Those of you that follow me on Twitter know that for the last week or so, I have been working on a post about Javier Vazquez and the disparity between his peripherals and his results. It needed about an hour of touching up, which I decided to leave for after the holidays so that the work did not go for naught. Alas, my efforts turned to dust when I refreshed my feed reader this morning and saw this post from Jay over at Fack Youk, which makes the same arguments and reaches the same conclusions as my post. As Jay noted, this is the lot of a Yankee blogger in the current market, where you need to be incredibly quick with your thoughts or risk being preempted. Luckily, Jay did a fantastic job, so I just want to run through his conclusions.
The questions about Javier Vazquez stem from the disparity between his career FIP and ERA. His ERA is about .30 worse than his FIP, and he has only had two seasons in which his ERA was lower than his FIP. Basically, his peripherals suggest that he should be an ace, but the results as captured in ERA do not support that designation. So what is going on?
Jay looked at Javy’s doubles rate (which can create a disparity), but found nothing anomalous there to provide an explanation. He next looked at the area that most believe explains the disparity: sequencing. Basically, the idea is that Vazquez is poor with men on base, such that many of his limited number of baserunners come back to bite him. The numbers do support this assertion, as Jay found that Vazquez:
1) Is significantly worse with men on, and is awful with the bases loaded.
2) Is much better with a big lead.
3) Has his performance get worse as the leverage increases.
I would like to add that one other explanation for the ERA-FIP disparity is that Vazquez has played in front of poor defenses. Jamal Granger, a commenter at RAB, emailed the following list to me:
Although, if you look at each of Vazquez’s teams over the years, a trend is made, with 2006 being the outlier:
2009 ATL: 21st
2008 CHA: 23rd
2007 CHA: 20th
2006 CHA: 9th
2005 ARI: 24th
2004 NYA: 20th
2003 MON: 15th (3.24 ERA)
2002 MON: 27th
2001 MON: 23rd
2000 MON: 27th
1999 MON: 24th
1998 MON: 15th
I definitely do not want to tarnish such an in-depth conundrum with an oversimplified answer, but the numbers do indicate that he Vazquez has played on an above-average defense just once in his entire career, and we know how ERA treats defense in regards to a pitcher’s performance. A horrid defense sure does its most damage to a pitcher when runners are already on base, I would think.
I think separating out which portion of the disparity belongs to poor performance with runners on and which belongs to defense is likely impossible, but I think it would be fair to suggest that Javy has been a bit “unclutch,” and poor defense has exacerbated that deficiency.
Javy’s K/BB ratio slips from 4.34 to 3.26 to 2.57 as the leverage rise from low to medium to high. His batting average, on-base and slugging percentages all ascend with the gravity of the situation as well.
Even if you grant that Vazquez gets worse under pressure and will pitch worse just by virtue of being a Yankee, he’s still likely to be better than league average and throw more than 200 innings. It would be extremely difficult to do that and not add significant value to a team regardless of how his performance is distributed by leverage.
And of course, there’s a big difference between “hasn’t” and “can’t”. I’m willing to say that Vazquez certainly hasn’t pitched well under pressure in his career, but not that he can’t.
That is the key point here. Vazquez may very well have been unclutch to this point in his career, an assertion supported by the numbers. This does not preclude him from having a good year, as he has been an above average pitcher over his career despite his “unclutch” nature. While it may mean that he will not be the ace his peripherals suggest he should be, he will almost certainly pitch well enough to be a 3rd or 4th starter in the AL East, and that is all the Yankees need. As Keith Law noted:
The main knock against him has been his difficulty when pitching in tight spots, as he’s less effective by about 100 points of opponents’ OPS out of the stretch. Still, he’s so good out of the windup and good enough from the stretch that he can be one of the most valuable pitchers in his league in most years.
And that is all that matters to the 2010 Yankees.
LIKE TYA ON FACEBOOK
- TYA To Merge With It’s About The Money, Stupid
- What about Kevin Youkilis?
- Teix Now Front And Center On The “Needs To Produce” Radar
- Cashman: Heathcott A Dark Horse Candidate
- A Dog Chasing Cars
- Outfield Trade Targets
- The Problem With Brett Gardner
- A Look At Relief Prospect Branden Pinder
- The Yankees Should Be Realistic, Put Team on Short Leash in 2013
- Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- Brand bc on Briefly discussing the internal options to replace Curtis Granderson
- http://2804lasela.wordpress.com/ on TYA Predictions: Bold predictions for 2012
- the tao of badass pdf on What about Austin Romine?
- Joey Parkhill on Dante Bichette Jr’s Swing
- lululemon factory outlet on Contact Us
- Cary on Will R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Succeed In A Domed Stadium?
- Brenna on Links: Prospects, Support for A-Rod, Mariano is Love and Who’s in Center?
- Louis Vuitton Outlet Sale Singapore on The Monthly Prospector: April Edition
- Authentic Louis Vuitton Outlet Store on The Monthly Prospector: June Edition
- Louis Vuitton Outlet San Diego on Banuelos to Undergo Tommy John Surgery, Yankees Prospectors to Undergo Grief Counseling
TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees