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Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

As the 2014 draws to a close, I wish to take this opportunity to thank all my readers for supporting my baseball blog. The blog has just passed 500,000 views. Also, I would like to thank all of you who wrote postings for my blog or contributed suggestions for my blog.

Congratulations to the 10 teams that made it to the 2014 postseason. Using my linear formula, I predicted 9 out of the 10 playoff teams. The five AL teams were Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, and LA Angels. The five NL teams were the San Francisco Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, LA Dodgers, and Washington Nationals. Special congratulations to the Giants for winning their third World Series in the last five years and to the Royals for reaching their first World Series and their first postseason since 1985 when they defeated the Cardinals in 7 games. The longest drought for a postseason appearance now belongs to the Toronto Blue Jays who last appeared in the postseason in 1993 when they won the World Series against the Phillies (4-2). Which 10 teams will make the playoffs in 2015?

My New York Yankees were one of the major disappointing teams for 2014. Last offseason, the New York Yankees dished out $486 million in contracts to the likes of Masahiro Tanaka, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury, among others. Despite this monstrous spending spree, the Yankees missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season. It was unfortunate that Derek Jeter, in his last season, was not given a chance to step up as he usually did in the playoffs.

For those of you who are either interested in learning statistics for your job or for school or how to use statistics to help you with your fantasy baseball, may I suggest my textbook called “Sandlot Stats: Learning Statistics With Baseball”, published by Johns Hopkins University Press (2012). This book can be purchased at or from many other booksellers.

I wrote this book for my course called Baseball and Statistics which runs every semester at Quinnipiac University. My students come from different majors including sports journalism, television and radio, political science, psychology, legal studies, engineering, and business. All needed mathematics is contained in the book. You can preview my book and read the reviews at The only prerequisite for using this book is an interest in baseball. My book teaches an introductory statistics course using baseball data. Every major league team today have hired people called sabermetricians to analyze their baseball data. Bill James pioneered this analysis when he became GM of Oakland. The book and movie “Moneyball” details how Bill James used statistics to help the low budget Oakland Athletics reach the 2002 playoffs.

Please follow me on Facebook by liking my page. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Linkedin, and Instagram (#drstanthestatsman and #sandlotstats).

Keep on emailing me any suggestions for future blogs. Also, I am available to speak to any group on many topics in baseball including the history of baseball, using baseball to teach students statistics, and my current research in baseball. Spring training is now around the corner and like you, I anxiously await opening day.

Finally, I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy 2015.

Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Derek Jeter has manned the shortstop position for two decades. Jeter often referred to as “The Captain” represented Yankee royalty. His heir apparent named Didi Gregorious, acquired by way of trade from Arizona on December 5, was made a knight in his home island of Curacao in 2011. His knighthood was earned after performing well in an international baseball tournament.

When ranking the all-time Yankee greats there is no question after Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle Jeter ranks somewhere in the top ten with Yogi Berra, Don Mattingly, Bill Dickey, Whitey Ford, and of course Mariano Rivera.

In replacing a Yankee icon in the pressure filled environment of New York, Didi takes on one of the most intimidating jobs in baseball. Just ask Tino Martinez after he replaced Don Mattingly. It took Tino a few years to gain the acceptance of Yankee fans.

What do we know about Didi as a baseball player? He is 24 years-old. Unlike Jeter, who came to the Yankees in 1996 as a fully ready shortstop and won Rookie of the Year honors in his first full season, Didi is a work in progress. On defense he has all the right tools. As a lefty batter, he hits well against righties but really struggles against lefties. In fact, he is one of the worst hitters in baseball against lefty pitchers. In his rookie season of 2013 in 103 games he batted .252 with 7 home runs, 28 RBI, and an OPS of .707. His difficulties against lefties brought his numbers down to an average of .226 with 6 home runs, 27 RBI and an OPS of .653 in 80 games in 2014. The good news is the Yankees have right-handed hitting Brendan Ryan, an excellent defensive shortstop to platoon with Didi; the bad news is Ryan is also a weak hitter.

Flash! The Yankees just traded starting second baseman Martin Prado to the Miami Marlins for starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi as part of a five-player deal. With the trade, the Yankees appear as if they will let prospects Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela fight it out to be the team's second baseman. Scouts believe in both of their bats, but there are questions about their gloves. Of course, the Yankees still have time to trade for a veteran second baseman. I am against this trade. I know the Yankees need starting pitching but losing a very good veteran defensive second baseman leaves Didi with another adjustment problem. The veteran Prado would have been a stabilizing force for Didi. Replacing Prado with a rookie second baseman leaves the Yankees with two question marks up the middle.

