Projecting the 2010 Yankees

Here we go with Round 2 of looking at how CHONE's WAR projections compare with the performance our teams received in 2009.

  •  C: Jorge Posada (2009): 4.0 WAR // Jorge Posada (2010): 2.8 WAR
  • 1B: Mark Teixeira (2009): 5.1 WAR // Mark Teixeira (2010): 5.1 WAR
  • 2B: Robinson Cano (2009): 4.4 WAR // Robinson Cano (2010): 4.2 WAR
  • SS: Derek Jeter (2009): 7.4 WAR // Derek Jeter (2010): 3.4 WAR
  • 3B: Alex Rodriguez (2009): 4.4 WAR // Alex Rodriguez (2010): 5.0 WAR
  • LF: Johnny Damon (2009): 3.0 WAR // Johnny Damon? (2010): 3.2 WAR
  • CF: Melky Cabrera (2009): 1.6 WAR // Curtis Granderson (2010): 4.4 WAR
  • RF: Nick Swisher (2009): 3.5 WAR // Nick Swisher (2010): 2.9 WAR
  • DH: Hideki Matsui (2009): 2.4 WAR // Nick Johnson (2010): 2.2 WAR

In 2009, the Yankee lineup/defense posted 35.8 wins above replacement. In 2010, they're projected to post 33.2, a loss of 2.6 wins, but still four wins and change better than the Red Sox.

The pitchers (again, these are the Fangraphs "wisdom of the crowd" WAR projections):

  • CC Sabathia (2009): 6.0 WAR // CC Sabathia (2010): 5.6 WAR
  • A.J. Burnett (2009): 3.1 WAR // A.J. Burnett (2010): 3.4 WAR
  • Andy Pettitte (2009): 3.3 WAR // Andy Pettitte (2010): 2.9 WAR
  • Joba Chamberlain (2009): 1.5 WAR // Javier Vasquez (2010): 4.8 WAR
  • Mitre/Gaudin/Wang (2009): 0.4 WAR // Joba Chamberlain (2010): 2.6 WAR

In 2009, the Yankees' seven principal starters posted 14.3 wins above replacement. In 2010, they're projected to post 18.3, a four-win improvement and a half-win below the Red Sox. 

Overall, this gives the Yankees a projected total of 51.5 WAR, compared to last year's 50.1 — 1.4 wins better. The Red Sox, by contrast, have a projected 47.7 WAR, compared to last year's 42.0. The Sox, according to CHONE, have more than halved the gap among the 14 starters. 

If adding the Sox' improvements to their 2009 Pythag gives them 98-99 wins, doing the same for the Yankees gives them between 96-97 (the Yankees' Pythag was pretty terrible, relatively speaking, last year). 

Given that the Yankees won the East by eight games last season, won in Pythag by two games, and the Sox have improved by four games in projected WAR relative to the Yankees (but the Yankees still hold a four-game advantage), I hereby deem the 2010 AL East a horse race. As if it could be anything but.

13 comments… add one

  • all that WAR-mongering for this:
    “I hereby deem the 2010 AL East a horse race. As if it could be anything but.”
    just kidding, thanks for the effort…jumping out at me is a big dropoff by jeter…i can guess at the answer, but can you tell me what’s driving that?…i’m not surprised, since ’09 was an mvp-type year that would be hard to repeat…

    dc January 8, 2010, 10:02 am
  • I would think Brett Gardner would be the LF and in that case the WAR is 2.2.
    I understand some regression should be expected for Posada but that seems a little drastic. Same can be said for Jeter. I completely understand that the severity of decline due to age is simply an unknown and that when it comes it (sometimes) comes hard (David Ortiz, 2009). The problem is those numbers reflect a drastic drop in value. Especially when Ortiz himself, the poster boy for falling off a cliff is projected at a 2.3, but finished the season at a 0.7.
    Hughes WAR is only fan based and that’s a 3.0. I would imagine he’d be the #5.

    John - YF January 8, 2010, 10:15 am
  • So wait a minute, the Yankees are projected to 51.4 WAR, and the Red Sox are projected to 47.7 WAR, but the Red Sox are projected to win more games?
    This seems like a very reasonable projection for the Yankees. A conservative estimate on Jeter to be sure, a somewhat conservative estimate on Swisher and Pettitte, but I don’t think that’s a conservative estimate on Posada. The guy is 38 years old and a catcher. I wouldn’t expect him to catch even 100 games next season (remember, he only caught 100 games in 2009, and he was generally healthy), and I’m fairly certain the Yankees are thinking along the same lines. If Cervelli doesn’t work out, or Posada gets hurt, how cool would it be (ignoring the unfortunate injury/ineffectiveness to Posada or Cervelli) to see Montero in the big leagues at age 20? He probably isn’t much worse defensively than Posada is now.

