The Yankees’ season is one-third of the way over, and the team is currently 32-22, tied with the Red Sox for the best record in the American League. I figured now is as good a time as any to see which players have been the most valuable to the team. I know I’ve been shoving the wonderful wins above replacement (WAR) stat down your throats the past few days but, as I just said, it is wonderful. It factors in defense, position, the whole nine, and frankly it’s the best all-encompassing stat we have right now.
As a team, the Yanks’ position players have racked up 12.8 WAR, the second best total in baseball behind the Rays (14.1). The pitchers, however, come in at just 3.3 WAR, 23rd best in the game. The pitching staff has started to come around in the past few weeks, so when we check back in at the two-thirds point of the season, I expect them to rank higher.
Let’s start with the players who have given the Yanks the most value this season.
Top Five Pitchers
- CC Sabathia, 2.0 WAR
- Andy Pettitte, 0.8
- AJ Burnett, 0.7
- Joba Chamberlain, 0.6
- Mariano Rivera & Brian Bruney tied at 0.4
Top Five Position Players
For comparison’s sake, the most valuable pitchers in baseball this year are Zack Greinke (4.4) & Roy Halladay (3.4), and the most valuable position players are Evan Longoria (3.2) & Raul Ibanez (3.1). It shouldn’t come as a shock that CC has been the Yanks’ most valuable pitcher. Despite their less than sterling ERAs, Pettitte & Burnett provide a ton of value based just on all the innings they soak up. Phil Hughes, Al Aceves and David Robertson were next up at 0.2 WAR each.
Derek Jeter’s recent hot streak pushed him past Tex as the team’s most valuable position player (and player overall), but his improved defense (+3.0 UZR/150) has also boosted his stock. Brett Gardner & Nick Swisher (tied at 1.3) are next up on the list, while Alex Rodriguez comes in at just 0.7 after missing a month of the season.
Here’s the guys who are bringing up the rear:
Bottom Five Pitchers
Bottom Five Position Players
The least valuable pitchers in the game this year have been Mike Lincoln of the Reds (-0.8) & the recently released Duaner Sanchez (-0.7). The least valuable hitters are Garrett Atkins & David Ortiz (tied at -1.2), while Brian Giles comes in at -1.1. The good news is that just two of the pitchers who make up the Yanks’ bottom five are still on the active roster, and one of those two has been relegated to mop-up duty. Chien-Ming Wang has managed to get back to replacement level, or just about at -0.1 WAR.
The bottom five position players are all spare parts, except for Nady who got hurt so early in the season that his sample isn’t very meaningful. Ramiro Pena also checked in at 0.0 WAR, so he and the two backstops have been exactly replacement level, which is what you’d expect out of your backup backup utility infielder and number three and four catchers.
If you want to see the full team list, the pitchers are here and the position players are here. The numbers will start to make more sense and be a bit more representative of true performance as the season marches on, so I wouldn’t put too much stock into this just yet. Anyway, use this as your open thread for the night. Talk about whatever you like, just be nice.