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Jorge Posada’s weird (bad) season

Posted by Andy on April 30, 2011

Jorge Posada is having a weird season so far.

After the Yankees' 11th game this year, Posada was hitting just .184. But he also had 5 homers and an .858 OPS.

Since then, though, he's fallen off the map and is at .130, 6 HR, and a .622 OPS.

So far this year, he's got those 6 HR, only 3 other hits (all singles) and 20 strikeouts.

I don't need to look up any of those numbers to tell you that are very unbalanced, strange, and ultimately pretty bad.

This entry was posted on Saturday, April 30th, 2011 at 4:47 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

43 Responses to “Jorge Posada’s weird (bad) season”

  1. Jorge doesn't like not playing everyday. Before he knew he was going to play even if he was designated pinch hitter now and then. So he kept thinking about catching the games, paid attention to other things like his pitchers' best and worst stuff and opposition hitters. Now all he has to think about is hitting. Unless you're Ted Williams that's not a good thing. When baseball players think too much they screw up worse. Just MHO of course :-)

  2. Mickey John Says:

    I agree Fred. It must be a difficult thing for a guy to go from everyday catcher to full-time DH. Maybe the lack of being involved in every pitch of the game has affected his timing at the plate. The 6 HR's indicate that it has more to do with the transition than being age related. Despite his low BA he still typically works pitchers into deep counts. Perhaps an occasional start behind the plate would help, but it's hard to justify sitting Russell Martin with the year he's having, and it looks as though Gustavo Molina has become Ivan Nova's personal catcher.

  3. Actually I just had to look at the numbers.Since 2006 and excluding pitchers, after 20 games and 50 or more plate appearances only 3 players have had a batting average less than .190 and 2 or more home runs, Jorge, Adam Dunn and Tyler Colvin. Oh and they were all this year. two are trying to be a DH for the first time and the other is a Cub :-)
    Maybe it's global warming?. . .

  4. I agree Mickey it's the position the Yanks put themselves in with Jorge (who I think has been superior for them over the years) at a time when he's not everyday Jorge. Unlike the Red Sox who kept Varitek on the roaster and let him catch now and then the Yanks felt obligated to give him a "thank you" contract like Mo's and most of Jeter's coming years (I suspect) but told him he could no longer do what he loved. Now the RSox have different issues than NY but they should either have made him the backup or given him the Bernie Williams - see ya later - send off and signed him to a personal services contract with large $$$ attached.
    Or maybe I'm just being too logical for the Yanks... ;-)

  5. Maybe it's the fact he is turning 40 in a couple months.

  6. Mickey John Says:

    That's funny Fred...good research. Some might think it's too small of a sample size, but I think since you went back 5 years and only 3 fell into that category, and 2 of those 3 are switching to full time DH from many years of full time defense, it represents a common thread. Again, I don't think it's age; I believe it's timing and routine.

  7. Spartan Bill Says:

    On April 2nd against Detroit, he drew a walk in the 5th inning and advanced to second on a groundout.

    He then scored on a Russell Martin HR.

    That is the only run he has scored all year other than the 6 times he jogged around the bases on his HR's.

  8. RE: Sample size. I went back and ran it from 1991 to 2011. One player joined the list, Kevin Mitchell in 1997. He hit .153, had 9 hits, 4 homers and drove in 11. He only played 20 games in 1997

  9. "it looks as though Gustavo Molina has become Ivan Nova's personal catcher."

    Would be pretty hard to do since Molina was optioned to AAA.

  10. bostonstrangler Says:

    should have re-signed matsui as the dh and platooned posada and

    martin.

    there would definately be more punch in the middle of the lineup....

  11. John Autin Says:

    I'll vote for what Jonathan said @5.

    Posada has caught 1,573 games in the majors. Only 28 other catchers in MLB history have been behind the plate that often. What were those fellows doing at age 39?

    Two had OPS+ of 100 or better while playing at least their team's games (Fisk, Ferrell). Two others had OPS+ of 100 or better while playing about 1/3 of the time (Dickey, Lombardi). The other 24 ... not so much. Here is the playing time and OPS+ for all 28:

    -- 14 were retired from playing. (Yogi came back for 2 AB at age 40; Luke Sewell game back for 6 games at 41 during WWII.)

