Yanks offense projects better than last season


For most of this decade we’ve been treated to powerhouse Yankee offenses. A-Rod, Sheffield, Giambi, Abreu, Matsui, Posada, Bernie for a couple of years, even Jeter. The team is always in the 1,000-run conversation, though reality has kept them from reaching that. This year, however, no one’s talking about a thousand runs. Not after last year’s offensive meltdown. The Yankees scored 4.87 runs per game, seventh in the AL. This represented an enormous drop-off from 2007, when the team scored 5.98 runs per game, a half-run more than the second best team.

Dave Pinto uses his Lineup Analysis Tool and Tom Tango’s Marcel projections to predict the number of runs the Yankees offense will score in 2009. No, it’s not a 1,000-run force — it’s doubtful any projection system would be optimistic enough to allow for that. Yet the showing should be better than last year, as one might have guessed. Pinto predicts the Yankees will score 5.72 runs per game with their best lineup (~927 runs) and 5.64 runs with their probable lineup (~914 runs). Not bad considering their mark from last year.

That, of course, doesn’t factor in the A-Rod injury. He’ll probably miss all of April, and right now Cody Ransom is the fill-in. Unfortunately, there’s no real accurate projection on him at this point due to his lack of big league experience (a scant 214 plate appearances over six seasons). Because of Ransom’s high OBP numbers in 2007 and 2008, he’s projected for a .351 OBP and a .450 SLG, which seems unreasonable if he’s going to play full time for a month. If he could pull off those numbers he’d have a starting gig somewhere.

With Ransom batting sixth, Pinto has the Yankees scoring 5.44 runs per game. I’m not that optimistic. Ransom will likely hit eighth, and he probably won’t hit to the Marcel projections. The Yanks will be lucky to put up five runs per game in April before A-Rod’s bat returns to the middle of the lineup. The hope is that the revamped pitching staff can hold opponents closer to four runs per game, which would more than make up for any offensive deficiencies — the Rays won 97 games last season while scoring just 4.8 runs per game, because their pitching held opponents to 4.1 runs per game.

In no way, shape, or form do the Yankees benefit with A-Rod out of the lineup. Since it’s only for a month, and since they have an improved pitching staff, they should be able to weather the blow. Still, it’s pretty clear that A-Rod helps the team score more runs, which makes winning games easier. If he comes back full strength a month into the season, the Yanks could be poised for an offensive year reminiscent of 2006 or 2007.

Categories : Analysis


  1. Evan in NYC says:

    I’m going to go agree with Mike Francessa on this and drop Cano in the #4 slot while A-Roid is out. I like him between the 2 switch hitters (Tex and Posada) flopping the L/R in Matsui and Nady at DH. I think Cano can put up some solid RBI numbers in that hole, without dropping Tex to 4th. I don’t like the move they are discussing right now making the lineup Damon, Gardner, Jeter, Tex…

    • Rob in CT says:

      A-Roid – that’s original.

      As for the lineup… I dunno about Cano hitting cleanup. I wouldn’t mind Swisher being #3 with Tex #4. Another option would be to leave Tex at 3 and hit Matsui cleanup.

      Gardner at the top of the lineup makes sense in theory if he can get on base at a reasonable clip. That’s not at all clear, though, so I don’t think I’d do it unless/until he proves he can do it. So there we agree.

      Man, I just had a vision of a lineup with Melky/Gardner, Molina and Ransom in it. Reminds me of WOE (Worst. Offense. Ever.) last year.

      • Gardner at the top of the lineup makes sense in theory if he can get on base at a reasonable clip.

        He also makes sense at the bottom of the lineup, because the 9th hitter immediately precedes the 1st hitter when the lineup turns over, so you can bat him 9th and still have two leadoff hitters in a row.

        That’s not at all clear, though, so I don’t think I’d do it unless/until he proves he can do it. So there we agree.

        Which is why we leave him 9th. If he hits well, hitting them 9th-1st gives us two leadoffs; if not, he’s protected by being lower in the order. Perfect way to hedge our bets.

        I’d go:
        1-LF Damon (L)
        2-SS Jeter (R)
        3-RF Swish (S)
        4-1B Tex (S)
        5-DH Matsui (L)
        6-C Posada (S)
        7-2B Cano (L)
        8-3B Ransom (R)
        9-CF Gardner (L)

    • I don’t like the move they are discussing right now making the lineup Damon, Gardner, Jeter, Tex…

      Who the hell is discussing that lineup?

