Help Is On the Way

A month or so into the season, I thought it might be interesting to see how some of the Yankee prospects are coming along down on the farm. Standouts thus far include the pitchers Darrell Rasner and Dan Giese (who?) at Scranton (AAA), 2b Kevin Russo and pitcher Daniel McCutcheon at Trenton (AA), pitcher Eric Hacker at Tampa (A), and catcher Jesus Montero, 3b Brad Suttle, and pitcher Zachary McAllister at Charleston (A). The data:

Triple-A Scranton
Brett Gardner, cf: .299/.376/.494 (Waiting for a break)
Eric Duncan, 1b: .279/.384/.508 (Too late?)
Juan Miranda, 1b: .267/.389/.367 (Where’s the beef?)
Darrell Rasner: 4-0, 0.87, 31 ip, 18 h, 6 bb, 27k (Next!)
Kei Igawa: 2-3, 3.56, 32.2, 28, 8, 32 (But can he handle the bigs?)
Dan Giese: 2-0, 1.35, 26.2, 20, 6, 23 (Who???)
Jeff Marquez: 1-4, 7.01, 25.2, 28, 8, 16 (Yikes)

AA Trenton
Kevin Russo (2B): .341/.438/.537 (Watch your back, Robi Cano)
Austin Jackson (CF): .363/.358/.275
Daniel McCutcheon: 3-1, 1.42, 31.2, 18, 7, 31 (!)
Jose Tabata: .200/.308/.233

A Tampa
Kyle Anson, c: .295/.463/.410
Damon Sublett, 2b: .284/.376/.444
Eric Hacker: 2-1, 0.82, 33.0, 14, 2, 24 (!)

A Charleston
Jesus Montero, c: .358/.373/.547
Austin Romine, c: .351/.367/.439
Brad Suttle, 3b: .320/.382/.500
Zachary McAllister: 3-1, 1.13, 32.0, 20, 4, 25 (!)
Dellin Betances: 3-0, 2.39, 26.1, 15, 18, 35
Noel Castillo: 3-1. 2.51, 28.2, 22, 10, 23

Note: This list is compiled only via statsheet. There are plenty of solid performances not included here, for various reasons (low number of at bats, weak power numbers, suspect age for level.) No relievers included, as it’s hard to judge their lines after so few innings.

72 comments… add one
  • uh can Eric Duncan play 3rd?

    sam-yf April 30, 2008, 12:19 am
  • YF, Tabata’s line should read:
    As for Duncan, I started to put together a similar piece a few weeks back and he wasn’t near those numbers. He must have put together a nice couple of weeks. He’s a NJ, out of the same HS as Porcello, so I root for him but I don’t know if he ever makes it to NY. Yes Sam, he was a 3Bman.

    John - YF April 30, 2008, 8:08 am
  • I don’t mean to be a pessimist, but I think the Yankees are on the verge of digging a very big hole.
    I don’t have time to run the numbers, but their bullpen, as strong as it has been, is being asked to do way too much. Every night that Hughes or Kennedy pitches, and practically every other night that Mussina pitches, it seems they have to cover 4 innings and often even more.
    That puts tremendous pressure on Pettitte and Wang to go 7 effective innings every single time out.
    With our wonderful management of injuries, we now have both A-Rod and Posada on the DL with injuries that seemed at first to be manageable but were aggravated upon their too-early-re-entry into game situations. This leaves us with very little right-handed power.
    If Hughes and Kennedy were taking up one slot in the rotation, we could live with their growing pains, but two slots like this is unsustainable and, if it goes much longer, will wear down all the bullpen arms.
    I’m not sure we can wait much longer before substituting Rasner for one of these guys and I would make a move now. Even he is no sure thing, but he has been serviceable in the big leagues in the past and is pitching great in AAA as you note.
    Moreover, what are the other options? There is no quick fix to move Joba to the rotation. That would take weeks of transition not to mention the added burden on that bullpen. And no one knows whether he’d be any better as a starter than the kids are now. At least Rasner has done it before in the bigs and can come in right now.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 9:09 am
  • Darrell Rasner’s performance is stunning, considering how I remember him from a few of his appearances last year. If Hughes and IPK keep sh*tting the bed it might be worth bringing him up to get a few starts, especially during the transitional time when Joba needs to stretch things out to become a starter.
    Duncan has good power numbers, but I don’t know anything about him. In any case, ARod’s power is going to be severely missed.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 9:18 am
  • Rasner has nothing to prove in AAA anymore. Even if he comes up as a middle inning eater (the way Hughes/IKen is throwing) it would be an asset.
    Already I feel like Moose is a 5IP guy – maybe it’s a psychological thing, but even a little bit more, and he gets lit up. He’s giving us all he got, sure..

