Will is a lifelong New Yorker and Yankees fan who splits his time between finance, music, and baseball. He was one of the early contributors to IIATMS, though life took him away for some time. He is very excited to be back.

Author Archives: Will@IIATMS

The Trade Brian Cashman Would Like To Take Back

Ian Kennedy is a serviceable #4-#5 starter.

Kennedy is a back-end starter, who thus far has had a good bit of luck in 2010, and has looked like a #3 or better. His 3.58 ERA masks a 4.73 FIP, not least of all due to a low BABIP of .261. That basically means he’s had more balls hit at defenders than the average pitcher, and indicates a non-sustainable ERA. ZiPS, for example (one of the better projection systems) thinks that he’ll put up an ERA of over 5 for the rest of the season. I’m not that bearish on Kennedy—after all, he averaged almost 10 strikeouts per 9 innings through the minor leagues—but he’s due for a dip.

Austin Jackson is not ready for the major leagues yet.

I know, that’s crazy talk, right? This guy has a .374 wOBA, is batting over .330, heck, he’s even stealing bases at a reasonable clip (6 for 7 so far this season). Unfortunately, his batting average on balls in play is an outrageous .459.…

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Embattled Vazquez shows signs of life

Many of the folks writing in this space Thursday and today have been writing about the player on their team who needs to go — why, how, and to be replaced by whom. It’d be too easy to write that story for Vazquez. Too easy, too consensus, and more importantly, downright incorrect.

Javier Vazquez doesn’t need to go anywhere. Unless he’s supped from the cup of sudden aging (a possibility, no doubt), he’ll not only be fine over the rest of this season — he’ll be one of the Yankees best pitchers.

Last season, Javy smoked the National League — 2nd by FIP, 2nd by K/BB, 7th by ERA, 1st by xFIP, 4th in swinging strike rate inside the zone (17.1%!). Despite what you’re probably thinking right now, he wasn’t just lucky. He didn’t benefit from a crazy LOB%, nor an extremely low BABIP, nor a lower than normal HR/FB rate.

This year, he hasn’t had nearly as much success getting batters to swing and miss in the zone, generating whiffs on only 11.5% of such pitches.…

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The Great Debate: Closing Remarks (….At Long Last)

Net-net, the 2010 team is better than the 1998 team offensively. Easiest way to demonstrate this? Well, if you read through the lengthy argument here, discussing 2010 versus 2009, I think it’s fairly clear that 2010’s team is better at the plate. Johnson and Granderson compare positively to Matsui and Damon (though plenty of people have let me know, in no uncertain terms, that they think that’s bologna—nevermind the statistics!). Feel free to disagree. But bring some statistics to back you up, would ya? Next, add in a full season of A-Rod (rather than having him on the DL the first month, and a shell of himself for the first month or so after he was back). Finally, just for good measure, slot Brett Gardner in for Melky Cabrera. For those of you who think this isn’t a big difference (or that Melky is better, even), consider this: two weeks ago Gardner took the lead over Melky for career WAR.…

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Undervalued Assets

Teh Ugly

Seriously…can you name me a baseball player uglier than either Kevin Youkilis and Jon Lackey? When they’re both on the field at the same time I have to sit further away from the television…it’s that brutal. Think I’m being mean? Just take a look.

Exhibit One

Sweet Jesus.

Pretty soon they’re going to slap a PG-13 rating on Red Sox games. That is some therapy-inducing awfulness. You want your kids having nightmares? Send em to Fenway. And he’s actually outdone by their most recent big-ticket free agent!

Exhibit Two

Even Yahoo Sports is mocking this guy.

These tremendous players are being undervalued by the market. Frankly, many GMs aren’t willing to sit in the same room as them, which really puts a crimp in negotiations. Fearless Epstein, however, won’t let anything stand in his way on the path to baseball domination.

Damaged Goods

In the finance world, there’s an investment type labelled “Distressed”. It generally refers to picking up assets that are close to bankruptcy or severely impaired, and then nursing them back to health (at which point they generate significant profits).…

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The Great Debate continues: Keep it simple, stupid

And I’m not going to quibble much with TCM’s analysis of the bullpen, which was that the two are quite similar on an FIP basis. Not a lot to say here.

