James: Yanks lacking in young talent

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In advance of the release of The Bill James Handbook 2009, the venerable baseball analysts has released his list of the top young talent in baseball. James has also put forward a ranking of the Major League clubs by top young Major League talent, and the Yankees aren’t looking so hot with the team ranked 29 out of 30.

According to ACTA Sports, publishers of the Handbook, these rankings include players 30 and younger:

To achieve his inventory, James first eliminates from the list all players who were 30 years old or older in 2008. He employs two widely used statistics—“Runs Created” for position players and “Runs Allowed” for pitchers—as the basis for comparison. He makes several adjustments, including for injuries suffered during the year and the differences in predictability between pitchers and position players, and then takes into account the number of years the player should be at his peak performance.

Of course, it doesn’t take a baseball genius to recognize the Yankees’ young-gun problems. Melky Cabrera and Robinson Cano turned in disappointing 2008 campaigns; Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy didn’t meet the lofty expectations placed upon them; and even Joba Chamberlain suffered a lengthy stay on the disabled list.

As the Yankees head into free agency, this list should be a part of their considerations. Five of the top 15 and three of the top ten youngest teams made the playoffs this year, and if the Yanks don’t get marked older, they’ll suffer through some pretty bad seasons over the next few years.

The full franchise rankings and James’ top 25 young players are after the jump.

?1. Minnesota Twins
?2. Arizona Diamondbacks
?3. Tampa Bay Rays
?4. Florida Marlins
?5. Kansas City Royals
?6. Milwaukee Brewers
?7. Cleveland Indians
?8. Colorado Rockies
?9. Atlanta Braves
10. Boston Red Sox
11. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
12. Oakland A’s
13. Los Angeles Dodgers
14. St. Louis Cardinals
15. Cincinnati Reds
16. New York Mets
17. Pittsburgh Pirates
18. Seattle Mariners
19. Texas Rangers
20. Philadelphia Phillies
21. San Diego Padres
22. San Francisco Giants
23. Washington Nationals
24. Baltimore Orioles
25. Chicago White Sox
26. Chicago Cubs
27. Detroit Tigers
28. Toronto Blue Jays
29. New York Yankees
30. Houston Astros

1. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
2. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
5. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
6. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
7. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
8. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
9. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
10. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
11. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
12. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
13. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
14. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
15. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
17. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
18. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
19. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
20. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
21. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25
22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
23. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
24. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
25. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24

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  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Prince Fielder on top of that list is laughable. Up-the-middle players >>> 1B. Fielder’s bat isn’t THAT good.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I think the Runs Created formula probably overcompensates for Fielder’s 2007 effort in this regard. Hanley should be at the top of the list.

  • A.D.

    I think Han-Ram should be #1 they should put something in there for premium at a position.

    Stephen Drew ahead of Sizemore, McCann, Cabrera & Votto….really?

    • cult of basebaal

      petunia pedroia ahead of sizemore, mccann, cabrera, hamels, longoria, gonzalez???

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

        Check out methodology. It makes more sense that way. This isn’t a blanket ranking of all time. It’s based on right now, going forward into next year.

        • Bo

          If that is the way, how can you rate Tulo that high? He had a terrible year in all facets.

  • Bo

    Joba isn’t in the top 25? Behind such greats as Soria and Danks.

    Cano an all star middle infielder isn’t in the top 25?
    How many all star teams has Drew made? Votto? Loney? It can’t be based on 2008 cos Tulo barely hit his weight?

    Can we say James is a little biased towards Boston?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Can we say James is a little biased towards Boston?

      No. He analyzes numbers for the Red Sox. He doesn’t tout their players as God’s greatest gift to baseball. There isn’t a conspiracy behind every curtain. Plus, Dustin Pedroia had a legitimately and objectively excellent season this year.

      • Bo

        You’re crazy if you don’t think he’s slightly biased towards the team that pays him a salary.

        • radnom

          Dude I’m sure he explains the exact formula used to create this list. It is not a list of how good these players are, or a ranked list of who you would want on your team, its simply the results of a repeatable formula. No room for bias there.

        • Reggie C.

