Saturday, April 30, 2016

Joe Girardi's Achilles heel: the shift.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi may have some culpability in the failures of his team. Below is a reference to an article showing that the Yankees are the most inept in dealing with the shift. But first a few references to my tirades about this dumb phenomenon, which is becoming even more ridiculous through recent discussions about banning the shift.
Photo of Joe Girardi
Shift fear: why are managers afraid to order their batters to bunt against the shift? Thursday, April 10, 2014

Managers are no longer afraid to deploy the shift on defense but they are afraid to order their batters to bunt against the shift. What gives?


Shift fear up the chain of command: why are general managers afraid to order their managers to order their batters to bunt against the shift? Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Maybe former players like Oakland GM Billy Beane should not be general managers any more than field managers should not be former players. That's the next logical conclusion ...


Does Mark Teixeira think he's better than Mickey Mantle and Ted Williams? Bunt the damn ball into the ocean! Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bunt. There are no fielders there! Just bunt and get on base!


Mark Teixeira, John Smoltz says lefty batters can easily bunt for hits against the extreme shift. Sunday, March 1, 2015

For Girardi, Yankees' shift woes may be behind call for ban on strategy

BY JAY JAFFE Wed April 27, 2016

"It is an illegal defense, like basketball. Guard your man, guard your spot. If I were commissioner, they would be illegal." Girardi, though, conceded he wouldn't stop using shifts so long as the tactic remains legal.

Girardi's frustration is understandable, but only because the Yankees have had considerably less success when it comes to shifting than any other team, on both sides of the ball. They’re among the game’s most frequent shifters, but they have far less success than other teams once they deploy them. Meanwhile, their hitters face more shifts than any other team but are suppressed to a much greater degree when they put the ball into play....

Since 2010, Girardi has deployed shifts for 2,988 balls in play, more than all but five other clubs, but his team has allowed the majors' fourth-highest BABIP in that context at .312 ...

Girardi's troops are practically laughingstocks relative to the other frequent shifters; the other nine teams above have combined for a .287 BABIP when shifting, 25 points lower than the Yankees' mark. For 2015 and '16—years in which New York moved on from the aging, oft-injured Alex Rodriguez/Derek Jeter combination on the left side of the infield in favor of the more nimble Headley and Gregorius—the Yankees are fifth in total shifts, but their .323 BABIP in such instances is the majors' highest by 12 points! ...

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, New York's batters—a group that includes frequent shift candidates Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran (respectively fifth, seventh and 27th in total shifts against since the start of 2010)—have been shifted against more often than any other team over both the 2010 to '16 and '15 to '16 ranges. And what do you know, their BABIPs bring up the rear, with an MLB-low .256 mark over the longer range and .261 over the shorter one (note that this does not count when players beat the shift by homering)...

Going forward, general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the organization may want to target batters that do better jobs of using the whole field ...


Who knew Girardi is a moron? And with the Yankees in last place Girardi could be the fall guy.

Joe Girardi: not to blame for Yankees demise. Saturday, April 23, 2016

Manager Joe Girardi may be the scapegoat for the failure of the Yankees


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ken Singleton, you were way off: 2 HR, 2 HBP only 8 times.

Ken Singleton incorrect: Frank Robinson had no games with 2 HR and 2 HBP. Why exaggerate? Wednesday, April 27, 2016 10:49 AM

1 Harmon Killebrew 1959-05-02 WSH DET W 15-3 5 3 2 2 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.076 2.989 .146 5 3B
2 Al Smith 1961-06-21 (2) CHW CLE W 11-1 5 3 3 2 0 0 2 4 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.027 3.796 .380 5 RF
3 Don Buford 1971-05-31 (2) BAL CHW W 11-3 5 2 4 2 0 0 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.352 3.835 .703 1 LF
4 Carlton Fisk 1984-07-05 CHW CLE W 7-6 4 2 2 2 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.488 3.490 1.475 2 C
5 Brian Downing 1988-07-28 CAL CHW W 7-6 6 3 2 2 0 0 2 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.688 2.861 1.250 3 DH
6 Barry Bonds 1991-05-21 PIT STL W 5-3 4 2 2 2 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.259 2.866 .458 5 LF
7 Jonny Gomes 2010-06-12 CIN KCR W 11-5 5 3 2 2 0 0 2 6 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.404 4.771 .828 5 LF
8 Justin Ruggiano 2013-05-05 MIA PHI W 14-2 6 3 4 2 0 0 2 3 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.048 4.377 .369 4 CF
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/27/2016.