    -- 4 were regulars (played at least half their team's games):
    - Carlton Fisk played in 135 games, with 23 HRs and a 102 OPS+.
    - Bob Boone played in 128 games, with 3 HRs and a 66 OPS+.
    - Rick Ferrell played in 91 games, with 1 HR and a 109 OPS+.
    - Brad Ausmus played in 81 games, with 3 HRs and a 60 OPS+.

    -- The rest:
    - Rick Dempsey played in 79 games, with 4 HRs and an 80 OPS+.
    - Deacon McGuire played in 72 games, with no HRs and an 87 OPS+.
    - Lance Parrish played in 70 games, with 4 HRs and a 53 OPS+.
    - Tony Pena played in 67 games, with 1 HR and a 23 OPS+.
    - Bill Dickey played in 54 games, with 2 HRs and a 101 OPS+.
    - Benito Santiago played in 49 games, with 6 HRs and a 91 OPS+.
    - Ernie Lombardi played in 48 games, with 4 HRs and a 100 OPS+.
    - Gabby Hartnett played in 37 games, with 1 HR and a 97 OPS+.
    - Jim Hegan played in 24 games, with 1 HR and a 67 OPS+.
    - Ivan Rodriguez is currently playing not quite half the time, with 1 HR and a 53 OPS+.
    - Jason Kendall, age 37, is recovering from shoulder surgery. He may play again, but he hasn't hit well for about 6 years.

    The end comes for all of us.

  12. So will the real Jorge Posada please stand up...please stand up!

  13. "So will the real Jorge Posada please stand up...please stand up!"

    He is, you're just not paying attention.

    Do you really believe Posada has a 17 year ML career with any other organization but the Yankees?

    I think not.

  14. Interesting that you guys are writing Posada off so quickly this year, and stating how he should obviously be done based on his age and games played.

    The guy had a very good year last year at age 38 that defied the odds, and an even better year in 2009 at age 37.

    His poor hitting this year IS surprising. Considering how well he hit the last 2 years, one would expect that moving to DH he could put up decent numbers this year. For whatever reason, he isn't hitting at all like he did 8 months ago, but I don't think that aging 8 months is what put him over the edge. Perhaps a minor injury, perhaps personal distractions, etc. But he didn't go from being a very good hitter last year to a very poor one this year just by aging 8 months.

  15. John Autin Says:

    Apologies for going way off topic with a random screed about tonight's Marlins-Red game....

    Marlins' lefty specialist Randy Choate made his 11th appearance of the year tonight, striking out the 2 batters he faced. With a righty coming up, a 3-run lead and 4 outs to go, manager Edwin Rodriguez replaced Choate with righty Eduardo Mujica. Four hits and 3 runs later, the game was tied, wasting Josh Johnson's latest gem; Florida lost the game in the 10th.

    Choate did his job, such as it's defined, but I'm going to rail against him anyway; or rather, against the wacky modern notions that give him a big-league job. What is the point of having Choate on your roster? In his 11 games this year, he's pitched 4.2 innings, averaging 2 batters per game. Last year, Choate appeared in 85 games, pitching just 44.2 innings; he was the first ever to pitch 80 games without reaching 50 IP, and his average of 0.53 IP per game was one of the lowest ever. He had a 4.23 ERA and 94 ERA+, not far off his career marks of 4.36 and 103.

    Yes, he's pretty effective against lefty hitters -- career .216 BA, .592 SLG. But righties cream him -- 2 for 6 with a HR and 2 walks this year; last year, 16 for 39 with 2 HRs and a 1.162 OPS; in 2009, 17 for 53, 3 HRs, .880 OPS. So you really want to use him just for the lefties. But is he valuable enough in that role -- do you really have enough high-leverage situations against lefty batters who aren't going to get replaced when Choate comes in -- to justify the roster spot?

