A strange thing has happened to me while watching the last two Yankee games. For whatever reason, I’ve actually been able to tolerate Michael Kay. Usually, I can’t stand him, but on Tuesday and Wednesday, I found myself finding him less annoying. I can’t recall it now, but I actually chuckled at something he said on Tuesday and he made an excellent point yesterday about the Yankees now and the Yankees at this time last year. Through this many games, the teams had a similar record and fairly similar statistical output. That team went on to win 97 games; this team, though, if you ask many fans, is doomed to miss the playoffs and everyone from Brian Cashman to Kevin Long needs to get fired. In light of Kay’s words, let’s take a look at where the Yankees stand in terms of the rest of the American League.
The Yanks place third in batting average at .264 (Texas leads at .285 and Boston is in second with a .273 mark); second in OBP at .336 (Texas, again, is first at .344); and second in slugging at .456, trailing the Rangers’ mark of .465.
Continuing the “second to Texas” theme, the Yanks and their .344/115 wOBA/wRC+ marks trail the Rangers and their .349/116 marks.
Finally, the Yankees aren’t second to Texas in a category! The Yankees’ 9.0 BB% is tied for third in the AL (the Twins also have a 9.0 walk rate) and trails Tampa’s 9.6 mark and Cleveland’s 10.0 mark (for the record, the Rangers are ninth in this category at 7.8). The Yankees have also done a fairly good job of avoiding strikeouts, tallying the fourth lowest–17.2%–strikeout rate in the American League.
Unsurprisingly, the Yankees lead the league with 83 homers. Annoyingly, they’re only fifth in runs (260). Here’s where they’re missing Brett Gardner: the Yankees rank 11th in the AL with 32 steals.
Yankee starters aren’t exactly lighting things up, though they’ve been much better of late. Overall, they rank tenth in ERA (4.46), 11th in FIP (4.52), but second in xFIP at 3.80. The culprit here? A gaudy 1.52 HR/9, which is the second worst in the league behind the Twins and their awful 1.69 HR/9 mark. Strikeouts, though, are where the Yankees have been solid. They rank third in the AL with 7.73 K/9 and fourth in K% with 19.8 (the Tigers lead both categories with 8.13 K/9 and 21.1 K%). Yankee pitchers have also shown great control, placing second (again to Detroit) in BB/9 (2.62 to Detroit’s 2.55) and BB% (6.8 to Detroit’s 6.6). In terms of the ultimate goal here, preventing runs, the Yankees’ starters (and Rangers’) place eighth, having surrendered 177 runs.
As per usual, the Yankee bullpen has been solid. The relief corps, even without Mariano Rivera and David Robertson for a large chunk of time, places third in the AL in ERA (2.76); second in FIP (3.27), and third in xFIP (3.61). Like the starters, strikeouts have been the forte of the bullpen. They rank first in the AL in K/9 at 9.00 and first in K% at 24.00. They haven’t shown as much control as the starters, though, walking 3.42 per nine and 9.1% of batters (8th in the AL and a 3-way-tie for 7th in the AL). The relievers have also done a great job keeping the ball in the park, placing second in HR/9 (0.72 to Oakland’s 0.69) and second to Oakland (7.2%) in HR/FB% with an 8.2% mark. The Yankee bullpen has allowed 50 runs overall, the lowest total of any American League team (Oakland is the second best here at 57).
While there have been a lot of times where it hasn’t looked pretty, the Yankees have put together a solid season and sit just 0.5 games back of first place on the 7th of June. The story of this season is far from written and with 2/3 of the season to go, the Yankees look to be in a great position. There are many ways to measure a year in the life of a baseball season and we’ve plenty of time for measuring. When it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be measuring a pretty solid Yankee team.
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