What happened to New York?

Going into this season, the New York Highlanders had eight straight seasons above .500, and six straight seasons with 90+ runs. As of this writing the Highlanders sit three games under .500, at 24-27. Certainly at the start of the season I wasn’t expecting them to be performing like this. So what’s going on?

Well, like most things in baseball, it’s a combination of hitting and pitching performances being down compared to last year.

Starting out looking at the offensive performances:

Out at New York this year are Nicholas Dreifort, LA, Rafael Barrios, and Hector Wheat, both still a free agents, and Brian Song, SCO.  While losing Song wasn’t a big deal, he was -0.7 WAR last year, the other three combined to be about 1.8 WAR.

The two free agent signings that came in to replace those guys were Khalil Lee, 4.2 WAR last season, and Raul Castillo, 2.9 WAR, both of whom came from Detroit. While Lee has been earning his salary so far this season, he’s currently on track to get to about 3.5-4 WAR this season, Castillo has not been, currently about -.3 WAR so far this season.

The other two replacements in the everday lineup, Alex Blake, and Torey Martinez have also been slightly worse than replacement players so far this season.

Outside of those three players, the rest of the offense has actually been performing above last year’s statistics, which suggests that maybe the pitching is to blame.

The biggest disappointment for the Highlanders has to be Darrell May who is pitching essentially just above replacement level, a year after posting an incredible 7.08 WAR.

But it’s not just May who’s having a down year so far, it’s the entire rotation.

Mike Lawrie, Willie Rooney, and Ricardo Cairo are all on track to post worse stats this year than last. Cairo is on track to be no better than a replacement player this year

The only new starter to the rotation this season has been Julian Gonzalez, replacing Freddy Martin who signed a big contract over in Austin.

As an entire staff, New York’s whip this year is 16 points higher than last, and has already given up 243 runs this year. Last year they only gave up 573 the entire year. They are almost halfway to their entire total and we’re a little more than a quarter of the way through the season.

So where do they go from here? Well I definitely don’t see them sitting at or near .500 the rest of the year, their pitching staff is just too good for that to happen. Between Rooney, Lawrie and May, they have three excellent starters, and possibley the best reliever in the majors in Don Burch. But there are some definite improvements that could be made, particularly up the middle.

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