Happy Presidents’ Day from NoMaas

February 19, 2012 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

As players arrive in Fort Myers, so does Red Sox equipment

February 18, 2012 | 25 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

An in-depth look at Burnett’s Yankee career

February 18, 2012 | 52 comments | in Featured | by SJK

It began with talks of “electric stuff” and player lobbying. Then everyone regurgitated the Game 2 of the 2009 World Series argument, while blatantly ignoring what he did in other playoff starts, even in that same series. It ended with giving him away for nothing to the Pirates. Let’s look back at AJ Burnett’s career in pinstripes.

06.09.2009 5 years/$82.5 million

07.27.2009 Burnett, bats putting nail in Tampa’s coffin

08.22.2009 Burnett loses the glow, Red Sox obliterate Yankees

09.13.2009 Most professional athletes are dumb

09.20.2009 A weakness in the battle station

A precise hit will start a chain reaction which should destroy the station.

09.23.2009 Good Burnett makes appearance, fans pray this version will show up in playoffs

10.08.2009 For a .325 difference in OPS, we better get Good AJ

10.22.2009 Electricity

6 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 3K, 3 BB

10.29.2009 Our new favorite player: AJ Burnett

AJ was dealing on Thursday night.

11.02.2009 It’s electric, boogie woogie woogie!

2 IP, 6 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 2K

04.11.2010 Two division rivals up, two division rivals down

Burnett settled down after a visit from pitching coach Dave Eiland.

04.30.2010 Slick Cano, Burnett boss around O’s

05.04.2010 Birds get electrocuted

7.1 IP, 0 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 8 K

05.10.2010 Burnett short circuits, Yanks still take series

AJ Burnett forgot to plug himself him before his start versus Boston and allowed 9 (8 earned) runs at Fenway.

06.16.2010 Phillies, Moyer roll through Bad AJ, Yanks

06.21.2010 Electrical problems

07.08.2010 What killed the A’s? The ice age!

Burnett sent Oakland to the cooler, allowing only 2 runs in 7 IP.

07.17.2010 AJ injures hand in electrical socket, attempting to recharge

Burnett was removed after 2 innings due to hand lacerations.

07.23.2010 Lightning crashes

08.02.2010 Clap off

Make your life simpler. Never get up to turn off your electrical appliances again!

08.20.2010 Why you don’t listen to your players about free agent signings

09.28.2010 For the playoffs, please move AJ into storage B

So, if you could just go ahead and pack up your stuff and move it down there, that would be terrific, OK?

01.04.2011 Rothschild hopes for electric start

08.02.2011 AJ Burnett is a…


08.10.2011 Who gets the boot?

08.21.2011 How does one properly analyze AJ Burnett?

09.08.2011 Hughes v. Burnett: Who cares?

No playoff rotation for you!

02.09.2012 Trading AJ Burnett: Cutting off the nose to spite the face

If baseball doesn’t work out for AJ, he can keep dogs in their yards.

02.13.2012 VOTE: Pulling the plug on Electric Stuff

They must have missed this.

As players arrive in Tampa, so does Yankees’ equipment

February 16, 2012 | 36 comments | in Featured | by SJK


February 14, 2012 | 19 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

SI (via CBS Sports):

The New York Yankees could potential deal starting pitcher A.J. Burnett to Cleveland for Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner, according to CBS Sports.

The Yankees have been attempting to move Burnett this offseason after the 34-year-old starter has failed to perform since signing a five-year, $82.5 million contract in 2009. Hafner is in the final season of a six-year, $66 million deal he signed in 2007.

Travis Hafner, last 3 years vs. RHP

2009: 257 PAs, .292/.375/.490/.866
2010: 351 PAs, .279/.385/.478/.863
2011: 260 PAs, .302/.404/.482/.886

Annual salaries are close to each other (Hafner – $13 mil), but Hafner will be a free agent after the season if his team doesn’t exercise his option.

