Jan
22

Check out those guns

By

Over at The Hardball Times, John Walsh analyzed the outfield arms across baseball. He uses a rigorous methodology which you can read about at THT to come up with a metric that “represent[s] the number of runs that an average fielder would save playing half his games in [his team's home] park.” The numbers for the 2008 Yanks were not pretty. Bobby Abreu and Johnny Damon cost the Yanks -9.7 below average, and while Melky’s center field contributions were positive, his 3.0 runs saved above average mark couldn’t counteract the corners. Xavier Nady, splitting time between two teams, put up a 4.4 positive contribution. It will be interesting to see how the seemingly revamped Yankee outfield does in 2009, and these numbers don’t make a strong case for Damon in the outfield.

Categories : Asides, Defense
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Abreu was so bad in the field, that as much as I love him, I think he improves the Yankees just by his abscence from the field.

    Ooh, I never realized you could type in multi-color…

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      or not.

    • andrew

      I’m pretty sure Abreu’s VORP was around 29 last year, if you factor in the 10 he cost on us on defense that’s about 20 runs above average. You’d need to have a guy with pretty good offense/defense to replace Abreu’s production. Nady was 4.5 runs above average defensively and about 7 offensively. Unfortunately, Abreu –> Nady appears to be a downgrade.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        ‘s why I said Abreu was so bad in the field.

        Nady’s bat is a downgrade; his fielding is not.

        • andrew

          Abreu was so bad in the field I think he improves the Yankees just by his abscence from the field.

          Sorry for misinterpreting, but nowhere does it say that you were referring solely to the Yankees improving in the field. Seemed to me like you were saying, the fact that his fielding was so atrocious, his defense being removed from the team improves the Yankees overall.

          • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

            My apologies for being unclear.

            • andrew

              No worries.

      • greg

        Vorp is Value over replacement level, not average. If you think Abreu was only 10 runs below average on defense(I would put it closer to 20), then that puts him at +19 above replacement which is just an average player.
        For next year, Nady projects to be average with the glove and around 6-7 runs above average with the bat. So he is 6-7 runs above average.
        Abreu projects to around 16 runs above average with the bat and AT LEAST -12 with the glove. To me, Nady is an upgrade overall because of Abreu’s putrid defense.

        source:
        http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....osition=OF
        http://www.fangraphs.com/stats.....osition=OF

      • steve (different one)

        Nady was 4.5 runs above average defensively and about 7 offensively

        there is no way this is right.

        where are you getting that Nady was only 7 runs above average on offense?

        • steve (different one)

          i see what you did.

          you took Nady’s VORP as a Yankee and forgot to add in the 2/3’s of a season he had in Pittsburgh.

          VORP in Pittsburgh – 30.7
          VORP in NY – 6.8

          VORP – 37.5 (yes, this is inexact when switching leagues, but it’s close enough).

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Shouldn’t we be using wRAA, and not VORP? VORP is a bigger/more complex metric that is tied to the replacement player standard; wRAA is simply runs above average. Since wRAA is how much better a given player is offensively to an average player, and UZR/150 is how much better a given player is defensively to an average player, seems to me that wRAA + UZR/150 would give you a good, effective snapshot of how much better or worse a player truly is.

            Abreu: 22.4 wRAA + -25.9 UZR/150 = -3.5
            Nady: 22.8 wRAA + 0.6 UZR/150 = 23.4

            Now, if you claim that Nady had a career year and won’t post a plus-22 wRAA again, you have a good point; it’s the first time he’s ever had a wRAA that high. Let’s look at the past three years, then:

            Abreu:
            wRAA – ’06: 36.0, ’07: 17.0, ’08: 22.4 = 75.4 runs above average 2006-2008
            USR/150 – ’06: -15.4, ’07: -3.9, ’08: -25.9 = 45.2 runs below average 2006-2008
            75.4 + -45.2 = 30.2 / 3 = 10.1 runs above average

            Nady:
            wRAA – ’06: 1.8, ’07: 6.0, ’08: 22.8 = 30.6 runs above average 2006-2008
            USR/150 – ’06: -6.2, ’07: -2.3, ’08: 0.6 = 7.9 runs below average 2006-2008
            30.6 + -7.9 = 22.7 /3 = 7.6 runs above average per year

            So, over the past three seasons, Bobby Abreu has been worth about two and a half more runs (over a 162 game season, mind you) over Xavier Nady. Two and a half. That’s it. Not wins… runs.

