Hash-man?

What has Brian Cashman been smoking?

In a candid Q&A conducted on Tuesday morning, the New York Yankees general manager made a number of predictions. Among them: Shortstop Derek Jeter would soon move to the outfield, Joba Chamberlain won't move back to the rotation because he got hurt as a starting pitcher and that the Boston Red Sox are a better team than the Yankees.

It's strange for Cashman to be this open about things (which really does begin to raise questions about whether he's in his last season as general manager, I think). Did he really just say, in public, that the face of the franchise, who wouldn't move off shortstop for the greatest shortstop we'll ever see, who's already a little peeved at the organization, is likely going to be an outfielder?

[Update: He says he was taken out of context.]


I know that prospect has been discussed before, and I know the Yankees are looking at something of a logjam with Jesus Montero set to join Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the group of "great hitters better suited to first base or DH." But Jeter to the outfield just strikes me as insane.

Let's assume he would be no worse defensively in the outfield than at shortstop. Over his career, Jeter has been about eight runs worse than average (according to Baseball-Reference) per season. And let's say that for the next four years he averages exactly what he's averaged over the previous four years with the bat, roughly 9.5 runs above average, not counting for position or playing time.

That means Jeter is a 1.5-run player over the course of the average season. But Jeter is obviously much more valuable than that. He plays everyday at the top of the lineup, which is worth more than 20 runs, and he plays shortstop, which is worth another 7.5 runs (he comes in a little below that because of time spent at DH). In all, that means Jeter has been worth, on average, 3.8 WAR over the past four seasons.

If we assume the most favorable scenario imaginable to Jeter — that he's no worse on defense in left, that his offense does not decline further, and that he remains as healthy over the next four years as he was over the previous four years — the move from shortstop (+7) to left field (-7) alone costs him 14 runs of value, basically 1.5 wins. Jeter moves from a 3.8-win player to a 2.3-win player.

Of course, under the scenario I described, there would be no reason to move Jeter off short. Getting nearly four wins from your shortstop is no problem. But if Jeter is closer to his 2010 performance going forward (1.3 WAR), a move to left field would destroy his remaining value — and, again, this assumes his his range and arm would not play worse in the outfield than they already do at short. The Yankees would be better off with a random AAA call-up in left field than moving Jeter.

The thing is, there isn't much choice.

If somehow Jeter became the first baseman, he would take an even more massive hit on offense (from +7.5 to -12.5 positional adjustment), though his defense would arguably be improved. At designated hitter, where the positional adjustment is -17.5 runs, Jeter would have to maintain his career average with the bat all four years just to be league average at the position. And in both cases, he would be displacing much better hitters in Teixeira and, eventually, A-Rod.

That seems to indicate the Yankees are stuck with Jeter at shortstop for the duration of the contract; his bat, absent a remarkable, sustained 2009-style resurgence, simply isn't good enough for the outfield, first base or DH. And if Cashman doesn't think Jeter can stick at short for the next four years, the real question is: To what extent will the Yankees hurt their on-field product to keep their Captain happy?

h/t to Krueg

67 comments… add one

  • I have to echo the sentiments on the other thread…Cash is toast. The Bronx Zoo is returning!!! (which means back-to-back WS wins so cool) :)

    krueg January 25, 2011, 3:56 pm
  • I wonder where Cashman goes if he is fired?

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:01 pm
  • To what extent will the Yankees hurt their on-field product to keep their Captain happy?
    As soon as Jose Reyes hits the market and they don’t sign him.

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:02 pm
  • > “Let’s assume he would be no worse defensively in the outfield than at shortstop”
    Paul, I can’t join you in the assumption, especially because you are setting a trap that your assumption leans towards a “when did you stop beating your wife” proposition. There isn’t any doubt that he doesn’t perform as well at short as many other *defenders*, but I do think that the number of games having seen tens of thousands of plays, his very strong arm, decent speed on a run (if not acceleration) and general conditioning implies he will be a decent outfielder.

    attackgerbil January 25, 2011, 4:06 pm
  • or “would be”, not will be.

    attackgerbil January 25, 2011, 4:07 pm
  • AG, you’re saying you think he would be better in the outfield than at short?

    Paul SF January 25, 2011, 4:10 pm
  • at 40?

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:14 pm
  • It should be noted that Cashman, in this hypothetical or whatever he now says he was discussing, actually said Jeter would move to center because he doesn’t have enough power for a corner slot.
    There’s no way, NO. WAY., that Jeter is a competent center fielder at this stage of his career. The learning curve alone is at least a year long. I could be convinced on left field, given his strong arm and decent speed, but center field? Again, I say: No way.

    Paul SF January 25, 2011, 4:17 pm
  • Maybe the lack of baseball has made me a little nit-picky, but…
    *I know the Yankees are looking at something of a logjam with Jesus Montero set to join Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the group of “great hitters better suited to first base or DH.”
    Not sure it was your intention, but by lumping Tex into that group it seems like your are saying he’s a hitter playing 1B. Tex is a very good 1Bman, so I am sure that couldn’t have been your intention.
    As for Montero, they have said all along provided he continues to progress behind the plate he will catch. He’s nowhere near awful and his bat makes up for it. How long was Victor Martinez behind the plate before they started playing him more and more at DH and 1B? Seems to me like he caught a great deal last year for the Sox and they were won what 85-90 games? In addition didn’t the Yankees win 5 WS with a an all bat no glove catcher? He’s also played the OF as well. Let’s not lump this kid into the all bat no home category quite yet.
    As for A-Rod, he’s not Beltre, but he’s certainly not Aubrey Huff. A-Rod, barring (further) injury he will remain at 3B and or move to part time DH when Posada leaves/retires. We are speaking of these guys like they are playing their positions with walkers and canes. Yikes fellas.
    As for Jeter: He’s under contract, he’s a Yankee icon and he’s still a serviceable SS. Until he starts to deteriorate to the point where he can’t make routine plays why are they moving him? I like numbers, I like the whole more than what the eye sees camp, but you can’t live and die with them. Rey Ordonez was a spectacular defender, how many years did he stay in the ML? Any and all arguments on Jeter seem to come back to his Defense. It’s clear to Yankee fans, we get it, if Jeter didn’t have the offensive ability he has had then he’d be long gone. We are not blind, we are not wearing pinstriped glasses, we get it. If the Yankees find a more able bodied SS, then let’s talk about moving him to another position. Brad made the comment that he and Mike Lowell are the same speed, BS. Jeter even with limited range is an athlete that could learn the OF if he had to. Brad also speaks of his arm…How’s Gardner’s arm? Coco Crisp? Jacoby? Not an ounce worse that’s for darn sure. The San Fransisco Giants won the WS last year with what? It surely wasn’t defense! I am rambling now because I am sick of the Jeter sucks, he’s old, he’s an albatross argument…no offense to anyone here, just overall.