      • anonymous says:

        The voices in Mike Francessa’s head. Probably the same ones who decided Cano needs a challenge.

      • Chris C. says:

        “I don’t like the move they are discussing right now making the lineup Damon, Gardner, Jeter, Tex…

        Who the hell is discussing that lineup?”

        That is dumb. If anything, I’d have Gardner first, then Damon, because Gardner is, at this point, a bigger stolen base threat, providing he’s reaching base at a decent clip. You always want the better base stealer to be the lead runner.

        Here’s what I don’t like about Gardner batting 9th (again, this is assuming he’s reaching base alot.) There could be plenty of times where he’s stuck on first in back of the inevidtable slow runners the Yankees will have swinging 6th, 7th, and 8th. Batting leadoff, at least you’re assured that one time per ballgame he’ll be the lead runner if he reaches.

    • Colombo says:

      I’m sorry…I stopped reading after I saw “I’m going to go agree with Mike Francessa…” Did I miss anything? No? Good.

    • Chris C. says:

      Has Cano shown you anything resembling a cleanup hitter? I don’t know where that comes from, but it makes ZERO sense.

  2. Mike Pop says:

    As long as Posada and Matsui stay healthy, hopefully a Cano rebound, which seems likely this team will be okay offensively. Much better than Kruk thinks.

    Wow, Ipk got roughed up.

    • anonymous says:

      You forgot to mention we have future MVP Gardner now. 1000 run offense for sure.

    • Much better than Kruk thinks.

      Man, I swear, between Mike and the Mad Dog breaking up (and hence, Francesa having the whole 5 hours to himself to talk), the launch of MLB Network and the re-emergence of Harold Reynolds and the like, the death of the newspaper game forcing columnists to write more often and more sensationally, a full season of hot stove and the free agent additions of CC and AJ starting another round of B-Jobber debates, Joe Torre’s book, ARod getting exposed for sterioid use and his subsequent injury, and the constant presence of the ESPN…

      … it seems like we are literally drowning in oceans of new utterly stupid things said about baseball in general and the Yankees and their players in particular. I can’t remember this much stupid crap being written or said on a daily basis about the Yankees. There hasn’t been more than a day or two in a row where somebody somewhere doesn’t write or say something that makes your head explode.

      The level of intelligence in our public discourse is going down the drain.

  3. Chris says:

    I love the projection for the best possible lineup. Could you imagine the outrage if Girardi actually used this lineup in a game:

    1 – Jorge Posada
    2 – Mark Teixeira
    3 – Johnny Damon
    4 – Alex Rodriguez
    5 – Hideki Matsui
    6 – Robinson Cano
    7 – Xavier Nady
    8 – Melky Cabrera
    9 – Derek Jeter

    • Mike Pop says:

      It’s all about championships.

    • I was about to say that Jorge Posada can’t possibly bat leadoff, you need someone gritty and gutty up there who will grind out an AB and get his uniform dirty.

      But then I remembered that Posada pees on his hands. That’s an automatic exception to the anti-gamer rules. Nothing grittier than a man intentionally urinating on his hands.

      We’re good to go with that lineup. Just bat Jeter cleanup and move ARod down to 9th, and the Baseball Tonight crew approves.

      • Jeremy says:

        That is more nasty than gritty.

      • anonymous says:

        Alex Rodriguez just read this post and immediately went to the press box at Steinbrenner Field to piss on his hands.

        • UWS says:

          I’d much prefer if he pissed on the morons who inhabit said press box.

        • Alex Rodriguez, a/k/a Nails Krzyzewski, just read this post and immediately went to the press box at Steinbrenner Field to piss on his hands.

          • Reggie C. says:

            How do you bat Swisher 3rd?? Why not instead have Nady in the lineup and push Tex to 3rd and Nady behind Posada.

            • Ryan S. says:

              Because Swisher is going to see a shitload of pitches – I can imagine that’s the logic behind the move. Personally I’d go Tex 3rd and Matsui 4th as long as Godzilla is chugging along.

              • Reggie C. says:

                I dont get it. Swisher is still coming off a significant down year and your putting him in a spot where he must produce a RBI guy. If you’re gonna put Gardner in the 9th spot and do the whole 2 lead off men concept, then the #3 spot becomes all the more important as a run-producer.

                I’d rather see Nady in the lineup batting behind Posada.

                • Well, I personally predict that Swish will be a better player than Nady, that’s why he’s in my lineup and Nady’s on the bench.

