Yankees Pursuing Duchscherer

Jerry Crasnick is reporting that the Yankees have stepped up their support of former A’s pitcher Justin Duchscherer. The Yankees were interested in Duchscherer back at the 2009 trade deadline, but could not work out a deal with the A’s at the time. I advocated the potential move at the time, and I would endorse bringing him on board now. It is hard to question Justin’s ability as a pitcher. Here is a brief scouting report on Duke from 2009, written by Joe Pawlikowski of RAB: Duchscherer is a cut fastball (high 80s, low 90s), overhand curve, slider type pitcher. Continue reading Yankees Pursuing Duchscherer

Murray Chass vs. Baseball Orthodoxy?

Alright, we like to pick on blogger Murray Chass around here. Really though, who doesn’t like to pick on Murray? Sometimes it feels like we should just ignore him and hope he goes away but, well, his blog is like the perpetual train wreck. Sometimes though, Murray brings the unintentional comedy in Hall of Fame form, and this is one of those times:

In the e-mail [with Baseball Reference creator Sean Forman] I recalled that baseball writers were criticized for naming Justin Morneau the American League most valuable player in 2006. Forman replied:

“Regarding 2006, I would have voted for Mauer (even though Sizemore had a higher WAR). The BBWAA has done (IMO) a horrible job of valuing the relative offensive contributions along the defensive spectrum (DH,1B,LF,RF,3B,CF,2B,SS,C). If a middle infielder or catcher hits even in the same ballpark as a 1Bman the middle infielder is much more valuable to his team. They also do a very poor job of valuing players who do a little bit of everything well (Raines/Walker/Edmonds vs. Gwynn). And don’t get me started on RBI.”

I thank Sean for offering his views, but I don’t agree that writers do a poor job. Some writers have begun buying into the statistical evaluation – I see it as going over to the dark side. I think the results of the voting for the Cy Young award the last two years demonstrate that change.

But writers who vote for most valuable player can have their own definitions of value. They don’t have to be statistically based. Sure, statistics of some sort figure in a voter’s thinking, but he might have other criteria as well, some intangible.

But that approach violates the statistical credo, and any writer who is guilty of that crime incurs the wrath of the metric men. But writers who use their own judgment, whatever their criteria, continue to have our support. And Justin Morneau can keep his m.v.p. (sic) award.

Murray, I know you’re not going to answer this, but really, what the heck are you talking about? First of all, there’s the obvious question that always arises about what you’re basing your estimations on if not “statistics.” Like it or not, batting average, home runs, RBI, etc. are “stats.” Though I realize what you’re doing rhetorically, it’s still sloppy writing that you’d think someone who takes pains to be so hilariously pretentious would avoid. But secondly, who brought up stats? Not Forman, who actually pointed out that Grady Sizemore had a higher WAR than Mauer. And Forman says he would have voted for Mauer. So WAR has nothing to do with this, nor does any other statistic, given Forman’s own explanation.

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Steroids, the 90s, and the Hall of Fame

We all know by now that Jeff Bagwell was snubbed on his first hall of fame ballot by the BBWAA. The collective excuse seems to have been that he was just too fit, too shaped, too good to not be taking steroids. At no point has Bagwell’s name ever been connected with steroids in any way, shape or form, but he was a big, strong hitter in the 1990s, so he is guilty until proven innocent. Jeff Bagwell will not be the last victim of this newfound righteous indignation, and at some point he will probably be inducted into the Continue reading Steroids, the 90s, and the Hall of Fame

Interest in Jones Growing

According to Jon Heyman, the Yankees’ interest in Andruw Jones has grown and is now classified as “strong.” Steve S. delved into Jones earlier, so consider this an extension of the case for and/or against Jones. The MLBTR post mentions that the Yankees want a right handed hitter who can handle left and center field. Can Jones still do that? More or less, yeah. In 2009, Jones was even against righties (.337 wOBA) and lefties (.336 wOBA). In 2010, there was a more pronounced split, but both numbers were good: .342 vs. RHP and .402 vs. LHP. 2009 is a Continue reading Interest in Jones Growing

A granular PitchFX look at Alex Rodriguez's bizarre reverse platoon split in 2010

It’s no secret that Alex Rodriguez produced the lowest full-season wOBA of his career in 2010 — his .363 mark was fueled by career-lows in batting average (.270), on-base percentage (.341) and the second-lowest full-season SLG of his career (.506). That these numbers were not only dramatically off from his superb 2009 (.286/.402/.532; .405 wOBA) but his majestic career triple slash (.303/.387/.571) suggests to me that he should be due for a reasonable bounceback. While it’s not impossible Alex has reached an irreversible decline, he’s been too historically good for me to be willing to write him off just yet. Continue reading A granular PitchFX look at Alex Rodriguez's bizarre reverse platoon split in 2010

NYC sports navelgazing

I thoroughly enjoyed this roundtable featuring Will Leitch, Al Leiter, Joe Sheehan and Steve Wulf. The topic: The iconic sports figures in NYC history. Of note from Sheehan:

With Jeter, you have the whole stats-versus-guys-within-the-game thing. Is he a good defender? Is he a bad defender? Is he such a bad defender that he’s a bad player? I’ve been having these arguments for fifteen years about Derek Jeter. You forget that, even if he’s a bad defense or shortstop, he’s still one of the 30 greatest players in baseball history. And the championships do matter. If the Pirates took Derek Jeter in that draft, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, but they didn’t, the Yankees did. This guy is a first- ballot Hall of Famer.

It’s a wide-ranging roundtable but if you’re into the historical NY sports scene, it’s a must read. Continue reading NYC sports navelgazing

More fun with charts: 2001-10 WAR, ERA+

Since Rob Neyer liked my first bubble chart so much, here’s the pitching version. This chart shows the Top 15 pitchers as measured by WAR for 2001-10 (minimum 500 IP) . ERA+ (also minimum 500 IP) on the vertical axis and WAR on the horizontal. Size of each bubble determined by ERA+.

Should be noted that the top five ERA+ (minimum 500 IP) from 2001-10 are relievers but they were not amongst the leaderboard in WAR so they are not on this list, aside from Mariano Rivera. The top 5:

  1. Mariano Rivera, 224
  2. Joe Nathan, 217
  3. Billy Wagner, 205
  4. Francisco Rodriquez, 175
  5. Francisco Cordero, 155

Jason Rosenberg is the founder and lead writer of the ESPN-affiliated SweetSpot Network site, It’s About The Money. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook. Continue reading More fun with charts: 2001-10 WAR, ERA+

Can the Yankees Sign Soriano Without Surrendering A Draft Pick?

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog.) During the entire off season, the Yankees have been stymied in their attempt to add a starting pitcher. First, Cliff Lee eschewed their hefty contract offer because of the apparent belief that it’s always sunny in Philadelphia, and then Zack Greinke and Matt Garza were both traded to the friendly confines of the NL Central. Making matters worse, Andy Pettitte has spent most of the winter on a beach in Hawaii instead of his gym back in Texas, leaving Brian Cashman with little alternative than to patiently bide his time. Well, it’s Continue reading Can the Yankees Sign Soriano Without Surrendering A Draft Pick?