Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
Even S(t)even
2007-06-13 00:14
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

After an hour rain delay, the Yankees got the game they expected in last night's matchup of premier groundballers Chien-Ming Wang and Brandon Webb. Actually, Wang didn't have his best worm-killing stuff last night (nine grounders, ten fly outs, and his first start of the season without a double play), but after pitching out of a jam in the first he kept the Diamondbacks at bay, limiting them to a Chad Tracy solo homer in the fourth, five singles, and a hit-by-pitch over seven innings and 95 pitches. Brandon Webb countered in kind with seven strong of his own (including 12 groundouts and two DPs against four fly outs and four Ks). The key difference was that the homer Webb allowed came at the tail end of his first inning jam.

Johnny Damon led off the game with a grounder to second base that drew a rare throwing error from Orlando Hudson. Joe Torre then put on the hit-and-run and, as shortstop Stephen Drew went to cover second, Derek Jeter singled through Drew's vacated position to put runners on the corners. The red-hot Bobby Abreu followed with a three run jack into the old Yankee bullpen.

That was all the Yanks would need. They added a fourth run off Webb in the seventh on a walk to Matsui, a Robby Cano double, and an unusual 4-3-6 double-play turned by Hudson on a Melky Cabrera grounder with the infield drawn in. Kyle Farnsworth made things interesting in the eighth, giving up a leadoff double to Drew and then walking Tracy with two outs after battling through a nine-pitch at-bat, but got out of the inning by getting Tony Clark to fly out to right. Mariano Rivera shut the door with 13 pitches (nine strikes) for a perfect ninth inning and his eighth save.

With the win the Yanks have extended their winning streak to seven games and reached .500 for the first time since May 9. With a win tonight, they can go over .500 for the first time since April 20, when they were 8-7.

Meanwhile, Doug Mientkiewicz had surgery on the broken bone in his wrist yesterday that involved a pin being put in the bone. He's expected to be out until August, which means the Yankees will have to either have to learn to love Josh Phelps or make a deadline deal for a first baseman. Miguel Cairo won't hit .348 as a first baseman all season and even now he has just one walk and one extra-base hit while playing the position. Then again, all of that was true when Minky was healthy as well.

Comments (128)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-06-13 02:01:37
1.   joejoejoe
Don Amore/Hartford Courant had an extensive piece about Damon playing some 1B when the Yankees play interleague in the NL parks. If Damon's comfortable there look for it to be a regular thing.

Torre said it doesn't make sense to play Damon at 1B now because there is nobody better on the roster to DH but if the Yankees added a decent LH bat to the bench that could change. Then you could platoon Josh Phelps and the LH bat at 1B/DH.

Or you could get a real backup catcher and use Posada as the LH bat at DH.

2007-06-13 04:38:22
2.   Cliff Corcoran
1 In other words, the Yankees will have to learn to love Josh Phelps or make a deadline deal for a 1B/DH.
2007-06-13 04:39:09
3.   Yankee Fan In Boston
speaking of LH DHs, way at the bottom of the second page of the following article ( ), they mention that the reds had scouts watching the yankees. there have been rumors that adam dunn is on the block.

if only ca$hman could swindle them into taking pavano for dunn straight up...

2007-06-13 04:47:43
4.   williamnyy23
1 That logic doesn't make total sense because if Damon could play 1B well, then Phelps would be a fine DH. Maybe what they can do is play Damon-1B/Phelps-DH against lefties and Cairo-1B/Damon-DH against righties.

One other note from last night game...Kyle Farnsworth is terrible. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I still can't understand why Torre is so loyal to this guy. Like Sturtze and others before him, Farnsworth seems to be living off of an unearned reputation. People like Michael Kay keep saying that Torre is trying to get Farnsworth back to how he performed last year, but that was only league average! Proctor, Bruney and Britton all should be ahead of Krazy Kyle in the pecking order, yet Joe keeps referring to Farns as "his 8th inning guy". Sadly, it seems as if Farnsworth is going to have to blow at least a couple of more games before his role is reduced.

Here's my bottom line on Farnsworth: when he comes into the game, I fully expect the worst and cover my eyes as he gets to each three ball count. I'm sure his teammates suffer from some of the same apprehension, but Torre seems oblivious to it.

I was reading the game thread from last night and it seems as if more than a few agreed with me on Farnsworth. U

2007-06-13 04:47:46
5.   OldYanksFan
Ultimately, JD is not the guy you want at 1st, but considering the makeup of our team and it's injuries, it's a great idea. And frankly, the only way to get another 2 healthy years out of Damon.

I like that we are not running out and 'getting somebody'. To get the right player for the right contract is great, but being 'forced' to get someone who is unually under qualified and over priced really sucks. I hope those days are over.

It also allows use to play Melky in CF which is, and will be as Melky improves, a BIG upgrade. And the DH spot can be used to rotate our vets and other OF'ers to get rest. All-in-all, it's a pretty good situation.

JD also seems to acknowledge and accept that his body can't take a CF beating any more. He's a good athlete, and after ST of 2008, should hopefully be league average out there.

As a matter of fact, it's so good, I'm surprised the Yankees are doing it.

2007-06-13 04:51:22
6.   rbj
Josh Phelps did help the Mudhens win the IL championship last year so he "knows how to win the big games"

Hey, I'm trying here. Phelps is also easier to spell than Mink----.

2007-06-13 05:24:33
7.   monkeypants
1 So, Torre envisions Damon as a permanent DH, unless he learns to play 1B, at which point he would become a 1B/DH guy? Whatever the merits of this use of personnel (it would restore the team's seemingly unending quest to carry three 1B), if that is the case, then why are they carrying no back-up outfielders? I generally rag on Torre, and I assume he has some say on who gets called up--but how much say? How much of the actual tactical roster construction (bench-players and part-timers as opposed to big stars) is Cashman's doings, I wonder?
2007-06-13 05:36:04
8.   mikeplugh
My choices for 1B the rest of the way:

1. Jason Giambi (IF he plays again)

He's a bad fielder and his heel is bad, but he should be able to platoon there with either Phelps or Cairo and I'll live with the runs he creates over the ones he gives away.

2. Phillips/Phelps platoon

Since Giambi isn't likely to be back anytime soon, if at all, I like to platoon the two guys we have in house already. Neither is a big name guy and neither is a full time player on a good team, but together you just might be able to get something going. Phelps hits lefties very well and Phillips is mashing down at SWB with a fair 775 OPS against righties last season. Who knows? You might catch lighting in a bottle. Think Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small.

3. Eric Duncan

Why not? He hasn't really ever shown anything, and it's time to either reel it in or cut it loose. He's not going to miraculously wake up a good player at SWB at this point, so he either withers away a slow and painful death in the minors or gets his big break in The Show and goes out like a soldier.

