Feb
04

2013 Yankees ZiPS Projections

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2013 NYY ZiPS

Dan Szymborski released his 2013 Yankees ZiPS projections this morning, and the graphic above shows rounded WAR projections for the team’s key players. You can click the image for a larger view, but the smaller version seems legible enough to me and my eyes are terrible. Either way, the option is there for you.

Anywho, the totals in the graphic add up to 40 WAR, putting the team’s projected finish somewhere in the 87-89 win range. That definitely passes the sniff test and seems very reasonable to me, but unfortunately it’s probably not enough to qualify for the postseason (even as the second wildcard). In case you’re wondering, ZiPS projected the Yankees as a 95-win team last season and they wound up winning … 95 games. How about that.

You can click the link to look at the projected stat lines (and player comparisons!) for everyone on the roster as well as more than a handful of prospects. ZiPS believes Gary Sanchez could manage a .230/.277/.411 (.298 wOBA) batting line (nice ISO!) if the Yankees stuck him in the big leagues right now, which is the best projected offense from the team’s catchers, sadly. The system has Austin Romine (.289 wOBA), Bobby Wilson (.279), Chris Stewart (.278), and Frankie Cervelli (.274) as well-below-average producers. Yikes.

Brett Gardner has been worth roughly 5 WAR per 150 games in his career thanks to his defense, and the 2 WAR projection has more to do with playing time (342 plate appearances) than performance decline (.259/.355/.362, .327 wOBA). If he manages to stay healthy all year — something that is not a given, obviously — he could get the team from 88 wins to 90 wins all by himself. ZiPS sees the starting outfield combining for 46 total homers, or three more than Curtis Granderson hit by himself last summer. Juan Rivera has the best projection (.307 wOBA) of the complementary right-handed bat options.

The Yankees added only two new position players this winter, Kevin Youkilis and Travis Hafner. ZiPS has Youkilis at .256/.360/.464 (.355 wOBA) with 20 homers in 475 plate appearances while Pronk checks in at .258/.351/.452 (.342 wOBA) with 13 homers in 322 plate appearances. I’d be very happy with those slash lines for both players, but my fingers will be crossed in hopes of keeping them healthy. Dan Johnson is a little further behind at .235/.332/.409 (.320 wOBA).

On the pitching side, only CC Sabathia (202.1) and Hiroki Kuroda (186) project to throw more than 170 innings. Sabathia is the only starter with a projected sub-4.00 ERA at 3.60, but Andy Pettitte comes pretty close (4.08 ERA). ZiPS doesn’t see Phil Hughes having a big contract year (4.73 ERA in 156 IP) nor does it see a big rebound from Ivan Nova (4.86 ERA in 167 IP). The system has Michael Pineda pegged for a 4.43 ERA (4.29 FIP) in 120 post-shoulder surgery innings, which is just a touch worse than league average. I’d be pretty encouraged by that kind of performance heading into 2014.

I guess I should stick the standard disclaimer here: projections are not predictions, they’re an attempt to measure a player’s true talent level. ZiPS is not saying Robinson Cano will post a .368 wOBA next year, just that he’s capable of doing so. Injury, good or bad luck, all sorts of stuff will impact his actual performance. The Blue Jays currently project for 92-94 wins while the Rays are at 88-90 wins, so the Yankees are looking at a fight for second place at the moment. Red Sox and Orioles projections are forthcoming. That said, I do think the division will be a lot tighter than expected. The ugly ALCS exit seems to have everyone way down on the Yankees.

Categories : Analysis
  • Robinson Tilapia

    Projections are there to be exceeded. :)

    87-89 is what it is as a baseline point, and I would agree with that initial assessment. I think 2013 will be a dogfight for the Yankees. It’s up to the individual fan whether they’re on the glass half-full or half-empty side of that. I’m a glass half-full guy. I find it makes life a bit more enjoyable.

  • Frank

    Love that Ichiro signing.

  • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

    This “ZiPS” guy sure is a gloom and doom troll.

  • Now Batting

    Maybe I’m reading it wrong but the link has Tyler Austin being worth .1 WAR less than Jeter.

    • Havok9120

      I’d be interested to know how often projections for minor leaguers turn out to be accurate. Some of them seem at least a bit optimistic to me.

