Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Mark Teixeira fielded ground balls. Curtis Granderson ran sprints. The newest arrival, Alex Rodriguez, hit off a tee as he began the next stage of his rehabilitation from January hip surgery.
Everything at the Yankees’ complex said it was spring training. Everything, that is, except the calendar.
It is May, of course, and the Yankees are in Colorado, getting ready to play the Rockies. Back in Tampa, rehabilitating from various injuries, are an impressive collection of Yankee players who, if healthy, could probably win a ballgame without much help from anyone else.
Joining Teixeira, Granderson and Rodriguez were Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, Ivan Nova, Michael Pineda, Clay Rapada and Cesar Cabral. Add to that roster Derek Jeter, whose fractured ankle is not yet ready for work on a practice field, and a manager would have a lineup that would be the envy of any number of teams.
“We always talk about injuries being a part of the game,” Rodriguez said. But this, he said, “is crazy!”
Rodriguez was in good spirits. He was also the only Yankee who emerged from the training facility and walked to the front gate, where he signed autographs for a group of fans and answered questions from a group of reporters.
I’m not sure how the position players rate vs. other underwater or dry swing squads, but I’ll tell you what, that’s one hell of a flat ground pitching staff.
Friday, April 19, 2013
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.
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.
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Wednesday, April 17, 2013
How Horrific has the Yankees’ Infield Defense been through 4/16/2013?
Any time we talk about defensive metrics, we of course have to talk about the limitations. They are imprecise and somewhat subjective because they’re for the most part based on either stringers or assumed chances. They are particularly limited when we are talking about a subset of a season. But what the hell, I was goofing around with some defensive stuff and noticed what one particular metric says so far about the Yankees’ infield defense.
The metric in question is zone rating and here’s what it says.
CH: Fieldable chances
PM: Plays made
AvgPM: Estimated plays made by an average defender over the same number of CH
Diff: Difference between PM and AvgPM
RS: Runs saved compared to average (Diff times run value of plays made/not made at each position)
Despite not making errors, apparently Nun-E is still not making plays he should be making. It hasn’t been visually obvious to me, but I suppose it’s feasible.
Obviously sample size is an issue here. But I do think Kevin Youkilis is a below average defender at 3B now. I’d expect Cano to move back to average/above average as we get more games in. Shortstop should be better, even if it isn’t going to end up being good.
We should also remember that zone rating is but one defensive metric. It doesn’t adjust for difficulty of chances or anything else. Two metrics that do (Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating) are more charitable to the Yankee infield at -2 and -5 respectively. So they have probably been better than standard zone rating thinks they’ve been.
The good news is the outfield has been above average in all three metrics so far.
What’s particularly interesting to me is that their current rate Yankee SS would be 77 runs below average over a full season. That means getting Derek Jeter back would be a defensive upgrade. Who’d have though that?
Hurry back Captain!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
TAMPA — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is performing limited on-field work at the team’s minor league complex in Florida as part of a rehabilitation program for a left ankle injury.
Jeter took five rounds of batting practice on Monday. He also fielded 21 grounders at the normal shortstop position, which was a decreased total from workouts last Wednesday and Friday.
The Yankees captain did straight line running in the outfield. The 13-time All-Star ran last week from first to third on the grass just behind the infield dirt.
I never figured that Curtis Granderson and/or Mark Teixeira would be back before Jeter, but that’s starting to look like a very real possibility. It’d be nice if pitchers would stop hitting Eduardo Nunez so the Yankees could get more of a look at him because it’s starting to look like the Yankees are going to need a shortstop sooner rather than later.
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
This year’s version of the Yankees may be one of the most complicated rosters of all time for a supposed playoff contender. It’s so confusing, critics have chosen the defending AL East champs to finish anywhere from first to last place.
Think about that for a second. The division and the team is so up in the air, they can literally finish anywhere. Predictions have ranged from below .500 to 90-plus wins, a swing of at least 10 games.
And with reason.
The team we saw in early March looked nothing like how it does today. The team we saw club the Indians, 11-6 on Monday, to improve to 3-4 is unlikely to be particularly similar to the one we see by mid-May.
Depending on how this summer goes, the team we see in August may look very different from the one in July and the ball club to start 2014 may almost assuredly look foreign to the one we see in September.
That’s life for a team exceeding 230 million dollars and needing to trim it to under 190 million dollars with about 90 million dollars off the books in the process.
And beneath all this turnover are players acquired from other teams over the past few months who need to step up now and may have to continue to step up through the season. Castoffs. Misfits.
In an ideal world, Kevin Youkilis would play the role that Eric Chavez played in 2012, Travis Hafner would play the role that Raul Ibanez played in 2012 and Vernon Wells would play the role that Andruw Jones played in 2012. It’s not hard to see each of the current castoffs outperforming the players in similar roles last year. This team is still going to do what it does based primarily on how Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez do when they return.
But so far Wells is blowing away any reasonable expectations. He had three opposite field hits yesterday, which matches the total he had last year. He also drew his fifth walk in 26 plate appearances in 2013. Last year it took him 132 plate appearances to get his fifth walk. I don’t expect him to hit .381/.500/.762 this year, but I’m hoping he can do something like .270/.330/.450.
Youkilis and Hafner have been great, although that’s a bit less surprising. I’m more concerned about how often they can play than their performance. Hopefully they can remain mostly injury-free for the next two months at which point they can move into more complementary roles which could help them remain healthy.
I still think the offense will struggle at times, and I’m worried about the middle relief, but I feel a lot better about this team than I did three days ago. They still stink, but they stink a bit less than I thought.
Monday, April 8, 2013
DETROIT — It’s a small step and does not guarantee the rehab process can be accelerated, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi was upbeat about Derek Jeter getting on a baseball field and doing something more than long tossing.
“[Friday] he took ground balls and soft toss in the cage, and I am sure he is doing the same [Saturday],” Girardi said before Saturday’s 8-4 loss to the Tigers. “He is on the field, he took some ground balls at him, so that’s better than it was last week or even Thursday.”
Saturday, Jeter fielded 41 grounders hit directly at him, hit off a tee in a batting cage and played catch, including long toss.
Sounds like Jeter’s range is right where it normally is.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
A Tale of Four Lineups
Obviously the Yankees as constituted today aren’t as good as the Yankees might be if they ever got to full strength. The question I’m asking myself and then attempting to answer here is whether we can quantify the difference.
First, here are the CAIRO projected wOBAs vs. LHP,RHP and overall for what are probably the best lineups the Yankees can put together today vs. LHP and RHP.
The lineup versus RHP would project to score about 4.64 runs per game, which isn’t bad. The lineup vs. LHP is much worse at a projected 4.45 runs per game. That’s the equivalent of being 31 runs worse than the lineup vs. RHP over a full season.
In the perfect world scenario where Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez come back healthy and nobody gets hurt, how much better would the Yankees’ lineups possibly look?
In a perfect world scenario you’d probably be platooning Youkilis and Hafner at DH with the occasional Rodriguez/Youkilis swap at 3B. Vs. RHP they’d be the equivalent of 45 runs better over a full season, but the big difference comes vs LHP, where they’d improve by the equivalent of 90 runs over a full season.
Tying it all together, you can basically say that the full strength perfect world Yankees would be something like 60 runs better than the current Yankees (ignoring defense).
Now realistically, the most likely scenario is that as some people come back healthy others get hurt, or maybe some never quite come back healthy, or people just keep getting injured and no one comes back ever and eventually the Yankees are the eastern version of the Houston Astros’ Rookie League team. But if you wanted to estimate how much better the Yankees could be than they are right now, this should give you a bit of an inkling.
Monday, April 1, 2013
To open a spot on the Yankees 40-man roster, lefty Clay Rapada has been designated for assignment. The move clears the way for Lyle Overbay to make the Opening Day roster. Here’s the roster.
Unless Rapada’s injury is more serious than the Yankees have let on, I really don’t get keeping Cody Eppley over him. Rapada’s a player who has a very limited role, but he’s really good at it. Eppley’s role is similar, but he’s not as good at it and there’s less of a need for it.
Chad Jennings runs through the 25 man roster and here it is.
52 CC Sabathia
18 Hiroki Kuroda
46 Andy Pettitte
47 Ivan Nova
41 David Phelps
42 Mariano Rivera
30 Dave Robertson
62 Joba Chamberlain
48 Boone Logan
27 Shawn Kelley
38 Cody Eppley
43 Adam Warren
29 Francisco Cervelli
19 Chris Stewart
55 Lyle Overbay
24 Robinson Cano
36 Kevin Youkilis
26 Eduardo Nunez
17 Jayson Nix
33 Travis Hafner
11 Brett Gardner
31 Ichiro Suzuki
12 Vernon Wells
45 Ben Francisco
22 Brennan Boesch
15-DAY DISABLED LIST
65 Phil Hughes
2 Derek Jeter
25 Mark Teixeira
14 Curtis Granderson
60-DAY DISABLED LIST
71 Cesar Cabral
35 Michael Pineda
13 Alex Rodriguez
That doesn’t look like a division-winner to me.
Thursday, March 14, 2013
At age 38, with a healthy ankle, Derek Jeter was rated as the worst defensive shortstop in baseball by most every advanced defensive metric in 2012. He was sure-handed as always, but his range—which has never been a strength—declined to near-statue levels.
Derek Jeter will turn 39 years old this season. He is coming off a broken ankle and now has a plate and screws in his leg. He was unable to work out his legs all winter as he rested and rehabbed from the surgery.
If this sounds like a bad combination, well, it probably is.
Jeter played shortstop Wednesday night, his first time playing defense since breaking his ankle exactly five months before. His return brings stability to the position for the undermanned Yankees, who are already down several key players with the start of the season just a few weeks away.
|2009||Yuniesky Betancourt||- - -||SS||1159||-16.7|
|2006||Felipe Lopez||- - -||SS||1337||-14.7|
|2009||Orlando Cabrera||- - -||SS||1388.2||-29|
|2006||Felipe Lopez||- - -||SS||1337||-23|
Yeah, the second chart goes to 11.
I expect Jeter to have another bad defensive year. Will he challenge Michael Young’s legendary 2005 for worst defensive season by a shortstop in the advanced defensive metric era? Probably not, because he’s probably not going to play more than 900-1000 innings at short this year.
If you were to use a 3/2/1 weighted average of the last three seasons to estimate Jeter’s 2013 defense in these two metrics it’d look like this.
Subtract two more runs for aging if you like. Might the ankle cost him another five runs? It’s possible. That puts him around -23 in DRS and -18 in UZR over 1159 innings. Average those and you get a -21. Figure a range of -6 in either direction for uncertainty in a single season’s sample and you’re looking at something like -15 to -27.
Hopefully he’s got another 216 hits in him.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Jeter spent five minutes answering reporters’ questions while signing for the fans, then signed for another two minutes before driving off. Jeter laughed heartily when told that Randy Levine, the Yankees president, had said that his Labrador retriever that he had entered in the Westminster Dog Show reminded him of Jeter because of his calmness. If Jeter had a snappy retort, he kept it to himself.
And Jeter offered a nugget of news: besides playing long toss, hitting in the batting cage and fielding ground balls on the infield grass, he ran on a treadmill Monday for the first time since breaking his left ankle last October in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.
Maybe a few hours on the treadmill will help Jeter get rid of that spare tire.
Pitchers and catchers report today!
Thursday, January 17, 2013
NEW YORK—Phil Hughes and the Yankees have agreed on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract, avoiding salary arbitration.
Hughes, 26, was 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA in 32 starts with the Yanks last season and was arbitration-eligible for the third and final time.
The deal is worth $7.15 million for Hughes, who is entering an important year as he could be a free agent after the season. Hughes earned $3.2 million last season.
New York has three arbitration-eligible players remaining: pitchers Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and David Robertson.
Seems fair. Since Hal Steinbrenner’s not a fan of extensions I don’t expect to see one done with Hughes.
In other news, Andy Pettitte left off WBC’s Team USA.
Team USA announced its 27-man provisional roster for the 2013 World Baseball Classic on Thursday. Notable with his presence is New York Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira. Conspicuous by his absence is veteran starting pitcher Andy Pettitte.
Initially believed to be a part of Joe Torre’s roster that will try and break Team Japan’s string of two gold medals in the two previous WBCs, Pettitte instead was left off the team. According to a Thursday morning column from Bob Klapish, tournament eligibility is based upon guaranteed insurance coverage in the event of an injury. Pettitte is 40 years old and missed nearly three months of his 2012 comeback season with a fractured fibula. According to Klapish, insurers “typically shun those older than 38, or ones who suffer from a chronic injury.”
In other, other news, Yankees’ Derek Jeter cleared for baseball activity
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter says he’s been cleared to start baseball activity in his recovery from a broken left ankle.
The 38-year-old team captain reiterated Wednesday that he is on track to be in New York’s starting lineup for the opener on April 1.
Is 3.5 months enough time to lose that spare tire?
Friday, November 30, 2012
The ankle we knew about. The gut, not so much.
Derek Jeter was spotted at a hotel on South Beach in Miami yesterday wearing a walking boot to protect the left ankle he broke in the playoffs last season. Yet the 38-year-old Jeter also seemed to be carrying another burden — some extra weight hanging from the Yankees shortstop’s normally fit frame.
According to general manager Brian Cashman, Jeter has been in a non-weight bearing situation and will continue to be until January. That means if he has been able to work out at all, it has been limited to upper body because he can’t put any weight on his left foot.
Did you know that in MLB history no team has ever won a World Series with a fat 39 year old shortstop with only one good leg?
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
What Might the 2013 Yankees Look Like If They Do Nothing This Offseason?
I’m done with my first batch of 2013 CAIRO projections although I still have to check for errors so they’re probably not ready for public consumption. But that doesn’t mean I can’t use them to take a stab at projecting the Yankees for 2013 given the roster they have right now.
I’ll warn you now, it ain’t pretty. Here’s the lineup and bench.
I haven’t done defensive projections for 2013 so those are based on 2012 and probably shouldn’t be focused on much.
And the pitching staff.
FIP: Fielding-independent pitching
WAR: Wins above replacement (using RA, adjusted for role)
Yeesh, that rotation is the stuff of nightmares…
CAIRO LOVES Mark Montgomery, but I think it needs to chill a bit on him. He’s been outstanding so far in the minors, but so have lots of relievers in the past that didn’t turn out all that well. I’m optimistic on him, but not for early 2013. It continues to dig David Robertson too, as I think it should. It’s not particularly fond of most of the rest of the pen, although as Chamberlain and Aardsma get healthier they are probably good bets to beat those projections.
A team that scores 744 runs and allows 757 would project as around a .495 winning percentage or 80 win team. It’s worse than that because CAIRO was specifically created to make the Yankees look better than they are, which means they’re more like a 40 win team. I swapped Stewart and Cervelli’s playing time to see if it the defensive difference between made things better but it didn’t really matter.
Obviously it’s still early, they have a lot of moves to make, etc, Getting Hiroki Kuroda re-signed and replacing the SP7-10 innings with Adam Warren probably adds close to five wins. Getting a right-handed bat whose name doesn’t begin with Andruw and end with Jones to platoon with Chris Dickerson probably helps too. Better health from Brett Gardner and Alex Rodriguez (yeah, right) would also help I guess. Bringing back Russell Martin (.232/.327/.385 and 2.1 WAR projection) would add a couple of wins too.
But they’ve got their work cut out for them.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
2012 In Review - Derek Jeter
So far most of these have been a bit more sour than I expected. And now I have to write about a player I hate?
I’ll admit it. After watching Derek Jeter hit .259/.332/.338 in 900+ PA with a ground ball percentage of roughly 99.99999% from May 3, 2010 through June 13, 2011 I thought he was done. He finished 2011 by hitting .331/.384/.447 after returning from the DL on July 3 which made me think he may have more left in the tank than I expected, but I figured that it was also at least partially a fluke of BABIP (.390) and he would still probably not hit much better than .285/.350/.400 or so. CAIRO projected him worse than that, as did just about every other projection.
|2012 League Avg||740||665||87||170||33||3||21||83||13||4||59||143||15||6||.255||.320||.411||.311||86||75|
The second set of projections, league average and 2011 stats are pro-rated to 2012 PA to allow a direct comparison. League average is not adjusted for DNYS so mentally account for that.
Jeter had more hits for a player aged 38 or older than any other player in history save Paul Molitor in 1996. He had 26 more singles than projected and even showed a bit more pop with five additional HRs. He traded some walks for singles and lost some steals and hit into more double plays but was close to a win better than projected offensively overall. Jeter’s offensive performance was one of the best things about the 2012 season. Even a bone bruise that he played through for most of the last month of the season didn’t slow him down much as he hit .300/.364/.354 in September as the Yankees managed to hold off Baltimore to win the AL East.
Unfortunately, Jeter’s season ended with a fractured ankle during Game 1 of the ALCS which was probably at least partly attributable to playing through the bone bruise. Jeter was one of the few Yankee hitters to show up during the postseason (.333/.379/.444) and losing him was a pretty big blow to a team that ended up getting swept in the ALCS.
As far as his glove, as regular readers have noticed I’ve pretty much stopped talking about defensive metrics. Anyone who thinks Jeter is a good defensive shortstop at this point is probably deluding himself. Is he historically awful? I suppose it’s possible, but it doesn’t show up in the play by play numbers. He just shows up as really bad, in the area of 15-18 runs below average. It cuts into his value, but it doesn’t take it all away.
Although he’s expected to make a full recovery after having surgery on his ankle, you wonder how it may impact his already limited range and if it will give the Yankees the impetus to think about a position change. I don’t think Jeter could handle 3B since his first step seems to be his biggest problem and that’s a killer at third. They will probably keep him at short to begin 2013 but will keep a close eye on him. I’d look for them to try and acquire a defensive specialist SS type for the roster as depth because Nun-E as the only other SS on the roster doesn’t strike me as smart planning. I wonder what Ramiro Pena is doing these days?
Friday, October 19, 2012
2012 Yankees Final Postseason Stats
WPA: Win Probability Added. Given average teams, this is the change in probability
caused by this player during games A change of +/- 1 would indicate one win added or lost.
RE24: Base-Out Runs Added -Given the bases occupied/out situation, how many runs did the player add in the resulting play. Compared to average, so 0 is average, and above 0 is better than average
WPA and RE24 give us a better idea of how the players’ performances contributed to the team’s bottom line. Both are affected by opportunity, so that should be factored in when looking at these numbers. For pitchers there’s also the impact of the defense behind them so that should also be accounted for.
I tend to like RE24 more than WPA since it doesn’t overrate timing. Here’s how the team ranked from best to worst.
I realize a lot of people are annoyed with Alex Rodriguez being scapegoated, but the fact is no one on the Yankees hurt the team more this postseason. It doesn’t mean he’s horrible or unclutch or whatever. It’s just what happened.