          And risk the reputation that’s taken so many years to build? No way. Bill James has got to make a living somehow. It shows you how intelligent Epstein is by getting James to help in the scouting and drafting.

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

            Cosign. I’ll crack on Peter Gammons till the cows come home, but Bill James plays it straight, from what I’ve seen.

            The Sox should have more young players on that list that we do, because they’ve had better luck recently developing guys than we have. We have a ton of quality young talent, but they’re either too young or too green to rank yet. I expect we’ll be looking much better on that list three years from now.

        • Chris C.

          “You’re crazy if you don’t think he’s slightly biased towards the team that pays him a salary.”

          Okay…….so where would you rank a 2nd baseman who is an MVP candidate this year, and a 24 year old starter who won 16 games, had an ERA of 3.20, and was pretty damn solid in the postseason?

    • Chris

      This isn’t a list of prospects, it’s just based on how they did this year. Cano had a bad year, so that’s not surprising. Joba behind Soria is somewhat surprising, but I don’t know the runs allowed formula. John Danks threw 195 innings this year, so he would be higher simply because of the amount he pitched.

    • Chris C.

      “Can we say James is a little biased towards Boston?”

      No, James is biased towards Sabermetrics. And thank God for that, because Cano is one of the most overrated offensive players in baseball.
      When he’s not hitting, he’s not getting on base PERIOD!
      Biased towards Boston? Haven’t Boston’s young players actually been producing positive results? You actually think that Pedroia and Lester are overhyped on that list??? I don’t.

      How many all star teams has Drew made? Votto? Loney?

      I’ll take Stephen Drew over Robby Cano any day of the week and twice on Sunday! All Star teams?? Sheeesh.
      And if the Dodgers offer up James Loney for Robby Cano, the Yankees should take it, run, don’t look back, and try not to let the soda come shooting out their noses with laughter!

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

        All of this is batshit crazy.

    • Chris C.

      Joba isn’t in the top 25? Behind such greats as Soria and Danks.

      The list is based on results, not hype.
      Go check out what Soria did this season before blowing him off.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

        I checked the results.

        Danks had an ERA of 3.32 in 195 innings.
        Soria had an ERA of 1.60, as a reliever, in 67 innings.
        Joba had an ERA of 2.60 in 100 innings.

        The results agree with the complaint. Joba’s 2008, even with the injury (which James allegedly adjusted for) was better than Soria’s or Danks’s.

        • Slugger27

          thank u… u said exactly what my point was, only u presented the actual facts lol

          i didnt have a problem so much with danks… but soria over joba really surprised me… i know he was hurt, but as i stated earlier, zimm was hurt for over 2 months and hes #12

          if its truly solely statistical based, its very suspicious joba not being on the list, especially since soria was #11 and not, say, #24

          • Chris C.

            i didnt have a problem so much with danks… but soria over joba really surprised me…

            You’re kidding. Soria had basically the same kind of season that Mariano Rivera just had. The dude had a O.89 WHIP!!!!!
            Here’s what should surprise you…….he’s not doing commercials.

            • Slugger27

              hes a RELIEF pitcher… thats the point

              id much rather have a 180 inning pitcher at 3.30 than a 70 inning pitcher at 1.60

              • Chris C.

                So you’d trade Mariano Rivera for John Danks or Chad Billingsley?

          • Chris C.

            Chamberlain should be on the list. You’re right about that. But to call out Soria as a guy he should rank in front of is off base.

            If Soria had the season he just had in pinstripes, you’d be doing backflips and calling him the next Mariano.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

              “If Soria had the season he just had in pinstripes, you’d be doing backflips and calling him the next Mariano.”

              Yup. And I’d still trade him for Joba, straight up, in a heartbeat, because starters >>>>>> relievers.

              • Chris C.

                “Yup. And I’d still trade him for Joba, straight up, in a heartbeat, because starters >>>>>> relievers.”

                Yeah, sure. If Soria was on your team, and he just closed 45 games with a 1.60 ERA and a O.89 WHIP, you’d deal him for a guy who couldn’t even start more than 12 games before being shelved.

                I don’t believe it.

        • http://evizions.com eVizions

          Wait, Soria has an ERA a full run lower than Joba and THAT proves your point?

