Carpenter Re-Ups With Cards, Further Thinning 2012 Pitching Market

Chris Carpenter has apparently re-signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, inking a 2 year, 21 million dollar extension that will likely keep him a Redbird through the end of his career. This is significant for the Yankees, as it takes another solid option out of the mix from a free agent market that the Yankees will certainly be shopping in. Assuming they bring back CC Sabathia, the big lefty and Ivan Nova are the only two starters that should have a guaranteed rotation spot next season, with Phil Hughes and a variety of other youngsters likely competing for a 3rd spot. That leaves two rotation spots to fill and not very many options freely available. Here are the pitchers on the 2012 free agent market, courtesy of Cot’s:

Mark Buehrle CWS
Chris Carpenter STL *
Bruce Chen KC
Aaron Cook COL *
Kyle Davies KC
Ryan Dempster CHC *
Justin Duchscherer OAK
Zach Duke ARI *
Jeff Francis KC
Freddy Garcia NYY
Jon Garland LAD *
Aaron Harang SD
Rich Harden OAK
Livan Hernandez WAS
Edwin Jackson CWS
Kenshin Kawakami ATL
Scott Kazmir LAA
Hiroki Kuroda LAD
Rodrigo Lopez CHC
Paul Maholm PIT
John Maine COL
Jason Marquis WAS
Kevin Millwood NYY
Scott Olsen PIT *
Roy Oswalt PHI *
Brad Penny DET
Oliver Perez NYM
Joel Pineiro LAA
CC Sabathia NYY (may opt out)
Carlos Silva NYY
Javier Vazquez FLA
Adam Wainwright STL *
Tim Wakefield BOS
Chien-Ming Wang WAS
Brandon Webb ARI

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Thinking About Noesi's Future

Hector Noesi has had a very solid first season in Pinstripes, working out of the bullpen to the tune of a 3.42 ERA and 3.60 FIP in 47.1 innings. He has actually been more impressive than those numbers reflect, as he had two terrible outings that skew his numbers drastically. In his other 22 appearances, Noesi has put up a stellar line of 39 H, 9ER, 35 K’s, 12 BB, 3HR, and a 1.82 ERA/3.09 FIP in 44.2 innings. His stuff has looked quite impressive, with two fastballs (4-seamer and 2-seamer) showing good life at 92-95 MPH, a slider that gets plenty of swinging strikes (26.5% whiff rate), and a curve and changeup that he mixes is on occasion to keep batters guessing. While he was sent down yesterday, he will be back with the club shortly, and has a good chance to win a spot on the postseason roster.

That sums up Noesi’s recent past and his present. The interesting angle when it comes to Hector is his future, which Joe Pawlikowski at RAB touched on recently:

His presence should leave the Yankees in a flexible position this winter.

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Dismissing Freddy Garcia

Over the last few days, I have had a number of discussions with readers, Twitter users, and media members about what the Yankees’ starting rotation will look like in October. One thing that came up repeatedly that I found to be quite surprising is that many fans do not see Freddy Garcia getting a start in the postseason. Despite the fact that his results point to him being the second best starter on the team to this point, many see his low-80’s stuff coming up short in the playoffs, as the perception is that power stuff is what wins in October. While there is some merit to that argument generally, I think it misses the point when it comes to Garcia. Let’s take a look at Freddy’s statistical place among his fellow Yankee starters, and then examine the possible reasons for keeping Garcia out of the postseason rotation.

Here is where Freddy ranks among Yankee starters in 2011 in the following statistical categories:

ERA: 2nd
FIP: 2nd
K/9: 4th
BB/9: 3rd
WHIP: 3rd
WAR: 2nd

I am pretty comfortable concluding that Garcia has been one of the Yankees top 4 starters this season, and an argument can be made that he has been their best pitcher after CC Sabathia.… Click here to read the rest

Yankee Starters Against Top Offenses (Updated)

A number of people have asked me how the Yankees starters have performed against better offenses, so I compiled the relevant numbers for the 5 Yankees’ starters with the most innings pitched. I used wRC+ to determine the 7 best offenses in the AL (Bos, NY, Tex, Det, Tor, TB, KC) and the top 6 in the NL (STL, NY, MIL, CIN, PHI, ARI). I did not include appearances out of the bullpen. Remember, the statistics against good teams are almost certainly going to be much worse than the pitcher’s numbers overall for most players (Note that the worst of the included AL clubs averages 4.27 runs per game, and that 3 of them score more than 5 runs per game. Adjust your expectations accordingly).

