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The 2010 Yankees are better than the 1998 Yankees: discuss

Apr 6, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

That’s the discussion they’re having over at IIATMS this morning. First up is the case for the 2010 Yankees, presented by Will.  Our friend The Common Man will be handling the case for the 1998 team a bit later today (UPDATE: TCM’s defense of the 1998 Yankees is now live). I’d rather have The Common Man’s side of the argument.

Actually, I’d rather argue in favor of the 1939 Yankees. They outscored their opponents by 411 runs for cryin’ out loud.

  1. smokehouse - Apr 6, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    More Yankee crap on this web site. Who, outside of NY, gives a rats ass.

  2. The Common Man - Apr 6, 2010 at 11:53 AM

    Hear that Craig? Stop being such a Yankee-lover.

  3. Ryan - Apr 6, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I’m a big fan of the 2008 Yankees myself.

  4. James - Apr 6, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    Soon as I see all of those decimal places in a baseball article I lose all focus. I get that it’s important to pay attention to statistics but it too much of that kind of thing is mind numbing.

  5. Robert Heinlein - Apr 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    “Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human. At best he is a tolerable sub-human who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house. “

  6. DiamondDuq - Apr 6, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    This is actually quite an intriguing discussion. At first glance you’d almost have to say the 2010 Yankees are better, just look at their roster, but upon further investigation it gets a little less clear.
    You’d most certainly take Tex over Tino Martinez but not by as much as you would initially think, Tino hit .281 with 28 HR and 123 RBI in 1998 compared to Tex last year at .292/39/122. You’d also take A-Rod hands down over Scott Brosius but after that things get a little hairy. You’d definitely take 1998 Posada over 2010 Posada. Cano vs. Knoblauch isn’t as obvious as it might seem, even after Knoblauch’s lackluster .265/17/64 in ’98, because which Cano are you getting? If it’s 2009 Cano you’re looking at .320/25/85 but if it’s 2008 Cano you’ve got .271/14/72, not so clear cut. Will Jeter repeat his performance from last year or will his age start to show? Another platooned LF, you’ll take what you can get. Bernie Williams had a great year in ’98, .339/26/97, while Granderson has only hit over .300 once (.302 in 2007) and has never had even 80 RBI. Then you have Paul O’Neill over Nick Swisher, perhaps a little bias there but 5 fewer HR’s for O’Neill but 34 more RBI and .068 higher BA than 2009 Swisher, at worst it’s a push.
    We don’t yet know how the 2010 bullpen will pan out, they could end up being very good but for the moment they look a little suspect. Starting pitching isn’t even as much a slam dunk as you would have thought. In 1998 the David’s, Cone and Wells, each threw over 200 innings, won 20 and 18 games respectively and had ERA’s of 3.55 and 3.49 respectively while you’d most certainly take a 26 yr old Pettitte over a 38 yr old Pettitte. We have yet to know which Javier Vasquez is going to show up, sure he’ll probably throw 200 innings (that seems to be a given the past 5+ years) but are you getting last year’s 2.87 ERA (or at least something close) or are you getting 2008’s 4.67 ERA?
    They’ll never be able to play eachother and it’s a lot closer than even I thought (personally I thought 2010 was a slam dunk) but throw in what appeared to be a better “team”, guys who were willing to put the team ahead of themselves to play their role and Joe Torre over Girardi and despite the massive under appreciation I previously had for the 1998 squad I’ll take the known, 114 regular season wins and a WS title, of 1998 over the unknown of 2010.

  7. Church of the Perpetually Outraged - Apr 6, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    Don’t use context specific stats like RBI/Wins when comparing one player to another. Wins, for pitchers in particular, are a terrible stat since they rely on so many aspects outside of the pitchers control (consider Grienke’s performance yesterday, 6IP 2ER, and he doesn’t get the win since the BP gives up 6 runs in an inning).
    BA is just as terrible when comparing players. Use stats like WAR or wOBA or even wRC+ (all available at They don’t have those stats for the ’98 players, but no reason to use triple slash for current ones.

  8. DiamondDuq - Apr 6, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    Another blind sheep. They can formulate all the statistics they want but the fact of the matter is they’re all constructed with the intent of describing what actually wins baseball games, they’re not absolute. Just as with meteorologists coming up with any measures and forecasts they want for weather phenomenon, at the end of the day they just don’t know for sure. All those trendy statistics you mention use the counting statistics to calculate themselves so diminishing those counting statistics in favor of manipulated formulas that were constructed to evaluate past performances of players and then applied to current players are far less concrete than anyone wants to admit. Everyone wants to feel if you’re not “progressing” with new and abstract measures then you’re living in the stone ages when in reality you’re blindly abiding by the results of measurements created by some geek security guard with too much time on his hands who couldn’t hit a baseball if it were sitting on a tee. That’s not to diminish the usefulness of such “advanced” metrics but the blind following of such things are as equally disgusting as you and those like you feel toward the counting statistics, again for which all “advanced” metrics are based.

  9. Bill@TDS - Apr 6, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    If you’re treating RBI totals like they mean something, you’re living in the stone ages. And, okay, in some sense, most sabermetric stats are “based on” counting stats (not on RBI, of course, not ever, but on some other counting stats). In the same sense, delicious chocolate cake is “based on” precise amounts of all its various ingredients, and have you ever tried to drink straight vanilla extract?

  10. Route36West - Apr 6, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    UMM? This is a no brainer. The 2010 Yankees are 0-1 and the 1998 Yankees won a world series. I could understand them trying to compare the 2009 Yankees to the 1998 team but you cant talk about how good a team is before they have even won one game.
    Who ever came up with this discussion is a fool and really prosumptious. The 2010 Yankees are not the Celtics of so many years ago that you knew they were going to win it all every year. With how the AL East is built its possible that the Yankees could win 93+ games this year and not even make the playoffs.
    Treating the Yankees like they have already won the title on opening day is exactly what kept them from doing so the past decade . It finally got under control last year and look what happened they won it all. And now you Yankee’s fans cant wait 1 day before you start the cycle all over agian.

  11. Will@IIATMS - Apr 6, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    I came up with this discussion. And if you think the thesis assumes that the Yankees will win the World Series this year (or you believe that the best team wins every year) you’ve missed the point.
    Besides which, this isn’t some fanboy post (or blog). TCM, who is defending the 1998 Yankees, doesn’t even like the Yankees.
    Guess what the 1998 Yankees’ record was after one game. 0-1. In fact, after three games, they were 0-3.

  12. Jason @ IIATMS - Apr 6, 2010 at 4:57 PM

    And for those who are even wondering why we’re doing this… what, do you want more Joba chatter? More debating the L/R platoon in leftfield? More Jesus Montero?
    Jeez… ya try to come up with different, original content…
    (yes, I am laughing)

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