"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Tag: Bantermetrics

Bantermetrics: Chicks Dig the Long Names (NYY Edition)

Over at my VORG site, I ran down the players with the longest names in Major League history.  Let’s do that same exercise, but only for the Bombers.  A few ground rules first.  We won’t include dashes, periods or hyphens in the letter count.  We won’t include nicknames unless the nickname was the player’s entire first name (ex. Catfish Hunter would be allowable, Bullet Joe Bush would not.)

Let’s start with first names.  The Yanks have had five players with nine letter first names. Everyone’s favorite Brains, Francisco Cervelli, is the most current entry.  The Yanks employed Jonathan Albaladejo from 2007-10 (he’s now pitching in Japan, and yes, we’ll again be seeing him later on in this piece).  Wormkiller Chien-Ming Wang was a 19-game winner in 2006 and 2007.  We next come to Christian Parker, who made one poor start for the 2001 Yankees (but they gladly took Parker and others in order to make Hideki Irabu an Expo).  Finally, there is Glenallen Hill, a mid-2000 acquisition who posted a .735 slugging percentage (16 homers) in 143 PAs.

Turning to last names, you might think Doug Mientkiewicz’s 12 letter surname has the honors, but Dougie is beaten out by Bill Knickerbocker.  Knickerbocker, a marginal middle infielder in the late 1930s, compiled quite the stolen base record in his career, netting a mere 25 steals in 71 attempts.

Finally, for total name length, Albaladejo’s 18 is matched by Claudell Washington.  Washington’s most memorable Yankee moment might have been April 20, 1988, when he launched the franchise’s 10,000th homerun, a pinch-hit job off of the Twins’ Jeff Reardon.

Till next time!

[Photo Credit: Was Watching]

Bantermetrics: And Stats The Way It Was

Here are some of the notable Yankee numbers from the season that just ended:

TEAM

  • 859: runs scored, 56 fewer than 2009.
  • .267: batting average, 16 points lower than 2009, and lowest since .268 in 2004
  • 662: walks, 1 fewer than 2009.
  • 201: homers, the 12th time in franchise history with 200 or more roundtrippers, and 43 fewer than 2009.
  • 5: players with 100 or more strikeouts (Brett Gardner / Curtis Granderson / Derek Jeter / Nick Swisher / Mark Teixeira), tied for most in team history (2002).  Jorge Posada ended with 99 strikeouts and Alex Rodriguez had 98.
  • .989: fielding percentage, a franchise record (.986, 3 times).
  • 32: triples, 11 more than 2009.
  • 4.06: ERA, lowest since 2003, but seventh in AL.
  • 42: unearned runs allowed, fewest since 1998 (37).
  • 7.09: K/9, highest since franchise-record 7.26 in 2002.

(more…)

Bantermetrics: Sabathia likes the Stadium

Much has been made of CC Sabathia’s prowess in Yankee Stadium.  Here was what Sunday’s Yankee “Game Notes” had on Sabathia’s hometown hammer:

CREATURE OF COMFORT: Is undefeated in his last 19 starts at Yankee Stadium – dating back to the 2009 All-Star break, posting a 14-0 record with a 2.27 ERA (135.0IP, 34ER) and a .207 opp BA. (100-for-483)…the Yankees have gone 17-2 in those starts…according to Elias, it is the longest active home winning streak in the Majors.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the longest undefeated streak of starts by any pitcher at any stadium since Johan Santana’s 24-start undefeated streak at the Metrodome from 8/6/05-4/2/07.

Elias also notes it is the longest undefeated streak of starts by a Yankee at any stadium since Ron Guidry did not record a loss over 19 starts at the original Yankee Stadium from 5/4/85-4/29/86…should Sabathia not lose today, it will mark the longest home winning streak by a Yankee since Whitey Ford from 8/8/64-8/18/65 (21GS).

So, with his win today, he marches up the list of longest streaks without a loss at home.  Yes, that is *the* Kenny Rogers topping the list, with an amazing 38 consecutive starts at home without a loss, spread over four different teams over a nearly three year period.

Bantermetrics: All the A-Rod you can handle for just 599!

So here we are, sitting in the “waiting room” anxious to find out if Alex Rodriguez’s next homerun will be a line drive or a moon shot.  Maybe Gene Monahan will have to perform some sort of C-section on Rodriguez’s bat to get that 600th to come out.   It certainly feels like Yankee fans have wanted to induce labor on A-Rod and then hold his hand as he steps to the plate  . . . “C’mon Centaur … push!  OK . . .  we can see the baseball’s head!  And now breathe . . . swing the bat . . . nice and easy . . . there you go!”

