The bloom is off the Cory Wade rose

Wade still has a pretty great pitching line for the season. His 2.84 ERA is backed by a 2.95 FIP and a 2.18 SIERA. He also has struck out 9.95 batters per nine innings to go along with a clean 1.42 walks per nine rate. That is a pretty special 7.0 strikeout to walk ratio. But frankly, his stuff hasn’t been there lately. He has given up runs in three of his last five outings and has not struck out a batter in his last three appearances. What is the most bothersome is his velocity. Consider the following chart via Fangraphs (click on the chart to see it better):

PitchF/X has his four-seam fastball down a full MPH from last year and he is averaging just 87.6 MPH. His two-seam fastball is down a full 2.4 MPH from last season and is only averaging 88.3 MPH. And here is why his strikeout rate does not seem sustainable: His swinging strike rate this season is only 5.0 percent. That is half the rate he displayed last season when batters swung and missed 10.1 percent of the time. Combine that with the fact that batters are not swinging at his pitches out of the strike zone as much this year (O-rate of 26.7 this year compared to 31.2 percent), and there is reason to believe that by the end of the season, his strikeout rate should plummet as the season goes along.

Cory Wade was a great surprise last season as the fourth or fifth option out of the bullpen. He was much the same earlier this season. But when he becomes the second guy in the bullpen’s pecking order, then there is a problem and that problem is starting to manifest itself more and more with each passing game.

David Robertson needs to get back in a hurry. As long as the starters are getting the ball directly to Soriano, the Yankees have thrived. But if there needs to be a bridge, then that bridge is burning and made of ropes.

About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

12 thoughts on “The bloom is off the Cory Wade rose

  1. So you were watching last night's game, too? You're right – he looked like Freddy on a bad day – I was surprised when Brien didn't make a comment about no smoke or broken mirrors.

    Just as even DR looked a bit overwhelmed as a closer, Mr. Wade doesn't look that good as an 8th inning, high leverage setup guy. Then again, last night, most of the team seemed to be on holiday – from Alex to Granderson to even Swisher. I'm hoping getting a few more rest days will help him out – he was doing fine in limited usage. (Cashman could follow a blogger's advice from yesterday, and bring up Banuelos – let Manny flush a few games and Wade will once again start looking good)

  2. I frankly have never seen what Giradi saw in this guy – everytime I have seen him in a position to let the other team walk off, he's done exactly that – couple times last year that I remember and a couple times already this year – with such low velocity stuff, pitchers like this just have to be perfect all the time and he's just not.

  3. Is this really a shock? Frankly I never saw much difference between Wade and Luis Ayala (another limited stuff guy who had a good run with stats that were too gaudy for his ability level) and it's no surprise to me that the numbers are starting to catch up to Wade's real ability. I mean before this season the guy had a lower BABIP than Mariano Rivera. How long did any one really expect that to last?

    I'm no statistician but I really have to question the application of "per 9 inning" stats to guys who pitch one inning at a time. In a lot of cases, including this one, I think they tend to make these guys look better than they really are. Does any one think that Wade would have put up the same numbers as a starting pitcher? I don't.

  4. Take a look at IP total for Yankees pen. Wade is on pace for about 80 innings this year, having five plus more innings logged than Soriano, six more than Logan and almost ten more than anybody other than those two guys.

    This is Joe Girardi doing his best Torre imitation and trying to work a guy he liked/trusted to death before the All-Star break.