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AngelAstro
04-19-04, 02:31 PM
I would like to talk about the second base position. Not necessarily who should be playing the position for the Yanks right now, but about the position in general.

Everyone says SS is the most important defensive position, and I agree, and that CF is probably the second most defensive position, and I also agree. But why do we (or at least I) ever hear about the importance of the second base position?

To me, a good second baseman needs to have the ability to pivot on the doubleplay, have a decent arm, though not as good as the shortstop and good range. In fact, I would think that a second baseman needs better range than the shortstop because usually the third baseman is a more athletic ballplayer than the first baseman.

So, what do people think is the importance of a second baseman?

Also, some suggest that Jeter should move to second base, but if Jeter's problem is that he has slow reaction time/little range, why would he be any better at second base than shortstop?

WiffleWOOD
04-19-04, 02:50 PM
Originally posted by AngelAstro

Also, some suggest that Jeter should move to second base, but if Jeter's problem is that he has slow reaction time/little range, why would he be any better at second base than shortstop?

i'll respond to the rest of your post at some point, but to respond to your last question, the reason is because Jeter's main range issue is to his left. Moving him to 2B would minimize the importance of going to his left, at least compared to what he has to do now.

As many have said, though, he'd probably be best suited for CF at this point.

markp
04-19-04, 03:13 PM
SS-2B/C-3B-CF-RF/LF/1B.

Some people put 2B second and catcher third while other reverse that. Bill James put catcher first, which I think is wrong, but is open to debate. In any case, 2B is one of the top three defensive positions in baseball.

NicktheStick36
04-19-04, 04:16 PM
That's kinda half true...

James said that as you move rightward down the defensive spectrum, offensive contribution decreases. Because of that, you need more defensive contribution at the left side of the spectrum in order to get production out of that position.

P-C-SS-2b-3b-cf-lf-rf-1b-dh

As for what is 'needed' more, it depends on the pitching staff. You can have an outfield of Sierra's if you have a highK/GB staff. You can have an infield of Giambi's if you have a highK/FB staff.

Rule of thumb though, I would probably go with James' spectrum, save a flip of 3b and cf.

Rich
04-19-04, 09:48 PM
Originally posted by AngelAstro

Also, some suggest that Jeter should move to second base, but if Jeter's problem is that he has slow reaction time/little range, why would he be any better at second base than shortstop?

Jeter would be better at 2B because he has more range to his right, which would be up the middle. Playing along side a good defensive 1Bman like Lee would compensate for the lack of range to his left.

But I agree with WW that CF is his best position.

matt27
04-19-04, 11:46 PM
Have data ever been collected that differentiate between range to a player's left vs. range to a player's right? That sort of data would be helpful in determining a player's best infield position (2b, 3b, ss) I imagine, beyond relying on what our eyes tell us (ie jeter having more range to his right).

AngelAstro
04-20-04, 07:33 AM
I'm not so sure Jeter's range is much better to his right than to his left. Do people base this on that jump throw he always does? To me that is the most ridiculous play because I still think a good shortstop makes a better play on that ball.

For example, in the Friday night game in Boston, Jeter makes that nice little dive play to his right (I forget against whom or what inning) and most people say great play. I talk to my friend in Boston a bit later and he says that Reese makes that play standing up. Of course, we have no idea if that is true or not, but I would not doubt it.

Re: matt27

UZR is based on what plays a fielder makes in each of his responsible zones. Basically the field is broken into various grids and all balls hit into certain areas are specified for a certain fielder. Play-by-play data is then used to determine what balls a certain player gets to in their respective zones. I'm pretty sure STATS, Inc. is the company that has that PBP data and I'm not sure if it is accessible.

AngelAstro
04-20-04, 07:48 AM
About the defensive spectrum, I would flip CF and 3B myself, though that is debatable.

But how does one even measure a C contribution defensively? Is it by number of passed balls? Blocking the plate? Calling a good game? Would that even be defense? Since C is such a different position I think it is hard to even classify it in comparison to the other positions.

markp
04-20-04, 07:59 AM
A 3B is involved in a lot more plays than any OF including CF. He's more valuable..

The placement of the catcher in the spectrum is more subjective than the other positions. A lot of what he does is difficult to put into numbers. The value of a lot of what he does is open to debate (like framing pitches and giving a low target.) Is calling a game really as important as ex-catchers make it out to be?

I think a catcher is as valuable as a 2B, just behind SS. I think looking at the history of baseball shows that there are almost no managers that disagree, since there are a great many mediocre to poor backstops employed throughout MLB history (Smoky Burgess and Cliff Johnson come to mind quickly, but there have been a lot more than that), SS always has a solid or better glove man.

