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June 6, 2006

by SG

No one, and I mean no one, comes into our house and pushes us around. - the Coach from Rudy

Last night, the Yankees did something they rarely seem to do, and blew out the Boston Red Sox 13-5. My favorite part of the offensive explosion was the continued good play of Andy Phillips, who has shown he belongs at the major league level. Mike Mussina got his 8th win despite being shaky, although I think a few long innings on the bench contributed to that. Moose has been the most valuable pitcher in the AL this season by my numbers, 21 runs above average.

I've talked about Moose a lot this season, so let's look at the position players. Reader J asked me for a comparison of some current Yankees vs. some of the lost Yankees to see if the Yankees were really that much worse off with Melky and Phillips replacing Matsui and Sheffield. Even though he thinks I'm a pencil-necked geek, I will oblige him.

Although I really should use projections due to the sample sizes in this season's numbers, Melky's projection potentially understates his ability because at his age development is a real and likely possiblity. Similarly, projections for older players like Bernie and Sheffield may overstate their ability at this point if they've suffered real physical declines that may not have shown up in prior seasons. For this exercise, I'm looking at three separate combinations to cover 1B, LF, RF, and DH both offensively and defensively. Anyway, here's a run down based on how the following three groups have performed this season.

In the charts below, Off is the offensive runs above/below average compared to that position over 150 games based on YTD performance. Def is the same thing, but for defense over 150 games.

Combination 1

Combination 2

Combination 3

Again, this is not completely scientific due to the small sample size of this year's offensive and defensive performances. If I wanted to do this the right way I'd incorporate this season's performance into the pre-season projections for offense and defense and adjust accordingly, but I'm still in vacation mode.

Melky's defense rates very high due to his high assist total, but his ZR is below average. If runners stop running on him his defensive value will decrease accordingly. Also, it's pretty likely that a healthy Gary Sheffield would have much better offensive numbers than he has had to this point, and Hideki Matsui was also underperforming somewhat. Still, it's pretty interesting to see that the current iteration is better than either of the other two combinations had been this season. If they'd replace Bernie's playing time with Kevin Thompson's, they'd really be somewhere. Bernie is killing this team right now, offensively and defensively.

Last night's game was fun, but it only counts as one. Chien-Ming Wang seems to struggle against Boston and the Yankees have never seen Dave Pauley before, so I have no idea what to expect tonight.