The last time our old friend Matt Imbrogno did this, it was pretty popular. But since then a few things have changed with the Yankees, the biggest was the loss of outfielder Melky Cabrera.
Matt also used CHONE to run these projections. I don’t like CHONE, they routinely overrate everyone, and according to them Cody Ransom is going to hit 14 home runs and will be worth $5.1 million. Yeah, Ransom has as good a chance at winning the lottery as that happening. Instead, I’m going with the Bill James projections because they seem quite a bit more reasonable. I’ll do a couple projections for different lineups that the Yankees may use this season.
First up is the lineup that they would run out there if the season started today:
This lineup projects to score 6.155 runs per game or 997 runs over the course of the entire season. I’d say if they can come close to that then they are going to repeat in 2010.
Second is a lineup featuring Reed Johnson as the team’s starting left fielder:
This lineup only is projected to be slightly worse scoring only, ha, 6.084 runs per game or 985 runs per season. Considering they’d be better off defensively with Gardner in left field the Yankees are better off standing pat than giving Johnson a starting role. As a caddy for Curtis Granderson against tough lefties though, that would be a great role for him.
This lineup is projected to score 6.113 runs per game or 990 runs in a season. That still isn’t quite as high, although only barely lower, than the first lineup with Gardner as the starting left fielder. So not even taking into account that Gardner is a much better defensive option as Damon, the Yankees still project to be better without Damon.
So if you believe Bill James projections, I’m a little skeptical, and the Yankees can stay healthy then the Yankees are better off with Gardner as the starting left fielder. The lineup would be even stronger with a caddy for Gardner against tough lefties whether that person be Reed Johnson or even Jamie Hoffmann.