In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Monday, January 30, 2006
Bucking the Trend
Everyone tries to predict the future, from stockbrokers to meteorologists to baseball people. There is no way to accurately predict what next season will bring, but there are certainly ways to guesstimate what's in store. One of the best ways to get an idea of what to expect is the "3-yr trend", made popular by Bill James' annual handbook. So without further ado, here's some interesting trends I've dug up for the Yankees (I also made use of Excel's "forecast" function to see what 2006 may bring. Of course, it's almost entirely inaccurate for this sort of application, but entertaining anyway):

The Good
Stat2003200420052006 Forecast
Bubba CrosbyOPS.166.498.631.894
Jason Giambi*BB/PA.
Hideki MatsuiPA/XBH11.6310.259.758.66
Mike MyersBAA vs LH.
Carl PavanoK/BB2.712.843.113.29
Mariano RiveraSLGA.300.280.230.200
Tanyon SturtzeOPSA.858.776.744.679
Ron VilloneSLGA vs LH.475.287.256.120

The Bad
Stat2003200420052006 Forecast
Shawn Chacon**GB/FB1.
Randy Johnson***#P/GS114.2103.8100.895.6
Carl PavanoKper95.965.635.044.62
Jorge Posada#P/PA3.943.883.813.77
Mariano Rivera#P/IP14.114.415.115.53
Alex Rodriguez3B621-2

The Ugly
Stat2003200420052006 Forecast
Johnny DamonSB attempts36271910.33
Octavio Dotel****OPSA.511.552.707.884
Randy Johnson***Kper911.5710.638.427.95
Mike MussinaK/BB4.883.303.021.87
Jorge PosadaOPS.923.881.782.721
Gary SheffieldOPS1.023.927.891.815
Jaret WrightKper97.997.684.813.65
Bernie WilliamsBB/SO1.

* Trend is for 2002, 2003 & 2005: Giambi was "injured" in 2004.
** Trend is for 2002, 2003 & 2005: Chacon wasn't a starter in 2004.
*** Trend is for 2002, 2004 & 2005: Johnson was injured for most of 2003 (<100IP)
**** Trend is for 2002, 2003 & 2004: Dotel was injured for most of 2005.

3-yr trends are accurate in the sense that you can see which direction a player's career is heading, but just to prove there is exceptions (as there always is), look at A-Rod's 2002 to 2004 trend, then check out what he did in 2005:


What to make of all this? Well, we could be in for a surprise from Bubba Crosby, as well as a MVP caliber season from Hideki Matsui. On the other hand, this could be the end of the road for Moose, the Unit, Posada and Sheffield (did you see his trends? eek). Who knows what will happen this year, but it'll certainly be interesting to see which of these guys bucks the trend and who doesn't (FYI: NL MVP Albert Pujols has seen his OPS decline the last 3 years: 1.106-1.072-1.039).

Anonymous Adam B. said...
The one thing I'd be careful with is the Sheffield stats. since his 2003 was in Atlanta, the park factor likely affects the numbers. Baseball-Reference's OPS+ does support the views, however with him declining from 167 to 143 to 132. Still a very good hitter, but Giambi should be #4 this year.

And is the reason you look at stolen bases for Damon because you think it's a sign of decline in his speed?

Blogger Mike A said...
Not so much a decline of speed, but anytime you have a leadoff hitter that isn't much of a threat to steal, it puts less pressure on the pitcher.

Sometimes the threat of a SB causes more havoc than a SB itself.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The trends would suggest DHing Sheff and letting Bubba cover right field for at least 80 games.

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