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).
Total: 15 GS, 101 IP, 106 H, 49 ER, 32 BB, 96 K, WHIP: 1.36, ERA: 4.37
Total: 11 GS, 65.2 IP, 60 H, 36 ER, 31 BB, 54 K, WHIP: 1.39, ERA: 4.94
Total, 14 GS, 81 IP, 85 H, 30 ER, 25 BB, 48 K, WHIP: 1.36, ERA: 3.33
Total: 10 GS 53.1 IP, 65 H, 29 ER, 19 BB, 48 K, WHIP: 1.58, ERA: 4.89
Total, 10 GS, 56 IP, 62 H, 25 ER, 23 BB, 32 K, WHIP: 1.52, ERA: 4.02
Takeaways: While CC Sabathia‘s numbers are not spectacular, he maintains a strong K/BB rate against good offenses and his FIP is actually 3.32 against them. Basically, while his results have been good but unspectacular, his peripherals suggest that he is actually well above average even when facing the best competition. AJ Burnett is only a bit worse against good teams, as is Ivan Nova, who seems to have gotten lucky in these situations but looks to be a reasonably adequate option for a postseason start.
Most interesting to me are the results for Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon. Most fans and analysts have contended that Colon has the stuff to defeat good teams while Freddy Garcia is a soft-tosser who will get beaten up by better offenses. However, to this point in 2011, the opposite has occurred, as Colon has struggled to defeat stronger hitting clubs while Garcia has been very solid against them. After looking over these numbers and Garcia’s gamelog, I would feel fine starting him against a top offense in October. He throws slop, but it seems to work, no matter the quality of the competition.
Update: A reader asked for the FIP’s on all 5 starters, so here they are:
CC Sabathia: 3.32
A.J. Burnett: 4.95
Freddy Garcia: 4.10
Bartolo Colon: 4.95
Ivan Nova: 4.41
Just for comparison:
Using FIP, CC becomes the clear leader of the pack, while Garcia and Nova continue to look solid against top competition. Once again, Colon and Burnett bring up the rear.
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