    WAR and WPA see Choate as almost worthless; in parts of 11 seasons, his career marks are 0.8 WAR and 1.2 WPA, and most of that value came back in 2001. He's pitched in 11 different seasons, but has just 250 career innings. His 0.71 IP per game is the 6th lowest in MLB history.

    His high game in WPA last year was 0.170; he had just 7 games of 0.100 or better. Although Choate appeared more often last year than anyone but Pedro Feliciano, 220 pitchers had more games of at least 0.100 WPA than he did. He had 2 bad games far worse than his best WPA, -0.434 and -0.307. This year, his high game is 0.075; he retired 1 batter in the 7th inning of a tie game, with the go-ahead run on second. Tonight's game was the first time he's gotten even 2 outs without giving up a run.

    And just from the perspective of watching a game, the worst thing about having Choate around is that his appearance virtually guarantees a mid-inning pitching change, something we already have far too much of.

    Well, thanks for letting me get that out of my system. I hope you all have a good night.

  16. two things stand out with Posada's season

    1. a ridiculously low BAbip of .070 considering his career mark is .316 that should correct in time
    2. a scary low LD% of 10% with a career mark of 22% this could be sign that's he's lost something

    While he may no longer be the hitter he was he is still a better hitter than his numbers so far

  17. Nash Bruce Says:

    without looking at who JP hit the 6 homers off of, or the video of those 6 HRs, I'd guess (especially with it being early in the season, pitchers still catching up) that he's essentially hit the only 6 mistake pitches, or say, 6 out of 10 of the mistake pitches, that he's seen, for HR's..........and been unable to touch anything else, even remotely resembling mid-season, major-league level pitching. Were I correct, it would certainly mean that, this is the end for Mr. Posada :(

  18. Nash Bruce Says:

    Jorge Posada's HR's:
    1,2 off Max Scherzer (certainly a decent starter, but remember, this was the THIRD of April, the first start of the year for MS)
    3 Scott Baker- another somewhat established (despite, as a Twins fan, I....urrggghHHH!!!) starter.....
    4, off Chris Jakubauskas 5.61 career ERA, pitched for SEA, PIT
    5 off Kevin Gregg (BAL) ehhhhh...
    6, off Jason Berken, 5.31 career ERA.
    so I dunno.....

  19. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    I can't find the recent post where someone referred to old Yankee Stadium as the 'House Built for Ruth,' but i just woke up in the middle of the night with the need to check the Babe's home/away splits.

    Did the 'short porch' account for the success of the most mythic figure in american sports history? Did it account for why he led the the league in OPS 13 out of 14 years?

    Let me say that again:
    Led the league in OPS 13 out of 14 years.

    Ah, thankfully, no.
    Here's George's splits (post 1919)

    Home:
    .350 .489 .717 1.207 with 345 homers

    Away:
    .342 .474 .695 1.168 with 349 homers

  20. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    One more thing on Ruth.
    He led the league in On Base Percentage 10 out of 14 years.
    He did this with only one battling title.
    Think about that one for a second.

    With respect to Barry Bonds (and i am, apparently, one of the few who does), George Herman got all those walks with Gehrig batting behind him.

    Not Bengie Molina. Not Rey Sanchez.
    Ludwig Heinrich Gehrig (whose splits, by the way, were better on the road)

  21. Mike B. Says:

    The problem is that you folks are (mostly) trying to explain human behavior without knowing anything about the human. What we know is stats, and stats can only reflect what has happened, not what will happen or even an accurate probability of what will happen.

    I love stats. Honest, this comment is not meant as a knock on anyone. But stats are like beer -- a certain amount can help make a party great, but too many will wreck it.

    Here's the one thing we do know ... if Posada were hitting .283 with 12 homers and 41 RBI 80 games into the season, and then went through a 21-game stretch in which he hit .125 with six homers and 12 RBI, we'd all be calling this a slump, nothing more, nothing less..

  22. Players of Posada's age are not allowed to have slumps. They are immediately branded as being old, especially when a slump occurs at the start of a season and there are no counter-balancing stats. If he was a younger player producing these low numbers, we would be more fascinated by the stats behind his odd slump.