    • Gary

      From the FanGraphs article: “Performances have not been allocated to predicted playing time in the majors — many of the players listed above are unlikely to play in the majors at all in 2012. ZiPS is projecting equivalent production — a .240 ZiPS projection may end up being .280 in AAA or .300 in AA, for example. Whether or not a player will play is one of many non-statistical factors one has to take into account when predicting the future.”

      • Havok9120

        Yeah, but even that’s saying “assuming X amount of playing time in the majors, player Y will do Z.” At least that’s how I read it.

  • Havok9120

    I am pumped for the season to start. We may totally suck (I’d be stunned), and that would be a first for me since I’ve been a fan, but I’m really excited to see what this crew can do.

  • Gonzo

    You know what they say about projections, right? Pick the one that agrees with your biases. Waka, Waka, Waka!

    For the record, this is aimed at no one and everyone.

    • Havok9120

      I is teh offended.

      • Gonzo

        My projection has 4.8 people being offended by my comment.

        • Austin Aunelowitzky

          0.8 of me agrees with this.

          • jjyank

            1.7 of this.

        • Havok9120

          No more than 1.7, evenly split between Ted (waka, waka is not a valid basis for argument) and a morally outraged Barry (who cannot abide your non-apology apology).

          • jjyank

            Whoa…did we really just pick the exact same number? Get….out…of my HEAD, Havok!!

            • Havok9120

              I CAN SEE INTO YOUR SOUL. 0_O

          • Robinson Tilapia

            1.7?!?!?! PAPA BEAR JUST ROLLED IN HIS GRAVE AT THAT NUMBER!

            • Havok9120

              I’m still wondering who started the Papa Bear thing.

              I moved back to New Orleans and was off the site for a couple days and when I got back we were calling him Papa Bear.

              • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

                I prefer Bill Gallo’s “General von Steingrabber”

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Papa Bear had to have been me. It’s what Stephen Colbert refers to Bill O’Reilly as.

  • Gary

    Regardless of their ugly ALCS exit, I can understand being “down” on the Yankees this year based on numbers alone. By “down” I mean “worse than last year”, which was 95 wins, the most in the AL. If Gardner can play all year and do what he normally does, the loss of Swisher and Martin won’t be so glaring.
    There are a lot of other “Ifs”, but that’s what makes baseball exciting.
    Just because a team (the Blue Jays) signed a ton of flashy names doesn’t always equal success (see: Marlins, Miami).

    • Havok9120

      That’s probably my favorite part of the argument that the trade, by default, not only makes Toronto the favorites to win the division but that it is virtually guaranteed they will do so. We saw just how little that group could accomplish when things break wrong.

      Toronto will probably be very good, and not a lot of people here have been arguing that they’re a complete lock, but it’s gotten out of hand on other boards.

      • LK

        I’ve heard this said many places, so I don’t mean to pick on you, but Toronto didn’t acquire the entire Marlins team, they acquired a few players of varying importance/performance last season. To say that the Blue Jays are overrated because these players were on a bad team last year is meaningless, just as much as if the Astros traded for Cano, Kuroda, Pettitte, Stewart, and Chavez and everyone said, “They’re in great shape! Those players won 95 games last year!” The fact that the Marlins couldn’t win with those players last year really doesn’t have any bearing unless you think the rest of the roster (which comprises the vast majority of the team) is equal between TOR and MIA, and I think the Blue Jays’ other players are quite obviously better.

        (I know you weren’t pushing this point that strongly, but I’ve seen it all over the place and it really bothers me.)

        • Havok9120

          It’s all good. I’ve certainly heard people going overboard with that argument too, and I disagree with them as much as I do the people arguing the Jays are a lock. As I said, they’re the favorites as far as I’m concerned.

          I’m at the point in the offseason where most of the contenders all have question marks that can’t be answered until the games start.

          • LK

            Right I actually agreed with the majority of your comment, I just really can’t stand that particular argument. I think Toronto is the favorite but that they have some of the biggest error bars of any recent team.

            • Havok9120

              I am excited to see what they’ll do though. I can see that team getting locked in and ripping off a 25-3 run or something equally silly. I could also see them having half the roster on the DL by June and finishing with 80 wins.

              This could be a heck of a year in the East.

              • LK

                Their rotation in particular leaves just about any possibility on the table. If all those guys stay healthy and perform up to their abilities, that group is terrifying, yet they’ve all got some pretty huge question marks.

        • Mike HC

          You are definitely right, but when the trade went down, many people locked Toronto into the division title. It is fair to point out that those players didn’t exactly make such great contributions to the Marlins win total last year, so it is odd to assume that trade launches Toronto 20 wins better than last year.

          • LK

            This is true, but Toronto also acquired Dickey and Melky, and they had a pretty extreme number of injuries last year. I think there’s reasons to argue they aren’t a lock, but the fact that they picked up a few Marlins players and the Marlins weren’t very good isn’t one of them.

  • Gonzo

    Slade’s comp is Mel Hall?!?!?!?!

  • Steve (different one)

    88 wins with Pettitte pegged at 90 innings and Gardner for 2 WAR….

    Obviously others will fall short of their predictions, but those were the two obvious opportunities that jumped out at me.

    I also think Ichiro will beat his line, but I understand why it came out the way it did.

    • jjyank

      Yeah, 2 WAR for Gardner seems a bit low when you consider that his WAR numbers will benefit from his defense. I think he can beat that. Agreed on Pettitte as well.

      • Havok9120

        I was especially surprised since the projection was for him in LF, where he’ll probably rack up his usual +30 UZR or somesuch nonsense. I suppose it’s all based on injuries.

    • LK

      I know everyone really wants to believe Ichiro found something at the end of last year, but projecting someone to hold steady on their OBP going into their age 39 season seems to be a little optimistic to me if anything.

      • Havok9120

        He’s in almost the same category as Jeter is for me at this point: I won’t bet against him, and if he goes on a tear it won’t shock me, but I’m not expecting a revelation.

        • LK

          What scares me though is that with Jeter, he could be pretty mediocre on offense and still be OK because he plays SS. With Ichiro, he’s playing RF, and at 39 his defense is no longer a lock to be elite. If things go south with him there’s more of a chance that he ends up completely useless – which would be way less of a big deal if he weren’t signed for next year too.

          • Havok9120

            I think if they’ve decided to phase him into a bench role for the second year, the deal could work out decent to good depending on how much if at all he drops off. If they signed him assuming he’d remain the starter both years….that’d be disheartening.

            Unfortunately, there’s no reliable way to guess the FO theory/intent.

      • Mike HC

        As Mike claims, projections are not predictions. So seeing an uptick in production the last couple months of last year, and a subjective sense of playing for a championship rather than playing for 3rd place in Seattle, may be a sign of good things to come.

        • LK

          I really hope so. I admit I was very skeptical at the time of the trade and he proved me wrong then. Here’s hoping he does it again.

          • Mike HC

            Yea, I made this identical comment a couple of days ago on here.

      • OldYanksFan

        I agree Ichiro is an unknown, but I really think his ‘extreme decline’ in Seattle was more depression/apathy then a true measure of his ability.

        They say speed is the first thing to go. Ichiro is still fast. He hit into a number of DPs last year that were ‘HOLY SHIT… he beat it out!’. Next is bat speed… yet Ichiro pulled a number of HRs, exceeding his previous HR/AB numbers.

        So yes…. he’s 39, but a ‘still in fantastic shape’ 39.

        Only 3 WAR from the entire BP? I would hope for better.
        Only 3 WAR from the 23 Million Dollar man? Let’s hope for better.

        I don’t know how many Wins it might be worth, but you know if we are still in this thing mid-season, Cashman will pickup some salary dump impact player.

  • Rizi Walnuts

    Maybe we miss A-rod a little looking at this.

    • Cris Pengiucci

      Depends which A-Rod. A healthy one? Absolutely. The one that ended last season? Not so much. I’d love to have a healthy A-Rod in the lineup.

      • Mike HC

        Even a not that healthy ARod could help the team and add some reinforcement for the last couple months of the season. As much as the guys contract and off the field problems have negatively affected the team, I’m still hoping he can help out any way possible while still under contract.

      • Havok9120

        Yeah, I’m with Mike. Even a half healthy ARod is still useful unless David Adams suddenly morphs into a reliable 3B with a decent bat before Youk goes down.

  • RetroRob

    Overall feels right. I have the Yankees down two to three wins in RF and two to three at catcher, and a couple more spread across the team, expecting, for example, a lesser year from the Captain, etc. Yet the return of Gardner and the tighter OF defense could add back in a couple.

    My biggest concern is one of depth. Last year when A-Rod went down the team was able to turn more to Chavez. When Gardner went down, they were able to slot in Ibanez more. If Youkilis goes down (he will for a while at some point), who is the replacement? Nunez? Nix? Hafner goes down at some point (he will), there is no Ibanez and Chavez (and underrated loss) to slot in. Not comfortable at all with the 4th OFer, who will get lots of PAs. Not comfortable at all with the 6th and 7th starter options. Maybe Pineda comes back quicker and better than I expect, but I still think 2014 is more likely the year he gives the team some quality innnings.

    On the plus side, I expect some bounce back from Teixeira. Not peak Tex, who is gone, but more than last year. Perhaps Ichiro will pull a Jeter and follow up his good finish was a strong 2013. That alone could add another one or two. My gut says Cano is going to have a big walk year.

    So, yeah, 88-90 wins, but with a little luck, they could reach 92-94, yet that highlights a big difference between the 2013 Yankees and other recent editions. They’re depending a little bit of luck this year to make the postseason.

    • LightSABR

      RetroRob, who do you see as the 6th starter option: Nova or Phelps? I’m just surprised to see you complain about the 6th starter spot–I think either of those two would be an above average no. 6.

    • Havok9120

      I think pitching depth is fine. No, it’s not what we had when the season started last year, but when the season started last year we had a completely insane amount of pitching depth, especially with starters. I think we’re good there.

      You’re definitely right on the positional side of things. We haven’t been this thin in awhile. The first string looks pretty good (and could be great or terrible), but past that it gets kinda ugly. The “kids,” such as they are and what there are of them, could get some decent playing time should disaster strike.

      • RetroRob

        I like the team’s five starters, and I can even see upside in the collective rotation. CC was bothered by his elbow last year. Pettitte had a freak injury. Nova was unsustainably bad. I think Hughes can maintain what he did last season, and has a chance to be better over the full season. Collectively they should more than compensate for any regression from Kuroda, who should once again should be solid in the #2 pitching slot.

        Yet every team needs 6th and 7th starters. I like Phelps, although not quite sure what we’ll see second time through the league. Is he this year’s Noesi? Plus, if Phelps is the longman, it makes it difficult to keep him in starter shape. That means when a 6th starter is needed, the team many times go to the more stretched out starter in AAA, and that means Warren, which is why I think a MLB vet stored down in AAA would be a good idea. Pineda may push both Nova and Phelps back to the pen or AAA, solving some of the depth issue, yet I’m not counting on anything from Pineda yet. I think the Yankees should plan that way, too.

  • Mike HC

    My expectations for next year are 90-93 wins with the division and/or wild card going down to the wire. Should be an exciting season. Like all teams (and people), here is to hoping for good health.

  • LK

    Man, I knew the catching situation was bad (I’m sure people are sick of me complaining about it), but seeing Sanchez projected as the top offensive C is extremely disappointing.

    • Ted Nelson

      I have a hard time with Cervelli projecting to a .274 wOBA when his career mark (granted, in a small, but not tiny, sample) is .311. I’m also not sure how accurate that model is for prospects.

      I think it’s pretty well accepted, though, that WAR numbers are a weaker approximation for Cs than other positions due to the intricacies of C defense.

      • LK

        Right, you can have a terrible hitting catcher who still makes a decent contribution.

        As far as Cervelli goes, I know ZIPs uses the minor league data, so it “knows” how terrible he was in AAA last year and is factoring that in. I could easily see him beating that, but I also don’t really have an explanation for why he couldn’t hit AAA pitching in 2012, so it could go either way.

        • Ted Nelson

          I don’t know on Cervelli, but a few pure guesses:

          -On the good side…

          1. Maybe he was concentrating almost exclusively on defense and they told him just don’t take batting practice or worry about your PAs at all. Fix your receiving and throwing if you want to play in MLB ever again, we know you can hit a little.

          2. As basically a contact hitter, maybe there’s less of a performance gap for him between AAA and MLB.

          -On the bad side…

          3. Could have been acting out after being demoted.

          4. The two years of MLB success were a function of luck and sample size.

          • LK

            For #2, it’s at least possible that ZIPs looks at that, though I don’t know.

            #3 obviously doesn’t reflect on Cervelli very well personally, but would suggest there’s at least the potential he’ll hit again this year.

            I think #1 and #4 are probably most likely, with it probably being some combination of the 2 along with other factors. If Cervelli did in fact improve his D he can take a hit in offense and still be pretty decent. Does anyone know how Cervelli rated in those pitch-framing studies? Obviously the sample isn’t large, but the Yankees appear to be weighting framing fairly heavily in their C evals these days.

            • Ted Nelson

              ZIPs is trying to fit a model to a large population of data, so there are probably going to be guys who don’t fit the mold.

              He rated pretty terribly as a pitch framer. Like -40 or -50 or something.

              • LK

                Right there will always be outliers, but if the difference is simply that Cervelli is a contact hitter and they have less of a performance gap, that’s something ZIPs could model (like I said, I don’t know if it does). There’s also the possibility that he’s an outlier among the contact hitters, in which case his projection might not be especially useful.

                I didn’t realize he rated that badly, though anecdotally is seems like he shifts around a lot which is bad for that sort of thing. Hopefully he’s improved because they seem to be making C defense a priority.

  • Ted Nelson

    I would be interested to see how age and injury biases may play into the P projections.

    • Ted Nelson

      Also… how ZIPs projected the Yankees last season is a whole lot less convincing than the accuracy/variability over a relevant sample.

      • LK

        From what I’ve seen (and I don’t have a link right now but I think it should be out there somewhere) ZIPs does these sorts of things as well as/better than the other systems. However, error bars on projecting team wins will always be huge no matter how good the system is.

        • Ted Nelson

          Yeah, that’s sort of my assumption. My point was basically that Mike seems to imply that ZIPs is pretty accurate when all he says is “In case you’re wondering, ZiPS projected the Yankees as a 95-win team last season and they wound up winning … 95 games. How about that.” No reference to how accurate is actually is, or even much explanation of how he came to the win total he did without considering bench or rounding errors (if those numbers were on average rounded up or down by 0.2 that could mean a swing of 3 wins with 15 positions… in all likelihood it averages out, but this could make a big difference relative to other teams).

          • Ted Nelson

            Basically… rounding errors, A-Rod, Pineda/Phelps, bench, fill-ins, etc. could lead to maybe a 3-5 win swing that is right there in the projections. So, saying ZIPs projects 87-89 wins instead of I looked at the ZIPs numbers and projected 87-89 wins seems a bit odd to me. Mike seems to have implicitly assumed that the Yankees will get replacement production when Gardner, Pettitte and any others are missing all the time ZIPs projects them to miss.

          • LK

            My guess would be that ZIPs takes care of the rounding issue, though that would be a potential source of big errors if not.

            The reality is that we simply can’t know how many games they’ll win with much accuracy at all. Between injuries, trades, and under- and over-performance, it would be hubris to suggest that we can peg it more accurately than within 10 games or so. Part of what makes this recent run so incredible is that Yankees have been so good that they win 90-some games even in their down seasons.

            • Ted Nelson

              The rounding issue is that Mike just counted up the 40 rounded WAR from the projected starters. Cano is at 6, but that could be 5.51 or it could be 6.49.

              I agree, I’m saying that I found the article a little misleading on that front.

              • LK

                Ah gotcha. I understand your point now. I believe ZIPs actually does full projected standings and they haven’t been released yet, so the high-80s numbers being thrown about are estimates.

          • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

            My point was basically that Mike seems to imply that ZIPs is pretty accurate when all he says is “In case you’re wondering, ZiPS projected the Yankees as a 95-win team last season and they wound up winning … 95 games. How about that.”

            I think Mike had a feeling someone was going to pull up last years projection and if it wasn’t accurate, said commenter undoubtedly was going to use this as an example of why this system isn’t accurate so he was trying to head them off at the pass. I’m sure he realizes one year of data is far to small of a sample size to make any conclusions as to ZiPS accuracy.

            • Ted Nelson

              If so, he basically did what he was trying to stop.

              • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

                Hey, he pointed it out, it happened to be true.

    • Havok9120

      That 90IP for Andy does seem a tad light, even if expecting injury issues. Kuroda’s projection I don’t really like, but I don’t think there’s anything totally unreasonable about it.

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

        He hasn’t thrown more than 130 innings since 2009.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Well…just to be devil’s advocate here, if you count the playoffs in 2010, he threw 143 innings.

