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Tuesday, July 06, 2021

Analytics boss answers all with MLB buzzing about Yankees obsession

The strongest complaint about the Yankees — one that I believe — is that there has been a loss of feel in assembling a roster. I am no enemy of analytics. They are vital and even the angriest Yankees fan should not lose perspective that it helped — among many other items — the Yanks score Luis Cessa and Chad Green for Justin Wilson. But is there too much concentration on obtaining the best paint colors at the expense of making sure those colors work in unison on a canvas?

For the 2021 Yankees, each individual decision can be explained and, often, the individual decision is a winning one. However, once assembled, particularly regarding the positional group, there are too few lefty hitters, too little athleticism and limited baseball smarts.

“To that, a lot of this is the same team that has had success,” Fishman said of a lineup that was top four each season in runs from 2017-20 and scored the most overall in that period and was central to a playoff team each season. “So this was individual players who were brought together and they are not having success this year, but they had success in the past. This was a lineup that produced runs the last couple of years and isn’t this year. So the same argument can be used, it is individual players brought in together, but it worked together as a productive lineup. And it hasn’t been a productive lineup this year.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2021 at 08:01 AM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. JJ1986 Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6027801)
there has been a loss of feel in assembling a roster.
The strongest complaint is nonsense buzzwords?
   2. JJ1986 Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:28 AM (#6027803)
They pay a lot of money to Hicks and Stanton who get injured all the time. They have decided that Gleyber Torres is a shortstop. They probably had to keep DJ LeMahieu, but he wasn't the best fit on the roster. A bunch of their lower-level prospects like Greg Bird haven't panned out (which happens for every team).
   3. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:35 AM (#6027805)
I didn't realize they are dead last in runs scored. Looking at their lineup, it doesn't look awful. Seems like they have missed Luke Voit, young guys like Torres, Andujar, and Frazier haven't developed as you would hope, and Gardner is washed. Might be more of a developmental problem (as JJ mentions, you can add Bird to that list of failed hitting prospects) than an analytics problem.

That being said, I can totally see this team going like 22-7 in July.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:46 AM (#6027808)
The LeMahieu issue was a conundrum, and indeed it hasn't worked out.

They needed to keep DJ because he had a great 2019-20 and he doesn't always strike out or hit into a DP in a big spot. But they couldn't keep him because they needed to move Torres to second base and expected to have a healthy Voit at first.

the latter didn't pan out, so it helped to have LeMahieu to play there (although they have wasted 35 starts on has-been Jay Bruce and mostly-never-was Mike Ford and friends at 1B). A need for DJ at first has led to the Roughned Odor Experience at 2B. Injury to Urshela has given DJ 16 starts at 3B as well.

so DJ's versatility has helped - but he's only producing a 100 OPS+ which doesn't work at the corners. Torres (79 OPS+) now hits like a SS but still doesn't field like one. and this off a 102 last year - did he peak at age 22?

Andujar pretends to play LF - and Frazier pretends there that he can hit. Gardner is MLB's oldest CF.

there's just a palpable sense of - something missing. Stars Judge and Stanton are stoic, Urshela is fine but blends in with the scenery, Sanchez has bounced back - but will that last?

as a contrast, the Mets just got back Brandon Nimmo after a long IL stint. he's an Energizer Bunny who had 5 hits (vs Yanks) leading off in his first two games back, with a .450 OBP and admittedly-silly sprints to first base on walks that, well, energize.

the Yankees? well, they hit solo HR sometimes.

   5. Ron J Posted: July 06, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6027809)
#3 They've had issues with health for a number of years. Not sure that that tells us much beyond the issue that signing Corey Kluber (and others) means they're likely at minimum more optimistic than they should be about the ability to keep players in the lineup.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:24 AM (#6027815)
the idea that Kluber and Taillon "would be fine" behind Cole mystified me then - and still mystifies me.

123 first-half combined IP of about 100 ERA+, with "the bad one" Taillon 79 the last man standing.

Montgomery and German have been decent innings-eaters at least, again combined for 100 ERA+. rookie Michael King is interesting and Severino is talking a good game on rehab. still don't see it though the bullpen is great (er, except for Chapman's unbelievable June collapse. in ASG, he'd be the last P I use, for sure. when is the last sub-100 ERA+ All-Star RP?).
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6027817)
Brian Fuentes of the Rockies had a similar thing happen in 2007: As of June 21, which is about when they named the All-Star team, he had 20 saves and a 1.89 ERA. He then proceeded to blow four straight saves, including a walk-off grand slam. By the team the All-Star game rolled around, his ERA was 4.06 and people were asking "Why is this guy an All-Star?"
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: July 06, 2021 at 11:52 AM (#6027820)
what substance did they ban THAT June?

