Stats to watch for 2012: Alex Rodriguez

For each player, there are certain indicators we look at to see how he’s doing. Even if we know better, we take a peek at Derek Jeter‘s batting average. His speed matters just as much in the field, but we can’t help but gawk at Brett Gardner‘s stolen base numbers. Going into 2012, there are numbers we’re going to keep an extra close eye on. Let’s start out by looking at Alex Rodriguez.

For his entire career, power has been A-Rod’s calling card. Last year, a knee injury helped sap him of his power and we saw his Iso take another dip. That mark has dropped every year since 2007, though there really only was down to go after that year (.331 Iso…man, how awesome was his ’07?). In 2011, it dipped below .200 in a full season for the first time since 1997. Aside from the raw Iso, we’ve seen a decline in A-Rod’s HR/FB%. Last year’s 14.5 mark was easily the lowest of Rodriguez’s career, and was off his career percentage by a full eight points.… Click here to read the rest

On Penn State, heroes, and monstrosity


I assume most of the readers of this site are familiar with the story, but let’s establish a basic factual baseline anyway . The genesis of the controversy is a 2002 incident in which a Penn State graduate assistant and former football player walked in on Sandusky allegedly raping a young boy in the locker room showers. The graduate assistant then told Paterno, who quickly notified the Penn State athletic director. After that, it appears that nothing happened. Law enforcement was never notified, the university never made any attempts to find the victim or do an in depth investigation of their own, it was just swept under the rug by everyone involved.

In addition to this incident, there are two other actions that are particularly relevant. The first was in 1998, when a mother accused Sandusky of inappropriately touching her son while showering with him. Police were involved that time, Sandusky admitted to “hugging” the boy in the shower, and Sandusky was warned, as it were, to stop showering with young boys.… Click here to read the rest

Targeting pitchers who fit the Yankee defense

In a recent piece by Fangraph’s Dave Cameron on Mark Buehrle (great read, check it out) he broke down why the big lefty’s ERA has tended to outperform his FIP consistently throughout his career. He illustrated that a major part of the reason is an inherent bias in both stats. Pitchers like Buehrle who generate lots of ground balls often have infielders who tend to make more errors, since they have more chances. So the gap between ERA and FIP is at least partially due to unearned Runs, which of course don’t count towards ERA.

But that got me to thinking about what types of pitchers fit the current Yankee defensive strengths and weaknesses, and leads me to believe that Buehrle would be a bad fit. As a lefthanded pitcher opposing managers will tend to stack their lineups with righty batters. As a ground ball machine, most of those righties will pull the ball to the left side of the Yankee infield, playing right into a Yankee weakness.… Click here to read the rest

Why Jorge Posada may not be finished

Gregory Shamus: Getty Images

As Marc Carig reported on Wednesday, Jorge Posada’s days in pinstripes are likely numbered, a fact that the longtime Yankee seems well aware of.  Many Yankee fans feel similarly, due to Posada’s subpar 2011 season (89 WRC+, -0.4 WAR) and the emergence of superprospect Jesus Montero as his likely replacement in the DH/emergency catcher role.  Since Posada seems finished in New York (at least on this side of town), many fans are hoping that he will call it quits, ending a distinguished 17-year career entirely in the uniform of one organization.  I share some nostalgic hope that Jorge will be a career Yankee, but am conflicted about the idea of Posada hanging up his spikes after an awful 2011.

As we know very well, Jorge is a proud man who may very well want to go out on his terms.  Posada’s performance at the end of the season and in the playoffs did not seem like a triumphant last hurrah to cap off a distinguished career, but rather, a signal to potential employers (the Yankees included) that  he still has something left in the tank.  … Click here to read the rest

Is Mark Teixeira’s decline irreparable?

We all know he got under that one.

For stat watchers, the numbers are damning. In 2008 Mark Teixeira posted a career high wOBA of .410, a number that confirmed his status as one of the game’s elite hitters. He followed that up with a .402 number in 2009, which was equally excellent, but also down slightly. Normally that kind of variation means nothing more than noise but in 2010 Tex’s performance dropped substantially. His wOBA was .367. The trend continued in 2011, when he posted a .361 wOBA.