2007-06-13 05:41:01
9.   RIYank
7 Damon is the back-up outfielder.
2007-06-13 06:11:01
10.   Knuckles
Hey Cash,
Make the Dunn deal a done deal.
I have no clue where the Reds' holes are, or what we could offer, but if they're disenchanted enough with a 27 year old sluggin 1B/OF to deal him, we should jump while they're stupid.
2007-06-13 06:13:25
11.   seamus
if we are going to deal for someone for the 1B position it needs to be someone athletic enough to play other positions. Someone who can play outfield. Dunn does seem like a good match.
2007-06-13 06:18:57
12.   Knuckles
If you haven't read Wallace Matthews today- don't bother. His column is all over the map.
Headline: "Yanks Find Patsies in Lowly NL"
Then goes on to acknowledge the D-Backs are good, on the strength of their record, backtracks after seeing them in person (for one game, no less), then condemns the entire NL...
Ugh, my eyes feel dizzy.
2007-06-13 06:23:20
13.   mikeplugh
I don't think it's necessary to make a deal for anyone. 1st base is just not that pressing in terms of immediate needs. On the defensive spectrum it's buried somewhere just inches from DH. Giving something up to acquire a 1Bman is not appealing. We have ++ players at short and second and catcher, so we can afford to be weaker at 1st for now.

I also don't think it's a position you should ever spend huge on in free agency. If your organization can't develop a single decent first baseman on its own, it has serious problems. You can convert any good bat into a first baseman at the lower to middle levels and send it to the Majors ready to play league average defense. The Oakland A's do it practically every year.

When you deal, you deal for pitching or for some pressing and urgent need. Say, if Jeter went down, or Jorgie (God forbid!). In free agency you do the same, with a little more leeway for overpaying on a toy that could make your offense goofy good. Other than that, you must develop your own guys on the left of the defensive spectrum.

2007-06-13 06:27:08
14.   mikeplugh
For the record I've been on Wallace Matthews for a while and actually rallied a little attack on him at the Newsday comments section in April.

2007-06-13 06:36:18
15.   ChuckM
The problem is the Yanks have zero bats in the minors that they could plug in at 1B.

And the guys over at FireJoeMorgan have been killing Matthews the last 2 weeks, it's fantastic.

2007-06-13 06:40:49
16.   Shaun P
10 The Reds (for once) aren't being stupid. Dunn is a free agent at year's end, and the Reds figure there is no way they will re-sign him.

In fact, I'll bet Texas and Houston make a run at him, seeing he's a good old Texas boy and all. The Reds are always looking for pitching, especially relief . . . if Cashman could do a deal with Farnsworth and one of the Yanks' B pitching prospects (Karstens? Chase Wright?), that would be sweet.

Maybe the Yanks sign him, which would be fine. But if they don't, Dunn will almost certainly be a Type A free agent, so the Yanks would get an extra 1st round draft pick.

Talk about win-win-win.

2007-06-13 06:52:56
17.   RIYank
Don't forget that Cincinnati gives hitters a big plus for park. Dunn's OPS this year at home is well over 1.000, but away it's .687.
2007-06-13 07:00:50
18.   Dimelo
Why are we talking about first base? Cairo is doing a good job there and I like that he's not counted on for the big hit (i.e Giambi), so he does a lot of little things that I like and seem to gel right in line with this team. Including having the ability to bunt and playing pretty good defense.

I am finding some parallels with how the Yanks are now playing and last year, and the energy players like Melky and Cairo are providing. Maybe this team doesn't need a big slugger or anything, they feel they have enough guys to share the bulk of the responsibility and all they ever needed was a role player that doesn't fit into any SABR equation. Kinda like Scott Brosius.

2007-06-13 07:08:44
19.   Yankee Fan In Boston
16 if the reds keep dunn, they have a club option for '08 at $13M. (the option could reach $16M if dunn fulfills some incentives, but i don't know what they are and if he has "dunn" so.)

that option implodes if he is traded.

2007-06-13 07:11:12
20.   Yankee Fan In Boston
16"if Cashman could do a deal with Farnsworth and one of the Yanks' B pitching prospects (Karstens? Chase Wright?), that would be sweet.

Maybe the Yanks sign him, which would be fine. But if they don't, Dunn will almost certainly be a Type A free agent, so the Yanks would get an extra 1st round draft pick."

y'know, this is sounding pretty good...

2007-06-13 07:16:13
21.   seamus
before we trade farnsworth, who is goign to replace him in the pen. As bad as he often is, do we have someone who will be better? And I'm not talking as an 8th inning guy where he clearly doesn't belong. I'm just saying, What is our plan if we replace Farns?
2007-06-13 07:21:51
22.   Yankee Fan In Boston
21 britton did well, and with farnsworth gone he would get a shot.
2007-06-13 07:28:21
23.   seamus
22 i did forget about Britton.
2007-06-13 07:28:49
24.   monkeypants
9 That's great, except he apparently can no longer play in the OF, at least this season.

18 Cairo may bring high energy, but I prefer high OBP.

2007-06-13 07:30:32
25.   Yankee Fan In Boston
23 that isn't to say that britton will be a sure thing, but it couldn't hurt to try other guys regardless of trades.
2007-06-13 07:30:40
26.   seamus
24 But does Cairo's energy elevate the play of the other players? Because if it does that does mean higher OBP.
2007-06-13 07:31:00
27.   Count Zero
I'm not a big fan of the Teixeira trade idea, but if it comes down to it, I'd much rather have him than Dunn. a) Dunn is on pace to K over 200 times this year b) he doesn't strike me as a guy who'll be successful in NY (although that's totally subjective) c) he would be an unknown quantity at 1B defensively.

We don't need another LH DH type...if he was a RHB, I might like the idea better.

2007-06-13 07:31:20
28.   seamus
25 yeah. I just want to make sure that if we trade Farnsy that we don't end up with some guy in the pen with a 8.xx ERA as his norm.
2007-06-13 07:34:04
29.   seamus
btw, it is nice to have our ace Wang back. In his last 6 starts, 5 quality starts and the other was 1/3 of an inning short. His ERA is down to 3.49.

The big test for our rotation right now seems to be if Moose is back to being good moose. I guess we may find out some hints of this tonight.

And I keep thinking about how pre-Clemens our starter on Saturday would have been Wright or DeSalvo and how that would have meant no 7 game winning streak.

2007-06-13 07:36:35
30.   C2Coke
28 Is a guy named Colter Bean still around?
2007-06-13 07:42:44
31.   Yankee Fan In Boston
27 dunn's 1B defense shouldn't be considered an unknown. he's bad. he does K at an astoundingly prolific rate, too. would he see better pitches in the yankee lineup? would he be able to hit those pitches? would he hit as well in yankee stadium with the short porch as he did in cincy?

a lot of questions. i could see either side of the argument, but if it is a relatively cheap rental, with a 1st round pick tossed in, it might not be the end of the world.

28 yeah. a legitimate concern.

2007-06-13 07:43:07
32.   Schteeve
I think one of the hallmarks of a truly special pitcher is that even when he doesn't have his good "stuff" he finds ways to be effective. Wang showed me that last night. It was really encouraging.
2007-06-13 07:43:18
33.   monkeypants
18 "Kinda like Scott Brosius."

