General Baseball

Qui es Mas Macho?

We all know who this is:

R: 92
HR: 19
RBI: 66
OPS: .797
AVG.: .283
SLG: .343
SB: 22
BB: 38
2B: 37

But who could this be?

G: 117
R: 83
HR: 15
RBI: 70
OPS: .829
AVG: .266
SLG: .452
SB: 6
BB: 77
2B: 33

Hint: He’s also a middle infielder.

14 replies on “Qui es Mas Macho?”

I can’t believe you created a post for this. You don’t understand my previous comments. I was simply praising Jeter’s season as a good one – and it is a good one in light of his injuries and compared to previous seasons. I was not saying he’s the best middle infielder this season. Your comparison is therefore meaningless since you again have implied that I meant something which I did not write down.

Jeez, relax. I am just extending the debate, even if it’s my own. This is a free-form discussion. I’ll clarify, just so you’re not offended:
Jeter’s season = BFD. You are praising something that I think is just-above-mediocre sprung from an early season pile of dung. So what.
As an aside, do you have any guesses on who the player is? Prizes involved!

And so the point is…Jeter is worth about the same as Mark Bellhorn, who’s a lousy fielder and has struck out 140 times?

You know that a strikeout is no less productive an out than any other out, according to statistical analysis. And you also know that, according to the numbers, Bellhorn is every bit the player Jeter is this year, if not more. That’s it. But I don’t expect any Yankees fan to comprehend that, so you are off the hook.

Some statistical backup:
Bellhorn, has the second highest VORP among all second basemen, at 36.7, higher than Soriano, Brian Roberts, and others. Second Base in the AL is still a pretty weak position, which probably helps him. Even still, he’s statistically nearly the best second baseman in the AL. Surprising, right?
Jeter has the fourth highest VORP amongst shortstops, behind Guillen, Tejada. and Mike Young. Not bad, but with Rodriguez moving to 3rd and Nomar gone, you’d expect Jeter to be at the top or, more likely, second behind Tejada.
As for win shares, Bellhorn leads all AL second basemen with 19. Jeter is third amongst AL shortstops with 21. Bellhorn has played 17 fewer games than Jeter.
As for defense, Bellhorn is an average fielder, not a bad one. Todd Walker was a lousy fielder, despite his playoff accomplishments. Bellhorn isn’t. He’s mediocre – I don’t imagine you’ve seen many Red Sox games this year, and you’re going on reputation, nothing else.
Jeter’s defensive abilities have been a sore spot for me (to me his been historically bad, opinions of him skewed by momentary heroics), but this year he’s improved for sure, up to, at best, slightly above average. He’s not a gold glover even at his best.
So yeah, Jeter and Bellhorn compare pretty favorably to each other this year, with Bellhorn playing a weaker position, which makes his offensive numbers that much better.
Would I ever take Bellhorn over Jeter? Not on your life. But that’s not what I am posting about. For this year, they compare about the same, with the edge going to Bellhorn. This, I imagine surprises (and maybe offends) you Yankees fans. It sure surprises me.

First of all, I’m not sure whose sabermetric handbook you’re reading, but the idea that ks are no worse than other kinds of outs is not accurate. They are worse. (Go ask Billy Beane if you’re not sure).
As for Bellhorn, he’s not even the top second baseman on his own team (that would be Pokey, right?), but let’s leave that for a moment and keep in mind that Derek’s numbers, across the board, are slightly stronger even though Derek’s having an off year and Bellhorn has been on career pace. Otherwise, VORP is pretty meaningless when comparing players across positions, though my guess is that SF is surprised to see Derek riding so high in the SS category, despite his repeated assertions that he’s having a “nothing special” year that doesn’t “really qualify as a very good season on any level.”
Derek is our man, and he’s a terrific player. We love him, even if he’s doesn’t put up Miguel Tejada’s numbers (though Tejada wouldn’t put up Miguel Tejada’s numbers playing in the Stadium). Are we blind to his faults? No. (God knows he’s not the most patient hitter out there.) Will there be a journeyman who comes along every year and puts up comparable numbers? Yes. (Bill Mueller beat him out for the batting title last year). Are there unheralded—or less heralded—players who have terrific, even superior, seasons? You bet. Does any of that make Derek any less of a player? No. We’re not pushing a hagiography here. We’re just fans. Isn’t that a good thing?

I recall reading somewhere that a strikeout is, in fact, not worse than other kinds of outs. I have tried to locate the source of my reasoning, but I cannot. Regardless, there’s clearly no rhyme or reason to the idea of a “productive out” with regards to Bellhorn, because all that matters is his production in situations requiring some kind of productivity, and on this level he passes with flying colors. For example, a strikeout is often better than another kind of out, say, with men on base, men in scoring position with less than two outs, etc. It’s better than a double play, for example. And, if you look at MLB’s stats and the rankings for “productive outs”, you’ll see that Jeter is 84th, Bellhorn 95th. It’s ALL about situation, not just the action of striking out itself. So, does Bellhorn’s propensity make him less productive? Not really. Because, what is most important is to look at the context of Bellhorn’s strikeouts – he whiffs in few of the situations where strikeouts are typically looked on as unproductive: just look at his ability to get runners in from third with less than two outs for a primer. In addition, you should look at his K/BB ratio to help understand exactly what his mindset is at the plate, and why the amount of his strikeouts, while glaring on the page, reflects something far more important: an ability to stretch at-bats in the interest of getting on base. His OPS, OBP, and BA are all surprisingly high, despite the bold number of Ks. He seems to defy conventional wisdom (watching him leave the bat on the shoulder is maddening, but not necessarily the worst thing that could happen in any given at-bat), but all he’s is doing is carrying out one tenet of Beaneism – get on base. And that gets us to the issue of bringing up Billy Beane. I am pretty sure Beane would love to have a guy like Bellhorn on his team, if he knew he was going to produce Bellhorn’s 2004 numbers, strikeouts be damned. In the end, looking at Bellhorn’s K totals and dismissing him because of them is not sound as an argument. It’s simplistic analysis.

Bellhorn is a far better player then Pokey. Many people suspected that at the beginning of the season, and now everyone including Francona understands it. Pokey is benched for now.

Just a few stats to add to the argument.
With a runner on third and less than two outs, the only real time in which a strikeout is almost always less desirable than a regular out, Mark Bellhorn has the following line:
AB: 25
BA: .440
OBP .500
SLG: 1.000
OPS: 1.500
SO: 1
…so, in the only situation in which strikeouts are significant, Bellhorn doesn’t strike out. Admittedly, that’s a small sample size, but it’s still telling.
As a sidenote, Jeter has the following statistics in that situation:
AB: 25
BA: .200
OBP: .241
SLG: .200
OPS: .441
SO: 8
Of course, that’s just this year, which has undoubtedly been an off one for Jeter. His three year splits place his OPS more than 400 points higher, and he’s only struck out eleven times. I can’t really find his career numbers for that.
…not that I’m trying to be biased, but the stats are interesting, and worth considering in the “Does Bellhorn suck because of his strikeouts?” argument.

Joe definitely gets an A+ on this homework assignment. I would say, however, that man on third, less than two outs is hardly the only time when the strikeout is the less desirable (out)come. In nearly any situation with a runner on board, it’s a problem, because runnners don’t advance, and the fear of strikeout/thowout situations keeps runners tethered to bases. On the other hand, it probably means fewer DPs.

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