An illustrated analysis of Derek Jeter’s defense


I link this Ben Lindbergh piece at Grantland not to mock Derek Jeter’s defense, but because the approach here — with heavy use of Gifs and infographics — is a really cool way to look at defense in general. As Lindbergh puts it, it meshes the old fashioned eye-test — which usually helps Jeter’s case — with some advanced metrics.

People already know that Jeter is not and never has been a strong defender and those who doubt it aren’t the sorts to be persuaded by silly things like evidence. But what this does do is take the defensive discussion out of the realm of extremely-flawed defensive metrics and literally shows us what people are talking about when they talk about the player’s defensive strengths or weaknesses. And there are strengths, even if Jeter has been poor on the whole.

None of this is particularly helpful from a data analysis perspective — it would take an awful long time to write up these sorts of defense stories for everyone and you still don’t have data sets you can compare — but it is pretty spiffy and probably tells us more than anything else on the matter can.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

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Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.