Now that the CHONE projections have been released and the Yankees and Red Sox have, for the most part, finalized their rosters, people have begun to analyze which club projects to be better in 2010. Most fo the studies I have seen come to the same conclusion.
Yankeeist broke it down by position, and concluded with this:
That said, in aggregate, each method draws the same conclusion: The Yankees core looks stronger than the Red Sox core. Baseball Prospectus puts the final tally at 59.5 to 49.8, while Fangraphs comes to 61.4 to 55.1. The actual 8 win difference between the two 2009 teams is right between these two estimates, adding credibility to the final tallies.
RLYW, using their own CAIRO system, came to a similar conclusion with a narrower margin:
I haven’t really finalized their pitching depth chart so I’m not going to post it yet, but with the one I have worked up they look like a .598 Pythagenpat team right now, which is .025 points worse than the Yankees were when I ran their numbers. That’s the difference between a 97 win team and 101 win team in a neutral league, though we probably want to knock off a couple of wins frome each team to account for being in the AL East.
Rob Neyer sums up the debate rather well:
I think the Yankees are better, but the difference is within the margin of error (or very close), so luck will play a big part in who wins the East.
Who do you believe is the better club? I’ll get things started by doing an brief ranking of the key players on each club, considering both offense and defense (I will have a significantly more in depth comparison once the rosters are actually finalized, at some point in March):
C: Posada v. Martinez: Red Sox- Very similar players, but Martinez was a little better in ’09 and is younger.
1B: Teixeira v. Youkilis: Yankees- Again, very similar, but Tex was slightly better in ’09 and has a better track record.
2B: Cano v. Pedroia: Push- if you trust UZR, you take Pedey. If not, you probably take Cano.
SS: Jeter v. Scutaro: Yankees- Scutaro is a nice player, but he is not Jeter and could see regression.
3B: Rodriguez v. Beltre: Yankees- Again, nice player, but not in A-Rod’s league.
CF: Granderson v. Cameron: Push- If you see Grandy bouncing back, you take him. If not, Cameron’s the better bet.
RF: Swisher v. Drew: Red Sox- Drew is likely to be better defensively and about as good with the bat.
LF: Gardner v. Ellsbury: Red Sox- Gardner actually out-WAR’ed him last year, but I am not a big believer in Brett.
DH: Johnson v. Ortiz: Push- Ortiz projects poorly, while Johnson projects to do well in 110 games. Hard to read.
SP1: Sabathia v. Lester: Yankees
SP2: Burnett v. Beckett: Red Sox
SP3: Vazquez v. Lackey: Red Sox
SP4: Pettitte v. Matsuzaka: Yankees
SP5: Joba/Hughes v. Buchholz: Push
CL: Rivera v. Papelbon: Yankees
You can order the starters however you like, but I think that any permutation would result in the same thing: The Yankees winning the matchups at 1 and 4, and losing the middle 2. There are those (hi, MJ) who will disagree with a push at #5, but I am still pretty high on Chamberlain and expect him to have a better year than Clay (please remind me of this at the end of the season, so I can right a column either gloating or conceding). With Papelbon’s peripherals trending in the wrong direction and Mariano showing no signs of aging, I would take Mo for 2010.
Putting it all together, I think the pitching staffs are fairly equal, while the Yankees offense is a bit better largely due to their “margin of victory” on the left side of the infield. I would say that there is about a 2-3 win gap between the clubs at the moment, with the final composition of the bullpens and benches likely to have an impact upon that number.
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