Category: Whimsy Page 1 of 4

Fun with ZiPS

On Thursday, Derek took a look at the Yankees’ 2022 ZiPS projections. Today, let’s do something similar and have some fun–since there’s very little fun to be had in the baseball world these days–and run these projections through an old friend: the Baseball Musings Lineup Analysis Tool.

For those unfamiliar, the concept is simple. You drop in player names and their OBP and SLG numbers and the tool spits out a bunch of lineup permutations to see which one is the best. Now, the models that the tool uses are a little outdated and it isn’t foolproof, but, like I said, it’s fun! I’ll use the 1959-2004 model to cover more dates, get more of a variety of run environments in there.

First, let’s roll with players currently on the Yankees, so we’ll exclude Anthony Rizzo and Brett Gardner. The lineup will look like this (OBP/SLG):

C: Gary Sanchez (.304/.432)

1B: Luke Voit (.342/.468)

2B: DJLM (.344/.402)

SS: Gleyber Torres (let’s just roll with it for now; I’ll play with other versions later) (.332/.426)

3B: Gio Urshela (.318/.458)

LF: Joey Gallo (.352/.507)

CF: Aaron Hicks (.340/.400)

RF: Aaron Judge (.369/.538)

DH: Giancarlo Stanton (.338/.491)

Assuming the batting order is as follows, this team should score 5.257 runs per game, about 852 over the course of the season:

  1. DJLM
  2. Judge
  3. Gallo
  4. Stanton
  5. Voit
  6. Urshela
  7. Hicks
  8. Torres
  9. Sanchez

The best possible lineup–5.293 runs per game, 857 per 162 is:

  1. DJLM
  2. Judge
  3. Voit
  4. Gallo
  5. Stanton
  6. Sanchez
  7. Torres
  8. Urshela
  9. Hicks

Even without any upgrades at the plate, the Yankees figure to be a good hitting team. Granted, we thought that last year…but I doubt they’ll be as shaky as last year and that the team will be as it is above. So let’s get frisky and do some wishcasting on this roster.

Last night, someone asked me, while I was tweeting from the Views account, what I want the infield to look like in 2022. I said I’d want Matt Olson at first, Carlos Correa at short, with DJLM at second and Gio at third. Let’s keep the rest of the team the same and fit that infield into the tool (while remembering that the Correa and Olson projections wouldn’t be adjusted for being Yankees). If that were the case, I assume the lineup would be:

  1. DJLM
  2. Judge
  3. Olson
  4. Stanton
  5. Gallo
  6. Correa
  7. Urshela
  8. Hicks
  9. Sanchez

That lineup would average 5.448 per game, 882 over 162. The best possible lineup with those projections would be

  1. Correa
  2. Judge
  3. Stanton
  4. Olson
  5. Gallo
  6. Sanchez
  7. Hicks
  8. Urshela
  9. DJLM

Is any of that going to happen? It’s highly unlikely! But it’s still fun to think about. Next time, I’ll revisit this with some other players plugged in and fool around with positions and playing time. Until then, be well and hope this owner-enforced lockout gets resolved.

My Ridiculous Ideas

It’s the offseason, folks, which means a slower trickle of news to begin with. On top of that, it’s the week before Christmas, which slows things down even more. And, as I’m sure you’re well aware, there’s a lockout on, which goes beyond gumming up the works and straight up stops them. With that said, let’s get to a favorite past time of mine: coming up with ridiculous ideas MLB will never implement because there is precious little else to talk about.

Leading off, let’s talk one of my favorite things: realignment! I’ve spilled my guts about this before on the podcast and probably in digital ink, too, but let’s go over it again. I would love to see MLB radically realign in one of two ways.

First, let’s keep AL/NL, but we go back to a 16/14 split, with Houston going back to the NL or Milwaukee going back to the AL. We implement a universal DH, because duh, but balance the schedule so each team plays everyone in their league an equal amount of times and we eliminate interleague play. In this scenario, the top four teams in the AL and NL respectively make the playoffs–like the pre-second wildcard days–and we go from there.

My second idea is similar, but with an added twist: eliminate AL and NL altogether, institute a universal DH, balance the schedule, and the top 8 make the playoffs, regardless of original league, and we run the tournament from there. Yankees/Red Sox World Series? Hell yes. Full disclosure, such an event would likely take a decade off of my life.

The other schedule/alignment altering idea I had, one I’ve kicked around a lot, is relegation/promotion, similar to that in European football. This will never, ever happen in the US, but it’d be cool to see in baseball. Now, with the way the minors feed the majors and all the things that go along with that system, relegation to AAA couldn’t happen. Instead, we’d have to split MLB in two and go from there. In my idea, the top half would be eligible to play for the WS while the bottom half wouldn’t. The bottom teams in the top and the top teams in the bottom would trade places, like they do in European football.

In this scenario, I’d also like to see a cup style competition added, perhaps as the last game of each series (balance the schedule, find a way to make every series three games), so that the first two would count towards the regular season standings with the third counting towards a cup standings, with different incentives for placement there (draft position, IFA money, etc.). I’ll live on Mars before this happens.

Last on this list is a change to the Hall of Fame. I’ve tweeted this out for sure, though I’m foggy on the old specifics, so let’s see what I can (re) hash out. This thought was inspired by Albert Pujols. Albert Pujols will be on the HOF ballot in 2026 and will be inducted in 2027. At that point, it will have been 11 years since his last above average season (2016) and 15 years since his last elite season (2012). That is a super long time! For some players, it’s pretty clear right away that they should be eligible way sooner than five years.