While we wait for the blessed event, let’s look at the longest homerless streaks (in games) in his career.  It took Rodriguez 33 games to hit his first career homer, back on June 12, 1995.  Other than that, the longest streak without a homer has been 18 games, which has occurred twice.  The first was between August 4, 1995 and April 9, 1996. The second stretch was between September 10, 1997 and April 6, 1998.

Of more recent vintage, Alex had a 15-game homerless drought from April 20 to May 9 of this year.  He also went 16 games between dingers from July 19 to August 7, 2009 (coincidentally, both streaks came to an end against the Red Sox, whom the Bombers once again face starting this coming Friday).

For his career, A-Rod has had 68 separate streaks of at least eight games without a homer (as he is now).

So, when do YOU think he’ll get off the schneid?

Bantermetrics: 11 Alive (and asleep for the rest)

The Yanks erupted for 11 runs in the 3rd inning of the July 3rd game against the Blue Jays.  What was distinctive about this particular outburst was that they failed to score in any other inning.  This got me wondering if there was any record for most runs scored in an inning with no other runs scored by that team in the game.  My record books didn’t have such an entry.  So, I had to crunch the Retrosheet gamelogs myself.

While Retrosheet is missing some linescores from the early history of the National Pastime, I can now say with some reasonable certainty that the Yankees have never scored as many as 11 runs in one inning with no other runs scored during a regulation 9-inning game.

The Yanks did score 11 runs in one inning, with no other runs scored during the regulation nine in a June 26, 1987, 10 inning affair against the Red Sox.  The Sox pummeled Tommy John for eight runs in 1.1 innings, and had a 9-0 lead (with Roger Clemens on the mound) in the bottom of the third, when the Yanks sent 15 men to the plate to take an 11-9 lead.  The Sox tied it up in the fourth, and the score remained that way until Wayne Tolleson singled home Mike Pagilarulo in the 10th for the game-winner off of Calvin Schiraldi.

The Yanks HAVE had 11 runs scored against them, with no other runs scored in regulation, and they still won the game.  On June 3rd, 1933, the Yanks took a 3-0 lead into the top of the 3rd against the Philadelphia A’s, when Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Cochrane and their buddies knocked out starter Don Brennan and then Danny MacFayden.  Fortunately, Walter “Jumbo” Brown came in and threw 6.1 innings of 12-K relief, long enough for the Bombers to tally one in the third and ten in the fifth, for a wild 17-11 victory.

[After original post addendum:  Banter reader calyankee pointed out that on July 2, 1943, the Cleveland Indians scored all 12 of their runs in the fourth inning of a 12-0 whitewash of the Bombers.]

The record for most runs in an inning with zero scored in the rest of the game appears to be 13.  The “lucky 13″ occurred on April 13, 2003, when the Phillies sent 16 men to the plate in the top of the 4th against Ryan Dempster,  got only six hits, but also received six unintentional walks (including three with the bases juiced).  The Phils cruised to the 13-1 rout of the Cincinnati Reds.

Bantermetrics: The 5 Starts of Death

As Cliff noted in his recap of Saturday’s loss, A.J. Burnett has been lit up recently.  Burnett has basically gone 0-for-June, amassing an 0-5 record featuring a slash stat line of .357/.455/.724.  In his first 11 starts of 2010, Burnett pitched to a 1.08 GB rate with 15% line drives.  The last five starts, those numbers are 0.63 and 22% respectively.

But I’m not here to opine on what ails A.J. (It can’t be as simple as not being able to find an Eiland on a map, can it?).  I’m just here to have fun with numbers (and avoid doing my laundry on this beastly hot day).

This is the third time in Burnett’s career, and the first time since 2005, that he’s had five consecutive starts with Game Scores no higher than 50*.  Now, to be fair, the prior two occasions each featured ERAs of 7.40 with only two homers allowed, while this fivesome is festooned with nine homers surrendered and an 11.35 ERA.  So, this is a whole ‘nother level of ugly.

The franchise record for longest streak of starts with game scores no higher than 50 is held by two Jeffs, current Dodger Jeff Weaver, and historical after-thought Jeff Johnson.  Weaver had 11 straight subpar starts from April to June of 2003, while Johnson’s rookie campaign of 1991 featured a Summer-full of bad pitching (July to September).

If you page down that list, you’ll note that the last Yankee to have five or more straight starts like this was Javier Vazquez, who managed to begin his second tour of duty with the Yanks as he ended his first one, getting hammered.  Vazquez’s streak of eight starts was preceded chronologically by some equally frustrating stretches by the likes of  Joba Chamberlain, Sergio Mitre, Chien-Ming Wang (though we might give Wang a pass due to injury), Carl Pavano (here we might NOT give Pavano a pass due to injury) and Sidney Ponson.

Now clearly, Burnett has enough of a track record to make one think he’ll snap out of it after pitching well enough for the majority of his first 1+ seasons with the Yanks.  The question now becomes, will Girardi let Burnett pitch himself back to normalcy without a bullpen stop?  It should be interesting what the return of Dave Eiland does for A.J.’s fortunes.

