Open Thread: Who have been the most valuable Yankees? (Part III)


A third of the way through the season, I took at look at which players were contributing the most the Yankees in terms of wins over replacement, or WAR. We’ve been using that stat for a while, so I’m sure you’ve all seen it. It encompasses offense and defense relative to position, so it’s usefulness is apparent.

Two-thirds of the way through the season I checked back in, and found that for the most part, there wasn’t much movement up top. Now that the regular season is over, let’s take a look one more time at which players were most valuable to the team in 2009. First, the pitchers:

Top Five Pitchers

  1. CC Sabathia, 6.0 WAR
  2. Andy Pettitte, 3.3
  3. AJ Burnett, 3.1
  4. Phil Hughes, 2.2
  5. Mariano Rivera, 2.0

For comparison’s sake, Zack Greinke was far and away the most valuable pitcher in baseball this year at 9.4 WAR (Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum tied for second at 8.2 WAR). The last time a pitcher was that dominant was 2004, when Randy Johnson picked up 9.9 WAR. It’s pretty amazing to think that Phil Hughes was more valuable than Mo this year, though Phil did get a boost from his half-dozen starts. Joba Chamberlain (1.5) and Al Aceves (1.2) were the only other pitchers in the staff worth over a win. You can see the team’s full leaderboard here.

As a whole, the Yankee pitching staff was worth a total of 18.6 WAR, good for fifth best in the AL.

Top Five Position Players

  1. Derek Jeter, 7.4 WAR
  2. Mark Teixeira, 5.2
  3. Alex Rodriguez, 4.6
  4. Robinson Cano, 4.3
  5. Jorge Posada, 4.0

The most valuable position player in the game this year was … wait for it … Ben Zobrist at 8.5 WAR. Albert Pujols was right behind him (8.4), and Joe Mauer behind him (8.2). Those three plus Chase Utley were the only players in baseball this year more valuable than the Cap’n. Nick Swisher wasn’t too far behind Posada at 3.7 WAR, but after that it dropped off a bit. Here’s the team leaderboard.

Yankee position players were far and away the most valuable in the league this year, clocking in at a collective 38.3 WAR. Tampa Bay was second at 34.1, and no other team cracked the 30 WAR plateau. That’s domination, homes.

* * *

Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Eagles and Redskins are your Monday night game, and you’ve also got the Rangers and Islanders in action in separate contests as well. Feel free to talk about whatever you like, just make sure you follow the guidelines and be cool to each other.

Oh, and there’s not going to be a DotF tonight. Surprise plays the late game, so I’m going to just recap it tomorrow with tomorrow’s game. If you must know what happened, here’s the league scoreboard.

Categories : Analysis, Open Thread
  • Ivan

    Im surprise that Hughes has a 2.2 WAR. I guess there were situation in the 8th where a good amount of the games were decided I guess.

    And for all those guys thaat knocked Swisher, guy had a near 4.0 WAR.

    • Tom Zig

      Well Hughes was a starter for some time. So that’ll do it

    • radnom

      But…but…but……I thought 6th starter >>>> more important than closer
      /sarcasm (although people have posted that here previously)

      Sorry, I’m not a B-jobber by any means, but a dominant relief ace (of which they had two this year) is more valuable than mediocre starter.

      Times 10 in the playoffs.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

        But a mediocre 6th starter can be a good relief pitcher. But no, a great relief pitcher is not worth more than a serviceable starter.

        • radnom

          I’m talking relief ace (as in Rivera, Hughes or Joba before this year).

          How many 6th starters can do what they do?

          (Luckily Hughes and Joba are destined for much greater ceilings than sixth starters)

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

            I’m talking relief ace (as in Rivera, Hughes or Joba before this year).

            How many 6th starters can do what they do?
            Well Hughes was the 6th starter entering this year and as you see he turned into a great relief pitcher.

            • radnom

              Thats blatantly deceptive and you know it, don’t be ridiculous.

              Hughes has #1/2 stuff, if his ceiling was a 6th starter he would not be as good in the bullpen.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                You’re totally misinterpreting what we mean when we say that the sixth starter in Scranton is more valuable than the 8th inning specialist.

                Inherent in that statement is the implication that the 6th starter is actually a good MLB starter and not a scrub bust. It’s not that he’s a #6 caliber pitcher; it’s that he’s at minimum a #4 caliber pitcher and we have 6 starters who are #4 caliber or better. Rather than take that surplus good starter and move him to the pen, where his impact is limited, we should keep him in Scranton at the ready, because the likelihood of us lasting all season long without losing one of our top 5 starters is small.

                We need that 6th starter more than we need that 8th inning guy. And, the 6th starter is harder to get from outside the organization than the bullpen guy is.

                It’s not “Guy who’s ceiling is 6th starter >>>>>>> 8th inning dynamo. It’s “Surplus QUALITY starter in Scranton >>>>>>>> 8th inning dynamo.

                Maybe that’s why you’ve gotten it wrong this whole time; you were misinterpreting what I was saying.

