Projecting the 2007 Yankees

Thanks to everyone for the great response to the Red Sox projection thread, which even got a lead-panel mention in Soxaholix (sorry, Deadspin, but that’s the coolest thing ever). To simplify all the conclusions in that post, a combination of the two projections and the Jamesian Pythagorean theorum gave the Red Sox the possibility of 111, 105 and 99 wins. I like the 99-63 record best because it simply adds the wins gained from the projected additional runs scored and additional runs prevented to last year’s record, which already was affected by the use of bench players and poorer relievers. It’s not perfect, but this method at least counts for that performance by assuming it stays unchanged (and for the Sox, it can only get better, right?).

I won’t use the Bill James projections for the Yankees (buy the book for yourself!) because we determined that PECOTA was nearly identical on offense and far more realistic on pitching. Otherwise, I’lll do the projections the exact same way, with the same non-bench flaws, so we can have an apples-to-apples comparison.

First of all, the 2006 Yankees’ typical starting lineup:

Damon     — .285/.359/.482 24 HR, 169 H, 115 R, 25 SB
Jeter        — .343/.417/.483 14 HR, 97 RBI, 214 H, 34 SB
Abreu*      – .297/.424/.462 15 HR, 107 RBI, 41 2B
Rodriguez — .290/.392/.523 35 HR, 121 RBI, 26 2B, 15 SB
Giambi     — .253/.413/.558 37 HR, 113 RBI, 25 2B
Posada    — .277/.374/.492 23 HR, 93 RBI
Cano        — .342/.365/.525 15 HR, 78 RBI, 41 2B
Williams   – .281/.332/.436 12 HR, 61 RBI, 29 2B
Cabrera    — .280/.360/.391 7 HR, 50 RBI, 26 2B

*Includes numbers with Philadelphia.

The lineup scored 930 runs, or 5.74 per game. It should have scored about 6.33 runs per game, according to the Lineup Analysis, or an astounding 1,025 runs. That’s seven lost wins. Of course, Abreu wasn’t there until August, and this lineup was by no means the most used. Andy Phillips and Miguel Cairo had significant playing time during the year. Like the Red Sox, injuries helped drag these numbers down. As everyone said toward the end of the year, replace Williams and Cabrera with Sheffield and Matsui, and this is a prolific — even historic — lineup. Thankfully, from my perspective, they never all got healthy at the same time.

So how does the 2007 lineup project, according to PECOTA?

Damon    — .289/.362/.458 18 HR, 158 H, 94 R, 14 SB
Jeter       — .322/.390/.452 12 HR, 71 RBI, 189 H, 23 SB
Abreu      – .277/.389/.447 16 HR, 65 RBI, 28 2B
Rodriguez–.288/.385/.531 34 HR, 104 RBI, 30 2B, 14 SB
Giambi    — .252/.413/.518 29 HR, 81 RBI, 18 2B
Matsui   – .288/.376/.474 15 HR, 60 RBI, 21 2B
Posada  — .259/.365/.433 17 HR, 65 RBI
Cano       — .308/.345/.472 16 HR, 80 RBI, 36 2B
Mientkie — .251/.328/.382 5 HR, 30 RBI

PECOTA projects dropoffs from every single member of the Yankee lineup except A-Rod, who projects to be basically the same. Damon’s power will drop, Jeter’s averages will drop by 20 points, Abreu will lose 20 to 30 points off all his averages, Giambi’s power will drop, Posada drops by 20 points, Cano’s counting stats go up while his rate stats decline, Matsui only gets 361 ABs and Mientkewicz becomes the rivalry’s next Alex Gonzalez.

The Yankees’ lineup is aging, so drops for most of its players seems realistic, particularly when you factor in the hugeness of the years Jeter and Cano had in ’06. I’m surprised PECOTA is so down on Matsui and Abreu — particularly considering Abreu raked with New York; it was his numbers in the NL that held him down. I also would have thought they would project an uptick from Rodriguez. If the Yankees go from having two 35-homer guys and four 20-homer guys to just one 30-homer guy and two 20-homer guys — and from seven players within 20 points of .300 to just five — I’d be pretty happy as a Sox fan.

