It’s hard to believe five months of the baseball season are now in the books. As we’ve done in every month of the season thus far, we are pleased to present Yankeeist’s August 2010 monthly wrap-up. For previous monthly wrap-ups, please click on the following links:
Here are the overall and month-by-month team numbers for the 2010 Yankees:
I realize this is a ton of information to swallow, but let’s try to wade through it quickly. We all know that things started out roughly for the Yankees in August, but they rebounded nicely during the last week of the season and ended up posting a winning record. The Yankees actually had the exact same home and road records in May of this season, though they scored more and allowed more runs that month.
The starting rotation outside of CC Sabathia was of course a mess in August, posting the worst ERA and FIP in the American League for the month. On the flip side, however, the bullpen was spectacular in August, with the best BAA, WHIP, LOB% and ERA in the league. One thing both the rotation and relievers seem particularly adept at is stranding baserunners, with a 74.7% LOB%, good for second-best in the league.
The primary bugaboo for the Yankee pitching staff remains the home-run ball, though they’re also walking a few too many batters for my taste. All in all, despite a tough go of it from the starting rotation, it’s still mighty impressive that the Yankees were able to not only post a winning record, but remain in first place. A lot of that was due in part to a rejuvenated offense, which posted the second-best wOBA in the AL in August (after the White Sox) and also reclaimed the top spot for the year, with a solid .350 mark. Considering the team was without Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman for half the month, not to mention Berkman hadn’t even started hitting yet, the offense should look even stronger in September.
Here are the individual player stat lines on offense (please right click on the table to open the image in a new tab, then click on the little magnifying glass icon that appears when you hover over the table to enlarge it to its actual size):
Unsurprisingly, Mark Teixeira had the best month of August among full-time Yankee position players, posting a .411 wOBA, though this was actually a decline from his absurdly hot July (.488). Robinson Cano followed with a .382 wOBA, which, while fantastic, was actually his 4th-lowest monthly mark of the year. Shows you the kind of season Robbie’s having. Cano sits at .402 on the year, good for 6th-best in the AL. He’s been the second-most valuable player in the AL in terms of fWAR (6.3). Marcus Thames was amazing in semi-limited duty, with a .468 wOBA and seven(!) home runs.
August’s other offensive studs were Jorge Posada (.378 wOBA) and Nick Swisher (.366). Despite the hype surrounding his work with Kevin Long and a hot two-week stretch or so, Curtis Granderson still somewhat surprisingly put up a disappointing month, with his .323 wOBA the second-lowest monthly tally of his season. Brett Gardner also had a slower month on offense, with a monthly low .336 wOBA, though his overall campaign is still very impressive (.362). And then there’s Derek Jeter, who posted the worst wOBA on the team (.302), which incredibly was actually an improvement from his wretched July (.282). We’ve beaten this drum countless times this season, but Derek has really fallen off a cliff since his torrid April, and with each 0-4 he takes the contract negotiations this offseason are only going to get more painful.
Lance Berkman didn’t have an opportunity to do a whole heck of a lot in August, though in his 11 games he didn’t do a whole heck of a lot anyway. He’ll certainly be better in September, and ZiPS has him projected to hit .262/.380/.464 with a .376 wOBA and four home runs for the remainde
r of the season. If he’s able to do that, then look out, American League.
Alex Rodriguez also had a fairly bizarre month before hitting the DL, hitting .226/.268/.528. While the return of the power stroke was a nice turn of events, I remain concerned about ‘Rod’s OBP, which has declined every month since his torrid May. His highest monthly total since then is a disgusting .308, and that .268 mark in limited duty in August is cringe-inducing. If there’s a silver lining, it’s that ZiPS also has A-Rod projected to finish the year out strongly, at .272/.364/.489 with a .372 wOBA and five home runs.
Austin Kearns performed better than a lot of us expected, and came up with a couple of huge doubles at some critical junctures. Eduardo Nunez has contributed better-than-expected numbers through his first 12 games, and even when he does start tailing off one hopes he’ll still be an improvement over Ramiro Pena. As for Francisco Cervelli, I’d rather not talk about him and his .235 August wOBA.
Of the castoffs, Jose Tabata is performing quite well in Pittsburgh, with a robust .349 wOBA through his first 316 plate appearances. That Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte trade is starting to look a bit shortsighted, even if Marte did surprisingly come through in the 2009 postseason. Kind of crazy to see Austin Jackson outperforming both Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui on the season. And Melky Cabrera continues to be a joke, with a .303 season wOBA.
Here are the individual player stat lines for the pitching staff (please right click on the table to open the image in a new tab, then click on the little magnifying glass icon that appears when you hover over the table to enlarge it to its actual size):
As mentioned previously, the bullpen was nails in August while the rotation outside of Sabathia was nightmarish. Did you know that Boone Logan gave up zero earned runs in August? I didn’t. I know he let his share of inherited runners score, but Logan’s effectiveness has been a welcome surprise after his early-season struggles. Several members of the bullpen outpitched the heck out of their FIPs, with David Robertson posting a 2.70 ERA and 5.21 FIP, Sergio Mitre a 2.93 ERA and 4.61 FIP and most ridiculously, Kerry Wood accumulating a 0.71 ERA to go with a 4.13 FIP! I imagine that by and large the nature of relief pitching sees many a reliever outpitch their peripherals, but these are some pretty wide deltas. Mariano Rivera continued to do his Mariano Rivera thing, which is to be the best pitcher that ever graced the earth, posting a 2.00 ERA on the month. This actually caused Mo’s season ERA to increase, from 0.93 to 1.13.
I remain astonished that the Yankees had as successful a month as they did with three starting pitchers turning in rather horrendous August numbers, led by A.J. Burnett‘s 7.80 ERA, followed by Javier Vazquez‘s 5.96 and Dustin Moseley‘s 5.67. And Vazquez and Moseley were actually even worse than those numbers indicate, as their monthly FIPs were 6.96 and 6.68, respectively. Whew, that’s ugly.
The good news is that if all goes according to plan, the rotation will receive a significant upgrade in mid-September with the return of Andy Pettitte. While not impossible, it also seems unlikely that A.J. Burnett and Javier Vazquez will continue being as bad as they were in August. Additionally, the Yankees will be getting both Alex Rodriguez and Lance Berkman back within the next several days, lengthening and strengthening a lineup that has already been doing quite well without them. If the Yankees get everyone back, healthy and effective, they should be primed for a solid end-of-season stretch run and can hopeful
ly take that momentum with them into the postseason.
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