The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Pinch hitting: A Connecticut Yankee

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jan 26, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

January is traditionally a slow month for baseball news. So for the second year in a row, we will showcase other blogs with a series of pinch hitters.

Next up is Matt from A Connecticut Yankee.

Matt has been blogging since August of 2008. He is a senior English major at UConn (Go Huskies) and is from Greenwich.

Here’s his post:


With the Yankees recent splurge on free agents and trades, there are a lot of people talking about who’s overpaid, who’s underpaid, responsible spending, irresponsible spending, and the like. For that reason, I’d like to take a look at the Yankees two acquisitions on the offensive side of things: Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira.

To do this, I’ll be turning their projected runs above average using Marcel’s projections for hitters and their CHONE Defensive Projections.

My method will be the same as found on my friend Mike’s blog Fire Jim Leyland. For an example of how these calculations work, go to this post.

10.5 is roughly the amount of runs that equal one win and the two is used because a replacement player is two runs worse than an average player. To get the dollar amount, you multiply by five million dollars, the approximate value of a win. The positional adjustments Mike talks about are as follows:

Catcher: +12.5 runs
Shortstop: +7.5 runs
Second Base/Third Base/Centerfield: +2.5 runs
Left Field/Right Field: -7.5 runs
First Base: -7.5 runs
DH: -17.5 runs

Let’s run through the numbers for Mr. Swisher first. On the spreadsheet, we can find that he will be worth 5.8 runs over average. If we want to project Swisher as LF/RF, we find his defensive projection on the CHONE site and find that there, Swisher is projected to be a +5 defender. The equation:

5.8 (runs over average) -7.5 (position adjustment) = -1.7+5 (projected defense) = 3.3/10.5 +2 = 2.31 Wins Above Replacement. So, as a corner outfielder, Swisher projects to be worth 2.31 WAR player. Multiply that by five to get the dollar amount Swisher’s 2008 performance projects to be and you get: $11.55 million dollars. A quick trip over to Cot’s MLB Contracts and we find that Swisher will make $5.3 million in 2009. So if Nick Swisher plays to his projection as a corner outfielder, the Yankees are saving $6.25 million on him.

If you want to make Swisher the CF, switch the positional adjustment (+2.5) and the defensive projection (-2) and he comes out at 2.50 WAR, but only because CFs are harder to replace than corner OFs. Still, his dollar value there would be $12.5 mil, a money saver for the Yankees.

Now, we come to the big boy. Mark Teixeira. The Yankees just gave him an eight year, 180 million dollar contract, with an AAV of $22.5 million. That’s going to be hard for Tex to match. Via the spreadsheet, Teixeira will be 28.2 runs over average this year. So:

28.2 – 12.5 = 15.7 + 6 (projected runs at 1B) = 21.7/10.5 + 2 = 4.07 WAR x 5 = 20.35. So, Tex’s value projects to be $20.35 million this year. According to Cots, Mark will make a flat $20 million this year. So, the Yankees will, in fact, be paying Tex .35 million dollars less than he projects to be worth. It’s a small number, but the Yankees are “saving” with Tex.


Nice job, Matt. I’ve been working at getting a better understanding of these metrics and I’m happy to present this sort of post on my blog. Coming tomorrow: Chris from Pinstripes Published.




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