For Valentine’s Day, purchase your man that magical fragrance

February 13, 2012 | 19 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK


Ever wonder what five-time World Series champion Derek Jeter smells like?

The world will soon find out when the Yankees release their two official fragrances in Manhattan on Feb. 21.

Now you too can smell like arrogance.

VOTE: Pulling the plug on Electric Stuff

February 13, 2012 | 48 comments | in Featured | by SJK

December 18, 2008:

No one needs to remind the Yankees what A.J. Burnett could be capable of accomplishing in the American League East. They’ve had a front-row seat for some time.

When news broke of the right-hander’s five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Yankees, the happiest people in New York may have been members of the lineup. Now they’ll never have to see Burnett’s biting arsenal hurtling in.

“I’ve had my players working on me,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “His stuff is electric, everybody sees that. Our players, especially some who have relationships with A.J., say this guy is perfect here.”

They must have missed this.

Is Russell Martin secretly awesome?

February 12, 2012 | 49 comments | in Featured | by Vizzini

I was pretty underwhelmed when the Yankees made it clear that they were bringing back Russell Martin for another year. Back then, we were still anticipating the beginning of the short-lived Jesus Montero era, and Martin’s presence would ensure that Montero’s full value would not be realized. Even after the Montero trade, catcher was the position I was least excited about on the Yankees. Sure, Martin makes good financial sense — he’s a one-year commitment and only needs to be average to bring back value on his $7.5 million deal. But, I’m just not gonna get a chub for an average player.

On the surface, that’s just what RussMart appears to be. The Fans’ Scouting Report and Fangraph’s Fielding Runs both see Martin as above-average defensively. Yet, his bat has been about 10% below league average over the last 3 years. Add it up and you’ve got a guy on a good contract who’s nothing to write home about. With the Yankees’ budget, you expect more than that.

Yet, what if he’s not just an average player? What if Russell Martin is a 5 WAR player in a 2.5 WAR player’s mask? There are reasons for optimism on both sides of the ball.


In 2009 and 2010, Dodgers fans rated Russell Martin as 7% and 6% better than average, respectively. In 2011, Yankee fans thought RussMart was 14% better than average — which could be exaggerated since watching Jorge Posada for 15 years will make anyone else look like Pudge Rodriguez by comparison. Fangraphs says Martin has been worth 2 runs (one fifth of a win) above average per season defensively.

Both of these metrics have severe shortcomings. The Fans’ Scouting Report isn’t likely to do as well with catchers as other positions. Fans can gauge arm strength and how well a catcher blocks wild pitches. However, the casual observer will have a much harder time calculating the nuances of catching (framing pitches, calling a game, handling a pitching staff).

Fangraphs’ metric similarly only accounts for blocking pitches and controlling the running game, without attempting to measure the finer things which former catchers like Joe Girardi claim are of great value.

A recent spate of statistical research indicates that one of those finer points — framing pitches — is a valuable skill. This February 10th Baseball Prospectus article by Max Marchi is about former Yankee, Jose Molina, and the defensive skills he will now bring to the rival Rays. Marchi says that Molina does well controlling the running game (9.8 runs above average over the last 4 years) and fielding batted balls (1.2 runs). However, the money shot comes in the listing of the leaders for runs saved by framing pitches. Jose Molina is third-best — good for 62.8 runs above average over the last 4 years. Guess who was right ahead of the Middle Molina…

Yup, your boy…Russell Martin. By coaxing strikes out of umpires on borderline pitches, Russell Martin has saved 70 runs above average for his teams over the last four seasons. If Marchi’s model is accurate, this means that Martin is capable of adding as many as 2 wins to his WAR total via the unseen art of framing. Suddenly, Martin is looking like a no-doubt All-Star 4+ WAR catcher.


