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Thursday, August 09, 2012

IATM: Tasker: Maxwell > Jones > Wise > Ichiro

Hey Dude, don’t make it so bad
Take a smaller sample and make it better

Judging Ichiro Suzuki‘s performance for the Yankees thus far seems wildly unfair from the small sample size we have. After all, he has played all of fifteen games and come to the plate only 61 times. And yet it is not wildly unfair when you add in consideration for what he did for Seattle for all those games before being traded to the New York Yankees. The numbers in the fifteen games are a small sample size by themselves, but they are remarkably similar to his numbers this year in Seattle. In fact, they are a little worse. When the trade was made, many critics said Ichiro’s numbers in Seattle were who he is now. Those critics are looking pretty good right now.

...The one difference is that Wise and Ichiro bat left-handed. Maxwell was a right-handed batter. But how about considering who the Yankees kept as their right-handed hitting outfielder: Andruw Jones. Jones has a .780 OPS, a 104 OPS+, 0.6 rWAR and has saved two runs on defense (how?). Justin Maxwell beats every one of those scores in about forty more plate appearances. Plus, Maxwell was a more versatile outfielder that could play every position.

Perhaps it is unseemly to cry over spilled milk. Maxwell is gone for good. Wise is now gone for good. We are left with Ichiro and Jones. The progression of choices has seemingly gone down hill.  Perhaps Ichiro still has something to offer down the stretch run. But the early results when compared to his season in Seattle do not look promising. And Andruw Jones at this point seems like a lumbering wraith of his former self who runs into a fastball once in a while.  Is it wrong to wistfully look at Justin Maxwell from afar and wonder what could have been?

Repoz Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:23 AM | 25 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:32 AM (#4204306)
Oh, yeah? How long are these other mooks' hitting streaks? Thought so.
   2. Yastrzemski in left. Posted: August 09, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4204339)
How many caps and jerseys will those "other guys" sell?
   3. bfan Posted: August 09, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4204558)
Take a smaller sample and make it better


Ichiro's small sample size of a .650 OPS now spans over about 1400 plate appearances, which does not seem so small to me, and his full season before, when he was a star because he slapped 200 singles netted an OPS of .754, which is distinctly sub-par for a corner OF. And before we hear the lecture about his fielding (not looking so great this year by the metrics I see), he has appeared as a DH for the Yankees since he has been here. They cannot find someone who can hit better than that?
   4. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4204719)
   5. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 09, 2012 at 05:54 PM (#4204740)
Ichiro is done. His production rested on his ability to hit singles and quickly get to base, and once his speed decreased, he became a less effective hitter (and outfielder.)

   6. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: August 09, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4204779)
They should just play Andruw everyday. He's still got pretty good power and patience. Never had a big platoon split. Playing everyday and getting some rhythm at the plate might perk his batting average up a bit.
   7. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 09, 2012 at 10:49 PM (#4204962)
I love Ichiro and think he should be in the HoF. But at this point he's a late inning defensive replacement/pinch runner. I like the Maxwell argument.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:00 PM (#4204970)
Ichiro is done. His production rested on his ability to hit singles and quickly get to base, and once his speed decreased, he became a less effective hitter (and outfielder.)


Is the problem really his speed, or is he just not good at hitting anymore?
   9. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2012 at 11:55 PM (#4204990)
One theory was that once he got out of Seattle he'd do better. But I never really understood why, since his game is predicated on cheap infield singles, and it's not immediately apparent to me that a park would suppress those.
   10. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 12:08 AM (#4204996)

Ichiro's small sample size of a .650 OPS now spans over about 1400 plate appearances, which does not seem so small to me, and his full season before, when he was a star because he slapped 200 singles netted an OPS of .754, which is distinctly sub-par for a corner OF.


His last .700 OPS month was April of 2011.

Remember the grand announcement in spring training that he was going to hit third? And that he might just start to hit home runs, because now he would want to? Well, while batting third he produced a .672 OPS in 223 PA with one home run. Oof. Granted it was in Seattle's park, but park adjustments don't turn him in to Wade Boggs.

