Damon adds hair, wins to Yankees

I’m not here to opine on the Yankees’ acquisition of Johnny Damon. If you want to read my thoughts on this signing, you can do so here or here. Rather, I want to take a quick look at Damon’s effect on the Yankees’ win total.
Damon will take over the leadoff spot and center field in the Yankees lineup in 2006. In 2005, Damon turned in a VORP of 49.2. As 10 VORP points is approximately equal to one win, that means Damon contributed just a bit under 5 wins to the Red Sox.
Meanwhile, the 2005 Yankee centerfielders were, well, a disaster. Omitting the woeful Tony Womack from the picture, the Yankees used Bernie Williams, Melky Cabrera, and Bubba Crosby to fill in that third outfield slot. The three combined for an overall VORP of 5.0. Only Williams has a positive VORP. In other words, the center fielder position on the American League East championship team did not even contribute one full win to the cause.
By replacing a triumvirate of subpar centerfielders with Johnny Damon, the Yankees could gain as many as five more wins in 2006. Building off of 2005, that would give them 101 wins on the season and a sure American League East crown.

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8 Responses to Damon adds hair, wins to Yankees

  1. […] My favorite headline on the Yankees’ signing of Johnny Damon comes from Statistically Speaking whose article is headlined Damon adds hair, wins to Yankees. The headline is incorrect, of course, since Damon will have to cut his hair per George Steinbrenner’s rules. Technorati tags: george steinbrenner, statistically speaking, yankees, johnny damon […]

  2. Dan says:

    Using win shares and warp 3, here’s the same idea:
    Damon: 25 WS, 6.9 WARP3
    Williams: 11 WS, 3.1 WARP3
    Cabrera: 0 WS, -0.2 WARP3
    Crosby: 2 WS, 0.9 WARP3
    Using Win Shares, the Yankees will gain 4 wins.
    Using WARP3, the Yankees will gain 3 wins.
    5 may be a little high considering Damon has likely peaked, but it is about right.

  3. Doug says:

    How many wins will the Yankees lose from the general erosion due to their roster being filled with old players?

  4. Rob Bonter says:

    I second the motion made by Doug in reference to the Yankees age factor. RJ, Mussina and Mariano will total a combined 118 years of age in 2006. This house of cards must collapse and the signs were already in place in two of the above three cases, last season. Kyle Farnsworth will probably be the overworked star of the pitching staff this coming season. At least some of the dregs like Womack and Flaherty have moved on, but overall, the prognosis is for the Yankees to lose a lot of high scoring games, probably too many to ring up another world championship.

  5. Caspian88 says:

    Directly comparing their 2005 WARP/WS totals isn’t really the best way to estimate future performance gains. Damon’s not terribly likely to repeat his 2005 performance, and I’d peg him at a 2003 offensive season, with slightly declined defense. All in all, I’d expect Damon to contribute about 5.5 WARP, which would be a win and a half for the Yankees. He could hit 6, but 7 isn’t likely.
    Of course, an overall decline for the Yankees is also likely, with their age.

  6. Doug says:

    Overall decline — plus some erosion due to increase in the degree of difficulty of beating the Blue Jays and possibly even the Devil Rays. I don’t expect another late-1960s, late-1980s wheels-fall-off repeat yet, but if the Yankees persist in their 21st century pattern of signing geriatric big-name players and NL pitching pan-flashes to long-term contracts (no, they’re not alone), they could easily slip into the sub-90 win range and miss the playoffs altogether. This would prompt a Boss Tantrum of tsunami proportions.

  7. Doug: Here’s my question for you. Who in the AL East is going to beat the Yankees right now? The Red Sox have no leadoff hitter, a questionable bullpen, a good starting rotation, and an infield of Mike Lowell, Alex Cora, Tony Graffinino and Kevin Youkilis. They have more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese. The Blue Jays may have won headlines but they haven’t proven anything yet. They have pitching and a useless Lyle Overbay. That’s it. So the Devil Rays may be harder to beat but until they get pitching, any team can just bludgeon them to death. The Yanks may be flawed but it’s hard to see them as anything other than the favorites to win the AL East in 2006.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Most Valuable Network – Off the Facade – A New York Yankees column

    Red Sox losses are the Yankees gains
    After the controversial and hotly-debated Johnny Damon, the holidays have brought a few slow days to Yankee-land. But worry not, fellow Yankee fans, for bad news of the Red Sox can easily be shown as good news for our pinstriped heroes.
    Over at my g…

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