Jun
29

If our outfield could hit, maybe we’d score runs

By

All numbers cited are as of 6/28 before the game

Oh, our outfield. Coming into this season, it looked so promising. Matsui, Damon, Abreu. And Melky as a backup to boot. Yeah, there were chirps and whispers about the age of the unit, but hey, 34 isn’t exactly old. And for guys who had been were great last year (with the obvious exception of Matsui), you wouldn’t expect them to turn shitty overnight.

But really, that’s what they did. At least in relative terms. Any way you want to slice it, they’re not performing to expectations. And it’s freakin’ killing this offense (among other things, of course, but this one is just glaring). A quick look at rate stats will make this abundantly clear.

Slugging Percentage

In left field we have Matsui, who actually ranks third in the AL, behind Carl Crawford and Manny — who in a normal year would be ahead by eons, but is only up .013 on Crawford. Shannon Stewart of Oakland ranks last with .395, followed closely by the slap-hitting Reggie Willits at .399. I don’t know what it is about Matsui, but it doesn’t seem like he’s hitting this well. He’s a tick below his career slugging (.481), which is expected given his age. And it’s not like his batting average (.278) is carrying that slugging. There’s really not much to complain about with Matsui’s power.

When we get to center field, it’s a different story. Twelve guys qualify in the AL. Two of them are from the Yankees, both of whom are in the bottom third in slugging. Melky is at .365 and in 9th place — a whopping .044 points behind the No. 8 guy (David DeJesus…what school did he attend again?). Our favorite injury case Johnny Damon is in 11th at .357. Granted, he is ahead of 12th by .055 points. But No. 12 is Corey Patterson, who wouldn’t have qualified if he played for a real team (and yes, that “fake” team beat the hell out of us).

And don’t give me crap about center fielders not having power as a requirement. Five guys have a SLG above .450: Granderson, Hunter, Sizemore, Ichiro, Matthews Jr. (by the way, it’s great to see Vernon Wells with a .722 OPS).

I had to avert my eyes upon initially sorting the qualified right fielders by SLG. Our $15 million man Bobby Abreu sits in 11th place out of 11. He is .026 behind No. 10, which happens to be Nancy Drew. He’s .054 behind the next real competitor, Jose Guillen of the Mariners. The leader: the on-fiah Magglio Ordonez, at freakin’ .637. For those of you without a calculator, that’s .279 ahead of Abreu. Magglio’s ISO (SLG minus BA, so it measures power without the singles mixed in) is .260. I don’t know what that means, but I know it’s bad.

On Base Percentage

It’s so difficult to gauge left fielders because there are only seven that qualify in the AL. Toronto, Baltimore, Kansas City, Minnesota, Cleveland, Texas, and Chicago all don’t have a left fielder that has both enough at bats and games in left field to qualify. So we’re stuck with a relatively small sample. Matsui sits right in the middle of qualified left fielders in terms of OBP. His .354 mark puts him behind Stewart (.360), Manny (.386), and the soon-to-come-crashing-down Willits (.430). Crawford, Raul Ibanez, and Craig Monroe (at freakin’ .277!).

Now to our two qualified center fielders, who happen to be ranked back to back. Unfortunately, they’re both in the bottom half of the 12 qualifiers, ranking 8 (Damon) and 9 (Melky), even though their OBPs are .017 apart (.333 for Damon, .316 for Melky). The only players below them are Coco Crisp (despite Damon’s struggles, Crisp is still worse), Vernon Wells (ha ha!), and Corey Patterson (.580 OPS).

Normally, Abreu would be No. 1 or 2 in OBP among right fielders — and top 5 in the league. This year, well, it’s just not Bobby’s year. He’s at a middling .346 mark, which actually trails our buddy Nancy (.353). At the top are Magglio (.452) and Vlad (.424 — when the hell did he learn to walk?!?). Really, this is where Bobby was supposed to be strong. Even if he isn’t a 30 homer guy, his ability to get on base is valuable enough for the Yankees lineup. But now we don’t even have that. And, to make matters worse, his OPS (a pathetic .704) is the lowest among qualifiers — even lower than Jermaine Dye, he of the .286 OBP.

Against League Average

Okay, we’ve seen how the Yanks players stack up against players on other teams who happen to play the same position. Let’s move to see how the Yankees stack up against the league by position. That is, we’ll compare production of the Yankees outfielders to the league average.

