Open Thread: Who have been the most valuable Yankees? (Part II)


A couple of weeks ago we took a look at which players have been most valuable to the Yankees in terms of wins over replacement, or WAR. We’ve been using that stat for a while now, so I’m sure you’re famiiar with it. Although we’re not quite at the two-thirds point of the season, I needed an open thread topic figured now was a good time for part two of this three part series since the team won’t have another off day for two weeks or so.

Last time around, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter were the most valuable pitcher and position player on the team, and not much has changed. Let’s take a look, starting with the arms.

Top Five Pitchers

  1. CC Sabathia, 3.5 WAR
  2. AJ Burnett, 1.9
  3. Andy Pettitte, 1.9
  4. Joba Chamberlain, 1.5
  5. Mariano Rivera, 1.5

For the sake of comparison, Tim Lincecum (6.6) and Zack Greinke (6.3) are far and away the most valuable pitchers in the game this year while Sabathia checks in at #13. It’s no surprise the team’s four regular starters top the list because a big chunk of their value comes from all the innings they soak up. The superhuman Mariano Rivera is just that damn good, trailing only a handful of other relievers. You can see the rest of the pitchers here, but Phil Hughes is only other member of the staff worth more than one win.

Top Five Position Players

  1. Derek Jeter, 4.5
  2. Mark Teixeira, 3.3
  3. Robinson Cano, 2.5
  4. Alex Rodriguez, 2.3
  5. Jorge Posada, 2.2

The four most valuable position players in the game this season are Chase Utley (5.5), Ben Zobrist (5.4), Albert Pujols (5.2), and Hanley Ramirez (5.0), with Joe Mauer (4.6) a distant fifth. Derek Jeter check in as the sixth most valuable position player in the game thanks not only to his offensive production at a premium position, but also because of his absurdly awesome defense. Yeah, I said defense. Only Jack Wilson, JJ Hardy, and Elvis Andrus have been better at short, and I don’t think any of us expected that coming in to the year.

Jeter is a legitimate MVP candidate this year, and a strong finish backed by a late September playoff push could be enough to get him the first MVP trophy in his otherwise decorated carrier. The campaign starts now, get behind it.

* * *

Use this as your open thread for the night. The Mets are finishing up their series with the Diamondbacks, while the Cubs and Red are on ESPN. Talk about whatever you like here, just be cool to each other.

Categories : Analysis, Open Thread


  1. Ivan says:

    That lazy cano, Checking higher than A-Rod and Posada on WAR.

  2. RichYF says:

    Mike, considering the lack of attention paid to defense, wouldn’t you say it’s quite unlikely that Jeter wins the MVP this year? He’s having a solid year at the dish, but not like 1999 or even 2006.

    It’s unfortunate that his WAR is so high and it will go unnoticed by voters (gut feeling).

  3. pat says:

    I had no idea harang was 6’7″, damn.

  4. Oti says:

    The fact that Brad Penny ranks higher than AJ Burnett iN WAR is hard to believe! Can anyone figure out why?

  5. zs190 says:

    Wow, Nyjer Morgan is 13th best player by WAR, that’s crazy, he’s been ridiculous on defense, those UZR numbers are just off the charts. People say Nats gave up a guy with higher upside but it would seem very unlikely for Milledge to ever come close to those numbers that Morgan is putting up.

  6. Rick says:

    These rankings are why stats r overrated. No one with a brain thinks cano has been more valueable than arod

    • zs190 says:

      Doesn’t mean the stats are wrong. Cano has played more games and defensively he’s been better. Cano is also more of an upgrade over a replacement 2B than ARod over a replacement 3B, remember that a replacement 3B is a better hitter than a replacement 2B because there are a lot more guys that can play 3B than 2B.

    • The Artist says:

      Yeah, facts suck. Opinion is much more definitive.

    • andrew says:

      Thanks Rick, great post.

    • RollingWave says:

      your right, this stats underrates the fact that when A-rod wasn’t playing this year, the guy playing in 3rd wasn’t actually replacement level. he’s



  7. pat says:

    I wish I started counting how many sox slobberjobs this ESPN crew has done so far this telecast. This sh*t is unbearable.

    • V says:

      And the Sox aren’t even playing.

      You’d think these assholes could, um, actually do their job, right? You know, talk about the game that is being FUCKING PLAYED AT THE MOMENT?

      • jim p says:

        Baseball announcers would lose their license if they talked about the players actually involved in the actual game. You think Michael Kay, for instance, wants to talk for 1/2-inning plus about food in a 3-2 game with 2 men on and no outs?