Sigh. Why do people keep invoking the immortal Scott Brosius in comparison to Miggy (or Minky, or whatever other underperforming offensive player they want). First of all, the fact that the Yankees chose to carry a relatively light hitting 3B during the dynasty years only means that they won in spite of and not because of him. And in any case, while Brosius was a light hitter for a 3B he was still overall an average to slightly worse than average hitter compared to the league--at least with the Yankees. His OPS+ : 120 (1998), 90 (1999), 67 (2000), 107 (2001). He also hit 65 HRs for the Yanks over those four years.

Hmmm. That's interesting--his best offensive season with the Yanks was when they had their best record, and his worst season offensively was when they won the least number of games (though they did win the ring, so all is forgiven). Coincidence? I don't think so.

Finally, his worst season with the Yankees (2000), the second worst of his career, is still better statitically than the last three seasons (including this season) that Cairo has put up.

This does not mean that your basic argument is incorrect, but the Brosius-Cairo comp is just not tenable.

2007-06-13 07:45:53
34.   Yankee Fan In Boston
30 i had forgotten about mr. bean.
2007-06-13 07:47:02
35.   RIYank
24 I think Damon can play outfield. He just can't play it a lot.
2007-06-13 07:49:29
36.   monkeypants
26 Maybe, but how could that possibly be measured or evaluated? The team as awhole is hitting quite well since Miggy was inserted as essentially the full-time 1B. So does he get the credit for that? Or, is the team winning because other players are hitting, which overcomes the offensive drag that he provides? Is the energy that he supposedly supplies similar to the boost the team got when they rallied around A-Rod after he was smeared in the newspaper? Not too many make that suggstion, but it's the same post hoc propter hoc argument.

31 Dunn K's at historic rates, but he also walks at a very high rate--both contribute to high rates of pitches seen. He would definitely see a lot of pitches, but as you ponder, would he hit them? Despite his bad year, he is still OPS+ 120 this year (in the NL and in Great American Ballpark, however).

2007-06-13 07:49:41
37.   Yankee Fan In Boston
looks like there were scouts from at least 5 other teams at the reds game last night.

if that drives up the asking price, i hope they pull the plug on this now.

2007-06-13 07:55:57
38.   Dimelo
33 My point was that we can't have a SABR stud at every position, and sometimes players like Cairo provide more than what stats show. I'm not into emotional crap like that, leave that for the lifetime network, but I think the stats aren't always a great indicator of what a player can do. I love the numbers and they don't usually lie, but I firmly believe that there are players that do elevate the game of others and it doesn't have to equate to great personal stats either. It's funny how people involved in the game really believe this, and people who look at purely stats think that since there is little or no evidence then it can't be proven true.

his worst season offensively was when they won the least number of games

I'd blame David Cone more than Brosius for that, a 4 - 14 record for a SP who had 29 GS probably had a lot more to do with why the Yanks didn't get to 90 wins.

2007-06-13 07:56:46
39.   seamus
36 Unfortunately, there is no easy way to measure it. It might be something that would be easier to see if we were inthe clubhouse. It'd be cool to measure. Miggy is no jason kidd, but it makes me think about how kidd seems to make players around him better, not just with his talent but with his competitive desire.

But what I am proposing, is that there are ways in which players impact the performance of players around them which do go beyond their stats. I cannot say if Miggy does that, or if the contribution he does give exceeds the negatives of his stat line. Just trying to keep an open mind.

2007-06-13 07:57:20
40.   monkeypants
35 I guess my point is that you would think they would learn after the Bernie experience. If Damon is so hobbled that he can only occasionally play OF, then he's not really the optimal back-up OF. Even if Cairo is to be the full-time 1B, do they really need to carry Basak as a back-up IF? After all, they will never hit for Cano, Jeter, or A-Rod; on the days one of them gets a rest, or God forbid there is an injury, Cairo would move to the IF and back-up 1B Phelps would take over on first. Also, Damon's full-time DHdom now clogs up that position so that other players cannot get the half-day off. So to review, this leaves:

-- First base being played by a light hitting infielder (who under normal circumstances would be the best PR off the bench).
-- DH played by a decent hitting OF.
-- Back up 1B occupied by a player who will rarely play, and whose more suited to DH anyway.
-- Back up infielder who will never play, save the odd PR assignment
-- Nieves as BUC

2007-06-13 08:00:14
41.   Mattpat11
Why would anyone want to get Farnsworth back to the pitcher he was last year?
2007-06-13 08:03:21
42.   monkeypants
38 OK, I'll concede the point--we'll never know if grit or guts or energy or savoir faire or whatever have a tengible yet unmeasurable positive impact on team performance. I just wonder why so few teams in MLB haven't caught on to this and decided to start Miguel Cairo or David Epstein or Tony Womack or whomever similar at first base?
2007-06-13 08:06:27
43.   Mattpat11
30 Why? Farnsworth not walk enough guys for your taste?
2007-06-13 08:08:20
44.   Dimelo
42 Yeah that's it, all those guys should be a starting first basemen. That was exactly the point I was trying to make.
2007-06-13 08:13:44
45.   monkeypants
42 Grrr...Eckstein, that is. I wonder if Theo has a first baseman's mitt, though?
2007-06-13 08:16:34
46.   RIYank
40 The thing is, if they use Damon as the back-up OF, they don't have to use a roster spot. And since he hits a whole lot better than last year's Bernie, it's not a comparable move. (And for that matter, I don't think Damon was a particularly bad CF while he played this year -- not great, but not bad at all.)
2007-06-13 08:18:25
47.   Shaun P
27 Teixeira is a better glove than Dunn. But getting Dunn may be a better deal.

Tex will cost more. He isn't a free agent until '08, and Boras is his agent. That means any deal also include a fat new contract, and no chance at a 1st round draft pick. And its not impossible for Texas to re-sign him, so Jon Daniels can ask the world in return.

The Reds have made clear they aren't going to resign Dunn. They want to get something back for him. Dunn could be a half-season rental, with a draft pick in return. Wayne Krivsky may be duped into trading Dunn for pennies on the dollar, a la Pat Gillick and Abreu.

Both are lefty hitters. Both hit like crap on the road. Both play home games in big hitters parks - but Arlington is more so than GAP.

Dunn strikes out more than Tex. But Dunn also walks more than Tex.

And finally, there will be a lot less pressure on Dunn. He's not regarded as a superstar, while Tex is, and while Tex would be the guy with the shiny huge new contract, Dunn would not be (again, an Abreu parallel).

2007-06-13 08:20:32
48.   monkeypants
46 True on all points. I would still ditch Basak--who is, I think, totally redundant--and insert either a really fast OF guy, or a some sort of slugger off the bench (preferably LH). Now, ehere one finds them is another story.
2007-06-13 08:22:49
49.   RIYank
48 I would love to get a slugger off the bench. That would be great. In exchange for Farnsworth! Trade eighth inning homers for eighth inning homers, so to speak.
2007-06-13 08:36:14
50.   Yankee Fan In Boston
49 "eighth inning homers for eighth inning homers"

dare to dream

Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-06-13 09:19:37
51.   Count Zero
47 Are you thinking Dunn as a "rental" or Dunn as a "keeper?"

