Offense Not Quite As Bad As Middling Batting Average Suggests

I thought we had passed the point where people would judge an offense entirely based on its batting average. Alas, that is not the case, as I have seen the Yankee offense be referred to as middling and overrated because they are hitting .250, which puts them right at the AL average. This, of course, ignores the fact that the Yankees’ offense leads the league in pretty much everything else. I’m just going to list some numbers, some of which overlap because many of these metrics are interrelated. The number in parentheses is where the Yankees rank in the AL for that metric:

Runs Per Game: 5.00 (1st)
AVG: .250 (8th)
OBP: .335 (1st)
SLG: .446 (1st)
OPS: .782 (1st)
OPS+: 115 (2nd)
BB%: 10.4% (1st)
K%: 20.6% (8th)
ISO: .196 (1st)
BABIP: .268 (12th)
wOBA: .345 (1st)
wRC+: 117 (1st)

You get the idea. Yes, the Yankees offense has struggled mightily over the last 18-20 games, averaging just a bit over 4 runs a game during that stretch (league average is 4.23 runs per game). There are certain players that I am concerned about and there are circumstances under which I could see the Yankee offense being something less than great over the remainder of the season, but I would not predict the overall malaise to continue based on a poor batting average. On balance, despite a prolonged stretch of futility, this offense has put up numbers good enough to lead the league in practically every important offensive category. I am fairly confident that if this season turns out to be a failure, we will not be bemoaning the offense as the fatal flaw of this club.

5 thoughts on “Offense Not Quite As Bad As Middling Batting Average Suggests

  1. Very well said Mo! The biggest example of this batting average judgement seems to be Mark Teixeira who is taking a verbal beating from writers, and fans a like as being one of the Yankees who “isn’t hitting”.

    However when you take a deeper look into the numbers you see how ridiculous this really is. His triple slash line is .254/.384/.523 and a wOBA of .398, with 9 HRs and 21 RBI. These are actually really good numbers aside from the batting average, which is really a worthless stat when you combine it with the .384 OBP and the .398 wOBA. His WAR on the season is currently 1.3 (higher than Albert Pujols), His ISO power is at .269, 18 points higher than his career ISO.

    • Great point. Tex is a perfect poster boy for how shallow an analysis based on batting average is.

      • I think there is a still a large portion of the baseball world who see advanced statistics and have no idea what they are, therefore dismiss them for more archaic and safe stats like batting average, HRs, and RBI.

        As much as I wanted CC to win the Cy Young last year for selfish reasons, it was nice to see advanced metrics actually play a role in a major award presentation.

        It’s easy to stick in a safe zone without “nerd stats”, and I’m afraid until the old guard of sports writers go away and a new generation educates fans more on these metrics it will stay that way.

  2. I agree with everything except CC and the Cy: it’s funny how often they decide to use something different when there’s a Yankee involved. Even Bill ‘I hate the Yankees very much’ James admits they’ve historically won a lot less MVP’s Cy Young’s and HFO than their record down through the years suggests.

    One thing I don’t get is how much trouble some people have with OPS considering how really simple OPS is. It requires no formula that didn’t exist before color TV.

    • While I am sure there are some Yankees who should’ve won the Cy that didn’t CC wasn’t one of them. Hernandez lead the league in almost everything but wins, and the only argument for CC winning last year was if you wanted to call the Cy Young the pitchers MVP award.

      I honestly thought that Felix should have won the Cy, but CC should have gotten much more consideration for the actual MVP award. He didn’t out pitch Felix, but Sabathia was the most valuable Yankee, and quite possibly the most valuable player in the AL.