• Yankees Run Differential & BABIP

    Posted by on July 9th, 2013 · Comments (6)

    It’s minus four and .280.

    Geez…they stink.

    Cano Splits

    Posted by on July 8th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Via Scott Miller

    Cano: He’s a far worse player at home in New York than on the road this year. In 44 games on the road, he’s hitting .326 with 13 homers and 33 RBI. In 43 games at home, he’s at .255, 7 and 25. Jay-Z might want to address this with his new client. Next thing you know, Cano will be in a Visa commercial addressing his New York nightlife.

    Cano has always hit better on the road. But, this is the first year he has struggled at home. Could just be a matter of teams not allowing him to beat them in the Bronx…

    David Ortiz Could Learn A Lot From Adam Rosales

    Posted by on July 5th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Read on.

    Brett Gardner & Robbie Cano Have 32 XBH This Season

    Posted by on July 1st, 2013 · Comments (9)

    Gritty, gutty…and the Yankees best slugger?

    Rk Player XBH Year Age G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO GDP SB BA OBP SLG
    1 Brett Gardner 32 2013 29 81 346 45 89 20 5 7 31 28 70 5 11 .286 .346 .450
    2 Robinson Cano 32 2013 30 81 349 44 88 15 0 17 48 36 49 11 5 .287 .364 .502
    3 Lyle Overbay 28 2013 36 72 258 24 58 18 1 9 34 14 56 9 0 .240 .280 .434
    4 Vernon Wells 18 2013 34 75 286 29 60 8 0 10 31 15 47 5 4 .223 .262 .364
    5 Travis Hafner 18 2013 36 63 231 27 45 5 1 12 35 27 60 2 2 .223 .320 .436
    6 Ichiro Suzuki 14 2013 39 75 286 27 72 7 2 5 18 15 30 5 12 .270 .307 .367
    7 Jayson Nix 10 2013 30 72 263 23 55 7 1 2 20 21 69 3 11 .237 .305 .302
    8 Kevin Youkilis 9 2013 34 28 118 12 23 7 0 2 8 8 31 4 0 .219 .305 .343
    9 Brennan Boesch 6 2013 28 23 53 6 14 2 1 3 8 2 9 2 0 .275 .302 .529
    10 Francisco Cervelli 6 2013 27 17 61 12 14 3 0 3 8 8 9 1 0 .269 .377 .500
    11 Eduardo Nunez 5 2013 26 27 95 9 16 4 1 0 4 8 16 0 2 .200 .290 .275
    12 Chris Stewart 5 2013 31 51 160 16 36 2 0 3 11 13 25 6 3 .259 .325 .338
    13 David Adams 5 2013 26 31 112 7 19 3 0 2 9 7 29 3 0 .186 .252 .275
    14 Zoilo Almonte 4 2013 24 11 37 3 10 3 0 1 5 3 6 0 2 .303 .351 .485
    15 Mark Teixeira 4 2013 33 15 63 5 8 1 0 3 12 8 19 1 0 .151 .270 .340
    16 Austin Romine 3 2013 24 29 65 6 9 3 0 0 2 0 17 4 1 .145 .159 .194
    17 Curtis Granderson 2 2013 32 8 31 5 7 1 0 1 1 2 6 1 1 .250 .323 .393
    18 Chris Nelson 2 2013 27 10 37 3 8 2 0 0 2 1 11 3 0 .222 .243 .278
    19 Reid Brignac 1 2013 27 17 45 1 5 1 0 0 0 1 17 3 0 .114 .133 .136
    20 Ben Francisco 1 2013 31 21 50 4 5 0 0 1 1 5 11 0 0 .114 .220 .182
    21 Corban Joseph 1 2013 24 2 7 1 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 .167 .286 .333
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 7/1/2013.

