Peering Through the Crystal Ball [Revised]

I can’t wait anymore.

The Holy Grail of preseason baseball projections — PECOTA — isn’t out yet, and until it is, I can’t do the full-fledged Red Sox and Yankees projections that everyone seemed to like last year (as it’s the most accurate of the projection systems).

So as a taste here is a position-by-position comparison of the Sox and Yanks based on projections created by Bill James/Baseball Info Solutions, Dan Szymborski/Baseball Think Factory (ZiPS), Sean Smith (CHONE) and Tom Tango (Marcel).

Update: Now includes Ron Shandler’s projections, as well. (Many thanks to Sam).

First Base

Kevin Youkilis
2007: .288/.390/.453, 16 HR, 53 XBH
Jam: .290/.399/.454, 15 HR, 56 XBH
Zips: .286/.388/.444, 12 HR, 49 XBH
Cho: .272/.382/.434, 15 HR, 54 XBH
Mar: .280/.378/.436, 13 HR, 51 XBH

Ron: .276/.375/.452, 18 HR

Uhhhh… Johnny Damon?
2007: .270/.351/.396, 12 HR,  41 XBH, 27 SB
Jam: .278/.352/.417, 15 HR, 50 XBH, 23 SB
Zips: .279/.348/.408, 12 HR, 40 XBH, 17 SB
Cho: .275/.351/.413, 14 HR, 43 XBH, 17 SB
Mar: .280/.350/.424, 13 HR, 44 XBH, 20 SB

Ron: .274/.349/.414, 13 HR, 21 SB

Second Base

Dustin Pedroia
2007: .317/.380/.442, 8 HR, 48 XBH, 1.12 BB/K
Jam: .300/.369/.436, 9 HR, 51 XBH, 1.39 BB/K
Zips: .292/.359/.431, 10 HR, 55 XBH, 1.19 BB/K
Cho: .299/.373/.432, 8 HR, 48 XBH, 1.21 BB/K
Mar: .303/.369/.437, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 0.89 BB/K

Ron: .298/.360/.430, 10 HR, 1.32 BB/K

Robinson Cano
2007: .306/.353/.488, 19 HR, 67 XBH
Jam: .322/.362/.510, 19 HR, 68 XBH
Zips: .308/.349/.488, 18 HR, 64 XBH 
Cho: .305/.347/.479, 17 HR, 59 XBH
Mar: .315/.355/.490, 16 HR, 59 XBH

Ron: .304/.339/.490, 20 HR

Third Base

Mike Lowell
2007: .324/.378/.501, 21 HR, 60 XBH, .342 BABIP
Jam: .282/.349/.459, 17 HR, 52 XBH, .294 BABIP
Zips: .272/.333/.429, 15 HR, 56 XBH, .285 BABIP
Cho: .286/.346/.455, 18 HR, 58 XBH, .301 BABIP
Mar: .284/.341/.449, 16 HR, 54 XBH, .301 BABIP

Ron: .285/.345/.464, 20 HR

Alex Rodriguez
2007: .314/.422/.645, 54 HR, 85 XBH, 24 SB
Jam: .300/.406/.586, 47 HR, 77 XBH, 19 SB
Zips: .305/.410/.583, 44 HR, 78 XBH, 16 SB    
Cho: .296/.406/.570, 41 HR, 68 XBH, 16 SB
Mar: .299/.399/.558, 36 HR, 63 XBH, 17 SB

Ron: .305/.400/.597, 46 HR, 21 SB


Julio Lugo
2007: .237/.294/.349, 8 HR, 46 XBH, 33 SB
Jam: .266/.331/.380, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 26 SB
Zips: .267/.335/.382, 7 HR, 45 XBH, 29 SB
Cho: .267/.332/.388, 8 HR, 44 XBH, 24 SB
Mar: .263/.326/.385, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 28 SB

Ron: .274/.332/.398, 9 HR, 28 SB

Derek Jeter
2007: .322/.388/.452, 12 HR, 55 XBH, 206 H
Jam: .312/.385/.443, 15 HR,  52 XBH, 200 H
Zips: .308/.386/.435, 13 HR, 49 XBH, 190 H
Cho: .299/.373/.433, 14 HR, 49 XBH, 179 H
Mar: .314/.386/.446, 12 HR, 46 XBH, 174 H

Ron: .309/.369/.438, 12 HR, 183 H


Jason Varitek
2007: .255/.367/.421, 17 HR, 35 XBH, 122 K 
Jam: .253/.349/.418, 17 HR, 53 XBH, 129 K
Zips: .249/.350/408, 13 HR, 34 XBH, 102 K
Cho: .249/.350/.420, 16 HR, 38 XBH, 109 K
Mar: .253/.346/.422, 16 HR, 39 XBH, 111 K

Ron: .246/.343/.414, 16 HR

Jorge Posada
2007:  .338/.426/.543, 20 HR, 63 XBH, .389 BABIP
Jam: .281/.386/.469, 21 HR, 53 XBH, .324 BABIP
Zips: .283/.380/.447, 15 HR, 44 XBH, .309 BABIP
Cho: .277/.377/.458, 19 HR, 48 XBH, .313 BABIP
Mar: .288/.375/.468, 18 HR, 49 XBH, .330 BABIP

Ron: .285/.379/.483, 19 HR

Left Field

Manny Ramirez
2007: .296/.388/.493, 20 HR, 54 XBH, 71 BB
Jam: .301/.405/.552, 33 HR, 68 XBH, 116 BB
Zips: .278/.381/.493, 23 HR, 49 XBH, 71 BB
Cho: .284/.389/.520, 27 HR, 55 XBH, 97 BB
Mar: .292/.389/.520, 25 HR, 53 XBH, 97 BB

Ron: .300/.398/.536, 27 HR

Hideki Matsui
2007: .285/.367/.488, 25 HR, 57 XBH, 1.00 BB/K
Jam: .293/.386/.501, 25 HR, 56 XBH, 0.99 BB/K
Zips: .290/.368/.476, 20 HR, 57 XBH, 0.94 BB/K
Cho: .282/.365/.473, 19 HR, 44 XBH, 0.88 BB/K
Mar: .287/.363/.472, 18 HR, 48 XBH, 0.85 BB/K

Ron: .291/.375/.491, 23 HR

Center Field

Jacoby Ellsbury
2007: .353/.394/.509, 3 HR, 11 XBH, 9 SB (in 127 PA)
Jam: .320/.374/.436, 5 HR, 39 XBH, 42 SB
Zips: .297/.349/.392, 4 HR, 41 XBH, 43 SB
Cho: .299/.353/.418, 6 HR, 44 XBH, 36 SB
Mar: .308/.365/.473, 7 HR, 23 XBH, 9 SB (in 264 PA)

Ron: .293/.348/.405, 6 HR, 34 SB

Melky Cabrera
2007: .273/.327/.391, 8 HR, 40 XBH, 13 SB 
Jam: .283/.345/.405, 10 HR, 41 XBH, 14 SB
Zips: .286/.352/.419, 12 HR, 47 XBH, 13 SB
Cho: .278/.342/.397, 9 HR, 41 XBH, 15 SB
Mar: .283/.350/.409, 9 HR, 39 XBH, 12 SB

Ron: .280/.338/.399, 10 HR, 14 SB

Right Field

J.D. Drew
2007: .270/.373/.423, 11 HR, 45 XBH
Jam: .278/.393/.465, 20 HR, 52 XBH
Zips: .259/.362/.412 10 HR, 33 XBH
Cho: .273/.383/.454, 15 HR, 50 XBH
Mar: .272/.375/.451, 15 HR, 47 XBH

Ron: .280/.389/.474, 17 HR

Bobby Abreu
2007: .283/.369/.445, 16 HR, 61 XBH, 84 BB
Jam: .285/.399/.463, 20 HR, 64 XBH, 110 BB
Zips: .284/.391/.445, 17 HR, 56 XBH, 99 BB 
Cho: .268/.375/.422, 16 HR, 51 XBH, 91 BB
Mar: .282/.386/.446, 15 HR, 52 XBH, 88 BB

Ron: .291/.397/.466, 17 HR, 23 SB

Designated Hitter

David Ortiz
2007: .332/.445/.621, 35 HR, 88 XBH, 111 BB
Jam: .298/.407/.587, 41 HR, 87 XBH, 106 BB
Zips: .297/.400/.593, 44 HR, 82 XBH, 97 BB
Cho: .301/.417/.595, 39 HR, 77 XBH, 102 BB
Mar: .299/.407/.576, 34 HR, 70 XBH, 92 BB

Ron: .304/.417/.602, 40 HR

Jason Giambi
2007: .236/.356/.433, 14 HR, 22 XBH (in 303 PA)
Jam: .249/.400/.493, 25 HR, 43 XBH
Zips: .241/.398/482, 23 HR, 36 XBH
Cho: .246/.392/.474, 21 HR, 34 XBH
Mar: .251/.386/.477, 20 HR, 35 XBH

Ron: .239/.363/.459, 18 HR

Starter No. 1

Josh Beckett
2007: 200.2 IP, 194 K, 40 BB, 3.27/1.14/.250 (ERA/WHIP/BAA)
Jam: 203.0 IP, 187 K, 64 BB, 3.50/1.22/.243
Zips: 191.0 IP, 172 K, 54 BB, 3.77/1.23/.240
Cho: 197.0 IP, 169 K, 50 BB, 3.79/1.23/.257
Mar: 181.0 IP, 159 K, 53 BB, 3.88/1.23/.250

Ron: 203.0 IP, 198 K, 3.55/1.21/.248

Chien-Ming Wang
2007: 199.1 IP, 104 K, 59 BB, 3.70/1.29/.261
Jam: 204.0 IP, 89 K, 55 BB, 3.75/1.32/.272
Zips: 200.0 IP, 87 K, 53 BB, 3.91/1.33/.262
Cho: 189.0 IP, 96 K, 55 BB, 4.33/1.44/.289
Mar: 181.0 IP, 92 K, 53 BB, 3.83/1.31/.265

Ron: 203.0 IP, 102 K, 3.81/1.33/.271

Starter No. 2

Joha Daisuke Matsuzaka
2007: 204.2 IP, 201 K, 80 BB, 4.40/1.32/.249
Jam: 193.0 IP, 188 K, 64 BB, 3.54/1.23/.241
Zips: 196.0 IP, 177 K, 60 BB, 3.95/1.27/.243
Cho: 196.0 IP, 185 K, 67 BB, 3.99/1.32/.258
Mar: 162.0 IP, 148 K, 62 BB, 4.33/1.35/.255

Ron: 203.0 IP, 211 K, 3.72/1.23/.240

Andy Pettitte
2007:  215.1 IP,  141 K, 69 BB, 4.05/1.43/.282
Jam: 205.0 IP, 156 K, 58 BB, 3.78/1.32/.268
Zips: 213.0 IP, 141 K, 62 BB, 4.06/1.36/.263
Cho: 199.0 IP, 132 K, 66 BB, 4.57/1.47/.288
Mar: 188.0 IP, 135 K, 59 BB, 4.21/1.40/.279

Ron: 203.0 IP, 143 K, 4.12/1.40/.274

Starter No. 3

Curt Schilling
2007: 151.0 IP, 101 K, 23 BB, 3.87/1.25/.279
Jam: 160.0 IP, 150 K, 25 BB, 3.54/1.16/.263
Zips: 178.0 IP, 146 K, 26 BB, 4.25/1.22/.263
Cho: 164.0 IP, 117 K, 32 BB, 4.39/1.31/.284
Mar: 151.0 IP, 115 K, 32 BB, 4.47/1.34/.287

Ron: 160.0 IP, 111 K, 4.01/1.29/.278

Philip Hughes
2007: 72.2 IP, 58 K, 29 BB, 4.46/1.28/.238
Jam: No projection
Zips: 141.0 IP, 106 K, 40 BB, 3.70/1.25/.243
Cho: 104.0 IP, 90 K, 41 BB, 4.24/1.38/.260
Mar: 96.0 IP, 77 K, 35 BB, 4.13/1.30/.250

Ron: 160.0 IP, 144 K, 4.12/1.29/.248

Starter No. 4

Tim Wakefield
2007: 189.0 IP, 110 K, 64 BB, 4.76/1.35/.264
Jam: 181.0 IP, 123 K, 63 BB, 4.03/1.31/.254
Zips: 185.0 IP, 117 K, 65 BB, 4.62/1.39/.257
Cho: 178.0 IP, 106 K, 64 BB, 4.75/1.42/.274
Mar: 169.0 IP, 106 K, 62 BB, 4.69/1.40/.267

Ron: 160.0 IP, 94 K, 4.91/1.46/.279

Mike Mussina
2007: 152.0 IP, 91 K, 35 BB, 5.15/1.47/.305
Jam: 154.0 IP, 124 K, 33 BB, 3.74/1.25/.268
Zips: 171.0 IP, 112 K, 41 BB, 4.74/1.38/.275
Cho: 163.0 IP, 109 K, 42 BB, 4.53/1.39/.287
Mar: 155.0 IP, 113 K, 40 BB, 4.53/1.38/.285

Ron: 145.0 IP, 100 K, 4.53/1.37/.284

Starter No. 5

Jon Lester
2007: 63.0 IP, 50 K, 31 BB, 4.57/1.46/.256
Jam: 175.0 IP, 149 K, 89 BB, 4.42/1.50/.260
Zips: 148.0 IP, 100 K, 75 BB, 4.93/1.57/.262
Cho: 138.0 IP, 101 K, 69 BB, 5.09/1.60/.281
Mar: 98.0 IP, 77 K, 43 BB, 4.50/1.45/.264

Ron: 160.0 IP, 122 K, 4.39/1.53/.271

Ian Kennedy (as reports seem to have Chamberlain starting in the pen)
2007: 19.0 IP, 15 K, 9 BB, 1.89/1.16/.195
Jam: No projection
Zips: 148.0 IP, 94 K, 42 BB, 4.38/1.35/.262
Cho: 92.0 IP, 82 K, 44 BB, 4.50/1.48/.262
Mar: 69.0 IP, 53 K, 26 BB, 4.04/1.33/.253

Ron: 145.0 IP, 126 K, 4.16/1.36/.252

Rookie Studs Likely to Be Starting By August

Clay Buchholz
2007: 22.2 IP, 22 K, 10 BB, 1.59/1.06/.180
Jam: No projection
Zips:  135.0 IP, 120 K, 53 BB, 4.47/1.39/.249
Cho: 107.0 IP, 103 K, 45 BB, 4.46/1.44/.265
Mar: 63.0 IP, 51 K, 23 BB, 3.86/1.29/.246

Ron: 136.0 IP, 129 K, 3.97/1.35/.260

Joba Chamberlain
2007: 24.0 IP, 34 K, 6 BB, 0.38/0.75/.151
Jam: No projection
Zips: 134.0 IP, 121 K, 33 BB, 4.43/1.26/.253
Cho: 65.0 IP, 75 K, 25 BB, 3.88/1.32/.250
Mar: 37.0 IP, 34 K, 12 BB, 3.41/1.22/.240

Ron: 158.0 IP, 172 K, 4.16/1.37/.251


Jonathan Papelbon
2007: 58.1 IP, 84 K, 15 BB, 1.85/0.77/.154
Jam: 60.0 IP, 66 K, 16 BB, 2.70/0.98/.203
Zips: 63.0 IP, 87 K, 15 BB, 1.57/0.89/.178
Cho: 50.0 IP, 58 K, 14 BB, 2.88/1.10/.225
Mar: 61.0 IP, 65 K, 19 BB, 2.95/1.10/.218

Ron: 63.0 IP, 78 K, 2.29/0.95/.188

Mariano Rivera
2007: 71.1 IP, 74 K, 12 BB, 3.15/1.12/.253
Jam: 76.0 IP, 69 K, 15 BB, 2.72/1.04/.230
Zips: 75.0 IP, 66 K, 14 BB, 2.40/1.05/.224
Cho: 72.0 IP, 64 K, 17 BB, 3.25/1.19/.254
Mar: 68.0 IP, 58 K, 17 BB, 3.44/1.21/.253

Ron: 73.0 IP, 68 K, 2.61/1.05/.236

79 comments… add one
  • Great work Paul. Once again you’ve gone above-and-beyond the statistical call of duty.
    Is it me, or is Tom Tango the most negative, pessimistic projector I’ve ever seen? For both teams he seems to predict lower BA’s, worse ERA’s and fewer IP.

