Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2007-02-27 21:23
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

The Yankees played their intrasquad game yesterday. Here are the lineups. Jim Baumbach of Newsday blogged the first four innings. Peter Abraham details the fifth inning in which Jeff Kennard gave up four runs to the subs without getting an out. Once again, pitching was the story of the game, with Kei Igawa, Jeffrey Karstens, and Steven Jackson impressing. The Yankees seem to be very pleased with Igawa's approach both on and off the mound thus far. Listen to Ron Guidry talk about Igawa over on LoHud (clip lasts six-plus minutes). Joe Torre also praised Mike Myers and Ron Villone. Incidentally, Miguel Cairo played the outfield late in the game, but Torre said that it was only out of the necessity borne of fielding two teams and making spring training substitutions. The Yankees have no plans to use Cairo as an outfielder except in emergencies.

In other pitching news, Carl Pavano threw off flat ground and is still on schedule to throw his bullpen session on Thursday and make his exhibition start on Sunday. Humberto Sanchez is being shut down for a few days due to the swelling in his pitching elbow and the Yankees are considering making some adjustments to his delivery to avoid further injury.

In other aches and pains news, Juan Miranda, who doubled home the only run for the losing intrasquad team, experienced some pain in his knee while running the bases. Like Miranda himself, the pain is unlikely to be significant.

For your reading pleasure, here's a good piece on new bench coach Don Mattingly by's Bryan Hoch, and some nice clubhouse memories of Bernie Williams from Sweeny Murti (below the divide).

For your viewing pleasure, here's a shot of Robby Cano sporting his new number, and the ridiculous Topps card of Derek Jeter.

Finally, good news for the Torre family. Frank Torre, who is in need of a kidney transplant, has found out that two of his kids are matches.

Comments (75)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-02-28 03:28:04
1.   Jim Dean

Torre: "[Cairo] will probably play some [OF] but today it was more out of necessity with not wanting to use all our guys and nine innings. But he certainly seems comfortable out there. Well, we always felt he was an emergency guy. And he has done alot of it too. Everywhere he's been he's played some OF."

Now, me, I don't feel good hearing any of that from the manager especially since there are plenty of other options. Sure, maybe Cairo should play a few innings out there because it's Spring training and in case 2 OF's were lost in a real game due to injuries and their short bench. But then the manager should say exactly that. [I didn't hear Tea say this, Cliff: "The Yankees have no plans to use Cairo as an outfielder except in emergencies." If he did then there's no reason for this rant.]

And just for reference Mr. Torre, Cairo has played exactly 62 games in the outfield of 915 in his career. Exactly 58 of those games were because of LaRussa (not Daniel) in his two seasons with the Cards.


2007-02-28 04:54:11
2.   williamnyy23
Great stories about Bernie from Sweeney. Now that it looks like #51 is gone for good, hopefully those fans and media members who have been dancing on his grave will stop. It has been a little discouraging to read so many ridicule Bernie. It's one thing to make an argument for not having him on the team and another to mock him in the process.

Another point of irony is Bernie strikes me as a prototypical case of a ball player who DID NOT take steroids. His decline was precipitous and premature by today's standards, but that is how it always used to be. So, while Bonds and Sosa continue to get that one extra chance, Bernie sits home.

2007-02-28 05:39:38
3.   Jim Dean
2 "hopefully those fans and media members who have been dancing on his grave will stop."

That's takes it a bit far, no?

Even the more metaphoric reading of your statement seems well-beyond a canyon-sized stretch. Me, I haven't seen anyone treating his retirement with glee. It's sad - how it's gone down, that it took a year or two too long, and the media overexposure. Bernie was a great, great, Yankee. And he deserves all the honors that go with that. But no baseball player gets a lifetime appointment and his playing days were numbered. Sad but true.

2007-02-28 06:33:46
4.   williamnyy23
An exaggeration? Perhaps. It's just seems to me as if many in the media and across several blogs have been campaigning to have Bernie not be included on the roster. After reading some of their arguments, you'd think Bernie would be playing from a wheel chair in 2007.

Personally, I would have much preferred to see him in a Yankee uniform than a 12th reliever, but that point is moot now. I just hope any ill feelings that exist between the player and the organization subside.

2007-02-28 06:33:46
5.   Yankee Fan In Boston
sounds like igawa is on track. oviously good news. i really hope he lives up to all of the quirky greatness he's been oozing.

the latest igawa gem from this morning's mr. abraham column:

Igawa played for the Yogi Berra Team. He was asked whether he knew who the Hall of Famer was. After a quick translation, he smiled.

