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Thursday, September 13, 2012

WSJ: Yankees Without a 100-RBI Man? It’s Possible

That’s unpossible! You can’t expect a team to win without shiny, magical double-zeros!

If that happens, it would be the first time the Yankees lacked a 100-RBI player in a full season since 1992, when Don Mattingly led the club with 86. The Yankees’ individual RBI totals have been hurt by injuries—Alex Rodriguez (pictured) and Mark Teixeira have missed time.

The last time the Yankees made the playoffs despite not having a 100-RBI man was 1978, when they won the World Series despite Reggie Jackson leading the team with 97 RBIs. Three Yankees reached 90 that year, including Graig Nettles and Chris Chambliss.

In recent years, though, the Yankees have had no shortage of guys with 100 RBIs. They have had at least two every year since 2002 and had three each of the last two seasons. They have had a player with at least 119 RBIs in seven of the last eight years.

But barring a Granderson hot streak, that run is about to end.

Repoz Posted: September 13, 2012 at 04:52 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, yankees

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   1. thok Posted: September 13, 2012 at 06:21 AM (#4234488)
Strangely, the connotations a lack of a 100 RBI man almost completely describes the problems with the Yankees: their offense isn't as good as it should be, because their best power hitters have been injured.

Basically, they need to average over 5 runs a game for the rest of the season just to match the 2008 offense (which is the worst Yankees offense since we lost games to the strike.) They'd need to average more like 7.5 runs a game over the last 20 games to look like a typical Yankees offense over that time period.

If either of those happens, the Yankees would have a 100 RBI guy.
   2. Bob Meta-Meusel Posted: September 13, 2012 at 08:26 AM (#4234517)
Yankees Team OPS+ since 2008:
2008: 101
2009: 114
2010: 108
2011: 109
2012: 110 (to date)

Yeah, they're way behind on runs but that's because scoring is down. AL runs per team per game:
2008: 4.78
2009: 4.82
2010: 4.45
2011: 4.46
2012: 4.45

Or, that's what I thought until I actually looked at the numbers. As a team, in leagues with similar scoring, the 2012 Yankees are .005 behind the 2011 Yankees in raw OPS, though it is slightly more SLG heavy in 2012. Despite that, they're scoring .51 fewer runs per game.
   3. nick swisher hygiene Posted: September 13, 2012 at 09:00 AM (#4234538)
As a team, in leagues with similar scoring, the 2012 Yankees are .005 behind the 2011 Yankees in raw OPS, though it is slightly more SLG heavy in 2012. Despite that, they're scoring .51 fewer runs per game.

Yep. And now one more piece of data to complete the puzzle: with men in scoring position this team turns into a bunch of ####### choking ####-eating dogs!

   4. TomH Posted: September 13, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4234553)
while #3 is true, for fairness and completeness it must be pointed out that their pitchign has been as postively clutch as their hitters have been UNclutch.

Yanks are 4th in ERA but 9th in OPS allowed. Believe it or not, their SLG allowed is actually higher than the Red Sox arms. They are 12th in OPS allowed with bases empty, but 3rd with runners on scoring position.
   5. SG Posted: September 13, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4234579)
Strangely, the connotations a lack of a 100 RBI man almost completely describes the problems with the Yankees: their offense isn't as good as it should be, because their best power hitters have been injured.


It also hasn't helped that their best hitter, Cano, has hit much worse with runners in scoring position this year. He should be a 100 RBI guy, but hitting .237/.365/.374 with RISP makes that awfully tough, especially since the Yankees don't get on base like they used to. Granted, the offensive run environment has changed recently, but you have to go back to 1992 to find a Yankee team that got on base at a lower clip than the 2012 team's current .333 OBP (.328 OBP). What a coincidence that 1992 is the last time the team had a player with fewer than 100 RBI!

Not that RBI really matter in terms of assessing how good a player is.

   6. Loren F. Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4234603)
For the AL as a whole, total OPS this season is .732, but it's .753 with RISP.
With RISP, the Yankees' team OPS drops. It's .763 with RISP, versus .784 on the season (which includes RISP).
Now, the NYY numbers are all still above league averages, but the AL averages include Seattle, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay -- with a collective OPS of .686. But even Seattle sees its OPS rise with RISP (all the way up to .706!).
I am not alone when I say that this has been a very frustrating team to watch, and I think the decline in offensive performance with RISP is a big reason. I'm not necessarily saying that is the biggest flaw of this team, but from an emotional point of view the surprising phenomenon of seeing OPS decline with RISP is especially painful.

On an individual level, I suspect the lack of 100+ RBIs will hurt Cano's MVP vote (I hope it's a given on this site that RBIs do not measure player value). I expect Trout to win the award and deservedly so, but I think Cano should finish 2nd, 3rd or 4th (very likely behind Cabrera), and I fear that if he has "just" 90 RBIs that the traditional-stat writers will put him 9th or something (and behind Jeter).

In other Yankees news, happy birthday to Bernie Williams!
   7. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:21 AM (#4234610)
Granderson has 89 RBIs with 20 games left. Does he really need a "hot streak" to reach 100?

In related news, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz lead the Phillies with 60 RBIs. Of course Hunter Pence was the team RBI and HR leader until a couple days ago.

Obviously the Astros are the Astros, but they only have one person with more than 43 RBIs.
   8. SG Posted: September 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM (#4234669)
Granderson has 89 RBIs with 20 games left. Does he really need a "hot streak" to reach 100?


He's been awful for a large part of the season (.222/.308/.459 since May 9) so it feels like he needs a hot streak relative to that. He's looked a lot better over the past week though.
   9. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 13, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4234700)
Not that RBI really matter in terms of assessing how good a player is.


Disagree. RBI is regarded as an individual stat, which is relative garbage. But it gives useful, secondary ideas as to the type of player.

High RBI total in a single season indicate:

a) player health
b) "reputation", "dangerousness", "fame", and those other words that imply the perception of the player by his manager
c) the offensive environment of his team and his league

Future archaeologists with access to bb-ref will be able to tell a good deal from RBI totals.
   10. Srul Itza Posted: September 13, 2012 at 01:58 PM (#4234927)
He's looked a lot better over the past week though.


5 RBI in 3 PA in one game he entered late, helps a lot.
   11. SoSH U at work Posted: September 13, 2012 at 02:47 PM (#4234986)
Granderson has 89 RBIs with 20 games left. Does he really need a "hot streak" to reach 100?


This was written before his 3-RBI day yesterday.

   12. Walt Davis Posted: September 13, 2012 at 07:22 PM (#4235316)
(I hope it's a given on this site that RBIs do not measure player value).

Well, kinda. Obviously it's not a very useful measure and obviously not the only measure. But as #5 points out, regardless of the reason (and we generally assume it's just bad luck), Cano has stunk with men in scoring position this year. That hurts his _value_ (i.e. how his actual performance translates into wins) even if it says nothing about his _talent_. This is in contrast to a hypothetical where a good hitter doesn't have many RBI because either they aren't coming up with many men on base or because they're getting pitched around when there are (Bonds only led the league in RBI once).

From a value standpoint the question would be whether Cano's "overperformance" in other situations is creating as many/more runs than his underperformance with RISP is costing them. He's scoring a good number of runs and is tied for the team lead in OBP so he might be.
   13. Willie Mayspedester Posted: September 13, 2012 at 08:06 PM (#4235344)
Alex Rodriguez (pictured)


As a non RBI centurion centaur?
   14. SG Posted: September 13, 2012 at 08:22 PM (#4235350)
From a value standpoint the question would be whether Cano's "overperformance" in other situations is creating as many/more runs than his underperformance with RISP is costing them. He's scoring a good number of runs and is tied for the team lead in OBP so he might be.


If Fangraphs RE24 is to be believed, he's not even close. It accounts for changes in run expectancy after a player's performance in each of the 24 base/out states and there's a gap of about 18 runs between that and his raw batting line. He's still probably the Yankees' most valuable player, but he hasn't been as valuable as his raw line would indicate.

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