* - 50 is the baseline score used for assessing starting pitcher's
outings, as developed by Bill James.

Bantermetrics: 15 Years of “Jeterian” Splendor


Saturday marked the 15th anniversary of Derek Jeter’s major league debut.  On May 29, 1995, he went 0-5 with two putouts and two assists in an 8-7 Yankee loss at the Kingdome.

He would go on to compile a .250/.294/.375 line in 15 games with the big club in ’95 . . . and got the starting shortstop nod in ’96.  The rest is much-repeated history.

Here are some stats to munch on . . .

Since his debut, Jeter leads in games played (2,185, 2 ahead of Alex Rodriguez), games started (2,176, 11 ahead of A-Rod), at-bats (8,868, 293 ahead of Johnny Damon), hits (2,807, 248 ahead of A-Rod). He’s second in runs (1,602), 3rd in batting average (.317), 10th in OBP (.387), 14th in doubles (448) and 14th in stolen bases (310).

Over his 15 seasons, he’s faced 1,089 different pitchers. His worst 0-fer is against Jorge Julio (14 ABs).  He’s gone yard the most against Sir Sidney Ponson (5 times in 88 ABs).  Of those pitchers he’s had at least 40 plate appearances against, his best batting average is against Rodrigo Lopez (.448).  Oh, and John Lackey has plunked him the most (5 times in 57 plate appearances).

Jeter has had 41 different hitting streaks of ten games or more in his career (12 of these were 15 or more games). On the flip side, he’s had only seven instances of going hitless in four or more consecutive games.  All this while amassing only one major stint on the disabled list.

Here’s to you, Captain!

(photo credit: Cardboard Icons)

Bantermetrics: Catchers (and others) Threebasing in the Bronx

Friday night, Francisco Cervelli laced an opposite-field hit down the right field line.  It hugged the stands as it reached the outfield wall, and then hit some sort of “hyperspace” button . . . picking up speed and scooting past a surprised Michael Cuddyer.  Cervelli easily cruised into third with his second triple of the season.

When it comes to Yankee backstops, its been a while since any of them possessed any footspeed.  Its been 665 plate appearances since Jorge Posada’s last triple.  Its been four years since any Yankee catcher has had as many as two triples in the same season.  You have to go back to 1998, and discover that Cervelli’s current manager was the last catcher to amass more than two triples in a year.

Back in the days of the cavernous YS I, triples were much more plentiful.  Through its final season (1973), there were 105 instances of a Yankee amassing ten or more triples in a season (home and road combined).  You might notice that Hall-of-Famer Bill Dickey holds the Yankee record for most triples by a catcher in a year, ripping ten in 1927.  In the final season of the original Stadium, the team triples leader was none other than catcher Thurman Munson, with four.

YS II, with its somewhat more humane dimensions, didn’t lend itself to many triples, nor, with the exception of Rickey Henderson, did the Yankees focus on team speed much.  Henderson hit only 11 triples in 363 career games at YS II, and only 16 total triples in 2,700+ Yankee plate appearances.  During the 33 seasons playing their games in YS II, the Yanks only had three players reach double figures in triples, and none since Jerry Mumphrey in 1982.

In terms of catchers in the YS II era, Munson held the record for most triples in a season, with five in 1977.

Now, the latest incarnation of Yankee Stadium has not exactly been a triples paradise.  In fact, last year it was the toughest park in which to hit a three-bagger, with only 15 collected in the year.  But “Frankie” is helping to reverse that trend, as so far in 2010, the Stadium is the 9th-easiest for triples (small sample size alert applies, of course).

Could Cervelli lead all American League catchers in triples?  Within the last three decades or so, its taken anywhere from four to six to lead the league.  Arguing against Cervelli’s chances are his minor league numbers . . .  two triples in 828 career plate appearances.  Frankie better hope for some more “hyperspace” hits.

Bantermetrics: Hand me down my walking Nick

Prior to last night’s game, Nick Johnson had walked in slightly better than one of every four plate appearances this season.  With 14 walks in his first 12 games, he was on a pace which would eclipse the all-time franchise record of 170 by Babe Ruth in 1923.

Now of course, Nick is a DL stint just waiting to happen, so that all-time mark is highly unlikely.  But he could more reasonably eclipse the more recent high-water mark of Jason Giambi, who got a free pass 129 times in 2003.

In the DH era, there have been only ten occurrences of a Yankee drawing 100 or more walks in a season, and Giambi has four of them.

Johnson’s .158 batting average (prior to last night’s game) will of course come back to more-normal levels, as he is a career .271 hitter.  Since 1990, there have been 78 occurrences of an American League batting title qualifier amassing 100 or more walks, and the median batting average of that group is .285, with a range of .223 (Mickey Tettleton in 1990) to .363 (John Olerud in 1993).

