Better or Worse: Hitting Edition

Yankees interested in J.C. Romero
Leyritz acquitted in Manslaughter DUI case

Today and tomorrow I’m going to take a look at some core Yankees and whether I think they will be better or worse in 2011 than they were in 2010.  I’ll start with the hitters today, come back tomorrow as I review the pitchers.

Jorge Posada

2010: .248/.357/.454, .357 wOBA, 18 HR.

2011 Outlook:  As a full time DH that is certainly a line we can live with from Posada.  Despite his advanced age I think he has a shot to improve on that line as he won’t have the same wear and tear he did as a full time catcher.  While the final line was a little subpar for Posada, it’s easy to forget he was OPS’ing over 1.000 heading into June (though with limited time due to injury).  The one issue I could see is that Posada will have trouble adjusting to the DH position as many players have in the past (and he has struggled in 90 games as the DH in his career).  Overall I expect a slightly better performance from Jorge if he is, as expected, the full time DH.

Mark Teixeira

2010: .256/.365/.481, .367 wOBA, 33 HR.

2011 Outlook:  2010 was the worst year of Tex’ career since his rookie season.  He’s turning 31 just after Opening Day so there’s no age related concerns.  He’ll be better next year than he was this year, book it.

Robinson Cano

2010: .319/.381/.534, .389 wOBA, 29 HR

2011:  I can’t see Cano improving much on his 2010, it was truly a special season, but if he can sustain his walk rate he just might do it again next year.  His BABIP on the year was consistent with his career levels, his power was very similar to his 2009 season and he continues to remain healthy.  I would guess he’ll have a slight regression in 2011 but still put up the second best season of his career.  If the walk rate sustains or even improves though, look out.

Derek Jeter

2010: .270/.340/.370, .320 wOBA, 10 HR

2011:  While Jeter’s age is working against him I expect (hope) him to improve in 2011.  While I don’t know if he’ll return to his 2009 level ever again, I think he can definitely be better in the next few years than he was in 2010.  I guess somebody should have told him it’s a contract year.  Seriously though I think he’ll improve, but he’ll be 37 in June so there’s no guarantee.  Players like Jeter have fallen of a cliff before, let’s hope he doesn’t for a few more seasons.

Alex Rodriguez

2010: .271/.341/.506, .363 wOBA, 30 HR

2011:  While A-Rod’s 2010 was great, it was pretty poor based on the insane standards he has set.  He’s regressed every year since his monster 2007 but I’d expect a little bit of a bounce back in 2011.  He may never bat .300 or slug .600 again, but I would expect him to get on base at a better clip than he did this year.  The good news is he continues to move further away from his serious hip injury but the bad news is that he’s getting up there in age.  I don’t think he’ll be an MVP candidate, but he’ll be better.

Brett Gardner

2010: .277/.383/.379, .358 wOBA, 47 steals

2011: Gardner did all that could have been asked of him in 2010.  I do worry that what we saw last year was pretty close to his ceiling though.  If he can plateau there for a few years I’ll be thrilled, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him regress to the .265/.350/.360 range next year. While I don’t advocate trading Gardner I certainly would see what his value is on the trade market.

Curtis Granderson

2010: .247/.324/.468, .346 wOBA, 24 HR

2011:  Aside from his big early season homerun off Jonathan Papelbon, Granderson was a disappointment for quite a while with both ineffectiveness and injury.  It also didn’t help that while Granderson was struggling, Austin Jackson was off to a great start in Detroit.  Once Granderson took a few days off in the summer to work with Kevin Long however, he turned it on in a big way.  Something clearly clicked (some may even say #cured) and I expect big things from Granderson next year.

Nick Swisher

2010: .288/.359/.491, .377 wOBA, 29 HR

2011:  As we all know, Swisher seemed to substitute some walks for hits this year on his way to one of the best seasons of his career.  Swisher, aside from his one year in Chicago has been pretty consistent throughout his career so I would expect something similar in 2011.  I don’t see him getting a lot better than this year, nor do I see him getting worse.

