Saturday, April 13, 2019

Everybody Used to Be Stupid. Now Everybody Is Smart.

Picking up on posts by JM and Anon today, I think we are indeed seeing the misuse of statistics—Sabermetriciousness!—on the Yanks, particularly when it comes to the ongoing practice of batting Judge in the No. 2 spot.

Why is it that, for over a century, power hitters like Judge always batted in the 3-5 slots?  Was everybody just stupid then?

The Sabermetricious argument is, hey, put your best OBP hitter up as often as possible.  But this is just how you fool yourself with stats.

Judge has an excellent OBP in part because pitchers are reluctant to pitch to him.  But if you keep him in the 3 or 4 holes, and put good OBP guys ahead of him, it's all the more likely they'll be FORCED to pitch to him, with guys on base.

Put him in the 2-slot, and they'll be all the more likely to pitch AROUND him—PARTICULARLY if there is 1 out and nobody on (the usual state of affairs with Gardner hitting first), and the likes of Voit and/or Bird hitting after him.

Of course, that will make Judge's OBP even BETTER, thereby leading Coops and co. to conclude that they made the right move.

Voila—this is how you lie to yourself with statistics.

In fairness to the Saber-inclined, one of the problems here is the Yanks are going half-Saber.  There's simply no way under any system that Gardy, with his .298 OBP and his 2 stolen bases this year, should be hitting first.

Bird/Voit should not be hitting so high in the lineup either.  BUT, with your big power/RBI committed to the No. 2 hole, the Yanks don't have much choice there.

A much better idea would be to put LeMahieu, who is hot right now and always was a better percentage hitter than Gardy, and maybe Torres in the 1-2 slots, with Judge following.

That will assure Judge of getting many more good pitches to hit, and while his OBP might go down a little, he will produce many more runs.

Why do the Yankees—and so many statheads—have so much trouble seeing this?

The best OBP guys on, say, the 1927 Yankees were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  Miller Huggins did NOT bat them 1-2.  Instead, he put Hall of Famer Earle Combs there, a guy with a .414 OBP that year, and a relatively high 62 walks and 15 stolen bases.  Combs scored 137 runs.

True, not everybody was always this smart—or blessed with the likes of Earle Combs.  Marse Joe McCarthy in the 1930s and Ralph Houk in the 1960s insisted on putting guys like Frankie Crosetti and Bobby Richardson, respectively, in the leadoff spot—players who mostly hit singles, for not so high an average (Though at his best, Cro DID draw a lot of walks, and stole a fair number of bases.)

But by the 1980s, the Yanks were back to putting Don Mattingly and the other power bats, such as Winfield and Baylor, in the 3-5 slots, with Rickey Henderson, Best Leadoff Man Ever, leading off.  The results were spectacular.

Similarly, in the Last Dynasty, the Yanks led off with Knoblauch and Jeter, then followed with Paulie-Bernie-Tino.

Sure, this strategy was marred because Chuckie could not resist swinging for the Yankee Stadium fences, but he still drew a relatively large number of walks and stole bases, and scored 117 runs in 1998, and 120 in 1999, before his mind and his game completely blew out.  (I don't mean to be flippant about this; what happened to the Knobber was truly sad.)

So, while even smart baseball guys made mistakes and didn't fully realize what the statistics should have been telling them, were they all stupid?  Are Coops and his minions geniuses?

Look at how this offense functions, and how this Yankees team plays, and you be the judge.


Anonymous said...

Dumbkopf HC 66 presents not a jot of evidence for his barrage of asinine conjectures. What a moron.

Anonymous said...

Hey A$$man Anonymous! We're all laughing at you. Go let mommy give you a bath now.

Anonymous said...

That'll do, Donkey. That'll do.

Anonymous said...

Hey Psycho Anon--who's laughing at me? Which "all"? You and the other eleven miscreants who have no life except for flailing at typed figures once a week on the Internet about a subject that has no bearing on any critical issue of life and in which you share a like passion with eight-year-olds? Your parents must be very proud of the warped specimen you have become.

Ed Davies said...

Great post Hoss, and your reasoning is spot on. To your point, if Judge is in fhe 3 or 4 spot with some guys ahead who can get on base he’d see way more fastballs than he does now which could cut down on the Ks and lead to many more of his hits scoring runs.