Bantermetrics: You can’t spell ‘Streak’ without a K

Banterites continue to marvel/giggle from afar at the plight of Big Papi, who has continued his slide from feared slugger to possibly benched DH by K’ing 12 times in his first 25 plate appearances (23 ABs) this season.

It brings to mind the Yanks’ history of famed, and in some case surprising, whiffers.

Mike Pagliraulo, who struck out once every 5.5 plate appearances in his career, holds the franchise record for most consecutive game starts from the beginning of the season with at least one K, with 9 in 1988.  Ortiz’s worst such streak was the first four games of 1999, when he was still with the Twins.

None other than Alex Rodriguez has the team record for most consecutive starts with at least one strikeout, with 15 in July/August of 2005.  Despite this, A-Rod DID hit .276/.377/.603 during the streak, with 6 homers and 12 ribbies.  Ortiz compiled a ten-game streak during 2006.  If you are wondering, Mickey Mantle’s longest such streak was 11 in 1952.  Reggie Jackson had a 17-game streak in ’82, but he was already with the Angels by then.

Big Papi has K’ed at least twice in his last five starts.  Six different Yankees have compiled streaks of five straight two-K starts, most recently Tony Clark in 2004.

Ortiz’s high-water mark in terms of season’s strikeouts was last year’s 134, when he put up a line of .238/.332/.462.  He also struck out 133 times in 2004, but that year he hit .301/.380/.603.  Alfonso Soriano holds the Yankee season strikeout record with 157 in 2002.

Bantermetrics: Only 161 more to go!

So game number one is in the books.  The anticipation for the start of the season has dissipated.  With but one game’s worth of data to go by, some folks will have nothing better to do but to dissect every piece of the action from Sunday’s game, send up flares and call for the head of  (insert name of your most deserving “goat” here).

So, how much of a difference can the outcome of the first game make?  Prior to this season, the Yankees had gone 62-44-1 in openers.  The average winning percentage in seasons featuring an opening game win was .569, with a range from .331 (1908) to .714 (the magic 1927 season).  In seasons with an opening game loss, the average winning percentage was .563, and ranged from .329 (1912) to .708 (another magic season, 1998).  Six percentage points over 162 games is slightly less than one whole game’s difference in the won-loss record.

Some more numbers to chew on.  There is a mere 4% correlation between a Yankee opening day win and their final record.  In fact, the pythagorean winning percentage for Spring Training games is a much better predictor of regular season success.  As an example, based on the Yanks runs scored and allowed during Spring Training from 2003 through 2009, there was a 67.6% correlation with their regular season record.  This may not bode well for 2010, as the 130 runs scored and 162 allowed during this Spring’s games would project to a .394 winning percentage.  Somehow, despite the opening game loss,  I have a feeling this will be a year with a poor correlation.

Bantermetrics: Opening Day assignment

As we hit another Opening Day, and CC Sabathia’s second Opening Day start for the Bombers, I decided to take a look at some of the history behind the pitchers who got the nod.

In the franchise’s 107-year history, 57 men have taken the hill on Opening Day.  Whitey Ford, Mel Stottlemyre and Ron Guidry are tied for most Opening Day starts, with seven.

Ford’s seven starts actually took place over a 13-season span, from 1954 to 1966.  He never started more than two openers consecutively.  Don Larsen (2 starts), Bob Turley, Jim Coates (!), Jim Bouton and Ralph Terry got the assignments in the non-Ford years.

Stottlemyre was the ace of the staff during the lean post-dynasty years.  He threw the first pitch every year from ’67 to ’74, except for ’71, when Stan Bahnsen opened things up.

“Gator” started what would be his memorable 25-3 1978 campaign as the Opening Day starter in ’78 (he got a “no decision” that day, as the Yanks lost 2-1 at Texas).  Guidry started six more Openers in the next eight years, missing only 1981 (Tommy John got the assignment) and 1985 (Phil Niekro).

The period from 1987-1992 was muddled to downright depressing, depending on your point of view.  Six different managers, three in-season managerial changes, and four consecutive seasons with winning percentages lower than .470 (which hadn’t happened since 1912-15 . . . and the Yankees were the Highlanders in ’12).  Four of those six years saw the team use at least 20 different pitchers.  So, it should be no surprise than six different men got the Opening Day start during that period (Dennis Rasmussen, Rick Rhoden, Tommy John, Dave LaPoint, Tim Leary and Scott Sanderson).  If you add in Guidry’s final Opener (1986), and Jimmy Key’s first Opener (1993), then there were eight different starters over eight years, the longest streak in franchise history.

(more…)

feed Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email
"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver