• Does Cashman’s Shtick Work When Yanks Face Tough Teams?

    Posted by on July 13th, 2009 · Comments (68)

    There was some good debate here earlier today regarding “Brian Cashman’s Yankees” ability to play well against the “big boys” in baseball. Seeing that, I decided to take this study a tad deeper.

    First, as mentioned here in the past:

    Brian Cashman became Yankees G.M. on February 28, 1998. However, from 1998 through 2005, George Steinbrenner’s troops in his Tampa office (including but not limited to Bill Emslie, Billy Connors, Mark Newman and Damon Oppenheimer) had so much input on personnel moves that it was somewhat difficult to know what exactly what were Cashman’s decisions or not.

    This all changed in October 2005 when Brian Cashman was given full autonomy on running the Yankees. As Cashman said at that time: “I’m the general manager, and everybody within the baseball operations department reports to me. That’s not how it has operated recently.”

    So, without question, we can look at the state of the New York Yankees over the last four seasons (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 to date) and know that what you see in Yankeeland is “All-Cashman.” And, it’s these seasons that we will use in this study.

    Next, we need a “benchmark” as to what teams in baseball were “big boys” in those seasons. To this end, I decided to look at the fourth best winning percentage in the American League for each year in question – and use that mark as our “big boy” line (meaning any teams in baseball who met that mark or did better were the “big boys” in the game that season). Here’s what I found:

    Season – 4th Best Winning Percentage In American League

    2006 – .574 (Oakland)
    2007 – .580 (Los Angeles, tied with New York)
    2008 – .549 (New York*)
    2009 – .570 (Los Angeles**)

    *Chicago was 5th in the league in 2008 with a .546 mark
    ** Through Games of July 12, 2009

    Lastly, via Baseball-Reference.com’s Situational Records tool, here’s how American League teams have done, each season since 2006, when playing someone with a winning percentage at or above the “big boy” line (for that year):

    baseballreportbreak

    In 2006 and Greater Than or Equal to a .574 Opponent’s Season W-L%:

    	Tm	G	W	L	W-L%	RS	RA	pythW-L%
    1	LAA	43	26	17	.605	192	176	.540
    2	CHW	50	26	24	.520	236	230	.512
    3	DET	35	18	17	.514	182	152	.582
    4	NYY	28	14	14	.500	148	116	.610
    5	OAK	28	14	14	.500	115	134	.430
    6	MIN	35	17	18	.486	138	176	.391
    7	TOR	44	21	23	.477	216	234	.463
    8	TEX	48	22	26	.458	240	244	.492
    9	BOS	44	18	26	.409	215	244	.442
    10	BAL	43	17	26	.395	195	244	.399
    11	CLE	54	20	34	.370	252	246	.511
    12	KCR	55	17	38	.309	228	362	.300
    13	TBD	42	12	30	.286	152	229	.321
    14	SEA	42	11	31	.262	141	225	.298
    

    Here we see that “Cashman’s Crew” in 2006 just played .500 ball against the “big boys” whereas a team like the Angels played much better than that in these situations.

    baseballreportbreak

    In 2007 and Greater Than or Equal to a .580 Opponent’s Season W-L%:

    	Tm	G	W	L	W-L%	RS	RA	pythW-L%
    1	NYY	33	19	14	.576	202	171	.576
    2	BOS	35	19	16	.543	197	160	.594
    3	LAA	29	15	14	.517	137	160	.429
    4	OAK	43	22	21	.512	192	171	.553
    5	TOR	49	23	26	.469	213	236	.453
    6	SEA	45	19	26	.422	191	256	.369
    7	DET	41	17	24	.415	224	226	.496
    8	BAL	53	21	32	.396	254	307	.414
    9	KCR	41	16	25	.390	158	208	.377
    10	TEX	44	17	27	.386	198	228	.436
    11	CHW	45	17	28	.378	177	278	.304
    12	TBD	54	17	37	.315	230	339	.330
    13	CLE	23	7	16	.304	78	123	.303
    14	MIN	41	12	29	.293	121	221	.249
    

    Here we see that “Cashman’s Crew” in 2007 did a great job when facing the “big boys.”

    baseballreportbreak

    In 2008 and Greater Than or Equal to a .549 Opponent’s Season W-L%:

    	Tm	G	W	L	W-L%	RS	RA	pythW-L%
    1	LAA	34	22	12	.647	189	145	.619
    2	TBR	48	26	22	.542	200	202	.495
    3	CLE	29	14	15	.483	131	126	.518
    4	NYY	52	25	27	.481	244	272	.450
    5	MIN	37	17	20	.459	166	192	.434
    6	BOS	51	23	28	.451	248	249	.498
    7	TOR	72	31	41	.431	305	283	.534
    8	CHW	40	17	23	.425	156	178	.440
    9	DET	29	12	17	.414	131	155	.424
    10	OAK	47	19	28	.404	187	172	.538
    11	KCR	30	11	19	.367	106	155	.333
    12	TEX	51	18	33	.353	260	326	.398
    13	BAL	69	22	47	.319	307	406	.375
    14	SEA	47	15	32	.319	184	241	.379
    

    Here we see that “Cashman’s Crew” in 2008 played less than .500 ball against the “big boys” – which is disappointing since the “benchmark” in this season for “big boys” was just a winning percentage of .549 or better. And, as was the case in 2006, note how well the Angels did when playing “big boys” in 2008.

    baseballreportbreak

    In 2009 (through July 12, 2009) and Greater Than or Equal to a .570 Opponent’s Season W-L%:

    	Tm	G	W	L	W-L%	RS	RA	pythW-L%
    1	BOS	14	10	4	.714	79	62	.609
    2	CHW	6	4	2	.667	40	25	.703
    3	LAA	18	11	7	.611	110	91	.586
    4	TEX	21	12	9	.571	103	109	.474
    5	TBR	21	12	9	.571	134	92	.666
    6	SEA	25	14	11	.560	112	116	.484
    7	CLE	13	5	8	.385	80	73	.542
    8	OAK	16	6	10	.375	66	72	.460
    9	TOR	18	6	12	.333	75	92	.408
    10	DET	12	4	8	.333	51	75	.331
    11	MIN	16	5	11	.313	67	83	.403
    12	BAL	22	5	17	.227	98	151	.312
    13	KCR	10	2	8	.200	29	51	.262
    14	NYY	14	2	12	.143	70	105	.323
    

    Yikes!

    Here we see that “Cashman’s Crew” in 2009 (to date this season) has gone 2-12 when facing the “big boys” in baseball. Yes, two and twelve – the worst mark in the league. That’s just flat…out…terrible.

    baseballreportbreak

    So, what do we have here? When facing the “big boys,” in 2006, “Cashman’s Crew” just broke even. However, in 2007, they did very well. Then, in 2008, New York was just about break even again in these spots – being two games under .500. And, this season, to date, “Cashman’s Crew” has been obscenely bad when facing the “big boys” in baseball.

    Perhaps another way to look at it is to compare the Yankees against the Angels, since 2006, when facing the “big boys” in baseball?

    Here, the Angels have gone 74-50 overall since 2006 (to date) when facing the “big boys” (which is a winning percentage of .597) whereas the Yankees have gone 60-67 overall since 2006 (to date) when facing the “big boys” (which is a winning percentage of .472). And, clearly, this tells us that “Brian Cashman’s Yankees” – overall – have not been a team who has been able to beat the “big boys” (when facing them) with the frequency that a team like the Angels has been able to beat them.

