Over the past few weeks I’ve been taking a lighthearted look at what sabermetric sage Bill James has projected for various parts of the Yanks’ squad, starting with the rotation. Next I jumped to the lineup, and then last week I sorted out the bullpen. Now it’s time to wrap up this little series of posts by tying up the loose ends.
The Yanks’ bench was pretty brutal last year, as injuries forced several guys into more playing time then designed. Jose Molina did his best as Jorge Posada‘s injury fill-in, and poor Wilson Betemit was ripped endlessly for being a two true outcomes bench player (extra base hit or strikeout). The latter was eventually jettisoned off in favor of the older but cheaper Cody Ransom, a career minor league journeyman who whacked a couple of meaningless longballs when the team was basically out of it.
Jose Molina, C
Projection: .232-.274-.333, 20 R, 12 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 45-9 K/BB, .271 wOBP
Offense is definitely not Molina’s calling card. The middle Molina brother owns a career 61 OPS+, and actually underperformed it last year (51 OPS+). Luckily James sees a little bit of a “rebound” in Molina, who projects to raise his OPS back up over the .600 level. We love Hava Molina here at RAB, but the less he plays the better.
Cashman & Co. did bring a few guys in on minor league deals, namely Sergio Mitre and Kevin Cash. Again, Mitre didn’t see enough big league time last year to get a projection, so we’re stuck with just Cash:
Kevin Cash, C
Projection: .204-.281-.320, 10 R, 6 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBI, 31-10 K/BB, .272 wOBP
Yikes. Signed to backup Cervelli in Triple-A, Cash also doubles as the 2009 version of Chad Moeller. Projected to have a .601 OPS, that would be the second highest mark of Cash’s career, which represents a whole new level of suck. There’s really not much more you can say. With all do respect to Cash, who I’m sure is a great guy, I don’t want to see him near a Yanks’ uniform this year.
Okay, there’s one more guy we have to cover, and that’s the $180M man, Mark Teixeira. Tex agreed to terms with the Yanks the day after I posted the lineup projections, so I didn’t get a chance to include him in this … ahem … analysis. Here’s what James sees in store for the Yanks’ new first baseman:
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Projection: .299-.397-.559, 102 R, 41 2B, 2 3B, 36 HR, 121 RBI, 110-89 K/BB, .412 wOBP
Ah, now that’s more like it. Tex is projected to have an extremely similar to season to A-Rod, with the only difference being a few less homers and few more doubles. After the team suffered through bouts of offensive incompetence last year, this should bring a smile to your face, even if it is just a projection. No more Jason Giambi platoon, no more Doug Mientkiewicz, no more Josh Phelps. This is your first baseman, Yankees fans.
Two weeks ago I noted that a lineup with Melky as the starting centerfielder would score about 5.774 runs per game, and with Gardner that would jump to 5.808 runs per game. If we assume Swisher plays center Tex takes Melky’s/Gardner’s spot in the lineup – giving you the best possible offensive lineup – the Yanks would average 6.072 runs per game, or ~984 runs over the course of a 162 game season. Wowza.
So I hope you enjoyed my little mini-series of posts about completely useless projections that should be used for nothing more than entertainment. Once the season is over I’ll come back and compare the actual results with these projections, which should be fun.