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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Girardi: “The expectation here is the same every year”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Feb 17, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Just got back from the Joe Girardi press conference. As expected, the bulk of the conversation was about attempting to repeat as World Series champions.

“The expectation here is the same every year,” Girardi said. “In a sense, you’re supposed to repeat every year… I don’t really consider (complacency) an issue because I know the people in the room.”

I’ll try to have audio and full details from Girardi’s media session later this afternoon. For now, a few quick hits…

• “I think our No. 1 concern is ironing out our lineup,” Girardi said. “When I say it’s a concern, I’m not concerned that we don’t have the players to do it, I’m concerned with where you place them.”

• There is competition on the pitching staff, but Girardi said he will make it clear that the competition does not begin right away. “Tomorrow the message will be, look, we’re just getting ready right now,” Girardi said.

• Interesting way to look at who should start in center field: It might have more to do with who is the best left fielder. Girardi said he has faith in both Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner in center, but he talked a lot about giving each of them time in left this spring. Obviously, guys like Randy Winn and Marcus Thames should get time in left field as well. “What is the best fit for each of the guys, not individually, but as a combination,” Girardi said. 

• What happens to the pitcher who doesn’t win the No. 5 spot in the rotation? “I would envision that they go to the bullpen,” Girardi said. He would like to have that rotation spot decided by March 25, but he’s willing to let the competition continue into the final week if necessary. Girardi also stressed that it’s not all about spring statistics.

• The Yankees will do another team outing, similar to last year’s afternoon of billiards. “We will do something again,” Girardi said. “Plans are subject to change, but our plan is to do it the day before our first game here.” Girardi said he hasn’t decided what the team will do, but suggestions of paintball and bowling left him feeling uneasy because he wants something with virtually zero injury risk. Nothing that involves running through the woods or swinging heavy objects.

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151 Responses to “Girardi: “The expectation here is the same every year””

  1. lets go yankees February 17th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    There are countless examples of baseball players looking absolutely lost in their first 400 at bats that went on to be very good baseball players. There are also countless examples of guys who looked incredible in their first 400 at bats that went on to suck.

    If you are writing off Brett Gardner after 400 at bats no matter what your eyes, stats, heart or anything else tell you, you are frankly clueless.

  2. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    From last thread,

    RayVT,

    You missed the whole point of my post. Unless you have numbers or baseball experts to back up your statements, I don’t put any stock into what you have to say.

    I watched almost every Yankee game last year as I’m sure you did as well. From my point of view, Gardner was an excellent fielder. The numbers back me up. The coaching staff backs me up. Why should I believe he isn’t? Because a handful of fans say so? That’s downright absurd.

  3. iiicollies February 17th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    repost

    RayVT

    Are you at Vermont Yankee? I worked at Duane Arnold for about 12 years.
    I was always told that VY was the closest sister to DAEC

  4. takem er February 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Maybe he should take them to “Mas Venus” it’s right down the street. I am sure their wives and gf’s will appreciate it!

  5. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Chad thanks for the update, good stuff from Girardi. It’s refreshing to finally get the season going.

  6. Tarheelyank February 17th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Stuckey
    At this point there is no problem. I am rooting for Gardner. I believe he worked hard this offseason correcting what should have been his strength, speed and small ball.

    How he got away from that is a question the organization needs to look at.

    He wasn’t my first or even second choice. But with spring training starting, I am now his biggest fan.

  7. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks, Chad. Looking forward to lots of spelling errors-free content! :P

  8. lets go yankees February 17th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Patrick,

    It is interesting because the only people I have seen asserting that Gardner was anything other than an excellent CF are a handful of people on this board.

    Either they are a brilliant minority or something is off with mine, yours, Brian Cashman’s, etc. evaluation.

  9. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Patrick,

    Like many things, we see what we want to see. ;)

  10. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Its not just bad routes, 1.it was turning the wrong way on a ball that was travelling straight. 2.Its the I don’t think I can steal a base now even though he was entered into the game to steal a base. 3.It is his lack of an arm. 4.It is the fact that he plays so deep because he can’t go back that balls drop in front of him. 5.It is because we see he shies away from balls hit between him and a corner OF. 6.It is because he doesn’t position himself on flyballs that he can get his momentum into to make a better throw as he throws flatfooted. 7.Maybe its because we saw him misplay flyballs into doubles.

    Gonna try and tackle this point by point. I’ve numbered them.

    1. Wow he misjudged a flyball over his head on a ball that was crushed off the best closer in the game where he was playing in, because most balls land short with Mo. Melky gave up an inside the park HR in his first game in the majors on a ball hit to CF.

    2. Stealing a base is more than just being fast, you have to get a good jump. It might have been too much to expect Gardner to come into a game where everyone expected him to steal, and think he would succeed right away. If he tried to steal and got thrown out I’m sure this would have been on your list. And learning pitchers moves, timing, etc is COACHABLE.

    3. His ‘lack of an arm’ is negated by his accuracy and quick release, which meant that he held runners from advancing on him and even collected a few assists. Melky has been unable to hit a cutoff man or reach a bag on target for 2 years.

    4. This is patently false, Gardner was one of the best in baseball at getting balls infront of him in 2008 and 2009. This is by the fielding bible.

    5. This is also false, he has made a lot of great catches in Swisher’s territory and nearly crashed into Damon/Swisher a few times on spectacular catches.

    6. Coachable. Also I’ve seen him get into a good catching position numerous times.

    7. No more true than if I had said the same thing for Melky.

  11. RayVT February 17th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

    iiicollies
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    I lived a short while in Cedar Rapids but never worked at Duane Arnold. I live in NC, & the VT stands for Va Tech. Nice to know another nuke type though.

  12. lets go yankees February 17th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    tarheel,

    The argument is not who is rooting for Brett Gardner.

    It is that you have cast off Brett Gardner as a terrible baseball player after less than 400 at bats because your eyes tell you he will never amount to anything.

  13. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Like many things, we see what we want to see.

    I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain…

  14. Tom in NJ February 17th, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    But Gardner misplayed that ball in the WS!

    This proves to ME! that he cannot field!

  15. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    But Gardner misplayed that ball in the WS!

    But Gardner caught that ball in the World Series in Philly! Best centerfielder ever!!

  16. Tom in NJ February 17th, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Blade Runner?

  17. Bronx Jeers February 17th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Chance the Gardener was one of the best political stragetists this country has ever seen.

    There will be growth in the Spring!

  18. Christina February 17th, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Good stuff Chad. Thanks for the updates, as always.