But really, there’s plenty of blame to go around on the position player side. The pitching was very good, but not good enough to overcome the giant morass of awful that the team got from Russell Martin, Eric Chavez, Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Nick Swisher and Rodriguez.
We’ll see a different Yankee team in 2013. I don’t know if they’ll be better, but they’ll be different. Maybe not a whole lot different, but they’ve got some flexibility and options.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
NEW YORK—The X-rays merely provided the grim confirmation of what several Yankees already suspected—Derek Jeter is lost for the season.
The iconic captain ranged toward the second-base bag for a play he’s probably made hundreds of times during his career. But in the 12th inning of the Yankees’ 6-4 loss in 12 innings to the Tigers in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday night, Jeter’s ankle buckled as he fielded the ball.
Jeter fell down, and couldn’t get up on his own. He has a fractured left ankle and won’t play baseball again until 2013.
“For him to lay down on that field, I knew something was broke or torn completely,” said Yankees lefty Andy Pettitte, who worked 6 2/3 innings of two-run ball. “You know, when I saw him not get up, I knew he was done, really. It’s terrible.”
The Yankees expect Jeter to return by Spring Training.
It stinks that Jeter will miss the last three games of the season, but at least he should be able to return from this next year.
Saturday, October 13, 2012
2012 ALCS Preview - Tigers vs. Yankees
It took the Yankees and Tigers the full five games for both teams to advance past the ALDS, but here they are. The problem for both teams is that they had to use their aces in the fifth game, which means they can’t start the ALCS with Justin Verlander or CC Sabathia.
The Tigers as presently constituted are better than the 88 win team in the AL Central that they were this year, at least if you believe the projections. Here’s how their offense projects over a seven game series using Oliver from the Hardball Times.
The Tigers obviously have the two best hitters in this series in Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder. The rest of the lineup is not quite as impressive. They’ve been platooning Alex Avila and Gerald Laird at catcher and Avisail Garcia and Quintin Berry in he OF, so I’ve assumed they’ll continue doing that. Defense was an issue for them for most of the year, but adding Omar Infante and getting Brennan Boesch out of the lineup seems to have helped them there quite a bit, and with Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer striking out everyone it’s probably not going to be a big problem in three of the games at least.
If we give them 27 outs per game they project to score an estimated 36.6 runs over 7 games.
Here’s how their pitching looks.
The Tigers have Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer lined up to pitch the first four games. In theory that would mean Fister, Sanchez and Verlande would pitch games 5-7, but since those games won’t be played it doesn’t matter. The rotation is strong, with only Anibal Sanchez projecting worse than any of the starters the Orioles threw at the Yankees and he’s only .03 runs per nine worse than Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen’s projections. If the Yankees had trouble with Baltimore’s starters, they’re really going to have trouble with Detroit’s.
They’ve had some issues with their closer, who projects worse than Joaquin Benoit and Octavio Dotel so it’ll be interesting to see if Jim Leyland sticks with him if he struggles in his first appearance or two. Our old friend Phil Coke is their main lefty out of the pen, although Drew Smyly provides depth there as well. You can futz around with how I assigned the bullpen innings but if you don’t they project to allow 27 runs in this series.
36.6 runs scored and 25 runs allowed equals a team that would win about 63.8% of their games, or 103.3 over a 162 game season.
How does that compare to the Yankees? Let’s see. First, the position players.
I’m kind of hoping that Alex Rodriguez will be back in the lineup for good but I’ve given some of his PA to Eric Chavez in case. With Detroit’s rotation all right-handed, the Shockmaster™ should be mostly full-time. We may see Nun-E and Nixy a few times so I threw them a few PA as well. With these assumptions they’d project to score a bit less than one run more than the Tigers over seven games. Of course, they’ll have to hit a lot better than they hit in the ALDS to even sniff that number.
The pitching is a mess. By blowing Game 4, the Yankees lost the option to start CC in Game 1. The good news is they have Andy Pettitte fully rested to start Game 1. Unfortunately, they have no one else from the ALDS rotation who can start on full rest in Game 2. They could try Hiroki Kuroda on three days rest but he’s never started on three days rest and I don’t think they’ll go that route. My guess is they’ll use David Phelps with Derek Lowe caddying him in Game 2 and hope for the best, then bring back CC on three days rest to match up against Verlander in Game 3. That would set him up to pitch in the theoretical Game 7 that won’t happen since Detroit’s going to sweep but let’s let our imaginations run wild.
So my guess at the rotation is something like: Andy Pettitte, David Phelps, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia.
The order could change. Pettitte would have four days rest before Game 5 so he could start that one. I’m more concerned about how the innings get allocated than the order for this so let’s press on.
Because of the mess that is the rotation I gave Derek Lowe more innings than I’d typically give a long reliever and the worst projected pitcher on the staff. It shouldn’t make a huge difference on the bottom line though.
Based on this playing time the Yankees figure to allow around 28 runs, which makes them a roughly 62.7%/101.6 win team.
Detroit has a slight edge at .638 vs. .621. Having home field advantage gives the Yankees about a .006 boost, so you’ve got something like a .633 team playing a .624 team. Given that, here’s what my playoff simulator says for this series.
The Tigers are slight favorites, but it’s basically a tossup. It’d be nice for the Yankees to avenge the last two times Detroit knocked them out of the playoffs, but I’m not betting on that happening.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
From years of studying my Girardi-to-English dictionary, I’m pretty sure that when Joe Girardi said this yesterday:
“I think that we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this three-game series. Nothing that we do will be something that is just a knee-jerk reaction.”
What he meant was this:
“Yeah, of course I’m seriously thinking about dropping A-Rod in my lineup. I may be stubborn, but I’m neither blind nor deaf nor dumb.”
And demoting Alex Rodriguez in tonight’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series would be the right, necessary decision. More than anything, given all the ridiculous knocks Girardi takes for being overly reliant on using information — as if this were a horrible proclivity — it would be the logical move.
I don’t really have a preference on where Rodriguez hits in the lineup. He could stay at #3 or get moved down and I don’t think it matters. What matters is what he does at the plate.
That being said, here’s what the difference is using Oliver projections between Game 1’s lineup and the same lineup with Rodriguez hitting sixth and everyone before sixth moving up a slot.
|1||Derek Jeter||5.00||3.31||0.62||Derek Jeter||SS||5.00||3.31||0.62|
|2||Ichiro Suzuki||5.00||3.40||0.57||Ichiro Suzuki||LF||5.00||3.40||0.57|
|3||Alex Rodriguez||5.00||3.32||0.69||Robinson Cano||2B||5.00||3.30||0.80|
|4||Robinson Cano||5.00||3.30||0.80||Nick Swisher||RF||5.00||3.26||0.70|
|5||Nick Swisher||4.26||2.78||0.60||Mark Teixeira||1B||4.28||2.82||0.62|
|6||Mark Teixeira||4.00||2.64||0.58||Alex Rodriguez||3B||4.00||2.66||0.55|
|7||Curtis Granderson||4.00||2.64||0.59||Curtis Granderson||CF||4.00||2.64||0.59|
|8||Russell Martin||4.00||2.80||0.44||Russell Martin||C||4.00||2.80||0.44|
|9||Raul Ibanez||4.00||2.80||0.51||Raul Ibanez||DH||4.00||2.80||0.51|
BR: Projected Linear weights batting runs over # of PA
So there you go. Dropping Rodriguez to sixth makes the Yankees about .01 runs per game better. That may not seem like much, but over 1620 games (10 full MLB seasons) that’s a gain of about 10 runs, which is worth a bit more than one win!
In an interesting coincidence, 10 years is how much longer Rodriguez is signed for, I think.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
2012 ALDS Preview - Orioles vs. Yankees
After battling down to the wire, the Yankees were able to stave off the Orioles to win the AL East by two games. Their reward for that is to play the Orioles on the road for two games to start the ALDS.
All season long, we’ve heard/read/said that the Orioles were not for real, that they were lucky and that they were due to crash at any point. That was mainly a function of a run differential that was negative for almost the entire season as well as seemingly unsustainable records in both one run games (29-9) and extra inning games (16-2). In general, teams approach about .500 in those games although having a strong bullpen can help a team win a higher percentage of close games and that’s something the Orioles have had all season.
None of what the 2012 Orioles got lucky with matters right now. The only thing that matters is how good the 25 man roster they will have for the ALDS is, and how it may match up against the Yankees. Because of that, I’m going to look at projections for the Orioles and Yankees which will account for their performances this year as well as in recent prior seasons. This will account for the fact that some players may have over/under performed expectations and are possibly better or worse than their 2012 numbers, but more importantly it will account for the fact that the rosters and playing time distributions in a five game series are a lot different than they are in a 162 game season and simply comparing two teams’ over 2012 Pythagenpat records is the height of laziness when it comes to statistical analysis. Well that or using FIP for pitcher WAR. But I digress.
For the projections, I’m using Oliver from the Hardball Times. They’ve been updated as of last week and include 2012 MLEs for players that spent time in the minors so I feel they are the most complete version of forecasts available right now.
So, as I mentioned, it’s all about rosters and playing time. Based on what is out there, here is my rough guess at those two things. First up, the Orioles’ lineup and bench.
The idea here is to try and allocate PA over a 5 games series. So basically it was a case of adding PA until the team got to 135 outs (27 outs times 5 games). That includes double plays and obviously there may be games where teams don’t need to bat for 27 outs (home wins) but as long as the scale is the same for both teams it doesn’t matter.
The Yankees will be throwing lefties CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte in the first two games and if there was a game 5 it’d probably be CC again so that might impact some of the PAs for the lefties. So I gave some DH PA to Lew Ford instead of Jim Thome and some 2B PA to Robert Andino instead of Ryan Flaherty. For the most part I don’t expect the other bench guys to play much.
Basically this estimates that the Orioles would score about 24.5 runs in an average five game series using this allocation of playing time.
And here’s what the Yankees lineup and bench should like.
Yes, I know Andruw Jones and Chris Dickerson are not on the roster. They are just place holders. Anyway, the only spot I see some finagling of playing time is DH with some combination of Raul Ibanez, Eduardo Nunez, Alex Rodriguez and Eric Chavez. I threw Jayson Nix three PA for the hell of it as well.
So the Yankees have a very slight offensive edge here, 26.4 runs to 24.5 runs.
How about the pitching? Here’s my stab at the Orioles first.
Apparently the Orioles will be using Jason hammel, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez in the first three games. It’s expected that Chris Tillman would pitch the fourth game if necessary although it could also be Zach Britton or Joe Saunders. So a lot of this could be impacted by how that plays out.
Although Hammel is on tab to pitch the opener which should make him available for Game 5 if needed, he hasn’t been healthy in the second half so I restricted him to one start and gave a start to Joe Saunders. Because Oliver doesn’t like most of the O’s starting pitchers after Hammel and Chen and I think it may be underselling them a bit I limited them to five innings and gave more innings to the bullpen where they have better projected performers.
The big question for Baltimore is whether Gonzalez and Tillman are closer to the 3.25 and 2.93 ERAs they posted in the regular season or to their 4.78 and 5.22 projected ERAs. It’s the difference of two runs in this scenario. That may not seem like much, but it’s the equivalent of a swing of about six wins in a five game series but I’ll get into that in more detail shortly.
Same crap for the Yankees.
The Yankees should be in very good shape if the CC Sabathia we saw in his last three starts is the CC Sabathia we see this postseason. His velocity still hasn’t been overly impressive to me and the fact that he pitched well against an awful Blue Jays team and an even worse Red Sox team isn’t overly impressive to me either. But let’s hope for the best.
So we’re looking at a Yankee pitching staff that projects to allow around 20 runs vs. a Baltimore staff that projects to allow 23. Running the offensive and pitching numbers through Pythagenpat looks like this.
If you instead think that Gonzalez and Tillman are the guys they were in 2012 it looks like this.
That seems a bit closer to reality for me. The Yankees should be favorites to win this series, but not overwhelmingly so.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Building the 2012 Yankee Postseason Roster
With the Yankees’ playoff position locked in, it’s time for the always fun postseason roster thread. For the postseason this year I’m going to be using the Oliver forecast from the Hardball Times because I haven’t had a chance to run MLEs yet for CAIRO. I think they’re pretty solid projections, plus they aren’t designed to make the Yankees look better which should help us be a bit more realistic about their chances.
Here are the projections for everyone on the active roster as of yesterday, starting with the position players.
|Player||Age||Pos||Tm||Lg||PA||H||2B||3B||HR||SB||CS||BB||SO||GDP||avg||obp||slg||wOBA||v LHP||v RHP|
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
v LHP: Regressed projected wOBA vs LHP
v RHP: Regressed projected wOBA vs RHP
Oliver doesn’t project platoon splits, so I’m using CAIRO’s projected platoon split ratios to calculate the wOBA platoon splits for everyone.
Obviously you start with the locks, which is the primary starting lineup of:
Derek Jeter, SS
Ichiro Suzuki, LF
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Curtis Granderson, CF
Raul Ibanez, DH
Russell Martin, C
Then you have some locks for the bench.
Eric Chavez, 3B
Chris Stewart, C
Eduardo Nunez, IF
There’s room for more on the bench, but it depends on the composition of the pitching staff, so here are those projections.
Again, we start with the locks, which are:
So we’ve got 12 position player locks and 9 pitcher locks. So who should the remaining 4 spots go to?
Here are the projected wOBA of the six remaining candidates from the position player side (I’m assuming Jayson Nix is out) in descending order.
|Player||Pos||wOBA||v LHP||v RHP|
I’m guessing quite a few of us would quibble with Andruw Jones’s projection. But he does have the ability to pop one out and I’m guessing that’ll be enough to get him onto the roster. I’m guessing the Yankees will want to take at least 11 pitchers. That leaves two spots for bench players, one of which will go to Brett Gardner. Since Dickerson and Gardner have similar skill sets, that probably leaves the last spot to Casey McGehee since he can at least play 1st and 3rd.
Here are the projections for the remaining pitchers sorted by ERA in ascending order.
If they go with 11 pitchers, then I’d assume the last two will be Clay Rapada and Cody Eppley. But they may decide to punt McGehee and add another long man, which would probably be Ivan Nova or Derek Lowe. Lowe seems to have moved to the front of the pack for the spot, although I don’t see the sense in carrying 12 pitchers for a five man series.
So my postseason roster would look like this.
But I’m guessing they’ll put Lowe on instead of McGehee which isn’t a big deal.
I forgot the Shockmaster™ so scratch Lowe and McGehee. Then, the next question to ask will be, how good is that team? I’ll tell you in the next day or two.
Sunday, September 30, 2012
TORONTO—Down late in seemingly another must-win game, the Yankees completed one of their most stirring comebacks of the season, defeating the Blue Jays 9-6, in a crucial contest on Sunday at Rogers Centre.
New York trailed by four runs through five innings but fought all the way back, tying the game with three runs in the seventh before Eduardo Nunez’s sacrifice fly gave the Yankees the lead in the eighth.
Derek Jeter followed by punching a run-scoring single off Toronto reliever Brandon Lyon, driving home Brett Gardner with an important insurance run as the Yankees retained their share of first place with the Orioles, who defeated the Red Sox, 6-3, in Baltimore. A comeback win by the Angels in Arlington kept New York from clinching a postseason berth, but the Yankees may not need to wait long to celebrate that occasion, with Texas and Anaheim set to complete their day-night doubleheader on Sunday night.
It really looked like the Yankees were going to drop out of the first place in the AL East for six innings. Phil Hughes wasn’t good, but the bullpen was mostly great and the offense finally did what we’ve been imploring them to do. Get hits with runners in scoring position that score runs.
They can’t win the East outright now without help from Tampa Bay, and it’s moot if they don’t take care of Boston. Mark Teixeira is is expected to be back, so they should be able to run their best possible lineup out there for the rest of the season. We’ll see if that’s good enough.
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Optimizing the Yankee Lineup by Platoon Splits
Last week I posted the revised CAIRO projections for the Yankees for the rest of 2012 including their projected platoon splits. So now let’s see how we can make use of that information.
Here are the team’s projected woBA splits, both overall and vs. RHP and LHP. You can sort this table by clicking on the column heading.
|Player||Overall||vs RHP||vs LHP|
Versus right-handed pitching, this is how the Yankees’s rank by projected wOBA.
I have no idea if we’ll see Mark Teixeira again this year. I’m sure they’ll give it a go, but I don’t know if he’ll be able to hold up. If you were to take the best group of players vs. RHP while ensuring each one can play a position passably well (sans Teixeira) you get a group of Cano, Granderson, Swisher, Rodriguez, Ibanez, Jeter, Chavez, Ichiro, Martin. This is purely looking at offense. You could probably make a case that Chris Dickerson’s defense and baserunning make him a better overall option than the Shockmaster™, but with the Shockmaster™‘s shocking Lazarus-like revival it’s probably moot.
So the best lineup for the Yankees vs. RHP probably looks something like this.
|Team||Yankees||Vs. RHP Projected|
BR are linear weights batting runs and the team total is based on an estimated 25 outs at the plate and factoring in double plays. You can quibble with the order, but I tried to arrange it to minimize the number of same-handed batters hitting back-to-back. You could conceivably move Ichiro up to second and move everyone else down a notch. That would reduce their estimated BR to 5.09 but would also split the lineup as R/L/S/L/R/L/L/R/L which may be advantageous tactically later in games.
If the Yankees are the 4.19 RA team they’ve been this year, vs. RHP with this lineup they’d project as around a .591/96 win team.
If we flip the script, here’s what we’re looking at.
You’d ideally get Rodriguez, Jeter, Cano, Swisher, Martin, Pearce?, Jones??, McGehee??? and Granderson into the lineup if you were taking the top nine hitters vs. LHP, although I’m guessing that CAIRO is wrong on Jones. You could conceivably do that with a lineup that looks like this.
|Team||Yankees||Vs. LHP Projected|
That lineup would project to be around a .569/92 win team.
I think if you factor in defense you probably want Ichiro in there. You could put him in LF, put Jones at DH where his indifferent defense would be a non-issue and put Rodriguez at 3B and go with Pearce or McGehee at 1b. Unfortunately for McGehee I have a hunch today will be his last day on the 40 man roster since they need to clear a roster spot for David Aardsma. I suppose it could be Cory Wade who goes instead, which I’d be bummed about but I completely understand it.
FWIW, if they can get Teixeira back they improve to about a .600 97/win team vs. RHP and a .578/94 win team vs. LHP.
If you assume the Yankees will see lefties 40% of the time over the rest of the season and that they’ll pitch the way they’ve pitched so far this year then they’re roughly a 94 win team right now, and a 96 win team with Teixeira. We have to figure they’ll be resting some guys over the rest of the season which will make them a bit worse than that.
