Showing posts with label Pitching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pitching. Show all posts

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pitching Improving

Yankee's FIP's by month:

April- 4.85

May- 5.02 (Last in baseball)

June- 3.89

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

Big Start For Pettitte?

Andy got off to a strong start but he has petered off since then. Their are whispers about back problems with him and over his last three starts, his ERA is 6.75. He's facing the offensively anemic Marlins today and has a chance to turn things around.

A Pitching Plan

This was not the way things were supposed to work out fo rthe Yankees. The new additions of Burnett and Sabathia were supposed to flank the returning dual aces of Wang and Joba to form an unbeatable rotation. Add in the depth of guys like Kennedy, Coke, Hughes, Pettitte, and Aceves and you had arguably the best rotation in baseball.

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

The Bullpen

With the exception of Jose Veras, who has been consistently bad, inconsistency has plagued the Yankees bullpen for the first two months of this season. While the month of May resulted in better overall numbers for the bullpen, I cannot help but dig my nails into the chair whenever Girardi heads towards the mound, regardless of the situation. This sense of dread has been pervasive whenever any non-Rivera reliever takes the mound, and even the Sandman has struggled a bit this season.

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.

The Keepers:
  • 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.

The Losers:

  • 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

Wrapping Up May

The Yankees have finished May and now let's check totals from that month.

Time for some statistical fun!

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
at .350 which is similar to last month. Their slugging % is best in the game, .490. The same mid-range BABIP as last month is good as well (.300).

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.

Here are the current standings.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


The 'Pen's Era So Far

Sunday, June 15, 2008

What To Do About Wang?

As you all already know, Chien-Ming Wang injured his foot today while running the bases today. While it is unlikely that it is a lisfranc injury (a la Brian Bruney) he probably will not be able to avoid a DL stint, which means the Yankees will need to use a replacement pitcher at least three times. Who should that replacement be?
  • 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.
My choice would be McCutchen, because I think Horne needs more time, but I would be happier with anyone other than Igawa.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

2008 Plans: The Superstarter

As you all know, the Yankees will have to find a way to limit Joba's innings this year, so as not to hurt his arm. They also will need to limit Phil Hughes' innings, but that is not discussed as often. Phil and Joba each threw 111.1 innings last year. The rule for innings caps is generally no greater than a thirty inning increase, putting both of their caps at about 141 innings. Hughes threw 146 innings in 2006, so his cap will likely be higher, probably between 150 and 160 innings, so we'll say 155 for now. Many have been saying that Joba will start the year in the bullpen, but nobody has really discussed Hughes.
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.

Superstarter '08