    Lar April 30, 2008, 9:34 am
  • Sorry to jack the thread, but is anyone having trouble with the fantasy league? I couldn’t log in the last two days (it doesn’t show up for me)..

    Lar April 30, 2008, 9:37 am
  • I just looked up Rasner’s numbers, and he wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered him. 4.43 ERA in 2006 (with a WHIP of 1.131!) and 4.01 ERA in 2007. If I was a YF I’d be screaming for him to come up now.
    IH is right. The combination of losing two of the (if not THE two) highest offensive producers on the team, paired with IPK and Hughes sucking up big time, is going to stretch everyone too thin. I’m almost shocked at how bad things look for the Yankees, so much so that I’m not even happy about it.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 9:39 am
  • Im so angry at the yankees, specifically Girardi, for playing A-Rod in 45 degree weather in cleveland on Monday. First they rushed him back and second they allowed him to play under conditions that would likely exacerbate the problem. This is really unexcusable in my book.
    My first month of the season reviews on Girardi are highly mixed. While I like some of the moves he has made, i feel that he may be tinkering too much. A different lineup everyday is not helping the offense get going. Furthermore, the fact that Hughes pitches to a different catcher every start prevents him from building on each start. I realize that his hand has been forced many times by injuries but I feel there is more he could do to foster a bit of stability even as the team is in major flux.

    sam-yf April 30, 2008, 9:40 am
  • Lar – I’ve only been able to log in every now and then..I think Fox is making an attempt to fix all of their shortcomings in one fell swoop.
    Hopefully it’ll be all straigh when we are able to get back on. I know I logged on last night, and things were fine, but today, no go.
    Sorry to double hijack.

    Brad April 30, 2008, 9:45 am
  • Sam: To your point on A-Rod, I went on a mini-rant on Gene Monahan here yesterday. Without repeating it all, I feel his 4 decades plus with NY have made him immune to questions that should have been asked last year (when they fired the strength and cond’ing coach) and certainly are legit to ask now with Posada and A-Rod. I can live with guys getting hurt – they all do. I get pissed when a small injury turns into a big one because an extra fews days were not granted for healing the first time.
    On Girardi, I think your analysis is fair. But I also remember Torre running through a million different line-ups early last year. I’d be interested in a separate post here re: YF reviews of Girardi one month in. Like you, I have mixed views.
    I’m probably most surprised at how bad Kennedy and Hughes are with the familiar Eiland coaching them. I didn’t expect smooth sailing, but I certainly didn’t expect this.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 10:03 am
  • I agree with IH, we can’t continue to throw away two of every 5 starts on the kids. It’s time for Cashman to make a hard decision (that’s why he makes the big bucks) and send one of the kids down. Rasner has pitched well enough in AAA to earn at least a chance to come up and show what he can do…what do we have to lose? I’m not as pessimistic about the season as we have all seen the way the Yankees seem to come alive around June 1st and their record is better at this point now then last year when they still almost took the division.
    We’re not sunk yet, but we surely need some changes. I just hope Hank the Tank doesn’t go and do something stupid with Cashman as a knee-jerk reaction…it’s one thing to spout off to the papers, it’s another to start making moves like dear-old Dad and ruin the team for a decade like the 80’s!

    krueg April 30, 2008, 10:06 am
  • IH- to your point about Girardi…I was really hoping we would play more “small ball” but Girardi doesn’t seem to want to? When you are, what, 5-300 as a team with RISP I would think it would be time to try and manufacture some runs. That might get the guys feeling better about themselves and then swing a better bat? Winning cures all?

