On Curtis Granderson and a possible rebound

It's official: The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move is now a balk
Poll: Voiding A-Rod's Contract
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)
(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

By OPS+, Curtis Granderson had the seventh-worst 40+ homer season in baseball history last year. That’s kind of a silly thing to say because a 116 OPS+ is still really good, but it was well-below the 142 OPS+ he managed one season ago. The performance drop was most notable in the second half, when Granderson hit .212/.278/.480 (98 wRC+) with a 31.8% strikeout after managing a 130 wRC+ (25.9 K%) in the first half. His postseason performance, as you know, was abysmal (-9 wRC+ and 48.5 K%).

Granderson will turn 32 in March and he’s right on the prime years bubble — you would expect his performance to start to slip naturally due to age, but you wouldn’t expect it to completely crater yet either. I know he’s done it two years in row now, but I have a hard time expecting Granderson to hit 40+ homers against this coming season. He certainly has the ballpark going for him and it’s not like his power (.260 ISO) was a concern last year, but hitting 40+ homers in a season is a very tough thing to do. Doing it three times in a row, regardless of age, is damn near impossible. He seems like a lock for 30+ if he stays healthy, however.

Despite his age and the unlikelihood of another 40+ dinger season, there are some reasons to expect Granderson’s overall performance to rebound a bit next season. The big one is his .260 BABIP, which was a career-worst and well-below his career .305 mark despite a career-high line drive rate and his lowest fly ball rate in five years. Batted ball data is fickle and one man’s line drive is another’s fly ball, but the important thing is that he was not hitting the ball in the air more than he had previously in 2012. Balls hit in the air turn into outs relatively easily, yet Granderson had no significant change in his batted ball profile.

Now, it’s worth nothing that the career .305 BABIP number probably isn’t a great frame of reference. Granderson, as you know, overhauled his swing mechanics with Kevin Long in August 2010 and from that point through the end of the 2011 season, he managed a .292 BABIP. It’s not a huge difference but it’s a difference nonetheless. I’m more comfortable using the .292 as his baseline BABIP rather than the .305. Either way, there will hopefully be a little correction coming in 2013. It won’t be a ton, but getting the BABIP back up to .290 or so should be enough to get his average out of the .230s and back into the .250s and .260s. Add in his typically high walk rate (11.0% in 2012) and that should get his OBP back into the .350-ish range.

Another thing worth noting is that Granderson was behind in the count more than usual last season as pitchers threw him a first pitch strike 55.7% of the time, his highest mark as a Yankee. The difference in expected outcomes between falling behind 0-1 and jumping ahead 1-0 is enormous for all players, Curtis included. Granderson always works deep counts — his 4.27 pitches per plate appearance rate was the fifth highest in baseball last year — and he tends to take the first pitch, so it might be worth it to get a little aggressive this year and jump on a few first pitch fastballs in 2013. That obviously isn’t something that will just happen on its own like BABIP magic, Granderson (with some help from Long) will have to work on it.

Since he’s due to become a free agent next offseason, it would behoove Curtis to have a really strong season in 2013. His power will get him paid regardless, but getting those batting average and on-base numbers back to their pre-2012 levels could be the difference between a Cody Ross contract (three years, $26M) and a Nick Swisher contract (four years, $56M), for example. I do think that if Granderson had been with another club last year or the last two years or whatever, we’d be talking about him as a bounceback candidate the Yankees should look to acquire in a trade. The Yankees are going to need the power production this summer after losing Nick Swisher and Russell Martin, but if I could get greedy for a moment, it would be really awesome if Curtis put together a huge walk year overall as well.

email
It's official: The fake-to-third, throw-to-first move is now a balk
Poll: Voiding A-Rod's Contract
  • Robinson Tilapia

    For some reason, Curtis doesn’t frustrate me as much as he does others. Perhaps I’ve come to accept who he is and, in some ways, he’s surpassed who I thought he was. I just know strikeouts come with the package and that he’s not a great defender at baseline.

    Not to shit on the guy more, but the one point I’ve always agreed with stuart on is that there’s nothing worse than Alex Rodriguez beautifully swinging right through strike three. That’s throw your shoe at the TV type stuff.

