The 2012 CAIRO Projections: Yankee Offense and Pitching

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Thus far this offseason we’ve taken a look at Dan Szymborksi’s 2012 ZiPS projections for the Yankees, which projects a Yankee starting lineup averaging 5.3 runs per game, and last month we reviewed the 2012 Bill James projections, which, as usual, were a bit more bullish, giving us a Yankee starting nine projected to pump out 5.7 runs per game.

Today we’re looking at SG’s 2012 CAIRO projections, version 0.2. The usual caveats apply, best summed up by SG himself: “Projections are inherently limited, so remember to take these for what they are. They are rough estimates of a player’s current talent level. They are not predictions for what a player is going to do in 2012, and they are not playing time predictions either.”

The other important reminder in reviewing these numbers is that SG doesn’t include baserunning in his wOBA calculation for CAIRO. (Edited, Monday, 12/12/11 at 8:45 a.m.): I was curious as to how exactly one might quantify the impact of stolen bases on an elite baserunner’s wOBA, and so according to an e-mail exchange I had with SG, “For 2011, Gardner’s 49 SB and 13 CS would add about .012 to his wOBA, so figure a range of .010 to .015. League average is probably more in the .000-.005 range depending on percentage. If you want to add SB/CS into my wOBA calculation, just use this formula:

.72 x BB + .75 x HBP + .9 x 1B + 1.24 x 2B + 1.56 x 3B + 1.95 x HR + .253 x SB – .437 x CS, divided by PA.”

So if one would like to, one could probably upwardly adjust CAIRO’s .324 wOBA projection for Brett Gardner to around .335, which, while still a bit lower than one would ideally like from Gardner, seems a bit more line with expectations.


Derek Jeter

2011 CAIRO projection: .290/.360/.406, .342 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .297/.355/.388, .332 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .286/.345/.384, .325 wOBA

CAIRO really liked a bounceback for Derek last year, though he didn’t quite hit his projected line, even with his lightning-hot second half. And now in spite of said second half, CAIRO forecasts a return back to something approximating the 2010 version of Jeter.

Curtis Granderson

2011 CAIRO projection: .252/.335/.462, .346 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .262/.364/.552, .394 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .263/.351/.502, .366 wOBA

CAIRO, like everyone else, underprojected Granderson last year, and also, like everyone else thus far this offseason, acknowledges Curtis’ big year but doesn’t see him coming close to hitting that well again. It’s important to keep in mind that CAIRO only has 19 players in all of MLB exceeding a .500 SLG (the only other Yankee being Robinson Cano), whereas 29 accomplished the feat in 2011. Knowing that, I would be surprised if Curtis only managed a .502 SLG.

Robinson Cano

2011 CAIRO projection: .306/.355/.511, .372 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .302/.349/.533, .375 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .303/.352/.504, .368 wOBA

CAIRO basically expects Cano to keep right on doing what he’s doing, which is of course great news for Yankee fans.

Alex Rodriguez

2011 CAIRO projection: .281/.372/.526, .384 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .276/.362/.461, .361 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .273/.363/.474, .365 wOBA

After dual .384 wOBA projections from CAIRO in 2011 — the two highest marks on the team — A-Rod‘s and Tex’s down 2011 seasons have resulted in considerably lower 2012 projections, though CAIRO thinks both can improve on their 2011 campaigns. Alec’s CAIRO projection is ostensibly what he did in 2011 with a little more power, which would of course be most welcome.  For what it’s worth, ZiPS has him at only .264/.350/.474, which a healthy Alex should have no problem besting.

Mark Teixeira

2011 CAIRO projection: .276/.377/.515, .384 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .248/.341/.494, .361 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .263/.359/.493, .368 wOBA

The good news is that CAIRO sees a significant spike in Tex’s OBP over 2011, although the bad news is that that .359 projection is still well below his .374 career mark. Tex is perhaps both the biggest question mark as well as the key to how well the Yankee offense will fare in 2012.

Nick Swisher

2011 CAIRO projection: .260/.354/.470, .357 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .260/.374/.449, .358 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .259/.356/.455, .354 wOBA

CAIRO, like Bill James, sees a drop in OBP for Swish in 2012, but slightly more power. I see Swish getting back to the .370 wOBA level.

Jesus Montero

2011 CAIRO projection: .261/.326/.446, .337 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .328/.406/.590, .421 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .267/.322/.470, .341 wOBA

With all of 69 career PAs to his name, Montero will likely be the Yankee with the widest range of projections. Bill James thinks Montero can hit for a .371 wOBA; CAIRO sees a lower but still more-than-respectable-for-a-21-year-old .341 mark.

Russell Martin

2011 CAIRO projection: .263/.362/.380, .336 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .237/.324/.408, .325 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .253/.347/.383, .329 wOBA

CAIRO thinks Martin will gain some OBP but lose some power, ostensibly replicating his 2011 season. I think we’d all be fine with it, although it’d be great to see Martin check in closer to a .355/.430 OBP/SLG if possible.