    @16 (Mike) correctly notes Posada's absurdly low .070 on BABIP, way off his career .316 mark. That's unsustainably low. The drop in his line-drive rate from his career norm of 20.1% to 12.2% seems more ominous, but due to the SSS, it's pretty meaningless. An additional four line drives over the first month would put his line-drive rate at his career norms.

    It's quite possible that Father Time has caught up to and grabbed Posada by the shoulder. He is 39, and that's old for any player. Couple in all the wear-and-tear from catching, and Posada has certainly earned the right to fade away. We just don't have enough data yet to determine if this is only age related.

    Posada's biggest issue is going to be pressure from below. The Yankees have no vested interested in keeping Posada around after 2011, which means they'll start transitioning him out this season if his numbers don't start improving. He may have only one more month to right the ship.

    Jesus Montero waits.

  23. Do you really believe Posada has a 17 year ML career with any other organization but the Yankees?
    ----------------

    @13, Chuck. I have no idea what that statement means.

  24. Another thing is that he's hitting only .400 on LD - his lifetime BA on linedrives is over .700. I don't know what the norm is for BA on LD, but I looked up a couple of other guys and they were over .700 lifetime, too.

    Both of those things contribute to the poor BABIP.

    He is also striking out more than ever (nearly once a game)

    I think there's a chance that it's just early in the season - but there's also a chance that he's done.

    If the Yankees stay in first, he'll get a chance to work it out. if they fall out, the Yankees may end up making a move.

  25. Mickey John Says:

    @9 Mikey K

    You're correct and I stand corrected. Molina was sent down on April 29th when Cervelli came off the DL. Cervelli will now be the catcher for Nova, and Posada will continue to DH.

  26. Neil L. Says:

    @12 @13 @23
    Mike D, a feeble attempt at humour on my part, emphasis on the word feeble.

    Remember the old Eminem piece, "The Real Slim Shady" where the chorus goes

    'Cause I'm Slim Shady, yes I'm the real Shady
    All you other Slim Shadys are just imitating
    So won't the real Slim Shady please stand up,
    please stand up, please stand up?

    I thought maybe there were two Jorge Posadas.... anyway it was obviously lame and if you have to explain the humour then the humour sucks! Sorry about that.

  27. @26, Neil L -- No need to apologize on your side. I understood your comment and got the humor.

    I didn't understand @13's comment, but looking back, I didn't pay attention to who posted it. Now that I see who did, I realize he's simply a troll.

  28. Neil L. Says:

    @27
    MikeD, thank you. Jerry Seinfeld I am not!

    I guess Chuck has been thoroughly outed. I don't mind trolls by why just act superior and insult everybody else?

  29. John Autin Says:

    @21, Mike B -- "Here's the one thing we do know ... if Posada were hitting .283 with 12 homers and 41 RBI 80 games into the season, and then went through a 21-game stretch in which he hit .125 with six homers and 12 RBI, we'd all be calling this a slump, nothing more, nothing less."

    It's true that most of us tend to overreact to bad starts; just look at how many death knells were sounded for Tampa Bay after 2 weeks.

    But don't you think that a slow start is somewhat more telling for an older player? And do you think it would be a shock if Posada, at 39 and with the wear and tear of over 1,500 games caught, were suddenly "done"?

    Frankly, I think Jorge has been in a serious decline for the past 2 years, but it was disguised by a friendly home park. In 2009-10 combined, he hit over .300 at home, with about a .970 OPS. But in neutral parks, he hit .225, with a .727 OPS. So far this year, he has 5 HRs and 9 walks at home, just 1 HR and no walks on the road (with 11 Ks in 24 PAs).

    So that's why I don't quite see this as "just a slump."

  30. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    I understand the homers (because as we know, the short porch makes every (half)lefty hitter into Babe Ruth), but why would hitting in the Bornx account for the walks?

  31. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    dammit, i spelled Bronx wrong.
    and i was actually born in the bronx
    Bronx

  32. Voomo-

    My guess is that because Jorge is a more dangerous hitter at home, pitchers pitch to him differently. With the short porch and wind tunnel weather, pitchers will likely avoid giving him anything he can lift, pitches they might throw him in their home ballparks where those hits will remain harmless fly balls.