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  • Will

    Gardner, Swish, and Jorge is (baring injury) steady. If Alex, Tex, and Curtis can have better years than 2010 (which seeems probable), this lineup will have some serious pop to it.

    I know it’s designed to, and it did last year, but I think many will agree that the lineup underperformed.

  • RL

    If the team remains the same (no OF trades and Jeter re-signs), the only improvements necessary for this offense to be awesome next season is an increase in Jeter’s production. If Gardner can come close to what he did, it’ll be offset by Jeter’s better production (I hope). And even if Tex and ARod don’t perform any better than last year (I expect they will), the offense will be fine.

    Definitely agree ARod, Tex and Grandy should improve, Gardner may be in for a bit of a decline but if he keeps up his OBP, he’s more than worth the money (waaay more). Hope Swish and Cano can put up numbers in line with their career numbers. Add a top of the line pitcher and #28 should be there next year in Nov.!

    • http://oldranger7.blogspot.com Old Ranger

      What dose a guy have to do to get respect on the Yankees…be named Jeter?
      Brett has been called a “maybe, 4th or 5th OF” by many writers and “so called experts” but yet, this year he showed what he can do (when healthy) if playing every day. Look at the numbers and use your eyes people. He played most of the year with a bad wrist and still did much better then most of you people projected him to do. Now, you want to trade him. He is the 2nd best LF’d in the league (Crawford on power only). For those talking about his swing etc., try hitting a baseball with a bad hand…let alone a bad wrist!

  • Pounder

    If we can get some positive production from the catcher spot I will be a happy dude!

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Well, they did last year and for the ten years before that too…

      • Brian

        .248 avg and .340 OBP with terrible defense isn’t exactly the type of production most teams are looking for. When your not better than John Buck than your not very good.

  • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S

    Swisher might become the forgotten Yankee of our generation. Solid production and major contributions to the team, but overshadowed by all of the big names surrounding him.

    • Plank

      cough

      Gary Sheffield Redux

      /cough

      • Ed

        Sheffield wasn’t forgotten. He was runner up for the MVP. He got noticed.

        I was thinking Cano before this year. Remember the “Murder’s Row and Cano too” comments from the days when Sheffield was around?

        • Plank

          Would you consider the 96 team in the same generation as this one? Or does this Yankee “generation” start after those WS teams? 2002ish?

          • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S

            This one began in the A-Rod era IMO

            • Plank

              I think Yankee Generations line up nicely with 1b.

              Mattingly
              Tino
              Giambi
              Tex

              No overlap and clearly defined differences in success.

              • RL

                Works pretty well. I like your line of thinking.

              • whozat

                Except I don’t consider Tino or Tex the defining players on their teams. You could argue that Giambi defines the most recent era of spending waaaaay too much on guys exiting their prime to try to prolong success. I’d say it’s Mattingly -> Jeter -> Giambi -> ARod, in terms of which player characterized the team in that era. Mattingly was the only good player, surrounded by chaff. Jeter embodied the influx of young talent that brought them the dynasty. Giambi represented spending big on big names to try to prolong that success, and then ARod and his relationships with Jeter and Torre and steroids were seemingly all we heard about until 2009. Whose era are we in now? Still ARod, as his second contract continues to loom over the budget? Hughes, if he steps up and anchors the rotation with CC for the next 5 years? Robbie Cano?

                • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                  I’d just like to point out that Giambi batted .260/.404/.521 with an average of 30 HR per year as a Yankee. Also he was only a Yankee for two years before A-Rod came aboard so I’m not really sure how that works.

                  • whozat

                    Never said giambi was bad, just that the team was spending big bucks on big names again and didn’t win championships. Perhaps the mussina era took them from the dynasty to the arrival of arod. Or it was still the jeter era, maybe.

                    • OldYanksFan

                      Giambi made $17m/yr… not really big bucks compared to say…. Jeter… ARod… CC… Tex… and for a few cents less, AJ. And what about Clemens? I can’t remember what Moose made, but he wasn’t cheap.

                      And now Cliff Lee… or (the way overpriced) Crawford.

