The All-Ceiling Top 20

While attempting to sleep last night, an idea popped into my head. Why not have some fun and rank the top-20 Yankee prospects by ceiling alone? Here’s the list I scratched down late at night, with some comments on what their ceiling looks like. I excluded mostly busted prospects so not to make the list too silly. Sorry, Garrison Lassiter. I also excluded some IFAs that I don’t really know a lot about. Here is the list. Jesus Montero – Poor defensive catcher who slugs .600 Gary Sanchez – Good defensive catcher who slugs .500 Dellin Betances – Josh Beckett Continue reading The All-Ceiling Top 20

Another Thames?

Via Steve Adams at MLBTR, we’ve heard that five teams are interested in Wily Mo Pena. The Yankees originally signed him as an amateur free agent, then traded him away. As Steve said, he had a strong finish in 2010 in AAA Portland and offers minimal risk. Chances are, he could be had on a minor league deal, just like Marcus Thames in 2011. So, is he worth an offer? Let’s take a look. Pena hasn’t played in the Majors since an awful 64 game stint with the Nationals in 2008. He had a .509 OPS in 206 PAs. The Continue reading Another Thames?

Non-Jeter Options

The Yankees and Derek Jeter are (apparently) so far apart that the latter’s agent is “baffled” by the hard-line stance the former has taken in contract negotiations. Since that’s happening, let’s take a quick look at the non-Jeter options the Yankees have at shortstop. Internally, they have (relatively speaking) the youngsters Ramiro Pena and Eduardo Nunez. Both offer something, but it’s not all that much. Pena hit an empty .287 in 69 games in 2009 (.317 OPB, .373 SLG), but flashed decent leather at third and short. In 2010, he hit .227/.258/.247 in 85 games. He would a more typical Continue reading Non-Jeter Options

The Yankees' Top 10 WPA Swings of 2010

After toying around with the Yankees’ cumulative WPA scores, I became increasingly curious to find out the individual plays that were the most impactful on the Yankees’ 2010 season, and it appears that neither Fangraphs or B-Ref contains sortable lists of team (or league) leaders with said data. I also discovered that full-season WPA scores, while a helpful benchmark, like any other isolated statistic doesn’t always tell the full story. Hitting on that latter point first, it’s no surprise that Robinson Cano led the Yankees with a 3.64 WPA on the year, followed by Alex Rodriguez and his 3.58. Nick Continue reading The Yankees' Top 10 WPA Swings of 2010

What if the Yanks do nothing?

We were discussing this yesterday in EJs post on Cliff Lee and I thought it was an interesting starting point for a debate, so I wanted to pick it up again in a formal post. What if the Cliff Lee bidding gets out of hand and the Yanks decide to pass? What if the Yanks decide to do nothing but fill out the bench and bring back the same group for 2011? Would the 2011 Yanks be better than the 2010 Yanks if they keep the roster largely the same? I say yes, they would be better for the following Continue reading What if the Yanks do nothing?

Behold, thy name is leverage

Disclaimer #1: I’m really getting sick of this. I know this elaborate, frustating mating ritual is necessary, but for Pete’s sake, let’s get on with it already.

Disclaimer #2: I want Derek Jeter back in pinstripes.

Derek Jeter’s agent, Casey Close, is a smart guy and from all accounts an excellent agent. However, Derek Sanderson Jeter does not hold the leverage in this negotiation. At least, not if Jeter wants the most amount of money possible. So when I read these quotes by Close, I have to shake my head:

“There’s a reason the Yankees themselves have stated Derek Jeter is their modern-day Babe Ruth. Derek’s significance to the team is much more than just stats. And yet, the Yankees’ negotiating strategy remains baffling. They continue to argue their points in the press and refuse to acknowledge Derek’s total contribution to their franchise.”

Let’s dissect these comments…

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Just a quick heads up, I’ll be appearing on Mike Siva’s New York Baseball Digest show on WGBB (1240 AM) to talk Yanks around 9:30 pm. Give it a listen, Mike always does a fun show and I always love talking about my beloved Yanks. If you’re not on Long Island and want to listen live click here. To hear the archive, visit NYBD.

Implicit Acceptance

For the past year or so, I’ve been trying to figure out this disconnect between sabermetrics and traditionalists, between newer stats and traditional stats, and between perception and reality in the battle over baseball analysis. I’ve written several posts trying to explain what sabermetrics is (the questioning of previously held truths), the newer advanced stats, and other social phenomena that cause problems in the baseball world. But I’ve always felt like I was swimming upstream, and it didn’t have anything to do with the audience. When discussing these issues, I try to be as patient as possible, and when a significant group of people still don’t come around, I hesitate to blame everything on them. Usually in those situations, there is something structural going on that we’re unaware of which causes problems in communication and understanding, and I have been continually frustrated as to what it is. Now, I don’t expect this to change the world, but I hope it helps if you’re one of the people frustrated because they like the traditional statistics and don’t understand why we need new ones.

The problem (at least partially; there are other reasons—reactionaries, bad explanations, name-calling—but I feel those have been explained in several places) lies in the names we attribute to statistics. People say, “Numbers don’t lie. People do”. Sounds good enough, but it’s not really accurate. The implication, in the baseball sense, is that our forefathers (the game’s creators) have been lying to us for the past century, and that there was some devious plan to mislead the public. It also implies that our forefathers were dumb and unable to come up with good statistics. Both of these notions are incorrect.

With the invention of the box score, statistics became a part of the game, but it wasn’t really a profession in the way it is now. People wanted to count up the statistics and figure out who was better than who, but there really wasn’t too much of an investigation into them. For one, it was a piece of trivia, and second, the technology wasn’t really good enough until the last 40 years or so to really delve into their effectiveness. So, our forefathers allowed, even constructed, traditional statistics based on easy available numbers. Counting stats (hits, home runs, strikeouts) were easy, but someone realized that rate stats (ERA, batting average) would also help because counting stats didn’t tell the whole story. Here’s the problem—numbers can’t just sit there.

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Preview: NL Most Valuable Player

It’s almost the end of the award season, and we all know what that means—MVP awards! Traditionally, the MVP Award is given to the best position player because the Cy Young is considered the MVP for pitchers, but the rules do not exclude pitchers from being MVPs. Understanding that this is the award essentially for position players, I find it odd that the MVP is always the last award given, which implies it is the most important and thus insinuates that position players are more important than pitchers. If pitchers were considered just as good as position players, wouldn’t they let the Cy Young awards go last every other year? And if pitchers and hitters are equal and the MVP Award is not to declare who is the best position player, then why do pitchers win so infrequently? Just in case you didn’t want to follow that philosophical rambling, we’re here today to talk about the NL MVP, and we’ll even give notice that a third party deserves to be a part of this discussion (and his name isn’t Carlos Gonzalez).

Albert Pujols

Let’s start with the perennial favorite, shall we? Pujols’ .312/.413/.596 slash line leading to a .420 wOBA is actually a little low by Pujols’ standards, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been exceptional enough to be the best in baseball. Let’s add in his just ever-so-slightly above-average defense, and Pujols has been worth 7.3 fWAR (7.2 bWAR) this season. He’s second to Votto when it comes to fWAR, but he leads by 0.7 over everyone in bWAR. I realize we’re all starting to get worn down and suffer a little “Pujols Fatigue” to the point where we’re just tired of seeing him win every year, but that doesn’t mean he’s not the best. Why can’t we just enjoy seeing an awesome player be one of the “Last name Ever, first name Greatest”?

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