Martin’s offensive prowess is also probably understated. His wOBA over the last three years has been below average, but going into his age 29 season, we should probably expect him to be right around his career average (.335). As it turns out, Martin has been almost exactly league average for his career. League average may not sound impressive, but it makes him one of the better hitting catchers in the league. Since the start of his career in 2006, only 11 catchers have had better wOBAs (min 1000 PAs).

Moreover, there are several reasons to think Martin will surpass his career .335 wOBA. In 2007, Martin posted a career-best .368 wOBA. He followed that up with a .351 wOBA campaign. He was a 25-year old catcher putting up All-Star numbers in over 1200 PAs.

At 29, we shouldn’t expect Martin to be too far off from that peak. In fact, many catchers peak later than other position players (possibly because young catchers focus more on their defensive responsibilities, and learn to hit to their potential only after much seasoning). For example, Jorge Posada’s 8 best hitting seasons came after he turned 29.

So why did Martin deviate so far from the offensive talent he showed in his early years? The answer might lie in his hefty workload. In 2007, Martin appeared in a 151 games, more than any other catcher. So what does Joe Torre do to Martin for an encore? In 2008, Torre played Martin in 155 games. This apparently wore Martin down, as the following season his wOBA fell 44 points to .307. Torre kept Proctoring him though, riding Martin for 143 more games that season. Martin’s body broke down in 2010, as he hit for a .306 wOBA and was limited to 99 games due to injury.

Martin came into the 2011 season for the Yanks still dealing with hip and knee issues. His .325 wOBA looked decent, but it was an underwhelming bounce back. Yet, underneath was a .170 ISO that matched his power from his salad days. The wOBA was suppressed by a very unlucky .252 BABIP. Despite being a catcher, there’s no reason to think Martin ought to suffer a lower than average BABIP. He hits for decent power, puts the ball on the ground a lot, and has about average speed. It would be nice to see Russell get that walk rate back up a tick or two, but if can maintain his power from last year, Martin will likely see his wOBA jump the .340 mark and maybe even push .350.

Russell Martin gets overlooked by a lot of Yankee writers (this one included) due to his mediocre surface numbers. Yet, behind the the mask, might be squatting one of the most valuable assets on the Yankees.

With his ability to frame pitches, Martin provides extra security for Yankee pitchers.

Blackout on YES Network

February 10, 2012 | 18 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Louis Winthorpe III

YES Network commentator Bob Lorenz charged with a DUI in CT.

After his arraignment, Lorenz was reportedly asked if he was a host on YES.

“No. I get that all the time,” he replied.

Trading AJ Burnett: Cutting off the nose to spite the face

February 9, 2012 | 83 comments | in Featured | by SJK

There’s been talk over the last couple days that the Yankees are shopping AJ Burnett, with recent reports suggesting interest from Pittsburgh. Anytime we’ve heard mention of Electric Stuff being traded this offseason, it’s always accompanied by “the Yankees must pay a significant chunk of his remaining contract.”

There is no question that the AJ Burnett signing was a mistake. However, if the Yankees have to eat the bulk of his remaining $33 million, trading him would also be a mistake. It would be a classic case of cutting off your nose to spite your face.

While Electric Stuff is not the top-tier pitcher Cashman and Co. stupidly thought he was, he’d actually make a great 5th starter. His peripherals last year were actually pretty good (3.86 xFIP). His strikeout rate vastly improved in 2011 over 2010 (8.18 K/9 v 6.99). He suffered from an abnormally high HR/FB of 17%. He’s only 2 years removed from a 3.5 WAR season. If the home runs normalize a bit and he keeps all the other rates around the same level, you’re looking at a fantastic 5th starter.

Everyone knows Burnett’s been a huge disappointment. We’ve made fun of him at every opportunity. But if the Yankees trade him while eating a ton of salary, it would be an overreaction to the original mistake they made. Burnett could really tear it up compared to other 5th starters around baseball.

If baseball doesn’t work out for AJ, he can keep dogs in their yards.

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