Small sample size or time to panic?

So what jumps out at you?  Is it the:

  • Jump in HR allowed (to 2.3 per 9IP, up from 0.8 last year)
  • Jump in BB allowed (to 5.0 per 9IP, up from 1.8 last year)
  • Jump in Hits allowed (to 11.3 per 9IP, up from 7.4 last year)
  • Fall in K/BB ratio (to 1.64, down from 5.41 last year)
  • The “slash line” of .309 / .398 / .580; essentially turning EVERY HITTER INTO AN ALL STAR (compared to the “slash line” of .223 / .266 / .346 in 2009, when he finished 4th in the Cy Young voting in the NL)

Or does his .345 BABIP (compared to the average of his prior five years of ~.303 BABIP) mean the most?  Is it bad luck that’s dooming Javy, or is he simply “unable” to handle the stress of pitching in NY, or rather, FOR the Yankees?

Me, I’m not ready to bail on Javy just yet.  I remember when the Yanks traded for him before 2004 and telling my father how excited I was, that we got a young guy in his prime who will be a horse for this team… and then I had to gag down my claims after the playoff series that NEVER HAPPENED.  We got Javy back this year and I was excited.  I wasn’t going to harp on 2004 since he was hurt the second half of the season, after making the All Star team… something that many fans conveniently forget.  However, he’s not done much to endear himself to the Yanks fans and their Bronx Cheers.

Has pitching for the Yanks gotten into his head and destroyed his psyche and confidence?  I sure hope not.  With CC, Pettitte and the rest around him, I am sure they will do their best to help rally Javy.  I hope (but sincerely doubt) the fans would try to do the same.

So what do you think?  Is Javy Vazquez simply ill-equiped to pitch for the Yanks or are we all just suffering a small sample size to start 2010?

IIATMS overlord and founder. ESPN contributor. Purveyor of luscious reality.

20 thoughts on “Small sample size or time to panic?

  1. JE

    Jason, where is the '04 data?

  2. Jason@IIATMS

    Odd, I had a comment in here why I intentionally left off 2004… something about the "being injured" and it "not reflecting who the Yanks have traded for" this time… must have gotten eaten by the data code.

    Oh well.

  3. mattjg

    Just a couple other 2010 stats on Javy:

    HR/FB – 18.5%, xFIP – 4.87, SIERA – 4.28.

    While the walks may be a concern, a lot of his high ERA seems to be due to bad luck with BABIP and HR/FB (which tends to settle around 11%).  Obviously 4.87 (and even 4.28) are higher actual ERA's than Yankees fans expect or want, it is still early.  If Javy can get was walk totals in line with his career averages and his luck improves, he should be just fine.

  4. Jon Purdy

    c'mon, mattjg – and everyone else.  It took a lot of kool-aid drinking to even pretend getting Javy back was a good thing.   If nothing else, look at the Yankee's record of converting NL All-Stars into AAA washups.  And then back into NL All-Stars, after they leave.

    Or – just read the articles today – I was one of the folks happy to see Javy leave (undisclosed injury or not) and I was always ecstaticto discover we would be facing him as opposing pitcher.  Check the stats – when was the last time Javy was this bad (forced to leave without completing 4 innings?) Yup – against the Yankees, when he was with Chicago.

    Best thing that could happen – trade him to the Rays, and pay his salary for every game he pitchs against a contender.  2nd best thing – somehow trick the Red Sox into taking him.

  5. Larry@IIATMS

    Slow start.  Repeat after me, everyone.  Slow start.  Slow start.

    Now take a deep breath and resume your day.

    (By the way, for "slow start", see the 2010 stat line for Melky Cabrera.)

  6. Actually, I think Jon has a point. And I'm willing to take it a step further. Not only should we send Javy to another team within the AL East, we should send Mark Teixeira with him. Get those bums off the team–they're both among the worst performers in the league this month, and I'm sick of seeing their name on the lnieup card.

    Or, maybe the Nationals would be willing to send us a decent pitcher for Javy (I mean, if we're at least willing to pay his salary). Like Livan Hernandez–who is absolutely crushing it so far this season. We could definitely use a pitcher like that. He's got an ERA of 0.75!

    ….can't wait to see the fans posting their love of Javy two months from now, when he gets back on track.

  7. Jason@IIATMS

    @Will: I love it when you get angry and all fired up.

    memo to others: Will LOVES him some Javy.

  8. jon

    Will – since you wanna go off point, I sure would like to know why a) Tex has to get off to a slow start every year. and b) why is it that Tex gets a pass for it – simply because "that's the way he is."  In that case, A-Rod should get a pass on everything, since heaven knows, that's how he is.