"I saw him in the pictures," Igawa said. "I have heard that he won 10 World Series."

also, it was mentioned that he has been asking andy pettitte about his cutter...


2007-02-28 07:00:52
6.   Rob S
So Jeter's fourth hit this season puts him ahead of Donnie for his career. Wow.
2007-02-28 07:26:17
7.   markp
Mr Dean, I agree with both of your positions:

I haven't read anyone being happy about Bernie's decline. He's a classy guy and the pre-ghost version was as valuable as anyone on the Yankees. The ghost version stayed too long, which was exacerbated by Torre using him in RF, against RHP, etc.
Cairo in the OF is a lot like Cairo at 1B and Womack in the OF (and Knoblauch in the OF). It certainly is something we've seen before from Greentea. Seeing it in 2007 is both possible and disquieting.

2007-02-28 08:49:44
8.   Shaun P
There's a nice sentence near the end of Brian Hoch's excellent article that indicates that Donnie Baseball is digging through reams of statistical data and scouting reports every day, looking for an edge. Hopefully he's looking at the best predictive statistics and not over-weighing small sample sizes.
2007-02-28 09:14:53
9.   JL25and3
Memo to Donnie: grow back the moustache.
2007-02-28 09:25:30
10.   Cliff Corcoran
1 One of the great things about Peter posting those audio clips is that you get to hear how words are twisted to certain reporters (or fans) agendas. That is, people hear what they want to hear. Jim transcribes what Torre said above, but he removes the context of the reporter's questions. Here's the full conversation (emphasis mine):

Reporter: "You gonna try to get Cairo some more work in the outfield with Abreu out?"

Torre: "Well, he'll probably play some, but today was more out of necessity with not wanting to use all our guys and, I mean, nine innings. But he certainly seems comfortable out there."

Reporter: "At the very least he's an option for you."

Torre: "Well, you know, we always felt he was an emergency guy, and he has done a lot of it, too. Everywhere he's been he's played some outfield."

One could argue that I'm as guilty as anyone else of hearing what I want to hear, but, to me, Torre's tone of voice supports this interpretation. Check it out beginning at 3:25 here:

2007-02-28 09:32:07
11.   Zack
1 10 I'm not too worried about Cairo playing the OF. WIth Abreu playing and Melky, he won't have any real ability to place him in. Even a Kevin he would play before Cairo, I have at least that much faith in him...

I have to say, Pete A.'s blog has just been great. Between the audio clips, his clear dedication to posting as much as he can, his humor, and his willingness to be candid and keep us poor schmos informed, it has become indispensable...

2007-02-28 09:55:34
12.   rbj
I'm not worried about Cairo playing outfield, there was that one game where Sheff wound up back at third a couple of years ago. I'd rather Cairo get some of that work in now to knock some rust off.

Good to have had a game to talk about.

Psst, anyone got a box score for it. Really, I'm not an addict, I just want to look at the boxscore because I want to, not because I need to.

2007-02-28 10:40:42
13.   Sliced Bread
Sweeny's anecdotes are further evidence of what a cool cat Bernie is.

The Hoch piece on Mattingly is a good read despite one glaring factual error: Doug Out is not among the team's four top hitters as suggested in the first paragraph.

The Yanks have bat boys who are better hitters than Doug Out.

2007-02-28 10:44:47
14.   unpopster
5 here's my not so bold prediction that BOTH Matsuzaka AND Igawa get off to quick starts this season -- pitching to something like a collective 10-3 record in the first few months before the league catches up to them. During this period, papers in both cities will point out the difference in $$$ spent on each and how Igawa is living up to the standards expected of Matsuzaka. Yankee fans gloat, Sox fans fret...

These conclusions of course prove to be way to premature as both come down to earth as teams figure them out -- with Igawa of course suffering the most from the second-go-round the league.

2007-02-28 10:49:28
15.   Jim Dean
10 You've got to love semantics!

I'm not sure what you're implying about my own agenda but when it comes to Torre, I actually think he's great for the team and the organization. He's a surefure HOFer because of it.

That said:

He either makes some really dumb decisions and/or he's grossly misinformed.

In this case, it appears to be most definitely the latter ("Everywhere he's been he's played some outfield").

Me, I can't see why someone says that and doesn't make dumb decisions down the line, especially given his history, which mark points out 7.

You appear to read more into the first statement than I do. But you agree he's working off of flawed assumptions, no?

That said, why not just come out and say: "Yup, he's an emergency OF and we'll give him a few innings here and there."

Me, I'd have no problem with that. But that's not what he said, and if anything implied a more substantial role if necessary.