    Expect a rebound? As far as batting average goes, I’d think that’s the safer bet. Sure. I also agree with Mike that I’d never expect anyone to drive 40 HRs a year.

    I’ve always really liked Curtis. There are limits to what you offer him when the season ends (and I understand the argument for shopping him perfectly as well), but I don’t necessarily think it should be a 100% given that he walks after the season, even if it’s better than a 50% shot, at least to me.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      (and OBP)

    • Barry’s Gift Basket

      I don’t think he is coming back for 2014, i just don’t see it. Gardner, Ichiro and a guy making the league minimum, could be the starting OF for 2014. Needless to say, 2014 scares the crap out of me.

      Nevertheless, they didn’t traded him (and most likely, won’t) because he is the best outfielder on the team, and the Yankees will contend this year.

      • MartinRanger

        And yeah. If Granderson walks and somebody gives him a big contract, Cashman will have successfully gotten the most out of his two outfield trades – getting their prime years for reasonable salary and cutting ties just as they age.

        Remember the state of the Yankee outfield a few years ago? Sheffield/Abreu, the decaying remains of Bernie Williams, and Matsui? Cashman’s done a remarkable job to plug those holes.

      • Ted Nelson

        The Yankees could put a league minimum guy in the OF, and that might be a great thing: it would probably mean one of their prospects had such a very successful 2013 that convinced them he’s MLB ready. It’s happened, but they’re not exactly known for forcing prospects into roles they haven’t earned.

        They do have money to spend, though. They could trade for a young/prime cost controlled OF like they did for Granderson/Swisher. They could sign someone.

        • LK

          It’ll depend on how 2013 goes, but given the current state of the farm trading for a young OF may not be the best strategy. Sure, it’s very unlikely that all 3 of Heathcott/Williams/Austin work out, but it’s possible, and they also still have Gardner for a couple years, as well as Ichiro for 2014. I suppose if they’re trading two of those guys mentioned above it would make sense though. And, of course, if someone like Stanton is on the table then all that stuff pretty much goes out the window.

          • Ted Nelson

            It depends on a whole lot of things. There could just be a ridiculous buy-low candidate like Swisher (when acquired) available. Or they could just see more value in the young OF than they do in the package of players they give up to get him, which probably might include an OF prospect.

            • LK

              There are scenarios where it makes sense. As of this moment though I think the pitching staff will be the area of greatest need (unless Ichiro falls off a cliff).

              • Ted Nelson

                I’m not saying that I expect it to be their area of greatest need. I’m saying that they can upgrade their OF situation by spending more than the league minimum there.

                My guess would be one top-to-mid rotation SP to stabilize the rotation, whether by FA or trade. Hoping that some combo of Nova, Phelps, Pineda, Banuelos, Marshall, Warren, Turley, Betances, and cheap external options can fill the 3-5 spots.

                • LK

                  Agree with all of this.

    • MartinRanger

      Yes, Austin Jackson is developing into a burgeoning star. And IPK had a good season in the NL.

      But prospects (especially athletic specialty baseball/basketball stars like Jackson) seldom pan out like that.

      And Curtis Granderson has been so much more than a platoon player.

      People look at Jackson and 189 and lament, but I still it was one of Cashman’s shrewder trades. You’ve got to give some to get some. unless it’s Ozzie Guillen and Nick Swisher. Or the Diamondbacks this offseason.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        How comparable is Jackson’s prime going to be to Granderson’s? If, in the end, the assumption was that Curtis was Jackson’s best case scenario, that’s an interesting question to answer.

        It’s not automatically a bad thing when the prospect you traded away turns out to be good.

        • MartinRanger

          Jackson’s obviously a better defender. And he hits for a high average and has decent pop and has really cut down on his strikeouts. But really I’d guess they are a wash? Going forward it looks bad, but the Yankees did what made sense. And it paid off.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Getting those “wash” prime years later would be great in terms of the salary structure, but this trade wasn’t made with the salary structure in mind. We got an advance on those prime years.

            Everyone got what they wanted out of that trade at the time.

            • MartinRanger

              Also worth noting: Granderson is almost exactly the same age Bernie Williams was when he fell off a cliff, dropping from a .908 OPS in 2002 (age 32) to .778, .795, and then bottoming out at .688 with putrid outfield defense.

