New York Yankees: Interesting Stats for 4 Key Players
Not only am I a Yankee fan, I am also a numbers fan. The thing I love most about baseball is that there are stats that can be used to explain and analyze everything that happens on the field.
I used to be satisfied just by looking at the basic statistics: Who has the most homers? Which pitcher has the lowest ERA? But with the advent of websites such as Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference, it's been much easier to delve into the world of sabermetrics, and I've certainly taken full advantage of those websites and the opportunity they provide to expand one's baseball knowledge.
It's allowed me to discover a lot of interesting numbers about some of the Yankees players this season, and I'm here to share them with you.
Nick Swisher's Fielding Prowess
Steve Ruark/Getty Images
When most Yankee fans think of their outfield defense, they think of Gardner catching everything that comes his way, Granderson making some amazing diving grabs, and Swisher looking pretty goofy while still making most of the plays he's supposed to make.
Well it turns out he makes nearly all of the plays he's supposed to make. Swisher's UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) is 11.6, good for third in the AL among outfielders. He trails only Gardner—way ahead of the pack with a 22.6—and Jacoby Ellsbury.
This is by far Swisher's best year in terms of UZR, but those of you out there who always saw him as an awkward fielder (myself included) might be surprised to know that he has a career UZR of 17.6, meaning he actually has been a slightly above average fielder over the course of his time in the major leagues.
CC Sabathia's Nasty Stuff
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
Simply put, CC Sabathia is having a fantastic season. If it wasn't for the year Verlander is having, CC would probably be adding another Cy Young to his trophy shelf. In fact, some stats—Fangraph's WAR—suggest that Sabathia has been even more valuable this year than Verlander has.
One area in which CC has been particularly strong is getting guys to swing and miss. He ranks third in the AL in swinging strike percentage (SwStr%), the percentage of strikes thrown that are swung at and missed. The only guys ahead of him are Brandon Morrow (he of the 10.4 K/9) and Mariners rookie Michael Pineda.
Sabathia's K/9 had been slumping for the past two seasons, but he's kicked it up to 8.7 this year, largely on the strength of his slider. He's used the slider to his advantage more than any other pitcher in the AL, aside from Ervin Santana. His fastball and changeup have ranked as above average pitches as well.
One more parting stat: CC's K/9 since the beginning of July is 10.65. No signs of wearing down here.
Curtis Granderson's Patience at the Plate
Nick Laham/Getty Images
Everyone knows that Grandy has had a fantastic—possibly MVP-caliber—year for the Yankees; he's first in the AL in runs and RBI, second in homers, fifth in OPS and 10th in steals. If there is one blemish to his offensive game, it's the strikeouts. He's third in the AL in strikeouts, trailing only Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds. Those two combine to hold six of the nine highest-strikeout seasons in major league history.
For someone who strikes out so often, Granderson has been amazingly patient at the plate this season.
He tops the majors in pitches seen per plate appearance (P/PA), with 4.44. One of the contributing factors for this is that only 41.7 percent of pitches thrown to Granderson are in the strike zone, among the lowest in the league. Obviously Curtis has learned to take a lot of these pitches. Unfortunately, he still swings at over a quarter of the pitches to him that are out of the zone, and this may be why he strikes out so frequently.
Interestingly enough, Granderson isn't the only patient Yankee. Gardner, Swisher and Tex all rank in the top 20 in the majors in P/PA as well, and both Teixeira and Swisher see even fewer pitches in the zone than Granderson does.
David Robertson's Total Dominance
Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images
If you're a pitcher in the Yanks bullpen and your name isn't Mariano Rivera, it's tough to get a lot of attention. However, David Robertson has managed to really make a name for himself this year, clearly cementing himself as Mo's set-up man with a sparkling 1.23 ERA.
That ERA is less than a third of Robertson's number from last year, and his K/9 is a career-high 13.73. Not only is it a career high, it's also an AL high, nearly a full batter per nine better than Sergio Santos' 12.86 number. For those of you who were wondering, yes, his ERA is also the lowest in the league.
All of these great numbers have allowed Robertson to lead the AL in WAR among relievers, two spots ahead of Mo. I'm by no means suggesting that he should supplant Rivera as long as he wants to pitch, but it appears the Yankees may have finally found their heir apparent.
Any other interesting stats you've heard about Yankees players? I'd love to hear them!