Monday, January 19, 2009
According to Fangraphs' UZR, via RLYW, the Yankees project to be seven runs above average defensively this year, a 46 run (or roughly 4 and a half win) upgrade over last year's team. Let's break this down a little. While Fangraphs expects slight regressions from Jeter, A-Rod, and Damon, the major improvements come from the departures of Bobby Abreu (-25.2 UZR last year) and Jason Giambi. While Giambi's -1.8 UZR last year is not horrible, he is replaced with Mark Teixeira's projected +3, which is a half-win upgrade in itself. Abreu's awful mark will be replaced mainly by Xavier Nady, but SG has Nick Swisher seeing some time in right as well. Nady projects to be -1, and Swisher +3. While a +7 team mark is encouraging, I don't think it will be that high. My reasoning for this is that I think SG gave Melky and Brett Gardner too much time in center for his projections. He has Nick Swisher playing just 242 innings in center, and Johnny Damon not playing any. I think that barring any moves, that pair will get at least half the innings in center. However, even with that scenario, the Yankees should still be greatly improved defensively in 2009.