January 27, 2007
Edelman On Yanks Starters
Inside the Monster, Mike Edelman's Red Sox blog, takes a look at the Yankees starting pitchers (as well as those for the Sox). Here is what he had to say on the Yanks rotation:
Mussina has been injured in each of the past 3 years and has been limited to significantly less innings than was typical of his career before age 35. His age and heavy use work loads throughout his entire career also put him at risk for injury.
Mussina made a mechanics adjustment that he attributed to his succes in early 2006. Something was obviously different as his numbers last year were really very atypical of previous years at a similar age. His numbers began to slip as the season went on which could be an indication of the league adjusting to his new pitching style or may just be due to the wear that forced him onto the DL in the second half.
Wang's been a pretty special story so far and managed to come in second in last year's AL Cy Young voting despite a WHIP of 1.31 and a BAA of .277. I guess you can do that though when you have a mid-90's slider that's seemingly impossible for hitters to drive.
He's been rather healthy of late having pitched 436.2 in the past two years. In the past had trouble coming off 200+ inning seasons and he will be 35 next year but there are no red flags.
Even if he is healthy both mentally and physically next year, it will be hard for him to make 150 innings given how little he's pitched the past 2 years.
He's struggled in the past 3 years and was sent down the minors in 2005 having allowed an ERA of 3.86 (2nd to worst among the team's starters). He was largely criticized by Japanese fans but improved in 2006. He's pitched out of the most extreme pitcher's park in Japan (Koshien Stadium) his entire career. It's the same one that made Hideki Irabu's statistics look misleadingly good prior to his transition to the majors.
I cannot disagree with a single word here. I think Edelman is right on the mark with these comments. As I've said before, the Yankees should be concerned about the back end of their rotation.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at January 27, 2007 09:04 AM
Speaking of past teams that disappointed... 2002 will always be one that just makes me shake my head. I mean seriously that team was amazing and Giambi actually hit well that series and Karsay was healthy and good that year and Rivera is Rivera.
Our rotation...Clemens, Mussina, Pettitte, Wells, and El Duque and Lilly for long relief. Seriously that team losing in 4 games will always be one of those things that's just weird....although they did come back in 03 and make the WS, but still.
who do you blame back then? I blame Jorge Posada for game calling. That's why the haven't since Joe Girardi left. The Angels came back by scoring a ton of runs,
Call me crazy, but, I think the Angels were stealing signs in that 2002 ALDS and the Yankees were slow to do something about it.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at January 27, 2007 12:29 PM
You can't disagree with him about anything, despite that he's mostly dead wrong?
It's hard to take someone seriously when they say Wang throws a mid-90s "slider." Um, that's a sinker.
He's also wrong about Mussina. Moose didn't "change his mechanics" (Moose has the cleanest pitching action I've ever seen). He just took more off his changeup.
Moose's 2004 was pretty awful -- his worst year in pinstripes. But saying that Moose's '06 first-half numbers were "atypical" is moronic -- Moose was one of the best pitchers in baseball in 2003 and he had a decent first half in 2005 (but injuries held him back).
The only insight this guy seems to have is with Igawa, but we (or at least I don't) have any way of knowing if it's true.
By the way, saying that Pettitte, whose old team didn't want to re-sign him because his elbow can fall apart at any moment, doesn't have any red flags is hilarious.
~~~He's also wrong about Mussina. Moose didn't "change his mechanics" (Moose has the cleanest pitching action I've ever seen). He just took more off his changeup.~~~
IIRC, Mussina changed the grip on his change this past year. So, in a way, it is a mechanical difference.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at January 27, 2007 02:56 PM
~~~The only insight this guy seems to have is with Igawa, but we (or at least I don't) have any way of knowing if it's true.~~~
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kei_Igawa - -
"Igawa saw a decline in performance in 2004 and 2005. In 2004, despite leading the league at 228 strikeouts, he went 14-11 with a 3.73 ERA. In 2005, Igawa went 13-9 with a 3.86 ERA, fifth among his team's starters in ERA, and was briefly exiled to the minors. He was only tied for fifth in strikeouts (down significantly to 145) and 10th in ERA, but was still third in the circuit in victories. While still a productive hurler, Igawa became a target of fan criticism due to his inability to perform at his prior level."
"Was in such a funk during 2005 that he was actually demoted to the minors at one stage. He got absoutely drilled in the Japan Series against Lotte as well. He had lost some velocity off of his fastball after trying to add a two seamer to his arsenal and didn't recover it until late spring of 2006. "
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at January 27, 2007 03:05 PM
Still, saying Wang's specialty is his slider is a pretty glaring mistake. His analysis of Mussina's mechanical change is flawed as well; changing the grip on a changeup isn't going to tax your arm in my opinion. I don't think he even knows what Mussina changed as the wording is very vague.
A slider is a pitch thrown as hard as a fastball with a break sharper than a curve. A sinker is a fastball that sinks. Given that Wang throws 90+, I could see where someone might mistake his hard two-seamer for a slider.
It's not like he said he threw a knuckleball or something.
Posted by: Steve Lombardi at January 27, 2007 10:59 PM
Steve, you can agree with the guy's overall opinion, but I don't think it's possible to justify mistaking a slider and a sinker; the pitches have nothing to do with each other. (Not to mention that Wang's sinker is talked about endlessly; two seconds of research would have revealed what Wang throws. The fact that he didn't know this calls into question just how much he knows these players.)
That's all well and good, but Igawa's not a fat pussy toad.