Girardi versus Torre in bullpen use

There is a common narrative when it comes to looking back on the two great Yankee managers over the last eighteen years. The narrative goes something like this: Joe Torre burned out his bullpens and Joe Girardi‘s use of his bullpen is one of his strengths as a manager. I have heard variations of those memes over the years and wondered if there was a way to measure the bullpen usage to see how true these narratives were. Once I put together all the numbers, the conclusion I came up with is that Torre really did not earn his reputation until the last five years of his tenure.

First, let’s look at the most basic of numbers, things like ERA, WHIP and bullpen losses. Each provides some insight to the conclusion.

Joe Girardi’s bullpens have beaten the average American League bullpen in ERA every season he has been the manager. His accumulative average bullpen is then higher than the league over that time period.…

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Visualizing the Yankees Much Improved Offense

Early last summer, I looked into the Yankees woeful offense, and compared it to its 2012 incarnation. As most every Yankee fan knows, things never really improved last season, despite the better-than-advertised return of Alex Rodriguez, and the addition of the surprisingly effective Alfonso Soriano. The Yankees wrapped up 2013 on an underwhelming note, placing 16th in runs scored and 28th in wRC+ (between the Astros and White Sox). A silver lining did exist, though – the knowledge that the Yankees had a veritable treasure chest to offer free agents, regardless of the stated goal of a $189 MM payroll. And, for the cautious optimist, it seems unlikely that things could get much worse, as the team lost over 400 games to injury in the infield alone.

The additions of Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, and, yes, even Kelly Johnson bode well for a vastly improved offense – particularly when taken hand in hand with a reasonable expectation for some modicum of health.…

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Are The Yankees Overvaluing Their Own Relief Pitchers?

Whatever the reason, be it the desire to wait for the A-Rod suspension verdict, Masahiro Tanaka taking top priority presently, a last gasp attempt to stay below the luxury tax threshold, or a combination of the 3, the slow pace with which the Yankees have gone about rebuilding their bullpen this offseason doesn’t feel right to me.  For the most part, strong bullpens have been a staple of the last 15-20 years of Yankee teams.  The 2013 edition was hit or miss, burned by a group inability to keep the ball in the ballpark and a soft middle relief underbelly that took its share of beatings before some games could even get to D-Rob and Mo.  Mo is gone now, along with top lefty Boone Logan and Joba Chamberlain.  Chamberlain is a loss in manpower only, and nobody needs to be reminded that a pitcher like Mo can’t be replaced, but for a group that lost that many innings it seems like the Yanks would want to make an effort to replace more than just their LOOGY.…

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Thinking about the swing men

Jeff Sullivan over at Fangraphs.com recently had a very interesting article about the five starter rotation myth. The most effective writing is that which makes you think and Sullivan certainly brings a perspective on a topic we don’t think about very often. While he admitted his methodology was a bit sloppy, the basic...

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How bad was Sabathia in 2013?

There are times when I wish our readers could see the great conversations the writers here have in our e-mail threads. Every day there are fascinating conversations. Recently, the topic of CC Sabathia has come up and the chances he has to bounce back to be some semblance of his old self as...

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What Not To Like About The McCann Signing

McCann HR

If you were away from all forms of media or under the proverbial rock this past weekend, the Yankees and Brian McCann agreed to a 5-year/$85 million deal.  The deal comes with a vesting option that can make it 6 years/$100 million and it’s contingent on McCann passing a physical, but there’s little reason to think that won’t happen.  For all intents and purposes, McCann can be considered the Yankees’ new starting catcher.

The reaction to the signing has been mostly positive thus far.  I know I was a big fan of it.  In McCann, the Yankees got the best player available at their position of greatest weakness in his prime, and they got him for basically market value.  That’s not to say the deal is a 100%, no-doubt win for the Yankees.  There are a few things that could turn the signing against the Yanks, things that surely influenced William’s decision to steer clear of McCann in his Project 189 team construction before starting to come around to the idea of McCann at catcher yesterday.

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On CC’s 2013 Home Run Problem

CC vs KC

It was a rough season for CC Sabathia.  It started rough with a delayed throwing program and low velocity, it stayed rough with constant fastball velocity/command issues, and it finished rough with a Grade II hamstring strain that shelved him before he could make his final start.  The most damaging byproduct of those fastball problems was the major increase in HR allowed in 2013.  Sabathia set a new career worst with 28 dingers against, good bad for 7th most in all of MLB.  That total and final ranking comes after the big guy went homerless in September, so without that late SSS luck he could have found himself top 5 or even top 3 like he was for most of the year.

Interestingly enough, this was the 3rd time since joining the Yankees that CC has given up 20 or more HR in a single season.  Before coming to New York he only did that twice.  The 28 this year broke his previous career high that he set in 2012, so the implication of a trend starting is there and that trend fits a mid-30s pitcher who’s losing the sting on his fastball like a glove.  …

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Andy Pettitte the pitcher

Today is going to be an emotional day at Yankee Stadium. Mariano Rivera Day will be shared by Andy Pettitte. That Rivera encouraged Pettitte to announce his retirement to share in the special day says as much about Rivera as anything else written about the man. And that Pettitte was concerned about impeding on Rivera’s day says a lot about him as a man as well. And much will be said today in flowering terms. And rightly so. The two pitchers are part of a dynastic era and were two big cogs in all those successful teams. Along with the hyperbole when discussing the two pitchers today will be their Hall of Fame chances. Rivera will be considered a lock. Pettitte will be considered just short.

There are a lot of statistics that will back up that assessment of Pettitte’s career. His 3.93 career ERA would be the highest of any pitcher ever elected to the Hall of Fame. Pettitte’s starts during his career have benefited from a 5.4 runs per game support.…

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The Yankees’ offensive offense

The 2013 New York Yankees season is winding down and the glimmer of hope for a wild card spot is much like that sad flower in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. And after losing two of three to a Toronto Blue Jays team, even saying that sounds overly optimistic. The series in Toronto typified this season’s version of the Yankees. This team simply cannot hit.

The Yankees make guys like Todd Redmond and J.A. Happ look like All Stars. It is easy to blame the poor offensive season on injuries. But you also have to question approach. When a third or more of your lineup engenders an infield shift every game, that might tell you something. The injuries might save batting coach Kevin Long’s job. But he does not get off the hook so easily here.

Consider how bad this offense really is. Only two positions on the field, second base and center field, have an OPS over .700. The catching position only makes J.P.

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