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. Setting the minimum IP at 98 to capture the 5 regular Yankees starters (Phil Hughes does not meet the threshold), all 5 are in the top 20 in the AL in terms of Opponent OPS. Ivan Nova is 5th with his opponents at .754 (league average is .721), Freddy Garcia is 10th (.751), AJ Burnett is 12th (.750), Bartolo Colon is 18th (.748), and CC Sabathia is 19th (.747). While there isn’t a huge gap between these numbers and the league average, it does drive home the fact that the Yankees rotation has to pitch to relatively difficult lineups on a regular basis.
2) Defensive Efficiency: While the Yankees do have strong defenders at a number of positions, I think it is fair to say that the team’s overall defense has been shaky at times. My favorite metric for looking at team defense is BP’s defensive efficiency, which measures the rate at which balls put into play are converted into outs by a team’s defense. The Yankees are 18th in baseball in defensive efficiency, although I am told by Joe Pawlikowski of RAB that they were recently as high as 5th. While this does suggest some measure of volatility in the metric, the numbers tell us that to this point, the Yankee pitchers have not been helped much by their defense.
3) Park Factors: Yankee Stadium is a hitter’s park, playing as the 6th most offense-friendly stadium in the majors this season. Furthermore, of the five parks ahead of Yankee Stadium, two are AL East stadiums that the Yankees have visited multiple times this season (Fenway Park is 3rd and Rogers Centre is 4th). Notably, Yankee Stadium is a homer haven (5th for homers, 3rd and 1st over the previous two seasons), so Yankees pitchers are not getting helped by their ballpark in terms of balls leaving the park and are not benefitting from strong defense when they keep balls in play.
Of course, the Yankees’ starters benefit greatly from a powerful offense that helps bail them out when they perform poorly and supports them adequately when they pitch well. That said, in terms of their actual on-field pitching, it seems like the Yankees’ rotation has faced relatively tough competition, has not received stellar defense, and has played much of the year in a ballpark that fosters offense. Despite all of those factors, the rotation has performed steadily and admirably for 4 months now, which is something of a surprise considering the low expectations for anyone not named CC Sabathia. Hopefully, they can keep defying the odds through October.
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
- walkfit platinum reviews on The TYA staff on the Yankees’ television and radio broadcast teams
- essentialtexting.com on Open Thread | Game 3 | Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees | Sunday, April 3, 2011
- www25.tok2.com on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- グッチ 財布 on Sunday Links-Joba’s Timetable, Comparing eras, Pineda
- raspberry ketone diet 1200 on Sabermetrics Doesn’t Have A Monopoly on Not-Stupid: Mike Trout is the AL MVP
- Free riot codes on Off-Topic
- Fran on The Great Subway Race
- sleeping bag hand Orientation on What about Austin Romine?
- camping stove heat diffuser on What about Austin Romine?
- 手機殼 on The Yankees’ Standing In The AL East Right Now
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