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    The Yankees Pitiful Offense

    Posted by on June 3rd, 2013 · Comments (16)

    Here are the numbers on the Yankees offense, so far, in this 2013 season:

    Split G PA R 2B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG sOPS+
    as C 56 198 26 5 6 18 2 14 36 .234 .297 .366 88
    as 1B 56 222 21 13 8 29 3 13 49 .223 .271 .413 73
    as 2B 56 240 29 12 14 36 2 19 36 .291 .350 .536 148
    as 3B 56 221 22 9 4 19 1 10 52 .272 .321 .374 89
    as SS 56 217 17 6 1 13 7 17 56 .206 .279 .275 63
    as LF 56 235 27 7 9 23 5 13 35 .244 .285 .398 79
    as CF 56 249 32 10 6 22 11 21 48 .269 .333 .439 112
    as RF 56 224 20 6 5 14 2 13 26 .246 .293 .367 76
    as DH 51 216 27 5 10 29 3 27 55 .235 .338 .433 104
    as P 5 11 0 0 0 0 1 0 6 .000 .000 .000 -100
    as PH 25 34 5 1 2 5 0 5 12 .143 .294 .393 114
    as PH for DH 7 7 3 0 2 3 0 2 0 .400 .571 1.600 426
    as Infield 56 1098 115 45 33 115 9 73 229 .247 .305 .398 93
    as Outfield 56 708 79 23 20 59 14 47 109 .253 .304 .402 89
    at Def. Pos. 56 904 104 33 27 89 19 71 176 .253 .317 .411 106
    at Off. Pos. 56 902 90 35 26 85 7 49 162 .246 .293 .388 80
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 6/3/2013.

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    Basically, the Yankees line-up has three sticks:  Second base, Center Field, and Designated Hitter.

    The corner outfielder positions are a joke.  (On Left Field, you can say that the Granderson injury hurt.  But, for Right Field, clearly Brian Cashman deserves some blame for going with aging Ichiro as his corner OF there in 2013.)

    First Base will get better with Teixeira’s return.  And, Third Base, while below league average, is not as bad as he holes the Yankees have at Catcher and Shortstop.  And, when will those get fixed?  You think Cervelli is the answer at backstop?  He’s injury-prone and unproven.  And, who knows when Jeter comes back at short – or how effective he will be?

    Catcher, short, left and right.  That’s half the line-up.  And, until they start to hit, the Yankees are going to continue to have a bad offensive team.

    Only Chisox, Royals & Twins Worse Than Yanks Team Bats

    Posted by on May 31st, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Yup, the Yankees, to date this season, have batted as well as the lowly Houston Astros in the A.L. in terms of team OPS+:

    Tm G PA R HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ ▾
    CLE 53 2036 264 67 253 174 447 .263 .331 .446 .776 115
    BAL 54 2083 273 75 264 152 342 .276 .331 .464 .795 111
    TBR 53 2021 262 58 248 184 361 .260 .332 .423 .755 109
    LAA 54 2092 244 60 232 167 404 .261 .324 .424 .748 107
    BOS 55 2124 274 57 268 219 455 .264 .345 .433 .778 106
    DET 52 2109 268 54 263 190 358 .279 .347 .425 .771 105
    OAK 55 2162 262 53 246 231 430 .245 .333 .400 .733 102
    TEX 53 2013 250 66 235 154 348 .271 .331 .443 .774 100
    LgAvg 53 2030 238 58 227 168 404 .257 .323 .414 .737 99
    TOR 54 2040 241 67 228 171 399 .252 .318 .424 .743 98
    SEA 54 2037 199 64 193 171 448 .237 .306 .391 .697 97
    HOU 54 2022 214 55 202 147 519 .248 .307 .396 .703 91
    NYY 53 1975 218 63 200 142 389 .247 .307 .405 .712 91
    MIN 51 1974 222 46 214 174 422 .243 .316 .379 .695 90
    KCR 50 1907 199 28 191 124 329 .261 .314 .375 .689 87
    CHW 51 1859 183 52 175 125 404 .240 .293 .378 .671 77
    796 30454 3573 865 3412 2525 6055 .257 .323 .414 .737 99
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/31/2013.

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    The worst part is that there’s no reason why to expect this is going to get any better in the near future.