                Hughes the starter >>>>>>> Hughes the reliever

                • radnom

                  1. I don’t disagree with anything you’re saying here, but I think you assume too much. Some people do make the exact claims you are not.

                  Many people have argued Hughes would much more valuable to the 2009 team this year as a 100ERA+ starter as opposed to what he is now.

                  Long term, he would have been more valueable starting

                • Salty Buggah

                  Given he’s provide 180+ innings, yes Hughes would be more valuable as a 100+ERA starter than a 65 IP relief ace. Easily.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  This season, he also would have been more valuable starting. What he does, no matter how awesome it looks to watch, could be done by a regular season combination of DRob and Ace and by a postseason combination of DRob, Ace, and Joba. Had Hughes remained a starter all year long, we wouldn’t be contemplating going to CC-AJ-Andy-CC on short rest four straight games to close out the WS in Games 4-5-6-7.

                • Chris

                  This season, he also would have been more valuable starting.

                  The only way you can make that argument is if you assume that he would have improved greatly as a starter if he had remained in the rotation. Based on his performance this year, he was more valuable as a reliever on a per month basis than as a starter.

              • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

                What? You exactly said dominant relief pitcher >>>> 6th starter.

                Hughes was the 6th starter. Yes he has ace like material but he’s still developing to use that potential. During his short time as a starter, he pitched like a 6th starter with mediocre numbers.

                Then he switched to the bullpen and he became the Bridge to Mo.

      • Salty Buggah

        “a dominant relief ace (of which they had two this year) is more valuable than mediocre starter”

        Eh, not really.

        • Salty Buggah

          We think of these guys as sucky but they had a higher (or an equal) )WAR than Hughes:

          Brad Penny (2.5)
          Jon Garland(2.2)
          Barry Zito (2.2)
          Joe Blanton (2.2)

          • radnom

            They also pitched a full seasons in the majors.

            Is WAR not a counting stat?

            • Salty Buggah

              Yea, but considering Mo pitched only 61 innings and Hughes pitched 51 in relief, Im not sure his WAR would be all that better anyway. Hughes has 34+ IP of starting in his WAR right now too. So you take that out, it’s not much, if any, of an improvement.

              • Chris

                If Hughes were in the pen all year, he would be about 2.7 WAR, beating all of those pitchers.

                • whozat

                  Nope. It’s his time as a starter that HELPED him rack up more WAR by increasing the number of innings he soaked up.

                • Chris

                  Umm…. No.

                  He was 1.8 RAR as a starter and 20.9 RAR as a reliever. So 90% of his value was as a reliever.

                  (You basically divide RAR by 10 to get WAR)

        • radnom

          Um, sorry yes really.

          Was Hughes this season more valuable than Chad Gaudan? (While both were on the team)

          How about in the playoffs?

          Especially for teams like the Yankees, who are destined to make the playoffs (practically) every year. Its not difficult to pick up serviceable #5/6 starters. Even if you are delusional to think they are more valuable in the regular season than a Hughes or Rivera, those guys play ZERO role in the playoffs (outside of emergency bullpen arms).

          Whereas (as Nate Silver has demonstrated) shutdown relievers are one of the most important factors to postseason success.

          Don’t take my word for it, just look at the WARs. But its easier just to go with a dismissive “not really” than actually think about anything.

          • Salty Buggah

            Of course good relief pitching is important. But look at the examples above of serviceable guys. Hughes was awesome and really really valuable but over a season if he could provide innings at a 100 ERA+, he’d at least as much valuable.

            Hughes was obviously more valuable than Gaudin due to better performance and more innings he provided.

            • radnom

              And yet, WAR ranks Hughes’ half season of relief pitching over Joba’s full season of 95 ERA +.

              Not to mention Joba as a starter is a complete non-factor in this playoff.

              Luckily for us, both these guys are destined for greater things than 2009 Joba.

              • Accent Shallow

                Because Fangraphs’ WAR uses FIP and IP as its basis, which I’m not crazy about. Hughes had an absurd FIP because he only allowed one home run in relief. IMO, WAR should be constructed using RA.

  • Free Mike Vick

    my most valuable Yankees…in this order:

    1)Cody Ransom

    2)Anthony Claggett

    3)Aroldis Chapman

    4)…..A-rod i guess.

  • Salty Buggah

    Nice, the Yanks ALCS championship gear ads are up. I was getting tired of the Philly NLCS ads.

  • will

    Teixeira was worth 5.2 WAR and Matt Holliday was worth 5.6. Does that sound right to anyone? Boras will probably argue that Holliday is worth even more than Tex.

    • pat

      Tex’s WAR is hampered by bad UZR stats. Wether or not they’re warranted is a different story Holliday is a plus defender which helps him greatly.

      • radnom

        Yeah, UZR is way too important in WAR considering how shitty it is (especially for certain positions).

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

          That entire statement is BS.

          I did not see UZR anywhere on how to calculate WAR. And again UZR tells exactly what it needs to, who good someone is at range.

          It’s not shitty just because you don’t want to believe in it.