  19. jetmacClutch February 17th, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    I hope hughes gets back up to 160 innings as well as seeing joba show he can get up to 185 wiht no signs of injury

  20. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Very happy to hear that they’re definitely doing another group outing. Everybody raved about it last year, and it seemed to work wonders ;)

  21. TJ February 17th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    if anyone wants to join a Yahoo fantasy baseball league that involves real money- $25 using leaguesafe.com

    LEAGUE ID: 169502
    PASSWORD: baseball2010

  22. lets go yankees February 17th, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:17 pm
    Well, seems to me that you can go to wherever you want to go for stats. And you can find stats to prove whatever point it is you are setting out to make.

    I simply went to Baseball-Reference.com. Simple stats told me he hits fb pitchers better than other kinds of pitchers. If fangraphs says differently, so be it. I’ll assume they each go about their business in a different way.

    —————————

    Doreen,

    You did not use any statistics. You based your argument on pure conjecture that pitchers try to establish their fastball early in the game and bullpen guys throw more fastballs. Where are the facts to back this up?

    Until you show us some statistics to back up your claim this is not about stats disagreeing or different methods.

  23. Abe Peterham February 17th, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    This snow is a little less annoying..because
    Pitchers and cathers here!
    Let’s get this blog loaded w pictures and audio asap!
    Thanks guys!

  24. iiicollies February 17th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    RayVT

    I ran the SAIC and GE software when I was there. I’m working in space physics now for U of I. NC? I did visit the McGuire plant back around 1998. Do you happen to work for Progress Energy?

  25. G. Love February 17th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    lets go Yankees,

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    There are a handful of bitter Yankee fans in this community here who are chapped that their favorite player/prospect was traded and can’t see past that even though they claim to be so enlightened about all things baseball.

    Gardner hit .270 last season. That didn’t happen by accident. He actually hit .270 over the course of a season where he was injured and lost his job while he was injured.

    If he hits .270 this season, he’ll steal 60 bases and be a major weapon.

    But those keen eyed “fans” in here can’t admit that to themselves and have to go back to his “bad routes” to balls, yet the guy made a spectacular catch in CF that helped win a game in the World Series.

    I don’t think Bret is going to be an all star. I also don’t think he’s some Girardi/Cashman mascot as some in here would propose.

    I think in an era of baseball where PED’s are not at the level they were and power numbers are going down, a player like Gardner can be a big weapon in the everyday lineup.

    But then, I guess my eyes must be deceiving me. After all, he hit .270 in at bats by complete accident. He also walks almost as much as he K’s which, to me, is a sign of a good hitter…AND he wasn’t even bunting for base hits last season. If he bunted for base hits, he would have hit .300

    But he’s past the point of development. He can’t possibly grow as a player. He is what he is, yet Melky was blossoming into a 25HR hitter right before our eyes and we’ll live to regret the day we parted with him…yeah.

  26. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but that’s not going to stop me from saying it. haha.

    I love the championship or bust mentality. I want to see it. I want the players to believe it. Breathe it. Be it.

    But I don’t necessarily want to hear the players say it. From Girardi to Cashman to some of the new players we’ve signed in recent memory. Let your actions and play do the talking.

  27. takem er February 17th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Man this is the most exciting thing.. it made me day to see that it was the day that P and C report.

    Hey anyone in tampa area? DO you get to meet the players if they play/warm up at the park across the street (dunno what it is called) not GS field but the other one..

    I’m thinking of a vacation to tampa!

  28. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    There are no ‘fastball pitcher’ splits on baseball-reference. All BB-REf tells me is that Gardner is clutch.

    .289 .333 .421 .754 in high leverage situations!!! (which is ironically better than Melky)

  29. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Daylife has a few photos from today up (includes Girardi’s press conference and Joba and CC throwing their bullpens)

    http://www.daylife.com/search?q=Yankees

  30. RayVT February 17th, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Patrick
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    I hope you are right!!! I just don’t think the stats support either of our positions.

  31. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Chad, thanks!

    That’s great- I’m glad to see the Yankees are making a tradition of playing hooky from ST. I agree – no paintball or bowling. I have to think now what would be a fun idea – I guess a pie eating contest is out.

  32. RayVT February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    iiicollies
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    LOL! Presently I work for both Duke & Progress Energy!

  33. takem er February 17th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Tampa has a great zoo and bush gardens. Not to mention, disney is 1hr and 15 minutes away.

    maybe they’ll all just end up going to the movies or to a fancy dinner..

  34. champ809 February 17th, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    and the bestpart is he was a ROOKIE!

    Gordan Beckham is the offensive rookie of the year in the AL and he hit the same .270!!!

    I venture that if Gardner hadn’t injurd himself when he did he would have finished the season with a .280+ avg and 20 more steals.

  35. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Betsy -Romine wasn’t built in a day
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Chad, thanks!

    That’s great- I’m glad to see the Yankees are making a tradition of playing hooky from ST. I agree – no paintball or bowling. I have to think now what would be a fun idea – I guess a pie eating contest is out.

    ************************
    I think they should all go to Disney World for the day. They’d all look very cute with those Mickey Mouse ears. ;)

  36. RayVT February 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    iiicollies
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Years ago I worked on the Plant Computer replacement (SAIC) at Catawba.

  37. Peter R February 17th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    I think Phil should be 5th starter and Joba go down to AAA. Phil is the more polished pitcher and has more pitches ready. He has also had more time in the minor leagues to hone his skills.

    Joba needs time and a place to practice his other pitches and get more innings as a starter where it wont hurt the Yankees. This guy was pretty much thrown right into the fire with little time to explore and expand his pitches. Go look at how many innings Joba had above AA. He needs more time to grow as a pitcher otherwise he will be stuck where he was last year…decent but not great.

    Putting either of them in the bullpen will hurt the Yankees in the future because they will need both to be starters soon and they will not get enough innings in the bullpen. The both need to get 150+ innings this year otherwise they will be going backwards in their progression.

  38. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    “I hope you are right!!! I just don’t think the stats support either of our positions.”

    Except they do..

    12.7 UZR in 2008 (that’s between LF and CF in only 39 games! Insanely good although a tiny sample)

    7.2 UZR in 2009

    Can someone get me Gardner’s fielding bible numbers?

    Not to mention the GM and coaches all agree that Gardner is a fantastic fielder. I trust their opinion on this subject especially when it matches up with what I see and with what the stats say.

  39. vey February 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    testing testing

  40. SJ44 February 17th, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    The game is changing, as GLove points out, in the Post-PED Era.

    First day my nephew is in Pirates camp and their on field staff and management tells him in a meeting how important he is to their future.

    They told him, “we have to have somebody able to throw out runners, defend and run the game. Offense from you is secondary. The game is changing and speed and defense are becoming priorities with a lot of teams. If you are able to do that, you will be a fast riser in the system”.

