May
22

Posada Hitting? It’s More Likely Than You Think.

By

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Psssst. Guys.

Don’t look now, but Jorge Posada is actually getting on base. I know, it’s hard to believe, right? I was under the impression the guy was going to be batting .160 all year and would never hit another extra base hit*, ever again. That’s what ESPN told me, at least. But I looked up some of his splits today, and he’s actually getting some hits. Now, I know statistics are only for people in their parents’ basements, but I just couldn’t help but notice some things:

Last 7 days: .333/.500/.556 with two strikeouts (12 PA), .400 BABIP

Last 14 days: .316/.480/.421 with four strikeouts (25 PA), .429 BABIP

April/March: .125/.232/.374, .065 BABIP

May: .261/.393/.348, .353 BABIP

Obviously, we’re dealing with some small samples, but if there’s anyone who’s saying that Posada’s done from his horrific start, they should probably also take into account Posada’s current (relatively speaking) hot streak. A lot of this is fueled by the fact that his BABIP has risen from a phenomenally, almost impossibly bad .081 to an only moderately terrible .188. Posada’s been a clear example of how regression towards the mean works: while the man is due for some decline (that’s what happens when you’re 40 years old), the chance that he’s going to go from hitting .248, last year’s average, to .160, is not impossible but not exactly likely. Yeah, you can’t predict baseball, but you can safely make some assumptions. The lowest single-season BABIP by any player (min 250 PAs) in the past ten years was Mark McGwire’s .171 in 2001.** While it’s possible Posada could do worse than that, it’s probably not likely, and you’re more safe in thinking there will be some bloop hits dropping in for him eventually.

I’m sure that his slow improvement will, at least in the bigger media outlets, be associated with the whole 9th hole drama, whatever you want to call it, but honestly I don’t think it has anything to do with that. I just think that Posada was slumping, and now he is not. The fact that the Yankees can’t hit with RISP and all their other associated problem just made the struggles of their 40-year-old catcher-turned-DH more evident. There’s been so many narratives flying around Posada it’s hard for me to keep them all straight. He’s 40. His contract is up this year. He will never catch again. He’s adjusting to the DH. He’s prideful. He has a temper. And so on.

If Posada follows his career track, his strong May will be swallowed up by a terrible June, which is usually his worst month. Curiously enough, his numbers between the first half and the second half are almost exactly alike, so his season month-by-month will either continue to play this terrible on-off game or will smooth out somewhere in between.

Whether Posada gets into the Hall of Fame or not, I don’t think a season in decline is going to change the opinions of the voters. And although the Hall of Fame voters’ opinions can have some…. interesting twists, I think having a final season in the decline isn’t something that should be the game-changer in the voting on Posada. Plus, there are some players that had some pretty bad seasons and still got in. So, Posada fanboys and girls, if your dream is to have him in the Hall of Fame, you’re probably still safe. If you’re a Posada hater, well, you’re wrong.

*Did you see him try to stretch that single into a double? Apparently he didn’t think he was ever going to have another XBH either.

**McGwire hit hit 29 home runs in 94 games and had a .187/.315/.492 line that year. His OPS+ was 105. Heh.

Categories : Players
  • YanksFan77

    Written like a true Posadapologist.

    I am a Yankees Fan first and foremost, and as a Yankee fan, I like the shiny, new corvette in the driveway, not the beat up old junker with too many miles on it, even if it got me to and from work for the past 15 years.

    • Ted Nelson

      What are you talking about?

      A. She’s not apologizing, but pointing out that Jorge has had a hot streak… merely citing impartial stats.
      B. If you’re referring to Jesus as the Corvette… hold your horses. I’m excited and hopeful, too, but Jesus is about as likely to struggle with his first big league assignment at 21 as he is to excel. Jorge has been killing the last two weeks… now would seem an odd time to complain and two weeks ago has proven to be the wrong time to make the switch you are suggesting.

      • YanksFan77

        Yes, a hot streak that she’s referring to lasted for 25 AB’s, which spans about 5-6 games, but inferred to be longer by virtue of writing down 14 days. That is what I’m talking about.

        And I am not advocating calling up Jesus. (If you recall, I’ve been on the JoVa bandwagon) What I’m saying is, people who are posting that Jorge may need to be replaced aren’t necessarily Jorge haters, they’re just average Yankee fans who are used to getting that shiny, new toy.

        • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

          Calling up JoVa probably wouldn’t be smart.

          • YanksFan77

            Thanks. There might be an opening for GM next year…just FYI.

            • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

              Lots of strikeouts, very few walks at AAA probably means lots of strikeouts and very few walks at the MLB level.

      • CMP

        I think you missed YankFan77′s point.

        It’s the same way in the NFL where the backup QB is always a fan favorite. Fans tend to overhype or overrate the young prospect or the new guy.

    • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

      This sounds very trollish.

      • Slugger27

        why does it sound trollish? he’s saying posada’s 25 PAs of good hitting shouldnt supercede the fact that he’s been terrible all year. i think most of us would agree that from here on out, montero would help us more offensively at DH than posada would.

        obviously because of posada’s place with the team, i doubt theyd permanently bench him in may… but as far as winning ballgames is concerned, yanks fan has a perfectly valid point (aside from the “posadapologist” comment)

        • ClementG

          I his 130 PAs shouldn’t supercede what he’s done for his career. We don’t have an answer yet.

    • Dave

      So you’re the Yankee fan everyone in baseball hates?

      • YanksFan77

        No, just you “True” Yankee fans. :)

      • YanksFan77

        I think they hate us all with equal passion.

  • Ted Nelson

    Good stuff.

    Definitely agree that people were too harsh on him, In my opinion, though, that’s not just an ESPN thing. Commenters here were on Posada for struggling a lot sooner than the MSM.

    I do think it would have happened eventually and I certainly don’t think people should jump on the correlation, but it’s certainly possible the drama woke Posada up somehow. There is a human element involved.

  • http://www.yankeeanalysts.com/ Matt Imbrogno

    Posada’s been drawing his walks in May and taht’s a good sign. If he continues to do that, I’ll be more patient. It’s frustrating that the power hasn’t shown back up yet, but he’s been hitting the ball a bit harder, so hopefully it’s coming around again.

  • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

    I just hope he doesn’t rebound sufficiently to fool Cashman into bringing him back for a year (or Levine for, gulp two).

    • YanksFan77

      Why not, he’s a true Yankee. Give him as many years as he wants, he’s got 5 championship rings! How many does Pujols have? 1.

      5 >>>>> 1, buddy.

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

        I laughed.

      • http://twitter.com/kschmidt2 Kiersten

        Granderson has none. Posada to center field!

      • Slugger27

        well played.

    • ClementG

      I don’t think Posada is done. He still has pop in his bat, he can still turn on a fastball, including a 100 mph from Verlander. He had an absurdly low BABIP, and maybe he was also adjusting to the DH role, but I think it’s possible he can still be productive at the plate.

      That all said, no matter what Posada does the rest of the way, he will not be returning to the Yankees in 2012. If you happen to be at Yankee Stadium for the final game of the regular season, and Posada is hitting .270 with 22 HRs after a strong second half, don’t hesitate in giving him a standing ovation for his years of service to the Yankees. You will be seeing his last regular season AB as a Yankee. Cashman let Matsui walk away after winning the World Series MVP. He didn’t even invite Bernie Williams back. Posada is now a DH and he will be 40. He’s not coming back after this year as a player wearing a Yankee uniform. Ever.

      • V

        Slight nitpick – he DID invite Bernie back with a Spring Training invite on a minor league deal, but Bernie was too insulted that he wasn’t given a guaranteed Major League deal that he turned it down.

        • ClementG

          True, he invited him back as basically a non-roster player to see if he could make the team in Spring Training, or go play in AAA in case the Yankees needed him. No contract.

          My point, which I think you understood, was and is that the Yankees are going to move past Posada this year, and it doesn’t matter what Posada does, anymore than it did when Bernie hit .280 his last season and crushed lefties. The Yankees decided to move on, and Bernie decided he didn’t want to play for any other team but the Yankees. They both made decisions.

          If Posada can rebound, some team may give him a chance as a DH, and ocassional back-up 1B’man, and maybe even allow him to catch a few games, but it won’t be the Yankees. Unlike Bernie, I totally see Posada playing in another uniform, especially after how he thinks the Yankees have mistreated him (even though they haven’t.)

