Research and Feautures

Here are a select few feature stories from Pinstripe Pundits:

The Yankees liked pitch framing before it was cool

Unlike many other teams, the Yankees have been putting a premium on framing for a few years now, even before they belatedly moved Jorge Posada, one of the worst framers in baseball, out from behind the plate. This ideology can probably be traced back to Tony Pena, who took over as the Yankees bench coach and catching instructor prior to the 2006 season. In a Grantland article by Ben Lindbergh from earlier this year, Chris Stewart and Francisco Cervelli credited Pena with helping them hone their framing craft. Pena was quite the framer himself, so it’s no surprise that he’s put such an emphasis on the skill. In fact, he might have been the best pitch framer the game has ever seen. Research done by Max Marchi of Baseball Prospectus credits Pena for 248 runs saved through framing over his career, more than any other catcher since 1948.

Chris – November 30, 2013

What sabermetrics can learn from the United States Census Bureau

The proliferation of advanced metrics has certainly been good for baseball, but the speed at which these stats became popular has left the casual fan in the dark as to how to interpret them in small sample sizes. The United States Census Bureau, which is responsible for compiling and publishing data about the American economy and its people, does a pretty good job of making their data easy to understand. The Census has a couple of features that I think could be applied to baseball stats and implemented by sites like Baseball Prospectus, Fangraphs, and Baseball Reference.

Chris – November 18, 2013

Derek Jeter: health, rust, and other 40+ year-old shortstops

Knowing that he’ll get the bulk of his time at short or DH, what can we expect next season? He’ll be 40 in June (hard to believe), which is essentially unchartered territory for major-league shortstops. Historically, it’s practically unheard of, and even more so in modern times.

Derek – October 19, 2013

Is this the worst offense in franchise history?

Thanks to Fangraphs’ easy-to-use leaderboards, we can compare every Yankees’ offense since 1901. Amazingly, this is the worst Yankees’ offense, per wRC+, since 1914 (82 wRC+)! Furthermore, including the 1914 club, there have only been three worse offenses fielded by the organization since 1901. The other two are the 1913 Yanks and the 1908 Highlanders. Even in some of the franchise’s dark ages, the offense was still half-decent based on this metric. Overall, there have only been 29 years the team was below average (that is, below 100 wRC+).

Derek – July 12, 2013

Can players plan their PED usage around the drug testing policy?

Generally speaking, players should never expect that they won’t be tested. The only time a player could potentially fall through the cracks would be after his mandatory, in-season test. At this point, he just has to dodge whatever remains of the 1,400 random tests. The issue is that he would have no idea whether any given test is his one mandatory test or one of the 1,400 random tests (I’m assuming MLB wouldn’t disclose this information to the player). Using some basic probability, I decided to figure out just how likely it was that a player would be tested again once he’s been subjected to 2 tests—one at the start of spring training and one at some point during the season.

Chris – February 11, 2013

Yankees’ Draft History Past and Present

The (Rule IV) amateur draft may be six months away, but let’s take a look at the Yankees’ track record historically since the draft’s inception in 1965.Why look at this information now? With draft compensation tied to some free agents, Dave Cameron of FanGraphs discussed the implications of sacrificing a first rounder for an open market prize. His article is influenced by Sky Andrecheck’s interesting analysis which maps out the expected WAR of players by selection. After reading both of these articles, I decided to see how well the Yankees have done historically.

Derek – January 7, 2013

Teixeira’s Loss of Balance Statistically and Mechanically

Mark Teixeira has always been slightly better hitting from the right side, but his rapid decline from the left side the past three seasons has merited great concern. He’ll be 33 in April: is age an issue? What about his swing mechanics? Is the short porch actually hurting his production? These are major questions for a guy with four more years remaining in pinstripes.

Derek – December 26, 2012

Michael Pineda and the Market for Lemons

In 1970, George Akerlof wrote a Nobel Prize winning essay about asymmetric information entitled “The Market for Lemons: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism.”  The primary example he used in his essay was the market for used cars. The “lemons” refer to defective cars not known to be defective until after they’re bought. The takeaway was that if someone is selling his or her car, there’s probably something wrong with that car. This explains why the retail value for cars drops as soon as they leave the showroom.

You can probably see where I’m going with this. So was Michael Pineda a lemon? It certainly looks like it.

Chris – December 14, 2012

Tape Measure Blasts at Yankee Stadium

The most legendary home run at any of the three versions of Yankee Stadium was hit by Mickey Mantle in the original park. On May 22, 1963, Mantle supposedly launched a ball 734 feet. This of course was an estimation, as it hit the facade above the right field upper deck. Remarkably, this was an opposite field blast, as the switch-hitting Mantle was hitting right handed against a left hander by the name of Bill Fischer. The home run was a walk off solo shot. Again, no video evidence for this one.

Derek – August 16, 2012

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