Sep
03

Mailbag: Montero, Jeter, Injuries, Stats, Mets

By

Time for another edition of the RAB mailbag. This week we’ll tackle questions about Jesus Montero‘s future power, Derek Jeter‘s future everything, pitching injuries, ways to measure a pitcher’s volatility, and how I’d fix the Mets. If you ever want to submit a question, just send it in via the Submit A Tip box underneath The Montero Watch in the sidebar.

Sheepmeister asks: Guys, why all the hype around Jesus Montero. Everyone tabs him as a 40 HR guy but this year he has 18 in 417 ABs (Ed. note: this was sent in a few days ago, he’s at 19 HR in 438 AB now), what makes him so special with the bat (other than the C position)?

You’re looking at this entirely the wrong way. He’s 20-years-old, he hasn’t physically matured yet. Montero will add power naturally that way, and also by benefiting from a big league coaching staff, a big league training and conditioning program, big league advanced scouts and video, all of that. Albert Pujols played one year in the minors and hit 19 homers. Miguel Cabrera never hit more than ten homers in a minor league season. I could go on all day. You don’t want players to peak down in the minors.

Montero is also a .314 career hitter in 1,560 plate appearances, and he has a good enough approach at the plate to draw his fair share of walks (though I don’t think he’ll ever be a 90-100 walk guy). He’s a complete hitter, not just a mindless brute that will club 40 homers while hitting in the .220′s with 200 strikeouts. He’s a very natural all-around hitter, and that’s extremely exciting.

Shai asks: Is there any chance that Jeter’s pride will make him decide to retire and not have anymore of these embarrassing seasons? He doesn’t need the money, so whats in it for him?

Zero. He’ll play next year to get his 3,000th hit at minimum, and probably play a few years beyond that. I doubt it’s just about money, Jeter was set for life financially before he signed this soon-to-expire monster contract, there’s probably a huge part of him that just wants to win.

Also, I certainly wouldn’t call his season embarrassing. Disappointing yes, but not embarrassing. Cesar Izturis is embarrassing. Chone Figgins is embarrassing. Jason Kendall is embarrassing. Jeter’s just been a letdown compared to his lofty standards.

Anonymous asks: It was disappointing and alarming to see Stephen Strasburg go down. What really hit me was that they say it was a sudden thing – i.e the elbow was 100% fine for one pitch, then the next pitch, hello Tommy John. No lingering problems building up over time, no mismanagement of his young arm by the Nats, nothing. My question is: are all pitchers essentially time bombs that could go off at any instant? We all take for granted that CC has been in perfect health during his Yankee career – is he somehow at less risk for the next pitch being his last?

Yeah, pretty much. It can go at any moment. Some guys are lucky with health, others aren’t. It really is that simple. A guy could have fine mechanics, good genetics, be in great shape, and it still might not matter. All it takes is one pitch, one mistake with his delivery, to pop that UCL.

That said, some guys obviously manage to stay healthier over the long term like Sabathia, but I have no idea what makes him less of an injury risk than say, Rich Harden. It could be his size, but Roy Oswalt’s skinny as a twig and he’s been a horse all these years as well. If I knew the answer to this question, I’d auction the info off to whatever team offered the most money for it.

Wade asks: Do any of the advanced pitching metrics take into account volatility? I assume (certainly for a team like the Yankees) a pitcher who goes out and gives you 7 IP and 2 or 3 ER every single time is more valuable than one who goes 9 shutout innings in half his starts and 5 IP with 6 ER in the other half. I couldn’t find any metrics that consider this, so maybe I’m just wrong in assuming it matters over the course of a year.

Not that I know of, everything’s generally based off the big picture. If there was such a thing as a stat that measured volatility, I’m guessing A.J. Burnett would lead the league in it. I suppose one way you could do it is by have something that’s the opposite of a Quality Start, say a Weak Start at 6 IP, 5 ER, then use a +/- system. A guy gets +1 for a Quality Start, and -1 for a Weak Start. The closer a guy is to zero, the more unpredictable he is.

Looking quickly at the Yanks’ rotation, I come up with this:

  1. CC Sabathia, +20
  2. Andy Pettitte, +12
  3. Phil Hughes, +8
  4. Javy Vazquez, +4
  5. A.J. Burnett, +4

For the fun of it, I get +23 for Felix Hernandez and +2 for Kevin Millwood. I took a quick glance at the bottom of the ERA leaderboard and couldn’t come up with anyone in the negatives (that made 20-something starts). Last year Sabathia was at +17, Burnett +16, and Pettitte +11.

My arbitrary definitition of a Weak Start could be tweaked (you could say the same for Quality Starts), but I guess this general approach works as a way to attack the volatility question. I’m not sure how useful a stat like this would be for analytical purposes, but it is a nice reference number and obviously you’d prefer a more consistent starter.

Tom asks: Congratulations! You have been given a job in the Mets organization (Maybe I should have said “My condolences”) your task is to clean house and fix the broken organization. What steps do you take to fix it? Who do you fire? Who do you hire to take their place?

Oof, I don’t even know where to start. Since you can’t fire the owner(s), I guess I would start by cleaning house with the field staff (Jerry Manuel, Howard Johnson, all of ‘em) and re-assigning Omar Minaya. He’s pretty bad as a GM, but he’s actually got one hell of a scouting background. He’s the guy that found Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, Juan Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa, Ryan Church, and a bunch of others with the Expos and Rangers way back when. Just make sure he’s not in a position to trade them away. With something like four years left on his contract, some kind of advisory role works. He can be an asset when used in the right capacity. Bring in a new scouting department (both pro and amateur) and a new(er) school manager. Call me crazy, but I’d at least consider David Cone.

As for the player personnel, the first step is figuring out who is part of the team’s core going forward and who isn’t. David Wright absolutely is, he’s your franchise cornerstone. Johan Santana is. Ike Davis, Jon Niese, and Bobby Parnell probably are. Carlos Beltran and the one year left on his contract aren’t, ditto the dreck like Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. A decision will have to be made about Jose Reyes, who has just one year (an option year at that) left on his deal. I’d probably take advantage of a barren shortstop market and trade him, but that’s easier said than done, especially with no obvious replacement available.

It all starts with strength up the middle, and frankly the Mets have very little of it. Josh Thole is a nice young catcher, but very few project him as an every day player. Is this Angel Pagan’s career year, or his true talent level as a centerfielder? Who plays second? What about short if Reyes is dealt? Lots of questions, almost no answers. Finding those answers will not be easy, but that’s where you have to focus your efforts. Acquire as many young up-the-middle players as humanly possible, then sort it all out later.

I’d also at least try to do something with CitiField. Bring the walls in, shorten them up, do something. Part of the problem are getting people in the seats, and a more offense friendly environment helps with that problem a little bit. I’m not saying you turn the place into Coors East, but league average is a nice start. At least make an effort.

Fixing the Mets will take some time and patience, but thankfully it doesn’t have to be a total rebuild given their above average financial flexibility. You could probably turn this team around the “right way” and compete by 2013, maaaybe even 2012. The Phillies aren’t getting any younger, ditto most of Atlanta’s key pieces. Ownership needs to be convinced to go big on the draft and international market, which is where it all starts. When you spend big bucks on free agents, spend it on complete players capable of impacting the game in multiple ways and power pitchers that miss bats. Quite simply, I’d just follow the Yankees blueprint.

137 Comments»

  1. The Evil Empire (The original) -Burnett is still way overrated. says:

    Tom is part of the Mets’ front office, that’s not his real name.