Nevertheless, this is still an excellent lineup, one of the best — if not the best — in baseball. According to the lineup tool, it should score 5.91 runs per game, or 957 runs total. That’s 27 runs better than how they performed last season, but 68 runs worse than how they should have performed. Is the glass half empty or half full? This is a different situation because with the Red Sox, their projected RPG was better then both their 2006 RPGs (the one they actually had, and the one they should have had based on their stats). To arrive at the 99-win total for the Sox, we used the ’06 reality, so let’s do that here. The Yanks gain three wins — essentially by having Abreu the whole season.

Mussina    — 15-7, 3.51 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 35 BB, 172 Ks
Wang         – 19-6, 3.63 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 52 BB, 76 Ks
Johnson    — 17-11, 5.00 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 60 BB, 172 Ks
Wright        — 11-7, 4.49 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 57 BB, 84 Ks
Chacon     –  5-3, 7.00 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 36 BB, 35 Ks
Lidle          –  4-3, 5.16 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 19 BB, 32 Ks

Now the bullpen’s top arms

Rivera        — 5-5, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 34 Sv, 11 BB, 55 Ks
Farnsworth–3-6, 4.36 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 6 Sv, 28 BB, 75 Ks
Proctor     — 6-4, 3.52 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 33 BB, 89 Ks
Villone      –  3-3, 5.04 ERA,  1.57 WHIP, 51 BB, 72 Ks

Overall, the Yanks’ staff allowed 767 runs.

Here’s the PECOTA projections:

Mussina    — 12-9, 4.27 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 47 BB, 146 Ks
Wang         – 11-9, 4.35 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 48 BB, 74 Ks
Pettitte     — 12-9, 4.21 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 51 BB, 131 Ks
Pavano    –  6-6, 4.64 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 22 BB, 54 Ks (15 GS)
Igawa         – 11-9, 4.46 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 59 BB, 128 Ks
Karstens   – 7-9, 5.55 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 46 BB, 81 Ks

PECOTA doesn’t like the Yanks’ rotation either, projecting declines for Mussina and Wang, a solid season from Pettitte, about what could be expected from Igawa. Karstens doesn’t look good at all.

And the PECOTA bullpen:

Rivera        — 4-4, 2.78 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 27 Sv, 13 BB, 47 Ks
Farnsworth–3-3, 3.85 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 5 Sv, 27 BB, 44 Ks
Proctor     — 3-3, 4.39 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 22 BB, 50 Ks
Villone      – 3-2, 4.90 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 27 BB, 45 Ks
Vizcaino  — 3-3, 3.89 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 23 BB, 49 Ks

I hope I got the bulpen right. Not being that versed in the intricacies of the Yankee hot stove, I might have missed a middle relief acquisition somewhere. As it is, I’m just trying to do the four or five likely to see the most innings. Knowing Torre, I bet he’ll find some time in there for Villone and Proctor ;-).

At any rate, these numbers extrapolated over the 1,444 innings the Yankees played in 2006 gives them 738 runs allowed, 29 runs better than in 2006. As was mentioned on the Sox projection, this doesn’t account for the myriad relievers and fill-in starters over the course of 2007 who may or may not perform better than the 11 listed here.

So, the Yankees improved by three wins on offense and three wins on pitching, giving them six total wins of improvement. By that measure, the Yankees would finish at 103-59.

Using the same Pythagorean formula as I did on the Red Sox, the Yankees’ projected 2007 of 957 runs scored and 738 runs allowed would come to a 102-60 record.

To recap:

Wins added method:
Yankees: 103-59
Red Sox: 99-63

Pythag method:
Red Sox: 105-57
Yankees: 102-60

Finally, Nate Silver at Baseball Prospectus, which releases the PECOTA projections, must have been snooping around YFSF because out of nowhere the other day — well after I’d posted the Sox projections — he ran the PECOTA runs scored and allowed projections for the Sox and Yanks, and only the Sox and Yanks:

Just a very preliminary attempt to spit out team projections for the Yankees and the Red Sox based on the PECOTAs.

            RS      RA
Yankees     918     774
Red Sox     913     772

This is going to be fun.  Well, provided that you live north of the Mason-Dixon line and west east of the Appalachians.