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

            A reliever with an ERA a full run lower than a starter isn’t saying much. I should be a full run lower.

  • colin

    albert pujols is still under 30. where’s he?

    • AndrewYF

      Maybe Bill James has a copy of his real birth certificate.

  • Slugger27

    how is joey votto so low??

    • Slugger27

      zimmerman shouldnt be that high either… hes got too much of a jeff francouer thing going on

  • Reggie C.

    Its Bill James. Any studies and observations he makes is worth a reading. Not one Yank in the top 25 isn’t as disturbing as seeing the Yanks rank only above the ‘Stros. Argh…this one is going to sting the Tampa boys.

    • KW

      Cutting out the players over 30 would basically eliminate all Yanks from consideration, dont ya think? :P

      • Reggie C.

        Yeah.

        Lets marvel for a second the success of the Mets farm system in producing both Wright and Reyes. I forget that they’re so young.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

          John Ford Griffin and Bronson Sardinha over David Wright in the ’01 Draft FTL!

          • Chris C.

            Yes, the Yankees did some major scouting that year.
            Right before the draft, they turned on ESPN and watched some of the college WS. When Ford-Griffen came to the plate for Florida State and the Yanks noticed he was hitting .380, that was it.
            They had their guy.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

              Your consistency is amazing. I’m going to alert Joe Morgan.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

              Actually, JFG hit .450 that year. And the CWS is after the draft.

              ;)

  • Slugger27

    in general, the list makes a lot of sense… the ones that stood out to me were zimmerman being too high, soria ranked ahead of hamels, and joba not on the list

    i guess theres no weight added to starters over relievers… which might explain soria being so high… but then shouldnt joba be on here??

    • Reggie C.

      Innings? The flip-flopping roles of Joba probably took away from his overall ranking.

      • Slugger27

        i guess… but he still threw 30 more innings than soria

        i understand he was injured, but zimmerman missed over 2 months with an injury and hes #11

        • Chris C.

          i guess… but he still threw 30 more innings than soria

          Soria is a closer. He also threw 30 more innings than Rivera, Papelbon, Lidge, and Nathan. Was he better than they were this year?
          Apples and oranges.

          • Slugger27

            ur proving my point for me… none of those guys are as valuable as a 33 start guy or an everyday position player no matter how good their ERA is… if u wanna argue soria is better than joba, fine…. but dont tell me he deserves #11 ahead of lester, hamels, and felix… thats a joke

  • troy

    Why no one above 26 on the list? I thought all below 30 were eligible.

  • Chofo

    This just proves that Brian Cashman’s “Youth Movement” was a disaster this year.

    • steve (different one)

      no it doesn’t.

      that doesn’t mean it was a success, but this list doesn’t “prove” anything.

    • Reggie C.

      Not necessarily. I think it highlights two things.

      1. Phil Hughes not having a year anywhere close to being called “impact.”
      2. How bad a season Cano actually endured that his ranking would get knocked out of the top 25.

      • A.D.

        Cano > Drew despite this season

        • Reggie C.

          Drew had a better ’08. That explains his placement in the top 25.

          This James study aside, yea , i’d rather have Cano. He should be a .500 slugger with his ability to spray the ball over the whole field. Cano must be more discerning at the plate and leave the weights aside. Is it too much to ask for him to nail 45 doubles in 09??

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

            45 doubles might be a bit much. Even Derek “The Ladies’ Man” Derek only manages to nail about a dozen or so doubles each season.

            • Chris C.

              Huh? Jeter hits around 12 doubles a season? I know that’s not right. I’m too lazy to look it up, but It can’t even be close.

              • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

                Forget it. It was a bad joke.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  Holy bartender, I get it, that’s a GREAT ONE!!!

                • Steve

                  Lets not even get into the DPs Derek gets into.

                  Poor girls are sore for a week.

                • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

                  Admit it, Derek Jeter is still the coolest man on the planet. Who else can turn GIDP into an awesomely awesome thing?

            • Ron

              ???????? He’s never hit fewer than 25, with a high of 44, and an average of 31.

    • AndrewYF

      Gosh, ya don’t say? Every possible scenario went south for 2008. And yet, the Yankees won 89 games. We’re doooooomed!

