2010 Dominance Factors

We fans aren’t privy to any in-depth scouting reports like the 30 MLB teams are, so really all we have for information about our favorite minor leaguers is second-hand publications (Baseball America, etc.) and statistics. Stats are great fun and tell us a lot, but they lie when it comes to the minors. They lie like you wouldn’t believe. A tremendous amount of context is needed for them to be useful, covering everything from age to league to park, the whole nine. A 19-year-old with a 4.00 FIP in Double-A is more impressive than a 24-year-old with a 2.70 FIP in Single-A.

A few years ago, Brett Sullivan at Project Prospect developed a stat called Dominance Factor, which measures how “dominant” a pitcher was (based on strikeout, walk, and ground ball rates) relative to his age and the level he played in. Here’s the quick-and-dirty explanation of the formula and logic…

Dominance Factor, DF = (K% + 0.72*GB% – BB%)+ (Age Level Standard – Actual age)*7

GB% is multiplied by 0.72 because generally speaking, 72% of groundballs turn into outs. The Age Level Standards are basically the average age at a given level, and are 20-yrs old for Low-A, 21 for High-A, 22.5 for Double-A, and 24 for Triple-A … The stat doesn’t have any real analysis purposes because of the assumptions used for GB% and age, so it’s best used for reference. It’s still fun to look at, though.

For the second year in a row, Manny Banuelos posted the largest DF in the system, coming in at 72.1. He topped last year’s mark by 7.1, but Phil Hughes still holds the overall record thanks to his 86.0 DF effort with Triple-A Scranton back in 2007. Kinda puts in perspective how absurdly good Hughes was in the minors. Ivan Nova was a rather distant second to Banuelos at 55.0. The Double-A version of Adam Warren was right behind him for third (53.5), then Brett Marshall and the Triple-A version of David Phelps tied for fourth at 50.0. Unsurprisingly, various dreck like Wilkins Arias (-24.4), John Van Benschoten (-18.5), and Tim Redding (-12.8) populate the bottom of the list. It’s all about age relative to level.

Here are the 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006 DF’s. The full 2010 chart is after the jump, but there’s a few things to know first: starting pitchers are in bold, players no longer with the organization are in yellow, and players eligible for the Rule 5 Draft are in blue. The K%, BB%, and GB% data all came from First Inning, and I intentionally omitted Josh Romanski because FI doesn’t have data for him. The average DF was 23.6 with a standard deviation of 20.2. That means the data is pretty well spread out. Anyway, table’s after the jump, I hid it for space and load time reasons.

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Yankees sign Neal Cotts (UPDATE: Daniel Martinez too)

Via Matt Eddy, the Yankees have signed lefty reliever Neal Cotts to a minor league contract. Cotts, 31 in March, has not pitched since June 2009 due to Tommy John and hip surgery. He’s spent the last four seasons with the Cubs, so new pitching coach Larry Rothschild knows him well, and believe it or not he actually has a reverse split (.336 wOBA against vs. RHB career, .351 vs. LHB). I suspect Cotts is the 2011 version of Royce Ring and not the second lefty the Yanks are said to be seeking for their bullpen.

Update: Eddy says they also signed 20-year-old lefty Daniel Martinez. He’s spend the last four seasons walking everyone (88 BB in 138.2 IP) down in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.

Mo seeking two years, $18M per

Via MLBTR, Mariano Rivera is seeking a two-year contract that will pay him $18M a season. The Yankees, understandably, want to limit the soon-to-be 41-year-old’s contract to just one season. Mo earned $15M in each of the last three seasons and is already the highest paid closer in the game. An $18M annual payout would make him the fifth highest paid pitcher in baseball, starter or reliever. I love you Mo, but 2/36 is pretty insane.

Open Thread: Help Wanted (Reminder)

I’m re-posting this in case anyone missed it on Friday. We’re looking bring one or two weekend writers aboard, and all of the information on how to apply, what exactly we’re looking for, etc. can be found here. Read that post in its entirety before applying, please. A few people have asked and yes, you can write your posts whenever you want and schedule them to be published at the time slots we’re looking to fill.

Do not send in a second application if you’ve already applied. We already have 60 or so of these things clogging up our inboxes, and we don’t need duplicates. If you do send in a second email, we just won’t give you the position. Harsh, but fair. Because of Thanksgiving, don’t expect to hear back from us until next week at the earliest. With any luck we’ll have this whole process wrapped up by the end of next week.

We’ll accept applications until tomorrow night’s Open Thread is posted at 7 p.m. Eastern time. Thanks in advance, and good luck.

And with that, here’s tonight’s open thread. MNF has the Broncos at the Chargers, plus the Rangers and Devil are playing as well (not each other). You guys know the drill, so have at it.

Five longest Yankee homers of 2010

They don’t call them the Bronx Bombers for nothing. The Yankees had no fewer than six players in their everyday lineup capable of taking any pitcher deep at any moment this past season, and the result was 201 homeruns, the third most in baseball. Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira both reached the 30 homer plateau again while Nick Swisher and Robbie Cano chipped in 29 each. Curtis Granderson provided another 24.

Unsurprisingly, quite a few of those 201 homeruns traveled very far, which is what we’re going to look at today. Thanks to the amazingly great Hit Tracker, we’ll look at the five longest homeruns hit by a Yankee this season using their True Distance tool. That tells you how far the ball would have traveled from home plate had it landed back at field level and not been interrupted by things like stands, fans, upper decks, etc. It does not remove wind, however, but that’s something we can look at in the future.