    Mike, if you were actually offered an opportunity to work for the Mets’ front office would you take it?

    Would you still be a Yankee fan?

    • vin says:

      I know you didn’t ask me, but I’d take the job. Hell, I’d work for the Red Sox if they offered me an interesting position. Anyone here would be crazy not to take a front office gig.

  2. I remember last year there were a bunch of rumors of the Red Sox trading Buchholz + prospects to the Mets for Reyes. Too bad that didn’t go through.

    The problem with the Mets is that they have like 4 or 5 stars in their prime and they’re pissing their performances away but not surrounding them with good auxiliary talent. How many years does Johan have left before he starts declining from elite status? Wright is going to be 28 next year already. They’re in good shape now, but if the Mets aren’t going to even be competitive for 3 years then all of a sudden you’ve wasted their peak performance years.

    I think trading Reyes would be the right way to go. You may be selling low on him a bit, but I don’t doubt they could still pull a nice package for a speedy shortstop with power. A scenery change would probably do him well, too.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      I think the bigger problem for the Mets is that guys who are supposed to be “stars” to one degree or another and are underperforming… Wright and Santana are the two guys I can think of who are stars and haven performed as such (and K-Rod)… Dickey and Pagan I sort of doubt were expected to play this well.

      I’m sure the stadium comes into play, but if Bay were hitting to his career 128 OPS+, Beltran were healthy (mitigated pretty much by Pagan’s season, but they’d have 3 OFers instead of 2 were Beltran healthy), and Reyes hadn’t fallen off… their offense would look a whole lot better even in that stadium. Oliver Perez might have also helped their pitching staff out if he could have at least pitched half decent.

      As it is they were in the playoff race for a lot of the season before collapsing and have some good prospects already in the majors or at the door who could help them either on the field or in trades. Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Reese Havens, Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Ruben Tejada…
      An opportune free agent signing, dealing the right combo of vets and/or prospects for decent returns, and some development and I think the Mets could possibly contend for a playoff spot next season. It’s optimistic, but I think it’s very possible.

      • jsbrendog (returns) says:

        Oliver Perez might have also helped their pitching staff out if he could have at least pitched half decent. had not been resigned and been allowed to go suck elsewhere

        fixed that for you

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Certainly that’s true… they seriously overpaid (especially in hindsight, but even at the time), but they had the right to expect more than he’s given them the past two seasons (worst pitcher in baseball with 100 IP). He wasn’t particularly good in the 2 seasons leading up to the re-signing, but he was worth 2.2 and 1.3 WAR entering his 27 year old season… since then he’s been worth -1.8 in only about 100 innings.

          http://www.baseball-reference......ol01.shtml

      • andrew says:

        David Wright had a disappointing season last year, but has rebounded quite nicely this season. And Santana has been every bit the ace that the Mets hoped to get. I don’t really know if you can say they are underperforming. Santana leads the league in starts in which the pitcher has given up 0 or 1 ER.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I made a type (haven instead of have), but I meant to say that Wright and Santana are the ONLY of their stars who are performing. If you read the whole comment I think that’s pretty obvious.

          Beltran, Bay, Perez, Reyes… all paid like stars and/or expected to be stars (no one expects Perez to be a star, but he’s paid very well… Reyes isn’t THAT highly paid but was a lot better a couple years ago and at the age he should no be getting worse…). Those guys haven’t contributed much and are probably as much the reason their offense is terrible as Citifield or their supporting players.

  3. Anthony says:

    I think the Braves are getting younger. (Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Jhonny Venters, Tommy Hanson…

  4. Dela G says:

    Great response about the mets

  5. Chris says:

    Jeter’s just been a letdown compared to his lofty standards.

    In my mind, this is the key point about Jeter. This year is what a typical SS look like. If Jeter had retired last year and Nunez were the starter, then I think everyone would be pretty happy with a .266/.332/.373/.705 line. I expect Jeter to bounce back to being a 3-4WAR player over the next few seasons, and we’ll look at this season as a bump in the road.

    • pat says:

      I’d be happy with that line from Nunez because he’d be making almost double the defensive plays that Jeter makes.

      • Steve O. says:

        He’d also be making league minimum.

        • Chris says:

          He also would sell less tickets and jerseys.

          • Steve O. says:

            He actually would not sell any less tickets or jerseys. Not many peoeple buy jerseys from the stadium anyways.

            • Anthony says:

              Well the Yankees make loads of money from the people who do buy jerseys at the stadium.

              • Steve O. says:

                Most people buy them through other stores, and that goes to MLB. Some buy at the stadium, but it’s not a difference maker in revenue.

                • Ed says:

                  It’s not something you consider when you’re considering replacing a $20m/year player with a rookie making the minimum.

                  It is significant though. People spend a ton of money at the stadium. That’s one of the biggest reasons that the new stadium exists. Merchandise sold at the stadium has a huge profit margin.

                  Also, don’t forget the sales from the Yankee Clubhouse stores.

                  • andrew says:

                    Yea, but you have to consider that people who are buying jerseys aren’t likely to say “oh, there’s no Jeter jerseys, I won’t get a jersey then.” They are more likely to then pick their next favorite player and get his jersey. Losing Jeter merchandise sales does not really hurt as much as people claim for that reason. Most of the money spent on his merchandise would likely be reallocated to other Yankee merchandise.

                  • Poopy Pants says:

                    They should re-sign Yogi Berra in order to sell more jerseys.

                • Chris says:

                  Do you have the stats on that?

                  • Matt Montero says:

                    Dont forget, so many people have jeter jersey already, I personally dont know a Yankees fan who doesnt have one. Im sure the Yankees are still selling plenty of jeter jerseys. But…

                    Dont forget, nobody has a nunez jersey, nada, besides a few customized jerseys, they dont make them. So think of how many people would buy nunez jerseys because he is the new starting shortstop and for the foreseeable future. Sure he wont be as popular, but nobody has it, so many will buy it, maybe more than the few people who dont have a jeter jersey.

            • Chris says:

              He wouldn’t sell less tickets? Really?

              • Steve O. says:

                No, he wouldn’t. No Yankee fan would stop coming to the games because Jeter is no longer on the team. The Yankee fanbase is way too strong. Fans would be pissed, sure, but stop coming to games in disgust? No.

                • Chris says:

                  I disagree 100% with this. The diehard fans (like those on this blog) wouldn’t stop going, but the casual fans are less likely to go. If the Yankees were selling out every single game, then you might have a point that there would be enough people to fill in for those who stop coming, but the Yankees aren’t selling out every game.

                  If you want a couple of examples, just look at what happened to the Giants’ attendance when Barry Bonds left and what happened to Yankee attendance when A-Rod arrived.

                  When a team loses (or gains) a star player their attendance is affected.

                  • Pete says:

                    I think you’re probably right. It’s just weird to me to think that people would buy a pretty expensive ticket to watch a slightly-below-average defensive SS hit at ML average (not for SS) levels, even if it is Derek Jeter. There are way more exciting players on this team (Cano, Sabathia, Hughes, Tex, Gardner, Granderson, Swisher)

                  • Steve O. says:

                    I disagree 100% with this. The diehard fans (like those on this blog) wouldn’t stop going, but the casual fans are less likely to go. If the Yankees were selling out every single game, then you might have a point that there would be enough people to fill in for those who stop coming, but the Yankees aren’t selling out every game.

                    Most people know Jeter’s doing terribly. Most people would also know that Jeter’s not the most exciting player. He doesn’t hit 40 HR a year, or steal 50 bases. What he does do, is play solid, if unspectacular. Fans know this.

