Monday, January 18, 2016

Age Is Just a Number

For years, the fans, columnists, and anyone under the sun has claimed the Yankees are too old to compete for a World Series. When Jason Heyward signed with the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason and indicated that the Cardinals age was a reason he left many reporters took that as an indication that the Yankees had no shot at signing him either.

With the infusion of young talent like Nathan Eovaldi, Didi Gregorius, Starlin Castro, Luis Severino and Greg Bird on the roster I wanted to see how many older players the Yankees are using in comparison to their five most recent World Series victories and the two years they failed to make the postseason.

The results are not what I thought they were going to be. First off the Yankees last five World Series victories.

In 1996, the Yankees used 48 total players, 5 players were 35+. Older players made up 10.4% of the roster.
In 1998, the Yankees used 38 total players and 6 players were 35+. Older made up 15.8% of the roster.
In 1999, the Yankees used 39 total players and 7 players were 35+. Older players made up 17.9% of the roster.
In 2000, the Yankees used 34 total players, and 11 players were 35+. Older players made up 32.4% of the roster.
In 2009, the Yankees used 45 total players, and 7 players were 35+. Older players made up 15.56% of the roster.

Next up the last two times, the Yankees missed the playoffs as well as 2015 to bring it all together.

In 2013, the Yankees used 56 total players and 8 players were 35+. Older players made up 14.3% of the roster.
In 2014, the Yankees used 58 total players and 8 players were 35+. Older players made up 13.8% of the roster.
In 2015, the Yankees used 56 total players and 4 players were 35+. Older players made up 7.1% of the roster.

The Yankees have been using fewer players 35 and older as the years have gone on which would seem contradictory for a team described as "old." The key, however, is the overall usage of the older players. They are using fewer players, but they are relying on them more.  In 2000 when the Yankees used 11 35+ players only 3 of them were regular contributors, David Cone, Roger Clemens and Paul O'Neill. In 2013, the Yankees used eight 35+ players, and all of them were expected to be regular contributors. The 2000 team had older players play in a combined 487 appearances. The 2013 team had older players play in a combined 589 appearances.

That trend continued in 2015 as three of the four older players the Yankees used were regular contributors. The Yankees look to reverse this trend through the on the fly rebuild they have been going through. In 2016, I estimate the Yankees will again have four 35+ players but younger players like Greg Bird, Aaron Hicks will allow them to use Carlos Beltran, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez more effectively.


  1. Eliot very good and a lot of work, thanks for the information. Welcome, keep the info coming!
    Unless Tex gets hurt Bird won't show up until later if then. Ackley I think can give him a day off every once in a while along with McCann.

  2. Love the article Eliot. Sure the average of the Yankees ages is in the middle of the pack, 27.4 if memory serves, but when you take A Rod, CC and Beltran out of the equation that number drops drastically. Teixeira too I guess.

  3. Thanks Guys. Based on the data I really think that the Yankees haven't won a World Series not because they are old but because the talent hasn't been there. Hopefully the young guns lead us to the Canyon of Heroes soon.

    1. I can't really speak for others but I never thought it was the age of the players at all it was the players they held from playing or trading for.
      In reality, we didn't have much in the way of major ready position players
      In the past it was trading for or signing 32-year old players with long contracts, in the old days it was a big name player for big bucks and 3 or 4 year years! This year it will be five guys holding up some of our players.
      #1-A-Rod at DH hurts us from rotating players through the DH spot for a half day off.
      #2-McCann is good and next year he will be able to play at 1st, DH and catcher giving Sanchez/Romine some AB.
      3-Tex is Tex at 1st base but, is now considered injury prone. Next year he will be replaced with Bird.
      4-Beltran was the best hitter last 3/4 of the season but next year to be replaced with Judge, I hope Judge gets his game togeather he needs the time this year to work on his plate coverage any how...maybe mid-year.
      5-One of the bigger problems is Ellsbury, injuries have slowed him and Brett down the last two years, players have small health problems and those two need more rest notably Brett, as he has not had much rest the last few years. Ells has a no trade contract for a few more years and his production has gone down...more rest might help.
      One thing needed is to have Ells leading off and Brett hitting 9th, Castro #2 followed by the rest of the power guys.
      Don't pay me any mind I sometimes ramble on and on and etc.


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