Are the returns of Granderson and Texeira necessarily a good thing?

teixeira-granderson

The Yankees have survived the first month and change of the 2013 seasons without Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis etc. In fact, they have thrived, two losses to the generally punchless Seattle Mariners notwithstanding.

The Yankees are 25-16, in first place in the American League East, and have just gotten Curtis Granderson back. Teixeira has said he is on his way, hoping to be suiting up for the big league club by the end of May.

With the Grandy-man back in the fold and Teixeira coming does this mean the Yankees are due to blow away the rest of the division and romp to another AL East crown? After all, they’re doing this while giving regular at-bats to Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay!

Not so fast. Of course, adding Granderson and Teixeira to any team is obviously a plus, but a basic look at the numbers shows that the play of Wells and Overbay, and to an extent Kevin Youkilis before he got hurt, effectively replaced Granderson and Teixeira.

Nobody on the Yankees is having some sort of Mike Trout-esque breakout that figures to be bolstered by stars returning. Simply put, the guys like Robinson Cano and Brett Gardner have gone about their business as they typically do, while Overbay became Teixeira and Wells became Granderson. The Yankees lost two stars in name but not production.

Curtis Granderson’s numbers in April and May of 2012: .259, 16 HR, 29 RBI, 1 SB, .915 OPS.

Vernon Wells’ numbers this season: .301, 10 HR, 23 RBI, 4 SB, .895 OPS.

Now the power wasn’t the same, but consider that May isn’t over yet for Wells. Also, Wells’ OPS was very close to Granderson’s and Wells is hitting 42 points higher. Let’s do the same comparison for Mark Teixeira and Lyle Overbay.

Mark Teixeira in April and May of 2012: .256, 9 HR, 30 RBI, 1 SB, .792 OPS.

Lyle Overbay this season: .266, 6 HR, 24 RBI, 0 SB, .810 OPS.

Overbay has done just as well as Teixeira did last year! He has even posted a 4.6 UZR so far in 2013, so he’s dulled the pain of losing Teixeira’s glove as well.

The real injury issue that has reared it’s ugly head has been Jeter’s. It hurts more because many Yankees fans, and I suspect members of the front office, never expected the Captain to miss as much time as he has. In his absence, Eduardo Nunez has been dreadful as the everyday shortstop.

According to Fangraphs.com, Nunez has been worth -4.1 runs defensively, which was to be expected. What nobody could have saw coming was his .200 batting average with zero home runs and four RBI in 95 plate appearances before getting injured.

The bat Yogi Berra so desperately wanted in the lineup on a daily basis has completely sputtered in a full-time role while Jayson Nix has only been slightly better. Shortstop is a big hole that the Yankees may need to go outside the organization to fill, especially if Jeter continues to experience setbacks.

All in all, the return of Granderson and Teixeira will be good for the Yankees. While Wells and Overbay have performed admirably in their stead, they will remain on the team as quality veteran depth, much like Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez did last year. Well, Overbay will at least.

Vernon Wells has done so well, and Ichiro Suzuki so poorly, that Wells may continue to play in right or left while Ichiro is left the part time scraps. Whichever way Joe Girardi decides to play it, he’s in a far better spot than anyone thought he would be after a month and a half of play.

Photo credit: (May 20, 2011 – Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America).

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16 Responses to Are the returns of Granderson and Texeira necessarily a good thing?

  1. Good article Ray. I think the short answer to your question is yes, the Yankees are better off with Granderson and Teixeira, but maybe not by as much as people expect. Teixeira will help, especially against lefties, but has actually done worse than Overbay against right handed pitching. Granderson also gives them extra flexibility in that they can use Wells at DH now when Hafner is hurt or needs rest and they can occasionally bench Ichiro as well.

    I think you made a good point though in bringing up Jeter. He's the guy the Yankees really miss because their shortstops have sucked.