Hopefully that’s still good enough to hold on to their tenuous lead in the division.
Friday, September 21, 2012
That achievement, of course, is a pitcher recording four strikeouts in a single inning, and now they can finally say it’s happened twice after Phil Hughes struck out four straight batters in the fourth inning of their 10-7 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hughes’ first victim in the inning was J.P. Arencibia, whom he finished off in three pitches with a slider away. After a quick visit from the training staff and Joe Girardi, Hughes got Adeiny Hechavarria swinging on a high fastball that catcher Russell Martin couldn’t handle. Martin was charged with a passed ball because it rolled all the way to screen, allowing Hechavarria to reach and Hughes to pursue a little history.
Now working from the stretch, Hughes would fan Anthony Gose on four pitches with a swing-and-miss curveball low and in. He then completed the impressive inning by catching Brett Lawrie looking on another dandy curveball. Four up, four strikeouts. And he did it all in an economical 17 pitches.
Now, if you can believe this, the only other Yankee to strike out four in an inning was A.J. Burnett, who also did it one time with the Miami Marlins back on July 5, 2002. His four strikeout inning with the Yankees happened on June 24, 2011 when he out Chris Iannetta, Carlos Gonzalez, Chris Nelson and Todd Helton of the Colorado Rockies consecutively, with Nelson reaching on a wild pitch.
Hughes and Burnett, like peas in a pod.
In other assorted crap.
As part of a 15-minute powwow last Friday before the Rays series, Reilly asked: “Peyton Manning changed teams this season after 14 seasons with one team. Could you see yourself doing that?”
“Well, if I wanted to keep playing, yes,” Jeter replied. “It’s a business. People forget that.”
Because the team has started annoyingly winning again, let’s manufacture some controversy!
Multiple sources confirmed to The Post that the Yankees’ Robinson Cano has not failed a test for illegal performance-enhancing drugs, contradicting a Twitter dispatch by some Charlotte, N.C., television dimwit named Dan Tordjman.
At roughly 1:00 Thursday afternoon, Tordjman — who describes himself in his Twitter page as “a keen observer of NY sports, horse racing and all things Depeche Mode” — tweeted, “Can’t confirm this but I’m hearing that Robinson Cano tested positive for PEDs. Announcement from MLB coming shortly.”
These are new steroids that don’t work when runners are in scoring position.
“Just by feeling it right now you can tell that it’s swollen and tight and sore,” Teixeira said Thursday.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has expressed hope Teixeira could return in time for the team’s trip to Toronto from Sept. 27-30. He has not resumed on-field workouts but planned to take indoor batting practice Thursday.
“I don’t want to put any timetable on it because we tried to do that last time and it kind of put unwanted pressure on everybody,” he said. “We all wanted me to be back as soon as possible and I wasn’t, I wasn’t ready. So I’m just going to take it day by day, and when the doctors tell me that I’m clear, when the trainers tell me that I’m clear, when the strength coach and the baseball people all say you look normal, you’re running fine, then I’ll be out there playing.”
The runway is getting a lot shorter for Teixeira, but I’d guess they’ll give it a shot by the last series of the year. If he gets hurt again, he’ll have the offseason to heal up. Besides, the Yankees don’t need him with Steve Pearce and Casey McGehee around.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
2012 CAIRO Rest of Season Position Player Projections for the Yankees (with platoon splits)
I figured with 15 games left in the season most of the projections for the Yankees shouldn’t change much so I could run these. Ichiro thanks me for not running these yesterday.
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Platoon splits are calculated using the methodology detailed in The Book, an illustration of which can be found here. That means they are regressed and based on a player’s career platoon splits, which tell us more than a single season does.
What will come next will be figuring out how the Yankees should deploy their players to take best advantage of platoon splits as they try to hold off the unstoppable Orioles juggernaut. I’ll try and do that over the next few days.
Monday, September 17, 2012
A Tale of Two Shortstops
Consider the following two shortstops.
CH/9: Zone Rating fieldable chances per nine innings
PM/9: Zone Rating fieldable chances per nine innings converted into outs
RV: Run value of difference between PM/9 over 162 games
If this was all the information you had on the two shortstops, which one would you rather have?
What if we added another piece of data?
E/9: Errors per nine innings
Shortstop E commits errors four times more frequently than shortstop D.
If you believe a defender’s job is to convert the most plays he can into outs, then you’d still want shortstop E, right? Even if he annoys you because of all his errors?
These are the defensive numbers of Eduardo Nunez(at shortstop) and Derek Jeter since 2010.
There are sample size issues in these numbers in the case of Nunez. He’s only played about 500 innings of shortstop at the MLB level. We also don’t necessarily know that he’s gotten more chances than Jeter because of better range or because he just happened to have more balls hit into his area. There is evidence of some range bias in zone-based defensive systems. In other words, they don’t always penalize players with poor range as much as they should for missed chances, marking them as unfieldable when they may have been fieldable by other players. So this isn’t really conclusive.
In terms of the bottom line, Nunez has a zone rating of .783 as a shortstop in the majors. Jeter has a zone rating of .776 since 2010. Over a typical shortstop season where they’d see 532 chances you’d expect Nunez to make 4 more plays. That may not seem like much, but it doesn’t factor in the potential range bias that may not penalize Jeter as much as it should.
You do have to wonder if the Yankees should consider playing Nunez more often. Particularly against lefties.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
NEW YORK—The Yankees followed their shortstop’s lead on Sunday at Yankee Stadium, but it was 25-year-old Eduardo Nunez, not veteran captain Derek Jeter. Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore attempted to pick Nunez off first base four times in the third inning before Nunez swiped second to jump start a five-run inning that carried the Yankees past the Rays, 6-4.
The victory moved New York 1 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles, whose game began in Oakland at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Nun-E! Nun-E! Nun-E!
It got a little tight near the end, but the bullpen was nails to close it out, and the Yankees had their first series win since I believe May although I may have forgotten one or two.
Friday, September 14, 2012
|RISP 9/11 - 9/13||AB||Hits||2B||3B||HR||RBI||BB||IBB||HBP||K||SH||SF||GDP||BA||OBA||Slug%|
Thursday, September 13, 2012
BOSTON—Phil Hughes fired 7 1/3 dominant innings and Derek Jeter tied Willie Mays on baseball’s all-time hits list as the Yankees defeated the Red Sox, 2-0, on Thursday at Fenway Park.
With the victory, the Yankees maintained their tie with the Orioles for first place in the American League East. Baltimore defeated the Rays, 3-2, in 14 innings earlier in the afternoon.
Hughes marked his 100th career start by turning in one of his best outings of the season, getting ahead of hitters and challenging the Red Sox with excellent stuff.
After retiring the first 10 batters he faced, Hughes only permitted five hits, shutting Boston down through a superb 95-pitch effort. He pitched out of a first-and-third jam in the fourth inning and stranded two men aboard in the sixth.
Hughes was good, although let’s be honest, the team that Boston’s running out there right now is a AAA team with maybe a couple of guys on rehab assignments.
The offense wasn’t good, again, but thanks to Hughes and the bullpen the two runs they scored were enough to take the series. The Yankees went something like 2 for 33 with RISP in this series, which is putrid.
Who Has Been the 2012 Yankees’ MVP?
As Mike K. pointed out in a prior thread, last night Michael Kay (hmm, Michael Kay, Mike K.?) made a statement that Derek Jeter was the Yankees’ undisputed MVP this year. Of course, from what we know of Kay he has little interest in the advanced metrics that tell a different story.
I have pretty much stopped posting things like WAR and run value because frankly it’s all available in a few places now and everyone knows how to get to it. Although I quibble with a few of the components at the various sites, in general it doesn’t make a huge difference as long as you understand the limitations of each implementation and adjust them accordingly.
That doesn’t mean we can’t parse some of the data and see if there’s something that’s not necessarily being captured that could paint a different picture than the one we see if we just blindly accept the numbers as presented.
So, does Derek Jeter have any case for being the Yankees’ MVP? I’m going to limit this to position players.
|Player||Team||Batting||RE24||BaseRunning||Replacement||Position||Total||rTotal||Fielding||Total w Fld||rTotal w Fld||Diff|
Batting: Runs created above an average player
RE24: Run expectancy added above an average player accounting for base/out state
BaseRunning: Value added by base running
Replacement: Replacement level adjustment (roughly 20 runs over a full season)
Position: Adjustment for positions played
Total: Batting + Baserunning + Replacement + Position
rTotal: RE24 + Baserunning + Replacement + Position
Diff: rTotal with fielding minus total with fielding
The table above is sorted by Fangraphs’ version of WAR which includes UZR. If we use RE24 instead of their batting component to adjust for the context in which a batter’s performance came, Cano takes the biggest hit on the team, losing almost two wins of value. Despite that, once you factor in defense he’s still clearly the Yankees’ MVP, at least on the position player side.
But I think it’s fair to be frustrated by Cano’s lesser performance in more important situations. It’s not necessarily predictive, and he was great in those spots last year, but it should affect our understanding of how valuable he’s been to this point. It should not affect our understanding of how good he is.
What I find really interesting, and this may point to a problem with comparing Fangraphs’ batting value with RE24 directly, is that the Yankees have been worth 90 runs above average without adjusting for context and only 38 runs better than average when you do factor context in. That seems like a pretty large gap, but it also feels like it tells the story of a frustrating season pretty accurately. It’s 52 runs over 122 games. When viewed on that scale it seems eminently realistic. They only have five players who have been better in higher leverage situations, and two of them are Brett Gardner and Chris Dickerson who have barely played! And one of them is Andruw Jones who has been so awful that it hasn’t helped.
On the other hand, they have nine players who have been worse in more important situations, six or seven of whom are among the primary starters on the team depending on how you view Chavez/Ibanez.
I think the takeaway from this is that this team should be scoring more than they have, and hopefully it’ll start soon.
BOSTON—Derek Jeter grimaced and was hobbled after lunging for first base during the Yankees’ 5-4 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park, unable to persuade manager Joe Girardi to keep him in the game.
The play forced the Yankees to reveal that Jeter has been quietly battling a bone bruise in his left ankle, and of course, Jeter expects to be in the lineup on Thursday. What else would you expect?
“I don’t talk about injuries,” Jeter said. “Either you play or you don’t. I’m playing, so it’s not an issue. At this point in the season, I’m sure there are a lot of guys that have some things bothering them. I’m really never one to talk about them.”
Girardi may decide to be cautious and sit Jeter out today, or he may DH him since Boston will have LHP Felix Doubront going. Might we get a rare Nun-E sighting? Either way, it thankfully doesn’t seem like a serious problem, as opposed to the multitude of serious problems this team has.
The New York Yankees pitching rotation could add some much needed depth in the upcoming days, as reports are saying Ivan Nova and Andy Pettitte could possibly return to the rotation soon. According to manager Joe Girardi, Nova is going to replace veteran Freddy Garcia and will start Saturday, while Pettitte could return to the rotation next week if he gets clearance from his doctors.
For the past few weeks, Nova (11-7, 4.92 ERA) has been out because of shoulder soreness, while Pettitte (3-3, 3.22 ERA) has been recovering from a broken left ankle since June 27.
According to reports, Pettitte tossed “60, 65 pitches” in a simulated game at Fenway Park before Wednesday night’s showdown between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox. After the session, Pettitte said he’d like to return and help the Yankees win the AL East.
Nova’s had a disappointing season, but the bar for him being an asset at this point is to be better than Freddy Garcia. Since Garcia’s got an RA of 7.64 and a FIP of 5.94 and has averaged 4.4 innings a game over his last four starts, that’s not a particularly high bar.
As for Pettitte, we just won’t know what’s up with him until he’s pitching full speed in a real game. With 20 games left in the regular season, his runway is short. But I’m hopeful we’ll see him back and pitching in the rotation.
Nova bumping Garcia to the pen is probably an upgrade in both areas, since I think Garcia is a better option for long relief than Derek Lowe. Then again, you could probably say that about every pitcher in the Yankee organization and Nick Swisher too. You’d assume Pettitte would move David Phelps back to the bullpen as well, which gives the Yankees a better option than Cody Eppley in those crucial sixth innings. The Yankees have gotten a lot more than I expected out of Eppley and he’s been a net plus this year, but he hasn’t been as good of late and his peripherals scream fluke.
A pen of Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, Boone Logan, Joba Chamberlain, Phelps, Clay Rapada, Garcia, Eppley and maybe Cory Wade (I still think he can be useful) should help the Yankees push through the end of the regular season without overworking their key relievers too much.
Now if only they’d win a second game in a row for once.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
BOSTON—Curtis Granderson homered twice to get the Yankees back on track in their chase for the American League East title, leading New York to a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday at Fenway Park.
But the win, just the Yankees’ ninth in their last 21 contests, may have come with a high price. Derek Jeter was limping after running out an eighth-inning double play ball and had to leave the game.
We wait with bated breath to find out the severity of Jeter’s injury.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
It’s been a hell of a year for a hell of a player.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
ST. PETERSBURG—The Yankees marched out of a rare team meeting and reclaimed sole possession of first place in the American League East, posting a 6-4 victory over the Rays on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
Derek Jeter had three hits for New York, but his most important swing of the night came on a seventh-inning grounder that second baseman Elliot Johnson threw away for a decisive two-run error.
Russell Martin homered and drove in three runs, helping to lift the Yankees back into the division lead after the Blue Jays defeated the Orioles, 6-4, setting up a big four-game showdown for New York in Baltimore beginning on Thursday.
For least one night, order has been restored.
How To Blow a 10 Game Lead in 47 Days
|David Phelps||11||4||2||1||33 1/3||24||12||12||5||10||34||2||1||0||3.24||3.24||4.04|
|Clay Rapada||20||0||1||0||9 2/3||10||4||4||1||3||9||0||1||0||3.72||3.72||3.46|
|David Robertson||21||0||0||2||20 2/3||18||5||5||1||4||19||1||0||0||2.18||2.18||2.57|
|Rafael Soriano||17||0||0||1||17 2/3||14||6||6||2||2||19||1||0||1||3.06||3.06||2.88|
|Boone Logan||18||0||2||2||13 2/3||11||6||6||1||7||16||0||0||0||3.95||3.95||3.20|
|Cody Eppley||16||0||0||2||13 1/3||18||8||7||0||4||11||0||0||1||5.40||4.73||2.30|
|Derek Lowe||8||0||0||1||9 1/3||17||7||6||2||2||8||0||0||0||6.75||5.79||4.76|
|Joba Chamberlain||10||0||0||0||8 2/3||17||9||9||2||5||7||2||0||0||9.35||9.35||6.86|
|Cory Wade||1||0||0||0||1 2/3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.00||0.00||3.05|
The interesting thing on the offensive side is the fact that the Yankees’ seeming lack of clutch ability doesn’t really show up if you compare their linear weights batting runs to their actual runs scored. They haven’t done a bad job of converting their hits and walks to runs, they just haven’t done a good job of getting hits and walks.
I knew Curtis Granderson has been pretty bad for most of the second half, but I didn’t realize it was quite that bad. Missing Mark Teixeira hasn’t helped of late, but a .256/.319/.402 line from a 1B who plays half his games in DNYS isn’t exactly something that’s going to make a big difference. Teixeira’s probably better than that, but over the last 25-30 games of the season it wouldn’t surprise to see him do no better than that or even worse.
I won’t get into all of the team’s splits over the past 47 days, but here’s a link from David Pinto’s Day by Day database so you can see them for yourselves. Some highlights:
The team is hitting .234/.288/.400 when trailing. That wouldn’t be an issue if they didn’t trail in every game.
The team has gotten a sparkling line of .210/.283/.338 from left field
They’ve hit .222/.296/.369 vs. LHP. Luckily they won’t face LHP in every single game over the rest of the year, only maybe half of them.
They’re hitting .175/.259/.283 so far in September. It’s like they switched to bizarro National League rules where only the pitchers hit.
The gap between the pitching staff’s FIP and ERA is about 6 runs, so they haven’t been the victims of exceedingly bad luck in terms of BABIP either. Hiroki Kuroda is really the only starting pitcher doing well, and as we all know they’re effectively down to a two man bullpen, maybe two and a half if you give Boone Logan partial credit. Maybe Cory Wade can re-discover whatever it was that made him effective during the first half of his Yankee tenure, and maybe a healthy and effective Ivan Nova can push David Phelps back into the bullpen and they can beef it up a bit.
Again, I won’t get into all of the pitching staff’s splits but you can see them at this link.
A team that scores 193 runs and allows 190 should be about a .507 team, so I suppose you could point to the Yankees’ record in close games as the primary culprit for their fall from grace. They’ve gone 19-25 over the past 47 days instead of their Pythagenpat expected record of 22-22.
All is not lost of course. The Yankees are still tied for first place. If you remove the “contributions” of Ryota Igarishi, Derek Lowe, Casey McGehee and DeWayne Wise from their overall stats they’ve played more like a .513 team. I’m not sure why Lowe is still on the roster, and I’m hoping he never throws another pitch in pinstripes.
Here is a random and not necessarily meaningful split of the team’s record in games that a player has appeared in. The obvious takeaway from that is that since they’re 13-4 in games that Rafael Soriano has pitched in he should pitch every day. Another “fun” stat? The Yankees are 1-7 in games that Derek Lowe and Alex Rodriguez have appeared in since July 19. I can’t wait for the MSM to latch onto that last one.
Since the Rays and Orioles play each other six more times this season, the Yankees have a chance to gain some ground on at least one of them. Of course, they can’t do that if they don’t start winning freaking games.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
NEW YORK—As late-August losses piled up in New York and an American League East lead dwindled from as many as 10 games down to only two entering September, nearly everyone in the organization had to reaffirm that no, the veteran clubhouse was not panicking, and yes, it still intended to win the division.
The reasons were simple for Nick Swisher, even after a series-opening loss to Baltimore: experience, and Derek Jeter.
The Yankees’ captain showed just how calm the Yankees remain Saturday, drawing a bases-loaded walk with two outs to score the tying run in the seventh inning of New York’s 4-3 win against the Orioles. It came after he fell behind Baltimore reliever Pedro Strop, 0-2, and an inning after he voiced displeasure with home-plate umpire Mike Estabrook as he returned to the dugout after a called third strike.
The 2012 Yankees have specialized in losing games they should have won. Today they managed to win a game they should have lost. Great job by the bullpen to shut down Baltimore after 4.2 mediocre innings by David Phelps, and I suppose the offense deserves credit for letting Baltimore hand them the game as well. At the very least, we know the Yankees will still be in first place after this series ends.
Curtis Granderson left the game with a hamstring issue but an MRI supposedly revealed little of concern, and he’s probably day to day. A few days off may do him some good anyway.
