25 things you don’t know about baseball

Gardy or Grandy in 2011?
Darvish "highly likely" to be posted this offseason

Yahoo’s Jeff Passan has a fun little article out today (or maybe it was yesterday, I forget) with 25 things you might not know about baseball this season. Yes, there’s the usual dose of Yankee hate, but there’s also plenty of cool and interesting pieces of info in there as well. I enjoyed it, so I’m passing it along. Check it out.

Gardy or Grandy in 2011?
Darvish "highly likely" to be posted this offseason
  • Anthony Murillo

    Yeah, Teixeira really is a horrible defender at first base…….


    • http://Twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

      IIRC, UZR and the such are not very accurate for first basemen as well as catchers, so even if Teix’s UZR/UZR150 doesn’t show it, he is certainly one of the better defensive first basemen.

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        UZR doesn’t exist for catchers.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    Definitely some interesting stuff in there, I just wish he didn’t boversimplify as much as he does.

    The Twins lack of unearned runs is pretty amazing.

  • 28 this year

    half of his 25 things or more have something to do with the Yankees

  • Dream of Electric Sheep

    Don’t know much Geometry , Don’t know about history, Don’t know know much about anything at all… but I do know I love Tex’s def.

  • ultimate913

    This made me laugh

    “And for those who get so jazzed over Teixeira’s ability to pick throws to first out of the dirt, his 18 scoops are the second fewest in the major leagues – and 30 fewer than Albert Pujols”

    Tell me, Jeff. What does that say more about? The accuracy of those throwing to 1st base or the actual 1st baseman’s “scooping” skills? To think, your teams defense would get criticized for having the accuracy to throw at the 1st baseman’s glove instead of in the dirt…

    • JohnnyC

      This is why Jeff never got admitted to grad school.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      I laughed at that. Can he atleast say the number of attemps they had? I’ll guess he saw that Tex was 18/20 and Pujols was 48/70 or something so he neglected to mention it.

  • wifi guy

    This is a HORRIBLE PIECE….

  • YankeeJosh

    I’m open to looking at defensive metric stats, but when they are so off as they clearly are with Teixeira, either something is flawed with the metric or those doing the analysis are using the stat incorrectly.

    I understand that Teixeira’s range isn’t the best, but still, it seems that these stats don’t account for the headiness in making the right plays and executing them.

    The Yankees probably lose last night’s game without Mark Teixeira’s defense. If Teixeira doesn’t turn that double play in the bottom of the 7th last night, that inning likely woul;d have beeen a lot worse.

    • whozat

      Lumping all defensive stats into the same category is also doing it wrong, though. UZR was designed for middle infielders and outfielders. We know that it doesn’t do anything useful for catchers, and we know that it’s not the best for 1Bs as well. That doesn’t mean the baby should be thrown out with the bathwater.

      As for counting stats like “picks”, those are useless without context and his disingenuous use of them says nothing about the value of defensive stats and more about Passan wanting to make a point.

      I’d be more interested to see what Dewan’s +/- says about Tex’s D.

      • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

        Where do you even find the number of scoops a player makes? It isn’t on FG

        • It’sATarp

          try baseball reference

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I think it’s on like Bill James and the Fielding Bible and stuff that’s not readily accessible :/

  • Gonzo

    Fact: I have actually e-mailed Jeff Passan to correct his inaccurate Yankee facts (which to his credit he changed).
    I give his pieces little value. They usually try to appeal to the “righteous” sports fans’ emotions.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      He corrects things but never notes that corrections were made.

  • http://www.retire21.org Mike R. – Retire 21

    I want those 10 minutes of my life back, Axisa!

    /Not entirely

    • Mike HC

      Yea. The only thing that article did was get my heart rate up.

  • Jai

    Mariano’s cutter is not the best?


  • mark

    Since I watch almost every Yankee game, I just don’t see how it is possible to rate Tex that poorly defensively. I just don’t see it. I think he is amazing defensively. I wonder how Giambi scored when he was a Yankee?

    The Gardner stats are very cool.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Just because he’s ranked low this year doesn’t mean he’s a bad defensive 1B, it just means he hasn’t gotten to as many balls this year. Because defense varies just like offense.

      If you’re a .300 hitter, it doesn’t mean you hit .300 every year. You probably went .290, .310, .320, .280, .300, .305, .295

      • Big Juan

        Defensive metrics typically rate Teixeira much lower than the eye test would rate him. So it’s not really an anomaly so much as it is a flaw in the system.

        • whozat

          While I do think that UZR doesn’t tell the right story with respect to first basemen, I disagree with this assumption.

