Monday, December 15, 2008

FIPing Ain't Easy

Oh goodness me, the Yankees have spent so much money this off season, those of us that spend our winters in a Turkish coal mine might as well forgo returning to the AL East to compete with this juggernaut. I mean look at this rotation (or SUPER ROTATION, as Fangraphs describes it.) Who could possibly compete with that? Well for starters, the Yankees -as currently constructed- don't have the defensive team to support their seemingly robust pitching.

In 2008, the Yankees were a bad defensive team. The finished the year with a stellar -30 defensive plus/minus. A.J. Burnett is a lot of things, but a control pitcher is not one of them. He is going to put runners on, and no outfield combination of Johnny Damon (in 2008 he sported a -5.6 UZR in 30 games in center but a respectable 8.6 in left), Hideki Matsui (-15.5 UZR/150 for his career), Xavier Nady (0.5 UZR/150 games for his career in RF), and Melky Cabrera (-6.1 UZR/150 games for his career in the outfield) is going to help matters.

Losing the awful Abreu helps make them less bad, but they really aren't replacing him with much. They will miss his strong arm though, as only Melky Cabrera is above league average in this respect. You might ask; what about Nick Swisher? And I heard they're going to acquire Mike Cameron to shore up the outfield, you might say. Mike Cameron can still go and get it, responding with a fine 2008 after being swallowed whole by Petco Park in 2007. Nick Swisher is a lot of things and competent outfielder isn't really one of them. He can play all over the diamond, but only in right field does he do more good than harm. He'll most likely play first base for this team, heading up a wholly uninspiring collection of infield glovemen.

Piling on Jeter is tired and boring, and he showed a tremendous improvement from 2007 to 2008, according to his UZR. Sadly, he "improved" to a -0.4 UZR, so let's not start etching another Gold Glove quite yet. Robinson Cano's universally terrible 2008 saw him go from a +17 in 2007 to a -16 in 2008. Which is the real Cano? Considering 2007 has been his only season with a positive UZR, I'm going to go ahead and assume that he sucks. Alex Rodriquez offers league-average defense and far below average taste in women.

What does this mean for the Yankee hurlers? Only Chein Ming Wang is a true groundball artist counting on that less than airtight infield. Joba, AJ, and CC are all around 3/2 GB to FB. Last I heard, they aren't making the new Yankee Stadium any smaller, so they will suffer some slights at the hands of their bumbling outfield. While it would be ridiculous to suggest they haven't improved their team and their chances of returning to the post season, the team they've built around their world-beating rotation isn't helping the cause.


  1. Defence does get girls.

    And what's the deal with Matsui? Is he a free agent?

    Also, piling on Jeter doesn't really get tired and boring for me. Not sure why, since Jeter's a much more likable chap than A-Rod. But, well, anyway.

  2. I think Matsui has one year left.

  3. Matsui and his giant noggin are signed through 2009. A bargin at $13 million per!

  4. Yeah, but how can you place a value on Matsui's rumoured-to-be legendary porn collection?....

  5. His VORP (value over replacement porn) is absolutely through the roof

  6. Matsui, most projections say, will be the DH.

    Keen observations Loyd, even if I don't fully grok defensive stats. I can figure out that the Yanks suck on defense, which any sentence which includes the phrase "the Yanks suck" gold to me so thumbs up!


  7. Defence does get the girls, but chicks also dig the long ball.


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