What I’m proposing, aside from eliminating the ten-player limit, is a sort of pre-ballot for retiring players. When a player retires, he goes on a ballot to determine if he will get on the ballot immediately or have to wait five years before appearing on the official ballot. Hell, given the age of baseball information we’re in, we could argue that a five year wait is pretty outdated at this point, but I get it.

Anyway, these are my ridiculous ideas. Like ’em? Hate ’em? Got any of your own?

Addressing Current Needs with Yankees of Old Part 2: A Fuller Roster

Earlier this week, Randy, Bobby, Derek, and I drafted former Yankee seasons to impose on 2021 for the greatest impact. We stipulated that it had to be from our lifetimes, just to make it a little narrower. Ironically, Randy, the oldest among us, picked the most recent Yankee season. Now, instead of just limiting to four picks, I’m going to run through the years to pick the best season from each position and make a ‘roster’ of seasons/players to pick from.

Catcher: 2007 Jorge Posada. .338/.426/.543. Enough said, right? One of the best seasons by a Yankee catcher ever.

First base: 2002 Jason Giambi, as Randy mentioned in his write up and the podcast. .314/.435/.598. By OPS+ (172) this is actually Giambi’s third best season ever, behind only his monster 2000 and 2001 campaigns. Big G was and is underappreciate by Yankee fans, but his addition to this team would be a boon (as much as we love Luke Voit, of course).

Second Base: 2012 Robinson Cano. Derek mentioned this at the end of his writeup the other day and I have to agree. .313/.379/.550 (149 wRC+)? Hell yeah. That would make people forget about DJLM, right? Not that we want to do that, but you know what I mean.

Third Base: 2007 Alex Rodriguez. 54 homers. .314/.422/.645. This is one of the best seasons by a right-handed batter, ever, let alone Yankee seasons. Grand by any stretch of the imagination, this season alone could will the Yankees into the playoffs.

Shortstop: 1999 Derek Jeter as I mentioned in the post. Probably should’ve won MVP.

Left Field: Despite the Yankees being generally great for my whole life (1987), left field hasn’t been a shining spot for them. My first thought was 2004 Hideki Matsui (.912 OPS/137 OPS+, 31 homers, 162 games), but I’ve settled on 1988 Dave Winfield. In the year I turned one, Winfield hit .322/.398/.530/.927 for a 159 OPS+. As much as we all love Clint Frazier, it’s doubtful he does that this year.

Center Field: 1998 Bernie Williams. .339/.422/.575. A 160 OPS+. Led the league in batting average. Socked 26 homers. Walked 74 times to only 81 strikeouts. This was Bernie’s best season and the best season by a Yankee CF since Mickey Mantle, probably (though Bernie really just had to best himself there, right?). This sort of up-the-middle offense would be killer.

Right Field: 2017 Aaron Judge. This season should’ve won MVP. And even though he’d be replacing himself, which is a little amusing, it’s hard to argue against .284/.422/.627 and 52 homers. Like the A-Rod season, this alone could lift the 2021 Yankees (with everyone else around, of course) to the playoffs.

Starting Rotation: 2011 CC Sabathia, 1997 Andy Pettitte, 2001 Mike Mussina, 1997 David Cone, 2010 CC Sabathia.

Bullpen: Just every single year possible of Mariano Rivera. Let’s take his eight best, then? 1996, 2008, 2005, 2004, 2003, 1999, 2009, 2011.

What would your roster be? Let us know in the comments!

Addressing current needs with Yankees of old

Embed from Getty Images

It’s January 5th and the Yankees have yet to do anything of significance to improve the current roster. Perhaps now that the holiday season has come and gone, things can get moving again so bloggers like us can resume publishing currently relevant content. Instead, today we offer something different that stems from a Twitter discussion yesterday.

The four of us (Randy, Matt, Bobby, and Derek) are doing a quick draft based on this question with a couple of additional stipulations. One, we’re whittling in down to players in our lifetimes. Additionally, it’s a one year assignment, so whoever we pick has no bearing on the Yankees in 2022 and beyond. With that, let’s get to the draft.

New Year’s Resolutions

Like it was for my holiday wish list post, it’s that time of year again. Let’s make some New Year’s resolutions for the Yankees. On a personal note, I’d like to finally stop procrastinating so much, but I’ll get to it later.

Let’s start with Giancarlo Stanton. The playoffs showed us how things are supposed to go with G: a slugger whose bat can change the game and carry the team. When healthy, he’s performed. While it’s not necessarily in his full control, let’s have him resolve to be fully healthy in 2021.

From the lineup to the bullpen we go. Aroldis Chapman. I know this isn’t fully in his control either, but, please, can he resolve to not give up a back-breaking, season-killing home run in the playoffs again? Two years in a row is more than enough.

Now onto a bench player after two star cogs in the machine: Tyler Wade. On paper, Tyler Wade should be perfect for the Yankee bench. He’s a speedy lefty who can play the middle infield positions and fake the outfield, and who walks a lot. He just needs to hit better. If he could up his contact and cut his strikeouts, he’d been a boon to the roster, not a drag on it. A resolution for Wade? Just make more contact.

To make this brief, my last one will be for the front office. If they’re not going to play in free agency, then they need to resolve to improve the team at the deadline when needed. That might mean a tweak or an extra piece, which I’m sure they’d be willing to do. But it could also mean a big splash to push them over the edge, which they’ve been relatively reluctant to do. If they’re going to limit themselves when they shouldn’t, they need to do the opposite later on.

Happy New Year, folks. Thanks for reading in this wild and crazy year.

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