The New York Yankees had a great season in 2009 which culminated with their victory over the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. In January of 2009 I wrote an article predicting that the Yankees would score 10 to 20 percent more runs in 2009 than they did in 2008 and they ended up scoring 14% more runs (915 runs vs 789 in 2008). In this article I will make a baseball prediction on how many runs the New York Yankees will score in the 2010 baseball season using simple baseball statistics.
Last season the New York Yankees scored 915 runs in 5,660 official at bats for a run average of .162. So on average they scored a run every 16.2% of the time one of their players had an official at bat which was well above the American League average of .140. Barring injuries to key players it is not that hard to predict how many runs the Yankees will score this season. All we have to do is figure out the likely run average for for each player on the team and then average out the players and multiply by the likely number of at bats the team will have this baseball season. For example New York Yankees team captain Derek Jeter has scored 1,574 runs in 8,659 at bats so far in his likely Hal of Fame career. That works out to a run average of .182 which is a very good number. Last season Jeter scored 107 runs in 634 at bats for a run average of .169. Jeter will be 36 years old this season and time is starting to catch up to him so the best we can put him down for would be to match what he did last season. Since he is one year older I’m going to knock the number down a little more and say he will score runs at a .165 rate this season. I’ve done this for each of the Yankee players listing first their career run average then their 2009 run average and finally my estimate of what their run average will be in 2010 as you can see below.
Career 2009 2010 estimate
Jeter .182 .169 .165
Granderson .169 .140 .165
A-Rod .203 .176 .200
Teixeira .166 .169 .168
Posada .152 .144 .140
Cano .142 .162 .155
Swisher .167 .169 .168
Johnson .161 .155 .161
Gardner .176 .194 .180
The average for the Yankees starting players is .167. The numbers I used for estimating the players run averages for 2010 are fair representations of what can be reasonably expected in 2010 from these players. Some will do better than the projected number and some worse but none of the projections are far from the players norms. Usually a player who scores well above or well below their career average will gravitate back toward their career norm the next season.
Newly acquired outfielder Curtis Granderson has a career run average of .169 but was just .140 in the 2009 season. Granderson will only be 29 years of age this season and will likely move back to or even exceed his career norm this season. Once a player reaches their mid 30’s in age they tend to score runs at rates below their career norms as time takes its toll on their bodies. So for the older players I estimate their run averages at below their career norms and in this case both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada are estimated lower. Jeter can certainly match his career norm and is more likely to than Posada but you cannot count on him doing so.
The Yankees made a number of changes in their lineup for this season. They added Granderson to replace Johnny Damon. Damon’s career run average is .176 so Granderson is a little below that but not much. The Yankees also added Nick Johnson to replace World Series MVP Hideki Matsui at DH. Matsui’s career run average is .160 but with a bad knee limiting his running ability he slipped to .136 in 2009. Johnson’s career run average is .161 so he’s likely an upgrade this year in terms of scoring runs. The biggest change is CF where Brett Gardener will take over for Melky Cabrera. Melky had a lot of big hits for the Yankees in 2009 but his run average was just .136 and his career run average is worse at .130. Gardner’s career run average is .176 and last season it was .194. The Yankees will score more runs with Brett Gardner in the lineup everyday than they would have with Melky. And to get an established veteran starting pitcher with a career ERA below the league average as they got in Javier Vazquez for a player like Melky Cabrera is an absolute steal.
From the .167 estimated run average for the New York Yankee regulars this season we have to subtract .005 to account for lesser players filling in for these players over the course of the baseball year. So we arrive at a run average of .162. If we multiply that number by the likely number of at bats the Yankee team will have this season we can determine the likely runs scored in 2010 by the New York Yankees. If they match last seasons at bat total of 5,660 the Yankees will score 917 runs this season. Essentially the same number of runs they scored in 2009 when they lead the major leagues in runs scored.
By using simple baseball statistics we can say that barring injuries the 2010 New York Yankees will score just as many runs as they did in 2009 which should be more than enough to power them to another World Series title as long as the pitching holds up. Let the quest for World Series number 28 begin.