            Oh, and Bobby will be 35 in two months and he’s regressing rapidly, while Nady won’t turn 31 until after the World Series and his numbers are improving across the board. And Nady made 5.927M over those past three years; Bobby made 44M.

            That’s $38,073,000.00 USD that we (and the Phillies) paid Bobby for that extra seven and a half runs over three years versus what we could have had for Xavier Nady.

  • Andy In Sunny Daytona

    Damn Melky can’t do anything right. Even when he’s better than average, he’s just not good enough.

  • VOIII

    Anyone know how Swisher’s arm is? Is it RF good?

    • Chris G

      Doesn’t look like he was rate this year.

      Here is what they had to say in 2007
      http://www.hardballtimes.com/m.....s-of-2007/

      “Have a look at Nick Swisher’s Kill+ — actually, he doesn’t have one. To be fair, Swisher did have one extra assist in his 481 center field innings. The Oakland outfielder also played around 400 innings in right field, where he recorded a grand total of two assists (both extra) and had a Runs/200 of -0.4. I’m not sure how the A’s plan to deploy Swisher and Travis Buck in left and right field, but it actually (from the throwing viewpoint) doesn’t matter much. Buck was pretty bad, too, in limited action (-9 Runs/200 in 57 opps). [Update: scratch that last thought, Swish is now a White Sox.]“

      • VOIII

        Man I miss Paul Oneill

        • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Man I miss Paul Oneill

          I’d be more than happy to grab a broom from the utility closet at my job and use it to beat the shit out of the watercooler in the lounge, if it would make you feel any better…

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

    You know, if Johnny Damon, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher are the starting outfielders, then the Yankees could boast the third-best defensive outfield in the AL East; and seeing as how the Rays and Orioles would rank numbers one and two, respectively, that ranking for the Yankees is nothing to scoff at.

    • andrew

      3rd best out of 5.

      *scoffs*

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

      Man, if the O’s go with Pie-Jones-Markakis … the Yanks are going to have to hope a lot of groundballs find the hols, because nothing is dropping in that outfield. Ditto Crawford-Upton-Perez.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        y’know, having inked Markakis long term and that Wieters guy, the AL East it’s concievable in 2010 that Toronto’s looking at the basement unless they can get themselves a bat…

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

          Except neither Weiters nor Markakis pitches, and Leo Mazzone had some choice words for the Orioles. I won’t be worried about Baltimore as long as Angelos is around.

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

            They have arms on the way. Matusz and Tillman are better than anyone in the Yanks’ system, hitters included. Jake Arrieta isn’t far behind them. They’ll be real good sooner than most may think.

            • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

              I dunno how you guys feel about gambling, but I’m willing to say that by the end of 2010 the Orioles will finish above 5th in the AL East.

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

                I’d hardly call that high expectations!

                • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

                  Haha, well, I was going to say higher than fourth, but I can’t believe Toronto won’t, between now and then, find an actual hitter.

                  Though, honestly, I could see the Red Sox falling. But the Rays will be good for a while and as long as the Yankees are healthy, I think they’ll be up there, too.

                  Big if, though,.

              • JeffG

                I’d take that bet… I’ll put money on that they are last and by at least five games.

            • Mike Pop

              Wait, so Matusz and Tillman have more upside than Brackman and Hughes?

          • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

            ““If I had to do it all over again, I would have never done it,” said Leo Mazzone, mostly a national television analyst on baseball these days, reflecting from his home in Roswell.”

            As in Roswell, New Mexico?

            Who knew, turns out Mazzone’s an Alien.

      • JeffG

        At least in the case of the O’s – we should definately be able to hit balls where they can’t catch them – over the fence.

