I’ve heard a lot of people giving their opinions on what went wrong with the Yankees this year. The answer I’ve heard most often is that Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy did not pan out as expected. The injury to Wang has also been heavily cited. Looking into the numbers, however shows that the Yankees have given up 50 less runs this year than they gave up last year. That means that even with all the injuries, the pitching staff did better this year than it did last year. The offense scored 189 less runs this year than they did last year.
The biggest dropoff was at the catcher position. Last year Jorge had 85 RBIs as a catcher, Molina had 9 with the Yankees, and Nieves added 8 for a total of 102 from the catcher position. This year Jorge had 15, Molina had 15, Moeller had 9 and Pudge had 3 for a total of 42. That’s a dropoff of 60 RBIs at one position.
Coming in a close second is the dropoff at 3rd base. Last year A-Rod, Cairo, and Betemit combined for 163 RBIs when playing 3rd while this year Yankee third basemen have combined for 105 RBIs for a dropoff of 58 RBIs at 3rd. While I think it’s a little unrealistic to expect anyone to duplicate what A-Rod did last year, this makes me seriously rethink what I wrote in an earlier blog about him.
Robinson Cano played almost every game at 2nd and ended up with 25 less RBIs this year than he had in 2007. The dropoff at centerfield with Melky, Damon, and Gardner (this year)totaled 16 less RBIs.
So looking at the data, the biggest problems with the Yankees this year were the injury to Posada, the lack of timely hitting from A-Rod, and the dropoff in production from Cano. The decrease in RBIs at catcher, 3rd, 2nd, and center account for 159 of the 189 runs As Brian Cashman looks to improve the team for next year, our biggest hopes are a healthy and productive Jorge, another MVP season from A-Rod, and Cano remembering how to hit. Of course, pitching also needs to be addressed given the uncertainty around Pettite and Moose. Even if Moose does come back, it’s doubtful that he’ll win another 20 games.