To do this I am going to run through the rosters of each team, as I believe they are currently constructed and see which lineup and rotation produced more wins in 2009. Baseball Prospectus and Fangraphs, respectively, will both be providing the WAR (or WARP1 for BP) stat, which is being used because it takes offense and defense into consideration. These two sites don't always agree on a player's win contributions, which is why I'm using both. The purpose for using the 2009 numbers, as opposed to a 2010 projection, is to be conservative in the estimate. Some players will play better in 2010; others will play worse. Hopefully for the players taken in aggregate their combined 2009 seasons will roughly match 2010.
On a final note, BP adjusts its WARP statistics from time to time, so the numbers may not align to what I've posted previously, but do reflect what is currently on the site.
For this position, I'm inclined to agree with Fangraphs. Martinez was probably a bit better than Jorge in 2009. The slight difference aside, these are two very similar offensively capable, defensively inept, switch-hitting catchers.
As much as it pains me to see that Youk was slightly better than Tex in '09, I'm not surprised when the former's higher OBP is taken into consideration. On the other hand, our first baseman is one of baseball's best and he doesn't look like a caveman.
I'm always stunned when I see the high value BP places upon Cano, but 2009 was in many ways his best season as a pro. Pedroia, on the other hand, regressed considerably from 2008, regardless of which site you use to analyze him.
A-Rod would have been worth more wins had he not been hurt. It's tempting to project his win total upwards, but he has also played less than 140 games in each of the last two seasons. A similar argument can be made for Beltre, who missed much of 2009 with injuries as well.
Fangraphs lists Jeter as the better offensive and defensive player in 2009. I did not set out for this post to serve as a de-facto comparison of BP and Fangraphs, but in the back of my mind there is also an element of that. Right now Fangraphs is winning. There's no way Marco Scutaro was better than Derek in 2009.
BP penalizes a player for missing time. I've doubled Gardner's win total only because he played so little in '09 and is currently going to start in 2010. Either way, Fangraphs is a big supporter of that gritty little guy. For my part I think it depends upon how much you value defense overall. Ellsbury is a terrible defender while Gardner is excellent. Neither can hit the ball much farther than a little leaguer.
Granderson is one of the few players on either team I believe will see a big improvement in 2010. Regardless, I'm sticking with the 2009 results, which give Cameron the slight nod.
BP feels more accurate here. Drew always misses a lot of games while Swisher is more durable. I'm skeptical of any system that suggests Drew is 1.2 wins better than Swisher; even if Fangraphs is projecting out to a full season, I would counter that it is unwise to do that if a player played more than 120 games.
I'm stunned that Nick Johnson is the only player the two sites agree on. I'm thrilled that David Ortiz still sucks.
So far, both BP and Fangraphs feel that the Yankees will put the better offense on the field next year, based on 2009 as a guide. The bombers come out ahead 31.5 wins to 27.5 according to BP and 36.7 wins to 34.2 according to Fangraphs.
Predicting either team's rotation is a bit tricky. Fortunately, I don't have to. At the moment each team has 6 potential starters and a confirmed closer. I'll limit my analysis to those arms. Also, BP doesn't provide its WARP1 stat for pitchers on the free portion of their site, so I won't link to it.
Josh Beckett - WARP1: 4.2; WAR: 5.3
CC Sabathia - WARP1: 5.3; WAR: 6.0
Jon Lester - WARP1: 5.8; WAR: 6.2
A.J. Burnett - WARP1: 3.2; WAR: 3.1
Lester's strong 2009 makes me wonder if Beckett will continue to be first in the Sox rotation in 2010. Either way, it's difficult to ignore the fact that the Red Sox's 1-2 punch was better than the Yankees' in 2009.
John Lackey - WARP1: 3.2; WAR: 3.9
Andy Pettitte - WARP1: 2.4; WAR: 3.3
I was a strong advocate of John Lackey's until I saw the size of the Sox's offer. At $17 million per season I'm glad he's not the Yankees' problem.
Daisuke Matsuzaka - WARP1: 0.4; WAR: 0.5
Javier Vazquez - WARP1: 7.0; WAR: 6.6
Vazquez projects to be a 5-win pitcher next year, meaning he will not repeat his 2009 performance. Still, even if he's only a 4-win pitcher he'd be a top 3 guy on either team. Am I still smiling about this trade? You bet I am. Dice-K, on the other hand, remains a disappointment with a full no-trade clause.
Clay Buchholz - WARP1: 2.1; WAR: 1.2
Joba Chamberlain - WARP1: 1.0; WAR: 1.5
Tim Wakefield - WARP1: 2.0; WAR: 1.9
Phil Hughes - WARP1: 2.6; WAR: 2.2
Jonathan Papelbon - WARP1: 4.6; WAR: 1.9
Mariano Rivera - WARP1: 6.5; WAR: 2.0
Fangraphs is surprisingly cruel to closers in terms of their value. Here I'm inclined to support BP. If you don't believe me, just ask a Phillies fan about Brad Lidge.
The Yankees come out ahead in terms of their pitching as well, according to each site. BP favors the Yankees 28 to 22.3 while Fangraphs favors the pinstripes 24.7 to 20.9.
Researching this post has led me to be that much more skeptical of the various wins statistics on the web, only because the two sites disagree so often, many times not even agreeing on which player is better. That said, in aggregate, each method draws the same conclusion: The Yankees' core looks stronger than the Red Sox's core. Baseball Prospectus puts the final tally at 59.5 to 49.8, while Fangraphs comes to 61.4 to 55.1. The actual 8-win difference between the two 2009 teams is right between these two estimates, adding credibility to the final tallies.
So far in the offseason, advantage Yankees.