Saturday, January 2, 2010

Yankees younger than Red Sox?

It's amazing, but it might just be true -- or, at least, might have been true.

(Hat tip to for the idea.) can calculate the average age of a team's pitchers and hitters, even weighting its formula by at-bats and games played. Here's how the Red Sox and Yankees broke down a year ago:

Red Sox
Hitters: 30.0
Pitchers: 29.8
Overall: 29.9

Hitters: 30.5
Pitchers: 29.3
Overall: 29.9

The Yankees, in fact, have seen the average age of both their lineup and their pitching staff tumble since 2005, the season in which Brian Cashman wrested control of personnel decisions from George Steinbrenner during a contract negotiation.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have seen the average age of their position players mostly hold steady throughout the tenure of Theo Epstein as general manager.

What happens next season?

The Red Sox have added Mike Cameron (who will be 37 years old next season), John Lackey (31) and Marco Scutaro (34) but also will open the season with Clay Buchholz (25) in the major leagues rather than in Triple-A and Victor Martinez (31) doing the bulk of the catching in place of Jason Varitek.

The Yankees, on the other hand, replace Johnny Damon with Brett Gardner (26), barring a major move for a left fielder, and Hideki Matsui with Nick Johnson (31). Javier Vazquez (33) also steps into the starting rotation full-time.

The end result? It's tough to duplicate the formula preseason, but if you simply weight relief pitchers as half of starting pitchers, you're at least going in the right direction. Here's how next season breaks down for both teams:

Red Sox
Hitters: 31.2
Pitchers: 28.4
(This presumes a rotation without Tim Wakefield, who right now appears to be the odd man out in a Beckett-Lester-Lackey-Buchholz-Matsuzaka starting rotation.)
Overall: 29.8

Hitters: 31.1
Pitchers: 31.0
Overall: 31.1

Youth isn't the end-all, be-all. The Red Sox pitching staff in 2004 was the second-oldest in team history (32.5 years old) -- and the Red Sox pitching staff in 2007 still was the sixth-oldest in team history (31.0 years old).

But for those wondering if the Red Sox were getting too old, well, they're still not going to be an older team than the Yankees.

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