    AndrewYF January 8, 2010, 11:18 am
  • “(the Yankees’ Pythag was pretty terrible, relatively speaking, last year).”
    So how relevant are these statistics then? I’m just asking since I really don’t get all these new-fangled stats? I still think RBI’s are HUGE!!!! ;)

    krueg January 8, 2010, 11:58 am
  • yeah, this is the problem i have with projections…nice discussion fodder, but drawing any conclusions from them is dicey at best…paul, i know you’re not presenting this with any sort of money-back guarantee, you’re just presenting the data, so i’ll tell you up front that i’m not picking on you….i’m sure we’ve had this discussion before, but can someone remind me what the success rate is for any of these projection systems?…that would provide me with some needed perspective, and a better appreciation for what they’re trying to tell me…i don’t doubt that the data is real, and accurate, but the assumptions would be interesting to get a handle on…for example, jeter is expected to regress, because that’s what his career line and advanced age suggests?…how often has that been close to accurate as an assumption?….i’ll bet it was way off last season…

    dc January 8, 2010, 12:02 pm
  • SG over at RLYW (www.replacementlevel.com, it’s linked here under “yanks blogs”) has created a system that works pretty well. It’s named CAIRO, after his ‘favorite ballplayer’. He does all kinds of statistical analyses, and they tend to be fairly accurate. But no system can possibly be perfect, and as they say, that’s why they play the games.
    I will say, though, that PECOTA last year was particularly bad.

    AndrewYF January 8, 2010, 12:49 pm
  • “So wait a minute, the Yankees are projected to 51.4 WAR, and the Red Sox are projected to 47.7 WAR, but the Red Sox are projected to win more games?”
    yeah, i think Paul’s math is off a bit at the end there. If, as he says, the yanks have a 4 win (and change) edge in position players and the Sox a .5 edge in pitching, then the yanks should have about a 3.5 win margin overall, no?
    One very important thing to note in Yankee projections for 2010 though: The park effects of NYS are still very much in doubt, and are not fully integrated into next year’s projections. Personally I think some of the offensive projections for 2010 are a little lower than you would expect because the recent years from the less-offensively favorable OYS are being factored, and “jumps” in 2009 production are being viewed as statistical blips rather than a bit of a boos from a cozier ballpark.
    Now on the surface you would think that this would balance itself out because the boost in hitting would be countered by a depression of pitching wins. Which is true…to an extent. But hitting wins added by position players account for around double the amount of pitching wins added by the starting rotation. So if the hitting projections are bit depressed and and pitching a bit inflated, you can expect the team to be a bit better than the sum total projection.

    Mark (YF) January 8, 2010, 2:06 pm
  • I think the confusion is that WAR doesn’t exactly correlate with Pythag record, and neither exactly correlate with actual record.
    But whatever. These projections confirm my belief that next year the AL East race than it was this past season.

    Nick-YF January 8, 2010, 2:26 pm
  • The Yankees’ Pythag record was 95 wins. The Sox’ was 93. The Sox gained four wins on the Yanks based on WAR projections, so that’s how you end up with the Sox with more wins than the Yankees. I’m not endorsing that particular interpretation; it doesn’t pass the smell test for me. But that’s what you get.

    Paul SF January 8, 2010, 3:39 pm
  • I’m not following. Are you saying you took the pythag records from last year and then did a simple plus-minus based on the positions that are changing in 2010? Because that makes…not sense. You can’t mix and match projection stats for the coming year with ONE YEAR (even if it is the immediate year prior) of actual stats. You have to re-project the entire team for 2010. The biggest reason is because I would doubt either the Yanks or Sox’ ACTUAL 2009 pythag has exactly what their projected WAR going into the season was.
    Another big reason why you can’t do this because WAR kind of exists in a vacuum, as a Platonic Form of how many wins a player or a team is creating. If you play in a tougher division, quality of competition will knock a few wins off your win expectancy. Pythag is actual results from what happened, so obviously the strength of schedule is a factor there.

    Mark (YF) January 11, 2010, 10:57 am
  • If you’re going to go by Pythag, well, you might as well go all the way and use BP’s third-order wins.
    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/statistics/standings.php
    According to this, the Red Sox’s true talent/performance was ELEVEN wins behind the Yankees, who were simply absurdly good.

    AndrewYF January 11, 2010, 2:11 pm
  • Huge new…Mark McGwire took steroids….duh

    sam-YF January 11, 2010, 4:05 pm
  • …not to mention the sky is blue!!! ;)

    krueg January 11, 2010, 4:34 pm

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