I guess my problem with Dunn is that while it nicely replaces the missing LH OBP/SLG that we lost when the Giambino went down, it means that long term we have too many LH sluggers to play the same position and not enough RH bats.

So if you're thinking Dunn's a rental, then I'm not against it, but if you're thinking sign and trade, then I am against it. But as a rental, I think the asking price will be too high since the Reds actually have an option for '08 and it looks like there are half a dozen interested parties. Whereas Teixeira will be expensive, but he's a keeper all the way.

I have this totally unexplainable, indefensible feeling that Cashmoney will pull off a very surprising Teixeira deal sometime in July. Because really, if you think that Giambi will be back in August, and that he is totally untradeable, then long-term what you need is a RH bat (or a switch-hitter like Teixeira).

2007-06-13 09:35:08
52.   williamnyy23
21 Britton could replace Farnsworth on the roster and Proctor or Bruney could replace him as joe's "8th inning guy". If anything removing Farnsworth would be addition by subtraction. Not only does no Farns mean Britton should get a shot, but it also means Joe wont revert to formula and bring in one of his weakest pitchers in high leverage situations.

51 I agree 100%. If Dunn is cheap to acquire, I'd have no problem renting him to be the 1B. Having said that, there are a lot of things about his game that don't make him attractive as a long-term option.

More generally to the notion that 1B isn't the biggest problem and you can't have an AS at every position...well, why can't you? If the price is cheap enough, you must certainly can and should try to get as many good players as possible.

2007-06-13 09:35:37
53.   weeping for brunnhilde
No Damon at 1B. That's a crazy idea and to be honest, in my opinion, it borders on disrespecting the game.

If you want to convert Damon or anyone else to a new position, you don't just throw him in there mid-season in a "Hey, what the fuck!" manner.

It disrespects the game and it disrespects the position. Call me hokey, call me old-fashioned, but it bothers me the way defense is seen as something that doesn't matter.

Defense does matter and I don't want to see Damon thrown it at 1B any more than I want to see some decent-hitting pitcher as some team's DH.

There, I've said it.

2007-06-13 09:36:03
54.   JL25and3
I can't imagine how Cairo's presence in the lineup would send Abreu on a hot streak. I'd say he's valuable now because he's actually getting some hits as well as playing good defense. That won't last.

But I'll assume that he provides intangibles, adding value that can't be measured. Seriously, how much value are we talking about. I'd suggest that it might be enough to make an awful hitter (which he is) worth as much as one who's merely very bad. I can't see any way that it elevates him to, say, mediocrity.

2007-06-13 09:37:03
55.   ChuckM
There's no guarantee that Giambi is coming back this year, if at all. And Cashman has already showed that he's not afraid to trade for a guy who plays the same position as an injured player (Sheff/Abreu)
2007-06-13 09:39:31
56.   weeping for brunnhilde
5 "Ultimately, JD is not the guy you want at 1st, but considering the makeup of our team and it's injuries, it's a great idea. And frankly, the only way to get another 2 healthy years out of Damon.

I like that we are not running out and 'getting somebody'. To get the right player for the right contract is great, but being 'forced' to get someone who is unually under qualified and over priced really sucks. I hope those days are over."

Very good points, OYF, and I agree with you.

Perhaps it's better to try out Damon than to go snatching after the flavor of the month for big $$.

Still, it's the kind of move I'd rather see begun in spring training than mid-season, while the team's trying to contend.

Who knows, maybe the guy will be able to not embarrass himself out there.

We'll see...

2007-06-13 09:45:36
57.   weeping for brunnhilde
10 Dear God, please no. I just checked out this guy, knuckles--he strikes out all the time.

Career, every third ab he whiffs.

No, no, no, no, no.

2007-06-13 09:48:43
58.   Count Zero
55 Both true.

However, I think the Yankees knew they were going to get rid of Sheff at the end of '06, so they were looking at Abreu as the RF in '07 all the way. I don't think Giambi is moveable at the end of the season, so unless Dunn is a "rental" you're going to be stuck with both of them in '08.

2007-06-13 09:50:15
59.   Schteeve
57 Did you not get the memo about how striking out isn't really any worse than other kinds of outs?

His career OBP is .377. Not outstanding but pretty good. His career SLG is .513.

His career OPS+ is 127. Don't fixate on the strikeouts, he'd be a good addition if we didn't have to give up a blue chip pitching prospect.

2007-06-13 09:51:34
60.   weeping for brunnhilde
13 Your point is taken, mike, but honestly, I don't see how you can devalue 1B as a defensive position.

I know you've got all the stats and figures to back you up, and I don't mean to disrespect that, but just from watching Cairo these past days he routinely makes plays that Giambi never would have. Same with Mientkiewicz.

I understand your point, but it's a bit of an exaggeration to say the fielding responsibilities are just a notch above DH.

Firstbasemen guard the line, can go into the hole, can save errors on scoops, etc.

I'm not sure why that counts for so little.

2007-06-13 09:51:46
61.   JL25and3
Dunn's Ks don't bother me. He provides enough in other ways to be plenty useful.

Now's not the time to make a big trade, though. We still don't really know what we have in this team. In another month, they might be trailing by 5 games or 14 games. Then they'l know whether to be buyers or sellers.

2007-06-13 09:53:46
62.   Schteeve
53 I agree with this point. I don't care so much about disrespecting the game, I mean...I don't even know what that really means. But, I hate this line of thinking that any time you have a productive bat that can't play their historical position anymore, you just magically convert them to 1B like it's a no-brainer. If we follow that logic we'd have like, no outfielders other than Melky.
2007-06-13 09:54:31
63.   Count Zero
57 Yeah, that's my problem with him too. He does have a great OBP, but he's the kind of player that will make you pull your hair out if you have to watch him come up with RISP day in, day out. I don't have much left as it is. ;-)
2007-06-13 09:57:14
64.   monkeypants
51 Would they really have too many LH players at the same position if A] they acquired Dunn and B] kept him beyond this year? Next year will be Giambi's last--assuming the Yanks buy him out. Assuming that Cairo is not designated as the starter at 1B next year (nor Damon, Phillips or Phelps), then it would seem that you have Giambi/Dunn for DH/1B for one year, with Dunn taking over full-time DH after next season.

If you wanted to be really crazy, you could have Giambi (LH), Dunn (LH) and Phelps (RH) rotate is some sort of triple platoon between 1B and DH, with Giambi (if healthy-ish) getting the most ABs.

Of course, despite career OPS+ of 127, career OBP of .377, and only 27 y.o., he does strike out a ton. We all know that Ks are worse than all other kinds of outs 57, and he probably doesn't bring intangibles and energy (contra 54), so best to shy away from him.

