Yankees Offense 2.0: Is this new offense for real?

Is this new Yankee offense for real? Alfonso Soriano thinks so. - Ron Antonelli

How much of the recent surge in Yankee offense is from the new guys or old guys, and what can we hope for down the stretch

If you've got a problem analyzing the last two weeks of the Yankees offense due to small sample size issues, then I suggest you try reading some other article because I'm doing it anyway! Seriously though, there are only 37 games left entering Wednesday night's game. So the time for waiting around for more events before judging anything is over.

Anyone who has been following the Yankees this year, even casually, has seen a significant delineation between the current version of the Yankees offense,and the one that existed before about two weeks ago. In the last two weeks the Yankees have scored five or more runs in 47% of the games they've played. Previously, they had produced at that rate only 33% of the time. The Yankees had the fourteenth ranked offense by OPS in the American League before the All-Star break. They've been the best so far in the month of August. It's not just random luck as there are tangible new bats in the lineup now that haven't been there before. What I want to take a look at is how much of that offense is due to the new members of the lineup? How much is due to the old members of the lineup? How much of the old members improvement is due to a deeper overall lineup versus players just getting on a hot streak?


Pre-All Star Break





RK

TEAM

GP

R

HR

AVG

OPS

1

Boston

97

498

98

.277

.793

2

Detroit

94

477

106

.281

.785

3

Baltimore

96

462

132

.266

.762

4

LA Angels

93

430

102

.267

.755

5

Tampa Bay

96

449

106

.261

.749

6

Cleveland

95

454

104

.258

.748

7

Texas

95

411

112

.260

.739

8

Toronto

94

428

115

.252

.732

9

Oakland

95

429

98

.245

.718

10

Seattle

95

373

115

.244

.710

11

Minnesota

92

379

86

.245

.703

12

Chicago Sox

92

345

89

.249

.686

13

Kansas City

92

365

60

.256

.686

14

NY Yankees

95

373

88

.243

.684

15

Houston

94

351

90

.235

.668









August






RK

TEAM

GP

R

HR

AVG

OPS

1

NY Yankees

18

90

21

.285

.787

2

Boston

19

92

16

.282

.786

3

Detroit

19

80

23

.277

.767

4

Baltimore

17

92

25

.271

.764

5

Oakland

17

69

20

.251

.744

6

LA Angels

19

87

19

.263

.742

7

Texas

18

111

15

.268

.741

8

Minnesota

20

76

26

.240

.736

9

Tampa Bay

16

60

12

.267

.723

10

Seattle

18

73

20

.244

.719

11

Kansas City

20

80

15

.269

.710

12

Chicago Sox

19

72

17

.262

.705

13

Houston

19

74

19

.247

.693

14

Toronto

19

74

14

.245

.677

15

Cleveland

19

68

18

.226

.643

The new guys in the lineup are Alfonso Soriano, Curtis Granderson, and that guy Ryan Dempster has a beef with: Alex Rodriguez. All three players have produced at over a .800 OPS since joining the lineup. That's huge, considering we're talking about one third of the lineup. The offense had been producing to the tune of .684 OPS before the break. If we take 66% of that and 33% of the average OPS the new guys have produced at so far, then we would have an estimated .742 rate of OPS production. So yes, obviously those new guys have been a huge part of the improved offensive production. However, there is another 45 basis points worth of OPS that hasn't been accounted for in this month.  How much of that is due to lineup support from the new guys presence and how much is just a hot streak from the old guys?