With the Marlins in 2014, Eovaldi pitched nearly 200 innings, finishing 6-14 with a 4.37 ERA. He started 33 games, 4th most in majors (good) and allowed 223 hits, most in the majors (bad). He gave up 0.631 home runs per 9 innings, 7th lowest in majors (good). His 97 earned runs was 4th most allowed in majors (bad) and his 14 losses was 4th most losses in majors (bad). Turning 25 in February with a fastball clocked in the upper 90s, his upside is great. Eovaldi will join the recently signed Chris Capuano to complete a shaky starting pitching rotation of Tanaka, Sabathia, Pineda, and Nova. This group enters with questions regarding Tanaka's and Nova's elbows, as well as Sabathia's knee. Coming off TJ surgery, Nova will not be available until late May. The Yankees may need Eovaldi to approach 200 innings again.

The trade also brings veteran first baseman and outfielder Garrett Jones to the Yankees to backup Teixeira. This removes first base as an option for A-Rod. With Hendley slotted to be the regular third baseman, A-Rod will have to share his at bats as a DH with Carlos Beltran. I would not be surprised if A-Rod never appears in another regular season game with the Yankees. I smell a buyout for A-Rod coming soon.

Can you name another major leaguer, in the history of baseball, whose last name begins with Eo?

Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Jack Dolan was with the ABC-TV Network Sports Dept. (then called Sports Programs, Inc.) in New York City from 1963-65 and had a couple of titles: Production Assistant and Associate Producer.  Most of his work assignments were with "ABC's Wide World of Sports" program, but some were with ABC Sports specials.

So you might want to get into a Network Sports TV career? Be careful for what you wish! Better check that job description carefully!

Back in the summer circa 1964, I was serving as a Production Assistant/Associate Producer with the ABC-TV Sports Dept. under the direction of Roone Arledge and working with such famed sportscasters as Jim McKay, Curt Gowdy, Bill Flemming, et. al. One of my assignments took me to Buffalo (in June, luckily, and not in the midst of one of Buffalo's prodigious snowstorms!) for a College Football All-Star game at War Memorial Stadium. Among other players who I recall being in that game was quarterback Daryle LaMonica from my Alma Mater, Notre Dame.

At any rate, the "talent" assigned to broadcast that game was the late and great Chris Schenkel who is to be enshrined this month (December, 2014) in the Sports Broadcasters Hall of Fame. As luck would have it, Schenkel (a licensed pilot who owned his own plane) decided to fly up to Buffalo from Teterboro Airport instead of travelling with us. He packed his yellow blazer with him, but unfortunately it was with the "Wide World of Sports" pocket logo instead of the "ABC Sports" logo which this particular football telecast special was. 

It became my job to get the correct logo patch pocket sewed on to Schenkel's jacket. Not being much of a tailor, I went into the stands a couple of hours prior to kickoff looking desperately for some help. Fortunately I came upon a mother-daughter fan tandem who happened to have a sewing kit with them. When I told them of our plight and asked if they could help, they were thrilled to work on Chris' jacket and attach the correct "ABC Sports" logo, an extra one of which I luckily had with me. The telecast proceeded to go smoothly and ended happily for all concerned. But it proved once again that you just never know what goes on behind the cameras!  --- Jack Dolan


Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

Here are some of the winning and losing teams with regard to new signings for 2015. Everything could change for any team that signs the biggest pitching fish still available, Max Scherzer. The talk is the team that signs him to a contract can expect to pay close to $30 million per year. Clearly, this limits the suitors to a few teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers.So far the city of Chicago is the winning city for 2015 signings with both of their teams earning a grade of A. On the North Side the Cubs had a great week. After signing the highly successful manager Joe Maddon, they added a number one pitcher Jon Lester. To help the entire pitching staff they signed the veteran catcher Miguel Montero. They also signed veteran pitcher Jason Hammel. Combining these veteran signings with the highly touted young Cubs will make the Cubs a contender for the playoffs. On the South Side the White Sox improved themselves by acquiring Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics. The signing of David Robertson gives them their closer. With the earlier acquisition of first baseman Adam La Roche and their just announced signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera, the White Sox are ready to contend in the tough American League Central.