  8. DreDog says:

    Kevin Douchelis is #2 at 1b behind Pujols, and #3 at 3b. Only Squirrel Beard could pull that off!

  9. AJ says:

    The Red Sox just do everything right they are the greatest franchise.

  10. AJ says:

    blah blah.

  11. Dela G says:


  12. Jake s says:

    There’s this Joe Mauer guy you might have heard about who’s having a slightly better year at a position that’s just as premium.

    • whozat says:

      He also missed a month of the season. Not that anyone will pay attention to that, but it’s true.

      • V says:

        Exactly. People don’t seem to understand that WAR is a counting stat. You can hit 1.000 with 10 HRs in September, but a guy who hits .300 with 40 HRs over the entire season is more valuable FOR THE SEASON.

    • TLVP says:

      much as i love the Captain, Mauer is pretty amazing this year and he was if possible even more robbed than Jeter in 2006 because it was his team mate that got the undeserved MVP award

  13. The Artist says:

    “1. Bronson Arroyo, Reds pitcher: He’s a winner, but his other stats (WHIP, ERA), probably don’t justify his salary. The Reds wanted the Yankees to pay the full $17 million freight through 2010. Realistically, they’d probably have to chip in a few million to make anything work.
    2. Adam Dunn, Nationals slugger: That $12 million salary for 2010 should scare anyone off. He was traded after the waiver deadline last year, and it could happen again. Belongs in the American League, a place he has yet to play.
    3. Jose Guillen, Royals outfielder: He said it himself. He “s—-.” At $12 million per, he sure does.
    4. Aaron Harang, Reds pitcher: Like Arroyo, the former ace hasn’t lived up to his high pay.
    5. Adrian Beltre, Mariners third baseman: Slick-fielding third baseman hasn’t produced to warrant his $13 million salary in Seattle. Very talented player could still help someone.
    6. Aubrey Huff, Orioles 1B: He’s slipped badly from last year’s performance. Some see him as a DH, too.
    7. Jason Giambi, A’s DH. He’ll clear: But he’ll have to hit a lot better for anyone to be interested
    8. Melvin Mora, Orioles 3B: He’s not happy with his diminished role, but he’s earned it. A $9 million salary means no one would dare claim.
    9. Miguel Batista, Mariners pitcher: Quirky, intellectual pitcher hasn’t justified $7 million salary.
    10. Juan Cruz, Royals reliever: For a while in winter, he looked like he’d be underpaid. Then he got $6 million for two years, and now he’s overpaid.
    11. Ty Wigginton, Orioles infielder: Solid backup is having only a so-so season in hitters’ park.
    12. Ron Mahay, Royals reliever: Not having his best year.
    13. Willie Bloomquist, Royals utilityman: Going rate for utilitymen is less than his $1.5 million salary.
    14. Lyle Overbay, Jays 1B: Power slippage means he should clear.
    15. Willy Taveras, Reds outfielder: But with .279 on-base percentage, who’d want him?

    Could clear

    1. Jon Garland, Diamondbacks pitcher: He’d be a worthwhile pickup. Though he has been mediocre, he is dependably mediocre. Possesses a rubber arm, completed game versus Mets Sunday night (yes, that still counts).
    2. Doug Davis, Diamondbacks pitcher: Productive pitcher is seen by some as an NL type.
    3. Gil Meche, Royals pitcher: Only four wins and an $11 million salary. But he has talent.
    4. Alex Rios, Jays outfielder: Sixty million is a lot, but he can play. The Giants have money. You never know.
    5. Carl Pavano, Indians pitcher: Lots of incentives make him a risk to claim. Also has 5.66 ERA.
    6. Mark Hendrickson, Nationals reliever: Serviceable lefty relievers have value.
    7. Jhonny Peralta, Indians infielder: Ho-hum season for a disappointing team
    8. Jamey Carroll, Indians utilityman: Useful utilityman could catch someone’s eye.
    9. Ron Villone, Nationals reliever: Started 3-0 but has settled into more Nats-like 3-5. ”

    Here’s Heyman’s waiver candidates. Carl Pavano part 2, anyone?

  14. AJ says:

    Alot of garbage on that list.

  15. AJ says:

    Watch Boston sign Jhonny Peralta.

    • V says:

      There’s a little box on the bottom right of a post. It’s blue, with white text, that has five letters in it. Those letters are ‘R’, ‘e’, ‘p’, ‘l’, and ‘y’.

      Try clicking it.

      Thank you!

    • RollingWave says:

      Peralta’s a big time streaker, bouncing between good and bad years very regularly. so he seems like the perrrrfect guy for Edgar Rentaria part 2 in Boston.

  16. cor shep says:

    Got a random question that had probably been answered in previous threads..