11 The greatness that is PeteAbe cannot be shouted loud or often enough.

2007-02-28 11:00:34
16.   Jim Dean
Based on Pete's latest entry it seems Villone's a lock as is a long man (e.g., Karstens) for the bullpen. So that means neither Britton or Bruney make the team (or Beam or Whelan for that matter).

And Humberto has been shut down for ten days.

Let's review the off-season trades just briefly:

The Yanks trade Wright, Shef, and Unit and the only addition to the 2007 Yanks is Luis Vizcaino!?

Oh, and they have 213 RHRP in Scranton/Trenton just in case Torre burns through a few dozen.


2007-02-28 11:05:54
17.   vockins
16 Vizcaino and a boatload of money.
2007-02-28 11:08:33
18.   Jim Dean
17 Money doesn't help the 2007 Yankees. In 2008, maybe.
2007-02-28 11:10:40
19.   Raf
It's that game where Sheffield played 3b. I heard some guy dove into the stands?
2007-02-28 11:20:23
20.   David
15 Yes, it seems odd to focus so much on adding minor league relief pitchers. I've been trying to compare the strength of the current Yanks against last year.

Igawa for Wright -- push
Andy for Randy -- small gain
New relief pitchers -- small gain
Minky for Phillips -- small gain (if Minky can still hit and field)
Everyone is 1 year older -- substantial loss

As I see it, the only major improvement in the team is the (hopeful) health of Matsui and Pavano.

2007-02-28 11:23:05
21.   Sliced Bread
16 Too soon to write off the Ouchie Sanchez for '07.

Too soon to infer that Villone is a lock for anything.

I'm still guessing we'll see plenty of Bruney and Britton unless they're traded.

2007-02-28 11:26:05
22.   Shaun P
14 I wonder how Quest being a lefty will play into that. Maybe a lefty, especially a 'crafty' lefty, will have more luck keeping hitters off-balance?

Off the top of my head, the only other lefty starter in the AL who's a crafty guy, instead of a power guy, is Kenny Rogers. (And he used to be a power guy!) Everybody else is a power guy. Maybe that kind of uniqueness will help Quest?

2007-02-28 11:27:22
23.   vockins
20 Abreu?
2007-02-28 11:28:58
24.   Cliff Corcoran
15 Jim, Cairo played some emergency OF in each of his three years in St. Louis, with the Mets in 2005, and last year with the Yankees (one game in left). Maybe "everywhere" was an exaggeration, but I don't see a false assumption there. I continue to marvel at how you're able to read more into those comments than exactly what you say Torre "should have" said ("Yup, he's an emergency OF and we'll give him a few innings here and there").

16 I've considered Villone a lock ever since he was resigned. We'll see about the long-man thing, though. It's certainly true that there's not enough room in the Scranton rotation for all of the Yankees triple-A or better starters (Hughes, Clippard, Sanchez, Ohlendorf, Rasner, Karstens, possibly Jackson), so stashing one in a long-relief role at the back of the pen makes a certain amount of sense, but then you and I both know that injuries (be it to Sanchez, Pavano, or anyone else) will free up a spot sooner or later. In each of the last two seasons, the 25th man on the opening day roster was demoted before making a single appearance (Nieves last year, Phillips in '05). I'm confident that Britton, Bruney, and Beam will all get major league innings this year and that one of the first two, most likely Britton, will make a significant contribution to the pen.

2007-02-28 11:36:18
25.   Sliced Bread
22 The Indians have a pair o' "crafty" southpaws in their rotation: Cliff Lee and Jeremy Sowers. Both throw about 90 tops, but are said to be smart, mix it up types.

But to your point, I think craftiness will serve Igawa well, especially in the early going.

2007-02-28 11:38:27
26.   Jim Dean
24 And I continue to marvel at how objective analysis consistently descends into fanboy optimism :)

My point: Why talk aout him playing there "everywhere he's been" when it should only be in emergency circumstances? Why the ambiguity? (In St. Louis it was part of his regular role.)

I agree with your sentiments regarding the bullpen. But that still leaves a ton of unnecessary depth and MCI at 1B and Pratt in pinstripes. Brilliant!

