Sunday, April 03, 2005

Boston Red Sox - New York Yankees - Position by position comparison

In a recent article of ESPN's Jayson Stark, some GM, managers and coaches compared Boston's lineup and New York's lineup position by position (they only asked six people at all). Only one ranked the Yankees as good as the Sox. So I wanted to check this out by myself, though (since I don't know any GM, managers, coaches, scout, columnists, players or even baseball fans) I used projections from the Baseball Think Factory for the 2005 season and I only looked at the offense. I might include pitching and defense later, if I have the time (which means: probably not). I also included the three bench players I think will get the most playing time (though I counted them as a half position only). Here we go:

Catcher Jason Varitek - Jorge Posada
         AVG   OBP   SLG
Varitek .274  .361  .452
Posada  .265  .385  .468
       +.009 -.024 -.016
Posada is a little (really just a little) better than Varitek and though you might call even, I give this position to the Yankess out of generosity.
Boston - New York 0-1

First Base Kevin Millar - Tino Martinez
          AVG   OBP   SLG
Millar   .288  .369  .469
Martinez .242  .336  .408
        +.046 +.033 +.061
Millar is known to get streaky, but as long as he's not going on a cold streak from April to September, he will outproduce the old Yankees hero easily.
Boston - New York 1-1

Second Base Mark Bellhorn - Tony Womack
          AVG   OBP   SLG
Bellhorn .267  .381  .450
Womack   .265  .311  .337
        +.002 +.070 +.113
Everyone is sure Womack isn't going to repeat his career numbers from last year, me too. While Womack and Bellhorn will hit nearly the same amount of balls into play, Bellhorn will continue to take his walks (and Ks, but that's ok) and hit the occasional homer.
Boston - New York 2-1

Third Base Bill Mueller - Alex Rodriguez
           AVG   OBP   SLG
Mueller   .289  .369  .454
Rodriguez .285  .381  .539
         +.004 +.012 -.085
Alex "the mercenary" Rodriguez easily outslugges ex-batting-title-holder Mueller. But it's closer than I thought it would be.
Boston - New York 2-2

Shortstop Edgar Renteria - Derek Jeter
          AVG   OBP   SLG
Renteria .324  .382  .467
Jeter    .298  .358  .454
        +.026 +.024 +.013
Mr. Clutch (I just LOVE that article!) Derek Jeter now has a gold glove, too. Obviously, this means you get gold gloves for diving into the stands today. But what's even better: now that Renteria plays in Boston, Derek Jeter is only the third best shortstop in his division. I recently read an article about fantasy baseball where Jeter ranked much higher than Renteria. Why exactely is that?
Boston - New York 3-2

Left Field Manny Ramirez - Hideki Matsui
         AVG   OBP   SLG
Ramirez .311  .409  .589
Matsui  .293  .384  .481
       +.018 +.025 +.108
This is too easy.
Boston - New York 4-2

Center Field Johnny Damon - Bernie Williams
          AVG   OBP   SLG
Damon    .290  .367  .443
Williams .266  .360  .427
        +.024 +.007 +.016
Hittingwise, they are close. But lets take a look at another offensive category from last year.: Damon SB 19 - CS 8, Williams SB 1 - CS 5. I rest my case.
Boston - New York 5-2

Right Field Trot Nixon - Gary Sheffield
           AVG   OBP   SLG
Nixon     .282  .371  .505
Sheffield .287  .388  .525
         +.005 -.017 -.020
I expected Sheffield's numbers to be significantly better than Nixon's, since this was one of two positions (3B was the other) where everyone on the original poll picked the Yankee player. Now that Nixon won't have to hit against many southpaws with Payton on the bench, I really think I could call it even. After all, Sheffield's OPS was .957 over the last three years, while Nixon's was .946 against righthanders. Since I gave the catcher position to New York, it's even here (I have to be a bit provocative if I want some people to read this blog).
Boston - New York 5.5 - 2.5

Designated Hitter David Ortiz - Jason Giambi
        AVG   OBP   SLG
Ortiz  .298  .380  .588
Giambi .252  .394  .493
      +.046 -.014 +.095
Even if Giambi does miraculously come back to pre-steroid form, he will have a hard time catching Big Pappi.
Boston - New York 6.5 - 2.5

4th Outfieder Jay Payton - Ruben Sierra
        AVG   OBP   SLG
Payton .288  .345  .442
Sierra .233  .281  .375
      +.055 +.014 +.095
If Giambi doesn't flop totally (I don't think he will), Sierra will get much less playing time than last year (And even though I list him as the 4th outfielder, he'll hardly ever play in the field). Payton instead will be a big factor, since he will start in RF against lefthanders. He could start for many teams, Sierra can't, that says everything.
Boston - New York 7.0 - 2.5

2nd Catcher Doug Mirabelli - John Flaherty
           AVG   OBP   SLG
Mirabelli .255  .330  .459
Flaherty  .233  .269  .366
         +.022 +.061 +.093
I was really happy when I heard the Red Sox re-signed Mirabelli. He will catch all games with Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on the mount and will also pinchhit sometimes. For a catcher, he really hits well, Flaherty doesn't.
Boston - New York 7.5 - 2.5

Pinch Hitter Kevin Youkilis - Bubba Crosby
          AVG   OBP   SLG
Youkilis .266  .367  .390
Crosby   .258  .309  .403
        +.008 +.058 -.013
Youkilis will get on base more, Crosby is a bigger threat to hit one out of the park. After all, I think Youkilis is better and he's also two years younger and more likely to improve. Still I give something back to the Yankees for the Sheffield incident. I also round off, to make the numbers look nicer.
Boston - New York 8-3

If you had asked me before which team has the better offense, I probably would have been saying New York. Why? I remember last year, after the Rodriguez trade, everyone was talking about a heck of an offense, about 1000 runs being scored and records and stuff. The team hasn't changed much since then, has it? Obviously, the upgrade wasn't that great after all. Ok, nobody could have expected the Giambi saga, but still.
Every Boston hitter is a tough out, even the bench players. The lowest projected OBP is .330 for Mirabelli, the lowest for a starter is .367, for Damon, the leadoff hitter, this is. Is it just me or is it plain cruel if the leadoff hitter is the easiest out?
New York has some holes with Womack and Crosby, who will get more playing time to rest Williams. The Yankees will score a bunch of runs, no doubt about that, but if I were a pitcher, I'd fear the Red Sox lineup more.

I still have a few minutes, so I add up all the numbers and take a look at the team average. I still weight the bench players half as much as the starters.

Team Boston Red Sox - New York Yankees
         AVG   OBP   SLG
Red Sox .288  .372  .482
Yankees .268  .356  .448
       +.020 +.016 +.034
Ok, this method of comparison is flawed in many ways, but it's interesting to see that the Red Sox are 2004's Phil Nevin (.289, .368, .492) while the Yankees are Matt Stairs (.267, .345, .451). Neat!


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