Friday, July 20, 2012

Should Yankee Fans Be Optimists Or Pessimists?

Over the last 30 days the Yankees are 16-9, a winning percentage of .640. For the record, the best winning percentage in MLB is .620 (coincidentely held by the Yankees). So it's hard to imagine that the team would be able to keep that up. Well, I decided to try and see just how impossible, or possible, it was to keep up that pace.
Yes, Robbie, that was pretty.

Here's what I found on the offensive side of things...

The Yankees have scored 134 runs over the last 30 days, which is 2nd most in the American League over that time period (the Angels have scored 137). The league average for AL teams during that time was 112. That doesn't tell the story, as the good New York team clearly has a better than average lineup.

When it comes to trying to figure out how good or bad hitting is I mainly look at four statistics. I look at Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP), as that helps me figure out if a team has simply been lucky or not. I look at Line Drive Percentage, to see if a team or player is making good contact. And I look at Ground Ball and Fly Ball Percentage, to see where those hits are going (since balls on the ground tend to turn into outs moreso than fly balls).

So here's a chart I made showing what the Yankees have done over the last 30 days compared to the American League average...

Oh, and for those that strongly believe the Yankees need to make a move for a left/center fielder, Raul Ibanez and Andruw Jones have started 20 of the past 25 games in the outfield. The other five games were split between Jayson Nix and Dewayne Wise. All of this telling me the team absolutely does not need to make a trade for 2012. If they can do so while taking care of 2013 and the future, then by all means go for it. But Brian Cashman should not feel obligated to make a move for the sake of this season.

You can see that the Yankees' BABIP is not unusually high, which tells me the Yankee bats haven't simply been lucky. They aren't hitting the ball harder than normal, either. And while the differences in ground ball and fly ball rates are 2-3 points different, they aren't so far off that you'd have to think a correction was on it's way.

In short, what we've seen from Yankee bats over the past month is to be expected the rest of the year. Obviously I'm not saying they will be this way for the remainder of the season, but there's no reason to expect them to fall either.

"That's right, bitches!" -  Note: I'm not positive that is the correct translation.

What about their pitching? Well, the team's BABIP against is .312, which is slightly higher than the league average of .300. So, if anything, the team has been a touch unlucky on the balls they're allowing to be put into play by opposing bats. The team's FIP over the last 30 days was 3.90, while for the season it's 3.87, so in this respect I wouldn't expect the pitching to falter either.

The only place that I can see the pitching fairing a bit worse than they have recently is in terms of their Ground Ball and Fly Ball percentages. The team averages for the entier 2012 season so far are 44.7 for Ground Balls, and 35.6 for Fly Balls. Over the last 30 days the Yankees have a GB% of 40.8, and a FB% of 37.4. The first thing those numbers tell me is that the team isn't allowing as many balls to be put into play recently, but it's hardly be a large amount (80.3% to 78.2%). If anything, the team may see a few more ground balls than fly balls, which... I said before... means a higher percentage of balls in play being turned into outs.

I'm not saying the team is going to win over a 100 games by season's end, but I am saying that it's totally within the realm of possibility.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)