Quick Hits: Yankee Stadium, Mariano, Halsey, IIATMS


A few links that either A) are on subjects which have been beaten to death, or B) aren’t the stuff full posts are made of.

  • Dave Allen of FanGraphs looks at the home runs in the new Yankee Stadium by analyzing home runs per ball in air rate by angle. In terms of home run rates he finds no difference in left field, and only a slight increase in right — for right-handed batters. For lefties there’s a significant statistical difference. He concludes: “So it could be that there have just been more power lefties hitting at Yankee Stadium this year compared to 2005-2008. But since the largest increase in HR rate is in the same area of largest outfield fence change I think it is that fence change that is responsible.”
  • Meanwhile, at ESPN.com, Tristan Cockcroft tackles the same topic. His is less technical, as he focused more on the narrative of the Yankee Stadium home run pace. He does dig up an interesting tidbit: while there have been 12 home runs hit at the new Stadium which wouldn’t have left the old park, there have also been seven hits in the new yard which would have left the old one. Contrary to Allen, Cockcroft says, without much more than a hittrackeronline.com notation, “the difference in dimensions alone cannot explain this home run surge.”
  • Mike Ashmore catches up with former Yank Brad Halsey, who is currently pitching for the Long Island Ducks — and not doing so hot. It appears his torn labrum in 2007 has caused considerable damage to his career.
  • Over at Beyond the Boxscore, an experiment based on the almost-trade of Mariano. It looks at the target, David Wells, vs. Mo, based on wins above replacement. Mo is handicapped because of his limited innings in the pen, but even so he matches up well with Wells. Think about it this way: in terms of WAR, the greatest closer of all time matches up with a good, but not great, starter. You can speak to intangibles all you want, and there’s no doubt there are many at play, but in terms of value added to the team, it takes one helluva reliever to match a middle of the rotation starter.
  • Make sure to stop by and say hi to Jason, as It’s About the Money, Stupid has some new digs.
Categories : Links


  1. radnom says:

    Of course the NYS is helping lefties more than righties…the supposed wind tunnel and the most significan wall changes are out in right.

    I wonder if anyone assumed that, in the first year Fenway opened, that there were just better right handed hitters playing in Boston that year, because only one side of the split befitted from the split.

    At this point its the stadium.

    Also, Wells was no middle of the rotation starter.

  2. Tim says:

    Home “rums”.

  3. “You can speak to intangibles all you want, and there’s no doubt there are many at play, but in terms of value added to the team, it takes one helluva reliever the best reliever in not just human history, but the history of the entire universe, including all the aggregate histories of any other forms of sentient life not yet known to mankind to match a middle of the rotation starter.”


    And to answer everyone’s follow-up question, no, no other reliever is worth a middle of the rotation starter. Not Lidge, not Nathan, not Soria, not Papelblownsave, not Walk-Rod, not Goose Gossage, not Hoyt Wilhelm, none of them. Jamie Moyer and David Wells are better players than all those non-Mo closers.

  4. Jon says:

    I’ll take the great closer over the good starter. Ask bobby cox if he’d trade his #3 starter for Mo.

    • Rob in CT says:

      This only works if you have a surplus of good starters. If you don’t, you just opened a hole in your rotation and the dropoff from your David Wells clone to his replacement will likely be greater than the improvement you get from replacing your closer with Mo.

    • Bobby Cox would probably not do that trade. The difference in baseball knowledge between fans who think they know everything and team officials who actually work at the highest levels of the sport is immense.

      • jsbrendog says:

        gargantuan if you will

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

        The proof that you’re correct is how relatively little teams get for closers:

        The Mariners, essentially, got Heilman and Guitierez for J.J. Putz (messy because of the three-way nature of the deal).

        The A’s had to add a young starting pitcher that made 32 starts in the majors last year and a young outfielder to Huston Street to get Holliday.

        And Putz and Street are, when healthy, really good closers.

        • jsbrendog says:

          they also got endy chavez


        • The A’s had to add a young starting pitcher that made 32 starts in the majors last year and a young outfielder to Huston Street to get Holliday.

          I love how that deal has morphed into a “Street for Holliday” deal.

