Thursday, April 25, 2013
Sorting through the numbers
By Mark Simon
Random statistical observations on the Yankees that I found noteworthy through 20 games:
• Through 20 games, the Yankees have an AL-best 28 homers (a pace for 227) and only seven stolen bases (Ichiro Suzuki and Brett Gardner have one steal in four attempts). At least the Yankees are able to survive when they don’t homer. They are 2-2 when they come up empty with the long ball. Last season, they lost the first 12 times they didn’t hit a ball out of the park.
• The Yankees scored five runs or more 88 times last season. They’ve done so six times in the first 20 games of the year, and have averaged 3.7 runs per game since the two big games they had in Cleveland.
Yankees AL Ranks – By Position
The Yankees are 5-2 in games that were either decided by two or fewer runs, or that went extra innings. They’ve found a way to win 4-2 and 4-3 four times already.
• Yankees shortstops entered today hitting a combined .194 with a .513 OPS. Amazingly, two AL teams have actually gotten worse offensive production (the Rays and Mariners) from that position.
• It’s even worse at first base, where the .592 OPS rates better only than one AL team. For reference, Derek Jeter has averaged a .749 OPS over the last three seasons, Mark Teixeira an .831.
• Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart have already combined for 1.0 Wins Above Replacement. Remember that Russell Martin’s value last season was 1.8 Wins Above Replacement.
• Vernon Wells is off to a good start, despite that his rate of swings put into play (42 percent) is below normal for him (nearly 49 percent from 2009 to 2012). The good news on Wells. His percentage of at-bats ending with a hard-hit ball (as tracked by scouting service Inside Edge) is so far the highest on the team.
Wells hasn’t taken to Yankee Stadium too well yet (7-for-34), but Travis Hafner has (7-for-21, three home runs). All three of Hafner’s home runs in the Bronx have been calculated at traveling at least 400 feet by ESPN’s Hit Tracker Online.
• Though much has been made about CC Sabathia’s velocity dip, his combination of pitches is still producing numbers similar to last season. In 2012, Sabathia’s rate of swings that missed was 26 percent, and his rate of swings put in play against him was 40 percent. This year, those numbers are 25 percent and 40 percent.
• Andy Pettitte and Hiroki Kuroda already have four starts this season in which they’ve pitched seven innings or more and allowed two earned runs or fewer. There are 12 teams that don’t have four such starts this season.
• Mariano Rivera is doing things a little differently than he usually does, but with the same consistent results. Rivera typically lives by throwing about 40 percent of his pitches in the strike zone, with the break on the cutter jamming a lefty or moving just off the plate for a righty. Through his first 106 pitches of the season, nearly half have ended in the strike zone.
But opponents are just 5-for-21 against pitches that were over the plate.