The Determinator: Third Base 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 third base 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 28: Gio Urshela, New York Yankees
Total Score: 3
Now, I do not believe that Gio Urshela was the 28th worst third baseman in the MLB last season. His case presents an interesting flaw of The Determinator: a player could score 0 points but be the most average third baseman in the league if they were 16th across each of the 16 metrics. (Though to be fair, he did rank 22nd in fWAR.)
Without going on a massive tangent, this could be fixed by adopting a normal distribution to each statistic and award players points by distance from the mean (which would be very interesting!). However, back to Gio Urshela.
Urshela has long been underrated in my opinion by defensive metrics, of which poses an interesting question: Is Gio Urshela really a good defender or does he just make enough flashy plays? He ranked bottom 5 in DRS, but average in both UZR (16th) and Def (17th). This is where I believe many think Gio Urshela would find a noticeable increase to his value, making him a more average third baseman. This is especially true when we consider the time he tends to miss each season. Unluckily for Urshela, The Determinator is harsh today.
On another note, credit to Urshela for placing among batting average. Third base is filled with a ton of great hitters (Arenado, Devers, Ramirez, Machado, Turner, etc.) and it is a credit to a player like Urshela, who was nothing but a journeyman a couple years back, for being comparable.
Ke’Bryan Hayes (Piitsburgh Pirates) – Scored 27 Points; Ranked 12th (Tied with Patrick Wisdom)
Josh Donaldson (Minnesota Twins) – Scored 18 Points; Ranked 16th
Alex Bregman (Houston Astros) – Scored 14 Points; Ranked 18th (Tied with Jonathan Villar)
Joey Wendle (Tampa Bay Rays) – Scored 13 Points; Ranked 20th
Evan Longorgia (San Francisco Giants) – Scored 11 Points; Ranked 21st (Tied with Charlie Culberson)
Starlin Castro (Washington Nationals) – Scored 7 Points; Ranked 26th
Maikel Franco (Baltimore Orioles) – Scored 4 Points; Ranked 27th
Games – Austin Riley (160)
Batting Average (AVG) – Austin Riley (.303)
On-Base Percentage (OBP) – Yoan Moncada (.375)
Slugging Percentage (SLG) – Jose Ramirez (.538)
Home Runs (HR) – Rafael Devers (38)
Stolen Bases (SB) – Jose Ramirez (27)
Weighted Runs Created (wRC) – Austin Riley (116)
Weighted Runs Created Plus – (wRC+) – Jose Ramirez (137)
Baserunning (BsR) – Jose Ramirez (+6.3)
Offense (Off) – Jose Ramirez (+35.4)
Wins Above Replacement (WAR) – Jose Ramirez (+6.3)
Fielding (Fld) – Ryan McMahon (+8.9)
Innings (Inn) – Austin Riley (1326.2)
Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) – Ke’Bryan Hayes (+16)
Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) – Matt Chapman (+8.7)
Defense (Def) – Matt Chapman (+11)
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.