Tuesday, July 7, 2009

First Half Projections - Offense

[The day game yesterday pushed these projections back a bit, but we wanted to take a look at the numbers at the half season mark. Data does not include yesterday's game.

We've done three things here: first we've taken statistics from the first half of the season and done a simple extrapolation for a full season. Below that, we've taken ZIPS (Updated) projections from the awesome FanGraphs right now, and on the bottom, for comparison's sake, we've included what the ZIPS were at the one-third mark of the season. ZIPS, specifically the half season update, are going to be the most reliable, as they take into account what each player has already done this year as well as historical performance to project what the end of season numbers will look like.

Here are the 10 most prominent Yankee hitters. For the extrapolation part, adjustments were made to both Jorge Posada and Alex Rodriguez to account for the time both lost to injury

You can click on the tables for a larger view]

Since returning from the DL in late May, Posada's hasn't hit quite as well as he had before getting injured. Still, his numbers are great for a catcher, great for a thirty-seven year old, and arguably historic for a thirty-seven year old catcher. For all the gnashing of teeth over his contract and his abilities behind the plate, Jorge Posada is still as valuable as any catcher this side of Joe Mauer. ZIPS predicts his AVG and OBP will hold at their current levels, but expects the SLG to drop off a bit. It'll be interesting to see if the veteran catcher can maintain his current levels of production as the season wears on him.

Despite his recent power outage and RBI drought, Teix is on pace to drive in well over 100 runs and score around 100 as well. ZIPS has picked up on his recent struggles and all of three of his slash stats, HR and RBI projections have declined since the third mark, but his doubles and walks are up.

All three of Cano's predictors are very similar. His ZIPS have hardly changed, while his extrapolations aren't too far away in any category. His career slash stats are .302/.335/.470, which align almost perfectly as well. He might be streaky in the short term, but over time Cano is freakishly consistent.

This has been an interesting season for Alex Rodriguez. Batting slumps have left him with an extremely low AVG by his standards. ZIPS still sees him bouncing back, but his slumps between games 54 and 81 have caused ZIPS to drop their end of season number by 13 points. What's really interesting though is A-Rod's OBP. Despite the low AVG, his current OBP is the fifth highest of his career, and 22 points above his career mark. His walk rate is 5% greater than his previous career high, and his K rate is his career best by 1.7%. His low AVG has taken a toll on his SLG, as both the extrapolation and ZIPS have him well below his career mark of .577. Yet his HR% of 6.2% is a tick above his career average of 6.1%, meaning that his HRs as a percentage of his total hits are way up. As a result his Isolated Power of .279 is slightly above his career mark of .272. His counting stats for both ZIPS and the extrapolation may be a bit high if the Yanks keeping resting him as they say they will.

Like Cano, Jeter's current batting line (.316/.390./.460) is a mirror image of his career line (.316/.387/.458). He already has 6 more stolen bases than he did all of last year, with three fewer caught stealing. Sitting at 99 hits, he's got a good chance for 200 and even though he's hitting leadoff this year, both ZIPS projections have him exceeding his RBI total from last year (69).

ZIPS doesn't buy Brett Gardner's recent improvements at the plate. This is one spot where I'm going to side with the extrapolations over the projections. I think Gardner's recent offensive successes are indicative of his finally figuring out the league. He was a solid on-base guy throughout his minor league career, and it looks like he's learning how to get on in the majors as well. As his OBP improves, so too should his stolen bases.

The Melk Man had a terrible June, hitting only .225/.312/.375 and hasn't yet recovered in July (3H and 1BB in 16PA). His BABIP dropped significantly, from .356 in May to .242 in June, which begins to account for his struggles. With him and Gardner both moving towards the mean, they should be seeing closer to equal playing time this month.

Johnny Damon's career slugging percentage sits is .438, but this year it's .530. ZIPS makes an attempt to reconcile those two, without taking into consideration that the New Yankee Stadium has helped Damon as much as anyone this year. Twelve of his sixteen homers have come in the Bronx and every single one has gone to right field. Last year, 10 of his 17 jacks came on the road.

After a torrid April, Swish had a terrible May and an average June. Average those out and he's pretty close to his career line of .243/.355/.454. All three lines project 28 HRs. His 162 game average? 28. But 11 of his 14 have come on the road, so perhaps he is due to take advantage of the short porch.

Due to interleague play, Matsui's extrapolation on his counting stats are a little bit low. Those aren't great numbers for a DH, but if he can notch 25 homers and slug over .500 that's pretty respectable. It promises to be Matsui's final year in Pinstripes, so hopefully he can end on a good note.

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