I’ll be the first to admit I’m not particularly enamored of the defensive metrics that are currently available. However, I do believe in giving the readers what they want, and commenter Paul asked me to take a look at how the Yankees’ and Angels’ defenses compare, so let’s see what shakes out.
UZR/150 (Ultimate Zone Rate per 150 games, which means the number of runs above or below average a fielder is, per 150 defensive games) seems to be the accepted standard for calculating defensive ability among Yankee blogs right now, so that’s what we’ll use here. It has its shortfalls — UZR doesn’t account for catchers, and I’m not really sure how accurate a metric that has Mark Teixiera as a negative at 1B can really be, but hopefully sites like BP and FanGraphs are working on an even better statistic as we speak. For now, we’ll go with what we have.
Angels: Kendry Morales, 4.4
Yankees: Mark Teixeira, -2.4
Angels: Howie Kendrick, 3.4
Yankees: Robinson Cano, -4.9
Angels: Erick Aybar, 6.3
Yankees: Derek Jeter, 5.3
Angels: Chone Figgins, 11.8
Yankees: Alex Rodriguez, -7.6
Angels: Juan Rivera, 13.8
Yankees: Johnny Damon, -11.9
Angels: Torii Hunter, -3.5
Yankees: Melky Cabrera, 2.6
Angels: Bobby Abreu, -5.2
Yankees: Nick Swisher, -1.6
Well, there you have it. According to UZR/150, the Angels absolutely obliterate the Yankees on defense, with only two Yankees — one being the much-maligned-yet-recently-defensively-resurgent Derek Jeter of all people — on the positive end. It should also be noted that Brett Gardner’s UZR/150 is 13.3.
I think you have to take this data with several pounds of salt, given questionable numbers like A-Rod’s -7.6 (I know he’s looked a bit more lethargic at the hot corner this year, but he’s definitely not a defensive liability at 3B) and Tex’s -2.4.
In any event, the offensive, defensive and pitching comparisons draw me to the same conclusion as before: these are two very evenly matched teams, albeit with the Yankees having a slight edge on paper after taking all the numbers into account. I still stand by my series prediction of the Yankees winning 4-2 from my previous post.
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