Brett Gardner

2011 CAIRO projection: .270/.358/.372, .329 wOBA
2011 actual numbers: .259/.345/.369, .330 wOBA
2012 CAIRO projection: .262/.347/.371, .324 wOBA

CAIRO sees more of the same for Gardy, which is good and bad. The current iteration of Brett Gardner is obviously very valuable, but he could be downright deadly and a legitimate leadoff option if he can get his OBP back up to his 2010 level.

If you plug the starting nine’s 2012 CAIRO-projected numbers into Dave Pinto’s Lineup Analysis, we get a starting lineup that projects to score 5.6 runs per game. The 2011 team as a whole averaged 5.35 runs per game. Obviously the R/PG figure on the 2011 season is comprised of more than just nine players, but this provides something of a general vicinity for what one could reasonably expect out of the 2012 Yankee offense, if everything goes right. The “best” iteration of the lineup scores 5.708 runs per game and features Mark Teixeira at leadoff.

Starting Pitching

And here’s the pitching staff.

CC Sabathia

2011 CAIRO projection: 219.0 IP, 3.54 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 237.1 IP, 3.00 ERA, 2.88 FIP, 8.7 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.6 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 227.0 IP, 3.25 ERA, 3.23 FIP, 8.0 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9

No commentary required.

Ivan Nova

2011 CAIRO projection: 116.0 IP, 5.24 ERA, 5.03 FIP, 7.8 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, 1.6 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 165.1 IP, 3.70 ERA, 4.01 FIP, 5.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 0.7 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 168.0 IP, 4.48 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 5.6 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9

CAIRO thought little of Nova last year; his strong first full season has resulted in a considerably improved 2012 projection, though not one that Yankee fans can get terribly excited about. CAIRO sees regression for Nova across the board, although CAIRO also doesn’t know about Nova’s improved slider, which is probably the key to whether he can perform at a #2/#3-starter-type level going forward.

Phil Hughes

2011 CAIRO projection: 172.0 IP, 4.22 ERA, 4.17 FIP, 7.7 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 74.2 IP, 5.79 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 5.7 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 95.0 IP, 4.72 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 7.0 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9

No one knows what to expect out of Hughes in 2012, though they won’t stop us from endlessly speculating about him. For the record, I feel bizarrely optimistic about Hughes in 2012, but it could also be the fanboy in me just refusing to die. The 2012 CAIRO projection seems eminently reasonable in the aftermath of what Hughes did in 2011, although a 4.72 ERA would still be massively disappointing.

A.J. Burnett

2011 CAIRO projection: 187.0 IP, 4.66 ERA, 4.50 FIP, 7.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 190.1 IP, 5.15 ERA, 4.77 FIP, 8.2 K/9, 3.9 BB/9, 1.5 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 190.0 IP, 4.88 ERA, 4.52 FIP, 7.8 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

Burnett is of course the other massive question mark in the Yankee rotation. Similar to the way I feel about Hughes, I am also cautiously optimistic on Burnett, although after the last two seasons it’s tough to expect much of anything out of A.J. One thing that may have escaped notice is that, despite his second straight awful year, A.J. still provided value (1.5 fWAR) due primarily to the fact that he still gave 190 innings and outpitched his ERA. While a 4.88 ERA would still suck, 190 innings of a 4.52 FIP would probably make Burnett close to a 2.0 fWAR pitcher, which, while not great, is better than nothing.

Freddy Garcia

2011 CAIRO projection: 31.0 IP, 4.86 ERA, 4.90 FIP, 6.4 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 146.2 IP, 3.62 ERA, 4.12 FIP, 5.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 102.0 IP, 4.28 ERA, 4.28 FIP, 5.6 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9

Freddy’s strong 2011 led to a significantly upgraded 2012 CAIRO projection, and one that is also probably a bit more realistic than Freddy’s actual 2011 results. Assuming Garcia is the 5th starter, there’s little to quibble with in his CAIRO projection.

Hector Noesi

2011 CAIRO projection: 80.0 IP, 5.08 ERA, 4.91 FIP, 6.4 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9
2011 actual numbers: 56.1 IP, 4.47 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 7.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
2012 CAIRO projection: 79.0 IP, 5.44 ERA, 4.80 FIP, 6.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.4 HR/9

Despite putting up solid numbers in relief in 2o11, CAIRO doesn’t think much of Noesi, and his projection has barely changed from a year ago before he had any experience at the MLB level. While it’s safe to say no one really knows what Noesi could do if he ends up getting a chance to start as a Yankee in 2012, I’m pretty sure he’ll be better than a 5.44 ERA/4.80 FIP pitcher, especially if he really is throwing 98mph.

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  • Loudog27

    Who cares what Miguel Cairo thinks?

    • Esteban

      I laughed

  • Steve

    Montero wasn’t projected with a 1.000/1.000/4.000?

    • Cris Pengiucci

      These projection tools are clearly unable to comprehend the true capabilities of Jesus Montero!

