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  1. This is hilarious. This shows how badly run the Yanks org. has been. With a 200 million dollar payroll, the A’s would win 140 games every year.

    Comment by Nick — February 5, 2009 @ 9:30 pm

  2. “Luckily, they were able to hit, but the team could have been even better with more solid defenders.”

    Except that with more solid defenders, they probably wouldn’t be able to hit. A lot like the Oakland A’s.

    Not everyone in baseball is Albert Pujols.

    Comment by AndrewYF — February 5, 2009 @ 9:46 pm

  3. Just by switching A-Rod and Jeter they would probably save 10 runs next year.

    Comment by Nick — February 5, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  4. This showcases how important defense truly is in the game of baseball. The Yankees put together great offensive teams with average to above average pitching and have not seen a championship in nearly a decade now. The statement I enjoyed the most was the part about Alex Rodriguez, not only is he the best offensive player on the teams he is the best defensive player as well. This just shows how incredible it is that fans and media types are ready to kill the guy, and all he does is produce the most for the team.

    Comment by Recca — February 5, 2009 @ 9:54 pm

  5. Ppl are forgetting the point about the yankees and other teams, the goal isnt necessarily to win the WS, but it is to put ppl in the stands and make $$. Ppl dont go to yankee stadium to see a team play good defense and play small ball (a la MIN). They want to see a lineup score 1000 Rs, they want the 3R HR, and heres a news flash, most great offensive players, arent good at defense. Anyone remember Rey Ordenez, granted that was the mets, but new yorkers dont want to pay to see him dribble out to the 2B.

    Do you really think the yankees could get away with fielding a team like y molina/overbay/ellis/crede/bartlett/crawford/crisp/franceour? in a word no

    Just off the top of my head of recent Yankee acquisitions, nady/damon/giambi/sort of abreu werent brought to NYY for their defense, they were acquired bc of their offensive skillset. Tex and Arod play well defensively, thats about for it everyday players in the last 4+ years

    Comment by Hal S. — February 6, 2009 @ 12:07 am

  6. The goal is to put people in the stands. The most effecient manner of doing that is by winning games, as many as possible. Defense helps win games If they played great defense and “small ball” to the tune of 100 wins, I bet they would sell them all out.

    Comment by Matt H. — February 6, 2009 @ 1:03 am

  7. That was probably true when A-Rod first arrived in New York, but it hasn’t been in a long time. Look at A-Rod’s defensive numbers after his first year at third, and how that coincided with his power numbers rebounding even as he aged and left Texas’ launching pad, and then look at pictures of him when he was in Seattle/Texas compared to now. After he moved to third, he quit worrying about maintaining his quickness in the field and instead focused on bulking up to keep his power up into his 30s. There is no way he could play a passable shortstop right now.

    Comment by Kincaid — February 6, 2009 @ 5:26 am

  8. Oakland tanked because they pretty much sold off their whole team to rebuild the farm. They got over 700 innings from pitchers who were 24 or younger, and half their starting line-up was 24 or younger. They were playing guys who were clearly not ready to hit in the Majors because they gave up on this year to build for the future. That, coupled with a park that suppresses offense pretty heavily, makes for some pretty ugly numbers.

    On the other hand, there are plenty of teams that get by with average offenses while still managing to field great defenses. Like, oh, say, Philly or Tampa. It’s not a one-or-the-other thing. You generally need to at least be competent in both areas.

    Comment by Kincaid — February 6, 2009 @ 5:42 am

  9. For the Yankees, I think the issue of putting people in the stands is moot. They have such a huge fan base that they’re going to sell out games unless the team they field is really horrible. Where they can improve is merchandising. Sometimes they do that by bringing in a big star from a different market (Matsui) or by bringing in superstars (Giambi, A-Rod), or by hanging onto sentimental favorites for too long (Bernie Williams). That’s my take, anyway.

    Comment by don — February 6, 2009 @ 8:33 am

  10. When I saw this headline, I knew it had to involve a recent Yankee team. As a fan of the Yankees, I have witnessed, on nearly a daily basis, the results of such imbalanced teams. Obviously a player’s offensive ability has been the overwhelming consideration in their decision-making. However, it appears that defensive ability is receiving an increasing amount of consideration. Consider the two most recent position players acquired–Nick Swisher and Mark Texiera–both are above average defenders. Their addition, coupled with the fact they are replacing Giambi and Abreu, two of the team’s worst fielders, signals an encouraging shift toward a more balanced team. Additionally, if the Yankees follow through on their (public) plan of avoiding playing either Damon or Swisher in CF, the team can reasonably be expected to field a league average defense. If Jeter plays at a level comparable to last year, Cano proves 2008 was an aberration, and Gardner wins the job in center, we may be reading analyses of how a drastic defensive turnaround fueled a return to the World Series for the Yankees.