There is no sugar coating the trend. Tex’s offensive numbers have declined in three straight years. The downward trajectory cuts across offensive metrics. A similar pattern emerges if you look at Tex’s wRC+ or his OPS+. There is therefore no denying that Tex has seen his performance decline, but is the trend irreversible? Mark has acknowledged his problems and stated that he intends to work in the offseason with Kevin Long. Can this work?… Click here to read the rest

Answering the Call: A Veterans Day All Star Team

(The following is being syndicated from The Captain’s Blog).

Abner Doubleday likely did not invent baseball, but the sport’s connection to the military is still strong.

Baseball and the United States military have been closely intertwined since the days of the Civil War, both in myth and reality. Even if the game wasn’t really invented by Major General Abner Doubleday (ahem, Mr. Selig), a hero of Fort Sumter, the hundreds of baseball players who served their country have cemented the bond between these two cherished institutions. So, what better time than Veterans Day to commemorate the game’s contribution to our armed forces by compiling an All Star team of players who served?

Listed below is a decorated team of Veterans made up of men who were both enshrined in the Hall of Fame (other than Ralph Houk, whose credentials as a manager and impressive service record merited an exception) and saw active military duty abroad. Their selection is based on a balanced consideration of on-field exploits and military service, and by no means is intended to slight the heroic and honorable sacrifice of every former major leaguer who served their country.… Click here to read the rest

On Mark Buehrle

Others have done it, but I’ve avoided touching on free agent pitcher Mark Buehrle at length. I kept saying that I wanted to like Buehrle, but I just couldn’t bring myself to want him on the Yankees. Part of me thought this was okay because of Buehrle’s average home run rates and way below average strikeout rates. But, part of me loved his generally strong ground ball rates and his remarkable durability.

Yesterday at FanGraphs, Dave Cameron delved into what Buehrle does–or rather doesn’t do–that has separated him over the course of his career. The end of the article is what caught my eye:

If we sort all starting pitchers with at least 1,000 innings pitched since 2000, Buehrle’s 3.83 ERA puts him as a peer of Ben Sheets (3.79), Zack Greinke (3.82), Josh Beckett (3.84), and Andy Pettitte (3.86). If you ignore the subjective earned runs tag and sort by runs allowed per nine innings, however, Buehrle’s 4.26 RA/9 makes him a peer of Al Leiter (4.23), Barry Zito (4.24), Randy Wolf (4.29), and Jarrod Washburn (4.29).

Click here to read the rest

TYA: Mailbag — Bring on the offseason!

Thanks for all of your submissions, folks. Please keep them coming; we’ll certainly address each email as quickly as possible! To submit a question, simply click the “Contact Us” tab under the site’s banner and send us your thoughts.  Today’s question involves some serious offseason roster reconstruction.

A man with a plan. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

“Everybody has accepted that Derek Jeter’s range has decreased in the field, but I believe I have found a more difficult problem to deal with … it looks like Jeter’s arm strength is failing him even faster than his range. … Would it be feasible to trade Cano to get a pitcher that will [not] be a free agent next year? That would be two years of Cano for one year of a pitcher … then we can ask Jeter to be the Captain he is and move to second [base] where his arm and range will be less of a detriment. … Now, the opening at shortstop could be filled by [signing] Reyes from the free agent market.… Click here to read the rest

Does Ivan Nova Have A Chance To Win AL Rookie Of The Year?

(** Author’s Note- I completely botched this and forgot that Alexi Ogando is not eligible for the AL ROY this year because he spent more than 45 days on a Major League roster in 2010.  So disregard everything related to Ogando below and just focus on the other candidates. **)

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The Yankees have already been heavily featured in the early portion of MLB Awards season, getting shafted out of at least 2 AL Gold Gloves and then having Robbie Cano and C-Grand deservedly win Silver Slugger Awards for their respective positions.  But the real meat and potatoes of award season starts this coming Monday with the announcement of the AL and NL Rookie of the Year Award winners.  And for the first time since Cano in ’05 the Yankees have a horse in the race for the AL award in Ivan Nova.  But how good is Nova’s chance of really contending for the award? … Click here to read the rest