   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: July 06, 2021 at 01:11 PM (#6027823)
#3 They've had issues with health for a number of years.

but they were sprinkled with pixie dust in 2019: when the big guns went down, their replacements played as well or better--needless to say, you can't count on that happening consistently
   10. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: July 06, 2021 at 01:26 PM (#6027829)
The thing about Chapman being on the All Star team is there is no reason for it. Mike Williams in 2003 is usually my go to in these situations. He was genuinely terrible but he had 20something saves at the break and the Pirates needed a rep so whatever. Chapman doesn't have that many saves (and I think teams are a little smarter about such things) and obviously not the only Yankee rep.

The only thing going for him is that it's his last few outings that have blown it up on him. His ERA 3 appearances ago was 1.98, since then he's gone 1IP-2runs, 0.1IP-4runs and then after the team was selected 0.0IP-3runs. But the first two of those were before the team was announced, you'd think someone would have said "um...maybe not."
   11. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 06, 2021 at 02:57 PM (#6027881)
The case for Chapman being on the All-Star team is that he's a star, maybe the biggest star among closers. I'd rather see someone like Chapman on the team as opposed to whichever anonymous middle reliever makes it to the end of June with a 1.16 ERA. (That's kind of hypothetical, of course; in reality I don't want to see any Yankees on the All-Star team.)
   12. John Northey Posted: July 06, 2021 at 03:32 PM (#6027912)
Chapman really doesn't belong there this year - 16-4 in save chances is decent, but not great by any stretch, his 15.4 K/9 is great, but not as good as his recent past, and his 6.3 BB/9 is ugly. As a Jays fan I'd love it if the AL Manager would leave Chapman in for 30+ pitches - maybe make him throw 3 innings and see if his arm can blow out :) Maybe make him and Cole throw as much as possible, multiple warm ups then brought in and pushed as far as possible.

Iglesias who didn't make the team is 16-3 Sv-BSv with a lower ERA 3.52, 1.6 BB/9 vs 13.6 K/9 in 38 IP. Yeah, Chapman is more established but Iglesias isn't exactly a fluke (2 other seasons of 30+ saves). Ah well.

The hand wringing I'm seeing all over about the Yankees is insane. Yeah, they are hovering at 500 but aren't terrible and given their lack of spending last winter (outside of LeMahieu) shouldn't really be expecting much better. I suspect if the Red Sox weren't leading the division things wouldn't be so nuts in Yankee land.

   13. villageidiom Posted: July 07, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6028063)
I suspect if the Red Sox weren't leading the division things wouldn't be so nuts in Yankee land.
As much as I'd prefer to agree with this, I don't. For whatever reason the expectation this season for the AL East seemed to be:

1. Yankees were already great, and added Cole (and Kluber).
2. Rays are the defending AL champs but were expected to slip a bit, a good team but a short-season fluke in 2020.
3. Blue Jays have the big young bats but they will still need to play the other half of each inning.
4. Red Sox are looking like they might actually try to win around 2023.
5. Orioles will be what you'd expect them to be, even without looking at their roster.

Now, the above expectations - which I admit is a total strawman, but fits my memory of preseason consensus - weren't all that great to begin with regarding the Yankees. They had holes, and they didn't really fill them other than Cole, which mind you seemed like a great move. But Cole hasn't worked out as expected (so far), and the gaps they had are still there. Acquiring Rougned Odor midseason is like a dentist filling a cavity using fondant: on the surface it looks like a problem was solved, but it's just going to make the problem worse.

But all that is beside the point. The hype was that the Yankees were back. It wasn't a lock or anything, but the hype was that the Yankees were ready to take the division. Halfway through the season they haven't acted like that. I think it's irrelevant that Boston is in front, as the Yankees have failed expectations with no particular plan to improve other than "we must play better". I'm sure Boston's place in the standings hasn't been ignored, but it's not like Yankees fans and pundits would be less dissatisfied with the team if Boston and, say, Baltimore had switched spots.
   14. TomH Posted: July 07, 2021 at 12:44 PM (#6028066)
When you are 9.5 games out halfway through the season, when you thought you were gonna win the division, yeah, that's real frustratin'.