Hopefully PECOTA’s projections are a little better than its geography :-P. That’s 93 more runs on offense for the Red Sox and and one fewer run on the pitching side. For the Yankees, it’s 11 fewer runs on offense and eight more runs given up. That means the Sox gain nine wins over last season while the Yanks lose two. That puts the records like this:

Yankees: 95-67
Red Sox: 95-67

Hehe.

Using Jamesagoras and those totals, we get:

Yankees: 95-67 (Actually 94.7)
Red Sox: 94-68 (Actually 94.46)

Looks like another wild ride.

42 comments… add one

  • Frankly, I’d question projections even more than I already do if they didn’t have the Yanks winning at least 95 games in ’07. So the overall picture seems about right, give or take.
    Should be another dogfight for the AL East. Would we want it any other way?
    Hey Paul, want to run the Blue Jays’ projections, just for good measure? ;)

    mouse - SF January 21, 2007, 6:23 pm
  • lol, Ummmmm no.

    Paul SF January 21, 2007, 6:27 pm
  • I have a hard time buying that Abreu’s OBP will drop that sharply. Am I supposed to believe that he lost his eye and became jittery this offseason?

    Andrews January 21, 2007, 6:31 pm
  • Once again, great piece, Paul. This is fascinating stuff. I am nervous already.

    attackgerbil January 21, 2007, 6:57 pm
  • great work, Paul.

    Nick-YF January 21, 2007, 7:02 pm
  • I agree, great post.

    Andrews January 21, 2007, 7:24 pm
  • Thanks, Paul.

    YF January 21, 2007, 8:18 pm
  • paul, you’re an animal…thanks for putting all the effort into preparing the post…

    dc January 21, 2007, 8:52 pm
  • paul, you’re an animal…thanks for putting all the effort into preparing the post…

    dc January 21, 2007, 8:53 pm
  • Paul, that was fantastic. Thank you for spending your time doing that. Now, I’m going to make some of my own projections. Robbie is going to hit 25 to 32 homers provided he doesn’t get hurt, and Mr. Blue Lips is going to have a MONSTER season. You watch. Oh, for all you Sox Fans who love the Pats; H

    bloodyank78 January 21, 2007, 11:36 pm
  • Sorry, I posted before I was finished. What I intended to say was this:
    Has the world turned upside down? Choke artist Payton beats the almighty Pats? I was laughing so hard. That is what Sox fans must feel like when they watch Jetes walk off the field when the Yanks punch out early from the playoffs lately. What a great night; anytime a New Englander has a bad sports day, I’m happy.

    bloodyank78 January 21, 2007, 11:44 pm
  • …new england fans are allowed to be smug about their football success in the past several years, much more so than their baseball results, which have been far less spectacular, although not without at least 1 highlight…be gracious in victory as well as defeat…

    dc January 21, 2007, 11:59 pm
  • Ya, sounds reasonable. I only think Abreu has better projections, since well, he doesn’t get 100 walks every year for no reason. I wish he has some more power back though..

    Lar January 22, 2007, 12:01 am
  • Yeah, Abreu’s stats are terrible, and Matsui only getting 350+ at bats? I think you should probably eliminate that, Matsui had played in every game until his injury, it’s only reasonable to expect he’ll play in nearly every game this year too.
    Everyone else’s projections look reasonable (except maybe Giambi who, while even playing hurt, managed 100+ RBI). Matsui’s is way below his skill level. I say fix that, and you’ve got some excellent predictions.
    And Rivera, no one projects him because he always outperforms it. I’d say another season of below 2 ERA and below 1 WHIP is in order, but that’s just because he’s done it so consistently. Plus, I doubt that Villone will be in the bullpen to put up those horrid numbers. And if Karstens pitches that horrible for that much, then it will only be because AAA Scranton abducted its entire roster.
    So with those reasonable fixes, I think we can be a little more bullish on the Yankees, here :)

    Anonymous January 22, 2007, 12:28 am
  • From BP Unfiltered:
    “Just a very preliminary attempt to spit out team projections for the Yankees and the Red Sox based on the PECOTAs.
    RS RA
    Yankees 918 774
    Red Sox 913 772
    This is going to be fun.”
    I second that sentiment.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) January 22, 2007, 9:55 am
  • Oh, doh, you already got that up there. My bad.
    Basically, both teams project to be ~95 win teams. Sounds right to me.

