Posted tagged ‘Curtis Granderson’

Yankees Sign Jacoby Ellsbury

December 4, 2013

WOW. I am nearly speechless. Waiting in line for dining hall take out and I got the ESPN text saying the New York Yankees signed Jacoby Ellsbury. This is huge news with a lot of implications.

The contract is 7/$153mil meaning an AAV of nearly $22mil. Ellsbury will be 30 for most of the 2014 season and will be 37 when the contract is over. Ellsbury has had some fantastic seasons but has also had some maddeningly poor seasons. In 2011 he had a phenomenal 9.1 fWAR season. But that dipped to 1.4 in 2012 as he battled injuries and saw his wOBA drop from .400 to .300. He rebounded in 2013 to post a 5.8 fWAR with a .343 wOBA.





















































Steamer projects a 3.9 fWAR for Ellsbury in 2014 and as he ages I decreased his WAR by 0.5 each season while adjusting 5% for inflation each season.

3.9 might be a low forecast for 2014 but I think it’s realistic so that’s what I went with. All things considered it seems like the Yankees have much higher expectations for Ellsbury. And I hope so because this deal looks TERRIBLE even if you factor in the Yankees win curve and other additional factors that go into analyzing the Yankees unique position in the market.

The Yankees will pay Ellsbury $153mil for an estimated $94mil in value- a difference of $59mil! This is why long term contracts are bad. It’s very hard to get full or even good value on a contract that goes over four or five years. It’s even worse when you aren’t even projected to get good value after four or five years.

With the additional news that the Seattle Mariners will pay Robinson Cano $200mil or more it looks like his days as a Yankee will come to an end. My forecasts have Cano being worth about $162mil over seven years. Robinson Cano is the player worth $150mil+ not Jacoby Ellsbury. It’s even more head scratching when New York has a center fielder for cheap already- that player being Brett Gardner who has arguably been just as good as Ellsbury over their past few full seasons.

Maybe New York is going to go past their self-imposed $189mil budget and can still sign Cano. But all indications seem to be that they will now focus on Hiroki Kuroda and Masahiro Tanaka while signing Omar Infante for cheap to play second and/or third. As stated I think the smarter move would be to pony up a little bit more to keep Cano than grossly overpay for Jacoby Ellsbury. Even if you think Ellsbury will be better than I project- which the Yankees seem to be doing- it won’t make up nearly the $60mil difference between value and actual salary.

I think this contract will play out similar to the one Carl Crawford signed after the 2010 season. He was going to enter his age 30 season. He got a 7/$142mil contract from the Red Sox (then under different leadership). He had similar K rates, BB rates, and ISO to Ellsbury. He was also a fantastic defender much like Ellsbury. Crawford has posted 3.0 fWAR in the three seasons since. Granted he has missed time to injuries, but the contract is turning into an albatross. I fear the same will happen to the Yankees.

Crawford is just one example of many. To use him as the sole example would be poor analysis, especially when other speed players have aged well. But it does show how risky a deal of this magnitude can be, especially for a player with similar skill sets (BB, K, ISO, speed, defense).

To conclude. Poorly done New York. I am curious to learn whether Brian Cashman approved of this or whether this idea is that of Randy Levine or Hal Steinbrenner, which would continue to show the lack of structure in New York’s front office. There is a reason why a well-run team, the Boston Red Sox, let go of their starting center fielder. He isn’t worth nine figures. As long as the Yankees continue to operate this way the gap between them and their rival to the north will continue to grow.


This Dave Cameron article looks at the decline of speedy outfielders. He notes that from age 30-36 this pool of comparable players to Jacoby Ellsbury averages 17 WAR, which isn’t bad. That’s right round the forecast I have for Ellsbury. He will age well, don’t get me wrong. But that’s not $153mil well. And THAT is my problem with the contract- not that Ellsbury will be a poor performer. Heck, he’s still worth almost $100mil over seven years!