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 4:26 pm
  • Paul, that’s a great question. I think that *defensively* he would be more than acceptable, but I’m not sure if his bat is better placed in a lineup as an outfielder; it was a rough year for #2 at the plate.
    I am certain he would make the adjustment, and that the “diving Jeter” jokes wouldn’t mean as much when he had time to break to a ball. His arm is very strong, and his speed is not absent. My reply to you was based on the fact that most people agree that Jeter is not, by comparison, a good defensive shortstop. Your “no worse” assumption means that I have to think of him as “last” as an outfielder.

    attackgerbil January 25, 2011, 4:26 pm
  • not enough power for a corner slot?…you mean like brett gardner?…i have to admit i am amused at sox fans resurgence, having been re-energized this off-season, with wishful thinking, hoping against hope for the yankees, i.e. cashman, jeter, anyone else?, demise…cashman’s musing notwithstanding, he pretty clearly stated that jeter will be the shortstop until he stops winning hardware at the position…might he play a little outfield or dh for the latter part of this contract?…maybe, so what?…as for cashman, he isn’t going anywhere…you’ve already beat this dead horse, even titled a post as such…next topic…

    dc January 25, 2011, 4:29 pm
  • John,
    You’re missing the point. I wasn’t pointing out that Jeter and Lowell were the same – just that it doesn’t make sense to move a slow guy to CF. The same goes with the arm – it’s diminishing – so why take him further away from the guys who need to get it thrown to them? I’m not bashing, just saying it doesn’t make sense to move him there is all.
    In a flat out 100M race, we’d all fall asleep watching Lowell or Jeter. There is a reason he doesnt bat second, man: He’s too easy to double off. Again, I’m not harping on Jeter, just the move of him to the OF, which is apparently never ever going to happen anyhow because it was a “hypothetical”.
    The San Fransisco Giants won the WS last year with what?
    2 ace pitchers and a few timely hits.

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:32 pm
  • dc, I never left, nor did I ever stop with my hoping against hope with the Yankees. You know this.
    Stop being grumpy. Fact is, Cashman doesn’t sound like a guy who is a staple anymore. If that means he’s leaving or not, I have no idea. But, would it surprise anyone?

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:39 pm
  • I am not missing it, it’s clear. I just disagree. You being a former athlete know that there’s a huge difference between being fast and being quick.
    Arm comment: Because how many throws per game are high pressure throws, bang-bang split second throws from SS as opposed to the OF? If they find a better defensive SS I certainly would hesitate trying the switch if need be. Heck if Knoblauch can do it, Jeter can do it!
    Double Off: I expect way better from you, lol…you know speed has less to do with getting doubled up than what you are making it out to be. Jeter gets doubled up because he’s a RF hitter by nature, especially with a runner on add to that somewhat diminishing bat speed and there you have it. He’s not Brett Gardner, but he’s also not Jason Varitek.
    Yeah that’s my point!!! All this talk about Defense, Range, Etc…They won with ace pitching and timely hitting from players that are average to sub-par during the regular season…This isn’t football, the Yankees aren’t the Steelers and Troy Palamalu isn’t playing CF…

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 4:44 pm
  • you mean like brett gardner?…
    Right, and if BG couldn’t steal 50 bases a year, reach on IF hits, and track most any ball hit his way, he wouldn’t have a job. It’s not his power that got him there – it’s the other 4 qualities that Jeter doesn’t have.
    Lets compare apples to apples here if we’re playing that game.
    Brett Gardner has skills that Jeter doesn’t, thus allowing his power to not be an issue. Same to be said for Ellsbury and other players of that ilk.

    Brad January 25, 2011, 4:46 pm
  • Should be would not hesitate, sorry.

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 4:46 pm
  • Nick Markakis, Austin Kearns, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, Jeff Francouer, Marlon Byrd, Ben Zobrist (24 SB’s/10HR’s), Scott Hairston, Johnny Damon, Connor Jackson, Ryan Sweeney, etc…there are plenty of OF’s that neither SB’s at outrageous clips or hit HR’s at crazy levels. All of the players listed hit below 18 HR’s last year, with most below 15. Only Zobrist would be a reach as he stole 24 bases and those days may be behind Jeter. Otherwise there are his comps if he were to move.

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 5:04 pm
  • It’s getting a bit chippy in here…I like it. :)
    Jeter is God and will play SS until he is 50. Bring it!!!

    krueg January 25, 2011, 5:11 pm
  • “dc, I never left, nor did I ever stop with my hoping against hope with the Yankees. You know this.”
    didn’t mean you buddy…you hung in there…and you know i know that ;) but, you have jumped on this latest bandwagon, which right now seems to be going absolutely nowhere…if it runs off the cliff, oh well, i still think the yankees will be fine in the long run…but you can’t will it off the cliff…
    “Lets compare apples to apples here if we’re playing that game.”
    no game brad, i only brought up gardner in response to cashman’s statement that he prefers guys with more power in the corner outfield positions, so jeter would likely be in center…huh?…hello brian, brett gardner?
    “Stop being grumpy.”
    i’ll try, if some of you guys can stop harping on the “cashman is unhappy”, “jeter is washed up”, and “the yankees are returning to the dysfunctional ’80′s” stuff…they’ve been stated ad nauseam here…and the sox have no apparent weaknesses…so, there’s nothing else to talk about until spring training…let’s see how it plays out from there…

