Thursday, July 2, 2009
May- 5.02 (Last in baseball)
July- 3.48 (Obviously a small sample size)
It looks like after struggling the first two months, the Yankees pitchers finally settled into a groove. Girardi has seemingly found the right mix of relievers and the big money guys (Burnett/Sabathia) have started to live up to their contracts. Chien Ming Wang has also pitched much better of late.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Instead they've ended up with one of the highest team ERA's in baseball and have become increasingly reliant on a bullpen ranging from mediocore to bad. Mostly bad. Of the four "aces" the Yankees had only C.C. has delivered in any sense of the word. Burnett and Joba have been dissapointingly mediocore and nobody can seem to figure out what's wrong with Wang. Meanwhile, Pettitte appears to running on fumes, Kennedy is hurt, and Hughes, Coke, and Aceves have become the only trustworthy relievers the Yankees have.
So why the sudden turn of events? The Yankees power pitchers are nibbling at the strikezone. Other than C.C., all of the Yankees pitchers have unusually high walk rates. Pettitte's is the highest of his career, Burnett is rivaling and sometimes even topping his earliest years when he was a young flamethrower for the Marlins, Joba has added over a full BB/9 over last year, and I'm not even going to mention Wang's numbers until next year if I can help it. Burnett has the highest BB/9 among qualifying pitchers in the AL. However, if Joba or Wang qualified then both of them would be ahead of him. Pettitte is also among league leaders which is especially bad news for him.
My theory is that pitchers are afraid of the ballpark. They see the ridiculous home run totals and are afraid of giving them up, so they do their best Mike Mussina impression and nibble. For Burnett and Joba who are capable of throwing mid 90's fastballs this is one of the worst mistakes they could make. Burnett and Joba just need to relax and do what they do best. Sure, they'll give up some homers but the other guy will to. When you walk in a run with the bases loaded though, that pisses me off. If they can get Wang right, he'll be fine. Obviously, its tough to hit a groundball home run. The only guy that I see no solution for is Andy Pettitte. If he throws strikes, guys are going to crush his 88 mph fastball and throwing balls is, generally speaking, a bad idea. If the other three guys are on track though then they should be able to keep him away from the stadium. I don't really think that the Yankees pitching woes are a result of a lack of talent so much as a poor approach. I think with some work, Dave Eiland and Joe Girardi can turn this stadium into an advantage.
Monday, June 1, 2009
With roughly one-third of the season on the books, we are at an awkward point in terms of gauging what needs to be done. While each player has over one-hundred games left to turn himself around, this first chunk of the season provides a fair sample size for projection, with some accounting for regressions and progressions. Given that the bullpen's performance declined after the All-Star Break last season, I believe that it is reasonable to say that some change is necessary.
- Mariano Rivera - Well, duh.
- Alfredo Aceves - I trust Aceves in high-leverage situations. He's smart, and his starting experience should allow him to come in at any point in the game and pitch for however long is necessary. I view him as a less erratic Ramiro Mendoza.
- Edwar Ramirez - Inconsistent, but effective against righties and lefties. Notwithstanding Girardi using him for 3.1 IP on 9 May, Ramirez has been excellent since the end of April.
- David Robertson - Great in the minors, he has nothing left to prove at Triple-A.
- Jose Veras - He has a 5.90 ERA since August 2008, and has been awful in every situation thus far this season. While his stuff is solid, the Yankees appear to have much better options.
- Damaso Marte - While bad luck is partially to blame for his struggles, Marte hasn't done much to encourage Yankees fans, either. Between his lack of production and Girardi's inconsistent use of him, this may be addition by subtraction.
- Jonathan Albaladejo - He has middling stuff, middling control, and a fairly extensive injury history. His lack of results make this a fairly easy decision.
- Brett Tomko - Tomko is a decent option to have in the minors, but he doesn't belong on a major league roster - particularly one with Wang and Aceves... and even one with just Aceves.
The Final Two:
- Mark Melancon - While I think he could still use a bit of seasoning at Triple-A, I also believe that he is better than at least three pitchers currently on the roster. It's just a matter of time, I suppose.
