Wakefield has been the far superior option historically. The man’s been in The Show for almost two decades and amassed nearly 200 wins (thanks in large part to a prolific offense) along with an All-Star appearance to his name. Mr. Mitre, conversely, has been in the league since 2003 and has mostly been a major disappointment. He’s missed quite a bit of time due to a failed steroid test and Tommy John surgery. Yet, there’s a good chance both pitchers could find themselves fulfilling the role of sixth man in 2011. There’s an even better chance that fans of each respective team will be irritated with the production provided by each pitcher throughout the season.
The case for Wakefield:
History. He’s traditionally been a consistent back-of-the-rotation guy. Since 1992, he’s posted a career 4.38 ERA, 4.71 FIP (4.78 xFIP), 1.350 WHIP, and an average 2.0 bWAR, which is certainly serviceable. CAIRO projects Wakefield to pitch to the tune of a 4.89 ERA, 4.57 FIP over 149 innings pitched in 2011 (good for a 1.3 WAR). Bill James is substantially more bullish and assumes a 4.07 ERA, and 4.67 FIP.
The case against Wakefield:
Age. The man will be 44 years old this coming season and remains quite injury-prone. In 2010, he posted a -0.7 bWAR at the cost of $3.5M. Additionally, when he is able to take the mound, his pitch values remain sporadic at best. Consider the table below showing his pitch values dating back to 2002 (note that negative values denote below-average).
He’s never had an over-powering fastball by any means and his curveball’s effectiveness is also fairly volatile. That leaves Tim’s money-pitch, the knuckleball. If it isn’t working for him on any given day, he might as well be a past-his-prime rendition of Keith Foulke with a 70mph fastball.
While the good news is that his style of pitching generally doesn’t result in much arm wear and tear, the bad news is given Wakefield’s track record over the past couple seasons, there’s really no evidence to suggest that his pitches will be reliably effective going forward given the nature of his skill set, nor is the rest of his body’s preservation a sure thing. One point is a given though; should Wake’s knuckleball sit at a -10.1 again in 2011, Gregg will probably being witnessing whichever Sox bullpen chump is assigned to mop-up duty, much to his chagrin (especially since the futile aging Sox players such as Jason Varitek tend to be the ones he idolizes the most).
The case for Mitre:
There’s really not much of a case any way you slice it. His CAIRO projection has him listed at a 4.63 ERA, 4.69 FIP, 0.2 WAR (approximately 0.4 if we’re considering a proportionate period of innings as Wakefield) over 72 innings pitched. Perhaps the silver lining here is that no one, including the projection systems, is seriously anticipating him to remain in the starting rotation for the entire season which is a good thing as limited exposure seems to mask some of his ineffectiveness.
For those Mitre advocates out there — bet you didn’t realize a blog could produce cricket noises — you can probably take some solace in knowing James’ projections for Sergio are also quite a bit more optimistic, as they usually tend to be. James assumes Sergio will pitch to a 4.57 ERA and 4.46 FIP (career 4.28 xFIP). For what it’s worth, he’s also only 28 years old and making less than a million dollars.
While his career bWAR is -1.5, it’s probably okay to consider him at this point to be a fairly good representation of the quintessential replacement level pitcher. Here are his pitch values broken down.
Again, most of his pitches have been below average for much of his career; although Girardi was able to get the most out of his potential in 2010. One other added bonus is Mitre is a ground-ball inducer which theoretically mitigates damage better in a hitter friendly ball park (at least that’s how we as Yankee fans are forced to rationalize it).
The case against Mitre:
He’s Sergio Mitre, for starters. While there’s a chance he might not be terrible, he’ll never be more, I suspect, than what he was in 2010. Although it’ll break Joe Girardi’s heart, the more Mitre steps onto the mound, the more exposed he becomes. Additionally, Mitre has a fairly low career SO/9 ratio (5.4%) which is only amplified by the fact that none of his pitches are particularly dominant. The fastball which he throws approximately 70% of the time has never been very good (2010 actually marked its best value rating), which causes his changeup to be that much more susceptible.
I suppose the edge still has to go to Wakefield, especially if either pitcher is being assigned to a starting rotation spot. Mitre simply does not inspire much confidence given the general level of mediocrity that is his ability. With that being said, as a long relief
bullpen option, I might actually be inclined to go with Mitre. While his overall ability is probably less that that of Wakefield’s, in that role, it’s not tangibly noticeable. Given the health hazard expected with a veteran with as many miles as Wakefield in addition to the cost, there’s probably some benefit in replacement level youth. I will, however, not concede the point that Wakefield should be considered a hero as Gregg would have you believe.
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
- 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
- related web site on The Great Subway Race
- get your lover back on Contact Us
- Dorothy Silvan on Pineda’s Torn Labrum, or Does the lemon law apply to baseball?
- tao of badass on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- tube launch review on Why Has Attendance Fallen Year-To-Year?
- Evon Znidarsic on Teixeira MRI Update, Babe Ruth Pitching In Pinstripes, And Jeter’s Gift Baskets
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