Yanks top defensive team in 2007?

A-Rod wants to go to Boston
Filling the third base hole, part 1 of a lot

In his yearly tradition, Dave Pinto has posted his Probabilistic Model of Range for the 2007 season. Over the next week or so he’ll post the results for each player by position. Today, though, he goes over teams as a whole. I’ll point to Pinto’s brief explanation of PMR:

Basically, for each fieldable (non inside the park home runs) ball put in play, six parameters are used to determine how difficult it was to field the ball. A probability of turning the ball into an out is calculated, and those probabilities are summed. That gives us expected batted balls turned into outs. We turn that into a predicted DER (defensive efficiency record), compare that to the actual DER and calculate a ranking.

The model is based primarily on visiting player data, smoothed, distance on fly balls. Only 2007 data was used to construct the model.

Now, the Yankees were far from the top spot in DER. However, the difficulty of balls put in play against them moved them to the top spot. What does this tell us about the team?

Well, for one, they don’t strike out a ton of guys, ranking 12th in the American League in 2007. Hopefully this changes with Joba and Hughes in the rotation next year.

The question this poses to me: Did the Yankees pitching get lucky last year? PMR would suggest yes. A lot of the “difficult” plays the Yankees made over the course of the year could just as easily have gone for hits. Such is the nature of baseball. Sometimes the ball has eyes, sometimes it goes right to a fielder. All you can do is hit the ball hard, and it appears that’s what happened against Yankee pitching last year.

Thankfully we’re heading into 2008 with an altered rotation.

A-Rod wants to go to Boston
Filling the third base hole, part 1 of a lot
  • Ivan

    Speaking of Hughes, What type of Curveball does he throw? Is it a Knuckle-Curve like Mussina or Halladay?

    Plus, from a 20-80 scale how good is hughes curve when at 100% full strength?

  • Kanst

    When he is right, his curve comes in 1-7 in the low 80’s. From what I have heard and read about him the pitch is probably a 65-70 on the 20-80 scale

  • Alex

    the fielding bible folks released their defensive plus/minus (plays made or missed over average) and both jeter and melky placed second to worst at their respective positions. considering the yanks had the second worst fielders at the two most important defensive positions, i would find it hard to believe that the yankees were even in the top half of defensive teams last year.

  • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

    i dont get these D studies. anyone who watched a few Yankee games this year knows Melky’s been the best CF in pinstripes since Bernie was in his prime. do they not account for assists?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      I’m sure they account for assists. However, it’s pretty well known that Melky rarely takes the most direct route to the ball.

      • http://yankeesetc.blogspot.com/ Travis G.

        how is that possible when Damon got a +7 and Melky a -22? Damon was 29 plays better than Melky? i doubt they account for assists. how could they when Damon had 3 (i cant believe he even had that many) and Melky had 16?! no way Damon’s a better CF than Melky.

    • Alex

      thats exactly why these studies are done, because what we see and what actually is, are often two different things.