The Determinator: Center Field 2022 (Yankees, HM’s, & Leaders)
For the last two years, I have been ranking every starting player in the MLB by position in a system I’ve dubbed The Determinator. I don’t worry about projection systems, I look only at how well a player did that last year, analyze the data, and showcase who was and will be the best for the upcoming season.
Welcome back to The Determinator.
Today we continue with highlighting the Yankees, honorable mentions, and center field statistic leaders!
The Determinator: My General Methodology
The Determinator is a ranking system that is built upon the analyzation of 16 carefully chosen stats through a very simplistic system of comparisons. Some of these stats are more classical (Games Played, Home Runs, etc.), others are more advanced (wRC+, WAR, etc.). From this come 7 offensive stats, 4 defensive, 2 baserunning, and 3 general stats, set to contribute towards the importance of each part of the game.
The Offensive stats are: AVG/OBP/SLG, wRC, wRC+, HR, and Off (Fangraphs)
The Defensive stats are: Fielding, DRS, UZR (or Framing for Catchers), and Def (Fangraphs)
The Baserunning stats are: Stolen Bases and BsR (Fangraphs)
The Overall stats are: Games Played, Innings at Position, and fWAR (Fangraphs)
After determining this list of statistics, I then had to input each into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet I sorted how each player did in each statistic from best-to-worst. If you were top 5 in a category, you got ranked as a ‘Green’. Top 6-10 was a ‘Yellow’. And, Top 11-15 was labelled as a ‘Red’. The number of each ranking was counted- so it was possible to come out with a score of zero- and given values of 5, 3, and 1 respectively.
Key Note: If player/s across a statistic had the same numbers across a border- for example the 5th and 6th players with the most Home Runs- then they would both be counted as the better ranking- in this case both ‘Green’ or 5 points- and replace one spot from the following ranking- in this case a ‘Yellow’ or 3 points. This could also stretch some statistics to include more ‘Red’ players who had equal stats to the 15th best.
Additionally, if no stats were recorded in a counting statistic that could fit into a ranking- as is seen with Catchers and Stolen Bases- then no ranking is given to those players. This would greatly increase the number of points given out, and lessen the value of each point. This is not true for advanced metrics that can produce negative values- as also is seen with Catchers and BsR.
The results were then tallied, sorted from greatest to least, and a ranking was created.
Finally, player age, 2022 salary, and contract status, were all not considered in this experiment. This is entirely statistic-based.
In order to quality for ranking by The Determinator, a player must’ve had at least 250 plate appearances during the 2021 season and at least 500 innings played at the position in question.
Number 25: Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
Top-10: Games, BsR, Innings
Total Score: 9
To me, the biggest surprise of the Yankees offseason (so far) is not the lack of signing any major free agents (Correa, Seager, Freeman, etc.) or the lack of getting any starting pitching upgrade (Manaea, Montas, Castillo, etc.). The most surprising move is the apparent lack of desire to bring back Brett Gardner. They still have yet to issue out his spring training locker and number, but little news has come out about where the two (Yankees and Gardner) stand on a new contract. Opening day is just over 2 weeks away.
Enough about that, however. Brett Gardner is still likely to come back to the Yankees for the 2022 season, and he’s going to end up playing 120+ games as Aaron Hicks center field insurance. Gardner is a fine player for that role. He’s a league-average hitter, he was one of the 100 fastest players in the MLB last year, and he’s played in 80%+ of games every year since 2010 (except 2012). Availability is important, especially for an insurance player.
Hey, I like Brett Gardner. If he comes cheap, I’m all for the insurance and allowing him to announce that this is his final year. I’d like for him to retire a Yankee. He’s a good clubhouse guy and he’ll do what the Yankees need him to. There’s not much else you can ask for from a budding 38-year-old.
Embed from Getty ImagesEmbed from Getty Images
Ketel Marte (Arizona Diamondbacks) – Scored 30 Points; Ranked 11th
Kevin Kiermaier (Tampa Bay Rays) – Scored 25 Points; Ranked 12th (Tied with Brandon Nimmo, New York Mets and Dylan Carlson, St. Louis Cardinals)
Jackie Bradley Jr. (Boston Red Sox) – Scored 18 Points; Ranked 17th (Tied with Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies and Rafael Ortega, Chicago Cubs)
Lorenzo Cain (Milwaukee Brewers) – Scored 17 Points; Ranked 20st
Ramon Laureano (Oakland Athletics) – Scored 14 Points; Ranked 23th
Randal Grichuk (Toronto Blue Jays) – Scored 13 Points; Ranked 24th
Cody Bellinger (Los Angeles Dodgers) – Scored 3 Points; Ranked 28th
Victor Robles (Washington Nationals) – Scored 2 Points; Ranked 29th (Tied with Guillermo Heredia, Atlanta Braves)
Jarred Kelenic (Seattle Mariners) – Scored 1 Point; Ranked 31st
Games – Cedric Mullins II and Bryan Reynolds (159)
Batting Average (AVG) – Luis Robert (.338)
On-Base Percentage (OBP) – Brandon Nimmo (.401)
Slugging Percentage (SLG) – Byron Buxton (.647)
Home Runs (HR) – Adolis Garcia (31)
Stolen Bases (SB) – Starling Marte (47)
Weighted Runs Created (wRC) – Bryan Reynolds (116)
Weighted Runs Created Plus – (wRC+) – Byron Buxton (169)
Baserunning (BsR) – Starling Marte (+12.3)
Offense (Off) – Bryan Reynolds (+37.6)
Wins Above Replacement (WAR) – Bryan Reynolds (+5.5)
Fielding (Fld) – Michael A. Taylor (+13.3)
Innings (Inn) – Myles Straw (1338.0)
Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – Michael A. Taylor (+19)
Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) – Michael A. Taylor (+13.3)
Defense (Def) – Michael A. Taylor (+15.3)
The Determinator is a way I used to determine the best players at each position. Like any metric or formula, I am sure it has flaws. No statistical compilation is perfect. That being said, The Determinator, seems pretty effective at assigning player values. I’m pleased with what I have found using this method and hope this is a conversation starter for many.