During this off week we’ve spent a couple of posts looking at the 2011 Yankees’ splits and how they’ve performed compared to the league and themselves during the last few seasons; in this piece I want to take a more straightforward look at how the Yankees are doing in a select group of offensive and pitching statistics compared to the rest of the American League this season.
First up, the offense, culled from Fangraphs and B-Ref. I know these tables are a bit unwieldy, but please right-click and open ‘em in a new tab for a crisper view.
The Yankees currently lead the AL in the following:
The most heartening of that set of stats for me are the Plate Discipline numbers. The Yankees not only see the fewest % of pitches in the strike zone of every team in the AL, but they also do an excellent job of not swinging at those pitches (with the 2nd-lowest O-Swing% in the league). They also swing at fewer pitches than anyone in the league, but when they do swing at pitches in the zone, they have the highest percentage of zone contact. They also see the fewest percentage of first-pitch strikes in the league, and also lead the AL in 2-0 counts and 3-1 counts seen.
The 2011 Yankees may have some issues to be worked out, but selectivity doesn’t appear to be one of them.
Here’s what they’ve done pitching-wise:
The name of the game for the 2011 Yankee pitching staff to date has been stranding baserunners, leading the league in both LOB% and Inherited Runner Scored %. Unfortunately stranding runners is one of the more luck-fueled and erratic components of pitching there is, and it would be foolish to expect the team to be able to continue to perform at such an elevated rate with runners on. Fortunately the team’s peripherals are strong — 3rd-best K/9 in the league, 3rd-best GB%, 2nd-best FB%, 5th-lowest Batting Average Against — and so the pitching staff should continue to excel at keeping runners off the bases.
All in all, there’s been a lot to like about the 2011 Yankees, who have almost certainly played better than many would have expected heading into the season with the seeming patchwork rotation that they were set to deploy. As superb as Curtis Granderson (.402 wOBA) has been on offense (and make no mistake, his contributions have been extremely important on a team where the next-highest wOBA is Mark Teixeira‘s .378), you’d probably have to give the first-half MVP to both Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia, who have pitched way beyond expectations, combining for 2.9 fWAR as the Yankees’ 2nd- and 3rd-most effective starters. Obviously CC Sabathia has been pitching out of his mind, but we’ve come to expect that by now — as noted this morning, without Colon’s and Garcia’s contributions, there’s a very good chance the Yankees aren’t sitting in second place, only a game out of first with the 3rd-best record in baseball.
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