Games » New York YankeesJul24
Sooner or later I’m going to have to deal with the fact that according to this system Yuniesky Betancourt is now the second-best player on the Royals. This suggests three possibilities:
The system is flawed.
The system’s OK, but I’m lousy at running it.
The system is telling me Yuniesky Betancourt is a better ballplayer than I thought.
Let’s look at each possibility.
I don’t believe the system is perfect or complete, but I don’t believe it’s flawed. Ron Polk didn’t think there was anything sacred about the categories he chose, they just reflected his opinion about how players should approach the game and what he valued as a coach.
Change the categories or the points awarded and you’d get different results, but after using this system for 96 ball games I think he did a remarkable job of creating an overall way to evaluate ballplayers. It includes positives, negatives, offense, defense, physical effort, mental effort, obvious stats and “inside” stats. It’s the pu-pu platter of baseball analysis.
This system isn’t the only way to evaluate a player, but it’s a valid, time-tested way to evaluate a player from a coach that’s taken eight teams to the College World Series, coached the U.S. Olympic team and won more games than any coach of any type in the history of the SEC. There’s a good chance he knew what he was doing.
So if the system isn’t flawed, how about me?
Well, I’ve been married 26 years so the chance that I might be mistaken has been pointed out to me on occasion. It took awhile to decide how to score some of the more subjective categories, and I think there are things I miss in every game. On the other hand, some pretty decent baseball guys have tried to teach me to see the game and have been complimentary about the website and its coverage. So I think I might be off, but not way off.
That gets us to possibility three: is Yuniesky Betancourt a better ballplayer than I thought? The answer is clearly, yes.
When we created the electronic form I fill out after every game, I wanted the points fed into the system to automatically total at the bottom. We didn’t get that done and it’s been a blessing in disguise. I have no idea who the player of the game is until I see it on the website. I have no idea where the players are ranking until I see them totaled up after every game. That prevents me from subconsciously fudging the numbers to make them come out the way I think they “ought” to. My conclusion that Betancourt wasn’t a very good shortstop has slowly been eroded by the evidence I’ve gathered.
Ron Polk’s system is responsible for that. It allows you to compare the bad plays with the good plays to get an overall picture of what a player brings to the field. It gives weight to defense and measures the worth of the people handling the ball the most.
The top two players in the system are Butler, 377 points and Betancourt, 373 points. Billy’s got 11 points on defense, Yuniesky’s got 79. They may be right next to each other in point totals, but they’re getting there in different ways.
Having said that, Betancourt’s defensive contribution couldn’t be the entire answer, he’s got too many points. So I took a second look at his offense. David DeJesus is probably the Royals’ best overall player, right? At this point, Betancourt and DeJesus have played in the same number of games. Hitting higher in the order, David’s got more trips to the plate.
Guess who has more RBIs, the best player on the Royals or their awful shortstop. Guess who has more home runs. Guess who has fewer strikeouts and fewer strikeouts looking. Guess who has grounded into fewer double plays. Guess who has more sacrifice flies.
Despite 44 fewer trips to the plate, Yuniesky trails David in doubles by one and triples by one. He has scored only four fewer runs. David’s got a big advantage in batting average, total hits and walks, but Yuniesky plays a much more important defensive position.
I don’t know that Yuniesky Betancourt is actually the second-most valuable player on the Royals. I still think he’s inconsistent and can make a stunningly bad plays when he loses focus, but I now think there may be positives outweighing that. Ron Polk’s system made me aware of this.
But if you still think I’m the problem, talk to my wife. She’s on your side.
• OK, so maybe Scott Podsednik DOES have a good reason for avoiding the wall. No way he’s crashing into one now.
• Betancourt had two outstanding plays: he started a terrific double play that eventually saved two runs and ended the game by picking up a slow grounder and making a quick transfer to get Teixeira.
• That other guy that can’t play defense, Rick Ankiel, made a great diving catch in the 8th.
• Guillen’s lack of range appeared to be a factor in Granderson’s double in the first.
• Butler picked up base running points for advancing to second on a throw to the plate. Kendall picked up a stolen base and heads-up points for noticing the pitcher had gone to sleep and wasn’t holding him.
• Blake Wood didn’t come out for the eighth. Once you’ve been in the league awhile, hitters adjust and you have to adjust back. If Blake doesn’t adjust, Ned has to.
• Kyle Davies mainly pitched well, but walks after a home run are never a good sign.