Comparing the league’s third basemen by WAR

Prior to starting this WAR endeavor, I was initially most interested in the story that the numbers told on the topic of MLB’s third basemen in terms of value. Likewise, Alex Rodriguez will always be a major point of interest for me in general. How often do you have a player who’s so completely polarizing? He came up through the system and into The Show with prodigious talent. Every single move he makes is under intense scrutiny. Love him or hate him, he’s going to be synonymous with Pinstripes for a long time to come. Of course none of this has any actual bearing on the WAR stat. Long story short, I was just especially excited to get to examine this particular position through the WAR lens. The formula sounded good in theory at least – an interesting sabermetric statistic plus the least-liked guy in baseball since the likes of Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens.

At this point, I’m not going to bother explaining the reasoning behind this analysis.… Click here to read the rest

Predicting the postseason rotation

The conventional wisdom would seem to say that after CC Sabathia starts Game 1 in the ALDS, Andy Pettitte will go in Game 2 followed by Phil Hughes in Game 3 and A.J. Burnett in Game 4.

That sounds reasonable enough, and I’m sure there are plenty of fan-managers out there who concur. However, I thought it might be worthwhile to devise a partially altered plan. Check out the table below to see last year’s playoff performances from Sabathia, Pettitte and Burnett. This isn’t really a true point of reference by any means, but I do find the data interesting nevertheless.

Obviously, CC Sabathia has to grab the bull by the horns in Game 1. The big fella is not only being paid to be the marquee name of the rotation, but he’s flat-out earned it — so much so that he’s found himself in Cy Young contention. Despite last night’s vomit-inducing meltdown, CC obviously provides the best opportunity to come away with a victory in any given game.… Click here to read the rest

Red Sox Preview 9/24-9/26

Season Series So Far:
The Yankees lead the Red Sox this season 7-5, but they still have six more games to go against their bitter rival.  As always, we can expect some lengthy, high scoring games (they have only played two games this season where their combined score was under seven) as these teams are likely to slug it out perhaps even more as Boston watches their playoff hopes slip away from them.  The Red Sox have been decimated by injuries this season, however, they have managed to play better than most expected despite the relatively inexperienced team they have fielded at times.

Pitching:
While the Red Sox had put an emphasis on their pitching in recent years, it has proven to be disappointing this season.  They have a team ERA of 4.18 and FIP of 4.03.  Josh Beckett has struggled mightily and spent a significant amount of time on the DL.  On the other hand, he seems to have put together a decent September, which could prove to be problematic for the Yankees’ offense. … Click here to read the rest

Hughes’ away Home Runs

On Tuesday I looked at every home run yielded by Phil Hughes at home this season.  In doing so, I was able to draw a distinction between home runs that were no doubters and ones that appeared to be squeakers.  Of the 18 home runs yielded at home, 6 appeared to be slightly fluky.  By that I don’t mean to suggest that they shouldn’t count, simply that they were incredibly close to not being home runs or that they wouldn’t have been home runs had the environment been ever so slightly different.  For instance, Maicer Izturis bounced a ball off the top of the wall at the shallowest part of right field and it kicked into the stands for a home run.  This is not the same kind of home run as giving up a 425 foot bomb to a slugger.  The logical next step in this analysis is to examine home runs Hughes has yielded on the road this season.  … Click here to read the rest

Rosenthal Gets it Right on Cy

Tell me how it would be fair to penalize Hernandez for pitching for one of the worst offensive teams in the past 40 years.

People inside and outside the sport will be jolted if Hernandez wins the award with a record at or near .500. But the circumstances are so odd, the choice will be entirely justified.

Hernandez’s Mariners are on pace to score 513 runs. The last AL team to score fewer than 513 was the 1971 California Angels, according to STATS LLC. The last NL team to do it was the ‘71 San Diego Padres.

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That’s right, the 2010 the Mariners could score the fewest runs of any AL team in the DH era, which began in 1973.

<snip>

There is an old baseball adage for a pitcher who receives consistently dreadful run support: “Sometimes, you’ve just got to pitch a shutout.”