20 I agree 100% and I'll go insane if I rehash that all over again.

2007-02-28 11:43:02
27.   Cliff Corcoran
20 How about this:

*Four months of Abreu replacing four months of Bernie -- huge gain
*Four months of Matsui replacing two of Sheff in which he hadn't yet gotten hot and two of Melky -- solid gain
*Minky replacing some of Andy's 06 performance and the disappointing performance of Craig Wilson -- small gain
*Todd Pratt replacing Stinnett/Fasano -- possible small gain, push at worst
*Igawa replacing Wright -- solid gain and Britton coming over in the deal
*Pettite replacing Johnson -- push plus three prospects and Vizcaino in the deal
*Pavano replacing Chacon/Lidle -- push with possible gain, huge gain if Hughes or Clemens fills this spot later in the year
*bullpen replacements and supply of mL starters are a gain because:

*no need for Scott Erickson, Aaron Small, Sidney Ponson, Tanyon Sturtze, or Kris Wilson (priceless)
*Ditto for Bubba Crosby, the left-handed Bernie, and T-Long on offense (all replaced by Melky and the Kevins)

2007-02-28 11:46:52
28.   Cliff Corcoran
26 Jim, let's revisit this in October when we have the final tally of how many innings Cairo played in the OF this year. Then we'll see who's being objective and who's reacting emotionally here.

Also, there is no such thing as "unnecessary" pitching depth.

2007-02-28 11:52:01
29.   OldYanksFan
20 However David: Cano and Melky being a year older is good, and Phil Hughes being a year older is VERY good. I also anticipate a better year from ARod.

Personally, w/Villion on the roster, I would dump Myers. The guy doesn't pitch enough to take up a roster slot.

2007-02-28 12:00:51
30.   Sliced Bread
27 Pitching-wise, the Yanks seem to be in much better shape than in '06.

To me, the offseason Cashman plan most likely to backfire is his edict: Giambi shall not play 1B.

Let's see how long that lasts if Jason keeps failing to defy his splits.

2007-02-28 12:01:39
31.   David
27 Cliff, I hope you're right. I am curious as to why you see Igawa as a solid gain over Wright. Wright had a decent ERA of 4.49 and a decent W/L percentage of .61 (11-8), although he was unable to go more than 5 innings

Igawa had been great in Japasn, but less so in recent years. I'll be satisfied if if he matches Wright's ERA and W/L percentage.

2007-02-28 12:02:06
32.   Jim Dean
28 One inning is too many. One game started is WAY too many.

As for the pitching depth, I say they don't have enough. If they trade Gardner and Tabata now, they could get another five relief pitchers! Why not stack the Tampa bullpen too?

27 You had to go there:

No way is MCI a gain on anything. Push maybe. Still, two years of that crap? Really, why?

Pratt? A gain? Come on, be serious. And four years of this dung?

Igawa - it remains to be seen. Wright pitched 140 innings of 100 ERA+. That's the threshold for Igawa. And Britton, right now, is helping Scranton win ballgames (with Beam, and Bean, and Bruney, and Cox, and ???)

Unit deal = I'll leave that alone for once.

As for T-long: They signed him after the season started. If Bobby's out for the opening, I'm not convinced they don't do something similar.

In that regard didn't they have all the in-house replacements for Scott Erickson, Aaron Small, Sidney Ponson, Tanyon Sturtze, Kris Wilson, and Bubba Crosby LAST year?

What changed?

2007-02-28 12:04:54
33.   rbj
27 Nice. I think Cashman earned his paycheck this off season.

29 Myers is around basically to neutralize David Ortiz. That's only 19 batters faced per year, not nearly enough to justify him over a more versatile relief pitcher.

2007-02-28 12:09:08
34.   Start Spreading the News
20 Plus I think the pitching staff on the whole has gotten younger. Just replacing RJ with Andy does that. But Igawa is younger than Wright as well.

Additionally, Giambi not playing 1st is an advantage. That advantage may be mitigated by the fact that he seems to hit worse as DH. But now that he has no choice, maybe he will just get used to it and do well anyway.

2007-02-28 12:10:18
35.   Start Spreading the News
Do we see more Colter Bean this year?
2007-02-28 12:13:37
36.   Jim Dean
35 Ha! That's a good one.
2007-02-28 12:20:51
37.   Jim Dean
I remember arguing this with Shaun, I think, and about whom I have no idea:

Omar (CA): Between what two levels is the biggest increase in talent in the minors?

Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) The consensus is the jump from high Class A to Double-A.

2007-02-28 12:21:10
38.   Peter
OT but I found this via the Soxaholic today:

Interviewer: "What about facing Matsuzaka? Will you hit his fastball?"
Matsui: "When he throws me a good fastball...I'll will go deep...into the Red Sox bullpen...and into Okajima's glove, as he's warming up."

2007-02-28 12:26:17
39.   Sliced Bread
33 Right, and Ortiz slugged Myers to the tune of .556 last season (9 ABs).

There's no reason for Myers to be on the 2007 Yankees.

By the way, Farnswacker whiffed Papi all four times he faced him last year. Of course, the change up that froze Ortiz was one of the greatest Yankees highlights of all 2006. Here's hoping Farnswacker can continue that streak.