Moreover, FanGraphs Crowdsourcing, which is pretty accurate, had a real life expectation of 6/$112mil and a fantasy expectation of 5/$83mil. Although older and not as productive, I think at 7/$153mil it would even make more sense to bring back Curtis Granderson at 3 years and a whole lot less money (although I am against that as well).

Handicapping the Awards – AL MVP Edition

July 21, 2011

Hey, meant to get this up sooner but life got in the way. So here we go…

The race is over, kind of favorite

Jose Bautista – OF – Toronto Blue Jays (6.9 WAR)

This might be the most lopsided MVP race since the days of Barry Bonds. Bautista has a slash line of .332/.467/.690/.482/212+. Yeah. You might want to read that again. His wOBA is nearly .500! The next closest person in terms of wRC+ is Miguel Cabrera at 167+. Only a gap of 45. Yeah, Bautista is insane and probably the best player in baseball at this point. I mean, it looks like he is going to murder the 10 WAR threshold.

Just gonna name other “contenders” for the fun of it

Jacoby Ellsbury – OF – Boston Red Sox (5.0 WAR)

Ellsbury has had a strong bounce back campaign playing great defense and surprisingly hitting for power. In fact, most of his value is from a high wOBA fueled by a slugging percentage over .500. I don’t know if this is something to expect in future seasons, but in 2011 it’s making Ellsbury a star.

Dustin Pedroia – 2b – Boston Red Sox (5.4 WAR)

It pains me to put such a d-bag here, but I’m no homer. Once again Pedroia has been a superb fielder, which is where a l0t of his value comes from. But his BB% has climbed to 14.7% this year, which has elevated his OBP to around .400. So he’s a 2b who gets on base at a very high clip and could- of course he is going to be valuable.

Curtis Granderson – OF – New York Yankees (4.8 WAR)

Although he has seemingly slowed down as of late, Granderson has been awesomee. Early in the season he seemingly “put the team on his back” when no one was hitting (Swisher, Gardner, Posada, Jeter,Teixeira, etc) and has made some nice defensive plays. If it weren’t for Bautista, he could very well be an AL MVP.

Joe G managing like he doesn’t want to be in New York anymore

October 20, 2010

I could count down a number of problems the entire ALCS, but I’ll stick to the past game and today (when the game hasn’t even started yet!)

– Intentionally walking David Murphy. You NEVER put the winning run on base. NEVER. You pitch to him. Whether it’s with AJ or Logan, you pitch to him.

– Leaving Burnett in to face Molina. Yes, Molina sucks and even I should be able to get him out. But we were lucky to have gotten that much out of AJ. He is prone to the big inning and big hit. Take him out while you can. A fresh reliever should be able to destroy Molina.

– Letting Boone Logan face Josh Hamilton. Never let your worst pitcher face a team’s best hitter in a critical situation. Never.

– Pitching Mitre in the ninth. If that isn’t a white flag, then I don’t know what is. At the point, we were still one swing away from a tie game. With an off-day Thursday, you do everything you can to keep the score 7-3. That means pitching Mo in the ninth.

– Today’s lineup. Why is Berkman in over Kearns? Berkman is a black hole against righties. His defense isn’t great. By playing Kearns, you have a better bat in the lineup to face CJ Wilson AND your defense is better with Kearns in right and Swisher at first. Moreover, why are two lefties, Grandy and Gardy, bunched together in the 8 and 9 spot. From the 6 spot on down, wouldn’t it make more sense to have Posada, Granderson, Berkman, Gardner to break the lefties up? Yes. Yes it would.


I would used to stand up for Girardi since I do like his regular season bullpen management. But enough is enough. Once late season and October games roll around, he completely changes his managerial style for the worse.

Get out and vote: Roberto Clemente Award

September 8, 2010

Public voting for the Roberto Clemente is now open via

While this isn’t is the most recognized award, it is my favorite. Roberto Clemente is my favorite athlete, and person, that I have had the pleasure to read, hear, and learn about. Not only was he a fantastic baseball player, but he was an active humanitarian as well.