2007-06-13 09:57:17
65.   williamnyy23
53 Defense does matter, but trying Damon at 1B no more disrespects the game than playing Phelps. If the Yankees think Damon CAN play 1B, it would disrespect everyone involved with the team to not try him there.
2007-06-13 09:59:14
66.   monkeypants
62 Wasn't that kinda the logic in the old days, before we just converted them to DH? It seems to me that in terms of respecting the game, their is long, historical tradition of doing exactly that: sticking an aging bat at 1B.
2007-06-13 10:00:10
67.   weeping for brunnhilde
18 Agreed, Dimelo.

The team does not need a slugger. The most beautiful thing about watching the team perform lately is that it's been relying much less on the homerun. They've actually been rallying and scratching and clawing.

I like Cairo too, though when I say that, people seem to think I think he's the next Don Mattingly.

I don't, but I think he's doing a fine job.

The man is a utility player and he's proven quite useful.

He deserves more respect.

Do I think he should be the Yankee 1B of the future, batting in the 3-hole?

Of course not, but I'm glad he's here because he's doing precisely what he's supposed to do--hold his own until a long-term solution can be found. He gives the team the luxury of not having to make a desperation move.

This team can win with Cairo at 1B, as it's been demonstrating these past games.

I think as Yankee fans we get spoiled and feel entitled to having a team full of superstars, like it's a travesty to have Cairo at 1B.

I like having Cairo on the team, he's the Everyman.

Much like Luis Sojo.

2007-06-13 10:00:56
68.   RIYank
Strike-outs are maddening, and in fact they are worse, on the whole, than other outs, since they never advance runners and you can't reach-on-error when you strike out. (They don't cost two outs, like some grounders, so that's a plus.)
But Dunn's virtues compensate for his swishfulness. My reservation is that his good hitting has come at The Great American Slugpark. He'd be a much worse hitter in another park -- though Yankee Stadium might suit his slugging from the left side, I guess.
2007-06-13 10:02:58
69.   monkeypants
60 This is not a slam on Cairo (hard to believe considering all of my recent posts), but shouldn't we expect him to make plays that Giambi (or, frankly, Mattingly in his prime) couldn't make? He is a middle infielder with a little speed, after all. I am not at all surprised that he snags balls with greater range or is more more sure-handed with scoops and shorthops. In fact, I suspect that with a little practice, many middle infielders would fair extremely well defensively at 1B. The real issue is offensive production relative to defensive (position) expectations.
2007-06-13 10:03:13
70.   weeping for brunnhilde
32 Absolutely, Schteeve. He did the same a couple weeks ago, the game he threw all those sliders. Was that against Boston, iirc?

Yeah, he's the real deal and we're privileged to get to watch him develop.

2007-06-13 10:11:23
71.   weeping for brunnhilde
54 I'm really not trying to oversell Cairo, honestly. But how can you say this won't last?

He did hit .300 (or thereabouts) for us that season in limited duty, didn't he?

It doesn't mean he'll do it again, but it's at least plausible, isn't it?

Not likely but plausible.

Why not wait and see what happens before predicting failure?

2007-06-13 10:13:57
72.   monkeypants
67 "The team does not need a slugger. The most beautiful thing about watching the team perform lately is that it's been relying much less on the homerun. They've actually been rallying and scratching and clawing."

Hmmm. According to Pride of the Yankees, in June the Yankees have:

-- 78 runs scored in 11 games, second in the majors
-- 123 hits, 44 of which have been for extra bases.
-- A silly team-wide .920 OPS, which is second in the majors

In the last seven days (according to they have hit 11 2B, 3 3B, 6 HR.

So, in fact, they have been scoring (and winning) because they have been slugging, including plenty of homers (3/4 of the runs last night came via the long ball).

"This team can win with Cairo at 1B, as it's been demonstrating these past games."

Indeed, empirically demonstrated, so long as everyone else slugs the ball.

"Much like Luis Sojo."


2007-06-13 10:14:34
73.   weeping for brunnhilde
59 Be that as it may, Schteeve, but that's just not the kind of ball I enjoy watching.

Striking out exasperates me, especially when it's done in extra innings against Florida in the WS when the go-ahead run is 90 feet away.

I just can't bear to watch people whiff, a la Steve Balboni and Dave Kingman.

I'll pass, thank you.

2007-06-13 10:16:45
74.   Schteeve
68 You can reach when you strike out, on a dropped 3rd strike.

You can't hit into a double play when you strike out, as you mentioned.

Now consider this, in 2006 77% of all MLB strikeouts came with either nobody on, or two outs. So basically 23% of the time you lose the opportunity to advance a runner.

Now consider that Dunn hits many more balls in the air than on the ground, his GB/FB ratio is .73. Assume that a bunch of those are flyballs that aren't deep enough to advance the runner(s)anyway. Then assume that a bunch of the balls hit on the ground result in DPs.

Now remember that Dunn has a .377 OBP and hits lots of homeruns. Are the handful of times that he doesn't advance a runner because he strikes out enough to degrade the value of the high OBP and SLG? I think not, and I'm not a lunatic saying this. Lots of repsected analysts agree.

As for the park factor. I don't know enough about it. It could be a legit concern.

2007-06-13 10:18:13
75.   Schteeve
73 So this is an aesthetic argument, not a baseball argument.
2007-06-13 10:20:16
76.   Schteeve
66 Agreed, I just get tired of hearing it suggested for Matsui, Damon, Sheff, Bernie, Abreu, Jeter, the Bat Boy, Torre. We'll have a whole team of 1B men.
2007-06-13 10:20:19
77.   weeping for brunnhilde
66 For the record, I think the DH disrespects the game too.

But what can you do?

2007-06-13 10:21:43
78.   weeping for brunnhilde
75 What's the difference?
2007-06-13 10:23:13
79.   monkeypants
73 75 Despite arguing against Weeping's position, I actually share the same aesthetic sensibilities. I far prefer watching in-the-park hitting and running than walks, Ks, and homers. But the game (and players) have evelved to the point where the kind of baseball that I think is pretty just doesn't win as much as the kind that I find less attractive. Now, if they tinkered with the rules slightly, or even better adjusted the equipment and made the parks a good bit bigger, then maybe the aesthetics of winning baseball would shift as well.
2007-06-13 10:24:47
80.   williamnyy23
78 The difference is that while you may not enjoy watching Dunn whiff 3x with a man on third and less than 2 outs, that 3-run HR he'll hit in his 4th AB will go alon way toward helping the Yankees win baseball games. I also get very frustrated watching Ks, but you often have to tolerate them to get slugging.
2007-06-13 10:24:55
81.   Schteeve
78 Aesthetically, people might thing Kevin Youkilis is ungainly and ugly. They may not enjoy watching him play baseball because it is not as aesthetically pleasing as say, a good looking player like Robinson Cano, who is lean, and athletic looking. But if I were responsible for putting together a winning baseball team and I needed a hitter to fill out my lineup and I could choose Youkilis or Cano, I would take the ungainly Youk and his beautiful .424 OBP rather than the good looking Cano and his fugly ass .307 OBP.
2007-06-13 10:25:52
82.   weeping for brunnhilde
75 Sorry to be snide, but what I mean is that baseball is aesthetic.