    Ironically, they used the Yankees example of Gardner and Winn in LF instead of Damon, (1.5 million in total guaranteed money vs. 7 million) as one of the examples behind the changing of minds in the game.

    They told him, if the Yankees are thinking this way, everybody should be thinking this way.

    I don’t know what kind of player Gardner will become. I do know that if he can become a productive hitter bottom of the order, play good defense, and steal bases (all within reason), it makes the Yankees a better team.

    Add the veteran presence of Winn and Thames to the mix and it seems to me LF isn’t the black hole some are making it out to be.

  41. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Maybe that is the Yankee Strategy? To get other teams to think ‘hey, maybe we should play terrible players at our positions, the yankees are doing it!’ but forgetting to realize that the Yankees are playing superstars at the other 8.

    “The Pittsburg Randy Winns were defeated yesterday by the New York Yankees 23 to 0, every starter for the Bombers had a hit with the exception of left fielder Randy Winn”

  42. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I find this at RAB yesterday, and just thought it was the most asinine thing I’ve seen by a baseball analyst (Neyer talking about the Yankees):

    Rob Neyer often weighs in on stories like this, and he did so yesterday. I do take issue with one thing he said, though:

    It’s pretty obvious that the organization doesn’t care about defense. That’s why they’ve got all those high-strikeout pitchers.

    original article: http://espn.go.com/blog/sweets.....bably-wont

  43. Betsy -Romine wasn't built in a day February 17th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Erin, I love that idea, but Tampa is none too close to Orlando, unfortunately.

  44. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    The yankees obviously don’t care about defense

    *replaces giambi, sheffield, matsui, blah blah blah with brett gardner, nick swisher, mark teixeira, keeps jose molina, baby jeter, and cervelli on team soley for defense*

    *is the new york yankees*

  45. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    lets go yankees -

    Frankly I’m really getting weary of this battlefield that’s been drawn here.

    I went to a site that gives statistical splits. The splits on Gardner said that he did not hit as well against fastball pitchers; it also said he had a higher BA in his first appearance against a pitcher in a game; it also said he had a higher BA against a relief pitcher.

    Yes, I did conjecture that the three splits may be related, in that pitchers may be showing more fastball to begin a ballgame. But I did not make up the split that said he had a higher BA against fastball pitchers.

    So, now, it’s not enough to look at SIMPLE statistics, but we have to go to how many different references to defend a position? A position, I might add, is simply that Brett Gardner may have some issues hitting.

    Might I remind you that I have gone on record as saying although that I am not the biggest Brett Gardner Fan, I am also very encouraged that he’s been working on the things that have been cited as weaknesses (including bunting AND being hesitant on the basebaths – and I’l find the article if you really want me to where he himself said this), and that I am rooting for him to succeed.

    I read all your statistics and I don’t dismiss them out of hand. But you dismiss me because my statistics aren’t as good as yours? And because I added some conjecture? As if statistics stand alone as gospel?

    I am not anti-statistic. But I am anti-snobbishness. And many of you are statistical snobs. You put people down who base their opinion on a combination of elements – statistical and observational.

    First one poster gets put down because she chooses not to get into a numbers war, and has a solid opinion on how she feels about a player. Now, I’m not to be taken seriously because my numbers aren’t from fangraphs and I had the nerve to take the facts that I found and put a value judgement on them? But my judgement doesn’t count, I am not allowed to conjecture because I didn’t use fangraphs?

    And none of you stats gurus out there EVER, EVER conjecture based upon your precious numbers?

  46. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    SJ,

    LOL. The legend of Brett Gardner grows.

    Thanks for the inside info. Appreciated as always.

    Good luck to Tony.

  47. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Obviously those teams who field low-K pitchers care TOO much about defense.

    No wait they are just terrible and can’t afford to outspend the yankees for good pitchers who strike people out.

    Does this mean the Red Sox don’t care about defense?

  48. tampayank February 17th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    “takem er February 17th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Man this is the most exciting thing.. it made me day to see that it was the day that P and C report.

    Hey anyone in tampa area? DO you get to meet the players if they play/warm up at the park across the street (dunno what it is called) not GS field but the other one..

    I’m thinking of a vacation to tampa!”

    I’ve never tried to go to the other park across the other side of Dale Mabry hwy but I have gone to the Saturday practices during the beginning of Spring Training when all the players are there and I kind of enjoy that more than the actual Spring Training games. It’s real laid back, you can hear the interaction between the coaches and players, and go back and forth between the 3 fields right next to each other where they split up the for workouts. They also still sell beer and hot dogs ;). A week from Saturday around noon would be a good day to go to watch them workout and do drills/batting practice for a few hours

  49. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    There is no fastball pitcher split on BB-Ref. Are you thinking of the ‘power pitcher’ split ? Which is just strikes out + walks 25% of batters faced.

  50. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    And for the record, I am not chapped or bitter about a favorite player being traded. That’s a part of baseball. Trades happen, you move on. I take offense at being lumped as some delusional fan who only deals from emotion.

  51. m February 17th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    There’s a fallacy in that quote. What do they call it when one thing has nothing to do with the other? Also, there’s a syntax error there. “they’ve got” What an idiot. :P

  52. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes February 17th, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Patrick
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:12 pm
    From last thread,
    RayVT,
    You missed the whole point of my post. Unless you have numbers or baseball experts to back up your statements, I don’t put any stock into what you have to say.

    I watched almost every Yankee game last year as I’m sure you did as well. From my point of view, Gardner was an excellent fielder. The numbers back me up. The coaching staff backs me up. Why should I believe he isn’t? Because a handful of fans say so? That’s downright absurd.
    =====

    Patrick,

    I can’t speak for the others, but I’ve been a season ticket holder for quite a long time, and I see these players live a great deal.

    RayVT’s experience watching Brett Gardner play defense is very similar to my own.

    In fact, his observations are eerily and specifically similar to mine and quite a few other posters here.

    We don’t watch the games together, yet, rather remarkably, not only are we flawed, by your account, in our individual perceptions and criticisms, but flawed in a nearly identical way.

    We both see tremendous speed and some catches that demonstrate great lateral range, but we also see poor breaks on the ball, turns the wrong way on backflight to dead center, circuitous routes on balls that require little more than a direct path, etc.

    Are we all just seeing a mirage, at the same time, in the same way, on the same plays? And in that case, can we even be relied upon to perceive the plus-plus range we’ve witnessed from him? Or do you put no stock in that, either?

  53. haiku-man February 17th, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    Now that Joe has his first WS win behind him, he *should* be less tense this year,hopefully.

  54. John in Ohio February 17th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    How about darts? Just keep Joba and Phil at opposite ends of the bar.

  55. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Are we all just seeing a mirage, at the same time, in the same way, on the same plays? And in that case, can we even be relied upon to perceive the plus-plus range we’ve witnessed from him? Or do you put no stock in that, either?

