Now that the Yankees are back in first place following their sweep of the Astros, it seems as if we have reached a good point to reflect upon what has happened on the field thus far. I thought it might be interesting to look at where each player ranks at his position in terms of WAR, to try and gauge who is performing well relative to the league and who might need to step up his play. Note that WAR is a counting stat, so that injuries will hurt a player’s total, and that WAR is subject to the statistical noise created by a small sample size of UZR.
C) Jorge Posada: 7th in MLB with 1.4 WAR, leader is Olivo at 2.6.
1B) Mark Teixeira: 24th with 0.6 WAR, leader is Mourneau at 4.1.
2B) Robinson Cano: 1st with 3.8 WAR, 2nd is Phillips at 2.4.
SS) Derek Jeter: 2nd with 2.0 WAR, leader is Tulowitzki at 2.1.
3B) Alex Rodriguez: 8th with 1.8 WAR, leader is Longoria/Zimmerman at 3.1.
RF) Nick Swisher: 8th with 2.2 WAR, leader is Torres at 2.8.
CF) Curtis Granderson: 21st with 1.0 WAR, leader is Rios at 3.4.
LF) Brett Gardner: 8th at 1.6, leader is Crawford at 2.9.
DH) Marcus Thames/Nick Johnson: combine for 0.2 WAR. Leader is Guerrero at 2.0.
Notes: On the positive side, Swisher is right there with the leaders in right, and is actually 2nd in the sport in terms of offensive output from a right fielder. Considering the time that he spent on the D.L., Posada’s total is quite impressive as well. Gardner has been quite good, and Jeter’s numbers are down but are still better than almost anybody else’s at short. And what more can be said about Robbie Cano?
From a more negative point of view, Teixeira has been awful, and A-Rod could stand to improve as well. The DH spot has been a black hole for a while, and Granderson’s injury and ineffectiveness have hurt the Yankees in the outfield.
P1) Phil Hughes: 11th in MLB with 2.2 WAR, leader is Halladay at 3.9.
P2) Andy Pettitte: 36th with 1.5 WAR.
P3) AJ Burnett: 73rd with 1.1 WAR.
P4) CC Sabathia: 85th with 1.0 WAR.
P5) Javier Vazquez: 279th with 0.1 WAR.
Notes: You have to love that Phil Hughes is right there among the league leaders, as is elder statesman Andy Pettitte. AJ Burnett has been solid but not great, and CC Sabathia has been disappointing. Both have been second half pitchers in recent years, so I would expect them to move up this leaderboard as the claendar turns from spring to summer. Vazquez’ stats have been torpedoed by his awful start, and will need to pitch like a Cy Young candidate from here on to put up the kind of year many expected from him.
RP1) Joba Chamberlain: 13th at 0.9 WAR, leader is Broxton at 1.8.
RP2) Mariano Rivera: 36th at 0.6 WAR.
Notes: The tiny sample size for relievers at this point of the season tends to skew these rankings, but I included them simply to display that Joba Chamberlain has actually been pretty good. He’s had a handful of poor outings, but he is keeping the ball in the park and is missing bats. If he keeps doing those things, his ERA will begin to reflect his strong peripherals.
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