Yankees’ First Half By The Numbers: Pitching

In the beginning of April, the future looked bright for the Yankees’ pitching staff: Michael Pineda was back and doing well, Ivan Nova was holding his own, newcomer Masahiro Tanaka was impressing everyone and even the old guard of CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda, while not exactly doing great, we’re at least staying healthy.

Then it all went to hell in a handbasket. Pineda was suspended later in the month for being caught with pine tar on his person twice, Nova tore his UCL and had Tommy John surgery, it was discovered that Sabathia had a degenerative knee injury, oh, and just for good measure, Pineda injured himself while he was suspended and has been missing ever since.

Now it’s July 1 and the starting rotation has David Phelps, Chase Whitley and Vidal Nuno in it; Pineda is still a long way from coming back and Sabathia will be making a minor league start this week.

So how have the Yankees’ patchwork rotation and relievers done so far?

  • They’ve given up 359 runs in the first half of 2014.
  • Opposing batters are hitting .255/.314/.414/.728 against them with a .306 BABIP and .314 wOBA.
  • The pitching staff has given up 718 hits; 90 home runs, 142 doubles, and 17 triples.

Here’s how that looks in pictures (taste the rainbow):
hit-chart (47)

They have struck out 695 batters and walked 217. Masahiro Tanaka has struck out the most batters (127) while David Phelps has issued the most free passes (31 in 76 IP).

Here is their overall heat map:
strike-zone (39)

The Yankees’ best starting pitcher in the first half of 2014 has been Tanaka. (Duh.)

He’s pitched 115.2 innings, has given up 27 ER and 92 hits and he has struck out 127 and walked 18. In 16 games he’s thrown 1705 pitches; 755 fastballs, 92 curveballs, 378 sliders, 48 cutters and 432 sliders.

His rates:

Overall – 28.2 K%, 4.0 BB%
Fastball – 11.4 K%, 6.7 BB%
Curveball – 12.5 K% (no BB’s on the curve)
Slider – 42.4 K%, 2.4 BB%
Cutter – (No K’s or BB’s on the cutter)
Slider – 45.3 K%, 2.9 BB%

Here’s his hit chart:

hit-chart (45)

Here’s his heat map by pitch frequency:

strike-zone (36)

The Yankees’ best relief pitcher has been Dellin Betances. He’s held opposing batters to a .130/.211/.198/.409 line. He’s pitched 48 innings and has struck 76 batters, walked 16 and has given up one home run.

In 35 games, he’s thrown 761 pitches; 397 fastballs, 2 changeups, 1 curveball and 361 sliders.

His rates:

Overall – 42.2 K%, 8.9 BB%
Fastball – 16.3 K%, 13.8 BB%
Change up – 100 K% (only one one thrown)
Curve – (No K’s or BB’s – only one thrown)
Slider – 63.3 K%, 5.1 BB%

Here’s his hit chart:

hit-chart (46)

Here’s his heat map by pitch frequency:

strike-zone (37)

Coming into 2014, people were wondering how David Robertson would do as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera. Well, I think we can say he’s doing just fine.

He’s held batters to a line of .188/.261/.327/.588 and while, yes, he’s made a couple of big mistakes (home runs), he’s done quite well picking up 18 saves. He had one rough outing a month ago against the Twins in which he gave up two hits, one home run, he walked three and ended up being charged with 5 ER which inflated his ERA but since then he has settled down and pitched well. He even picked up five saves in five chances from 6/5 – 6/17.

[Numbers and Charts courtesy of ESPN Stats and Info]

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.

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