                      It seems to me the Yankees have been spending for a while, and Giambi was only one of many. And while Giambi’s D was pretty poor, I think when you look at production, Giambi was probably was one of our better aquisitions.

                • kosmo

                  “Mattingly was the only good player,surrounded by chaff“ ??? Yanks in the 1980´s had a few very competitive years with a little better pitching might have won a couple of AL titles.
                  Mattingly played with the likes of :
                  Randolph
                  Winfield
                  Baylor
                  Guidry
                  Righetti
                  Griffey
                  Henderson
                  Niekro
                  Boggs
                  Oneill….
                  That´s not chopped liver.

  • David in Cal

    Gardner had a better wOBA than Granderson, Jeter or Posada and almost as high as ARod. Holy smokes!

    • Plank

      Yeah Gardner was a beast last season. He was sick with the bat, plus the awesome D and stolen bases. Amazing.

  • virginia yankee

    EXPECTATIONS are too high, too hopeful — ARod looked worse in 2010 than he did after 2009, BOTH at bat and at 3B. I suspect that the hip is still an issue and while hoping not and with no ill will toward Alex the risk is toward accelerated decline — hopefully he can get through 2011 injury free and move into DH.

    Posada – like Jeter was good then awful — he has a great deal of pride and like Jeter will do all he can but injuries add to the decline and Jorge is wearing out — hopefully, that word again, he can be injury free and adjust to DH

    Jeter — was he the worst SS in the league after the All Star break and with no upside should just retire — or is he actually more than serviceable and just expensive.

    Gardner has no upside without a change in swing and approach — maybe too early but I have not seen any press that he is working with Long — there is time — THE YANKEES HAVE A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL UPTON but they lack both imagination and risk management skills

    — Granderson appears to have made the change — but if he reverts the Yankees can’t carry him and Gardner, and Cervelli, and weather a further decline from ARod and Jeter, I say decline because the OLD — to me specious — argument was with the “extra production” the Yankees could “afford” a less than productive bat in the lineup.

    — Swisher – he so love playing and being a Yankee – 2 awful postseasons — can he just handat 2010 level for a few years. Could be traded in an UPTON package instead of Gardner but he is also a great backup at 1B.

    — CANO — he is nearly Carew like with more power — just don’t get hurt — HOF waits

    — Tex — no reason he can’t be solid but I saw every game and why any RH pitcher would throw anything other than low, slow, and away is beyond me. He needs protection – or you’d bat CANO 3rd, ARod 4, Tex 5. I’d listen to arguments against; like Robbie’s OBP

    — Catcher is a disaster unless Montero (mid-season) is the savior

    THE TEAM WILL AGE OVERNIGHT – stated as JETER’S 3 YR CONTRACT 2011-2013 – providing less production against improved competitors in 2011 — AND IF THEY SUFFER A RED SOX like injury plagued season it will be worse – as they will throw the best prospects and short operational life spare parts -BETTER TO EXECUTE A LAN TO GET YOUNG NOW or failing that grab some expensive certified production — IF NONE OF MY FEARS COME TO PASS THEY WILL BE SIMPLY MUCH BETTER–

    — you can exceed the needed number of wins needed for the playoffs but you can’t fail to meet the required number

    — risk management requires improving where there is opportunity — with ARod, CANO, Jeter, and TEX locked in – only Catcher, and Outfield offer opportunity to improve and redraw the obsolescence curve.

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      THE YANKEES HAVE A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY TO STEAL UPTON but they lack both imagination and risk management skills

      Wait let me guess: Gardner, Cervelli, Logan, + AJ and give them 50m too

      • UWS

        Nah, resign Melky and spin him and Gardner for Upton if that’s not too much to give up.

        • troy v

          it’s not even close to enough….so many teaams would give up more…if the Yanks offer that they’ll see Upton going to another team.

          • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

            /broken sarcasm meter’d

          • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

            You’re just like Cashman, lacking imaginative and creativity.

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

              And “risk management skills” whatever those are.