    Comment by Enter Sandman — February 6, 2009 @ 10:24 am

  11. Yeah, the 2005 Yanks (and many recent Yankees teams) were bad in the field, and it’s cost them dearly. And the organization knows it. If you follow what they’ve done recently, you can see that.

    The single biggest mistake the team made in that timeframe was failing to sign Beltran. After that, one can critique their drafting. They’ve come up with some pretty good pitching prospects, but only 1 real position player prospect who is anywhere near the majors (Jackson). Jackson may be able to plug the hole in CF. That’s the hope, anyway. We’ll see.

    Comment by Rob in CT — February 6, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  12. It really comes down to the age of the team. Generally speaking you will get your best defensive performances out of younger players. I’m sure the players that made up this team were not bad fielders when their careers began. The average age minus Jorge was 33. Take out Cano and it is 34. No one is at peak defensive ability at 34.

    The Yankees keep adding players that are 32+ years in age which is not really going to help anything.

    Comment by Scappy — February 6, 2009 @ 12:15 pm

  13. With their ages, they likely will get worse. I dont think Cano will be that bad… he’s shown some ability to be a decent defender. Teixeira will certainly pick up the infield defense, too. Other than that this is a crappy, crappy defensive team. Huge question marks at CF and catcher.

    Now would be a good time to remember how much fielding affect traditional pitching stats like ERA…

    Comment by alskor — February 6, 2009 @ 1:13 pm

  14. Rob – I completely agree, passing on Beltran was a mistake that has cost the Yankees dearly. In my opinion, this was far more costly than any of the highly publicized blunders with regard to free agent pitchers.

    Scappy – While the Yankees field a relatively old lineup, I disagree with your concluding sentiment that they “keep adding players that are 32+ years in age.” Their recent acquisitions–Xavier Nady (30, 29 when acquired), Nick Swisher (28), Mark Teixiera (28)–are a nice substitute for departed players like Jason Giambi (38) and Bobby Abreu (34), and the upcoming departures of Hideki Matsui (34) and Johnny Damon (35). These three acquisitions combined with Robinson Cano (26) , Melky Cabrera (24), and Brett Gardner (25) serve as a much needed complement to the mainstays of A-Rod, Jeter, & Posada.

    Comment by Enter Sandman — February 6, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  15. If they avoid playing Damon and Swisher in CF, who do they have to play?

    Comment by Jim — February 6, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  16. This is true. I’m still living in the past as to when they signed Damon, Matsui, and I think someone else to four year deals while they were all on the decline.

    Comment by Scappy — February 6, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

  17. Alskor – I wouldn’t categorize this as a “crappy, crappy” defensive team, while that would have been appropriate in recent years, I think the 2009 Yankee defense projects to be much improved–especially in the outfield. Damon is a plus defender in LF, 2008 UZR/150 of 16.3 at this position. In 22 games in CF Gardner posted a 40.2 UZR/150 (obviously impacted by the small sample size, but nevertheless he should above average). As for the infield, A-Rod and Jeter were essentially average, with UZR/150 scores of -.1 and -.5 respectively, with Teixeira at 10.1. Cano and Swisher are key variables here. While Cano played like a replacement level player last year, as you point out he is a capable defender, having posted an 8.3 in 2007. Swisher’s case is complicated by the fact that his samples are scattered over multiple positions; however, if we focus on his most likely position with the Yankees, RF, we find that in the two seasons in which he played over 50 games at this position he recorded UZR/150 rates of 12.7 and 27.8. All told, it is not out of the question for the Yankees to have an outfield alignment with above average defenders at each position and an above average right side of the infield. So if Jeter and A-Rod once again produce average defense, their overall team defense could be rather impressive, especially in comparison to previous seasons.

    Comment by Enter Sandman — February 6, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  18. Barring a trade, their options will be Melky Cabrera, Brett Gardner, or rushing Austin Jackson (presumably the least likely of the three). My guess is that Cabrera has the edge since he is out of options years, but Gardner does have superior range and speed. Unfortunately, it would not be surprising either produce replacement level offense. While having Gardner’s defense would be great, carrying his bat introduces a great deal of risk, because if Posada went down again, the Yankees would be back to having two replacement level hitters in their lineup–kind of like last year when the bottom-third of their lineup was routinely replacement level (Gardner/Melky, Molina, Cano).

