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November 11, 2005

Pavano & Mussina Keys For 2006

I was just looking at the last 11 teams to win World Series rings.

Some of those teams had great hitting - like the 1998 & 1999 Yankees, 2002 Angels and the 2004 Red Sox. But, some of the teams had terrible hitting - like the 1995 Braves and the 2005 White Sox. The rest of the teams were just about league average in hitting - like the 1996 & 2000 Yankees, 1997 & 2003 Marlins and the 2001 Diamondbacks.

But, on the flip side, all the champs had above average to great pitching - sans the 2003 Marlins. And, in defense of that Marlins squad, their second half pitching that season (and in the playoffs) was extremely hot. Other than the 2003 Marlins, no World Series Champion (as a team) had fewer than 40 Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA) during their regular season. And, 8 of the 11 were at 54+ RSAA in their ring season.

Clearly, when it comes to the ring, pitching is the thing.

And, when I start to think about the Yankees rotation next year, I have to wonder if they have enough pitching to win it all.

Randy Johnson should be fine. He's going to make 30+ starts and win between 16 and 18 games. And, I believe that, if he stays healthy, Chien-Ming Wang will be a 15-game winner in 2006.

It's Mussina, Pavano, and Chacón who concern me.

Mike Mussina has missed some starts the last couple of seasons. And, in both of the last 2 seasons, Mussina (overall) has performed as a league-average pitcher. The last time that he won 14+ games in a season was 2003. He will be 37-years-old in 2006. To expect anything out of him next season beyond what we've seen the last two years would be a mistake. The odds are that Mussina is probably only good for 12-13 wins next year.

Carl Pavano. Where do I start? Pavano's been in the big leagues for 8 seasons now. In only 2 of those 8 seasons has he ever won more than 8 games. In fact, in 5 of those 8 seasons Pavano has won less than 7 games for the year. Facing facts, at best, anyone should expect no more than 10 wins from Pavano in 2006 - and that's being kind.

Shawn Chacón is an interesting situation. I do not think that he'll match his 2005 Yankees season ERA of 2.85 in 2006. But, based on what he showed in New York, I think he can be a 15-game winner in 2006. But, it's not something that I would bet more than $10 on - because we just don't know how he will do next year. He's not a lock - therefore there has to be some concern here.

This all said, it would be wishful thinking to expect more than 70 wins from the Yankees starters in 2006. Where are the other 25-30 wins (probably needed to win) coming from? The bullpen? Do we even know who is in the bullpen yet for 2006?

Maybe Pavano and Mussina can have big years in 2006? If they can win 30 games between the two of them then that would mean 77 wins from the starters (thereabouts) then you only need about 18-20 wins from elsewhere. That's doable.

I just wish there were more facts to support the notion that Mussina and Pavano can be counted to be key contributors next year.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at November 11, 2005 01:52 PM

Comments

Steve, this will be the acid test for the debate over whether Mel was the solution or the problem. Guidry and Kerrigan, I believe, will positively impact the pitching staff. Look for Moose to have his probably last really good season in 2006. And, without Mel worrying about Billy Connors sabotaging him, look for more contributions from the Yankees' farm system. Maybe Sean Henn (or Matt DeSalvo) will actually resemble a major league-quality pitcher in 2006. As I see it, the pitching can only improve now that Mel has left.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2005 05:00 PM

Moose & Pavano can have big years in 2005. I wouldn't expect it, tho.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2005 05:41 PM

Maybe Sean Henn (or Matt DeSalvo) will actually resemble a major league-quality pitcher in 2006.
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Look at their minor league numbers to have an idea of what they will do at the major league level

http://www.sports-wired.com/players/H/sean-henn.shtml

http://www.sports-wired.com/players/D/matt-desalvo.shtml

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2005 05:45 PM

Maybe G&K can help Pavano - assuming Pavano stays sound? Mussina? I dunno. I don't see him listening to any coach.

Agreed though - if they should go the way of the DL, this is the chance to see if G&K can take someone, like a kid, and make them work.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 11, 2005 08:07 PM

The RSAA stats that you have cited do not prove your claim.

10 out of 11 of them had 40+ RSAA. But, the average rank for 40 team RSAA over the past 11 years is 10th in the majors.

So, if having 40+ RSAA is going to be a key, why is it that 99 teams did it, 89 of them failed to win the World Series? That's nearly a 90% failure rate.

8 out of 11 had 54+ RSAA. 79 teams had 54+ RSAA during that time. That leaves 71 of them failing to win the World Series. Again, you've located something that has a 90% failure rate.

Lee

Posted by: Lee Sinins [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2005 11:44 AM

//if having 40+ RSAA is going to be a key, why is it that 99 teams did it, 89 of them failed to win the World Series? That's nearly a 90% failure rate. //

I'm not saying that 40 RSAA get you the ring. I mean that you better have at least that to have a shot at it.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 12, 2005 01:08 PM

I'm not saying that 40 RSAA get you the ring. I mean that you better have at least that to have a shot at it.
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All you need to do is make the playoffs to have a shot at the ring.

Posted by: Raf [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 13, 2005 12:00 PM