The following charts take a look back through the last five seasons to see how the Yankee offense has fared against the five major pitch types that Fangraphs keeps data for. I’ve excluded the splitter and knuckleball, as teams see the former maybe 2% of the time in a given season and the latter around 1%, and so there isn’t anything particularly useful to be derived from that data. One thing I don’t love about Fangraphs’ pitch data is that it lumps all fastballs — save the cutter — together into one catch-all “FB” category. I can see why aesthetically and logistically it’s probably easier for the site to have a fastball clearinghouse category, although it would be nice to eventually be able see how teams collectively fared against four-seamers, sinkers and two-seamers individually.
For pitch value I’ve opted to go with standardized runs per pitch, which is shown as wFB/C, wSL/C, wCB/C, etc.). Per Fangraphs, this statistic standardizes the values on a “per 100 pitch” basis. In other words, when you see wFB/C, that represents the amount of runs that pitcher saved with their fastball over the course of 100 fastballs thrown. While I personally also like regular wFB, wSL, etc., standardizing helps level the playing field.
I don’t think there are too many surprises to be found in these charts — if you didn’t know the Yankees crushed fastballs, then you’re probably blind — although the trendline a few charts below relating to the cutter may be of interest.
Nothing to see here, folks. The Yankees smoke fastballs — and currently lead the Majors in wFB/C — and as a result are on a three-year decline in percentage seen. Curtis Granderson, Andruw Jones and Mark Teixeira have had the most success wFB/C-wise on the season.
Yankee teams of the past five seasons also haven’t had too much trouble handling the slider, and this year’s squad currently has the best wSL/C in the Majors. Tex, Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez have all raked against sliders. Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Derek Jeter have had the most trouble with the pitch.
For whatever reason, the Yankees have fared increasingly poorly against the cutter since 2009, and unsurprisingly are currently experiencing a five-year high in percent thrown against them. However, it’s important to remember that the cutter still accounts for under 10% of total pitches seen. However, Robinson Cano — and for whatever reason, Frankie Cervelli — are killing the cutter this year, as Cano currently has the 11th-best wCT/C in the AL.
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for the Yankees against the curveball, and for whatever reason this year’s team has fared quite a bit worse against the hook than the Yankee offenses of 2009 and 2010. However, here’s something that will likely surprise you: Derek Jeter has the 2nd-best wCB/C in the American League.
The changeup has been death on Yankee righthanders in 2011, as none of the regular righties in the Yankee lineup have a positive wCH/C. In fact, Derek Jeter has the third-worst wCH/C in the Majors, at -4.05. Eric Chavez has fared the best against the change, followed by Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher.
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