    Back OT – Don't hold your breath, or place any bets you can't afford to lose, on me posting my love of Javy.  Not unless he is indeed with a different AL East team, inwhich case I'll be all over that 12+ ERA of his.

  9. Mike K

    If he pitched, he wasn't injured.  Do hall of fame candidates likewise get to omit their worst seasons by saying they were injnured? 

    Omitting the 2004 data renders this endeavor meaningless.  It is part of his sample size. End of story.

  10. Jason@IIATMS

    Mike,

    My reason for excluding 2004 is to show his performances that a) were not FOR the Yankees and b) of recent enough vintage to be worth looking at.  His previous five years was, to me, a representative sample size to which we can compare his 4 GAME start for the 2010 Yanks.

  11. JE

    There was no gotcha attempt, Jason. But thanks all the same for the snarky response! Moreover, I would have been interested in comparing Javy's first four starts of '04 with '10.

  12. JE

    And, for the record: my only beef with the Vazquez trade (Melky Who?) was that I thought both Hughes and Joba should be in the starting rotation.

  13. John

    Atlanta is a pretty warm place – I wonder if the weather is messing with his stuff? I'm guessing he'll have an excellent 2nd half.

    Remember last season CC sucked some big nuts for April/May - now he's settled in and even doing well in April for the first time ever!!!

  14. mikemccccct

    The terrible thing about most Yankees fans is that they expect to win 173 games a season and as soon as the Yankees lose one game, they pick one person to blame for it for the rest of the season. Who cares if Vazquez is struggling right now? The Yankees are winning. I feel like people are entitled to bitch and moan when things are bad. When things are good, it just makes people look like brats.

  15. cmon people, Javy just cant pitch in a NY uniform plain and simple.  There's no hiding it, he  just stinks on the mound as a Yankee.  No its not a slow start, no its not that Yankees should win every game. The guy just cant perform in a NY uniform.  Let him go so where else again and i can bet he will perform alot better then he does on the Yankees.

     

    And im tired of hearing the excuse that he was injured in 2nd half of  2004, reason i say that Javy himself said he wasnt hurt. So Yankee organization needs to stop feeding us this B.S. that he was hurt and  why he stunk so much that year. If it was an injury then why were they quick to ship him out the following year. Javy is a bum as a Yankee, please someone convince cashman that he needs to move him out the rotation and find someone else to take that spot. Ship Javy off some where just get anything for him package along Marcus Thames b/c he another bum i cant stand on the team.

  16. Amol

    Here's the number that has me worried about Javy: 88.8mph. That, according to fangraphs, is how fast his average fastball has been this season, well below his 91.3 career average. To me, all the talk about him not being able to handle the pressure of New York is just noise. The problem isn't in his head, it's in his arm.

  17. Jason@IIATMS

    Amol: I read your posting and mentally, I disagreed.  I remembered watching Javy's FB come in routinely in the 92-94 mph range.  But then I also realized that I haven't seen every IP he's thrown this season.  So I did the right thing and actually checked for the answer (http://baseball.bornbybits.com/php/combined_tool.php?pit=134320&bat=0&type=-1&result=-1&count=-1&r_spd=1&spd=-1&r_brx=1&brx=-100&r_brz=1&brz=-100&l_b=0):

    The answer is, according to Josh Kalk of HBT, Javy's FB averages 92.68mph. The chart associated with that link is rather convoluted since it's every pitch this season, but what again is obvious to me is the lack of the low strikes being called these days.  Is Javy being squeezed?  Any moreso than other pitchers?

    I dunno.  But I will try to find out.

  18. tim

    this analysis would be more enlightening if it contrasted only the first 4 games of each year of his career.  statistically, you can't make 4 game sample size comparison to a career average starter of 32 games. regardless, something is not right.  it's wang-esque right now.  nats had worse situation with marquis and he's been DLed.

  19. Jon

    I haven't looked up the numbers you have, Jason (and thanks for both having the resources, using them, and sharing the results with us!) – but I do keep reading the same articles in the NY papers about how Javy's fastball is slow, or as one "expert" put it, he flat "Didn't have his fastball."

    Just wondering, but could they be setting us up for another excuse of an injury? (or, if you prefer, injury excuse?)   Setting the stage for telling us in June that "Javy would have been a perfect fit, except for _____?"  Allowing whoever hired him to save face and their job?

  20. Amol

    Jason, I'm not sure about that data, as I'm pretty sure that Kalk stopped updating his stuff a couple of years ago. Fangraphs has his average at 88.9 (http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=801&position=P#pitchtype). Unfortunately, the only other source for this data that I know of (http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfx/) seems to be down, so there's no tiebreaker we can use, but I'm still more inclined to believe Fangraphs' numbers.

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