What Went Right: The Improved Defense

What to expect from Jorge Posada in 2010
Dodgers a possibility for Wang?

Over the next week or so, we’ll again break down what went wrong and what went right for the 2009 Yankees. The series this year will be much more enjoyable than the last.

Brett Gardner laying out for a ball Jacoby Ellsbury could only dream of getting to

Pitching and defense wins championships, or so the saying goes. The 2008 Yankees were one of the game’s worst defensive clubs, ranking next to last in the AL, and third worst overall, with a -44.5 team UZR. They were particularly bad in rightfield, where Bobby Abreu shied away from walls (-25.3 UZR/150), and at first base, where Jason Giambi had the range of a life-sized cardboard cutout of Jason Giambi. If that wasn’t bad enough, both Derek Jeter (-0.7 UZR/150) and Robinson Cano (-7.0) were subpar in the middle infield.

Unfortunately, bad defense has been a staple of recent Yankee teams, and it’s not a coincidence that those teams bowed out in the first round of the playoffs. The 2009 Mariners and 2008 Rays were able to overhaul their defense in one offseason, but the Yanks weren’t in a position to turn such a trick last winter because they’re locked in at so many positions. Instead, the team had to make small improvements where they could, and hope that new first base coach Mick Kelleher could help the guys that were already here.

The first step in the defensive transformation came  when the braintrust decided to let Abreu and Giambi walk. Both were extremely productive offensive players, but … um … “limited” in the field, which dragged down their value and overall contribution to the team. Nick Swisher replaced Abreu and instantly upgraded the defense through his average range and willingness to go after a ball hit to the wall. Mark Teixeira took over for Giambi, and the difference was like night and day. Not only would Tex dare to venture after balls hit more than three feet away from him, but he also saved many an error for the other infielders with his scoops around the bag.

Replacing Abreu and Giambi was only part of the process. After a subpar defensive season in 2008, Cano rebounded to provide solid defense at the keystone spot, and even just part-time duty from Brett Gardner helped turn more balls hit to center into outs. Perhaps the most surprising defensive improvement came from Derek Jeter, who despite being traditionally awful in the field, actually enjoyed what was arguably the best defensive season of his career. Kelleher has a reputation as a defensive guy, so maybe we need to start giving me more credit than we have (basically none).

Here’s a position by position comparison of the 2008 and the 2009 Yankee defenses (click for a larger view):

2008 vs 2008 UZR

As you can see, the team improved defensively at five of the seven non-pitcher & catcher spots this year. Johnny Damon‘s unexpected nosedive off the defensive cliff is the glaring exception, although Alex Rodriguez also went backwards a bit last year, likely due to his hip surgery. In the end, the team enjoyed tremendous defensive improvements at first and short, as well as in right and center. As a reward for their efforts, they set a Major League record by not committing an error in 18 consecutive games.

Overall, the Yankees went from one of the worst defensive clubs in the game in 2008 to about middle of the pack in 2009. Their -18.5 team UZR this year is by no means outstanding, but when combined with their strikeout pitching staff and juggernaut lineup, it was more than enough to get the job done.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gross, Getty Images

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What to expect from Jorge Posada in 2010
Dodgers a possibility for Wang?
  • pete c.

    Not only did Giambi have no range, I think I have a better arm than he has. I seem to remember him eating a lot of balls that could have cut a lead runner down if he could make the throw.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppcSY4SsSk barry

      Let’s be grateful Giambi didn’t try to make the throw.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppcSY4SsSk barry

    I don’t like how UZR doesn’t always reflect what you see yourself. Seems to make no sense how Tex and Cano had negative seasons? I watched nearly every game and thought that they were far above average based on what I saw with my own eyes. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think UZR is a very good system.

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

      UZR doesn’t tell the whole story for first basemen, so that’s why it seems odd for Tex. For Cano, I think it fits right. Watching him all season, I saw some weeks during which he was unmatched in the field but then other weeks during which he looked like he was wearing cement goulashes trying to get to the ball.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “… wearing cement goulashes galoshes trying to get to the ball.”

        That’s a pretty funny mistake right there.

        • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD
        • JMK aka The Overshare

          As a first generation American (family is from Hungary), THAT IS NOT FUNNY AT ALL!!!!

          Destroyer of culture!

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

      I want to say this as nicely as possible, because I’m not trying to call you out or anything like that. But to not like a stat because it doesn’t confirm your own opinions isn’t very smart.

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

        Yeah, that, too.

      • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

        You can not like a stat because it doesn’t agree with your opinions…that’s actually very normal. To DISAGREE and/or DISMISS a stat because it doesn’t agree with your opinions…THAT is when it’s not smart.

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

          Meh, I still don’t care for the notion that you should even “like” stats just because they tell you things that you like to hear (e.g. they agree with your opinions) or “dislike” stats because they tell you things that you DON’T like to hear (e.g. they disagree with your opinions).

          I’d rather we all just like stats that are effective and tell the truth and dislike stats that don’t effectively capture the truth. We should leave our opinions out of it as much as possible.

          JMHO.

          • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            Agreed. This idea of liking or disliking stats is fundamentally flawed.

            • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

              I agree to a certain extent. Time and time again I’ve seen people belittle certain stats though. From batting average being overrated to a pitcher’s wins and/or saves as being just a “number.” I also agree with these as well…but it’s essentially “disliking” a stat because it doesn’t agree with your opinion.

              Just sayin’!

              • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

                Belittling batting average or wins happens because those are two fundamentally flawed stats that don’t really tell you the whole story about how good a player is. It has nothing to do with disliking a stat because it doesn’t agree with your opinion.

                Batting average doesn’t tell you the whole story because the object of an at-bat is to not make an out. Thus, on-base percentage is a far superior indication of a player’s ability to not make an out.

                Wins are bad because they’re offense-dependent. If I have a pitcher who is on a crappy team, allows 2.16 runs every 9 innings but only wins 16 games because the offense backing him up can’t score enough runs, that isn’t the pitcher’s fault. So why penalize him for it?

                • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                  No, I agree. I was only bringing up an example. Batting average is a little more useful than pitching wins though. Nick Swisher is an on-base machine…but it still shows that he is a below average hitter (all other stats aside – HR, etc). Batting average serves as a method of determining who is a good hitter and who isn’t. Tony Gywnn, Ted Williams, Ichiro, etc. It at least gives you some information of value (albeit not nearly as important as it is popular). Pitching wins is more useless than it serves a purpose.

                • Steve H

                  Nick Swisher is not a below average hitter.

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

                  And to be fair, in most of the examples of people “belittling” batting average that you can think of, they’re not really saying batting average is a worthless stat.

                  What they’re saying is, people who put ALL their importance on batting average are incorrect. People who say that a player is a BAD offensive player because he has a low batting average are incorrect, because batting average, while important and relevant and significant, is not the end-all-be-all of offensive performance. There are other stats that are just as important, if not moreso.

                  Most of the people who rail against the overemphasis of batting average also still quote it in tripleslash stats over and over again. We’re not shitting on batting average, we’re just attempting to keep it in its place as PART of the overall evaluation of a player.

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

                  Nick Swisher’s batting average (and Adam Dunn’s and Harmon Killebrew’s) does not indicate that he is (or they are) a below average hitter(s) overall. It indicates that he’s (they’re) a below average contact hitter(s). In terms of the whole package, they’re all quite good hitters.

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

                  Nick Swisher’s batting average (and Adam Dunn’s and Harmon Killebrew’s) does not indicate that he is (or they are) a below average hitter(s) overall. It indicates that he’s (they’re) a below average contact hitter(s). In terms of the whole package, they’re all quite good hitters.

                  EXACTLY.

                  The problem with batting average is that it only measures a small portion of overall offensive production.

                  It’s a good stat, but it should never be used in isolation to judge a player’s offensive worth. It must always be accompanied by other stats that measure the things not measured by batting average.

                • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                  In regard to Swisher being a below after hitter…that’s why I said “disregarding other stats i.e. HR, etc. I didn’t want to use the term “contact hitter” because technically he may very well hack and make contact a good amount of the time…striking off foul balls…and I know how people take this literally on here so I just said it a different way. Apparently that wasn’t good enough either lol

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

                  Why wouldn’t you just say Swisher’s a below average contact hitter? No one would disagree with that. He is a below average contact hitter. Why would you cloud what you were thinking with uncertain terms? To quote Mae (fuck the haters “The Everglow” is a damn good album):

                  Say anything, but say what you mean.

              • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Disagree. That’s not disliking a stat because it doesn’t agree with your opinion, that’s disliking a stat because it is not an accurate or relevant measure of actual performance. Disliking a stat because it doesn’t agree with one’s pre-conceived conclusion or opinion is asinine, but disliking it because it doesn’t tell you anything worthwhile is not.

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

                No, that’s not liking a stat because it doesn’t tell you enough about the player’s performance.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WppcSY4SsSk barry

        Stats are a direct correlation of what you see.

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

          Yes, and because our memories are fallible, sometimes we don’t remember things as they were. We exaggerate somethings and leave others out. Stats help remind us of things that actually happened.

        • whozat

          But what you see, what you think you see, and what you remember seeing are all very different. If a guy makes a diving catch and you see it on the TV, can you tell the difference between a guy getting to a ball he had no business getting to and a guy who had to dive for a ball that most other fielders get to easily? If a guy botches a couple easy plays, but gets to lots of balls standing up that other players can’t reach, do you remember him as a klutz or a guy who converted lots of balls-in-play to outs?

    • DP

      The point of UZR is that it’s supposed to make up for the bias of your eyes. I’m not defending it as a foolproof, perfect system, but “your eyes” telling you something different is part of the point.

    • Ed

      UZR seems to change wildly over the course of the season.

      Probably about a year ago I posted in the comments here tracking Cano’s UZR through the 2008 season. He was well in the positives, one of the best 2B in the game actually, for most of the season. Then he got hit in the hand and fell far into the negatives for about a month, then made up a lot – but not all – of that negative score over the final month of the season.

      After following that, I’m kinda skeptical of UZR. Seems to change drastically very easily.

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

        After following that, I’m kinda skeptical of UZR. Seems to change drastically very easily.

        It’s interesting that player UZRs can fluctuate considerably from season to season, and people take that as evidence of the stat’s worthlessness, but batting average/OBP/SLG/wOBA, shit, any number of offensive stats can also fluctuate wildly from one season to the next, and those stats aren’t questioned in that manner.

        Maybe UZR needs a BABIP qualifier stat of some sort to help elucidate it’s randomness. Maybe players just have lucky/unlucky or random years in the field, just like they can have at the plate.

        Just a thought.

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

          Or, maybe this: Maybe people are overstating how much the fluctuation truly matters. Maybe it’s a significance issue, like the WAR discussion we had the other day.

          Maybe any UZR between, say, +5.0 and -5.0 should be largely ignored (because all those players are roughly average) but UZR’s that are significantly negative or positive should be noted as the players who are markedly better or markedly worse than their peers.

          Maybe the numbers should be +10 and -10. Maybe they should be +20 and -20.

          Maybe UZR isn’t really significant when debating the defensive skills of a guy who posts a +4.2 and another guy who posts a -1.3, but UZR is useful to say that they’re both way better than Bobby Abreu and both way worse than Carl Crawford.

          Just more thoughts. Slice and dice them away, please.

          • Ed

            Thinking about loud here based on what you just said…

            The Yankees allowed 753 runs this season. If you’re comparing a guy with a +4.2 and a guy with a -1.3, the difference is still less than 1% of the runs allowed by the team.

            753 total runs / 9 positions ~= 84 runs per position, assuming an even distribution (which is probably horrendously wrong)

            A swing of 5 runs is only about 6% of the runs assigned to that position, which doesn’t seem that significant. A -25 (Abreu territory) is about 30%, which seems like a lot.

            I have no idea how to make this train of thought into something significant, but that’s where your thoughts led me.

        • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I agree that it’s a perception issue, that’s an interesting point. For some reason, perhaps due to the traditional lack of measurable defensive metrics, people seem to think players’ performance on defense stays completely, or close to completely, level over the course of multi-season intervals. For some reason they have no problem with offensive production fluctuating, sometimes wildly, but can’t wrap their minds around fluctuations in defensive performance.

          Just a random, tangentially related thought… But it also seems interesting to me that a decent portion of the people who seem to hold the view described above are also the types to criticize metrics as being somehow disconnected from, or even in opposition to, their perception of the game and the more human nuances of the game… Those ideas just seem contradictory to me, I don’t know. It seems funny to criticize a metric for seemingly measuring performance fluctuations – a seemingly most human of phenomenon.

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

            I also wonder if it’s a denotation/connotation issue.

            The resistance to UZR stats may be simply that they express things in a positive/negative scale, and people see + and equate that with “good” and – and equate it with “bad”. It’s not that simple. It’s not good and bad, it’s above average and below average.

            If UZR was like batting average, where the average player had a UZRba of .300, and a guy like Tex would instead have a UZRba of .284 (solid but subpar) while a great centerfielder like Brett Gardner would have a UZRba of .345, maybe that would make things more easy for the anti-UZR crowd to digest.

            This is why the guys who created stats like wOBA and the like tried to normalize them to a batting-average-like expression of numbers. For the same reason that early Christians co-opted pagan rituals like having a celebration day on December 25th with a tree and shit. To make it easy for the uneducated and unfamiliar to digest.

            • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Very good point. Stats like UZR, or WAR, etc., present multiple problems to the unfamiliar and resistant – the big picture problem of trying to explain things to people they’ve never had broken down into numbers before, and the more detailed problem of getting people to think about and digest a slightly different numerical comparison system than they’re used to.

              It just takes time… As much as we might complain about the lack of modern statistical analysis in the MSM and among the common fan, the tide is certainly turning, however slowly. It takes time for some people to wrap their minds around these concepts.

        • Ed

          It’s interesting that player UZRs can fluctuate considerably from season to season

          Apologies if this post doesn’t come through ok, the link is breaking the preview but I don’t see any reason why it should.

          It’s not season to season that I have issue with. I can see lots of reasons for that to happen – age, injuries, different people doing the official scoring, etc. It’s month to month where I have issues.

          Summarizing the data I found back in April here.

          Cano’s UZR in 2008:
          All Star Break: 6.6 (2nd best at 2B)
          September 2: -7.88
          End of season: -3.72

          Swings that large say to me that either the stat is near worthless, or the sample sizes involved are so small that you can’t make a conclusion any more detailed than “awful / ok / great”.

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

            Yes, but how is that any different than, say, Nick Swisher having an insane April and then regressing to the norm, or Mark Teixeira doing the exact same thing in reverse?

            Why is UZR worthless because it’s prone to sample-size variations, but offensive stats, stats that see that EXACT SAME sample size variation are not questioned? That’s not logically consistent.

            UZR proponents would not claim that a month of UZR data would remotely be enough to make a definitive and finite claim about anything. This seems like a petty gripe.

            Swings that large say to me that either the stat is near worthless…

            It’s not that

            …or the sample sizes involved are so small that you can’t make a conclusion any more detailed than “awful / ok / great”.

            DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING!

            • Ed

              Yes, but how is that any different than, say, Nick Swisher having an insane April and then regressing to the norm, or Mark Teixeira doing the exact same thing in reverse?

              It’s different because they started the season off with one abnormal month then regressed to their norms over the next 5 months. Their Aprils were only as noticable as they were because they had no stats accumulated.

              Cano had a huge swing in the second half of the season, after he already had half a season of stats built up.

              Why is UZR worthless because it’s prone to sample-size variations, but offensive stats, stats that see that EXACT SAME sample size variation are not questioned? That’s not logically consistent.

              But it’s not prone to the same sample-size issues. One bad month late in a season isn’t enough to take someone’s offensive line from one of the best to one of the worst. It can with UZR.

              UZR proponents would not claim that a month of UZR data would remotely be enough to make a definitive and finite claim about anything. This seems like a petty gripe.

