Visual Baseball:  Yankees vs. Rays Smackdown

Here’s a version of Rankometer I’m experimenting with, designed to compare 2 teams head to head. Let’s compare the Yankee and Rays on hitting (OPS), pitching (FIP), defense (UZR), and base running (Fangraphs Speed Score).

HITTING: The Rays are disadvantaged at almost every position, and at their strongest positions (3B and LF) they only have a slight advantage.


PITCHING: The teams look very similar, with both teams’ starting rotations surprisingly average, and their top relievers closing out games in dominant fashion.


DEFENSE: The Rays are better than the Yankees, but not as much as you’d think.


BASE RUNNING: Not surprisingly, the Rays are superior base runners, although they grind to a halt at the DH position. The Yankees are surprisingly good base runners, although Cano and Swisher can really clog up the base paths, and Arod seems to be slowing by the day.


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  1. Jason B said...

    Usage patterns have to count for something, too; whether (for instance) Matt Capps is the Twins’ “best reliever” by FIP or WPA or any other metric, he is the designated “closer”, which probably means more in a team-to-team comparison than random reliever #1 (who may be a low-leverage innings eater) versus random reliever #2.

    In your two relief slots, I would just compare closer-to-closer, and ‘designated 8th inning setup guy’ to ‘designated 8th inning setup guy’.

  2. NCRF said...

    You have Cantu as the 3B for the Rangers, as well as Michael Young.  You are missing a 3B for the Orioles (Tejada before traded).

  3. keith said...

    So the Yankees have the 3rd worst #1 starter in the AL (Sabathia) and the 2nd worst first base defender (Teixiera who is worse than Laporta, Butler and Miggy).

  4. Kevin Dame said...

    Thanks for the comments everyone.  Some responses:

    1.  Sorry about the bug in Rankometer.  The shortstop and third basemen switching positions while running has been corrected.

    2.  Reliever rankings have been changed to WPA.  Regarding usage patterns, my goal is to reveal who’s the best pitchers statistically.  So if Bard is pitching better than Papelbon, I want to reflect that.

    3.  Not all teams will have a representative positional player.  If the Orioles don’t show at 3B that means they didn’t have someone with enough AB or that player didn’t rank high enough to crack the top 14.  For pitching, it’s a bit different (and inconsistent, I know) in that each team is represented.

    Rankometer – still a work in progress!

    PS – not sure how to interpret the comment about Sabathia.  Is he the 3rd worst #1 starter in the AL?  If you rank by FIP, then yes!

  5. Jason B said...

    Kevin -

    Thanks for the responses.  I guess when I suggested a “closer vs closer” type comparison (along with “set-up man vs set-up man”) that it made for a ‘truer’ comparison.  That is, you’ve got a 3B compared to a 3B, and a LF compared to a LF, but when it comes to the pen and you’re strictly looking at the two best relievers, you could be comparing a 7th-inning guy versus a closer, which doesn’t really tell you that “team A” has an advantage over “team B” at this position, since the two may not be readily comparable. 

    To be consistent, it seems like the comparisons should be all position/usage based (3B vs 3B; 4th SP vs 4th SP; closer vs closer) or all qualitative (NYY best hitter vs TB best hitter; NYY 8th-best hitter vs TB 8th-best hitter; 3rd-best SP vs. 3rd best SP; best RP vs. best RP, etc).  Mixing the two seems confusing.

    (In my easily-addled mind anyway!)

    Thanks again for your always interesting work and follow-up in the comments section.

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