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Batter Up

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1 PJ   ~  Mar 13, 2009 10:05 am


Great work to you and the crew! Perhaps Will might cough up the number of his tailor so you and Cliff can get your hands on a nice jacket to wear, too! Oh and next time, don't forget to make sure the chairs are all at the same height so Will doesn't look like he's in grammar school on the full desk shot...



2 Will Weiss   ~  Mar 13, 2009 11:03 am

[1] Dammit. I knew I looked short.

3 Shaun P.   ~  Mar 13, 2009 11:19 am

[2] Will, you sounded good though. And don't forget, you have a newborn at home - that can be used to excuse anything. Nice work all around.

I somehow missed that Tex's '08 VORP = Giambi's '08 VORP + Abreu's '08 VORP. Based on some of the fielding numbers I've seen, it makes Tex an even bigger upgrade than I thought, given how good he was and how bad Abreu was.

I also saw somewhere, I wish I could remember where now, that Jose Molina was (in one fielding metric at least) absolutely incredible in terms of saving runs on defense. Perhaps that makes him a wash, overall. While I'm convinced that there's nothing to catcher ERA, I still think catcher defense is the trickiest to quantify, mostly because I'm not sure how you account for a possible deterrent effect re: stolen bases, and if that even has some non-negligible value - or how you'd figure it out.

If Kevin Cash is on the opening day roster, something has gone horribly wrong.

4 williamnyy23   ~  Mar 13, 2009 12:07 pm

[3] I believe Molina's defensive rating came from the Fielding Bible.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Mar 13, 2009 12:15 pm

The Fielding Bible says Molina saved 12 runs, which is almost an exact match for the 11.4 runs VORP says he cost the Yankees on offense.

As for Tex vs. Giambreu, the fielding math is thus:

Tex +17
Giambi -13
Abreu -5

Nady's about average in right, so even before you factor in the runs saved by Swisher in right, you get an improvement of 35 runs on defense, which is an additional three wins. So add those three wins to whatever Swisher contributes with the glove and whatever he and Nady do at the plate and you're looking at a five-to-six win improvement at 1B and RF combined. The improvements made in the rotation, marginal gains in CF, and comebacks by Posada, Cano, Matsui all get added on top of that. The Yankees could be a 100-win team, even with Alex Rodriguez missing all of April.

6 a.O   ~  Mar 13, 2009 3:34 pm

Man I'm glad Abreu is gone. That muppet-looking loser was awful in RF. In a pick-up game, you can cringe at the wall. For $X million, you cannot. Good riddance.

7 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 13, 2009 3:41 pm

The Yankees could be a 100-win team, even with Alex Rodriguez missing all of April.

Seriously? You really think that? Wow, I miss Skeptical Cliff instead of Pollyanna Cliff . Maybe you need to hang with Goldman more?

You're assuming:
1) they play Swisher as much as they should. Big assumption.

2) the improvements in the rotation. Big assumption. Since you're not high on Burnett, you can't be attributing the improvement to him. And can we really expect CC to do better than Moose's 2008? Then Pettitte = Pettitte. Joba = Joba. And Wang x2. Assuming no one gets hurt (and the backup options last year were supposed to be strong), maybe that's a slight improvement. but then that's a big assumption.

3) marginal gains in CF. Big assumption.

4) Cano, Jorge and Matsui having comebacks. Ginorgantic assumption especially since Jorge has yet to catch in an actual game, Cano is now complaining about a sore shoulder, and Matsui will be underpowered for a DH.

Since 2008 is the baseline, I see a 92-94 win ball club. The offense wasn't improved and more likely will slip based on Damon and Jeter if none of CF, Cano, Jorge, and Matsui make great strides. Or the gains from Cano and Jorge offset regression from Jeter and Damon. So the gains will likely be on the pitching and defense side - except of course Jeter and Jorge giving alot of runs back - Jeter by losing another step and Jorge giving up stolen bases left and right. To me, Burnett and 2X Wang will garner the additional wins.

More problematic is if injuries continue to hit. This lineup will fail to score 750 runs if A-Rod misses more than a month. Worse though is that another injury (Cano says hello) in the infield will mean another crappy replacement. And Austin Jackson looks like he'll hit for less power than Melky, so that's not an option for CF either.

The organization barely replaced what they lost to free agency and retirement. That's very hard for me to see as some great, 10 win leap forward. By contrast, the Sox plugged their few holes and have a stud in Anderson that much closer to fill in for injuries. The Rays also got better with Burrrell and all their kids getting older. I think there's a good chance the Al East will feature a 100 win club. But the chances are exceedingly small it will be the Yankees.

8 Bum Rush   ~  Mar 13, 2009 3:48 pm

P.s. What the hell has happened around here? Between some folks defending Berroa's place on the team and Cliff predicting 100 wins, it's like I've entered some Bizarro Bronx Banter. What next, Alex starts writing monosyllabic odes to sugar pop?

9 Will Weiss   ~  Mar 15, 2009 8:29 pm

[3] Thanks, Shaun. A newborn doesn't explain away the height discrepancy, although I appreciate the effort. The thing Cliff and I missed was the Kevin Long effect, now that Cano is back with the team. I'll be eyeing this for my next column, for sure.

[9] If I start defending A-Rod at every turn, Bum Rush, you'll know the contributors are on performance de-hancing drugs.

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