Link Dump: Hughes, WPA, Draft Hype

Phil's first real test
Rosenthal: NJ to undergo surgery

You guys ready for another thrilling round of Yankees-Red Sox? It’s only their third meeting of the season within the first 40 games, but who’s counting? Anyway, here’s some spare link to check out while you anxiously await first pitch.

A Hughes Difference

I know I’m not the only one to feel this way, but next to the always-on pitch counter, Jack Curry has been the best addition to YES this season. In his latest at the dot-com, he spoke to tonight’s starter Phil Hughes about what he thinks the biggest difference is this year. “I think if you look at my raw stuff to when I was starting games this season to last season, there’s probably not that much difference,” said Phil. “I’m maybe a little bigger and stronger. But I feel what has really changed is my confidence out there and my ability to attack the strike zone. Those have been the two biggest things.”

I recommend reading the whole thing, it’s worth the time.

Yanks-Sox Through The Eyes Of WPA

Finally, someone came up with a unique way to look at the rivalry. Using WPA, Mark Simon at ESPN found the players with the biggest impact on the rivalry dating all the way back to 1995. It should be no surprise, but Manny Ramirez leads all hitters (and all players, period) with a 5.906 WPA, meaning he won just about six games all by himself. For the Yanks, the top hitter has been Alex Rodriguez (2.674 WPA), followed closely by Paul O’Neill (2.557). It drops off considerably after that. Your leaders on the mound are Mariano Rivera (3.664), Pedro Martinez (3.545), and Andy Pettitte (3.109). No one else is over two.

It’s a long read, but it’s really informative. I found it interesting how low Derek Jeter is on the list.

Hyping the Draft

Nothing is more exciting to the baseball blogosphere than a promising youngster, so it’s no surprise that the draft has taken on a mind of it’s own in recent year. Trust me, it’s not an accident that the two most hyped prospects in draft history have played during the Twitter age. Over at FanGraphs, Erik Manning looked at the attrition rate of first round picks from the 1990’s, and it turns out that just 6.8% of those picks developed into true stars. Just under a quarter of them amounted to anything more than an average regular, while a whopping 63.4% busted all together.

Teams have gotten better at evaluating and developing players, but the draft is still just a crap shoot. Now it’s just an expensive crap shoot.

Phil's first real test
Rosenthal: NJ to undergo surgery
  • bexarama

    That WPA article was great. To me, the most surprising WPA entry was how low Ortiz is. We always hear about how he’s TEH YANKEE KILLAR!!! but Jason Bay did almost as much, by that rating system, in less than two years.

    Nice to see Mo as the #1 Yankee pitcher in the rivalry by quite a bit, especially after hearing stupid Sox fans talk about how they “own” Rivera. And Andy is :3

    • Slugger27

      doesnt really surprise me… the homer off mo with one out to go last year and the bomb off joba in the 1st… those 2 homers alone probably accounted for a lot of his yankee WPA

  • K.B.D.

    Question: since win expectancy for both teams starts near .5, wouldn’t .500 WPA be more representative of a game “won” by Manny?

    • Mike Axisa

      That’s a good question.

    • Chris

      As Yogi said, “Ninety percent of this game is half-mental.”

  • whozat

    All this WPA study shows us is how flawed your basement-dwelling, pudding-eating numbers are! Derek Jeter is everything that’s good and right about baseball!

  • Guest

    The great thing about WPA is it shows how important confirmation bias truly is. Derek Jeter is Clutchy McClutchenstein, at least in the media’s eye, so they presume he is ALWAYS clutch. But to them A-Rod is a “choker”, or at least was until last year, so they always presumed he choked. And with these inheritant biases, people only remember events that confirmed them. We remeber teh Jeterian single to right to start a ninth inning rally, but we forget the rally killing 6-4-3 DP he hit into the next day. A-Rod’s pop ups and strikeouts close and late were never forgotten, but his big homeruns (like the game winning shot of Papelbon in Fenway in ’07) were but fleeting aberrations.

    WPA forces us to face our confirmation biases and see things as they actually were, NOT how we think they must have been based on pre-conceived narratives.

    Also on Mo having the highest WPA–that goes to show just how close these games with the Sox have been. No way a closer could have the highest WPA in a series of games unless the two teams have played a large number of close games that created a ton of high leverage situations for closers. It’s a testament to Mo’s greatness that he has consistently succeeded in so many of these moments (even if the few moments of failure are hard to forget).

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      (golf clap)

      • Guest

        Such a response from you, good sir, has made my week.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Your Certificate of Participation is in the mail.