    Now, is that good, or bad? I suppose it depends on how you like your tea…er, I mean, Yankees…

    If you’re fine with the Yankees playing .472 baseball when facing tough teams, then this is all good news for you. However, if you expect the Yankees to play well – say, at a clip of .530, at the least, or better – when facing the tough teams, then this is not something that will make you happy.

    In any event, these stats show us that Brian Cashman has been unable, to date, to build a Yankees team who can consistently beat the “big boys” in the game – more than they don’t beat them. When you see that .472 winning percentage for New York over their last 127 games against the “big boys,” overall, it cannot be ignored.

    Hopefully, soon, the Yankees will start to play better when facing tough teams – especially this season…where there’s no where to go, but up.

    Comments on Does Cashman’s Shtick Work When Yanks Face Tough Teams?

    1. AndrewYF
      July 13th, 2009 | 11:29 pm

      I really don’t understand why the Angels are somehow such a better run organization because of this amazingly narrow-minded statistic. What this means is that the Angels also tended to do poorly against the teams they *should* beat. What does that tell you? Also, did ‘beating the big boys’ help the Angels in the playoffs? Huh, guess not.

      The Angels, seemingly your model franchise, have done pretty much zilch, zip, nada in the playoffs (even less than your hated and despised “Cashman Crew”) since their miracle run in 2002. I can only imagine your rage (and your outlandish attempts at cherry-picking statistics that only make them look bad) if Brian Cashman ran them instead.

    2. July 13th, 2009 | 11:53 pm

      I believe that many fans like to say that the playoffs are a crapshoot and that it’s all a matter of luck on who wins and loses there. Further, many look at post-season results as a small sample sizes situation, etc.

      In any event, this study does not extend to the post-season or post-season results in any way. (So, I’m not sure why someone would bring that up? Unless they were looking to deflect away from the study at hand?)

      This study solely looks at how American League teams have performed, each season since 2006, when facing a strong opponent.

      It’s not an approach that’s never been used before. In fact, in many “expanded” standings listed on major sites, in addition to seeing a team’s record in extra innings and one-run games, you will see the team’s record when playing a team with a WP ≥.500 and when playing a team with a WP <.500 (check B-R.com as an example).

      Here, rather than use just .500 as the line between good and bad teams, I’ve moved the bar closer to consistently winning teams – and used that for the comparison among A.L. teams.

      Think of it this way: It’s one thing to look at how a tiger can defeat a house cat. And, it really doesn’t prove much when the tiger beats the house cat. If you really want to see how tough a tiger is, you should compare him against a comparable animal – like a lion or leopard.

      And, since many consider the Yankees to be a winning team, I thought it would be interesting to see how they do when playing other winning teams. And, as the results show, since Brian Cashman has been in charge, then the Yankees play a winning team, the lose (67) more than they win (60).

    3. yagottagotomo1
      July 14th, 2009 | 12:48 am

      Theo Epstein should be fired!!!!! That team just cannot come through against the big boys.

    4. Raf
      July 14th, 2009 | 1:17 am

      Props for putting together this study, Steve

    5. copela26
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:04 am

      Even when their just 500 theyre still better then most teams in baseball. in 2006 when they were “just 500″ they actually had a great pathg indicating they played better and were just un lucky

    6. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 6:58 am

      This study uses selected head-to-head records as a drunk uses a lampost; for support, not for illumination. The Yanks combined won-loss record against the “big boys” over the last 3 1/2 seasons shows “Cashman’s shtick isn’t working”. That’s the implied conclusion, yes?

      Well, if you draw the line at the end of last season, and not in the middle of this one, the Red Sox’ record against the big boys is 60-70, which is a .462 winning percentage, and lower than the one the Yankees have over the whole 3 1/2 seasons included.

      Therefore, what are we to conclude? That “Theo Epstein’s Shtick wasn’t working” in 2006-7-8, but is working this season?

      But that’s absurd; the Sox won the title in 2007, and made it back to the ALCS despite a losing record against the “big boys” last season.
      ===========================================
      Backing off this and running at it from another point of view…

      The Yanks have beaten several good teams this year.

      They’ve beaten Toronto two series; the first one, when the Yanks were cold, and the Jays were in 1st place. When Halladay shut them down in the 1st game, the Yanks were 15-17, and the Jays were 23-12. The Yanks won that series anyway, and it was the start of their first hot streak. Before the 2nd series, Toronto was 42-38.

      Not good enough? Well, as we all know, the Yanks are 7-0 vs the Twins. But the Twins, they aren’t any good right? Well, the Twins are 6-2 vs. the Tigers, and 3-0 vs. the Angels. Explain that, if you can.

      Not good enough? Well, they beat the Tigers 2 out of 3 in Detroit. The Tigers are in 1st place in the Central. They’ve swept the Cubs and Brewers in interleague play, and they’re also 6-0 vs. the Rangers.

      Not good enough? Well, they also beat the Mariners 2 out of 3. Before you laugh at the Mariners, consider that not only did they sweep both the Giants and Dodgers in interleague, they’re also 4-2 vs. the Red Sox, AND 7-6 vs. the Angels. Heck, maybe the Mariners are the “big boys” of the AL.

      Still not good enough? They’ve also beaten the Rangers 4 games out of 6. Before you laugh at that one, you should know that the Rangers are 2-1 vs. the Red Sox, they swept the Rays 3-0, and they are now 7-2 vs. the Angels so far this season, having just kicked them in their collective Halos in a 3-game sweep just before the Angels did the same to the Yanks. Maybe the Rangers are the “big boys” of the AL.

      =====================================
      Here’s a study I did just for this season alone. I took the top three teams in each AL division. That’s every team in the AL within 5 games of 1st in their division, plus the Rays, who, I’m sure everyone agrees, is still a “big boy”, depsite the fact that they’re 6 1/2 games behind Boston, and 3 1/2 behind the Yanks. Here’s how the nine teams rate in head-to-head vs. each other:

      Red Sox: 24-18 .571
      Rangers: 24-18 .571
      White Sox: 18-15 .545
      Rays: 23-20 .535
      Yankees: 21-19 .525
      Tigers: 17-18 .486
      Twins: 23-26 .469
      Mariners: 21-25 .457
      Angels: 21-28 .429

      That’s right; the “big boy” Angels, whom the Yanks can’t beat, have the worst record among the nine vs the other good teams in the AL. Imagine how they’d rank if they didn’t have the Yankees to kick around?
      =====================================

      Baseball Prospectus looks at this question of relative ranking another way; they use ELO ratings. ELO ratings are sophisticated head to head rankings, using sequential head-to-head results. The ratings of chess players from club player on up through Grandmaster to the World’s Champion is done by ELO ratings.

      The essential idea is this: beat a good player, and your rating goes up a lot; beat a weak one, and your rating goes up a little or not at all; lose to a good player, and your rating goes down a little, or not at all; lose to a weak one, and your rating plummets.

      Here are Baseball Prospectus’ ELO ratings for the top 10 AL teams through the break (including the weekend debacle in Anaheim):

      10. Mariners; 1492 points
      9. Blue Jays; 1510 points
      8. Tigers; 1512 points
      7. White Sox; 1515 points
      6. Rangers; 1519 points
      5. Twins; 1522 points
      4. Rays; 1540 points
      3. Angels; 1547 points
      2. Yankees; 1553 points
      1. Red Sox; 1564 points

      The Yankees good rating is due, in part, to the fact that the great majority of their losses against good teams came against the Red Sox, the only team ranked higher than they are, and the Angels, who are right behind them.

      ==============================================
      You think Steve’s study shows the Yanks can’t beat the good teams over the last 3 1/2 seasons that Cashman has had control? And, in turn, this casts a negative reflection on the GM?

      In fact, what it shows is redundant. It shows the Yanks have a bad record against the Angels and Red Sox this season because they’ve lost a lot of games to the Angels and Red Sox this season. Well, we all know that already, don’t we?
      ===============================
      Wanna know what I really think? The Yanks problems with the Angels and Sox is, to a large extent, psychological. They lose to them because they fear losing to them, because both teams have scored many damaging wins against them in the recent past. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; one bad break, one bad pitch with multiple men on at a key moment, and they stand around waiting for the roof to cave in. When it does, they press like crazy to come back, but fail in critical moments.

      There is no rational way to explain 2-12 vs. the Red Sox and Angels this year. The Red Sox are probably better; the Angels might be better, although it really doesn’t show in anything other than the series they just played. I can understand 3-5 or 2-6 vs. the Sox, but 0-8 is not a true reflection of the relative talent of the two teams.

      How can anyone explain how Bobby Abreu goes from hitting .225 against the Angels last season with a mere handful of big hits over 10 games, to getting key hits in EVERY game this series; and that Mark Teixiera goes from belting the Yanks around last year to doing little more than nothing in this series. Well, hell; maybe the Red Sox and Angels just have much better pitching than the Yanks do. I can’t find anyway to prove that, but both teams knock the Yanks’ pitching around, and seem to get every key out they need vs. the Yanks, even against the Yanks’ best hitters.

      If this is a psychological problem, then that’s the manager’s balliwick. It’s up to Girardi to find a way to get his team over the hump against these two teams. I suppose, over the long haul, it would be Cashman’s job to get “tougher” players. But then, many were complaining about how “soft” Abreu in his time with the Yanks and Phils, weren’t they? Now, all of a sudden, he puts on the red cap, faces the pinstripes, and becomes a hero.

      I hate stuff like this. It defies rational analysis. All part of the wonderful tapestry that is baseball.

      Eh.

    7. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 7:04 am

      Oh, one lother thing. In my study of the top 9 AL teams’ head-to-head, I forgot to mention this: if the Yanks were just 2-6 against the Sox, if they’d just held the “Mo gives up the tying HR to Bay” game in April, and the “CC can’t hold the lead after A-Rod’s big double” game last month, they’d be 23-17, .575, and they’d have the best record of the 9.

      They’d also probably be #1 in the Prospectus ELO Ratings.

      They’d also be in 1st place in the East, 1 game ahead of the Sox for the best record in the league, the only team in the AL over .600, as well.

      And then nobody, including me, would be writing these overlong screeds about how the Yanks are “lacking”. Or not.

      And one last thing: CC? For $23 million a year, you have to be able to beat the Sox and Angels once in a while.

    8. July 14th, 2009 | 7:07 am

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Theo Epstein should be fired!!!!! That team just cannot come through against the big boys.

      I’m a Yankees fan. So, I’m more concerned about Yankees performance than Red Sox performance. For me, it’s like this:

      If I catch someone stealing the morning newspaper out of my driveaway, my only concern is them – and their actions. And, if, while I was confronting them about their offense, they were to say to me, in a deflection attempt, “Never mind me stealing your papers! Look at that James Frey, he lied in his book back in 2006!,” I would remind them that I don’t give a rodent’s rear about James Frey – because that’s not my area of interest – and my only concern is them stealing my paper.

    9. July 14th, 2009 | 7:07 am

      Raf wrote:

      Props for putting together this study, Steve

      Thanks Raf.

    10. July 14th, 2009 | 7:11 am

      copela26 wrote:

      Even when their just 500 theyre still better then most teams in baseball. in 2006 when they were “just 500″ they actually had a great pathg indicating they played better and were just un lucky

      One large thing to note about 2006 – which I wish I had included in the org. feature…

      Yes, in 2006, the Yankees were 4th best in the AL with that .500 mark. However, note their pythW-L% in 2006 as well, in these situations. It’s .610
      - which suggests that they really under-performed in this situation in 2006 – according to those who follow pythW-L%, etc.

    11. July 14th, 2009 | 7:14 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Well, if you draw the line at the end of last season, and not in the middle of this one, the Red Sox’ record against the big boys is 60-70, which is a .462 winning percentage, and lower than the one the Yankees have over the whole 3 1/2 seasons included. Therefore, what are we to conclude? That “Theo Epstein’s Shtick wasn’t working” in 2006-7-8, but is working this season? But that’s absurd; the Sox won the title in 2007, and made it back to the ALCS despite a losing record against the “big boys” last season.

      Again, I believe that many fans like to say that the playoffs are a crapshoot and that it’s all a matter of luck on who wins and loses there. Further, many look at post-season results as a small sample sizes situation, etc.

      In any event, this study does not extend to the post-season or post-season results in any way. (So, I’m not sure why someone would bring that up? Unless they were looking to deflect away from the study at hand?)

      And, again, I’m a Yankees fan. So, I’m more concerned about Yankees performance than Red Sox performance.

    12. July 14th, 2009 | 7:17 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Backing off this and running at it from another point of view…
      The Yanks have beaten several good teams this year.

      The statistics say that New York is 2-12 this year when facing a team, through July 12, 2009, with a W-L% Greater Than or Equal to a .570

    13. July 14th, 2009 | 7:27 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      It’s up to Girardi to find a way to get his team over the hump against these two teams. I suppose, over the long haul, it would be Cashman’s job to get “tougher” players. But then, many were complaining about how “soft” Abreu in his time with the Yanks and Phils, weren’t they? Now, all of a sudden, he puts on the red cap, faces the pinstripes, and becomes a hero.

      I’ve seen this type of logic before when it comes to discussing Brian Cashman’s performance – it’s “heads he wins and tails somebody else loses”.

      It may be somewhat natural to want to pin this on Girardi – but, a MGR can only work with what he has…and it’s the GM who puts the team together. Further, there are studies out there, IIRC, that suggest a manager only impacts his team by about four (or so) wins/losses a year. (I’m not 100% sure on the number – but I recall it being low, like four.) So, if the Yankees are playing .472 baseball since 2006 when facing tough teams, it’s because of the team, the players, and not the manager. And, who puts the players on the team? That’s the GM.

    14. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 7:29 am

      The .570 (93 wins) is an arbitrary cutoff line that, for the Yankees only, includes just two teams: the Red Sox and Angels.

      The Yanks are 2-12 vs. the Red Sox and Angels, because they’re 2-12 vs. the Red Sox and Angels.

      The Rangers are 9-3 against those teams; are they the best team in the league? Are they a big boy? What; they’re not because they’re 2-4 against the Yanks? But the Yanks aren’t a big boy? Or are they?

      Draw the line in a different spot…say, the top 3 teams in each division, all of them over .500, all of them withing 4 games of a playoff spot, and it’s 21-19.

    15. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 7:32 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      I’ve seen this type of logic before when it comes to discussing Brian Cashman’s performance – it’s “heads he wins and tails somebody else loses”.