    Rob (Middletown, CT) January 22, 2007, 9:57 am
  • looks like it’ll be the team that stays healthiest.

    amos worth January 22, 2007, 12:44 pm
  • Paul thanks. Here’s what I have from Baseball HQ and Ron Shandler, former advisor to the Cardinals. Slightly more optimistic then PECOTA.
    Avg/OB/Slg
    Damon 294/362/473
    Jeter 309/374/454
    Abreu 297/418/483
    Giambi 252/395/519
    Alex 294/386/540
    Matsui 305/394/487
    Jorge 270/364/471
    Robbie 316/343/510
    Doug 280/352/424
    Moose 14-8 3.86
    Wang 14-9 3.95
    AP 15-7 3.57
    Pavano 8-6 4.27
    Igawa 13-8 4.24
    Mo 4-3 37 Saves 2.64

    Triskaidekaphobia January 22, 2007, 1:01 pm
  • Villone is no longer on the Yankees. He is a free agent and has not yet signed with a team.

    Mike January 22, 2007, 1:13 pm
  • Ahh, thanks, Mike. :-P

    Paul SF January 22, 2007, 2:07 pm
  • Where are these predictions from Pavano stemming from?

    Brad January 22, 2007, 2:17 pm
  • > Where are these predictions from Pavano stemming from?
    For me, it’s from the unbridled optimism I hold that he will avoid nefarious hazards such as sitting down too quickly. And standing up. And driving. And walking. And sharp objects like the edges of loose-leaf paper.

    attackgerbil January 22, 2007, 3:33 pm
  • That Baseball HQ projection for Pavano is ridiculously optimistic. Same for Igawa. It seems like they forgot this is the AL East, not the NL West.

    Paul SF January 22, 2007, 3:38 pm
  • Igawa is an unknown, so I can see that, but Pavano is known all too well; the projections for him seem to have been written by his Mother. If they said 5 wins or 10 wins, I may buy into it, but having not pitched in a couple years is just as bad as being injured. Guys just don’t step on the mound after a long time off and start winning games – especially when they are named Pavano.

    Brad January 22, 2007, 3:58 pm
  • I cannot defend the predictions for Pavano, I can only pass them along. But what I will say is Ron Shandler is one of the most respected men in his field, so I would imagine whatever he sees is based on fact not on the fact he has a man crush on Pavano.
    “If they said 5 wins or 10 wins, I may buy into it, but having not pitched in a couple years is just as bad as being injured.”
    5= Good
    10 = Good
    Projected 8 = Bad
    You will need to explain that math Brad.
    Finally, I’ll give you the “Aggressive” Pavano projection if you give me the FAR from aggressive Abreu predictions.
    Abreu = 277 (PECOTA)
    Pedroia = 284 (PECOTA)
    Hmmm……

    Triskaidekaphobia January 22, 2007, 5:19 pm
  • Buster Olney disagrees with PECOTA about Robbie (so do I). Note what he says about A-Rod:

    Now the 24-year-old Cano appears poised for a monster season. Limited to 122 games last year, Cano still managed to rack up 41 doubles, one triple and 15 homers, and drive in 78 runs with a .342 average. His batting average in each of his last three months of play: .398, .351, .373. If, in fact, Alex Rodriguez exercises an opt-out option in his contract after the 2007 season and leaves the Yankees — and many baseball executives expect that he will — the emergence of Cano will be a major reason why the team might not think it’s that big of a deal.

    john January 22, 2007, 7:04 pm
  • He also says this about the Sox and Tampa Bay:

    The Rays could go into the future with the best offensive outfield in the game, with Carl Crawford and Delmon Young flanking Baldelli. But trading Baldelli might give the Rays the best chance of landing the kind of power arm they so desperately need to even approach a .500 record, which is why they listened to offers all winter for Baldelli. There could be a natural fit for a deal down the road between Boston and Tampa Bay: The Red Sox have some good pitching prospects and might be looking for a long-term solution in center field, and Baldelli is a New Englander.

    john January 22, 2007, 7:06 pm
  • John, Olney’s wrong about one thing. A-Rod’s leaving would be a huge deal.