2010

Name FIP
Mariano Rivera 3.25
Joba Chamberlain 3.85
Chan Ho Park 4.45
Damaso Marte 4.10
David Robertson 3.58

-

1998

Name FIP
Mariano Rivera 3.48
Ramiro Mendoza 4.08
Jeff Nelson 3.96
Mike Stanton 4.67
Graeme Lloyd 3.75

And while my first inclination is to quibble with the projection for David Robertson–when I think back to the nasty breaking pitch he froze Erick Aybar on yesterday, as well as his phenomenal strikeout rates, well, I won’t be one bit surprised if he ends up in the mid 3s by the end of the season.

Yeah, this 2010 team is kinda sorta pretty good.  After all, they got this guy… still:

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The Great Debate continues: Outfielders and DH

Right Field: Nick Swisher versus Paul O’Neill

Right Field wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Paulie 1998 0.384 0.317 0.372 0.510 0.882
Swisher 2010 0.357 0.244 0.361 0.502 0.863

So 1998 has the lead here as well, leading by a chunk in wOBA, largely on due to 98’s advantage in batting average (though Paul holds slight advantages in OBP and SLG as well). Defensively, they’re both adventures in right field–but Swisher is probably slightly better (this year’s results in three games notwithstanding). Overall, Paulie wins.

And to the final spot:

Designated Hitter: Nick Johnson versus Daryl Strawberry

This one seems like it’s going to be a bit of a rout….until you actually look at the numbers.

Designated Hitter wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Strawberry 1998 0.375 0.247 0.354 0.542 0.896
Johnson 2010 0.363 0.271 0.396 0.419 0.815

The wOBA likes Strawberry by a bit due to his prodigious power. I’ll go so far as to suggest that the Yankees have plenty of power, and that Johnson’s slugging is likely to rise a bit due to his new home park.…

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The Great Debate — Infield 2010 Edition

Next, let’s take a look at Cano versus Knoblauch.

Knoblauch wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Chuck 1998 0.345 0.265 0.361 0.405 0.766
           
Cano wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Cano 2009 0.370 0.320 0.352 0.520 0.874
Cano 07-09   0.300 0.342 0.474 0.816

Again, not much to argue here. Knoblauch has the better on base percentage, but Cano’s power and average is far superior. Cano is the better hitter, and it ain’t that close.

Next, Tino Martinez versus Mark Teixeira.

Tino wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Tino 1998 0.369 0.281 0.355 0.505 0.860
           
Tex wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Tex 2009 0.402 0.292 0.383 0.565 0.948
Tex 07-09   0.302 0.415 0.560 0.975

I’ll be honest. I expected this to be a lot closer than it is. Teixeira absolutely crushes Tino. Moving on.

The next one’s really unfair from the get-go. Alex Rodriguez versus Scott Brosius.

Brosius wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Brosius 1998 0.367 0.300 0.371 0.472 0.843
           
ARod wOBA AVG OBP SLG OPS
Arod 2009 0.405 0.286 0.402 0.532 0.934
Arod 07-09   0.302 0.421 0.588 1.009

Look, Brosius does a ton better in this comparison than I expected.…

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The Gauntlet Is Thrown

The first point I have to make, in order for this analysis to be useful at all, is that the 2010 Yankees are better than the 2009 Yankees. Here at the blog, we’ve referred plenty to the statistics of Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson against those of Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon. Unless your statistic of choice is batting average (and if so….why?) the new guys are better offensively, as well as being younger.

               
      BA OBP SLG OPS  
  3-Year Johnson and Granderson 0.279 0.379 0.485 0.864  
  Damon and Matsui 0.284 0.365 0.463 0.828  
               
  5-Year Johnson and Granderson 0.276 0.372 0.473 0.846  
  Damon and Matsui 0.292 0.366 0.467 0.833  
               

The 2010 Yankees also have the benefit of starting the season with their best hitter, Alex Rodriguez, intact. You may recall that A-Rod was on the DL for the first month of the 2009 season, and wasn’t really fully himself until late in the season. So sub in Johnson and Granderson for Damon and Matsui, slot in A-Rod instead of Cody Ransom for a month, and I think it’s hard to argue that this year’s lineup isn’t a chunk better than last year’s lineup.…

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