And the pitchers?

On Monday I discussed how the Yankee hitters have fared in spring training. Today I turn my focus to the pitchers.

Before I dive into the breakdown, allow me a moment to say that spring training stats for pitchers are even more meaningless than the stats for hitters. These stats don’t adjust for a pitcher trying to learn a new pitch (A.J. Burnett, Phil Hughes) and they are accumulated over limited innings. But, as with the other day, it’s fun, and if our loyal readership can suggest something more pertinent to post about just before the start to the season I’m all ears.

What follows below is each Yankee pitcher expected to make the team, and his spring training innings, hits, walks and ERA through Monday’s action. Complete stats can be found here.

CC Sabathia – 14 IP, 16 H, 7 BB, 6.43 ERA: So, um, did I mention CC is a notorious slow starter?… Click here to read the rest

Thames must earn it all season

This spring, over 42 at-bats, Marcus Thames, the right-handed, power-hitting outfielder the Yankees signed to a minor-league deal for a base salary of $900k, is hitting a mere .143/.200/.286, while leading the club with 17 strikeouts. Now, spring statistics are generally hollow numbers, however, in some instances, particularly when a player is signed to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training, the numbers can be poor enough to cause concern. Thames might actually be one of those cases. And, though a roster spot has always seemed within his reach despite the numbers – the Yankees seem to believe that they need a right-handed bench option, which Thames is – yesterday, GM Brian Cashman indicated that the Yankees could pursue another player if one becomes available.

“Right now, he’s the last man standing,” stated Cashman in relation to Thames after the 33-year old went 1-for-4 with a home run against the Orioles in a 11-7 Yankee victory. “But I still need him to compete for the job because I don’t know who might become available.… Click here to read the rest

A Quick Look at the Revised SP Depth

Last week was rather eventful for the Yankees’ pitching staff. It gained Phil Hughes as its fifth starting pitcher and lost Chad Gaudin as a long man/reliever/whatever he was going to be. Both of these moves obviously affected the Yankees’ depth at starting pitcher, so let’s look at how it’s going to shake out.

Alfredo Aceves

No matter who won the fifth starter’s competition, Joba or Phil, the pitching depth was likely to be hurt. While Brian Cashman hasn’t ruled out sending Chamberlain to AAA, I still think it’s unlikely (I hope this is what happens, but I’m not holding my breath). Because the loser, now Joba, will likely be relegated to the bullpen, the Yankees lose a starting pitcher and their depth takes a bit of a hit.

This leaves Alfredo Aceves and Sergio Mitre as the 6th and 7th starters as swingmen out of the bullpen. While this isn’t necessarily bad–either one would likely be in the starting rotation of many, many teams–I’d prefer it if these guys were the 7th/8th starters behind Joba.… Click here to read the rest

Players to Watch, AL Central

With the start of the regular season less than one week away, I’m starting to wrap up my series on players to watch outside of Yankee-land. Today, we’ll swing into the NL Central:

At Target Field, it’s time to put up or shut up for Delmon Young. After lot’s of minor league hype and a respectable showing in 131 ABs in ’06 (.343 wOBA, 4.4 UZR), Young’s fallen off a bit. His wOBAs from ’07-’09 were .315, .324, and .312. This is not what Minnesota expected when they traded Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett to the (Devil) Rays for Young. His batting averages have been good–.288, .290, .284–but his awful walk rates–3.8, 5.6, 2.9–and anemic bat–IsoPs of .119, .114, and .142–has held him back. If Young doesn’t get some patience and power (and improve on the field…back to back UZR marks of -16.8), he’ll be considered a big time bust.

For the Tigers, we’ll all have to keep an eye on a familiar face: Austin Jackson.… Click here to read the rest

Two-inning appearances for Joba?

Could Joba Chamberlain pitch multiple innings – two at the most, the seventh and the eighth – out of the bullpen this season? According to Joe Girardi, it remains a possibility. “I think it’s something that you can look at,” noted Girardi on Saturday, after Joba’s first “official” appearance as a reliever, in which he tossed a single scoreless inning against Detroit. “A lot of that would depend on the group as a whole, and how they’re doing,” Girardi added. “Mo did it very well in ’96–probably as good as it’s ever been done. Because [Joba] is stretched out, he has the ability to do that.”

If the Yankees actually view Joba as a future starter, allowing the young righty to throw two innings in certain outings – not all, but some – would provide valuable opportunities to work on his secondary pitches. However, as Girardi outlined, that decision will depend on how the bullpen, which Joba is again a part of, is performing collectively.… Click here to read the rest

Not Feeling a Draft

Today isn’t the same as yesterday. The reasons that the draft was a good idea in the 1960s no longer exist (some variations exist — people believing other teams to be farm systems of the Yankees — but the situations are so drastically different that it’s not worth mentioning, really – better scouting, scouting more players, institution of free-agency, Latin America). In fact, it might actually make quite a bit of sense to go back to a time without a draft. When one looks at politics, for example, one often sees a pendulum of sorts — after a period of Democrat rule, Republicans take over — because one side usually goes a bit too far, and a natural correction, of sorts, takes place. It’s a necessary maneuver to reduce abuses of power and maintain some focus on public interest. It’s never a complete swing back (today’s liberals are tomorrow’s conservatives) as adjustments have been made to learn from mistakes.… Click here to read the rest