Showing posts with label 2012 Outfield. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2012 Outfield. Show all posts

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 AB4AR Season Review: What We Thought We Knew & What We Learned (The Outfield)

(Not pictured: Brett Gardner and his elbow.  Courtesy of the AP)

The start of the AB4AR 2012 Season Review officially kicked off yesterday with the review of what we learned about the 2012 infield.  It continues today with that same review for the outfield.  The starting outfield for the 2012 New York Yankees was an interesting mix.  3 guys with very different but equally important skill sets who combined to be one of the most productive and underappreciated units in baseball in 2011, and 3 guys whose futures with the club were all potentially up in the air in the near future.  As with the infield, it was a big up-and-down year for this crew, so let's dive right in and see what 2012 taught us about them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Awaiting Brett Gardner's Return

(Probably beat that out for a hit.  Courtesy of The AP)

I'm a big Brett Gardner fan, so I was all excited to write this post about how his return later this week should help spark the the team and get them back on the winning path they were on before he went down in mid-April.  But then his rehab outing got delayed by weather last night, likely pushing his whole return schedule back a day.  This gave me some time to check some numbers on what the Yankees have done with and without Gardner and I was a bit surprised at what I found.

Gardner went down on April 17th making a sliding catch in a win against the Twins.  In that game he went 2-2 with 2 doubles, 2 walks, 3 runs scored, an RBI, and the sliding catch that led to the injury to boost his season line to .321/.424/.393.  That's not too shabby and about as Gardnerish as a batting line gets, but the Yankees were only 6-5 in those 11 games that Gardner played before hitting the DL, averaging 5.18 runs/game.

Since he went on the shelf, the Yankees have used a rotating cast of characters in left field and that cast has not been nearly as productive as Gardner.  In the past 17 games, the Yankee left fielders have combined to go 11-60 at the plate (.183 BA) with 16 strikeouts to just 6 walks, 2 runs scored, and 4 RBI.  The lone bright spot in that stat line is the fact that 5 of the combined 11 hits have gone for extra bases, but the production hasn't been there.  I thought for sure this would lead to a big drop in runs scored as a team, but the average of 4.94 R/G over the past 17 games really isn't that far off from what the Yankee offense was doing with Gardner, and the 9-8 record over that span doesn't look any better or worse than the 6-5 with Garder.  So is Brett Gardner really that meaningless?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 AB4AR Season Preview: What We Know & What We Don't Know (The Outfield)

We covered the knowns and unknowns around the horn in the infield yesterday.  Today we venture beyond the infield dirt to see what questions and answers are looming in the outfield grass.

What We Know- This Group Can Play Some Defense

Part of what makes the trio of Gardner, C-Grand, and Swish so valuable. and arguably the best OF group in baseball, is the fact that they are all 2-way players.  Nobody is out there hidden in a corner outfield spot because they're an embarrassment with the glove but the Yanks need their bat in the lineup.  Brett Gardner can flat out cover ground out in left field, and makes plays that other left fielders would have no chance to make look easy, something that is not the easiest thing in the world to do in left field at Yankee Stadium.  Nick Swisher, while not being as fleet-footed as Gardner, gets good jumps on balls, takes smart angles, and can flash the cannon to hold a runner or throw a guy out.  And Curtis, defensive metrics be damned, can make some spectacular plays thanks to his speed.  All three of these guys contribute in their own ways at the plate, and then go out in the field and supplement their offensive value by playing good defense and preventing runs.

What We Don't Know- Just How Good Curtis Granderson Is Defensively

Advanced defensive statistics are still nowhere near as accurate as offensive ones, and if you try to use them to judge Curtis Granderson you'll see a perfect example of that.  In his first 2 full seasons in Detroit he posted UZR/150 values of 13.6 and 14.5, both of which are pretty damn good.  He followed that up with 2 consecutive years of negative UZR/150 values, then was back to positive with a 7.9 in his first year with the Yankees.  Last year, though, C-Grand put up his second worst number to date, -5.3, which begs the question of just how good is he out there in center?  He doesn't always get the greatest jump on the ball, sometimes his routes are a little circuitous, and his arm isn't top notch, but when I think back to plays like the one he made in Game 4 of last year's ALDS I'm reminded of how good he can be. 

(Courtesy of The AP)

More after the jump