          • blake

            I’m not sure Ajax can maintain that BA he had last year….maybe he can but he had a .371 BABIP in 2012. He’s probably more a .270 hitter that’ll hit 10-15 homers guy going forward IMO.

            • MartinRanger

              I think he’s a bit better than that. Again, he cut down on the K’s big time, which will help the BABIP drop-off. I’d say .290 with 20 homers a year and at least 15 triples in that ballpark. Hard to figure exactly where he’ll be OBP wise. He’s not a hacker but he’s not a massively patient hitter either. Maybe right about that .360 mark Granderson topped out at.

              • WhittakerWalt

                Don’t you know strikeouts don’t matter? It’s all I ever hear.

    • Mike HC

      I’m with you. I appreciate Granderson’s game. I know he does frustrate a lot of fans, and not just RAB commenters, many people I watch games with as well. And also agreed he definitely has a shot at being re signed.

    • TCMiller30

      He helped my fantasy team, GrandySlams N Trumbombs win $500 last year, so he’s good in my book, and will be designated as a kepper. Haha

  • Pat D

    Wow, didn’t realize his OBP fell that many points last year. Yikes.

  • blake

    I would expect his BA and OBP to bounce back a little bit….but I also think that 2011 may have just been a career year and that the 2012 player is just closer to what he really is. His OPS+ in 2010 and 2011 was 102 and 108 respectively…..so I expect him to pretty much be a 30 homers bat that will hit about .240 and get on base about 32% of the time….that’s a valuable player still.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Agreed on all points.

      The main thing that frustrates me about Curtis (besides the K’s, which one has to expect as part of the package) is what I view as an under-utilization of his speed. I’d like to see him try and steal a base a little more than he did last year. I think he still has ~20 SB potential.

      • blake

        I agree….that does add to his value if he could swipe a few more bags.

  • Barry’s Gift Basket

    In wich spot would you pencil Grandy in the line up??

    I’d say 2nd VS RHP, with Tex, Cano, Youkilis, and the DH Hafner(?), behind him (in that order).

    And probably 2nd too against LHP, with Youkilis, Cano, Tex, and Juan Rivera probably coming after.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I’d bat him 5th/7th.

      I started writing out mock lineups, assuming, for now Hafner/Rivera like you did. 7-9 depressed the shit out of me until I replaced Youkilis with Ichiro at the 2 spot.

      • Barry’s Gift Basket

        I wouldn’t bat Ichiro 2nd unless he kinda starts the season like he finished 2012, not necessarily thaaaaat good, but somehthing in the middle of his 1.5 years of suck and the torrid 2 months he put out there last september and october.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          There’s a few cases like that in the lineup, though. You could say the same about Youkilis. At some point, yeah, some of these guys might get spots based on reputation.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Hmm, taking into account the roster isn’t set yet and that my batting lineup proposal sucks, I think I’d go:

      RHP:
      SS Jeter
      RF Ichiro
      2B Cano
      1B Teixeira
      LF Granderson
      DH Hafner
      3B Youkilis
      C Cervelli
      CF Gardner

      LHP:
      SS Jeter
      RF Ichiro
      2B Cano
      1B Teixeira
      3B Youkilis
      LF Granderson
      DH Nunez?
      C Cervelli
      CF Gardner

      Meh, I’ll leave the lineups to Joe.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        That’s exactly what I had.

      • Barry’s Gift Basket

        Well yeah Joe has to do it, but it’s fun, at least to me, to put a picture in my mind of how the team can look come opening day… It’s because miss baseball so much.

        how about,

        Gardner, Jeter, Tex, Cano, Youkilis, Granderson, Hafner, Ichiro, Crapcher.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          +1 for inclusion of he craptcher.

        • Barry’s Gift Basket

          Or, to try to split the lefties,

          Gardner, Jeter, Cano, Tex, Granderson, Youkilis, Hafner, Ichiro, Crapcher.

          • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

            I wouldn’t mind seeing Gardy lead off, I just don’t think the Yankees are going to bump Jeter out of that spot for better or worse. I subscribe to the “have your best hitter bat third” frame of mind, so I’d prefer Robbie at 3 and Teix cleaning up, but a reversal could work too. I also like a speedy contact guy (Gardner, Ichiro) in the 9 spot as a “second leadoff” man as opposed to the black hole of the aptly named craptcher sitting there. Just my opinions.

            • John C

              Jeter shouldn’t be in the 2 spot becuase of his tendency to hit into DPs. Leadoff is the best place for him, with Ichiro 2nd and Gardy 9th

              • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

                Which is exactly what I had in my proposed lineup. I agree Jeter should leadoff, but I also wouldn’t flip out if I saw Gardner’s name there. You’re correct about Jeet’s GIDP tendencies, maybe some would be mitigated by Gardy swiping second then moving to 3rd on Jeet’s groundout?

  • trr

    Completely one dimensional player (power – of course, that’s a pretty good dimension to have!) Speed and fielding have declined. Pretty much a mistake hitter now. Can’t see the team over him a multi-year contract in excess of $15M per year, so trading him should be a goal for 2013.

    • John C

      They’re not gonna trade him otherwise it would have happened already. Yanks did make him available but reportedly got very few bites on him. His free agent status obviously hurt his trade value. We can only hope he has a big year motivated by all of this

    • Reggie C.

      Trade Granderson? Hell. No.

      Granderson has minimal trade value considering he’s in a walk year, he’s 32 years old, and for budget conscious owners Granderson’s 2013 salary is still substantial. Besides, the Yankees need Granderson’s power output in the lineup that’ll get punchless real quick should Teixiera & Youkilis still find themselves in the throes of respective quick declines.

      • blake

        I would have traded Granderson if they could have gotten good value for him and they could have replaced him with something good in the lineup…..the 2nd part of that is pretty unlikely now and I have no idea if the first is possible either.

        They can’t afford to lose more offense for 2013 now unless it can be replaced.

    • Barry’s Gift Basket

      I think the goal for 2013 is to make the playoffs, and then win the WS.

      At least that’s what i’ve been told when i ask; Why, in God’s name, those guys play flippin’ baseball everyday for 7 months?

      In order to make that goal, the Yankees shouldn’t trade Granderson.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        The “Ha! You think this team can make the World Series! Ha!” crowd must be out to breakfast together.

        • Jim Is Bored

          It’s like people just ignore the 2000 yankees.

          Obviously i’m not saying I want to have an 87 win team, but anything can happen.

          • MartinRanger

            Honestly the better comp for me is 2001. And that was with most of the championship mainstays falling apart.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I guess I was looking at 2000 for the win total, 95 wins in 2001 was still pretty good.

              • MartinRanger

                You do remember that the 2000 team had a nearly historic collapse down the stretch though? I think they were better than 87 wins easily.

                • Jim Is Bored

                  Pythag had them at 85. I don’t think by any measurement they were better than that.

                  9th in runs, 14th in runs allowed. Near .500 in one run and extra inning games. If anything, we were a bit lucky to win 87.

                  • MartinRanger

                    Was it that dire? Damn. Cone was a catastrophe, Brosius (.299 OBP) was bad, Andy and El Duque had middling years and O’Neil OPS’d under .800, but they did pick up Justice who was beyond huge.

                    Oh, and 5th starters were something that happened to other people.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      And Glenallen Hill! Man, watching him hit was ridiculously entertaining.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Projections were meant to be exceeded, flapjack.

        • Barry’s Gift Basket

          Hah, that breakfast is something i wouldn’t want to be a part of.

          But for the record, I didn’t say they’ll make, or win, the WS, i said that’s the goal (not to trade Grandy).

          Hell, making the playoffs seems dificult right now, with the flaws this team has and the way the division they play is constituted, but there is a chance they win 90 games, get into the offseason… and who knows after that?

          And i’ll support them no matter what.

          BTW. It’s all fun and games until…
          (That meme still alive?)

          • Robinson Tilapia

            “But for the record, I didn’t say they’ll make, or win, the WS, i said that’s the goal (not to trade Grandy).”

            Too late. You’re on record as even sniffing the possibility, you sycophantic Pollyanna.

            The meme lives as long as we’re willing to let it live, which means it’ll die around noon, or when something better comes up.

