There has been random polarization and a trend of parity through the first two months of the 2012 season, especially in both Eastern Divisions. The Orioles have run rough shot on the AL East after two months while the typical bottom-feeders in the NL East have sprinted out of the gate. I still am holding out on their endurance, however.
And low and behold, the frontrunners of New York have (quietly) become the Metropolitans. Baseball is vexing and, try as you might, you cannot predict everything. I still maintain the Yankees will be far and away the better team, but lets have some fun for now…
The real difference here is the roughly 50 additional plate appearances for Martin, yet Thole only has one less hit. The Met backstop also is batting nearly 100 points higher and has a slightly better wOBA (.321 vs .316) due to the fact that Martin tends to draw a lot of walks. Martin is definitely the better defensive asset but is having an terrible offensive year Winner- Josh Thole.
For all his talent, Tex is having a weak season. Davis isn’t doing much better. Tex is hitting well below his ability at .253 and Davis is at an unacceptable (for a starter) .164. The power numbers are fairly similar but Tex gets the nod due to a much higher OBP (.319 vs .227) and wOBA (.334 vs .220). Winner- Mark Teixeira.
It gets interesting here with both almost mirroring in hits, RBI, SBs, and walk vs. K rate. The real difference is the power of Cano. In 227 plate appearances, Murphy has yet to hit a homer, while Robby has eight. Cano also has crossed the plate 36 times against Murphy’s 21. The batting averages are a wash as well as wOBA, so the real difference is the slugging power of Cano. Winner- Robinson Cano.
Shortstop: Derek Jeter vs. revolving door
I don’t need to compare stats here because Jeter is basically having an MVP year. He has literally carried the Yankees on his shoulders the last two months. Ronny Cedeno could be considered the regular but he’s currently on the DL and isn’t expected back for a couple of weeks. Jordany Valdespin and Omar Quintanilla have just 47 plate appearances between them. Winner- Derek Jeter.
Wright is having a phenomenal year with an incredible .433 wOBA and 1.038 OPS. A-Rod is starting to hit well again but is showing his resurgence may be more as a singles-type hitter. He does have the HR edge at nine-to-five but that may be due to the extra 41 plate appearances. Wright, however, strikes out far less and walks at a much higher rate. Not a wash but not a blowout either. Winner- David Wright.
Outfield: Granderson/Swisher/Ibanez vs. Nieuwenhuis/Duda/Torres
*To be clear, I chose these six because they have the most starts Granderson is having a ‘meh’ type season at the plate but is hitting a ton (17 HR, .551 SLG). A K every four at-bats is much too high. Swish has had his struggles since coming off the DL (.243, 21.1% K rate). Granderson and Swish lead the Yankees with 33 RBIs. Raul Ibanez is doing really well filling in for injured Brett Gardner, hitting .252, nine HRs, .510 SLG. His defense is spotty at times, though.
Nieuwenhuis is doing well for the Mets thus far with a .424 BABIP coupled with a .299 batting average. His downside is he strikes out a LOT and doesn’t draw many walks. I’d go out on a limb to say that Lucas Duda is a straight trade-off for Swish. Neither is tearing up the base paths but they are hitting the long ball. The only real difference is Dudas slightly better wOBA. The scales tip in favor of the Yankees when looking at Andres Torres. He isn’t showing the pop of Ibanez and is hitting at a lower batting average (.255, .300 wOBA). Winner- Yankees.
Starters: Sabathia/Kuroda/Hughes/Nova vs. Santana/Dickey/Gee/Niese
*Both have one starter that has less than half the starts of the other, so I’ only comparing these four
Santana has clearly been the better ace having both an ERA and FIP nearly a full run lower than CC. CC does have seven wins, but (in my opinion) wins not a strong indicator of performance. CC has pitched 10 more innings than Johan and both have a similar K/BB ratio (9/2). Kuroda has been bi-polar coming to the much stronger AL East posting a so-so 3.82 ERA while RA Dickey is dazzling with a 2.69 ERA, 82.9% LOB rate, and a 9/2 K/BB rate. The knuckleballer has been just as effective as Santana. Dillon Gee and Phil Hughes are a wash as far as I’m concerned. Hughes could get the edge as he’s tightened his starts up recently. Both have comparative stats, though Gee has nearly a run lower FIP and gives up fewer HR/9 (nearly 2-1). Ivan Nova gets run support consistently as evidence of his 6-2 record and 5.60 ERA (5.01 FIP). Jonathon Niese has a much more manageable 4.11 ERA and has the clear edge on BABIP, .273 to Nova’s atrocious .361. Winner- Mets.
Bullpen: The Yankees run away with this one. Corey Wade, Boone Logan, David Robertson, and Rafael Soriano are much more stable and reliable. Tim Byrdak and Bobby Parnell (3.00 ERA, sub-3 FIP) have been great for the Mets but closer Frank Francisco’s 5.82 ERA is miserable for a closer. Manny Acosta is having a dreadful year (11.86 ERA, 2.45 HR/9, 6.14 BB/9). None of the major relievers for the Yanks have an ERA over 3 and all (except Soriano) have incredibly high K/9 rates of at least 10; Roberson alone (before injury) has over 15. Soriano has slipped right in at the closer spot but could do with a better K/BB rate (2/1). Winner – Yankees.