2007-02-28 12:35:22
40.   vockins
39 The loading of the bases prior to that event was not so great.
2007-02-28 12:39:40
41.   Sliced Bread
40 Ah, that was just Farnswacker settin' 'em up to knock 'em down, which he did beautifully.
2007-02-28 12:56:58
42.   Cliff Corcoran
32 Minky's only signed for one year, and the catching situation has half stunk for 11 years, not four.

What changed about the relief situation is that Bruney was a late-06 addition so in essense both he and Britton are new, and everyone's had an extra year of development time, remember these are emerging mLers, so that extra year can make a big difference. Ditto Kevin Thompson re: the T-Long comment.

I don't know where you got "MCI" from, but since he's competing with last year's performances, not this years:

Wilson as a Yankee: .212/.248/.365
Phillips 06: .240/.281/.394
Minky's 07 PECOTA: .251/.328/.382

Like I said, small gain.

2007-02-28 13:11:16
43.   Jim Dean
42 There you go again with the PECOTA as somehow fact.

What's the variance one standard deviation out (i.e., random fluctuations)?

Man Cave Itch - MCI (easiest to type - someone here came up with it) is just as likely to be worse than last year as better.

Re: Last year and this year - Bean and Beam were ready. As was Reese. So too Karstens and Rasner (when not hurt).

The point is since the management hasn't changed, I'm not as optimistic as you that the kids will finally get their chance. When forced to choose last year between veterans and kids, the former (Ponson, Erickson, Long, Cairo at 1B!) almost always won, at least initially. Villone is the same pattern. As is signing trash like Cairo, MCI, and Pratt.

39 Indeed on that change - a great moment from him. Too bad they were few and far between.

2007-02-28 13:24:43
44.   Shaun P
37 IIRC, we were discussing Clippard, and how you felt BP undervalued him relative to Sanchez, Betances, Chamberlain, etc., while I could see where BP was coming from. I don't think I ever disagreed with what Jim Callis says. Still, succeeding in AA does not equal success in the majors (eg, Andy Phillips, sadly).

But, for the love of all good things, let's not go down that road and re-hash Clippard's prospectdom for an 11th time. I don't think either of us have added anything relevant since we first discussed it.

2007-02-28 13:38:26
45.   Jim Dean
44 An, yes, thanks.

And I agree. More info needed.

2007-02-28 13:45:54
46.   C2Coke
Banter is fully back in business. Look at all the serious baseball talk!
2007-02-28 13:56:25
47.   Chyll Will
I forget, do crafty power pitchers exist, or is craftiness a sign of impending doom? (great, now I have a Beastie Boys chorus reverbing through my brain...)
2007-02-28 14:01:11
48.   Chyll Will
46 Sorry...
2007-02-28 14:31:06
49.   Rob Middletown CT
Heh, ManCaveItch is catching on :)

I'm not thrilled with that signing, but the more I look at what was available, I can't really complain too much. There wasn't much out there. We don't know what Seattle would ask (or asked) for Sexson.

Ditto on Pratt, but even moreso. This is a backup catcher we're talking about. Backup catchers SUCK. Catchers who don't suck find starting jobs. I would like to see a catching prospect in the system, but apparently they've finally gone out and gotten one (albeit a very very young one who is years away from potentially helping the club).

Cairo... yeah, he sucks. What better options were/are available, though, for a backup IF? There was talk about Boston's former 2b (wow, total mental block on his name!), but didn't he get a starting job somewhere? He's old too (though better than Cairo). Cannizaro is no prospect (though he managed to hold his own in a tiny sample of ABs last year). Maybe they should go with that SS they picked up in the RJ deal, if they think he could handle it...

I guess my point is that backups are generally backups for a reason. The Yanks have actually been getting better at trying to find bargains. Things like inviting Phelps to camp, for instance. I just don't know that there were much better options for backup C and IF out there.

Beam was manifestly NOT ready. Beam was awful. Reese isn't any good, if his minor league numbers mean anything. Thompson is better, and would make a good 5th OF, IMO.

2007-02-28 15:41:38
50.   Dimelo
49 Loretta is Boston's 2b last year.

I think Cashman did a great job, I still don't get how people seem to think (whether directly or indirectly) that the Yankees should have backups that will offer the same production as the regulars. I think the Yankees had a great off-season and other than MCI, there really wasn't a bad move that was made.

My only concern is that the Yanks are too left handed at the plate, I remember this being a big problem for the Mets last year.

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-02-28 16:08:11
51.   Jim Dean
50 You can't possibly be serious? Who said anything about production as good as the regulars?

