Location: Vienna, Virginia, United States

A graduate of Dartmouth College (2005) and Washington and Lee University School of Law (2010). These are my personal blogs, and the musings expressed on them do not reflect the positions of my employer. They do reflect my readings, thoughts, and aspirations, which I figure is good enough.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

What I think about the Yankees

The thing about the Yankees is that you can't ignore them forever, as I was astutely informed this morning.

So this is what I really think about the Yankees.

Just 8 games into the season, we can tell a lot about their offense. It's starting to hit its stride, as the only player who is performing way over expectations is Jorge Posada. Matsui and Jeter have both started the season with good showings, but then again, good performance is expected of them.

I don't know anyone who expects Jorge Posada to hit more than .270 with over an .800 OPS this season. A lot of people would call that a generous estimate. I think he'll cool off eventually and return to his GIDP ways (although he only ground into 8 double plays last year), but if you're a Yankees fan, a good start from Jorge is icing on the cake. The thought of Jorge Posada as icing on a cake is disgusting and vile, so I'm going to change the subject now.

So the offense is the offense. And so far, the pitching has been actually a little better than advertised. Although not by much. Randy Johnson and Mike Mussina have both started well, and considering the fears about the old fogies on the staff stumbling out of the gates, this has to be a good sign as well.

Unfortunately it's the "kids" on the staff who have stuggled - both Chacon and Wang had atrocious starts. The Kansas City Royals managed to put up 10 runs on the two of them in consective days earlier this week. Of course, the Yankees did manage to win both those games, so this might be what we should expect of the team for the entire season.

The one good thing to take away from the Royals series, however, is the bullpen. Aside from two earned runs allowed by son of Worcester Mass, Tanyon Sturtze, the bullpen was excellent those two games, going 5 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only one hit.

Joe Torre has spread out the work so far, and I think he that aside from Jaret Wright, he actually trusts his bullpen this year. This is integral, since last year, Torre rode Sturtze and Gordon heavily, the two of them nearly logging 80 innings each, with no other reliever (besides Rivera of course) breaking 45 innings.

If I can say one thing about Sturtze however, it is that he can be a very good reliever, as long as Torre doesn't use him against Baltimore - in 11 and 1/3 innings against Baltimore last year, Sturtze allowed 20 hits, 17 earned runs, 3 long balls, and only struck out 6. His ERA against Baltimore was 13.50 and Baltimore hitters hit .370 off him. If you take those 11 innings out of his record, his ERA drops from 4.73 to 3.22.

Small sample size issues must be taken into account, but when a reliever gets lit up this much against one team, it's probably safe to say that they had his number last year. Even more surprising is that Sturtze only lost 1 game against Baltimore, and did record 2 wins (both with scoreless, 1 inning outings).

But if Torre can indeed avoid overusing a couple of relievers, and it appears that he may be trying, the Yankees bullpen might be solid this year. And a solid Yankees bullpen will go a long way to offset a bad starter or three (if Pavano ever comes back).

And in doing the research for this, I just realized how much Baltimore handed the Yankees the AL East crown last year - in an 8 game stretch from September 19 to Septebmer 29, the Yankees went 7-1 against the Orioles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the only player who is performing way over expectations is Jorge Posada"

Posada always hits well in April.
Practically every player on every team always hits well in April.

"I don't know anyone who expects Jorge Posada to hit more than .270 with over an .800 OPS this season. A lot of people would call that a generous estimate."

I'm sorry you don't know anyone.

Posada will easily outperform an .800 OPS as he has done in every season except PT play in '99 and last year.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Satchmo said...

anonymous - Posada does not perform well above expectations every April - his highest month for OPS is July. April is close, but Posada is fairly consistent over his career. Last year he had a piss poor April. In 2004 he had a great April, and 2003 he had a pretty good April.

And it's not true that every player on every team always hits better in April.

Posada had under an .800 OPS last year. Usually, the previous season is a better indicator than say, five seasons ago. His slugging percentage has dropped three years in a row, and his OBP last year was the lowest in 6 years. He's clearly lost a step, and is not going to hit 30 HR again.

Every fantasy analyst I've read basically predicts an average around .270 with ok power. I'm sorry you don't read very well. Truly a pity.

Jorge will be decent for a catcher, but nothing special, at least no compared to his career years in 2000 and 2003. His OPS will be between .780 and .840 this year. I have low expectations for him, just because catchers don't age well. Hence the sub .800 OPS prediction

10:00 PM  
Blogger Kilobyte said...

Thank you Satchmo, my magnetic mini Jorge bobblehead is nodding furiously.

9:12 AM  

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