    Why, with today’s day off, aren’t the Yankees skipping Mitre’s turn in the rotation and pitch everyone else on regular rest. I understand the “Joba’s innings limit” reason but isn’t not seeing someone throw 3 innings and give up 8 hits better?

  17. AJ says:

    Omg the mets are getting Fustigated.

  18. Salty Buggah says:

    WTH? I’m trying to post something but its not showing up.

  19. AJ says:

    So what kind of contract does Matt Holliday sign for?

  20. cor shep says:

    Also, why did Brackman only pitch an inning? Did he leave injured or did he come in relief?

  21. Tony says:

    He already has two.*

  22. Jake H says:

    I love how a guy who isn’t even in full season ball is untouchable to the Sox.

  23. Mike Pop says:

    Curb Your Enthusiasm is one of the best shows, ever.

  24. Accent Shallow says:

    We’re only halfway through the year — I don’t believe UZR has stabilized yet. Do we really believe that Jeter is the second best shortstop in the AL (defense only)? Or that Brett Gardner is 2 wins above replacement based solely on his CF defense?

    I’m not saying that we should completely disregard it, but at least be aware of its limitations.

    • DreDog says:

      Andruw Jones must have been worth an insane amount in his heyday.

    • I’ve been expecting Jeter’s UZR to fall all season. I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

    • whozat says:

      I believe that he’s had a significant improvement in getting to balls in his zone, and also some out of his zone, while maintaining the sure-handedness he has always shown and having Tex help him out on a couple throws.

      And, for a 35 year old shortstop who’s always had issues getting to balls in his zone, I’ll take that in a heartbeat.

    • Lanny says:

      Any def stat that says Swisher is a good RF should be disregarded.

      • Mike Pop says:

        So, you think that you should judge things based on what you see with your eyes, right?

        • whozat says:

          Right, as opposed to what several OTHER people collectively saw with their eyes and meticulously documented in order to generate UZR.

          That’s bullshit.

          The couple plays I remember him botching should definitely carry more weight.

          • Mike Pop says:

            Heh, I was trying to trick Lanny. If he said, yes I do believe you should base it on what they see with their eyes. UZR should be a good stat to him.

            We all know Swish has good range, it just seems to me like he’s not very focused out there sometimes. Is he a good defensive outfielder? I’m not sure, but I think he’s effective. I’d much rather have him out there than Abreu (even though I advocated the trading of Nady and signing Abreu to be a DH, and split OF duties with Swish. Just cause I wanted to see some young guys brought in to help the farm system out a bit.)

            • whozat says:

              Sorry to mess with your mojo :-)

              I did see that Swisher’s error-runs are dragging down his UZR, enough that his range isn’t keeping him above average right now. I’m hoping that he just went through a bad patch and will be more surehanded in the future. He’s always been above average out there, so I think it’s reasonable.

      • Zack says:

        because you remember 5-7 plays over a 162 game season?

      • Lanny… The snarkiness of the other responses aside… Nobody’s arguing that he hasn’t had a few “adventures” out there, but that doesn’t mean his range is poor or that metrics showing that he, in spite of a few brain-farts, is not a bad outfielder, are wrong. Do you really not think it’s possible that Swisher’s range is decent (and that metrics saying so are accurate) just because we’ve all seen him have a few brain-farts in the outfield and misplay a few balls?

  25. Steve H says:

    I was offered Hanley for Sandoval/Dunn/Beckham. Should I do it? I figure I’m selling high on all 3 guys and have Posada/Wieters to catch, Hanley basically replaces Beckham. If I make the trade, I’ll have Hanley/A-Rod/Pujols. 99% of the time I say who gets the best players wins.

  26. Drew says:

    Good day for Horne. Hopefully he’s healthy enough to face some real competition this year.

  27. Mike Pop says:


    Reds/Cubs game:

    “Yankees are, by the way, 0-8 against the Red Sox this year.”

  28. pat says:

    Shiiit, Volquez had Tommy John, bummer.

    • Mike Pop says:

      Ya, messed up. By the time he pitches again, he’ll be 28 or 29.

      Lost so many years.

    • Scooter says:

      The WBC strikes again

      Throwing max effort in the mid-90s in March probably isn’t the way for pitchers to ease into a season

    • Zack says:

      Yet people are still going to bitch that the Yankees baby Joba

      • whozat says:

        When the Rangers’ glut of awesome young pitching turns into a glut of rehab cases thanks to Nolan Ryan’s assumption that all young pitchers are as durable as he was, perhaps people will realize that the Yanks aren’t dumb.