              I wouldn’t judge anyone on one month. My problem is believing that one month could possibly outweigh the ~3.5 months before it by that drastic a margin.

              Look at it this way. Cano’s August + late July was worth about -14 runs. Being generous to Cano, he cost a run every 3 games. More than that really, as I’m overestimating the number of games in that span. Considering one missed play is worth a fraction of a run, that’s a ton of missed balls.

              My problem here is not the fact that the numbers change, but that the amount they changed isn’t believable for what they’re supposed to represent.

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

          R-Squareds?

          You think you’re going to convince them with some coefficient of determination numbers? Heh, they’ll throw that shit under the bus as even more arcane and irrelevant statistical gobbledygook.

          Nice try, though, Jamal (and David Appleman). Fight the good fight and all that.

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

            I was hoping they would be scared into submission by the big, bad mathematics.

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

              The human brain’s capacity for learning is matched only by the human brain’s capacity for building a total and complete psychological aversion to learning.

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

                I like this; are these your own words?

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

                  Yup.

              • JMK aka The Overshare

                Agree with Jamal; that was beautiful.

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

      Maybe it’s just me but I don’t think UZR is a very good system.

      It’s just you.

      (Well, it’s not just you, it’s also lots of other people just like you who are also fearful of acknowledging the inherent fallibility of eyewitness evidence.)

      • Renny Baseball

        I am not sold on UZR either, personally. Now admittedly I don’t understand it fully, but from what I’ve seen of it as a metric, does not seem reliable. I am willing to be convinced but deferring to it as an end-all stat is conclusory too.

        To begin with, all stats are supposed to guard against fallibility of eyewitness evidence, so it’s not that part of it that I question. For example, I can just as easily say that offensive player X sucks because I saw him bat a bunch of times and he did not hit the ball well, and you can debunk me and shut me up by citing a .300+ BA, which I’d have no qualms about.

        No conventional stat has ever been really used, to my knowledge (at least not for everyday fans but maybe at an esoteric level for scouts etc), as one end-all for defense (like the way BA measures hitting I mean). I think it comes off as too ambitious and coupled with the fact that prior perceptions seem to contradict it, it becomes that much easier to question.

        In an effort to try to better understand UZR, I just googled it, and led me to an explanation that would seem to undermine it more(!) This an explanation from Fangraphs, to the effect that it is an “inferential” stat only is unlike offensive statistics which are “descriptive” ones and that only several years of data as a sample size lead to confidence in its accuracy!
        http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs.....statistics

        I understand that it measures zones. Still incomplete as a stat because, in the case of using it to compare the defense of 2 outfielders, for example, does UZR measure which one has a better arm? (Would it tell you that Nick Markakis has 7 outfield assists in 2009, for example?) It might but I just don’t know. I really need to know fully how a stat is compiled before I can fully trust it. I trust it now as an incomplete suggestive indicator, at best. That’s my personal comfort level, anyone else is free to rely on it however they wish.

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

    …Alex Rodriguez also went backwards a bit last year, likely due to his hip surgery…

    ARod’s individual 3B UZR did decline sharply, yes (-2.6 in 2008, -8.6 in 2009), but don’t overlook the negative contributions from two of our favorite RAB whipping boys, Cody Ransom and Angel Berroa.

    In 2008, ARod played 1126.1 of the team total 1441.2 innings at third (78.1%). In 2009, he played only 974.1 of the team total 1450.0 innings at third (67.1%). His hip injury not only detracted from his defense, it meant increased PT for his backups, and frankly, only one of them was good. The rest? Meh.

    Non-ARod Yankee 3B, 2009, sorted by Inn:
    Cody Ransom: 164.0 inn, -4.8
    Ramiro Pena: 135.1 inn, +1.3
    Jerry Hairston: 76.0 inn, +0.6
    Angel Berroa: 63.0 inn, -2.5
    Eric Hinske: 35.1 inn, +0.3
    Jose Molina: 2.0 inn, 0.0

    The moral of the story: Cody Ransom sucks at life.