    R.A.Dickey’s Start To 2013

    Posted by on May 30th, 2013 · Comments (0)

    Probably not what he imagined it would be:

    Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA BF Pit
    1 Apr 2 TOR CLE L,1-4 GS-6 L(0-1) 6.0 5 4 3 4 4 1 4.50 27 104
    2 Apr 7 TOR BOS L,0-13 GS-5 L(0-2) 4.2 10 8 7 2 5 2 8.44 26 100
    3 Apr 13 TOR @ KCR W,3-2 GS-7 W(1-2) 6.1 5 1 1 2 4 0 5.82 26 100
    4 Apr 18 TOR CHW W,3-1 GS-6 W(2-2) 6.0 2 0 0 1 7 0 4.30 20 64
    5 Apr 23 TOR @ BAL L,3-4 GS-6 L(2-3) 6.0 6 4 4 5 4 0 4.66 27 118
    6 Apr 28 TOR @ NYY L,2-3 GS-7 L(2-4) 7.0 4 3 3 1 4 2 4.50 26 94
    7 May 4 TOR SEA L,1-8 GS-6 L(2-5) 6.0 6 7 7 2 5 3 5.36 26 100
    8 May 9 TOR @ TBR L,4-5 GS-6 6.0 5 3 2 5 5 0 5.06 26 110
    9 May 14 TOR SFG W,10-6 GS-6 W(3-5) 6.0 6 2 2 2 10 1 4.83 26 115
    10 May 20 TOR TBR W,7-5 GS-8 W(4-5) 8.0 4 3 2 4 5 0 4.50 32 120
    11 May 25 TOR BAL L,5-6 GS-7 L(4-6) 6.2 9 6 6 3 4 2 4.85 31 118
    TOR 68.2 62 41 37 31 57 11 4.85 293
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/30/2013.

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    What happened?

    May 29, 2013 – Time To Wake-Up & Realize Yanks W-L Record Is An Illusion

    Posted by on May 29th, 2013 · Comments (69)

    As of this morning, the New York Yankees are 30-21 in 2013. That’s a winning percentage of .588 (over those 51 games).

    That overall mark is good for second place in the A.L. East (one game back of Boston) and the third best winning percentage in the American League.

    When a Yankees fan sees this, they go “Yeaaaaaa!”

    However, look inside the numbers. To date, the Yankees have played the Toronto Blue Jays nine times and the Kansas City Royals three times. Both of those teams have not done well this season, so far. Check out these numbers:

    The Blue Jays are 22-30 and in last place in the A.L. East. They have a “winning” percentage of .423 this season. The Royals are 21-28 and in last place in the A.L. Central. They have a “winning” percentage of .429 this season.

    Basically, Toronto and Kansas City are the among the worst teams in the league this season (along with the Astros, Twins and Mariners). Got it?

    O.K., the Yankees, this season to date, are 11-1 when playing the Blue Jays and Royals.

    Do the math from there. This means the Yankees are 19-20 this season when they don’t have the benefit of beating up on the crappy Jays and Royals. And, that’s not good.

    Sure, there have been injuries. No A-Rod, Jeter, Teixeira yet this season. And, Granderson’s just about been out the whole year. Also, Youkilis, Pettitte, Nunez, Chamberlain, Nova and Cervelli got hurt. But, that’s just an excuse.

    Vernon Wells got off to a good start this season (before hitting the skids recently). In addition, Travis Hafner, Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner and Lyle Overbay have done as well as reasonable expected – if not better. Further, on the pitching side, could the Yankees bullpen be any better than shown this year? And, in the rotation, Hiroki Kuroda has been lights-out, CC Sabathia has been not terrible and David Phelps has been solid. Therefore, it’s not like the Yankees are going out there with a Miami Marlins or Houston Astros type roster. There’s no excuse for being a game under five-hundred when not facing the crap teams in the league…other than the fact that they are not playing well.

    In summary, that’s it. The New York Yankees are not playing well this season, even if their won-loss record is 30-21. And, it’s time to wake-up and realize that in Yankeeland.

    Win Probability Added

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2013 · Comments (1)

    Does anyone even talk about this anymore?

    Ichrio’s Last 280 Games

    Posted by on May 17th, 2013 · Comments (6)

    Since July 1,2011, through last night, Ichrio has a BA/OBP/SLG line of .273/.301/.365 (in 1,106 AB).

    If you expect anything more than that from him now, you are fooling yourself. And, yes, Mr. Cashman, this includes you.

