Mailbag: Ryan, Nunez, Park Factors, Super Twos


I’ve only got four questions for you this week. Use the Submit A Tip box in the sidebar to send us anything at any time.

Ryan has some range, no? (GIF via Baseball Nation)

Anthony asks: If the Yankees sign Brendan Ryan in the offseason as insurance for Derek Jeter, do you think his defensive contributions would be more valuable than the light-hitting, terrible defense of Eduardo Nunez?

Oh yeah, I have very little doubt about that. We don’t even need to get into WAR to make the point. Nunez is a below-average hitter and a horrible defender. Ryan is a horrible hitter and an above-average (bordering on elite) defender. Let’s have some fun and use the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 is average. Nunez is what, a 40 hitter and a 30 defender while Ryan is a 20 hitter and a 70 defender? I suppose Nunez could turn into a 50 hitter with some speed and contact-related BABIP luck, but that’s being a little too nice.

If I had to pick between these two, Ryan would be my everyday shortstop. The Yankees would need to boost their offense in other spots (right field, catcher, DH) to compensate for the noodle bat though. In a perfect world, neither guy starts next year. The team should look for a better, legitimate everyday option this winter. A more long-term solution. That won’t be easy to find and definitely won’t come cheap, but that’s the corner the Yankees have painted themselves into thanks to an unproductive farm system.

Vicki asks: What’s with park effects? How can we call it a stat when it changes significantly season to season, yet the park dimensions stay the same?

Park factors can be calculated in different ways and they’re all complicated. Long story short: they show how many runs are scored at one park compared to all other parks. For the long and painful to read answer, here’s how Baseball-Reference calculates their park factors. Like I said, they’re complicated. All sorts of adjustments are made.

(Al Bello/Getty)

(Al Bello/Getty)

Park factors are like just about every other stat in that they fluctuate from year to year. Robinson Cano is a lifetime .308 hitter, but he had one year where he hit .342 and another where he hit .271. Did his talent level change those two years? No, other stuff (injuries, mechanical funk, etc.) played a role. Park factors are the same way. They don’t change because of the dimensions, those are fixed and don’t change year to year (unless the team changes them), they change because of everything else. Something like the weather — a particularly hot summer in New York would boost the offense at Yankee Stadium even more, for example — or even the way a team stores their baseballs can change the way a park plays. There’s a million variables that come into play.

I treat park factors the same way I treat defensive stats. I use them directionally rather than for a hard, exact number. If a player has a +10.5 UZR and +8 DRS, I don’t take those exact numbers to heart, but I do consider the player to be an above-average defender. The system isn’t accurate enough yet to take those run totals at face value. Park factors can be used directionally as well. We know Yankee Stadium is a very hitter friendly park overall, it’s can just be slightly more or less hitter friendly in a given year. Same thing with Dodgers Stadium being a pitcher’s park or Progressive Field being neutral. Remember, single season park factors are based on an 81-game sample. That’s not much. You have to look at the overall picture, like Cano being a true talent .308 hitter and not a .342 hitter because that’s what he hit one random year.

Adam asks: Does Corban Joseph getting “called up” and put on the 60-day DL mean that he gets paid the MLB minimum for the last few weeks of the season? Does he get per diem too?

Yes, Joseph definitely gets paid a Major League salary and per diem (for road games) while on the 60-day DL these last few weeks of the season. He also collects service time. Being on the DL is exactly like being on the active 25-man roster with regards to salary and contract status and all that. Joseph was called up on September 6th, so by my unofficial calculation he’ll receive $72,592.59 in salary, $1,274 in per diem (13 road games at $98 per game), and 24 days of service time this month. Pretty sweet gig if you can get it.

Patrick asks: Ryan Galla of CAA Baseball is projecting the Super 2 cutoff to be 2.121. (2 years, 121 days) How much time does Michael Pineda have? Does this number effect any other Yankee?

