The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part II)

Teix-Ellsbury vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

On Friday I compared the basic counting statistics for the 2013 and 2014 offenses and the results weren’t pretty.  The Yankees, the team built on the “power and patience” offensive concept, had turned into a middle-of-the-pack team at best in both categories and found themselves in the bottom half of MLB in scoring in each of the last 2 seasons.  Strangely enough, despite hitting for a higher average, more power, and striking out less this year, the 2013 team scored 17 more runs than this year’s edition.  Even in an offense-starved baseball environment, there’s no reason to expect that the team that gave 2,175 combined plate appearances to Ichiro, Lyle Overbay, Chris Stewart, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez scored more runs than the team that didn’t.

Time to dig a little deeper into this mess and look at the situational hitting.  That has to be the explanation.

Situational Hitting Statistics:

2013:

Batting Line at Home-.252/.323/.387
Batting Line on the Road- .234/.292/.366
Batting Line Bases Empty- .239/.299/.381
Batting Line w/ Men On- .248/.317/.368
Batting Line w/ RISP- .255/.338/.380 (in 1,509 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 32
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 468
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .251/.336/.402

2014:

Batting Line at Home- .247/.309/.396
Batting Line on the Road- .244/.305/.365
Batting Line Bases Empty- .238/./292/.381
Batting Line W/ Men On- .256/.328/.379
Batting Line w/ RISP- .252/.324/.364 (in 1,480 PA)
Home Runs w/ RISP- 23
Runs Batted in w/ RISP- 421
Batting Line “High Leverage”- .247/.314/.369

That’s some pretty damning evidence as to why the 2014 team was so bad.  …

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Another Martin Prado Would Be A Very Good Thing

Pirela vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before the emergency appendectomy abruptly ended his season, Martin Prado was having a nice little go as a Yankee.  At the time, he was the hottest hitter on the team and his bat was carrying the Yankees to victories they probably didn’t deserve.  All in all he hit .316/.336/.541 in 137 plate appearances as a Yank, with 7 HR, 18 runs scored, and 16 RBI.

While there’s no chance that Prado replicates those numbers over a full season next year, he figures to be a very important part of the Yankee roster.  For now he’s penciled in as the starting second baseman, but his flexibility combined with the Yankees’ age and tendency to get hurt in some spots should lead to him playing multiple positions at multiple points next year.

Yesterday Chad Jennings wrote a post over at LoHud about Jose Pirela and the similarities between he and Prado.  The point of Jennings’ post was that Pirela could serve as a second version of Prado on the Yankee bench next season and provide additional defensive flexibility that the team will assuredly need.  …

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Friday Afternoon Linkapalooza: 10/3/14

Caught my first cold of the year on Wednesday.  That’s way early for me.  Definitely not a good sign.  Whatever.  Gives me an easy excuse to spend all weekend on the couch watching football.  Now onto the links!

– On Monday, SJK of NoMaas wondered if there was something impairing Cash’s judgment when it came to Beltran and Teixeira.

– On Wednesday, Derek Albin of Pinstripe Pundits compared Dellin Betances’ 2014 season to Mo’s 1996 to see who had the better year.

– El duque of It Is High… revealed his 11-point plan for next season.

– Mike Axisa of RAB began the always-fun process of looking at next year’s payroll.  I don’t care what the final number is next year.  I just want a greater return on investment.

– On Thursday, Bryan Brunati of Pinstripe Alley mused on which big contract player the Yankees could trade before his deal is up.

– On Friday, Chad Jennings of LoHud previewed the upcoming 40-man roster flexibility the Yankees can create heading into the offseason.…

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The 2-Year Hangover: Comparing The 2013 And 2014 Offenses (Part I)

McCann K vs TB

Courtesy of Getty Images

The story of the last 2 seasons in Yankeeland is one of offensive disappearance.  Once the Bronx Bombers, the Yankees have fallen off the run-scoring map and they’ve found drastically different ways to make the fall.  Last year it was cheapness, plain and simple.  They tried to cobble together a half-decent lineup under the restriction of a flawed budget plan and they failed.  This year it was the exact opposite.  The checkbooks opened, the money flowed, new better players were brought in, and the lineup was completely rebuilt.  They failed again.

2 different strategies, same terrible results.  How could that have happened?  Might as well look at the numbers to try to figure it out.  First up, the basics.  The counting statistics.  How did those stack up for the 2013 and 2014 Yankee teams?