    Beware Vernon Wells

    Posted by on May 15th, 2013 · Comments (12)

    In his first 37 games of 2010, Vernon Wells had a BA/OBP/SLG line of .306/.369/.611 (in 160 PA).

    And, over his next 120 games in 2010, he had a BA/OBP/SLG line of .262/.319/.484 (in 486 PA).

    In his first 37 games of 2013, Wells’ BA/OBP/SLG line is .300/.353/.521 (in 140 PA). That looks just like 2010, no?

    If Wells follows his form from 2010, he could be a low on-base hacking guy at the plate…just like he was in 2010.

    Texas Rangers Pitching – As Of May 14, 2013

    Posted by on May 14th, 2013 · Comments (25)

    Man, are they good, or, what?

    Rk Pos Age W L ERA G SV IP HR BB SO BF ERA+ ▾ WHIP
    1 RP Tanner Scheppers 26 2 0 0.50 16 0 18.0 1 4 11 67 907 0.889
    2 RP Robbie Ross* 24 1 0 0.56 15 0 16.0 0 3 11 64 808 1.000
    3 CL Joe Nathan 38 1 0 1.93 15 11 14.0 1 3 14 57 236 1.000
    4 SP Derek Holland* 26 3 2 2.54 7 0 49.2 2 10 43 194 177 1.007
    5 SP Yu Darvish 26 6 1 2.73 8 0 52.2 5 18 80 205 164 0.911
    6 SP Alexi Ogando 29 3 2 3.09 8 0 43.2 5 18 34 185 145 1.305
    7 Jason Frasor 35 0 0 3.27 14 0 11.0 3 3 11 46 140 1.182
    8 RP Joe Ortiz* 22 2 1 3.60 15 0 20.0 2 2 17 81 126 1.000
    9 SP Nick Tepesch 24 3 3 4.03 7 0 38.0 5 10 30 160 112 1.263
    10 SP Justin Grimm 24 2 3 4.28 6 0 33.2 5 13 34 152 105 1.485
    11 RP Michael Kirkman* 26 0 0 7.36 16 1 14.2 1 9 18 72 62 2.045
    12 Derek Lowe 40 1 0 8.03 8 0 12.1 3 3 8 53 57 1.378
    Team Totals 27.0 24 14 3.45 38 12 334.1 35 103 323 1387 131 1.196
    Rank in 15 AL teams 1 14 2 3 10 4 5 3
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/14/2013.

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    Nolan Ryan, Mike Maddux, and his brother, Greg, are doing a great job with this, no?

    Top 5 Teams In A.L. This Morning

    Posted by on May 10th, 2013 · Comments (22)
    Rk Tm W L W-L% R RA pythWL 1Run last30
    1 TEX 21 13 .618 4.3 3.4 21-13 7-2 18-12
    2 BAL 21 14 .600 4.9 4.1 20-15 6-5 18-12
    3 BOS 21 14 .600 4.9 4.2 20-15 5-3 18-12
    4 NYY 20 13 .606 4.2 3.9 18-15 6-1 19-11
    5 DET 19 13 .594 5.3 3.8 21-11 3-4 18-12
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 5/10/2013.

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    Pretty interesting. For the last 30 games, they’ve all been playing about the same. Will these be the top five teams in the league at the end of the season? And, if the Yankees continue their magic in one-run games, will everyone consider them a fluke, like they did with Baltimore when the Orioles won all those one-run games last year?

    Yankees: Thank You, Toronto

    Posted by on May 6th, 2013 · Comments (10)

    The New York Yankees are 18-12 to start the 2013 season.

    They are 6-1 when playing the Toronto Blue Jays and 12-11 when playing everyone else.

    Toronto is 11-21, so far this year, and sit in last place in the A.L. East.

    Safe to say the Yankees record looks good because of all those games against the struggling Blue Jays?

    Phil Hughes Last 4 Starts

    Posted by on May 5th, 2013 · Comments (15)

    Here are the numbers:

    BA/OBP/SLG allowed: .225/.259/.333 (facing 108 batters). His ERA is 1.93 (in 28 IP).

    It’s amazing what a carrot on an end of a stick can do, eh?

    Pretty Soon, Baseball Players Won’t Need Gloves Anymore

    Posted by on April 23rd, 2013 · Comments (0)

    The ball is not put in play on 81 percent of the pitches, an all-time record of inactivity.