    • UWS

      O:S

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S

      all of those caps made me lol.
      O:S

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      – you can exceed the needed number of wins needed for the playoffs but you can’t fail to meet the required number

      O_O
      I just… I had no idea.

    • RL

      only Catcher, and Outfield offer opportunity to improve and redraw the obsolescence curve

      OK, I get the catcher part, but redraw the obsolescence curve in the Outfield? Improve, perhaps, but at what cost? Don’t get this thinking at all.

    • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig
    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
    • MikeD

      You are aware that the Yankee outfielders, as a unit, were the strongest in the Majors last year, are all between 26-30, and cost only $12 million in ’10. Even with their salary increases for ’11, all three will cost less than one year of Carl Crawford.

    • emac2

      IN regards to Gardy…Have you EVER seen him not improve year to year in his entire professional career? Why would you assume this would suddenly stop just because there hasn’t been a new report about him working with a specific coach? God forbid we take a track record over a news report.

  • RichYF

    I find your opinions intriguing and I’d like to subscribe to your newsletter

  • troy v

    The possibility of Jeter getting 3 years scares me…If the Yanks were bold they would trade Bret Gardner Eduardo Nunez and Ivan Nova and or one other prospect pitcher to Ari.D-backs for shortstop Stephen Drew and pick up Carl Crawford…it raises payroll some but the team would be clearly better…but it will never be done the Yankees would rather throw money away on Jeter…i can see him on the bench alot as he ages or alot or increased failure at the plate with each passing season…and alot of groundball hits on the left side…Jeter and Arod what a combination…hope Arod at least keeps banging out the homers.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      First of all, a lot is two words. I thought we went over this in second grade? Second of all, who said Stephen Drew was available? Drew =/= Upton. Not to mention, your trade proposal sucks.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        It looks like troy v and virginiayankee are locked it a pitched battle to win this week’s “Axl Memorial Batshit Insane Commenter of the Week” award.

        Rob/tommyboy is still the clubhouse leader, though. If troy v or virginiayankee want to knock him off, they’ll need to step their games up (or down, if you prefer).

      • emac2

        Your life really sucks!

        Do you really search out blog comments for typos?

        You need meds!

    • RL

      Carl Crawford at the end of what could be a long contract doesn’t scare you? Unless he’s guaranteed no more than 4 years, pass on Crawford under almost any circumstance.

    • whozat

      Trading the three players you mention for Drew wouldn’t be “bold”, it’d be a no-brainer because he’s worth soooooo much more than they are. If that deal is on the table, they should do it, flip him for Colby Rasmu and then sign Jeter anyway.

  • AJ

    I know it depends on whether they get anything from Montero/Cervelli but..how many games will Posada catch this year?

    • Mike HC

      50?

  • Andrew Brotherton

    Posada will catch no games hopefully. He will strictly be a DH and I think his production will go up. Arod should improve back to normal for him. 35, 100rbi, and 300 ba. Jeter hopefully will improve back to at least 275 or 280 with 100 runs. With just the improvement of Jeter, Arod, Posada, Tex,and Granderson (which is asking a lot I know but they only need to get back to career norms) along with the appearance of Montero our offense should be much better.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      Hopefully Posada will catch games. Even if Montero is great he still needs a backup, and Posada is an improvement on any potential backup.

    • RL

      Can’t see ARod getting back to .300BA (the other numbers are likely), but believe (hope?) Jeter can be more like a .295 hitter than a .270 hitter. Who knows, maybe he’s still got one last .300 season in him.

  • KDB

    Alluding to the Virginia Yankee comment, Arod is indeed looking sluggish at the plate. In a preview of the Texas series on this blog, he said Arod was only swinging from the waist up, if that trend continues don’t look for any more “big” seasons from him anymore. That
    scouting report screams hip issues, and seven more years on the contract.

    • KDB

      Arrgh!!! Frank Piliere, said in his pre Texas preview. Damn.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      Meh. I agree with the worries about the contract, but A-Rod is an all time great hitter who, by all accounts, is one of the hardest workers in the game. If he does indeed have mechanical problems, I’m sure it’s something he will work on and fix in the offseason.