            • Barry’s Gift Basket

              Haha 0k.

              My handle will live forever though.

          • Barry’s Gift Basket

            *postseason, not offseason.

          • jsbrendog

            they’re still better than bmore, boston, and i don’t see tampa being that much better. also, who knows if toronto will do well. they have tons of ?? too with rasmus, melky, reyes, guys who could easily get hurt or suck or could stay healthy and mash. pitching staff too. JJ could lose his arm on the mound. I’d say the yankees have just as good of a chance to win the division as any other team

            • Barry’s Gift Basket

              Agreed.

              That doesn’t mean that i’ve liked what they’ve done this offseason, or that i support the 189 thing, but they sure as hell have a great chance to win the division this year.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Completely agree.

        • trr

          I’m right here, Robby!

    • Ted Nelson

      He matched his career high in OBP just one year ago, a season where he was one of the 10 most productive players in MLB by fWAR. It takes some huge assumptions to call him one dimensional, especially if he moves to LF where his range could be fine.

  • Robert

    The Grandy Man will like all players in there walk year have a great season…. I expect his average to be up as well as his stolen bases.

    • Ted Nelson

      Do you have evidence suggesting players play better in their walk years? It’s been a little while, but the studies I’ve seen don’t seem to conclude that they do.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Derek Jeter’s walk year was 2010, and he played like shit.

  • MartinRanger

    I think it’s safe to assume one of Diaz/Rivera/Canzier will be on the roster (and contributing) most of the year.

    My money’s actually on Rivera. I think he’s got something left.

  • Ted Nelson

    “The Yankees are going to need the power production this summer after losing Nick Swisher and Russell Martin”

    I don’t really understand the mindset that it matters how your production comes.

    They’ll need run production, but I don’t think it matters too much what combination of power, OBP, baserunning, etc. that production comes from. (Could really include pitching and defense, too, in terms of preventing runs.)

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      I agree with you here. Power is absolutely a good thing to have, but there are other ways of scoring runs. Plenty of championship teams weren’t in the upper echelons of HR hitters. The team is definitely gonig to lose some HR production, which might hurt them, but they could make up for it in other ways. We will have to wait and see.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      They haven’t added enough of a combination of anything — power, speed, AVG, OBP, etc. — to compensate for what they lost this offseason.

      • MartinRanger

        The question is how sharp the drop-off is, and whether having one of the best defensive outfields in baseball and a really good pitching staff and presumably better luck with RISP can make up for it.

        Of everybody, I’m the most worried about Jeter. We are not likely to see anything like that kind of production out of him again. He’ll be serviceable, but I think last year was his last truly great offensive season.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          Interesting.

          I’m actually quite bullish on Jeter. My concern lies with the same names others are concerned about. What can be expected over 162 games from Youkilis and Ichiro? Wh are Mark Texiera and Curtis Granderson at this point? Is enough of that going to go right to overcome the rest? Nothing too controversial.

        • Austin Aunelowitzky

          Betting Against Derek Jeter Alert !!!!!

          • MartinRanger

            I will be happy as hell to be proved wrong.

            Of course, I’m just taking it for granted Mo will be his usual late-career elite self this year.

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

        I understand your sentiment, but I think it’s premature to make an authoritative statement like that. We have no way of knowing what kind of year they’ll get out of Ichiro, Youk, Granderson, or anyone else for that matter. Ichiro could continue hitting like he did at the end of 2012 and Granderson could have a bounceback year and hit 40 HR again on top of it. Or they could all underperform.

        I agree Swisher was a huge loss, I’m disappointed they didn’t keep Martin at the price he signed for, but I don’t see that as the same magnitude of loss.

        I think this team could easily win as many or more games as last year and just as easily lose more games. We’re going to have to wait and see.

      • Ted Nelson

        My point was more generally about that rationale, but I’ll wait for the season to see what they’ve added.

        Eppler and his staff have done a good job in recent years of finding buy-low veteran bargains. I think that there’s plenty of upside with Youkilis and Ichiro (not necessarily to rediscover their peak production, but to bounce back at least a bit), and Hafner (if signed)/RH could add plenty of production too compared to a lot of Ibanez and Jones in 2012. The Yankees might have had specific mechanical reasons to make the relatively large investments in Youkilis players that they did. Rather than just assume they are fools throwing darts at a board, I like to think that the FO is one of the most rational in baseball based on the evidence that I have. There were plenty of holes, cold stretches, and injuries in 2012, yet they still scored about as many Rs as any team (in an offensive home park, granted, though their P was good with the same home park).