    Great stuff, as usual, from Tom Verducci.

    Not All Right

    Posted by on April 18th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    There have been 86 homeruns hit in MLB through April 17th this year against LHP. The Yankees have one of those 86 HR.

    What’s To Come For Yanks 5 Best Hitters In 2013 (So Far)?

    Posted by on April 17th, 2013 · Comments (10)
    Age G PA R 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS ▾
    Robinson Cano* 30 12 54 9 4 4 11 5 9 .327 .389 .653 1.042
    Travis Hafner* 36 11 43 8 2 3 7 5 9 .324 .419 .622 1.040
    Francisco Cervelli 27 9 32 8 1 1 6 7 1 .360 .500 .520 1.020
    Vernon Wells 34 11 46 6 3 3 5 6 7 .300 .391 .600 .991
    Kevin Youkilis 34 12 51 8 4 2 7 3 12 .348 .412 .565 .977
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 4/17/2013.

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    At least two of these guys will end up on the disabled list for an extended period before the season is over. Others may likely face PED scrutiny at some point this year. And, some will just see their production fall closer to the lower levels that has been their recent norm.

    Can you name who is who?

    Inconsistent Yankees

    Posted by on April 10th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    I think the 16 games that follow their series with the Indians will tell us a lot more about the Yankees (now) than these games in Cleveland.

    Prediction: The Yankees will be 12-14 when the Astros come into Yankee Stadium on April 29th.

    Still Waiting For That First 2013 Hit

    Posted by on April 6th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    Players with 10+ ABs this season so far with zero hits:

    Rk Player AB H Year Age Tm G PA R RBI BB SO BA
    1 B.J. Upton 14 0 2013 28 ATL 4 15 1 0 0 9 .000
    2 Mitch Moreland 13 0 2013 27 TEX 4 15 0 1 1 4 .000
    3 Jonathan Lucroy 13 0 2013 27 MIL 4 14 0 1 0 4 .000
    4 Luis Cruz 13 0 2013 29 LAD 4 15 0 1 1 2 .000
    5 Adam Lind 13 0 2013 29 TOR 4 14 0 0 1 1 .000
    6 Adam LaRoche 13 0 2013 33 WSN 4 14 0 0 1 3 .000
    7 Russell Martin 12 0 2013 30 PIT 4 14 1 0 2 1 .000
    8 Brent Lillibridge 11 0 2013 29 CHC 4 11 0 0 0 4 .000
    9 Alexi Amarista 11 0 2013 24 SDP 4 11 0 0 0 1 .000
    10 David DeJesus 10 0 2013 33 CHC 4 11 0 0 1 4 .000
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 4/6/2013.

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    Man, really tough start for B.J. (0 for 14 with 9 K’s).

    Strikeouts Are Still Soaring

    Posted by on March 29th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    It’s a record setting pace.

    I blame sabermetrics. Those familiar with the study of Run Expectancy are always quick to add that “going down on strikes” is merely another vanilla form of being retired – and that the “K” was no better or worse, for the most part, than any other way of being retired as a batter. And, there’s no longer any stigma applied to having a high whiff total. This, batters don’t care and they hack away…

    More.

    Spring Training Records, To Date

    Posted by on March 27th, 2013 · Comments (5)

    Do these numbers mean anything?

    W L PCT
    Kansas City 23 6 .793
    Baltimore 18 8 .692
    Seattle 19 11 .633
    Detroit 18 12 .600
    Atlanta 19 14 .576
    Colorado 16 12 .571
    Cleveland 16 13 .552
    Oakland 14 12 .538
    San Francisco 14 13 .519
    Minnesota 15 14 .517
    Arizona 15 14 .517
    Boston 15 15 .500
    NY Mets 13 13 .500
    St. Louis 14 14 .500
    Tampa Bay 15 15 .500
    Texas 15 15 .500
    Chicago Cubs 16 17 .485
    Philadelphia 14 15 .483
    Houston 13 14 .481
    Chicago Sox 12 13 .480
    San Diego 15 17 .469
    Toronto 13 16 .448
    Miami 12 15 .444
    Washington 12 16 .429
    Pittsburgh 12 17 .414
    NY Yankees 12 17 .414
    LA Dodgers 11 18 .379
    Milwaukee 10 17 .370
    Cincinnati 10 18 .357
    LA Angels 8 18 .308

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    Bad Calls Less Often

    Posted by on March 15th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    Good.