    dc January 25, 2011, 5:33 pm
  • Not sure it was your intention, but by lumping Tex into that group it seems like your are saying he’s a hitter playing 1B. Tex is a very good 1Bman, so I am sure that couldn’t have been your intention.
    Right. I’m just saying the Yanks are all stocked up on 1B and DHes. Not intending to malign Teixeira’s fielding skills, unless you think he can move over to shortstop and solve this thing once and for all. :-)
    As for A-Rod, he’s not Beltre, but he’s certainly not Aubrey Huff. A-Rod, barring (further) injury he will remain at 3B and or move to part time DH when Posada leaves/retires. We are speaking of these guys like they are playing their positions with walkers and canes.
    This is Posada’s last year, right? My assumption has always been that Rodriguez is the DH soon after Posada leaves. A-Rod has been a half-win or more below average with the glove at third for three straight years now (according to TZ). UZR likes him better but still has him below average with the glove for all but his first season with the Yankees.
    As for your comments about Jeter in the last paragraph, I guess you’re addressing those to Cashman? He’s the one who brought it up.
    My reply to you was based on the fact that most people agree that Jeter is not, by comparison, a good defensive shortstop. Your “no worse” assumption means that I have to think of him as “last” as an outfielder.
    No, I meant in absolute value terms. If Jeter maintained the same ratings as a left fielder that he has a shortstop, I doubt he’d approach Manny Ramirez or Adam Dunn levels.
    Yeah that’s my point!!! All this talk about Defense, Range, Etc…They won with ace pitching and timely hitting from players that are average to sub-par during the regular season…
    The Giants were the best-fielding team in baseball last season, by Fielding Percentage, UZR and Total Zone, and second by Defensive Runs Saved. Their fielding was worth three to six wins, according to those latter three statistics. They won the division by two games.
    Nick Markakis, Austin Kearns, Ryan Ludwick, Cody Ross, Jeff Francouer, Marlon Byrd, Ben Zobrist (24 SB’s/10HR’s), Scott Hairston, Johnny Damon, Connor Jackson, Ryan Sweeney
    How many of those players performed as expected last year?
    Markakis continues to be a disappointment. His slugging in 2010 was 100 points below what it was in 2008. Kearns is lucky to even have a job; he’s a reserve outfielder/injury replacement. Ludwick’s slugging is 120 points off what he posted in ’08 and was below average in every facet of his game last year. Ross’ slugging dropped 50 points from 2009, 65 points from 2008 and 240 points from 2007. Franceour has made a career off of being overrated and receiving playing time from teams too stupid to know better. He hasn’t been worth even half a win since 2007. Byrd’s slugging dropped 50 points between 2009 and 2010. Zobrist’s slugging dropped 190 points in one season. Hairston’s slugging dropped 90 points from 2009 and 130 points from 2008. Damon’s slugging dropped 90 points from 2009, and his homers went from 24 to 8. Jackson received just 240 plate appearances; likewise, Sweeney got just 331.
    All those players used to be much better sluggers, or have never been that good but their teams don’t realize it. Brad is right: To be a quality corner outfielder, you need to produce a lot of offense. Most corner outfielders fielders do it by slugging. Others, like Gardner and Ichiro, do it with another skill. You cannot help your team at a corner outfield spot without being either a superb offensive player, however you manage it, or being a decent offensive player and a terrific defensive one.

    Paul SF January 25, 2011, 5:40 pm
  • i’ll try, if some of you guys can stop harping on the “cashman is unhappy”, “jeter is washed up”, and “the yankees are returning to the dysfunctional ’80′s” stuff.
    We’ll stop bringing it up when Brian Cashman stops saying crazy things to the press about moving Jeter to center field and how he didn’t negotiate with the team’s biggest free-agent signing of the offseason.
    The Sox have weaknesses, but I suspect a discussion of the Saltalamacchia/Varitek platoon isn’t going to be quite as interesting as the comments made by the Yankees’ GM. If you want us to stop talking about him, you’ll need to convince him to be quiet.

    Paul SF January 25, 2011, 5:49 pm
  • > No, I meant in absolute value terms.
    You’re right, I agree. But I do think that if Jeter rebounds as a batsman when latched to his experience and his arm, it is possible he will be a better than average outfielder for a year or two. Please don’t ask me to wager on it.

    attackgerbil January 25, 2011, 6:08 pm
  • “We’ll stop bringing it up when…”
    The Yankees crush everyone and win #28 in 2011!!!! ;)

    krueg January 25, 2011, 6:24 pm
  • Whatever your personal thoughts on those OF’s are they all start and or have been given contracts to start in 2011. Why does there need to be qualifiers? I don’t want to argue because I think he stays at SS for all three years.
    As for the Giants again other than their OF which player on that team qualifies as a defensive guru? Point being team defense can overshadow any small defects in one player. The Yankees won 5 titles with that bum at SS and one since he started his well documented decline. They also won a WS with Cecil Fielder at first base…posada catching etc…bottom line Jeter can play SS on a WS team.
    That’s my opinion.

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 7:28 pm
  • For example Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees as the 6th ranked D in 2010…that’s with Jeter, A-Rod and Posada. Team stats don’t say a whole lot about the individuals if we go by the numbers.

    John - YF January 25, 2011, 9:56 pm
  • “…If you want us to stop talking about him, you’ll need to convince him to be quiet….”
    good to have you back and energized paul…let’s see if you still have it in july….

    dc January 26, 2011, 12:13 am
  • I am rambling now because I am sick of the Jeter sucks, he’s old, he’s an albatross argument…no offense to anyone here, just overall.
    It seems like Paul spends the article trying to debunk this very argument by proving he’s a valuable shortstop.

    Atheose - SF January 26, 2011, 7:33 am
  • Paul, Cashman did not write your post or subsequent comments on this thread so there is only so much referencing of them you can do to justify everything you subsequently wrote.
    The “update” link within the original post clarifies in very plausible terms – indeed much more plausible than the originally spoun-out-of-control tweet of Cahman’s comments – what Cashman actually said and meant, and it is frankly not at all troubling to me. And I am not a YF who is in denial re: possible FO-divisions — Cashman’s comments re: Soriano do seem to me to be substantially of concern as I’ve stated elsewhere here.
    Going back to this particular instance, based on what appears to be the reality of what Cashman said and not on unsubstantiated tweeted rumor, the Jeter comps should not be between him at SS and him in the OF – they should be double-hypothetical’ed (is that a word??) to match what Cashman said: 1. IFF Jeter’s defense deteriorates to the point that he can no longer play shortstop (you know, if the managers and coaches stop selecting him as the best defensive SS in the AL), THEN 2. would he be better moved to 3B as Francesa argued or to the OF as Cashman did?
    You would then have to calculate his suitability between those two hypothetical moves based on substantially-further deteriorated defensive performance at SS at some point in the next few years.
    Now, you’re welcome to run those speculative numbers at two positions he has never played off of speculative base stats of how he might be playing SS in 2014, but as with John, I don’t find it very interesting or plausible.
    Cashman also said nothing about Montero, DH, 1B, etc, and on that front John’s reaction is also spot on. How you get to Montero being better suited for DH or 1B when the guy hasn’t even won a catching job yet and – if he does – there is every reason to believe he’d be a strong all around catcher, I really don’t get.
    There may be problems between Cash on the one hand and H/H/Levine on the other. This latest tempest in a teapot is not at all an indicator of such however and some of the subsequent evaluations – explicit and implied – of Yankee talent in the discussion thread are very largely colored by Red Sox-tinted shades.
    Then again, that’s part of what makes this site fun…