    I’d say its more likely you posted something about Gardner running bad routes, or whatever, and someone else read that. And now they are annoyed Gardner might be starting and Melky is traded, so they bring up points they read on Lohud.

    You say he took bad routes to balls, but did he get to more balls than an average centerfielder? If the answer is yes, then whats the diff? If the answer is no, prove it.

  56. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    But many players make mistakes. They misjudge balls off the bat, turn the wrong way, take a bad route (Granderson’s been cited for this), wave to the crowd and totally misplay a ball, drop an infield popup, and on and on.

    But they’re still playing baseball.

    Look Gardner’s not all that and a bag of chips. But he’s young, he’s cheap, he’s fast, and he’s on the roster.

  57. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    Bod,

    Ok so you’ve seen a lot of Yankee games. Guess what, I saw a lot of Yankee games too. Ray has seen a lot of Yankee games. Everyone on this blog has seen a lot of freaking Yankee games.

    Just because Ray’s opinions align with your’s doesn’t mean you’re right. And likewise, just because my opinion on Gardner’s defense aligns with several other fans (on this blog and elsewhere) doesn’t mean that I’m right.

    The difference is, UZR and other fielding metrics back my opinion up. The coaching staff, scouts and the GM of the Yankees back my opinion up.

    So no, I don’t put any stock in your opinion of Gardner’s defense. I don’t put any stock in any fan’s opinion unless that fan has expertise in baseball or has statistics to back him/her up. Why is this wrong?

  58. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    I think it is a perfectly acceptable thing to say something like, “Gardner takes a bad route to the ball”, but if that statement is somehow trying to support a “Gardner is not good at defense” kind of thing, then I just can’t reconcile it.

    But using single plays as if it defines all of Brett Gardners fielding (“he misjudged a fly ball!!11″) is retarded. He has made far more spectacular catches than bad ones. And metrics back it up.

  59. Erica - always OPPC February 17th, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Erin
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm
    Betsy -Romine wasn’t built in a day
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Chad, thanks!

    That’s great- I’m glad to see the Yankees are making a tradition of playing hooky from ST. I agree – no paintball or bowling. I have to think now what would be a fun idea – I guess a pie eating contest is out.

    ************************
    I think they should all go to Disney World for the day. They’d all look very cute with those Mickey Mouse ears.

    ***********************

    They should have a scavenger hunt!!! I loved those at day camp

  60. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    “Girardi said he hasn’t decided what the team will do, but suggestions of paintball and bowling left him feeling uneasy because he wants something with virtually zero injury risk. Nothing that involves running through the woods or swinging heavy objects.”

    That means:

    No GI Joe Military-style training.

    No Gator wrestling.

    No Skydiving.

    But does allow:

    Macrame

    Origami

    Or Darts.

  61. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Just for fun, if I were a ‘gut’ man.

    My lasting impression of Melky Cabrera would be his patented ‘pull up 2 feet from a ball with lips pursed, ready to play it back into the infield’

    Gee I bet he was bad at defense.

  62. Peter R February 17th, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    Erin
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm
    Betsy -Romine wasn’t built in a day
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Chad, thanks!

    That’s great- I’m glad to see the Yankees are making a tradition of playing hooky from ST. I agree – no paintball or bowling. I have to think now what would be a fun idea – I guess a pie eating contest is out.

    ************************
    I think they should all go to Disney World for the day. They’d all look very cute with those Mickey Mouse ears.

    ***********************

    They should have a scavenger hunt!!! I loved those at day camp

    ************************

    They should make popcorn necklaces, macaroni/paper-plate shakers and then play capture the flag.

  63. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Jerkface -

    Yes. Looked at power vs. finess AND time through the lineup.

    I made an assumption that power pitcher would be a fastball pitcher, mainly.

    If that’s incorrect, then I stand corrected.

    However,

    I still object to being labeled because I didn’t use sophisticated statistics to support my opinion. I seriously don’t know why I let myself get into this. I promised I would not.

    I have no problem with Brett Gardner being given an opportunity to be the #9 hitter for the Yankees while playing an outfield position.

    What is disquieting to me is that it seems like there’s this either/or stance here. You either want him to play or you don’t; you think he’s a star or you think he’s a scrub.

    I think he’s a player who has great speed who is being given a great deal of latitude because of that speed, and what it can contribute to the Yankees’ scoring opportunities. I have never said he could not improve. I don’t think he’s great, but I don’t think he’s problematic, either.

    I do think he’s not a good hitter. He may be the best #9 hitter out there, but that doesn’t make him a good hitter. I think he’s okay in the outfield. He makes some great catches and he makes some plays that make me scratch my head. He has great speed, and yet doesn’t but for basehits and is not aggressive enough when put into stealing situations. He is uneven as a ballplayer. Would love to see him improve.

  64. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes February 17th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Jerkface,

    Other posters are just mimicking what I said, because of some hurt feelings about Melky Cabrera?

    You sure it’s not possible that the player could be demonstrably taking bad routes and getting poor jumps that more than one person can observe?

  65. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Doreen,

    I don’t think they were referring to you (and if they were, shame on them).

    But there’ve been people who talk about Gardner’s game and say (I was a Melky fan) in the same breath.

    Wait a sec, didn’t you do that?

    Just kidding!

  66. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Erica – always OPPC
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:04 pm
    Erin
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:39 pm
    Betsy -Romine wasn’t built in a day
    February 17th, 2010 at 1:33 pm
    Chad, thanks!

    That’s great- I’m glad to see the Yankees are making a tradition of playing hooky from ST. I agree – no paintball or bowling. I have to think now what would be a fun idea – I guess a pie eating contest is out.

    ************************
    I think they should all go to Disney World for the day. They’d all look very cute with those Mickey Mouse ears.

    ***********************

    They should have a scavenger hunt!!! I loved those at day camp

    *************************
    Love it! I used to love scavenger hunts too.

  67. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I made an assumption that power pitcher would be a fastball pitcher, mainly.

    If that’s incorrect, then I stand corrected.

    You should stand corrected. It only looks at the rate at which a pitcher strikes out and walks players. I would assume most pitchers who strike out and walk a lot of players probably get their strike outs from offspeed pitches. They might not necessarily be ‘fastball pitchers’. Though they may have good fastballs. Gardner has good patience, which he often takes too far by being passive, but it would work well against a guy who walks or K’s 25% of his batters.

    A Finesse Pitcher doesn’t strike out or walk anyone, but in my mind a lot of those pitchers throw a good fastball and some junk offspeed stuff, but they change speeds enough to keep hitters off balance, ergo most of the minnesota twin staff.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if finesse pitchers threw a fastball more often than a power pitcher. Especially a power pitcher with a good curve/change (see: Burnett, AJ).