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

            Which reminds me – I was oddly happy to see Giambi hit three HRs the other night.

  • The BIG 3

    Hate to be the critic but your entire first paragraph is awful. And BTW, RAB and its posters have been shitting on Po just as much, if not more, than ESPN or any other rag.

    And Jeets will be fine too.

  • brent

    Sorry hannah but I have to point out a MAJOR MAJOR MAJOR logical flaw in there. By using 250 PAs as your BABIP cut off point you have basicaly eliminated every single player who was at the end of their career and was released, designated or retired mid season at the end. Basically McGwire is in Posada’s situation, a guy with such a legacy that he waw allowed to prove beyond ANY FREAKING doubt that he was done.

    Please you cannot site 12 TWELVE!!!!! PA’s and tell me Posada is suddenly back on track.

    Re run that analysis but do it for ALL players ages 35 and up with a minimum of say 100 PAs and come back. My guess is you are going to see alot more guys like Ken Griffey Jr with abysmal end of career babibs and averages. That arbitrary cut off eliminated a huge group of guys who were released because they were finished. ALmost NO player EVER gets 250 PAs with a sub 200 babip to work itself out.

    ALl that analysis proved is how very very rare it is for a team to let a player of Posada’s age keep going up there despite horrendous results.

    I’m not saying Posada won’t end up regressing to the mean a bit. But he is nearing a new skill level. You can throw out his career babips that were compiled as an elite ball player in his early to mid 30s. THis is a 40 year old player.

    As an example what do you think a 52 year old Ted Williams would babip? PRetty damn low I’m guessing. Just because the average lies somewhere doesn’t mean we throw out every other piece of information we have, age, mileage, skil set and our eyes tell us that Posada’s babi[ is not bad luck, its a deteriorating skill set.

    • The BIG 3

      He doesn’t have to. Considering the catching ranks in MLB, just like last year, Po would have wound again as a very valuable player if he was allowed to play. Why Cash chose to disrespect him by shutting him out entirely in this, Po’s last year, will be revealed one day.

      • YanksFan77
        • The BIG 3

          That seems to me to be the most likely, but I’d hate to believe it’s true. What I really know is that, based on last year, Po definitely could have held his own this year in a part time role, but he was not given the opportunity to do so. I’d be way more pissed off than he’s expressed if it were me.

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

            Jorge Posada:

            A.) Was never a good defensive catcher
            B.) Had turned into a disastrophe behind the plate over these last few years in his late 30s
            C.) Like many other players in his late 30s, had developed a tendency to get hurt and have his production diminish due to nagging injuries

            Moving him from backup C to fulltime DH was a smart move. I totally understand and agree with Cashman and Girardi’s decision to do so. He had become a liability in the field. He still had the potential to be a positive at DH. Removing him from the backup C role thus held the potential to improve his production as an everyday DH.

            Cervelli or Molina or Montero are all eminently qualified at serving in the smaller, less significant role of backup catcher so that Jorge can serve in the larger, more important role of everyday DH.

            • The BIG 3

              I understand that Po is not exactly a defensive-minded catcher; never has been. But I don’t understand why you would totally accept Cash’s decision if Cervelli sucks too. I honestly do not understand why Po was not given Cervelli’s role. He blows, so that makes no sense.

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

                I honestly do not understand why Po was not given Cervelli’s role. He blows, so that makes no sense.

                Here’s why:

                Cervelli the backup catcher, when you add his bad offense in with his mediocre (but not atrocious) defense, is probably equal to what you can expect in total net production from 39 year old Jorge Posada the backup catcher (with his decent but no longer elite offense and his horribly atrocious defense). It might be a slight upgrade, it might be a slight downgrade, but for the 200-300ish plate appearances the backup plays, it’s probably a wash.

                So for a probable wash, you’re asking the team to A.) play Posada at two positions, semi-permanent DH and otherwise backup C, a usage rate that either virtually eliminates the rest that a 39 year old baseball player is going to need and has him playing almost every day, or B.) gives Posada the days off he needs and means that DH will be used for other players more than 50% of the time, creating other holes at SS, 3B, and RF as lesser players fill in for ARod, Jeter, and Swisher as they rotate into DH while Posada plays C.