Anyway, 2548 career hits leaves him 452 hits short of 3,000. Now that Johhny Damon looks to have come up short on 3,000 hits, we can start wondering whether Ichiro will be the next non-Hall of Fame talent to make a run at it.

   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: August 10, 2012 at 01:59 AM (#4205030)
And here we were all hoping with the convergence of Yankee stadium and Ichiro's legendary batting practice home run power, we'd be privy to a Bondsian spell of home run hitting. Alas, it was not to be....
   12. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM (#4205489)
Is the problem really his speed, or is he just not good at hitting anymore?


I'm going to use BABIP as the metric; the idea being that if fewer of his balls in-play go for hits, that's a sign of a decline in speed. I'm not sure how well that assumption would work for other hitters, but since Ichiro! was a singles machine, it seems like the best metric we have.

His BABIP has dropped like a rock - it was well above .300 consistency until 2011 (when it was .295); this year it's .277, and .263 in NY.

Also, his SB projects to be 26 this year, from an average of around 40 through his previous years. That can also be due a decline in speed.

Please call me out if you think my logic is wrong.
   13. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:15 PM (#4205502)
Anyway, 2548 career hits leaves him 452 hits short of 3,000. Now that Johhny Damon looks to have come up short on 3,000 hits, we can start wondering whether Ichiro will be the next non-Hall of Fame talent to make a run at it.


Interesting factoid: both of the players BR has as most similar to Ichiro as batters (Waner and Roush) are HOFers but were inducted by the Veteran's Committee.

Ken Griffey was on the top-10 list, which confused me until I realized they were talking about Sr.
   14. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4205507)
A drop in BABIP for a guy like Suzuki could be partly due to a loss of infield singles, but it could also be due to not hitting the ball as hard as he used to. A drop in raw stolen base totals could be due to a loss of speed, or it might have something to do with sporting a .290 OBP.
   15. Dan Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:20 PM (#4205514)
Also, his SB projects to be 26 this year, from an average of around 40 through his previous years. That can also be due a decline in speed.


He's also losing stolen bases because he's had fewer opportunities since he's simply not getting on base as often.

edit: I guess post 14 made that point while I was typing up my post. Coke to guy whose name I can't spell.
   16. SG Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:23 PM (#4205516)
Year / Infield Hit%
2002 / 12.9%
2003 / 11.3%
2004 / 14.1%
2005 / 9.5%
2006 / 13.0%
2007 / 13.2%
2008 / 11.3%
2009 / 16.0%
2010 / 15.8%
2011 / 10.0%
2012 / 9.6%
Career / 12.5%

edit: Infield Hit% = Infield hits divided by ground balls.
   17. The George Sherrill Selection Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4205534)
So is there a good measure of whether Ichiro's decline is because of lack of contact or lack of speed - or if both, how much each has contributed?
   18. AROM Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:34 PM (#4205536)
Give him an A for consistency. He hit 261/288/353 for Seattle, and so far 258/292/355 for the Yankees.

His rates can't match exactly since you can't have a fraction of a hit. He's .003 lower in batting, but if he had one more hit he'd be .013 over.
   19. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:44 PM (#4205546)
edit: Infield Hit% = Infield hits divided by ground balls.


Where can I find league average for LHB?
   20. SG Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:48 PM (#4205554)
Where can I find league average for LHB?


I got the numbers from Fangraphs, but I'm not sure where you can find league averages on there.
   21. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: August 10, 2012 at 03:56 PM (#4205563)
Yeah, that's what I thought, and I couldn't find them either.
   22. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4205598)
When a player like this goes bad, he kills you.
   23. Big fan Posted: August 10, 2012 at 04:54 PM (#4205624)
Every now and then, when the Yankees are playng poorly (more NOW than THEN) I dream about a could-a-been 2012 OF of Austim Jackson, Melky, Maxwell (and Swisher). Sigh.

   24. PreservedFish Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4205631)
When a player like this goes bad, he kills you.


He's better than Jason Bay.
   25. RJ in TO Posted: August 10, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4205643)
When a player like this goes bad, he kills you.

You're confusing Ichiro with Ugueth Urbina again.

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