- Phil Coke - I see him and Ramirez as nearly interchangeable, with Coke having a higher upside. I prefer Ramirez for the time being, as Coke is less consistent, but I believe there is a great deal of value in having both, due to their effectiveness against righties and lefties.
- Brian Bruney - He's injured now, and I didn't list him as a keeper due to his injury history and bouts with inconsistency. That being said, a healthy Bruney has the chance to be a fantastic set-up reliever, and with a bit of health he'll find himself right below Rivera.
- Kei Igawa - The Yankees need to get their value somehow... Igawa's been very good in the minors, and seems to be strong his first time through a line-up.
I didn't consider Hughes or Wang here, as I believe that Hughes will head down when Wang is deemed healthy (and justifiably so). I hope to see Hughes fill Pettitte's spot in the rotation in 2010, and I think consistent work at Triple-A will be better than inconsistent relief appearances in working towards that goal.
In the end, I think the Yankees could be very strong with a six-man bullpen. Things are questionable after Rivera, but I have faith in the talents of those pitchers that I want to keep around, and think they can help the Yankees immensely with a bit of consistency.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
The Yankees came in with the 3rd best team average (.281) passing both the Red Sox (.271), Jays (.279) and Rays (.279). As for long-balls the Yankees finished best in the league in home runs totaling up to 42. Thank you Jet-Stream. Scoring 151, 4th in the league, and driving in 148, 3rd in the league. Yankees team OBP is 7th in the league coming in
Looks like the Yankees are putting on the same amount of people as last month but now they are able to get them in. With the Teixeira and A-Rod combo working the Yankees drove in and hit out a lot more.
The Yankees clocked 17 wins this month (4th) and 10 losses (4th). Coming in at 15th the Yankees ERA is a shinny 4.24. The K were good this month the Yanks came in 7th (202). Giving up an insane 42 HR, New Stadium has its downside.
Starting Pitching had a 4.32 ERA (14th)
Relief Pitching had a 4.10 ERA. Giving up a league leading 19 home-runs, they pitched 85.2 innings.
The Yankees team UZR is .02.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Sunday, June 15, 2008
- Dan Giese is a possibility. He had some success as a starter in AAA and has been pretty good as Joba's shadow. Joba likely doesn't need him anymore, as he is now fully integrated into the rotation.
- Dan McCutchen. The Yanks might want to give the 26 year old more time at AAA, but he currently has a 3.62 ERA and 1.21 WHIP. He pitched a shutout last night.
- Jeff Marquez. He struggled early but has since turned it around, and is coming off a very nice start.
- Alan Horne. If he hadn't been injured, he would have been called up when Hughes got hurt, instead of Darell Rasner. However, the Yankees may want to give him more time to recover, as he has only made three starts in AAA since returning. He does have a 3.44 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18.1 innings.
- Kei Igawa (shudder). 3.73 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP, but please, no. Just no.
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Here is my proposal: We combine Hughes and Joba into a superstarter. No not literally, or surgically, but by giving them the same rotation spot. One of them starts, and throws five innings, with the other one coming in to pitch the final four innings. The next start they switch who gets five and who gets four. This means an average of 4.5 IP per start. Over 30 starts, that is 135 IP. This is just under Joba's cap, but well under Hughes' cap. The Yankees could either keep it like this, allowing Hughes to throw a lot of playoff innings, or they could move Joba to the bullpen for a month or so, and let Hughes be his own man during that time. That would probably mean an extra 7 or 8 innings for Hughes, leaving him with 143 IP (which still leaves playoff room). It would also mean a decrease of about 10 IP for Joba, which would also leave a lot of playoff room.
Besides saving our young starters' arms, this saves the bullpen, too. The 'pen only has to be used 4 out of every five days. Fresher relievers=better relievers. This means that guys like Alan Horne, Steven White, and even Kei Igawa or Jeff Marquez, who may be used to help the bullpen mid-season, may not be necessary, allowing them to develop in the minors, or be used as spot starters to give a young guy a rest (Phil, Joba, IPK) or to take Mike Mussina's spot if he sucks. Regardless of what Girardi, Cashman and Nardi Contreras decide, they will have to get creative in monitering Joba and Hughes' innings.