2011 CAIRO projections: Yankee pitching

SG has released the first round of 2011 Yankee pitcher projections. Please click here for my analysis of CAIRO’s 2011 hitting projections.

The below pitching projection table shows what I expect would be the starting rotation (in the event that Cliff Lee doesn’t sign), the four known members of the bullpen, and everyone else (sorted by FIP).

The “everyone else” batch is primarily made up of the guys in the Yankees’ minor league system who appear to be closest to reaching The Show, but obviously most of them have never thrown a pitch in the Majors (and most are still unlikely to do so in 2011), and so like any other projection system should be taken with several grains of salt.

A couple of notes: As SG notes in the comments of the aforelinked post, Phil Hughes‘ projection is “still a hybrid of his starter and reliever performance. From 2007-2010 he started 61% of his games, and with the extra weight on 2010 his projection is probably around 80% starter/20% reliever.” Same goes with Joba Chamberlain, although more or less in reverse. If Joba is indeed permanently affixed to the bullpen, he obviously won’t be tossing 106 innings, and per SG, “if he’s a pure reliever he should project about a half run better across the board (RA, ERA, FIP).”

Ivan Nova‘s projection is presumably part starter/part reliever, though regardless it’s a pretty gloomy one. I wouldn’t expect any of Manuel Banuelos, Graham Stoneburner, David Phelps, D.J. Mitchell or Dellin Betances to see any Major League innings in 2011. Ryan Pope and Hector Noesi, having both recently been added to the 40-man roster, may see time in the 2011 ‘pen. Andrew Brackman still needs more seasoning, but he could see some time in the Majors as he only has three more years of team control. I didn’t realize Adam Warren‘s stock had risen to the point that he projects to be as good if not better than A.J. Burnett, so I imagine we might see Warren at some point.

As for the starting rotation, the CC Sabathia projection is just where you’d expect him to be, as is the Andy Pettitte projection. I would like to see a bigger jump from Phil Hughes next season, and considering his projection includes hypothetical relief innings I imagine his projection with 100% starting innings would probably be slightly worse than 4.11 ERA/4.17 FIP SG has now, which would mean Hughes would more or less repeat his 2010. As encouraging as Hughes’ season was this year, there’ll be a fair amount of disappointment in Yankeeland if he doesn’t take a fairly substantial step forward.

The A.J. Burnett projection is way more realistic than Bill James’, although I’d hope that A.J. could do better than a 4.77 ERA, even if it is a 0.49 run improvement on his 2010.

SG has the four known members of the bullpen each posting worse FIPs than they did in 2010, with the most significant drop in FIP coming from Joba, though again, he does have that partial starter projection. SG does have Joba’s ERA improving, albeit fairly minimally. Based on these numbers, Mariano Rivera and David Robertson are, on paper, the two key cogs of the 2011 Yankee bullpen. If Alfredo Aceves can come back healthy he projects to be a valuable piece again as well.