Yankees: New sign-stealing study is great news for NYY fans
By Adam Weinrib
A new sign-stealing study makes a great case that the Yankees are clean.
It is impossible to tell beyond a shadow of a doubt who is cheating at an unprecedented level these days, aided by technological advances the likes of which ’80s cheaters couldn’t even fathom. The Yankees have been deemed clean by Major League Baseball, but dirty by Astros fans who have a brief clip of an intern failing to operate a camera. So it goes.
The empirical evidence continues to come out on the Yankees’ side, though, and beat writer Kristie Ackert found one particular nugget in a brand new study that could be of plenty of interest to New Yorkers.
While not emphatic proof there was nothing whatsoever going on from 2015-2017 (three championship-less years Yankees fans would rather not brag about anyway), Brian Zarske and Jason Wilson’s contact-based study saw no great increase in contact rate for players joining the Yankees.
As the Orange County Register’s JP Hoornstra put it:
"“He looked specifically at players who became Yankees during this time period, and compared their swing rates before and after joining the team. He found nothing of significance.“To be clear, Wilson’s report doesn’t exonerate the entire Yankee organization during that three-year period. It merely claims a subset of their hitters didn’t benefit from stolen signs like the 2017 Astros or 2018 Red Sox, if the Yankees stole signs during these years at all.”"
Of course, the Yankees getting the suspicion lifted off them a bit with facts and data isn’t the only boon of this study.
The numbers confirm the Astros benefitted greatly from their illicit means of garnering signals, sure, but they also note the 2018 Red Sox as an incredibly guilty party.
According to the study, the Red Sox empirically “didn’t swing at pitches that their opponents did, at a rate too high to be considered random” in 2018. Their method, though, was different than Houston’s.
The conclusion of these three men is that the Red Sox did use a runner on second base to relay signs swiped from a video feed, as the data bore out a distinct and abnormal advantage in those exact scenarios. Shucks!
So, for those keeping score, we’re still waiting on discernible proof of the Yankees’ villainy, and the Astros and Red Sox have been caught with history’s reddest hands. Unseal their letters!