    Atheose January 16, 2008, 8:19 am
  • I was just thinking that as well.

    Brad January 16, 2008, 9:12 am
  • Generally speaking these projections are all pessimistic. Almost all of them call for a regression from 2007 numbers. Granted the teams are both on the older side, but some of these players are gonna improve on their numbers from last season. With just a quick look DiceK, Drew, Damon, and Moose are the only players that have what Id call ‘optimistic’ projections of improvement from last year…

    sam-YF January 16, 2008, 9:27 am
  • Paul – I also have projections from Ron Shandler’s baseball forecaster which i feel is up there with PECOTA. I can send numbers for these players to you if you want to add them to this post. Let me know…

    sam-YF January 16, 2008, 9:29 am
  • Sounds good, Sam. Send them on over to the YFSF e-mail address, and I’ll try to get them up sometime before the end of the day…
    I think projections in general tend to be conservative, and these are no exception. Bill James’ numbers seem to be overly optimistic, particularly when it comes to pitchers. There are things I agree and disagree with in probably all these cases, but I think the worst is the ZiPS projections for Drew and Manny. Very pessimistic. I think each would have to be injured to put up those numbers, and ZiPS does not forecast injuries or assume less than normal playing time.

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 9:48 am
  • note to self: draft Ellsbury for fantasy league.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 10:17 am
  • Those are pretty good “rookie” year numbers for Hughes. Is Hughes a rookie? Or did he pass that mark..

    Lar January 16, 2008, 11:16 am
  • Everyone’s saying Ellsbury will be drafted well ahead of what he should be. Better to get Melky, or Maybin, who will go a few rounds later and give equal or better production.
    Giambi also gets optimistic projections. But given his past down/hurt years he comes back strong the following year. Scary that the Yankees had the best offense and got almost nothing from him.
    Duncan and Betemit are a platoon 1B. It would be interesting to see their projected platoon numbers. From last year:
    Shelly vs LHP: .303 .378 .606 (33 AB, 4 XBH)
    Wilson vs RHP: .227 .341 .474 (194 AB, 22 XBH)
    Not too shabby, though of course Shelly was on a hot streak. Wilson’s number match the rest of his career.
    Damon, Matsui, and Giambi will all split time at DH, with Damon occasionally in CF, and Matsui and Damon splitting time in LF. Rumor also has them trading Matsui.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 11:32 am
  • Yeah, the 1B/DH setup is a mess, so I took the constant (Damon and Giambi) rather than mess with platoons.
    I think it is a safe bet to expect bounce back from Giambi, but will it be enough to offset the regression from A-Rod and Posada? No one else in the lineup is really expected to vary much from their ’07 numbers, and they’re all getting older. I’m not trying to be a jerkface Red Sox fan putting down the other team, but that lineup is old and getting older (except for Cabrera and Cano), and its two best hitters don’t have much room for improvement over 2007.
    Conversely, I feel pretty optimistic about the Sox’ lineup (though it, too, has its age problems). I expect regression from Pedroia and Lowell (probably significant in Lowell’s case), but Lugo and Drew have nowhere to go but up, Manny’s likely to bounce back, and Ellsbury’s an improvement over Crisp. My conundrum is Big Papi. He was injured last year and still put up a career-high OPS+ (even moreso when you consider that OPS and OPS+ undervalue OBP). This year, he should be healthy, but can we really expect another 171? It seems he has nowhere to go but down, but we’ve been saying that every year since 2004 basically. I’m just afraid, with him in his early 30s, when that slope begins and how sudden it will be once it does.

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 12:51 pm
  • “Manny’s likely to bounce back”
    Not trying to be a jerkface Yanks fan myself, but I’m not so sure about this. At a certain point people age and decline–even Manny–and as someone who had him on his fantasy team last season and watched him closely, I wonder if that bat has finally slowed down.
    One of the things that would help counter the expected regressions of players like A-Rod and Posada would be for the Yanks to get a halfway decent bat in at first. I hold out hope that Cashman somehow fixes that situation. I’m also secretly holding out hope that Betemit finally fulfills his potential and has a break-out season.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 1:03 pm
  • “One of the things that would help counter the expected regressions of players like A-Rod and Posada would be for the Yanks to get a halfway decent bat in at first.”
    That Duncan/Betemit platoon represents exactly that. Youkilis put up a .843 OPS with 53 XBH and was a top 5 1Bman in the very weak AL. Now go and project out the Shelly/Betemit combo and that line is exactly what they can give. Betemit is a bit worse with OBP, but hits for a better SLG. Shelly crushes LHP. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them put up a .875 OPS if used correctly.
    Also, Damon is likely to hit better. So between him, 1B, and Giambi plus continued improvement from the kids they should be able to offset any regression from Jorge and A-Rod, and even Matsui to an extent.
    I agree on the Sox analysis.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • I’m a bit pessimistic about Duncan’s staying power at first because of fielding issues. I have a feeling that Girardi is going to put a lot of stock in defense and that Duncan might not be up for the part. I must admit, though, that I’m somewhat irrationally optimistic about Betemit.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 1:32 pm
  • RE: Manny
    The word on the street is that he has pretty much taken up residency at API this off season. I’m not saying he will certainly bounce back, but he’s trying his hardest to be in the best possible shape for 2008. Contrary to popular belief, Manny has always been a workhorse, some of the quotes about this off season make it seem like he’s even taken that to a new level.

    LocklandSF January 16, 2008, 1:34 pm
  • Sam, I agree on Shandler. He’s brilliant. I was a HQ subscriber for 5 years.
    RE: Duncan/Betimit
    I have little optimism when it comes to this platoon playing 1B. I can honestly say that infielders play better defensively when they know they have a guy over there that they don’t have to be perfect for. Neither of these players give that type of confidence to the infield. This team needs all the defensive help it can get. Instead it’s focus at 1B is offense? Sure Duncan can hit, but he’s not a good 1Bman. Betemit, he may be able to play 1st adequately, but he is no Tino, Minky, etc…
    Historically I know 1B needs to provide some offense, but not on this team. It’s more important to have a + defender then to worry about MORE offense. 3 young pitchers, Jeter’s limited range and Cano’s sometimes erratic D requires a solid + type glove over there.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 1:45 pm
  • Duncan looked good at 1B! Heck, even the Torre Troll said so. No errors, turned 6 double plays in 24 innings, decent range. He can do it!
    People forget that Betemit just turned 26. He could certainly find some improvement in-line with a peak. I don’t think that’s irrational at all.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 1:46 pm
  • A YF: I don’t think any of your thoughts are irrational. I am simply saying I want defense first at 1B. This team has offense to spare, they can afford to substitute D for O at 1B.
    Duncan is an ok 1Bman, but over 162 games, or in his case 100 or so, his limited athletic ability and experience at 1B will catch up. 1B is not an easy position, contrary to what people will tell you. For me I would rather have someone with experience (ML) at 1B and sacrifice the O.
    As for Betemit, I didn’t question his offensive prowess. He could blossom into a hitter, but he’s not going to blossom into a 1Bman.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 1:53 pm
  • John, A YF was responding to my comment about how I thought my optimism regarding Betemit might be a bit “irrational”.
    I can’t remember where I read this but I thought he was viewed as decent when he fielded first base last season. Is he awful?