    It’s WAR!

    Posted by on February 28th, 2013 · Comments (2)

    When is a player who hits .194 with a .277 on-base percentage and three homeruns just as good as a player who 50 homers?

    Read on.

    2012 Yankees OPS Split By Defensive Position

    Posted by on February 20th, 2013 · Comments (8)

    Here are the numbers:

    Rk Split Year G OPS PA HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG BAbip
    1 NYY as PH for DH 2012 19 1.474 19 2 9 0 0 2 .526 .526 .947 .533
    2 NYY as 2B 2012 162 .911 702 31 92 6 57 105 .311 .372 .539 .332
    3 NYY as DH 2012 153 .860 657 29 100 10 62 132 .293 .362 .497 .331
    4 NYY as CF 2012 162 .835 709 45 118 9 75 193 .242 .325 .510 .270
    5 NYY as 1B 2012 162 .824 693 29 107 3 85 117 .262 .355 .469 .275
    6 NYY as 3B 2012 162 .817 664 26 72 13 62 131 .278 .353 .464 .315
    7 NYY as Infield 2012 162 .800 3409 123 392 35 304 552 .275 .346 .454 .299
    8 NYY at Def. Pos. 2012 162 .799 2761 113 331 26 232 497 .269 .337 .462 .295
    9 NYY at Off. Pos. 2012 162 .783 2659 99 334 43 260 493 .260 .338 .445 .287
    10 NYY as Outfield 2012 162 .775 2011 89 273 24 188 438 .247 .323 .453 .277
    11 NYY as RF 2012 162 .759 674 22 85 8 61 130 .258 .330 .430 .293
    12 NYY as SS 2012 162 .744 731 15 57 13 39 93 .295 .338 .406 .324
    13 NYY as LF 2012 162 .727 628 22 70 14 52 115 .241 .312 .415 .266
    14 NYY as C 2012 162 .695 619 22 64 7 61 106 .220 .308 .387 .233
    15 NYY as PH 2012 89 .643 148 6 18 2 11 43 .201 .270 .373 .244
    16 NYY as P 2012 9 .190 24 0 0 0 0 12 .095 .095 .095 .222
    17 NYY Other 2012 1 .000 1 0 0 17 0 1 .000 .000 .000
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 2/20/2013.

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    Last year, DH and 2B were huge for the Yankees – and, LF and catcher were not so much. I suspect that catcher will be weak again in 2013. And, I doubt that LF could be much worse this year. The bigger question is DH. Will that be a plus for the Yankees this season or a minus?

    Baseball Statistics & Understanding

    Posted by on February 4th, 2013 · Comments (6)

    Via Ken Davidoff today with a h/t to BBTF -

    In 2006, Jerome Holtzman, a legendary Chicago baseball writer who became MLB’s official historian in 1999, told Selig that he thought the reaction to the “Steroid Era” had been overblown. That the game had been filled with this sort of stuff from its inception. Selig responded with an assignment: Put something on paper for me. Give me some context to what we’re seeing now.

    Holtzman responded with a document that went back to the start of the 20th century. It mentioned gamblers and segregation, corked bats and scuffed balls, amphetamines and steroids. Selig still has it in his office today.

    Holtzman died in 2008. His successor as MLB historian, the great John Thorn, said this to me on Friday: “No number is pure, and no number can be given a rich understanding absent context. Every number has a virtual asterisk alongside it.”

    He added this: “I believe that the average fan looks at numbers like 511 (Cy Young’s wins) or 714 (Ruth’s homers) or 755 (Aaron’s homers) or 762 (Bonds’ homers) as a royal road to understanding. There is no royal road. There is no short cut. They are imperishable remains of events that are vanished. This is all we have. That’s why we venerate them.

    “We look at the numbers differently than other sports in part because baseball is a stop-action game. The memories adhere. That’s one of the reasons that baseball is the great game of memory and conversation.

    “Statistics help, but sometimes they get in the way of understanding.”

    I dunno. I still think that stats, in context, are useful – when you look at them in terms of relativity to the era of play and the body of work a player has crafted. And, if someone who was always “just” a 30-homer guy all of a sudden starts hitting 50-long balls a year, and it’s not the result of his park, then you have to look at the rest of the league. And, if he’s only one of a few doing it, then something is wrong. And, that’s worth noting.

    WAR – What Is It Good For?

    Posted by on February 2nd, 2013 · Comments (9)

    Great stuff on this from Jim Caple.

    Just yesterday, I was thinking, to myself, how incredible it is that ESPN and the MLB Network now throw around WAR statistics in their broadcasts like everyone has been throwing around RBI and ERA for a zillion years.

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a polarizing sabermetric stat gain acceptance in the mass media as quickly as WAR.

    I mean, really, it could have died faster on the vine that you can say “Win Shares.”

    Why The Yanks Miss Godzilla

    Posted by on January 2nd, 2013 · Comments (6)

    Great stuff on Godzilla via Vince Gennaro

    Over his seven year Yankee career, [Hideki Matsui] averaged 20 HRs per season, batted .292 and logged an OPS of .852—23% above the league average OPS for those years. What fans will remember most about Matsui was his penchant for the big hit, capped off by his World Series MVP performance in 2009. He came to bat 36 times in the two World Series in which he appeared (2003 and 2009—his first and last years as a Yankee), but managed to hit 4 HRs. He batted .387 in the World Series and put up a remarkable 1.216 OPS. In fact, in 235 postseason plate appearances his OPS was .933.

    For those of you who have been following this blog, you know about the work I’ve done in measuring a hitter’s performance against different quality levels of pitching. I’ve racked up the batter—pitcher matchup data (starting pitchers only) from 2009 through 2011 to see how hitters perform against the best pitching vs. the weakest pitching. This study was of particular interest to me because the quality of pitching is one of the most defining characteristics that differentiates the regular season from the postseason. The pitching is far better in the postseason. Nearly two-thirds of the postseason starting pitcher innings are thrown by the top one-third of regular season starting pitchers (as measured by their OPS against). Not surprisingly, Matsui has an uncanny ability to hit top pitching, which helps explain his postseason prowess.

    Against the top two quintiles, the MLB average for a left-handed hitter is a .641 OPS. Matsui had 387 plate appearances against this group of pitchers over the 3-year period of my study and banged out a remarkable .830 OPS. Over that time period here’s his record (OPS) against some of the top pitchers—vs. David Price, 1.333; vs. Greinke, 1.267; vs. Josh Beckett, 1.032; vs. King Felix, .838; vs. Verlander, .778, vs. Halladay, .752. Matsui also had his nemesis, as Jered Weaver held him to a puny .315 OPS in 27 career plate appearances. I take it that Matsui is not fond of the change-up from righthanders—a pitch Weaver is known to use extensively on left-handed hitters.

    Curtis Granderson’s OBA The Last 4 Years

    Posted by on December 18th, 2012 · Comments (9)

    Here’s the data:

    Year Age Tm G PA OBP
    2009 28 DET 160 710 .327
    2010 29 NYY 136 528 .324
    2011 30 NYY 156 691 .364
    2012 31 NYY 160 684 .319
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 12/18/2012.

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    Clearly, 2011 was the fluke here. And, based on the last four years worth of data, a reasonable person would expect Granderson to have an OBA this season in the range of the low .320′s.

    Seeing that, how can the Yankees bat Curtis in the top or middle of their line-up in 2013?  Why would you give someone who makes so many outs more chances to bat?

    The Curious Case Of Teixeira’s OPS+

    Posted by on December 17th, 2012 · Comments (0)

    The trend line:

    Year Age Tm Lg G PA OPS+
    2008 28 TOT MLB 157 685 152
    2009 29 NYY AL 156 707 141
    2010 30 NYY AL 158 712 124
    2011 31 NYY AL 156 684 121
    2012 32 NYY AL 123 524 116
    Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
    Generated 12/17/2012.

    .
    Mark Teixeira’s OPS+ is playing limbo…it wants to see how low it can go.

    And, the question is: Will it stay over 100 in 2013?

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