        Or, more likely, most will never be aware that it happened, and continue to argue that they’ve never HEARD of anyone blowing out just because his workload doubled year over year. Let ‘im pitch!

        • pat says:

          Dude had a one in a billion arm and is now using that has the baseline for his entire farm system of pitchers. A-fuckin-mazing.

          • Steve H says:

            One in a billion arm? Or Steroids? Nobody his age should have been able to do the things he did, in the Texas heat, without a little help. Randy Johnson too.

            • pat says:

              Eh, I understand that the current circumstances of MLB have relegated us to suspecting everybody of roid use, but I think you can rule out Randy and Nolan. Both came into the league as flame throwers, one exited as one and the other is still plugging along with wit and guile. Neitehr were fringy guys with crap stuff that all of a sudden found 5 or 6 mph on the heat. They have always been what they are/were.

              • Steve H says:

                Couldn’t you say the same about Clemens? Once Clemens was busted, everyone said, of course he was juicing, you can’t do that at his age without help. Nolan Ryan was an absolute beast with the Rangers. He led the league in K’s from 40-43 and led the league in WHIP at 43 and 44. Again, in Texas. He had the 3 best WHIP’s of his career at 42, 43, and 44. These kinds of things don’t happen normally. Not only did he not regress, he got much better into his 40′s.

                • DreDog says:

                  Canseco said a HOF’er was a juicer. I assumed he was alluding to Rickey Henderson (they played together at OAK), but he could have meant Nolan Ryan (they played together at TEX).

                • pat says:

                  All fair points. That would make it even worse then. He’s basing his whole farm system pitching philosophy on his own experiences which were aided by performance enhancing drugs. I obviously can’t disprove they used roids but in my humble.. I don’t think the Ryan Expresswas on the juice.
                  I DO think, however, that he’s whoop your ass Robin Ventura style if you said that to his face, heh.

                • Steve, you’ve touched on something I’ve always brought up, but people brush off. When Clemens pitched well in his ’40′s, everyone said it was ‘roids but when Ryan did it it was just “freakish” or whatever.

                • DreDog says:

                  Who do you think Canseco was talking about? Or do you think he was lying?

                • Steve H says:

                  I think there are several players in the HOF who have used roids. Tom House (a teammate of Hank Aaron, who um, didn’t age naturally) admitted to using steroids in the 70′s. He said 6 or 7 pitchers per team were using. Pitching staffs were what, 10, 11 deep then? So by his estimate, more than half of the pitchers were at least experimenting. Gee, do we think that hitters might have been too? Jim Rice got in primarily because people though his numbers were good and clean. We know that he didn’t deserve to get in on his numbers, and to add insult to injury, we don’t know that he was clean!!!

                  Oh, and Puckett was a no doubt juicer. 4 HR’s in his 1st 1200+ AB’s. 31 in his next 680.

                • pat says:

                  Eh, he must have taken some crazy roids that improved his control because that’s the biggest reason he seemed so good in his 40′s.
                  Career BB/9 = 4.7
                  Age 40- 3.7

                  It would appear his control got better, which led to much lower WHIP’s and much more success. I’ve never heard of steroids that help you locate the ball better. Then again, I’m no doctor.

                • Steve H says:

                  Steroids can help your vision. They can help your focus. Steroids, seriously could have an positive impact on control/command. That being said, leading the league in K’s from 40-43 could have been a result of roids. He led the league in K/9 for 5 straight years from 40-44, Clemens last time leading the league was at 35. While yes, his WHIP was improved by lowering his walk totals, he lead the league in H/9 in 4 out of 5 seasons after turning 40. Like what Matt said, if Clemens was clearly on juice because what he was unnaturally doing at that age, Ryan was doing more, for a longer period of time, at older ages, yet was just a freak?

                • Steve H says:

                  And like you said, Ryan improved with age. Clemens didn’t improve, he just pitched pretty much the way he’d pitched his whole career, just with less stamina. Clemens also went to a much weaker NL, Ryan went to the stronger AL. Clemens continued to do what he’d been doing forever, Ryan just happened to get better when 99% of his peers had retired after regressing for 4 or 5 years.

                • pat says:

                  You certainly make a compelling case. You have good evidence that he could have used some PED’s I choose to beleive he was simply a genetic freak. Unfortunately this shit will probably go unresolved forever.

                • Steve H says:

                  It will go on unresolved forever, which sucks. We’ll never know exactly who used and who didn’t. I just hate the way the steroid era is marked as 1994-2004 or something arbitrary like that. Steroids have been in the game for 35+ years. I remember being in Fenway in 1989 and having 32,000 fans chant steroids at Canseco. Yet the writers claim they had no idea what was going on. Crazy. And I hate lionizing players (see Jim Rice) for what they did while playing clean, when there is absolutely nothing to prove said player is/was clean.