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 1:57 pm
  • Gotcha Nick! PS, I am getting behind your idea of signing Garcia. He won’t be back until June, so he fits in perfectly. I am not a fan, but he could come cheap and the timing of his healing could be perfect.
    I don’t think Duncan or Betemit are awful. But I also don’t think they are even close to what Youkilis provides the Sox. In the ML’s it’s not necessary to have a great fielding 1Bman, but on a team with questionable infield defense and a ton of surplus offense, having a sound, solid veteran 1Bman with a + glove would work.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 2:04 pm
  • Sorry, I don’t think there’s such a thing as too much offense. At 1B, defense is over-rated. That’s why 1B is where NL teams stick the hitters who can’t field.
    Duncan in a platoon would only start there against LHP. That’s 50-60 games, tops. Betemit gets the rest of the starts. Between the two they give .825 – .875 OPS offense. That more than makes up for defensive problems – even then the fielding stats say they’d be average. So you get a league average 1B with no moves, and maybe a bit more. Besides didn’t we see last year how much the bench suffered carrying three 1Bmen (Minky, Phillips, Giambi)?
    Youkilis is a good 1B but it’s not like he’s Donnie Baseball or Keith Hernandez or even Pujols.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 2:15 pm
  • Back to Manny.
    I don’t think he’s gonna bust out with a .330/45/145 season, but let’s not forget he missed a month with injury, and I would expect a decline with a more gradual slope from a player with Manny’s batting eye and contact ability.
    So I fully expect his 2008 won’t be as good as even his 2006 (.321/.439/.619), but something like .290/.390/.570 seems reasonable to me.
    As for the Yankees’ first base scenario, you can have a player who is below average for the position offensively as long as the gap is made up elsewhere. That’s why Mientkewicz made so much sense. You were getting plus defense, and obviously getting way-plus offense from traditionally offense-weak positions (C, 2B, SS, 3B), so it was still better for the Yanks. I imagine those strengths will still be strengths, so I don’t see lack of monster production out of frist (in a weak league for that position anyway) as a big problem for the Yanks. To me, the corner outfield spots and risk of significant regression/age-related injury are the big risks with the lineup as presently constructed.

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 2:17 pm
  • “To me, the corner outfield spots and risk of significant regression/age-related injury are the big risks with the lineup as presently constructed.”
    Doesn’t that same exact statement apply to the Sox outfield, and even moreso?
    Matsui is two years younger than Manny, and with one injury in his entire career. Abreu is two years older than Drew but doesn’t have anything close to his injury history.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 2:28 pm
  • Steve Goldman has written extensively on the idea of “making it up elsewhere”: basically, it’s a horrible idea. Anyway, I don’t think the Yankee offense is an area of “concern,” as some here suggest, outside of significant unforseeable injury, to which all players are subject. Even if everyone lands below their weakest projection, and 1b and dh remain unresolved, a lineup cored by Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Alex, Matsui, Cano, and Posada is going to score a huge number of runs. The run-scoring will not be the issue. Run prevention will be the issue. And I’m not sure how to project the Yankee rotation, and who knows what the pen is going to look like?

    YF January 16, 2008, 2:42 pm
  • Funny, I’ve learned a lot from Goldman on that topic. And I take away strongly that it is “a horrible idea” especially with an aging team. Goldman has also influenced me that defense at 1B is very over-rated. He wasn’t keen on Minky, and he hit just enough to make it okay. But three 1B was terrible for the bench.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 2:55 pm
  • I don’t think the Yankee offense is an area of “concern,” as some here suggest,
    For the record, the first time the word “concern” was used in this thread was when YF put it in quotes.
    I don’t think it’s an “area of concern,” but I’d be concerned that the Yankee offense seems a likely candidate for significant regression with no comparable improvement in any other facet of the team’s makeup. Posada and A-Rod essentially carried the team to the playoffs last year. Will they duplicate their seasons? If not, will the three kids pitch well enough to make up that difference, plus the smaller declines we might see from Damon, Abreu, Matsui, etc.?
    Although I wasn’t discussing the Red Sox (not a zero-sum discussion, to steal a phrase from SF), I don’t think your comparison is very instructive. Manny may be two years older than Matsui, but he still puts up better numbers. Ramirez is a HOF hitter. Matsui is not. Their decline phases should (and have) look(ed) different. Ramirez is coming off what for him was a down year. Matsui’s year wound up about normal. Regression to the mean works both ways. One would expect Ramirez to improve, Matsui to be roughly the same, maybe slightly worse.
    Drew, meanwhile, would have a hard time performing worse than he did in 2007. Abreu also performed about to his career average. So, again, if each regresses to the mean, Drew will do better, Abreu the same, maybe slightly worse.
    My point wasn’t to compare the Red Sox and Yankees. The Yankees have the better lineup, and the Sox have plenty of concerns (particularly if Lugo and Drew decide they like it just fine at their ’07 levels and one of the Manny/Papi combo gets hurt again). But from the Yankee perspective there are concerns there.
    As for whether “making it up” is a “horrible idea,” I’ll just ask: Was making up for a lack of offense at 1B with terrific offense at all the other infield positions the reason the Yankees started so badly in April and May, and then flamed out in October? They did lead all of baseball in runs scored, despite their hole at first base. I’d be interested in reading what he has to say (link?), but I wonder if Goldman accounted for the ridiculous lineup the Yankees are capable of putting out there at the other eight spots every day, thereby rendering a significant offensive shortcoming at one position effectively meaningless.

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 3:27 pm
  • I don’t want to sideswipe this thread, but at what point does JD Drew shed the “injury prone” tag? He’s played 140+ games three of the last four years, with the one outlier due to a broken wrist from a HBP, something effectively out of his control. That forced him out of the final 81 games in 2005.
    I have no idea if JD will play 140+ games this year, maybe he will, maybe he will miss a spate: injury is always a risk, and for every single player in the game. But Drew doesn’t deserve this tag at this point, at least not to me. He answered questions last year about his physical abilities, and I think this meme should be retired for the time being.

    SF January 16, 2008, 4:01 pm
  • I agree SF, not only that, but a lot of his previous injuries before the broken wrist were also pretty freak accidents.

    LocklandSF January 16, 2008, 4:11 pm
  • Bold prediction… (well, not REALLY bold)
    Drew is going to be a MONSTER in 2008.

    LocklandSF January 16, 2008, 4:16 pm
  • “Goldman has also influenced me that defense at 1B is very over-rated. He wasn’t keen on Minky, and he hit just enough to make it okay. But three 1B was terrible for the bench.”
    Steve Goldman can say what he’d like about 1st base defense being overrated, that’s not factual. Ask Joe Girardi if defense at 1B is overrated. Ask Derek Jeter if defense is overrated? I am not saying teams CAN’T win with an average to below average defense at 1B. What I am saying is on a team that at times has erratic infield defense and offense to spare, it would be very wise to employ a 1Bman with experience and a solid glove. I have been playing baseball my entire life and I have been coaching since I was 21, trust me when I tell you that at any level of play when an infield knows a 1Bman can pick it and play D they feel more comfortable out there. They don’t have to be perfect on throws and they don’t have to press.
    As for carrying 3 1Bman, that’s misleading as well. Giambi is NOT a 1Bman, he is a DH. He will play if pressed, but he is not longer an everyday 1Bman. Duncan is a 4th OF’r playing 1B. Betemit is a utility man playing 1B. This scenario is NOT last year’s Phillips, Minky, Giambi. Two of the 3 players you name can play elsewhere.
    As for Youkilis he made his 1st error of the season in October, so I would say that’s a pretty solid job of playing the position.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 4:18 pm
  • “I agree SF, not only that, but a lot of his previous injuries before the broken wrist were also pretty freak accidents.”
    Where there’s smoke there’s fire. The word you’re looking for is “brittle”.
    The point wasn’t zero sum, it was to counter this statement:
    “To me, the corner outfield spots and risk of significant regression/age-related injury are the big risks with the lineup as presently constructed.”
    That statement’s just as true for the Sox as for the Yankees, if not moreso. Matsui performed better than Manny, and he’s younger and less injury-prone. Abreu performed better than Drew and has never missed any significant time. To say only the Yankees will regress and/or have an age-related injury isn’t based on the most recent facts.
    “thereby rendering a significant offensive shortcoming at one position effectively meaningless.”
    It’s far from meaningless. That’s Goldman’s point, and I agree. Some days the stars produce, other days they don’t. You want the best offense you can muster to cover any shortfalls. To punt at 1B is inexcusable because it negates at least one of the significant advantages of having a star hitter at SS and/or C, and most especially because decent hitters who can’t field so well (the NL version of 1B) are among the most abundant prospects in the game. Chris Shelton just got dumped again. Jack Cust had a breakout year. Shelly Duncan had a .900 OPS in limited playing time.
    “Steve Goldman can say what he’d like about 1st base defense being overrated, that’s not factual.”
    Actually, Goldman can point to more facts. The difference in terms of game outcomes between a good fielding 1B and a mediocre one is far surpassed by the difference between a below average hitting 1B and an above average hitting 1B. A decent fielding 1B saves many fewer runs than a decent hitting 1B produces. Since the game is all about scoring more runs than you allow, 1B is not the place to worry about defense over offense. That’s why you don’t see very many all-glove, no-hit 1B’s. You see any team clamoring to sign Minky?
    “Two of the 3 players you name can play elsewhere.”
    That’s why they’re going that route instead of a player that can only play defense at one position and can’t hit a lick.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 5:03 pm
  • it was to counter this statement:
    You didn’t counter the statement. You instead set up a straw man. The topic was the Yankee outfield, and I said its corners have a risk of regression. I said nothing and implied nothing similar or different about the Red Sox.
    To “counter,” you said the Sox do, too. This in no way makes my point less true.