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

      This just proves that Brian Cashman’s “Youth Movement” was a disaster this year.

      That’s gotta be sarcasm.

      Gotta be.

      • Steve

        No you fool, Cashman’s youth movement was the problem this year. The answer is we need to get OLDER!

        BTW-THAT was sarcasm.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          We need cotton uniforms.

    • Chris C.

      Right. That’s it. Youth movement over. They only get one year to blow the world away.
      Phil Hughes…………….washed up at 22.

  • A.D.

    More how i see it, given the same 25, Longoria knocked down a bit since he has 1 year in the league

    1. Hanley Ramirez, Florida Marlins shortstop, age 24
    2. Ryan Braun, Milwaukee Brewers left fielder, age 24
    3. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants pitcher, age 24
    4. David Wright, New York Mets third baseman, age 25
    5. Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers first baseman, age 24
    6. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, age 24
    7. Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres first baseman, age 26
    8. Grady Sizemore, Cleveland Indians center fielder, age 25
    9. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers first baseman, age 25
    10. Jose Reyes, New York Mets shortstop, age 25
    11. Francisco Rodriguez, Los Angeles Angels pitcher, age 26
    12. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners pitcher, age 22
    13. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman, age 22
    14. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles right fielder, age 24
    15. Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder, age 23
    16. Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox pitcher, age 24
    17. John Danks, Chicago White Sox pitcher, age 23
    18. Joakim Soria, Kansas City Royals pitcher, age 24
    19. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox second baseman, age 24
    20. Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies shortstop, age 23
    21. Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals third baseman, age 23
    22. Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves catcher, age 24
    23. James Loney, Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, age 24
    24. Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds first baseman, age 24
    25. Stephen Drew, Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop, age 25

    • Colin

      I love how you move Pedroia so low on the list…even though he’s about to win an MVP.

      • A.D.

        Position, power, & prob a little bias ( though I tried not to), i thought of it as who would I rather have instead. Pedroia gives you a solid avg hitter with pop in the 2 hole, and plays a good 2nd base. The other guys are either a #1 starter, damn good closer, or a middle of the order big bat with the exception of Danks & Sizemore & maybe Kemp.

        I could see switching Pedroia & Kemp

      • Chris C.

        I hate to tell you people this, but Pedroia has about the same kind of game and attributes that Derek Jeter does.
        And we all know how fans outside of the Yankees have called Jeter “overrated” for years.

        Now we’ve got a Yankee fan doing the same thing to Pedroia.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          It’s time for everyone’s favorite game: Guess Who The Player is!

          Player A:
          23 year old season- 139 games, 520 AB’s, 165 Hits, 47 BB, 39 2B, 8 HR, 86 Runs, 50 RBI, .317/.380/.442, 112 OPS+
          24 year old season- 157 games, 653 AB’s, 213 Hits, 50 BB, 54 2B, 17 HR, 118 Runs, 83 RBI, .326/.376/.493, 122 OPS+

          Player B:
          23 year old season – 112 games, 482 AB, 165 Hits, 18 BB, 41 2B, 15 HR, 62 Runs, 78 RBI, .342/.365/.525, 126 OPS+
          24 year old season – 160 games, 617 AB, 189 Hits, 39 BB, 41 2B, 19 HR, 93 Runs, 97 RBI, .306/.353/.488, 120 OPS+

          Now, the game is this: Which one of these two equally impressive set of statlines from two young AL East middle infielders belongs to Dustin Pedroia, a/k/a “Mr. Totally Not Overrated and Wicked Awesome”, and which one belongs to Robinson Cano, a/k/a “The Most Overrated Player in Baseball According to Chris C. and Bill James (in absentia) and Proof Positive #1A of why Brian Cashman is an idiot”?

          • Slugger27

            you forgot to factor in player A’s grit… if u count grit its no contest!!

          • Chris C.

            God, I hope you’re not trying to imply that Cano is anywhere near the ballplayer Pedroia is.

            Does Pedroia need a third base coach on his back the entire season to keep focussed?

    • infernoscurse

      wow man what are you smoking you have king felix too high, you got dustin pedroia at 19? im a yankee fan but i see your rankings as biased as there could be
      and why is Tulo and zimmerman over brian mccann, james loney and joey votto?