    krueg April 30, 2008, 10:09 am
  • Let’s be realistic:
    The Yanks ain’t contending this year with a front three of Wang, Pettitte, and Moose. They need one of Hughes or Kennedy to emerge as an above average pitcher. That ain’t happening if they don’t give them both a legit chance to adjust, especially as the weather warms. Sending them down now is a move for the present with exactly zero significance long term. Rasner is fine (Igawa too even) for an injury replacement or as a #5. But to promote him when he has a much more limited ceiling is really more a band-aid than anything else.
    Besides, the real trouble is the offense that has failed to show up. And with Jorge and A-Rod sitting, we might still be waiting in another month. If the East didn’t look competitive, I’d be worried. But it’s looking like 90-92 wins could take the division. The kids are much more likely to help the team, this year and in the future, than is Rasner.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 10:29 am
  • I agree with a lot of the sentiment here. I’m very, very irked by the mismanagment of injuries – not sure who to blame, but after a couple of years in a row of this sort of thing, the problem appears seems systemic and something needs to change.
    I’m not worried at all long term re: Kennedy and Hughes, but the thought was that the offense could carry the team through the young pitchers’ growing pains. Well, that hasn’t happened yet and without A-Rod and Posada in the lineup, it ain’t gonna happen – and they’ll both be out at least two weeks. And until one or both of them are back, this team will simply be manhandled by left-handed pitching. If I saw the Yanks coming into town right now, I’d call up every available lefty above A ball to start against them.
    Two weeks of Morgan Ensburg playing third and batting sixth is going to test the very limits of my patience, to say nothing of seeing Chris Stewart behind the dish twice a week.

    Mark (YF) April 30, 2008, 10:46 am
  • A YF – I kind of disagree though. Though we would love to get a 3rd starter out of Hughes, I think a decent 4th or 5th from Ken/Hughes could get us into the playoffs. Well, if our hitting comes back anyhow. Though in the playoffs is another story.
    If Ken/Hughes can give us 7 every game, it would make the bullpen better, for one.

    Lar April 30, 2008, 10:54 am
  • A YF- I disagree with you bro. IF they start hitting, it can/will cover for the pitching shortcomings. (in the regular season anyways)Wang and Pettitte have been good…Moose, um, yeah.
    We’re going to blow out the middle relief by July 1st with the kids starting. I’m not saying give up on the kids, they’re kids…but we can’t keep throwing away games while they learn. I don’t know if they can learn in the bigs?

    krueg April 30, 2008, 11:08 am
  • A YF:
    I’m not so sure Kennedy has that much higher of an upside than Rasner. Kennedy was absurdly good last year in just a few ML starts, but he is much further in his development than Hughes and is still stuggling mightily. I have no problem swapping Kennedy and Rasner for each other, bouncing them up and down, etc. I don’t agree that Kennedy is so critical to the team’s futuer success. Hughes is and he is also signicantly less developed and a little younger, so perhaps give him more time, but I don’t think we should look at the two as an inseparable pair to be considerd and treated equally on this matter.
    And again, breaking in two-at-a-time when neither is consistently going 5, let alone 6 innings impacts the bullpen in a way that can’t be shrugged off so easily.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 11:16 am
  • A YF is right when he says that the problem has been offense and not pitching, but that’s due mostly to the bullpen so far. The Yankees rank last in the American League in IP by starters, and 2nd to last in starters ERA. Meanwhile, their relievers ERA of 3.72 is pretty damn good. Like IH said, as the bullpen is working harder and harder that ERA is going to climb and starting hurting the team more.
    Offense is the problem right now for the Yankees, but if the starters don’t start improving the pitching will be the problem long-term.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 11:16 am
  • As someone who yelled for Jon Lester to work out his ills in Pawtucket just a week ago I would preach a little patience. If Lester throws another gem next time out, what can I yell about? How silly do I look?
    We are still in “SSS” territory. Hughes may very well not be ready for the Majors, but what can he do in the minors that he can’t do with the big-league team? What did he have left to prove down there? Should he go to Scranton to learn a changeup? Is that enough of a task list to merit being sent down? Or should he begin working one in in the Bronx? Was the end of last year a fluke for Hughes? Is Darrell Rasner enough of a stopgap? Does he really help the bullpen get legs?
    I don’t know how the Yankees can win on this one; the only “win” is if Hughes and Kennedy develop into stud pitchers at some point, and that might take until 2010. It took Tom Glavine a good two years to settle in – Glavine’s ERA for his first 40+ starts was over 5, I believe. The expectations for this kid aren’t being met, by any measure. But is the solution a demotion, or patience? Or both? I don’t envy Cashman here.

