Small sample size surprises

April 28, 2012 | 22 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT!



As of 4/27 completed games

Robinson Cano’s plate discipline

His walk rate is currently at 9.2%, which is over 1% higher than his career year in 2010. Amazingly though, he’s only striking out 5.7% of the time.

We don’t know if Cano has made a conscious decision to swing at less pitches, but he’s keeping the bat on his shoulders much, much less than in years past. He’s only swung at 45.5% of pitches overall, and only 25.2% of pitches outside the strike zone. For his career, he’s swung at 35.6% of pitches outside the zone.

If he can come close to maintain this type of batting eye, he’s going to have a monster year going forward. He’s been the victim of a .274 BABIP (.320 career average), and we expect that to change soon.

The Derek Jeter Revival

Clearly stung by NoMaas criticism, the Derek Jeter is hitting .400/.429/.612. The man has done some incredible things in his career, and this late 30′s back-from-the-dead revival is as amazing as any of them, when you consider he OPS’d .683 in the first half of 2011.

So far this season, Derek is swinging at 50% of the pitches thrown to him, which is one of the highest levels of his career. Outside the zone, inside the zone…it doesn’t matter, he’s swinging. He’s also making contact on 75% of the pitches he swings at outside the strike zone. It’s probably one of the reasons why he’s walked at only a 5.4% clip and is seeing only 3.57 pitches/PA – both would represent career-lows. On the flipside, he’s only striking out 9.8% of the time — also a career-low.

While Jeterites probably expect him to hit .400 for the season, we’ll be more realistic. While he’s never lost the ability to hit left-handed pitching, even in these recent decline years, he’s hitting an f’ing insane .607/.586/.893 against southpaws this season! Can even the staunchest Jeterite think that can continue?

Also, the groundballs are still coming at a high rate (61.8%), so that hasn’t changed. His BABIP is a sky-high .411 (career. 355). His HR/FB is a whopping 30.8%, which basically means for every 3 flyballs he hits, one leaves the park. That’s obviously completely unsustainable. With all of these numbers in mind, we’d like to say that we expect his numbers to regress significantly, but we’ll get bomb threats. So instead, we will say that Derek Jeter is the most remarkable human being to ever walk the face of the Earth and we’d let him impregnate our wives.

Russell Martin’s refusal to swing at any pitches

Russell Martin is trying to one-up Brett Gardner in watching pitches go by. He’s begun the year by swinging at a ridiculously-low 31% of pitches and only 13.5% of pitches thrown outside the strike zone (4th-lowest in MLB). He may only be hitting .188, but his .371 OBP is the product of his nearly 18% walk rate.

Ivan Nova’s surface stats

NoMaas has been one of the few outlets that bothered to mention that Nova’s underlying skills did not match his sparkling surface stats last year. But now this year’s surface stats (5.18 ERA) are worse than they should be.

Over his first four starts, Nova has struck out over a batter per inning (9.25 K/9), and is walking less than two batters per nine. His 5.0 K/BB is the main reason for his excellent 3.14 xFIP. He’s gotten hurt on HR/FB (14.8%) and absolutely demolished on BABIP (.421). Many thanks to The Binder for putting Ibanez in LF.

While Nova is striking out many more batters than usual, his groundball rate has plummeted to 42.5% and both his flyball and line drive rates have increased (33.8%and 23.8%, respectively). Pitching up in the strike zone may be contributing to his elevated strikeout rate, but it also means more home runs and line drives.

Corey Wade’s dominance

C-Wade quietly put up a premiere relief effort in his pinstripe debut season. He came out of nowhere to post a 2.04 ERA in 40 innings. Yet, you would have been on firm ground to be skeptical that this was a real breakout.

After exploratory shoulder surgery, the Rays picked up C-Wade for the 2011 season. He was had an excellent 36 IP at AAA-Durham (1.23 ERA), but the Rays couldn’t find room for him in their crowded major league bullpen and released him. That’s when the Yankees swooped in and turned this reclamation project into a valuable middle reliever.

Wade’s peripherals did not support his sterling 2011 ERA. His xFIP was 3.80, and his success was built on the shaky foundation of a high strand rate (91.2%) and low BABIP (.246) . But, he earned the trust of The Binder and has been outstanding so far this season. In 10.2 IP, he has a 13 K/BB.

What’s really interesting about Wade, is that he’s more than doubled his slider usage from last year (according to Pitch FX), and he’s throwing it 7 mph slower than he did last year (77.2 mph). This could be keeping hitters off balance.

Overall, he’s been great for a scrap-heap pickup.

*Again, these are all numbers based on very small sample sizes, so a few games from now they could all look different. But, there are just some things that we’ve noticed.*

Tinkerbell has left the building

April 28, 2012 | 35 comments | in Featured | by SJK

The supply of pixie dust has run out, as expected. The Yankees pushed their luck and lost.

Heading into Saturday’s game, Garcia’s line drive rate of 35.6% was the highest among all AL starters and 2nd-highest in MLB. That probably got worse in his 1.2 inning start against Detroit.



Comfortably sleeping in Seattle

April 26, 2012 | 58 comments | in Featured | by SJK



All these years, did you think we were joking?

April 26, 2012 | 37 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

*Tip provided by NoMaas visitor, Joe*

Yahoo Sports:

Joel Ward of the Washington Capitals was born in Toronto to parents who migrated from Barbados. He used to hear racist taunts playing in youth hockey tournaments, but told the Washington Post this season that “I’ve [heard] nothing in the NHL.”

On Wednesday night, Ward scored the series-winning goal against the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 7.