          Assuming that numbers which disagree with our flawed, human memory of a subset of the evidence at hand isn’t good practice.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    I’ve always hated everything Passan has written. No matter what team he writes about he always finds a clever way to include any hate he can on the Yankees.

    I also wonder what his favorite team is as well, I know it’s not the Red Sox or Cardinals…

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Yeah I can’t stand him- but last week he wrote an article saying how Felix should win the Cy Young so I’ll give him credit for that.

      Wikipedia said he went to high school in Ohio, so I assume he grew up with the Reds or Indians.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      He wrote an article after the 2007 WS about how Josh Beckett was among the greatest postseason pitchers of all time. Which… I mean, he’d been in two postseasons, and he’d been spectacular, but still. It’s funny to look back on and read now.

  • Dream of Electric Sheep

    The article also neglect that Pavano’s stache serves as a positive correlation to his performances this year. Rumor has he will be the central protagonist in the upcoming film ‘French Connection 3’. The additional gravitational force of his stache has enabled him to repeat his deliveries in the same fashion.

    • whozat

      i just assumed the ‘stache was actually throwing the ball for him. It’d explain how he’s managed to avoid the DL

      • Dream of Electric Sheep

        Correct. I did not want to draw such hasty conclusion but there are theories out there that it has sentience of its own.

  • IOI

    I’m very surprised that the Yankees are “fifth best” against changeups. It seems that they have been totally neutralized by them this year.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama
    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

      They have been neutralized by the changeup, but:

      1. Probably only by starters like Cecil, Shields, et al.
      2. Likely not by crappy middle relievers
      3. Other teams have probably been absolutely devastated by the changeup, but since the Yankees are so good at baseball, they do better than others.

  • Rob NY

    Re: Jeter and Teix on defense could it be that Robbie steals potential zone from 1b, while A-Rod (and el nino when he’s there) does the same from SS? Also do they account for defensive positioning? E.G. if MT is holding a guy on first he shouldn’t get dinged for missing a ball between he and 2b. Could it be that the TWO stats he pointed to simply don’t account for those kinds of possibility? That’s a genuine question.

    • Total Dominication

      I agree that Tex is better than those stats show. They aren’t really very good for 1b or C. But dude, no need to look further into Jeter’s D stats than the player himself.

  • http://www.yfsf.org AndrewYF

    Wait, he even says in Note 8 that defensive metrics aren’t reliable.

  • http://dontbringinthelefty.blogspot.com Lucas AA, aka don’t_bring_in_the_lefty

    That article was cool. I’d nitpick about Padilla’s curveball … he has a regular curveball in the 70s, and an eephus pitch in the low-mid 50s. Fangraphs just lumps them together in the database.

  • http://dontbringinthelefty.blogspot.com Lucas AA, aka don’t_bring_in_the_lefty

    And also, you can’t draw a significant sample about how a team plays against knuckleballers because … I mean, are there more than three pitchers in the majors who consistently throw knuckleballs?

  • Sick Nwisher

    This piece, by Jeff Passan, deserves to be printed out and promptly shitted and pissed on. I would do it but I am running low on ink.

  • JoeNY07

    stats shmats Tex is the best 1st baseman in baseball……end of story

  • Hughesus Christo

    Axisa can’t pass up that many shots at Jeter.

  • nathan

    I think he should have 2 separate articles

    1) 10 things you didnt know about 29 mlb teams
    2) 150 bullet points to whet your Yankee hate

  • MikeD

    I’ve been following advanced baseball stats and fielding metrics for a very long time. I never pay attention to the ratings they give 1B. I hope one day they can figure this one out.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      Field F/X will be upon us soon enough~

  • Pat D

    I linked this in the OT thread earlier today. I call shenanigans!

  • Jerome S

    They complain about Teix’s supposed lack of scoops, but really: He hasn’t had to scoop much! Jeter or A-Rod or Cano or whoever tend to have strong enough arms to get the ball in the air.

  • TNeloms

    “BABIP is a controversial statistic because it implies that all balls put in play which aren’t home runs have about a 30 percent chance of landing, regardless of the pitcher, ***the hitter*** or anything else.”

    Totally false. While the average BABIP for hitters is .300, each hitter has a personal BABIP that can deviate significantly from .300 and stay consistent over his career. For example, Ichiro has a career BABIP of .357. So Austin Jackson might just have a very high BABIP (the article notes that his expected BABIP is .368), and there is no reason to think that he’ll regress toward .300.

    The fact that he misunderstands BABIP makes me trust his use of other advanced stats, but I haven’t read any of his other stuff before.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      He comes off as a guy who doesn’t understand them fully, but is trying to be smarter than everyone so he uses advance stats.