        There’s the whole preventing runs thing, too.

        • MartinRanger

          For all the fire the Yankees get for bargain-basement deals, how good have they been at pulling premium production off the scrap heap?

          They picked Ibanez over Damon and Matsui because they thought he had more left and could hold his own in the outfield.

          How many of us were so completely wrong to doubt that one? I thought it was insanity.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Of course, but you can’t really quantify deviations from what people assume is a straight line up or down in production. This is why, when we take stats and projections further than they’re intended to go, we stop realizing that bumps in the road and resurgences are possible. Predicting those, of course, can both be absolutely informed by stats AND be guesswork.

            • MartinRanger

              That’s true, but their assessment of Ibanez’s defensive capabilities, and the fact that they went after him the whole offseason, indicates that Cashman et al were confident in a bounceback.

              And the year before that Andruw Jones.

              I’m not saying Cashman is ahead of the league in terms of late-winter bargain deals, but it’s hard to deny his success of late. And even when it goes wrong (Randy Winn) it’s easily enough dealt with.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                I don’t think they’re ahead of anything, but I can guarantee you (and agree with you that) they’ve got a much wider lens than your average “haha look at the bottom-feeders” fly-by-night RAB commenter with evaluating a player like this.

          • Ted Nelson

            I don’t think any team has a long track-record of premium production off the scrap heap, but I also don’t think Ichiro and Youkilis were on the same heap as Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Colon, Wade, Thames, Jones, Wood, Nix, Wise, Chavez, Rapada, Eppley, or Ayala. Those guys came in on MiLB or small deals, options to fill marginal roles on the roster. Diaz/Rivera/Canzler and possibly Hafner fit that mold (and possibly Stewart).

            The market appeared to be much higher on Youk and Ichiro, given that the Yankees had to beat similar, fairly large deals to get them. The Yankees invested in them expecting to get starter production. I think that their track record is good in that regard: buy-low starting candidates. They haven’t had a ton of roster turn-over but Russell Martin is a recent example. Replacing an aging OF with Swisher and Granderson on different levels of buy-low deals is another fairly recent example. Pettitte I would more consider luck, but Kuroda was a really good value at a similar investment to Youk.

            (I know I’m ignoring all the flops along the way, but I think their success rate is fairly good relative to the rest of the league.)

            • Robinson Tilapia

              I don’t think Kerry Wood belonged on that list either. Maybe even Freddy, who really was coming off a season where he stood upright as an MLB starter for a year.

              Overall, though, completely agree. It’s also hard to quantify the flops. You can say that every depth guy brought in an MiLB deal who wound up leaving was a “flop,” which would mean including luminaries like Jason Lane and JC Romero and leading to a probably unnecessary side thread on Carlos Pena.

              • Ted Nelson

                Wood had a 6.3 ERA in Cleveland when the Yankees got him for Matt Cusick and Andrew Shive (who? and who?). The Yankees paid less than half of what he was owed.

                While I was high on Garcia based on his Chicago success, they got him on a MiLB deal and the consensus among fans/media seemed to be his arm had already fallen off.

                • Logical end of conversation

                  I have absolutely no recollection of the guys traded for Wood either. Didn’t remember he was having that crappy a year either.

                  • Robinson Tilapia

                    DAMNIT!

                  • MartinRanger

                    I pride myself on knowledge of farm system, and I have no clue who those guys were.

                    Was one of them a catcher? Or was that to the Reds or something.

        • Mike HC

          With HGH testing during the year, pure speculation, but it is possible offense will be even further down around the league. That whole run prevention thing might take on even greater importance.

          (just bullshitting here more than making an actual point)

    • LK

      You are of course right that all that matters is total value. However, given the losses, if Granderson were to take a step back power-wise, that would be a ton of value to make up in other facets of the game.

