Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
October 12, 2004
BASEBALL: How The Yanks and Sox Got Here
Before the season, I evaluated each of the teams around the majors based on Established Win Shares Levels (see here for a discussion of EWSL and here for the team method). Over the offseason, I'll be taking a look back at how teams matched up against those established levels, both to explain where things went right or wrong and to fine-tune EWSL's usefulness (within its natural limitations) as a predictive tool. For now, in advance of their playoff showdown, let's look at how the Yankees and Red Sox stacked up to their preseason predictions. You'll note some variance from the preseason numbers I ran because I did the Yankees before the A-Rod trade.
Adjusted EWSL: 323.3 (108 wins)
Not a lot of things you didn't already know here: the Yankees actually underachieved this year, due to major fall-offs from Giambi, Mussina, Vazquez, and Kenny Lofton, while the main guys who stepped way up to pick up some of the slack were Matsui, Cairo, Gordon and Lieber. There's also the guys I hadn't listed in the preseason:
Five guys also contributed one Win Share each. You will note that Olerud's 6 Win Shares, like Contreras' total, is only for his time with the Yankees. . . and yes, I know 38 is an approximate age for El Duque, but I have to use something.
Adjusted EWSL: 307.3 (102 wins)
A real tribute to the Sox here for surviving the big dropoffs from the contributions of Nomar (even before he was traded), Nixon, Lowe and Kim. Ellis Burks, of course, never did get a role on the team, so his inclusion here is more a feature of February. The two guys who picked up the most slack were Ortiz (who had 15 win shares in 2003) and Bellhorn; the Sox went far this year by ignoring Bellhorn's 177 whiffs and cashing in on his cheap (less than $500,000 this year) production. But the team's additions, including one guy I totally overlooked in February (Bronson Arroyo) made a difference:
Plus, Dave Roberts and Brian Daubach with two Win Shares apiece, and six other guys with one Win Share apiece, including the disappointing Doug Mentkiewicz (19 EWSL entering the season). Cabrera, clearly, was a useful pickup, and the Greek God of Walks, with his .367 on base percentage, gave the Sox some valuable fill-in work.