It’s worth mentioning that although Jorge Posada did not crack the top five, he accounted for the sixth, seventh, and eighth longest Yankee homeruns of the season. That tenth inning shot off Dan Wheeler in Tampa (video) is just sixth, which surprised me. On to the list…

(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

5. A-Rod off Greg Holland, Aug. 14th (video)

Get used to seeing Alex Rodriguez’s name, he’s going to be featured prominently in the post. This homer was the third of his three homer game in Kansas City, a two-run shot that extended the Yankees’ lead to 8-3 in the ninth inning. Holland, who was making just the third appearance of his big league career, started A-Rod off with two sliders off the plate before coming back inside with a 96 mph fastball in a 2-0 count. The Yanks’ third baseman turned on it, sending it into the fountains beyond the left-center field walk. True Distance: 449 ft.

4. Robbie Cano off Jamie Moyer, June 16th (video)

This game was one to forget, as is any game that features eight stellar innings from the relic known as Jamie Moyer. The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the second, but Cano got one back in the bottom half. A-Rod had just hit a ball to the warning track for the first out of the inning, a shot that embodied everyone’s frustration that night. Moyer pulled his slow-slower-slowest routine with Cano, throwing sinkers away until coming inside in a 2-2 count. Or at least he tried to come inside. The 81 mph pitch stayed up and right out over the plate, so for all intents and purposes it was a batting practice pitch. Cano didn’t miss it, and the solo shot landed about halfway up the rightfield bleachers. It was the 504th homer Moyer had given up his career, bringing him to within one of Robin Roberts for most in history. True Distance: 451 ft.

3. A-Rod off Wade Davis, May 19th (video)

Thirty-four games into the Yankees’ season, Alex Rodriguez had just three homeruns to his credit. He was on pace for just 14 (13.9, really), which would have been the lowest total of his career by far. He started to kick it into gear in May 14th, going deep against the Twins (grand slam off Matt Guerrier) and then again three days later against the Red Sox (game tying shot off Jonathan Papelbon in the Marcus Thames walk-off game). Two days after that, A-Rod got Davis. It was a sixth inning of an otherwise forgettable game (Rays won 10-6), and the Tampa right-hander came right after Alex leading off the sixth. The ten pitch at-bat featured, yep, ten fastballs, the first three for balls, the fourth for a called strike, and the next five for foul balls. Davis eventually made a mistake, leaving a 94 mph heater up and out over the plate, and A-Rod hit it into Monument Park for a solo shot. True Distance: 452 ft.

2. A-Rod off Craig Breslow, April 20th (video)

Alex didn’t hit his first homer of the season until the team’s eleventh game, but his second came just two days later. The Yanks were out in Oakland and nursing a 3-0 lead when Breslow replaced Gio Gonzalez. There was just one out in the fifth, but the Yanks forced the A’s starter to throw 97 pitches (five walks no doubt did the trick). Breslow’s first pitch fastball was right over the plate for a called strike, but he then missed with a fastball away and a slider down to fall behind 2-1. His fourth pitch was a mistake and a total cookie, an 88 mph heater thigh-high and ever so slightly on the inner half. This one landed well beyond the left-centerfield wall, and it gave the Yanks a 6-0 lead as a three-run shot. True Distance: 452 ft.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

1. Curtis Granderson off Josh Beckett, April 4th (video)

Everyone remembers this one. It was the very first game of the season, and it was Curtis Granderson’s very first plate appearance as a Yankee. Posada had given the Yanks a 1-0 lead with their first baserunner, hit, homer, and run off the 2010 season with a solo shot off the Pesky Pole just one batter early. Grandy stepped in and Beckett went right after him with fastballs. The first one missed for a ball, the second was fouled off, and the third missed again for a 2-1 count. Beckett’s fourth pitch was nearly identical to his second, a mid-90’s fastball up in the zone, but this time Granderson didn’t miss, clobbering it over the bullpen more towards center than right for his first hit, homer, and run in pinstripes. True Distance: 455 ft.

The RAB Radio Show: November 22, 2010

It’s arbitration time. The Yanks have choices to make regarding six of their free agents. Mike and I make the cases — and we do not agree on most of them.

Then it’s onto Cliff Lee. This actually got more detailed than I had thought it would. With the rumored five-year, $115-$120 million offer, we know Lee’s final price is only going up. Will he get a sixth year? And at what level do the Rangers have to throw in the towel?

And Joey Votto won the NL MVP. The ballot wasn’t at all controversial, so instead of becoming outraged Mike and I frame the discussion with previous MVP ballots.

Podcast run time 32:42

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Votto takes home NL MVP Award

Joey Votto was named the National League Most Valuable Player this afternoon, receiving all but one of the 32 place votes. Albert Pujols, Carlos Gonzalez, Adrian Gonzalez, and Troy Tulowitzki round out the top five. Votto finished the year at .324/.424/.600 (.439) with 7.4 fWAR, second only to Josh Hamilton.

The Yankees were going to select Votto with their first pick (71st overall) in the 2002 draft, but the Reds beat them to it. The Yanks surrendered their first round pick to the A’s that year when they signed Jason Giambi. Congrats to Votto, this might not be his last MVP.