      It may be somewhat natural to want to pin this on Girardi – but, a MGR can only work with what he has…and it’s the GM who puts the team together. Further, there are studies out there, IIRC, that suggest a manager only impacts his team by about four (or so) wins/losses a year. (I’m not 100% sure on the number – but I recall it being low, like four.) So, if the Yankees are playing .472 baseball since 2006 when facing tough teams, it’s because of the team, the players, and not the manager. And, who puts the players on the team? That’s the GM.

      But it’s not .472 vs tough teams since 2006; it’s 58-55 BEFORE this season, and 2-12 this season against the only two teams your cutoff point counts.

      Again: they’re 2-12 vs. tough teams this year, because they’ve lost a lot of games to well, when you get right down to it, the Red Sox this season.

    16. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 7:34 am

      Again; the Rangers are 7-2 vs. the Angels.

      Are the Rangers REALLY better than the Yankees?

    17. July 14th, 2009 | 7:36 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Draw the line in a different spot…say, the top 3 teams in each division, all of them over .500, all of them withing 4 games of a playoff spot, and it’s 21-19.

      Evan3457 wrote:

      But it’s not .472 vs tough teams since 2006; it’s 58-55 BEFORE this season, and 2-12 this season against the only two teams your cutoff point counts.

      If you’re fine with the Yankees playing about .500 baseball when facing tough teams, then this is all good news for you. However, if you expect the Yankees to play well – meaning better than just around .500 – when facing the tough teams, then this is not really good news, is it?

    18. July 14th, 2009 | 7:43 am

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Again; the Rangers are 7-2 vs. the Angels. Are the Rangers REALLY better than the Yankees?

      This is a case of choosing to look at a tree instead of looking at the forest. (I hope that’s more polite than your drunk using a lampost for support application aimed at me. :-))

      The Yankees have gone 60-67 overall since 2006 (to date) when facing the “big boys.”

      The Rangers have gone 69-95 overall since 2006 (to date) when facing the “big boys.”

      Therefore, I would say that the Rangers are not better than the Yankees in this situation.

    19. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 7:46 am

      Yes, but, as I pointed out above, it’s 58-55 before this season, and 2-12 this season.

      If anything in this study means anything, it’s the .472 is meaningful only to the extent it is truly reflective of the entire period.

      It isn’t. 58-55 is more reflective. Again, the .472 is due to 2-12 this season, and really, to 0-8 vs. the Sox this season.

    20. Raf
      July 14th, 2009 | 8:05 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:
      Theo Epstein should be fired!!!!! That team just cannot come through against the big boys.
      I’m a Yankees fan. So, I’m more concerned about Yankees performance than Red Sox performance.

      Be that as it may, it’s good to look at other teams for context.

    21. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 8:09 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      If you’re fine with the Yankees playing about .500 baseball when facing tough teams, then this is all good news for you. However, if you expect the Yankees to play well – meaning better than just around .500 – when facing the tough teams, then this is not really good news, is it?

      But that is the classic formulation for winning pennants: play .500 or a little above vs. the good teams, and beat the hell out of the bad teams.

      In 1996: the Yanks were 50-45 (.519) against the teams that were over .500 in the AL, and 42-25 (.626) against the weak teams.

      All time great teams like the 1998 Yankees beat up on everyone, but those teams are once in a generation. Even so, the Yanks were 33-24 against the .500+ teams (.579) and 91-23 (.798) against the weak teams

      1999: The Yanks played .600 ball against everyone, good and bad.

      2000: 37-38 against the good teams (.493), 50-36 (.581) against the weak ones.

      ===========================
      And, of course, the Yanks didn’t win the division last year, winning only 89 games. And they may not win it this year, either. One would normally expect a team that didn’t win the pennant/division to be closer to .500 than the team that won it, because the team that took first place usually has the head-to-head win over the team that finished 2nd behind them.

    22. cr1
      July 14th, 2009 | 8:22 am

      I come here partly because I see stuff I won’t see elsewhere, in this case a very interesting analysis that no responder has criticized as inaccurate or untrue.

      What the argument has been about is what it *means*, not whether it exists.

      Provocative material.

      Thanks.

    23. Corey
      July 14th, 2009 | 9:10 am

      i havnt read the comments yet, but i want to point out that the twins are only 4 games out, and the rangers are 1.5 out…if they take the division lead and we start winning games vs. boston that record is a helluva lot different

    24. YankCrank
      July 14th, 2009 | 9:21 am

      Good study here Steve. Obviously some agree and disagree but either way, good info.

    25. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      July 14th, 2009 | 9:33 am

      When they pick playoff teams based on performance against the best of the best, then this matters. Otherwise its a whole bunch of foolishness designed to prove … not a whole lot, unless you are like Steve, a glass half-empty kind of guy who hates the GM and loves to find reasons to hate him even more.

      Here’s a question, Steve: Have you ever heard a GM or a manager for that matter, get fired with his bosses declaring “he just couldn’t beat the best teams, and that’s how we judge success around here.”

      No, you haven’t, because we judge success by total number of wins against all opponents, and whether you won in the playoffs, which by their very nature ARE crapshoots. The Yankees have “failed” since 2004 by losing three short series, and in one of those years, they were “the best” against the “big boys” and they lost to the team that was among the “worst”.

      Again, this matters how? Bottom line: it only matters if you are the type of fan who expects to win all of the time and therefore sets ridiculous standards for success.

    26. Pat F
      July 14th, 2009 | 10:04 am

      my question would be, does this matter? my answer would not really. the yankees, their GM, their manager, their players have one job – win it all. as steve pointed out, the playoffs are a crapshoot to a great extent. so if they are a crapshoot, it won’t matter that they can’t beat the “big boys” during the regular season. it just matters that they get there, then they have a shot. how they get there, beating the big boys or not, does not matter. cashman’s job is not to build a team that has a good regular season record vs. the top teams during the regular season. i could care less about .500 vs. .530 during the regular season. cashman’s job, girardi’s job, the players’ job, and what i care about is making october. if they can do that this year, it won’t matter to me how they got there (and the 2-12 vs. boston and la).

    27. Pat F
      July 14th, 2009 | 10:08 am

      *should read they all have one job – to make october, and then hope to get hot at the right time. i’m a believer you can only build and manage to win over 162, and the playoffs are largely out of your control as the short series don’t lend themselves to his is best, but who is hottest.

    28. July 14th, 2009 | 10:40 am

      YankCrank, cr1, thanks for the kind words.

      To the question of “What does this all mean?” (which is a very fair and valid question) I would offer that it’s a litmus test (which is a test that relies on a single indicator). And, here, the indicator is performance against the top teams in the game since 2006.

      Now, of course, there’s the matter of what’s pass/fail for this litmus test? And, as I wrote, it depends on your opinion.

      If you think that it’s OK for the Yankees to play just about .500 ball (or a somewhat less) when they face the top teams in baseball, then, I suppose, the Yankees pass this test and Brian Cashman deserves credit for building and maintaining a ballclub that loses as much as it wins when playing the best teams in baseball (according to winning percentage).

      But, if you expect more from the Yankees than just playing .500 ball (or less) when they face the top teams in baseball, then, I suppose, the Yankees fail this test and Brian Cashman deserves blame for building a ballclub that loses as much as it wins when playing the best teams in baseball (according to winning percentage) – and blame for not improving this situation over the last four seasons.

      My opinion? I expect more from the Yankees in these situations. I spotlighted the Angels in this study because they have proven that it’s possible to play well, over a four year period, overall, when facing the best teams in the game – as their .597 W-L% has established.