    I think you made too many assumptions on your data. Gardner had as many PAs vs relievers as he did vs starters, a testament to his pinch hitting/subbing in late in games. And there are very few ‘fastball’ only relievers. Lefty specialists usually throw more breaking balls anyways.

  68. Marcus February 17th, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    How the heck is bowling a dangerous activity?

    Seesh. Athletes these days….

    Back in my day, we would throws darts at eachother for fun. We even took turns bring the dartboard.

  69. Tripps78 February 17th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    The Best Yankee Lineup is with Granderson hitting 2nd. Forget on base and hitting vs. lefties, he’s a better hitter than Nick Johnson and he’s got a nice power/speed combo.

    Jeter
    Granderson
    Tex
    A-Rod
    Posada
    Cano
    Swisher
    Johnson
    Gardner/Winn/ Thames /Me / You / Him / Whoever – The top 8 is plain nasty.

  70. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Erin -

    I was thinking scavenger hunt, too! And if I’m not mistaken, they have one at Disney. Two birds with one stone!! :)

  71. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    jerkface -

    You have to at least give me credit for trying.

    But still, I guess we all end up seeing what we want to, even if we are trying to be impartial.

  72. Carl February 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    http://www.wfan.com/pages/6381135.php?

    Spring training audio and video.

  73. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes February 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    So no, I don’t put any stock in your opinion of Gardner’s defense. I don’t put any stock in any fan’s opinion unless that fan has expertise in baseball or has statistics to back him/her up. Why is this wrong?
    ===

    It’s not inherently “wrong” that you disagree with the poster, but you just sweepingly dismissed his comments, as if he made a general statement without backing it up.

    He gave you details on what he observed, so it seems to me you could speak to those. I had no intention of rejoining this circular argument – I really just weighed in because I thought you disrespected the poster, who gave you anchored reasons, which you ignored to invoke some general wash about “experts” and UZR.

    I don’t think the observable part of baseball by the fan is entirely dismissible in a baseball forum.

  74. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Marcus-

    “Back in my day, we would throws darts at eachother for fun. We even took turns bring the dartboard.”

    You’re kidding, right ????

  75. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Other posters are just mimicking what I said, because of some hurt feelings about Melky Cabrera?

    You sure it’s not possible that the player could be demonstrably taking bad routes and getting poor jumps that more than one person can observe?

    I’d say its a distinct possibility. It reallly easy to read something somewhere and parrot that information out. And it wouldn’t necessarily have to be just because of Melky, they might just not like Gardner for whatever reason. If you are looking to push an agenda, you try to get all the info supporting it you can. And what better a place to steal from than a blog where if you repost those same thoughts, you instantly have allies to help you defend your cause? That makes it sound a little bit more conspiracy-esque than I’d like, but I’m just saying. Its as much of a possibility as Ray watching the games and knowing enough to see Gardner taking bad routes.

    Like I said, I have no problem with assertions like that as long as they are not being used to push a falsehood. You have said that Gardner is not an ‘elite’ centerfielder, right? Where would you rank Gardner in terms of overall centerfield defense in MLB? Bottom half? Top half? top 10? bottom 10?

    He could get all the bad jumps and bad routes in the world, but as long as he makes more outs than other centerfielders I’ll take him every time.

  76. bru February 17th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    gardner & winn are not on the team because cash,girrardi & co said we got our men we wanted after a long,tough battle

    they were what we ended up with for a lot of reasons & salary is the biggest one

    you can talk all you wan’t about getting better defensively & faster on the bases but damon gives the yankees more wins(war) than gardner regardless of stolen bases,uzr,etc….

    if money was no factor not one gm or manager in the game would take gardner over damon

    now gardner might get better & damon might regress but according to previous years war numbers we are a better team with damon playing lf.

    it is not all about defense & speed

    molina is a better defensive catcher than posada but the yankees are not nearly as good of a team & would win less games if molina started all year over posada

  77. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    Erin -

    I was thinking scavenger hunt, too! And if I’m not mistaken, they have one at Disney. Two birds with one stone!!

    ******************************
    That would be awesome! Erica was the one who came up with the scavenger hunt idea though-I had actually forgotton all about those. I used to love them though.

  78. Wave Your Hat February 17th, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Time out for a kumbaya moment.

    Consider that whether Granderson or Gardner plays center, whether Gardner or Winn is the regular, the Yanks will field one of the best defensive outfields they have ever had.

    And on the days when Grandy, Gardner and Winn play together, perhaps THE best defensive outfield they have ever had.

  79. Erin February 17th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Marcus
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:13 pm
    How the heck is bowling a dangerous activity?

    Seesh. Athletes these days….

    *********************
    I remember from last year that Girardi said he did consider bowling, but didn’t want his pitchers straining their arms with the bowling balls.

  80. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    He gave you details on what he observed, so it seems to me you could speak to those. I had no intention of rejoining this circular argument – I really just weighed in because I thought you disrespected the poster, who gave you anchored reasons, which you ignored to invoke some general wash about “experts” and UZR.

    I can name more specific good catches that Gardner made than were made in Ray’s post. None were specifically mentioned. he only made generalizations, and only 1 was actually a thing (Gardner misjudging flyball over head).

    Show me an example of gardner being ‘scared of the corner outfielders’ or ‘failing to get shallow fly balls’ (which he is above average at getting based on data)

    his world series catch in the left center gap, and his catch vs oakland in NYS where he and swisher nearly collided are two examples of great catches (which speak to lateral range you mentioned).

  81. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    “I don’t think the observable part of baseball by the fan is entirely dismissible in a baseball forum.”

    I only dismiss observations when they are backed up by nothing more than anecdotal evidence.

    I’m sorry if I offended anyone but Ray’s opinion of Gardner’s defense and my opinion of Gardner’s defense are in total opposition. The only difference is that the numbers and coaches of the Yankees back me up.

    If I were to put any stock in Ray’s opinion it would mean that either

    A – I trust Ray more than I trust myself
    B – I trust Ray more than I trust the coaching staff

    No offense to Ray, but I don’t know him so I’ll stick with my opinion, the coaches’ opinion and with what the numbers say.

  82. Bodhisattva - Destiny Wears Pinstripes February 17th, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I have to go out, I’ll look at this later.

    Didn’t get to see your full response, JF. Will later on today.

  83. murphydog February 17th, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    “It’s pretty obvious that the organization doesn’t care about defense. That’s why they’ve got all those high-strikeout pitchers.”

    Silly me, but I thought that “defense” included pitching, seeing as the other side is the one with the bats trying to hit the ball.

