Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Can The Yankees Offense Regress Their Way to a Better Second Half?
Last night’s loss to the Rays was the Yankees’ 81st game of the season. If you double what their offense has done this year and compare it to last season, you can get a sense of how much the Yankees’ big offseason spending spree has helped improve the offense.
|2014 times 2||33.1||162||6144||652||1402||248||30||138||116||32||492||1128||.254||.318||.384||.703||95||120|
Obviously, the Yankees had hoped to get a lot more offense out of Alfonso Soriano, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran than they have to this point. They may have wishcast better than they’ve gotten from Jacoby Ellsbury, but if they did they were idiots because he’s basically doing what he was projected to do. Some might say that it’s not worth $153M for seven years, but I digress.
Anyway, despite the disappointing play of Soriano, McCann and Beltran I’m not sure the Yankee offense has been particularly unfortunate. But you can’t just double what the team has done so far and assume that’s what they’ll do the rest of the way. So, let’s do a quick and dirty estimate using the Steamer rest of the season forecasts available on Fangraphs.
If the Yankees get the exact same playing time over the second half of the season as they did over the first half of the season,
ytd_wOBA: Weighted-on base average for 2014 through June 30
ros_wOBA Steamer’s projected wOBA over the rest of the season
A lot has been made of Yankee injuries, but I actually feel they’ve been a bit fortunate on the position player side. Teixiera has missed some non-trivial time, but I expected that. Jeter has been healthier than I expected, and of course this is the season that Brian Roberts decides to impersonate Cal Ripken by never missing a game while impersonating Enrique Wilson’s offensive value.
Obviously we don’t know how playing time will shape out over the rest of the season, and there are a few players who have overachieved to this point so even if the Yankees who have not played as well as expected start to better it doesn’t appear that they are going to be all that much better on offense. I mean, 20 runs over half a season is certainly a difference, but is it enough of a difference? The Yankees have been outscored by 33 runs this season, so even if they pitch/defend the same as they have over the first half that makes them a slightly below average team over the second half.
It’s hard to see a trade or series of trades that will make this team particularly good. I suppose it’s possible they bring up Robert Refsnyder, who has an MLE of .287/.341/.436 in 328 PA split between AA Trenton and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season and is likely a better offensive player than Brian Roberts right now. They could also give some of the playing time that was going to Alfonso Soriano to Zoilo Almonte, although he’s really only likely to be good from the left-side and Joe Girardi doesn’t seem to prefer him playing over Ichiro. But it’s hard to see them improving their offense much with what they have in-house.
If they add a second top-flight starting pitcher they could be dangerous in a short series if they can get there, I guess.
In conclusion, yes, the Yankees offense should be better than they have been. But the difference is not that big. They just aren’t that good of a team.
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