Quick Hit: The Surprisingly Stout Pitching Staff

Heading into this season, many were torn on what to expect of the team's pitching staff. On one hand, Larry Rothschild has overseen some excellent staffs in his time with the Yankees, including one of the best in the game last year, and the team was returning the majority of that group in 2015. On the other hand, that group had hardly made it through the season unscathed, and Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, and Michael Pineda are all, at least to some degree, ticking time bombs (as are all pitchers, to be fair). With fourteen games and a few complete turns through the rotation under the team's belt, it seems a mostly reasonable time to check-in on the early returns. All stats are courtesy of FanGraphs, and all rankings are MLB-wide:

  • 1st in fWAR
  • 5th in K%
  • 6th in K-BB%
  • 7th in GB%
  • 7th in xFIP
  • 7th in ERA-
  • 8th in FIP
  • 9th in ERA
  • 15th in BB%

At this juncture, it seems as though the staff is greater than the sum of its parts, given the below-average run prevention numbers of Sabathia, Pineda, and Adam Warren, the average-ish-ness of Tanaka, and the unsightly walk rates of Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, and Andrew Miller. This is largely due to the staff's great overall strikeout rate coupled with acceptable walk and home run rates, which balances out almost all of the individual ugliness one could find.

Will they be able to keep this up? That is a question a bit beyond the purview of this bit of leaderboard watching. Off the cuff, however, I am inclined to ask 'why not?' After all, they have done so before (again, as recently as last year), and the key players remain the same.