A third of the way through the season, I took at look at which players were contributing the most the Yankees in terms of wins over replacement, or WAR. We’ve been using that stat for a while, so I’m sure you’ve all seen it. It encompasses offense and defense relative to position, so it’s usefulness is apparent.
Two-thirds of the way through the season I checked back in, and found that for the most part, there wasn’t much movement up top. Now that the regular season is over, let’s take a look one more time at which players were most valuable to the team in 2009. First, the pitchers:
Top Five Pitchers
For comparison’s sake, Zack Greinke was far and away the most valuable pitcher in baseball this year at 9.4 WAR (Justin Verlander and Tim Lincecum tied for second at 8.2 WAR). The last time a pitcher was that dominant was 2004, when Randy Johnson picked up 9.9 WAR. It’s pretty amazing to think that Phil Hughes was more valuable than Mo this year, though Phil did get a boost from his half-dozen starts. Joba Chamberlain (1.5) and Al Aceves (1.2) were the only other pitchers in the staff worth over a win. You can see the team’s full leaderboard here.
As a whole, the Yankee pitching staff was worth a total of 18.6 WAR, good for fifth best in the AL.
Top Five Position Players
The most valuable position player in the game this year was … wait for it … Ben Zobrist at 8.5 WAR. Albert Pujols was right behind him (8.4), and Joe Mauer behind him (8.2). Those three plus Chase Utley were the only players in baseball this year more valuable than the Cap’n. Nick Swisher wasn’t too far behind Posada at 3.7 WAR, but after that it dropped off a bit. Here’s the team leaderboard.
Yankee position players were far and away the most valuable in the league this year, clocking in at a collective 38.3 WAR. Tampa Bay was second at 34.1, and no other team cracked the 30 WAR plateau. That’s domination, homes.
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Here’s your open thread for the evening. The Eagles and Redskins are your Monday night game, and you’ve also got the Rangers and Islanders in action in separate contests as well. Feel free to talk about whatever you like, just make sure you follow the guidelines and be cool to each other.
Oh, and there’s not going to be a DotF tonight. Surprise plays the late game, so I’m going to just recap it tomorrow with tomorrow’s game. If you must know what happened, here’s the league scoreboard.