Updated: Feb 2
From now until Opening Day (assuming there is interest), I am going to publish the report card style matchups for the Astros vs. all of the teams in the MLB. From this Astros fans will get a deeper sense of how their team REALLY compares vs. the MLB. We will do this one team at a time, and I REALLY would like you all to use the comment section below for questions/ comments.
What better team to start with than..... the New York Yankees.
For these matchups I will use the current data from the Roster Resource pages of the Fangraphs.com website.
For these summary report cards we will evaluate based on the Fangraphs projected stats for 2023 and compare the result to the actual 2022 stats.
As we have discussed in the previous Astros Report Card Articles here is the grading scale for the position players.
To account for the value of defense a player can get a letter grade bump up or down based on their projected defensive WAR (or actual defensive WAR for 2022) for their primary defensive position.
For the pitchers we will use these two scales- one for 2023 based on projected FIP and the other for the 2022 actual FIP- data.
The Position Player Matchup- Astros vs. Yankees
For the position players, we will evaluate by starting position and the bench based on the projected PA each bench player will get. For this I score the top FIVE key bench players and top THREE MiLB players,
The overall score will be based on the point values to the right. The differences are tallied in the columns to the right.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bench Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4
When a difference involves a player with less than 100 PA (or 20 IP for pitchers), I either excluded it or cut the difference in half.
Blank cells had ZERO PA or IP in 2022.
I included the players from 2022 that have left the team for informational purposes.
As you can see the Astros bats project to be better than the Yankees bats. Alvarez and Bregman are the biggest advantage for the Astros.
Both of these offenses SHOULD be good, but the Astros should be better. Also, injuries seemingly negatively impact the Yankees offense every year.
Overall, the 2023 difference is +3.75 for the Astros. We will see as the matchups continue that this not a huge gap, but it is significant. The Actual gap in 2022 was even larger at +5. Altuve, Brantley, and Alvarez led this gap for the Astros.
The Pitching Matchup- Astros vs. Yankees
For the pitchers, we will evaluate the projected starting rotation PLUS a #6 starter and the bullpen based on the projected RP roles and then filling out the RP by projected IP (or actual IP for 2022). I score a staff of 14 MLB pitchers and the top SIX MiLB pitchers. This accounts for a typical usage of pitchers in the MLB in 2023.
Overall Score = Starter Differences + Bullpen Differences / 2 + MiLB Players Differences /4
Astros fans are going to be shocked to know (and likely very dismissive of the projected algorithms- "the computers hate the Astros") that the YANKEES pitching staff actually projects to be BETTER than the Astros staff in 2023.
Starting Pitching- this comparison is actually what started me on this journey. I heard Astros fans convincing themselves that the Yankees SP sucked compared to the Astros. Folks, that WAS TRUE in 2022 when the Astros had Verlander, and the Yankees did not have Rodon. Most will argue the algorithms are wrong about Javier. They MIGHT be, but PLEASE don't yell at me about what the data says, Overall, Yankees SP is deeper than the Astros now.
Bullpen- The Astros bullpen DOES project to be marginally better that the Yankees bullpen. The gap is FAR less than most Astros fans would be willing to admit.
Minors- the BIGGEST difference between the two staffs is the quality of the pitching depth available to the Yankees.
The overall pitching gap calculates to -3.5 for an advantage to the Yankees. It should be noted that the Astros DID have an advantage in 2022. What the projection systems are also including is that some of the Astros pitchers pitched career or near career years in 2022.
Overall Summary- Astros vs. Yankees
This method says the Astros have a hitting gap advantage almost exactly equal to the pitching gap advantage that the Yankees have. Listen to me now and hear me later- the gap between these two teams is tiny and no one should assume one team is hands down better than the other. I know you won't listen. You don't have to; you are fans. I am trying to do these matchups objectively and to tell you what the DATA says.
The REAL difference between these two teams will likely come down to the impact of injuries.
I have a theory that the total gap between teams will be close to the win differential between those teams. We will explore that as we work through the AL West next. First up- the Texas Rangers.
PLEASE COMMENT BELOW- with your questions and/or thoughts.
If you liked this article or any of the others here, you really should subscribe to LarryTheGM.com. Be part of the team! You will get notified of new content and you can use the chat feature.