          • Salty Buggah

            “And again UZR tells exactly what it needs to, who good someone is at range”


            • radnom

              Which is pretty useless as a defensive metric for a number of positions.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


                • Jim

                  Well, if the number is 1, he’s right.

                • pete

                  or 1.5-2 (on account of its being partially useful for 1B evaluation)

                • radnom

                  Yes, yes you are.

                  How is range AT ALL useful for catchers?

          • Januz

            Sports is not about what you do, but when you do it (Gaining 1 yard then 10 yards is better than 10 yards then 1 yard (Even though BOTH add up to 5.5 yards per carry)). UZR’s and statistical packages do not take that into account. Mark Teixeira’s play against Bobby Abreu in the 8th inning, may very well have saved the season, and there is no way you can convince me he is not a brilliant fielder (Perhaps the best at his position since the era of Don Mattingly and Keith Hernandez).

            • http://twitter.com/JamalG_BB Jamal G.

              … and there is no way you can convince me he is not a brilliant fielder …

              Actually, UZR rates him as the fourth-best fielding first basemen in MLB, with 1.9 runs saved above averaged based on the amount of errors he has made in the 2009 season.

              Maybe Mark Teixeira is just an excellent fielder with decent range.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Sports is not about what you do, but when you do it (Gaining 1 yard then 10 yards is better than 10 yards then 1 yard (Even though BOTH add up to 5.5 yards per carry)).

              Yeah… no, not at all. That’s possibly the dumbest thing you’ve ever said, Januz. Those two series of events are totally identical in all football situations. Moot.

              • Januz

                Those scenarios are quite different: Scenario 1 is first and ten, the second is second and 9 (Long yardage). Very different conditions.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Scenario A: Your drive starts at the 20 with first and 10. You rush for 1 yard and then ten yards, resulting in first and 10 from the 31.
                  Scenario B: Your drive starts at the 20 with first and 10. You rush for 10 yards and then 1 yard, resulting in second and 9 but the ball is still on the 31 yard line.

                  In either scenario, you have 69 yards to gain to get a touchdown.

                  There’s a difference. A negligible, academic difference.

                  Also, I love how you portray second and 9 as long yardage and something to be avoided, even though in Scenario A, on the play right before you get the first down with the 10 yard run, you were in (gasp!) second and 9.

                  OAKTAG your horrible analogy.

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  Wow, haven’t seen the “OAKTAG” in a while. Good to see it back.

              • themgmt

                1st and 10, 2nd and 9. Difference.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Scenario A:
                  Ball on the 20
                  Before the first play: 1st and 10
                  After the first play: 2nd and 9
                  After the second play: 1st and 10
                  Ball on the 31

                  Scenario B:
                  Ball on the 20
                  Before the first play: 1st and 10
                  After the first play: 1st and 10
                  After the second play: 2nd and 9
                  Ball on the 31


          • radnom

            That entire statement is BS.

            If UZR is actually not factored in WAR, then I admit I was mistaken but pat was under the same impression. By the way, I counter your link claiming UZR is not a factor in calculating WAR, with one that says it is.

            Whichever is true, there is misinformation out there.

            And again UZR tells exactly what it needs to, who good someone is at range.
            It’s not shitty just because you don’t want to believe in it.

            It shitty because thats not “exactly what it needs to tell us”. Or at least, people don’t use it that way. I believe its a fine representation of range (over the long term), but its widely used as a general defensive metric, even for positions where range doesn’t mean shit. If WAR is using it as a general defensive metric, compared across positions, then that is a real problem. But yes, thanks for misrepresenting my point.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              The relevant quotes from your link, emphasis mine:

              The stat used by WAR is ultimate zone rating (UZR), a concept that I admittedly don’t fully understand. However, those who are “in the know” seem to believe it’s the best metric currently out there

              One should note that UZR is relative to the league-average performance at a player’s position (in other words, it isn’t a universal stat). Therefore, a +15 UZR left-fielder is worth much less than a +15 center-fielder–they’re being compared to a different set of players. As Cameron puts it:

              “This isn’t because CF is any harder to play than LF, but simply because the people he would be compared to are much better defensively than the people he’s compared to as a left fielder.”

              Takeaway: UZR is king, but the position played is also important…

              • radnom

                Not sure of your point here.

                I’m not complaining about the fact that position played isn’t weighted, not was I under the assumption that this wasn’t the case.

                I merely take issue with the fact that UZR “is king”, considering its flaws (wild fluctuations year to year by stable, established players) and the fact that its borderline useless for some positions (who cares about a catcher’s range?).

                • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

                  Catchers have no range. And I have no idea where you getting that anyone here said UZR is king.

                • pat

                  Via Fangraphs…
                  In the Win Values calculations here, Fielding is fairly straight forward – it’s simply a player’s total UZR at all positions for the given year.

                  Once you add the wRAA, UZR, and position adjustment together, you have the sum of a player’s value above or below league average.