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 5:31 pm
  • FWIW, I think Abreu will put up slightly better numbers this season (barring unforeseen injury) based on the theory that his slow start last season was due to his spring training injury which threw off his whole game.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 5:40 pm
  • You were setting up a contrast and started by discussing Manny. If that statement, in your mind, also applies to the Sox, then we have no disagreement. Sure we could argue about which team it applies to more, and then we might find that disagreement again.
    But I did say earlier I could buy the reasoning that the Sox seem more likely to gain than to lose offense.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 5:44 pm
  • I don’t think to say that by improving at first base the Yanks will improve overall is the same thing as saying that the Yanks have problems offensively. There is a strong correlation between increased run differential and increased wins. My guess is that a first baseman with decent bat but poor defense probably helps increase that run differential more than a first baseman with a ppor bat but good defense. Regardless, there don’t seem to be that many first basemen avaliable who fit in that first category.

    Nick-YF January 16, 2008, 5:46 pm
  • “Regardless, there don’t seem to be that many first basemen avaliable who fit in that first category.”
    We’re back to the two-headed Wilson Duncan monstah!!!!
    Seriously, though, that guess is exactly what Goldman harps on. Still, this off-season alone Ben Broussard and Chris Shelton changed teams with the latter still available. Carlos Pena and Dmitri Young were available last year. Those guys are a dime a dozen. But Shelly Betemit twosome will probably put up similar numbers. That’s why Cash is going with them. After that, Juan Miranda may be ready mid-season to give the same.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 5:54 pm
  • Fair enough, A. I agree the Sox’ corner outfielders have age problems, but the rules of regression seem to indicate Ramirez and Drew have a better chance of increasing their production, rather than decreasing. I sense you disagree, which is cool. That’s just a different discussion than the one I was trying to have, is all…
    I didn’t know about Abreu’s injury, but he started so unusually terribly that it wouldn’t surprise me to see a more consistent season that winds up with slightly better numbers.
    I think Abreu and Drew are something like prospects in the sense that you could talk about them like this: “Drew has the higher ceiling, but Abreu has a higher floor.”

    Paul SF January 16, 2008, 6:00 pm
  • I actually think it’s splitting hairs comparing the outfields of the two teams. The production was very similar last year. I expect the same this year. I don’t expect the difference maker for either team to be in the outfield, unless Manny has a monster year. There’s also an outside chance that Ellsbury could be a truly disruptive force.
    Lowell was the big surprise last year. I don’t see him repeating that. But I could see Lugo having a similarly significant uptick in production. Pedroia and Youkilis a bit too.
    That’s the thing. There does seem to be more room for improvement from the Sox. I just named five in the lineup that I could see improving. For the Yanks it’s more like three or four (the kids, 1B, Giambi). Okay, maybe Abreu too. What the bleep do I know!?

    A YF January 16, 2008, 6:17 pm
  • “The difference in terms of game outcomes between a good fielding 1B and a mediocre one is far surpassed by the difference between a below average hitting 1B and an above average hitting 1B.”
    Who said all glove, no offense? I said sacrifice some offense. A good example of this is a guy like Sean Casey. Real solid glove, 6 errors over the past 3 seasons. Offensively he is a step up from Minky, lifetime .301/.366/.450. He’s a veteran and a pro, he would be a perfect fit on this team. In addition you can’t measure the comfort level of an infield with stats. You have to know where to draw the line on sabremetrics. Sometimes there are parts of the game math majors can’t calculate.
    “That’s why you don’t see very many all-glove, no-hit 1B’s. You see any team clamoring to sign Minky?”
    The reason they aren’t clamoring is because the Yankees are the only team with 1B labeled as a question mark. Every other major league team has the 1B question answered. So the lack of clamoring probably has more to do with lack of need then Minky’s ability.
    “We’re back to the two-headed Wilson Duncan monstah!!!!”
    Duncan has limited AB’s in the bigs, less then 50. While his numbers are impressive over a very short span, I wouldn’t call anything about him (other then his celebratory forearms) monsterous. Long term he is better suited as a bench player. The wholes in his swing will be exploited over time. Betemit lifetime is a .268/.347/.464 hitter against righties. (Just for fun… Minky lifetime vs. righties is .272/.358/.404) Keep in mind also that there are more righties then lefties so you want Wilson Betemit, an unproven 1Bman (14 games total at 1B) to play the majority of the time at 1B? What about his numbers warrants that? Also if Betemit is part of this “Monstah” platoon the Yankees would need to carry an additional utility player. It also leaves you with a problem in LF. Damon and Matsui will platoon in LF, but when one or the other is not in LF he will be the DH. So on those days do you break up the “Monstah” platoon and play Giambi at 1st or do you keep A. our leadoff hitter out of the lineup or B. a lifetime .295/.371/.485 hitter on the bench?
    Ideally we would keep both Betemit and Duncan on the bench. That gives us the strong bench that we lacked for the better part of last season. (Molina, Betemit, Duncan, _______)