  • Mike Pop

    I really cant believe Felix is still only 22 thats absolutely insane.. If he makes it to FA somehow Yanks betta hop on him hard… and zimmerman is ranked too high regardless

    • Reggie C.

      By the time Felix hits FA , i think we’ll have a better idea as to whether Brackman, Betances, or McAlllister will ever have a shot at stardom. Felix isn’t anywhere close to FA.

      • A.D.

        3 years till FA I believe

        • Reggie C.

          Imo, that’s far away. The 3 guys i mentioned should all be in the TripleA level by then. Brackman is probably in the majors before then pitching in some role.

          • A.D.

            I agree, just putting out the length

            • GG

              Brackman better be in the majors since he has a major leagie contract already.

  • http://www.new.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#/profile.php?id=594331910&ref=name Jamal G.

    Five of the top 15 and three of the top ten youngest teams made the playoffs this year…

    Ah, but the flip-side to this notion is that the Chicago White Sox, Chicago Cubs, Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees (four of the six most youth-talented-challenged clubs) were all very good teams in 2008 (in regards to their Pythagorean wins.

    2008 Pythagorean Wins:

    1. Chicago White Sox – 90 (Ranked fourth in the A.L.; sixth in MLB)
    2. Chicago Cubs – 99 (Ranked first in MLB)
    3. Toronto Blue Jays – 93 (Ranked second in the A.L.; third in MLB)
    4. New York Yankees – 87 (Ranked seventh in the A.L.; tenth in MLB)

    This shows us that four of the ten best teams in the Major Leagues ranked in the bottom six in terms of their collection of young talent in the 2008 season. Is it better to have under-thirty talent? Sure. However, one can st
    ill succeed at a high level without it.

    • Chris

      If you assume an even distribution, then you would expect 4 of the top 15 teams and 2.66 of the top 10 teams to make the playoffs. Seeing that it’s actually 5 and 3 means that there really is no correlation between young talent and making the playoffs. In the end, it’s only performance that matters, whether it comes from a 33 year old or a 25 year old.

      These results may correlate better to the performance of these teams over the next 3-5 years, but with trades and free agency, that correlation might be weak.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Wait … where the hell are the Uptons? Does anyone really think Joey Votto is more valuable than BJ Upton now, or ever will be?

    • A.D.

      Anyone from Canada does

      …gotta say strict formula or not, you think James would have seen this list, thought this isn’t correct, and then tweaked the initial formula

    • Mike Pop

      Theres your bias against TB from mr James !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Reggie C.

      Dont you remember Mike? BJ upton have a bad year b/c of that nagging shoulder injury. Numbers ended up way off from the year before. I’m not sure what kind of season Justin put together. Obviously not a better one than Stephen Drew.

    • radnom

      You mean a somewhat arbitrarily derived statistical equation from a respected sabermetrician does not corilate 1:1 with reality? I’m shocked.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Holy crap … where’s Mauer????

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

      Out of respect for Jason Varitek, the greatest catcher ever but, sadly, no longer under 30, all catchers were removed from calculation.

      It’s only fair.

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      If .328/.413/.451 doesn’t get you on this list, I’m not really sure I trust what James has to say anymore. Guys like Kemp and Loney had better 2007 stats than Mauer, but his 2008 blew them out of the water. Not sure if he weighted ’08 stats more… sure doesn’t look like it.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        If .328/.413/.451 as a catcher doesn’t get you on this list, I’m not really sure I trust what James has to say anymore.

        Fixed.

  • steve (different one)

    i am sure the methodology was sound, but the results sure are strange.

    uhhh, Joe Mauer?!!!!

    • steve (different one)

      too slow…

  • Steve S

    Somethings up with it. How does Minnesota get the number one ranking but not have one of the top 25 individual players? I would argue that Liriano should be up there to, especially with the way he pitched at the end of this year.

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      Liriano, Mauer and Morneau was probably enough to get them to number 1, but I’m definitely surprised that none of them are in the top 25.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Blackburn, Slowey, Perkins, Baker, Span, Delmon and Gomez had to contribute to that ranking as well.

