New York Yankees: What Goes Up, Must Come Down
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By Nicholas Rossoletti (Yankees Correspondent/Trade Correspondent): Follow @nross56
There is no one that wishes that I could stop typing the words “Disabled List” and “Injury Replacements” more than me. It seems like each of my articles since I took over the Yankee Correspondent position for MLB Reports has focused on how the team would survive the first portion of the 2013 season after off-season and Spring Training injuries left the team without its most expensive and experienced pieces.
Thanks to elite pitching from almost the entire team as well as some timely hitting from some unlikely sources, the Yankees have not just managed to compete through injuries but succeed.
As May turns to June, the thought was that the regular Yankee bats would return, which is basically the same thing we were told as April turned to May.
Now more than ever it seems necessary as the team has been regressing back to a fairly disturbing mean. The team has lost five in a row and dropped to two (2) games back of the Red Sox.
It is imperative that the team get healthy quickly. The first of the Yankee regulars to return was Curtis Granderson, who got all of 31 Plate Appearances before lightning struck twice.
The injury bug continues to bite the Yankees moving forward. The offense will be without a bat that generated 84 Home Runs over the 2011 and 2012 seasons for a little while longer.
Part of what we are seeing in the last week is the necessary regression to the mean of certain athletes who have been playing so far outside their career means it’s almost unbelievable. One such player is Lyle Overbay. Overbay has a career low BB rate of 5.8%, which has led to the a career low On Base Percentage of .289 and a league average wOBA of .322.
The Yankee first baseman has gotten away with these pedestrian or worse numbers by being “clutch”. By driving in runs when the team needed them, Overbay has masked what is otherwise a 0.4 WAR season to date. The only statistic supporting him being anything more than a 4A player is the 36 year olds .213 ISO.
This is a career high power output for a player in his mid-30’s. To say this is unsustainable based on Overbay’s personal history is an understatement.
The last time Overbay put together a season with power remotely close to his current ISO was four (4) years ago in 2009 when he hit .201. None of his statistics over the last three (3) seasons supports that this is even remotely close to what he is.
Meanwhile, some of the Yankees other “patients” have made it back to the team. Andy Pettitte pitched on Monday night (although he struggled, Kevin Youkilis and Mark Teixeira had already returned over the weekend. Both players have changed the way the Yankee lineup looks.
Teixeira has been the source of much debate between Yankee fans during the first two (2) months of the season. Several fans believe that the Yankees’ regular first baseman does not improve this team, and in fact, he makes the team a worse bet to meet their goals. I could not disagree more with this claim.
The idea that he is in some way a superior option for the Yankees to Mark Teixeira is laughable. Last season, in Teixeira’s worst career season since his rookie campaign in Texas, Big Tex was worth 2.7 Wins Above Replacement. (For note of comparison, Overbay was worth -0.1 WAR during the same campaign).
Tex walked at a rate in excess of 10% and provided his normal excellent defense with a UZR of 10.7. Basically, the team is going from a replacement level asset to a well above replacement level asset at first base. This is a net gain for the team. I promise.
This isn’t to say Tex isn’t without concerns. Through his career and particularly his Yankees career, he has derived most of his value from his ability to hit for power. Last season, this talent was a shadow of prior years, which is concerning.
Particularly, Tex is coming off of a major wrist injury which traditional saps power. During the Boston series, the Yankees first baseman gave some credence to this concern, but Home Runs in back to back games by Big Tex may be a sign that first base is well manned moving forward. I honestly believe it will be.
Amidst the return of Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis, whose offensive smoke and mirror show is far less reliable than Tex (I spent a fair bit discussing Youk right before his injury and my opinions remain the same), the Yankees find themselves on the wrong end of a losing week for the first time in a long time.
After losing 6 out of 7 games to hated rivals the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox, the Yankees find themselves in third place behind Boston and in a dead heat with Baltimore. It will be key for the Yankees to find a groove to keep up with the best of the best in the American League.
Sadly enough, while the team attempts to get into that groove, Alex Rodriguez finds himself in familiar situation for the Third Baseman. Rumors linking him to the Biogenesis scandal, which broke this winter, may be supported by something other than conjecture in the near future.
Many news agencies and networks are reporting that Biogenesis lead dog, Anthony Bosch, will provide testimony to Major League Baseball, in which he will name names as to which athletes he allegedly provided performance enhancing drugs to. Clearly, this is a distraction that isn’t necessary for the Yankees, but one they will have to move through nonetheless.
At this point, Yankees fans should assume Kevin Youkilis and David Adams will spend the better part of the season at Third Base and consider any contribution from Rodriguez highly unlikely.
*** The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com and their partners***
A big thank-you goes out to Our ‘Trade and Yankees Correspondent’ Nicholas Rossoletti for preparing today’s featured article. Nicholas is a young professional living in downtown Miami. He is a lifelong baseball fan and an avid Yankee supporter.
Having grown up during the last two decades, he counts Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera as his favorite ball players of all time. He believes in sabermetrics and that new stats have already changed the way the baseball industry sees players.
He was for Trout over Cabrera, he thinks RBIs tell you a lot more about a team than a player and that defense and pitching, ultimately, win championships. Rational thought and introspective analysis over the narrative is how we come to understand the game we love.
The narrative is just a way to keep those who don’t really love the game watching. Feel free to follow Nicholas on twitter and talk the game of baseball Follow @NRoss56
“There are three things in my life which I really love: God, my family, and baseball. The only problem – once baseball season starts, I change the order around a bit.” ~ Al Gallagher, 1971
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Posted on June 5, 2013, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged @nross56, @Nross56 on twitter, @nross56 twitter, alex rodriguez, baltimore, baltimore orioles, biogenesis, boston, boston red sox, curtis granderson, david adams, kevin youkilis, lyle overbay, mark teixeira, mets, new York, new york mets, new york yankees, nicholas rossoletti, orioles, rays, red sox, Tampa Bay, tampa bay rays, yankees. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on New York Yankees: What Goes Up, Must Come Down.