    Comment by Enter Sandman — February 6, 2009 @ 3:13 pm

  19. I don’t know if I buy that the 2005 Yankees had good enough pitching to win 95 games with only a +9 offensive/defensive differential.

    Comment by sahara — February 7, 2009 @ 4:53 am

  20. You have to remember that the offensive portion does not include situational hitting, so the actual offensive output could have been higher.

    Comment by Nathan — February 7, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  21. A ton of luck helped too. that was the year of Aaron Small / Shawn Chacon if you remember.

    I would argue that 2005 should have been the year they didn’t make the playoff, the 08 team was actually significantly better. but didn’t benifit from the same ridiculas luck of the 05 team.

    Comment by RollingWave — February 8, 2009 @ 10:39 pm

  22. Sandman, you say neither Damon or Swisher will play center right? Your goal is to have Damon in left right? Nady in right field right? Swisher as DH right? And Matsui in. . . OOPS. What happens now? Platoon between Swisher and Nady? Do you think either one of them will be happy about that one? The Yankees IMO should trade Xavier Nady while his stock is still high.

    Also except for 2007, Cano has never posted a positive fielding rating. I would hardly consider that capable. And as many of use know already, Jeter has been a horrible defender for most of his career. He did show improvement last season, but I still wouldn’t feel comfortable having a player with his defensive skill as my starting shortstop, and I think most people would agree.

    Comment by Recca — February 10, 2009 @ 4:31 am

  23. No, Swisher is a better right fielder than Nady. Swisher should be the everyday RF. Put Damon in left and Gardner in center. The Yankees then field an outfield that sums to a +25 UZR/150 at least. Say that Jeter is -5, A-Rod is -1, Cano -8, and Texeira +5. So the infield is -9 overall. Therefore, the Yankees outfield and infield combined save 16 runs compared to league average. The defense is weak in the middle of the infield, yes, but that is NOT an awful defensive team.

    If they can get something good for Nady, then trade him, but if not I’m fine with platooning him at DH with Matsui. Nady typically hits much better vs. lefties than righties, excluding last year and Matsui is a good bat against RH pitching. Nady can also be used to give days off to either corner outfielder, although he is defensively inferior to both. Matsui must never play the outfield especially after his injury. His defense has always been poor anyway.

    Comment by Joe — February 11, 2009 @ 10:29 pm

  24. Yeah, you guys are such a bunch of geniuses. The Yankees are such a stupid organization. After all, they’ve only been to the playoffs thirteen of the past fourteen seasons, and have been to the WS three times the past nine seasons. If only the Yankees had a team full of Adrian Beltre’s and Brandon Inge’s, they wouldn’t average winning an embarrassing 97 games per season.

    I know! I’m just gonna regurgitate whatever Dave Cameron or Eric Seidman happens to be whining about on this particular day. Then, I can be a baseball genius, too.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 15, 2009 @ 5:44 pm

  25. Yeah, they’d win an embarrassing 99 games with a team full of Beltrés. That’s what a team that averages +5 runs of offense and +15 runs of defense at every position—nine Beltrés, give or take—would be expected to win with a league-average pitching staff in front of them, which is actually two more games than a team of +20 hitters and +0 fielders at every position would be expected to win.

    Comment by bootsocks — February 15, 2009 @ 7:14 pm

  26. Also should have mentioned that building around competent fielders is more cost-efficient than building around offense-first, defense-second (if at all) players of the same value. Paying the going rate for free agency-eligible players who are all stick and no glove is quite possibly the least efficient way to allocate payroll.

    Comment by bootsocks — February 15, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  27. Adrian Beltre is a great fielder, but I’m getting a little sick of hearing about how a guy with a career .786 OPS is the greatest thing since sliced bread. The fact is that (perhaps Albert Pujols aside), there is no perfect player. There’s always going to be some trade-off. If you have great defense and pitching, but can’t hit, that’s gonna cost you some wins. If you have great hitting and pitching, but terrible defense, that, too, will cost you wins.

    The funny part about reading this is how this site really thinks it has things down to this precise science. It goes without saying that you want good defense. But it’s still a game. That’s why every year, the actual results don’t match what the numbers spit-out.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 16, 2009 @ 3:10 pm

  28. I would argue that the single-biggest mistake was getting A-Rod. The mistakes, however, go back long before that. In the beginning of 1998, Bernie Williams was asking for five years and $70 million. The Yankees didn’t extend him, allowing him to become a free agent. Boras threatened to have Williams sign with the Red Sox, who offered Bernie seven years and $88 million. The Yankees were forced to match that offer to keep Bernie.