    IronHorse (YF) January 26, 2011, 9:36 am
  • IH, you seem to be asking me to be a soothsayer — knowing what Cashman meant by posting based on the clarification that I saw only after I wrote the original post. I may be awesome, but I’m not that awesome. ;-)
    The post was written based on the initial reports of Cashman saying “Derek Jeter would soon move to the outfield.” Further reports indicated, 1. that Cashman was responding to a hypothetical about Jeter moving to third, and 2., that I was actually giving Cashman the benefit of the doubt by assuming a move to left field, as opposed to center, which I think really is crazy.
    But the underpinning basis is that Jeter’s defense at short is pretty lousy, and there has long been talk that he might have to move to a less defensively challenging position. I think third makes more sense than the outfield, frankly, especially with Rodriguez likely to move to the DH spot more and more frequently after Posada leaves.
    As for Montero, the NYDN quoted scouts as recently as November saying they don’t expect him to stick at catcher. Keith Law last year said the Yankees would probably be better off moving Montero to DH sooner rather than later. In July, Baseball America said Montero’s defense had actually regressed in 2010, and that “Montero has convinced scouts this year that he won’t be a long-term catcher.”
    So I don’t agree there is “every reason to believe” Montero would be a “strong all-around catcher.” In fact, there are quite a few reasons to believe otherwise. I was wrong to place him in the same category as Jeter, A-Rod and Teixeira. But, that said, everyone seems to be penciling Montero in for the DH slot, and if they’re correct that he can’t stick at catcher, then the 1B/DH slots will be a little crowded in the coming years.

    Paul SF January 26, 2011, 10:17 am
  • “…If you want us to stop talking about him, you’ll need to convince him to be quiet….”
    good to have you back and energized paul…let’s see if you still have it in july….”
    Exactly. :)

    krueg January 26, 2011, 10:29 am
  • “I’m not that awesome” At least we can agree on one thing. Just kidding. Actually many of your posts are exactly that – quite awesome.
    I would like to know what your view is as to why Jeter won this year’s gold glove. And when I ask that it is not to request that you run another statistical analysis of Jeter’s defense at SS vs. others using UZR and other metrics. I ask because our attacks on things that sports writers and pundits say or how they vote on particular awards often seem justified to me — those guys are just as often paid to be entertainers and to generate sizzle as much (or even more) than they are paid to provide sound analysis. But why in the world would such large numbers of ML managers and coaches elect Jeter yet another GG if he wasn’t valued to be a better defensive SS than you have ever given him credit for? They have no reason to do so. And while many of them don’t subscribe to the SABR-metric analyses, many also do. Either way, they are closer to the game than anyone else and make their livings evaluating talent and getting the best out of it. And it appears that all the way through to this most recent year, many of them would rather have Jeter’s presence ON DEFENSE than that of their own SS. As we are reminded by the Obama “birthers” and all other kinds of nutcases, saying something again and again does not make it true. Jeter is still a very good defensive SS. Few expect him to remain so for the next 4 years, but I frankly also don’t put it past the guy.
    As for Montero, he still needs to win the position and I wrote that IF he wins the spot in spring training, then I have every reason to believe he will be a strong all around catcher. I certainly don’t think he’ll win the spot and then require substantial DH’ing time in 2011, backlogging that position. Where the guy might end up in 2012 and beyond, which is the only time when a possible DH-backlog may ensue is really pretty far off. He may be superb trade bait at that point. Or completely washed out having never stuck with the roster. We’ll see.

    IronHorse (YF) January 26, 2011, 10:34 am
  • Here’s a quick look at catchers with comparable CS% (crude, I know) in both the MIL and ML.
    Victor Martinez 22%MILB/MLB 24%
    Jesus Montero 23% MILB
    Jarrod Saltalamacchia MILB24%/MLB 20%
    Max Ramirez MILB 22%/MLB 18%
    Mike Piazza MLB 23%
    Jason Varitek MLB 24%
    Jorge Posada MLB 28%
    Mike Napoli MLB 24%
    If Montero can hit and by all accounts he’s the best impact bat in the minors (ahead of Moutsakas)then he’d be in the same class as the catchers listed above. If Montero can hit like Martinez, Posada, Varitek, Napoli and (gulp, fingers crossed!) Piazza then I think his D gets forgiven. He’s not Pudge, that’s for sure but he wouldn’t be the first catcher to be deficient of all the traditional tools, to stick at catcher.
    I know the Yankees have made a lot of comments that have seemed untrue or turned out to be false, but I believe they will give this kid a chance to split time with Russel Martin. It’s a good platoon and an even better situation for Montero to learn without being thrown into the fire. I am taking the stance that he’s a catcher until I am told otherwise.
    Also, if he doesn’t catch he has been in the OF. I would not be shocked to see him slot in for Swisher eventually if they decide he cannot be an everyday catcher. They are not going to make a 20 something stud an everyday DH, it’s just not going to happen.

    John - YF January 26, 2011, 1:13 pm
  • “But the underpinning basis is that Jeter’s defense at short is pretty lousy, and there has long been talk that he might have to move to a less defensively challenging position.”
    By who? (or is it whom?) Anyway, that’s long been talked about by everyone except the people that matter. It’s been fodder for us to banter back and forth about. The Yankees, before Cashman answered a hypothetical question from a fan, have never come out and said anything in re: to this.
    Ath, go back and read what I wrote I wasn’t attacking Paul and I made that clear. It’s just over kill this debate on Jeter’s defensive value. Imagine if every day you had to listen to just how deficient Varitek and Salty are behind the plate. Not just here, but on the radio, on blogs, etc…We get it, he’s not a great SS but you know what he’s a HOF’r, he’s historically good at the dish and he’s signed for 3 more years…The Yankees have won and can win with him at SS and after all isn’t that the main goal? It’s not to line up the best defense on paper, it’s winning games and winning championships, right? Until they start giving out rings for best all around WAR, RAR, etc…I will stick with my school of thought.

    John - YF January 26, 2011, 1:24 pm
  • Forget this debate I am no speechless…the Yankees signed Bartolo Colon. I give up, you all win!

    John - YF January 26, 2011, 1:42 pm
  • Yeah John – I started a new post on that up top. It’s just a minor league deal so I have no problem with it. As for the Jeter debate, here I have raised the question of Jeter’s GG and what it says about what managers and coaches think about his defensive skills multiple times and it always seems to have the same effect – crickets. Quite apart from his offense, the guy is very higly valued for what he brings to the field by the people who know the game best. That’s hard for many to swallow, but it’s also a plain fact.

