March 27, 2008
2008 Yankees Win Total Prediction
Always best to make a prediction before the season starts, right? O.K., here goes...
I've looked at many of the various "scientific" projection models performed to date for this season. And, I've done some 'back of the envelope' calculations on my own. Between what I've seen and how I feel...
[insert drum roll]
I'm predicting that the Yankees will win 92 games this season.
Of course, they could win a few more than that - if some things break their way. But, even if things are just close to "normal" for them, in terms of reasonable expectations, they should win at least 92 games (in 2008).
Now, I expect 37% of those wins to be credited to the pitching records of Andy Pettitte and Worm Killer Wang. So, if something should happen to one or both of them, well, then all bets are off.
If one of the two goes down for half the season, then the Yankees only win about 87 games this season. (If they both miss about 7 starts each, then the team probably wins about 87 games this season too.)
If one of the two goes down for most of the season, then the Yankees only win about 83 to 85 games this season. (And, if they both miss half of the season, then the team wins about 83 to 85 games too.)
If both Pettitte and Wang miss most of the season, then it gets real ugly in Yankeeland. In that case, I could see the team struggling to finish at .500 in 2008.
But, for now, I'm assuming that Pettitte and Wang can make 60 starts combined and the Yankees (as a team) will win around 92 games this season.
Will 92 wins be enough to get into the post-season? Man, that's a close call. There are probably a half-dozen teams in the A.L. this season capable of winning 90 games (including New York). And, 92 is so close to 90...
I feel pretty comfortable predicting the Yankees to win 92 games in 2008. But, I don't feel comfortable at all predicting them to reach the post-season this year - because 92 wins just may not be enough.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at March 27, 2008 10:01 PM
A somewhat optimistic post! 92 wins is a reasonable expectation.
Now, Steve, is that with Hughes and Joba disappointing? Or does Kennedy's performance offset that? How will A-Rod's .270/30HR/90RBI season be offset? What about when Cashman trades away Cano for Reggie Sanders?
Heh, just kidding. But tell me one thing - are you looking forward to the season? Are you excited for the potential of the team this year? What will the Yankees need to do in April to avoid another of their annual disappointing starts?
hey we could always have one of those good springs like in what 2002 and 2003 when everyone was good? 92 wins is completely doable by the current offensive lineup but I don't know if our older pitchers will be able to step up. If we can get 15+ wins from moose and pettite then we're good
I'm not the stats geek you have to be to make comments on blogs (but that's never stopped me before) but I'm pretty sure that this offense can carry a weak pitching staff to 94 wins. Damon-Jeter-Abreu-Rodriguez-Posada-Cano carried the team to that many the past couple of years and I don't see any reason to think that another 920+ run season would stop the Yanks from October.
Now, are they built to win the World Series? Probably not. But they're making the playoffs. This isn't fan-boy talk, this is an absolute belief that the Yanks are being underrated again based on a lousy pitching staff. Last year's staff was worse and they still made the playoffs comfortably (and Detroit's staff sucks even worse than ours, with Seattle's offense a laughable joke...).
wait, Steve is predicting that the Yankees will not be making the playoffs? let me put my surprise face on...
You mention back of the envelope calculations. I'd be curious if you could share those with us. Here are my points, all of them fair, I think:
- The Yankees won 94 games in 2007. This is somewhat of a deceiving number because, IIRC, they clinched the wildcard when they won their 90th or 91st. What I'm saying here is that had they played all the regulars through game 162, they may have won more. (Remember Jeff Karstens pitching in relief and giving up a homerun to lose a game in EI? It was playoff roster tryouts more than anything.)
- The Yankees had an awful start, directly contributable to the horrid starts of Abreu, Damon and Cano and injuries to Mussina and Wang (resulting in all those rookie spot starters.) Conversely, the Red Sox jumped out to an insane, over their head start.
- The Yankees were the best team in baseball from mid-May through October (record-wise.) The Red Sox were a few games over .500 in the same stretch.
So, to me, when you're thinking about how many games the Yankees will win and whether or not they'll make the playoffs, you have to consider who they're competition is and how much better or worse they are going to be.
For the Red Sox, you have to consider the following:
- Beckett regressing a bit from last year
- Okajima regressing a bit from last year
- Ortiz and Manny regressing due to age
- Ellsbury and Pedroia getting better due to age
- Schilling being out for the year
For the Yankees:
- ARod regressing (how bad would April have been if not for him?)
- Mussina and Pettite regressing due to age
- Damon, Abreu and Cano not being putrid like they were in the first 2 months of 07 (they were all hitting about .200)
- Replacing the DeSalvo/Igawa/Clippard/Rasner/Wright, etc group with Kennedy/Hughes.
- The bullpen in the first half of 08 resembling the bullpen in the 2nd half of 07 (Joba/Mo) instead of the first of 07 (???/Mo).
I'm not sure if you considered those things, or more, because you didn't really share it with us, but I think it's silly to pick a number out of the air. My prediction is that the Yankees will win the East and probably clinch it with 3 or 4 games to go (which is what the real prediction should be, considering that once you clinch, the wins/losses don't really matter.)
I don't think Mussina can regress any farther. He needs some cajones. Or steroids....ANYTHING!