  • LK

    I think the BABIP decline since mid-2010 isn’t really related to the swing overhaul. League average BABIP is down over the last couple years as well, whether due to increased shifting or other factors, and I think that’s driving the decrease. Granderson having a big year is going to be pretty crucial for 2013.

  • MannyGeee

    I was going to float out the “Grade Grandy while he has value in 3…..2….” but thankfully trr beat me to it.

    Seriously, there is a shit ton of value in a guy hitting 40 homeruns (#toomanyhomerz, anyone?), but I would take 30 home runs and have that OBP go up some.

    Also, when he is not playing 158 games a season, he has the speed to turn doubles into triples. Maybe having Ichiro around will allow them to spell Granderson for 1/2 days off. (that said, on a contract year when you do not expect to resign him, you may be inclined to ride him till the wheels fall off…)

    I wonder how much the increase in power make him hungry to drive the ball instead of work towards contact, a la Tex.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I give Grandy a B-

      Sorry, had to.

      • MannyGeee

        goddammit

        well played Tills. Considering I spend my day in front of a monitor, i should learn to type and proof read.

      • Herby

        I’d say that’s right about on the mark, those late season fades, full count strikeouts, and defensive lapses really make you scream.

  • Kosmo

    the 2012 Yanks hit 245 HRs. Losing Swisher and Martin cost them 45 HRs which puts NY around 200 for 2013, of course with the addition of players like Rivera and Co. you would expect NY to make up at least 25 of those 45. Of course everyone else will have to maintain career norms.

    • Kosmo

      I would also expect Ichiro to have a modest gain in HR production.

    • Ted Nelson

      HRs are an OK proxy, but there are better ways to evaluate an offense.

      Those other ways might tell a similar story, I’m just saying that counting HRs lost isn’t really considered a credible way to evaluate a team.

      • Kosmo

        I never said it was. I´m just trying to point out NY could easily gain back HRs they might have lost so in effect not much of a big deal. I agree you can evaluate an offense much differently. Last year RISP and 2 outs /RISP hurt NY at times. One can´t complain too much w/ the outcome. 95 wins ain´t shabby.

        • Logical end of conversation

          Hello there.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Those numbers seem reasonable. Agree on slight uptick in Ichiro’s HR’s with a full season at YS3 assuming he stays healthy, which he generally has throughout his career.

      Will those ~20 fewer HR’s cost the Yankees some games? Probably. Will some of them just mean a 6-4 win instead of an 11-4 shellacking? Also probably. The question will be can they score runs in other ways to make up the difference. I think the potential is surely there, but things will have to break right for them.

      • LK

        “Will those ~20 fewer HR’s cost the Yankees some games? Probably. Will some of them just mean a 6-4 win instead of an 11-4 shellacking?”

        I think you can make this point about literally any aspect of an offense. SBs, AVG, OBP, 2Bs – they all sometimes provide the one or two runs that make the difference in the game, and they also all sometimes provide the unnecessary runs that push the margin of victory to 8. HRs are no different, they just happen to be the most valuable result possible in any given PA. The value of an offense is almost entirely determined by how many runs it scores, not the way in which it scores them. So, the HR decline won’t really matter at all as long as they make up for – that won’t necessarily be easy though.

        • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

          Not sure if you were agreeing with me or trying to make an alternate point. Our last couple sentences both say pretty much the exact same thing. Either way, I agree with your comment.

          • LK

            I wasn’t disagreeing at all, just saying that your point on HRs applies to every aspect of an offense. I think that gets lost sometimes when people start going on a “The Yankees need more contact hitters!” or “The Yankees need more team speed!” crusade.

  • RC aka oldmanalex

    Various sources are reporting that AROD might not return after all. http://www.nydailynews.com/spo.....bled=false

    any truth/thoughts regarding this?

    • MartinRanger

      Yeah. They wish.

      I dare them to sit 114 million on the bench or suspend him or whatever.

      Not even the Yankees can do that. They are just playing a desperate game of chicken with A-Rod and his agent, and I don’t think he’s going to flinch. Why should he?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I mean, this is a recap of several possible outcomes most people who follow the team have come up with. There’s nothing new here. Any one of us could have written that.