                Cervelli the backup C blows. So does Molina. In all likelihood, though, so would Posada. And having Posada fill two roles (everyday DH and backup C) weakens the DH role without demonstrably improving the C role.

                You’re assuming a lot of risk for little reward.

                • The BIG 3

                  Cervelli the backup catcher, when you add his bad offense in with his mediocre (but not atrocious) defense, is probably equal to what you can expect in total net production from 39 year old Jorge Posada the backup catcher (with his decent but no longer elite offense and his horribly atrocious defense). It might be a slight upgrade, it might be a slight downgrade, but for the 200-300ish plate appearances the backup plays, it’s probably a wash.
                  I know you need not be reminded that this is Po’s last year. Come on, this is simple respect I’m imploring Cash to consider. Like you said, Po would probably be no downgrade to Cervelli; so why is Cervelli even on the roster? What, Jorge’s fabulous career means nothing? I’ll also submit that Jorge would be infinitely better than Cervelli, IMO.

                  So for a probable wash, you’re asking the team to A.) play Posada at two positions, semi-permanent DH and otherwise backup C, a usage rate that either virtually eliminates the rest that a 39 year old baseball player is going to need and has him playing almost every day, or B.) gives Posada the days off he needs and means that DH will be used for other players more than 50% of the time, creating other holes at SS, 3B, and RF as lesser players fill in for ARod, Jeter, and Swisher as they rotate into DH while Posada plays C.
                  I’m not going to run down the various scenarios but Po catching 2 days and DH’ing 2 days will work on any level.

                  This is a company that just handed out ridiculous contracts to Jeter and A-Rod. Sorry, but I believe something else is afoot here. They did not treat Po fairly, respective of those other two.

                  • Slugger27

                    those 2 are much more special (and important) players than posada is. the yankees handle things on a case-by-case basis, as they should. arods contract meant nothing in the jeter negotiations.

                    neither arods nor jeters situation should mean anything when dealing with how best to handle jorge. how best to handle him is let him bow out gracefully as the (somewhat) everyday DH and not embarass or injure himself behind the plate.

              • Slugger27

                theres really no upside to that move. posada would be historically bad defensively, and my guess is, would see his batting suffer even more than it already is.

                catching is tough on the body, he’s already struggling enough with father time. i imagine cervellis upgrade in defense cancels out any edge posada has offensively, which may barely even exist at this point anyway.

                • The BIG 3

                  The fact that Cervelli’s name and talent is being mentioned in this thread should be enough evidence for most that something else is afoot here. Cervelli = Posada is laughably ridiculous.

                  Now, if Jesus was up, that would be a totally different story. Young stud, hopeful, supremely gifted bat. give him some innings and see how he adjusts. But that’s not the story, the comparison is Cervelli instead.

        • CMP

          I have to believe there has to be some tension between Posada and Giradi all the way back the the mid 90s.

          Back then, Torre consistently played Girardi more than he should have considering Posada was the far superior player and Girardi essentially helped groom his own replacement.

    • Slugger27

      u make a lot of valid points

  • V

    I generally hate it when people say “screw the stats, watch with your eyes”, but I challenge anyone to watch 5 Posada plate appearances from mid-April and 5 plate appearances from the past week, and the difference is STAGGERING.

    His approach is looking a lot better, and the hard hit balls (including today’s single/’double’/out) have come back.

  • Tim

    Posada no longer is able to catch because of the concussions he suffered in the past (4) and how poorly he did on a cat scan performed on his brain last winter.

    He suffered two just last season.

    The decision to not let him catch was made more by a medical team, Jorge and the Yankees based on how poorly he did on the tests.

    Actually Posada is quite concerned that he could suffer problems from the concussions later in life.

    Bob Kaplisch wrote a column on this very subject Feb of 2011.

    There is no blame to be cast because Jorge is not behind the plate.

    • The BIG 3

      I know that’s the rumor, but it’s also impossible too. No way would Po be allowed on the basepaths if Cash had medical evidence of how dangerous that prospect could be. Evidentially, his pre-season medical tests supported his roster spot. Otherwise, he would not be here.

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

        No way would Po be allowed on the basepaths if Cash had medical evidence of how dangerous that prospect could be.