    The Yankees were committed to Bernie Williams in center $13 million for one more year when Beltran hit the market. They were paying $16 million each to Kevin Brown and Randy Johnson. They were paying $20 million each for A-Rod, Giambi, and Jeter. That’s $105 million on six players. After seeing Bernie decline so mightily, the Yanks were hesitant to throw another $120 million at Beltran, especially as they’d been bitten badly by the Bernie Williams and Jason Giambi long-term deals.

    Even the Yankees have spending limits. Had they signed Beltran, the Yankees would have been paying $30 million for the CF position for 2005. But I guarantee you that if Carlos Beltran is playing CF, there’s no collision between Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield, and the Yankees probably at least advance to the ALCS in 2005…

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 16, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  29. Even if it were a precise science, the actual results still wouldn’t match what the numbers spit out. They’re called context-neutral stats for a reason.

    I can’t recall ever seeing the Adrian Beltré-sliced bread comparison, either.

    Comment by bootsocks — February 16, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  30. I really wouldn’t compare Adrian Beltre to sliced bread. I am of the minority that thinks that slicing the bread actually detracts from its value. I’ll trade a couple extra seconds of slicing for fresher, softer, better overall bread anyday.

    Comment by lookatthosetwins — February 17, 2009 @ 9:29 pm

  31. How decadent of you.

    Comment by waynetolleson — February 18, 2009 @ 4:21 am

  32. Waynetolleson-

    I hear you bro…

    I too am a bit skeptical about these defensive metrics…I think until you can isolate batted ball speeds and trajectories relative to defensive position, and isolate other factors out, which i think is darn near impossible, you can’t get real specific in terms of what these numbers mean. I think measuring how many balls a guy gets to can paint with a broad brush in terms how much range a guy might have, but we’ve been doing this with our eyes for 100 years – these metrics can certainly confirm what we see with our eyes. I wonder, and maybe the UZR guys can help here, if the metric corrects for who the fielder is playing next to that day. For example, if you are a corner outfielder playing next to the best center fielder in the game, wouldn’t your defensive range metrics take a hit almost by definition? Now, If we had the ability to track every batted ball, its speed, it angle to the position of the fielders involved, then we could measure not merely the amount of balls he gets to, but how he performs on balls hit within certain speed and angle limits relative to where he was positioned when the ball was struck. Only then, i think, would you have a defensive range metric that was specific enough to contribute predictive value to runs scored and therefore wins.

    I think sometimes we also forget that what we are dealing with is human beings. You can measure outcomes, and you measure components. And you can correlate the certain components to outcomes to come up with with some pretty good predictions, for example, K/9, BB/9 and GB ratio for ERA, and Eye Ratio, contact rate (among a few others) for batting average. But in the best case scenario the predictive power of the components will be in the 70% range for these simpler measures. Throwing all this together to predict win probability is even tougher. Then add to that the seeming lack of precision of the defensive metrics, and you have a recipe for guesses (probably educated ones) being disguised as statistics that mean a lot.

    My second observation is one that can be tested…That defense on the corners is simply not nearly as important as offense. When I look back at the last 20 world series champions, it doesn’t seem that defensive minded corner outfielders were a staple on virtually any of these teams. As a matter of fact, the opposite seems to be the case, at least anecdotally. You can extoll the virtues of defense all you want, create statistical defensive models based on assumptions, create further models of how these defensive statistics contribute to wins based on additional assumptions, but the true test is whether the teams actually win. Look at the last 5 years for starters – Corner Outfielders were Burrell(!) and Werth, Manny and Drew, Posednik and Dye, Duncan and Encarnacion, and Manny and Millar/Nixon/Kapler. Before that, Miguel Cabrera (!) and Encarnacion, Garret Anderson and Salmon…See where I’m going with this? You’ve got some of the worst fielding corners in the game on that list…but they could sure hit. I haven’t done a complete analysis of all playoff teams in the last 20 years, but maybe someone else has. And perhaps I would be proven wrong with such a study.

