Sunday, July 09, 2017

Where would Yankee fans be without Mike Lupica's analysis?

A month ago, Mike Lupica declared the Yankees to be the most complete team in Major League Baseball. The only question mark was Masahiro Tanaka.

It doesn't qualify as baseball analysis.

It's just a writer looking for a narrative and performing minimal research (looking at the standings?) to provide some backup.

So a month goes by (a bad month or the Yankees), and there is actually still some hope. Who knows? 

The Yankees are still +100 in run differential (ranked 4th), but there is no chance they are the most complete team in MLB, and they never were.

The long term plan is still in its initial stages. The realistic best-case scenario is a Championship in two or three years (wishful thinking aside).

So how does Lupica reassess the Yankees after a bad month?:

"The Mets don’t have Noah Syndergaard, don’t have Matt Harvey, don’t have Jeurys Familia. The Mets haven’t had David Wright for a while, have only had Yoenis Cespedes for half a season, during which he has occasionally looked like half the hitter he used to be at Citi Field. With the Mets, you talk about all those things before you start talking about the bullpen issues they’ve had and are still having.Then you looked at the standings Saturday night and saw that they had six more losses this season and six fewer wins than the Yankees have had."

So the Mets stink and the Yankees are six games up on the Mets.

The Yankees are in the AL East and the Mets are in the NL East, but, whatever.

"It means the Yankees now have played a lot more bad baseball this season than good."

Well, that isn't right, is it?

The Yankees are +100 in run differential and 5 games over .500.

The Giants, for example, have played a lot more bad baseball this season than good.

" ... the Yankees are 24-31 since that real fast start of theirs. It is a third of a baseball season, and thus an even bigger sampling than the first quarter of it for them. Even with the way they came back against the Brewers on Saturday afternoon, they have lost 17 of their last 24 games."


That's not how it works.

A 24-31 stretch trends bad, but it doesn't eliminate a 20-5 stretch, even if 55 games is more games than 25 games.

"After 85 games in 2016, the Yankees were 42-43. With one game to go before the All-Star Break, then, they are a grand total of three games better than they were one year ago, for all the noise they made in April and May."

So now we know the 2017 Yankees are better than the 2017 Mets and the 2016 Yankees. 

What does all this really mean?

"What all of this really means is that Aaron Judge so far, who hit No. 30 on Friday night, breaking Joe DiMaggio’s rookie home run record, looks more like the MVP in major league baseball than ever. Because right now the big kid is the biggest reason the Yankees aren’t the Orioles or the Blue Jays. The big kid doesn’t just provide cover for some of the guys hitting around him in Joe Girardi’s batting order. These days he is providing cover for just about everybody."


I could have taken all of this and replaced it with one sentence: "Aaron Judge leads the majors in WAR."

Which everybody already knows.

"None of this is terminal, of course. We’ve seen the possibilities from the Yankees. We can see how much young talent there is not only in the chute, but currently on the field. It’s not as if the Red Sox have run away from them. But if they start the second half of the season the way they have finished the traditional first half of the season, then they might find themselves getting passed by the Tampa Bay Rays.


The Yankees have struggled lately. The Yankees still have enough talent in the room to come out of the way they’ve played over the last 50-plus games. The Yankees ought to be fine. They’re sending all those guys to the All-Star Game. Sending a couple of strong young guys to the Home Run Derby. Still seeing the Red Sox right there in front of them."

They might be good and they might be bad.

How should I know?

I'll check back in next month and tell you more things about baseball that you already know.

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