    Nick-YF January 22, 2007, 7:06 pm
  • This is a big year for A-Rod. A bad year for him is a good year for practically every one else, but he who else can contribute 121 rbis and still seem like a handicap too often? In 2005 he had only had 9 more rbis, but he seemed so much more important to the team’s success.
    If he opts out, who else is going to pay him $25 million a year?

    john January 22, 2007, 7:15 pm
  • did you see what Soriano got on the open market? I could see A-Rod getting…A-Rod money again.

    Nick-YF January 22, 2007, 7:16 pm
  • I am not sure why Cano makes an Olney column that is really about lesser known youngsters on the rise, it seems out of place, considering that Cano is firmly established at this point.

    SF January 22, 2007, 7:21 pm
  • If Cano only played in a larger market with more media saturation, he’d get the respect he really deserves.

    Paul SF January 22, 2007, 9:57 pm
  • I don’t know, 12 wins for Peittitte and Wang? The Yankees are going to score for Andy, if Randy can squeek 17 wins with a 5.00 ERA Andy should match that. And 60+ RBIs for Matsui and Abreau? Are they predicting them to be injured, because if not that’s insulting. That would be the worst Yankee line up in 10 years. Also how could they predict Cano will have such a drop off at his young age? How could you base predictions on averages for a guy who hasn’t even played a full season?

    Chuck January 22, 2007, 11:34 pm
  • Chuck, PECOTA and other projection systems predict wins very conservatively. In the Bill James Handbook, for example, Johan Santana and Chris Carpenter are the only pitchers with more than 16 wins, and no one has 20.

    Paul SF January 22, 2007, 11:36 pm
  • PECOTA also predicts minor miracles for Boston’s rotation and bullpen and seriously hates the Yankees, it seems. Wins don’t matter, they’re a purely quantitative stat that have very little standing on a pitcher’s performance. See: Randy Johnson 2004.
    PECOTA seems to be really conservative on the Yankees, yet for Boston it predicts nearly everything going right. I don’t really think it will be that close of a race this year. It’s too bad, because September just wasn’t as exciting without a spirited and good Red Sox team on the Yankees’ tails.

    Andrew January 23, 2007, 1:34 am
  • Check that statement on the PECOTA’s projection of the Sox rotation. I was looking at BIS, which is slightly ridiculous as to almost be amusing. PECOTA is conservative on almost all pitchers.

    Andrew January 23, 2007, 1:38 am
  • Why’s Cano in the story with Kendricks, Crosby and Phillips? He’s younger than two of the three, had fewer years in the bigs than the same two, and Olney thinks he has a big upside and represents a big change in the way the Yanks do business.

    john January 23, 2007, 7:46 am
  • You will need to explain that math Brad.
    I’m sorry, Trisk. I misread the stats between Pavano and Pettitte. My mistake. Either way, I think it’s still a stretch to hope for anything at this point.

    Brad January 23, 2007, 8:42 am
  • the pavano and igawa predictions are not so outrageous when lined up against those for the sox pitchers…if i recall, most of them are expected to see significant bounce-back years…based on what exactly?…one theory is “better luck” for beckett…please…these are nothing more than predictions based on some hokey math models built by guys with too much time on their hands…have fun, but don’t take any of it too seriously…

    dc January 23, 2007, 10:54 am
  • Robby has switched to #24, in preparation for Rocket’s announcement. More drama…..Better have Wily Mo pick a new # just in case.

    Triskaidekaphobia January 23, 2007, 11:09 am
  • Igawa will be in the conversation for rookie of the year. i know he throws in the high 80s and he has weak offspead pitches but i think with some major league coaching he will fair better then matsuzaka because matsuzaka has immense pressure to succede

    karl February 1, 2007, 6:55 pm
  • Alright, no offense but i think these projections are ridiculous. Im not going to write a whole speech here but here is one HUGE piece of evidence to back me up even though i can think of a ton. Matsui, is here projected to get only a mere 60 RBI’s! The guy before last season when he got hurt had hit in 100 every other season. Even when he came back he was hot this year. Matsui will have his regular .300/25 HR/100+ RBI season. MAYBE somewhere in the 90′s considering the Yanks have so many other weapons.

    Rob February 22, 2007, 2:32 am

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