The fact is the bench could have been improved at every position. Why must the Yankees have the absolute worst bench every year? And then why must some fans defend it as the best that could be had?

All better options:

UIF: Loretta, Easley, Gomez
BUC: Zaun*, Lieberthal
1B: Too many to count. MCI will be the absolute worst 1B in MLB this year. No doubt.

What's worse - those are the only positions that needed upgrading over 2006. Really, is that so hard? Really?

(*They had to go hard at Zaun with an overpriced contract and an exploding offer. He would have been the bet 1B on the team right now too.)

2007-02-28 16:19:32
52.   Cliff Corcoran
43 I have to learn to stop taking your bait, Jim. All I do is correct your seemingly unlimited misinterpretations and misconcpetions, not to mention your unwillingness to check any of your facts (Minky's PECOTA is indeed worse than his 2006 season: .251/.328/.382 vs. .283/.359/.411). As for Beam and the lot, you're somewhere between oversimplifying, suffering from short term memory issues, and just plain wrong.

In fact, the only reason I feel the need to reply to you half the time is that I don't want your mischaracterizations to be accepted as accurate by the other commenters and perpetuated as accurate, when they are very much not so.

Much of what I do in this space, and much of why I started blogging in the first place, is to provide a sound, level-headed, largely objective alternative to the Chicken Little Syndrome and flat-out misrepresentations displayed on a daily basis in the press and on talk radio. In a way, I'm trying to calm everybody down and get them to focus on the real strengths and weaknesses of the team rather than the ones that make good copy or rousing radio. That's hard to do with Jerome from Manahatten posting under the name Jim Dean in comments every day.

I certainly appreciate your enthusiasm, your readership, and your contributions to the discussion, but it would be very helpful if you could take a deep breath, count to ten, and maybe do some research before your next post.

2007-02-28 16:21:15
53.   Cliff Corcoran
51 Jim, the horse is dead. Put down the whip.
2007-02-28 16:38:52
54.   Jim Dean
52 Whoa, that doesn't sound too friendly. Easy chief. And rather than argue on the facts, you're choosing to make it personal.

You really don't get my point about PECOTA, do you? How can you cite it as representative of what MCI's 2007 will be without also citing the range of possibilities. So to say he's a slight gain over last year, you're the one putting forth "misinterpretations and misconcpetions."

As for Beam, Reese, and Karstens and the lot, they could have been used last year. And weren't. Don't blame me, blame management. Instead, they chose Erickson, Small, Ponson, Long etc. Yet you think they're going to be wiser this year? When for all the open slots they chose Cairo, MCI, Pratt, and now Villone?

And you sir, what makes your perceptions accurate? You mean how the Mirabelli trade was a good one last year? Where's your special "seeing the future" glasses? I want to buy a pair.

And FYI: I've been consistent in saying the sky isn't falling. I think the Yanks win the division by three to five games. Still, if the race is close, it's because they made some bad choices of the few they had. I'm sorry if you don't see that.


2007-02-28 17:08:02
55.   yankz
Jim, man, not asking you to leave by any means, but you ever thought about starting your own blog? You'd probably find more people who agree with you.
2007-02-28 19:08:06
56.   mikeplugh
Personally, I think this debate is good. I agree with Jim periodically and appreciate his perspective. I think it's the in-your-face style that his posts take on that turns some people off, but I don't begrudge him his opinions even when I think they're way off.

I think I tend to agree with Cliff on most of this argument, but as long as things stay reasonably civil, this is a good back and forth. It's a sign that Spring is in the air.

I don't care about who the backup catcher is. I don't particularly care about Mientkiewicz or Cairo, although they probably shouldn't be on the team. Our success or failure in 2007 will be whether Moose, Pettitte, Wang, Igawa, and #5 outperform Schilling, Beckett, Matsuzaka, Papelbon, and Wakefield. Add Halladay, Burnett, Chacín, Thomson, and Ohka to a lesser degree into the conversation.

The Bombers offense should be better than both of those teams every day of the week. Depth is hardly an issue with the Yankees with the potential to take on payroll, especially noting that every team in our way has similar issues.

2007-02-28 19:43:07
57.   Aviezer
I drafted in a public league and came up with

C: Ramon Hernandez

1B: Justin Morneau

2B: Tad Iguchi

3B: A-Rod

SS: Troy Glaus

OF: Manny

OF: Sheff

OF: Delmon Young

SP: Sheets

SP: Cain

SP: Escobar

RP: Ispringhousen

P: Prior

P: Glavine


hows that for a team high on potential. Bear in mind thi is head to head.