    IronHorse (YF) January 26, 2011, 2:10 pm
  • “Until they start giving out rings for best all around WAR, RAR, etc…I will stick with my school of thought.”
    Amen brother…this has always been my issue with all the advanced metric stats. I’ll take wins anyday…and rings.

    krueg January 26, 2011, 2:13 pm
  • Let me clarify Krueg. I love stats, I pay for a site that I love and swear by their info. So I am not Joe Torre. I just don’t think you can formulate a winning team simply by having the best scores at each position. We’ve seen some pretty average teams win. We’ve also seen some pretty bad defensive players win. I care less about winning the paper/perception war and more about the end result.

    John - YF January 26, 2011, 2:18 pm
  • > the Yankees signed Bartolo Colon
    Warner Madrigal too.

    attackgerbil January 26, 2011, 2:25 pm
  • The mind plays tricks. It only remembers the plays that are obvious blunders. So a player who usually makes plays cleanly, as Jeter does (and there’s value in that, no doubt), is valued highly. If his range is such that he’s letting a large amount of balls go for clean hits that a better defender could have gotten to, the mind doesn’t register that.
    It’s not a manager’s job to assemble a team, so you’ll forgive me if I don’t put much stock in managers’ and coaches’ perceptions of defense. They play the players they’re given, and their job is to manage the on-field strategy and the off-field drama. They are not scouts, and they are not GMs, and they are certainly not thinking about whether or not a certain player is worthy of a Gold glove when they face that player all of four or five times that season. They’ve got more important things to worry about while the game is going on. So, at the end of the season, what do they do? Rely on fielding percentage and whether they remember any egregious errors or great plays. Jeter doesn’t make egregious errors, and he has that jump-throw play that sticks in your mind. Plus he now has the rep of a GG fielder, which feeds on itself (history proves this out).
    If GMs, whoa re actually paid to evaluate the real worth of a player, were handing out Gold Gloves, Jeter would not have won. I’m confident of that.

    Paul SF January 26, 2011, 4:01 pm
  • I just don’t think you can formulate a winning team simply by having the best scores at each position.
    Statistics are a measurement of what takes place on the field.
    Take the player with the highest WAR at each position in the major leagues in 2010. If you can guarantee they would all reach that level or better and lead the league in WAR at the end of the 2011 season, then I would hazard a guess that they would be a winning team. They might even be favored to win the World Series. They might not go all the way, the postseason being what it is, but they would most certainly reach the playoffs, which is the whole point.
    That team, by the way, would be:
    Mauer, C
    Pujols, 1B
    Cano, 2B
    Tulowitzki, SS
    Longoria, 3B
    Hamilton, LF
    Pagan, CF
    Choo, RF
    Ortiz, DH
    Pedroia, UT
    Cabrera, 1B/DH
    Werth, OF
    McCann, C
    Jimenez, SP1
    Halladay, SP2
    Johnson, SP3
    Hernandez, SP4
    Wainwright, SP5
    Soria, CL
    Bard, RP1
    Wilson, RP2
    Marmol, RP3
    Rivera, RP4
    Kuo, RP5
    Perez, RP6
    Those are strictly the top players by WAR at each position (with some massaging to get the bench to make sense).
    Sometimes statistics don’t capture why a player would be a good fit for a team. Defensive numbers are still shaky, and a good dose of observation is necessary to corroborate what those numbers tell us. Minor league numbers are even shakier still, and relying on scouting reports is key for evaluating younger players.
    But if a team with infinite supplies of cash and the ability to draft any player they wanted simply went by the top-WAR players for each position, they would have the best team ever. So I think the criticism of statistics in this case goes too far.

    Paul SF January 26, 2011, 4:17 pm
  • (And, really, Ortiz wouldn’t be on that team. You’d just select the the guy with the highest WAR not already represented in the starting lineup, Adrian Gonzalez.)

    Paul SF January 26, 2011, 4:18 pm
  • Paul,
    Maybe he wouldn’t have won if GMs were doing the voting as you say – I’m not so certain he wouldn’t. But regardless, I really doubt he would have gone from first place in the running to whatever rank is equated with “pretty lousy”. The items that you raise to justify how he is getting those votes (certain plays sticking in people’s heads; gaining a rep as a GG’er; etc) are all things you could say about casual fans and writers. Coaches and managers are much more informed than that even if they are not paid primarily to evaluate talent as you say. They hear what players who have played against and with Jeter say. Many of them have coached the Yanks over the past 15 years and have direct experience with him. They know and can pick up on the “game-within-the-game” strategies, positioning, etc that casual fans do not. And on and on.
    Fact is, the guy is much much much more highly valued by a community of people that – if not the best qualified (if you grant that to scouts and GMs) – then arguably the second best qualified to judge such things.
    It is perhaps painful to acknowledge. But it is true.

    IronHorse (YF) January 26, 2011, 4:59 pm
  • Derek Jeter is highly valued by a lot of people, including me and anybody who follows baseball to any reasonable degree. So let’s get that out of the way.
    There is no evidence that Jeter at this point in his career is a good fielder. Your use of the Gold Glove voting is simply incomprehensible to me. That decision was arguably the most ridiculed decision of the offseason until this Angels trade.
    And it’s not just me saying that. There’s River Ave Blues, which, citing The Fielding Bible, says exactly what I just said: That Jeter plays the balls he gets to cleanly, which explains why he wins Gold Gloves, but that both advanced statistics and scouts say his range is terrible, and that he misses more balls than most other shortstops. Some of the advanced metrics say Jeter is the worst shortstop in all of baseball. Even if you assume they’re missing by a lot, they have to be missing by a lot more than that just to get him to average.
    Coaches and managers are much more informed
    So informed that they awarded Rafael Palmeiro a Gold Glove at first base in 1999, a season in which he played 135 games at DH and 25 at first base.
    They simply don’t give the awards voting that much thought. There is no evidence that they do.

    Paul SF January 26, 2011, 6:08 pm
  • “…so you’ll forgive me if I don’t put much stock in managers’ and coaches’ perceptions of defense…”
    wow

    dc January 27, 2011, 1:48 am
  • Paul, I seriously respect your insight into the game and I’ve learned alot over these past few years from your stats-heavy analyses, which have even further deepened my appreciation of baseball. Largely thanks to you I spend much more time on stat-sourcing sites today than I ever did 4-5 years ago.
    Having said that, when you say things like “Your use of the Gold Glove voting is simply incomprehensible to me.” or “you’ll forgive me if I don’t put much stock in managers’ and coaches’ perceptions of defense”, I feel like you’ve ventured into a kind of statistical fanaticism.
    Is it really incomprehensible to consider a decision reached not by a single FO (like the Angels’) but by the aggregate of AL coaches and managers as one indication of a players’ value? Incomprehensible? Your point that these guys don’t take such votes very seriously and so can vote cavalierly and/or based on player-reputation rather than recent performance is a good one. I don’t think it suddenly makes such valuations entirely irrelevant, outlandish, or whatever.
    Do I think Derek Jeter is the best defensive SS in the AL? No. Do I think that he is better than the Jeter-hating elements of the blogosphere and even some of the much more rational fans who frequenst this site tend to acknowledge? Absolutely. That the AL managers and coaches valued him as even better than that in 2010 is a fact that you may want to discount, but to say my consideration of their opinion is incomprehensible reflects – in my view – a pretty severe and extreme bias against something that is really prety common-sense.