      • Soriano Is A Liar

        They projected him for 1.000/2.000/4.000 – when he draws a walk he gets to go to second base.

  • Gonzo

    Do any of these projections do splits? I wonder if they are seeing big splits for Montero.

    • Larry Koestler

      Hey Gonzo,

      CAIRO actually does do splits — and I’m pretty certain is the only one of the various projection systems that can claim this — but they’re not available in this iteration.

      Last year SG included them in version 0.3, which is due up next, so hopefully we’ll get platoon splits soon.

      • Gonzo

        Thanks man. I looked and couldn’t find it, so I will keep an eye out for the next one.

        I think I am the only one concerned about Jesus’ splits the past couple years around here. I hope it’s just a blip or he can improve on that.

        I actually freaked when I saw the crappy line for STL’s Jesus Montero.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Among the hitters I find the projections for Jeter, Granderson, Swisher and Martin just about what I would expect from them in 2012. As for Cano, Rodriguez, Texeira and Montero, I find that the projecions are well below what I expect in 2012. It’s just my humble opinion.

  • Jose M. Vazquez..

    Now for the pitchers. I expect Nova, Hughes, Noesi to be exceedingly better than those prjections. At the same time, I agree with the prjections for CC, Burnett and Garcia. Again, just my opinion.

    • RkyMtnYank

      I agree with you completely! That was a really good article on Nova too! Although, given how Garcia seemed to tire last year, I would rather have Noesi as the fifth starter and Garcia the long man until Noesi hits his innings limit. (140?) A fresh Garcia come playoff time could be very helpful.

      • Larry Koestler

        Hey thanks, RkyMtnYank, I really appreciate that. I wasn’t sure if anyone ever actually clicks on the links to previous pieces that I frequently include; glad to hear you enjoyed the Nova post.

        • RkyMtnYank

          You’re welcome, I didn’t necessarily think that all writers were involved with where their articles may be linked! Nice job man.

    • thenamestsam

      So basically every Yankee you expect to either exceed expectations or meet them. Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that you’re a Yankee fan?

      All joking aside, it’s important to recognize our own biases and I think these projection systems help give us a more realistic look at what to expect. As a Yankee fan, my personal projection for Hughes Nova and Noesi would be way way better than that, but honestly I realize that I’m probably a terrible person to ask. If you go look at the Fangraphs fan projections you’ll see how fans tend to be high on every single player, especially young ones.

      • Jose M. Vazquez..

        I’m a Yankee doodle dandy through and through. Maybe I’m biased because of that. However, I cannot expect Arod and Teix not to better in 2012, biased or not.

      • RkyMtnYank

        Based on those projections for the pitchers, yes, I think they will meet or exceed them. Is there a fan bias there, yea probably, however, given the data I don’t think it’s much of stretch at all. Also, you did agree with it yourself!

  • Yada Yada Yadier Molina

    “and features Mark Teixeira at leadoff.”

    I lol’d. We’d have to get Girardi a new brain pan to handle the thought of that.

  • Raza

    If he stays relatively healthy, I’m cautiously optimistic about A-Rod for next season. Very few have that guy’s work ethic and natural ability. I think the main problem for him (we saw in the play-offs) was getting his timing right. I see him hitting lefties at a better clip in ’11 and finishing the year with a slash line of .280/.370/.510 in about 145 total games (most at 3B, some at DH).

  • theyankeewarrior

    CAIRO says we need at least two more starting pitchers.

  • Paul from Boston

    We need to assume that Martin will get hurt. One kinda sorta healthy year does not make two for him. Here’s where I’m hoping Montero is kept fresh behind the dish. If Martin is out for a month or more and Cervelli or Romine are starters, I’m going throw eggs on the field.

  • Paul from Boston

    “For the record, I feel bizarrely optimistic about Hughes in 2012, but it could also be the fanboy in me just refusing to die”

    In the case of Hughes, it’s time to take the fanboy out behind the shed.

  • Hardy

    “So we’re looking at around a 90 win team right now. I think 95 wins is the sweet spot for projecting as the favorite in the AL East.”

  • Joe

    2012 25-man Yankees Roster

    Lineup 1. LF Brett Gardner
    2. SS Derek Jeter
    3. CF Curtis Granderson
    4. 2B Robinson Cano
    5. 1B Mark Teixeira
    6. 3B Alex Rodriguez
    7. RF Nick Swisher
    8. DH Jesus Montero
    9. C Russell Martin

    C Francisco Cervelli
    IF Eduardo Nunez
    OF Andruw Jones
    IF/OF Jayson Nix

    Pitching Rotation
    1. L CC Sabathia
    2. R Felix Hernandez
    3. R Ivan Nova
    4. R A.J. Burnett
    5. R Phil Hughes


    CL Mariano Rivera
    SU David Robertson
    SU Rafael Soriano
    MR Cory Wade
    MR Joba Chamberlain
    MR Freddy Garcia
    LR Boone Logan