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 7:01 pm
  • “Every other major league team has the 1B question answered.”
    This isn’t true. Of the 30 teams, only 19 had a 1B that qualified last year. Texas swapped for Shelton then waived him when they got Broussard. Somewhere Minky could find a job if his talents were valued. They aren’t.
    “Sometimes there are parts of the game math majors can’t calculate.”
    Those parts are all opinion with no facts. And I challenge you to prove me wrong! :)
    Sean Casey – last two years:
    2006: .296 .353 .393
    2007: .272 .336 .388
    Um, yeah, so no thanks. And Shelly Betemit easily gives a great run differential than that.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 7:15 pm
  • Seriously, if there was a RH 1B to be had, I think Cashman would have taken a flier. Actually Shelton wouldn’t be bad, but you’re just as likely to get the same production, if not more, from Slam Duncan. After that, you really want to trade something significant for Richie Sexson? He fits your criteria and the team’s needs.
    Giambi really is the problem and once he’s gone after this year they’ll have much more flexibility. Because he’s essentially the DH, you can’t put Matsui or Damon there very often.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 7:25 pm
  • First off Welcome Back Mike/Rob.
    “This isn’t true. Of the 30 teams, only 19 had a 1B that qualified last year.”
    Show me which of these teams is in need of a 1Bman?
    Angels – Kotchman
    Orioles – Huff
    Red Sox – Youkilis
    White Sox – Konerko
    Indians – Garko and VMart
    Detroit – Guillen
    Royals – Billy Butler
    Twins – Morneau
    Oakland – Daric Barton and Dan Johnson
    Seattle – Richie Sexson
    Rays – Carlos Pena
    Rangers – Broussard
    Jays – Overbay
    That’s the American League.
    D’Backs – Conor Jackson
    Braves – Teixeira
    Cubs – Derrek Lee
    Reds – Joey Votto
    Rockies – Todd Helton
    Marlins – Mike Jacobs and Jorge Cantu
    Astros – Lance Berkman
    Dodgers – James Loney
    Brewers – Prince Fielder
    Mets – Carlos Delgado
    Phillies – Ryan Howard
    Pirates – Adam LaRoche
    Padres – Adrian Gonzalez
    Giants – Rich Aurilia
    Cardinals – Albert Pujols
    Nationals – Nick Johnson
    That’s the National League.
    “Those parts are all opinion with no facts. And I challenge you to prove me wrong! :)”
    Baseball is not an algebra problem. Forecasts and numbers have been very helpful over the years, so I am not discounting them. But there are aspects of this game that cannot be measured in numbers. Numbers would never have predicted the Marlins would have won the WS in 2003. Numbers never would have seen the 2004 4 game comeback by the Sox. Numbers didn’t predict Jorge Posada’s huge 2007. The same numbers would have never guessed David Eckstein would have 2 WS rings. Numbers didn’t predict Okajima’s 2007. There are things in this game that go above and beyond numbers.
    Here’s some homework for you.
    Go ask 5 coaches (any level it will all be the same answer) this question:
    Where do you want your fielding strengths to be? Then answer is C, 1B, SS and CF. Everything past that is gravy. If you can be solid defensively at those positions you can be a very successful defensive team. Saying that you don’t need a good glove at 1B is like saying only fat kids can be catchers, it’s dated.
    2007 Youkilis (0 E’s at 1B)
    2006 Pujols (6 E’s)
    2005 Konerko (5 E’s)
    2004 Minky (1 E )
    2003 Derrek Lee (5 E’s)
    2002 Scott Spiezio(3 E’s)
    2001 Mark Grace (5 E’s)
    2000 Tino Martinez(7 E’s)
    Having strength at 1B instills confidence in your pitchers and your fielders. That can’t be measured with math. Especially with Wang as this team’s #1, infield defense should be a high priority.
    Casey’s Numbers are:
    2006 .272 .336 .388
    2007 .296 .353 .393
    You have Casey’s #’s wrong. You also fail to mention that in 2006 he only played in 112 games and had to adjust to the AL (.296 .377 .408 in 59 games with the Pirates) for the 1st time in his career. In 143 games in 2007 (numbers above) he posted very respectable numbers.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 7:48 pm
  • “Seriously, if there was a RH 1B to be had, I think Cashman would have taken a flier.”
    He did his name is Jason lane.
    “After that, you really want to trade something significant for Richie Sexson?”
    Never said trade anything. I never said Richie Sexson. All I am saying is that the platoon that has your hear all a flutter doesn’t give me the same goosebumps. Platoons are NEVER the answer, you know why? You don’t platoon when you have a real solution. Betemit and Duncan are not a real solution, it’s what the Yankees are stuck with.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 7:52 pm
  • Pecotui apparently does not realize that Manni is essentially in a contract year. Maybe their number generator does not understand the power of cold, hard cash to athletes, especially slighted ones.
    I run a fantasy league featuring Boston and NY past and present players only. My first pick will definitely be Manni, if available. Likewise, it won’t be Arod because since ‘he got his’ he should return to earth.

    Dirty Water January 16, 2008, 7:52 pm
  • Five out of seven were Gold Glove winners. The last seven WS winners. Sorry for not being more clear above.
    2007 Youkilis (0 E’s at 1B)
    2006 Pujols (6 E’s)
    2005 Konerko (5 E’s)
    2004 Minky (1 E )
    2003 Derrek Lee (5 E’s)
    2002 Scott Spiezio(3 E’s)
    2001 Mark Grace (5 E’s)
    2000 Tino Martinez(7 E’s)

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 7:54 pm
  • Who’s Manni?

    FenSheaParkway January 16, 2008, 8:25 pm
  • Wow, excellent post!
    Well, your standard with Betemit also applies to 1. Guillen (44 Games in his career).
    2. Billy Butler is a DH and a butcher in the field. There’s one possible spot for Minky.
    3. Daric Barton isn’t proven yet. Dan Johnson barely hits enough.
    4. Broussard was stuck behind Sexson (who sucks now). He’s far from a sure thing and he’s a below average hitter.
    5. Joey Votto deserves his shot but they have Hatteberg too.
    6. Mike Jacobs is barely average. Can’t count Cantu – he sucks.
    7. Rich Aurilia is a utility player and was pretty awful with stick last year.
    8. Nationals is actually Dmitri Young.
    Okay, that’s seven of the 11 where there’s just as much uncertainty as Wilson Duncan. And still Minky has no job!?
    “Where do you want your fielding strengths to be? Then answer is C, 1B, SS and CF.”
    Sorry, I trust Bill James over five coaches. And he says only LF falls behind 1B in defensive value. That makes a ton of sense to me.
    “You have Casey’s #’s wrong.”
    No I don’t.
    That adjustment you’re taking about in 2006:
    .245 .286 .364 in 53 games with the Tigers.
    Again, here are his 2007 numbers:
    .296 .353 .393, 4 HR in 453 ABs
    Yeah, no thanks. He’s shown nothing more than hitting singles since coming back to the AL.
    “He did his name is Jason Lane”.
    Exactly, that’s what’s out there. But he ain’t a 1B and he ain’t very good.
    “Betemit and Duncan are not a real solution, it’s what the Yankees are stuck with.”
    I beg to differ. They’re better than anything else out there. Cashman knows this.
    or else he would have re-signed Minky.
    Name some other possible 1Bmen. Casey ain’t it but I’m open to the idea. I just don’t think there’s anything to be had.
    And sorry, but I’m not going argue errors and Gold Gloves. They’re both pretty meaningless when it comes to evaluating defense. You raise a good point though. I just don’t agree.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 8:27 pm
  • I believe Manni is Lola’s boyfriend in Run Lola Run (or Lola Rennt if you’re feeling all cinema snob-ish). Everytime she yells out his name in that movie, I picture Manny hitting a home run.

    Devine January 16, 2008, 8:31 pm
  • Oh, and it’s Millar in Baltimore. He’s almost finished and Huff is a pretty bad defensive 1B.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 8:33 pm
  • A YF:
    If you can properly, eloquently, and convincingly explain why you have been publishing comments at our site under a handful of aliases (as well as anonymously) you can keep posting here. Otherwise your next comment will be your last one.
    Our Terms of Service are explicitly clear: no multiple aliases, no comments barren of any identifier. Your IP has shown up under several names, including variants of the “A YF” handle, as well as under other names that have previously been banned from this site and also completely anonymously. You have violated our ToS explicitly.
    So either you explain yourself in the next comment you post here to the satisfaction of the authors of YFSF (not just me, we don’t make unilateral decisions here) or you aren’t going to be posting here any more.

    SF January 16, 2008, 8:41 pm
  • I’m using a proxy from work. It’s called They must have a fixed IP. It came up in the first page of search results.
    Weird that you guys track IPs though. Did I do something wrong?