        Pre-season prediction Koji Uehara is going to blow as bad as Kei Igawa. The rest of their rotation? who?

  • Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

    I think one of the more under reported stories of this Yankee off season is the HUGE upgrades in fielding. The OF should much better, the right side of the infield should be as well.

    Of course, when your fielding is better it makes your pitching look better. And they’ve upgraded the rotation substantially as well over last year. If 89 wins is still the baseline, the Yanks should have a VERY good year. They would have improved substantially if they just got everyone back healthy, but this team is improved beyond that.

    • JJ

      It’s the same OF as last yr.

      And I’d like to find one scout who thinks Nady is a better def player than Abreu.

      • Rob in CT

        Every single advanced defensive metric pegged Abreu as one of the worst fielders in baseball last season. And he’s been bad (not THAT bad, but bad) for years.

        Nady is slightly above average. That’s a big upgrade. I’ll miss the OBP though.

        • Rob in CT

          In addition, I watched ~150 Yankee games last season, and my eyes agree with the stats. He sucked on defense.

      • A.D.

        For the most part I haven’t heard anyone defend Abreu’s ability to play RF

      • steve (different one)

        And I’d like to find one scout who thinks Nady is a better def player than Abreu.

        why don’t you provide the scouts who thinks Abreu is better than Nady?

        what a silly argument. there is no way to dispute what you said b/c there is no way to call up a bunch of scouts and ask them.

        if your eyes couldn’t tell you that Abreu stunk last year, then i don’t know what to tell you.

        • A.D.

          Agreed.

          Eyes + Metrics + Popular opinion = he stinks.

          I also have yet to hear one thought out/sourced argument in favor of Abreu’s defense

          • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Bobby Abreu makes Jose Canseco look like Willie Mays.

  • JJ

    Defensive metrics are not reliable.

    • steve (different one)

      no, you are right, they are not.

      BUT…..when a bunch of different systems all converge on a similar conclusion for a player, shouldn’t you at least give it a little credence?

      the numbers said Abreu was bad. my eyes said he was bad.

      and MOST IMPORTANTLY, the MARKET is saying he is bad.

      if teams thought his defense was good, he’d be signed already, no? a 120 OPS+, good defense, and no draft pick compensation? what’s the holdup?

      • huuz

        what’s the holdup

        $ + ego = holdup

        newton’s 4th law, i think. either that or a corollary to the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

        it’s science…

        • steve (different one)

          he hasn’t had a single offer.

          • huuz

            are we not agreeing with each other?

            he thinks he’s worth more than the rest of the world thinks ($) in addition to the fact that he is so far unwilling to lower his price (ego). this results in the fact that he hasn’t had a single offer (your point).

            • steve (different one)

              yes.

              i’m just saying that his ego isn’t keeping him from turning down ACTUAL offers, like Pettitte, Manny, Randy Wolf, etc.

              i am saying there hasn’t even been the slightest of interest.

              yes, we are agreeing, just pointing out the subtle difference between his ego and say, Pettitte’s ego.

              • huuz

                fair enough

  • pat

    Hmm i could have sworn there was about 100 more commens here last night. I keenly remember thunderous banhammers, myspace profiles, aaron carter references, vicious personal attacks and more. Must have been aurora borealis playing tricks on my mind.

    • pat

      Yes I am an idiot. I came to that conclusion years ago and have been proving it daily since then. Ignore me please.

  • Melvin Crousett

    Edited by RAB: Enough with the fake posting names already. No one needs to pick any real names, but no more posing as baseball players.

    • Tom Zig

      Who is Melvin Crousett anyways?

      • pat

        A lefty releif pitcher we have down in the dominican. He’s a bit old for the league he played in and as a result put up some ludicrous video game numbers. It’s sort of an inside joke that has taken on a life of it’s own. Look him up on milb.com his stats are redic. Also check the profile mike made of him. Melvin, Son of MO will deliver us from evil.

        • Andy In Sunny Daytona

          At least spell the man’s name right. Melvin CrouSSeTT. 2 s’ and 2 t’s. I’m mean you don’t spell it Jesis do you?

        • A.D.

