Archive for April 2nd, 2010

2010 Predictions

These predictions were derived solely by educated guesses without the backing of a fancy statistical model, so chances are  most will be out the window by May. Still, we’ll check back at the end of the season to see how I did. 

AL East       NL East    
Yankees 97 65   Braves 91 71
Rays 92 70   Phillies 89 73
Red Sox 90 72   Marlins 81 81
Orioles 76 86   Mets 75 87
Blue Jays 72 90   Nationals 67 95
AL Central       NL Central    
Twins 88 74   Cardinals 90 72
White Sox 85 77   Reds 84 78
Tigers 81 81   Brewers 82 80
Indians 77 85   Cubs 80 82
Royals 66 96   Pirates 70 92
        Astros 66 96
AL West       NL West    
Rangers 87 75   Rockies 87 75
Angels 84 78   Dbacks 83 79
Mariners 80 82   Dodgers 82 80
As 77 85   Giants 81 81
        Padres 70 92

ALCS: Yankees over Rays
NLCS: Braves over Phillies
World Series: Yankees over Braves

AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez
NL MVP: Chase Utley

AL ROY: Scott Sizemore
NL ROY: Jayson Heyward

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Jeter Upended At SS?

Over the off season, it seems as if a disproportionate amount of attention has been paid to Derek Jeter’s impending free agency. Over at ESPN.com, Buster Olney is the latest to weigh in with his typical “anonymous talent evaluator” approach to research. Throughout the article, Olney puts forth a series of scouts and GMs who confidently suggest that Jeter should be moved to 2B or LF or even RF. Reading some of the rational really makes you wonder about the teams for which these guys work. One “Talent evaluator” concluded that the best idea would be to trade Cano (a young, productive 2B) and simply move Jeter over to fill the vacancy. This scout doesn’t explain why Jeter will so easily adapt to 2B (a position that is still high on the defensive spectrum), or even more importantly, how the Yankees will fill the void in the lineup left by the departure of Cano. There is more of the same “logic” throughout the piece.

Interestingly, but perhaps not ironic, however, the one man who actually put his name to his opinion does make some sense. JP Ricciardi, stated that he “wouldn’t be ready to put him at another position. In fact, I could see him playing shortstop another five years…Jeter’s a great athlete, he’s in great shape, and he can stay there. Now, if he has a major injury with his legs that changes the equation.”

Amid all the clamor to move Jeter, it seems as if the most logical solution is being overlooked…keep him at SS. Considering the contract that Jeter is going to sign, the Yankees are going to need him to play a premium position to justify a return. Therefore, it would make no sense for the Yankees to go out of their way to create a $20mn left fielder. What’s more, shifting Jeter will then require the team to find another SS. With no such prospect in the pipeline, that could force the Yankees into the same SS wading pool that Boston has been occupying: we’re talking Scutaro, Gonzalez, Green, Renteria, etc.

What’s more, this “analysis” ignores that Jeter had one of his better defensive seasons in 2009. Can we at least see if he maintains that in 2010 before deciding on his next position. Sure, the list of 40-year old short stops is, well, short, but Jeter isn’t exactly your typical player.

One more interesting comment from the Olney article was from Buster himself. He states:

As Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio discovered firsthand, generations of Yankees executives have shared a common approach when it comes to dealing with older players: They will make changes when success of the team is at stake. Through their history, they have valued wins for the franchise over nostalgia.”

The last time I checked, Colonel Jacob Ruppert, Dan Topping, Del Webb and Larry MacPhail didn’t hold any interests in the team. Throughout his tenure, George Steinbrenner has showed a certain amount of sentimentality, most recently manifested by the handling of Don Mattingly and Bernie Williams, two players who retired as lifelong pinstripes, but may have moved on earlier if with another organization (like Boston…as John Sterling was telling Fisk, Lynn, Evans, Boggs, Clemens, Vaughn, Nomar, Pedro, etc. just the other day!). Hal and Hank may be a little more bottom line than their dad, but I think the organization will treat Jeter with the respect that he is due.

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