                    If you want a couple of examples, just look at what happened to the Giants’ attendance when Barry Bonds left and what happened to Yankee attendance when A-Rod arrived.

                    Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez =/= Derek Jeter. Bonds and Rodriguez are much more exciting players who have clubbed over 1100 HRs between them. The Giants were made by Bonds. They depended on him to produce every night. Comparing a no slugging, singles hitting SS with power hitting players who own the HR title isn’t the way to compare players.

                    When a team loses (or gains) a star player their attendance is affected.

                    You are correct, although the Yankees have multiple stars. If Bonds is gone, why see the Giants play? What’s exciting? If Jeter leaves they’ve got Posada, A-Rod, Cano, Montero, Sabathia, Lee, Swisher, Granderson, Gardner, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, etc. All much more exciting players.

                    • Ed says:

                      Most people know Jeter’s doing terribly. Most people would also know that Jeter’s not the most exciting player. He doesn’t hit 40 HR a year, or steal 50 bases. What he does do, is play solid, if unspectacular. Fans know this.

                      People like us know that.

                      However, there’s a huge number of fans that just root for the names they know. More specifically, there’s a ton of female fans, especially teenagers, that just like Jeter. Try looking around gift shops at a mall in the NY area. you’ll often see 3 types of baseball items: Yankes, Mets, and Jeter.

                      You don’t sell 4 million tickets a year to statheads. Even on RAB, a site that caters to the hardcore stathead, think about how often you see a comment that you want to tear to shreds.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      The Point

                      ——–

                      Your head

                      You don’t sell 4 million tickets a year to statheads.

                      On the flip side, one player does not sell 4 million tickets a year.

                    • Chris says:

                      Most people know Jeter’s doing terribly. Most people would also know that Jeter’s not the most exciting player. He doesn’t hit 40 HR a year, or steal 50 bases. What he does do, is play solid, if unspectacular. Fans know this.

                      You’re looking at this all wrong. It’s not the die hard fan that won’t show up or even the average fan. It’s the marginal fan. The 5% of fans at a given game that are least likely to show up. They know he won 5 world series and is the face of the franchise. They don’t pay a lot of attention to the details of his season.

                    • Chris says:

                      On the flip side, one player does not sell 4 million tickets a year.

                      Of course not, but maybe Jeter sells 250,000 tickets over 81 home games. That would pay his salary.

                    • Ed says:

                      To the contrary, I think our point is over your head.

                      You’re projecting too much of yourself onto the average person going to a game.

                      A good chunk of the crowd is there to see names they know. Derek Jeter, 5 time World Champion, many time All Star, future Hall of Fame, favorite player of teenage girls, will sell tickets.

                      And you know I wasn’t saying Jeter was responsible for selling 4 million tickets himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if the actual number is a few hundred thousand a year though.

                    • Chris says:

                      One more point on Jeter’s popularity… he had the second most votes of any player for the all star game (behind Mauer). And it’s not like he was lighting the world on fire in the first half.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      What everyone is not realizing is that Jeter is not soley responsible for ticket sales. Nobody says “oh, let’s go to a Yankees game only to see Derek Jeter.” People say “let’s see Mo, A-Rod, CC, Hughes, Cano, Swisher, etc”

                      Please, don’t use the women aspect of things. Women/teenagegirls go to games with their boyfriends/husbands/families for the most part.
                      If he does effect ticket sales, it’s not a difference maker maybe a couple thousand at most and I’m being generous.

                    • Chris says:

                      If he does effect ticket sales, it’s not a difference maker maybe a couple thousand at most and I’m being generous.

                      What are you basing this off of? To me, it sounds like you are just guessing. And you’re probably wrong.

                      Women/teenagegirls go to games with their boyfriends/husbands/families for the most part.

                      Thank you Rob Dibble.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      Chris, how many girl fans do you know? Go to a game and look around. You rarely if ever see a group of girls at a game drinking beer and enjoying the game. I said almost, by the way. Sure, there are some girl fans out there, but they comprise probably less than 5% of the fanbase.

                      Dude, it’s the Yankees. The Yankees sell tickets. If the Yankees are in town, the opposing team sells out. People want to watch the Yankees. The fanbase is that strong. Why do you think teams chant “Let’s go Yankees” when they’re on the road? Strong fanbase. That’s why.

                    • I often see groups of female fans at Yankee Stadium and know plenty who are just as knowledgeable if not more so than any group of male fans. The dice roll both ways in that sense.

                      That said, few people other than Dr. and Mrs. Jeter are going to stop going to Yankee games if Jeter’s gone and the team is still winning. The attendance factor is way overblown.

                    • Chris says:

                      You’re completely missing the point. It’s not that they Yankees will sell no tickets without Jeter. It’s that they will sell fewer tickets without Jeter. And to pay for his salary, that difference needs to be about a 5% drop in attendance. That’s not a wholesale defection of Yankee fans. That’s just the people that are bandwagon fans deciding not to show up.

                      Based on history, that seems like a reasonable expectation.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      I live in Charlotte, so I usually go to Braves games. I see females often at games, but it’s like a 10:1 ratio. I’m not questiong their knowledge at all, but I see many families/couples. Really you’ve seen many female groups? I’ve only seen a few. Maybe it’s a NY thing?

                      You are correct, it’s overblown.

                    • Chris says:

                      The attendance factor is way overblown.

                      Based on what? I’ve asked a number of times for counter examples to explain that the attendance is overblown, and no one has provided them.

                      It may sound ridiculous to you, but there are plenty of examples of players leaving a team (or joining a team) and having a significant impact on attendance.

                    • Ed says:

                      What everyone is not realizing is that Jeter is not soley responsible for ticket sales.

                      You’re the only one that’s stating that. We’re only claiming him to be responsible for a small but significant percentage of them.

                      Nobody says “oh, let’s go to a Yankees game only to see Derek Jeter.” People say “let’s see Mo, A-Rod, CC, Hughes, Cano, Swisher, etc”

                      Plenty of people do. I’m quite surprised that you don’t run into these people more often. These people often make an effort to catch their favorite player even after they leave the team. I’ve talked to people that went to the Angels games this year to see Matsui and the Tigers games to see Damon.

                      I even went to a Mets/Astros game because I had never managed to catch a game Pettitte pitched. There was actually a section of the crowd chanting “Let’s go Yankees” every time Pettitte got out of a jam or the Astros scored. So clearly there were Yankee fans there just to see Pettitte, despite him not being a Yankee at the time.

                      I live in Charlotte, so I usually go to Braves games.

                      That’s your problem. You’re not from the area, so you don’t see the level of popularity Jeter has. Look into the studies of athlete marketability. Jeter is usually the only baseball player to appear in those lists, and tends to be very close to the top.

                      If you walk around a mall the suburbs around New York, you’ll see very quickly how much higher a level Jeter is at that anyone else on the team. Sports stores will have twice as much Jeter merchandise as any other player. Department stores and gift shops will carry team and Jeter merchandise. The occasionally one will also have a little bit of A-Rod stuff, but not often.

                      I see females often at games, but it’s like a 10:1 ratio.

                      You’re overstating. I actually took a tour of Turner Field a few years ago. The tour guide commented that the ratio there tends to between 3:1 and 4:1.

                  • whozat says:

                    ARod was the best player in the game at the time. Barry Bonds was the ONLY thing worth seeing on those Giants’ squads. I really think you’re reaching to say that people won’t go to games to see Cano, ARod, Tex, CC and Mo. Obviously casual fans go to see big names, but the Yankees still have plenty of those without Derek Jeter.