      • KDB

        I would hope his problems are mechanical as well. My worry was that they’re structural.

  • PeterR

    I am beginning to wonder if Gardner is capable of becoming a Brett Butler-type of offense player. Does anyone else think that his hitting can steady (I suspect through consistent all-field spray hitting)? He sure appears to have the speed and defensive tools.

  • E6

    How bout we try forecasting this again – this time without the pinstripe tinted goggles?

    • Mike HC

      It was definitely an optimistic forecast. But who would have predicted some of the subpar performances we got this year from our perennial performers. I’m hoping we get some of that luck back this year.

  • Mike HC

    Granderson had a really good year this year. Getting hot down the stretch and into the playoffs is absolutely key. The injury and slow start were obviously not great, but timing is everything. If he can repeat that next year, I would sign up right now. I’m not expecting some monster year though.

    As for all the old guys on the list, it is more of a crapshoot. I’m hoping for the big year but am realistic that bad things tend to happen when you get that age.

    • Mike HC

      I think Swisher and Gardner’s value is at all time highs. I would not have a problem cashing in either one of those assets on the trade market this year and going after Crawford. In Swisher’s case, he gets more expensive every year, and trading him will off set some of the Crawford cost, while also getting slightly younger and far more athletic. I know very few want Crawford here, and it does not seem like the Yanks are going to make a serious play for him, but who knows?

      • Mike HC

        And Tex and Cano are both monsters. I’m expecting MVP type numbers out of both next year.

      • http://oldranger7.blogspot.com Old Ranger

        Mike HC…
        Why trade assets for a 30yr old expensive LF when we have a younger one just like him with better numbers for a lead-off hitter? All one dose is add payroll with little upside for LF!
        This is why Cashman is not going after Crawford, besides, I would trade Granderson rather then Brett anyday.

    • Brian

      Granderson had a really good year this year? Are you on crack or just like to type ridiculous things for reactions? Guy batted under .250 again drove in less than 80 runs batting in RBI spots and was given 2 days off in the middle of a division race to work on his swing. The homers are nice but for a guy who was brought in to be a star getting a below avg year isn’t good. Granderson needs to get better right away.

  • Monteroisdinero

    I believe Gardy can improve his #’s. It was only his first full season. He had a wrist injury the second half. He needs to bat leadoff-against righties AND lefties.

    Catching offense is going to improve folks. Jesus saves..

  • emac2

    While I agree that few if any fans would die if our DH failed to hit .250, I have to assume I’m not the only one who would find it less then acceptable.

    I think people sometimes forget that while OBP is an important stat, the ability to hit a good pitch is critical in the playoffs… especially from someone with no speed on the bases.

  • TLVP

    Jeter – marginally up next year

    Tex – up a lot next year

    Posada – down marginally

    A-Rod – up marginally

    Cano – down marginally

    Gardner – down significantly

    Swisher – down marginally

    Granderson – flat

    Monteron _ROY

  • Chuck

    you know arod would be getting a lot more criticism had not Jeter and Tex turned in down years. I really thought arod kind of sucked up the place. I think part of the deal with his huge contract was counting on him to be really good til he got into his late 30s.. at least 36. Now Jeter seems like luggage since Tex and Arod put up crap compared to their usual performances.

    • Brian

      Arod had 124 RBI’s and 30 HR’s playing in less than 145 games, those are pretty good power numbers for a guy batting clean up. It would be nice if he had a higher OBP but at the end of the day it is tough to argue with the second most RBI’s in all of baseball out of the guy who is supposed to drive in runs. If AROD can drive in 120 runs the next couple of seasons I will as I think most Yankee fans will be fine with that. Jeter who doesn’t drive in runs better get on base more since that is his only real asset since he has never been a power guy.

  • Brian

    BTW why does everyone predict Cano coming down a bit next year? Have we not realized Cano is the best player on the Yankees and is in the beginning of his prime years? This guy just finished 3rd in the MVP voting (could have easily won) and yet this site is predicting him to fall back some…He isn’t 36 he is actually going to be 28 so his best years are ahead of him not behind him.