                • http://and-that-happened.blogspot.com Evan

                  At least between ’08 and ’09, the correlation between this year’s and last year’s UZR is about the same as wOBA or wRAA, stats which I don’t hear as much gruff regarding “wild fluctuations”: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....08-to-2009

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Thanks for the link. Here’s the relevant passage in regards to Holliday v. Tex:

            Since the same stats of an average AL player is better than the same stats of an average NL player (i.e., the AL is the better league), we have different replacement levels. Those levels are -2.5 wins per 162 games in the AL, and -2.0 wins in the NL.

            The positional adjustments are:
            +1.0 wins C
            +0.5 SS/CF
            +0.0 2B/3B
            -0.5 LF/RF/PH
            -1.0 1B
            -1.5 DH

            Holliday outWARs Tex because Tex plays a far easier defensive position and plays in the AL (where replacement level is higher).

            • radnom

              Shouldn’t the difference in replacement player by offset by the difference in competition between the leagues (its harder to put up good numbers in the AL, especially for pitchers)?

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Those are the position player weights. Pitchers are totally different.

                • radnom

                  Yes. But the entire level of competition is better in the AL than the NL. Replacement level pitcher as well.

          • Chris

            Fangraphs uses UZR to calculate the WAR.

            Here is the fangraphs explanation of WAR:

  • JGS

    Luis Castillo—1.0 WAR

    • Tom Zig

      Darrell Rasner was a 1.1 WAR last year

      • JGS

        Castillo was actually at 1.5 this year

        I was referring to 1.0 wins above replacement that Castillo got for the Yankees

        • Tom Zig

          ohhhh nice work.

        • vin

          Nice and subtle. I like it.

  • Brian

    I guess I’ll ask here sorry if this has been answered…is there going to be a post on how RAB thinks the WS roster should be constructed?

    • vin

      I believe Mike said in the chat that it would be forthcoming. But then again I could be mistaken. There definitely hasn’t been a post yet about it.

  • tim randle


    Angel Berroa 3B -3.2 -1.9 0.8 -0.1 -4.4 -0.4 ($2.0)
    Cody Ransom 3B -4.5 -4.3 2.9 0.2 -5.7 -0.6 ($2.6)

    so basically RAB did more for the Evil Empire ™ than these two did???

    • JGS

      it’s hard to put up a negative WAR–even Wang’s was positive for this year (0.1)

  • Januz

    People use far too many numbers and stats for baseball. I took classes like Regression Analysis so I understand the concept behind them, but it is out of hand. You could not find a better example than people using negative UZR’s to describe Mark Teizeira’s fielding. If it was not for Tex in the 8th inning, there might not even be a World Series trip (So much for stats). Another favorite of mine, was the Ellias Sports Bureau statistically ranking Capps of Pittsburgh above Alex Rodriguez a couple of years ago.
    In my mind, the Yankee MVP is Teixeira, because of the fact that not only did he lead the lead the league in RBI’s, and tie for Home Runs, but his Gold Glove calliber defense, has improved the others on the infield (Specifically Robinson Cano).

    • Salty Buggah

      Using one little example does nothing to prove UZR wrong. Tex is a great defender but has only average (slightly better in some yearslike in 2008) range. And that’s what UZR says.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

      You could not find a better example than people using negative UZR’s to describe Mark Teizeira’s fielding.

      I hate this misconception. A negative UZR does not mean one is bad at defense but doe snot have great range. Teix is a great defender despite his below average range. No one is saying he’s bad but his UZR shows that he has less than average range.

      It’s probably off this year because he’s had positive UZR’s in the past if I recall but still.

      • crapulent aka I said good day sir

        I hate doe snot. I have no idea what it has to do with UZR but it can only make it worse.

        • tim randle

          …doe urine, on the other hand, does wonders. when people say ‘on the other hand’ lots of times, it makes me wonder waht’s on the first hand? the answer: posada urine.

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

            People who live in rural areas actually BUY Coyote urine to keep Deer off their property.


            Natural predator. Scares the shit out of them.

      • vin

        You said “doe snot.” That made me laugh.

        Based on what I’ve seen, and trying to be as objective as possible, Tex has very good range. There could be a reason why the stats don’t reflect what I believe to be true:

        Not sure how “range” is being defined…

        For example, Tex charges balls very well. But maybe his skill here lies in his ability to make the right play, and make an accurate throw.

        He also tracks down balls over his head (usually in foul territory) extremely well. Not to mention that he climbs the ladder well (he’s no Cody Ransom, but who is?).

        My guess is the stat focuses on balls yanked down the line, and toward the 2nd base hole. There is also a chance that he backs off on balls towards 2nd because Robi has such good range – which would hurt his “range.”

        I guess I need to do more research on the stat.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

          Heh. I type too fast and I press the space before I have too. I rely on the spell check to take care of these things but I digress.

          But it’s true, UZR is flawed in the ways you mentioned. I admit I was rash in saying Teix’s range is below average, however I’m still going to say it wasn’t as good this year. But you need really large sample sizes to make accurate conclusions like 3 season worth and in the apst he’s been pretty good.

          I have to do research too but people act if UZR tells you if someone is good on defense or not which sometimes is not true depending on the position. It’s really important for outfielders more than first baseman. But people still think UZR is flawed based on the fact Teix is below average this season in range. But that’s all UZR does. Calculate range.