  • Steve S

    And I understand the lack of positional players but I would put San Francisco much higher just based on Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez. I dont know of any team that has three starters under 25 that have shown as much as those three.

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      Actually, Lincecum is the only guy you mentioned that really had stellar seasons in ’07 and ’08. Sanchez’s ERA was over 5.00 in both years and Cain has been slightly above average with ERAs of 3.65 and 3.76 (even though his record was 15-30 the past 2 seasons).

      • Steve S

        Sanchez clearly is the worst of the three but when looking at the peripherals he looks as though he is improving and could be a really good lefty and fit nicely as a number three. He had a bout a strikeout per inning and gave up less hits than innings pitched. Plus in the games he won (13) he was absolutely dominant. He needs some more seasoning but he looks like he might be a nice player and he is only 25. Not Timmy Lincecum but I nice cog.

  • Michael

    No reason to panic. 8 of the top 10 teams on this list didn’t even make the playoffs this year, or last year, and probably won’t make them next year. Youth is NOT overrated, but with Tampa making the WS, everyone is getting cute in saying that you can build a consistent winner on a $50MM dollar payroll. B..S..!

    By now, we know that not since 2000, have 2 teams met in the WS that made the postseason the year before. I’m not jumping off a building because you know what, the Yanks are shedding a ton money given to old players who are 5 yrs. past their prime, and now have the ability to make some moves that can get this team right back in the mix for ’09 and beyond.

    • pat

      Actually, 5 teams fit ur criteria boston t-bay cleveland colorado and milwaukee.

      but nevertheless you’re right. production from young players is nice but not the end all and be all of success.

  • Steve S

    And by the way Bill James should not be beyond reproach. He is a paid consultant of the Red Sox and therefore has a conflict of interest. We cant know his motivations but in the end the Red Sox do benefit from his evaluation of their players, especially when he says positive things considering there is a large segment of the GM’s in the league who subscribe to his thinking. He lost that objectivity when he decided to accept a paycheck from them. I haven’t looked at this particular analysis but just like George Mitchell had a conflict that led to the “appearance of impropriety” so does old Bill James.

    • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

      Good point.

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      Considering he used well-established sabremetric equations as his base, I highly doubt there was any subjectivity involved. James makes most of his money from book sales and otherwise pimping himself out as the godfather of sabremetrics, not as a consultant for the Red Sox. His career would take a major hit from any bias that he shows, so I doubt he would go down that road. Plus, the Red Sox are only ranked 10th and, considering they have 2 of the top 16 players listed, he could “fudge” them a little higher ranking if that was his intention.

      • Steve S

        Im not even saying that his analysis was poor or even subjective but he can and should be questioned because of that decision. If he was making that much money off his books he wouldn’t have accepted the Red Sox consultant job. if he wanted to show no bias he would say that he is leaving off any Red Sox player because of the conflict. Thats the premise of a conflict of interest. Its not actually demonstrating that the judgment has been affected, its that the discussion exists that their judgment and evaluation “could be” biased.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Mr. Irrelevant Non-Sequitur Jones

          That’s why in the legal and business world people recuse themselves from situations where their connections to other persons/entities could even potentially be a conflict of interest.

          • Steve S

            Exactly, you are agreeing with me way too much.

        • http://evizions.com eVizions

          He took the consulting job with Boston because it boosts himself as well as sabremetrics in general. I agree there is the perceived possibility of a conflict of interest here, but looking at what James does and the public nature of his work, I don’t see an issue here.

          Now the Mitchell report – THERE is a clear-cut conflict of interest. I am especially questionable because of the subjective nature of the investigation and the fact that no Boston players were implicated.

  • Pingback: Losing respect for Sabermetricians « Quite Yankly

  • Accent Shallow

    I was under the impression that the numbers James makes public have taken a hit since he was hired by the Sox due to his more advanced methods and metrics being proprietary.

  • Brian

    Don’t think somebody commented on this above, but is James’ adjusting for players anywhere near 30 on this list? Nobody on it 27 or older, and only two guys at 26 years.

    So a guy like Longoria gets the nod over Pujols and Ryan Howard (both 28).

