Throughout the week we’ve taken a look at the bullpens of the prospective American League postseason teams along with the pitchers who will be under consideration to make starts. Today we shine the spotlight on the offensive units of the Yankees, Twins, Rays and Rangers.
Unlike the starting pitchers analysis I’m not going to break the hitters down individually just yet because we don’t know who’s going to be on the 25-man rosters (or whether game-changing players like Justin Morneau and/or Josh Hamilton will be playing), plus I’ll be doing that for the actual American League Division Series preview. If you enjoy Yankeeist’s regular Series Previews, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Once the postseason comes I tend to go even more overboard with statistics than I usually do.
Here are each team’s overall offensive numbers to date, sorted by wOBA, with AL ranks in parentheses (yellow highlights indicate a league-leading stat):
Unsurprisingly, the Yankees are probably the strongest overall offensive team of the four contenders, leading this particular field in SLG, ISO, BB/K, OBP, wOBA and fWAR, and leading the entire league in the latter four categories, although it’s not as if any of the other offenses are weak. The Twins have been surprisingly potent considering they haven’t had Justin Morneau since early July, with the second-best wOBA and fWAR of the four teams.
The Rangers don’t lead the field in any of these categories, and by the numbers look to be pretty even with the Rays as an overall offensive unit. If Texas gets Josh Hamilton back they would almost certainly rank a touch above Tampa Bay.
Based on the raw numbers we’ve looked at in these three postseason previews thus far, it appears that the Rangers may represent a slightly better first round match-up for the Yankees, as the Twins not only have the superior bullpen and starting rotation, but a better offense as well. Of course, the discrepancies between the four teams’ overall numbers for the most part are pretty minuscule, and ultimately it really won’t make that much of a difference who the Yankees draw in the first round, as both teams are obviously quite good.
The larger question as of now will be whether the team gets to start the ALDS at home vs. the Rangers or on the road vs. the Twins, who have now tied the Yankees for the best record in baseball and seem to be showing no signs of slowing. Minnesota’s hot stretch has all but ensured that they won’t be starting the ALDS at Yankee Stadium, which has to have Minnesotans feeling rather elated given their team’s rough postseason history in New York.
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