        • Havok9120

          That’s why I said a tad and not “I’m expecting 200 innings.” What’s more, while the pull in 2010 is one thing I have a hard time holding the year in retirement and a line drive to the shin against him.

          I get that injuries can pile up with an older player, but that projection is for what amounts to a lost year that forcibly ends his career. Not only does my inner fanboi hate that idea, but I honestly don’t expect it.

          • LK

            A situation like Pettitte’s is one where you can make an adjustment because you have more information than the projection system. I think ZIPs has the information that he went on the DL with a leg injury, but it doesn’t know how flukey the injury is, as that would be a very subjective thing to try to put into a projection system. This is actually a pretty good example for what I understand the whole projection/prediction divide to be – I’d bet the creator of ZIPs would bet the over on Pettitte’s IP as well.

            • RetroRob

              Projection systems don’t handle players like Pettitte as well as they do others. He’s 40, yet he’s pitched even better in his last two seasons — 2010 and 2012 — than he did earlier in his career, and he also took a full year off between. He’s about as outlier as an outlier can be.

              I actually have more confidence in Pettitte heading into 2013 season than I did last year when he was a year younger. Reasons are simple. Saw him pitch, he hadn’t lost much, his swing-and-miss percentage is a good as ever, and if anything his feel for pitching seems to be improving. He also put a little more than 100 innings of pitching on his arm in 2012 (minors, majors and post season), making a ramp up to 150+ innings in 2013 more likely.

              If Vegas was giving odds, I’d take the over on 90 innings easy. 130 innings would give me pause, but I’d take that, too. I can see 24-28 starts and 140-170 IP. He’s no longer the guy who will give the team 34 starts and 220 innings, but there’s good reason to believe he’ll give the team the most innings he has since 2009.

      • Ted Nelson

        Pettitte’s I actually think are fairly realistic. I expect better in this situation, but I can see where the numbers are coming from.

        Kuroda’s career high ERA was 3.76 and he hasn’t been above 3.4 since 2009. It’s certainly possible, but I’d be interested to know why the model expects a sudden jump of almost a run in ERA. My first guess is age, which is something a model fit to a large population might not do very well on an individual basis.

        Same with CC, though it’s much more marginal (hasn’t had an ERA above 3.4 since 2005, though 3.6 isn’t unrealistic).

        Hughes I think the injury plagued 2011 is probably killing his projection, which might be a glitch in the system on an individual level. Same with Pineda, maybe, in the opposite direction. 4.4 ERA in 120 IP seems fairly optimistic year one coming off shoulder surgery. I’m as much a believer in Pineda’s ability to come back from it as anyone, but I don’t expect big things in year 1.

        • LK

          For what it’s worth, the creator of ZIPs does include data on the nature of major injuries and says that shoulder injuries for pitchers have the largest negative impact. Theoretically the model should be taking Pineda’s risks into account (or perhaps even overstating them given that we heard Pineda’s labral tear was something of a best case scenario as far as these things go). I think we might be forgetting what a stud this guy looked like at the time of the trade given how young and effective he was since he’s been an afterthought for so long. There’s definitely a lot of downside risk in that projection though – he might not pitch at all, after all.

  • trr

    Sabermetrics are not the be-all and end-all of projections, but…these seem pretty close!

  • TomH

    The Zipster must not have read that knock-em-dead argument that sometimes appears around here: “You do know, don’t you, that this team won 95 games last year?”

    • Havok9120

      Clearly it is influenced by the doomsayers! BEWARE!

      In somewhat more seriousness, 87-89 wins is a significantly better projection than it sounded like a lot of people closer to your camp were predicting this offseason. The confidence polls seem to back that up, too.

      • LK

        Well the Yankees have set a pretty high bar.

        Since 1993, they’ve had 4 seasons winning less than 90 games: ’94 and ’95 where MLB didn’t play a full season, 2000 when they still won the World Series, and 2008, which people talk about as if it was some sort of complete disaster even though they won 89 games. In that light, it makes sense for 87-89 to be a pretty low confidence period – for a lot of fans this is in the running for “worst team on paper” that they can remember. From an MLB perspective this is a very good team; from a Yankees perspective I can see why people are a little restless – this is certainly the most worried I’ve been as a fan.