2007-02-28 20:40:36
58.   Count Zero
56 QFT

It's all about the starting pitching. Dougie, Miggy and Pratt will have less than 3 games worth of effect on the season one way or the other (compared to who else was available) unless someone gets seriously which case we have plenty of young arms and cash (pun intended) to trade with.

2007-02-28 21:59:58
59.   mikeplugh
I recently uncovered some serious news about Carl Pavano over at COH. Or, should I say Donald Babcock?
2007-02-28 22:28:40
60.   rilkefan
54 "You really don't get my point about PECOTA, do you?"

You're apparently arguing that we should consider the lower end of the projection range instead of the average, which is a bizarrely worng (see 58) thing to do.

2007-02-28 22:58:47
61.   Chyll Will
59 Mike my friend, you are certainly an entertaining and artful fellow. I thought it was a fever dream at first, then it eased into a Daschiell Hammett zone. You had me until I saw that picture; nice set up.

You know, I'm not gaining much ground as a sabermetrician, but I've been inspired by a lot of people here with their writing style and sense or nonsense of purpose. I hope when I startup my cartoon website you'll all take at least one peek. BTW, my comic strip is celebrating its 25th year of existence this Saturday... yay me, I guess... Nice Job, Mike >;) zzzzz....

Oh yeah, rilkefan, good luck. It's kinda like how my brother would make some incredibly off-the-wall remark and we'd both have a fit laughing, then my Mom would yell "Stop laughing, you're only encouraging him!" Knawmean? zzzzz....

2007-03-01 00:21:36
62.   Cliff Corcoran
61 Congrats, Chyll, what's the strip?
2007-03-01 04:37:59
63.   Raf
47 Off the top of my head, I come up with Pedro & Cone. Granted it's early & I haven't had coffee yet
2007-03-01 05:08:02
64.   Jim Dean
60 No, absolutely not. Just that as a projection PECOTA comes with a range due to random variation. In other words, MCI is just as likely to fall short of his projection than to surpass it. So I can't remotely take that projection as evidence of his beating the performance of last year's 1B options.
2007-03-01 06:09:04
65.   Shaun P
64 "Just that as a projection PECOTA comes with a range due to random variation. In other words, MCI is just as likely to fall short of his projection than to surpass it."

Exactly. And what Cliff provided was Doug M's weighted mean projection - in other words, what he is he most likely to do. That's a heck of a lot different than saying Doug M will surpass his 90% percentile projection (which has about a 10% chance of happening).

2007-03-01 06:14:50
66.   Chyll Will
62 "Ozzark & Company", which I've managed to publish in a short-run comic book several years ago and in college newspapers and start-up mags that haven't really started; thus I'm way-way underground, but I anticpate a big push this year. I'll say more about it in a another month.
2007-03-01 06:55:36
67.   Bama Yankee
57 Sheets and Cain, then pray for rain...
2007-03-01 08:00:30
68.   Jim Dean

Look at those terms: Weighted. Mean. Projection.

Weighted = We have little idea because they don't open up their formula. So toss that out even as I'm willing to buy in more for hitter. The point is that they could say it's a "Carnac Mean Projection" and it would mean the same thing.

Mean = Average. Any mean has a range associated with it - how big or how small is subject to prior observations. Mean does not mean "most likely" just "in the middle".

Projections = Prediction. An educated guess, no doubt, but a guess nonetheless.

My main problem with using PECOTA is less with "weighted" (as their intellectual property they protect it to make money off of it) or "projection" and more with "mean".

The "mean" is absolutely meaningless without an estimate of the variance. So to cite that mean without the surround of likely possibilities is just plain disingenuous. In statistics that's the standard deviation or confidence interval. Two means may look far apart, but if your measurements aren't very precise then the best you can do is say they're no different.

In other words, MCI is probably just as likely based on random chance to hit .225 as .275 (with the other spects hainvg simliar variation). Just because .250 is in the middle doesn't make it more accurate. Because of random variation, we just don't know if he will do better than last year's 1B and it's impossible right now to say so. (Todd Helton likely would do better. As would Sexon. But do you really need to pay for PECOTA to think that?).

The percentiles only comes into play if you're worried about whether MCI will hit .175 (much, much less likely) or .325 (impossible).

In the case of MCI the wighted mean projection adds nothing to the equation. It's just not helpful.

2007-03-01 08:33:13
69.   Shaun P
68 Here is a Mientkiewicz's full PECOTA projection, with each percentile given:

90%th percentile - .281/.363/.436
75%th percentile - .263/.341/.403
60%th percentile - .251/.328/.382
50%th percentile - .247/.323/.374
40%th percentile - .241/.316/.363
25%th percentile - .229/.302/.343
10%th percentile - .190/.254/.273

The 50%th percentile - in other words, the projection that is as likely to happen as not - is what, maybe a single or two off the weighted mean projection?

