so.  But you have to assume that there’s a reason he’s not catching more than half his team’s games and it’s probably a safe bet that wouldn’t change as he moves into his mid 30s.

Napoli had a down year in 2012, but he projects well for 2013.  Here are his CAIRO percentile forecasts as a Yankee.

% PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO GDP HBP AVG OBP SLG wOBA BR BRAR
80% 473 410 75 115 24 2 32 77 6 0 64 106 7 9 .281 .400 .583 .423 89 48
65% 433 376 64 101 20 1 26 67 4 1 55 103 8 7 .268 .376 .540 .395 73 36
Baseline 394 342 55 87 16 1 22 57 3 1 47 98 9 6 .254 .353 .497 .368 59 24
35% 355 308 46 74 13 0 17 48 2 2 39 93 9 4 .240 .329 .455 .340 46 15
20% 315 274 38 62 10 0 14 39 1 2 32 86 10 3 .227 .306 .412 .312 34 7

BR: Linear weights batting runs
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average

BRAR are as a catcher.  As a DH with the same projections it looks more like 28 for his 80% forecast, 17 for his 65% forecast, 8 for his baseline, 0 for his 35% and -7 for his 20%.  So we probably need to split the difference.  I don’t see him playing much 1B with Mark Teixeira around, but 500 PA between catcher and DH seems reasonable.  How much is that worth?  Probably something like 23 runs on offense and -4 runs on defense, about two wins.  A three-year deal with the typical 0.5 win decline per year puts his estimated value at 4.5 wins, which is probably worth around $27-30M.  So I’d be fine with something like 3 yrs/$27M. 

The Yankees will need to figure out who they want as the co-starting catcher to really make it work though, and I don’t think it can be Chris Stewart or Eli Whiteside.

--Posted at 9:03 am by SG / 29 Comments | - (0)




Thursday, November 8, 2012

2013 CAIRO MLB Projections v0.1

It’s time for the first set of my 2013 CAIRO MLB projections.  I’ve eyeballed them for errors but I’m sure I’ve missed some so if anything looks off let me know.

They can be downloaded via this link.

cairo_2013_v0.zip
,
Stuff like pitcher wins, losses and saves and hitter runs and RBI are based on a weighted average of the last four years and will change as roles and teams change so keep that in mind.  I’ll also be adjusting playing time as the offseason unfolds so expect several updates as we move towards spring training.

--Posted at 8:47 am by SG / 8 Comments | - (0)




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

TGS NY: Agent: Soria would set up for Mo

Over his past four active years, Joakim Soria averaged nearly 36 saves, building a reputation as one of the finest young closers in the game. In the past, the Yankees have asked the Royals about Soria in trade discussions. Now, following a season off after Tommy John elbow surgery, Soria is a free agent.

Soria, just 28, would like to close, but he would be willing to go to the Yankees to learn from his idol Mariano Rivera.

“If the Yankees call, we will be all ears,” Soria’s agent, Oscar Suarez, said by phone Monday. “If there is a fit, Joakim would be elated to work with Mo. He would close everywhere except there.”

Suarez said Yankees GM Brian Cashman has yet to inquire. Eight other clubs, all contending teams, have already contacted Suarez about Soria. Soria could also return to Kansas City, which declined his $8 million option for next season, allowing him to become a free agent.

Suarez said that Soria will be ready for spring training, but probably won’t be able to pitch in major league games until May of next season. Other reports have tabbed June as a more likely date.

I’d like to see the Yankees take a flier on Soria, although the track record of pitchers in their first year back from Tommy John surgery is mixed.  CAIRO would project Soria to put up the following line as a Yankee:

65 IP, 61 H, 7 HR, 19 BB, 63 K, 3.69 RA, 3.46 ERA, 3.56 FIP.

Of course, CAIRO doesn’t know that he’s coming off surgery and his past performance may not give us a complete picture of who he is now.

--Posted at 6:50 pm by SG / 8 Comments | - (0)



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