Here at NoMaas, we’re going to be taking at look at how the 2013 Yankees are projected to perform. We’ll be using Dave Szymborski’s ZiPS projections, which are calculated using weighted averages based on the player’s previous four seasons. Decline and progression are accounted for by using the aging curves of similar players. ZiPS is a reliable projection system on average, but, of course, it isn’t perfect. Players can out- or underperform their projections for various reasons. Still, it is a very good baseline and gives us a fun starting point.

The Yankees ZiPS projections can be found here. Important note: ZiPS original WAR calculations are slightly different than the WAR calculations currently listed on the FanGraphs player pages. This is because FG used an internal calculation for WAR based on the other ZiPS projected stats. The WAR you see listed in these projections is the WAR from the original ZiPS projections.

Let’s start out by looking at the left side of the Yankee infield:

Derek Jeter, SS: .277/.337/.369, .311 wOBA, 1.7 WAR
Kevin Youkilis, 3B: .256/.360/.464, .355 wOBA, 2.7 WAR
Alex Rodriguez, 3B(ish): .253/.335/.412, .328 wOBA, 1.9 WAR

Youkilis is projected to be the best player of this group, despite his career worst .328 wOBA in 2012. His poor performance last year was largely the result of a very low .268 BABIP. ZiPS has him rebounding to .289 in 2013, still a bit below his .322 career mark, but enough to make him a valuable offensive player.

Jeter’s ZiPS line comes very close to mirroring his craptastic 2010 season. His surgically repaired left ankle isn’t going to help his (already bad) defense, so his value will remain solely in his bat. His solid 2012 season gives fans reason to hope for a better performance, but we all know that age will catch up to the captain at some point.

Interestingly, Jeter could, effectively, be in a contract year. He holds a player option for 2014, but if he can match his 2012 performance, he might opt out and try to get a contract for 2015, 2016, or beyond. That would cause a huge headache for the Yankees next winter.

And A-Rod…..well…….it isn’t pretty. ZiPS projects him to continue the steady decline that started in 2010, with the .328 wOBA being the worst of his career. Like Jeter, Alex is coming off surgery, and we won’t see him until after the All-Star break. We don’t know how much his health will affect his play, and it is possible that he’ll be relegated to DH duties when he returns. His projected 1.7 WAR is based on 451 PA as a primary 3B, and it’s doubtful he will reach that in less than half of a season. If we cut the PA down and move him to DH, he’s worth a lot less. Hopefully he’ll be able to field, because the Yankees need to muster whatever value they can from him.

Final sad, depressing thought:

If Jeter hits his projection and Youkilis’s BABIP rebound is slightly higher than ZiPS projects, Jeter’s SLG will be lower than Youkilis’s OBP. Let that sink in, and then buy yourself a drink. You’ll need it.