Please click on the following links for TYA’s previous monthly wrap-ups:
After starting the month out 5-6 — and reaching perhaps their lowest point of the season following back-back drubbings by the Blue Jays in Toronto — the Yankees bounced back to go 11-5 the rest of the way, finishing the month of July with the second-best record in the American League and third-best in MLB. However, despite entering July with a two-game lead on first place and turning in a strong month of baseball, the Yankees managed to lose four games in the standings, as the laser-hot Red Sox went 20-6 while averaging an obscene 6.58 runs per game during July.
July was also a strange month for the Yankees in that the offense was seemingly nonexistent over the month’s first 18 games — largely due to the fact that Alex Rodriguez only played seven games while also nursing a torn meniscus that ultimately required surgery, shelving him for 4-6 weeks — and bottomed out prior to the just-completed 10-game homestand at a .308 team wOBA, which, had it held up, would have represented the team’s worst monthly offensive showing since September of 2001. Thankfully, the bats came to life over the month’s final 10 games — including, of course, two 17-run outbursts — and the Yankees wound up finishing the month with a respectable .340 team wOBA.
However, the pitching staff really stole the show in July, with the rotation posting its best monthly ERA/FIP/xFIP of the season, and the ‘pen its best FIP and xFIP of the year. The gaudy FIPs were largely due to the staff’s continued ability to suppress home runs — I’m not really sure how they’re doing it, and it’s not generally thought of as a repeatable skill, and so I keep expecting the team’s HR/9 to regress, but it just hasn’t. Last year as a team the Yankee staff allowed 0.92 HR/9; this year it’s 0.75. They may not seem like a huge dropoff, but when you consider that a home run is the most damaging thing a player can do, it’s no surprise that cutting the HR/9 by nearly 0.20 per nine has resulted in what is almost certainly the team’s best staff FIP in years.
In addition to the sparkling FIP, this year’s Yankee team has a very real chance to make franchise history ERA-wise. Back on June 22 I noted that the Yankee pitching staff’s then-ERA of 3.55 was on track to be the team’s lowest full-season ERA since 1978, when the team collectively posted an absurd 3.18. Since then they’ve managed to shave 0.08 runs off that figure, and with only 56 games to go, barring a complete staff implosion over the remainder of the season the 2011 Yankees would appear poised to lodge one of their best team ERA marks in more than 30 years. Even with the decreased offensive environment that would be quite the accomplishment.
On to the individual performances (feel free to open all images in new tabs to enlarge):
The Yankee outfield carried the day offensively during the month of July, as both Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner turned in their second-straight strong months (though not quite at the level of either’s torrid Junes), while Curtis Granderson continued his season-long hot hitting. And hey, Derek Jeter managed a .354 wOBA on the month while also collecting his 3,000th hit in spectacular fashion and showing a slightly softer side during his excellent HBO documentary, making this the first month during the last year-and-a-half that I haven’t been frustrated by his performance.
Mark Teixeira posted his weakest month of the year, though he started to look much, much better during the month-ending homestand, and Jorge Posada showed that his June (.428 wOBA) was a fluke, and slumped to the point of finding himself in a platoon with Andruw Jones, who had a great month (.384) in limited duty. With Posada now posting three wretched months out of four, the calls for Jesus Montero to be called up are rapidly becoming deafening.
Russell Martin continued his offensive woes, although fortunately this past month he was at least a slight net positive (0.1 fWAR) instead of negative (-0.1 in June). Martin’s been pretty execrable at the plate since his insane April, but for whatever reason — I really can’t explain it, and goes completely against my statistical leanings — I just can’t get that worked up about his struggles. I definitely have grown tired of his grounding out to short on a seemingly more frequent basis than even Derek Jeter (this isn’t quite true, but Russell did in fact have the 9th-highest GB% in all of MLB in July), but given the overall success of the pitching staff — and really, it’s easy to overlook the importance of a strong defender/game-caller behind the plate, considering that Yankee fans have lived with Jorge Posada behind the dish for over a decade — I’m mostly willing to give Russell a pass with the bat. I do hope that he can at least start hitting at a better-than-.300 wOBA clip over the remainder of the season, and it shouldn’t be that unreasonable an expectation, as I don’t think his true talent level is that of 15th-worst hitter in the American League. For what it’s worth, despite a .213/.308/.263 July, ZiPS RoS has him at .242/.343/.359 (.318 wOBA).
Here are the full-season numbers:
It’s definitely a bit unusual to see the Yankees with only six everyday players performing at an above-average level (>100 wRC+), and with one of them on the shelf for most of July, it’s no surprised the offense struggled to a certain extent.
Here’s what the Yankee pitching staff did in July:
As you already know, CC Sabathia was outrageous in July, posting what was almost certainly his best-ever month as a Yankee, and probably one of the best months of his storied career. Sabathia struck out the world, and perhaps the only blemish on this sterling month was a high (for him) walk rate of 3.00 BB/9. But that doesn’t even matter — 1.7 fWAR months for pitchers are incredible, and this was Sabathia’s second straight!
Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon — despite a couple of rough outings from the latter — continued to pitch far better than anyone would have expected, while Hector Noesi chipped in strong long-man work out of the bullpen. Mariano Rivera and David Robertson continued to make the Yankees’ endgame a thing of beauty, and perhaps most importantly, no Yankee pitcher accumulated negative fWAR — not even Sergio Mitre. Phil Hughes was even worth 0.3 fWAR despite four fairly shaky starts (and that 5.28 xFIP isn’t exactly a great omen), though he still had a better month than A.J. Burnett.
And here’s the pitching staff’s full season numbers:
No real surprises here, although it’s crazy that the current Yankee starting rotation depth chart is something like Sabathia-Colon-Garcia-Nova-Burnett-Hughes. As I noted on Twitter on Monday morning (and which Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra awesomely used in his Power Rankings), for those concerned about the Yankees not trading for a starter, the starting rotation’s xFIP is 3.79, 2nd-best in the AL after Seattle.
Of course, while xFIP thinks the Yankee starters can continue their strong performance based on the underlying numbers, the one thing xFIP can’t take into account is whether Colon and Garcia are actually physically capable of continuing this rather magical run they’re on. At this point it would seem foolish to bet against either, but we’re also heading into relatively uncharted territory with Colon, who hasn’t pitched this deep into a season since 2005, while the 35-year-old Garcia’s pitching as if it’s 2001 all over again. The team will of course hope that both hurlers can continue to turn back the clock, and obviously if the Yankees’ starters can throw to an ERA of approximately 3.80 for the remainder of the season they’ll be in great shape the rest of the way.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees