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Friday, February 26, 2010

Tomase: Kevin Youkilis has no love for glove ratings

Hey, MLB Network…get another chair ready!

Youkilis was in a jovial mood as he picked apart some of the stats of the day - particularly Ultimate Zone Rating, or UZR, which is used to measure how many runs above or below average a fielder allows.

“I don’t go off all those UZRs . . . is it UZR?” Youkilis said. “I don’t even know what it is. I hope my UZR is sick, along with my OBSTR.

...Youkilis was told that at least one online lineup analyzer found the Red Sox’ optimum batting order would be with him leading off.

“I should hit leadoff?” he said incredulously. “That makes sense; 27 home runs hitting leadoff.”

The simulator no doubt based its decision on his high on-base percentage.

“But there’s a reason why you walk a lot more,” he said. “Most 3- and 4-hitters walk more. (Miguel) Cabrera would be up there. Manny (Ramirez). If you did a top 10, Albert Pujols will be a leadoff hitter, right? Barry Bonds would be the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.

“You really can’t go off of that stuff, the computer generated stuff. I guess some of it might correlate to the game, but on the whole I don’t think you can predict someone’s stats.”

 

Repoz Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:18 AM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: projections, red sox, sabermetrics

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Jesus Luzardo Maraschino Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:54 AM (#3468641)
27 inch beard at leadof? </scoff>
   2.  Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:58 AM (#3468644)
Barry Bonds would be the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.


Yep, probably...
   3. Rich Rifkin Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:14 AM (#3468654)
Players should be seen and not heard.
   4. A triple short of the cycle Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:20 AM (#3468658)
Here's hoping this guy doesn't get a TV job when he's done playing.
   5. bjhanke Posted: February 26, 2010 at 08:19 AM (#3468682)
<Barry Bonds would be the greatest leadoff hitter of all time.>

Well, let's see. He was much faster than either Ruth or Williams, and got on base as much as Rickey! or Billy Hamilton with enough more leadoff power to more than offset the stolen bases. Yep. That's the best. - Brock Hanke
   6. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: February 26, 2010 at 11:48 AM (#3468698)
He wasn't that fast when he was going through his insane, PED-enhanced peak (having an overly sized head doesn't really help your aerodynamics on the basepath).
   7. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: February 26, 2010 at 12:01 PM (#3468700)
He wasn't that fast when he was going through his insane, PED-enhanced peak (having an overly sized head doesn't really help your aerodynamics on the basepath).


He wasn't unbearably slow either. Still a good percentage base stealer who stole in double figures up through the age of 36. The last couple of years when he was slow, well hell, he was 40/41 years old.
   8. Autobahn Posted: February 26, 2010 at 12:53 PM (#3468703)
Well Barry was the main leadoff man for the pirates 1986-1990 but only moved due to his power developing, which kinda reinforces Youk's point.
   9. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: February 26, 2010 at 01:08 PM (#3468705)
Well Barry was the main leadoff man for the pirates 1986-1990 but only moved due to his power developing, which kinda reinforces Youk's point.
His "point"? It kinda reinforces conventional wisdom (which has been shown to be at odds with overall runs scoring through a lineup), and nothing more.
   10. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 01:27 PM (#3468711)
“That makes sense; 27 home runs hitting leadoff.”

Rickey Henderson hit 28 home runs in 1990, every one of them hitting first in the order. Nonsensed his way right into an MVP award.
   11. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: February 26, 2010 at 01:57 PM (#3468722)
Brady Anderson hit mostly leadoff when he hit his 51. Jimmy Rollins has pretty good pop and he leads off (not that he should be, of course). It's not that uncommon. More to the point, 27 HR's isn't all that impressive. Youkilis has good power, but I wouldn't call him a slugger.
   12. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:04 PM (#3468725)
Not to get all nit-picky, but Anderson hit 50 HR in 1996, not 51. 35 batting first, 15 batting second.
   13. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:05 PM (#3468726)
Not to get all nit-picky, but Anderson hit 50 HR in 1996, not 51. 35 batting first, 15 batting second

Sorry!
   14. Autobahn Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:14 PM (#3468730)
His "point"? It kinda reinforces conventional wisdom (which has been shown to be at odds with overall runs scoring through a lineup), and nothing more.


Yeah i didn't mean to say he has a correct point but it's merely the same reason and thought process that i came across for Bonds moving out of the leadoff spot.

Reinforce was probably the wrong word.
   15. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:21 PM (#3468735)
The marginal value of having Youk in the leadoff spot would be lost by other factors, most likely. He's not a good baserunner, etc. Unless you have absolutely no other option, it's not that important.
   16. SY Ruined School Lunches! Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:30 PM (#3468742)
Has Theo, or anyone connected with the team actually come out said that these signings were based off defensive statistics? Because its not like they are controversial; Beltre and Cameron are widely considered two of the best defenders in baseball, regardless of advanced metrics. Would the media have anything to say if these signings were explained with gold gloves instead of UZR?
   17. Josh Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3468745)
I thought his point was important enough to treat it like a real discussion instead of deriding it with scare quotes. I thought his point was that hitting is often situational and putting a batter in another context (e.g., moving from 3d to 1st) would change the batter's mindset and therefore change their stats. So a .400 OBP is not merely transferable as it is in a computer or strat-o-matic simulation. In other words, there are multiple variables that go into the output such that the output should not be taken as a given.

Its a point that someone may disagree with. But if your first instinct is to deride someone's point with snark, that says more about your ability to make points than theirs. Especially when the snark isn't funny.
   18. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:34 PM (#3468746)
Brady Anderson hit mostly leadoff when he hit his 51. Jimmy Rollins has pretty good pop and he leads off (not that he should be, of course). It's not that uncommon.

Exactly. Grady Sizemore put up 91 XBH (including 28 homers) as a leadoff hitter in 2006.
   19. Randy Jones Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:45 PM (#3468750)
I thought his point was that hitting is often situational and putting a batter in another context (e.g., moving from 3d to 1st) would change the batter's mindset and therefore change their stats. So a .400 OBP is not merely transferable as it is in a computer or strat-o-matic simulation.


Ok, so tell the batter not to change his "mindset". Problem solved.
   20. ColonelTom Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:47 PM (#3468752)
Career numbers for Youkilis:

Bases empty: .253/.350/.423 (1496 PA)
Men on: .338/.436/.563 (1361 PA)
   21. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:57 PM (#3468756)
I thought his point was that hitting is often situational and putting a batter in another context (e.g., moving from 3d to 1st) would change the batter's mindset and therefore change their stats.

You don't even have to go to the mindset argument. Pitching is situational too. Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times in 617 PA 2004. Only three of those came when leading off an inning (in 144 PA). So if you had doubled the number of times he led off an inning by batting him first, there's a pretty decent chunk of OBP that clearly wouldn't have translated.

IOW, I don't think too many people are necessarily arguing that Youkilis should be a leadoff hitter. We're just disagreeing with his basis for scoffing at the idea. Or to put it yet another way, isn't this:

if your first instinct is to deride someone's point with snark

exactly what Youkilis did in response to the question?
   22. Barnaby Jones Posted: February 26, 2010 at 02:58 PM (#3468759)
Career numbers for Youkilis:

Bases empty: .253/.350/.423 (1496 PA)
Men on: .338/.436/.563 (1361 PA)


That seems like a pretty crazy split. How different is that from the norm; I mean, I assume all players have better stats with runners on, but I wouldn't guess it would be quite so disparate.
   23. BDC Posted: February 26, 2010 at 03:01 PM (#3468760)
Everything's contextual; in a lineup of David Ortizes, Youkilis is your best leadoff man. In a lineup of Pedroias, he's your cleanup hitter. The real-life issue is probably not whether Youkilis should bat leadoff but whether Pedroia should, dropping Ellsbury to 6th or lower. I tend to think that Youkilis hitting behind Pedroia makes excellent sense, as long as you have some good hitters behind Youkilis (and the Sox do) to drive him in, too.

Edit: and he's probably thinking that, too: some computer figured out that I should hit ahead of Dustin Pedroia?
   24. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 03:09 PM (#3468763)
That seems like a pretty crazy split.

82 point BABIP difference and 30 more walks in 135 fewer PA, FWIW. MLB as a whole hit .259/.323/.417 with the bases empty and .267/.345/.418 with runners on in 2009.
   25. John DiFool2 Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:24 PM (#3468847)
I'd be willing to bet that the .008 point gain in BA is from the open 1B hole...
   26. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:28 PM (#3468848)
But the BABIP only goes up by .005!
   27. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: February 26, 2010 at 05:57 PM (#3468859)
I'd be willing to bet that the .008 point gain in BA is from the open 1B hole...

Sac flies all occur with runners on base, and don't count against BA and SLG. Adjusting for that makes it .262/.345/.411 with runners on. If you remove intentional walks, it's .262/.335/.411, which is a bigger OBP difference than I expected to have left...

