Here are just a few things I have been thinking about recently:
Robinson Cano and WAR
Robinson Cano is leading all of baseball in Wins Above Replacement (for position players) with 5.4. Even though he is hitting just .243 since June 20th, he is still at a very healthy .325/.381/.564 clip for the year.
Despite his great season, Cano might lose the MVP race to Josh Hamilton or Miguel Cabrera. The leading WAR’er has failed to win the MVP only twice in the past ten years (Albert Pujols in 2003 and 2006).
Robinson Cano and Games Played
One of the reasons Cano is leading in WAR is that he plays every day. He has missed just two games in the last two years, and he’ll likely play in 159+ games for the fourth straight year.
No Yankee has ever played in 159 or more games for four straight years. Not Derek Jeter. Not Don Mattingly. Not Bernie Williams. No one. It’s a testament to Cano’s work ethic and his willingness to play every single day.
This might be unfair to some of the pre-1961 players, but not even Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, or Mickey Mantle managed four straight 150+ game seasons. Lou Gehrig, of course, was the exception.
Mariano Rivera and WHIP
Mariano Rivera failed to allow a hit or a walk in yesterday’s 5-1 win. Why was this significant? His career WHIP dropped below 1.
Only Addie Joss (who pitched from 1902-1910) has a better career WHIP than Rivera. Joss had a 0.9678 WHIP, while Rivera’s is 0.9994.
Among pitchers who have pitched since 1920, here are the closest anyone has come to a career WHIP under 1:
Pedro Martinez, 1.0544
Trevor Hoffman, 1.0558
Juan Marichal, 1.1012
Dick Hall, 1.1019
Sandy Koufax, 1.1061
It really is amazing that Rivera is having one of his finest seasons at the age of 40. Hitters are hitting .144/.194/.200 against him, and his 0.91 ERA would be a career low.
The Yankee Starters
The Yankees are having a down year offensively, but they have still maintained the best record in baseball primarily due to the health of the starting pitchers. With the exception of Andy Pettitte, no starter has had a stint on the Distabled List, and only seven different pitchers have started games.
The last time the Yankees used as few as seven starters in a season was in 1994. The last time they used as few as eight was in 1997.
For comparison’s sake, the Yankees had fourteen different starting pitchers in 2005 and 2007.
The Upcoming Series Against Boston
The Yankees have swept Boston at some point in August in three of the last four years. There was the memorable five-game sweep at Fenway in 2006, a three-game sweep in 2007, and last year’s unforgettable four-game sweep at home.
I’m expecting much of the same this weekend.
Thanks to Baseball Reference for the information.