The end of #toomanyhomers?

The 2013 Yankees are going to look very different from the 2012 version of the franchise. There will be different faces in the starting lineuo, a familiar face returning in Brett Gardner, and no Nick Swisher. But it might not just be the players who aren’t around anymore, we may be bidding adieu to the hand-wringing over “too many homers” as well.

The 2012 Yankees hit a lot of home runs, more than any other Yankees team has ever hit. As such, the exodus of 3-5 lineup regulars means that a lot of those long balls will go with them. Swisher, Russell Martin, Andruw Jones, and Eric Chavez, all of whom will be playing elsewhere next season, combined to hit a total of 75 home runs last year. Add in the 19 the as un-signed Raul Ibanez hit, and that’s a reduction of 94 total long balls. Some of that production will be made up for elsewhere, don’t get me wrong, but with two outfielders and a catcher who may not combine to hit 20 home runs between the three of them penciled in to the Opening Day lineup right now it’s pretty much a given that this year’s team will be hitting many fewer balls into the stands than we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

On the bright side, that’s not the same thing as saying that they’ll be a worse team, just that they’ll go about accumulating runs (and runs saved) in a different manner. For example, home runs or no home runs a full season from Brett Gardner will almost certainly make them better in left field than they were last year, and even right field probably won’t be too much of a drop off with Swisher gone. As crazy as it may sound, Swisher was only worth an additional 2.6 fWAR over Ichiro in 2012, despite a 38 point advantage in wRC+. That’s because Ichiro defense and baserunning skills combined to net 15.9 runs above average, or roughly 1.5 wins. If we assume that his pinstripe bounce wasn’t a complete mirage and factor in the right handed hitting outfielder the Yankees desperately want to obtain, it’s entirely possible that the Yankee will be able to get the ~4 wins from right field that they’ve become accustomed to getting from Swisher.

But unless something drastically changes next month, for better or worse, there will almost certainly be many fewer home runs.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

4 thoughts on “The end of #toomanyhomers?

  1. jay robertson

    good point – no more whining about too many homers.

    NEVER thought you'd be the silver-lining guy.

    Must be the Christmas Spirit. Have a good one, Brien.

  2. OldYanksFan

    I understand the 'too many Homers' meme, but of course, the issue was not too many homers, but lack of contact/OBP by many of our HR hitters. Of Teix, Grandy, Martin, Raul and Andruw, the highest OBP was .332 (Teix) and next was Grandy at .319.

    So losing Swish hurts, as he and Cano was the only power bats that also got on base.

    The bottom line is the loss of HRs will really hurt unless Teix and Grandy can maintain their HRs and ALSO up their OBP. And hopefully Ichiro can top an OBP of .333.

    Their is no doubt that this team has a weaker offense (so afr) than last year's team.

  3. Bill

    I think we can agree that the issue last year was not too many home runs, but an over-reliance on the home run to score. The offense the Yanks will throw out there in 2013 should be a bit more versatile, and if Nunez ends up being the right handed DH, there will be some speed with him, Gardner, Ichiro and Granderson. Plus good power out of Teixeira, Cano, Granderson and Youkilis. And as I've mentioned previously, Ichiro should be able to drive a bunch of balls into the porch. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if he hit 15-20 HR next season. They should still be able to post 800 runs or thereabouts. Not a 1998 style powerhouse, but still a team that can win.

  4. lazlosother

    Well thank the baseball Gods that the Home run problem is solved. Talk about rally killers. If the bases are loaded and someone hits a bomb, you have no one on base – rally killer.

    Seriously, I think the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position killed NY last year. They should have won the division by more, and should have been better in the playoffs. I can't figure out why they weren't though, unless it's just bad luck. NY didn't strike out more than other power hitting teams and they scored a bunch of runs. So why did it seem so tough for them to score over stretches? Was it bad luck, or was there a fundamental flaw that I'm missing.

Comments are closed.