There were four intentional walks issued with the bases empty last year. Anyone want to bother finding out who drew them?
   28. Crashburn Alley Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:08 PM (#3468865)
There were four intentional walks issued with the bases empty last year. Anyone want to bother finding out who drew them?


Josh Whitesell, Arizona Diamondbacks
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves
Adrian Gonzalez, San Diego Padres
Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
   29. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:10 PM (#3468867)
Josh Whitesell! Wow.
   30. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:14 PM (#3468869)
Josh Whitesell! Wow.

I'd bet that he was batting in front of the pitcher, and there were two outs.
   31. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:19 PM (#3468871)
Looking it up, it was this game. And yes, Whitesell was batting 8th, in front of the pitcher.

Top of the 17th inning, and the Diamondbacks were on their 8th pitcher of the game. The pitcher (Rosales) made an out to end the inning.
   32. Swedish Chef Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:21 PM (#3468872)
I'd bet that he was batting in front of the pitcher, and there were two outs.

In that case, wouldn't the free first out in the next inning be far more valuable than eliminating the risk that Josh Whitesell homers? Any other results still has the pitcher batting with two outs.
   33. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:23 PM (#3468875)
In that case, wouldn't the free first out in the next inning be far more valuable than eliminating the risk that Josh Whitesell homers?

In this specific case, the D-Backs were on the road, and it was extra innings. Clearly the Padres were hoping that there wouldn't be a next inning.
   34. PreservedFish Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:26 PM (#3468877)
neh
   35. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:29 PM (#3468880)
Jim Rice only wishes he exuded teh fear like Josh Whitesell.
   36. Ron Johnson Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:37 PM (#3468884)
I'd be willing to bet that the .008 point gain in BA is from the open 1B hole...


For purposes of comparison you should treat sac flies as an 0-1 and drop IBBs. There's no reliable way to hit a sac fly without runners on and almost all IBBs happen with runners on.

There's also the issue of selection bias. Non-hitters are more likely to be hit for in high leverage situations.

EDIT: As for the 1B hole, there are two factors at play. Batters do hit a fair amount better when a runner on first has to be held and there's no stolen bases attempted. And they hit worse when one is attempted. It seems to largely balance out.
   37. bads85 Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:39 PM (#3468885)
Grady Sizemore put up 91 XBH (including 28 homers) as a leadoff hitter in 2006.


That was more XBH than Belle had in 1996. Belle had 148 RBI; Sizemore had 76.
   38. More Dewey is Always Good Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:43 PM (#3468887)
Re: #33

I think you're right, though, in that it was a bad strategy to use. In this case, the Padres didn't score in the 17th, and it went to the 18th. The Diamondbacks ended up scoring 3 runs in the top of the 18th (all with two outs) and won the game. The IBB is one of the more overused strategies in the game, particularly in the National League.
   39. JustDan Posted: February 26, 2010 at 06:50 PM (#3468891)
#39 - The Padres brought in Josh Wilson to pitch the 18th. That is shortstop Josh Wilson. They really wanted it to end in the 17th inning.
   40. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: February 26, 2010 at 07:23 PM (#3468928)
Barry Bonds was intentionally walked 120 times in 617 PA 2004. Only three of those came when leading off an inning (in 144 PA).


Wow--3 intentional walks leading off an inning?
   41. 1k5v3L Posted: February 26, 2010 at 07:26 PM (#3468933)
but on the whole I don’t think you can predict someone’s stats.
Dan's joie de vivre has been destroyed.
   42. cercopithecus aethiops Posted: February 26, 2010 at 07:32 PM (#3468944)
Wow--3 intentional walks leading off an inning?

I didn't look 'em up, but I'd guess they were all in the ninth inning or later. If I'm tied or up one with him leading off an extra inning, I'm sure as hell not pitching to him. And it still counts as an IBB if you try to get him to chase the first three.
   43. Davo Posted: February 26, 2010 at 07:33 PM (#3468948)
That was more XBH than Belle had in 1996. Belle had 148 RBI; Sizemore had 76.
Sizemore can't come through in the clutch.
   44. Davo Posted: February 26, 2010 at 07:37 PM (#3468950)
#39 - The Padres brought in Josh Wilson to pitch the 18th. That is shortstop Josh Wilson. They really wanted it to end in the 17th inning.
It was the third pitching appearance of his career!
   45. Walt Davis Posted: February 26, 2010 at 09:36 PM (#3469062)
<i>That was more XBH than Belle had in 1996. Belle had 148 RBI; Sizemore had 76.<i>

So your point is that Belle's 410 OBP should have been in the leadoff spot? :-)

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