Monday, February 8, 2016


I love analyzing baseball. It doesn't have to be stats or Sabermetrics, and we don't even talk about Sabermetrics here but I am just talking about a good breakdown of the game. As we reach the end of the MLB off season I have been watching a lot of MLB Network lately, and I gotta tell you....I am watching some of these "Top 10 right now" shows and shake my head.

Whether there are Yankee players on the lists right now or not, I am watching a lot of the "MLB Network's Top 10 Right Now" because let's face it, I am excited for Spring Training. If you have never watched the show a supposed unbiased algorithm based system called "The Shredder" picks the top ten players in each position and ranks them from ten all the way top the "best" at each position and I have to tell you....some of these I have to scratch my head at.

Let's start with pitching. There's the old saying that "Good pitching beats good hitting" well no matter how much I love the Yankees, I can't deny that the "other" New York team has an amazing starting rotation. I could go so far as to say that they have the best rotation in all of baseball, but interestingly enough "The Shredder" doesn't seem to agree because not a single Met made the list.

How do you NOT include Matt Harvey or Jacob DeGrom on that list? They pitched well all season and after years of not playing October baseball they finally made it! They have two of the best arms in the game. I just don't get it.

And how does Jake Arrieta get ranked as number 2? Not to take anything away from the guy because I know he had a great year but come on....second?! He is number two after Clayton Kershaw? That is a difference about the size of the Grand Canyon and I can't imagine Zack Greinke behind him either.

Now first base got to me a little. Yes, I stick up a lot for Mark Teixeira and I always will. He didn't even make the list! Now, I am not jaded. I am in no way even going to say that he deserved to be ranked number one but according to "The Shredder" Brandon Belt is the 10th best first basemen?

Sure, I wish Teixeira had his .280BA last season but he didn't have his home runs or RBI's. When I think about the best first basemen, my mind does not jump to Belt.

The real kicker for me, was the best center fielder list. In this case numbers seven and eight were puzzling to me. How are Kevin Kiermaier and Randal Grichuk on the list? Kiermaier had average numbers on an under performing team and Grichuk only played in 103 games. He doesn't even have the playing time to call him one of the best.

My biggest beef of all though....naming Jason Hayward the fifth best center fielder in the game. What algorithm did "The Shredder" use for that? It's based on a prediction at this point because last year he only played 10 games as a center fielder. How can you rate the guy number five when he was basically a substitute? It's a wild ranking to give with the lack of experience especially with a very under valued Andrew McCutchen only ranked a number four when he has been one of the best in the game.

I think "The Shredder" is crazy. The algorithm is broken somewhere because some of these rankings are a little screwy. It's just another reason why baseball can't be written like a math problem. There is a lot of logic involved in this but it goes deeper than that. So for the time being, I am going to scrap this Shredder for awhile before they try to convince me that two plus two is equal to five.

--Jeana Bellezza, 
BYB Senior Writer and Editor
Twitter: @NyPrincessJ 


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