I believe the New York Yankees are better than the Boston Red Sox and the Yankees acquiring Zach Britton is the icing on the cake.
I will be first to admit that I had the Red Sox winning the AL East Division in the preseason based on my Predator Statistical Projections.
However, I was the only projection system higher on the Red Sox. Fangraphs had the Yankees by 1.90 games, and FiveThirtyEight had the Yankees by 3 games.
AL East Projected Standings based on my Predator Statistics Projections:
- Red Sox- 93.63 wins
- Yankees- 91.86 wins
- Blue Jays- 85.36 wins
- Orioles- 81.51 wins
- Rays- 77.64 wins
Coming into play on July 24th, the Red Sox (71-31) sit 6 games up on the Bronx Bombers (63-35). So far, it seems that my projections were right in that the Red Sox would come away with the division.
This may not be something to boast about after further analysis. After using the respective team’s statistics, my Predator Statistical Analysis says the Yankees are the better team even though they have a worse record. How can this be?
After further analysis, both the Yankees and Red Sox have the most potent offenses in baseball. One does not need to look too hard to think about the devastating punches both teams can have on their opponents pitching staffs.
Both teams have brutal lineups to pitch to because even their bottom of the order hitters may be elsewhere in other lineups. They are just exhausting.
Based on my stats, the Red Sox offense has given them 6.50 wins more than the average MLB offense this season, closely followed by the Yankees which has given them 6.26 wins more than the average MLB offense.
The next closest teams to these two are the Cubs and Indians with 4.66 and 4.33 wins above average. No other team eclipses 3 wins above average.
The average MLB offense in these terms means precisely what it says, a lineup filled with perfectly average MLB players. In other words, a team consisting of an offense and defense with a perfectly average roster would finish the season 81-81.
On the other side of the ball, the Yankees have an edge with their pitching staff and primarily from their bullpen. Although this “edge” is slight, it nonetheless is an edge.
The Yankees pitching staff, including starters and relief, has been worth 6.97 wins above the average pitching staff in the MLB. For the Red Sox, theirs has been worth 5.50 wins above average. A difference of 1.47 wins for the Yankees over their rival.
Apparently, nothing too shabby for the Red Sox, but the Yankees seemingly are better. Their expected win percentage for the season, based on my Predator Statistics, shows that the Yankees win-percentage should be .636 compared to the Red Sox .619.
Their expected win percentage is using their game statistics from 2018 and creating a theoretical run differential to create a team’s record. For those curious, the Houston Astros are first with an expected win percentage of .662, while the Yankees and Red Sox are second and third.
Zach Britton, welcome to the Bronx. pic.twitter.com/3vAdcJUxeh
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 25, 2018
With both teams a hair under 60 games remaining, anything can happen. With one mediocre week by the Red Sox and a good week by the Yankees, that six-game lead could evaporate.
Over the course of his career, Zach Britton has been a force out of the bullpen. From 2014-2017, posted incredibly low earned run average and been a save machine:
- 2014- 1.65 era with 37 saves
- 2015- 1.92 era with 36 saves
- 2016- 0.54 era with 47 saves
- 2017- 2.89 era with 15 saves (limited appearances due to forearm strain)
Even this year after getting activated from the 60-day DL after rupturing his Achilles in the offseason he has posted a 3.45 era in 15.2 innings pitched to go along with 4 saves on an awful Baltimore Orioles baseball team.
If he can continue to get back into form, the Yankees will have another dominant arm to rely on in the back end of their bullpen. It looks as though Britton has been returning to his former self because in his seven appearances in July he has only given up three hits and no runs.
As I previously showed, the Yankees have a slight edge in their expected win percentage compared to the Red Sox thus far into the 2018 season because of their pitching staff. Adding Zach Britton just further increases that ever-so-slight edge and may be enough in a playoff series to beat them.
The tough part for both teams is that one of them will have to survive a one-game playoff in the Wild Card game because only one can win the AL East Division race.
I guess that is just baseball, but if I had to pick a team today, I am going with the Yankees down the stretch and in the playoffs. Maybe it will be tough to climb out of the six-game hole, but if they can survive the one-game playoff, all things are possible.
Both teams are good, but the Yankees just have the thing that seems to matter most in the playoffs, and that is bullpen depth. Maybe they need another good starter, but they just need a starter to go three or four innings with their bullpen arsenal they have now assembled.
Boston, it is now your move in the trade deadline sweepstakes.