So I just want to get the word out about the award so a deserving candidate can be honored by the legacy of the great Roberto Clemente. The award is given to the player who, “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual’s contribution to his team”.

Personally, I voted for Curtis Granderson. I read about his charities while he played in Detroit, and he has continued to be a fantastic role model for kids in New York.

David Ortiz has never had a legitimate strike three

August 8, 2010

For anyone that’s ever seen David Ortiz strike out, you know he whines and moans every time he strikes out looking. Yesterday he struck out looking twice, both on bad calls in this instance. Here is what he said:


“It was a joke,” said Ortiz. “The fact is that on top of [Sabathia] being that good, he’s got [an ump] calling all kinds of [expletive]. That made him better.

Okay, David, we know you’re mad but please don’t tell one side of the story. The ump was horrible all game, for both sides. And while CC was helped in at-bats against you, he also had at-bats where he was screwed.

Here is Sabathia’s second strikeout of Ortiz:

Two bad calls on curves away.

Sabathia walked just one batter yesterday. Here is that at-bat:

Where were pitches 1 and 4? Even pitch 5 was a borderline strike. According to Gameday, Sabathia should have had a strikeout on four pitches against JD Drew, but instead walked him because the ump failed to call two sliders that dropped in for a strike.

Ortiz claims CC benefited from the ump, but so did his teams pitcher, John Lackey. Look at Lackey’s battle with Curtis Granderson:

Hmmm, that curve outside was called a strike. So Ortiz wasn’t the only person who the ump screwed.

On the day it looked like the home plate ump just struggled on off-speed pitches. All the atrocious calls on the outside to lefties were curves or sliders. Also, the two balls on Drew were sliders inside, so it seems like the ump had a slanted strike zone on off-speed pitches against left-handed batters.

So, cool, David, the ump screwed you. But he was bad both ways and both teams benefited and were hurt. So say that or say nothing at all.

Addressing Yankee trade rumors: Cody Ross

July 24, 2010

Along with Dan Haren, the Yankees have been linked to Cody Ross, among other players. Ross is a 29 year old outfielder on the Florida Marlins, who will be owed around $1.5mil the rest of the season, and is arbitration eligible after the season for the last time before he hits free agency. Why are the Yankees interested in him?

Cody Ross would be an ideal platoon partner with Curtis Granderson. Granderson has always struggled against lefties as he has a .268 wOBA in 786 compared to a .377 wOBA in 2384 PA against righties. Ross on the other hand has a .398 wOBA in 595 PA against lefties and a .317 wOBA in 1439 PA against righties. On the surface, they seem like a perfect platoon. I mean, their wOBA difference against LHP is 130 points while their difference in wOBA against RHP is 60 points. Bat Curtis and his .377 wOBA against righties, while you bat Cody Ross and his .398 wOBA against lefties.

Well, its’ not that easy.

In order to fully evaluate whether the Yankees should trade for Ross, you need to regress to the mean to find their true platoon skill. So here is what I did step-by-step:

1) Find the observed platoon split. To do this, subtract Granderson and Ross’s wOBA against lefties from their wOBA against righties. For Granderson it would be .377-.268 and for Ross it would be .398-.317. So Granderson’s observed performance is 30.8% (.109 difference/.358 total wOBA x 100). Ross’ observed performance  is 23.6%.

2) Regress to get an estimated platoon skill. The formula is (observed performance x PA against LHP + league average platoon split against LHP x 1000)/(PA against LHP x 1000). For Granderson it would be (.308 x 786 + .086 x 1000)/(1786). For the league league average platoon, I used the average from 2007-2009 that was used in the article I linked to above. So Granderson’s estimated platoon split is 18.4% and Ross’ platoon split is 9.8%

3) Now we must center the split. To do this I used the formula x = (1-Percentage of PA against LHP) x Estimated platoon split percentage. That gives you the percentage you discount against LHP. To figure out the percentage you discount against RHP the formula is y = Estimated platoon split – x. So Granderson’s split against LHP is -13.8% and 4.6% against RHP. Ross’ split against LHP is 6.9% and -2.9% against RHP.

