Monday, November 15, 2010
How Good Might the 2011 Yankees Be on November 15, 2010?
So now that we have projections to look at, what do they tell us?
First, let’s consider the primary starters who played in 2010 and are still under contract for 2011.
Here are their performances in 2010:
And here’s their CAIRO projected performance in 2011:
BRAR: Linear weights batting runs above replacement level (park and position-adjusted)
wOBA: Weighted on-base average
Def: Projected runs saved defensively compared to average
WAR: Wins above replacement level (BRAR plus Def divided by 10)
The whole replacement level thing gets a little fuzzy here since Posada’s being treated as primarily a catcher in 2010 but as a DH in 2011. So if we ignore position and just look at the seven players, we see that 2010’s collective put up a wOBA of .361 and an OBP of .360 in 4483 PA, and that the 2011 version of those same seven players would project to put up a wOBA of .359 and an OBP of .356. The 2011 version would be about 15 runs worse over a full season, which is a non-trivial, but not a massive down grade.
You may not be aware of this since it’s gone strangely unreported by the media, but Derek Jeter is a free agent. Shocking, huh? Apparently, he has yet to resign with the Yankees and no one is talking about it. This has the potential to be MAJOR.
|2010 Derek Jeter||SS||738||179||30||3||10||18||5||63||106||.270||.340||.370||.319||22||-14||0.8|
|2011 CAIRO Jeter||SS||699||181||29||2||13||15||5||63||96||.290||.360||.406||.342||32||-7||2.4|
Jeter had a bad year by his standards last year, but his offense was fine for a shortstop, somewhere around 22 runs better than replacement level. The bigger issue with Jeter was how you assessed his defense. UZR thought he was slightly below average, around -5. However, a combination of UZR, zone rating and John DeWan’s plus/minus were much harsher, putting Jeter around -14 defensively and making him effectively only about one win better than replacement level.
I have no idea which is closer to the truth, so even though my spreadsheet says Jeter was less than one win better than replacement level last year, I’m going to say that that was not necessarily true.
Either way, CAIRO expects Jeter to bounce back a bit in 2011 on a rate basis, but it also expects him to play a bit less. Overall it likes his chance for a reasonable rebound.
But what if? What if the Yankee decide that Jeter is asking for too much and decide to let him walk? It won’t happen, but if it did, here’s who they have on hand to replace him.
So yeah, replacing Jeter with Nunez or Pena looks like a two win down grade in CAIRO.
I suppose we could look at possible free agent SS but there’s really no sense. Jeter will be a Yankee in 2011 and we just have to hope CAIRO knows what it’s doing.
So we’ve effectively covered everything except DH and catcher. Last year’s Yankee DH’s combined for a line of .256/.338/.440, which isn’t really all that good for a position that has no defensive value. CAIRO thinks Jorge Posada will exceed that line, but betting on a 40 year old who’s caught over 1600 games in his career to hit well and stay healthy is probably risky. The Yankees will probably use DH to rest their older regulars a bit as well, so if Posada’s reasonably healthy they should get decent production out of DH.
That leaves catcher. If Posada’s not catching, then it means some combination of Francisco Cervelli, Jesus Montero and Austin Romine may be, unless the Yankees surprise us by going after someone like John Buck.
Montero’s almost certainly the best offensive player of the bunch, and he should probably be the favorite to being the year as the starting catcher, but his defense may end up being bad enough that he can’t stick there.
Cervelli’s not a horrible catcher, and he profiles as a pretty good backup, but he’s also not someone you want to see starting half the games.
CAIRO doesn’t think Romine’s ready, but who knows with young players?
On the position player side, the Yankees’ only real questions are shortstop and catcher. There isn’t a free agent SS available even comparable to Jeter, so unless they make a bold trade he’ll be back in 2011. John Buck is sort of interesting on the catching side, but if you think Montero is going to be the catcher of the future, you probably don’t commit to him for as long as some other potential suitors might. I guess they can shore up the bench with a RH outfielder too, or bring back Marcus Thames.
So at least as of right now, I get the sense we’re not going to see anything particularly interesting happening on the position player side with this team heading into 2011.
Come on Cliff Lee I guess…
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