TheWinWarblist said...

Hey! Puckered was first! I was spending the day with my family, but it's good to see Puckered has a way to assuage his loneliness.

TheWinWarblist said...

How do you think Puckered convinces the reCAPTCHA that he's a real live human?

Anonymous said...

Hey Warblist--you're such a stunted specimen that typing the words "puckered" twice a day taps the depths of your capacity for objurgation. C'mon--even an imbecile like you can do better than that.

And then typing the word "endeth" sixty times a month taps out your capacity for literary inventnion. AWESOME, DUDE! Now maybe you can go wash the come stains off your tranny porn mag until the new issue comes out.

Now, HC66--if you weren't SUCH A MORON, you would have done some reading and discovered that the ides that guys get better pitches based on their position in the batting order--the idea of "protection"--has ZERO empirical foundation after decades of computer analysis of every major league ballgame for which such data are available. You are an uninformed, illiterate dunce with some kind of advanced dementia that disinhibits your propensity for babbling about things they know nothing about.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Warblist--puckered hemorrhoids are typical of craven pansy-boy buttfuckers like yourself. So that's clearly a gay slur. YOU'RE BETTER THAN THAT, WARBLIST. I think your incessant anal gay slurs should ENDETH. Right, girlyl man?

Anonymous said...

Gardner should not be merely demoted in the batting order. He should be released. His fielding metrics are now mediocre--he no long has the range he once had--and he's a major offensive liability. He sucks. Cashmans was stupid to re-sign him and needs to cut his losses sooner rather than later. Frazier should be starting in center and Tauchman in left, every day. That combination can't be any worse than Gardner and would most likely be better. And what's the sudden love affair with Gio Urshela? This guy is NOT a major league ballplayer--decent fielder, but can't hit or run. The Yankees should at least be playing Tyler Wade at second and LeMahieu at third against EVERY right-handed pitcher to give Wade enough reps to show what he can do at long last. Keeping him on the bench is a waste. He is their fastest runner and best-fielding second baseman, and could probably be reasonably productive with the bat if they would play him more than once or twice a week.

HoraceClarke66 said...

A safety squeeze! No errors, nobody picked off base. Great pitching—and CC lives!

A perfect day, more or less, though Bird is now down to .171. And he was trying his best to hit into a rally-killing double-play during our 7th inning rally.

There was a brief moment of hope when Paul O'Neill thought maybe Bird was hurt running down to first. Alas, it seems that he was just dogging it, as usual. But hey, everything can't be perfect.

ranger_lp said...

Flop sweat hit 100 on a couple of pitches...some of our Yankee brethren should come off the ledge now...

JM said...

I'm glad the stats reveal that all the times I've seen teams pitch around guys and the times when they couldn't, because there were good hitters coming up next, didn't actually occur.

For a minute there, I was thinking pitchers kept doing the same thing for about 100 years was because of that. I am relieved to find out they haven't done that at all.

It was disappointing, though, to discover that the moon landing I watched on TV in 1969 was staged, as were all the school shootings of the past 20 years, as was rumored carnage in Europe during the '30s and 40s. It's good to be set straight after all this time.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Indeed, JM! I think if you asked any major-league pitcher, ever, if they would rather:

—Pitch to Aaron Judge with a runner or two on base, and one or fewer outs.


—Pitch to Aaron Judge with one out, nobody on base...

...every single one of them, for that last 150 years would choose the latter.

But that's just my guess. Based on everything I've ever heard pitchers say.

TheWinWarblist said...


Anonymous said...

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Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth Endeth

Puckered Puckered Puckered PuckeredPuckeredPuckeredPuckeredPuckeredPuckeredPuckeredPuckered

Just trying to save Girly Man some time by mass posting his entire inventory of comment ingenuity in one window. Now he can go stick a dildo up his ass and pronounce himself well satisfied.

Anonymous said...

JM -- I'm sure your spotty anecdotal recollections trump the exhaustive survey of actual events for the entire history of baseball. What a dumb asshole you are. Why don't you do a Google search or read a book and get your thumb out of your ass.

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