How have the Mets and my Yankees done so far in 2015 signings? First, the Mets got off to a great start by acquiring the left fielder they needed for power, Michael Cuddyer. The signing of Mayberry is okay and gives them a fourth outfielder. The Mets then went into hibernation. The expression you can’t have enough good starting pitching applies to the Mets. With veterans Bartolo Colon, Jon Niese, and Dillon Gee teaming with their young pitchers Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler, and Noah Syndergaard they have an abundance of quality starters. Not to mention their top minor league pitching prospects. However, these starters need a quality defensive shortstop behind them. So far the Mets have failed to provide that quality shortstop. Their default shortstop is Wilmer Flores who for a shortstop is an acceptable hitter but a below average fielder. They do have several minor league shortstop prospects like Matt Reynolds who may be ready by July. They still have time to move one of their quality pitchers and a minor league prospect for that needed shortstop. Turning to the Yankees, after acquiring shortstop Didi Gregorius as their replacement for Derek Jeter and lefty relief specialist Andrew Miller, the Yankees had a quiet week at the Winter Meetings. As I mentioned in a previous blog letting David Robertson leave was a big mistake. The trio of Betances, Miller, and Robertson would have given the Yankees the best seventh, eighth, and ninth inning trio in the majors. GM Brian Cashman would like to add a third baseman and a starting pitcher, but seems uninterested in getting into a bidding war. Flash!!! As I am writing this blog the news of the signing of Chase Headley by the Yankees for $52 million for four years is announced. Think of third baseman Hendley as a 52 million dollar safety net for A-Rod. GM Cashman is not enamored with A-Rod and does not know what a soon to be 40-year-old player who has played sparingly for the last three years can give him. For 2015, A-Rod will be fighting for a job even though he is under contract until 2017 and is owed a minimum of $61 million plus an additional $30 million in incentives. The A-Rod situation combined with the wilting of Mark Texeira in the later years of his long term contract will discourage Cashman from giving Max Scherzer a long-term contract. Flash!!! GM Cashman just announced A-Rod will be used solely as a DH and Hendley will be the regular third baseman in 2015.

Before the signing of Headley I would have given both New York teams a C grade but with Headley signed I will raise the Yankee grade to a C+.

Posted By Dr. Stan, the Stats Man

It is now December 10th and I just heard the bad news − for Yankee fans like myself − that the White Sox will sign David Robertson to a four year $46 million dollar contract and the Cubs have just signed Jon Lester to a 6-year $155 million contract. A week ago the Yankees signed the left-handed relief specialist Andrew Miller to a four year $36 million dollar contract. Miller has never been a closer and until last year had a very up and down career; whereas, Robertson has proven himself last year to be arguably one of the top three closers in baseball. Yes, over the next four years the Yankees will save $3 million dollars a year which to the Yankees is like petty cash. However, they have swapped an established closer for a pitcher who has never closed. The Yankees do have a great potential closer in Delan Betances who arguably was the best relief pitcher in baseball last year. The talk is the closer position will be a two-headed monster with the lefty being Miller and the righty being Betances.  

My question to GM Cashman is: Why did you not offer Robertson the $46 million for four years which equates to $11.5 million per year and keep him as the closer? This would allow the Yankees to keep Betances as the eighth inning specialist and then make Miller the seventh inning specialist. This would arguably give the Yankees the best late inning relief staff in baseball. Since a starter in today’s game is only expected to pitch six innings, the Yankees would be in a position to win the close games.  Would an extra $11.5 million a year really hurt the Yankees’ payroll? If the Yankees had these three relievers there would be less pressure on the offense and the Yankees would be following the successful formula used by Kansas City last year.

Reality is the Yankees have lost Robertson to the White Sox. So let’s look at their starting pitching for next year. Their ace, Masahiro Tanaka, has a ligament tear in his pitching elbow which was not operated on in the off season. The ace − in – name − only, CC Sabathia, is equally uncertain because of a knee injury and a diminished velocity on his fastball. Michael Pineda, the number three starter is always injury prone. The number four starter Ivan Nova is recovering from surgery and probably won’t be available until June. The traded away the fifth starter Sean Greene. Of course, the Yankees could sign Brandon McCarthy who did well last year. But, in my opinion this is a very troublesome set of starting pitchers.

With Jon Lester signed, the only big fish left in the free agency market as a starting pitcher is Max Scherzer. There is some optimism for us Yankee fans because since Brian Cashman took over as GM of the Yankees big signings have come after December 1. Last Year the Yankees waited until December to spend $281 million on Ellsbury, McCann, and Beltran. They also signed Tanaka in January. If George was still alive there is no question in my mind that either Lester or Scherzer or maybe both would be in the Yankee pinstripes for the 2015 season. But, as we have learned by now, his sons are business men with a budget. I hope I am wrong and the uncertainty of the projected starters for 2015 will force the George’s sons to break the bank.

One criticism of Cashman is that he is more willing to spend money on other team’s players than resigning his own players. Look at Robinson Cano, their best offensive player, who they let slip away last year. Albeit, Cano’s 10-year contract might have been too much. Remember, the A-Rod contract. With the signing of Andrew Miller and the non-signing of David Robinson, Cashman has done it again.

I am sure the Yankees aren’t finished signing free agent pitchers or trading for a pitcher so let’s see what happens in December and January.



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