                    People go to see winning teams. The current incarnation of Derek Jeter isn’t really helping the Yankees win all that much.

                  • JGS says:

                    I don’t know if Bonds is a good comparison–once he left, the Giants had no one worth watching on an everyday basis (Lincecum came along not far after, but pitchers don’t play every day). Also, the 2008 Giants lost 90 games.

                    Heck, someone on twitter the other day linked to a video of the Benitez Brawl from May 1998, and the stadium was empty. The Yankees were 29-9 at the time and had just thrown a perfect game two days earlier.

                    The Yankees have way more to see than Derek Jeter, and fans will keep coming long after he is gone.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    Economists have found that winning is the biggest determinate of ticket sales (holding market size constant I suppose), and not stars. If Nunez had the same line and same defense as Jeter… stands to reason Yankees would be winning about as much. Maybe Jeter is a special case in a way because there are so many female fans who love him and maybe they don’t bother watching otherwise… but outside of that possibility who really pays a butt load of money to go to the stadium just to see Derek Jeter?

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I live in Ohio at the moment, and Cleveland sports are a good example of this. Most of their teams stink and you can’t give their tickets away, but if there’s a winner in town people follow them religiously.

                    • Chris says:

                      The biggest determinant, yes. But not the only determinant. There are plenty of examples of teams adding a star and getting a boost in attendance.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Chris, I just don’t think Jeter’s retirement will kill or even hurt the Yankees attendance. It’s not basketball where one star can power a team, and the Yankees have a ton of stars (all of whom are actually better players at this point than Jeter). New York is also unique in its market size and the Yankees in their brand equity.

                      I haven’t studied the issue and can’t say how many instances there are of a baseball team acquiring or losing a star without changing the number of games they won and attendance changed a statistically significant amount. If the star comes or goes along with 10 wins and playoff contention, then sure I would expect the attendance to change. Because true stars produce bigtime and help win games a lot more than an average player… there can be a correlation between star and attendance that is not actually causation. In this example Jeter is not having a great season and the hypothetical is that his production is exactly replaced by Eduardo Nunez (or whomever). The Yankees would still have the best record in baseball and play in the biggest city in the country. They’d still have a star at almost every position. In all likelihood they might replace Jeter with a star SS via trade anyway.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      Well said, Ted Nelson. Agreed on all accounts.

                    • Chris says:

                      The Orioles lost about 5000 attendance per game from 2001 to 2002 when Ripken retired.

                      He’s probably the most comparable. And he sucked at the end. The Orioles were just about as good in the 4 years after he retired as the 4 years before he retired (about 73.5 wins per year before and 72.5 wins per year after).

                    • Steve O. says:

                      It was the Orioles.

                      We are the Yankees.

                      End of discussion.

                    • Chris says:

                      It was the Orioles.

                      We are the Yankees.

                      End of discussion.

                      No. It’s not.

                      The Yankees aren’t some mythical beast that defies all conventional economics that affect other teams.

                    • Steve O. says:

                      If you can’t see that the Yankees are a loaded team with mutiple stars and that the absence of one will not cause a change in attendance if winning continues, then you’re helpless.

                      O:S

                    • Chris says:

                      If you can’t see that the Yankees are a loaded team with mutiple stars and that the absence of one will not cause a change in attendance if winning continues, then you’re helpless.

                      Again, I’ll ask. Based on what?

                      You keep saying that fans will keep on coming and not a single fan will decide not to come because Jeter’s not on the team, but as far as I can tell, that’s just your personal opinion and not based in facts.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Chris,

                      Why do you think Jeter is the reason people are coming to see the Yankees?

                      I don’t see it. I don’t know a single person who says they are going to the stadium to watch Derek Jeter play or turning on their tv to watch Jeter play (and since they own YES that’s got to be huge for the Yankees as well). The only people I could see doing that are those who go to see him as a sex symbol, and I have no idea what that number is (I also know girls who idolize Nich Swisher, for example, and think Jeter would be replaced even in that sense to a degree).

                      The Yankees are far more of an institution than Jeter as far as I can tell. I can’t quantify it, but I would hardly call it subjective. Even Jay-Z claims to have made the Yankee hat more famous than any Yankee, which would include Jeter (I don’t particularly agree with his logic… just pointing out that the Yankees are a NY institution… at least as long as they win). They won a score of titles before Jeter and were already the most storied franchise in MLB.

                      Will some individual fans not come to the stadium with no Jeter? Probably. How many? I have no idea. I do know that the Yankees tickets are extremely expensive and they don’t seem to have any problem selling them. There is tons of demand for the Yankees in NY and nationally, and I doubt losing Jeter would have any serious impact on ticket prices or attendance let alone tv viewers… so long as the Yankees continue to win. People love the Yankees in large part because they win, and Jeter personifies that winning. He is not the only reason they’ve won or should continue to win.

                      It’s hard to call others out for making subjective arguments when you’ve only thrown out 1 imperfect example and provided no source to verify the information. You may be right, but since logic appears to be against you the onus is really on you to prove your case.

                    • Chris says:

                      Why do you think Jeter is the reason people are coming to see the Yankees?

                      He’s not THE reason, but he’s one of the reasons. Why are people on this blog more excited and more likely to go to a game when Phil Hughes is pitching than when Dustin Mosely is pitching? People want to see the stars. Since there are other stars on the team, the impact will be less than if Jeter were Marlin, for example. That doesn’t mean there will be no impact (which seems to be Steve’s argument).

                      I have no idea how big an impact, but there are a number of examples of a star player leaving a team/joining a team and having the attendance shift 5000 people per game. It’s hard to find examples in the recent past because building a new stadium and winning or losing significantly more games have a bigger impact on attendance than a star player. I don’t know that Jeter would have that big an impact (5000 fans), but I’m certain that he would have some impact.

                      The two examples in the past that are the most telling are A-Rod joining the Yankees and Ripken retiring from the Orioles. In A-Rod’s case, he joined a team that already had a bunch of stars, and yet the attendance increased about 5000 per game. If the Yankees are a special in that stars have less impact on attendance (because of the strong fan base), then why would attendance spike when A-Rod arrived?

                      As for Ripken, you can certainly make the argument that he was the only star on that team, but he also sucked the last few years. I think when you put it all together, it becomes clear that stars have an impact on attendance. Again, I don’t know how much of an impact, but 2000-3000 people per game would seem like a reasonable estimate for Jeter.

                      And it’s not like those people are only coming for Jeter. Every person has a number of reasons for coming to a game, and getting to see Jeter is one of those reasons for most people (I would guess). Having him leave would reduce the incentive for a lot of fans to come to the game. Most of them would still have enough incentive to come to the game, but some of them wouldn’t. And the people that wouldn’t come are probably nothing like you and me. They’re probably a band wagon fan or a marginal fan who’s only coming to one game a season. Or maybe they’re someone that will come to 5-10 games a season but is slightly less excited so they come to 1 or 2 fewer. You add it all up and you could easily come up with a couple thousand fans that won’t come.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Chris,

                      Thank you for that response, you made some good points and I understand where you’re coming from more now.