          The centerpiece of that trade, both in terms of the player the Rockies wanted and the player the A’s didn’t want to part with, was Carlos Gonzalez. He was the blue-chip of the three man package the A’s sent to get Holliday. Gonzalez is a five-tool centerfielder who was once the gem of the Diamondbacks system considered a tiny notch below Justin Upton and was part of the Dan Haren fleecing. Baseball America had Gonzalez as the #32 and #18 prospect in all of baseball in ’06 and ’07 respectively.

          Compared to Gonzalez, Street was practically a throw-in. Calling him just a “young outfielder” who was added to the Street-Holliday deal is a misnomer. Street was added to the Gonzalez-Holliday deal.

          • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

            I stand corrected.

            Although, as we always say here, you never know which prospects are going to pan out, and which will not. Street was the known commodity in the deal.

            Your point, though, only bolsters my point that teams don’t seem to get much in return for closers, even good ones.

            • Exactly. Street was a good closer, but he wasn’t valued as highly by the Rockies as the unproven minor league five-tool outfield prospect and the 25 year old lefty starter prospect.

              Incidentally, it’s not a coincidence that the Rockies have also put Street right back on the market. Because they know the difference between him and Manny Corpas isn’t big enough to warrant them spending huge money to retain Street when he hits free agency.

              Because they’re specialists, who’s utility is limited by the position they play.

          • radnom says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong (and I very well may be), but hadn’t the shine sort of worn off by the time that trade was made?
            I mean, calling him a “young outfielder” obviously sells short his importance in that trade, but my understanding was that questions were starting to pop up about his bat and the Rockies were sort of hoping a change of senery/Coors Field would help him out.

            Then again, I havn’t exactly been following the guy that closely.

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

              At the risk of sounding defensive (and no, I don’t want “I Remember Celerino Sanchez gets defensive” added to the drink list), I wasn’t trying to sell Gonzalez short. I didn’t realize he was such a big prospect. I remember the Yanks playing the A’s and him seeming like a Carlos Gomez type to me, not an uber prospect.

              But since my point was that closers don’t get much on the trade market, it would have been in my best interest to amp up Gonzalez’s value, not run him down. So I wasn’t puprosely downgrading Gonzalez to make my point.

              I am not Nathan Thurm!

      • Bo says:

        The Braves win 4 titles if they had Mo in the pen.

    • Nady Nation says:

      You mean, like his number 3 starter back in the day? I doubt it. Whoever you’d wanna name as the 3 in their rotation, (Smoltz/Glavine/Maddux) is more valuable than an elite closer.

      • radnom says:

        Yes, because that is a totally normal situation to have a rotation with three guys like Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine in their prime….I’m sure that is exactly what the original poster had in mind when he asked this.


        • He probably wouldn’t trade Jair Jurrjens straight up for a great non-Mo closer either.

          • Exactly. As I said above, the ONLY, ONLY way a manager can ever trade a #3 starter for a closer and not have it be an epic mistake is if that closer is Mariano Rivera. Because Rivera is otherworldly good. Trading a #3 for just a “good” closer, like a Nathan or a Soria, is a mammoth mistake.

            It’s like my old saw about drafting a placekicker on day one: Unless you can find a guy who’s not just the greatest kicker in the history of the game but a guy who’s actually inhumanly good, a kicker that can have a 100% accuracy rate and knock down 80 yard field goals like it was candy, then it’s a mistake to waste an early-round draft pick on a specialist.

            Closers are specialists. Their impact is severely limited due to the nature of the game. So, in order for a specialist to be worth a merely average normal player, that specialist can’t be just “good” or “great”, he has to be insanely, unhumanly, “I didn’t know shit like that was possible and we’ll never ever see anyone this good ever again” level great.

            • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

              And now we have to drink …

            • keith says:

              ROBO-PUNTER is a term used to describe a theoretical robot (or possibly cyborg) punter whose punts — through a combination of power, precision, and exaggerated hangtime – are downed at the opposing team’s one-yard line every time.

