Bill James and a Baseball Analyst.

                                                           The Bill James Handbook Part One

     Two consecutive posts that refer all of you to read something beforehand?  I know, but yesterday the article negatively affected me, and today it’s the opposite of negative, which of course would be positive.  These are the articles I prefer to read, and are the reason I visit this site to begin with.  It is written by the "Baseball Analysts" crew, Rich Lederer to be exact, and is based upon the new "Bill James Handbook."  And I have much respect and admiration for Bill James the baseball [expert], so I will value his opinion, even if I don’t agree with everything that he originates.   

     "The Fielding Bible" awards are released once again, and are shown in this book, or so Lederer says.  Pujols really seems to be flexing his muscles at first…again.  He is regarded by this crew of knowledgeable minds, to once again, be the best defensive first baseman in all of baseball.  And he is one of the five best hitters in the game to go along with the "Real Golden Glove."  Not too shabby. 

     The fielding award that surprises me the most is Pedro Feliz getting the nod as the best glove at the 3B position for 2007.  When one thinks of great defenders at this position, names such as Chavez or Lowell might come to mind.  But Pedro Feliz?  I never would have guessed that he had a glove to go along with his below average bat, which does have some pop.  And they are not saying that Feliz is the best defensive third baseman, they are saying that he was during the 2007 campaign only. 

     Jeter and Ramirez are no surprise as being viewed as the worst at their respective positions.  I watch Ramirez a lot and it is obvious that he is terrible out there.  The wall takes away from his lack of range a little, which is a plus, but he still looks like a poor fielder.  Jeter on the other hand needs to switch positions.  He is getting worse and moving to third would really benefit the team.  Every year he has been rated as one of the worst with the glove at this position and he is only going to decline on defense.  And again, I have much respect for Jeter, so this isn’t simply a Red Sox fan taking shots at a future Hall of Famer’s weakness.’  And again, I listen to Bill James when he speaks, or more accurately writes, as I have never actually heard him speak.  So unless this is some diabolical scheme to hurt the Yankees even more (James works for the Red Sox), then based on what I see and what I listen to experts say, Jeter should be **** no more. 

     Every other winner makes some sense.  I know that they all have a reputation for being able to field their positions.  And this plus/minus system is an interesting take on analyzing defenders.  There are some other interesting takes on young players and baserunning skills too. 




    i just read that article, and he also says this:

    you can still make a good case for Jeter being the best shortstop in the game. Given all that he brings to the team ā€“ hitting, baserunning, leadership, overall baseball savvy (including as a defender) ā€“ nearly every baseball general manager would prefer Jeter over almost any other shortstop

    so it’s hard to say what he really thinks , isn’t it?

    i don’t think that bill james working for the sox would make him biased in any way. he has too much of a reputation as a respected analyst to uphold.

  2. joseph

    I don’t think James has become bias either, I wasn’t serious about that.

    What he is saying I think, is that Jeter is a great player, and brings all those things to the table.

    But he would still bring the bat, leadership, etc, to another position. He may lose some value because he switches to third which isn’t quite as important as short, but there is still defensive importance there. And if he moved to first there would be even less defensive importance. But all the qualities that can not be quantified will be there regardless of where he plays. And a lot of it has to do with who replaces him at short. The replacement does not have to be as great a hitter, because Jeter is one of the greatest offensive players to ever play that position. But obviously they have to be a better fielder and be at least decent with the bat.


    i just heard that they are accusing the colts of cheating yesterday… apparently they were piping in “crowd noise” on top of the noise that was already going on there. the problem occured when the CD started skipping on air…pretty funny huh?

    you have a good point about him bringing all his skills with him to whatever position he played.

    you know what? i think if there were a really great SS available maybe they would move jeter to third right now…as far as the marlins go…i’d rather make a big trade for ramirez than cabrera…what do you think?

  4. joseph

    Is hanley available? He is one of the best SS’s in the game. Actually in the same kind of mold as Jeter, great bat, poor glove. Obviously Jeter has some qualities that Ramirez does not have, but Ramirez is still one of the top 5 SS’s in the game, and should only get better.

    As far as Cabrera, if he came to NY and switched to first, then he may be better off. Girardi was his manager in Florida, and maybe that will help some, keep him motivated. I don’t know, just a thought. But don’t touch him if they ask for way too much in return.


    well i don’t know if he’s available or not. but if they are willing to possibly trade miguel, you’d think they might trade hanley.

    i don’t want yet another fat first baseman…i’m hoping the yanks get texeira when he goes on the market for 09. it seems like the new people in atlanta are quite budget concious.

    hey did you read that article on boras at the hardball times?

  6. joseph

    Just read it. Really good article. But a few things in ARod’s defense. He isn’t 40/40 but may be 25/50. And the ten homers are more important than the fifteen stolen bases. And if he moved to the NL he might hit 60 in almost any park, outside of the obvious Petco and maybe a few others. But everything else is entertaining, and pretty accurate. But the point is, no player is worth that much, and ARod WILL decline in a few years.

  7. PAUL

    If you meant to question Bill James’s qualifications as a baseball “expert”, you should use quotes instead of brackets.
    There was a show on one of the science channels about Bill James awhile ago. He spoke about his work and the best players at every position in history, etc. He’s not as much of a recluse as everyone seems to think even though he looks like some hibernating bear that just left his cave with that beard.

    As much of a team player as everyone says Jeter is, he can be remarkably selfish when defending what he perceives as his territory. The Yankees would have been a better team with ARod at short and Jeter in center, but they weren’t about to even ask Jeter to move positions, especially for ARod.

    With Manny, there are certain things you have to accept when having him on your team; one of them is that he’s lazy and gets distracted in the outfield like a dog in a car who spies another dog. When he wants to be, he can be a very good outfielder. This is not a positive trait that he plays when he feels like it, but Manny has pretty much always been that way since he became an established big leaguer and it’s part of Manny being Manny.

  8. joseph

    I was under the impression that the brackets put emphasis on a word. Maybe I was wrong. I was trying to emphasize that he is an expert to the highest degree.

    And I know that Manny is a poor OF. I watch him almost every night. I also understand that his bat has always far outweighed whatever lack of defense he brings to the table. But he gets the ball in quickly, has a decent arm too. But his range and instincts out there are not good. Just at Fenway they don’t appear to be as bad.


    i finally broke down and bought the subscription to baseball prospectus. i got tired of being able to read only the first part of an article

  10. joseph

    Mike, I don’t have that subscription. I have the site on my favorites but do not use it much, except for browsing their stats on occasion. But even then, it is 4th in line when I look for stats. But I do like BP.


    i’ll let you know if i read any good articles form there.

    i see schilling might be back; they’d be crazy not to keep him for a year…right?

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