                      I don’t really like the Ripken example. Cal was that franchise for couple of decades. Jeter has been the franchise player, but the championships have been the bigger story. If the Yankees continue to win rings, people will continue to come. New fans would come to watch Jesus Montero or Cano or Tex or Gardner or Hughes or A-Rod chase Aaron, or Swisher or CC or Cliff Lee or Mo or Joba…
                      Baltimore is not NY. If people don’t renew their tickets or come to the park to see Jeter, there is still demand for those season tickets or single tickets.
                      Furthermore, the Orioles were ending an era of perennial playoff contention and in a downward slide when Cal retired. They were losing a bit more every season and Cal’s retirement was the end of an era. They were an awful team, so seeing Ripken in his last season really might have been the only reason people were going.
                      You would also have to look at surrounding seasons. Cal didn’t even play 1/2 the season in both 99 and 00.
                      I just don’t think it’s that comparable.

                      A-Rod’s an interesting one. Would have to know more. Also seems to me that while adding a big name generates buzz, the Yankees would still have plenty of buzz even if Jeter retired. In all likelihood they’d take his $20 mill per salary and give to another huge star.

                    • Chris says:

                      Here is the orioles per game attendance since moving to Camden Yards:

                      1992: 44,047
                      1993: 45,000
                      1994: 46,097
                      1995: 43,034
                      1996: 44,475
                      1997: 45,816 (their last winning season)
                      1998: 45,490
                      1999: 42,385
                      2000: 40,704
                      2001: 38,686 (Cal’s last season)
                      2002: 33,117
                      2003: 30,303
                      2004: 33,877
                      2005: 32,404
                      2006: 26,582
                      2007: 26,726
                      2008: 24,376
                      2009: 23,545
                      2010: 21,042

                      Clearly, the attendance declined as the losing seasons went on, but there is a significant drop the year Cal retired. Jeter probably wouldn’t have as big an effect, but I could certainly see a 2000-3000 drop in attendance.

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      I think the A-Rod comparison might be more interesting…

                      “1997: 45,816 (their last winning season)
                      1998: 45,490
                      1999: 42,385
                      2000: 40,704
                      2001: 38,686 (Cal’s last season)
                      2002: 33,117
                      2003: 30,303
                      2004: 33,877″

                      97: 98 W playoffs
                      98: 79 W -19 W -326 att.
                      99: 78 W -1 W -3,105 att.
                      00: 74 W -4 W -1,681 att.
                      01: 63 W -9 W -2,018 att.
                      02: 67 W +4 W -5,569 att.
                      03: 71 W +4 W -2,814 att.
                      04: 78 W +7 W +3,574 att.

                      These numbers also tell the story of a team in decline, with fans being about a year behind the curve (would be interesting to see season tickets vs. single tickets). In 02 they finished their second season without 70 wins and might have seen numbers artificially boosted by fans paying their last respects to Cal. With a 9 win loss in 01 you would expect a higher drop-off in attendance in 02, and the 01 number itself may have been cushioned by a one-time event.

                      Again, though, the Yankees situation is not like the Orioles. Certainly not now, and hopefully not in a few years when Jeter does retire. If he does move to LF or even 3B and especially if he makes $20+ mill per season… and he’s in 2010 form… a lot of fans might actually be glad to see him gone: still remember him fondly, but be glad to shut the door when he leaves and welcome in a $20 mill man who hopefully earns his salary.

                    • Chris says:

                      Certainly, there is an overall trend of decline in those numbers, but isn’t it telling that the first season in that series with an increase in the win total also shows the largest decline in attendance, and just happens to be the first year after Cal retired? Maybe it’s just coincidence, but maybe not.

                      Here’s the Yankee attendance around A-Rod’s arrival. Did more people suddenly decide in 2004, after losing the WS the previous year and 8 years after the Yankees first WS title in this run, that they would come out to the stadium for games? Or was that increase tied to A-Rod? Another thought I had was the influence of StudHub, but that was still frowned upon by the Yankees until at least 2006.

                      Year W L Attend/G
                      2010 84 50 46357 (WS Win)
                      2009 103 59 45918
                      2008 89 73 53070
                      2007 94 68 52729
                      2006 97 65 52445
                      2005 95 67 50502
                      2004 101 61 46609 (A-Rods first year)
                      2003 101 61 42263 (WS Loss)
                      2002 103 58 43323
                      2001 95 65 40811 (WS Loss)
                      2000 87 74 38193 (WS Win)
                      1999 98 64 40651 (WS Win)
                      1998 114 48 36484 (WS Win)
                      1997 96 66 32254
                      1996 92 70 28136 (WS Win)
                      1995 79 65 23360

                    • Ted Nelson says:

                      Chris,

                      1. Correlation is not causation… The Yankees had the same up-tick from 2004 to 2005. What star explains that? I suppose that was all because of A-Rod’s MVP season…

                      2. You are completely ignoring the price of tickets as a factor. If you decrease the price, tickets sales should be expected to go up and vice versa.
                      This is probably only one of many confounding factors we should be considering. The economy, for example. 2001 was the end of the tech bubble and might explain the Orioles attendance drop.

                      3. These are still not the same situations as the Yankees and Jeter. Ripken was a legend like Jeter, but his team’s situation was totally different. A-Rod came to the Yankees and may even have been responsible for generating buzz. As I said previously, if Jeter is still making $20 mill per 4 or 5 years from now fans will probably be glad to see him go (since he won’t earn it). If he were to retire before this season–the original hypothetical–I don’t think the Yankee buzz would be any lower. They’re reigning champs and favored to repeat (if their rotation holds up in the playoffs). They have All-Star types at every position. They’d probably find an All-World type to replace Jeter.

          • pat says:

            Not to mention merchandise sales are pooled between every team.

  6. pat says:

    I think it was Oppenheimer who said about Montero “He has shown the willingness to take a walk”. That, combined with an almost unnatural ability to put the barrel on the ball at the age of 20, makes him extremely dangerous at the plate.

    • Guest says:

      And…he’s a big boy. It might be a liability on defense but it certainly is an asset at the plate.

      If you have a really, really young kid hit in the high teens with homeruns in multiple minor league seasons AND he’s a big boy, I think its fair to project a lot of power in his future.

      Really looking forward to seeing him in pinstripes next year.

  7. AndrewYF says:

    All the Mets need to do is acquire underperforming AL pitchers, and thank their lucky stars they’re not in the American league. They’d be one of the two or three worst teams.

    It always puzzled me how talent evaluators could look at the Mets’ farm system and judge it to be ‘on-par’ or better than the Yankees’. Who have they really brought up since Reyes and Wright? Ike Davis dreams of having Lyle Overbay’s career, and guys like Niese and Pelfrey would easily have 5+ ERAs outside of the senior circuit. Meija is just another injury-prone two-pitch pitcher, all the hype about Daniel Murphy and whoever else was clearly misplaced.

    Look at this discussion over at John Sickels’ blog back in the beginning of last year:

    http://www.minorleagueball.com.....on-questio

    Can that many people really be that stupid?

    • Anthony says:

      From the comments.
      “Martinez, Flores = Jackson, Montero
      Niese, Holt, Mejia = McAllister, Brackman, Betances
      Havens = Romine”
      Ha Not even close

      • Chris says:

        Out of those Yankees only Jackson had played above A ball at the time of that post (before the 2009 season). Today it seems silly, but looking back it’s not as bad. Probably still silly, but not as bad as it seems in hindsight.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Even today I don’t think it’s silly overall.

          I would call Montero comfortably the best of the top group (especially if he sticks at C), but Martinez looks as good as or better than Jackson (considering RF v. CF) and Flores is only 18 this season.