    • brian says:

      all good points…

      The reason I think Granderson coming back is huge is because now they can cut back Ichiro's playing time a bit… I just don't think Ichiro can play every night and be effective, he needs more off days and grandy coming back makes that possible

  2. Raimundo says:

    Yeah our SS play has been real real bad. Also Youkilis going down is a killer. The Adams/Nelson situation may need a remedy as well. Youk should be back soon enough though.

  3. @Yanks23242 says:

    Yes it's a good thing because there's almost no chance Wells can play like this over the course of a full season.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      I wouldn't be too sure of that. When he's healthy this guy can hit. It wasn't that he sucked the last few years, it's that he had first wrist and then thumb injuries.

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      you sure that Wells can't play this well over a season?

      it's not like he hasn't done it in his career.

      he has…. three times.

      and it ain't like Girardi doesn't have the ability to cocoon him with quality lefty bats before and after him and isn't going to have the option of sitting him against guys he doesn't match up against.

  4. brian says:

    You really couldn't ask for more on the season so far..

    The solid record, games that don't take 4 hours… Mariano being God one last time… there clearly still being room for Jeter as the main shortstop/ top of the order guy when he's healthy again

    Now it's just about continuing to pitch and hoping to get both Jeter and Arod healthy by the all star break… because the increased production will offset the inevitable fall off from wells and maybe some of the luck in close games shifting

  5. Michael R. says:

    Someone. anyone, please explain to me how Ben Francisco remains on a major league roster. PLEASE!!!

    • mikefoxtrot says:

      that question was addressed earlier today.

      —- Cashman on Ben Francisco's roster spot: "Just in terms of your fan comments section, just say I'm holding onto him to piss everybody off."——

  6. E in CA says:

    I think adding Grandy to mix will help but not Tex.

  7. billyball says:

    I know your a big stat guy and for most part stats never lie but here is the problem with this article. Overby has been much better in clutch than Texiera with men on base thus far this year.
    Also Nunez numbers are dreadful but the kid has a fast bat, changes the game when he is on base and has played a decent mistake free SS for most part. So like all kids he needs a chance to get into a rhythm.

    Aslo David Adams looks like a solid right handed bat that can platoon with Brignac and when Youkilis retruns he can platoon with Overby and DH against lefty pitchers..

    • Just for the record, Overbay has NOT been more clutch this year than Teixeira was last year. Mark Teixeira hit .230/.339/.452 with RISP last year. Lyle Overbay is hitting .235/.325/.382 with RISP. Stats can lie, but are at least usually better than perception.

  8. jfs says:

    at the moment its an open question but how many people really expect hafner AND overbay to stay healthy over the full season? having granderson and tex means the yankees still have a pretty solid dh option if something happens to hafner and a quality first baseman too.

    also, even though the average isnt what it used to be, tex still walks. it also seems doubtful that overbay can keep that level of D up all year

    however, all of this is a moot point if they don't continue pitch. the biggest return from injury this year could well be michael pineda if he can come back and be effective, giving the yankees a rotation of CC, kuroda, pettitte, and (pick 2) phelps/hughes/pineda/nova. that rotation has great potential and is way more important than the difference between tex and overbay

  9. Greg says:

    Rob Abruzzese, while your stats may be correct, Teixeira has way more GDIPs than Overbay does.

  10. Raimundo says:

    It has been a long time since Lyle Overbay's been this good. Ideally, he remains on this roster as veteran bench depth getting somewhat regular playing time. Teixeira was once a superstar which Overbay never was, and Overybay's maxing out his current upside. Tex can come back and swat 30 home runs. The point here was more to pat Wells/Overbay etc. on the back for really outperforming expectations but over a full season I don't believe either guy can keep this up. As bench players? They can be EXCELLENT.

    • Fred says:

      I agree with you with Overbay, but I think this Vernon Wells may be legit. After all, Overbay was never a superstar, but Wells was once something close.

      Maybe he's just finally found the right environment? He clearly had significant issues in Disney Land. I guess only time will tell, but its getting to that time of year where you have to wonder if some of the early season trends are going to stick.