How bad are bunts?

Of course, such research would be very difficult to do, but I’m not sure it’s even necessary, since it seems as though even Moshe concedes that the Yankees probably lost runs to the sacrifice bunt this year. His conclusion seems to simply be that the effect wasn’t extremely pronounced, though as I said at the beginning of the post, I think that leaves us pretty much where we were yesterday. It might get forgotten at times, but it’s still largely true that managerial decisions don’t move too many wins and losses, so long as we assume a base level of competence and a reasonably high degree of conformity with prevailing strategic wisdom. Still, I’m a little miffed by Moshe’s final sentence:

Taking into account the fact that the actual runs scored was about the same as the number of runs expected, it seems clear that Joe Girardi’s bunting problem was not much of an detriment to the Yankees in 2011.

With all due respect, that’s a pretty meaningless sentence.… Click here to read the rest

Stopping the fools

The problem with both ballots should be obvious enough that I’m not going to spend much time on that. Rather, I’m interested in what the BBWAA can do to fix these problems, and to keep future voters from similarly insulting the process and embarrassing the awards as well. There are two obvious answers I see that could go a long way to doing just that.

The first is making voting rights revokable in the event a voter casts an indefensible ballot. I’ve put this idea forward for Hall of Fame voting, where the problem is more stark at the margins (though not as impactful, because the voting pool is much larger), but the basic idea is that you would have to sign your ballots, and there would be some sort of peer review process by which fellow voters could review ballots and punish any voter who submits an obviously indefensible vote. I think this is a good idea for the Hall of Fame balloting, where some really absurd ballots get cast every year, and mostly by people who aren’t terribly engaged in following baseball, but I’m not sure how well it would work in practice here.… Click here to read the rest

Examining Possible Eduardo Nunez Trade Matches With The Braves

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

The biggest story to come out this past weekend was probably the “Braves being interested in Eduardo Nunez” rumors that sprouted up after the infamous “sources” stated that Atlanta was interested in the Yankees’ utility infielder as a replacement for Alex Gonzalez at short.  Personally, I still can’t fathom why so many teams and fans are so high on Nunez, but if this is real then it’s certainly a path the Yankees should consider pursuing.  And with the slow pace that the Hot Stove Season is moving at right now, why not play the hypothetical trade game and look for potential trade pieces from Atlanta’s side for Nunez.  Given the Yankees’ needs this offseason, there are a few interesting possibilities out there on the Braves roster.

Brooks Conrad– 2B/3B

Hey, why not swap one utility guy for another?  Conrad is stuck behind Dan Uggla at 2nd and the Chipper Jones/Martin Prado duo at 3rd, and he would fit the bill of a solid defensive utility infielder that Nunez currently does not.… Click here to read the rest

Stats to Watch: Rafael Soriano

I was not a fan of the Rafael Soriano signing. It didn’t seem necessary and it was for too much money. Sure, it made the 2011 Yankees better (before the season started), but it was still a short sighted move. Regardless of my misgivings, the Yankees are “stuck” with Soriano (oh how awful).

2011 wasn’t a failure for Soriano, but it definitely didn’t live up to his career standards. There are three areas in particular that I think we’ll have to pay attention to in 2012 to see if they revert back to his career numbers.

First, let’s start with ERA. Soriano’s ERA was a semi-bloated 4.12 last year (108 ERA+). That’s not bad at all, but it’s definitely the exception for MFIKY and not the rule. His career ERA is a fantastic 2.86, giving him a robust 148 ERA+. Soriano hasn’t had an ERA that high since 2002 when he had 8 starts (10 games) for the Mariners and threw to a 4.56 ERA in 47.1 innings.… Click here to read the rest

An Ugly Rumor Better Left Forgotten

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

Lou Gehrig puts his arm around Babe Dahlgren, the first baseman who replaced him when his consecutive games streak came to an end.

Ellsworth Tenney “Babe” Dahlgren would be an anonymous figure in Yankees’ history if he hadn’t been penciled in as the starting first baseman on May 2, 1939, the day Lou Gehrig’s then record streak of 2,130 consecutive games came to an end.  In that game, the Yankees didn’t miss a beat without their legendary captain as Dahlgren went 2-5 with a home run, but the rest of his career hardly met the standard established by the Iron Horse.

Following in Gehrig’s footsteps couldn’t have been easy for Dahlgren, but at least it gave him a bit of immortality. After all, without that distinction, chances are very few baseball fans, even the most hardcore, would know his name. However, that isn’t the footnote Dahlgren seemed to believe was most associated with his name.… Click here to read the rest

Too many homers!

The crux of the argument, as you might imagine, is that the Yankees just didn’t get enough timely singles this year and that, to be successful in the postseason, you need to eschew the longball in favor of the timely hit. Is there any validity to it? Of course not.

Thankfully, we have a stat that measures basically exactly what we’re looking for here. Isolated power takes slugging percentage, which is really a total base average that doesn’t include walks or stolen bases, and subtracts batting average to isolate extra base hits. It’s a crude measure of a hitter’s power, but in terms of looking at which teams are the most single-happy it will do quite nicely.

So how do the playoff teams stack up? Surely the ones with the most success are the ones who get the highest proportion of singles, right? Wrong. The eight teams in the playoffs ranked first, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, twelfth, and seventeenth in IsoP.… Click here to read the rest

Finally Caving: Seriously, Don't Overcommit to Yoenis Cespedes

I’ve been resisting writing about Yoenis Cespedes for some time now. His workout video was a truly epic undertaking, and his name started to receive a lot of buzz. The Yankees were rumored to be interested in him. And now, MLB teams appear to be ready to make offers to the soon-to-be free agent. From MLB Trade Rumors:

MONDAY, 10:28am: The $35-50MM estimate for Cespedes may be light, a GM tells Gammons.  Cespedes’ people told one club they already have an offer with $10MM up front and eight years.

FRIDAY, 3:46pm: Cespedes may be looking to obtain more than $60MM on an eight-year deal, according to’s Joe Frisaro. The outfielder shoud be declared a free agent soon after he establishes temporary residency in the Dominican Republic in late November, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).

12:59pm: The question emerges whenever a star hits the free agent market: ‘how much will he cost?’ Yoenis Cespedes, the 26-year-old Cuban center fielder who is expected to hit free agency this offseason, has already drawn interest from many MLB teams and it sounds as though he expects to be paid like an established star, not a prospect.

Click here to read the rest