    A YF January 16, 2008, 8:47 pm
  • By the way, I’d love to see the Yanks get Nick the Stick back, especially since they signed Young through 2010. But Bowden is a bitch to deal with.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 8:54 pm
  • The argument wasn’t who Minky was better then, the argument was which teams have their 1st base situation undecided. So again all the teams I listed have 1B sewed up like I said. You are twisting the argument. I am not saying their situations are good, I am saying there are no teams other then the Yankees looking for a 1Bman.
    (I posted)Casey’s Numbers are:
    2006 .272 .336 .388
    2007 .296 .353 .393
    (You Posted)
    2006: .296 .353 .393
    2007: .272 .336 .388
    You have them reversed to prove your point, which is decline. But they aren’t correct, they are out of order. Casey is not a power guy, never has been. My purpose for wanting him on this team is not for power or offense, but his leadership and defense. Again, twisting the argument.
    “I beg to differ. They’re better than anything else out there. Cashman knows this.
    or else he would have re-signed Minky.”
    Yes Cashman loves his “Monstah” platoon so much that he went out and signed an OF to play for 1B. Yes, Jason Lane was signed as a 1Bman. “Signed to a Minor League contract, the 31-year-old Lane is a career .241 hitter in 497 games with the Astros and Padres. The Yankees envision Lane competing for their first-base position, along with Jason Giambi, Wilson Betemit and Shelley Duncan.” – MLB
    “And sorry, but I’m not going argue errors and Gold Gloves. They’re both pretty meaningless when it comes to evaluating defense. You raise a good point though. I just don’t agree.”
    The point wasn’t their amount of errors. It was that over the past seven seasons the WC’s have had solid first base play. Five of those seven are Gold Glovers. Now you can say the Gold Glove isn’t the be all end all in measuring defensive ability, but it certainly allows you to see that they are solid, capable, sound defensive 1Bman.
    “Sorry, I trust Bill James over five coaches. And he says only LF falls behind 1B in defensive value. That makes a ton of sense to me.”
    That statement doesn’t make sense, especially coming from someone who keeps using math as a defense. How many balls does a 1Bman touch in a full season Vs. the amount of balls a LF touches in a season. Just based on Math, you would think the 1st baseman would be more of a priority.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 8:58 pm
  • This from the Sporting News today:
    “Washington will look to trade first baseman Nick Johnson as soon as he proves that he has recovered from a gruesome leg injury that forced him to miss all of last season. Dmitri Young goes to spring training as the starter, and he has the extra value of evolving into a combination mentor-big brother to troubled outfielder Elijah Dukes. Johnson is scheduled to be the Nats’ second-highest paid player at $5.5 million this season.”

    A YF January 16, 2008, 8:59 pm
  • Who is Manni? Manni is Manny being Manuel, being Manuel Aristides Ramirez.
    Just a thought on these numbers: Until all the various services can come up with an explanation for Lowell, Manni, Drew and Beckett last year (just to name 4 obvious examples), maybe they should admit they’re just throwing darts.
    I really like Manny going into 2008.

    Dirty Water January 16, 2008, 9:04 pm
  • Nick Johnson is one of my favorite players. If Cash could swing that more power to him! I would love that.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 9:07 pm
  • Devine – You’re so totally right, I forgot about the boyfriend in RLR.
    You know – Run Lola Run, with its recursive, dreamlike story arc is actually based on a day in the life of Manny Ramirez. Except instead of trying to raise 100,000 marks, Manny is trying to return a movie to Blockbuster.

    FenSheaParkway January 16, 2008, 9:08 pm
  • “So again all the teams I listed have 1B sewed up like I said.”
    That’s not true. I’ve listed eight teams that have as much uncertainty as the Yankees:
    1. Tigers
    2. Royals
    3. Oakland
    4. Texas
    5. Cincinnati
    6. Florida
    7. San Francisco
    8. Baltimore
    Of those, four (Royals, Texas, Florida, San Fran) could certainly use help, three have unproven solutions (Oakland, Cincy, Detroit), and one is rapidly declining (Baltimore). That’s far from “sewn up”.
    My bad on Casey. There was nothing intentional there. I even corrected myself above. Still, that offense is just plain awful! It’s like putting Miguel Cairo out there for his belly full of guts.
    Your point on 1Bmen and World Champs is interesting. I just think that’s a correlation where you see a causation.
    “That statement doesn’t make sense, especially coming from someone who keeps using math as a defense.”
    Well, take it up with Bill James :). But I think the difference is the fact that if a 1B misplays a ball, it’s usually one base. If a LF misplays a ball it’s two or more bases. Still, I only know the James defensive spectrum. Last in importance is LF. Second to last is 1B.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 9:21 pm
  • Whew, we found agreement! I love Nick too! The only problem is that he doesn’t help the lineup balance as another lefty. And again, Bowden is a little bitch.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 9:24 pm
  • My bad, the Jamesian defensive spectrum lists 1st as the easiest to fill, after DH, then LF.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 9:29 pm
  • The James defensive spectrum is a relative thing, keep in mind. Saying 1B is the second-least important position is like saying your left ring finger is your second-least important finger. Sure, you can still put together a bookshelf, but it might be a mess. I guess what I’m saying is, don’t take the defensive spectrum to mean that positions of lesser import mean you can always “get away” with having pure hitters there.

    FenSheaParkway January 16, 2008, 9:30 pm
  • I don’t know. To me, easiest to fill means most expendable. And that fits my understanding. It’s easier to find a crappy 1B than a crappy LF. And I’d rather have a crappy 1B than a crappy LF because a crappy LF is more damaging to the run differential.

    A YF January 16, 2008, 9:37 pm
  • 1. Tigers – If you have seen Carlos Guillen play 1st you will know that he is more then adequate. He has been playing 1B for a long time, he even played there in the WBC.
    2. Royals – Billy Butler is one the most higly touted prospects in their system and in the game. He may not be a 1Bman, but he’s their 1Bman. His job is by no means in jeopardy or in flux.
    3. Oakland – Again Daric Barton is a converted catcher that can flat out rake. First base is his and his alone. No doubt it’s his job at all. Especially after the fire sale Beane had. Thick and Thin.
    4. Texas – Broussard may lose the job, but there is no question he’s the 1Bman going into this season.
    5. Cincinnati – Joey Votto. The number 1 or so 1B prospect in the game. Again it’s his to lose, but still his.
    6. Florida – Jacobs job to lose.
    7. San Francisco – Aurilia’s job to lose.
    8. Baltimore – They have Huff and Millar, no question who the 1Bmen on this team are.
    Again, my argument is that they are better options, but rather that they have their 1st baseman situation sewn up. I would agree that Florida and San Fransisco may look elsewhere, but with the product they are putting out there I doubt they do. There are bigger things taken into consideration when signing a player. Minky may be better then some of those players, but are they bad teams that know they can’t compete in ’08? Are they finacially strapped teams? Do they have rookies they want to see grow and learn at 1st? Too many variables to just say Minky isn’t signed, so Minky isn’t good.

    John - YF January 16, 2008, 9:38 pm
  • 1. Carlos Guillen has 44 games at 1B in his career, 36 of which were last year.
    2. Everyone says Butler is better suited a DH. Last year of his 92 games, he only played 13 at 1B. KC is a perfect place for Minky and even they don’t want him even after he had a year where his bat was above average.
    3. Daric Barton still needs to prove himself. Nick Swisher was can’t miss at one point too.
    4. Broussard was barely a backup 1B behind Sexson (who was awful last year).
    5. True, Joey Votto deserves his shot (even as he’s still unproven). But Hatteberg is still ahead of him.
    6. Jacobs is barely average.
    7. Aurilia is an awful utility guy. Much worse than Betemit.
    8. Huff is a DH (78 games there, 51 at 1B). Millar is slowly slipping into retirement.
    I just can’t agree with “sewn up” to describe at least half of the above. The rest have as many question marks as the Yanks. Minky would cost 1 million, if that.
    What was our original disagreement, again? Seriously, I’ve forgotten.
    I’m happy to discuss names of possible 1B’s for the Yanks. Nick Johnson is one we can both agree on. but what would he realistically cost? Bowden would start by asking for Phil Hughes, seriously.
    Any others?

    A YF January 16, 2008, 9:51 pm
  • Bowden would start by asking for Hughes, but you could talk him down to Kei Igawa and he’ll still think he robbed you.

    FenSheaParkway January 16, 2008, 11:06 pm
  • Papelbon was given advice by Mariano and little encouragement
    Papelbon cites Mariano Rivera–Commercial Dispatch
    “The Boston Red Sox can thank a member of the New York Yankees for one thing.
    * If it wasn’t for a little encouragement from Yankee closer Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon may not have developed into the type of pitcher capable of finishing a World Series game with a save for the Red Sox.
    Already a pretty good closer himself, Papelbon felt the need of getting a little advice from Rivera during the 2006 All-Star Game.
    * “Even though he plays for the Yankees, I sat down and talked with him for about an hour after the All-Star Game was over and just tried to pick his brain,” Papelbon said. “At the end of our conversation, he said, ‘Pap look, you’re going to follow me, but you are going to do it for a different team and just always remember that closers have to have a short term memory. You have to walk into the office the next day (after you blow a save) and act like nothing happened.’ I’ve kind of taken that approach.
    Papelbon, a former Mississippi State pitcher, was introduced to the Humphrey Coliseum crowd during Tuesday night’s basketball game against Kentucky.”….
    * From article in The Commercial Dispatch by Danny P. Smith, “Papelbon Can Thank a Yankee for Advice,”
    Ht : Susan Mullen and his blog
    Would Dice-k would do same thing and help Iguana {Igawa] how to pitch If He was put in that situation like Papelbon?