    (Postscript: ARod’s three primary backups in 2008? Morgan Ensberg: 133 inn, -2.4; Wilson Betemit: 100 inn, -4.2; The Attorney General: 54.2 inn, -2.2. Not a pretty picture either. I’m quickly warming to the idea of Ramiro Peña just getting every single ARod or Jeter off day; at least we’ll get super-premium defense from the hole we create.)

    • Mike HC

      I agree. The backup infielders should at least be a well above average defender, and anything you get out of offense is a bonus, obviously up to a certain point.

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

      Hinske played that many innings at third? Wow.

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

        Yeah, but 35 innings is what, 4 games? That’s not much.

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

          Oh I know, but I didn’t remember him getting even that “many” innings.

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

            Meh, they were all September/October games when we had already salted away the division (for all intents and purposes) and were just playing out the string and resting guys.

            He had two full games where he went all 9 innings at third. The dates of September 28th and October 3rd should tell you all you need to know.

    • DP

      Mike Cameron!

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

        MATT DAMON!!!

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          POWER BARS!!!!!

        • DP

          I have absolutely no idea why I replied here. Anyway, I once saw Adam Dunn on Web Gems making diving catch, thus he’s a better fielder than that scrub we have who misplayed a ball in the WS, and he should be our CF.

          /That guy below me

          • Steve H

            Adam Dunn should be our WHOLE outfield because of that play. That way we can load up the infield with 2 extra guys, you’ll never ever see a ball get thru the infield (except of course pasta diving Jeter).

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

          AFFLECK, YOU WERE THE BOMB IN “PHANTOMS” YO!

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

            Word, bitch, PHANTOMS LIKE A MUHFUCKA!!!

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

              Applesauce, bitch.

              • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

                No more hairy bushed nuns…Silent Bob, we’re going to Hollywood…

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

                Damon: You frosted your hair?
                Affleck: Yeah, I frosted my hair. It looks good.

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

                  Matt Damon: Just take it from “It’s a good course.”
                  Ben Affleck: Oh, now you’re the director.
                  Matt Damon: Hey shove it, Bounce-boy. Let’s remember who talked who into doing this shit in the first place. Talking me into Dogma was one thing, but this…
                  Ben Affleck: Hey look, I’m sorry I dragged you away from whatever-gay-serial-killers-who-ride-horses-and-like-to-play-golf-touchy-feely-picture you’re supposed to be doing this week.
                  Matt Damon: I take it you haven’t seen Forces of Nature?
                  Ben Affleck: You’re like a child. What’ve I been telling you? You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him.
                  [They both take a beat and look at the camera]
                  Ben Affleck: And sometimes, you have to go back to the well.
                  Matt Damon: And sometimes, you do Reindeer Games.
                  Ben Affleck: See, that’s just mean.

  • Mike HC

    Loved the D this year. Not great, but we only need to be middle of the pack with the offense we have.

  • Steve H

    Any stat that says Gardner is a good fielder is BS. Remember that ball he misplayed in the WS? That’s enough evidence for me (even if he wasn’t going to catch it anyway).

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

      Seriously, though, worst bounce ever? I’d say it’s one of them.

    • steve s

      Gardner also made some spectacular plays and doesn’t let walls get in the way. He more often than not gets dissed on this site but he has a history of improving his offensive game at every level of ball (college and pro). I don’t think the Yanks would be disappointed in the results or the bang for the buck they would get if they gave him 500 at bats next year (based on his production before the thumb injury).

  • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

    I’m curious to see what Gary Sheffield’s UZR was in 2006…when he was basket-catching throws to 1B…

    The 2006 playoff team was so stacked with offense…but our 2 main options at 1B was still Jason Giambi…or Gary Sheffield (or Andy Phillips)…yuck

    • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

      UZR/150: -8.7

      I thought it would be much worse…

      • Tom Zig

        only 9 games though

        • http://kyivpost.img.com.ua/img/forall/a/355/5.jpg Rose

          True. Does this include the postseason or just regular?

          • Tom Zig

            i assume just regular season.