CC Sabathia:

[table id=43 /]

Total: 15 GS, 101 IP, 106 H, 49 ER, 32 BB, 96 K, WHIP: 1.36, ERA: 4.37… Click here to read the rest

Starters Succeeding Despite Deck Stacked Against Them

The Yankees’ starting rotation has performed surprisingly well thus far in 2011, with the 4th best ERA (and FIP) in the American League. An amazing year from CC Sabathia, surprising effectiveness from Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon, and adequate years from A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova have combined to place the Yankees near the top of the heap when it comes to starting pitching. Interestingly, there are a number of statistics that suggest that the Yankees staff has actually performed better than it might appear to the naked eye. There are statistics that take some of these factors into account, but I thought it might be interesting to break things down and look at the variables outside of the pitchers themselves that might impact perfromance:

1) Opponent Quality: Analysts tend to give pitchers in the AL East more credit for their good performances due to a nebulous sense that the division has top notch offenses. Baseball Prospectus, thankfully, has an opponent’s quality leaderboard that allows us to address the issue with a bit more exactitude.… Click here to read the rest

A 6 Man Rotation?

As Mike Axisa outlined yesterday over at RAB (UPDATE: Chad Jennings confirms), the combination of Saturday’s doubleheader and the relative struggles of Phil Hughes and success of Ivan Nova has made it likely that the Yankees will go to a 6 man rotation for the next week. This is likely a one time deal, as the Yankees could have gone to a 6 man rotation when Hughes first returned if they were amenable to the idea. However, I think it might make sense for the club to stick with 6 starters for the entirety of August, and then shift back to a normal rotation. I think this plan has a number of advantages:

1) Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia have pitched incredibly well, but both are health risks who need to be babied. This season, more than any other in recent memory, depends on the Yankees getting to October with their current roster intact. Colon is at 109 IP, which is already his most since 2005, and Garcia is on pace to exceed last season’s 157 IP, which was his largest total since 2006.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees Need More Length From Rotation

Tommy Bennett over at BP checks in with a look at bullpen usage through the first 13 games:

Given the workload they have been asked to bear and the skill with which they’ve borne it, it may not be surprising to learn that Padres relievers have thrown a higher percentage of their team’s innings than any other. At 42 percent through the first 11 games, the Padres featured one of just five bullpens to have thrown more than 40 percent of its team’s innings. The others—the Mets, the Yankees, the Royals, and the Orioles—all share the same characteristic asymmetry between the quality of the starters and the quality of the bullpen….

Let’s take the Yankees. Their search for a fourth and fifth starter has been very closely watched, and even their supposedly more dependable options have struggled of late. Beyond CC Sabathia, they have four guys who cannot be counted on to give them six innings every time out. By contrast, the Yankees spent much of the winter assembling a very expensive bullpen.

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Predicting The 2011 Opening Day Roster, Take 2

Joe Girardi is expected to finalize the Opening Day roster tomorrow, so I thought today would be a good time to predict what his roster will look like. Of course, most of the roster has already been announced, so this should be a fairly simple exercise. Here is my first try at the roster, written 10 days ago. There is just one change, but injuries might alter the roster further.

Everyday Players

C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Brett Gardner
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jorge Posada


BUC Gustavo Molina
OF/PH Andruw Jones
UIF Eduardo Nunez
IF Eric Chavez

The only change can be seen on the bench, where Molina looks to be the favorite for a spot that was assumed to be Montero’s. I would like to see Jesus get the spot regardless of his struggles, but I can understand stashing him in the minors until his bat heats up.… Click here to read the rest

Predicting The 2011 Opening Day Roster, Take 1

With Opening Day just two weeks away and players being cut on a daily basis, the makeup of the Opening Day roster is becoming exceedingly clearer. Let’s take our first stab at predicting the final 25 that the Yankees will take north with them:

Everyday Players

C Russell Martin
1B Mark Teixeira
2B Robinson Cano
SS Derek Jeter
3B Alex Rodriguez
LF Brett Gardner
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
DH Jorge Posada

There are no surprises here, as all of these players were handed jobs before camp started and did nothing to lose them. I have not noticed Martin behind the plate at all, which is a very good sign when discussing catcher defense. He should be able to ward off Jesus Montero for the time being.


BUC Jesus Montero
OF/PH Andruw Jones
UIF Eduardo Nunez
IF Eric Chavez

As Larry noted yesterday, this is one of the strongest benches that the Yankees have fielded in a long time, assuming that Chavez remains healthy.… Click here to read the rest