              The term came to prominence at Football Outsiders where it had its genesis during an off-season draft-related discussion.[1] It was proposed that no punter, not even one as skilled as the one described above, could ever be worth the first pick in the draft or the multi-million-dollar salary such a pick would command. The theoretical player was quickly seized upon by other posters, with various contributors assigning the moniker of ROBO-PUNTER, further describing its abilities, and speculating on the potential salary-cap structure and overall strategy of a team with ROBO-PUNTER on its roster.

            • Line of Gennari says:

              Does the value of the specialist go up in the playoffs as compared to the regular season? If so, is a great closer worth more than their ‘on paper’ value or WPA or whatever the right number is, because they can help you win a short series?

              • Yes. But, no more than how much other good players value also goes up.

                Is Mo more valuable in the playoffs than he is in the regular season? Yup.

                Are David Cone, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, and El Duque also more valuable? Yup. Can great starters help you win a short series just as much as a great closer can? Yes.

                In fact, starters probably have their value magnified even more than closers do, since they can pitch a larger percentage of the innings with greater frequency in a short series than they can in the regular season (due to more off days).

                • Line of Gennari says:

                  So starters are specialists, in a way, too. What I was getting at was that in the regular season, you can tolerate a 3 game losing streak, because you have next week to make up for it. Obviously not in the playoffs. If one hitter goes into a big slump, you have 8 others who can pick him up. But if you rely on one dude to pitch the close innings in every game, that guy has to be on his game all the time or your chance of a losing streak will go up…maybe, right?

                  So maybe all pitchers are worth more, percentage wise, compared to position players, in the post-season? Starters are magnified most (more innings or more games), then late inning elite relievers, then good position players?

                • No.

                  In terms of both value and impact, it goes (in declining order)

                  Everyday position players > starting pitchers > relief pitchers

                • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

                  Everyone take a drink …

                • Line of Gennari says:

                  Ridiculous upside: I’m not asking which players are the most valuable or have the most impact. I’m asking which players jump the most, proportionally, in value/impact, in a short series, relative to their value in the regular season.

                • I know what you’re asking.

                  The answer is no, relievers don’t jump up in value to become more valuable in a short series. The pecking order in the regular season and a short postseason series is the same. The increase in value of a good player, whether he’s a starter, reliever, or position player, is the same.

                • Line of Gennari says:

                  Ridiculous Upside: you sayd “I know what you’re asking.”

                  To quote Seinfeld, I don’t think ya do! (Kidding…but your answer confuses me.)

                  “The answer is no, relievers don’t jump up in value to become more valuable in a short series. The pecking order in the regular season and a short postseason series is the same. The increase in value of a good player, whether he’s a starter, reliever, or position player, is the same.”

                  Before you said yes, all good players jump in value in the playoffs.

                  I’m not asking if the pecking order changes. Let me see how to explain what I’m asking…

                  You have a stud starter, Beckett ’07, and he’s worth 2 million units of baseball value for his regular season.

                  You have Manny, worth 4 million units.

                  And you have Papelbon, worth 1 million. These units are whatever stat would measure value equivalently for all kinds of players.

                  In the playoffs, because there’s more at stake, more leverage or whatever, let’s say Manny’s value goes up to 4.4 (10%). Beckett goes up to 2.2. Is it possible Papelbon goes up to 1.5 (50%)? The pecking order is still the same, he’s still the least valuable. But the special situation of the playoffs increases his exposure and value to the team more than it increases the value of the other players? The percentages I give are just to give you the idea. I’m not saying they mean anything quantitatively.

                • Before you said yes, all good players jump in value in the playoffs.

                  Sorry. I meant to say that no, while relievers do increase in value/utility in a short series, it’s not enough of an increase in value to make them more valuable than anyone else in the pecking order, because everyone else is also increasing in value and the initial value of relievers is so much smaller.

                  As for all the rest of what you said… um, Sure? I guess? We’re venturing into the academic level of hairsplitting that bores me (and probably the rest of the board). So, whatever. I’ll stand by my statement: whatever marginal utility upgrade relievers can enjoy by being in a short series and being able to be used everyday, they’re still not valuable enough in either scenario to be worth a starter or an everyday player. If you’re saying something more specific than that, I’ll concede it as long as that end result remains.