Galla’s projection had the Super Two cutoff at 2.119 in April, but it has since moved two days based on the timing of call-ups this season. The Super Two cutoff is set at the top 22% of players with fewer than three full years of service time. Pineda is still working his way back from shoulder tightness won’t be joining the team this month, so he’s done accruing service time this year. I estimated his service time at 2.099 last month, but that is just an estimation. He’s still well short of the Super Two cutoff though, even if my number is off by 10-15 days. Pineda will be a regular pre-arbitration player in 2014. His free agency has been pushed back from after 2016 to after 2017 though, and that’s most important.

There are two other Yankees on the Super Two bubble: Nunez and David Huff. Nunez came into the year at 1.117, and since he hasn’t gone to the minors at all this season, he’ll finish at 2.117 of service time. Five days short of the projected cutoff. Huff came into the year at 1.166, and based on my estimation, he’ll spend 63 days in the big leagues this season between the Indians and Yankees. That puts him at 2.229. I could be off by a few days, obviously. This stuff is tough to figure out. Neither guy is anything special and they wouldn’t get a huge arbitration raise anyway, but those handful of days are worth several hundred thousand dollars in terms of salary next year.

Categories : Mailbag
  • Pseudoyanks

    Pretty much a Brendan Ryan at the SS position was the norm Pre-Ripken. I’d take him for 140 games at SS in a heartbeat (assuming they can beef up offensively at other positions as you suggested.) I’m not a scout but why on earth is he swinging for the fences every swing?

    • billon $ bullpen

      The norm before Cal could handle the bat a little. Ryan swings for the fences because he must not be very smart. If he could hit .240, move runners, bunt and just situationally hit he would be one of the most valuable ss in the league. Why can’t Gardy learn how to steal / run the bases / not slide into first? Why does Sori not swing at obvious crap pitches low and away? Why does Cano not bust it down the line? Don’t care? Dumb? Poor coaching? All of the above?

      • Pseudoyanks

        Ryan can handle the bat “a little” and you say “if he can hit .240…” He’s a Lifetime .237 hitter.

        As far as Sori not swinging at “crap pitches”, I wouldn’t recommend changing his whole approach because there is a LOT of good about his offensive game. Gardy stealing and Cano running is comparing Apples and Oranges.

        Ryan should change his whole approach because there is NOT a LOT of good about his offensive game.

      • Pseudoyanks

        Ryan can handle the bat “a little” and you say “if he can hit .240…” He’s a Lifetime .237 hitter.

        As far as Sori not swinging at “crap pitches”, I wouldn’t recommend changing his whole approach because there is a LOT of good about his offensive game. Gardy stealing and Cano running is comparing Apples and Oranges.

        Ryan should change his whole approach because there is NOT a LOT of good about his offensive game

        • roadrider

          Ryan’s lifetime BA is not relevant. His offense, which (to be clear) was never actually good has been in decline for the past three seasons: wOBA/wRC+ .289/84, .252/61, .232/40. His K rates have soared from the low teens into the low twenties for the past two seasons and at 31 yrs or age its unlikely he’s going to reverse this trend. I don’t buy him at all as a regular for next season.

          • Pseudoyanks

            OK, so seems like a helluva time to get him to change his approach at the plate, shorten up and lose the swing for the fences approach.

  • Eddard

    Eduardo Nuney is clearly the superior ballplayer. I know Ryan scored the go ahead run last night so everyone thinks he can be an every day player but he can’t. And I don’t think Nuney is an everyday player either but he’s a better guy to have on the bench for speed and to spot Jeter. You haven’t seen the last of the Captain.

    • Chris in Maine

      We have this season…

    • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

      I don’t know why I bother, maybe it’s because I’m bored, maybe it’s because I hate people who become caricatures of themselves, but come on Eddard. If anyone thinks Ryan can be an every day player, it has NOTHING to do with scoring a run last night.

      You’re really annoying.

      • JAG

        Not to mention the fact that Nunez is actually pretty clearly not the superior player. Literally the only thing he does better is hit, and he’s at absolute best average at that. Ryan’s running is approximately as good as Nunez’s (close enough to be a wash), Ryan walks more (a minor point, but it is there), and he’s easily twice the defender that Nunez is.

        It’s probably too late, but I wonder if there’s any chance that Kevin Long can teach Ryan to cut down his swing a little and make more contact. Would be pretty much a total tear-down and reconstruction of his mechanics, but what’s to lose?