    IronHorse (YF) January 27, 2011, 3:11 pm
  • IH, it comes from the fact that you are literally the only person I’ve seen who isn’t paid by the Yankees (by that I mean, his manager, teammates and GM are not going to come out and say, “Yeah, he’s not very good on defense,” for obvious and understandable reasons) vigorously defend Jeter as anything but a bad defensive player. I am not exaggerating.
    Scouts, statheads, reporters, you name it. I haven’t seen a real defender of Jeter’s defense (no pun intended) in years. The Gold Gloves are widely disregarded largely because they keep being awarded to players like Jeter, not the other way around.
    And this isn’t a recent conversation. Here’s a column from Rob Neyer in 2001 talking about Jeter’s poor range. http://static.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/neyer_rob/1415713.html
    And Neyer after the recent Gold Glove win:http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/6238/gold-glove-results-mixed-as-usual
    Here’s an AP story that quotes Neyer and others, including the likes of Peter King and Peter Abraham, not die-hard stats apologists, mocking the award: http://www.lvrj.com/sports/few-come-to-jeter-s-defense-107185333.html
    There’s this Bill James article that starts with him being skeptical of the arguments that Jeter is a poor shortstop, goes through all the video evidence, the play by play evidence, the statistical evidence and concludes with this paragraph:
    http://www.billjamesonline.net/fieldingbible/jeter.asp
    “But at the same time, I have to say that the case for Jeter as a Gold Glove quality shortstop is a dead argument in my mind. There is a lot we don’t know, and Derek Jeter could be a better shortstop than we have measured him as being for any of a dozen reasons. He is not a Gold Glove quality shortstop. He isn’t an average defensive shortstop. Giving him every possible break on the unknowns, he is still going to emerge as a below average defensive shortstop.”
    But, above all, I ask that you read this. It’s Tom Tango’s “With or Without You” study, as it appeared in the 2008 Hardball Times annual (thanks to Google Books).
    In it, Tango looks at all 118 pitchers who have been on the mound when Jeter was at short, and compared their ball-in-play data with their time in front of 308 other shortstops — specifically looking at how often each pitcher had a ball hit anywhere in the park turned into an out by Jeter, and how many were turned into an out by the shortstop when someone else was manning that position.
    In the end, he found that Jeter converted 11.6 percent of the 39,544 balls his pitchers allowed into play when he was on the field into outs, while those same pitchers saw the other shortstops turn 12.5 percent of all their balls in play into outs.
    And when he does this for all shortstops since 1993, defensive wizards like Adam Everett and Rey Sanchez come out on top … and Derek Jeter is second from the bottom, ahead only of Michael Young in the per-season difference between plays he made and plays all other shortstops made for the same pitchers.
    Then he turned around and did this for the batters who came to the plate when Jeter was in the field and compared how often all their balls in play were converted into outs by Jeter versus another shortstop. Again, the 992 batters who came up when Jeter was at short had 11.6 percent of their balls in play turned into outs by Jeter, but when they came up with another shortstop, the rate was 12.2 percent, a per season difference of 25 plays, fourth-worst in baseball since 1993. Everett and Sanchez again topped that list.
    He then did the same thing for all runners who were on first base when Jeter was in the field and when he wasn’t. Jeter finished second-to-last again. Everett finished first again.
    He did the same thing by ballpark. Jeter finished ninth-worst.
    Tango summed up his argument this way: “Since fewer outs are being recorded when Derek Jeter is playing than when he’s not, and I couldn’t find any evidence of bias that Jeter himself offered (batter, pitcher, runner, park), then the reason is clear: Derek Jeter is simply not making the plays others are making. And it’s enough to make him one of the worst-fielding shortstops in baseball today.”
    That’s not UZR. That’s not Total Zone or any other advanced stat where we have to trust that interns watching video replays got the type of batted ball and the difficulty of making the play correct. We don’t need to wait for a three-year sample or place wide error bars on it because of small sample size.
    That’s simply taking account of what happened when Jeter was on the field versus when he wasn’t. If we accept that a shortstop’s primary defensive goal is to make as many outs as possible, then I don’t see how Tango’s study doesn’t show that the Gold Glove voters are spectacularly wrong on this issue.

    Paul SF January 27, 2011, 5:01 pm
  • and i’ve been watching baseball for years, and i think pedroia sucks a**…he’s an anomoly, and that will show itself this year…pgjaejgiejgionone….it’s amazing how sox fans want to discount jeter’s game…yep, he’s getting older…we all are…you’ve all heard of peni* envy…well, sox fans suffer from a similar malady…jeter envy

    dc January 28, 2011, 12:57 am
  • DC, that comment makes me sad. You took a civil, nuanced conversation and set it on fire. It was beneath you and frankly beneath this site. There is nothing worth responding to in it, except I will repost what I’ve already said, a paragraph you either overlooked or ignored because it didn’t fit your narrative:
    Derek Jeter is highly valued by a lot of people, including me and anybody who follows baseball to any reasonable degree. So let’s get that out of the way.
    Jeter is an incredible talent whose bat makes him an extremely valuable, all-time great shortstop. His defense, on the other hand, appears to be ivery poor. That’s just the way it is. I’m sorry if I’ve offended anyone with my defense of this latter point, but I cannot concede a point everything I read tells me to be true.
    DC, when you’re ready to have a mature, substantive discussion about this topic, I’ll be happy to engage you. In the meantime, I’m going to focus my attention on those, like IH, who are willing and able to do so.