                • “I just hate the way the steroid era is marked as 1994-2004 or something arbitrary like that.”

                  I’m usually pretty loathe to play the anti-Yankees-bias card around here, but I don’t think it’s a coincidence that people tend to say the “steroids era” started sometime around 1995. I think there’s a healthy dose of interest in discrediting the dynasty going on there, however misguided that line of thinking might be.

                  Because it’s not like Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire and bunch of other guys were using steroids before 1995. That’s just crazy-talk.

    • Ivan says:

      Tough break there.

  29. Mike Pop says:

    Ouch, Verlander got beat up.

    Aces aren’t supposed to struggle!!!!!!!!!

  30. yankeefan91 Arod fan says:

    Say we acquire Harang we wont have him in the postseason because is after July 31 any player traded cant be in the postseason but isn’t that the purpose to have him help us win a championship in he playoffs.

  31. Zack says:

    Damn 2 more HRs for Reynolds. SHould i seel high on him or should I move him in my keeper league? (im in 10th out of 13)

    • whozat says:

      Sell. He’s a terrible player playing WAY over his head.

      • Steve H says:

        +1, though I wouldn’t call him terrible, I’d certainly sell (way)high.

      • GG says:

        I don’t know what makes him terrible in your opinion, although he may be playing over his head. He is a pretty bad defender, but also has a bat with a ton of pop and some speed

        • whozat says:

          Poor defender, high BABiP due for regression, K’s about 3x more than he walks…but still, he’s not that bad…

          Oh, I see now. I was confusing him and Chad Tracy! They’re both corner guys for the DBacks, that’s my fault. Sorry!

    • Mike Pop says:

      If someone makes it worth it.

    • GG says:

      How many keepers does each team get, and what does yours look like?

      • Zack says:

        20 keepers, 30 spaces during the year. And I’m in the bottom 4 in most offensive categories, so probably going to try to move him

  32. Reggie C. says:

    From rotoworld: Brandon Webb underwent a debridement of his right shoulder on Monday. It is unknown whether the surgery was on his labrum, his rotator cuff, or possibly both. He is slated to begin playing catch in approximately 3-4 months.

    - What’s the chances that the D’Backs don’t exercise the $8.5MM option? I’ve read that organization is in some serious financial trouble.

    • whozat says:

      I saw an analysis of this today somewhere. Fangraphs? MLBTR? There’s a buyout that changes the calculation a bit…

    • GG says:

      I don’t know much about the D-Backs, but you’d have to think if they wanted to go that route a picking up of the option and trading Webb would be much more likely…If they think he is ok however webb and haren can make any team a contender

    • Zack says:;c_id=mlb

      ‘”[The damage was] just normal wear and tear you get from pitching,” Webb told “It was as good as could be expected. There were no sutures put in there, no tears or anything like that, which is huge. [Meister] said, ‘It’s like getting gravel out of your shoe.’” ‘

      Although it may just be positioning for them to pick up his option. But they should definately pick up his option, then move him at the deadline

  33. yankeefan91 Arod fan says:

    So when do teams put there players on waivers ?

  34. pat says:

    Aaaaand Soriano strikes out on the outside slider for the 1273213th time of his career.

  35. Steve H says:

    Patriots sign Andrew Walter. In two years they’ll be flipping him for a 3rd rounder.

  36. Mikebk says:

    Is Zach Kroenke being stretched out as a possible 5 man?

  37. pat says:

    Is this how games go for teams that don’t have Mariano Rivera as their closer? This shit is wacky.

  38. pat says:

    OOO Yay BBTN is gonna rate closers, can’t wait for them to proclaim Paps as the new gold standard. I’m guaranteeing this.

  39. DougPinstripe says:

    Bravo, to Kingman for putting us #1 and defending us to that supreme a-hole Ravech. Also, thank to Krucky for puting us #1, too.

    And big boooo to Kenny’s son for putting us 2 behind his precious Roid Sux. And thanks for mentioning the 0-8 record. I REALLY hope your on after this 4-game series when we take 3 out of 4. Damn, we are ahead of them in the only category that counts- the standings!!

  40. Tom Zig says:

    If Adam Dunn hits the market, do we spring for him? I know there isn’t really a place for him on the team this year. But there will be next year.

  41. Tom Zig says:

    ESPN The Magazine proclaims Yadier Molina (.728 OPS, 94 OPS+) the best catcher in baseball.

    Joe Mauer and his 1.018 OPS (173 OPS+) say hello.

    Brett Gardner has a better OPS+ than Yadier.

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