New Guys

G

PA

R

H

2B

HR

RBI

SB

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

Soriano, Alfonso

23

97

19

26

2

8

26

3

4

25

.283

.320

.565

.885

Granderson, Curtis

17

68

10

16

3

2

5

4

12

17

.286

.412

.446

.858

Rodriguez, Alex

14

62

7

16

2

2

6

1

6

15

.296

.387

.444

.832

Old Guys

POS

AB

R

H

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OPS

Cano,Robinson

2B

51

8

24

2

11

1

.471

1.228

Soriano, Alfonso

LF

54

12

18

7

22

2

.333

1.120

Nunez, Eduardo

SS

45

7

15

1

7

3

.333

.881

Overbay,Lyle

1B

39

7

12

1

4

0

.308

.800

Reynolds, Mark


12

1

3

1

4

0

.250

.808

Stewart, Chris

C

29

3

7

1

7

0

.241

.712

Romine, Austin


15

1

5

0

0

0

.333

.844

Gardner, Brett

CF

57

8

14

1

7

3

.246

.658

Suzuki, Ichiro

RF

44

7

11

0

2

2

.250

.540

This lineup has only been available for the last two weeks, so we're only looking at about 60 plate appearances. I added Soriano's numbers in there with the old guys for the last two weeks, so you could see what he has done with the new lineup in place. I knew Robinson Cano had been hot, but I never would have guessed he had the highest OPS considering all of those dingers Soriano has been hitting. I also grouped the two primary platoons to make it easier to see the lineup effect, otherwise everyone is ranked by OPS. Without delving into Pitchfx data, I'm going to make the assumption that Cano's hot streak is being helped by batting in front of Soriano. He's only been intentionally walked once since the Chicago White Sox series.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure you can make that argument for anyone else's production in the lineup. The only two players that consistently get to bat in front of the new players are Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki, and they're at the bottom of the list in terms of OPS. Eduardo Nunez looks to finally be having some positive regression kick in as he's been a better hitter than what he had shown earlier in the season. The same thing might be happening for the catching duo. Neither Chris Stewart nor Austin Romine have ever been considered good hitters, but their hitting production has been so poor at times that they might have just been due for a hot streak. Keep breathing through your eyelids, Romine.

The one other interesting improvement in the lineup is at first base. Lyle Overbay has been producing at a .801 OPS clip against right-handed pitchers this year. Pairing him with Mark Reynolds could allow him to continue OPSing in the .800 range. Before the Reynolds pick-up, Overbay was producing at a .720 OPS clip overall.

What about going forward? We can use ZiPS remaining estimated production for each player to get an idea based on a projection system. Three things that I do here to get an estimated level of OPS for the lineup going forward: 1.) I use a .800 figure for the platoon at first base since ZiPS doesn't know that. 2.) I averaged the OPS between Stewart and Romine using an assumption that they are going to split playing time more evenly the rest of the way. Not that that maters that much anyway. 3.) I did not weight the overall OPS figure towards the top of the lineup because it's easier not to and I figure it balances out if I'm being too optimistic with the first base platoon.

ZiPS Estimates

OPS

Lineup

Cano,Robinson

.888

.888

Granderson, Curtis

.812

.812

Soriano, Alfonso

.777

.777

Rodriguez, Alex

.755

.755

Overbay, Lyle

.704

.800

Reynolds, Mark

.753


Gardner, Brett

.728

.728

Suzuki, Ichiro

.690

.690

Nunez, Eduardo

.658

.658

Stewart, Chris

.621

.637

Romine, Austin

.652



Total Estimated OPS:

.749

Well isn't that interesting? A .749 OPS would have put the Yankees offense at about fifth in the American League before the All-Star break. If Derek Jeter ever makes it back, then you could bump that estimate up a bit as ZiPS likes him to put up something north of a .700 OPS versus Nunez's .658 level of production. So even the projection systems think the new Yankee lineup is a legitimate threat versus not just a recently lucky pretender.

Looking back at our original questions concerning how much has been contributed by whom, I think it's safe to say that about 60% of the improved production of the last two weeks has come solely from having the new guys in the lineup. The majority of the rest of the improvement has come from Cano with his significantly improved lineup support. The new platoon at first base between Overbay and Reynolds is also going to help the rest of the season, but Reynolds just got here last weekend. There are small samples and then there's just a series and a half. The players who have had a couple of hot weeks have off-set the recent struggles from Gardner and Suzuki. The Yankee offense 2.0 probably isn't going to finish out the season with the best offense in the league, but there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic that it is now, at least, in the top third of the league going forward. It's still going to be a pretty hard row to hoe to get the Yanks into a pseudo one-game wild card playoff spot, but two weeks ago they were given less than a 2% statistical chance of that outcome. After Wednesday night's win, that's up to 12.9%. Crazier things have happened and at least they've got an offense worth tuning in to watch.

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