Merry Christmas everyone!
Once again it is good to see the responses I am getting from some of you. It seems we are all pretty excited after last year and more important, we are situated for a very good run if we play this right.
Before I get into the King of Clutch vs. the Kin of Crutches (or Matsui vs. Nick Johnson), I wanted to follow-up my comment I left you with in my last blog about Gardner.
I think Gardner is much better than many of us think…
Gardner had an OPS of .724 last year and was stronger the first half of the year when he had an opportunity to play more regularly. But even if he was able to maintain this .724 OPS, I say he should be our 3dr starting OF’r. Then again I thought he should have started over Melky and after reviewing this in further detail, there is no question he should have been.
Gardner will make 2 plays a week over Melky in CF, I am pretty confident that this number is conservative. While most of those plays would be extra base hits (doubles and triples, of course some would be singles. To be conservative, I will eliminate all triples and say that he would save one double and one single a week over Melky. That is 3 bases a week. Saving 3 bases a week is about 75 bases over the course of a year. In 600 AB’s this would add about 125 points to your OPS. When you add in the SB threat he is, he stole 26 last year getting caught only 5 times in 248 AB’s, this was the equivalent of 16 extra bases (26-10). You count each CS twice to “remove” each SB from a value standpoint. I think it would be very fair to assume that if Gardner played every day he would steal 50 bases and let’s say he would get caught more and use 13 times caught. This would lead to a (50-26) 24 extra bases or based on 600 AB’s or 40 OPS points. So comparing Gardner to Melky:
Melky’s adjusted OPS for his SB’s was .752 + .012 = .764
Gardner’s adjusted OPS is .724 + .040 (SB’s) + .125 (fielding) = .916.
Interestingly, based on last years numbers they were pretty equal offensively and Gardner is worth a ton more defensively per the above. Of course we are not even taking into account any advantage a SB threat gives for the batters on deck by taking some of the pitchers attention away and possibly causing more fastballs to be thrown. But, we are also not taking into account Melky’s stronger arm, although I would argue he takes so long to get rid of the ball that the difference is not worth a lot. Melky had 4 assists last year and his arm should be worth something in the equation, but in less time you may be surprised that Gardner had 3 assists as well. I think me using only 3 bases a week from the fielding standpoint makes up for any arm discrepancy as it is probably more.
OK, so I “proved” Gardner was better than Melky…that doesn’t mean much; we now have Granderson in CF.
Well, I think that Granderson should be platooned, I have said this before and I strongly believe it. Based on how poorly Granderson hits lefties, Gardner hit better against lefties than Granderson did. Whether the Yanks do the right thing or not from a platoon standpoint, I say Gardner deserved to play if his offense is roughly the same as Melky’s and his defense is excellent.
Therefore, Gardner should be our CF’r!
Yes, I would play Granderson is LF. Why wouldn’t we? Don’t we all think that Gardner can cover more ground than Granderson? While Granderson is better than Melky out there, how many guys can cover the ground Gardner can? If he is playing, why would you play Gardner is LF? Especially when Granderson is getting platooned why move Gardner to CF each time?
I am fine with Gardner in CF. We just won a World Series with a weaker CF’r. Granderson will hit righties and field much better than Damon is LF so even with a platoon it is an upgrade (Right handed pitchers represent roughly 2/3 of the starters). Overall while we need to juggle more, our overall production out of LF should be better.
Sure Holliday is a really good player, but I would rather hold my money back for the possible chance at C JoeMauer or the pitcher Cliff Lee and also give us one more year to see what we really have in Gardner. Maybe he is only a great defensive replacement or a great pinch runner, but it makes sense to find out.
Next blog I will move to the DH and then Vazquez.
The Genius Maker tm is a tribute to Mariano Rivera who makes coaches look a like a genius...