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      He seemed to skew a little too much towards younger players. It looks like he is projecting too much for players NOT in their prime, rather than weighing production for players IN their prime.

  • Jake H

    I dislike Bill James. I don’t know what it is about him but I do. I disliked him before I knew he worked for the Sox.

    • Chris C.

      You dislike him because he’s brought to life the fact that player evaluations are alot more than just RBI and BA.

      Without Bill James, we may never truly realize how alarmingly crappy Robby Cano was this year at the plate. Instead, we’d be looking at his batting average, and waxing poetic about how he was just as good or even better at reaching base as Even Longoria and Carlos Pena this season.

      • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

        Without Bill James, we may never truly realize how alarmingly crappy Robby Cano was this year at the plate. Instead, we’d be looking at his batting average, and waxing poetic about how he was just as good or even better at reaching base as Even Longoria and Carlos Pena this season.

        All of this is batshit crazy. It’s as if the words you’re speaking have no correlation with any sane thought. It’s a wonder that you get them to line up in the right order to make moderately intelligible sentences.

        Robinson Cano is a 25 year old middle infielder with a career OBP of .335, and that includes his horridly shitty 2008 campaign. Stephen Drew, who’s knob you were slobbing who’s merits you were touting earlier in this thread, has a career OBP of .325. They also have virtually identical XBH, SLG, and BB numbers, although Robbie doesn’t strike out 100 times a year like Drew does.

        Basically, Robbie had to have a 2008 campaign where his numbers were shockingly off across the board and he slumped horridly just to come down to a level where Stephen Drew could even sniff his jockstrap, a year so drastically out of character for his overall numbers and trend that he’s a virtual lock to bounce back and never ever be this bad again. And yet, you’re ready to throw him off a bridge for the least non-suckiest of the three Drew brothers.

        The above list (which appears quite whacked) notwithstanding, I’m quite certain the Bill James would be quite high on the prospects of a 25 year old second baseman with a career .303/.335/.468 line. Especially one who’s only bad year seems to have been plagued by a horrid BABIP. Sabermetrics say that Robbie Cano is really, really good, not really really bad.

        You sir, make no sense.

  • GG

    The dude is PAID by the Red Sox.

    I don’t care what books hes written or how much people revere him.

  • GG

    But this list even if it is skewed to make the Yankees look bad isn’t good news.

    The Cashman/Oppenheimer regime has been very average so far and last yrs total disaster of a draft didn’t help.

    • http://evizions.com eVizions

      The Cashman/Oppenheimer regime has only been in charge of drafting for the last few years. It’s way too early to determine what kind of an impact they have had… actually, scratch that – so far they have put together some drafts that have produced some damn good talent (see Chamberlain, Joba). I think we are definitely headed in the right direction. And I wouldn’t call this last draft a ‘disaster’… Cole was a great pick by all accounts, he just happened to change his mind and not sign. And there is definitely some good talent in the group that could be major leaguers in 4-5 years.

      • Chris C.

        “The Cashman/Oppenheimer regime has only been in charge of drafting for the last few years.”

        This year’s draft was totally embarassing for the Yankees. Cashman should clean house and make sure that never happens again.

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos

          WHY THE FUCK IS MY BURRITO TAKING THIS LONG TO COOK IN THIS MICROWAVE?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!?

        • AndrewYF

          You’re evaluating a draft before most of the players even get to play professionally?

          Well, I guess it’s just more par-for-the-course stupidity for you.

          • Chris C.

            Dude, their first and third round picks aren’t even signed with the team! That alone makes the draft dissappointing. Sure, a few guys piked in the accompanying rounds may end up panning out, but those two draft spots not even showing up to camp is crap.

            • Tony

              You’re an idiot Chris. The 3rd round guy got bad advance. He is a one pitch pitcher who relies on a gimmick. Good luck to him next year.

              The other kid wanted to go to UCLA. The father beat it into his head.

              You can’t evaluate a draft that only happened this year. God, you are stupid.

  • Jon

    How much does this really prove, sure 4 of the top 11 youngest teams made the playoffs, but so did 3 of the top 11 oldest teams. And the 3 youngest teams only combined for 6 more wins then the 3 oldest. Is that really enough to show that going young is so effective?

