Domenic over at Sliding Into Home takes a page from the MJR playbook in his post today comparing the Yankees and Red Sox’s 2011 Bill James projected wOBA numbers position by position. While I’ve been poring over as many projections as I can get my hands on, I hadn’t yet taken a look at how the arch-rivals stacked up wOBA-wise, and was pleasantly surprised to see that the 2011 Sox, for all the talk of “greatest offense ever,” only win the projected wOBA battle at four positions in their starting lineup.
The first Sock with a superior wOBA is Jed Lowrie at shortstop, who James has pegged for a rather surprising .363, although if the Sox feel that that number is indicative of Lowrie’s true talent level then they’re certainly better off playing Lowrie every day than incumbent starting shortstop Marco Scutaro, who James has at a paltry .319. For comparison’s sake, the Yankees would win this position if the starter were indeed Scutaro, as James has Jeter at a .344 wOBA. Also worth noting is that CAIRO sees Lowrie as a .328 wOBA hitter. Lowrie doesn’t appear to be much of a stolen base threat, so it’s not as if that projection is missing .015-.020 points of wOBA that the James SB-including projections sometimes carry for prodigious base-stealers.
Carl Crawford is projected to outdo Brett Gardner in left, .357 to .349, and if the gap ends up being that small Yankee fans should be pretty happy to get near-Crawford production at approximately 2% of the cost of the average annual value of Crawford’s deal with the Sox.
Domenic notes that the rough total team wOBAs for these projected starting lineups are approximately .365 for Boston and .362 for the Yankees, both of which would likely once again see the longtime rivals finishing as the top two offensive teams in the league. Of course, it’s too early to draw any conclusions without factoring the benches or Jesus Montero in, and I’d guess after the dust settles that both teams’ offensive units will continue to be very evenly matched as they have been for much of the last decade.
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