Monday, August 27, 2012
One strike away from victory, and Rafael Soriano gives up a three-run homer that turned a 6-4 lead into a 7-6 deficit. Derek Jeter ties it in the bottom of the ninth but Derek Lowe throws it away in the top of the 11th.
On a night when Tampa Bay is playing Texas and Baltimore was playing the White Sox and against a team that’s crippled by injuries, the Yankees lost a game they should have won. This is a tough one to deal with. If it’s not the worst loss of the year, it’s on the short list.
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
NEW YORK—Robinson Cano hit a grand slam and Derek Jeter drove in three runs as the Yankees snapped their four-game losing streak in convincing fashion, defeating the Orioles, 12-3, on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees erupted for seven runs in the third inning, highlighted by Cano’s ninth career grand slam—and second of the season—a moonshot to right off Baltimore reliever Kevin Gregg. Jeter also ripped a two-run double in the inning, part of a three-hit performance for The Captain.
Behind six strong innings from starter Phil Hughes (11-8), New York peppered Orioles starter Zach Britton (1-1) for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings, powering just its fourth victory in the last 13 games.
Even if you are skeptical about Baltimore maintaining their current pace, the Yankees losing three games off their lead against them in three days would have been brutal. By salvaging today the Yankees managed to avoid that.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
July 2012 West Coast Road Trip Stats
Runners in supposed scoring position splits
I think the most frustrating part of this trip is that the Yankees scored 21 runs (should have scored 24 according to BR/linear weights batting runs) and allowed 21 runs and went 2-5.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
MLB Leaders in Linear Weights Batting Runs: 2009 - July 17, 2012
br: Linear weights batting runs, not adjusted for park or position.
Having a 2B who hits like a top-flight 1B or LF is a wonderful thing.
Monday, July 9, 2012
2012 Yankee Position Player Projections vs. Actuals at the All Star Break Part 1
The All Star Break is a good time to take a look at how the Yankees have performed vs. their projections so far this year, and maybe think about what it means for the second half. The original projections can be accessed from this link. In this post I will pro-rate the projections to the actual playing time so far.
I’ll start with the leadoff hitter, Derek Jeter.
BR: Linear weights batting runs
BR/650: BR pro-rated to 650 PA
BRAR: BR above replacement level, adjusted for position
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
diff: Difference between 2012 and average projection
Jeter’s been a bit better than he projected to be in general, although overall the difference is slight. He’s outhitting his projection for average, but has walked a bit less than he projected to and has hit into more double plays than he projected to which has his overall value only about one run ahead of his projection. Still, I was very concerned that Jeter would be worse than he projected to be and although he cooled off quite a bit in May and June the hits appear to be falling in again. I’ve kind of gotten to the point where I don’t really trust any defensive metrics any more so I haven’t been talking about them at all this year, but it’s safe to say Jeter’s defense cuts into his value to some extent. What that extent is, we probably don’t know, but I don’t think it takes away all of his offensive value. I’m hoping he keeps hitting like he has so far this year and it would be cool for him to finish above .300.
Moving on to Curtis Granderson, here’s how he looks compared to his projections.
Most of the projections expected Granderson to regress from his MVP caliber 2011, and he has by a bit. However, he’s still well ahead of his projections and he’s actually hit into fewer double plays on a rate basis than he did last year which has his overall value pretty close to his 2011 on a rate basis. I am pretty comfortable that Granderson’s projections are underselling him because of the tangible change he made at the end of 2010 and think he’ll be about as good over the rest of the year as he’s been so far.
After two players who’ve exceeded projections we come to the first disappointment of the 2012 Yankees, Alex Rodriguez.
I figured Rodriguez would hit pretty well but would miss a non-trivial amount of time. Instead he’s stayed remarkably healthy but has underperformed, particularly in the power department. He’s hit eight fewer extra base hits than projected, but been pretty close to where he projected to be in his average and OBP. He’s shown flashes of power at times, but not enough to make me think he’s going to go on a tear in the second half. It wouldn’t surprise me, but I’m not expecting it.
I’ll look at Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher in the next post.
Monday, June 25, 2012
The Yankees’ designated hitter is a fearsome player. He bats from the right side of the plate, and he bats from the left. His career resume is rather impressive: he has been selected to 32 All-Star Games, and he has, entering Monday, slugged 1,815 home runs.
He is, of course, not one man, but essentially five. The Yankees’ roster features a quintet of players—Eric Chavez, Raul Ibañez, Derek Jeter, Andruw Jones and Alex Rodriguez—who are on pace to make more than 70 plate appearances as the club’s DH, which is something that no team has had in seven years. Many of the managers who have in the past employed a Hydra approach to their DH spot have done so out of desperation, in a largely futile attempt to find someone who can provide appropriate production from the game’s most controversial position.
I’m not sure why, but I’ve felt Yankee DH has under-performed this year. Part of that is getting used to the new lower run environment, and part of it is just being flat-out wrong. DH has been pretty solid, and Girardi deserves some credit for his management of it.
Monday, June 18, 2012
NEW YORK—The threat of being no-hit and any early trouble CC Sabathia encountered Monday against the Braves were distant memories by the time the Yankees won their 10th consecutive game, 6-2.
Atlanta starter Mike Minor started strong against the Yankees after limiting them to one run in 7 1/3 innings last week, facing the minimum through the first four innings. But after Alex Rodriguez ended any hopes of a no-hitter to start the fifth, the Yankees quickly ended Minor’s outing. Sabathia’s was only beginning, as the durable left-hander went all nine innings for his first complete game of the season.
Russell Martin put the Yankees on the board with a ground-rule double that just stayed fair and bounced into the seats along the third-base line. It would have scored Robinson Cano from first had it stayed in play, but both Cano and Martin moved up after Jayson Nix walked to load the bases.
Derek Jeter stepped to the plate with three on and two outs, working a full count as the crowd of 42,709 at Yankee Stadium rose to its feet. His chopper squeezed between the shortstop and second baseman, scoring Cano and Martin to give New York its first lead. The Yankees captain added another RBI single in the seventh inning.
Mark Teixeira added to the Yankees’ lead in the sixth, leading off the inning with a homer. Minor got the next two outs, but his outing was over.
Great game by CC, giving the pen a much needed breather. When I saw the lineup with Russell Martin DHing, Jayson Nix playing LF and Chris Stewart catching I figured they wouldn’t score, so six runs was a pleasant surprise.
Hopefully this team can carry on this winning when the exhibition games are over and the games start to really count.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
After losing 6-0 to Kansas City at home on May 21, the Yankees dropped to 21-21 and looked like they were heading for an ugly and disappointing season. Since then, they’ve won 10 of 13 games to move to 31-24 and trail first place Baltimore by one half game for the AL East lead. How have they done it?
They’ve done it by being about 30 runs above average overall, which breaks down like this.
No park or position-adjusting or defense in these numbers. It’s just comparing linear weights batting runs for hitters vs. league average and runs saved compared to league average RA for pitchers (not adjusted for starters vs. relievers).
Friday, June 1, 2012
Twenty years ago today, a roar went through the Harbor View Room, a large conference room next to the kitchen at George Steinbrenner’s Radisson Bay Harbor Hotel in Tampa.
A group of stunned and euphoric executives rejoiced at a baseball miracle, the Red Seas of the draft had parted in just such a way that the youngster every person in the Yankees’ draft war room was in unanimity must be taken was outrageously there with the sixth pick.
Kevin Elfering, the Yankees’ director of minor league operations, leaned toward the speaker phone connected to the Commissioners Office and read off an identification number: 19921292, a name and a high school.
20 years? Man.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
NEW YORK—Manager Joe Girardi was not willing to call Tuesday’s eked-out victory the end of a slump at the plate, but the Yankees appeared to be cured of whatever ailed them during Wednesday’s 8-3 win over the Royals.
Girardi spent much of his pregame news conference defending Alex Rodriguez, who suddenly began facing questions about his age in the midst of a power slump.
Yes, Girardi said, Rodriguez can still carry a team with his bat.
Maybe A-Rod’s power isn’t quite all gone yet.
I’d have been happy if Andy Pettitte pitched at the level of a fourth starter after a year off and given his age. So far he’s been a lot better than that. I wouldn’t bet on him maintaining an ERA in the mid 2s all year, but he’s come up big twice for a team that needed it pretty badly.
Derek Jeter’s three hits moved him into a tie for 16th place on the all-time hit list, and he’s now two hits behind George Brett for 15th.
The team still stinks though.
Friday, May 4, 2012
KANSAS CITY—Eduardo Nunez’s go-ahead RBI triple opened the floodgates in a four-run seventh inning as the Yankees rallied to top the Royals, 6-2, on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter also homered as New York snapped its three-game losing skid behind eight strong innings from ace CC Sabathia, who won his fourth straight start.
That was a much needed win, more to regain sanity than anything else.
This seems like a good idea if it means using Robertson in the higher leverage situations.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
In what ultimately went down as a 7-1 loss to the Orioles, Hughes gave his team a chance to win, departing with the Yankees trailing only by two runs.
For others, allowing four runs in 5⅔ innings is hardly a cause for celebration. But for Hughes, whose season until Tuesday night had been marked by short, brutish appearances, it was a step forward.
It was tentative step, but a step nonetheless, and both Hughes and the Yankees seemed eager to take it.
Perhaps it is why the crowd gave the pitcher a lukewarm round of applause, despite the fact that Hughes displayed some of the same issues that have plagued him all year.
It was almost certainly Hughes’s best start of the year, but it still wasn’t a great one. I did see enough to think that if Hughes eventually winds up back in the bullpen, he’ll be pretty good there, because he got his fastball up to 95 and he probably had his best curve of the year on top of it. Until Andy Pettitte is ready to return Hughes is safe in the rotation, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens if David Phelps outpitches him in the rotation until then.
As for the rest of the team, feh. Aside from Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson,there’s really no compelling reason to watch them right now. I don’t expect it to last, but that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating to watch right now.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Does Derek Jeter now project to hit .300?
Like most stat-heads, I know that batting average is not really a good gauge of how good a player is. That doesn’t mean it’s useless, just that there are better stats to tell us how valuable a player is.
Despite that, I can’t help but find a .300 average more aesthetically pleasing than an average of .299 or less. Derek Jeter’s made a Hall of Fame career based primarily on hitting .300 or better (.314 career), but after his disappointing 2010 it seemed like those days were over. He rode a second-half hot streak in 2011 to the cusp of yet another .300 season, but his bid fell short in the season finale.
With his 2 for 3 earlier today Jeter now sits at .396/.440/.593 with nearly a month of the season over. I’m going to go out on a limb and say he will not finish the year at .396, since I hate him and all. But I wondered if he should now project to end the year at .300.
I can try and figure this out by running a revised CAIRO for Jeter including the data we have for 2012, then adding that revised projection to what he’s already done. It looks like this.
ROY: Rest of year projection.
revised: ROY plus 2012 performance
Jeter’s hot April has revised his CAIRO projection from .286/.350/.384 to .295/.356/.402. Adding that to what he’s done has him ending the year with a line of .309/.364/.430, which would make him worth close to 20 runs more than projected entering the year. ZiPS was less sanguine about Jeter heading into this season, but its revised projection has moved from .268/.329/.362 to .281/.341/.386 which is actually a bigger improvement relative to its orginal projection than CAIRO’s.
I’ll admit, I didn’t think he still had it in him. I’m happy to have been wrong so far, and hope I continue to be even wronger.
Monday, April 23, 2012
ARLINGTON—The Yankees believed their trip to Texas could be a good measurement of how they would stack up against the American League’s best competition thus far, and the early results suggest they’re doing just fine.
CC Sabathia pitched eight innings in what was arguably his sharpest start of the young season, Alex Rodriguez homered and Derek Jeter banged out four hits as the Yankees defeated the Rangers, 7-4, on Monday at Rangers Ballpark.
I think Sabathia pitched much better than the four runs allowed would have you believe. Fortunately for him his offense gave him seven runs so it can be considered a gutsy performance instead of a disappointing one.
Derek Jeter’s continuing resurgence is the story of the season so far though in my mind. He now leads the AL in hits and these aren’t cheap for the most part. He’s hitting the ball hard to the outfield consistently and it’s been great to watch.
If the Yankees can take one of the next two games, this road trip will have been a resounding success.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Crashing the Party
I decided to make use of my field pass during Yankees' batting practice on Friday afternoon. I figured that I should make the most of it before somebody wised up and revoked it.
Trying to remain as incognito as possible, I snapped off a few pictures using my phone (hence the poor picture quality). Click on any of them to enlarge.
I took this shot just as the Red Sox were finishing up their BP - all the Yankees were still in the dugout getting ready to come out and stretch.
Papelbon is right, Mo has a great smile.
CHB asked asked A-Rod about his favorite Fenway moments. I believe A-Rod mentioned his first major league game in July of 1994.
One of the funnier moments I witnessed was when Nick Swisher came into the dugout before taking BP. Russell Martin was just about to sit down with a reporter from a Canadian news outlet, and Swisher started yelling out, "French time? Time for French!?"
Another interesting thing I caught was Swisher talking to Ibanez about the difference between Yankee Stadium's short porch and the wall in left at Fenway. He said something about how if you get jammed at Yankee Stadium, you won't be able to muscle it out; but you can get jammed and still go deep over the monster. Or maybe it was the other way around. The funny thing was that it almost looked like he got jammed in his first plate appearance on Friday and he actually took it the other way for a HR over the monster.
Kuroda sitting down for an interview with Japanese TV. I only caught one word: Ichiro.
Every time I get an assignment for a Yankee game, I hope to see Mariano Rivera take the mound. So when Cody Eppley came in with a four run lead in the bottom of the ninth, I was a bit disconcerted. However, it only took one single off the bat of Jarrod Saltalamacchia for Girardi to make the inevitable call to the bullpen, and I once again got to see my absolute favorite player in action. Two strike outs and a ground out was all the Red Sox could muster against the greatest closer in baseball history, and the Yankees took the first game of the season series 6-2.
Happy Birthday Fenway.
Honoring the oldest operating facility in the big leagues, Boston was attired in replicas of what the club would have worn on April 20, 1912, as the gates along Yawkey Way opened, just five days after the sinking of the Titanic.
The Red Sox won that opening game, 7-6, in 11 innings, but behind a 15th consecutive winning decision from right-hander Ivan Nova and the Yankees’ offensive power, New York spoiled any chances of a historic reprisal early.
Dustin Pedroia dropped a Derek Jeter popup that led to an unearned first-inning run before Swisher and Chavez teed off on Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz for solo homers in the second inning.
Chavez added a second homer in the fourth frame off Buchholz, and Rodriguez slugged the 631st of his big league career over the Green Monster in the fifth, passing former Mariners teammate Ken Griffey Jr. for sole possession of fifth place on the all-time list.
I can’t wait to watch the replay of this one.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Close the Curtain Slowly: Derek, Bernie, and the dream
Angry at Derek Jeter? Well, those sacrifice bunts in the first inning could incite even a Buddhist monk. But aside from that unfortunate habit, I find it nearly impossible to disdain Jeter, even as he was routinely overpowered by just about any pitcher throwing with a right hand during the first half of last season.
I do my best to accept the limitations of baseball players. Criticizing athletes from a couch is an American pastime, and even the most rational sports followers are occasionally swept within the winds of irrational emotion. My past experiences playing competitive baseball, against high school caliber competition, taught me two personal lessons. That baseball was incredibly difficult, and creatively cruel. The players earning big money professionally had to overcome career combusting elements through all levels of their journey, from mastering the delicate skill of consistency, to maintaining health while playing a physically demanding game.
Despite being slightly aware of baseball’s difficulty, I still fly off the handle with ease. When a runner is on third with less than two out, I become easily incensed at ‘unproductive outs.’ Of course, the gods of baseball (impassive orbs in outer space, see the syllabus) see all outs as more or less the same. Depending on game situation, fans have a tendency to believe players can magically guide ‘productive outs’ at will. So I’ll be especially hard on Robinson Cano, if he flails at a pitch out of the strike zone with the bases loaded, or Nick Swisher, if the swagger hound strikes out when a ground ball could have sufficed. Jeter is the exception. He consistently escapes my ire. Because I am not in a rush to judge his performance, I feel more of a distinct connection with him. Inside of me there’s still the teenage Jeter fan boy who was insulted during the 2001 playoffs when Fox compared him with Miguel Tejada. Also inside is the more mature man who doesn’t feel the need to fling household objects when that same player repeatedly fails in ‘clutch situations.’
Except for his ludicrous philosophies on bunting (Derek defends his position in an Amazon E-Book called ‘Hall of Famers can bunt, too.’ Currently on sale for seventy-four cents) Jeter’s mistakes barely register with me emotionally. It’s a strange detachment, considering my high expectations for the other Yankees.
I was similarly unmoved by Bernie Williams’ impression of a statue for the last couple of years of his career. (And Mariano Rivera? Forget it. He could be throwing low fifties gas at the age of eighty and I would still want him on the mound for the last three outs.)
Williams’ decline as a player began almost immediately after injuring his knee during the 2003 season. From that point forward, he became, almost immediately, a liability, except as a right-handed hitter of fastballs. Bernie could probably still crush one of those, especially from the recently retired Arthur Rhodes. Bernie’s struggles in 2003 were mitigated by the continued emergence of Alfonso Soriano, the slugging of Jason Giambi, and a characteristically strong effort from Jeter. Bernie also slaughtered the baseball during the 2003 World Series, especially at cavernous Pro Player Stadium, where an exciting bid to tie game five against Braden Looper died on the warning track. The lasting image of his season was not one of failure, which obscured the cold reality of his decline.
By 2004, Bernie had become a part-time centerfielder, and truthfully, should have probably been benched in favor of Kenny Lofton. Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield had arrived, and Williams slipped into the shadows, contributing offensively in 2004 before totally free-falling in ’05, when, at the outset, the Yankees inexplicably expected him to once again assume full-time defensive responsibilities. Bernie was a role player forced to step up due to injuries by 2006, his final season. Though his disintegration had been traumatic for hardcore fans, it was hardly front-page news, not compared to whether Jeter and A-Rod were still B.F.F. The graceful Bernie Williams had gone from a switch-hitting, World Series winning,.900 .OPS compiling, thank God we resigned him, guitar-playing monster to a shadow. Sea changes in baseball are often that violent. The pastoral pace of the game belies sudden shifts in fortune. It’s a gentle riptide. When Bernie Williams was pulled under, the type of hysteria capable of temporarily distorting our perceptions was mostly avoided, aside from the brief drama of whether he would accept a minor league invitation to camp in 2007. I was sure a similar situation involving Jeter would play out differently.
Before the predictably difficult negotiating sessions for a new contract, featuring twists and turns splashed on the backs of papers from SoHo (not Luis) to Jersey, there was Derek Jeter’s 2010 season, which was the worst of his career. His .OPS was .710, a career low by over sixty points. His batting average plunged to .270, and on base to .340. Recent improvements to his defensive metrics proved unsustainable. The season paled in comparison even to a disappointing 2008, which had been partially affected by a lingering hand injury. There was never a doubt that Jeter would resign with the Yankees, but debate raged among fans and analysts about the potential length of his new contract. He was eventually inked through 2014.
Jeter’s 2009 season had been triumphant, a flashback to prime form. His on-base percentage had never been higher, except in 1999 and 2000. The Yankees won the World Series. In 2010,Jeter crashed after a fast start. By August, he was getting jammed on pitches he used to easily pull with authority, and grounding out weakly on outside fastballs that had been previously been shot down the line in right for extra bases. The Yankees, as a club, ran into problems in the defining months of 2010. Phil Hughes flamed out after a promising beginning to his season. Andy Pettitte pitched sparingly after injuring his groin. A.J. Burnett certified his status as an enigma, and Javier Vazquez earned his status as a two-time exile. The Yankees appeared vulnerable as the playoffs began, but seemed to regain their footing while drubbing the Twins in round one, proving once and for all the fallacy of due theory. They were dominated by Texas in the ALCS, however, despite winning two games. The team had been fun to watch, but appeared worn out by the curtain’s close. They resembled Jeter.
The immediate future was mysterious. The Yankees’ had an obvious need for starting pitching depth, but Andy Pettitte retired, and Cliff Lee returned to the Phillies during the offseason. The Yankees would lean heavily on the offense in 2011, and, by natural extension, Jeter. The 2009 Yankees were a superb lineup, not even counting the shortstop with an .871 .OPS. Throw that number in the mix, and the output becomes terrifying. The 2011 Yankees didn’t necessarily need a Jeter operating on that elevated level, but an approximate was certainly welcome. With number two starter Phil Hughes struggling in April, the relatively unknown Ivan Nova being relied upon, and Freddy Garcia throwing moonshine balls, the need for a special offense in 2011, and by proxy, an effective Jeter, appeared dire.
Three thousand hits. The chase was afoot. And Derek would need his legs, considering the parade of choppers he beat into infields across America through the early months of 2011.
I would sit patiently on my couch, as Jeter searched for his swing, repeatedly failing to pick up runners in scoring position, striking out against hard throwing relievers, getting the bat knocked out of his hands by sinker slider fourth starter types. By June, the contract extension was inching closer to disaster territory. Jeter would probably be dropped in the batting order. The Yankees were staying in contention, despite his struggles. Granderson and Cano were carrying the torch. Freddy Garcia was getting outs, somehow. The Yankees were in the race. Maybe Jeter’s fall wouldn’t be the contrived controversy I anticipated. In a small, bizarre, and very real way, this bummed me out.
Jeter went on the disabled list. The Yankees played better without him. It was surreal to see. Derek Jeter, the guy you didn’t even bother pretending to be while playing stickball with your friends growing up, because it was just too easy, too easy like winning four World Championships and the Series MVP against the Mets, too easy, too perfect, too beyond us. In 2011, the stickball games were over, and a dude named Eduardo Nunez was outplaying our former hero. Had the riptide claimed another great player?
Jeter did record hit number three thousand, after returning from the disabled list. It was a home run against David Price. He had five hits that afternoon, including the game winner. The moment felt nostalgic while it was in progress. I emotionally steeled myself for all the ground ball outs waiting to be born.
But Jeter kept hitting.
Jeter hit like his old self. He hit like rust was some kind of unrealistic fantasy, instead of his new contract. He hit enough to reach the aesthetically pleasing plateau of .297 by the end of the season. Batting average is a flawed stat. But .297 and Derek Jeter went along together just fine. Much better than .270. As Jeter regained his game, the Yankees made their move on Boston. The concern about Adrian Gonzalez and the Sox owning the A.L. East for multiple seasons? By the end of the year, that seemed more unrealistic than Eduardo Nunez becoming the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees.
Yes, Yankees fans could be arrogant, totally spoiled, for a while longer. It had all been so unrealistic. All that talent coming together. The evolutionary, offense first shortstop. The smooth, switch-hitting centerfielder. The best closer ever. A-Rod switching to third? Really? Winning and winning and winning. All a dream, right? And I guess I can’t get mad at Jeter because it would be an acknowledgement that the dream will end, like all dreams do. That my favorite players will age. And fail. And lose. And the Yankees will be just another team.
I was at the game last night, against the Angels. Jeter homered. Off a lefty. A laser shot into the first or second row of the right field seats. My brother and I were cheering, and while watching the replay, agreed that Jeter hadn’t seemed this smooth mechanically since 2009. As of this morning, he’s hitting .361 with a .923 .OPS. You don’t keep track of stats in April, unless you like them.
I guess being a fan, watching a game, getting that engaged in such an abstract notion like competitive sports, is kind of like dreaming. And Derek Jeter is the type of player who makes the dream last a little longer. Bernie was, too. Our dreams usually don’t have endings. We just wake up. Baseball is a hard game. Not yet, says Jeter, with every hit.
Sunday, April 15, 2012
NEW YORK—Derek Jeter cracked a three-run homer and Ivan Nova turned in six effective innings for the victory as the Yankees defeated the Angels, 11-5, on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
Mark Teixeira had two hits, including a run-scoring double, as part of a four-run third inning that sent Angels starter Jerome Williams to an early exit.
Jeter’s second blast of the year was a line drive into the right-field seats off Hisanori Takahashi in the fourth inning, opening up a seven-run lead and providing Nova with a large cushion to cruise toward his second victory of the year.
The Angels made it a three-run game by the seventh, when Albert Pujols knocked in a run with a single facing an ineffective Rafael Soriano, but David Robertson bailed the Yankees out of a bases-loaded jam to escape the inning.
It’s nice when the Yankee offense graces us with their presence, isn’t it? Derek Jeter can’t carry this team alone all season.
Nova’s final line doesn’t look all that great, but I thought he pitched pretty well over most of the game. He continued to show the separation in his walks and strikeouts that are an indication that he’s not pitching over his head with 2 BB and 8 K, but he gave up 2 HRs and 4 runs so it was a mixed outing.
The Yankees have won 5 of 6 after starting the year 0 for 3 against the juggernaut Rays. The schadenfreude-lover in me also is happy that the Angels weren’t able to leave this series feeling they’ve “turned their season around” and that Albert Pujols didn’t really break out. I still think they’re a good team and will be in contention until the end of the year, but let that start after tonight.
A 5-4 record feels meh, but it’s about where we should have realistically expected them to be at this point. The home series against the Twins starting tomorrow seems like a good opportunity to try and move ahead of those expectations.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
2012 Yankee Position Player WAR through April 11
I’m just goofing around with my spreadsheets for 2012 and figured I’d post this. I’ve decided that this year I’m going to just use Fangraphs’ data for everything except defense since I don’t like using UZR as the sole determination of a player’s defense. I’ll still keep my own set of numbers as a sanity check in case I start having questions about what Fangraphs says, but I don’t generally have much of an issue with their position player valuations. I’ll still do my own pitching valuation.
So the Yankees should DFA Mark Teixeira, Chris Stewart, Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano apparently. A bit surprised to see Cano at the bottom of the list, although it appears to be a defense thing.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
BALTIMORE—Raul Ibanez provided the Yankees with the big hit that they’d been searching for all night, delivering a go-ahead ground-rule double that powered a 5-4 victory over the Orioles in 12 innings on Tuesday at Camden Yards.
I didn’t think Joe Girardi managed this game all that well, but I’m glad the team won. I didn’t really have a problem with using Boone Logan to start the ninth, particularly since he was on a short leash and got pulled as soon as the first batter reached. My primary beef was the whole sequence in the top of the 11th. After Russell Martin walked to lead off the inning, Girardi pinch-ran for him with Eduardo Nunez. The benefit to this is getting a stolen base threat into the game. Instead, Girardi had left-handed hitting Brett Gardner bunt Nunez to second against a RHP so that Derek Jeter could try to drive him in with the platoon disadvantage. This also meant that the next time Martin’s spot came up, it’d be Chris Stewart in his spot. It turned out to not matter, but I think Girardi would be better off not trying to be so active when an opportunity presents itself.
Of course if one of the Yankees #4 or #5 or #6 hitters could have gotten a hit in the fifty times they came up with a chance to drive in a runner it would have been a non-issue.
On the plus side, David Phelps was nails after a crappy outing by Freddy Garcia, as was Cory Wade. Raul Ibanez’s big hit was obviously cool, and Mariano Rivera closed it out with a perfect 12th inning, lowering his ERA to 7.71. The Yankees have a chance to head home at .500 if they can win tomorrow behind CC Sabathia, and after starting out 0-3 you can’t ask for more than that.
Monday, April 9, 2012
BALTIMORE—Derek Jeter had four hits and Andruw Jones homered to support Ivan Nova’s effort as the Yankees posted their first victory of the season on Monday, defeating the Orioles, 6-2, at Camden Yards.
Hoping to avoid their first 0-4 start since 1973, the Yankees rode seven solid innings from Nova, who outpitched Baltimore counterpart Brian Matusz and washed away the remnants of an unsuccessful spring.
I generally look at three numbers after every Nova start. Runs, walks and strikeouts. When he allows two runs, walks none and strikes out seven, I’m seeing the evidence I need to see to think that Nova’s improvement over the last season or so is legitimate and sustainable. He hit 96 mph and had great breaking stuff tonight, and threw the best game a Yankee starter has thrown this year.
Friday, April 6, 2012
Looking Ahead To 2012 - Team Wrap Up
Opening Day is here, which means we can forget about projections and start complaining about games that count.
We’ve looked at the projections for most of the key players on the Yankees Opening Day roster, with apologies to Chris Stewart.
The Speedy Brett Gardner
Andruw Jones and
Jesus Montero Raul Ibanez
Ivan Nova and Freddy Garcia
$36M and a lost draft pick
Booooone Logan and Clay Rapada
Cory Wade and David Phelps
Mariano F’ing Rivera
So now I try to assemble that into a team projection. I’ll show the depth charts I used for the 2012 MLB Projection Blowout with CAIRO.
The biggest area of concern for the position players is probably Alex Rodriguez’s health. A weighted average of his past four years puts him at 459 PA. I’m also not particularly optimistic that Raul Ibanez can hit that projected line, although as half of a platoon it’s more feasible. To a lesser extent the team’s overall health is probably a concern, although in my mind it’s not a huge one. Losing Curtis Granderson or Robinson Cano for an extensive period of time wouldn’t be good since they’re probably the two most valuable position players on the team right now, but you can say that for any team losing one or both of their top two position players.
Regarding Chris Stewart vs. Francisco Cervelli, it’s a clear offensive downgrade. The question is how defense changes things. If we use Cervelli’s 2011 playing time as an estimate for the 2012 backup catchers, you’re looking at something like 137 PA. Let’s round that up to 200 PA in case Russell Martin misses some more time than expected.
200 PA of Cervelli projects to be worth 22 runs. For Stewart, 200 PA projects to be worth about 18 runs. As far as defense, I’m going to ignore pitch framing and blocking and just compare the difference between them in SB/CS. In their careers, that looks like this:
Runners may not run as frequently against Stewart if teams have more respect for his arm than they do for Cervelli’s, although runners have attempted 0.12 steals per inning vs. Stewart compared to 0.09 steals per innings vs. Cervelli in their respective careers. I’ll split the difference, which means 42 stolen base attempts over 400 innings. Using the linear weights values for SB/CS gives us this.
rv: linear weights run value of SB/CS.
A positive run value means more runs for the team stealing bases, so the difference between Stewart and Cervelli there effectively nullifies Cervelli’s offensive edge. Whether other factors of catcher defense change things beyond that, I have no idea.
Back to the rest of the team, the Yankees actually project to score more runs than any other team in baseball according to the aggregate projections I ran, although CAIRO sees them about nine runs behind Boston. They may be able to pick up a few more runs if they swap out Ibanez for Russell Branyan and/or Jack Cust at some point.
Most of the defense projects as average, aside from Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and Nun-E. Overall they project about 12 runs better than average.
Of course, 90% of the game is pitching, so how’s that look?
Assigning innings to the staff was a bit trickier this year. The Yankees have a whole bunch of guys who could pitch in the middle/back of the rotation and injuries/circumstances may have a greater say in that than merit. There’s not a ton of difference in the projections of starters 2-7, although it’s probably fair to wonder how accurate projecting Andy Pettitte will be after a year off. But really, you can juggle the innings around between Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia and probably not see a big difference. CC Sabathia is really the one starter the Yankees can’t afford to lose for any appreciable amount of time.
As far as the pen, it looked better before Joba Chamberlain got hurt. There’s still probably not an end-game you’d take over Mariano Rivera/David Robertson, and for all the crap I spew about the Soriano signing he should be solid, but an injury to either Mo or Robertson suddenly makes it look a bit thin. David Aardsma may be able to pitch at some point, but that’s uncertain.
So, adding this up, this is what CAIRO says.
848 runs scored and 701 runs allowed plus 12 runs saved compared to average puts the Yankees at a Pythagenpat winning percentage of .598, which is equivalent to a 97 win team. CAIRO projected them at 96 in the projection blowout, which is probably a strength of schedule thing.
The other projections I ran say:
I am fairly certain about one thing in baseball this year. The best team in the American League will be the best team in baseball. I’m not quite as certain that the Yankees are that team. They project to be, but Texas has represented the AL in the last two World Series (shamefully, but still…) and if Yu Darvish is a front-line MLB starting pitcher(I think he is), it’s not a stretch to see them as the best team in the league. If the Angels stop dicking around with Vernon Wells and put Mike Trout in their outfield they also have a chance to be the best team in the league, plus they’ll sweep the Yankees in the regular season even if they’re not. Detroit’s defense looks like a problem to me, and while they should score plenty of runs, I have a hard time seeing them as being better than all three of the Rangers, Angels, and Yankees. Of course, we also have the two chief rivals in the AL East to worry about. It wouldn’t take much in the way of good fortune for Boston/Tampa Bay or bad fortune for the Yankees to drop the Yanks into third place.
Still, it’s hard to envision a scenario where the Yankees fail to qualify for the postseason. I suppose losing any of CC Sabathia, Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson for an extended period of time would be one such scenario.
According to the average team projections I ran their probability of winning at least the second wild card at 82.5%, which is the highest in baseball and 7% ahead of Texas who rank second. CAIRO likes the Yankees even more than that at 83.5%, but that ranks second to Texas’s 84.1%. On average, it took 92 wins to win the first AL wild card and 89 wins to get the second one, but these are the Yankees. Division or bust! Wild cards are for losers!
Since rilkefan asked about how these projections have fared in the past, I did a quick little chart. This compares the average of however many projections I ran that year to what the Yankees actually did.
So the Yankees have been a bit less than two wins better than projected on average since I began running these in 2005. The methodology has changed, I think for the better, but it’s still limited. But I’m pretty comfortable the Yankees will be one of the best teams in baseball. That’s really all you can ask for as a fan when the season starts, right?
Yay Opening Day!
Friday, March 16, 2012
TAMPA, Fla.—New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter has an injured left calf that will keep him out of spring training until at least next week.
Jeter, who will turn 38 in June, missed nearly a month last season in his pursuit of 3,000 hits with an injury to his right calf.
“My alarm was he hurt his calf last year and even though it is the other calf, we are going to be smart about this,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “I told him, ‘Don’t even go outside today.’ I think he could hit or take BP, but just let it calm down.”
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
10 Years of YES remembers “one of the greatest games you’ll ever see” on the YES Network, and Derek Jeter’ memorable dive into the stands.
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It’s always fun to look back at this play, because I think that the July 1, 2004 game is one of the best regular season games I’ve ever seen. Jeter’s play was a good one, perhaps overrated a bit due to context, but I think A-Rod’s double play in the 11th was the play of the game, and of course we had Miguel Cairo’s two-out clutch double that scored Ruben Sierra from first to tie the game in the bottom of the 13th.
You also had Gary Sheffield moved to 3B for the first time in 11 years, You had Brad Halsey matching Pedro Martinez pitch for pitch, you had a rare scoreless appearance by Felix “The Run Fairy™” Heredia, and a game-winning hit from John Flaherty who was pinch-hitting for Tanyon Sturtze and was the last player on the bench. Just a fun game all around.
Monday, March 12, 2012
Jeter and Rivera have starred in New York for so long that it’s easy to forget they were prospects once, too. Between now and Opening Day, promising players in 30 camps will be summoned to managers’ offices and told that they must go back to the minor leagues.
Jeter and Rivera received the same news after the Yankees’ 10-7 victory over the Seattle Mariners on June 11, 1995. And they handled it with the traits — professionalism and class — that have defined their careers ever since.
“That wasn’t a happy day for us,” Rivera recalled Sunday before pitching a 1-2-3 fourth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies in his spring debut. “It was tough. When you get sent down, you think about it. Your mind starts wandering. We were down. I was down. But that went away after we got where we were supposed to go, with Columbus, and started working. I needed to get my shoulder right. He worked on his stuff. A few weeks later, I was up again.
“Back then, if you had to work on something, The Boss would send you down in a heartbeat. He didn’t mess around.”
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Looking Ahead to 2012 - Eduardo Nunez
Although Eduardo Nunez was often mentioned as a prospect with some upside, it was based primarily on his tools. With a career minor league line of .274/.318/.369 and with defense that could charitably described as erratic, I didn’t think he was much of one.
However, Nunez put up a .265/.313/.385 line in 2011 to put his major league career line at .267/.314/.382. Also worth nothing is that on August 9, Nunez was hitting .279/.333/.411 with a perfectly reasonable .297 BABIP (indicating he wasn’t particularly lucky). He fell in the tank after that, hitting .241/.280/.339 with a .274 BABIP despite having the same basic batted ball profile. He did lose some of that plate discipline as his walk rate dropped and his K rate went up, but I think he hit into some bad luck at the end of the season.
Here’s something to consider with Nunez.
Minor Leagues: 2772 PA, 156 BB, 350 K.
Major Leagues: 391 PA, 25 BB, 39 K.
In his minor league career Nunez walked in 5.6% of his PA and struck out in 12.6%. In the majors he’s walked in 6.4% of his PA and struck out in 10.0%. Changes in walk rate and strikeout rate tend to stabilize more quickly than changes in other statistics. This could be evidence of genuine development that gives him a chance to provide better offense than you might expect given his track record to date. Control of the strike zone is one of the most important parts of being a good MLB player, for hitters and pitchers.
I don’t know if Nunez will ever hit well enough to be a starting infielder, but I think he has the potential to do it.
Unfortunately, defense is part of the equation, and Nunez had a horrific defensive season. I’ll get into that shortly.
For more information about the projections above, you can read the first post in this series.