      • WhittakerWalt

        As I’ve said before, Eddard is the king of SSS.
        But then, Eddard is basically a parody account so who cares?

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          Bored Peckerheads.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It’s been every thread for…..over a year now? It’s tiiiiiiime to moooooooove oooooooon…..

          We’ll always have BGDP and Sammy Pearce, though. Those live forever.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Nuney’s only value is as a pinch-runner. That ain’t much value.

  • pat

    Lookout Landing has an awesome compilation of B. Ryan gifs.

    • Vern Sneaker

      Great post, thanks. Who doesn’t love Jeter, but we’ve forgotten how amazing it is to watch SS defense over a season. I’ll take Ryan as our full-time SS any day on a good-hitting team. Kevin Long can teach him to cut down his swing, go to right field when he can, and get his BA up to .240-.250, maybe.

    • Havok9120

      Whoa. That’s pretty sweet.

  • Need Pitching & Hitting & Defense & Baserunning

    Another requirement for Super 2 status is accruing at least 86 days of service time in the most recent year. I don’t think Huff comes near that, so he won’t be eligible even if his total career service time exceeds the limit.

    Not that it would matter much anyways, but he’ll be at least slightly cheaper if they choose to keep him around.

    Also fwiw, I believe 172 days counts as one full year of service time, so if Huff’s 63 day total is accurate, he would end the year at 2.057 anyways. The first 6 days would complete his second full year, the remaining 57 days would accrue into the third year of service time.

  • Your Own Personal Jeter

    “Now playing shortstop and second base, Brendan Ryan.”

    • Havok9120

      No joke. Guy can cover a heck of a lot of ground.

  • mitch

    Ryan was a smart pickup to play SS down the stretch, but i would not want him penciled in as the starter in 2014. He’s going to be 32, so he’s probably past his elite defensive years. I’m not opposed to defense-first SS, but a sub 50 wRC+ is unacceptable.

    • Kosmo

      Jeter has zero range but if he proves to be healthy by April 2014 then NY will undoubtedly trot him out as the starting SS. If Jeter can´t play SS on an everyday basis then it would help to have Ryan who could get an occasional start to spell Jeter and as a late inning D replacement.
      Nunez has shown he´s nothing more than a .260 hitter at best and absolutely a butcher in the field. I´d swap a .235-.240 hitter with elite D for a .260 hitter with no power and bad D any day.

      • mitch

        I want no part of Nunez either. I do think Jeter will be healthy and have a pretty productive year, but it’d be a mistake not to carry another legit SS. I’d rather see Jeter in as the primary DH with occasional starts at short. Peralta might be a decent option assuming the PED suspension knocks down his value. He can also play 3rd.

        • Havok9120

          You cannot carry two “legit” SS is exceedingly difficult and expensive these days. There aren’t a ton of them to begin with and those that ARE around don’t want to split playing time with someone else.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting & Defense & Baserunning

            I’d settle for just one…

          • mitch

            I didn’t say they should carry two legit shortstops. I’d head in 2014 with Jeter as a DH.

    • Kosmo

      FWIW Jeter won a GG in 2009 at the age of 35. It was maybe 1 of 2 very good D years for the captain.

      • TCMiller30

        Also FWIW.. Rafael Palmero won a GG once after playing 28 games at 1B. I wouldn’t discount Jeter from winning another one in 2013 just yet. Haha

      • WhittakerWalt

        Hahahaha, Gold Gloves.
        You’re cute.

        • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

          2009 actually WAS a good year for him, defensively(relatively speaking of course).

          • WhittakerWalt

            Sure, but a good year for Jeter defensively is still not GG-worthy.

            • Kosmo

              I was trying to point out to Mitch that Ryan at the age of 32 would more than likely still be a fine fielding SS. He stated Ryan´s D would be in decline. Ozzie and Omar both were still outstanding defensive SS well into their 30´s.
              Jeter may not have been the best example but he did have a very good D year in 2009. It may not have been deserved but he was still above average defensively in 2009.

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