2011 CAIRO projections: Yankee offense

Stat geeks rejoice! SG has released the first iteration of the 2011 CAIRO projections for the Yankee offense.

Unsurprisingly they’re more conservative than Bill James‘ projections, although in most cases not dramatically so, except for Jesus Montero.

As discussed last week, James has Montero posting one of the best seasons for a Yankee rookie in history, with a .376 wOBA, while SG has a far more realistic-sounding .337.

Here’s the full projection table for the likely starting lineup for the 2011 Yankees:

Like James, CAIRO also sees a bounceback year for Derek Jeter, with a far more palatable .290/.360/.406//.342 line. Despite two straight years of mid-.370s wOBAs, both systems have Nick Swisher losing .015-plus points of wOBA. However, keep in mind that CAIRO takes data from a player’s five previous seasons (weighted accordingly), which means that Swisher’s abysmal 2008 (.325 wOBA) is likely weighing his projections down. Also, for what it’s worth, CAIRO pegged Swisher for a .349 wOBA prior to the 2010 season, and I bet Swish outperforms his projection yet again.

Both Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are being projected to have matching wOBAs by the second straight projection system, only instead of James’ optimistic .393, SG has them at .384. A .009 gap isn’t that significant a difference, although after experiencing simultaneous slumps from our two biggest sluggers I’d really like to see both of them get back to that .390-plus plateau.

SG actually has Robinson Cano‘s wOBA .001 point higher than James does, making it the only wOBA projection to exceed James’ and once again confirming the significant Yankee bias SG built into the system.

Jorge Posada‘s once again being projected to basically repeat his 2010 on offense, which should probably be considered a victory for a player turning 40 next August. CAIRO has Curtis Granderson essentially repeating his 2010 as well, with slightly less SLG and slightly more OBP. Call me an optimist, but Granderson should be able to outperform a .346 wOBA.

The above-mentioned Montero is projected at a much more reasonable .337 wOBA, and Yankee fans should still be plenty happy if he even reaches that. From everything we’ve heard, it sounds like Montero has all the hitting talent in the world, but ultimately we have absolutely no idea how he’ll adjust to big league pitching and should all be extremely excited if the team’s 21-year-old catcher is able to turn in a wOBA that’s roughly .010 points above league average as a rookie.

CAIRO portends a pretty steep fall for Brett Gardner, although SG doesn’t include baserunning in his wOBA calculation, which probably explains why his projection for Grit is .020 lower than James’.

So what do we get when we take SG’s projected 2011 numbers and run them through Baseball Musings’ Lineup Analysis tool (1998-2002 model)? A lineup that would score 5.64 runs per game, with the optimal version of the lineup scoring 5.67 runs per game. This is of course still a good deal higher than the 2010 team’s AL-leading 5.3 runs per game, though a significant fall-off from the Bill James 5.87 RPG version of the 2011 team. That 0.20 run-per-game discrepancy is probably the result of the vastly different Montero projections; regardless it’s still great to see the Yankees’ hypothetical 2011 lineup scoring more than 0.30 runs per game higher than last year’s team even with the closer-to-league-average (and reality) Montero projection.

Updated, 4:21pm: SG has a new post up speculating on the 2011 team’s performance based on his projections.

5 thoughts on “2011 CAIRO projections: Yankee offense

  1. I would be pretty happy if those came true. A little bit disappointed in the outfield though. If that happens too there will be a lot of fans saying they should have signed Crawford.

  2. Hey Rob,

    The OF projections are a little tricky, since, as mentioned in the post, Swish's 2008 is dragging him down, while Grandy's sub-par 2009 and adequate-but-not-amazing 2010 are also weighing his projection down. Given their ages, I'd say both Swish and Granderson are good bets to outperform their CAIROs. I expect a pretty big year from Grandy in particular — maybe not a reversion to the .390 iteration of Granderson, but I don't think it's unrealistic to think that Curtis could get into the high .360s/low .370s.

    With regards to Gardner, given that last year was his first full season and we really have no idea if he can replicate it, I'm OK with a more conservative projection.

    Ultimately, no matter what our three outfielders end up doing there'll still be a contingent of people who will say they should've gone out and gotten Crawford, but (a) I don't think Carl's worth the $20M/year he's likely looking for, and (b) They should be able to get a pretty good approximation of Crawford (minus power) in Gardner again, for a fraction of the cost.

  3. The extra .3 runs per game comes mostly from the fact that it assumes these 9 will play all 9 innings of every game. With realistic playing time, the offense will likely be about the same as last year with these projections.

  4. Good call Paul; in my excitement I managed to forget that the 2010 5.3 RPG was of course team-wide and obviously not isolated to the starting nine.

    Which got me wondering what the 2010 team would have done had the starting nine played every inning of every game. Going with the presumed lineup vs. righties, we get 5.7 runs per game.

    So Paul is absolutely right; adjusting for playing time the 2011 model will likely be around a 5.3 RPG team.

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