    Seriously, all I ever read about former Yankees “ace” Wang was that he wasn’t an ace because he pitched to contact and good pitchers got swings and misses. Now the Yankees have “good” pitchers but they don’t care about defense? Where is it written that to be a good defensive team you have to allow a certain number of “chances” in the field? In other words, Neyer is suggesting that having a staff of strike-out pitchers is somehow not playing defense. IMO, strike out pitching seems like the best defensive strategy.

  84. Bronx Jeers February 17th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    “The Pittsburg Randy Winns were defeated yesterday by the New York Yankees 23 to 0, every starter for the Bombers had a hit with the exception of left fielder Randy Winn”

    That’s funny.

    I was thinking “speed & defense” are GM-speak for “cheap”

    As always, the big money is reserved for the big boppers.

    But I do like the “new game”. Homers are meant to be savored, not devoured.

    What I don’t care for is the new hockey.

  85. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Question for Statistically-minded:

    Aren’t UZR statistics less reliable, or even invalid when they are based upon less than 3 years worth of data ?

    (I am not looking to pick a fight.)

  86. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Belly alert! (and whose pants did Phil pull on this morning?)

    http://www.daylife.com/photo/0.....?q=Yankees

  87. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    “Aren’t UZR statistics less reliable, or even invalid when they are based upon less than 3 years worth of data ?”

    Yes

  88. Wave Your Hat February 17th, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    MTU-

    Do you mean as a forecasting tool or as a record of what actually happened on the field?

  89. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks Patrick.

  90. austinmac February 17th, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Lets go Yankees–I have significant doubts about Gardner’s ability to hit enough to play regularly. To suggest that makes me or anyone else who has watched him and formed that opinion foolish, seems an insult and an overstatement. Players are gauged from high school, college and at every professional level on many fewer at bats than that.

    I don’t like his mechanics. I believe he either changes it or will not hit. That is based on watching baseball players use there legs when they hit for the last 50 years.

  91. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    Wave-

    So statistically challenged that I didn’t even realize there was a difference.

    Care to ellaborate ?

  92. Patrick from CT February 17th, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Spring is in the air for sure!
    Febuary is a much nicer month to spite all the snow!
    The Sun is out both here in the north as well as in FLA.
    The Boys of Summer have returned to work.

    I sure do like the debates about Gardy, Joba, and Phil a whole lot better than talking about that guy that is no long on the team!

    For me, Joba is the #5 at the start of ST and Gardy is in LF. If ST proves that a change should be made, the team will be better for it…

  93. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    austinmac,

    I think what’s being debated here is Gardner’s defensive tools and abilities.

    Everyone’s pretty much in agreement on his offense.

  94. Tom B February 17th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    If one person is arguing using solely their “feel” and the others are using “feel+stats”, the “feel” guys are going to be screaming into the volcano, because you have no credibility what-so-ever.

    Use stats to supplement your argument. Don’t ignore them, and don’t be blinded by them.

    If your “feel”, your “observations” were worth anything more than the spit they rode in on, I’m fairly certain you would be paid to discuss your “feelings” professionally, and wouldn’t be posting about it here.

    So one person says “I don’t think that Gardener is a good fielder”. Who cares? I certainly don’t. Who are you? A scout? No, you aren’t, so your opinion is less than valuable.
    Another person says “I don’t think that gardener is a good fielder because x and x and x all point towards that fact” then I might have to listen, or at least check your facts to see if your opinion is based in reality.

    Person B has a much stronger arguement, person A literally doesn’t have one.

    Sure the sample is small, but if Gardener was taking such bad routes to balls and misplaying everything, this would surely show up in his UZR and other fielding ratings, but they don’t. Why is that? Maybe you don’t see what you think you do, or maybe it doesn’t effect anything the way you think it does? You are not a professional baseball scout, so your opinion is VERY LIKELY wrong, or at the least ill-formed. Why does that thought never creep into your stubborn little heads?

    If your whole argument is that “stats are misleading”, how are they more misleading than the opinion you made up in your head?

  95. Erica - always OPPC February 17th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Erin
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:18 pm
    Doreen – Ain’t it Just “Grand”?
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:14 pm
    Erin -

    I was thinking scavenger hunt, too! And if I’m not mistaken, they have one at Disney. Two birds with one stone!!

    ******************************
    That would be awesome! Erica was the one who came up with the scavenger hunt idea though-I had actually forgotton all about those. I used to love them though.

    **************

    Its cool. We are the same person!

  96. JSKYanks February 17th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Instead of playing pool they should all go see Avatar in 3D. It was awesome. Great way to bond.

  97. Erica - always OPPC February 17th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Erin-

    If GB7 & Randy are Statler & Waldorf, we should be the Two-headed monster!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  98. Erica - always OPPC February 17th, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    JSKYanks
    February 17th, 2010 at 2:38 pm
    Instead of playing pool they should all go see Avatar in 3D. It was awesome. Great way to bond.

    **********

    Didn’t you see the little movie before the movie that tells you no talking during the movie?

  99. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I am sorry for confusing you both, Erin & Erica. You both copy & paste responses, and I missed the “Erica” in one of Erin’s posts. :)

  100. austinmac February 17th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    M-As one who lives far away, I only see Gardner on television and it is very hard to gauge his jumps. He is obviously fast, but his arm is below average. I have a hard time feeling confident he is a as good as his UZR says. I hope he is.

    I was specifically responding to a post about his offense. Could I be wrong? It sure wouldn’t be the first time. Igawa’s scouts say I am not alone.

  101. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    One last question or comment about UZR:

    Aren’t the UZR ratings arrived at by the observations of human beings, or are they truly “expert” observers ?

    Are the people who do the rating scouts,ballplayers, etc. ?

    What makes their observations qualitatively superior to a “fan” ?

    Again, just questioning, and looking to be educated.

    I have heard this discussed here before but I was not persuaded one way or the other on “how” UZR was getting put together, or on the absolute superiority of the raters.

    I am trying to understand. thanks.

  102. Alan February 17th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Last year the team spent some time at a billiards parlor and it turned into a championship year. Why not do it again but up the stakes ?
    The top winners of a tournament get to have dinner at Bern’s Steak House, the best in Tampa.

  103. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Tom B -

    Not to beat a dead horse, but you’re saying, basically, that if you base your opinion on things you read that were written down based on what someone else saw, your opinion is more valid than the person who did the seeing but didn’t write it down somewhere in a numerical fashion? And that somehow the opinion of a person who uses his eyes and experiences as a basis for that opinion has less value than the opinion of person who adds statistics to their argument?

    So there is a hierarchy of validity of opinions on a blog?

  104. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    austinmac,

    Sorry about that! I think a lot of it is “if only he can do this, average that” Lots of hoping and wishing involved.