I watch the games with my eyes and with my imagination.

The result is important in that I like to see my team win, but it's also important to me how we get there.

I'm just not quite sure what the distinction you're drawing between "baseball" and "aesthetics."

I mean, isn't aesthetics part of what causes the deep emotional response that baseball does?

The beauty of watching a crisply-played game?

Plus there's the human dimension, of course, getting good performances where least expected, or getting poor performances where least expected.

I don't know, what do you mean by a "baseball argument?"

2007-06-13 10:27:25
83.   weeping for brunnhilde
79 Bigger parks, a raised mound, no body-armor, and no DH.

They've changed things before, perhaps they will again.

2007-06-13 10:28:20
84.   weeping for brunnhilde
80 Understood, but it's a question of degree, no?

I mean, every third time?

Isn't that a bit too much to ask?

2007-06-13 10:28:42
85.   monkeypants
80 "How to hit home runs: I swing as hard as I can, and I try to swing right through the ball...The harder you grip the bat, the more you can swing it through the ball, and the farther the ball will go. I swing big, with everything I've got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can." --Babe Ruth.

He understood the principle back in the days before television. Of course, he also played in an era where he could lead the league in Ks six times and never whiff more than 93 times in 154 games--and he had a .340 career BA. Ah the good old days.

2007-06-13 10:30:14
86.   Schteeve
82 Didn't think you were snide and please don't think I'm being confrontational or personal, at all. Just debating an interesting topic.

You raise a good point. Ultimately at the end of the season, I will have enjoyed watching Jeter do his Jeter thing, and watching Posada defy the odds (a 36 year old catcher with a .980 OPS in JUNE??? Incredible!) I will have the memory of Phil Hughes flirting with a no-hitter in his second MLB start. I will have enjoyed this season even if they don't make the playoffs.

But if I were Cashman and my job description was "Build a team that will win the World Series or you are a failure." My baseball decisions would not take into account the smell of the freshly cut grass or the roar of the crowd, or the fact that Luis Vizcaino is a nice dude or whatever. It would be putting the best players together.

2007-06-13 10:32:29
87.   monkeypants
84 Mantle averaged 115 Ks/162 games (about 1/4.7 ABs)--I assume that's an acceptable ratio. So, presumably somewhere between Mantle and Dunn is the cut off point?
2007-06-13 10:34:07
88.   weeping for brunnhilde
81 Or put another way: I'd rather watch a competitive team that's aesthetically pleasing (i.e., balanced, nuanced, etc.) than watch an all-star team dominate the opposition by clubbing it to death or whatever.

Yes I want a competitive team, but I want one I can actually feel emotional about.

If you could give the whole team steroids, for instance, it might help them win, but would it not take away something of the aesthetic element of the game?

That's how I feel about certain types of players: they might literally be assets to the team in terms of victories, but they leave something to be desired in terms of actually watching the baseball game, pitch by pitch, day in and day out.

That's just my opinion.

2007-06-13 10:38:23
89.   Schteeve
86 I think aesthetics trip up dudes like Torre. He continues to run Farnsworth out there because Farnsworth looks like he should be amazing. He's all tall and built like an ox, and he looks like a Bounty Hunter from another galaxy and all that crap. So Joe goes, "well, he looks like a kick ass fire breathing sumbitch, he must be good." But the dude can't throw strikes. Meanwhile, Bruney looks the bouncer at the bar down the street, so he probably can't be counted on. And Britton looks like a cartoony buffoon, no way he's reliable.

That to me is more annoying than watching a whole army of Dunns and A-Rods whiff every third AB. Also, I hate "At-Bats" because they don't take into account walks. I'd rather talk about plate appearances.

How many time per Plate Appearance does Dunn whiff? It's less than the number per AB.

2007-06-13 10:40:31
90.   weeping for brunnhilde
86 No, not confrontational at all, Schteeve.

And yes, it is a great topic. How to create a winning team without creating an uninspired team.

How to have a team that's constructed, while at the same time organic, so as not to look too much like a Frankenstein's monster.

Your point about CashMoney is well-taken:

"But if I were Cashman and my job description was "Build a team that will win the World Series or you are a failure." My baseball decisions would not take into account the smell of the freshly cut grass or the roar of the crowd, or the fact that Luis Vizcaino is a nice dude or whatever. It would be putting the best players together. "

"Ultimately at the end of the season, I will have enjoyed watching Jeter do his Jeter thing, and watching Posada defy the odds (a 36 year old catcher with a .980 OPS in JUNE??? Incredible!) I will have the memory of Phil Hughes flirting with a no-hitter in his second MLB start. I will have enjoyed this season even if they don't make the playoffs."

Agreed, wholeheartedly.

2007-06-13 10:41:20
91.   Schteeve
I'll stop ranting now. I don't want to become one of "those guys."
2007-06-13 10:43:20
92.   monkeypants
89 Doh--I never really thought about that. High K/high BB guys will always have a disproportionately high K/AB ratio because they "lose" a lot of ABs to walks. Meanwhile low BB/high contact guys--even hacks who K a fair amount--will often have disproportionately low K/AB rates, since they trade BBs for lots of outs. Good point.
2007-06-13 10:44:03
93.   weeping for brunnhilde
87 Yes, that's right. Somewhere inbetween.

I'm just saying every third AB seems insufferable to me, truly agonizing to sit through for a whole season.

And it means that I would never feel comfortable with the man up in big spots.

Anyone who strikes out that much is in my mind an easy out. If the pitcher knows what he's doing, this guy has no chance of getting a hit when it counts.

I can't see how he'd not be a major liability in the postseason and against quality teams during the regular season.

2007-06-13 10:44:09
94.   monkeypants
91 Oops, I'm already probably on of "those guys." I'd better stop too, though.

Fun debate.

2007-06-13 10:46:23
95.   RIYank
74 "You can reach when you strike out, on a dropped 3rd strike."
Yeah, I'm sure Dunn will contribute a lot to the team by reaching first on strike outs! Be serious, Schteve.

Ideally, I like winning a 1-0 game in the tenth, and I prefer it be by a walk-off homer. For perfection, Posada should hit it.
But I think it's a shame if you can't enjoy all the ways of scoring -- four straight singles, walk-steal-(groundout 4-3)-sacfly, HBP followed by double... There's something very 'baseball' about the late innings in a two-run game when you keep thinking about the bloop-and-a-blast. Homers are a big part of the aesthetics of baseball, as well as a very big part of winning.

And speaking of aesthetics, I see that Emma has a new entry, so I'll head over there now.

2007-06-13 10:50:11
96.   weeping for brunnhilde
89 Ah, see, that's an interesting point, because aesthetically to me he's awful. Although he allowed no runs last night, he walked a guy, allowed a double and the final out was hit hard.

Though he put up a zero, it sure wasn't pretty.

And you're right about PA, of course, I just took AB because the figure was ready-to-hand, though that fact alone tells us about how distortive the older stat calculations can be. The point is taken.