I’ve included his 2011 and the league average line for his 2011 PA as frames of reference. I haven’t adjusted league average for DNYS, so mentally adjust that upwards to account for the way it boosts offense.
I’m treating Nunez as a 3B here since that was the position he played the most last year. Add 2-3 runs to those BRAR if he’s a SS instead.
Nunez didn’t hit quite as well as the average AL hitter, but his stolen bases at a good percentage pushed him pretty close to average, although a bit less than that once you dock him for DNYS. The projections expect him to be roughly the same in 2012, with a bit more pop. If he was really unlucky over the last two months of the year he could be a bit better than that. How much better?
CAIRO Percentiles Forecast
Nunez isn’t that young, so he may not have much time to left to get better. I do think the 65% forecast is within his reach although it’s a bit higher than the line he had through August 9.
gaR:base running runs above average on ground ball outs
aaR:base running runs above average on fly ball outs
haR:base running runs above average on hits
oaR:base running runs above average on wild pitches/passed balls
SBR: stolen base runs above average
These numbers include his minor league performance in 2009 and I’m not sure how useful those are, but Nunez looks like he can add some value on the bases.
And now we come to the elephant in the room. Here’s some of the defensive data we have for Nunez in 2011.
Nunez’s issue isn’t range, which appears to be pretty good, or his arm strength, which also appears to be quite good.. It’s what happens after he gets to the ball. He made 20 errors last year. 12 were fielding errors and 8 were throwing errors. I don’t know how telling it is, but Nunez saw about .334 chances per inning at shortstop compared to Derek Jeter’s .324. Over a full season that would mean Nunez would have gotten 14 more chances. That may be an indication that he gets to more balls, but it could also just be that he happened to be playing when conditions made more balls go to shortstop, be it who was pitching, who was hitting, etc.,
It’s commonly said that you can’t teach range but you can coach away errors. I don’t know if that will work with Nunez, but who knows? Here are his defensive projections.
Regression towards the mean is Nunez’s friend here.
Rep: Replacement level adjustment (22 runs per 700 PA pro-rated to projected PA)
RAR: Runs above replacement (Rep + Pos)
BRR: Base running runs (does not include SB)
Def: Projected runs saved defensively
WAR: Wins above replacement (RAR + BRR + Def) divided by 10
It really comes down to the glove. Nunez can probably be about a 1.0 WAR player as a backup infielder if he can play average defense. But he probably can’t, so he probably won’t be.
I like Nun-E, even though I get frustrated by his defense. While I obviously hope the Yankees get healthy years out of all of their infielders and he doesn’t get to play much, I also don’t think that’s likely. So hopefully he can get those yips on defense cut down a bit and hit decently when given the chance. If by some miracle he can play an average defensive SS by 2013, he may be the best shortstop in the Yankee organization.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Looking Ahead to 2012 - Derek Jeter
Today we’ll look at the multiple Gold Glove award-winning shortstop and captain of the Yankees.
Jeter followed up his career-worst 2010 season by hitting .260/.324/.324 with a ground ball percentage of roughly 99.9999%* through June 13 before winding up on the disabled list with a strained calf. Jeter returned from the DL on July 4 and hit .331/.384/.447 to finish the season, flirting with .300 until the last day of the season. Oh, and he hit some round number milestone of some sort.
Despite that hot finish to the season, Jeter didn’t really hit any better than he projected to overall heading into 2011.
|avg 2011 proj||607||543||154||23||2||11||52||5||65||.283||.351||.394||.332||73||78|
He traded some walks and HRs for singles and HBP but the end result was a .297/.353/.388 line that was essentially the same as his average projected line of .283/.351/.394.
For more information about the projections above, you can read the first post in this series.
I’ve included his 2011 and the league average line for his 2011 PA as frames of reference. I haven’t adjusted league average for DNYS, so keep that in mind.
The projections expect Jeter to be roughly the same as he was in 2011, which is fine for a shortstop on offense. Unfortunately for Jeter, the algorithm that makes Yankees better in CAIRO hates Jeter so it makes him worse.
CAIRO Percentiles Forecast
It took a .390 BABIP after his return from the DL for Jeter to hit how he did to finish the year. I don’t think that’s sustainable over a full season, but I could see him hitting near .300. I fear his power is gone though and it ain’t coming back, so I don’t see him slugging much higher than that baseline.
gaR:base running runs above average on ground ball outs
aaR:base running runs above average on fly ball outs
haR:base running runs above average on hits
oaR:base running runs above average on wild pitches/passed balls
SBR: stolen base runs above average
Jeter had the worst base running season of his career in 2011, but I don’t think that means we should expect him to be equally bad this year. It does probably mean that he’s at the point where he doesn’t really add extra value on the base paths.
It’s time for point/counterpoint.
Point: I could give you a bunch of fancy numbers, but if you people would take your heads out of your spreadsheets and watch the games you’d know that Jeter is a Gold Glove shortstop who makes spectacular plays all the time. Ballparking it, I’d say he’s like a +20 defender.
See if you can guess whether or not Jeter is overpaid relative to his on-field value before looking at the next chart. If you guess right, you get the satisfaction of being right.
Rep: Replacement level adjustment (22 runs per 700 PA pro-rated to projected PA)
RAR: Runs above replacement (Rep + Pos)
BRR: Base running runs (does not include SB)
Def: Projected runs saved defensively
WAR: Wins above replacement (RAR + BRR + Def) divided by 10
Did you guess right?
Jeter projects to be roughly as good as he was last year this year offensively, so even if he is closer to -10 defensively than that projected -7 he’s probably still the best choice for Yankee SS in 2012. That being said, it is probably time to start thinking about who the next Yankee shortstop will be. If Jeter’s not replacement level now, he might be by this time next year.
I’d like to see Jeter get rested more frequently, particularly against RHP. I don’t really care about him batting leadoff against all pitching since the numbers say it doesn’t really matter.
I was goofing around with TGS’s implementation of Bill James’s Favorite Toy, which is a crude way to estimate a player’s career ending total in a particular stat. It says Jeter would end up with 3569 hits, which would rank him sixth all-time. That may be a little optimistic, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to see him getting the 227 hits he’ll need to crack the top 10 before hanging ‘em up, and that’d be pretty cool.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Monday, the 42-year-old Rivera dropped strong hints this will be his final season. At the minor league complex, Derek Jeter didn’t say anything to refute that and strongly indicated that Rivera has informed his longtime teammate of the decision.
I’ve been ignoring this story on the hope that it didn’t have any traction, but I fear it does.
Monday, February 13, 2012
Young shortstop Cito Culver follows Jeter everywhere. He takes ground balls alongside Jeter on a daily basis. Jeter is a baseball godsend for Culver.
“He’s very interested in learning, which is always good,’’ Jeter said of Culver, who was the Yankees’ top pick in 2010. “When I was a young player coming up, I wanted to learn as much as I could. He asks a lot of questions, works hard. He’s got a bright future.’’
The headline doesn’t really go with the article, which doesn’t pretend Jeter hasn’t lost anything to age.
Regardless, it’s an important article because it’s the first spring training puff piece of the year! Yay!
Monday, February 6, 2012
Jeter was the first Yankees batter of the game 96 times in 2011; in 49 of those games, he reached base in his first at-bat, either by hit or walk, and scored 17 times. Gardner was the first Yankee hitter in 57 games; he reached base in his first at-bat just 14 times, although he did come around to score 11 times.
Despite their difference in Wins Above Replacement—Jeter’s was 2.3, Gardner’s 5.1 according to FanGraphs, mostly because of his high defensive rating—Jeter was the winner of this WAR, and the discussion has hardly been raised this winter.
The Yankees’ best lineup last year seemed to be the one with Jeter leading off and Gardner hitting ninth.
And yet, there is a circumstance in which the Yankees might do better with Gardner batting first and Jeter second in 2012—when a right-hander is starting. In fact, that would probably cover close to two-thirds of the season.
Just like when this came up last year, I’m going to say it doesn’t really matter. Not if moving Brett Gardner to leadoff moves Derek Jeter to second instead of ninth. That doesn’t mean we can’t look at what the difference might be.
I just realized how close CAIRO’s projections for Jeter and Gardner are. Jeter’s projected to have a wOBA of .325 and Gardner’s at .324. Remember that I don’t include SB/CS in those numbers.
Regressed platoon splits would have Jeter at .348 vs. LHP and .317 vs. RHP. Gardner would be at .304 and .331 respectively.
The Yankees had 771 PA out of the leadoff spot in 2011 (compared to 624 at #9) and 64.8% of them came against RHP. If we assume a similar split in 2012, here’s how things would look.
|Leadoff vs. RHP||500|
|Leadoff vs. LHP||271|
|#9 vs. RHP||404|
|#9 vs. LHP||220|
Scenario #1: Jeter leads off against everyone and Gardner bats ninth against everyone.
Scenario #2: Jeter leads off vs. LHP, Gardner leads off vs. RHP.
|Leadoff vs. RHP||500||Gardner||.331|
|Leadoff vs. LHP||271||Jeter||.348|
|#9 vs. RHP||404||Jeter||.317|
|#9 vs. LHP||220||Gardner||.304|
A leadoff platoon that would move Jeter to ninth vs. RHP is the absolute optimal scenario. If the Yankees did this they would gain something like .001 wOBA points out of the lead off spot over a full season, which would be worth about a bit less than one run.
But now figure that neither player is going to get every single PA of every single game, and that there will be platoon matchups later in games that will nullify some of the advantage. So maybe now you’re looking at more like no runs over the course of the year.
Now make Jeter the #2 hitter instead of the #9 hitter vs. RHP.
I’ll leave the conclusion as an exercise for you, the (mostly)intelligent readers of this blog.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
There are two factors in play here. The first has to do with Hal Steinbrenner’s desire to save money, as opposed to his father, George, who funneled most of the Yankees’ profits back into the payroll. Peel away the layers of Yankees rhetoric, and what the younger Steinbrenner wants is to make money and win championships. In that order.
That plays into the second co-efficient: Just how much does a team have to spend to rule the world? The Yankees used to be obsessed with assembling a nuclear roster — a superstar at every position, if that’s what it took.
But what did that philosophy really yield? The Yankees have won only one World Series since 2000, nearly $2 billion in outlay for one ring in 2009. It’s a horrific return on investment, a revelation that finally hit home this past October.
The Yankees led the American League with 97 wins, spent more than anyone else with a $203 million payroll, yet were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.
“And it wasn’t just us,” said a team official. “Look at the Phillies.”
Indeed, the Yankees point to Philadelphia’s failure to win the pennant in the past two years — despite adding Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay — as proof that there’s no such thing as a sure thing. Not anymore.
If only they’d realized this before signing Rafael Soriano. That $12M per year plus $4-5M luxury tax hit plus first round draft pick could surely have been put to better use, no?
If you think about this logically, the Yankees have a lot of bad contracts that are tying their hands. If any team could take any one of the following players for free providing they had to pay their entire salaries would they?
I doubt it. That’s like what, $80M per year?
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Here’s the latest version of the 2012 CAIRO projections, which can be downloaded here: cairo_2012_v0.2.xls.
- Added more minor leaguers
- Added defensive projections for catchers and added Totalzone and Zone Rating projections for the other positions
- Added W-L for the pitchers, based on their current team and that team’s runs scored in 2011. This will change as teams’ offensive projections change, so keep that in mind.
- Took the Marcels and changed the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better.
So, what does CAIRO 2012 v0.2 think about how good the Yankees are right now?
The Yankees are not likely to add a position player who will significantly improve these projections, so I think the critical number here is 450. If they can get more than 450 PA out of Alex Rodriguez they’ll project a bit better. They can also probably shore up the bench by adding an outfielder who projects better than Chris Dickerson, or who can at least be platooned with Dickerson. That could be accomplished by bringing back Andruw Jones or signing Cody Ross perhaps. Ross would project to hit .261/.328/.444 as a Yankee, and is capable of playing all three OF spots. Plus he’s a clutch postseason monster. Until he isn’t.
We do know the Yankees are going to try and improve their pitching.
|SP8||D. J. Mitchell||25||28||17||3||13||14||6.29||5.81||5.26||-0.1|
Basically, the Yankees can add a win for every WAR they add to the rotation, since their rotation projects as replacement level after A.J. Burnett. That doesn’t mean none of the kids are better than their projections and would do the job in 2012, it just means they shouldn’t plan for that as what’s going to happen. The bullpen is fine, although they could probably benefit from adding a lefty reliever. An intriguing name that I’ve seen mentioned here and on Fangraphs is Dontrelle Willis. I’ll do a detailed post about him later.
Here’s what the overall picture looks like.
So we’re looking at around a 90 win team right now. I think 95 wins is the sweet spot for projecting as the favorite in the AL East. Adding C.J. Wilson probably gets them there. Adding Yu Darvish might. Other than that it’s tough to see a single move that would accomplish it.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
CAIRO 2012 v0.1
I’m heading on vacation for about three weeks, and will probably not be online at all, so I’m releasing my 2012 CAIRO v0.1 now, even though they still need a bit of work. If you have any players you want projected that aren’t in here or see anything that looks off let me know in this thread and I’ll check it when I get back. In the meantime Jonathan will keep you covered on the major happenings in Yankee-land. I hope to return with the news that the Yankees have re-signed CC and won the posting for Yu Darvish, but we’ll see what happens.
Here are some of the key Yankees’ projections.
WAR for position players does NOT include defense yet.
You can download the full spreadsheet here. I still need to add catcher defense and zone rating/total zone to the other fielders, and playing times are likely to be somewhat off. I need to double-check my MLEs since I usually find a mistake or two so don’t get too hung up on the minor leaguers’ projections just yet.
If I was to build a preliminary depth chart for the 2012 Yankees right now using the players currently under contract, it’d look something like this.
|Jeter, Derek||SS||580||64||Sabathia, CC||SP1||220||87|
|Granderson, Curtis||CF||640||91||Nova, Ivan||SP2||200||109|
|Cano, Robinson||2B||670||95||Hughes, Phil||SP3||175||94|
|Rodriguez, Alex||3B||459||63||Burnett, A.J.||SP4||185||107|
|Teixeira, Mark||1B||675||95||Noesi, Hector||SP5||140||91|
|Swisher, Nick||RF||625||81||Betances, Dellin||SP6||50||38|
|Montero, Jesus||DH||550||69||Banuelos, Manny||SP7||50||36|
|Martin, Russell||C||500||55||Brackman, Andrew||SP8||0||0|
|Gardner, Brett||LF||550||63||Rivera, Mariano||CL||60||16|
|Nunez, Eduardo||IF||340||36||Robertson, David||SU||80||26|
|Cervelli, Francisco||C||250||25||Soriano, Rafael||SU||65||27|
|Pena, Ramiro||IF||50||4||Logan, Boone||MR||60||29|
|Dickerson, Chris||OF||300||31||Wade, Cory||MR||70||33|
|Golson, Greg||OF||50||4||Chamberlain, Joba||MR||60||30|
|Laird, Brandon||IF||50||5||Laffey, Aaron||LR||25||15|
|Russo, Kevin||UT||25||2||Warren, Adam||LR||0||0|
|Romine, Austin||C||0||0||Phelps, David||LR||0||0|
That’s about an 86 win team, before considering defense. If we assume the 2012 Yankees would be about the same as the 2011 Yankees defensively (around +20) then you’re closer to an 88 win team. It’s not impossible to think some of the young pitchers will be better than CAIRO projects, but the offense looks like it could use a bit more oomph, particularly if we assume we’re only going to get about 450 PA of Alex Rodriguez. They probably need someone who can play 3B and outhit/outglove Eduardo Nunez for at least 40 games.
As far as the pitching staff, the Yankees probably should at least consider bringing Freddy Garcia and/or Bartolo Colon back. Garcia projects better than everyone but CC in the rotation, so I’d like to see the Yankees at least offer him arbitration. If he goes elsewhere, they should get a supplemental first round pick. If he can’t find another team he comes back on a one-year deal, which would be great. 150 innings of Garcia instead of Noesi as a starter makes the Yankees about two wins better.
So the Yankees have some work to do this offseason, IMO.
Monday, October 24, 2011
While we wait for me to take the Marcels and change the underlying assumptions and components in a bunch of ways that make the Yankees look better, the first set of 2012 Yankee projections are out. With CHONE now being gobbled up by some MLB team, these are probably the best projections available now, and I know Dan Szymborski puts a ton of work into making it so.
I’ll just show the starters here..
Batting Projections Player B PO Age BA OBP SLG G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS OPS+ Robinson Cano L 2B 29 .299 .347 .506 156 609 92 182 41 5 25 103 40 76 6 3 121 Mark Teixeira B 1B 32 .263 .359 .495 147 562 88 148 32 1 32 109 76 112 2 1 122 Curtis Granderson L CF 31 .256 .346 .495 147 547 104 140 22 8 31 92 71 143 16 7 118 Alex Rodriguez R 3B 36 .264 .350 .474 108 405 62 107 20 1 21 82 51 89 7 2 115 Jesus Montero R C 22 .271 .333 .486 156 576 79 156 37 3 27 93 55 116 0 0 112 Nick Swisher B RF 31 .253 .358 .456 142 498 76 126 27 1 24 82 80 129 1 2 113 Andruw Jones R LF 35 .234 .335 .455 80 222 31 52 10 0 13 38 32 65 3 1 106 Brett Gardner L LF 28 .260 .352 .370 149 462 80 120 17 8 6 39 61 91 43 10 91 Russell Martin R C 29 .249 .346 .382 123 422 60 105 17 0 13 58 58 76 10 4 92 Jorge Posada B 1B 40 .238 .329 .414 105 324 35 77 15 0 14 47 41 80 1 1 94 Eduardo Nunez R SS 25 .273 .312 .379 141 480 57 131 23 2 8 48 26 64 21 7 81 Derek Jeter R SS 38 .268 .329 .362 129 542 78 145 22 4 7 58 46 84 14 5 82
And some selected pitchers.