      I have no clue what Alex is doing this very second, although I absolutely believe my wife when she says he drove by us on the Upper West Side a few weeks back. I could imagine that “I may not return from this” and “I may retire” are thoughts that have crossed his mind at some point, as well as “I’m getting every penny” and “Is that muscular blonde over there male or female?”

    • Ted Nelson

      My thoughts are that they appear to have one source, who doesn’t seem to know anything. Their source says that A-Rod will never reach any of his HR milestones, the first of which would take all of 13 HRs in 5 years. Their source’s logic is “why would he return to a game where no one wants him?” Reads like pure speculation from someone who doesn’t seem to have a particularly rational outlook on life. They then go on to list 2 scenarios for A-Rod’s future, ignoring the possibility that he might actually return and play fairly well.

      My bet is that conflicting reports come out within the next 3 hours.

      I do think that there’s a chance the Yankees planted the story to increase the odds he somehow gets them out of the major commitment that they’ve made to him going forward.

      • Barry’s Gift Basket

        “I do think that there’s a chance the Yankees planted the story to increase the odds he somehow gets them out of the major commitment that they’ve made to him going forward.”

        I get that this is pure speculation, but if that’s true it’d be so so wrong.

        Anybody can say and think whatever they want about Rodriguez, but the fact that he is on this team now, earning what he earns, is 100% because of poor judgment by the Yankees FO (looking at you fatty).

        • Ted Nelson

          Not so sure that it’s an issue of morality, theoretically saying they don’t expect him back.

          • Jim Is Bored

            Where’s our resident judge on all things moral and ethical?

  • yanks61

    There seem to lists for just about everything in baseball, the latest being the top 100 prospects from BA and MLB.

    I’ve noticed today that many of you think Cashman hasn’t been a bad GM – maybe a bit better than average judging from the comments I’ve seen.

    Late last year I saw, for the first time, a list of the top GMs in the game which was written by Ken Davidoff. He had Cashman as baseball’s third best GM. I’d be curious to know what you folks at RAB think. Anyone interested in rating GMs?

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I can’t guarantee everyone would survive such an endeavor on here.

      As for where I’d put him, I can’t see an argument for having him outside the top five, not with the level of post-season success that’s happened on his clock. We can nitpick as to who was “truly responsible” or whatnot, but making the post-season every season, except for one, during his tenure can’t be denied.

      I’d also rank Dombrowski as #1 on any list, and that’s based on about fifteen years of watching the man do his thing.

    • Herby

      Wouldn’t say much about my rating of Ken Davidoff

  • http://www.faithfultofenway.com/ Steve

    I think a lot of people forget that the Yankees asked Teix and Granderson to swing away for the fences. The dropoff and declines in averages are due to swing modifications aimed at adding power. This usually comes at the expense of contact.

    That is what makes players like Miguel Cabrera and Josh Hamilton so special. Miggy and Hamilton are both pure hitters that happen to knock 30-40 out of the park.

    Granderson and Teix are very good hitters, but usually in these cases, when you hit for more power, you hit for less average. Granderson is a little different from Teix, just because Grandyman has shown this potential to strike out so often in the past and in 2011, the Yankees roster was much more potent, though most of the lineup remains the same. Age is taking it’s toll, allowing pitchers to work around Granderson and Teix.

    Without a healthy A-Rod in the lineup (and possibly not even on the roster), I can’t see these numbers going back up to their glory days. I don’t expect another steep dropoff either and can’t help expecting they will have better 2013s then 2012. But I think expecting either player to get back to a .275/.350/.450 line is expecting a little too much.

  • Tom

    Mike A – how much of the BABIP drop is due to the infield shift?

    While teams have been shifting on Granderson for a while, I think it was more extreme last year (and in general has increased over time). The infield shift can have a dramatic impact on BABIP on grounders. So even if the GB/FB ratio may not have been changing, the # of GB hits may have shifted.

    Also there are some small factors which will lead to BABIP decline. His infield hits were down (not surprising as speed lessens) and after moving to NY his HR’s went up (which will depress BABIP).

    While he did post a pretty high BABIP (.295) in 2011 when he also hit 40+ HR’s; if his power remains (and it should), I’m not sure even a .290 BABIP baseline is realistic for Granderson. I do think it will rebound some. (maybe .275-.280 range?)