    Paul SF January 28, 2011, 7:37 am
  • well paul, i’m sorry if i offended you or anyone else…i was trying to be funny, but i guess it was poorly executed…re-reading it this morning confirms that…however the essence of my comment is dead on…jeter envy is very real…i will agree with you and others who devalue the gold glove award…i’ll go so far to add in all of the various awards, and throw in the hall of fame, as having become largely meaningless irrelevant popularity contests, totally based on subjective “criteria”, likability, and reputation…add to that the moving goalpost “criteria” and you have what appears to be a contrived selection process…i appreciate your appetite and knowledge of statistics, i think it adds a lot of value to our discussions, but when you make comments like this: “…so you’ll forgive me if I don’t put much stock in managers’ and coaches’ perceptions of defense…” or hang your hat on stuff like this: “…In the end, he found that Jeter converted 11.6 percent of the 39,544 balls his pitchers allowed into play when he was on the field into outs, while those same pitchers saw the other shortstops turn 12.5 percent of all their balls in play into outs….”, it makes me wonder, that’s all…
    this one really makes me scratch my head:
    “…Tango summed up his argument this way: ‘Since fewer outs are being recorded when Derek Jeter is playing than when he’s not, and I couldn’t find any evidence of bias that Jeter himself offered (batter, pitcher, runner, park), then the reason is clear: Derek Jeter is simply not making the plays others are making. And it’s enough to make him one of the worst-fielding shortstops in baseball today.’…”
    really tom?…based on that so-called “stat”? …wow…you know what i realized?…jeter makes more plays when i watch games than when i don’t…hmmm…he also throws the ball with his left hand 0% of the time…
    again, sorry about the bad joke paul, and my lack of appreciation for tango’s “analysis”…i can assure you that i won’t bother to defend jeter here anymore…he doesn’t need me to do that, and it’s a waste of our time…

    dc January 28, 2011, 9:21 am
  • really tom?…based on that so-called “stat”? …wow…you know what i realized?…jeter makes more plays when i watch games than when i don’t…hmmm…he also throws the ball with his left hand 0% of the time..
    Fair enough, DC. Glad to know you were just joking.
    The above excerpted quote is puzzling to me. I don’t understand how Tango’s work is worthy of dismissal here. Jeter himself made the comments saying basically, “You can’t measure my work on the field with just numbers because not everybody has the same pitchers, plays in the same park, has the same hitters or runners,” so Tango compared Jeter’s numbers with those variables against everyone else’s numbers with the same variables, based solely on the criteria I think we should all agree are important for defense; turning plays into outs. Jeter makes fewer plays than other shortstops when the same pitchers are on the mound, when the same hitters are at the plate, when the same runners are on base and when they play in the same ballpark. It’s not voodoo statistics. It’s basic observation.
    I think we agree on the merits of pretty much all of baseball’s honors and awards. There’s not really a way to make them better, unfortunately. The Gold Gloves seem to be especially egregious, but that could just be a sample bias. We remember the most egregious selections because we’re preconditioned to be outraged by their egregious selections.

    Paul SF January 28, 2011, 9:47 am
  • this is also the last comment i’ll make about the whole cashman non-event…this guy has what i believe is probably the accurate spin on things…worth reading…
    http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/yankees/pinstripe_strife_juicy_story_nothing_b8IwA7TJOTrvGoGr35XnnO/0

    dc January 28, 2011, 9:56 am
  • i wasn’t going to comment to defend jeter again, but i will respond to your question paul…tango’s work is worthy of dismissal because it was contrived and misses the point jeter was trying to make: that conditions and circumstances are not identical for every player who mans a particular position on the field…tango’s tortured analysis, which attempted rather poorly to debunk jeter’s observations, showed that jeter fields 1% fewer batted balls than other shortstops given a fixed set of conditions: pitcher, ballpark, etc…a whopping 1 out of 100…no offense to you for disagreeing with me, but i think tango had a forgone conclusion in mind, and used jeter’s own words to invent a stat that would “prove” that forgone conclusion…that was the purpose for the silliness i injected about me watching games and his not throwing lefthanded…i won’t argue that a ball jeter misses by a few inches would probably be caught by a lot of other shortstops out there, but he also doesn’t make many mistakes with the balls he gets to…i used the word “mistakes” rather than “errors” because i know that stat has been devalued in the stat world…it’s ok though because not making mistakes is still important to me…frankly, this is one reason why so many of us are still suspicious of the stat world, and question some of what comes out of it…you are winning me over slowly though, just not with stuff like this…

    dc January 28, 2011, 10:28 am
  • Well, when you’re dealing with thousands of balls every year, and you’re dealing with the elite ballplayers in the game (which is iteself comprised of the elite talents to ever attempt to play the game), 1 percent is significant. 40 some-odd plays per season is significant. And if a shortstop makes a mistake on a ball he gets to, then that is factored into Tango’s analysis because it wouldn’t be an out.
    The With or Without You method for evaluating defense was created by Tango in the ’07 annual to study pitchers and catchers, by the way. It wasn’t created to prove Jeter was anything. The only other explanation I can see after reading Tango’s study is that Jeter has been massively unlucky for 15 years.
    i won’t argue that a ball jeter misses by a few inches would probably be caught by a lot of other shortstops out there, but he also doesn’t make many mistakes with the balls he gets to
    In which case, I don’t think we’re in that much disagreement, nor do you disagree with Tango all that much. Tango (and Dewan and Neyer and James) argues that happens a couple dozen times every year, and that it happens to him more than it happens to most everyone else.
    Anyway, I’ll let the issue rest for now. I can’t make the case any better than I’ve made it. If you remain unconvinced, then we’ll have to agree to disagree … for now. :-)

    Paul SF January 28, 2011, 10:54 am
  • well i do disagree that jeter’s 1% difference in missed plays is equivalent to 40 plays over the course of a season…for that math to work, he would need to have 4000 balls hit his way…in a 162 game schedule that would work out to having about 25 balls batted his way for each game…no way

    dc January 28, 2011, 11:19 am
  • “…In the end, he found that Jeter converted 11.6 percent of the 39,544 balls his pitchers allowed into play when he was on the field into outs, while those same pitchers saw the other shortstops turn 12.5 percent of all their balls in play into outs….”
    here’s another way of examining the flaw in tango’s math…40,000 balls hit to jeter? over his career?…i don’t think so…jeter’s played 15+ seasons, and played in 2295 games in his career…to have that many balls hit to him, he’d need to average over 17 plays per game…he’s had 9278 chances in his career [defined as putouts + assists + errors]…according to tango then, jeter missed over 30,000 balls put in play, or roughly 13 per game…if the 40,000 balls in play are the total put in play without regard to where they were hit, that really blows tango’s argument out of the water…maybe jeter fielded fewer, because fewer were hit to his position…your defense of tango is as bad as well, jeter’s defense ;)

    dc January 28, 2011, 12:33 pm
  • Who gives a shit dc…Jeter is god, who cares what haters think or conjure up with “stats”. His accomplishments are beyond reproach and he’s a first ballot HOF’er. Fuck ‘em. :)

    krueg January 28, 2011, 1:15 pm
  • here’s another way of examining the flaw in tango’s math…40,000 balls hit to jeter? over his career?
    No, 40,000 balls hit into the field, regardless of where, while Jeter was on it. Jeter turned 11.6 percent of them into outs. Other shortstops turned 12.5 percent of all balls put into play while they were on the field into outs. This is with the same pitchers on the mound.
    So a pitcher like Tim Wakefield, who has never had Jeter as a shortstop in the field while he’s been pitching, is not included in this, but Roger Clemens is. The study looks at all the balls in play off Clemens when Jeter was at short versus all the balls in play off Clemens when someone else was at short. It then repeats this for all pitchers who have had Jeter as a shortstop, as well as the same process for all other shortstop/pitcher combinations.