What is Hernandez supposed to do, allow fewer than zero runs?

Sabathia gave up seven runs, all earned, Thursday night.Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. Red Sox V: If the longstanding rivals play three games and no one cares do they make a sound?

With the Yankees’ postseason ticket all but punched and the Red Sox missing the postseason for the first time since 2006 all but official, this weekend’s Yankees-Red Sox set represents the first time since the end of the 2008 season that a series between the two teams will be met with mostly yawns given the complete lack of playoff implications (well, aside from some divisional and HFA machinations, but neither of those are worth getting too worked up about in my book).

Sure, there are some interesting aspects to keep an eye on, most notably Andy Pettitte‘s continued progress back into rotation stalwart, but the unfortunate tale of the 2010 Red Sox and their devastating losses of Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis have relegated this Yankees-Sox series to second-class status. Not that we won’t still be watching intently, but for once it’ll be nice to not have to live and die with every pitch these two teams throw.

In tonight’s game Andy Pettitte (2.81 ERA; 3.90 FIP; 4.05 xFIP) makes his second start since coming back from the DL against a disappointing Josh Beckett (5.71 ERA; 4.17 FIP; 3.98 xFIP).… Click here to read the rest

Revisiting Javy and his Case

Yesterday, I wrote about how I think Javier Vazquez, along with Ivan Nova, had a decent case for making the post season roster. After last night, I’m not too sure.

What has happened to Javier Vazquez this year–the poor results, the drop in velocity–is really quite sad. I, among others, wrote that Vazquez could have ended up being the Yankees’ second best starter this season. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Even if he pitches well in the last week-plus of the season, I doubt he makes the playoffs after last night’s debacle. That’s a hard taste for anyone to wash out, and I don’t think Joe Girardi would be an exception.

Sadly, I’m not really too high on the other guys who would replace him. Royce Ring as a second lefty could be somewhat valuable and though he’s sucked of late, Gaudin could be useful; I won’t hold my breath, though.

Watching Vazquez of late has definitely been a total bummer and, like I said, it makes me think back to when the Yankees acquired him this winter and how excited I (we) were for Vazquez to return after his career year in Atlanta.… Click here to read the rest

Last night a perfect example of Joba the enigma

Earlier this season I investigated Joba Chamberlain‘s peripherals. When I had the idea for the post I thought I would discover an obvious problem in Joba’s numbers — too many home runs for example, or too high a walk rate. Instead, I was stunned to discover that Joba has actually improved his peripherals this season.

When I wrote the post Joba’s K/9 rate was 9.99, his BB/9 rate was 3.61 and his HR/9 rate was an excellent 0.64. All of these were solid improvements on his 2009 campaign, when he struck out only 7.61 batters per nine innings, walked an atrocious 4.35 batters per nine, and gave up a Javier Vazquez-esque 1.2 jacks per nine. Despite those improvements, at the time of the post his ERA was a mind-blowing 5.95, compared to 4.75 the year before. As I wrote at the time, the normal assumption is that a pitcher will improve his numbers if he strikes more batters out, walks fewer, and allows fewer home runs.… Click here to read the rest

Cliff Lee narrowly escapes broken bat; nicked on ear

A few other things I wanted to touch on:

  1. Ash, while less likely, can still shatter into two pieces. It won’t shear off quite like maple, but it can still come apart in two pieces. Just ask Kerwin Danley (picture above). All wood breaks, but maple and ash break differently and both are potentially dangerous. Maple explodes; ash cracks.
  2. It’s up to the players to self-regulate, for now.  Adam Dunn made the change. Others can, too.
  3. About that “ash blight” and the potential shortfall in ash if maple were banned: Not so much, according to Louisville Slugger. Not that I think banning maple is necessarily the answer.
  4. So long as players want the fattest barrel possible with the thinnest handle possible, we’re going to see plenty more of this until some solution, any solution, is found.
  5. About that Swisher picture: This is essentially what “hinging” or “tethering” looks like, but the barrel and handle would remain together.
Click here to read the rest