All right, I'm warming up to this Dunn already, the big lug. He might be a challenging guy for me to root for, which means maybe I have something to learn from the experience.

We shall see what we shall see.

2007-06-13 10:50:44
97.   weeping for brunnhilde
94 :)
2007-06-13 10:52:58
98.   weeping for brunnhilde
95 Yes, absolutely.

I'm not against homeruns per se, just against Brady Anderson hitting 54 of them and against the game losing its other dimensions because of it.

Two or three sluggers on a team is fine, I just don't need to see more than that to be satisfied.

2007-06-13 10:58:38
99.   Schteeve
95 I never said Dunn was going to reach on dropped third strikes, I just pointed out that when you said it is impossible to reach by error when you strike out, you were not fully correct.

And I made a bunch of other points in that post as well, but I guess none of them were as easy to cherry pick and contextually ridicule. Fair enough. :)

2007-06-13 11:02:47
100.   Schteeve
96 I'm so happy that we agree on Farns. He makes me want to claw my eyes out.
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-06-13 11:04:33
101.   JL25and3
88 But if you want a balanced team, you also want to have some scary power. Very few teams have been successful, at least for more than a year or two, without that. Sure, it would be great if you could get scary power in a package with good contact hitting, speed and defense, but then you'd have ARod.

Let me put it another way. You're willing to accept shortcomings in a player because he contributes in some other way. If a guy doesn't provide walks or power, you'll accept that if he makes some contact, can lay down a bunt, and plays good defense. (I know I'm exaggerating a bit, but I think you understand what I mean.

The thing is, you're not willing to accept other shortcomings in a guy whose contribution is walks and power. You're right, we don't have to have an All-Star at every position, and if one of the non-All-Stars is a guy who can get on base and cream all hell out of the ball, what's wrong with that?

Frankly, without Giambi in the lineup, Rodriguez is the only big power source. I really wouldn't mind another guy who could scare people.

2007-06-13 11:08:27
102.   RIYank
99 You did say other things, but they were all agreeing with what I said, right? Ks never -> DP, which of course is not strictly true either, if you're insisting on 'fully correct', but in any case that's what I said. And Dunn has compensating virtues, which again is what I said. So that's why I didn't comment further on those things; I only responded to the point on which you were disagreeing with me. (Boldface is fun, but I have a feeling it's annoying, too.)
2007-06-13 11:16:53
103.   Schteeve
102 It's super annoying. :) i understood you to say that striking out is worse than making an out some other way, and I was disagreeing with you on that point in general.

Sorry if I misunderstood.

2007-06-13 11:18:34
104.   monkeypants
102 Or perhaps rather: "...but I have a feeling it's annoying too"?
2007-06-13 11:22:21
105.   Chyll Will
101 We used to have that. But he had a scary mouth as well, so we traded him and replaced that production with a less-than mediocre platoon at 1st. Good or bad trade?
2007-06-13 11:25:16
106.   RIYank
I do think striking out is worse than other kinds of outs, right. Not in every circumstance, but on average. Don't you? I thought this was pretty much agreed upon by conventional wisdom and sabermetrics.

Dunn's GB/FB ratio and his large OPS are compensating factors; I agree that they more than compensate for his frequent striking out. As I said, my reservations about Dunn are not because of his striking out, but because of Great American's slugger bias, which I think inflates his good numbers.

2007-06-13 11:25:30
107.   monkeypants
105 Sort of--I think we replaced him with a mediocre (at best) platoon at first and an All-Star RF.
2007-06-13 11:26:19
108.   weeping for brunnhilde
100 Farns has to go, though I'd entertain solutions putting him in different situations.

Not even just as a mop-up guy, but he could be brought in, say, in the 5th or 6th with two outs and guys on base.

Roll the dice and hope for a K kind of thing, but only against free-swingers.

He could prove useful in such a role.

I don't know, I'd try to get more creative with him, though.

No more 8th innings for him.

2007-06-13 11:27:58
109.   RIYank
105 I liked the trade at the time, but with Damon lame I kind of wish we had Sheff back.
2007-06-13 11:29:38
110.   weeping for brunnhilde
101 Point taken, but does it have to be scary power? How about higher average, lower strikeout and say, 20-25 HR rather than 35-40 or whatever?

But ok, I think I'm softening a little...

2007-06-13 11:31:00
111.   Schteeve
106 No. I do not agree that striking out is worse than other kinds of outs in general. In specifc instances in can be. If there's one out and you have a guy on third and you strike out you go, "Oh shit, if he didn't strike out there, maybe he would have hit a sac fly. But then again maybe he would have lined the ball off the baserunner. So who knows"

I believe that guys like Pinto and Neyer agree that striking out is in general no worse than grounding out or popping up.

2007-06-13 11:31:48
112.   monkeypants
106 I really don't think they are significantly worse at all. Probably a little, maybe. But the number of times that advancing the runner really matters in a slugging era is pretty insignificant. Sure, the guy on third might score on a fly ball with one out, but he also would have scored with the basehit with two outs. The guy who steals second can score with a single, but the subsequent HR renders the point moot. We would also have to consider not only DPs, but ground outs that force the lead runner, leading to a wash (or worse, if the lead runner was faster than the batter).

In extreme cases you may have a point (and Dunn would qualify as extreme). It's just like a player with a .400 OBP who has a .380 BA is probably more valuable than .400 OBP/.290 BA guy--but such extremes rarely exist in the real world.

2007-06-13 11:34:16
113.   monkeypants
109 So do I. I also wish he would have sat idly on the bench for the first couple months until all the injuries piled up and he could have been inserted at DH.
2007-06-13 11:41:24
114.   RIYank
112 First, it just isn't true that a guy who scores from third on a hit would have scored from second. Often enough he stops at third, and sometimes he's thrown out at home. Had he been on third he would have scored easily. Or, he scores on an error, on a passed ball, on a FC, or because he's on third the infield plays in and a hard grounder goes through. Being on third instead of second makes a significant difference.
Second, you're forgetting about reaching on an error. That doesn't happen with a K (I know, it can happen, it's just that it doesn't happen). Groundball errors happen a lot.

These factors outweigh the negative factor of GIDP. This is no doubt a relatively minor issue compared to, say, 100 points of slugging, but it's enough to make striking out worse, on average, than making out in other ways.

2007-06-13 11:51:32
115.   monkeypants
114 I'm not forgetting about errors; indeed in 112 I conceded that there is probably an advantage with non-K outs v. Ks. What I argued (well, asserted really, since I don't have any hard data) is that the advantage is likely to very small and not amount to much over the long season. While TV announcers (especially Al Leiter) love to talk about winning baseball when a team scores a run with a hit, steal, and two groundouts, they never seem to call attention to when such winning baseball fails to work or is rendered moot when subsequent batters just smack thye ball over the fence.
2007-06-13 11:52:36
116.   Chyll Will
107 That reminds of me of that Charles Barkley/Dwayne Wade T-Mobile commercial;

Bobby: "C'mon man, my bat is hot!"