          • vin

            Fact is, the only 1B I would ever consider trading Tex for is Albert Pujols, and it has nothing to do with defense.

            Tex is great, and has helped transform the team in many ways.

            In the past, when the Yanks needed a big out, I always hoped to see the ball hit to Jeter. Not because he’s a great fielder, but because I trust him in crunch time. Now I pray for balls hit to Tex as well as Jeter.

      • Januz

        I must be a: blind. b: not watching over 150 games a season (Maybe I am watching Spanish Soap Operas instead?). c: stupid. Because I swore, I have seen play after play where Teixeira has robbed the opposition of hits and saved the Yankees countless errors all season. I guess the techno-geek heads would love to see Jason Giambi back at first? (Talk about the range of a statue).

        • Mike Pop

          Don’t be counter-productive by calling them geeks or w/e.

          These guys took a lot of time to produce these metrics, and they must love the game of baseball since they did this. As said on here before, I may not fully understand sabermetrics but I am damn glad they were developed because anytime you have more knowledge, the better.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

          Oh man. Why don’t you read about UZR first?
          …saved the Yankees countless errors all season
          That pretty much tells me you didn’t research UZR or even bother to read what I said.
          I guess the techno-geek heads would love to see Jason Giambi back at first?

          • Mike Pop

            Stop hiding behind those phony spreadsheets JobaWockeeZ, the game is played on the field!

            • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bm61weFrK4c JobaWockeeZ

              Sorry Pop. I’ll trust my eyes and the use of memory which is most of the time faulty for most people instead of statistics which go against my eyes and faulty memory.

              I only remember Teixeira in April and he sucked in April so I conclude that Teix is a sucky ballplayer.

              My eyes agree when I watched him in April.

          • Januz

            I have researched various statistical packages as well as probability theories (I use them at work). The problem is that they take the human element out of the game. When Ben Zobrist has the highest WAR score (8.5), and Tampa Bay ranks second (Only behind the Yankees), you know they are highly subjective and essentially meaningless. After all, where did Tampa end up? THIRD PLACE.
            If someone really wants to look at WINS OVER REPLACEMENT look at Alex Rodriguez vs Cody Ransom. The TEAM’s WINNING PERCENTAGE increased tremendously when they got Arod back. That is the key word TEAM. If they win the World Series, then there will be only one number that matters TWENTY SEVEN and all the other numbers can be thrown away.

            • Salty Buggah

              Oh, jeez. This kinda makes want to say facepalm.

              This is like saying Mauer wasn’t better than Jeter because Yanks had more wins. Greinke was aweomse but plays on a shitty team that finished last. Tampa isnt all that good either but not bad at all. BTW, Tampa got really unlucky too. They had a good run differential but lost a lot of close games I guess.

            • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

              There are so many things wrong with this.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Januz, I’m not supposed to call people names.

              Therefore, I’m not going to call you a pathetic idiot.

      • Chris

        Actually, UZR is defined as:

        UZR (ultimate zone rating): The number of runs above or below average a fielder is in both range runs, outfield arm runs, double play runs and error runs combined.

        So it takes into account a lot of the other factors. For 1B, it’s not as good as other positions because fielding throws is only partially accounted for (in errors). Without measuring the other part (e.g. a bad throw that’s not caught) it’s impossible to say how significant that would be relative to the other contributions defensively.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      That was a stirring and exciting paragraph full of nothing but logical fallacies, red herrings, meaningless tangents, and poorly reasoned conclusions.

  • Bonos

    Both Cano and Teix have minus UZR, Jeter is a plus. HMMM.

    • Accent Shallow

      UZR is a tool. It’s not the be all, end all of measuring fielding. Cano as a negative definitely turns my head.

      • Salty Buggah

        Why? Cano isn’t the most rangiest guy. He’s really inconsistent and will go on streaks. He usually doesn’t have the best range to his left as we’ve seen many times.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Not that shocking, really. Even just by the eye test, Cano’s up and down like crazy on defense (he was on UZR, as well). There were weeks in which Cano looked other-worldly on defense, then there were weeks in which Cano looked like he had the range of a piece of rubber dog shit flown out of Hong Kong. His range is ‘meh’, but his arm strength is wonderful.

        • steve (different one)

          you know when he looked other-wordly? last f’ing night.

          can i get an amen?

  • mustang

    Have to give it up to the crowd at the Stadium last night.
    So often we here of fans going crazy and destroying property after their teams clinch.
    Once again an example of how classy Yankees fans are.

    • crapulent aka I said good day sir

      Not according to Phillies fans. They’re spreading rumors of being beaten up by Yankee fans. Now why would we do that?

      • mustang

        I was at the Dugout and Stan’s and saw nothing.
        But running around last night saying your a Phillies fan or having Phillies gear on might not be the best move in the world.
        That’s asking for a beat down if if you ask me.

  • Dela G

    Informal Poll:

    Chances Kei Igawa ever pitches a game for the yanks again?