AngelAstro
04-20-04, 08:37 AM
I suppose this is something I'll need to look into more when I have some time. From what little I have looked at of off some player pages at ESPN.com, it seems like the good CFers have about as many total chances to make plays as 3Bmen. Assuming that a 3Bmen and a CFer have a similar amount of TC, I wonder if hits that a CFer prevents are more valuable than the hits a 3Bmen prevents. Just thinking aloud, Hits that a 3Bmen prevents to his right would be doubles, while those to his left would be singles. A CFer can however prevent doubles and triples to both sides, so I would think that a CFer would have more chances to prevent hits that would lead to more runs. Again, I guess I will have to look into this a bit more.

markp
04-20-04, 09:59 AM
for each position. A good 3B can also prevent extra base hits.

Getting back to the original post, we really would be helped by a real MLB starting 2B, and I hope that Cashman realizes it.

AngelAstro
04-20-04, 10:07 AM
Originally posted by markp
for each position. A good 3B can also prevent extra base hits.

Getting back to the original post, we really would be helped by a real MLB starting 2B, and I hope that Cashman realizes it.

True, I did forget about DPs. I did mention that 3Bmen could prevent extra base hits, I just assume that CFers would prevent more extra base hits which may save more runs.

I think Cashman does realize this, the real problem is probably that Joe doesn't realize this. The person that the Yankees get to be the second baseman has to be someone who is obviously better than Enrique or Joe will keep starting Enrique as we have seen so far this season.

I think I'll try to take a look at what second basemen are out there that the Yanks could possibly trade for and try to compare the lot. The possibilities I could think of off the top of my head are:

Hairston
Roberts
Spivey
Counsell
Vidro

Any others?

matt27
04-20-04, 10:34 AM
Grudzielanek
Walker
Cora

NicktheStick36
04-20-04, 10:44 AM
Since we are generally talking about defense here...

There is no way that anyone should want Todd Walker. He's terrible with the glove.

matt27
04-20-04, 10:50 AM
Originally posted by NicktheStick36
Since we are generally talking about defense here...

There is no way that anyone should want Todd Walker. He's terrible with the glove.

Yes, but if Walker was traded for, I'm fairly sure he would supplant Wilson as the starting 2b.

NicktheStick36
04-20-04, 10:55 AM
Oh definatly. But the Yankees would set the major league record for the amount of times an announcer would say "and thats a groundball past a diving (middle infielder)"

Plus Walker can't be traded until June.

LoneRedSeat
04-20-04, 11:39 AM
Strong defense up the middle is key - and 2B is a huge part of that. I think 2B has become less of a talked about position the past few years because of the historic amount of talent now playing at SS.

markp
04-20-04, 12:07 PM
I think Cincy has a decent prospect at 2b (I seem to recall reading about it somewhere), but in any case, they're looking for a few prospects over the past few seasons, and D'Angelo might be available.

I'm sure there are a few others, but if I were a betting man I'd make Vidro and Hairston the chalk in this field.

ACPS
04-21-04, 03:07 AM
Orlando Cabrera's in the last year of his contract and the Expos are always having a fire sale. He's a former gold glover, so he probably wouldn't have too many problems adjusting to 2B.

Then again, he could end up being the Red Sox starting shortstop in 2005.

AngelAstro
04-21-04, 07:57 AM
So, I tried to post this last night with a big synopsis, but then the site crashed and I lost my post. So here is the Excel sheet that I made with the possible 2nd basemen. I'll let you draw your own conclusions and then I'll come back with mine later.

yanquis1957
04-21-04, 11:53 AM
wow, that's fantastic angel. thanks.

AngelAstro
04-21-04, 01:07 PM
OK, the things I learned while putting this chart together:

1) The average OPS+ for a batter is 100. I believe that for second basemen it is lower. I would hazard a guess in the mid to low 90s.

2) Much like other metrics, defensive metrics stink at low sample sizes, but probably more so than offensive metrics.

3) Since I am a firm believer in UZR because it uses play-by-play data and it compares a player to his contemporaries, RF seems to be a flawed metric. RF is probably the BA of defensive stats.

4) Cairo may not be that great of a defensive step up from Wilson, but he sure is better offensively. There is no reason that Wilson should be starting over Cairo.

5) That either Wilson or Cairo is being paid over the league minimum is crazy.

6) I didn't add them because they probably won't be available, but Adam Kennedy and Placido Polanco are both very good second basemen that you don't hear very much about.