                • JP says:

                  K. ‘Zactly.

                  What made me march down this road of minutiae was the discussion over whether you’d trade Mariano for Wells, or Mariano for Glavine. Those examples – Mo for Wells or Glavine, are so ridiculous that they are laughable. But….what if you venture further down in the talent pool? What I was wondering was if you had two pitchers of identical *real* value, one a closer, and one a starter, would you trade for the closer, because that guy’s value will pay off fractionally more in the playoffs?

                  I find this question slightly more interesting than academic minutiae and definitely not boring. But you can go back to sleep if you want.

                • JP says:

                  Oh and while I doubt many people are reading anymore, if you picked up on the inconsistency, yes it’s the same JP and I’m also Line of Gennari…the latter is a screen name I use often for blogs.
                  I have never used “JP” for a cyberspace identity before…it’s my first two initials…and I have no idea why I used it when I started posting here. Anyway, since the first day I’ve been intending to change, but it never seemed appropriate since I was mired in lengthy discussions such as this one…I intend to use my more typical cyberspace name from here on, but in this particular reply I used a browser window that still had JP as the default reply name.

          • radnom says:

            Of course he wouldn’t. I just thought it funny that Nation found it necessary to point out that Cox would not trade Glavine in his prime for a closer.

        • Nady Nation says:

          I guess I just didn’t understand why Bobby Cox, of all managers, was brought into the equation then.

          • radnom says:

            Yeah, I’m assuming he just was going for a wise, experienced respected manager type.

            Bobby’s been around with his team longer than anyone else, right?

          • JohnnyC says:

            It’s the myth propounded by the MSM that what separated the Braves from the Yankees in the ’90s was…wait for it…Mariano (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).

            • And, had you taken John Smoltz or Tom Glavine off those teams and replaced him with Mariano Rivera, they probably don’t win the one title they did win, and most certainly don’t win 13 NL East crowns in a row.

              • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

                Just playing devil’s advocate, but wouldn’t the thought of having someone like Mo at the end of the game have made Bobby Cox quicker to take out Maddox, Smoltz or Glavine earlier in games, thereby saving them innings, so they could be that much more stronger come post-season time? If you substitute Mo for Glavine maybe you don’t win 13 East titles in a row, but maybe you wim more than 1 World Series title.

                BTW, I’m offended that mentioning Melvin by me isn’t in the drinking game.

                • BTW, I’m offended that mentioning Melvin by me isn’t in the drinking game.

                  A thousand pardons. I’m really embarrassed by that, that’s a huge oversight on my part. I hope you can forgive me.

                • Andy in Sunny Daytona says:

                  The damage is done….Melvin had his worst game of the year yesterday. Why? It’s because of the omission. He is omniscient after all, He saw it coming.

                • I Remember Celerino Sanchez says:

                  No, Melvin chose to pitch poorly so as not to upstage Mo’s big day. Melvin is a kind, humble and thoughtful deity.

              • Bo says:

                You’re off your rocker if you don’t think the Braves win more titles with Mo. They could have had any decent #3 replace Glavine and they wouldnt have missed a beat.

    • Mattingly's Love Child says:

      Oh, and most managers don’t have that much say in trading players anyways. Unless they have someone who is complete horse-shit or a favorite, they generally leave that up to the GM.

      If Bobby Cox ever asked Frank Wren to do that, even Frank Wren would say, “umm no”.

  5. BklynJT says:

    And that is why it makes no sense to use WAR when comparing value of starting pitcher to relief pitcher.

  6. In light of that bangwagon we all did in response to Jon’s little comment of “Ask bobby cox if he’d trade his #3 starter for Mo.”, maybe we need to add “Every time the board dogpiles someone” to the drinking game.

    • Mattingly's Love Child says:

      Good point.

    • radnom says:

      “Every time the board dogpiles someone”

      There is a lot I could say here….but I’m not going to touch this one….

    • Mattingly's Love Child says:

      It’s like when 2 defensive linemen have the QB wrapped up for a sack, and then a linebacker piles on to get credit for half a sac. There are certain subjects that send a bunch of us falling over each other to respond to….

  7. Jersey says:

    Y’all watching this Bergesen kid put the cuffs on the Sox? Lawd have mercy

  8. Jon says:

    stats are overrated. No manager would take a 3 over a top rp

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