      Now, granted, I know that’s a lofty goal – meaning the .597 W-L%

      And, to be candid, I would be happy with seeing a W-L% in the range of .555-.560 in these situations from the Yankees. But, again, I’m a Yankees fan and I want to see the team do very well when playing against the top teams in the game. Why? To me, this illustrates that they are better than the really good teams, when they meet, head-to-head. As a fan, knowing this, is important to me.

      Others may elect to choose that it doesn’t matter – that a win is a win, no matter where it comes from, etc. And, that they would be fine with the Yankees playing .700 ball against the really weak teams in baseball and just .500, or less, against the tough teams. And, if that’s your opinion, that’s fine. It’s just different from mine.

      I promise not play the role of a veiled, wannabe ivory tower elitist, and make snarky comments about your opinion, work, appearance, attire, and/or lifestyle just because your opinion is different than mine. But, hey, that’s the kind of person I am ;-)

    29. Pat F
      July 14th, 2009 | 10:52 am

      yup, just disagree here, no snarky comments. could care less how the yankees arrive at their win total as long as it’s good enough for october. because as you established in this thread, once you’re there anything can happen. so all that matters is getting there, so the route doesn’t much matter.

    30. Raf
      July 14th, 2009 | 10:57 am

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      promise not play the role of a veiled, wannabe ivory tower elitist, and make snarky comments about your opinion, work, appearance, attire, and/or lifestyle just because your opinion is different than mine. But, hey, that’s the kind of person I am

      The Monty Python and the Holy Grail scene with the taunting French Soldier immediately comes to mind :D

    31. July 14th, 2009 | 11:25 am

      Pat F wrote:

      could care less how the yankees arrive at their win total as long as it’s good enough for october. because as you established in this thread, once you’re there anything can happen. so all that matters is getting there, so the route doesn’t much matter.

      [Wink] Perhaps, when it comes to October fortunes, it’s time to turn to Nate Silver and Dayn Perry’s study entitled “Why Doesn’t Billy Beane’s S*** Work in the Playoffs?” [wink]

    32. butchie22
      July 14th, 2009 | 11:36 am

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Theo Epstein should be fired!!!!! That team just cannot come through against the big boys.

      Yeah, he should really be fired for winning two World Series in the last 5 years and underspending the Yankees during his tenure by what,over 300 million dollars? BTW, the Red Sox were only one game from the World Series last whereas the Yankees were either sitting at home OR playing golf……..

      Once again about Cash Man’s crew, they will probably face the Angels and Red Sox in the playoffs. And it seems that the GM, managers, coaches haven’t made the adjustments to these teams either! That is the sheer importance of being able to beat those teams. Add insult to injury, the Angels own the Yankees in regular and post season play AND we all remember what happened in 2004 with Boston.Another strange fact, the Yankees only had two blowouts against the Twins and one against Toronto while the rest of the games were close. It’s not like they schooled these teams according to some. The Yankees did put up Ws but it wasn’t a cakewalk.

    33. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 12:10 pm

      A problem with this is that it double-counts the Yankees’ record. A big reason why the ‘big boy’ teams like the Angels and Boston have a good win-loss record is because they’ve played so well against the Yankees. Same goes in the opposite direction.

      So if you make each record ‘Yankee-neutral’, that is, take their win-loss records against every team BUT the Yankees, and then see their winning percentage, you’ll see the teams that do the best against all teams not named the Yankees, a true test of who the best teams really before playing the Yankees.

      It won’t make their record against ‘big boy teams’ that much better, since Boston is still one of the ‘big boys’ even without the Yankees, but I think it would make the results less extreme and a bit more valid.

    34. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 12:11 pm

      And butchie, aka Steve’s id, you’ll find that most of the Boston games were extremely close as well. Do we get to discount those too?

    35. July 14th, 2009 | 12:18 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      A problem with this is that it double-counts the Yankees’ record. A big reason why the ‘big boy’ teams like the Angels and Boston have a good win-loss record is because they’ve played so well against the Yankees. Same goes in the opposite direction.

      That’s like saying the big problem in the 2001 World Series was that the games were double-counted in the sense that each loss for the Yankees was also counted as win for the Diamondbacks.

      Why, of course that’s how it works – each win for one team is a loss for the team they played in the game. That’s not double-counting. It’s just the way it works.

    36. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 1:24 pm

      It’s double-counting in the analysis, where it’s much more likely the Yankees have a bad record against the ‘big’ teams, since those ‘big’ teams have their record much improved by playing the Yankees well.

      It is, in a sense, an overly pessimistic use of statistics. Which, of course, is your forte ;)

    37. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 1:26 pm

      Remember, we’re not looking at the Yankees’ overall record. We’re simply looking at their record against the ‘top’ teams. Well, that record is ALREADY INCLUDED in those top teams’ records. Thus, the double-counting.

    38. July 14th, 2009 | 1:33 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      those ‘big’ teams have their record much improved by playing the Yankees well.

      And, if they didn’t play the Yankees well, their record would be hurt by not playing the Yankees well.

      Saying that you should not count the games where they played well against the Yankees – because the Yankees also have these games as a “L” on the record – is like saying “Let’s figure out your batting average, but, let’s not include those hits you got against Greg Maddux because those hits were also charged against his record.”

      In summary – It’s not double counting. It’s just simple book-keeping, in the sense that every credit has a corresponding debit on another account, somewhere.

    39. yagottagotomo1
      July 14th, 2009 | 1:48 pm

      Steve, I thought you were right until Andrew’s last comment. It is double counting- If the team is only a top team because they beat up on the Yankees, all you are saying is that the Yankees play poorly against the teams that they play poorly against. For example, if you have 2 teams that are 2-2, and the Yankees lose to one to make them 3-2 and beat the other to make them 2-3, your stat would say that the Yankees cannot beat the top teams, when that does not really hold true in that the 3-2 only became a “top team” because the Yankees could not beat them. All you said is that the Yankees cannot beat the teams that they cannot beat. Interesting point, Andrew.

    40. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 1:58 pm

      I see where Steve is coming from, in terms of ‘credit and debit’. His reasoning is that, well, the ‘big boy’ teams get credit for beating the Yankees, and in the analysis, the Yankees get debited for losing to them. What’s being double-counted is that the Yankees, in terms of the analysis, are hurting their cause two-fold when they lose against teams. Their wins don’t get double-counted because if they win against teams, it’s less likely that those teams are included in the ‘big boy’ names, since they don’t have as good a record as they would had they beaten the Yankees. So it’s more like triple-counting!

    41. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 2:03 pm

      I am not debating the numbers. I assume the numbers are correct.

      I debate the standard Steve has set as concerns its relevancy, especially in views in judging the work of a GM or a manager.

      As I pointed out above, in 3 of the 4 title seasons of the last dynasty, the Yanks played significantly better against the weak teams than good ones.

      The classic formulation in baseball, going back many years is; “Play .500 or a little better against the good teams, and beat up on the bad ones.”