4) Now we figure out how well each of them will hit against lefties/righties the rest of the season. To do this, I used their ZiPS projected wOBA for the rest of the season. Against lefties, Granderson is expected to have a .297 wOBA. I did that by subtracting .297 and his overall expected wOBA, which is .344. .297-.344 gives you -0.047. I divided that by .344 to get -.137 or 13.7%, which is just about his estimated platoon split against LHP (we found it to be 13.8%). Against RHP Granderson should have a .360 wOBA. Ross’ wOBA against LHP should be .369 and his wOBA should be .327.

As you can see, a platoon of Cody Ross and Curtis Granderson would be quite useful. There is a wOBA difference of 72 points(!) between Ross and Granderson when it comes to facing LHP. The same difference between the two for RHP is a less staggering 33 points. Ross is a solid fielder, so when he starts he can play a respectable left field while Bret Gardner patrols center.

The question remains though- is Cody Ross worth acquiring for 2010 and 2011? Obviously the lineup would improve with a platoon this year. But even with Granderson playing everyday the lineup is still really good. Any added advantage is nice, but not necessary with this lineup. They can stomach a game or two a week with Curtis playing against lefties. Sure in the postseason they could face Cliff Lee, David Price, Jon Lester, and/or Francisco Liriano, but Cody Ross isn’t coming free. Reports are stating the Marlins want a hefty return for Ross. While the idea of a platoon is intriguing, I wouldn’t give up anything more than a middling prospect that has no future with our big league club anyway. Moreover, Granderson will paid $8.25mil in 2011 and $10mil in 2012. That’s a lot of money to pay a platoon player. Besides, even though Granderson has been in an extended slump, he hits well enough against righties and has a good enough glove that he deserves to be an everyday player.

If the Yankees trade for Ross, I’ll be content, but I wouldn’t make it a priority.


May 2, 2010

Curtis Granderson to hit the DL for a groin injury.

Curtis Granderson is a hit in the community

March 21, 2010

Non analytical post.

I take a journalism class. I did a feature on Curtis Granderson. It’s not that good, but enjoy anyway:

The cool breeze of an early morning wind sweeps across George Steinbrenner Field, home of the New York Yankees Spring Training facilities. Position players are running sprints and among them is the new guy, Curtis Granderson, who was acquired via trade back in December. After practice ends, several players walk back to the locker room- except for one. Curtis Granderson walks towards the stands to sign autographs for dozen of eager kids praying for the chance to meet a Major League Baseball player.

In a time where players are less accessible and less visible in the community, Curtis Granderson is making sure he can use his star power to help others. Anyone who has ever met Granderson is instantly transfixed by his humility. “He signs autographs out there every single day when he leaves until he signs everybody’s autograph and you just don’t find that,” says former manager Jim Leyland.

Granderson was born in Lynwood, Illinois, where his parents, Mary and Curtis Sr., subjected him to strict standards. Curtis could only play baseball if he maintained a B average. They stressed the values of education to him, which is why he continued to take classes to earn a degree, even after starting his professional career. The morals imparted in him by his parents have helped Granderson become a leading role model in sports today.

In the past few years, Granderson has been baseball’s ambassador to Italy, Britain, China, and South Africa. He also created his own charity, the Grand Kid’s Foundation. The Grand Kid’s Foundation was founded in 2008 as an educational based organization. The organization helps to purchase school supplies for needy kids, books for schools, and provides equipment to inner city schools. There is even a scholarship program for high school seniors. Granderson also hosted three Celebrity Basketball Games in Detroit, on behalf of his foundation.

Just this past fall in 2009, Curtis won the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award. The award is given to those whose performance off the field inspires others to do the same. “The fact that other teammates and other players throughout the league have acknowledged that as well has definitely been a great thing, too,” he said.