          Pre-2009 Holt did look good, though it was pretty early to judge him. Mejia is probably the best prospect of that group and in the bigs, and Niese is already contributing as a major league starter. McAllister was traded for a 4th OF, Brackman is 24 and just got to AA, and while I’m also high on Betances I can see people’s resistance to calling him a top prospect based on size and stuff (I think/hope they’re proven wrong).

          Romine has flashed good potential, but statistically he’s having a bit of a rough season. I don’t think I’d say Reese Havens is as good a prospect, but Romine is hardly cementing his place as a sure thing ML starter. He may or may not end up being as good as Josh Thole, for example.

          I have no problem with someone calling the Yankees top prospects or overall system better, but I would say that calling that comparison “silly” is homerism.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      The Mets system right now–fairly irrelevant who they’ve brought up before now in terms of judging the talent they have now–is strong, especially with major league ready talent.

      2010 prospects in the majors or knocking on the door: Fernando Martinez, Jenrry Mejia, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Reese Havens, Josh Thole, Ike Davis, Jon Niese, Ruben Tejada.

      We are all Yankees homers and are optimistic about the Yankees prospects, but if you check out those Mets prospects’ stats and scouting reports you’ll see what a great group of guys all hitting the majors at once that is. They’re all early 20s with good minor league performance. They’ve also got some very promising young guys like Wilmer Flores and Juan Urbina. I don’t know if the Yankees or Mets system is better or whose prospects will be better in the long-run/yield more in trades, but I don’t think it’s ridiculous to compare them.

      • Matt Montero says:

        Well arent the Yankees supposed to be ranked top 10? Anyway, I could see them being similar (obviously its extremely tough to say anything mets related is even remotely similar to the yankees). But, I think the one thing they are missing is a sure thing, big, middle of the order bat. Perhaps they need their own savior?

        • Ted Nelson says:

          I like the Yankees system and think it’s very strong. I’m just saying that the Mets system isn’t bad. I don’t follow it carefully or know how deep it is vs. the Yankees, but at the top of the system in terms of both major league readiness and talent the Mets are in a good spot.

          Fernando Martinez may not be a middle of the order bat on a Jesusian scale, but he might be a middle of the order bat nonetheless. This doesn’t mean everything, but his 20 year old OPS at AAA (in a much smaller sample) was actually better than Jesus’ to date. He was a top 30 prospect in BA for 3 seasons (before 2009, after Jesus’ first full season… it was fair to put them in the same class probably… today less so but not totally unthinkable Martinez could have as good a career). He is really struggling in MLB, but is only 21.

          Thole has a good looking bat, so does Ike Davis, and so does Kirk Nieuwenhuis.

          Mejia and Niese are already in the bigs.

          Given that it was 2 seasons ago and the Mets system is producing major league talent, I don’t think it’s “stupid” or “silly” to compare them. Like most here, I’ll take the Yankees. Also like most here, though, I actively root for the Yankees prospects to do well and don’t have an objective view. Those with an objective view would tend to agree with us, but when you’re talking about something as volatile as prospects I wouldn’t ever pretend to be certain.

          • AndrewYF says:

            But a big part of the Mets developing major league talent is that talent would not have a chance in hell at sticking in the AL East.

            You can’t just say they’ve developed Niese, and he has a 3-something ERA, thus Niese is comparable to Hughes. He’s not. Neither is Pelfrey. Ike Davis would be one of the last men on the Yankees’ bench, if he even were in the majors. Fernando Martinez has always been overrated, and it looks like he’s probably going to go the way of Lastings Milledge. Everyone forgets the talent difference between the AL and the NL, and it’s a pretty big oversight.

            Those ‘great group of players’ hitting the majors at the same time is really not that impressive. Half of Scranton’s roster could put up comparable numbers for the Mets’ major league team right now. Pretty much all the pitching staff would. It’s almost unfair to compare the two farm systems right now. 2 years ago it was closer, but more like how the Jays are closer to the Yankees than the Orioles. There was still an obvious and stark difference between the two.

            The Mets system, and organization in general, is prett-ayy, prett-ayy bad. And it’s been bad for quite a long time, and lots of people have been saying it to the cries of ‘they’re not that bad! Look at Daniel Murphy!’, etc. The entire organization is an utter mess. Their ‘core’ is good for the NL, but it wouldn’t be nearly as impressive in the AL East. That team would finish well behind the Jays.

  8. T-Dubs says:

    As I’ve said before, Montero already has more minor league HR than Frank Thomas or Albert Pujols had. He’s 20 years old. Don’t worry ’bout it.

  9. Captain Jack says:

    As to the Mets, both Steve Phillips and Omar Minaya have awesome scouting backgrounds but make absolutely godawful front office decisions.

    • Pete says:

      I’m honestly curious – what exactly defines something as an “awesome scouting background”? I mean, he “found” Cliff Lee, Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips, etc.? He had the incredible scouting acumen to recommend the drafting of a lefty with low-90s heat and great command? The studly defensive CF with speed and power? The similarly talented middle infielder? Not saying this makes him a bad scout or anything, but none of those examples scream to me that he’s got a great scouting eye or anything.

      • whozat says:

        When those guys were drafted, did they have those qualities? Or was Grady Sizemore a fast skinny kid? Was Phillips raw, with no plate discipline? Did Cliff Lee have the ludicrous command that makes him so successful?

        I don’t know, I’m asking. You’re tacitly assuming that they were basically the same as young players as they were when they made an impact in the bigs, and I don’t know that that’s fair.

        • Captain Jack says:

          Pretty much, Phillips found Wright and Reyes, several other good players too. That has to count for something in their favor.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        There’s definitely luck involved (maybe even a lot), but I would say that over time when you continually out-perform other scouts… that’s a good indicator you are better than other scouts. The luck should theoretically even out over a big enough sample, though of course it won’t always and what the right sample size to judge is… who knows.

        I’m just saying that generally, a lot of factors to consider with specific scouts (if your team drafted in the top 5 every season for 5 years, for example, those picks should be held to higher standard than if your team had no 1st round pick for 5 years…). Who you passed on might be just as important, but pretty impossible for us fans to compile that list.

  10. Pete says:

    These are some great questions, at least in the sense that they all lead to super-awesome answers.

    To me, the issue with the Mets is that they have enough talent on their roster to do pretty well, but they’re not going to be an elite team without a pretty much full-scale re-upping of the whole system. In other words, patience would, I think, be a massively important virtue in bringing the Mets to something better than feasible contention.

    In that capacity, I would trade Reyes simply because I would not expect the Mets to reach that level during his peak years. That being said, I would not trade him now – I think he could easily have an excellent season (something along the lines of a .285/.355/.420 line with 60+ SBs and a +8UZR) any of the next couple years, and he’d net you more than he would right now. I’d look to try to pull in at least 3 quality players in that deal, so I’d probably have to look towards the lower minors. I’d want one guy with good power/obp projection, one legit up-the-middle defender who can stick it with the bat, and a power arm with at least flashes of command on a quality secondary pitch, and, if possible, I’d try to pry an underrated “low-ceiling” college guy with a lot of success in the minors and college – a Gardner type.

    I doubt anybody would take on Santana’s contract, but Beltran’s the kind of guy who could be part of a pretty big deadline deal if he’s having a good season (which he’s still capable of doing). If a good enough deal pops up during the offseason, go for it, but chances are better of grabbing maybe a stud catching prospect (the weird thing about good catching prospects – teams that have them often have a few of them, largely for this reason) and a back-end MLB-ready arm.

    Wright, being a young, good all-around 3B (i.e., should stick there for another 10+ years if necessary), should stay. Not a good enough chance that anything you trade him for pans out to justify trading away talent like that.