Left Field

Yanks: .271/.334/.420
League: .265/.328/.409

Even though Melky’s 61 at bats when playing left field bring down Matsui’s .279/.357/.438, the Yanks stay above league average here. That’s all fine and good…as long as you’re exceeding league average at the other outfield slots.

Center Field

Yanks: .251/.335/.366
League: .270/.339/.418

So even with Melky’s hot June (.306/.365/.459), they can’t even manage league average at center. Imagine if they had continued trotting Damon out there. So yeah, barely league average in left, well below in center. And oh boy, you know it’s going to be ugly in right…

Right Field

Yanks: .249/.345/.348
League: .279/.352/.452

Ouch. Big ouch. Wanna see something else?

First Base

Yanks: .270/.338/.409
League: .274/.353/.453

Totally lacking. Barely above average left field, well below average in right field, center field, and first base. Heck, while we’re at it, let’s look at the rest of the diamond.

Second Base

Yanks: .270/.308/.403
League: .285/.343/.412

Ugh. The OBP will never be there, but c’mon, Robbie, you gotta slug better than .406 (Cairo bumps it down the extra .003).

Third Base

Yanks: .323/.424/.685
League: .263/.334/.434

He is no man, but a baseball hitting machine!

Shortstop

Yanks: .331/.405/.466
League: .265/.328/.409

Yeah, Jeter can hit baseballs pretty well, too.

Catcher

Yanks: .300/.358/.450
League: .259/.320/.400

You think the backup catcher means nothing. Yeah, those stats look very nice, especially compared to league average. But what if Jorge wasn’t in the midst of a career year? Nieves brings him down by .035/.036/.063. That’s a huuuuge difference.

DH

Yanks: .274/.370/.456
League: .261/.354/.437

Sadly, most of that is Giambi.

And, finally, the Yankees team vs. the league average:

Yanks: .279/.355/.437
League: .268/.337/.420

So close to league average. And we haven’t even touched the pitching.

Categories : Offense
  • ANTHONY FROM THE BRONX

    WE NEED TO CLEAN HOUSE
    I HEARD SAN DIEGO GOT MILTON BRADLEY HE WOULD HAVE BEEN PERFECT
    FOR THE YANKEES I AM SUPRISED CASH DIDNOT MAKE A PLAY FOR HIM
    ABREU NEEDS TO BE TRADED MAYBE SOMEBODY WILL GIVE US A B LEVEL PROSPECT FOR HIM THEN WE CAN BRING UP S DUNCAN CANT BE MUCH WORSE THEN WHAT ABREU HAS GIVEN US AT LEAST DUNCAN HAS POWER
    MATSU HAS A NO TRADE BUT WOULD SEATLE DO A SWAP FOR ICHIRO
    BEING THAT ICHIRO IS A FREE AGENT WOULD MATSUI AGREE TO IT
    MELKY ICHIRO DUNCAN HAS TO BE BETTER THAN WHAT WE HAVE NOW
    THE SEASON IS NOT COMPLETELY LOST YET BUT WE NEED TO MOVE FAST
    BURLE IS SIGNING WITH WHITE SOX MUSSINA AND PETTITE WOULD BRING
    BACK PLENTY HUGHES SHOULD BE READY IN THE NEXT 3 TO 4 WEEKS
    ALAN HORNE CAN BE BETTER THAN MUSSINA HELL DESALVO T-CLIP CAN BE BETTER ALSO THIS OPENS UP THE ROTATION FOR 2008 FRANSWORTH AND MEYERS ALSO HAVE SOME VALUE WE HAVE REPLACEMENTS IN AAA FOR THOSE TWO AN INJECTION OF YOUTH WILL HELP NOW AND SET THE STAGE FOR 2008 I AM TIRED OF WAITING FOR THESE GUYS TO TURN IT AROUND IF OUR SYSTEM IS AS GOOD ADVERTISED WE NEED TO CLEAR ROSTER SPACE LOOK AT THE ANGELS THEY HAVE ALL HOME GROWN TALENT CHEAP AND FULL OF ENERGY THATS WHY THEY ALWAYS KICK OUR ASS SELLING NOW IS NOT GIVING UP ON THE SEASON WE NEED ENERGY THE TEAM LOOKS TIRED MAYBE A FEW TRADES AND CALL UPS WILL ENERGIZE THE TEAM TO MAKE A RUN NOW IS THE TIME NOT 3 4 WEEKS FROM NOW

    • dave

      An offense that is scoring 2 or less runs in over 30% of there games like the Yankees will not even sniff the playoffs.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

    Anthony — please don’t type in all caps. It doesn’t make for easy reading.