    I guess I’m trying to say two things here. First, The value many are placing on these defensive range metrics seems a little dubious given to me, given the fact that the batted ball data seems too incomplete to give us any consistency in the metric. Second, even if I’m wrong on that account, and the defensive range metrics are highly accurate, I have doubts as to the amount of contribution a defensive corner gives to a teams ability to win games. I’m not saying there is no value in defense. I am saying that defense is overated, especially at the corners. There are exceptions to every rule, and context is king (for example a spacious ballpark or pitchers that pitch to contact), but I’ll still take the team with corner mashers, and gloves who are adequate sticks up the middle, a strong starting pitching staff that misses some bats, and at least a pretty good bullpen. That seems to be a time tested recipe for success.

    OK, fellas, I am ready for the abuse.

    Comment by j36t — February 20, 2009 @ 1:49 am

  33. I agree and disagree with you at the same time, j36t.
    Yes, there have been some miserable defenders that were key players on WS championship teams (Burrell, Howard, Ramirez, and Dye all come to mind). The catch-22 is that these are all good to lock Hall of Famers for their hitting.

    Obviously no one thinks Adrian Beltre is a better part of a team than Manny Ramirez from a purely production standpoint (Manny’s antics are another topic for another day), but what would a team rather have, Beltre and Ichiro in the corner OF spots for $13 mil / yr a piece, or Manny Ramirez and a borderline replacement level player in the corner OF spots for the same $26,000,000 total?

    Obviously defensive metrics have a way to go since it’s wicked hard to quantify them, and really the best way to do it is to evaluate every single ball that they had the opportunity to make a play on. But fangraphs does a very nice job in putting a lot of data into reader friendly terms.

    (btw, I’d take Beltre and Ichiro, and as a Red Sox fan, I anticipate some very low Extra Base hit totals when playing TB thanks to their OF full of gold glove candidates).

    Comment by Joe R — February 22, 2009 @ 9:43 am

  34. lol wow I just realized I called Beltre an Outfielder.
    7 hours of sleep in 2 nights can do that to a person I guess.

    Comment by Joe R — February 22, 2009 @ 9:48 am

  35. The Red Sox are the Oakland A’s with money, they don’t win 140 games a year but I would say their organization is not too shabby.

    Comment by West — February 27, 2009 @ 1:38 am

  36. They were a pretty stupid organization. If they didn’t have the absurd payroll to have like 6 hall of famers on that roster, they would’ve been nowhere near the playoffs. And shelling out a ton of cash for those players doesn’t make you a smart organization, it makes you a rich one. The sheer number of absurdly bloated and useless contracts they were carrying that year was astounding (Pavano, Wright, Williams, Karsay, Stanton). It doesn’t take any SABR analysis to point this out.

    There’s a reason why the Red Sox have 2 WS in the 21st century, and the Yankees have 0. The Sox combine a huge payroll and a terrific organization, and the proof is in the pudding. The Yankees have only just in the last 2 years or so begun to incorporate new ideas and craft a smarter organizational philosophy. It will take a little more time before they are at the Sox level.

    Comment by Nick — April 4, 2009 @ 1:29 am

  37. Really? So you don’t think the Red Sox’ paying $150 million a season for their players the years they won the World Series helped just a little bit? I mean, let’s get real. Theo Epstein didn’t bring-in Manny Ramirez or Pedro Martinez, the two most central players in turning the Red Sox around and making them a consistent competitor. He didn’t sign Johnny Damon. Theo Epstein wasn’t even responsible for bringing-in Josh Beckett or Mike Lowell.

    The Red Sox actually got really lucky to win in 2004, offsetting a bunch of years where they were really unlucky not to win. And the Red So never had to build from within. They’re done a nice job in recent years, but all the most important players in their organization have been big-money free-agents or instances where the Red Sox benefited from expansion teams fire sales. (They got Pedro from Montreal, Schilling from Arizona, and Beckett from Florida.)

    Show me a GM that does it for $80 million and I’ll be impressed. The Red Sox enjoy every advantage the Yankees do, most importantly, the ability to eat bad contracts, like Keith Foulke, Matt Clement, J.D. Drew, Curt Schilling, etc…

    Comment by waynetolleson — April 10, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  38. You forgot about pitching, too.

    Comment by Kevin S. — April 11, 2009 @ 12:53 am

  39. Boston doesn’t have a $200 million payroll. But, yeah 140 was a bit of hyperbole. Unfortuantly, the Yankees are starting to wise up. Maybe someday they will even move Jeter.

    Comment by Bill — April 13, 2009 @ 7:36 am

  40. For the 2010 season … available free agents will include:

    Bengie Molina … a great defensive C, with a solid stick, and
    Matt Holliday, OF … solid in every aspect.

