• MLB Best Tools

    Posted by on August 19th, 2010 · Comments (6)

    Last week, Baseball America published their lists of “Best Tools” across each of the affiliated minor leagues.  Now, they’ve released their list for the MLB universe, broken down by league.  Here’s how the Yankees fared:

    Best Hit-and-Run Artist: Derek Jeter (1)
    Best Baserunner: Brett Gardner (3)
    Fastest Baserunner: Brett Gardner (3)
    Best Pitcher: CC Sabathia (2)
    Best Curveball: AJ Burnett (2)
    Best Slider: CC Sabathia (3)
    Best Control: Mariano Rivera (3)
    Best Pickoff Move: Andy Pettitte (2)
    Best Reliever: Mariano Rivera (1)
    Best Defensive 1B: Mark Teixeira (1)
    Best Defensive 2B: Robinson Cano (1)
    Best Defensive SS: Derek Jeter (3)

    Please note that this is not Baseball America’s opinion here.  Instead, it’s an aggregation of surveys they passed out to MLB managers.  Honestly, if people think AJ Burnett still has the AL’s second-best curveball or that Derek Jeter is the AL’s third-best defensive shortstop, I weep for the profession of MLB managers.  Do these guys not watch the same games?

    To see how this year’s list compares to last year’s, click here.

    Comments on MLB Best Tools

    1. Evan3457
      August 19th, 2010 | 5:16 pm

      By UZR runs saved per 150 games, Jeter is 17th out of 21 “qualifying shortstops” at -7.2 runs per.

      In Revised Zone Rating (RZR) he’s 20th out of 21. In number of plays made out of zone (OOZ) he’s 19th out of 21.

      The BIS +/- numbers have him 35th (and probably last) of regular shortstops at -9 runs (vs. avg. MLB shortstop). In turning DP, he’s +1 run and ranks 6th (thank you, Cano’s pivot and arm).

      Jeter is not the 3rd best defensive shortstop in baseball, but he might be the 3rd best defensive shortstop currently on the Yankee 25-man roster (well, he might be better than A-rod and his bad hip, at this point).

      Where AJ’s curve currently ranks…I have no idea.

    2. Evan3457
      August 19th, 2010 | 5:21 pm

      On the other hand, Tex, for reasons I can’t comprehend, also does very poorly on the advanced metrics. To wit:

      1. 19th out of 24 qualified defensive first basemen in UZR/150 at -7.3 runs per 150 g.

      2. 16th of 24 in RZR. 11th of 24 in OOZ (he must be missing a lot of balls right at him that I’m not seeing…)

      3. BIS +/- has him -2 runs, which is 27th of about 35 regular 1st basemen, and 12th of about 35 in fielding bunts, resulting in no net runs.

      There must be a lot of brilliant 1st basemen out there to rate so many ahead of Tex, from what I can see.

    3. MJ Recanati
      August 19th, 2010 | 5:30 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      I’ve never understood or completely bought into the various defensive metrics because of all of the contradictions they raise. I will certainly consult defensive metrics to give me one part of the story but I also know that we haven’t perfected them to the point that they’re absolutely correct in the same way many offensive metrics are (nearly) absolutely correct.

      Having said that, even with my eyes, I know that Derek Jeter isn’t a good SS and that Mark Teixeira is a good 1B.

      It hardly matters, however. Apparently there are enough managers out there taht believe Jeter is good enough to where they’re giving him this bronze medal. If they’re that crazy, then maybe they’re crazy enough to do something stupid at an inopportune time (for them) while playing the Yanks.

    4. redbug
      August 19th, 2010 | 5:52 pm

      My eyes say Jeter remains a very good SS. It’s the eye of the beholder.

    5. Corey Italiano
      August 19th, 2010 | 6:19 pm

      MJ Recanati wrote:

      Mark Teixeira is a good 1B.

      I can’t think of a better 1b that I’ve seen. (Keep in mind I’m too young to have seen Donnie Baseball in his prime)

    6. MJ Recanati
      August 20th, 2010 | 9:28 am

      redbug wrote:

      My eyes say Jeter remains a very good SS. It’s the eye of the beholder.

      Really? I mean, yes, it’s in the eye of the beholder, but when you watch other SS, you don’t ever think “no way Jeter would’ve made that.”

      If all you ever did was watch Jeter then I could see thinking he’s a good defensive SS. But watching other guys play the position, there’s just no way anyone could think Jeter is even the best defensive SS in the AL East, let alone in all of the AL.

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