Monday, March 31, 2008
Here's a newsflash to all the Yankee haters out there that have been killing the Yankees rotation this season and saying that it will be the downfall of there season, the Yankees rotation is better this year than last.
Same Assets Different Year
Here are the constants of the Yankees rotation, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettite and Chien-Ming Wang. If you make the case that Mike Mussina blows I can understand that. He does blow. But he did last season as well. Why is it any different this year? Pettitte had an ERA around 4, no reason to expect worse this season. And Wang had an ERA of 3.70, really no reason to think he will be much different this season either.
2007 Scraps and Steroid Users
People will point to the loss of Roger Clemens and say that is the major difference between the 2007 Yanks and the 2008 Yanks but really is it that big of a loss? Last season Clemens finished with only 6 wins. 6 Wins, that's not much. His era of 4.18 was good but not extraordinary. And he didn't even average 6 innings and appearance. He was a needed addition last year but is not need last year.
Now onto the big difference between 2007 and 2008. The Yankees pitched a lot of guys that completely sucked in 2007. Kei Igawa started 12 games and finished with an era over 6. Tyler Clippard started 6 games and also finished with an era over 6. Good ole 4 in a row Chase Wright started two games with an era over 7. Matt De Salvo started 6 games and of course had an ERA over 6. Sean Henn started a game. Darrell Rasner started 6 games. Hell even Carl Pavano started 2 games. That is a hell of a lot of starts by players that suck. Should you expect the Yankees to get all of those starts in 2008 from Minor League players? I certainly don't think that's a fair assumption.
Put it this way, at the start of the 2007 season Kei Igawa and Carl Pavano were in the starting rotation.
So onto the big question marks as skeptics would call them. Philip Hughes got 13 starts last season in those 13 starts he finished with a 4.46 era. That spread out over 30 starts is much better than the garbage I just mentioned above but in reality the expectations for Hughes should be much better. After coming back from his hamstring injury in August Hughes struggled mightily. His August era ended at a miserable 6.40 over 6 starts. However, in September Hughes was able to turn it around and finished September 3-0 over 5 starts with a 2.73 ERA. Now am I saying Hughes will have an ERA around 3? No that's not a fair assumption, but I think it is a fair assumption to say that he will be just as good as Clemens was last year if not better given the fact he is younger will start more games and will pitch more innings than Clemens.
So if the conservative assumption that Hughes will be a similar pitcher to Clemens this season than the big difference between 2007 and 2008 is Ian Kennedy compared to the scraps. Kennedy hasn't been out of college for very long but in the 2007 season Kennedy managed to pitch at all 4 levels. In A ball he went 6-1 with an era of 1.29. In AA ball he went 5-1 with a 2.59 era. In AAA ball he went 1-1 with a 2.08 era and finally in MLB he 1-0 with a 1.89 era in three starts. Notice a trend there? No era above 2.60 at any level. Of course I'm not going to say his era is going to be below three, but why shouldn't I assume his era will be in the low 4s given his success rate last season. And at the very least even the biggest Yankee hater has to admit that Kennedy will be better this season than the Igawas and Chase Wrights of the world.
And this is all assuming that at no point in time Joba joins the rotation and that he stays in the 8th inning role. I'm pretty sure he would be a better starter than Carl Pavano as well.
So please when you want to bring out your Yankee haterade and say that the Yanks will not make the playoffs, which is certainly a possibility, please bring up some more valid points. Like for instance there is no way that Arod and Posada will put up the same numbers this year as last. Or do a comparative analysis of the Yankees rotation to the other contenders, don't just flat out say the Yankees rotation is bad because quite simply it's better than last years. And I'm pretty sure the 2007 Yankees made the post season.