                  And, if he is in the lineup, his great OBP skills and high pitch per plate appearance makes him a great 3-hole guy to work the count and get on base in front of Tex, Matsui, and Posada.

                  He’s just like Bobby Abreu. Except he plays defense.


                • Ryan S. says:

                  I’m not that high on Nady – your #3 guy also should be a high OBP guy and Nady doesn’t fit the bill there. I don’t like Swisher there either though – I’d put it together this way:

                  1. Damon (LF) – L
                  2. Jeter (SS) – R
                  3. Teixeira (1B) – S
                  4. Matsui (DH) – L
                  5. Posada (C) – S
                  6. Cano (2B) – L
                  7. Swisher (RF) – S
                  8. Ransom (3B) – R
                  9. Gardner (CF) – L

                  I’d take Nady off the bench for the most part.

                • Reggie C. says:

                  That high pitch-per-PA could change quick if put in the 3 hole. How many offenses has Swish been on in which he’s been called upon to drive in runs. The role of a 3-hitter is probably a whole different animal than what Swish is used to taking on. Its easier to take pitches and rack up a nice OBP when you’re not a 3/4 hitter. I just think its asking for too much from Swish.

                • Reggie C. says:

                  Hey, Ryan

                  I didn’t intend to put Nady in the 3 spot. That’s Texeira’s job imo. Mats could hit out the 4 spot. I put Nady in the lineup in order to break up the “left-iness” of the lineup. I’d want Nady to hit behind Posada.

                • Swish put up a .260/.373/.438 in 357 career plate appearences batting third. That’s a batting average and OBP that’s actually higher than his career marks.

                • Bruno says:

                  Swisher routinely batted 2,3,4,5 for Oakland.

                • Reggie C. says:

                  thought i saw somewhere on this website stats pointing to Swish’s 2008 ISO not being out of whack with career norms. i dont doubt that he’ll rebound, but rebounding out the 3 spot? big roll of the dice.

                  – didn’t realize swish was a switch hitter.

                • Ryan S. says:

                  Well if you wanna use Nady instead of Swisher because he’s right-handed, its a moot point since Swisher is a switch hitter. Basically Nady is coming off a career high year and Swisher is coming off a career low year, so its really a guess of who is coming back to reality. Swisher had a lot of things going against him in Chicago – batting leadoff and playing in CF, and under a manager he didn’t really connect with, while Nady really was kinda “meh” when he started playing in pinstripes. Swisher still managed to belt 25 homers and lead the league in P/PA, he’s the younger guy, the better defensive player, and we have him under control for a few years (plus he’s a great clubhouse guy, not that it matters lineup wise but still) … so I’d definitely lean towards Swish over Nady.

  4. Expired Milk says:

    I’m not too worried about the hitting its still a above average line up without Arod. We lose Arod but we get back Matusi and Posada, both of are no slouches at the plate. The whole is built different than the past few years. The starting pitching is better than previous years and the bullpen looks more than solid solid.Ian Kennedy come in as 6th and 8th starters instead of 3rd and 5th.

  5. steve (different one) says:

    so, if i am to believe these projections, the Yankees should run away with the division.

    if the Yankees score 900 runs, they are going to win 100 games with their pitching.

    • handtius says:

      Sorry, forgot details. Reaffirms the ridiculous notion that some people believe we can be better w/out A-rod….FAIL!!!!

      • steve (different one) says:

        Lombardi will probably kill himself if the Yankees actually win the World Series this year.

        he’ll have nothing left to bitch about.

        silly me, his first column will be how they should have done it for $165M instead of $200M.

    • I love the meme that back during the title years, we played smallball and moved runners over, but now that ARod’s on the team, we sit around and wait for the 3-run homer.

      Umm, doesn’t the idea that the team is sitting around and “waiting” for ARod to hit a homer indict the OTHER members of the team for not trying just as much (if not more) than it indicts ARod for failing to deliver? And doesn’t that mean that the guys from the title years who are still here – namely, Jeter, Posada, Mo, and Pettitte – are chiefly to blame for the lack of titles, since they’re the ones who used to play the game the right way and do the little things, but now, since the team doesn’t do that anymore, it means that they have stopped playing the game the right way and doing the little things it takes to win?

      What, Jeter used to bunt the runners over back in 1998 but now, when he tries to bunt, ARod leaps out from the dugout and pushes the ball foul?

  6. Brooklyn Ed says:

    German becomes a free agent. Will the Yanks bite?

  7. [...] Yanks offense projects better than last season / Wrapping up the day in Lakeland [...]

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