The kind of racist language that Ward had avoided throughout his NHL career bubbled to the surface like sewage on social media.

“Hey Joel Ward!! You [expletive] spear chucking monkey, why don’t you actually DO SOMETHING. You’re totally irrelevant”

“How the [expletive] did Joel ward get out of my plantation? #WheresMyCotton”

“Warning to Joel Ward. Your one of three black guys in Canada. I will find you…and I will kill you.”

And so on. There was outrage across the hockey world about the language being used about Ward, and on Thursday morning Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis thanked those who called out the offending parties via his blog…


Did Seattle know?

April 26, 2012 | 51 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

Mariners.com:

One of the biggest stories likely to come out of this is whether the Mariners had any idea of Pineda’s injury, and therefore were compelled to pull the trigger on the trade.

Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik spoke to ESPNNewYork.com soon after the word of Pineda’s season-ending injury got out and refuted those claims.

“Absolutely not,” Zduriencik told ESPNNewYork.com. “None, whatsoever. Before the trade, he was going to be our No. 2 starter … “I feel bad. We love Michael Pineda. He’s a great kid. This is very unfortunate.”

What do you think?

Uh oh

April 25, 2012 | 100 comments | in Featured | by SJK

From Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger:

Yankees pitching prospect Michael Pineda has an anterior labral tear in his right shoulder that will end the 23-year-old right-hander’s season, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said today.

In announcing the news to reporters this afternoon, Cashman said he was “devastated.”

Cashman said he believes the tear occurred on the final pitch of Pineda’s extended spring training start on Saturday. An MRI on Pineda’s shoulder administered this offseason, prior to the trade that brought Pineda to the Yankees, did not show any damage, Cashman said, though small labral tears are not visible on MRIs.

“We got a healthy player to the best of everybody’s knowledge,” said Cashman, who noted that Pineda’s rotator cuff is fine.



Kuroda commits harakiri

April 25, 2012 | 44 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III


Darvish kills Kuroda’s best outing.

So far, they’re the best team in baseball

April 23, 2012 | 39 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

Beneath the W-L record, let’s see how things are really going for the Yankees (numbers as of the end of the hilarious Red Sox series)…

Offense

The Yankees are tied with the Rangers for the highest team wOBA in baseball at .374. That number won’t last for very long for either team, but all the offensive numbers are auspicious. They have tallied the .374 wOBA with a .294 BABIP. The Rangers have gotten there with a much more fortunate .334 BABIP. There’s a huge dropoff to the next best team — the Cardinals have a .353 wOBA (and a .326 BABIP).

When it comes to managing the strike zone, the Yankees are dominating. They have the 4th-highest walk rate (10.4%) and the lowest strikeout rate (14%). They are making pitchers throw strikes, and then they are crushing those pitches — their .209 ISO is good for the highest mark in the league.

On the basepaths, the Yankees have generated a league-leading 3.1 baserunning runs.

Pitching

The broadcasters will tell you the Yankees pitching has been a problem. They look at the 4.36 ERA (21st) and see a struggling staff. You read NoMaas, so you know stats with greater predictive power and know the arms doing just fine.

The Yankees are striking out more batters (9.37 K/9) than any other team. They are holding their own on walks with a 2.97 BB/9 rate (13th), though there is room for improvement. Specifically, they would improve if Rafael “Levine” Soriano would stop walking a batter every inning and if Joe Girardi would cease issuing intentional walks. The 7 IBBs Girardi has issued is second only to that great baseball genius and political thinker, Ozzie Guillen.

The Yankees go into the last week of April with a 3.49 xFIP (5th). That looks even better when you compare them to the other teams in the more difficult American League — their team xFIP is 26% better than the AL average, 2nd only to the White Sox. Another very predictive metric is the ERA estimator SIERRA. The Yankees have the 3rd-best SIERRA at 3.22.

The good news should keep rolling in as hopefully Freddy Garcia is eventually replaced by Andy Pettitte. If Michael Pineda can get back on the field at some point this season, the Yankees are likely to be one of the most dominant pitching teams in MLB,

Fielding

Okay, maybe not everything is so rosy. The Yankees are in dead last with an unsightly -19.6 UZR/150. Things could get worse before they get better as Brett Gardner is on the DL, and Girardi is insisting on using Ibanez and the atrocious Eduardo Nunez in the field. Three reasons for hope though:

1) Regression: All these stats suffer from small sample sizes, but UZR/150 requires a much bigger sample than any metric mentioned above. It is not a reliable indicator of the Yankees’ true talent level and it is a very safe bet that the number will regress upwards.

2) Talent: The Yankees were one of the better defensive teams last year (6th in UZR/150). Every starter from that team is back out on the field this year.

3) Personnel Moves: Gardner’s return from the DL means the Yankees get to plug the big league’s best defender back into the lineup. On the flip side, The Binder has not yet informed Joe Girardi that Raul Ibanez and Eduardo Nunez are attrocious defensive players who struggle with the basic actions of catching and throwing a baseball. If it ever does tell Girardi, we should eventually see more time given to Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones. Let’s hope The Binder comes to its senses and does the right thing.

All in all, the Yankees are looking like the best team in baseball.

Rick Sutcliffe offers solution to Red Sox woes

April 23, 2012 | 23 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

During Monday’s ESPN broadcast of Yankees-Rangers, Rick Sutcliffe offered his solution to the poor play plaguing the Boston Red Sox.

“They need to get Jason Varitek back in that clubhouse, somehow, some way.”

You can’t make this sh*t up.

Jeter leads thumping of Rangers

April 23, 2012 | 59 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Another 4 hits for Derek, now hitting .411/.436/.644



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