Sheff: "You're hot now... but I'm a legend... I'm an icon... I've already done it... nobody knows what I'll do next... what's on your resume... you'll know I'm better than you... for real, for real dunny-dun-dun... that's the mystique of me..."

And so-on and so-forth. I like Bobby, but he's got some catching up to do. I hope he maintains.

2007-06-13 12:05:22
117.   weeping for brunnhilde
115 Yes, but I think the point is that you have less control over whether or not you smack the ball over the fence. "Winning baseball," if you want to call it that, is so because it's more reliable, or should be.

A fundamentally sound team should be able to score those runs when needed.

It's not an either-or.

It means that if you're facing a tough pitcher, a winning team should be able to push that one run across by whatever means necessary.

It's just another weapon in the team's arsenal, and one that's harder to shut down than the long ball.

So to me, "winning baseball" means that you can execute (manufacture, whatever you want to call it) even when your sluggers are having a rough day.

It means you don't have to wait for a mistake pitch that might never come but can take matters into your own hands.

2007-06-13 12:13:08
118.   weeping for brunnhilde
115 "While TV announcers (especially Al Leiter) love to talk about winning baseball when a team scores a run with a hit, steal, and two groundouts, they never seem to call attention to when such winning baseball fails to work or is rendered moot when subsequent batters just smack thye ball over the fence."

What do you mean by "fails to work?"

Do you mean "fails to produce a run?"

First of all, just because it fails to produce a run doesn't mean it's not the right approach. The point in baseball is to increase your likelihood of success.

We should talk about this during a game, I think, because it's a good point.

To me, such an approach fails to work when there's poor execution, e.g., when someone strikes out instead of putting the ball in play.

It's poor execution because the guy's up there swinging too hard rather than shortening up.

That's controllable.

Also, I think it's a little unfair to call Al Leiter a "TV announcer." The guy, in fact, was a pretty successful major league baseball player.

I'm not saying that means he's right about everything, but he does have a lifetime of experience and coaching and observation that shouldn't be taken lightly.

2007-06-13 12:36:10
119.   monkeypants
118 I guess I meant that many who champion "small ball" or "winning baseball" etc seem to cherrypick. I think you kind of do that in 67, which I responded to in 72. They remember the manufactured run here and there, but ignore the statistical reality that winning teams tend to score the vast bulk of their runs because they hit the ball hard and far, not because top slow rollers to the 2B and hope for the occasional error. If Melky Cabrera rolls a ball through the infield, steals second, moves to third on a Cano ground out, and scores on a Phelps ground out--and everyone applauds "winning baseball" and remembers how that scrappy line-up scored that gutty run. But no one bothers to think about how if Cano and/or Phelps get a base hit, the team would probably score more runs. Or, when Cano grounds out, but sharply (because he made the mistake of hitting it too hard) and Melky is forced to stay at second, no one seems to remember that play. But if Phelps strikes out, he has failed because he didn't make an adjustment a shorten his swing to get a ground out. But shouldn't he not try to change his approach, and instead get a base hit or even a HR?

I just think that "winning baseball" is often the happenstance outcome of failed at bats--and to use an Al Leiterism, baseball is a game of failure, so there are plenty of failed ABs. I'm not convinced that players are really aiming the ball to the right side soley to advance the runner, and with only 27 outs to play with, I sure hope they are not intentionally doing so.

2007-06-13 12:39:32
120.   Schteeve
Grounball errors happen a lot. Please define a lot. Also I'll repeat myself. 77% of strikeouts come with none on or 2 outs.

Player A struck out 100 times last year. 23 of those times (Plate Appearances) there were runners on with less than two out. In those 23 chances, assuming that the range of possible outcomes more desirable than a strikeout includes everything other than a strikeout, let's do some math.

Let's say that Player A's OBP is a league averageish .340. So 34% of 23 is about 8. Ok so dude converted 8 out of 23 chances into base reaching events. So now we are talking about 15 instances in which the player will make an out, with runners on and less than 2 out.

15 in a season. In which the player may or may not do something other than strike out that will advance a runner.

I don't have time to do more sophisticated math, but I'd bet we're talking about 1 or 2 PAs a year per player in which the strikeout cost the team a base.

2007-06-13 12:43:54
121.   weeping for brunnhilde
119 Fair enough, mp, fair enough.

As to 72, all I can say is that there have been several games over this last little run where it seems to me that the team wasn't dependent on the long ball, where it's attack was more diverse.

I understand your point, though.

We should maybe try to keep track of this sort of thing as we watch the games.

2007-06-13 12:46:12
122.   weeping for brunnhilde
120 "Ok so dude converted 8 out of 23 chances into base reaching events."

Man, it's so romantic when you put it that way, Schteeve.

Sorry, couldn't resist. You have to admit that the term "base reaching events" doesn't exactly heighten the allure of this magical game of ours though, right?


2007-06-13 12:50:30
123.   Schteeve
122 No, but I think "dude" more than makes up for it. :)
2007-06-13 12:52:02
124.   weeping for brunnhilde
123 ha ha hah ahah !!!



2007-06-13 12:53:28
125.   RIYank
120 Okay, "a lot" is about 4.5%.

77% of strikeouts come with none on or 2 outs: the source I read said 76%. But so what? This could make the disadvantage of a strikeout smaller, but it can't make it go away.

The arithmetic you did makes no sense to me. First you're talking about a guy who strikes out 100 times. Then you tell me that of those 100 times 23 of them there are men on with fewer than two outs. (It should be 24, but who's counting?) Then you tell me that of those 23, he reaches base 8 times. Huh? He struck out. He didn't reach base. So I don't get what you're trying to do.

I believe that the advantage of non-K outs over K-outs is small. I don't see how you can deny that it exists.

2007-06-13 13:28:34
126.   cult of basebaal
Mike, Somerset, NJ: Do you feel a strikeout is the least productive out in the game? Some at BP have suggested that it is no worse than any other other in the long run, if you factor in double plays.

Bill James: Well, the LEAST productive out is a ground ball double play. Strikeouts are MORE productive than other outs, on average, because the negative effects of ground ball double plays far outweigh the positive benefits of moving runners on outs — thus, undescribed outs tend to have negative value, not positive value. But strikeouts have less value than undescribed outs OTHER than ground ball double plays. Not a lot less, but less.

2007-06-13 13:30:22
127.   cult of basebaal
and to the point about errors and such ...

Some of the things we talk about on BP--a strikeout is no worse than any other out, for example--are not universal baseball truths, but are only true when the skill levels involved are at or near major league levels. A strikeout is worse than other outs because it doesn't advance a runner and doesn't give the other team as much of a chance to make an error; it is better than other outs because it doesn't give the other team a chance to make a double play. You have to get somewhere in the high minors before the ability of the defense is high enough, both to turn a double play and to not make errors, to tip the scales from strikeouts being a really bad event to being no worse than other outs

2007-06-13 13:49:08
128.   cult of basebaal
Wil Nieves, you better watch your ass! Sal the 'Stache was just DFA'd by Toronto!

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