I just happened upon this ESPN "Insider" article that was last updated 1/12/09, so it's got a few days of stubble on it, but I wanted to bring out some things which were surprising. First, it goes to show just how statistically awful Abreu was last year in RF. Second, I happened to have a pretty strong posting about the game the author references, though I unfortunately did not discuss Abreu's miscue.
Among right fielders who qualified for the batting title last season, Abreu was worst in the American League with a UZR of -25.2. Yes, you read that correctly. UZR says Abreu was more than 25 runs worse than your average right fielder, and the Rockies Brad Hawpe (-37.2, oof) was the only right fielder in the majors below him.
But 2008 was not an anomaly. Abreu's UZR in 2007 was -4.2, and it was -15.6 the year before that. In fact, he hasn't had an above-average UZR since 2002. And it isn't just UZR that says Abreu is clueless in right. The Hardball Times' Revised Zone Rating measures the percentage of balls hit into a player's zone that are converted into outs, and Bobby Abreu (.872) was 12th out of 15 qualified right fielders by that metric in 2008.
I woke up still feeling that way, but, I can't help but wonder if we're watching the onset of a slow motion train wreck. The chart below summarizes my confidence in the team making the playoffs as well as it tracks the Yanks chances of winning last night's game [see: FanGraphs chart]
But how is this team going to make the playoffs? The short answer is, unless Pettitte, Moose and Wang are going to win 3 out of every 5 games, at least, from here on out, we're not. Joba riding in to "save" the team as a starter is an unfair burden.
So now what? It's May 2nd. Let's not throw our future out in the garbage by trashing them. They are just young kids, Hughes being the youngest starter in the Majors. Give them a chance. Take a deep breath. And if this year passes and we're home in October, so be it. Next year, the albatross contracts are gone. We become a leaner organization with fiscal flexibility to make the strategic signing (hear me, CC? You too, Teix!). And hopefully, we become younger and more fun.