Just for the hell of it, Tom Tango's Marcel projection for Mientkiewicz - just a plain old regression analysis based on the last 3 years, IIRC - is .260/.344/.401, which is what, maybe 8 or 10 more singles over the course of the season vs BP's weighted mean projection?

If you want to argue about the validity of that, I'm sure Tom would be happy to oblige you:

BTW - here is BP's definition of weighted mean; you can read more at

'The Weighted Mean forecast incorporates all of the player's potential outcomes into a single average, weighted based on projected playing time. In almost all cases, poor performances are associated with a reduced number of plate appearances. For that reason, they don't hurt a player's team quite as much as good performances help it; the weighting is designed to compensate for this effect (see also Jeremy Giambi Effect).
EXCEPTION: a player's projected PLAYING TIME (and therefore, his counting statistics that are incumbent on his playing time) is taken based on the median of his comparables' performance, rather than the weighted mean. This is designed to mitigate the influence of catastrophic injuries, which are better represented by Attrition Rate.

This exception does NOT affect a player's WARP and VORP forecast, which are calculated per the weighted mean method, treating players who dropped out of the database as having zero WARP/VORP."

2007-03-01 08:53:40
70.   Jim Dean
69 Careful. You might have the BP folks hunt you down and sue you.

Okay - now how do they compute the percentiles. To my untrained eye, I'd guess that the 25th and 75th are just as likely given random variation. If so, then there's no point in talking about the 50th in isolation.

In other words, none of us would be surprised if his eventual numbers fell in there. Outside that though? The 10th and 90th would be very surprising. The point is liklihood is a range without a singular value.

Put another way, the only thing that makes the 50th percentile "special" is that it's in the middle - likelihood is a misnomer there.

Me, personally, I like the way the Replacement Level Yankee Weblog has been doing their projections. They take projections from a few different systems then averafge them together. They still leave out the variance within each system but at least you can get a sense of the variance across the systems. They also leave out the PECOTA numbers from publication, but you can compute them by working backwards (Shhhh, don't tell anyone.)

And don't let the verbal gobbledygook fool you.

"'The Weighted Mean forecast incorporates all of the player's potential outcomes into a single average, weighted based on projected playing time."

That says absolutely nothing of significance.
For me, that's not the big problem. It's not the stat but how it's used incorrectly.

2007-03-01 10:59:22
71.   rilkefan
70 - Any statement you make about the future is a projection (or just random). You can only consistently point out that M may do worse if you also note he may do better. Put up the median CHONE if it helps your argument - otherwise you're just pounding the table.
2007-03-01 11:16:54
72.   Jim Dean
71 What? A projection isn't "just random" if it's based on prior observations. The more observations the more precise the prediction gets. The problem with baseball games is that there are random events that affect outcomes. That's the point - there's an expected range that a player is likely to fall within. That range is based on past performance. If there were no random events then you could perfectly predict their future performance. You can't, but you can get pretty close. And to say MCI is going to hit between .229 and .263 - well, that's prety darn good. But not so good as to say now he'll do better than last year's 1B combo.

That's exactly my point - he may do worse, he may do better - the expected range is something like between the 25th to 75th percentiles. That's what you can likely expect. That's the projection. To confuse it with the weighted mean average is to assume much more predictive power from the system than it gives.

2007-03-01 13:28:04
73.   rilkefan
72 - 'A projection isn't "just random" if it's based on prior observations.'

Umm, I don't know how to more clearly state that when we talk about the future we use the available information (a.k.a. make a projection) or we don't. You make statements about the future, you're projecting. Cliff makes a statement about the future, he's projecting. You complain that there's uncertainty to the downside on his projection without noting that there's uncertainty to the upside, and without including the same unuseful caveat on your projections - you're pounding the table.

2007-03-01 13:40:35
74.   Jim Dean
74 My projections? The discussion has been about PECOTA and its precision. The weighted mean projection is an estimate with variability that can be characterized fairly precisely. It's disingenuous to talk about one without the other.
2007-03-01 16:12:39
75.   rilkefan
74 - Cliff said he expects x will be better than y was based on estimate P. That's what "replacing y with x is a small gain based on P" means. You can reasonably say "How many sigma better" (or "P is biased based on foo") but you can't reasonably say what you did, which is that x might be less than <x>. If Cliff said Pujols would be better at 1b than Sheffield was last year, you'd probably say, "But there's a chance Pujols might perform 50 sigma below expectation!"

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