Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Is The Yankee Offense Good Or Not?

(The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.)

I've seen and read a lot of things this season that could easily lead me to believe "Yes" or "No," at any given time.  And as I touched on earlier in the week, consistency has been the major issue.  Last night was just the latest example of that consistent inconsistency as the offense could never capitalize on the multiple opportunities they had to pick up CC, choosing instead to shoot themselves in the foot.  So this morning I woke up thinking that the offense really wasn't as good as all the home runs might be leading us to believe, but let's let the numbers do the talking.

The Evidence For (MLB rank in parentheses where appropriate):

- 146 runs scored (6th), .340 team OBP (3rd), .468 SLG (1st, and 20 points higher than the 2nd place team), .808 OPS (2nd), 46 HR (1st, and 10 more than 2nd place), 182 K (27th, or 4th fewest in MLB), .352 wOBA (2nd), 120 OPS + (3rd), 5.41 R/G (1st).

The Evidence Against:

- .254 Team BA (12th), 224 hits (26th), .268 BABIP (25th), .240 BA w/ RISP, .177 BA w/ RISP 2 Outs, 58% SB Rate (27th), 32 GIDP (4th most in MLB), .229/.295/.294 tripleslash in 109 AB from the leadoff spot.

So there you have it.  Basically the Yankees aren't getting a lot of hits, and aren't getting key hits with RISP, but they are making up for that by hitting for a ton of power and drawing a lot of walks.  On top of their untimely hitting, they have cost themselves runs by failing to execute on stolen base attempts (14 for 24 after last night's basepath fiascoes), and grounding into too many damn double plays.  Even though I didn't dig deep enough here to find out the statistical support, I think it's safe to say that if the Yanks were hitting for league average power, that probably would have cost them some wins already this season because of how bad their leadoff production and clutch hitting has been.

Now some of this needs to be taken in context.  The Bombers have played 2-3 fewer games than almost every team in the league because of rain outs, making their lower hit total more acceptable and their run/home run totals even more impressive.  And we can assume that some bad luck has certainly factored into the low BABIP value (thanks a lot, Brent Lillibridge).  But things like a poor SB rate and the GIDPs are simply inexcusable, and personally I find the low RISP numbers a little disconcerting given the bulk of talent in this lineup.  When you add everything up I think it's fair to say that the offense has been good, but not as good as it could be.  Some better baserunning and better situational hitting and the R/G, wOBA, OPS+, and Win totals would look even better.  For now, I'll give the offense a B-.


Larry Koestler said...

Great stuff, Brad. I was basically thinking everything you wrote here this morning but couldn't figure out how to cohere it into a post.

While the situational hitting stats do leave something to be desired, the Yankees are still due for some serious BABIP regression. Their current .268 mark is the fourth-lowest in the AL, and yet they still lead the league in wOBA. The three teams with worse BABIPs are all in the bottom five on the league in wOBA.

For comparison's sake, the 2010 Yankees finished the season with a .300 BABIP. Given the rate at which the Yankees have been scoring -- in spite of the bad luck on balls in play -- the offense should be even more fun to watch once those hits finally start falling in.

The Captain said...

Thanks for the shout out, Larry. I was thinking the exact same thing when I saw the BABIP number.

Once that starts to balance out and get back to where we expect it to be with this lineup, there could be some scary big crooked numbers up on the scoreboard, even if the Yanks don't maintain the monster power output they're producing right now.