Standard Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

Batting Line- .242/.307/.376
Runs Scored- 650
Home Runs- 144
Stolen Bases- 115
BB Rate- 7.7%
K Rate- 20.1%
Total PA- 6,045

2014:

Batting Line- .245/.307/.380
Runs Scored- 633
Home Runs- 147
Stolen Bases- 112
BB Rate- 7.4%
K Rate- 18.6%
Total PA- 6,082

Advanced Counting Statistics (Team):

2013:

OPS- .683
wOBA- .301
wRC+- 85
ISO- .133

2014:

OPS- .687
wOBA- .305
wRC+- 92
ISO- .135

The big takeaway here is how distressingly similar these numbers are.  …

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Yanks Put 3 In Baseball America’s Top 20 South Atlantic League Prospects List

Baseball America continues to roll out their year-end top 20 prospects lists and the next one concering the Yankees came out yesterday.  They were represented by 3 players on the top 20 list for the Low-A South Atlantic League.  Right-handed starter Luis Severino was 4th, outfielder Aaron Judge was 8th, and left-handed starter Ian Clarkin was 15th.

Severino, arguably the new top prospect in the entire Yankee system, finished the year in Double-A but was dominant in his season-opening stint in Low-A Charleston.  He pitched to a 2.79/2.70 ERA/FIP split with 70 strikeouts in 67.2 IP.  Judge hit .333/.428/.530 in 278 PA for Charleston before being promoted to High-A Tampa in the middle of the season.  And Clarkin, at 19 years old, pitched to a 3.21 ERA and 3.74 FIP with 71 K in 70.0 IP.

Without knowing much about the rest of the league, I can say these 3 were well deserving of their selections.  I’m actually a little surprised Judge didn’t rank higher, although his age may have had something to do with it.  …

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Friday Morning Food For Thought: Picking The Yankee Playoff Roster

The Yankees are not in the postseason.  Again.  That reality hit home again last night when the divisional round kicked off and it got me thinking.  What would their roster have looked like if they did make the postseason?  They would have been in trouble if rosters didn’t expand in September with how banged up they were, so what 25 guys would Joe have taken to try to avoid getting swept by the Angels?  Yes, I’m assuming the Yanks would have made it as the second Wild Card and gotten trucked by Anaheim.  Partially for fun, partially because I still don’t like thinking about how terrible they were this season, here’s my attempt at building the 25-man postseason roster.

Starting Lineup:

1) Jacoby Ellsbury- CF
2) Derek Jeter- SS
3) Brett Gardner- LF
4) Brian McCann- C
5) Mark Teixeira- 1B
6) Carlos Beltran- DH
7) Chase Headley- 3B
8) Stephen Drew- 2B
9) Ichiro Suzuki- RF

Starting Rotation:

1) Hiroki Kuroda
2) Michael Pineda
3) Masahiro Tanaka
4) Brandon McCarthy

Bullpen: David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley, Chris Capuano, David Huff, Shane Greene

Bench: Francisco Cervelli, Jose Pirela, Brendan Ryan, Chris Young, Eury Perez

That’s a really banged up starting 9.  …

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Whiffing wonders – flipping a Marlon Byrd

(Syndicated from The Flagrant Fan)

Anyone who has read my stuff for a while understands that I am not fond of strikeouts. I have often jousted against the notion that an out is an out is an out. I respectfully disagree. Strikeouts give the batter no opportunity to have anything other than an out where a batted ball will give the batter a 30% chance to get on base. One of the few scenarios where a strikeout is better than a batted ball is a double play. Knowing my predilection to this part of baseball is my discovery that Marlon Byrd has done something in 2014 no player in the history of baseball has ever done before. Marlon Byrd struck out 150 times more than he walked in 2014.

Byrd had a pretty good offensive season by most standards. He had a 110 OPS+, hit 25 homers and drove in 85. In the world of the Phillies, that’s really productive.…

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Report: Yasmany Tomas Officially Declared A Free Agent

When it comes to MLB free agency, the Yankees have a while to wait before they can jump in that ring.  They no longer have to wait to sign Cuban free agent outfielder Yasmany Tomas, however, as per his agent, he is now officially a free agent for any MLB team to sign.

We haven’t talked about Tomas much here, but he’s a 23-year-old outfielder with big power and big arm.  While there are some legitimate concerns about his hitting approach and swing, he projects as a middle-of-the-order power bat.  If he can harness his power, he’s a legit 30+ home run guy in the Majors.

The Yankees didn’t get involved with Jose Abreu and we don’t know how seriously involved they are with Tomas.  They did attend his showcase last month, but there has not been a report about a follow-up private workout.  George King reported that Tomas already has a $75 million offer in hand, but it is not from the Yankees.…

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Chart: MLB Run Scoring Continues to Fall

When I last wrote about run scoring in late May, the early returns were a little mixed. Thanks in part to a relatively strong April for MLB hitters, the decline in MLB run scoring had stabilized, and even ticked up a little bit. That did not hold up this season, and MLB run scoring continued to decline:

So what is happening? We know that the decline can’t be blamed on increasing use of specialized bullpens. Batted ball types haven’t changed much:

Strikeout rates, on the other hand, have ballooned:

That strikeout trend is pretty insane. But it should also be noted that MLB BB% tied its record low in 2014.

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