And yeah, some gyus are underperforming, and the baserunnign has been poor.


Comparing stats from BOS and NYY, the Yankees have out-hit their opponents by 10. Out homered by 13. Outwalked by 96.
The Red Sox are -7, +23, and -55 in those 3, respectively.
Combining the two, relative to BOS, the Yankees are 17 hits better, 10 home runs worse, and 151 walks better. One hundred fifty one. Most on the batting side, but about 1/3 on the pitching side.

That sure looks like the underlying stats say the Yankees could be 2 or 3 games AHEAD, not 9.5 behind. Their timing (relative to the Sox) has been putrid. I'm 99% sure that will level out. They may not win the division, but I sure wouldn't push the panic button... and this "feel for the sense of the roster" stuff is not a helpful diagnosis.
   15. Tom Nawrocki Posted: July 07, 2021 at 01:04 PM (#6028068)
I didn't realize they are dead last in runs scored.

This is a little misleading (and outdated, since they've passed the Royals in runs scored now). There are seven AL teams bunched between 351 and 358 runs scored. The Yankees have the fewest games played of any of these teams, so there are five AL teams that have scored fewer runs per game than the Yanks.
   16. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: July 07, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6028072)
like a dentist filling a cavity using fondant

that's a spectacular metaphor, love it
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: July 07, 2021 at 01:58 PM (#6028078)
1. Yankees were already great, and added Cole (and Kluber).

to be fair, many fans treated 2020 as if it never happened.

but Cole did go 7-3 with a 152 ERA+ for the Yankees in 2020, placing 4th in Cy Young Award voting.

and being in the NYC area, of all the panicked Yankees fan calls I have heard on WFAN, not a single one has mentioned the Red Sox. being 0-6 against them has Yankees fans furious, but that's not the same thing as greater frustration because the Red Sox are in first place.
   18. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 07, 2021 at 02:10 PM (#6028082)
And yeah, some gyus are underperforming, and the baserunnign has been poor.

Aslo the spellign.
   19. villageidiom Posted: July 07, 2021 at 02:52 PM (#6028089)
to be fair, many fans treated 2020 as if it never happened.
Lord knows I've tried.
   20. TomH Posted: July 07, 2021 at 03:38 PM (#6028102)
18, touche!

Trust me, I would get a A- for spelling, but a C- in typing and too much valuing speed over accuracy....
   21. The Honorable Ardo Posted: July 07, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6028103)
I can't believe it, but as of today the Tigers have scored more runs than the Yankees in the 2021 season.
   22. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: July 07, 2021 at 06:45 PM (#6028173)
I hate to say it (because I'll certainly jinx them!), but the Tigers are starting to put together a real team. I expect them to play at least .500 ball on the second half.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2021 at 11:35 AM (#6034865)
Not a lot of criticism of how the roster was assembled anymore!
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: August 18, 2021 at 12:21 PM (#6034872)
Since the All-Star game the Yankees have also stolen 27 bases out of 32 attempts in 31 games, which has to be among the highest rates in baseball. Even Judge got into the act last night.
   25. The Mighty Quintana Posted: August 18, 2021 at 02:38 PM (#6034902)
When you lose, they blame chemistry. When you win, they credit chemistry. When you're .500, no one cares either way.
   26. GeoffB Posted: August 18, 2021 at 04:04 PM (#6034936)
as a contrast, the Mets just got back Brandon Nimmo after a long IL stint. he's an Energizer Bunny who had 5 hits (vs Yanks) leading off in his first two games back, with a .450 OBP and admittedly-silly sprints to first base on walks that, well, energize.

the Yankees? well, they hit solo HR sometimes.

Isn't it amazing how much things can change in 6 weeks?
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: August 18, 2021 at 08:51 PM (#6035018)
the Yankees very noticeably came to life with the addition of AAAA players like Allen several weeks ago.

a stolen base? a triple? a bunt? WTF?

it semi-revived the lummoxes, but the ballsy adds of Gallo and Rizzo when the standings didn't seem to justify such a gamble - well, sometimes players respond to a leap of faith.

add a little energy and then especially some LH lumber, and this is not your May's roster anymore
   28. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 18, 2021 at 10:12 PM (#6035045)
When the Tigers took a series off the Red Sox in Fenway, I predicted in an Omnichatter (TM) that Boston was in over their heads and the Yankees would pass them. Patting myself on the back now :)

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