7) If I were running the Yanks, I would probably avoid Vidro. He is not great defensively, which is what the Yankees need. He would probably want a long term, big money contract. The last thing the Yankees need is another player on the wrong side of 30 that can't play defense with a large unmovable contract. Chances are that Vidro's great hitting days would be behind him if he were to sign a long term deal and his defense will probably just get worse.

I think Grudz would be great for just this year or Hairston for this and even future years. It will depend of course, what the team plans on doing after this year. Does Jeter still play short? does he move to 2B? CF? If Jeter stays at SS, I think the best would be to get Hairston to play 2B because of his great defense. If Jeter moves, then everything is up in the air.

WiffleWOOD
04-21-04, 01:16 PM
angel: agreed, agreed, agreed, agreed...

Irony Of It All
04-21-04, 06:05 PM
Originally posted by AngelAstro
So, I tried to post this last night with a big synopsis, but then the site crashed and I lost my post. So here is the Excel sheet that I made with the possible 2nd basemen. I'll let you draw your own conclusions and then I'll come back with mine later.

Great job! After reading through that I still feel that Hairston would be our best 2nd base option. Looking at the past 3 years his OPS+ has steadily increased and his defense has remained excellent. Not only would he be an upgrade over Wilson and Cairo offensively, but his UZR suggests that he is a great defender, which would benefit the Yankees immensely.

Also if you look at his stolen bases the last 3 years he's had a pretty good success rate. He definitely looks like he would be a great addition to the bottom of our lineup.

2001 29/11 73%
2002 21/6 78%
2003 14/5 74%
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/players/stats?statsId=6127&context=batting

yanquis1957
04-21-04, 09:52 PM
i'd take hairston or roberts. i don't think i can tell the difference. either one will be good with the glove and adequate with the bat. the only trouble is we'll actually have to give up something of value due to the whole interdivisional thing.

Vile Tom
04-27-04, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by AngelAstro
I suppose this is something I'll need to look into more when I have some time. From what little I have looked at of off some player pages at ESPN.com, it seems like the good CFers have about as many total chances to make plays as 3Bmen. Assuming that a 3Bmen and a CFer have a similar amount of TC, I wonder if hits that a CFer prevents are more valuable than the hits a 3Bmen prevents. Just thinking aloud, Hits that a 3Bmen prevents to his right would be doubles, while those to his left would be singles. A CFer can however prevent doubles and triples to both sides, so I would think that a CFer would have more chances to prevent hits that would lead to more runs. Again, I guess I will have to look into this a bit more.

You should probably just ignore Put Outs by 3rd baseman because they're almost all easy popups. The number of total chances may be about the same but the number of chances that make a difference probably weigh in favor of the CF.

NicktheStick36
04-28-04, 09:56 AM
Originally posted by Vile Tom


You should probably just ignore Put Outs by 3rd baseman because they're almost all easy popups. The number of total chances may be about the same but the number of chances that make a difference probably weigh in favor of the CF.

You should ignore put outs by CF because they're almost all easy flyballs.

A pop up to the infield is a discresionary play, usually taken by the shortstop, 1st baseman, or catcher. A popup down the line, or in foul territory is a do or die play...the only one who can make it is the 3rd baseman. There is value in that.

Allan
04-28-04, 02:32 PM
Originally posted by ACPS
Orlando Cabrera's in the last year of his contract and the Expos are always having a fire sale. He's a former gold glover, so he probably wouldn't have too many problems adjusting to 2B


Oh boy, then we would have 2 former GG shortstops playing out of position while our own SS remains mired in defensive mediocrity. :confused:

Allan
04-28-04, 02:40 PM
Originally posted by Rich


Jeter would be better at 2B because he has more range to his right, which would be up the middle. Playing along side a good defensive 1Bman like Lee would compensate for the lack of range to his left.

But I agree with WW that CF is his best position.

More than a few posts state that Jeter would be a good fit in CF. Upon what is this based? Has he ever played CF?

If Jeter's range problems stem from slow reaction time then would this not also be a concern in CF? Isn't Bernie botching it because he is getting such a poor jump on the ball ( i.e. slow reaction time)? Why would it be any different for Jeter?

Bub
05-26-04, 08:59 AM
Originally posted by LoneRedSeat
Strong defense up the middle is key - and 2B is a huge part of that. I think 2B has become less of a talked about position the past few years because of the historic amount of talent now playing at SS. Right. If you draw a theoretical line from home plate to the left-centerfield wall, and another from home plate to the right-center field wall, it's easy to see that C, P, SS, 2B and CF cover the large majority of real estate. SS always gets more attention because a great fielding play often needs to be complimented with a great throw; not so much with a great stop by a second baseman.