Why we can expect a better OBP from Alex Rodriguez in 2011

In the grand baseball scheme of things, Alex Rodriguez had a solid, if unspectacular season in 2010, posting the 4th-best fWAR (3.9) among third basemen in the American League. However, the gap between A-Rod and the third-best fWARs (Jose Bautista and Evan Longoria at 6.9 each) was pretty massive, and along with the fact that Alex recorded career lows in a host of meaningful statistical categories it’s hard to characterize A-Rod’s 2010 anything other than a disappointment.

However, there are a lot of encouraging signs pointing to an A-Rod recovery in 2011. Though his power stroke went missing for much of the season, he seemed to find it during the last two months of the year. More distressingly, the most significant decline in A-Rod’s game was his OBP, which, at a career-low .341, was his worst full-season mark since 1999’s .357. The good news is that so far both projection systems that have been released see an OBP bump for Alex in 2011, with Bill James forecasting a (perhaps overly optimistic) 40-point jump to .381, while SG’s CAIRO system sees Alex at .372.… Click here to read the rest

Touching on Mo

While we at TYU have spilled a lot of virtual ink over the Derek Jeter contract, we’ve seldom touched on the Mariano Rivera contract situation. The negotiations have gotten much less press than the Jeter ones, so let’s check in.

Last we heard, Mariano Rivera wanted a two year contract. Last night, we learned that the Yankees want to offer Rivera a one year deal, though.

According to that piece from MLBTR, Rivera wants not only a two year deal, but a raise from his $15MM salary.

I’m of the opinion that, overall, these negotiations will go more smoothly than the Jeter ones have so far, but I think Rivera is going to need to back down a bit here. He, apparently, wants a deal for two years worth $36MM, which would be (obviously) $18MM a year.

Mariano may be the best closer around, but that is a little much. $15MM for a closer is a lot to begin with; a raise on top of that is just exorbitant.… Click here to read the rest

Jeter not offered arbitration

I was beginning to get into this a bit but Buster Olney just weighed in (Insider required) and he captures it well here:

The Yankees’ belief is that their current three-year, $45 million offer is fair, and that by offering arbitration to Jeter, they essentially would bail him out after a down year. Jeter might make $22-23 million through arbitration. The Yankees feel that in the past, Jeter has fairly negotiated from his standing in the market place — when he went to arbitration in 1999, when he negotiated a 10-year, $189 million deal in 2001. And now the Yankees feel these talks should reflect Jeter’s place in the market; they also believe that no other team would be willing to pay him what they have offered.

Here’s one big factor working against Jeter in this negotiation: While the Yankees want Jeter and are offering him above what his market value is, they operate in the knowledge that if Jeter doesn’t re-sign — if he actually walks away — then his departure would not be a mortal blow to their pennant hopes in 2011.Click here to read the rest

The Yankees' Top 10 WPA Games of 2010

Following up on yesterday’s Top 10 WPA Swings of 2010 post, today we’ll take a look at the Yankees’ Top 10 WPA Games of this past season.

As you might expect, the list has a fair amount of overlap with the top individual plays list, but by adjusting our criteria to full games we also get to include pitchers, namely CC Sabathia.

Here are the Yankees’ Top 10 WPA Games from 2010:

The September 17 game featuring Alex Rodriguez‘s go-ahead, eventual game-winning winning blast off Koji Uehara — which was the second-highest individual WPA swing — was the Yankees’ top WPA game in 2010, due to the fact that A-Rod also hit a solo homer earlier in that contest.

Nick Swisher‘s huge July 16 game, which I was surprised to see not make it to the individual plays list, obviously shows up here, considering Swish had both the game-tying and game-winning hits in the Yankees’ first game after the death of The Boss.… Click here to read the rest

Preview: AL Most Valuable Player

Adrian Beltre

One of the Red Sox’s 2009 off-season investments that actually worked, Beltre was simply resplendent in his vacation away from the West Coast. Beltre’s .390 wOBA is his best since 2004, and he was awesome on defense yet again. Okay, but how does that compare to Hamilton? Offensively, there’s no competition—Hamilton is ridiculously better even counting the 20 games played difference—but defense is again the tricky part. Beltre is considered an elite defender at third, but how “elite” is he? Is he +20 elite or just +10, because that’s a win difference? That win difference is the difference between the two in essentially both measurements. Given that UZR has consistently put him in the 11-13 range over the past few years, he’s probably just that. And if he is just that, then he wasn’t better than Hamilton this season.

Evan Longoria

Couldn't be helped.

Longoria’s numbers are amazingly similar to Beltre’s. In FanGraphs, they really almost are identical, but B-Ref (in which Longoria is a win and a half better than Hamilton and Beltre) really messes things up.… Click here to read the rest

Historical Flotsam And Jetsam: Mantle, Moose, CC

A few interesting historical and statistical bits of data came to my attention lately, and I thought I would share them:

1) In Steve’s posts on Derek Jeter a few days ago, he compared Jeter to Mickey Mantle, and noted that Mantle’s decline greatly hurt the club in 1965-1968. In an ensuing discussion that took place on GReader, Matt Bouffard of Fack Youk pointed out that Mantle’s decline has become overstated among pundits and Yankees fans. To quote:

Mickey Mantle’s final four seasons:

1965: 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 bWAR, 137 OPS+, .371 wOBA
1966: 3.8 fWAR, 3.7 bWAR, 170 OPS+, .402 wOBA
1967: 4.4 fWAR, 4.1 bWAR, 149 OPS+, .373 wOBA
1968: 3.9 fWAR, 3.6 bWAR, 142 OPS+, .362 wOBA

When I expressed surprise over the high quality of those numbers due to my impression that Mantle had totally fallen off a cliff at the end of his career, Matt had this to say:

I guess the issue of Mantle’s performance depends on your perspective.

Click here to read the rest

BBWAA Afraid of Internet Bullies?

Seriously, an actual Cy Young voter said that. And put his name on it. Obviously I don’t think this makes any sense. Put aside the fact that 21 of 28 voters had Felix at the top of their ballots, and just consider the dynamic of bullying for a second. Bullies have the power over the bullied, whether it’s because they’re the bigger kid, because they’re higher in an organization than someone else, etc., bullies are always the more powerful party in the equation. Obviously that wouldn’t be the case here. I’ve been known to criticize Ken Rosenthal a few times, but I’ve certainly never bullied him. Why? Because he’s bigger than me. Whatever I might say about Rosenthal or someone else in the BBWAA, they’ve got a much larger platform than me and are seen and read by a lot more people than I am. And I’ve got a pretty darn big platform in the context of fan blogs. Which is what always makes this whining about “the internet” so unintentionally hilarious.… Click here to read the rest