Thursday, November 8, 2007

Some projections for the Yankees, Part 1

So apparently the Yankees have made offers of about $40 million over 3 years to both Posada and Rivera. Hope they take them. Pettitte hopefully decides to come back. He declined his option but that's simply because he wants more time to think over his future. For now, here's what I expect out of the New York Yankees lineup next year.

1B Jason Giambi
I think the Yankees need to get this through to Giambi: this is your walk year. There's a team option for 2009 but there's no guarantee that we will pick up your option. So lose weight, be ready to play first base, we need your bat more than ever this year. That should give him a lot of incentive to show up in great shape and healthy.

I intend on coming up with a projection system of my own when I get the chance, but I will take some well-informed guesses right now based on as much info as possible.

130 G 550 PA 440 AB 120 H 25 2B 0 3B 33 HR 101 BB 12 HBP 105 K .273/.424/.555

Here's where I came up with these projections. If he stayed healthy, he would get into pretty much every game against righties and would get only occasional starts against lefties (like Nate Robertson) as Shelley Duncan would likely get the nod against the lefties. So I figure that he would get into 130 games and get about 550 plate appearances should he stay healthy. Looking at his BA/BIP in 2005, when he was hitting well, it was .293. The past two years he's been about .250-.260. His line drive percentage was 16% the past 2 seasons, but I think that if healthy, he will hit more liners, probably putting him around 18%. So I made a quick and dirty guess that his BA/BIP would jump to about .280ish. His strikeout rate in 2006 was 23%, so I figured he would be right around that, maybe slightly less. His walk rate was down to 13% this year, but I think that if he's any bit effective next year, he will be pitched to more carefully and draw walks at about an 18% rate, a more Giambi-like percentage. In 2005, he homered once every 13 at bats. I think that he could do just about the same in 2008 under these assumed conditions. So, having figured out all of this, it became mere calculation to come up with the totals, aside from basically just guessing the number of doubles he would hit. So if he could put these kinds of numbers up in 2008, I would be pretty happy.

2B Robinson Cano
I was very happy with Cano's explosion in the second half, going .343/.396/.557 with 13 homers. I was especially happy with his 24 walks in 329 plate appearances. That was a much higher walk rate than either of his other two full seasons. He is arguably the best second baseman in the AL. Polanco's a good player, but he got a little bit lucky this year. Cano is better. And fuck Dustin Pedroia. He's a big turd in a midget's body. Fenway Park just helps cover up the smell. Anyway, assuming Kevin Long works with him to maintain/improve his second half plate discipline, here's what I can see him doing next year.

155 G 670 PA 613 AB 199 H 40 2B 4 3B 23 HR 50 BB 7 HBP 73 K .325/.382/.515

Basically, I think he can be like a 1998 Derek Jeter, just with a little more power and less speed. These projections were based largely on his second half from this past season. Being a young player, you have to look at the most recent data more than you do a veteran (not to say that it's not important for an aging vet). His walk percentage was about 7.5% in the second half, so it should stay about the same if not get a little bit better. Maybe even 8%. His K-rate was 11% in the second half, and historically he hasn't struck out much. So I think it'll remain around the same, at about 12 or 13%. In the second half, he homered once every 22 at bats. For the season, he homered once every 32 at bats. I think that he'll be somewhere in between, leaning slightly towards the once per 22 at bats end. Say about once every 25 at bats. His BA/BIP in the second half was a beastly .354, which you cannot expect to last. Overall for the year it was .331. My guess is that it can be around .340 seeing as how his walking a little more will keep him from putting more weakly hit balls in play. He always hits a ton of doubles, so 40 is reasonable. His 7 triples this year was an anomaly, so my guess is he'll hit more like 3 or 4 next season. So overall, this is what I see happening for Cano.

SS Derek Jeter
Hard to believe but Derek Jeter is getting old. He is turning 34 next season. How will he respond to his tools diminishing over the next few years? They already have started to drop. His power has been declining, he appears to be losing a step, his range at short continues to shrink. However, I do think that he will be determined to put up a big season this year because the loss of A-Rod makes the Yankees lineup hard-pressed to compensate. So, here's what I think he can do next year realistically.

147 G 705 PA 626 AB 209 H 36 2B 2 3B 16 HR 64 BB 13 HBP 103 K .334/.407/.474

Now, I think Jeter's chances of hitting these numbers are lower than Cano's to hit my predictions for him, but this is feasible. As of mid-August, he was still hitting in the .330s with an OBP around .400. I'd originally had Jeter hitting more home runs, but I've realized that he probably will not. If he has a good year next year, it will look like this or 2006.

I will predict the rest of the team very soon.

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