Based on seasons 1913-2016. Hall of Fame: Killebrew and Fisk, plus Bonds.

2 HR, 2 HBP team won all 8 games, scoring at least 11 runs in five, all blowouts. Frank Robinson is nowhere to be see. Ken Singleton, you're a good guy but you got this really wrong.

Ken Singleton incorrect: Frank Robinson had no games with 2 HR and 2 HBP. Why exaggerate?

During last night's Yankee game Ken Singleton incorrectly stated that Frank Robinson had games with 2 home runs (HR) and 2 hit by pitch (HBP). Singleton was trying to emphasize that Robinson would not be intimidated when he stood close to home plate and was hit by pitches. It sounded like hyperbole so I checked this morning.
Photo of Frank RobinsonPhoto of Ken Singleton
I used the ad hoc search function in There were zero games in which Robinson had more than one HR and more than one HBP.

There were three games with 2 HR and one HBP, all in blowouts wins with Cincinnati:
1957-06-01 Cubs
1961-07-09 Dodgers
1964-08-19 Giants

Remember, through 1961 the National League had only eight teams. The one game with one HR and two HBP was when Robinson played for the Angels and it was against the Indians 1973-07-17.

So why embellish?

Frank Robinson hit at least two HR in 51 games, including twice at age 39 in 1975 in wins when he was player-manager of the Cleveland Indians:
1975-05-21 Angels
1975-06-06 Texas

That's a pretty good story right there. No need to embellish. Robinson was Cleveland's player-manager again in 1976 and for the first 57 games of 1977. He managed a total of 2,241 games over 16 non-consecutive seasons for the Indians, Giants, Orioles and Nationals.

Frank Robinson had two HBP games only twice, both while playing in close wins for Cincinnati:
1957-06-02 (1) Cubs; single
1965-09-05 Phillies; double

Moe Drabowsky started for the Cubs in that 1957 game but lasted only into the 4th inning; he had two HR, four BB (one IBB) and four HBP: Robinson twice, SS Roy McMillan and PH Art Schult. Drabowsky later joined the Orioles the same year as Robinson, 1966: 6-0 and 1-0 in the World Series against the Dodgers.

In the 1965 Phillies game there were four HBP against Reds:
Pete Rose by Lew Burdette (started: 1.66 innings, 6 runs, HR by Vada Pinson)
- Tommy Helms by Lew Burdette
- Robinson twice by Art Mahaffey (relieved Burdette: 5.33 innings, 3 runs, 4 BB, HR by Johnny Edwards)

There's precedent for this type of mistake, including:

Did Bob Gibson hit friend Bill White in the first opportunity? No, but some think so. Monday, May 26, 2014

Monday, April 25, 2016

BA, OBP, SLG: which tells you more?

In 2015 142 batters "qualified for league batting title" ranging:

Batting Average (BA) is in disrepute but of the other two meat and potatoes stats, if you could look at just one, which would it be: On Base "Percentage" (OBP) or Slugging average (SLG)? Included above are OPS (OBP + SLG) and OPS+ (adjusted for parks).

Of the 142 batters, 20 had BA at least .300. Let's see what the top 20 in the other stats would be.

OBP: .369 (21 batters)
SLG: .502 (the only batters .500 or higher)
OPS: .864
OPS+: 133 (33% above "league" average)

Joc Pederson was the anchor man in BA at .210. However, his OBP was a whopping 136 points higher (65%), number 51 of 142. That helped Pederson reach OPS+ 112, number 65 of 142; number 71 would be halfway.

That would baffle the few old timers who still cling to BA.  Here are the in OPS+ and OPS+ ranks on number 20 for each of the other stats:

BA (.300): 116 rank 50
OBP (.369): 160 (Nelson Cruz),133 ranks 6,20
SLG (.502): 135 17

Both OBP and SLG come out about the same. I'd have picked SLG. BA lags.

Nothing up my sleeves, just some understandable common sense stuff.