    Jb_Yf January 16, 2008, 11:12 pm
  • The difference, Jb, is that Paps already had the pure stuff to be a successful closer.
    At best, the jury is still out on Igawa meeting the requirements to be a successful ML starter.
    Plus, wouldn’t that require either/both making the AS team? ;-)

    QuoSF January 16, 2008, 11:15 pm
  • Did Papelbon mention that He try to follow Mariano Footsteps and Be The best Closer He can be?

    Jb_Yf January 16, 2008, 11:43 pm
  • Paul did you get my email?

    sam-YF January 16, 2008, 11:48 pm
  • Yeah, just put up the projections, Sam. Thanks!

    Paul SF January 17, 2008, 11:14 am
  • I don’t get the whole “another year older” tag to the Yankee offense. If I’m not mistaken, the Red Sox have a bunch of guys who are also getting ‘another year older’. In fact, every team in baseball has their players get a year older for each year that passes.
    But surely Lowell, Manny and Ortiz, not to mention Drew, Varitek, and Lugo are also age concerns, being on the wrong side of 30, and all but Lugo having injury concerns.
    The lynchpins of the Boston offense are all getting another year older. Manny has already shown the inevitable signs of decline and Drew, too, has consistently declined from his age 28 season.
    Surely we can apply the exact same tag?

    AndrewYF January 17, 2008, 12:21 pm
  • I think Dice-K’s advice to Igawa would be to start looking for a different line of work.

    yankees76 January 17, 2008, 1:14 pm
  • Overall, the Sox projections seem overly negative to me. A few players could only regress, but it seems to me they are expected to regress less than predicted (e.g. Papi, Lowell).
    And (just for example) there was nothing in Beckett’s postseason that suggested anything but a continuation of his dominance. The guy is in his prime.

    Anonymous January 17, 2008, 3:05 pm
  • Overall, the Sox projections seem overly negative to me. A few players could only regress, but it seems to me they are expected to regress less than predicted (e.g. Papi, Lowell).
    And (just for example) there was nothing in Beckett’s postseason that suggested anything but a continuation of his dominance. The guy is in his prime.
    Can’t speak to the Yankee predictions, except that I think it’s a bad bet to expect Manny and Matsui to have nearly identical numbers in 2008.

    Hudson January 17, 2008, 3:07 pm
  • Surely we can apply the exact same tag?
    Surely we can, and surely we did:
    I agree the Sox’ corner outfielders have age problems,
    But surely you missed the rest of my points about regression to the mean?

    Paul SF January 17, 2008, 3:24 pm
  • Sure, but why the Yankees as a likely candidate? As Rodriguez and Posada were above their expected performance levels, Matsui (a little bit), Abreu (a significant amount) and Damon (a ton) were below. Abreu’s season totals were nowhere near his career averages – why is it okay to say he didn’t underperform, but Drew did? If anything, Drew is following a more consistent and steady decline than Abreu. And if you want to take a month of Drew’s year and say that he will follow it up, why can’t we take the entire SECOND HALF of Abreu’s year (.305/.390/.528) and say he will follow it up? Likewise with Damon (.296/.364/.450) and Matsui (.298/.377/.515).
    Gosh, pretty much every Yankee had a better second half than first half. Granted, everyone not named Rodriguez, Jeter, Posada, Wang and Pettitte was really, really awful in the first half. But damn. It’s not hard to see why they were the best team in baseball for the second half of last year.
    Hudson – Beckett had a career year. Expecting him to improve on that or repeat it is a little far-fetched. Is A-Rod’s prediction overly negative? Surely, he is in his prime as well.

    AndrewYF January 17, 2008, 4:23 pm
  • Abreu, Damon and Matsui all will be 34 next season. Drew will be 32. That’s not a small difference.
    Also, Drew in 2007 underperformed his career OPS+ by 23 and his 2006 season by 21. Abreu underperformed his career OPS+ by 20 and his 2006 by 12. It seems if anyone is following a more normalized decline phase, it’s Abreu — and he’s two years older. Drew’s decline from ’06 to ’07 was much more drastic, to the point where an upward regression seems more likely than a continued downward regression.
    Also note that I also said in this thread somewhere that I wouldn’t surprised if abru was more consistent and thus improved his numbers slightly from 2007. You could say the same for Matsui and Damon, but I can’t see them improving as much as Drew and Lugo (whose declines were significantly off their norms). Fortunately for the Yankees, regression still leaves basically their whole lineup well above average at each position.

    Paul SF January 17, 2008, 6:32 pm
  • “abru” obviously is Abreu. :-P

    Paul SF January 17, 2008, 6:38 pm
  • Again, I agree that the Sox lineup is more likely to improve, especially when you consider how far Lugo and Drew were off their career marks.
    But of the two sets of corner outfielders, the Yankees have the better history of health since they’ve all became regulars.
    Abreu has played at least 151 games for each of the last ten years.
    Matsui played every game for 12.5 straight years before his broken wrist, then 143 last year.
    Damon, of course, has famously never been on the DL (to the team’s detriment last year) while averaging 150 games with 149 in 2006 and 141 in 2007.
    Drew’s career high is 146 games (in 2006) with an average of 120 games.
    Manny has averaged 138 games since he became a reguler with 130 in 2006 and 133 in 2007.
    While you could certainly argue that the Yanks are more likely to be worn down (based on playing many more games through the years), it hasn’t shown in their ability to get on the field and mostly produce. The Sox outfield, while more likely to regress to their career norms, are also more likely miss more games. To my eyes, there isn’t much difference.

    A YF January 17, 2008, 9:13 pm
  • I purposely tend to ignore health risks when I’m discussing projections because there is a health risk for everyone. But you’re right, A. As we’ve moved from individual outlooks to team-vs.-team comparisons, injury risk becomes more relevant.
    Are the Sox more likely to miss time? Probably, but I think the risk is small for both sets of corner OFs. Drew has gone two consecutive seasons with 140 games played (something Matsui has not done, thanks to his broken wrist in 2006). Abreu has a solid track record, while Ramirez is probably the highest injury risk of the group based on recent history.
    In all, I see the teams’ corner outfielders as being a pretty healthy group. I’d be surprised if any of them played fewer than 140 games in 2008.

    Paul SF January 17, 2008, 10:45 pm
  • I mostly agree. You can’t predict health. That’s certainly true.
    But at the same time, you look at histories. Matsui has suffered one injury in his career. For Drew it’s been a more common occurrence. So if I had to predict I’d say he’s most likely to get hurt. After a few straight seasons of 150 games, then maybe we can forget about his scary pattern. He’s close, but it still has to be a concern – has he left it in the past or is it still an issue? I think that’s a legitimate question.
    After that, I agree it’s Manny based on his eldest status of the bunch and the last two years. But he’s also the one who wouldn’t surprise me at all with a monster season – of both teams. As a baseball fan, I’d love to see him finally win an MVP. It is interesting though that his very best seasons (2000 and 2002) he missed significant time. It might be that he wears down more easily with more playing time, and that’s not likely to get better. He also can’t rest much at the DH slot.
    Still, I think the Sox lineup is more likely to improve than the Yankee lineup. They just have to be on the field.
    As we move into team-by-team comparisons, I think the bench could be a problem for the Sox. If Manny or Drew (Ortiz too) lose time (and 140 games is equivalent to one trip to the 15 day DL) it’s a steep drop off to Crisp (first off the bench?). For the Yanks it’s less far down to Damon (who’s likely to rebound a little bit), and even then he’ll be used to keep everyone fresh, including Melky and Giambi.

    A YF January 17, 2008, 11:16 pm

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