Sunday, February 24, 2019

Logic! Use It, Don't Abuse It—Part II

This just in from the Yankees Brains Trust:  We don't need no stinking left-handed hitters!  Because...they don't really work anymore.

Yes, this from Fridays's New York Times "sports" page, which was dominated by a big piece on a women's college hockey team in Worcester, and...break dancing, which the Times now considers a sport (I'm not making this up).

But, good news, Yankees fans!  No need to worry about no lefties—we don't need 'em!

"The balance in the lineup is vitally important," Cashman explained.  "But not at the expense, from my perspective of the best player on the board—especially if those players possess the ability to go the other way with power."

Ma Boone concurs (what a surprise!):

"In a perfect world you'd have a bunch of guys that hit .300 and hit for power and hit from both sides of the plate and you can balance them perfectly.  But that doesn't always exist.  I'd rather have better players than acquiring someone because he hits from a certain side of the plate."

Of course.  The Yanks with their starting lineup of 9 Rogers Hornsbys don't really need lefties.  And what's more, they just don't work anymore.

"I used to be a big believer in those big left-handed monsters because of right field [in Yankee Stadium]," Cashman informs us.  "But in the new ballpark, right-center field isn't as deep.  It just plays completely different.  So it's okay to have right-handed pieces that can still go the other way to take advantage."

Gee willikers, Mr. Peabody, aren't we still forgetting something?

Such as the fact that the Yankees play half their games on the road?  Or that, home runs aside, hitters naturally hit better against pitchers who throw from the opposite side because of the way curveballs work?

But that is antiquated thinking!  The truth is, Cashman assures us, he brought in Teixeira and McCann just to tap that right field porch and whattaya know?  They invented shifts!

"When they [Tex and McCan't] got on the Yankees and as the shifts became more prevalent, there's less real estate in right field to play with.  So now these pull-heavy, left-handed monsters are getting reduced because the shifts are so effective."

Right.  And as everyone knows there is absolutely no way you can get around the shifts!  The Yankees want hitters who can go the other way to hit home runs, not hitters who go the other way to beat the shift!

That's right, folks:  effective, left-handed power-hitting no longer exists.  At least not in Yankee Stadium.

Let's review:

—Yankee Stadium now tilts more than ever toward lefties.

—Therefore, it's fine to have only righties because they can hit to the opposite field.

—It's best NOT to have lefties, because of the shift, and they can't hit to the opposite field.

Just on the off-chance that this was not just one more of Cashy's Crazy Aphorisms—such as the immortal, "It's best to draft pitchers who are about to have major arm surgery, because they're bargains."—I checked out the stats on this.

Of the Yanks' five main righties, here's how they stacked up last year, in HR per Plate Appearance vs. righties and lefties, and in OPS vs. righties and lefties:

                         HR/PA vs, RH        HR/PA vs. LH      OPS vs. RH     OPS vs. LH

Stanton             21.24                       13.38                    .792                   1.036

Judge                18.68                       17.875                  .901                      .967

Andujar             21.65                       24.7                      .869                     .822

The Gleyber      26.92                       12.18                    .785                     .912

Ics Sanchez        22.91                       16.5                      .636                     .872

What a surprise!  Four of the Yanks top five righties hit dramatically better against lefties, with more home runs per plate appearance, than they do against righties!  Zowee!  The only exception is Andujar, whose fielding range, yuh know.

As a team overall, the right-handed Yankees also did considerably better against...lefties!

2018 Yankees      24.375                   20.67                     .773                    .800

The Times genius writing the piece, though, assures us that Cashie has a point, because that .773 vs. righties is the fourth-best major-league mark.

Which only makes sense, of course.  When you're doing relatively well in some category, why try to improve?

(One of the three teams ahead of us, in righty-v.-righty hitting, by .817-773?  Hold your breath now:  the Boston Red Sox!  Good thing we don't compete much with them.)

But hey, let's get back to Cashy's original premise, shall we?  It's not about who hits from this side or that side, but who the best player is "on the board," correct?

Well, here's a certain Mr. Bryce Harper's lifetime split against RHP: 18.92 HR/PA; .944 OPS—or better than anyone on the Yankees last season.

And here are those for a certain Mr. Manny Machado vs. RHP:  21.67 HR/PA; .824 OPS—both BETTER than his figures vs. LHP.

So...both Manny and Bryce would have been the best players "on the boards" to take advantage of the Stadium's short porch, by Cashman's own criteria.

Huh.  I wonder why they weren't signed.  Could it have had something to do with, oh I dunno...MONEY?????



TheWinWarblist said...

I hate hate hate them all.

13bit said...

Cash is a dick.

Anonymous said...

Cash forgot to even mention them-thar' saber-metrics - - you know, those WAR thingys and all that. Wow! Betcha' his point would be even more-so if he'd remembered them, not?? Ugh.

Yesterday, I lost what respect I had left for Ken Davidoff, when he insisten - - practically pleaded that we - - um - - older fans just STOP wishing for a return to the George era. Why, those daze are LONG over - - just ask Cashy-Coops about that...
How much of what are they giving you to tow the line on that one, Kenny?? LB (No J)

HoraceClarke66 said...

Just read it. Incredible, LB (No J).

I just don't get it, because chances are, unlike the guys people like O'Malley would bribe with a steak or a suit...he's probably not getting a damned thing. Like most sportswriters of the past 40 years, he's just really offended by the idea of spending a lot on players.

And here's the idiotic Cashman quote he came up with:

“We’d be better if we didn’t have that type of emotional, reactionary, forget the system, forget the pipeline and forget developing talent and just import every available major league player even if he’s in the back end of his career, and that creates more complications.”

What I don't understand about this is, in no particular order:

—You have failed utterly, for over 20 years now, to consistently develop talent.
—The pipeline broke down completely again last year, and looks now to remain broken for years to come.
—The two players we horrible fans are talking about are both in the prime of their careers, not the back end.
—There are no "complications" in sight.
—WTF do you care if people are talking a lot about your team?

You're a #@! baseball GM, not the *&^# King of Siam! It bothers you that we talk? You're going to chastise us for what we say to each other?

Be glad we show any interest at all, you sniveling little twerp. A few more years of playing like the team did in the second half and we will only talk about your wondrous creation as much as we talk about the other great sports teams in this town.

KD said...

Devastating critique, Hoss. You are a true treasure.

Cashy gets paid to tow the rich man's barge but these writers.... what's their excuse? Access? that must be it.

TheWinWarblist said...

I love you Hoss.


KD said...

I wish Cash would just come out with the truth: "Yes, we know the Yankees would win more games if we signed Harper, yet winning is not everything. Our people have run the numbers and, all things considered, profits project to be 0.7% higher without having to pay Harper. End of story, boys. Money talks. It's over."

I'd still hate Cash but at least I'd have a tiny bit of respect for him.

Carl J. Weitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl J. Weitz said...

The reason that Davidoff is a sycophant for Cashman and the Yankees is the same reason you never hear Sunday morning political hosts really try and pin down their guests for relevant answers and allow them to completely dismiss their queries with off-tangent replies: lack of access. They feel if pushed too hard or not properly obsequious to the decision makers, no more scoops or inside information will be coming their way.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Thanks, guys, and Ms. Warbler.

And yeah, it's a pretty sweet gig, being a major-league beat writer. I can understand why they don't want to screw it up. But I'm still baffled as to why they feel they have the right to yell at us...

Anonymous said...

Right on, Hoss! Well-spoken (even IF written).

Yeah, Carl Weitz, Davidoff is just another access-whore. LB (No J)