      In this study, Steve sets the arbitrary standard of a good team at .575, or 93 wins. The Yankees overall record during the period covered by this study is 331-243, or a .574 PCT. It doesn’t take the Log 5 method to show that a .574 team playing a group of .575 teams SHOULD have an aggregate record right around .500 against them

      Now, if you look at the numbers for the first 3 seasons, the aggregate WPCT of the good teams is .568, or 92-70. The Yanks aggregate record for those seasons 280-206, or .576. The Yanks were 58-55 in 113 games against the good teams in 2006-7-8. If you do a LOG 5 computation of what the Yanks’ WPCT should be against a .568 team over 113 games:

      (.576*.432)/((.576*.432 + .568*.424) = .508, and the record should be 57.4-55.6. Oh, look; the Yanks were 1/2 game better than they should have been.

      As I say, the study is redundant. It shows the Yanks have the record they should have against the good teams (as judged by the arbitrary cutoff) over the 1st three seasons, and that their record is terrible against the Red Sox and Angels this season because they’ve lost a disproportionate number of games againist the Red Sox and Angels this season.

    42. yagottagotomo1
      July 14th, 2009 | 2:05 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      Their wins don’t get double-counted because if they win against teams, it’s less likely that those teams are included in the ‘big boy’ names, since they don’t have as good a record as they would had they beaten the Yankees.

      Exactly. This is the problem, and the same with losing- the teams they lose to are more likely to turn into big boys because of that. All you end up with is that the Yankees are not good against teams that they lose to.

    43. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 2:07 pm

      Hey look, Evan is also using facts and figures to prove the Yankees have done just fine.

      You know the old saying, 90% of all statistics can be used to say anything, 50% of the time.

    44. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 2:17 pm

      Well, yeah.

      Basically, what we’re all angry about boils down to two things:

      1) The dynasty teams got old, and the players declined. The Red Sox traded for or signed or drafted better top players than the Yankees have, and have won 2 titles.

      2) The Yanks can’t seem to beat the Angels and the Red Sox this season.

      I don’t mean to say that I take their inability to beat these two teams as a good sign. It most likely is a bad sign for the future of this season. I don’t mean to say that I regard it as meaningless that they’re 2-12 against these two teams. I just don’t agree that it means what Steve is implying it means.

    45. July 14th, 2009 | 2:48 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      If the team is only a top team because they beat up on the Yankees.

      Whoa. Wait a minute. Who said that “the team is only a top team because they beat up on the Yankees”? I never said that.

      What I said was that a team was a top team because their OVERALL W-L% in a season was equal to or better than the 4th best W-L% in the A.L. that given season.

      Let’s be clear on that. And, for what it’s worth, at the worst, a team’s OVERALL W-L% is dervied from 88% of their schedule which is games NOT played against the Yankees. So, it would be highly remote that a team becomes a “top team” because their record against the Yankees that season allows them to have an OVERALL W-L% equal to or better than the 4th best W-L% in the A.L.

      That’s the fallacy in this double/triple counting claim. A team plays 88% of it’s games, or more, against teams other than the Yankees – and that’s the real driver in their OVERALL W-L%.

    46. yagottagotomo1
      July 14th, 2009 | 2:53 pm

      Of course, but the winning percentage that you set may be highly impacted by results against the Yankees. For example, the Yankees have owned the Twins in recent years. In some of those years, the Twins would likely have been in the top 4 winning percentages if not for the Yankees. So far this season, you can say that about the Twins again, the Rangers and Angels would be flipped if not for the Yanks, whereas the Sox might be out of the top 4. I do not think it will always come into play, but it certainly can on multiple occasions.

    47. July 14th, 2009 | 3:04 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      As I pointed out above, in 3 of the 4 title seasons of the last dynasty, the Yanks played significantly better against the weak teams than good ones.

      The classic formulation in baseball, going back many years is; “Play .500 or a little better against the good teams, and beat up on the bad ones.”

      Just for the record, I never said it was more important to beat the tough teams than it was to beat the weak teams. Of course, you want to beat the weak teams as well. Actually, it would be worse – to me, as a fan – to see the Yankees play well against the tough teams and play like crap against the weak teams. To me, that would be a sign that they “get up” for the big games and “go through the motions” against the weaker teams.

      This all said, I believe that it’s better to have a good balance between the two situations – meaning play around .595 against the average and weak teams and then playing .555 against the tough teams. To me, this is what a quality team should do on a season.

      To me, playing around .595 against the average and weak teams and then playing .555 against the tough teams is much more impressive than playing .620 against the average and weak teams and then playing .470 against the tough teams.

      Sure, both approaches (the 595/555 way and the 620/470 way) will probably next you around 95 wins. But, what does it say about your team when you can’t beat the tough teams as much as you lose against them and you make most of your “noise” against weaker opponents?

    48. July 14th, 2009 | 3:07 pm

      yagottagotomo1 wrote:

      Of course, but the winning percentage that you set may be highly impacted by results against the Yankees. For example, the Yankees have owned the Twins in recent years. In some of those years, the Twins would likely have been in the top 4 winning percentages if not for the Yankees.

      Really? How many times to the Yankees play the Twins in a season? Six times, maybe seven? That’s only 4% of the Twins schedule. Even if the Yankees took all those games from Minny, the impact on their overall record – over 162 games – is the same as trying to stop a tank with a water balloon.

    49. July 14th, 2009 | 3:10 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The dynasty teams got old, and the players declined. The Red Sox traded for or signed or drafted better top players than the Yankees have, and have won 2 titles.

      Just a sidebar question – if what you say above is true, is it not the “work of a [Yankees] GM” to prevent that from happening and/or make moves to offset the downside of it?

    50. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:11 pm

      It wouldn’t be an issue, Steve, but you are arbitrarily drawing a line. That’s why it’s an issue – many of the teams the Yankees DO beat are left out, simply because they lost to the Yankees rather than won against them. This is what this analysis really boils down to: how do the Yankees do against the teams they tended to lose against that season?

      It’s not very meaningful.

      What would be MORE meaningful, is to take the ‘Yankee-neutral’ records of all the teams, and then see how the Yankees did against the best of those. Not too hard, right?

      “That’s the fallacy in this double/triple counting claim. A team plays 88% of it’s games, or more, against teams other than the Yankees – and that’s the real driver in their OVERALL W-L%.”

      And yet, you are limiting this to four teams a year. It’s very, very easy for a team to fall out of these ‘top standings’ simply due to their play against the Yankees. It’s a seemingly small factor, but it is a factor. Your numbers would be improved by correcting it.

    51. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:18 pm

      It says you’re at 95 wins, and are likely in the playoffs.
      =========================================
      The Tigers were a tough team in 2006, and the Yanks beat them in the season’s series, 5-2. Did that matter in the ALDS?

      The Indians were a tough team in 2007, and the Yanks swept them in the season’s series, 6-0. Did that matter in the ALDS?
      =========================================
      The Yanks beat the Sox 10-8 in 2003, and lost to them 8-11 in 2004. Well and good, but they also beat them 10-8 in 2007, and tied them last season at 9-9.
      ========================================
      Up until this season’s 0-8, people kept pointing out how close the two teams were in head-to-head play over the last number of seasons.

      Have the Sox become so much better than the Yankees that 8-0 is the true indication of their dominance?

      Absurd; if they were truly that much better than the Yanks, they should be at .800 for the season. Now, maybe the Sox will roll all the way through the 2nd half, and wind up at 105-57, or something like that.
      ===================================
      And finally, you keep shoving that .470 number forward as if it’s the be all and end all in evaluating the Yankees’ these last 3 1/2 years.