    But he’s basically a sophomore in major league time served, I think he can make the improvements asked of him. I hope he can do enough to become an everyday player because I think he makes our defense better (take that Neyer!).

  105. Tom B February 17th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Doreen, if you can’t understand how an opinion based on factual evidence(stats are facts, they happened, they are not made up, UZR is NOT a factual stat) is more valid than an opinion based purely on conjecture and personal bias, there’s no point in discussing this.

  106. Wave Your Hat February 17th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    “Wave-

    So statistically challenged that I didn’t even realize there was a difference.

    Care to ellaborate ?”

    Sure, no problem.

    Statistics measure things. You then ask yourself, can I predict what happens in the future based on the measurements I made in the past? Those are two different issues.

    For instance, take BA. Randy Winn hit .262 last year. That is an accurate statement of what he hit in 2009. Can I use his BA from 2009 to predict his BA in 2010? Not so much.

    People on here are debating how good an outfielder Gardner is based on UZR. Some people say that they feel he will not be that good an outfielder because they don’t like his approach on fly balls. Others say that despite any approach BG may or may not take to fly balls, his results have been good.

    UZR is IMO like BA, in that it is a relatively accurate measurement of what actually happened on the field. Now some may disagree with that, but I think the general weight of opinion among all people interested in baseball statistics (not just people here), is that it is relatively accurate, if you leave out catcher and first base and are cautious about certain positions in certain parks, such as left field in Fenway.

    Now, Gardner has had spectacularly good UZR numbers. So people point to those and say he will be a good defensive outfielder. Is that a fair conclusion to draw?

    It is, if what you are talking about is the results BG has actually produced in limited major league playing time, just like Winn did in fact hit .262 in 2009.

    It is less useful in arguing that BG will be equally good in 2010, because like any stat the more data you have the better off you are, at least up to a point BG hasn’t reached yet. To be statitically confident, you need more data. Maybe it’s three years, maybe its a certain number of innings.

  107. upstate kate February 17th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    hmmm…I guess the Yankees must be in very good shape if all this arguing is over the #9 hitter…

  108. Tarheelyank February 17th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    lets go yankees
    “It is that you have cast off Brett Gardner as a terrible baseball player after less than 400 at bats because your eyes tell you he will never amount to anything.”

    Show me where I have posted that. You can’t because I didn’t.

    One more time: last year on offense, He was overmatched at the plate. Not aggresive, passive, looking for walks all describe what I saw.

    On Defense, I defer to respected posters like bodhi, GB, Pat M etc. I will ask, how can somebody be great at defense and have an average to below average arm? Doesn’t the definition of great defender, mean all aspects of defense?

    Can he be successful? The jury is out, but I believe yes. Especially if he elevates the part of his game that should have been his strength, small ball and speed.

    And yes believe it or not, I ascertained all that by watching the game. I didn’t need one little stat to back up what my eyes saw. Amazing.

  109. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Tom B -

    Not to beat a dead horse, but you’re saying, basically, that if you base your opinion on things you read that were written down based on what someone else saw, your opinion is more valid than the person who did the seeing but didn’t write it down somewhere in a numerical fashion? And that somehow the opinion of a person who uses his eyes and experiences as a basis for that opinion has less value than the opinion of person who adds statistics to their argument?

    You are generalizing too much. No one is reading stats from http://www.tripod.com/baseballstatheaven/ that were made up by someone.

    We are taking stats either: catalogued by major league baseball or statistics fronted by reputable websites and using it to bolster what we see with our eyes.

    There are far too many ‘dumb’ sports fans to give credit to everyone who posts their ‘gut feeling’. Especially when they cannot actually back it up with the respected statistics that are available.

    I think its pretty clear the difference between “guts” “guts+stats” and “stats” arguments.

    I think it should work like this “Person notices something in baseball, forms opinion, checks stats to verify opinion, is either validated or refuted by stats.” At this point the person, if refuted, should LOOK CLOSER to see if they are missing something, but most just stick to their original opinion.

    Gardner doesn’t have a very good arm, but what arm I saw was accurate and quick and straight. People will run on it, but he’ll get a few people napping. This is actually backed up by statistics. Just saying his arm is bad isn’t.

  110. CountryClub February 17th, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Good stuff from Posnanski:

    American League East

    Best players, by position:
    No. 1 starter: CC Sabathia, Yankees
    No. 2 starter: Josh Beckett, Boston
    No. 3 starter: John Lackey, Boston
    Closer: Mariano Rivera, Yankees
    Catcher: Victor Martinez, Boston
    First base: Mark Teixeira, Yankees
    Second base: Dustin Pedroia, Boston
    Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees
    Third base: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees
    Right field: Nick Markakis, Baltimore
    Center field: Adam Jones, Baltimore
    Left field: Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay

    Best pitcher in the division: Sabathia. Edges Boston’s Jon Lester and Josh Beckett.

    Best player in the division: I have Alex Rodriguez just a notch ahead of Teixeira, but they’re really pretty close. There are great players everywhere in this division: New York’s Jeter, Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria and Crawford, Boston’s Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis, Baltimore’s Adam Jones, Toronto’s, um, well, Jesse Barfield? Actually, even in rebuilding Toronto, Adam Lind looks like an offensive star in the making.

    And the predictions:

    1. New York: 103-59
    Comment: Loaded. And loaded. And on top of that: Loaded. Take last year’s team — maybe the best team of the decade — and add Curtis Granderson and Javier Vazquez. Did I say loaded?

    2. Boston: 98-64
    Comment: Also loaded… I think the Red Sox have slightly better pitching than the Yankees and their defense should be awfully good. But the Yankees offense seems a notch better…. OK, I have to take a moment to talk about Jacoby Ellsbury’s defense. You probably know that last year he was voted as the Defensive Player of the Year by the fans on MLB.com. And you probably know that last year the advanced stats suggested that Ellsbury was, er, let’s call it overrated. He scored minus-15 on the Dewan plus-minus. His Ultimate Zone Rating was minus-18.6.

    Whenever you have such a wide gap between what you see and what the numbers record, there will be skirmishes, disagreements and complaints, and the Internet was littered with people who either mocked Ellsbury’s grand defensive reputation or, much more likely, mocked the convoluted statistics that seemed to besmirch that reputation. Take your UZR and shove it!

    And that’s fine. Except for this: The Red Sox went out this offseason and signed 37-year-old Mike Cameron. And the plan seems to be this: Put him in center field and move Ellsbury out. So, apparently, the Red Sox believe the defensive stats might have had a point.

    Read More: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.c.....z0fpBlDDAN
    Get a free NFL Team Jacket and Tee with SI Subscription

  111. m February 17th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Doreen,

    Oh, good point.

