Mark Simon writes for ESPNNY, covering the Mets and Yankees. Simon also co-hosts the Baseball Today podcast, and his primary work is as a Baseball Research Specialist for ESPN Stats & Information.
Mark was kind enough to answer ten questions about the Yankees, stats, and more for us!
Brandon C.: Do you see the Yankees making a big trade this off-season?
Mark Simon: I think they have one big move in them this offseason, and then maybe some minor tinkering to have some third base insurance for A-Rod, maybe some outfield depth, and a lefty reliever. The big move almost surely would be a starting pitcher, unless they decided to jettison Swisher. I can't see any circumstance in which they'd have a different starting position player at any of the other spots.
BC Do you believe 2012 will be Mariano Rivera's last season?
MS: I'll say 2013, but 2012 wouldn't shock me. I think David Robertson will inherit the role when Mariano Rivera is done.
BC: If you're in charge of the Yankees, what moves do you make this off-season?
MS: I would either trade for an ace or build up starting pitching depth to the point of having 6 starters that you're really comfy with (right now, you probably have 4). I think if you can get a potential No. 2 starter (Garza or someone of his ilk) without giving up Montero, you should pursue.
BC: Do you think the Yankees can make the playoffs with their current rotation? Win the World Series?
MS: Playoffs, yes, absolutely. Ask me about the World Series on Opening Day, once I can get a better look at the completed rosters for the Rangers, Red Sox, and Phillies.
Follow me for more after the jump!BC: Are there any stats that jump out at you about the Yankees that the average fan does not know?
MS: I suppose that depends on how you define average fan. Those of you who read my blog items on ESPNNY know that I like the defensive stats, and I'm guessing average fan would be surprised at how poorly Granderson ranked last season. That was written about a lot. What wasn't noted was that, at least statistically, CC Sabathia rates very poorly via the advanced defensivemetrics.
BC: Which stats do you use first when analyzing a player?
MS: That depends on who it is. Let me say this. Almost every statistic has some use, even batting average, which takes a lot of hits (no pun intended) from those who are sabermetrically-inclined. I look at a lot...his slashline, his power numbers, his situational performance (I'll usually look at both BA with runners in scoring position and a sabermetric stat like Win Probability Added to see if they jibe), his baserunning, his defense...it is funny though that I do find myself gravitating to WAR when I want to get the overall picture.