        Catching is likely far more dangerous from a “potential head injury” probability than baserunning or hitting is. And only doing two of the three (baserunning and hitting) is undeniably less risky than doing all three.

        Obviously, the safest thing to do is just retire, but cutting back the amount of time he spends on the field by more than half by making him an offense-only DH is an effective way to decrease that risk to acceptable levels.

        • The BIG 3

          Right, like that matters. A health risk is a health risk, and even if he was less likely to be re-concussed as a DH, that prospect still existed. Billion dollar companies do not work the way you’re suggesting.

          • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

            Wrong. They work precisely this way. Do some research on the life insurance policies companies like Walmart take out on even low and mid level managers simply because they can. Naming themselves, not the families of the employees, as beneficiaries. Billion dollar enterprises are in the business of making money, not especially caring about peoples lives.

            • V

              Meh. The life insurance policies got a really bad rap, but in theory, it makes sense that if an employee’s death would severely damage the company, it should insure against this risk.

              Insurance is priced for the insurance company to make a profit, in aggregate. Therefore, it is not a sound business decision to ‘invest’ in insurance. It’s purely there for risk mitigation.

            • Bpdelia

              What?! You pinko bastard. Unocal, dow chemical, shell, etc etc operate for the betterment of mankind profit is simply a pleasant unintended consequence. Oh and freedom too. . . they are all about freedom.

      • Tim

        Posada’s concussion issue is not a rumor, read it for yourself.

        http://www.northjersey.com/spo.....l?page=all

  • David, Jr.

    I believe that the opinion about him in many quarters has been unduly positive, because he is an aging Yankee great.

    Let’s say that we had a 25 yr old guy that had been signed as a free agent. We had no background with him, but the following objective facts and “solid rumors” existed:

    One of the worst hitters on the team thus far.

    No real fielding position to play.

    An astonishingly bad base runner.

    Divisive, doesn’t get along with the manager.

    What would most hard core Yankee fans be saying about this guy?

    • Slugger27

      theyd be saying bench his ass.

      im not necessarily ready to right jorge off, and in my opinion jesus could use some more time at AAA. but i also could see the point the other side makes, fans that want posada benched and montero to be the everyday DH. i think he undoubtedly would contribute more offensively than posada would.

      posada isnt jeter/mariano to the fans, i dont think thered be that much of a backlash, i really dont.

  • CMP

    Why isn’t everyone calling for Nick Swisher’s head? He been just as bad as Jorge offensively and he’s below average in RF with the arm of a left fielder.

    Granted, he’s younger than Posada and more likely to bounce back but he’s been just as putrid as Jorge so far this year.

    With all the comments about Posada and Jeter this year, it’s seems like the more you’ve done for the team, the faster the fans turn on you.

    I’m not saying you have to defer to Posada to the detriment of the team because of his legacy but I think you have to show him SOME respect. To show him the door after barely more than 100 ABs just isn’t fair or smart.

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

      Answer: Granted, he’s younger than Posada and more likely to bounce back

    • David, Jr.

      In saying that they should show him some respect, aren’t you saying that they should defer to him to the detriment of the team? What would constitute the “showing of respect”?

      • CMP

        Give him 200-250 ABs before concluding he’s done, not 100.

        And how about covering for his screw up when he asked out of the game last week instead of Cashman making statements to the media in the middle of a game.

    • cr1

      This is just a hypothesis and maybe it’s crazy. It’s about the attitude Cashman has taken to Posada (and Jeter). Cashman used to be this bright respectful hardworking young man who deferred to his elders (Torre and Steinbrenner) and their decisions about and attitudes towards players. Now he’s a middle-aging guy with years of seniority in his position, with relatively upstart, younger, less experienced ownership and management to deal with. No more deference. Runs his mouth. Gets off on being able to jerk around players who he used to see as being under the protection of the ruling older generation. Doesn’t mind letting the media know he’s superior to ownership in baseball knowledge and won’t back their dumber ploys. Sees Girardi as a guy who he got the job for, someone who owes him. Is enjoying letting it be seen that instead of his eating other people’s ****, now he can make them eat his.

      Am I crazy?

    • David, Jr.

      Check Swisher’s defensive ratings. You may be quite surprised.

  • CMP

    Not always. See 2005 and 2008.