    Other than that, I’m not really sure where I’d go. I’d probably follow the yanks’ model of having every pitching prospect with talent start until he absolutely proves he can’t – then bring up guys who had MiL success as starters into the MLB bullpen, rather than try to fill that up with trades. If trading for/signing JJ Putz and Frankie Rodriguez doesn’t guarantee a good bullpen, nothing will. No point wasting assets on established relievers.

    Also, I wouldn’t get cute trying to offer guys arbitration unless I’m absolutely certain they aren’t going to accept – at this point the Mets are probably better off finishing last and getting a top-10 pick than risking having an arb guy accept just to net somebody else’s (probably) 20-something pick.

    As for CitiField, I’d lower the walls, but I wouldn’t move them in. Fans like “charming” eccentricities of stadiums hosting shitty teams. That’s why Fenway kept the Green Monster seatless for so long (and still has it up), it’s why Wrigley still has a dangerous brick OF wall, etc. etc.

    It’s funny, though – people shit on GMs so much, but when you actually try to sit down and write out a strategy to bring success to even a big market team with a whole lot of financial assets, you realize just how likely it is that you’ll flounder around .500 for at least a while – long enough, anyway, to get you fired, even if your strategy was a good one. It’s almost like it’s a hard job or something.

    • Zack says:

      “That being said, I would not trade him now – I think he could easily have an excellent season (something along the lines of a .285/.355/.420 line with 60+ SBs and a +8UZR) any of the next couple years, and he’d net you more than he would right now.”

      He’s only under control for 2011, so that doesn’t work. Are you saying sign him to an extension then trade him? He’ll want a NTC so that’s not going to happen either.

      • Pete says:

        ah, didn’t realize that. I suppose you shop him all year then, and then if you don’t get anything better than two 1st round draft picks, offer him arb. He’s one guy not likely to accept.

        • Zack says:

          Reyes isn’t even a Type B FA though, because of all the missed time last year. Not sure how plausible it is to jump to Type A status.

  11. Pete says:

    To the Montero question – Dallas McPhearson hit 42 MiL HRs in 2008. And he sucks. Point being, MiL stats are pretty shitty metrics for forecasting future MLB performance.

    • McPherson was also 28 years old in 2008. If he was a 20 year old hitting that many homers it’d be completely different. As was stated in the article, power develops last.

      Also I think you meant to say HR stats, because some minor league stats – like K:BB rates, on-base %, etc – can certainly give you insight as to what type of player you’re dealing with.

      • JGS says:

        He also hit 40 home runs as a 23 year old in 2004 split between AA and AAA–20 in 262 AA PAs and 20 in 259 AAA PAs

        • AndrewYF says:

          Uh huh. And the dude struck out 167 times. If you can’t make consistent contact with the baseball, no one is going to wonder why you can’t hit in the major leagues.

          Montero has been called one of the elite contact hitters in the minor leagues, and his very good 12-13% K rate shows it. He also has power, and has shown signs of decent plate discipline, and has improved it at each step of the minor leagues. All this, at the age of 20. In AAA.

          Frankly, I’d be hard pressed to find a comparable batter who DIDN’T go on to have significant major league success.

      • Pete says:

        some are decent projectors, none are great projectors.

    • whozat says:

      That’s a total boversimplification. When placed in the appropriate context — primarily adjusting for age and experience at that level — minor league stats are quite useful, especially when you use the right ones. Counting stats aren’t the most useful predictors, but K/BB ratio is very useful, as are things like XBH rate and LD% if you can get it.

      • Pete says:

        you can look around the minors and find plenty of appropriately aged guys with great rate stats who nobody projects to do anything in the majors. Some of them will prove naysayers wrong, but most won’t.

        Example: Hector Noesi. There are no holes in his stat line, and he’s not too old for his level. But chances are, he’s not going to be a dominant major league pitcher.

        • whozat says:

          First, the only one making blanket statements about the utility of stats in projecting big-league success is you. It’s obvious that scouting plays an important role in identifying young talent and projecting young players. That said, the ability to miss bats and generate grounders will tell you a lot about the expected success of a young pitcher. The ability to generate hard contact and swing at pitches in the zone will tell you a lot about a young hitter, and to act like they don’t is just disingenuous.

          Second, RE: Noesi…he was 23 and started in High A this year, making it to AA for half the year. As someone who hasn’t missed big chunks of time due to injury, that’s not really someone who looks like a fast-mover. No one would look at his numbers and project dominant MLB pitcher, so he’s a total red herring.

          • Pete says:

            I never said that it’s wholly useless to look at any minor league statistics. Obviously some of a MiL guy’s rates are going to be indicative of the type of player he is. It’d be silly not to look at any numbers when evaluating a prospect, just as it’d be silly not to consider his age. All I’m saying is that it’s perfectly possible for a 20 year old player in AA to hit .280/.360/.450 with 20 HRs and a 1:4 K:BB rate and not project as a real impact player in the majors. I’m about to head to class so I can’t look up examples right now, but I will when I get back.

            • Pete says:

              and, even more to the point, there are plenty of players who put up relatively unimpressive MiL lines and go on to become big time hitters in the majors. See: Cano, Robinson.

    • pat says:

      MacPherson also struck out 169 times that year. Jesus has half that. Huge difference.

    • Reggie C. says:

      Montero’s power will definitely grow. That’s the case with most guys. Mike Stanton’s power has been very impressive, but I wager he’ll have a lower HR/AB rate as pitcher’s adjust nxt season. As long as Montero controls his strike zone, I think he’s an easy 25 hr guy in his prime.

  12. Chris says:

    The Jeter question says “embarrassing seasons”. Either the writer meant “season” as in 1 or I would like to hear what other embarrassing seasons there have been. Did someone really send that question in and ask if he was retiring or did you guys just make it up?

    • mike c says:

      i think he meant by embarrassing as being put out to pasture in LF or DH instead of at short

      • Pete says:

        God I hope that doesn’t happen. Moving Jeter off short means you’ve got his ML average bat taking up a lineup spot AND you have to fill the SS hole, in all likelihood with somebody much worse. Keeping Jeter at short means you can have Gardner, Swisher, Granderson, A-Rod, Teixiera, Montero, and Posada all bat somewhere.

  13. PaulF says:

    Somebody hire this man!

  14. Reggie C. says:

    Mets have also got to draft with more gusto. Why are the wilpons so insistent on being adherents to slot recommendations? Matt Harvey better hit his ceiling and turn out better than Pelfrey.

  15. Joe West's Music Career says:

    I strongly disagree with the proposed volatility stat. 2 reasons: 1) it’s too binary and arbitrary in it’s definition of good and bad, and more importantly, 2) it would consistently treat mediocre pitchers as “highly volatile”. Pitchers consistently allowing 4 runs would show up as zeros, pitchers allowing any number of runs, yet not meeting the 5 inning cutoff are zeros. Imagine 3 players: 1) AJ. 2) a theoretical pitcher who goes 5 innings and gives up 0-2 runs every single time out. 3) a theoretical pitcher who goes 8 innings and gives up 4 runs every single time out.

    Only 1) above should show up as highly volatile, yet under your proposal, 2 and 3 both show up as maximally volatile.

    I’d suggest that an appropriate stat would use traditional vol measures: either variance or standard deviation, applied to runs/GS. It would be probably most viewable if normalized against the league like ERA+ or OPS+ so that we’d know that AJ’s 140 (made up) would mean he’s 40% more volatile than the average pitcher in the league, or CC’s 85 means he’s 15% less volatile than the average pitcher.