          I heard he throws 110

  • A.D.

    these numbers don’t make a strong case for Damon in the outfield.

    While we all know that Damon has no arm, the author of the article even sites that throwing doesn’t make a huge difference in game out come. Giles to Kemp, the biggest extreme, would technically be 2 wins a year, so Damon to Soriano might be 1 win a year, but toss in Damon’s UZR in LF and that nullifies the argument.

    • A.D.

      damn forgetting to close italics

      • A.D.

        and now they’re closed…..

        • Mike Pop

          I enjoyed this conversation with yourself.

  • A.D.

    These arm ratings, could have one make a case (though an odd one) that the play where Manny cut off Damon’s throw made sense, given Manny’s superior arm.

  • Zack

    As bad as the Yankees number were, Boston came in behind in both LF/RF and werent even listed for CF. So it just depends on what people/media chooses to point out.

    • Mike Pop

      According to Peter Gammons, they ranked 3rd in the entire game in defensive skills. Now Zack, that is what matters.

      • steve (different one)

        according to Peter Gammons, Jacoby Ellsbury’s tears can power rocket ships.

        • Mike Pop

          It’s all about grits, glory, and the love of the game. The money doesn’t matter.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          According to Peter Gammons, if you stare long enough into Kevin Youkilis’s dome, you’ll find the true meaning of life.

          • Mike Pop

            Have you ever stared into Youk’s eyes? It was like the first time I heard the Beatles.

            • steve (different one)

              i take it the first song you heard was Revolution #9?

              • Mike Pop

                Ahaha

  • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt
    • Mike Pop

      No hat tip? I feel the pain Matt.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Haha. Ouch. Our pride.

        Now back to memorizing the first nine lines of the Canterbury Tales. Awesome.

        • Mike Pop

          I gotta read Sonny’s Blues by Baldwin. Any idea, any good?

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            Nope. I was going to take a Black American Writers course here but I found out two days before I moved back in that it was at a different campus and had to juggle my schedule and ended up with Chaucer instead of regular British Literature and Women in 20th Century Literature instead of Black American Writers.

            Holy run on sentence, Batman!

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

            The Fire Next Time was good.

            • http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/CRsmithT1.jpg tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Also: Notes of a Native Son, Giovanni’s Room, Blues for Mr. Charlie, If Beale Street Could Talk.

  • ortforshort

    I read these articles about these new stats and my reaction is that I prefer to be a baseball fan than a statistician when I come to a sports website. Some guy comes up with a statistical study, draws some conclusions based on that study and then those conclucsions are parrot-ted here like they’re some sort of gospel. I don’t mind the studies, I do mind the treatment of the conclusions like they’re some indisputable thing. To evaluate them, I’d have to see what their analysis was, what their assumptions were, what they sampled, etc. etc and then spend even more time analyzing their analysis to see if I think it was valid and accurate – and that’s just to make a valid comment on their conclusions. The point of this is – report on the statistical study, but don’t act like the conclusions are gospel unless you’re willing to put in a reasonably rigorous defense of why you think their analysis is valid. To report that some dude made a study, which most likely happens to back whatever agenda you’ve got, and then act like the conclusions are indisputable without an explanation as to why you think that – is bogus.

    • Count Zero

      To evaluate them, I’d have to see what their analysis was, what their assumptions were, what they sampled, etc. etc and then spend even more time analyzing their analysis to see if I think it was valid and accurate – and that’s just to make a valid comment on their conclusions.

      Unless my eyes deceive me, Ben’s post says:

      John Walsh analyzed the outfield arms across baseball. He uses a rigorous methodology which you can read about at THT to come up with a metric that “represent[s] the number of runs that an average fielder would save playing half his games in [his team's home] park.”

      If you actually (heaven forbid) read the article, you will find that the author goes into a pretty detailed explanation of how it was done. So I guess the gist of your post would be:

      I can’t be bothered to actually read the article and I object to the fact that you did read it and tried to draw some conclusions from it. I stand by my right to remain ignorant and assume that others here also failed to read the article and are just as ignorant.

      Have I got that, right?