    But here’s the deal. People in baseball, like in the business, think Gardner’s an above-average fielder.

    They’re probably using stats, eyeball test, video, and scouting to come to those conclusions.

    Or it could be that there just aren’t that many good center fielders.

    But in any case, Gardner’s one of our best defenders. If people don’t think he rates highly, then that says more about our other fielders (including those that are gone) than it says about Gardner.

  112. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    On Defense, I defer to respected posters like bodhi, GB, Pat M etc. I will ask, how can somebody be great at defense and have an average to below average arm? Doesn’t the definition of great defender, mean all aspects of defense?

    Outfielders don’t need an arm to save runs. Infielders have to throw the ball to a base and catchers have to throw out runners.

    Outfieldiers have to catch a ball, throwing is secondary, and while it can be a game saver, not entirely important or reliable.

  113. Tom B February 17th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Doreen – in addition, there is a heirarchy of opinions in life, not just on a blog. Do you take all opinions with even weight? you just assume he knows what he’s talking about? Or do you tend to lean towards the ones that are based in reality…

    Some guy on the street in NYC tells you “Derek Jeter is the worst defensive SS of all time because I saw it on television” and some other guy wearing a Yankee staff shirt with the title “director of player development” on it tells you the opposite, do you believe them equally? No, you qualify the opinions first, whether it is by professional experience or factual evidence… or if the guy is literally talking out his o-ring.

  114. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    Doreen-

    “So there is a hierarchy of validity of opinions on a blog?”

    Many posters have as much as said so, or certainly implied it.

    Personally, I believe truth or knowledge can be arrived at in a variety of ways. The methods more often complement each other rather than exclude each other.

    For example, what would “Science” be if it either excluded
    Statistics, OR Observation. Two sides of the same coin.

  115. 7789 February 17th, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Gardner is a good fielding centerfielder not great. He does at times takes some bad routes to the ball especially the ones hit dead center right over his head. He can get better at that. But he has the speed to make up for most of his mistakes and he catches everything he should most of the time.

    The yanks have a lot of speed in the outfield with Granderson and Gardner. That is going to be an upgrade from last year. And Swisher has also improved his outfield play by the middle of the season last year.

  116. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 2:57 pm

    I am going to assume a new lohud name, possibly Monkfish Jones, and start posting as a retired semi-professional baseballer who follows his gut. I will have old timey anecdotes about the time Mickey mantle stuck a crawfish in my boot, and I’ll often golf with famous orington beavers shortstop Westy Finch.

    I hope I can then join the list of famous lohud blowhards who may or may not have been baseball players.

  117. Chad Jennings February 17th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    New post

  118. Tom B February 17th, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    Jerkface – I wouldn’t completely de-value a runner NOT going from 1st to 3rd on a line drive because they are afraid of you throwing them out.

  119. Patrick February 17th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    “I think it should work like this “Person notices something in baseball, forms opinion, checks stats to verify opinion, is either validated or refuted by stats.” At this point the person, if refuted, should LOOK CLOSER to see if they are missing something, but most just stick to their original opinion. ”

    Agreed 100%. That’s how I try to formulate my opinions.

  120. Jerkface February 17th, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Jerkface – I wouldn’t completely de-value a runner NOT going from 1st to 3rd on a line drive because they are afraid of you throwing them out.

    True, but an OUT holds more weight than simply stopping an advance. I think you’d have to stop a lot more runners than average to make up for not catching flyballs.

  121. tampayank February 17th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    “Carl February 17th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    http://www.wfan.com/pages/6381135.php?

    Spring training audio and video.”

    nice back drop in that 2nd video….for anyone starting to get world cup fever also, there is the 2nd World Cup Warm Up game next Wednesday night in Tampa

  122. Tarheelyank February 17th, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Jerkface should be a moniker, not a lifestyle.

  123. John in Ohio February 17th, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Jeeeesh…..Joba has a gut AND a beard. Almost like he’s TRYING to p/o the powers that be.

  124. MTU February 17th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Wave-

    Thank you. That’s kind of what I thought but wanted validation.

    I studied Statistics and probability in college and they always talked about 2 concepts:

    Reliability

    Validity

    Reliability referred to “does a a statistic actually measure consistently ?”

    Validity referred to “does a statistic actually measure what it claims to measure ?” “Is it accurate ?”

    It’s long time ago. Your passion seems to be application to baseball.

  125. Tom B February 17th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Jerkface – certainly. I’m not giving up the out for the arm, but it does factor into other game decisions. A lot of players didn’t advance on Abreu or Melky because, accurate or not, their arms were powerful and worth worrying about. Now, that might only save you 8-10runs a season… but if those 8-10 runs equate to 3 or 4 wins, that could be the difference(because of the redsox/rays) between winning the division or going home at the end of September.

    Speed will do what you said, catch people napping. They will assume a player won’t get to a ball, start running, then get caught with their tail between their legs getting back to the bag. It won’t put the same fear and hesitation into an aggressive base-runner though.

  126. Doreen - Ain't it Just "Grand"? February 17th, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I don’t want to bring this into a new thread. I don’t want to belabor.

    Tom B -

    Observation over time is not pure conjecture. I agree that there are people who go out of their way to confirm their observations by “looking it up.” I can agree that depending on where an opinion is coming from can add or take away from the weight I give that opinion. But what bothers me is there seems to be a little bit of going over the line here of actually devaluing the person who holds the opinion. It’s in the turn of phrase. That is what I meant about having a hierarchy of validity of opinion.

    I would also suggest to you that years of watching, attentive watching, not just having something on in the background, adds validity to an opinion even if the person did not “look it up” to confirm that what he saw was what he saw.

    All data starts as observation.

    Not all people feel the same need or passion for the data, or even if they do, they depths of the data that they seek can be different. Some people run to multiple sources, some simply go to baseball-reference.com.

    Of course I wouldn’t take the opinion of someone on the street whom I’ve never met nor had any relationship with without question. But my brother-in-law and my husband, who don’t delve into statistics the way you do, have watched baseball longer than I have. And we have discussions. And sometimes we disagree. Most times, even. And I don’t disregard their opinions because they didn’t look it up. And they don’t disregard mine. I will observe differently to see where they are coming from. If I’m particularly adamant about something, I will look it up.

    But when someone takes the stance of looking down at me as someone whose opinion is not worthy of a half-second of attention because I didn’t confirm my opinion in a book or on a website, or wherever, that is what upsets me.

    And, did I say, all data is first and foremost observation? You see, you record, you find patterns, you make assumptions based on patterns. You find more patterns to verify the patterns you assumed.
    But first you have to watch.

  127. Dark Dante February 17th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Okay I have to ask – who would win a Yankee paintball competition? LOL – Somehow I see Joba right in the thick of things.

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