    True, this wouldn’t tell us whether the low scoring pitchers were consistently great, mediocre, or awful, but there are plenty of other stats for that.

    /math nerd’d

    • TwainsYankee says:

      EXACTLY! I was thinking about a sd of runs or FIP ((HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP) per game as a good metric. I like your normalization strategy as well. Estimates of variance are way underutilized in baseball.

    • Good points. I liked the concept of the metric initially, and your ideas make it more like what I would like to see. Using run values for every event (so making it more like a component ERA) might be interesting.

    • southeryankeefan says:

      I don’t think the one suggested was supposed to be the end all formula of the stat. It would take a lot of tweaking beyond one season to make it ideal.

  16. Why are you discounting the idea Jeter could retire after this season? At what point in his career has he hinted he cares about personal milestones? He has five rings. I’m not saying he should or will retire, but I’m giving it more than a zero percent chance of happening.

    • JGS says:

      Because after this season he will guarantee himself tens of millions of dollars more. Even if you were already super wealthy, would you turn that down?

      Plus, who doesn’t want to get 3000 hits?

      • Of course, all valid points. But if Jeter made his decision based on what he said in “Pride of the Yankees” or what he’s told reporters for 15 years, he might think he’d only hurt the team if he continued.

        (I don’t think he’s completely done yet, but I’m just saying it’s possible (more than 0%) that Jeter thinks that way.

      • Zack says:

        Yeah, no one is walking away from 50m.

  17. TwainsYankee says:

    w/r/t Jeter. Joe P had a great post today
    http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlo.....-dominoes/

    w/r/t Pitchers getting hurt, another great post by Joe
    http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlo.....-pitching/

    • Hughesus Christo says:

      I don’t understand his point about Jeter’s positioning. How is it a knock if he’s better now because he started positioning himself better? Isn’t the assumption that Jeter was unusual in that he wasn’t repositioning himself before each batter? That’s how I read it.

      Long story short, Royals and Red Sox fans hate the Yankees by nature, so I’m not that into reading their Jeter thoughts (and I like Posnanski a lot).

    • Chris says:

      For the Jeter article:

      Jeter’s decline looked like it was starting two years ago, when he needed a terrific last month and a half to get his OPS+ over 100.

      The problem with this is that there are better explanations for Jeter’s struggles in 2008. Jeter was hit on the wrist by Daniel Cabrera in May and then didn’t hit for about 6 weeks after that. Then he got hot for the last 2 months of the season. If you exclude those 6 weeks when he was probably injured but wouldn’t admit it, then 2008 was basically a typical Jeter season.

  18. larryf says:

    I really think the next 6 -8 weeks will tell the story for Jeter’s next contract. 4 months of suck is enough of a bargaining chip for the Yanks. If he turns it back on, emptying the vault will be the only option.

    As for Montero, i have seen him several times, talked to him at scranton and am going to tonight’s game as well. He has alot of physical development ahead of him and I think his power numbers could easily compare to Pujols if he stays healthy. He has plate discipline and tremendous RF power. Longevity is tougher for a catcher but if Jorge can hit 250-275 Jesus could be the all-time HR leader amongst catchers!

  19. Hank in Colorado says:

    re: Turning Citi into Coors East

    Check out these stats, http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/parkfactor
    Yankee stadium is already Coors East.

  20. Hank in Colorado says:

    re: Coors

    Keep in mind, eversince they added the Humidor a few seasons ago, the balls don’t fly out of the park as often. Big outfield, deep fences, which leads to more doubles and triples, but Coors plays like a more normal sea level ballpark.

    Do agree Mets should modify the RF power alley. Cut it down to 400 instead of 415. And make the height of the leftfield fence more uniform with the rest of the fence.

  21. hello9 says:

    I just wanted to address this from above:

    The Orioles lost about 5000 attendance per game from 2001 to 2002 when Ripken retired.

    He’s probably the most comparable. And he sucked at the end. The Orioles were just about as good in the 4 years after he retired as the 4 years before he retired (about 73.5 wins per year before and 72.5 wins per year after).

    I want to address this post from above because I don’t buy the argument you’re making here where you insinuate that one has to believe that the drop in attendance varied directly and solely (or at least largely) with Ripken’s departure. There’s strong evidence to suggest this wasn’t true and that it was team performance which the primary driver in attendance loss. Here is a link to the history of the Orioles record and one to their attendance.

    http://www.thebaseballcube.com/teams/team_4.shtml
    http://www.baseball-almanac.co.....atte.shtml

    The O’s high water mark was 97 at which time they were pulling in about 45k per home game. Unsurprisingly, the attendance for the next year was still fairly high at 45k despite the fact the O’s were about a .500 team (likely because the fans expected at least a pretty good team). The next year, which was another year of mediocre ball ~.500 was the first year where there was a significant drop in attendance (about 3k). The following year despite still being a relatively mediocre ball club with a close to .500 record attendance fell again by 2k. Ripken’s last year was when the bottom fell out and they won only 63 games. Attendance dropped again by 2k. However at this point there’s a pretty obvious pattern that attendance at least somewhat lags yearly performance (I’m too lazy to do an autocorr for win-loss differential vs attendance gaps). As a consequence, after what was a year of truly miserable performance which dwarfed the previous mediocrity (and perhaps coupled with the retirement of a fan favorite [though he was a shell of his former self at this point]) you see the biggest drop in attendance at that 5k number. Ripken’s departure may have provided a bump to that but it was certainly not 5k considering that the following year attendance again dropped by 3k (after another miserable vs mediocre season).

    Continued mediocrity seems to be a far far better predictor of attendance loss than player losses. The O’s attendance actually dropped by about 6k from 05 to 06. Now the double whammy of losing Palmeiro and Javy may have been the cause or a serious cause, but I’m betting it was more likely the fact that the O’s had kind of resigned themselves to rebuilding after jettisoning off a bunch of vets and moving to younger guys all in the midst of this continued decade of losing. Add to that the fact the yanks and sox made it clear they’d have no shot in the division and you can see why people would stop attending.

    So the driving factor in attendance loss is obviously losing and attendance loss due to player departures is ancillary at best. Considering that we can’t even parse the effect of the loss of a player on a team that was bleeding attendance, I’d be deeply suspicious of fans who tell me that Jeter’s loss would make a huge difference on attendance figures for a team that has recently won a championship, has been a contender for over a decade, and has management that seems to be committed to continuing that winning tradition. In fact, I would wager that the increases in attendance likely to come from the recovery of the stadium move and hopefully some type of economic recovery would easily outpace any attendance we’d lose from Jeter.

    • Chris says:

      There are a lot of factors that go into attendance, and I believe “Name Players” is one of them. Another thought on 2006-2007 is Sammy Sosa leaving. Of course, he sucked so maybe that didn’t factor into it, but it may have been the final straw that the team was rebuilding and wouldn’t compete for a few seasons.

      Also, when they signed Tejada, the attendance jumped about 3000 for a couple seasons.

      The best example of this is probably years ago with Babe Ruth coming to the Yankees. They basically doubled attendance in his first season. Obviously that’s an extreme case, but it shows that there can be an effect.

  22. Matt Montero says:

    U guys think its crazy to think the lowside for Jesus Montero for his major league career is Jorge Posada and upside a catchign Frank Thomas?

    • This is way late, but YES that’s crazy. Jorge Posada is at worst a borderline Hall of Fame player. To expect that as a floor is insane, as is expecting a ceiling of the Big Hurt.

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