        • Havok9120

          No doubt. Heck, I’ve only been a baseball fan since 2006-2007, so I can certainly understand that. And if that’s how the most…disappointed among us were generally framing their arguments, this would be a much more peaceful board. It doesn’t seem to be though.

          • LK

            It’s the internet, man. We’ve got a pretty random sample of people here, so a lot of them are gonna be crazy (not to mention the ones that are intentionally trolling).

      • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

        Anyone predicting a sub .500 record for the Yankees is either a fool or a total troll.

        I think many of the so called pessimists or doomsayers were likely thinking the 2013 Yankees were a high 80s win team that would just miss the playoffs in agreement with this projection yet were still given the above mentioned labels by the masses.

        • Ted Nelson

          Again, I’m not sure the fangraphs’ article said anything about win totals.

          • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

            I saw an article by dan szymborski on ESPN that had the whole AL east standings so I think he does extrapolate it into actual wins and losses.

            • Ted Nelson

              Yeah, I think it does too. My point is just that Mike’s method for doing so seems pretty crude. He just counted up the rounded WARs of the main expected contributors. That might overstate the Yankees’ wins due to rounding or below-replacement fill-ins/bench guys, or it might just as easily understate them due to rounding and some production for about half a season of filling in for Gardner and Pettitte. (I’m not even talking about any potential short-comings of the model, just calculating team wins from the model as is.)

              Doubt it makes much difference and obviously these are just rough projections, but if we’re going to take anything from these projections I’d like to see more precise calculations. See a little more clearly whether we’re talking 92 wins Jays vs. 90 wins Yanks or 95 wins Jays vs. 87 wins Yanks.

              Between citing the 95-95 2012 thing and just back-of-the-napkining it, it came across a little to me like Mike might be fishing for quasi-evidence to fit his 2013 narrative rather than really providing an analysis of what ZIPs is saying.

              • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

                I see your point. The whole rounding up or down could add up to a couple of wins either way potentially which isn’t insignificant given that the teams are all pretty closely bunched together except for the Orioles which I believe ZiPS had way back in last place.

                I believe they had the Yankees at 87 wins in December and it was written a day or 2 after the Blue Jays trade and was published by ESPN. The Yanks win total may have increased since I don’t think they had Youkilis or Pronk at the time.

                I’m not sure if fangraphs gets into the actual mathematical formulas behind these projections. It would be interesting to see just how accurate this system has been historically and/or how big the standard deviations are for each team.

        • Havok9120

          What I’m saying is purely subjective based on the (also purely subjective) confidence polls and the comments section that a crap ton of readers don’t make use of.

          But, I mean, would YOU read one of Hoss’s (or even Tom’s, who’s certainly not a DOOOMED guy) posts and then think they’d endorse 88 wins? Hoss (and he’s only the most recent; there have been plenty of others who’ve come and gone) outright predicted last place in the division. And I’ll happily make a distinction between “doomsayer” and “lacking perspective due to the fortunes of the Yankees.”

          I just think that the ALCS exit, the collapse of the offense, and the anger over the budget have combined to make people a lot more pessimistic, or at least a lot louder, than they would otherwise be.

          • LK

            To play devil’s advocate, I don’t think you’d have to get *that* much lower than 88 wins before you could credibly predict last in the ALE depending on what you think of the other teams. The people you’re talking about probably aren’t thinking like that though.

          • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

            There are certainly plenty of off the wall commenters who expect the Yankees to fall FAR more than what’s reasonable compared to 2012.

            Hoss and Dalelama are 2 that come to mind. Tom doesn’t stand out in my mind as someone who’s unreasonably pessimistic though and unless I’m thinking of the wrong guy, I agree with a lot of what he posts.

            As for the weekly poll, I’ve been at a 6 since the end of the season and I’m thinking 87-90 wins and a battle for the playoffs in September.

            • LK

              A lot of it depends on what 10 is too. If 10 means contender to win 110 games while also having the best farm system in baseball, 6 might be pretty damn good.

              • Manny’s BanWagon (formerly Andy Pettitte’s Fibula)

                It’s hard to quibble about the weekly polls since we probably all have different ideas about what the definition of what a “6″ or an “8″ should be as you implied.