    Comment by TMac — April 14, 2009 @ 4:46 pm

  41. Not true. There are plenty of bad fielding younger players. Lasting Millage is a great example. Dunn has never been able to field even when he was young. As for a Yankee, Cano is still young and is a bad defensive player. In fact, he has always been sub par even when he was a rookie.

    it is true that all players range declines slowly with age after age 29 or so, but being young does not make someone a good or better fielder than an old player. Omar Vizquel was a top 5 defensive SS last season despite his age. He can’t hit anymore, but if he played everyday this season he would probably be top 5 again.

    Comment by PhDBrian — April 14, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  42. for $200 million you can make a team full of bad defensive players and win the world series. You just have to get every pitcher that Ks 9+/9 and rarely walks anyone, and then get every player that can hit 40 home runs, steal 30 bases and on base .380. Score 1100 runs in a season and your gloves are meaningless, with strikeout pitchers you’ll win anyway.

    OR

    For $50 million you can make a team that wins the world series with a great defender at every defensive spot, solid control pitchers who keep the ball down, and hitters who hit 20 home runs a season, steal 10, and on base .345.

    Its all up to you.

    frankly, I am bumbed the Yankees are starting to figure out the defensive thing. I root for the small market teams! Once they become competently managed the game will really need a salary cap, or another NY/NJ team because they will win every year.

    Comment by PhDBrian — April 14, 2009 @ 5:28 pm

  43. There is something wrong with these numbers. You are saying the poor defense almost completely neutralized the offensive output. That means the Yankees pitching entirely on its own made this team a 95 win team? You are saying that with just league average defense this team would have had +230 run differential? I buy that the defense was bad but I have a hard time believing it was that bad.

    Comment by DC — May 2, 2009 @ 1:04 pm

  44. I think what they are saying is that because their defense counters their offensive production they are pretty much a league average team (81 wins). When you add their pitching runs they are then able to win an extra 14 or so wins.

    If the Yankees were able to somehow obtain the same type of offensive production they had but at the same time have league average defense they would have been able to win well over 100 games.

    Comment by Brian Recca — July 27, 2009 @ 10:13 am

  45. To be fair:
    Say the average MLB team is 730 runs scored, 730 runs allowed.
    A +230 team can be, we’ll say, 845 RS, 615 RA.

    (845^1.83)/(845^1.83 + 615^1.83) = .6414, or a 104 win team.

    The Yankees scored 886 runs in 2005 and pythag’d out to a 90 win team. Check out Randy Johnson’s K/BB in 2005 vs. his ERA.

    Maybe UZR exaggerates how bad these 2005 Yankees were with the glove, but make no mistake, Yankee defense in 2005 was bad. Real bad.

    Comment by Joe R — July 27, 2009 @ 3:16 pm

  46. Or the big market teams will just do what they did in the middle of the decade; read Moneyball, start overspending on OBP monsters like Swisher, and suddenly players like Jason Bartlett are on the cheap.

    I don’t think they’ll ever be a total equilibrium where contracts are pretty much mirror images of PECOTA projections. As long as that’s the case, they’ll be some aspect of the game that’s undervalued, like OBP in the beginning of the decade, and defense in the middle.

    Maybe a movement towards ground ball pitchers? Pineiro and Marquis’ success in 2009 could spur teams to look in that direction.

    Comment by Joe R — July 27, 2009 @ 3:38 pm

  47. the yankee pitching staff in 2005 were RJ / Moose (bad year) / Pavano (lol) / Wright (lol) / Brown (even worse) and a rookie Wang that pitched only a couple months , and the inexplicabile Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small plus a bunch of junk.

    it was not a +10 win pitching staff. even with one of Mo’s more brilliant season thrown in.

    Still, they’re doing a lot better this year. and perhaps most amazingly Derek Jeter is doing well again.

    Comment by RollingWave — August 9, 2009 @ 3:02 am

  48. Baseball Reference has the 2005 Yankees at -63 runs defensively. Seems more reasonable than this -130 figure. This is one reason defensive metrics are less widely respected than offensive ones. Estimates vary wildly.

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/2005.shtml

    Comment by MattNC — February 13, 2012 @ 12:20 am

  49. It’s funny reading how people coming into 2009 thought it was unlikely that Cano would be any good defensively in the years to come when he really turned it on that year and afterward (although WAR says he’s not so great this year).

    Comment by BOB — June 26, 2014 @ 10:52 am

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