    I say -27%

    • JGS


    • Mike Pop

      I think it’ll happen next year. Yankees got really lucky this year with their pitching – except for Wang of course.

      Plus, when they’re up 14 games in September, he can take a game or two. ;)

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

        I think this team is a budding dynasty, one that hasn’t even had it’s best season yet. Which is almost scary to think about.

        • Mike Pop

          I hope you’re right, I hope man. With Phil and Joba, I’m very aroused.

          • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

            and Jesus Montero, and Z-Mac, and IPK, and Manny Banny . . . .

            • vin

              You forgot the Aro Boys… Arodys and Aroldis.

              • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

                I’m sure I forgot a whole bunch of guys that nobody’s even thinking about. That’s usually what happens with prospects, guys like Phil Coke who are almost totally off the radar take a big leap in development and are in the bigs soon thereafter.

                Christian Garcia? Kevin Whelan? Humberto Sanchez?

                How about the Twin Towers Dellin+Brackman?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside


        • Accent Shallow

          I sure hope so, but so many of the key players are aging — Jeter, Posada, A-Rod, and Tex isn’t exactly youthful. They need reinforcements from the farm ASAP, and who knows how up to the task Jackson/Montero/et al are.

          • steve (different one)

            Tex is 29. in about 5 years i’ll start to consider him older.

    • vin

      I think the likelihood of Igawa ever pitching for the Yanks again is almost as good as him starting game 1 against the Phils.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD


  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    I always thought UZR was least useful for 1st basemen. Because their positioning can be affected by so many things that are out of their control.

    For instance, if his team leads the League in Walks, or has a catcher who cant throw baserunners out, he’s going to spend more time holding runners on and will therefore be at a disadvantage to field balls that other 1B playing at normal depth would get to. Stuff like that.

    • Salty Buggah

      I’ve though that too. My memory, which can be flawed, says that I saw many times when Tex could not make an otherwise easy play because he was holding a runner on.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        And yet, other first basemen also have many times where they can’t make a play because the runner is on.

        Remember, UZR is not a comparison to some artificial and arbitrary standard of “Player X should be as good as Standard Y”.

        It’s just a comparison to other players. Tex misses some balls because he’s holding a runner on. ALL FIRST BASEMEN MISS SOME BALLS BECAUSE THEY’RE HOLDING RUNNERS ON.

        Meaning this gripe about UZR is incorrect. It’s just a comparison to league average. If another player has a better UZR than Tex, it’s not because Tex gets penalized for being out of position, because that other player is similarly penalized for similarly being out of position.

        • Salty Buggah

          Oh yea, I know. I was going to argue that too but then I remember we led the teams in walks so perhaps tex might be slightly, maybe that little bit is insignificant, affected more than others.

        • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

          Way to miss the point. Of course all 1B hold runners on, but some do it more than others, and for reasons they can’t control. If Tex did it 300 times this year and Player X did it 240, that could account for a big discrepancy in UZR.

          Similarly, if Tex’s UZR was high one year and low the next, it could be a result of being forced to hold runners on one year more than the other.

          • Chris

            Take an example where you have a great 3B allowing the SS to play closer to second. Balls hit into the 5.5 hole that a SS would normally get would now be fielded by the 3B. How would these plays affect the SS UZR? Obviously the 3B would get a boost because he makes the play, but would the SS be dinged because he doesn’t?

            Another issue is how does it treat a ball that an outfielder misses? Does it treat a ball that goes for a single the same as one that goes for a double? Does a fielder get credit for playing a ball nicely off the wall to hold a runner to a single?

            These are the types of questions I have about UZR, and I haven’t seen good answers. If someone has answers, please let me know.

            • http://and-that-happened.blogspot.com Evan

              The SS would not get dinged for that. It will only account for the likelihood that the particular ball is turned into an out by whichever fielder is looked at there.

              With regard to the 2nd part, I know that it counts the weighted value of outs vs. non-outs depending on the type of ball hit and other factors, even the “ball-hogging” phenomena to some extent. I would assume that it would take it into account but I’m not as sure about that.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            How big is the discrepancy between all 32 starting first basemen in the number of times they have balls hit at them while holding a runner on first?

            I bet it’s not that big of a discrepancy at all. Show me some numbers.

            • thurdonpaul

              minor point, but isnt there 30 starting first basemen ?

              • Jack

                Yankees have two.

                /Olney’s anon scouts’d

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Sorry. NFL on the brain for me at the moment.

                • thurdonpaul

                  thats what i guessed, you are a more talented man then i am, i cant think of any sport now except baseball :)

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      It is not incredibly useful for 1B’man. I’m about as big a stats guy as you will find here, yet UZR is something that should be used only in large samples and probably only used sparingly to judge 1Bmen.

      • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

        It’s also a simple but blunt tool, IIRC. You either got to the ball or you didn’t, with no adjustments made for situational circumstances.

    • Nels

      Do you think part of the reason that Morales had such a good UZR this season is because when he holds guys on he doesn’t stand on the base, but rather in front of the runner and goes back to the base with him?

