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August 12, 2006

Unit, A-Rod & Cano (Yes, Cano!) Need To Start Stepping Up For The Yankees This Season

WasWatching.com reader "Garcia" made an interesting comment on this site earlier this morning, in reaction to last night's game:

"We are in the playoff push right now, so having to overcome some more adversity is a good thing. We need to see who is going to step up."

This got me thinking. Some players on the Yankees have been stepping up this season. If we know who they are, then we'll know who needs to start stepping up.

If you look at the following data from FanGraphs.com, it clearly tells you who on the Yankees starting staff needs to "step up":


It's one man: Randy Johnson.

When you look at the same data from the same source for the Yankees current bullpen crew, you'll see that Rivera, Farnsworth, Proctor, Villone, and Myers have been effective, overall, this season. You can't ask for much more from that group.

How about the Yankees hitters? For this group, I decided to look at "RBI Percentage" (this season), via the stats at BaseballMusings.

In this study, I've included some non-Yankees (Ortiz, Ramirez and Womack) for benchmarks in this stat. Also, the players in blue include their stats with teams other than the Yankees this season. Here's the data:


Abreu, Jeter and Giambi have been better than "Big Papi" and "ManRam" this season in terms of driving in runners. There's no room to "step up" there. And, Johnny Damon has been just as good as Manny Ramirez this year in terms of getting men home.

Note the placement in this chart for A-Rod, Posada, and Cano.

Robinson Cano hits like Tony Womack when it comes to driving in runners. That's not good. This seems odd - since I'm sure, in the minds of most Yankees fans, when they think "Cano" they think "line drives all over the field." Guess what? With runners on base, it ain't happening. When you consider how many times Cano has batted 6th or 7th for the Yankees this season, and probably will in those slots going forward, Robbie has to do better than "Womack-like" in terms of driving home base runners.

I'm willing to give Posada a pass on this list - since he's got the challenge of catching everyday to deal with, in addition to trying to hit.

How about Alex Rodriguez? When it comes to driving in runners, this season, A-Rod is more like Bernie Williams or Aaron Guiel than Jeter, Giambi, Damon and Abreu. Clearly, he needs to start "stepping up."

Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, and, to an extent, Robinson Cano need to start playing better for the Yankees (in order to help lift the team). I could have guessed Unit and A-Rod without looking at the stats. Seeing Robinson Cano end up here as well (after the analysis) is a surprise.

Now, I just hope that one of these three surprises me by stepping up for the Yankees over the next seven weeks.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 12, 2006 09:16 AM


Your wish is Robbie's command...

Posted by: mehmattski [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2006 02:01 PM

A prophetic post, Steve. I thought of it as Robbie hit the homer today as the game winner. He has been smacking the ball well since his return but it is good to see him drive them in.

Derek seems to be in a real slump lately, hitting .222 in August. Maybe I should not worry, but his hitting really drives the team.

Posted by: Paul [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 12, 2006 04:31 PM

You're push worked on Cano. How about taking away the pass you gave to Jorge?

Although, I'd be interested in an update on how the guys are doing clutch hitting w/ the Yanks 2 or so behind in the game. I recall ARod was batting .087. Where is he now? How about the rest of the regulars? That was more meaningful to me than RBI%.

Posted by: redbug [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 13, 2006 06:09 AM