Pitching and the Playoffs

Pitching and the Playoffs

If you’ve been reading Start Spreading The News over the last month, I have no doubt but that you’ve noticed that many of us are gazing just slightly into the future. While it’s true that stranger things have happened, the Yankees will likely win the AL East and move on to the playoffs once the calendar turns to October. While we can sit and argue about lineup combinations for a fair length of time, I think that the most pressing concern for anyone who has watched the Yankees this year is the pitching staff. Ironically, while most observers are most worried about the starting pitchers the Yankees will employ in the playoffs, I think that the pitching staff as a whole could very easily be solid enough to take the Yankees to the promised land if the team leans on its strengths.

(Photo Credit: John Munson, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)

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The Best Historical Line-Ups by Batting Side (LHH vs RHH vs BHH)

The Best Historical Line-Ups by Batting Side (LHH vs RHH vs BHH)

An interesting question was posed to me the other day,

“What is the best line-up that can be made up of only right/left-handed or switch hitters?”

It was an interesting thing for me to consider, and before I get into my findings, I want to thank Baseball Reference’s Leaderboards and Jay Jaffe’s JAWS metric enough, as the organization of this data helped make this exercise much easier to run through.

So, let’s get into it:

(Header Image: Heritage Auctions; Obviously Lou Gehrig Made the Lists! …Right?)

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SB Nation's Dorktown: "The Night That Destroyed the 2007 Baltimore Orioles Forever"

SB Nation's Dorktown: "The Night That Destroyed the 2007 Baltimore Orioles Forever"

SB Nation’s Dorktown, by Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein, put together a great comic-book like story, “The Night That Destroyed the 2007 Baltimore Orioles Forever”, about the Baltimore Orioles and one of the most baffling scoring lines in MLB history.

After the Yankees set the record for Home Run’s hit in a visiting ballpark during last nights win, it felt appropriate to accompany the accomplishment with this highly recommended read.

You will also find an amazing tweet from Jon Bois, expressing just how many home runs any visiting player would be expected to hit if they played a full season against Orioles pitching.

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The Time for Frazier is Now

The Time for Frazier is Now

As the entire Yankee Universe is aware by now, the Yankees did not go out and supplement the current roster at the trade deadline. No matter what I or anyone else thinks, Brian Cashman as said that true upgrades either were not available to the extent that outside observers thought, or in cases in which upgrades were available, the prices to acquire said upgrades were too expensive to be worthwhile. Cashman has stated that he believes upgrades to the current roster are available within the current organization. While much discussion has focused around the growing cast of thousands that currently reside on the Injured List, very little time has been spent talking about a player who has been conspicuously absent from the roster in recent weeks: Clint Frazier.

(Photo Courtesy of Ken Blaze - USA TODAY Sports)

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One Look At the Impact of the Yankees' Pitching Philosophy Since 2011

One Look At the Impact of the Yankees' Pitching Philosophy Since 2011

I decided to take a quick look at the Yankees starting pitchers since 2011 when Larry Rothschild became the pitching coach of the Yankees to see if any trends developed. Do pitchers improve, get worse, or stay the same after pitching for the Yankees? Also, how do pitchers do after leaving the Yankees?

This is a quick study that looks at just three indicators (ERA, WHIP, and FIP) to draw some preliminary conclusions…

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An Update on the Cash-o-Meter After 81 Games

An  Update on the Cash-o-Meter After 81 Games

Now that we have reached the midway point of the season, I thought that it would be appropriate to give an update on the Cash-o-Meter. 

In the off-season, Brian Cashman made the unfathomable decision to pass on both Bryce Harper (he of the generational talent) and Manny Machado (he of the generational poor sportsmanship).  Instead, he signed three players who make roughly the same amount of money per year in total (DJ Lemahieu, Zack Britton and Adam Ottavino).  

How has that been working out?

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Trading Torres for Scherzer: A Thought Experiment

Trading Torres for Scherzer: A Thought Experiment

Following the posting of yesterday’s Weekly Mailbag, a spirited discussion took place in the comments section regarding who the Yankees should shield in any trade talks for Max Scherzer.  In a short comment within the Mailbag, I expressed my opinion that Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Gleyber Torres are the only players that I consider off-limits in trade discussions should Scherzer hit the market.  Longtime reader, Fuster, asked me to explain why I would not include Torres in talks for an ace like Scherzer.  While I answered the question in short-form in the comments section, I think that this topic is worth further discussion since the Yankees will be on the prowl for a top-end rotation arm to add to the roster via trade prior to the trade deadline in July.

Before I get into it, I want to make one thing clear: personally, I do not believe that Scherzer will hit the market this summer.  The Nationals still have a chance to come back in the NL East race, and this may be the last season of their window of contention.  Anthony Rendon is a Free Agent this offseason, Scherzer and Strasburg, as good as they are, are getting older, and there is not enough young talent in the National’s prospect pipeline to keep the team in contention without high-end veterans.  I just have a hard time believing that the Nationals will sell at the deadline unless they do something horrific like lose 15 of their next 20 games.  Could it happen?  Sure, which will make this article relevant.  If the Nats sell, it is going to take some serious offers to grab Scherzer.

There are valid reasons on both sides of the argument for and against building a trade offer around Gleyber Torres in pursuit of Max Scherzer.  If I were Brian Cashman, and I had a trade offer centered around Torres that I knew would be accepted by the Nationals, assuming money and prospects were agreed upon, I would be rendered an anxious, sleepless wreck.  But in the end, much as I really do believe that Scherzer is the best pitcher in baseball, I would not be willing to trade Torres in any deal for Max Scherzer.  Let’s dig into it.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

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The Injured List Yankees Pitching Staff Vs The Active Yankees Pitching Staff

The Injured List Yankees Pitching Staff Vs The Active Yankees Pitching Staff

As we all know, the Yankees have been devastated by injuries this year.  It’s somewhat of a miracle that they are even in first place. While the position players are largely back (cross your fingers that they stay healthy), the starting pitching still suffers from a host of injuries. AS a result, Aaron Boone has had to resort to starting a grab bag of relievers every fifth day.  

The crazy thing about all of this is that the Yankees had quite good pitching depth in the organization.  They’ve actually lost half of their top end starters to injuries.

I thought that it might be fun to compare the current Yankee starters to the ones on the IL.  I’ll be using FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), and a few other indicators as a basis for the comparisons. (FIP is basically ERA with luck and defense stripped out to give only a pitcher’s measure of runs allowed per 9 innings.)

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