Some good news for Pineda?

The news about Michael Pineda’s labrum injury prompted a lot of doom-and-gloom predictions that he may never be the same pitcher again.  In my post from this morning, I looked at a number of cases of pitchers who had labrum surgery, to compare their successes and outcomes.  One of the most notable successes was Curt Schilling, who had the surgery in 1995, and was back in 1996 seemingly no worse for wear.  Schilling seemed to be an outlier, and his case made me wonder if his injury was less severe than some of the other cases.

It turns out that Michael Pineda’s injury was to the same part of the ligament as Schilling’s was.  Andrew Marchand spoke to Schilling and Schilling’s surgeon, Craig Morgan today to get their take on the Pineda situation.  Both Morgan and Schilling was considerably more optimistic than most other prognosticators have been:

He can be back better than he has ever been in 10 months,” said Schilling, now an ESPN baseball analyst.

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Waiting on Andy

Then there’s the question of performance. Pettitte, of course, hasn’t faced major league hitters since October of 2010, and though he won’t be the first pitcher to return after a year away from live action, at 40 years old there’s no guarantee he still has much left in the tank. On the plus side, however, the people who have seen him pitch in the minor leagues thus far have given him strongly positive reviews, especially for his command. That’s most welcome news, since it’s command that’s going to make or break him in the big leagues. The days of Pettitte the power pitcher are long gone, but Pettitte has already successfully transitioned into being the kind of starter who navigates an opposing lineup with precise command of multiple pitches and an expert grasp on the art of pitching. If those skills are sharp, and the arm is in good shape (most reports have his fastball maxing out around 87-88 MPH, which isn’t too far below the 89 MPH he averaged with the pitch in 2010), there’s a good chance Pettitte will be just what the doctor ordered for the Yankees.… Click here to read the rest

The Yankees Aren't Good At Trading For, Developing, or Signing Pitchers

After five years of developing Jesus Montero into a budding young star, they traded him for fellow budding young star Michael Pineda. Almost instantly, Pineda disappointed with some kind of shoulder injury, which eventually developed into a labrum tear, and will not only sideline him for the remainder of year, but is a severe existential threat to his career.

Pitchers are time bombs waiting to explode. They commonly suffer catastrophic injuries. They see much more variance in their skills from season to season than do hitters. It would be foolish to judge a team by looking at the performance of one pitcher. The Yankees may have just gotten horribly unlucky with Michael Pineda.

I’m concerned about a long term pattern. Since the dynasty pitching staff was broken up in 2003, the Yankees have consistently failed to add effective pitchers, both in the rotation and the bullpen. And they haven’t failed because of a lack of trying. The Yankees have a horrible success rate in the free agent market, through trades, and the farm system.… Click here to read the rest

A Survey of Shoulders

Expecting Pineda to be a factor in the 2013 rotation, I believe, is unrealistic. Even the best-case scenarios for labrum injuries generally include a nearly two-year rehabilitation period. Chris Carpenter‘s best seasons came after his labrum was repaired, but it was nearly 20 months between his initial operation and his return to the mound. Erik Bedard, likewise, seems to have made a more or less full recovery, but he also went close to 20 months without throwing a pitch in a major-league game. Both Carpenter and Bedard had to have “clean-up” surgeries after their initial procedures, thus delaying their returns.

Although I would hardly call the comparison scientific, based on initial reports, Pineda’s injury sounds somewhat similar to that which Freddy Garcia suffered in 2007. As Yankees fans well know, Garcia did work his way back to being a productive starter, even regaining most of his velocity (which was never really what he relied on anyway), but it took the better part of three years.… Click here to read the rest

The accountability thing

Honestly, I don’t know exactly how I feel about all of that. I’m certainly more than a little bit peeved by the way things have gone down with Pineda since camp opened, and I certainly wouldn’t forcefully object to the idea of firing someone for it by any means, but I don’t have any idea who that someone should be. Mike Axisa summed the problem up nicely earlier this morning:

People like to assign blame in situations like this, but it really doesn’t help matters any. Blame Brian Cashman, blame the medical staff, blame Pineda, blame the Mariners, blame whoever you want. It won’t make Pineda’s shoulder any healthier. If you think this whole episode is a fireable offense, I won’t disagree with you. I don’t think you can have a trade of this magnitude go sour this quickly without someone being held accountable, I just don’t know who and neither do you.

That’s basically the long and short of things.… Click here to read the rest

Some Interesting Early Season Trends

(The following is being syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The fun part about small sample sizes is the room for interpretation they leave when analyzing a player’s numbers and trying to identify what he’s doing right or wrong.  It’s pretty easy to look at a full season’s worth of stats and break down exactly what a guy did to end up with the numbers he had, but a much smaller sample can leave some ambiguity in there.  Here are some examples of early season trends for some Yankees and the varying levels of support that their stat profiles give in explaining those trends.

** Note- Stats referenced below do not include last night’s game **

1) Derek Jeter‘s Resurgence

I went into this one fully expecting to see a huge change in contact percentages for Jeter this year compared to the last few.  When a 37-year-old shortstop who turns 38 in 2 months is sporting a .416/.439/.649 tripleslash and a .460 wOBA, I think that’s a fair expectation. … Click here to read the rest

What do you do with a problem like Phil?

From a scouting standpoint, the same problems that have plagued Hughes since the second half of 2010 are still there, namely his inability to consistently put hitters away when he gets ahead of them. His strikeout rate suggests he’s getting better at this, but consistently making good pitches remains a problem. That Andrus at bat last night is a good example; he got Andrus out on his front foot with the curveball but, rather than burying the pitch in the dirt where Andrus would have flailed helplessly at it, Hughes left it a little bit up and Andrus was able to adjust enough to get the bat on it, making A-Rod charge to field it and giving an alert Mitch Moreland plenty of time to score. It looks like a minor thing, but it’s the difference between a run and a strikeout that gives you a chance to get the next batter and get out of the jam without any damage.… Click here to read the rest