                • RetroRob

                  It also greatly depends on the definition of the “future” of the NY Yankees. Some people take a very near-term approach, so a Pineda injury or the loss of Nick Swisher will impact their ratings more than they do mine. I look both near and longterm, so even if there are more questions coming into 2013 than usual, I still vote with eights.

            • Havok9120

              For the record, I wasn’t putting him in the unreasonable column either. And I certainly don’t put you in that column or the column that’s been talking like 80-85 wins is the expectation.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

      The team won 95 games last year. This is a different year. I think everyone can properly make that separation.

      You also can make that separation AND be bullish on the team’s chances, which may just be the part of the argument YOU’RE missing here.

  • Ted Nelson

    In terms of taking those starters’ numbers and saying they project 87-89 wins… aren’t you necessarily assuming replacement-level production when Gardner, Pettitte, etc. are on the shelf? Gardner, for example, is projected to make only 342 PAs, yet the Yankees have above replacement-level replacements as projected by ZIPs. Pettitte is projected to have only 90 IP, yet Pineda and Phelps are projected for 1.7 and 1.2 WAR in about 120 IP.

    • Havok9120

      They are, but that’s true of every team. And even if we’re then going to decry the element of chance that now enters the equation, assuming replacement level production for their stand ins might not be a terrible assumption given the current payroll and the state of the team’s depth options. At least not on the positional side.

      • Ted Nelson

        This same study lets us know that the Yankees have guys in their org already projected to be above replacement. Not every team has starters projected to miss the same amount or the same level of in-house replacements. It’s not going to take you from first to last or vice versa, but when Mike’s article tries to use this to project standings I’d think a little more accuracy would be nice.

        It might not be good news for the Yankees, necessarily. Looking quickly it seems like the Jays have a lot of guys rounded down and the Yankees have a lot rounded up. The Jays have few guys expected to miss much time, though, while two or three (Pettitte, Gardner, and Hafner) of the Yankees big contributors are excepted to miss ~half the season and A-Rod is expected back mid-season.

  • Tom

    Dan S’ projections seem fairly reasonable

    He has ~1800 PA’s between SS/3rd/DH in Jeter, Nunez, Hafner, Youkilis – the individual #’s look like there are significant PA’s missing but you are talking maybe 50-75 PA’s per position (which becomes Nix, random Tex, Cano, Grandy DH days, etc…)

    Gardner might be a little low, but that’s mainly driven by playing time projections… 2 WAR over 340 PA’s is basically just under a 4WAR skill level player. That’s maybe slightly conservative, but probably not overly so.

    I also don’t think the Yankees have replacements that people think. If one of the 4th OF’rs (Rivera? Diaz?) has to play a half of a season, with ~60-70% of those AB’s coming against their weak platoon that is not going to project as significant production. A league average player would put up 1 WAR in half a season; I don’t see any of the current options projecting at league average especially if they suddenly have to get significant time against righty starters. You also the have a chaining effect as the 5th OF becomes the 4th OF (and get more PA’s). Dan S has Diaz as essentially replacement level and RIvera close to that at 0.4WAR/400PA’s which is an ~0.6 WAR full time player.

    Same thing with Pettitte… 100 innings from Phelps is what? Is Phelps an average MLB pitcher? If he was that would be ~1 win over 100 innings. I don’t think he’s league average so Pettitte’s potential replacement is less than a 1 win impact. (obviously Pineda would be the wildcard here)

    Obviously with injuries you would also be looking at trades, and you have midseason trades, but for a projection based on the current roster, the #’s and a high 80′s win total seems reasonable.

  • ClusterDuck

    If the Yanks stay healthy, they will be better than last year’s team.

    So what are the odds that Rivera, Jeter, Pettite, Youkilis, Sabathia…play a full season.

  • cranky

    If those ZIPs projections turn out to be “in the ballpark,” it’s going to be a dismal year for the Yankees.
    But take heart.
    ZIPs can’t take into account what a player’s mental attitude and will can do to stats.

  • Troll Hunter

    I would like to see a position by position comparison with the “08″ team since that seems to be the closest talent wise to the “13′ team.

  • …They’re Yoouukk-ing Him

    95 wins? From this squad? A dream come true. If this team is still in contention in the heat of the division fight in July, every fiber of my being knows Cash will make one of those 3 month rentals for a superstar to upgrade this team and get us to at least the ALCS again. If things start breaking down, however, look for this to become a fire sale in a hurry. Oy vey.