This is what a really good team’s WAR pie looks like:
What immediately jumps out, in looking at the Yankees WAR pie, is how balanced this team is in terms of how many different players have made significant contributions. An amazing 15 players have contributed at least one full win of value so far this season, making most of the slices in this pie nearly equal in size.
The pie also speaks to how lucky the Yankees have been in avoiding injury–only 25 players have combined to provide a ridiculous 48 wins above replacement already this season. Indeed, the Yankees are still on pace to have at least 8 players hit at least 20 home runs this season, which has never happened before in baseball history, and a big reason why is that the starting lineup has been incredibly healthy all year long, with the exception of A-Rod’s hip injury.
The WAR pie also gives lie to the notion that Mark Teixeira has been far and away the obvious MVP candidate this season. Indeed Mark Teixeira hasn’t even been the most valuable player on his own team, and it isn’t even all that close. Derek Jeter’s new flexibility workout regimen and his resultant resurgence on defense plus a hot year at the plate have helped him post MVP-type numbers, and CC Sabathia has been a rock in the rotation.
Another thing this graph underscores is how much more valuable Brett Gardner is in centerfield, over Melky Cabrera. Although their offensive contributions are similar, as Melky has fattened up, he has lost a step or two on defense, whereas Gardiner is one of the premier defenders in center field by most measures.
Finally, a look at the Yankees balance between offense and defense reveals that like the Phillies, the Yankees are heavily reliant on their offense (although not anywhere quite as bad as the Phils’). However, this chart is heavily affected by the disastrous performance of the Yankees bullpen in the early months of this season, and would probably not look nearly as unbalanced if you based it only on the performances since June…