Pitching Projections - Starters Player T Age ERA W L G GS IP H ER HR BB K ERA+ CC Sabathia L 31 3.55 17 8 31 31 218.0 211 86 19 63 189 126 Ivan Nova R 25 4.44 13 10 31 30 178.3 189 88 20 60 111 100 LEAGUE AVERAGE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 96 Bartolo Colon R 39 4.77 7 6 20 19 111.3 121 59 17 32 78 93 Phil Hughes R 26 4.84 9 8 25 22 122.7 127 66 18 44 96 92 Freddy Garcia R 35 4.85 9 8 23 22 128.0 143 69 18 40 75 92 Hector Noesi R 25 5.24 6 6 32 14 103.0 120 60 14 35 68 85 A.J. Burnett R 35 5.31 9 10 28 27 159.3 170 94 25 70 128 84 David Phelps R 25 5.40 6 7 23 22 121.7 148 73 18 39 73 83 Manny Banuelos L 21 5.45 7 8 25 25 115.7 128 70 15 65 85 82 Dellin Betances R 24 5.66 5 7 24 24 105.0 111 66 15 72 85 79 Player T Age ERA W L G GS IP H ER HR BB K ERA+ David Robertson R 27 3.06 4 2 69 0 64.7 50 22 5 34 87 146 Mariano Rivera R 42 3.12 3 1 53 0 49.0 44 17 4 10 43 143 Rafael Soriano R 32 3.14 4 2 67 0 63.0 50 22 6 21 74 142 Joba Chamberlain R 26 3.88 3 2 46 0 46.3 43 20 5 14 45 115 Boone Logan L 27 3.91 4 2 62 0 48.3 46 21 5 17 48 114 LEAGUE AVERAGE - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 108 Pedro Feliciano L 35 4.30 2 1 33 0 23.0 24 11 2 10 18 104 Cory Wade R 29 4.61 4 4 47 0 56.7 62 29 8 13 37 97 Luis Ayala R 34 4.62 4 3 44 0 50.7 56 26 6 19 32 96 Sergio Mitre R 31 5.08 1 1 26 2 44.3 49 25 6 17 22 88
Go to the link to see whatever players I didn’t include here.
Projections are inherently limited, so remember to take these for what they are. They are rough estimates of a player’s current talent level. They are not predictions for what a player is going to do in 2012, and they are not playing time predictions either.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
2011 Postseason Batting Average Leaders through October 4
Minimum of 1 PA
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Yankee WPA through Game 3 of 2011 ALDS
Win probability added is a stat that tries to estimate how a player has contributed to his team’s chances of winning a game. I don’t think it’s a good statistic for trying to assess value because it is heavily dependent on the contributions of others, but it’s fun to look at if you want a rough idea of which players performances have helped/hurt their teams the most.
Positive means an increase in the probability of winning, negative means a decrease. More positive is more gooder.
If you have anyone in the mainstream media sitting next to you, please send them away. And don’t tell them there’s no Santa Clause.
FWIW, here are the ten lowest WPA in the 2011 postseason to this point.
Make it 11, so we can get CC on the list. The more to complain about, the better.
If only the Yankees had signed proven postseason pitcher Cliff Lee…
What the hell, ten best too.
Saturday, October 1, 2011
Robinson Cano missed a homer by a matter of inches on his go-ahead double, and his grand slam put the game away one night after it began as the Yankees won Game 1 of the ALDS. Ivan Nova picked up the win in relief of CC Sabathia by stifling the Tigers for 6 1/3 innings.
Nova pitched well enough in relief that I think he deserves a start.
Although Doug Fister was charged with six runs, he was pitching pretty well until the sixth. Obviously Cano had a monster day, but there were a few other key plays that I though were worth mentioning.
1) Curtis Granderson, Derek Jeter and Russell Martin combining on a relay throw and tag to nail Alex Avila at home after a Jhonny Peralta single that would have given Detroit a 2-1 lead in the fifth.
2) Nova retiring Wilson Betemit on the very next play with runners on second and third. As I mentioned in the last thread, Betemit hit .307/.374/.557 vs. RHP in 2011.
3) Brett Gardner’s two-out, two-run single to push the Yankees lead to 4-1 and help set the stage for Cano’s grand slam that basically won the game.
I had no problem with how Joe Girardi handled the ninth. Nova was only around 80 pitches and he got the first out. And I was fine with using Ayala to try to close it out since the team had an eight run lead. I was also fine with using Mo to throw three pitches to close it out.
Now we just have to hope that Freddy Garcia’s smoke and mirrors act last for a few more weeks, beginning with tomorrow’s game.
With every series underway, here are my updated odds for each team’s advancing out of their respective series through tonight.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Even with the season ending Wednesday, the Yankee postseason roster is still not set—as a number of decisions could come down to whether the Yankees play Texas or Detroit in the first round.
A few things are set in stone: CC Sabathia will start Game 1 on Friday, and Ivan Nova will start the second game on Saturday. Freddy Garcia looks like the most likely option for Game 3 on Monday, but manager Joe Girardi wouldn’t commit. Meanwhile, it seems likely that Bartolo Colon would not make the roster for the first round.
It’s probably much ado about nothing to think about what the best postseason roster might be since the Yankees are going to do whatever they’re going to do. Then again, blogging by nature is much ado about nothing, so why not?
As the excerpt says, we know CC and Nova are going in 1 and 2. We also know that Girardi intends to start CC on short rest in Game 4, if necessary. That would allow Nova to pitch Game 5 on normal rest. So they probably only need one more starter. It sounds like that will be Freddy Garcia.
Catcher is one area where things get interesting. We know Russell Martin is a lock. Francisco Cervelli is out for the postseason. The only true backup catcher in the organization right now (according to their thought process) is Austin Romine. Romine is not a major league caliber offensive player right now, and may never be one. In an ideal series, he’d never play. So I think I’d rather see the Yankees take just Martin, with Jorge Posada and Jesus Montero available in an emergency. Should Martin get hurt, the Yankees would have the option to add Romine to the roster. They would also have the option to add him to the roster in the ALCS if they made it there by some miracle.
The thing with Posada and Montero is that they’re likely to be DH’ing if they’re in the lineup. So if one of them has to switch to catcher while already in the lineup as DH, the Yankees will lose the DH. For that reason I think you need both of them on the roster.
On the infield, the question is what combination of Eric Chavez, Eduardo Nunez and Ramiro Pena the Yankees will use to backup Robinson Cano, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.
For the outfield, I think you’ll see Curtis Granderson, Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner, and Andruw Jones. Chris Dickerson’s probably a long-shot.
In my mind, these are the locks.
Starting Pitchers (3)
That’s 18 players, which leaves seven spots which can be filled by some of the following players.
I think/hope the Yankees will take Posada/Montero in lieu of Romine. I hope that they’re not going to employ a strict platoon at DH, since it basically means Montero will sit on the bench for the entire series with Detroit. I was hoping they could get by with one backup IF, but given A-Rod’s health issues I’d imagine they’ll take both Chavez and Nunez.That would leave them three more spots for pitchers, but I don’t see carrying 12 pitchers in a 5 game series. So that opens up a spot for someone like Dickerson or Pena or Romine I suppose.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
ANAHEIM—A little sunshine helped the Yankees to a desperately needed victory, as Mark Teixeira saw a key fly ball misplayed by Peter Bourjos en route to a 6-5 victory over the Angels at Angel Stadium on Sunday.
Batting in the seventh inning with New York down by a run, Teixeira sent a drive to center field that popped in and out of Bourjos’ glove as the outfielder squinted into a high blue sky, allowing Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter to charge home with the tying and go-ahead runs.
The miscue helped the Yankees finally get back into their winning mode after having lost four consecutive games in three different cities as they play out a taxing September stretch.
I suppose this means I can watch the replay.
So, in order for the Yankees to win this game they needed:
1) An error on a fairly routine fly ball by one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. It would have been a game-tying sacrifice fly instead of a go-ahead two-run error.
2) Freddy Garcia pitching out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fifth without allowing a run. That the last out of the inning was a routine grounder to Nun-E that actually got converted into an out makes it all the more remarkable.
3) Rafael Soriano pitching out of a first-and-third, one-out jam to preserve a one-run lead. Yeah, that Rafael Soriano.
4) Six defensive innings at catcher by the worst defensive catcher in the history of pro baseball.
Seems about right to me. I don’t know if the odds of all those things happening are worse than the odds of A.J. Burnett beating the Red Sox, but it’s got to be in the ballpark.
We also saw the debut of the catcher closer. I always knew it took a special pitcher to pitch the 7th, or 8th, or 9th. I had no idea that it took a special catcher to catch those innings. It was a cool deal for Austin Romine though, as he got to make his MLB debut against his brother’s team with his parents in the stands. As far as I can tell from reading accounts of the game, Jesus Montero didn’t embarrass himself behind the plate, so that was good too. The decision to pull Montero after six innings was a curious one, but given the family circumstances for Romine it makes a bit more sense in hindsight.
And I would never have believed it, but as oscar gamble’s afro (the poster, not his actual afro) noted, by winning today the Yankees won the season series with the Angels 5-4. I would never have guessed that.
I still hope we don’t see them again in 2011, or see them laying down for Boston in the ALDS.
Speaking of Boston, the Yankees have finally picked up a game on a team that’s lost something like ten games in a row. Yay!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
ANAHEIM—Maicer Izturis’ game-winning drive landed in Curtis Granderson’s glove, too deep in center field to attempt a throw, and all Derek Jeter thought about was the toss he should have made.
Izturis connected for a bases-loaded sacrifice fly facing Luis Ayala in the ninth inning on Friday night, lifting the Angels to a 2-1 victory over the Yankees that made Jeter’s hurried fifth-inning throwing error loom even larger.
“It boils down to giving them extra outs,” Jeter said. “I gave them an extra out throwing that ball away.”
More importantly, Jeter added, the Yankees couldn’t afford to cough up runs facing a stellar Jered Weaver, who limited the Bombers to just Jesus Montero’s homer over eight innings, striking out 11.
I’ll give Jeter a pass, since it was Jeff Mathis busting it down the line. It’s pretty hard to throw out a backup catcher on a routine grounder.
I didn’t get to see the game, but reading the recap and the game chatter here’s what I have to say about it.
1) Jered Weaver is a good pitcher, and from what I can glean he pitched well. Sometimes you face a good pitcher and he shuts you down.
2) As I’ve gotten older, I’ve lost the ability to “hate” players. Frankly, if I was the absolute worst player in MLB history, I’d bat or pitch every time a team kept giving me a chance to do it. So I don’t hate players who aren’t particularly good. If their team puts them in a position to fail, that’s the team’s fault, not theirs. So with regards to using Aaron Laffey last night (or Scott Proctor the day before) in the absolute highest leverage a team can be in at the start of an inning, I won’t blame Laffey (Proctor) for that. I’ll blame Joe Girardi. If you think this game is unimportant enough to use Laffey in that spot, you shouldn’t have wasted David Robertson in the eighth, since now you probably won’t be able to use him in a game you may actually try to win tonight. If you think these games are unimportant, why not audition some of the people who have upside and may have a meaningful role with this team in the years to come? Perhaps they’ll surprise you and show that they’re ready now? Does anyone think Buck Showalter would have used Jack McDowell to replace Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning of the fifth game of the 1995 ALDS if he knew how good Rivera was? If Hector Noesi didn’t get a shot against Baltimore in extra innings in his MLB debut, would the Yankees ever have made him a useful part of their bullpen?
3) As I said, the Yankees always find a way to lose to the Angels, and it’s really infuriating. Your pitcher’s pitching brilliantly against them? Make an error that gives them the run that ends up costing you the win.
4) The Yankees are probably exhausted right now given the way their last three games have unfolded. A four hour rain delay in New York resulting in a game that ended around 2:00 am followed by a trip for a day game to Baltimore followed by a flight to the West Coast to play a game at 10:00 pm Eastern time. So maybe we’re seeing some effect from that.
5) Any schadenfreude from the Red Sox’s recent tailspin is pretty much gone with the fact that the Yankees haven’t been able to gain even one iota from it, aside from shortening the amount of time the Red Sox might have to catch them.
It’s still really unlikely that the Yankees miss the playoffs, and with Detroit and Texas in a near dead heat record-wise there’s not necessarily going to be a huge advantage from winning the division. So I can at least be happy that Bartolo Colon pitched well, something he hasn’t done as much of since his return from the DL. I can also appreciate the fact that Jesus Montero pulled a HR off one of the best pitchers in the league and helped make his case for full-time play. Also, the Angels are just two games back of Texas in the loss column and it wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing in the world if they forced Texas to go all out down the stretch. It can only benefit whomever faces the AL West winner if the race goes down to the wire.
I seriously expect the Yankees to lose every game they play against the Angels. Because of that, I just can’t get that worked up about it anymore. As a card-carrying stat-nerd, I really have a tough time reconciling the fact that what’s happened in the past has no bearing on what happens now when these two teams play and that the talent on the field that given day should be the primary factor in who wins or loses with the way the Yankees constantly roll over for Anaheim.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
NEW YORK—If CC Sabathia felt the effects of a 128-pitch, six-inning outing Tuesday night in Boston, he didn’t show it Sunday.
The left-hander pitched 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball to bag his 19th win of the season as the Yankees downed the Blue Jays, 7-3, to complete a three-game sweep in the Bronx. Sabathia struck out 10, walked one and threw 111 pitches. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters to face him.
Derek Jeter hit his fifth homer of the season—and the second since he reached 3,000 career hits with a long ball—to give the Yankees and their ace some early breathing room. The three-run shot to left field against Toronto left-hander Brett Cecil landed in the same area as the famous July 9 home run and extended the Yankees’ lead from 1-0 to 4-0.
I was wondering how Sabathia would look after a pretty tough start on Tuesday, and the answer was great.
And thank God we have Rafael Soriano to pitch innings that only eighth inning guys could pitch. If the Yankees hadn’t dropped $36M on Soriano they may have won this one 9-2 instead of 9-3. But I digress.
The sweep is nice, but if they’re going to sweep a pretty good Toronto team they damn well better sweep a crappy Orioles team.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
NEW YORK—Russell Martin’s sixth-inning grand slam fueled a historic Yankees rout, as the Bombers rallied to post a 22-9 victory over the Athletics on Thursday at Yankee Stadium.
Robinson Cano also belted a fifth-inning grand slam for New York, which avoided a series sweep by overcoming a poor start from Phil Hughes, who served up six runs in just 2 2/3 innings. Curtis Granderson’s eighth-inning slam was the third of the afternoon for the Yankees, who set a Major League record for most slams in a single game.
Expect Boston to his four grand slams in some game this weekend.
Admit it. When the Yankees went down 7-1 in the top of the third, you didn’t think they had a chance, right?
For a brief shining moment, Derek Jeter’s average sat at .300, although when he struck out in his seventh PA of the game he dipped back down to .299.
Watching first baseman Nick Swisher dig out a low throw from second baseman Jorge Posada for the final out of the game (yes, seriously) was fun too.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Fall and Rise of Derek Jeter?
Derek Jeter’s hot hitting since his return from the DL has surprised a lot of us who thought he was completely washed up. Unfortunately, the sample size of his hitting since returning from the DL is small enough that we can’t assume it’s what Jeter will do going forward (185 PA). What’s interesting though is that we can extend our selective end points to a much larger sample and still see decent evidence that Jeter’s been showing signs of hitting better since April 13.
FB: fly balls
GB: ground balls
LD: line drives
IFH: infield hits
woba: weighted on-base average
isoD: Isolated plate discipline (obp - avg)
isoP: Isolated power (slg - avg)
br: linear weights batting runs
br/650: br pro-rated to 650 PA
babip: batting average on balls in play
The numbers are even more impressive when viewed since his return from the DL.
I am going to go out on a limb and say it’s doubtful he hits .351 over the rest of the year, but it’s not a stretch to think he could hit the .320 or so he’d need to hit to end the year at .300. And yes, we know a .300 average isn’t really indicative of how good a player is, but it’d be fun to see Jeter get there, if only to break the hearts of those who were dancing with glee on his grave.
NYDN: Joe Girardi asks Yankee captain Derek Jeter to bunt despite hot night at the plate against A’s
Derek Jeter already had reached base four times, including three more hits to boost his average this season to .295 while tying Rod Carew for 22nd place on baseball’s all-time hit list with 3,053.
But with the tying runs aboard with none out and facing a two-run deficit in the ninth, Joe Girardi called for the Yankee captain to bunt, giving up an out against shaky Oakland closer Andrew Bailey. Jeter dropped down a perfect sacrifice, but the Yanks scored only once more in falling short, 6-5, to the A’s at the Stadium.
The minute I saw that Jeter was squaring to bunt, I knew the Yankees weren’t going to win the game. I just can’t understand why you’d give a struggling closer his first out on a silver effing platter. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
Monday, August 15, 2011
KANSAS CITY—Derek Jeter stood near the base of the mound at Kauffman Stadium on Monday, his hand on A.J. Burnett’s shoulder as he offered a few words of encouragement before the pitcher headed for the dugout.
What Burnett may have appreciated even more, though, was Jeter’s two-run triple in the sixth inning, lifting the embattled hurler to his first August win as a member of the Yankees in a 7-4 victory over the Royals. The win pulled New York into a first-place tie with the idle Boston Red Sox in the American League East.
The only difference between Burnett today and Burnett last time out is that his team scored him more runs. Burnett again failed to give the team a quality start (at least 6 IP, 3 or fewer runs allowed), something he’s managed in only eight of his 25 starts. For comparison’s sake:
Other than that, nice win. They got some positive offensive contributions from everyone except Eric Chavez, and the pen pitched well aside from one person. It was also good to see signs that WWWMW™ is possibly over as well.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
NEW YORK—Robinson Cano made the Angels pay a heavy price for a crucial error, blasting a seventh-inning grand slam to lead the Yankees to a 6-5 victory on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
Second baseman Maicer Izturis booted Mark Teixeira’s soft tapper, which appeared to be the final out of the inning, sending up Cano with the bases loaded against reliever Scott Downs.
Cano took advantage of the opportunity, pelting the facing of the second deck in right field, earning a curtain call for his fifth career grand slam, and his first since Aug. 22, 2010, against the Mariners.
For Cano, the homer was his second in less than 24 hours, having also homered in the seventh inning on Wednesday, and the first permitted to a left-handed batter by Downs this year.
Derek Jeter went 3 for 3 with a walk, continuing to be a lot more productive since his return from the DL on July 4.
FB: fly balls
GB: ground balls
LD: line drives
IFH: infield hits
woba: weighted on-base average
isoD: Isolated plate discipline (obp - avg)
isoP: Isolated power (slg - avg)
br: linear weights batting runs
br/650: br pro-rated to 650 PA
babip: batting average on balls in play
Granted, 6 of his 39 hits have been of the infield variety, but that’s actually only 15.4% of his hits, compared to 17.6% prior to going on the DL.
And I am hoping that WWWMW™ is not going to last any longer. It’s been long enough.
I was wondering if Russell Branyan was the first player to ever homer off Rivera on his first pitch of the game. It turns out it’s happened twice before.
I remember this one. It was a shot to the black in dead center and it was early in Rivera’s first year as an official closer, supplanting John Wetteland after Rivera’s superlative 1996. The media decided to play up the whole ‘maybe he can’t get those last three outs since they’re so much harder to get’ thing, but I guess it turns out he could.
I don’t remember this one, a blown save against the White Sox in Chicago.