    • http://dinosaursneverexisted.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/melky.jpg Drew

      I’ve been lead to believe that Teix’s Shatty UZR is related to a few things.

      One: Robbie has great range to his left so Teix plays closer to the line than other 1st baseman who don’t have such a rangey 2nd baseman. This reduces his range(thus negatively impacting his UZR) because there is simply less fair ground for him to cover.

      Two: Teix plays shallower than most first baseman because he has less ground to cover(again due to Robbie’s range).

      There’s a few other things that I can’t seem to remember.

      Either way, I’m not yet a big fan of the UZR.

  • The Truth

    The most valuable position player in the game this year was … wait for it … Ben Zobrist at 8.5 WAR. Albert Pujols was right behind him (8.4), and Joe Mauer behind him (8.2).

    You really could of printed this thread and wiped your ass with it after reading that part.

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      That’s because Ben Zobrist had a breakout year at the plate and played up the middle a lot. His defense was generally awesome, too, so that helped.

      • Januz

        Ben Zobrist might be the FOURTH best second baseman in the AL EAST, let alone be leading in ANY meaningful statistical catagory (Pedroia, Cano and Hill might all be better). I cannot see how anyone can rank him over Joe Mauer?

        • Chris

          Zobrist OPS: .948
          Cano OPS: .871
          Hill OPS: .829
          Pedroia OPS: .819

          If you look at any past year (and perhaps any future year), you are probably right. But this year, he was the most valuable 2B in the league.

          As for beating Joe Mauer, I’m not sure that the calculations give enough value to catchers for the positional scarcity of good hitting catchers. Zobrist get’s a huge boost because he’s good defensively, but Mauer just gets the typical position adjustment for C (and loses some of that because he DH’d a lot). Bottom line, Mauer would still be my pick, but Zobrist is still a very good choice.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

          Ben Zobrist had the advantage, in the WAR category over Mauer, because he played good defense at a bunch of positions. The way defense is quantified in the WAR calculations, UZR, isn’t there for catchers. Mauer’s rating is just on his offense alone.

          If we add in the 4.3 runs that Drive Line Mechanics credited to Mauer ( http://www.drivelinemechanics......filling-in ), Mauer gets bumped up to 8.59 WAR.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I cannot see how anyone can rank [Zobrist] over Joe Mauer?

          That’s because you don’t understand things, Januz.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      This thread is eminently more useful than your comment. I’m going to print the thread, cut out just your comment, and wipe my ass with only your comment.

    • Accent Shallow

      You might be right, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Zobrist accumulated a lot of value through high UZR ratings at several different positions. Sounds great, right? Not really — he didn’t really have a meaningful sample at any position, so UZR vastly overrated his defense, giving him a colossal boost in WAR value.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    Should I read anything in to Chapman wearing a Yankee hat at a workout at St Johns?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist
      • Scooter

        I know he’s a couple of years away, but it makes me feel pretty optimistic

        You also figure that a few more young Cuban players could follow suit – esp if the Castros fade in to history. If Chapman makes it in a Yankee uniform, he could be a nice recruiter

        • E-ROC

          What ever happened to other Cuban born players that defected during the season?

          • Scooter

            Yadel Marti (throws upper 80s, good breaking stuff) and Yasser Gomez are still free agents as far as I know – Mike did a little piece mentioning Marti as a guy who could have provided rotation help if we needed it. I assume they’ll land someplace in the offseason

            There were also two other guys – a CF who turned out to be older than the Yankees thought – Felix Perez – and a projectable lefty – Noel Arguelles. The Yankees rescinded an offer to Perez when he turned out to be 25, not 20. He’s suspended a year.

            • Chris

              Have they been declared free agents? Chapman went quickly because he had his passport when he defected. That’s not typical, and it can often take roughly a year to validate a defector’s identity, citizenship, etc.

  • Scooter

    Sad day for Ranger fans yesterday – we lost the Big Whistle, Bill Chadwick – native New Yorker, Hall of Fame referee, and the color man for the Rangers in the 70s and 80s. Someone posted this video of Chadwick and Jim Gordon doing an Islanders/Rangers game:

  • Mike HC

    Wait, I thought that new age, advanced stats had a personal grudge against Derek Jeter. The stats must be confused.

  • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

    I was thinking about this today, after seeing Mo’s insane post season stats last night (8-1, 128IP, 0.77ERA) A few years after Mo retires, there really should be a post season award named after him. Maybe given out to the best postseason pitchers, or create one for the best Playoff reliever each year. I can just see someone with a trophy in their hand, saying something like this:

    “The 2018 ‘Mariano Rivera Award’ goes to David Robertson, for his excellent October where he struck out 14 batters in 8 innings pitched to a 1.14 ERA. Congrats, Dave”

    • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

      “The 2018 ‘Mariano Rivera Award’ goes to David Robertson, for his excellent October where he struck out 14 batters in 8 innings pitched to a 1.14 ERA. Congrats, Dave”

      I like the way you think. D-Rob showed this year that he’s got the stuff to be a future closer.

