The Genius Maker™ is a tribute
to Mariano Rivera who made his manager look a like a genius...
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
After Memorial Day Weekend
In somewhat of a change, I will have a smaller focus on the game in this and discuss some statcast numbers on the strike zone. First, some comments about the games this weekend.
Saturday - was just a very p[oor pitching performance by Sonny Gray (ERA now 5.98) after what was one of his better games. That was the most frustrating part as I was hoping he would get into a groove. The Yankees jumped out 4-1 but the bats went silent after the 2nd inning and Kahnle was bad in his first game back.
Sunday - Tanaka navigated his way through 6 innings and only allowed a solo HR to Trout while the bullpen of Robertson, Betances and Chapman closed out the final 3. Chapman ended the 3-1 win on a slider that missed its mark by a lot but caught the top of the strike zone.
Monday - Verlander has been pitching great and he kept it going against us. He is throwing all of his pitches really well and has looked great this year. I said it after the first game he pitched against us, but he looks as good as he ever has. His pickup by Houston has been one of the best pickups of a pitcher I can remember. I also think that the matchup of our number 5 (German) against Verlander was a tough one so Boone rested a struggling Stanton (swinging at terrible pitches), dropped Didi (a good move as he has been in a dreadful slump) and moved Bird up to the 4th spot. I give Boone credit as he will make the moves he thinks are right and while it seems like a "well, of course" moment, I have heard managers say, I am sticking with "this" because it has worked in the past. Torres committed his 5th error on a bad throw after dropping a ball from Andujar on Saturday. His defense is and will be fine, but he has shown a few lack of concentration plays; 5 errors are too many.
OK, I have made comments about the umpiring and I am always very careful not to try and be a homer on calls. I think I still tend to remember the bad calls against us and forget the good ones for us, so I try and track them in my head to try and stay reasonably neutral. I have definitely been more annoyed at calls rather than feeling fortunate (I have pointed out some of our breaks), but some stats show that we have been getting the short end of the stick.
While I really don't like the box on my live feed and think it should be used on the replay of pitches only, the box has shown that the Yankees (along with the SF Giants) have been the most victimized teams. Statcast has shown that the Yankees and Giants have seen 242 pitches out of the strike zone called strikes against them this year. Judge has seen 47 balls out of the box called strikes which are most in the majors; Gardner has the 5th most against him.
So, we have been getting the short end on calls which is probably a good thing as the hope is it equals out. The box itself though has some problems. Outside of the fact I don't like the way it blocks my view of the game, it is not consistent for the batters sizes (they say they adjust it, but the replays don't align for me on where the top and bottom of the zone are for Altuve and Judge as an example. Further, I have seen many times where the live feed showed the ball inside the strike zone and the replay showed the pitch on the line? How can that be? It may be pretty close, but that should not happen!
As for close calls, Boone said something interesting; He comments how announcers will say that a two-strike pitch was "too close to take," and he disputes that by saying, "What does that mean? If it's a ball and I've got two strikes on me, what are my chances of getting on base with two strikes? Probably not great. If I take that pitch that's a ball out of the zone and I swing at it, what are my chances of getting a hit on that? Probably not very good. But if I take a ball, there's a good chance that it gets called a ball and I'm going to first base. So I don't really buy into protecting the plate, especially with our guys."
I find this quote interesting in that I like the thought process, but being right, isn't always the correct path when dealing with subjectivity. While I agree with what he is saying, the concept behind swinging at a pitch that is close is about trying to take the subjectivity out of the equation and taking more control of the situation. That is not to say that you should swing at a ball. But we see strike zones where an ump consistently calls a pitch off the plate a strike and if that is going to happen, why would you not swing at it? There is a lot to this, we could discuss that the strike zone is the strike zone and it is hard for a batter to take what he has always trained on and then adjust every night based on the ump; but in many ways, that is what has been done most of their careers.
Anyway, to set up some interactive comments, feel free to email me your thoughts on the subject. While we are on it, feel free to email me a question/thought you may have and I will try and answer it; I could post your name if you like or make it anonymous.
While much thought goes into what I put down on paper, I write this blog in a free form “stream of consciousness” way to get my thoughts down very quickly. This is not meant to be a literary masterpiece but is meant to be hardcore Yankee information that is in-depth with predictions, thoughts and insight (you can judge whether I accomplish any of this). Because of my busy schedule, it is more important I get the information down rather than spend the time re-reading, re-writing and modifying. I will apologize in advance for any typo, homophone and spelling type of errors.
That being said, as always, I will give you my breakdown for each Yankee player and what I expect from them. I will also make predictions and then critique my thoughts/opinions/predictions after the season (or during). I will also offer very detailed analysis of in-game situations. This blog will not be a fluff piece. As I have done over the years, I will lay my thoughts out for all to see and I will let my track record speak for itself.
Finally, I will use OPS extremely often because I believe it is a great indication of the value of an offensive player. OPS is the slugging percentage (covers the power) and the on base percentage (covers the batting average and walks) added together. There are a lot of advanced stats out there, but for consistency, I will use OPS because outside of not taking ball park/league differences into account, the stat works great.Further, OPS against works well to gauge the success of pitchers (and is not used very often in that context)
I am an ex-catcher who played Division I baseball at Valparaiso University.
My baseball career ended with a broken disc in my back that I injured between my Jr. and Sr. years. I did play my entire Sr. year with the injury, however, I barely hit above .300 and the injury eventually required the fusion of L5 and S1.
At Valpo, we played teams such as Notre Dame, IU, Purdue and Northwestern. I was a Wade Boggs type of hitter (not as good obviously) with a .355 batting average, not much power and a .500+ OBP in college. I had the school record for walks (which has since been broken). Defensively, I was very solid throwing runners out (with a slightly below average major league arm, but a better than average release with excellent accuracy). I was good at blocking balls in the dirt, but below major league in receiving skills (the ability to actually catch the received pitch with very soft hands). I could call a game with anyone and I do hold a Division I record that will never be broken; I went my entire Junior year without committing an error (1.000 fielding %).
At the end of the day, I was not physically good enough to get to the majors, but I do have a gift with a great understanding of the game from a General Manager standpoint. My strength is on the value of players from a trade, dollar and team perspective, with a thorough understanding of the "X's and O's" of game management (honed from a SABR understanding and ex-player combination combined with my business acumen). I watch the game from a catchers perspective while calling every pitch.
I hope you enjoy my Yankee ramblings and feel free to follow me on Twitter @swigdor22