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Archive for May 25th, 2011

(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

The 2011 season has been a very perplexing one for the Yankees’ offense. Although the team’s lineup has looked futile on so many individual occasions, the aggregate numbers still suggest it is one of the best in baseball. Almost 50 games into the season, the Yankees not only lead the league in runs per game, but the lineup has also posted the most homeruns and the second highest wOBA. And yet, something still does not feel quite right.

Perhaps one reason it seems as if the Yankees have been struggling so much is because the team got off to such a quick start with the bats. In other words, although the lineup’s recent output hasn’t fallen too far behind the rest of the league, it has significantly lagged its earlier performance (not to mention preseason expectations).  So, what short circuited the Yankees’ offense and when did it occur?

Yankees Offensive Performance over Defined Periods

Games R/G AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 to 47 4.62 0.249 0.330 0.409 0.330
Rank 6 15 9 5t 5t
Season 5.17 0.254 0.335 0.445 0.344
Rank 1 12 3 1 2

Source: fangraphs.com

Segmenting a sample can often lead to a misleading analysis, but the tenor of the Yankees’ season seemed to change on April 25 when the team returned home for a four-game series against the White Sox. In that game, the 12-6 Bronx Bombers, who were leading the league with a whopping 6.1 runs/game, were opposed by journeyman Philip Humber, so the natural expectation was a blowout. However, the Chicago righty not only kept the Yankees from scoring a single run, but he also no hit them for 6 1/3 innings.

Since Humber’s masterpiece, the Yankees’ offense has fallen off considerably. Not only has the lineup’s per game run production dropped to 4.6, but most relevant metrics have taken a dip as well. Although it’s worth mentioning that the team’s production during this decline period has still been above average in aggregate, a closer look at each game tells a somewhat different story.

Of the 134 runs scored since April 25, almost 28% (37) have come in three games, meaning the team’s average in all others has been 3.7 runs. Obviously, negative outliers can’t simply be dismissed, but doing so helps to reveal a level of inconsistency that gets lost in the season totals.

Yankees’ Run Distribution, by Defined Period

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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