WAR is Wrong: Top Relievers Are Worth Double their WAR – So D-Rob Easily Merits $12-15m

Relievers are weird creatures the standard wins-above-replacement (WAR) stat doesn’t evaluate well. I’ll give the punch line first: relievers pitching high-leverage innings are worth at least double what WAR claims. I’ll get back to David Robertson, but let’s start with Greg Holland, a nice example of a consistently true-elite reliever – but you could substitute prime-years Mariano Rivera, who averaged only 3.0 WAR/yr as a closer. In 2013 and 2014, Holland logged low-1s ERAs and converted 95% of about 50 save opportunities (2-3 blown saves (BS) a year) – yet BBREF and Fangraphs call him only a 2-3 WAR player.

Wouldn’t a replacement-level pitcher giving up over a run every two innings – call him “Kawn Shelley” – blow at least 20% of save chances, or easily 10 out of 50 rather than Holland’s 2-3 out of 50 or Robertson’s 5 out of 44? Not all blown saves are fatal – lost leads may be recoverable – but about 60% of blown saves become losses.…

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part III)

Cano HR vs KC

Hard to replace this guy. Courtesy of Getty Images

This one’s pretty simple.  Just a straight up position-by-position comparison of 2013 and 2014 batting lines.  I call it “The Cano Effect.”

Catcher:

2013- .213/.289/.298, 57 R, 8 HR, 43 RBI
2014- .250/.305/.415, 65 R, 22 HR, 81 RBI

First Base:

2013- .229/.292/.397, 58 R, 22 HR, 83 RBI
2014- .215/.305/.382, 66 R, 25 HR, 78 RBI

Second Base:

2013- .318/.385/.521, 79 R, 27 HR, 114 RBI
2014- .246/.303/.390, 69 R, 13 HR, 53 RBI

Shortstop:

2013- .228/.286/.312, 63 R, 5 HR, 46 RBI
2014- .233/.287/.292, 48 R, 5 HR, 55 RBI

Third Base:

2013- .231/.293/.340, 70 R, 12 HR, 52 RBI
2014- .260/.335/.392, 69 R, 15 HR, 61 RBI

Left Field:

2013- .236/.293/.399, 79 R, 27 HR, 85 RBI
2014- .249/.313/.393, 90 R, 16 HR, 62 RBI

Center Field:

2013- .280/.349/.442, 98 R, 13 HR, 65 RBI
2014- .278/.335/.452, 86 R, 23 HR, 84 RBI

Right Field:

2013- .251/.296/.358, 67 R, 13 HR, 52 RBI
2014- .253/.294/.347, 62 R, 8 HR, 43 RBI

Designated Hitter:

2013- .189/.276/.307, 64 R, 16 HR, 61 RBI
2014- .230/.290/.372, 65 R, 18 HR, 63 RBI

Takeaways:

– Good gracious!  …

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part II)

Teix-Ellsbury vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

On Friday I compared the basic counting statistics for the 2013 and 2014 offenses and the results weren’t pretty.  The Yankees, the team built on the “power and patience” offensive concept, had turned into a middle-of-the-pack team at best in both categories and found themselves in the bottom half of MLB in scoring in each of the last 2 seasons.  Strangely enough, despite hitting for a higher average, more power, and striking out less this year, the 2013 team scored 17 more runs than this year’s edition.  Even in an offense-starved baseball environment, there’s no reason to expect that the team that gave 2,175 combined plate appearances to Ichiro, Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez scored more runs than the team that didn’t.

Time to dig a little deeper into this mess and look at the situational hitting.  That has to be the explanation.

Situational Hitting Statistics:

2013:

Batting Line at Home-.252/.323/.387
Batting Line on the Road- .234/.292/.366
Batting Line Bases Empty- .239/.299/.381
Batting Line w/ Men On- .248/.317/.368
Batting Line w/ RISP- .255/.338/.380 (in 1,509 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 32
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 468
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .251/.336/.402

2014:

Batting Line at Home- .247/.309/.396
Batting Line on the Road- .244/.305/.365
Batting Line Bases Empty- .238/./292/.381
Batting Line W/ Men On- .256/.328/.379
Batting Line w/ RISP- .252/.324/.364 (in 1,480 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 23
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 421
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .247/.314/.369

That’s some pretty damning evidence as to why the 2014 team was so bad.  …

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part I)

McCann K vs TB

Courtesy of Getty Images

The story of the last 2 seasons in Yankeeland is one of offensive disappearance.  Once the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees have fallen off the run-scoring map and they’ve found drastically different ways to make the fall.  Last year it was cheapness, plain and simple.  They tried to cobble together a half-decent lineup under the restriction of a flawed budget plan and they failed.  This year it was the exact opposite.  The checkbooks opened, the money flowed, new better players were brought in, and the lineup was completely rebuilt.  They failed again.

2 different strategies, same terrible results.  How could that have happened?  Might as well look at the numbers to try to figure it out.  First up, the basics.  The counting statistics.  How did those stack up for the 2013 and 2014 Yankee teams?

Standard Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

Batting Line- .242/.307/.376
Runs Scored- 650
Home Runs- 144
Stolen Bases- 115
BB Rate- 7.7%
K Rate- 20.1%
Total PA- 6,045

2014:

Batting Line- .245/.307/.380
Runs Scored- 633
Home Runs- 147
Stolen Bases- 112
BB Rate- 7.4%
K Rate- 18.6%
Total PA- 6,082

Advanced Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

OPS- .683
wOBA- .301
wRC+- 85
ISO- .133

2014:

OPS- .687
wOBA- .305
wRC+- 92
ISO- .135

The big takeaway here is how distressingly similar these numbers are.  …

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Whiffing wonders – flipping a Marlon Byrd

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while understands that I am not fond of strikeouts. I have often jousted against the notion that an out is an out is an out. I respectfully disagree. Strikeouts give the batter no opportunity to have anything other than an out where a batted ball will give the batter a 30% chance to get on base. One of the few scenarios where a strikeout is better than a batted ball is a double play. Knowing my predilection to this part of baseball is my discovery that Marlon Byrd has done something in 2014 no player in the history of baseball has ever done before. Marlon Byrd struck out 150 times more than he walked in 2014.

Byrd had a pretty good offensive season by most standards. He had a 110 OPS+, hit 25 homers and drove in 85. In the world of the Phillies, that’s really productive.…

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The End Of Mark Teixeira

Teix vs BAL

The perfect visual representation of Teix’s 2014 campaign. Courtesy of Getty Images

I don’t know how I missed this, but holy crap did Mark Teixeira have a terrible final month of the season.  I have no excuse for missing it, since I wrote a post at the beginning of the month about how awful his August was, but I really didn’t realize he was THAT bad in September.  82 plate appearances, a .178/.256/.301 slash line, a 28.0% K rate, only 5 extra-base hits (2 HR), 4 GIDPs, and -0.3 fWAR.  Perfectly healthy or completely beat up, that’s bottom-of-the-barrel bad.  It’s the type of production that usually gets guys DFA’d.

Obviously Teix was not going to suffer that fate, not when he has multiple years and $45 million remaining on his contract.  But looking back at those numbers, it’s fair to say he probably should have been shut down for the year much earlier in the month.  All the evidence I referenced in the earlier post that suggested his body had had enough came to even greater fruition this month.  …

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VMart and Donnie Baseball

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Victor Martinez is having a remarkable offensive season. And it isn’t just the 31 homers and 31 doubles and the .333 batting average. What is remarkable is that in the inglorious age of the strikeout, Martinez has only struck out 40 times all season. He is on pace to finish with 43 strikeouts. When considering that remarkable number, it made me curious as to how many times since 1961 someone has hit over 30 homers with less than 45 strikeouts. So I went to my trusty baseball-reference.com and checked it out.

First of all, why did I only go back to 1961? Good question. The answer is that 1961 was right around the first time when the strikeout rate averaged five strikeouts per team per game (1959 to be exact). And even going that far back is problematic. The average strikeout rate in 1961 was 13.2% compared to it being 20.3% this season. If you go back further than 1961, then a low strikeout rate with a lot of homers just wasn’t that remarkable.…

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Shane Greene Should Be In 2015 Plans

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

AP Photo/Tony Dejak

When you look at the 2015 Yankees starting rotation you see a lot of uncertainty and questions.

Will Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka be healthy? When will Ivan Nova pitch? Will Hiroki Kuroda or Brandon McCarthy be brought back? Shane Greene is starting to prove that he is not among those question marks.

When Greene was first brought up expectations were pretty low. He only had a 4.61 ERA in Triple-A and was not a highly touted prospect. He has blown those expectations away at the MLB level, which in most cases would be some kind of fluke like Chase Whitley’s first few starts were. However, by watching Greene’s stuff and looking at his peripheral numbers you can see that he looks legitimate.

Greene has a 5-3 record in 13 starts for the Yankees with a 3.24 ERA and a 3.37 xFIP. The thing that you love about Greene is that he often gets the two best results a pitcher can hope for– a strikeout or a ground ball.…

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Here Are Some Offensive Numbers To Get You Psyched For Tonight’s Game

Offered up without commentary:

– The Yankees have been shut out 5 times in the last 16 games.

– They have been shut out 10 times this season.

– They have scored 42 runs in their 14 September games.

– They’ve scored 6 runs in their last 5 games.

– They’ve been held to 2 runs or fewer 9 times in the last 3 weeks.

– They’ve been held to 3 runs or fewer in 73 of 149 games this season, a shade under 50%.

– Their record in those game is 18-55.

– They’ve been held to 4 runs or fewer in 96 of 149 games.  That’s almost two-thirds of the season.

– Interesting enough, they’ve also held opponents to 3 or fewer runs 73 times this season.  They’re 56-17 in those games.

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