Friday, August 5, 2011
The Monkey On Their Backs
By any reasonable viewpoint, the Yankees have had a great year in 2011. They lead MLB in run differential/Pythagorean record, are tied for the top in the best division in baseball and have gotten a lot of good performances from unexpected places. In particular, a pitching staff that was touted as the team’s Achilles’ heel all offseason has been a legitimate strength.
Despite all that, it seems like a lot of us haven’t fully embraced the good things that this team has done, and I think it really just comes down to one thing. This team has gotten its ass handed to it by Boston every time they’ve played this year.
So who to blame? Here are the splits for the Yankees’ hitters vs. Boston and vice versa.
Mark Teixeira has been abysmal vs. Boston this year with some support from Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner.
Here’s a “fun” stat for you. Dustin Pedroia has provided more offense in 39 PA versus the Yankees than Jeter, Teixeira, Swisher, Gardner and Jorge Posada have provided in 173 PA against Boston (10.9 BR to 9.4 BR). Maybe fun is not the right word.
Boston’s outscored the Yankees at close to a 2-1 rate and if you compare the BR to the actual runs there’s not a lot of evidence of good or bad luck in there.
Two other things I found
interesting aggravating are the HBP and IBB columns.
Well, maybe looking at the pitching will cheer us up.
That didn’t really help.
It would have been nice to have Alex Rodriguez back for this series, although maybe Eric Chavez can stay healthy through Sunday (assuming he’s off tonight with Jon Lester pitching).
Pitching matchups for the weekend are Colon vs. Lester tonight, CC vs. Lackey tomorrow, and Garcia vs. Beckett on Sunday. So the Yankees are probably slight underdogs tonight, favorites tomorrow, and strong underdogs Sunday. Logic says we should be happy if they take one of the three, and that’s the most likely scenario, but after losing 8 of 9 to Boston, including all 6 at home, I won’t be happy with anything less than a sweep.
I suppose I could settle for a 2-1 series win.
Seriously though, barring catastrophe both of these teams will be in the postseason, so I suppose we shouldn’t get that worked up about whatever happens here.
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
CHICAGO—A.J. Burnett’s struggles made it interesting, but the Yankees’ offense eventually made it a blowout.
Behind their fourth double-digit-scoring game in less than two weeks, the Yankees won their sixth straight game at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday night, dismantling the White Sox by a score of 18-7.
Their offensive onslaught saw Eric Chavez hit his first home run since May 11 of last year, Derek Jeter tie his career high with five hits, Mark Teixeira hit his first triple since 2009 and the first three hitters of the Yankees’ lineup combine to go 12-for-17 with 10 runs and seven RBIs.
We’ll have to wait at least one more start for Burnett’s first win as a Yankee in August.
Burnett joined a list of three other Yankee pitchers who allowed at least 13 hits while not completing five innings. So congratulations to him.
In happier news, since returning from the DL on July 4, Derek Jeter’s hitting .333/.380/.495.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Many held their breath in the fourth inning when Francisco Cervelli stepped to the on-deck circle instead of Derek Jeter. Everyone knew better than to think Cashman had traded Jeter, but it was unclear just how long the shortstop would be out after taking a pitch on his right hand to lead off the third inning.
Was anyone really holding their breath?
Brett Gardner provided a welcome distraction from those concerns, hitting a decisive bases-loaded triple with Cervelli on deck to key the Yankees’ 4-2 win. Two innings later, fears were quelled when the Yankees announced that X-Rays on Jeter’s right middle finger were negative, revealing just a bruise and making the captain day to day.
The Yankees were aided by what has become a typical Freddy Garcia performance in 2011—more substance than style, more movement than speed.
In helping the Yankees close out this 10-game homestand with a 7-3 mark, the 34-year-old Garcia pitched his eighth quality start in his last nine outings, striking out six over six innings while surrendering two runs on five hits.
By winning three games in the last 30 hours the Yankees were able to finish up the homestand at 7-3, which is probably about as good as any realistic expectation.
The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and it looks like the Yankees stood pat. I’m fine with that.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi hinted that shortstop Derek Jeter’s days as the team’s leadoff hitter could be numbered.
Jeter hit leadoff Wednesday, while the surging Brett Gardner remained in the No. 9 hole. With the way he has been hitting and the speed he brings, Gardner might be better suited for the top spot.
“He’s going so well, it’s something I’ll definitely consider,” Girardi told the New York Daily News. “We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
Jeter, who has slumped since getting career hit No. 3,000 on July 9, has a .323 on-base percentage. Gardner’s .370 mark, meanwhile, is tops among the team’s regulars.
If Gardner really is the best OBP guy on the team now, getting him more PAs seems like something that should have happened sooner. Here are the # of PA for the Yankees by batting order slot so far this season.
The Yankees have played 97 games and the leadoff hitter has had 88 more PA than the ninth hitter. Moving Jeter to second still means he’s getting more PA than he deserves, but I think we need to view this potential move as a reward to Gardner instead of as punitive to Jeter. Gardner’s earned more PA, so hopefully he gets them.
Speaking of Jeter, since going 5 for 5 on the day he got his 3000th hit, he has been beyond terrible.
FB: fly balls
GB: ground balls
LD: line drives
IFH: infield hits
woba: weighted on-base average
isoD: Isolated plate discipline (obp - avg)
isoP: Isolated power (slg - avg)
babip: batting average on balls in play
Yes. He’s hit 20 balls into play, and 18 of them were on the ground. Yes, he’s struck out almost one-third of the time. On the plus side, he’s only hit into one double play. So there’s that.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Which Players Have the Most/Least Hidden Value So Far in 2011?
I was goofing around with some of the stats on Fangraphs and elsewhere and thought it might be interesting to see which players’ values were perhaps obscured if you only looked at their batting lines. Here are the top 20, using Fangraphs’ baserunning stats, linear weights for stolen bases/caught stealing and an average of zone rating, DRS and UZR, which I’m labeling as aRS for average runs saved defensively. I think averaging several good defensive metrics tells us more than any single metric, but we should still be cognizant of the error bars inherent in the defensive numbers and what we think they tell us.
|Jacoby Ellsbury||Red Sox||2.4||7.8||0.4||10.6|
|Dustin Pedroia||Red Sox||2.6||7.3||0.3||10.2|
I was expecting TSBG to top the list, but he’ll have to settle for second for now. I was surprised to see Alex Rodriguez so high up on the list, but he appears to be having a great defensive season, something that’s been magnified when we watch his current stand-in flailing and kicking and throwing the ball to the fans behind the home dugout.
And here are the 20 players whose value is most hurt by these statistics.
|Paul Konerko||White Sox||-0.2||-5.1||-7.0||-12.3|
|Bill Hall||- - -||-0.1||-7.5||0.0||-7.6|
And here’s the entire list of Yankees.
Some of these numbers look off to me. Curtis Granderson hasn’t looked like anything worse than average in CF so far, and I’m a bit surprised to see Russell Martin so low on defense although he has allowed 56 SB which ranks fifth in the majors. I’m also fairly certain there’s no way Jorge Posada is any better than -20 in baserunning or that Eduardo Nunez is any better than -10 on defense. FWIW, Baseball Prospectus has Posada at -4.7 runs, which seems more realistic.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
TORONTO — Set-up man Rafael Soriano and infielder Eric Chavez could be coming back at just the right time for the Yankees. Soriano and Chavez are supposed to begin minor-league rehab assignments on Tuesday, an encouraging sign for a team that could use their services.
Great news. Chavez will hopefully be able to play at least five innings in his first game back before re-injuring himself. That may not seem like much, but it will probably save at least two Eduardo Nunez errors.
As for Soriano, I really want him back ASAP. The odds of him opting out of his mind-bogglingly asinine contract are about as slim as the odds of Derek Jeter hitting a ball into the outfield, but they will only get worse if he can’t pitch at all.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Dr. Lee Kaplan will perform the surgery at the University of Miami (Fla.), and the Yankees are not sure whether the four-to-six-week timetable is for Rodriguez’s return to the club, or when he could resume baseball activities and possibly begin a rehab stint in the Minors.
Obviously not good news, but it certainly seems that the knee injury has affected Rodriguez’s power, so I’d rather see him back at relatively full strength down the stretch than trying to play through it. If he did try to play, he’d almost certainly need to be rested frequently anyway.
So the question is how much it hurts the Yankees. The current depth chart is A-Rod at 3B, Jeter at SS and Nunez as backup IF. So now you’re looking at Nunez at 3B, Jeter at SS, and Pena as backup IF. The only other player on the active 40 man roster listed as an infielder is Brandon Laird,but he’s more a 3B in theory than in actuality, and it’s tough to see someone who’s OBP’ing .297 in AAA being of much use in the majors.
Four to six weeks is somewhat vague, but figure something like 120 PA of A-Rod, 120 PA of Jeter, and 40 PA of Nunez is now something like 120 PA of Nunez, 120 PA of Jeter, and 40 PA of Pena. Using their projections updated through today looks like this:
So the net here is a loss of about seven runs on offense. It’s also worth mentioning that Rodriguez is having a great defensive season, so I’d expect a bit of a fall off there as well. So figure that having Rodriguez out for 120 PA is going to cost the Yankees about a win on paper. We have no idea how it will actually play out of course.
Not great news, but not dire either.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Jeter became the 28th player to reach the historic plateau, belting the eighth pitch of his third-inning at-bat against the left-handed Price into the left-field seats on a sun-splashed afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees’ bench and bullpen emptied to greet Jeter as he rounded the bases and touched home plate, and the Rays’ players spilled onto the field out of the visitors’ dugout, applauding Jeter’s achievement as the scoreboard flashed, “Congratulations, Derek.”
We can be a cynical lot here at times, myself as bad as anyone, but if you didn’t enjoy the way Jeter got his 3000th hit and went 5 for 5 and drove in the winning run in the same game, you should probably pick something else to watch.
I tend to be forward-thinking here, but it’s not a bad day to think back to the player that Jeter once was, a player that we got a glimpse of today. We’ve been lucky to have him on our favorite team, warts and all.
That may not be true post-April 2010, but we can worry about that again tomorrow.
Jeter’s post-game interview with Kim Jones seemed like the most heart-felt and genuine one I’ve ever seen him give. He seemed genuinely emotional and that was kind of cool too.
Congratulations to Jeter. Now let’s get to 4192.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Jeter is in a 4-for-18 rut since coming off the disabled list last week because of a strained calf. All of those at-bats came with him at the top of the batting order. Brett Gardner was set to hit leadoff against the Rays.
It’s Friday, so I’d suggest doing something besides watching tonight’s game. Or at least get good and loaded before first pitch so you won’t care as much. Here’s the lineup:
If guys are hurt, or need a day off, there’s not much you can do about it I guess. It just seems odd to me that it always seems to come in bunches.
For a player who has defined winning, there is something wrong with Derek Jeter’s slow march to 3,000 hits. As he inches closer to the historic milestone the Yankees are losing and have slipped out of first place in the AL East.
First place was fun while it lasted. Congratulations to Boston on their AL East championship.
I don’t think it’s Jeter’s fault that the Yankees have lost three of four since his return from the DL, but he’s not exactly helping things with his .263 OBP out of the leadoff position. Last night’s game was tough to take because the Yankees were facing the worst of the four pitchers they’ll be facing in this series and were probably pitching their second-best starter. Without crunching the numbers I’m pretty sure their win probability will be significantly lower in each of the next three games.
The Yankees play the Rays seven more times over their next 12 games, including four in Tampa Bay, and I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that those are the most important games of the year.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
When Might Derek Jeter Get His Big Hit?
Out of curiosity, I ran an up-to-date projected Jeter through the rest of July against the teams and pitchers he’d probably be facing to see how long it took him to get three hits, which would give him the magic number of 3185 for his career. Here are the percentages of times he got his third hit on each of the dates listed:
I haven’t accounted for an injury or the highly plausible scenario of Jeter never getting another hit ever again, so you may want to keep that in mind. But it looks like we won’t be seeing “history” tonight.
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
CLEVELAND—Phil Hughes returned with five innings that flashed promise for the rest of his season on Wednesday night, but Justin Masterson gathered more buzz with his effort, dealing the Yankees a commanding 5-3 loss to the Indians.
Masterson silenced the Bombers’ bats over eight dominant innings as the Yankees lost two of three in Cleveland, completing their six-game road trip with an even record.
One of New York’s three hits off Masterson came off the bat of shortstop Derek Jeter, who talked his way into the starting lineup and doubled with one out in the eighth inning for career hit No. 2,997.
To quote David Cone, it was Hughes’s best start of the year, but that isn’t saying a lot.
I don’t understand a universe where pitching Sergio Mitre in a 3-0 game in the eighth inning makes sense, but even if the Yankees had pitched a scoreless eighth that just means they’d have faced Chris Perez to start the ninth and he pretty much mowed them down once he came in. Really, the Yankees lost this game when Justin Masterson took the mound. They hit some balls well throughout the game, but a few nice catches and a pair of game-saving plays by Asdrubal Cabrera in the eighth effectively ended any realistic chance they had of winning tonight.
The story tonight was Hughes though.
His velocity was a lot better than it’s been this year, particularly early on. It dipped a bit as the innings went on, but his last two fastballs of the night were still clocked at 92 and 91 mph respectively.
He went five innings and only gave up two runs.
Unfortunately, pretty much everything else. Hughes faced 25 batters and 10 of them reached base safely. If Cleveland hadn’t stranded 8 of those 10 runners, Hughes’s line could have been really ugly.
Of the 87 pitches Hughes threw, Cleveland batters swung and missed exactly two of them (one changeup and one curve).
According to FIP or xFIP, Hughes was actually lucky to only have allowed two runs.
Here are some charts comparing Hughes’s basic Pitch F/X data from 2010, 2011 prior to tonight, and tonight.
Average velocity by pitch type
Average horizontal break by pitch type
Average vertical break by pitch type
FC: Cut Fastball
I don’t know how much we should make of most of the variations within this data. It could as easily be a calibration issue as anything, but I think the velocity data should be somewhat informative. Hughes was closer to his 2010 self stuff-wise in this start than he’s been this season. So I think we’re now almost back to where we were at the end of 2010, with the Hughes that was not nearly as effective in the second half of the season as he was in the first half.
That’s a far sight better than the Hughes that wasn’t a major league pitcher anymore, but there’s obviously still a lot of work to be done here. He’s certainly going to get another start, so let’s hope he takes another step forward.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
CLEVELAND—On a night when Derek Jeter moved two hits closer to 3,000 and Curtis Granderson homered twice, CC Sabathia loomed largest, striking out 11 as the Yankees defeated the Indians, 9-2, at Progressive Field.
Overlooked for the American League All-Star team, Sabathia won his fifth consecutive start, shutting out the Tribe over seven innings and striking out the side in three separate frames.
I’m glad CC’s not going to the All Star Game, I’d rather see him saving his pitches for games that matter. I don’t want any Yankees helping Boston’s quest for home field advantage in the World Series.
FWIW, according to Baseball Reference Sabathia only ranked 10th in WAR among pitchers entering tonight (in a tie with a few others), so he’s not necessarily the All Star snub the MSM is making him out to be. His seven scoreless innings dropped his ERA to 2.90 so I’m sure he’s moved up the list a bit though.
Nice win to break a two-game schneid that really could have been part of 10 game winning streak, but all eyes will be on Phil Hughes tomorrow. If he’s able to show us that he’s closer to what he was in 2010, I’m pretty sure this is the best team in baseball.
At least until Rafael Soriano returns.
“We had a tough loss against the Mets (Sunday), so I was like ‘Derek I’m going to take a picture of you in this uniform here and I’m going to lift our guys’ spirits (in New York),” Cashman said. “... and I’m also going to send the message: try to do everything you can to not get injured so you don’t wind up in a minor league rehab assignment wearing a uniform looking like this.”
I am now convinced that Brian Cashman is actually a honey badger.
Seriously though, it’s tough to find fault when critiquing this:
Monday, July 4, 2011
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Derek Jeter went 1-for-2 with a bunt single, a walk and a throwing error in six innings Sunday night in his second rehab start with Class AA Trenton as he looks to return from a right calf strain.
A throwing error? Great.
In other stuff:
Sunday, July 3, 2011
“All the Reyes talk I had yesterday, maybe [Nunez] took it a little personal,” A-Rod said. “He’s been incredible.”
Maybe the league will catch up to him, or maybe Jeter will reach into the past this second half, be able to resuscitate brilliance. Maybe Jeter will get to the point at which he plays regularly rather than Nunez based on current events, not iconic standing.
For now, though, the best Yankees shortstop is about to become a backup player again.
Let the controversy begin!
Nunez projected to hit around .270/.300/.375 entering the season, and he hasn’t really played enough to change that projection significantly. That doesn’t mean he’s not better than that, but we do have to remember that as well as he’s hit of late, it’s still only a small set of PA.
Jeter’s going forward projection is somewhere in the .280/.340/.380 area. The same thing applies with Jeter, in that we don’t know if he’s actually better or worse than that. Whether he is or he isn’t, he can over or under-perform that over the rest of the year for no reason other than the vagaries of small sample size.
Interestingly, Nunez’s 80% CAIRO forecast is about .280/.320/.400. Can anyone guess the significance of that?
Anyway, between the uncertainty of his offensive projection going forward and the fact that his defense is still what some would charitably call an unmitigated disaster, I don’t think replacing Nunez with Jeter is a short-term downgrade. The Yankees haven’t been winning because Jeter’s been out of the lineup. They’ve been winning because people like Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada started hitting like they were expected to.
Friday, July 1, 2011
Below is the list of shortstops who’ve played at least 200 innings in a full season and had a fielding percentage of less than .900. Fielding percentage isn’t a great measure of overall defensive value, but it’s fine if you understand that all it’s really telling you is a player’s error rate.
Eduardo Nunez in 2011: .892
The worst full seasons are:
Juan Beniquez in 1972: .900
Orlando Ramirez in 1975: .905
Erick Almonte in 2003: .906 (blast from the past)
Kurt Abbott in 1998: .909
Jerry Buchek in 1961: .912
With Derek Jeter’s pending return, Nunez may or may not have the opportunity to maintain his spot, but we’ll see how it goes.
NEW YORK — Derek Jeter will play in two rehab games in Trenton this weekend before rejoining the Yankees on Monday in Cleveland in his run for 3,000 hits.
“I feel good now,” Jeter told reporters after working out at the Yankees’ minor-league complex in Tampa, Fla. “I’m ready to get out of here.”
Eduardo Nunez will have three more games to showcase his fielding skills.
Also, here’s a quick look at how Swisher has turned it around in the last month (below the break):
Most of Swisher's success has come off the hard stuff. All 7 of his left-handed home runs have been off fastballs, as have 5 of his 9 doubles.
I also just wanted to let you all know that I'll be covering the first game of the subway series for Stats Inc., and I hope to be able to update the site with anything interesting. I also plan on taking in the second game as well, because I just love interleague play so much....