Along with the Marvin Miller award, he was announced as a member of the “Dream Team” for community service among athletes from ten sports. He was also named as a candidate for the Jefferson Award in Public Service. Adding to his trophy case of public service, Granderson was the Detroit Tigers choice for the Roberto Clemente Award, named in honor of the late humanitarian and baseball great. The award is given to a single player in MLB who demonstrates exceptional work in the community. He even showed up at the White House to help unveil a new campaign to reduce obesity.

“I am excited at being able to continue to help enhance the educational experience for many of Michigan’s students,” says Granderson, who wrote the kids book All You Can Be: Dream It, Draw It, Become It! “I want to help others realize that they do not have to be rich and famous to make a positive impact in their community. Volunteering just one hour a week at any community organization or school can make a difference. People ask me all the time how I have time to do this, but I’m single and I don’t have any kids. If I can find even an hour here or there to do something, I still have 23 hours to rest or see my friends and family. You look at it that way, it’s easy to find time.”

When the New York Yankees traded for Curtis Granderson, they traded for an All-Star center fielder who will help them on the field in their quest to repeat as World Series Champions. They also traded for a guy who will make just as important impact off the field.

“Our arms are open to whatever he wants to do,” said Major League Baseball’s Celia Bobrowsky. “It’s great to have him in the neighborhood.”

Welcome to New York, Curtis.

Yankees outfield situation

February 15, 2010

This is just a quick post, so if it seems  rushed, you know why.

Heading into the season, the Yankees have six outfielders on their extended roster. Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner, Randy Winn, Jamie Hoffmann, and Marcus Thames. Ideally, the Yankees only need 4-5 outfielders, so who should get playing time and who should get the boot?

For starters, let me tell you my projected outfield (haha, for starters). Swisher in RF, Gardner in CF, and Granderson in LF. Obviously, Swishawk is a lock in right. Also, it should come as a no-brainer Granderson is starting, but I have him in left.  Gardner is a better fielder. Granderson is projected to have a 0.0 UZR/150 in 2010 and his three year UZR is “just” 1.2. Meanwhile, Gardner has put up spectacular 27.6 UZR/150 in 789 career CF innings and his projected 2010 UZR/150 is 2.8. Sure there’s just a 2-3 run difference between the two, but I fully believe Gardner will post a better rating than 2.8, while Grandy will stay close to his three year average.

Now comes the tricky part- choosing the bench. With Granderson and Gardner both starting, that’s two black holes against lefties. So ideally, the Yankees need a rerserve OF who can hit lefties to platoon with Gardner or pinch-hit for him and Granderson. Well, in 2009 Winn had a -9 wRC+ against lefties in 125 PA- a SSS. For his career he has fared a little bit better, posting a 105 wRC+.

The next option would be Marcus Thames. Against lefties in 2009, Thames had a 110 wRC+ against lefties. For his career in 691 PA against lefties, he has a 122 wRC+ with a .360 wOBA. 691 PA is still a SSS, but it’s evident Thames is just a flat out better hitter than Winn against lefties, with more power. Power that could be beneficial in NYS if the HR rates stay the same.

Give me Thames as the 4th outfielder on the bench, to platoon with Gardner against lefties and/or pinch-hit.

That leaves two players for one spot- Randy Winn and Jamie Hoffman. Winn is being paid $2mil by New York in 2010. Hoffmann has to stay on the Yanks roster or he’ll be returned to LA. Hoffmann offers more potential. He is younger, can hold his own ground offensively, and is supposed to be a good fielder. Meanwhile, Winn is getting older and coming off a bad offensive season.

If given the choice, Hoffman should be given the spot over Winn. In reality, New York won’t want to waste $2mil on Winn and then cut him or not play him. So it may be money that makes the final decision.

To recap:

RF- Nick Swisher; CF- Brett Gardner; LF- Curtis Granderson

4th OF- Marcus Thames

5th OF- Jamie Hoffmann

See ya later- Randy Winn

But in reality it will be Winn who earns a spot over Hoffmann.


December 18, 2009

Fourteen is a good number, Curtis.