    Paul SF January 28, 2011, 2:48 pm
  • Paul:
    You knew this was going to happen, man. It’s why we all bailed out on it! This road leaves nowhere! Abandon ship!
    :)

    Brad January 28, 2011, 3:21 pm
  • I happen to find Tango’s approach very interesting. It takes all bias of any sort out of the equation. It’s a very unique way of looking at the pure numbers in a very simplistic way. That works.

    Brad January 28, 2011, 3:23 pm
  • This yelling should calm down. It is pretty obvious that Paul just showed that Tango showed that Jeter said that pitchers and fielders and fields suck when Jeets is in the field. And then proved it, with Maths.

    attackgerbil January 28, 2011, 3:34 pm
  • “…No, 40,000 balls hit into the field, regardless of where, while Jeter was on it. Jeter turned 11.6 percent of them into outs….”
    really?…you guys are buying into this?…that it “proves” jeter is a bad fielder……so, now he’s supposed to field all 9 positions?…oy…when you guys wanna talk some sense, i’ll be back….hahahaha

    dc January 29, 2011, 3:18 am
  • It’s amazing how Paul tries to eliminate all the subjectiveness out of the conversation and have a logical discussion about baseball statistics, and people are attacking him for “attacking” their Jeets.
    Jeter is one of the few Yankees I like and respect, and like Paul said anyone who appreciates baseball can appreciate the impact he’s had. I would LOVE to have him on my team. Having said that, his defense sucks, and has been that way in most of his seasons. It’s sad to see you guys dismiss the statistics just because it comes from a Sox Fan.

    Atheose - SF January 29, 2011, 3:59 pm
  • People dismiss it partly because you say things like his defense sucks…
    I’m not dismissing Paul by any means I just feel differently.
    I’m glad we developed this level of honesty. Being able to say parts of players games “suck” might come in handy in June or July :) Just remember where this acceptable part of the rivalry began. ;)

    John - YF January 29, 2011, 10:17 pm
  • your comments are really unfair ath…we get it that jeter doesn’t have the range other shortstops do, but he doesn’t screw up too many of the ones he gets to…to say that his defense “sucks” is pretty extreme…and i didn’t attack paul…i merely challenged his presentation…paul generally does a great job with this stuff, and it would help for all of us to leave homerism out of it…it just gets annoying when you sox fans blindly leap to his defense, even when the challenge is a mild one, especially in the face of evidence that so clearly exposes a flaw in his logic…i’m not criticizing the conclusion that jeter lacks the range of other shortstops, i’m criticizing the attempt to penalize him for not fielding balls that weren’t even hit to him in a contrived attempt to “prove” his lack of range…it’s absurd…if all this is an early april fools joke or was only intended as tongue-in-cheek i guess i fell for it…

    dc January 30, 2011, 3:21 am
  • especially in the face of evidence that so clearly exposes a flaw in his logic
    I have yet to see any of this evidence.
    Look, part of agreeing to disagree means we don’t keep saying things like this. Because while I’m willing to agree that we don’t see eye to eye on this, you seem willing to agree that I’m completely wrong. That’s not how it works.
    The point of the study isn’t to argue that Jeter should field every ball on the field, it’s to say that everyone else on the field is going to catch a vast majority of those balls, and we’re looking only at those fielded by the shortstops.
    DC, did you read the original piece? The responses you’re making indicate to me that you have not, which frankly calls into question your objectivity here.
    Again, the fact that you agree that Jeter’s range is poor, but that he handles the balls he gets to cleanly, indicates you agree more than you realize. You can quantify how many balls a shortstop misplays; he gets errors on those. You cannot yourself quantify how many balls his range is too limited to reach.
    But others can, and they have; Tango did it. James did it. Dewan did it. MGL did it. You have yet to present a single scrap of evidence that they are wrong. I agreed to let this go, but I won’t accept that there is “a flaw” in my logic, when I’m simply presenting a widely accepted study in whose logic I can find no flaw — and in whose logic you have presented no compelling one.

    Paul SF January 30, 2011, 8:40 am
  • And setting aside Tango, read the James piece, where starts off saying he doesn’t know how good a fielder Jeter is, looks at the evidence from four different angles, and concludes that Jeter is well below average.

    Paul SF January 30, 2011, 8:41 am
  • that’s fine paul…we can agree to disagree…
    i didn’t need to read the tango stuff…i trust your summation…if i’m missing something else that might convince me, please point it out…
    “…1 percent is significant. 40 some-odd plays per season is significant….”
    “…In the end, he found that Jeter converted 11.6 percent of the 39,544 balls his pitchers allowed into play when he was on the field into outs, while those same pitchers saw the other shortstops turn 12.5 percent of all their balls in play into outs….”
    i don’t see where it says that the ss’s had an at least a similar number of chances hit to their position…then a % difference in converted opportunities means something…is it possible that the 40,000 batted balls were hit to positions other than shortstop more frequently when jeter was on the field than other shortstops, and perhaps jeter simply didn’t have as many balls hit in his direction [or zone] if you prefer?…measuring performance against chances that were not within a player’s direct control is a problem for me…we can only grade him for the actual opportunities he’s had, just like a batter, just like a pitcher…if mo gets a lower number of saves than we’d expect, does that mean he’s losing his touch, or could it perhaps mean that the starting and setup pitchers aren’t presenting him with enough save opportunities…leaving jeter out of the discussion for a minute, if this were comparing rightfielders and and rightfielder A had 1% more putouts than rightfielder B, would you and tango really be in a position where you’d be comfortable saying rightfielder A is better defensively based on that stat alone?…or would you dig a little deeper?…like i said, the debate isn’t about whether jeter is below average defensively from a range perspective it’s whether this particular study by tango really proves that…i still say it doesn’t, because of variables like number of directly controlled opportunities…if you want to trot out a range analysis that provides data for balls hit within the ss’s zone and compare him to ss A, i can be more open minded about that, but this tango stuff doesn’t cut it…james on the other hand seems to have put a little more effort into examining jeter’s actual performance…of course his conclusion bums me out, but i have an easier time accepting it, because his effort was more in depth and thoughtful…

    dc January 30, 2011, 10:58 am

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