  33. John Autin Says:

    BTW, the "short porch" was a feature of the old Yankee Stadium; it was short down the line, but pretty normal in straightway RF and right-center.

    The new Stadium has a "wraparound short porch" -- or is it a lanai? The entire RF area looks easily reachable, and it sure plays that way.

  34. John Autin Says:

    Voomo, I don't mind being snarked, but are you aware that all 6 of Posada's HRs this year have come from the left side? In fact, all 10 of his hits this year came as a lefty (counting Sunday); he's 0 for 19 from the right side.

    So yes, I do think some of his HR production is a Yankee II mirage.

  35. They should have let Jorge catch 60-80 games and began phasing him out slowly. Making him a P/T DH is not something he thought he'd have to do.

  36. Posada's issues extend back to last season. While many of his counting stats remained consistent, his slash line dropped from 265/373/464 in the first half to 230/339/444 in the second half, including a 182/299/333 in September/October. This "slump" extends well beyond the first 20+ games of this season.

  37. Not to worry Yankee faithful, you hitting coach says he's happy with Jorge :-)

    New York Yankees hitting coach Kevin Long said Sunday, May 1, that he is encouraged by what he has seen from C Jorge Posada lately. "He looks a lot more comfortable right now. The last few games, (he's) been able to back the ball up," Long said. "He's recognizing pitches, he's swinging at strikes. I've been pleased with Jorge's at-bats."

    2011-05-01 19:01:17 | Source: ESPNNewYork.com - Ian Begley

  38. Voomo Zanzibar Says:

    John, i wasnt being snarky.
    That is my actual honest straightforward personality.
    Genuine curiosity comes across as condescending sarcasm.
    My wife has been trying to explain to me lately that some people don't appreciate it.

  39. John Autin Says:

    @38, Voomo -- Sorry; I misread your tone.

  40. @14

    "Interesting that you guys are writing Posada off so quickly this year, and stating how he should obviously be done based on his age and games played.

    The guy had a very good year last year at age 38 that defied the odds, and an even better year in 2009 at age 37.

    His poor hitting this year IS surprising. Considering how well he hit the last 2 years, one would expect that moving to DH he could put up decent numbers this year. For whatever reason, he isn't hitting at all like he did 8 months ago, but I don't think that aging 8 months is what put him over the edge. Perhaps a minor injury, perhaps personal distractions, etc. But he didn't go from being a very good hitter last year to a very poor one this year just by aging 8 months."

    So YOU'RE the agent who represents both Jorge Posada and Raul Ibanez, aren't you?

  41. @13

    Posada's not quite as bad as the small sample thus far, but Chuck, you nailed it. Several of their starters will eventually be in the same boat as Posada. They'll pass their prime (and each one will) and will still be overpaid top dollar simply because of the lengths of the deals. Even though the Yankees can easily afford it and flick off the signing errors like a booger off a finger, that's the detriment of being a contract bully. Just have to hope they're not stuck with several costly, past their prime, untradable everyday players/pitchers at the same time.

  42. David Bilodeau Says:

    Hello..
    Is it possible that Posada is just cheating on the fastball and can't adjust to the breaking pitch? I have seen him play three games and he looks a lot like David Ortiz the past few years: Loading up early, then can't adjust. Although they are not comparable hitters, the most extreme example of this is Varitek, who hasn't put a decent Major League fastball in play without not loading up early in years. Painful to watch.

  43. Michael E Sullivan Says:

    the problem with giving posada the Varitek treatment is that his defensive catching really dropped off the last couple years. Varitek is still mostly playing above replacement level in his backup stints, despite terrible offense. Without respectable offense, I'm not sure Posada can still do that. But looking at his offensive numbers prior to the tail end of last year, one would have though he could still hit pretty well. It's hard to believe that they yankees couldn't find a more effective DH than Posada, even if his bBIP reverts to the mean. He'd need to get close to his old self with the bat to really be worth playing in that spot, given who they could potentially sign.