Sunday, January 01, 2006

Yankees vs. Mets

Assuming this deal goes through, for the first time in a while, we could actually have an honest debate about which team is better: the Mets or Yankees.

Tonight we'll analyze the position players.

Let's go through it position by position:

1st Base: Jason Giambi vs. Carlos Delgado.

This matchup is actually pretty close. Let's look at the relevant numbers. Giambi had an on-base percentage (OBP) of .440 and a .535 slugging percentage (SLG). That makes his on-base plus slugging (OPS) .975. Delgado had a .399 OBP and .582 SLG for a .981 OPS. Pretty close. Delgado had narrowly more home runs, 33 to 32, but substantially more extra-base hits, 77 to 46. Those numbers are reflected in the SLG.

The biggest difference is RBI. Delgado had 115, while Giambi only had 87. That's a huge gap. But remember, Giambi started the season slowly and spent a large chunk of the season batting at the bottom of the order.

Defense and baserunning are a wash for these guys (although Giambi grounded into 7 double plays while Delgado bounced into 16). They both aren't very good.

I'd give Delgado the edge only because he's been much more consistent and Giambi is injury prone. But if Giambi is healthy these two players are even (and I might give the edge to Giambi because OBP is the most important statistic).

2nd Base: Robinson Cano vs. Miguel Cairo

While Cairo might get the edge in fielding, the hitting is no contest. Cano's OPS: .778. Cairo's: .621. And Cano should only get better. Big edge Yankees.

Shortstop: Derek Jeter vs. Jose Reyes

Reyes stole 60 bases in 75 tries. That's really good, especially for a guy who barely gets on 30% of the time. And Reyes should get better. But seriously, this position isn't even close. Jeter's OPS was .839. Reyes' was .686. Jeter won a gold glove and is one of the best baserunners in baseball. Huge edge Yankees.

3rd Base: Alex Rodriguez vs. David Wright

David Wright is a great player and will get a lot better, but he needs Albert Pujols numbers to make this position close. Big edge Yankees.

Catcher: Jorge Posada vs. Paul LoDuca

The big question is whether Posada had a down year or if he's declining because of age. If he had a bad year, the position isn't close. If these numbers are what should expect than the position is close.

Posada's OBP was .352 and his SLG .430 for a .782 OPS. LoDuca had a .334 OBP and a .380 SLG for a .714 OPS. Posada had more power and got on base more. Posada even threw out a higher percentage of baserunners.

At best this is even and that assumes Posada is in a serious decline and will get worse. But I don't see that so I'll give the position to the Yankees.

Left Field: Hideki Matsui vs. Manny Ramirez

Matsui is good, but Ramirez is much better and that takes into account baserunning and defense. Ramirez's OPS was .982 and Matsui's was .864. I can see Matsui's numbers improving but Manny is just much better. Big edge Mets.

Center Field: Johnny Damon vs. Carlos Beltran

Beltran is the superior fielder and basestealer, so the question really is whether he'll return to his Royals' form. If he hits like last year, Damon is the better player. If he goes back to his almost 40-40 days, when he had a .900 OPS, he's better. The Yankees' lineup is very impressive and Damon will only be better this year. So for the time being I'm going with Damon.

Right field: Gary Sheffield vs. Cliff Floyd

Sheffield's numbers were down last year. His OPS was .891, while Floyd's was .863. The numbers were closer than you think but Floyd had a big bounce back year, so we don't know what we're going to get. Edge to Yankees.

That's 6-2 Yankees, with big edges at 2nd, SS, and 3rd. The Mets have a big edge at LF, but that's it.

Tomorrow we'll look at the pitching staffs.

Update: Whoops, looks like the Yankees just got Miguel Cairo. Not sure who the Mets are going to play at 2nd now, but I don't think it matters. Big edge to Yankees.

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