    Anyway, to address your points. 1) No one is trading for Abreu right now. He has a no trade clause, and will probably require his option for next year to be picked up in return for waiving it. Not a chance of that happening. 2) Seattle would never swap Matsui for Ichiro. It doesn’t make any sense. 3) Billy Beane wasn’t going to trade Bradley to the Yankees. Notice how one trade was to a team not in contention (Royals) and the other to an NL team (Padres). Beane is smarter than to deal him to a competitor. The only shot we had is if he made it to Sunday and became a free agent. 4) You can’t trade Mussina and Petttite. Moose is a 10-5 guy, and you don’t trade your best pitcher (Pettitte). 5) DeSalvo and Clippard are not better than Mussina. That’s pretty obvious.

  • http://riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    Vlad’s been intentionally walked 20 times this year, hence the inflated OBP. I guess that’s what happens when Gary Matthews frickin’ Junior is batting behind you.

  • Dan

    I think that the only problem that can really be fixed with the offense is backup catcher. We’ll just have to hope the others start hitting better

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

    Ah, thanks Mike. I suppose I could have just looked a few columns over on his stat sheet, but, ya know.

  • Stuart

    Dan you are right backup catcher and 1B can be fixed during the yr. the outfield will not be fixed unless the guys pick up there play….

    1b, backup catcher, and bullpen, that can be fixed the rest of the issues are non fixable during the yr.

    therefore try Shelly Duncan, bring up britton and ramirez and see what happens!!!!!!!Why not….Where to get a backup catcher? I like Melhuse from Oak but he went to Tex….

  • George

    What the gang from River Ave Blues has written is dead on.

    When I and my family immigrated too America, from Greece, I made one of the clearest choices in my life and have stuck by it. To be a cardcaring fan and supporter of the NYY. I love the Yankees. Of all of my teams in all the professional sports, the Yankees are my favorite.

    What does this have to do with the outfield production, solutions, psycho analysis, why are they regressing…again? I have seen the Greatest moments and worst moments in Yankee seasons for over 4 decades. During that time, I have appreciated 7 World Championships and countless of playoff wins (I love sticking that into Red Sox and Met fans). That’s the greatest moments. The worst was during the start of the late 60′s-to-the early. Late 70′s-to-80′s-till-94. Every time the Yankees had been faced with adversity they looked for a significant piece that could help. Strawberry outfield/DH in 96. David Justice in 98 etc. Presently the Yankees may need to readdress that posture/organizational thinking from the past and try bridging possible short term outfield and first base solutions from the minors to the pros.

    Both our corner outfielders have positive statistical history. Yes Abreu has wall issues and I believe that he will start hitting again. Instead of trying to go the other way with the pitch, on occasion Abreu, need to pull the ball. Matsui, is doing the opposite of Abreu. He must stop opening up his shoulder to early and hit the ball up the middle and left field. Milky, take charge of centerfield and get smarter as a professional hitter. Damon, should have been put on the 15 DL weeks ago, or have his chiropractor travel with him. When Damon, Matsui and Abreu are on their game the team will score.

    If the Tampa organization had listened to Stick Michael’s, they would have picked up Reds outfielder Hamilton, rather than Phelps last year. Remember Michael’s and Bob Watson put those team of the 90′s together. Plus the Boss was restricted from the team, for I believe two years.

    No Yankee is happy of the season we are having. I believe we can make a run for the wildcard, if these three, plus Cano get their acts together.

    You know A-Rod was right and Jeter was wrong. In early May, A-Rod said that we need to play every game as if its a playoff type game. Jeter didn’t agree with that. I wonder if he still feels the same way now?

  • Barry C

    Im going to assume that Anthony from the Bronx is a 16 year old Yankee fan who expects every season to win the World series like they did when he was in grade school.

    From your post I can decifer that you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT BASEBALL. You are a band wagon jumping fan that will break out his Beltran Mets jersey if by the unholiest of occurances the Mets win the series this year.

    Men at Work by George Will go read it. Any book by Bill James go read it, put down the Xbox controller and pick up a book.

  • dan

    i didnt even read the post. as i was scrolling i thought i saw “horne can be better than mussina.” as much as we want that to happen, its not realistic this year.