Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
June 28, 2005
BASEBALL: What Ails The Yankees
As you will recall, my preseason Established Win Shares Levels analysis concurred with the general consensus that the Hated Yankees had the most talented team in the American League. But the 2005 season has thus far had other plans for the Yanks. Over at The Hardball Times, we can look at the semi-current (through last Thursday, when they were 37-34) Win Shares totals for the Yankees. Where have they gone wrong? Let's compare the EWSL totals, projected over a 71 game season, to the Yankees' actual Win Shares through 71 games to identify the culprits. First, the non-pitchers:
WSAB is a measure of marginal Win Shares against the number expected of a replacement-level player with a similar amount of playing time. I included it here so you can see which guys are falling short of their EWSL due to poor quality play vs. lack of playing time. I included one player here (Damian Rolls) who I had projected in the preseason but hasn't played, and two (Crosby and Cano) I didn't project who have. Of course, adding one extra player means the team should come in a bit ahead of its preseason numbers.
As you can see, while the Yankee lineup has some problems - principally the aging support players Giambi, Bernie, Tino and Womack falling short of even their modest, age-adjusted expectations - the Yanks have more than covered this by getting greater even than expected performance from their stars, notably Sheffield, A-Rod and Posada.
You know what that means. The pitchers:
There you have it: a falloff of 15 Win Shares (5 whole wins) from the guys who were counted before the season, and a net loss of 8 Win shares (almost 3 wins) even including the guys who weren't counted. The damage was mainly done at the back of the rotation and bullpen: Mussina at +1 and Randy Johnson at -1 vs. their expected Win Shares are actually a wash, and Mariano, like the stars in the lineup, is doing his best to carry the stragglers. But Pavano, Brown, Wright, Quantrill, Stanton and Felix Rodriguez at -16 are just killing the Yanks; all that money spent on added pitching depth in the offseason went straight down the tubes.
Looking at these numbers also reassured me that my age adjustments weren't too harsh, and in some cases were too mild: the eight Yankees age 37 and over are at a net loss of 11 Win Shares against even their diminished expectations.