      • thurdonpaul

        i think Mo junior is our future closer, whether he wants to be or not :)

  • aje

    heads up guys, Ryan Howard’s numbers against lefties: .207, .298, .356. CC and Andy better get on that.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Coke and Marte as well.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ The Artist

      He’s had trouble with sliders from lefties for years. It hasn’t stopped him from putting up big numbers, but he can be pitched to.

  • pete

    watching tex every day tells me he is a good fielding 1B. He is also plays first base for a major league baseball team, whose last real 1B was jason giambi. Does it ever occur to anybody that tex is, actually, an average fielding 1B when compared to the rest of the league? If you aren’t watching every 1B every day, then you can’t really know who is better than who. If you have a stat that keeps track of the plays they make every day, then you can.

    Let’s face it – our natural inclination is to compare a player a) to other players we remember and b) to our own perception of a standard. In other words, we saw the debacle that was jason giambi at 1B. We see that Teixiera is better than Giambi. That literally means nothing in terms of how good Teixiera actually is, relative to league averages. We see teixiera make great plays on a consistent basis, and thus assume that he is a great fielder, because only a great fielder could make those plays. In relation to the standard we set up in our minds (basically a summation of great plays minus errors or noticeable misplays), he is, but in relation to every other unbelievably good baseball player who plays first base in the MLB who we don’t watch very often, he may indeed be only average. Obviously there are things that are very applicable to 1B defense that UZR doesn’t account for, but even in those areas, we only know that teixiera is good, not that he is better than everyone else.

    This bothered me to no end when the Great Jeter Defense Debate of 2006/2007 came up. A million yankee fans and other guys who only hear people rave about derek jeter, of whom they have only heard because he is a terrific offensive shortstop, whine that they watch jeter play and see that he plays good defense, yet they haven’t seen another shortstop play in 10 years, so how the hell do they know that the other guys aren’t better.

    The point is, 95% of major league baseball position players are friggin insanely, unbelievably, ridiculously awesome defenders, even at 1B. In fact, the only players who are going to get by in the MLB without being unreal at defense are the ones who are so good offensively that it doesn’t matter. Naturally, because of their more-important-than-defense offensive skills,these are the players who are most likely to stand out in our memories than the ones who must be great defenders, thus these are the players we compare other players to defensively. Thus, Mark teixiera being a better defender than jason giambi, albert pujols, carlos delgado, prince fielder, and ryan howard = mark teixiera is better than all of the other 1B, and should win a gold glove.

    Again, there are flaws with UZR, especially in relation to first base. Mark Teixiera’s apparent scooping and throwing wizardry could very well render him an elite defensive first baseman. But just because a player plays at a high defensive level does not mean that he is a better defender than the rest (or majority, or any) of the people who are so incredibly good at baseball that they get paid millions to play it. It just means he is better than what we assume is average, which is likely wayyyyyyy below the actual mlb-average defensive level (which we would probably think of as elite).

    • Will

      I don’t disagree with your point, but you make it seem as if everyone only watches their team’s players. Just because Jeter has been a mainstay doesn’t mean a Yankee fan has been watching opposing short stops or other team’s games.

  • sk

    It’s hard to chose one infielder because those guys were really like Voltron.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    D-Rob’s on MLB Network right now. Awesome.

  • Ben84

    The defensive component of WAR makes it’s a very poor metric, in my humble opinion. I am never comfortable with stats that try to jam offensive and defensive metrics into one box.

    • Januz

      I don’t like jamming offensive and defensive stats together either. There are certain guys whose defense was so off the chart, you have to look at how many runs they save a season, so that any offense they give, is a bonus (See Ozzie Smith). There are other guys who would have superior WAR numbers, but are terrible in the clutch (See Dave Winfield), and there are still others who would have great clutch numbers but terrible WAR numbers (Because of poor defense and a low batting average (Reggie Jackson)).
      Basically, you can manipulate data anyway you want, by changing around a few variables, which gives you a desired outcome (Which does provoke controversy, by stating the Ben Zobrist had the best statistical season in baseball, and even WORSE by stating the Rays, “Statistically Speaking” were the second best team in baseball). If you look at Zobrist’s numbers you see 27, 91, 91, .297 in 599 At Bats. By comparison, Alex Rodriguez was 30, 100, 78, .286 in 444 At Bats. (Thats right, 155 LESS At Bats (Yet more homers and RBI’s, and 13 less runs scored). Unless, Zobrist has Ozzie Smith defensive stats (Or Arod is a major defensive liability), Zobrist’s season is not close to Arod’s. This little example does not even go into team numbers, or what Arod produced in the playoffs, so far.

  • Jud

    WAR will always undervalue relief pitchers as it does not provide any additional value for leverage. So a scoreless inning in the 1st inning is worth exactly the same as that in the 9th, providing that the outs were obtained the same way.
    WPA (Win Probability Added) goes to the other extreme. A HR in a blowout is worth practically zero while a game winning sacrifice is worth a huge amount. By this measure, the best pitcher was Mariano by a huge margin while the best hitter was Damon (!!).
    The “truth” as usual is somewhere in the middle.