Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The 2016 Yankees Defense According to "FIELDING"

The New York Yankees have the potential to do something they haven't done since the 1998 season. Be a really great defensive team. No infield in Major League history may ever reach the 2009 Yankees level according to WAR the 2016 Yankees may match the 1998 Yankees infield defense according to Fangraph's fielding stat(formerly known as bWAR).

In 1998 the Yankees trotted out slick fielding Tino Martinez (4.0) at first base, Chuck Knoblauch (-4.0) at second base, Derek Jeter (2.0) at shortstop and Scott Brosius (12.0) at third base. Their defensive WAR’s combined for the 1998 season, considered to be arguably the greatest Yankees team and greatest baseball teams of all-time in case you forgot, was 14.0 dWAR. Let that sink in and think about that for a second. The team may not out-slug anyone but I don’t see many flares or ground balls getting through either which brings us to the 2016 Yankees infield.

In 2015 Mark Teixeira had another great season at first base was 0.4 but his career fielding is 61.5 showing you that Teixeira is due for a bigger defensive season in 2016. The metrics may not show it but Teixeira saved about 50 errors at first base this season. Starlin Castro's fielding stat was 0.2 but he was much better as a second baseman than a shortstop last season. Speaking of much improved defense Didi Gregorius probably should have won a Gold Glove at the shortstop position last year after posting a 7.4 fielding stat in 2015. Without a terrible month and a half to two months of the 2016 season like the 2015 season began and Gregorius could push an 8.0 fielding stat in 2016. Finally Chase Headley, the Headley that was horrible in 2015. Headley posted a -3.0 fielding stat in 2015 but had a 20.4 fielding stat just the previous year in 2014 meaning that the throwing errors that plagued Headley last season was likely a blip on the radar and not a trend. 

The potential to be an absolutely fantastic infield defense in there for the Yankees in 2016. If you throw in the throwing game and pitch framing of Brian McCann and you may have the best infield defense in the Yankees storied history. All they have to do is do it. 

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