I wanted to wait until later in spring training to see if any trends played out that might add or subtract to this piece, but with Grapefruit League games underway this week, I’m amped about baseball and I want to get my two cents out there. It’s what I do.
To that end, here are five things you don’t know about the Yankees, but should:
Dellin Betances is the 2nd best relief pitcher in Yankee history.
Yes, yes he is. Among relief pitchers with a minimum of 250 innings pitched, Betances is first in Fielding Independent Pitching, expected Fielding Independent Pitching, strikeout percentage, strikeout minus walk percentage and third in adjusted Earned Run Average.
To be fair, Rich Gossage pitched in an era with far fewer strikeouts and his K%-BB% was usually among the league leaders of that era. But to also be fair, Dellin Betances’ average fastball last season was 97.9 mph, his average curveball was 85.4 mph. If you dropped Betances into that ’78 Yankees – Red Sox playoff, Rick Burleson and Jerry Remy would need shots of Jameson’s before getting in the box.
FYI: Dellin Betances is a free agent at the end of this season.
Gleyber Torres is better than you think he is.
Since expansion, only one rookie second baseman had both more WAR (2.9) and a higher OPS+ (118) than Torres: Joe Morgan. Pause for a moment to let that sink in. Torres was better as a rookie than Bobby Grich, Lou Whitaker, Roberto Alomar, Robinson Cano, and Jose Altuve. And don’t come at me with “What about these stats!” Just the fact he’s in a discussion with those names is incredible, and he should have finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting last season. Speaking of which…
Miguel Andujar is not as good as you think he is.
The slugging percentage and high contact rates were impressive last season and are not to be dismissed. However, as I’ve written in this space before, his defense wasn’t bad last season, it was historically bad.
According to Baseball Reference, only Ryan Braun and Nick Castellanos had worse defensive rookie seasons as 3rd basemen (using dWAR). According to Fangraphs, you can add Jose Bautista, Mark Teahan, Eduardo Nunez, Dean Palmer, and Hector Cruz to that list.
Notice anything? All but Palmer never played 3rd base regularly again because their employers realized they were doing more harm than good at 3rd base. And Palmer went on to average less than one WAR per season for his career, so he should have been moved.
Andujar is not going to be a 3rd baseman for very long. Combine that with a Batting Average on Balls in Play about 20 points over league average last season, and a very high chase percentage we may see his offense level off as well.
Reminder: Manny Machado was available.
We’re out of space today, so you’re going to have to come back for the 4th and 5th things you don’t know about the Yankees but should. Be sure to follow this blog and/or follow me on Facebook to stay in the loop!
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