  • Gary

    No Carlos Marmol? The Mets would give the Cubs half of the new skyboxes for him as a set up man who has lights out great stuff.

  • ortforshort

    Because the Yankees draft near the bottom each year, they’ll never be able to build a contending club using their farm system alone. Every year the few blue chippers are long gone by the time its the Yankees turn. Cashman and Oppenheimer have done better than expected considering where the Yankees draft. Also, they’ve only gotten serious about the farm system a few years ago, so its not surprising that the Yankees are far behind most clubs in young talent. That’s why its imperative that the Yankees go after the young studs in free agency. Its the only way they can compete. This year its mandatory to get Sabbathia and Teixeira or the Yankees will fall even farther behind their division rivals.

    • Chris C.

      “Because the Yankees draft near the bottom each year, they’ll never be able to build a contending club using their farm system alone.”

      Huh? Near the bottom of what? The first round? If they let all their free agents walk, they’d pick up about 8-10 1st to 2nd round picks as compensation for their signing elsewhere.

      Look at the Red Sox……….was Lester picked at the top of the draft? Or Masterson? Or Hanley Ramirez and Sanchez, which netted them Beckett and Lowell? How about Youkilas? Lowrie? Ellsbury? Papelbon? MAtsuzaka? Delcarmen? Okajima? Bucholtz?
      AND……………..PEDROIA!!! Guess where he was drafted? HE WASN”T!! He was passed over for about 1000 rounds of the draft from every team.
      Youkilas, Pedroia, Papelbon, and Lester are actually collectively better than the four Top 10 draft picks TB currently has on their roster.

      Sorry, pal…….it’s not where you draft. It’s HOW you draft.
      The Red Sox are tremendous at this…….the Yankees aren’t.

      • Tony

        Chris the Red Sox fan is at it again. Let’s point and laugh.

    • Chris C.

      “Every year the few blue chippers are long gone by the time its the Yankees turn.”

      This isn’t the NBA draft. There are blue-chippers available for the first few rounds. You also neglected to mention that alot of blue-chippers fall to the Yankees because the small market teams don’t want to have to deal with their agent…….a guy by the name of Boras.

      “Cashman and Oppenheimer have done better than expected considering where the Yankees draft.”

      How so? Aside from Kennedy and Hughes, I can’t think of a single first rounder the Yankees have taken over the past 10 years that has done anything of significance. Heck, even those two haven’t yet!

      “Also, they’ve only gotten serious about the farm system a few years ago, so its not surprising that the Yankees are far behind most clubs in young talent.”

      It’s VERY surprising that a team with the money and resources that the Yankees have would neglect ANYTHING! How the hell can a team with two surefire current future Hall of Famers on it from their own farm system end up neglecting that kind of talent source?

      “This year its mandatory to get Sabbathia and Teixeira or the Yankees will fall even farther behind their division rivals.”

      How sad is it that considering the Yankees have a 200 million dollar payroll, they still need the two best available free agents out there just to COMPETE.
      It’s sad how right you are!

      • Tony

        Chris the Red Sox fan is here again. Ignore the troll.

  • ortforshort

    You can’t dispute that the Red Sox and the Angels have drafted well over the past several years, but the exceptions prove the rule. Now that other teams like the Yankees have decided to persue and spend more on supposedly unsignable players, those two clubs will most likely find it more difficult to do as well in the draft as they have in the recent past. Meanwhile, now that the Yankees have finally gotten serious about player development, I expect that they’ll be doing a lot better. I don’t see it as being sad that the Yankees are spending 200 million on their payroll. Why is 200 million some sort of magic number that you’re not supposed to exceed? The Yankees took in around half a billion last year. If the economy had held up, they probably would have taken in another 100 million on top of that with the new ballpark next year. They can afford to spend. The Yankees business model is stay in contention and you’ll bring in a lot of money. Unclear where the sad part of that is. They need to sign Teixeira and Sabbathia both to stay in contention next year – so do it – user your resources. If the Yankees don’t spend, they’ll lose a lot more in revenue than they spend on payroll. Anyway, if they draft better in the future, maybe the Yankees can save a few bucks in payroll, but its not a mandatory thing.