    • Tom Zig
  • CountryClub

    UZR came up in a chat with Callis this week. Obviously, there’s nothing to say his opinion is the correct one; but I have seen more and more people questioning this particular metric.

    phnphilly (Lancaster, PA)
    Jim, When you look at Chase Utley’s defesive UZR numbers combined over the last 4 seasons it shows that he is not only the best defensive 2nd basement in baseball….but he actually has the highest UZR over that time of any defensive player at any position. At some point in time don’t you think he deserves a gold glove?

    Jim Callis (2:10 PM)
    I do. But I don’t think the people who vote on Gold Gloves spend a lot of time poring over defensive metrics. As an aside, I enjoy looking at the defensive metrics, but I still don’t put full faith in them. They don’t always agree with each other and there seems to be more fluctuation year to year for individual players than makes sense. At least to me.
    http://espn.go.com/sportsnatio.....jim-callis

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

      They don’t always agree with each other and there seems to be more fluctuation year to year for individual players than makes sense. At least to me.

      Again, this probably means that our long-held views about the consistency of defense are WRONG, not that the stat is wrong.

      The old baseball saw that “defense doesn’t slump” is most assuredly false.

      • Steve H

        Yeah, it’s not a stretch to assume that if a guy is struggling at the plate, it can affect his defense. I know that’s going out on a limb…but come on. Why would defense be 100% consistent day after day, month after month, year after year. We SEE it with Cano, some days he looks like a Gold Glover and some days he looks like Bill Buckner. He’s far from the only one who is inconsistent but of course he gets pointed out (ummm, because he’s lazy…). I would love to see the correlation to slumps at the plate and slumps in the field. Maybe some guys slump on both offense and defense at the same time. Maybe some guys rake on offense and slip on D, and maybe some guys are slumping on offense and make extra effort on D.

      • http://threequarters.cementhorizon.com/archives/kool%20aid%20man.bmp The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “The old baseball saw that ‘defense doesn’t slump’ is most assuredly false.”

        I was going to mention this point above when we talked about how it’s strange that the same people who extoll the human elements of the game as a way to somehow push-back against statistical analysis seem to think that defensive performance doesn’t fluctuate… It’s also weird that they think defensive performance doesn’t fluctuate since they tend to be the same people who fall-back on the ‘well if you’ve ever played the game then you’d understand better than by looking at stats’ thing. I mean, I played the game (as did just about everyone who reads/comments here, I assume), and that’s one of the reasons (in addition to observational, statistical and common sense evidence) why I know that defensive performance certainly does fluctuate. It’s just such a bizarre concept to me, that people seem to think defensive performance doesn’t fluctuate, it just seems so counterintuitive in every way.

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

          +1

        • Steve H

          +10.3 (future Yankee CF Mike Cameron’s UZR/150)

      • Chris

        But the first part suggesting that they don’t always agree with each other is still an issue. I don’t have the stats at hand, but (for example) if UZR rates a player as above average, but the +/- system rates him as below average, how do we know what to trust. Obviously they can’t both be right, and we’re left to make guesses about which one we believe to be more accurate because there isn’t a lot of detail on how the stats are actually calculated.

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

          THAT point is a better one. I personally am not familiar enough yet with Dewan’s +/- system to speak intelligently on it, but there probably should be a thorough comparison of the two to determine which metric more closely matches the truth.

      • Ed

        The old baseball saw that “defense doesn’t slump” is most assuredly false.

        Definitely agree there.

        Again, this probably means that our long-held views about the consistency of defense are WRONG, not that the stat is wrong.

        It’s also possible that both are wrong.

        Just because we’ve moved on from fielding percentage doesn’t mean we have defensive stats figured out yet. It took a while to move from AVG to things like wOBA, VORP, etc. There were some better but flawed steps along the way, like OPS. It took over a hundred years to come up with stats like wOBA and VORP. We’re still in the infancy of good defensive stats, so expect the stats we’re using today to be considered flawed as we understand it better.

  • larryf

    Jeter’s “range” issues are not helped by those 3rd basemen he’s been playing with. More kudos to the captain.

    How about AJ’s wild pitches next year? Do they go down with Cervelli? Do they go up with Posada? Do they stay the same with Molina (God-forbid)