Hello Angels fans! I am a Yankee fan myself who is looking forward to the upcoming series, so I decided to compare the two teams at each position using my favorite offensive, pitching, and defensive stats from fangraphs.com. I'm just going to use stats from the past month (except for defense), as that will be a more accurate display of what we can expect from a player in this series. Just so you all know, I obviously want the Yanks to win, but if they do get beat by the Angels, I'll be rooting for them in the WS. I think it's really classy what your organization is doing by giving Nick Adenhart's would-have-been postseason salary to his family. That said, let's get to the numbers:
C: Posada - wOBA = .279 Napoli - wOBA = .370
Posada is in a bit of a slump, so if he can't break out of it, the Angels will have an advantage. Posada is a .378 wOBA hitter for the year, so hopefully that HR he hit the other day will wake him up. Tentative advantage Angels.
1B: Teixeira - wOBA = .465 Morales - wOBA = .344
Teixeira has been on a tear, while Morales has been relatively cool recently. For the whole season, their difference is only .02, but Teixeira is hitting right now, when it counts. Definite advantage Yankees.
2B: Cano - wOBA= .365 Kendrick - wOBA .416
Might seem like Angels have the advantage here, but keep in mind that Cano for the year is a .370 wOBA, while Kendrick is just a .339. I think Kendrick has been playing out of his mind the past month, and will come back down to earth when he hits Yankee pitching. Push
3B: Rodriguez - wOBA = .443 Figgins - wOBA = .344
Not much of a discussion on this one. A-Rod is vastly superior offensively, and he's blazing hot right now. Definite advantage Yankees.
SS: Jeter - wOBA = .410 Aybar - wOBA = .346
Not much discussion here either. Jeter is Jeter, and Aybar is good, but he's no Jeter offensively. Both players are right at their season averages. Definite advantage Yankees.
LF: Damon - wOBA = .298 Rivera - wOBA = .328
Pretty close, however, Damon is in a bad slump, while Rivera is playing at about his year average. The fact that they are this close when one is slumping badly and the other is playing average says that if Damon just comes back to average, the Yankees will have the advantage. Advantage Yankees.
CF: Cabrera - wOBA = .316 Hunter - wOBA = .319
Close, but Hunter has a much better season average, so if he starts playing well again, it won't be close. Definite advantage Angels.
RF: Swisher - wOBA = .388 Abreu - wOBA = .387
Wow, very close. Surprisingly enough, their full season wOBA's are separated by just .001 as well. This is the definition of a push, lol.
DH: Matsui - wOBA = .416 Guerrero - wOBA = .343
Matsui has hit ridiculously well this year. He's a .378 wOBA for the season, while Guerrero is right at his season average. Guerrero just isn't the same ol' Vladdy everyone (even Yankee fans, you have to admit it) knows and loves. I really don't think he's recovered from that injury he had earlier this year. Definite advantage Yankees.
Going by a grading system of 2 points for a definite advantage, 1 point for a slight advantage, and 0 for a push, we come up with:
Yankees: 9 Angels: 3
And just to wrap it up, here's the full team stats for the past 30 days and full year:
Yankees (30 days) = .363, (year) = .366
Angels (30 days) = .334, (year) = .346
Sabathia - WHIP = 1.24, ERA = 2.64, FIP = 3.42 Lackey - WHIP = 1.38, ERA = 4.25, FIP = 3.8
Both are great, but Sabathia is superior. Definite advantage Yankees.
Burnett - WHIP = 1.35, ERA = 2.92, FIP = 3.29 Weaver - WHIP = 1.24, ERA = 3.52, FIP = 4.37
Burnett will have a higher WHIP because he walks so many guys, but his lower FIP and ERA really show that he will give up fewer HR's, and he has the ability to strike guys out when he's in a jam. Going to give the advantage to the Angels, however.
