What happened to the Yankees 2013 season?

Oh Charlie in the Box, where did you go? - Mike Stobe

I have the answer. Unfortunately our misfit toys really were just the mice from Cinderella.

Back in May we were searching for answers. How had this Yankees squad of has-beens and rejects managed to claw their way to the top of the AL East standings? Most were focused on the superlative start by the pitchers through the first month. Hiroki Kuroda had only given up nine runs through April. CC Sabathia was decent at this point with a 3.35 ERA. The bullpen was contributing with unexpected production from the likes of Adam Warren giving up only three runs over ten innings.

I'm a contrarian by nature, though. When everybody zigs, I look for ways to zag. My nature got the better of me back on May 10, and I penned this homage that somehow linked the true source of the Yankees early season success to certain members best described as from the Island of Misfit Toys. After all of these articles dissecting the strengths and weaknesses of hitters, pitchers and fielders, I've come to realize that in the end, that article encapsulates all the answers you need. It might have been done all for fun, but it effectively hits the nail on the head as well as anything else one could say.

So what happened exactly? Let's take a look at our cast of characters and the Yankees they represented. At the time things were good, and most of our misfits had positive WAR to state for their cases.

May 10th, 2013


King Moonracer

Robinson Cano, 1.3 WAR

Charlie in the Box

Vernon Wells, 1.0 WAR

Bird that Swims

Travis Hafner, .8 WAR

Water Pistol Shoots Jelly

Francisco Cervelli, .6 WAR

Train with Square Wheels

Chris Stewart, .4 WAR

Spotted Elephant

Lyle Overbay, .3 WAR

Cowboy Rides an Ostrich

Brennan Boesch, (.5) WAR

Sinking Boat

Kevin Youkilis, (.1) WAR

Plane that Can't Fly

Ben Francisco, (.3) WAR

Doll with Psychological Disorder

Cody Eppley, 0 WAR

Scooter with Unexplained Flaw

Shawn Kelley, (.1) WAR

Looking back, I think I did a better job with this list than my preseason prognostications! Particularly linking the sinking boat and plane that couldn't fly to Kevin Youkilis and Ben Francisco, respectively. Hindsight is 20/20 as they say, but in case you're curious here is that list again with the actual total WAR figures for the year. I also included a cheap estimate of what each misfit toy would have accomplished if they had kept the same pace going for all six months. By cheap I mean I multiplied the figure by six.


May 10th, 2013

Est. pace of WAR

Actual WAR '13

King Moonracer

Robinson Cano, 1.3 WAR

7.8

6.0

Charlie in the Box

Vernon Wells, 1.0 WAR

6.0

(0.8)

Bird that Swims

Travis Hafner, .8 WAR

4.8

(0.4)

Water Pistol Shoots Jelly

Francisco Cervelli, .6 WAR

3.6

0.8

Train with Square Wheels

Chris Stewart, .4 WAR

2.4

0.5

Spotted Elephant

Lyle Overbay, .3 WAR

1.8

0.0

Cowboy Rides an Ostrich

Brennan Boesch, (.5) WAR

(3.0)

(0.2)

Sinking Boat

Kevin Youkilis, (.1) WAR

(0.6)

(0.4)

Plane that Can't Fly

Ben Francisco, (.3) WAR

(1.8)

(0.5)

Doll with Psychological Disorder

Cody Eppley, 0 WAR

0.0

0.0

Scooter with Unexplained Flaw

Shawn Kelley, (.1) WAR

(0.6)

0.5

Well, there you have it. King Moonracer didn't keep up the early season pace, but he still had a pretty solid year. Did you expect less from the King? Unfortunately you can't say the same for any of our other misfits. Charlie in the Box effectively had his head explode completely reversing his positive contribution, and almost matching it on the negative side. I think he got put under the corn field by that kid from the Twilight Zone.

Our Bird that Swims, aka the Penguin, almost matched Charlie by eliminating his positive contribution and chipping in 50% of that to the downside. We always knew our bird didn't have much in the legs department, but a rotator cuff issue scuttled most of this bird's swimming season. I guess even a penguin can't do much in the water with only one good flipper.

Ironically enough, the Water Pistol that Shoots Jelly apparently was shooting a lot more than just sweet condiments. The pistol got busted in more ways than one this year, and that lead to a very minimal amount of contribution beyond his first month of action. One has to wonder how much of an opportunity that pistol will have in the future to spread his wares.

You can't expect a Train with Square Wheels to be very efficient, and our train lived up to that expectation. He must have started at the top of a hill or something in April. Otherwise I can't figure out how he got to positive WAR to begin with. Square wheels, people!

The Spotted Elephant, aka Mr. Replacement Level, reverted to his mean of, well, zero. We all know there aren't any real spotted elephants out there, and the definition of replacement level is zero. Therefore, it all really worked out in the end the way it should have. I call that a happy ending, except for Yankees fans.

Well here's something positive to look at! The Cowboy who Rides an Ostrich actually improved on his ineffective April. Unfortunately for him, he still got shipped out shortly thereafter. An ostrich is a big strong bird, but I don't think it could really carry a cowboy. That would be one fast ride, but it was straight back to the minors for this cowboy. Quick, can you remember who this cowboy was released for by the Yankees back in July? It was Brent Lillibridge. No comment.

A sinking boat sounds like a dangerous thing, and our boat lived up to the challenge. In fact, I feel like I hardly knew ye, Sinking Boat. Maybe he had a nice time down in Tampa "rehabbing his back" this year. I guess there could be worse places for an old tug boat to retire when it can't float anymore.

Do I have to make a comment about the Plane that Can't Fly? It just sits there and does nothing. At least the boat sinks.

You've got to feel a bit for the Doll with a Psychological Disorder. After being released by the Yankees he got picked up by the Twins. With a sliver of hope in a new organization, he pitched to a 4.88 ERA in 24 innings at their AAA club. By the end of August he was getting released again. You'd have some issues too if you got spurned this often.

Finally, we get to our mystery misfit: the Scooter with an Unexplained Flaw. No one knows for sure what's wrong with this scooter. Maybe there really isn't anything wrong at all. The Scooter's peripherals looked pretty good that first month, but the results weren't there. In the end, the skill stats prevailed though, and the Scooter contributed nicely out of the pen to the tune of .5 WAR. Oh but wait, our Scooter wasn't able to pitch at all in the last month of the season. Maybe his defect then is that he breaks just after the warranty expires.

Well, there you have it. You can spin this any way you like. Personally, I think this dab of silliness actually says a lot. The Yankees success in April was from fleeting sources of production. Most of us probably didn't expect the misfits to keep it up and to no one's surprise, they didn't. The hope was for the legitimate toys to show up and take the reins, but it just wasn't meant to be this year. I alluded to the simple answer in that first article at the very beginning. Our misfit toys looked like a lot of fun at the start, but unfortunately they turned out to be the mice from Cinderella.

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