      It’s not; it’s been skewed by their play against two teams, this season only. The split over the first 3 seasons is not .620/470, as you formulate, it’s .595/513, which is a rather ordinary gap in comparing record vs bad teams to record vs. good teams.
      ===================================
      Again: this study does not show something about the whole “Cashman in control” era. It shows the Yanks have done lousy this season against the Sox and Angels.

    52. July 14th, 2009 | 3:28 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      Again: this study does not show something about the whole “Cashman in control” era. It shows the Yanks have done lousy this season against the Sox and Angels.

      And, it shows that, from 2006 though 2008, overall, the Yankees lose as much as they win when playing a team with a W-L% good enough to make the post-season most seasons.

      Again, for some, this may be acceptable and mean nothing. But, to me, it says that the Yankees, built by Cashman, are not a team who is among the best of the best, when it comes to going head-to-head with the best (like the Angels have done over this time period).

    53. AndrewYF
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:33 pm

      This is also part of Steve’s strategy re: points he wants to make. He only does the studies when the statistics up to that point in time support his point.

      Wonder why he hasn’t updated us on Swisher’s WPA? Why, it’s because it’s only at -0.06 now, not nearly bad enough to state that he’s been a huge detriment to the team.

      I think we all know Steve well enough to not really take him seriously when it comes to baseball analysis, at least when he’s attempting to use statistics. I thought he just misunderstood on this one, but alas, he’s just being plain old Steve.

    54. July 14th, 2009 | 3:35 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      It wouldn’t be an issue, Steve, but you are arbitrarily drawing a line.

      Looking at the fourth best winning percentage in the American League for each year in question – and use that mark as our “big boy” benchmark is “arbitrarily drawing a line”? Really? Don’t the top four winning percentage teams in the league make the post-season, 99% of the time, in a season?

      That’s why I am using those marks in this study. It’s not like I just picked a number because my online friends thought it would be a funny thing to do and got off on it being used.

    55. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:44 pm

      Steve Lombardi wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The dynasty teams got old, and the players declined. The Red Sox traded for or signed or drafted better top players than the Yankees have, and have won 2 titles.

      Just a sidebar question – if what you say above is true, is it not the “work of a [Yankees] GM” to prevent that from happening and/or make moves to offset the downside of it?

      If a team gets the best players in the short run, there is no way to offset that. They win, and the other teams lose. What ways could the GMs of 1996-2000 have offset the fact that the Yanks had a great group of players, the best in baseball in that time?

      In the long run, the way to offset that is to draft, trade for, and sign the best players in succeeding years, and move to pass them in the long run, when their top players enter their decline phase. Waiting for that might mean having to wait until Jeter, Posada, Pettitte and Mariano are gone from the Yanks.
      ================================
      The old dynasty Yankees (1921-1964) were able to quickly rebuild from within, or trade their prospects for good players from outside the organization for two main reasons.

      The first was that they have good men in charge of their organizations, notably Barrow and Weiss. The second was that they were one of the richest teams in baseball, and there was no Rule 4 high school and college draft. So they were able to hire more scouts, better scouts, and use their financial advantage to stockpile more and better prospects than most other teams could afford.

      It is not exactly coincidental that old dynasty collapsed 5 years after Weiss was let go, and the year the Rule 4 draft started.
      =========================================
      The Yankees built up the modern dynasty. While they dominated, agitation grew for a salary cap. The MLBPA wouldn’t agree to that, but they did agree to a luxury tax that basically hampers one team: the Yankees. It is the reason why the Yanks haven’t had many good veteran setup men or bench players, the last few seasons. Well that, combined with the fact that the farm produced little of note from about 1996 through 2004.

      The lack of solid young position players and starting pitchers from within the system required the Yanks to spend right up to the cap to fill out much of their starting lineup and the front of the rotation.

      Again: first 14 players on the 25-man for this season cost about $187 million. That leaves $13 million for the last 11 players. At least 7 of them are going to be minimum wage. Minimum wage players mean poor performance and/or streakiness.
      =======================================
      Let’s take Nick Green. Mediocre player for every team he played for, until the Red Sox this season. Is that superior talent evaluation by Theo? Is it great instruction and scouting by the Red Sox organization? Or is it just the current zeitgeist of the team?

      Nick Green was hot for a good long while, and contributed to the Sox beating the Yanks 8-0 with big hits and good defense in several of the games.

      Yet, now, Green has cooled off, and his seasonal numbers are slowly heading back to his career record. If he keeps playing poorly, he won’t be in there against the Yanks the last 10 games of the season’s series.

      (Jason Bay is a similar case. Great play against the Yanks, big cool down since the last head-to-head series.)

      But his positive play disproportionately helped the Sox, and hurt the Yanks earlier this year. Those wins can’t be taken off the board. Green: a sign of the Theo’s superiority? It’s hard to see how.

    56. Raf
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:44 pm

      Given the Angels’ record, it shows even more how the postseason is a crapshoot.

    57. July 14th, 2009 | 3:52 pm

      AndrewYF wrote:

      I think we all know Steve well enough to not really take him seriously when it comes to baseball analysis, at least when he’s attempting to use statistics. I thought he just misunderstood on this one, but alas, he’s just being plain old Steve.

      And I know that I know Andrew Leinung well enough to not really take him seriously. After all, this is a guy who starts threads about me at other fourms where the topic is “Steve Lombardi – Cranky Old Man” where he and his buddy from Taiwan post pictures of me in order to make fun of my appearance, attire, and family.

      Really, Andrew, I looked the other way on that stuff because I realized it was just children acting like children and I thought you had the potential to add to the conversation here, being a fellow Yankees fan and having some knowledge about the game. But, it’s now 100% clear to me that your only interest in posting here is to act like a punk.

    58. Corey
      July 14th, 2009 | 3:57 pm

      from Taiwan post pictures of me in order to make fun of my appearance, attire, and family.
      ====
      that was him? andrew, i lost all respect for ya. You should have outed him earlier, Steve, so that we could have all started ignoring him a while ago. Scary thing is, how’d you find out his last name O_o

    59. July 14th, 2009 | 4:09 pm

      Corey – I’m not going into details on this – it’s not important and takes away from this forum.

    60. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 4:19 pm

      In the last 5 years, non-Cashman, Yanks vs the other top 4 teams:

      1993: 13-12, .550
      1994: 16-12, .571
      1995: 23-27, .460
      1996: 22-13, .629
      1997: 23-24, .489
      Total: 97-88, .524

      What does that tells us? It tells us that when the Yanks had the best record, their record was superior against other good teams. And when they weren’t, it wasn’t. (Also, the result of the 1996 is probably a random fluctuation; they were 22-13 against the top teams, but only 28-32 against the other .500+ teams in the league. Matchups, anyone?)

      1998: 28-18: .609 (This team us the 1998 team was the best of all, in every category. But we already knew that anyway.)

      1999: 23-19: .548
      2000: 19-22: .463
      2001: 11-16 .407

      And at this point, it’s appropriate to stop, because that was the last year of the old dynasty, the last year of Paul, Tino and Brosius, the last year of Mystique and Aura. The last year that the team put together by Joe, Buck, Watson, and Stick was really all together. The success of this team from 1993-2001 is not usually credited to Cashman, especially here. Nor should it be, I suppose.

      Total: 150-145 .508

      Throw out 1993 and 1994, because they didn’t make the playoffs, and it’s 121-121, dead .500 over the 7 remaining years, years in which the Yanks made the playoffs 7 straight times, won 5 pennants, and 4 World Series.

      .500 over the 7 years against the top 4 teams. I fudged a little in 2001, because in 2001 there wasn’t really a 4th top team. The 5th best team was the Twins, a mediocre .525. If I had included them, the numbers would be worse, because the Yanks went 2-4 against the Twins that season. In 1996, I left out the White Sox and Red Sox, who were tied for 5th best at .525; the Yanks went 13-12 against them. If I had included these three teams, the Yanks would’ve been UNDER .500 from 1995-2001 against the top teams)

      So, there it is, the dynasty Yankees were essentially a .500 club against the other top teams in the league:

      1993-2001: 150-145 .508
      1995-2001: 121-121 .500

      This last is “self-selecting sample”, if they’re the best team, the record against the other top teams is going to be better than when they’re just one of the good teams:

      1996-2000 (the very cream of the dynasty) 103-93: .525, essentially 21-19, on average, each of the 5 seasons.

      2006-2008: 58-55, essentially, on average 19-18.
      ================================
      Steve’s study shows their record is lousy against the Sox and Angels this year, because they’ve lost a lot of games to the Sox and Angels this year.

    61. Evan3457
      July 14th, 2009 | 4:21 pm

      Raf wrote:

      Given the Angels’ record, it shows even more how the postseason is a crapshoot.

      Exactly, Raf. They’re 1-4 in playoff series since they won the title in 2002. The one win? Well, we all know what that one was, right?

    62. July 14th, 2009 | 5:21 pm

      Note to Andrew – Your attempt to re-register for this site using your Northeastern College of Computer Science email address isn’t going to work.

      Sorry for the disruption, all. Please go back to the discussion of this topic and ignore this other junk.

    63. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      July 14th, 2009 | 9:16 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The Yankees built up the modern dynasty. While they dominated, agitation grew for a salary cap. The MLBPA wouldn’t agree to that, but they did agree to a luxury tax that basically hampers one team: the Yankees.

      What?

      Agitation grew for a salary cap up to 1994, when the players struck and the World Series was canceled. This would be before the most recent Yankee dynasty and prior to any “domination”. No salary cap was ever seriously contemplated while the Yankees were on their run of championships.

      And that luxury tax hampers many teams: All of the ones whose total payroll is right up against its limit. They do not add salary because of the marginal cost of the luxury tax on top of the salary being contemplated for what might be an important addition.

      On the other hand, the luxury tax has not hampered the Yankees at all, as they continue to lead the majors in payroll and in 2007 the luxury tax did not exactly stop them from adding Clemens for 18 million dollars.

    64. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      July 14th, 2009 | 9:18 pm

      As for the question of what a core of home-grown players looks like, it looks like this:

      Youkilis, Pedroia, Lowrie, Ellsbury in the every-day lineup.

      Lester, Papelbon, Delcarmen and Bard on the pitching staff.

      That’s a home grown core.

    65. Evan3457
      July 15th, 2009 | 4:53 am

      OnceIWasAYankeeFan wrote:

      Evan3457 wrote:

      The Yankees built up the modern dynasty. While they dominated, agitation grew for a salary cap. The MLBPA wouldn’t agree to that, but they did agree to a luxury tax that basically hampers one team: the Yankees.

      What?

      Agitation grew for a salary cap up to 1994, when the players struck and the World Series was canceled. This would be before the most recent Yankee dynasty and prior to any “domination”. No salary cap was ever seriously contemplated while the Yankees were on their run of championships.

      And that luxury tax hampers many teams: All of the ones whose total payroll is right up against its limit. They do not add salary because of the marginal cost of the luxury tax on top of the salary being contemplated for what might be an important addition.

      On the other hand, the luxury tax has not hampered the Yankees at all, as they continue to lead the majors in payroll and in 2007 the luxury tax did not exactly stop them from adding Clemens for 18 million dollars.

      What what?

      The current luxury tax, or competitive balance tax, was put into place in 2002 collective bargaining agreement. The tax came about amid discussions among fans and sportswriters that there was a growing inequality problem. Sanderson and Siegfried (2003) attribute its creation more directly to “the reemergence of the New York Yankees as a dynasty in the post-strike period of the last decade.” The Yankees won four World Series between 1996 and 2000 and then played in the World Series again in 2001 and 2003. Some people attribute their continued success to the fact their payroll exceeded most of the league.

      (Sanderson and Sigfried 2003 refers to: Sanderson, Allen and John Siegfried. (2003) “Thinking About Competitive Balance.” Journal of Sports Economics, 4(4): 255–279)

      The above quote is from a research paper entitled “The Impact of the Luxury Tax on Competitive Balance in Major League Baseball” written by Olugbenga Ajilore and Joshua Hendrickson who are statisical researchers into the economics of sports, in the economics department at the University of Toledo, Ohio (I have no idea if they’re students, graduate students, or professors) They use a fairly sophisticated statistical model, and the money quote in the conclusion of the paper is as follows:

      The results show that there has been the intended effect on these teams’ spending though the results were being driven by the New York Yankees.

      ================================
      Finally, the fact that the Yankees continue to lead in payroll doesn’t mean the luxury tax hasn’t hampered. You are ignoring the reports that first the Boss and now, the sons Steinbrenner are tired of paying luxury tax to help their competition beat them, and, in fact, the growth in payroll of the Yankees was basically stopped in 2005, and the very real “hampering” can be seen in the deterioration of the Yankees’ bench and bullpen. They’re still paying a ton for their front line talent (lineup and rotation), but the last 11 players on this year’s roster consume only $14 million in payroll.

      1998: $63 million
      1999: $88 million
      2000: $93 million
      2001: $112 million
      2002: $126 million
      2003: $153 million
      2004: $184 million
      2005: $208 million
      2006: $195 million
      2007: $190 million
      2008: $209 million
      2009: $201 million (so far)

      That’s a growth rate of 19% per year from 1998 to 2005, and a decrease of slightly less than 1% per year from 2005 to 2009.

      It took about 3 years for the Yankees organization to change its strategic outlook with regards to payroll, but don’t kid yourself, the luxury tax has hampered the Yankees, and to the extent that it has increased competitive balance, the Yankees are driving force behind that increase in balance.

    66. OnceIWasAYankeeFan
      July 15th, 2009 | 9:32 am

      Obviously my bad on when the luxury tax came into being. Mea culpa.

      The fact remains that every team that is marginally over the limits (or right up against them) is constrained in how it operates. They’ve stated as much – we won’t go over the threshold and start paying the luxury tax – or you see their “best” offers to top free agents being easily exceeded.

      As for the Yankee “decline” – perhaps the reality is that the Yankees have instead reached a “natural” limit to their payroll given their revenues. I’ll be much more impressed that the Yankees give a rat’s ass about paying the luxury tax if their payroll doesn’t start rising again with the huge revenues generated by the new stadium.

    67. July 15th, 2009 | 10:12 pm

      Note to Yu Hsing Chen –

      Your attempt to re-register for this site using the handle ‘yuhsing’ isn’t going to work. Just as your account under the name ‘RollingWave’ has been blocked from this site, your new attempt is blocked as well.

      After you copied pictures me and my family off this blog in order to post them elsewhere to make fun of my appearance, attire, and family, you will never be allowed to register for this site.

      Sorry for the disruption, all. Please go back to the discussion of this topic and ignore this other junk.

    68. July 15th, 2009 | 11:37 pm

      [...] Does Cashman’s Shtick Work When Yanks Face Tough Teams?  [...]

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