Pettitte - WHIP = 1.64, ERA = 4.64, FIP = 4.32 Kazmir - WHIP = 1.13, ERA = 1.80, FIP = 3.23
Kazmir has had a solid month, no doubt. I think everyone knows he's capable of being dominant. Pettitte, on the other hand, has had a below average month, the real glaring number being his high WHIP. Looking at full season stats would give the advantage to Pettitte, but I believe that Kazmir is back on track. However, you can't disregard Pettitte's postseason experience: 36 games started versus just 6 for Kazmir. All things considered, I'm calling this a push, but this game will hinge on which Kazmir shows up: the one from his time spent with the Rays this year, or the one he's been for the Angels.
For relievers, I'm picking the closers and 8th inning men.
Hughes - WHIP = 1.13, ERA = 2.53, FIP = 3.10 Oliver - WHIP = 1.21, ERA = 1.93, FIP = 1.67
Oliver has pitched well recently, while those two runs Hughes gave up the other day are inflating his numbers. For season averages, Hughes is much better, so advantage Yankees.
Rivera - WHIP = .94, ERA = 1.69, FIP = 3.68 Fuentes - WHIP = 1.89, ERA = 4.00, FIP = 5.76
This isn't even close. Seriously, I don't understand how Fuentes is their closer, he's not even the best reliever on their team. In fact, looking at the numbers, there are 3 relievers on the team that have done better than Fuentes this year. For the Yankees, only Hughes has been better than Rivera, and that's saying a lot since Rivera has been great this year. Definite advantage Yankees.
So the pitching tallies:
Yankees: 5 Angels: 1
Defense (using the UZR/150 stat from fangraphs.com, except for C):
C: Posada - FP = .990, CS% = 28% PB = 8 Napoli - FP = .986, CS% = 22%, PB = 5
Defensive value is difficult to quantify for catchers. Neither of these guys are known for their defense, so this is a push.
1B: Teixeira - UZR/150 = -2.4 Morales - UZR/150 = 4.4
This is going to shock Yankee fans, but Mark Teixeira actually had an off year defensively this year. He doesn't make many errors, but his range was much lower this year than in previous years. Morales has better range, but he makes more errors. Advantage Angels.
2B: Cano - UZR/150 = -4.9 Kendrick - UZR/150 = 3.4
Cano makes a lot of errors, for all the dazzling plays he also makes. He also has limited range, so he doesn't get to as many balls, but his great arm helps him throw guys out on the balls he does get to. Kendrick just has more speed, and makes fewer errors, though. Definite advantage Angels.
3B: Rodriguez - UZR/150 = -7.6 Figgins - UZR/150 = 11.8
Figgins has excellent range, while A-Rod does not. I can't say how much of his range this year was reduced by the hip injury, but I think it's safe to say that even A-Rod at 100% does not touch Figgins defensively. Definite advantage Angels.
SS: Jeter - UZR/150 = 5.3 Aybar - UZR/150 = 6.3
This actually surprised me. I thought Aybar would definitely win this match-up, but the numbers are close enough to call it a push.
LF: Damon - UZR/150 = -11.9 Rivera - UZR/150 = 12.9
We all know how awful Damon is in the field. Rivera is actually a good defensive outfielder. Definite advantage Angels.
CF: Cabrera - UZR/150 = -2.5 Hunter - UZR/150 = -3.5
This was also surprising to me. The two had about the same range this year, but Cabrera's stronger arm gave him the advantage. I would call this match-up a push. However, here is my argument for starting Gardner over Melky in center: They have identical wOBA's, but Gardner has a UZR/150 of 13.3! That's a gigantic defensive upgrade.
RF: Swisher - UZR/150 = -1.9 Abreu - UZR/150 = -4.6
These two corner outfielders are polar opposites: Swisher has great range, as you would know if you've watched games this year, but he doesn't have a great arm. Abreu, on the other hand, has god-awful range, but has a cybernetic cannon attached to his right shoulder. In the end, the extra balls that Swisher will track down give the Yankees an advantage.
Ok, here are the defensive totals:
Yankees: 1 Angels: 7
Yankees: 15 Angels: 10
What we learn: The Yankees have good advantages in offense and pitching, but the Angels have a much better defensive team. Offense and pitching are typically regarded as more important than fielding defense, so I believe the numbers show that the Yankees have a distinct advantage in the coming series.