    SF April 30, 2008, 11:19 am
  • Every MLB team had a chance at Rasner (37 years old) this Spring, and two Springs ago, and all passed both times except the Yanks. So let’s not get carried away with him. He’s a fine #5 but he’ll never be more than that. Put it this way, he’d never start over Moose in the playoffs. And a front three of Wang, Pettitte, and Moose will doing nothing in the playoffs. The Yanks success, this season and next, is predicated on both Hughes (21 years old) and Kennedy (23 years old) being above average pitchers. They can survive if both become league average this year. But both have the potential of being much better than that. Rasner does not – never has. It’s an easy decision, at least for another month. They have little to lose (the season was always going to be about the the young pitching) and much more to gain.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 11:26 am
  • SF: The difference is that you only have one Jon Lester. We have two. And neither of ours has thrown the gem yet that Lester just did for you guys. To be clear, I am not a “win now at all costs” fan. I’m fine developing guys and sticking with them. I was (and remain!) happy that the Yanks kept these guys rather than take Santana. But some development happens in AAA too.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 11:28 am
  • Of course, Rasner is 27 years young.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 11:29 am
  • What’s strange to me is that Hughes keeps saying that it is his fastball command that has deserted him and that all problems start from there. He has said that from his first start. That’s got to be mechanical and it seems to be taking a while for Eiland to help him find and fix the problem there.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 11:40 am
  • “SF: The difference is that you only have one Jon Lester. We have two. And neither of ours has thrown the gem yet that Lester just did for you guys…But some development happens in AAA too.”
    None of that is true.
    1) Bucholz could also easily struggle. That he hasn’t yet doesn’t mean he’s in the clear.
    2) That was Lester’s best start of his career. Even still, of 33 games started, he’s had exactly four games scores at 70 or above.
    3) Hughes had his best start last year against Texas (76 score). Kennedy in his last start last year (74 score) By contrast, Rasner has never topped a 65 game score.
    4) They have nothing left to prove in AAA. Their mechanics are off and probably because of the cold weather with both being Cali guys.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 11:40 am
  • IH, keep in mind that we’ve got Buchholz in the rotation right now too.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 11:47 am
  • A YF, I was talking about this year, not last, and I think you know that frankly. In my own earlier post I referenced Kennedy’s performance in his brief late-season stint last year, which was better than ALL Yankee starters.
    Explain to me why Kennedy going to AAA for 3-5 weeks to get his mechanics back on track while Rasner – who is currently pitching well – comes up, is so damaging to Rasner? I’m not trying to be a jerk – I don’t get what the harm is to him there.
    And of course you and Atheose are right re: Bucholz, who I believe has also pitched better this year than eitehr Hughes or Kennedy.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 11:54 am
  • “so damaging to Rasner” was supposed to read “to Kennedy” of course…

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 11:57 am
  • The question isn’t: What’s the harm? The question is: What’s the point?
    Rasner won’t change the Yankee fortunes this year. Kennedy and Hughes just might. I agree it’s their mechanics. Let’s give them another month.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 11:58 am
  • Yeah, the only real difference right now between Lester/Buchholz and Hughes/IPK is their performances thusfar, in the sense that the former two have been much better than the latter. Aside from that, both pitchers on both teams are rookies with huge question marks that could easily switch places by the All-Star break.
    And yes I know Lester and Hughes aren’t necessarilly “rookies”, but they’re both very young and have a lot to prove before they become fixtures in any rotation.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 12:01 pm
  • Lester to this point in the season — even before last night — was doing better, and had already proven more, than Hughes and Kennedy, so giving him more chances makes more sense.
    I think IH’s comments about Hughes and Kennedy not being inseparable make sense, and the fact that the Yankees are relying more heavily on Hughes to fulfill his upside makes Kennedy the more likely option to be sent down. Although, didn’t Cashman say on YES last night he was going to discuss with girardi WHETHER Hughes would make his next start? Doesn’t sound good.
    At what point is this a lack of confidence feeding on itself? Could a trip to the minors and a return to dominance there, even if very little changes in mechanics or velocity, reap benefits in the majors, just from a confidence perspective?

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • I think a lot of it can be confidence Paul. During the off-season their names were dropped a lot with regards to the Santana trade, so when the Yankees did not pull the trigger a lot more pressure suddenly fell upon them. I’m sure the mechanics are the key problem, but the increased pressure and lack of confidence certainly don’t help things.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 12:09 pm
  • “The question is: What’s the point?”
    To get better current performance (from Rasner) so we not only have a better shot at winning some games now but also a better shot at not burning our bullpen. At the same time, work on Kennedy enough so he can come back mid-season to do exactly what you want him to do – contribute to a playoff contender. To be honest, if you don’t think it will do Kennedy any harm to be sent down, then I REALLY don’t understand the objection to it.
    I am well aware that Rasner is not a savior. I just think he can log more innings pitching just as well as Kennedy seems able to do right now.
    And look, what bothers me is seeing the bullpen dipped into consistently in the 4th, 5th, and 6th innings for 2/5s (arguably 3/5s) of the starting rotation’s appearances. If you can develop young pitching talent at the big league level with them still being able to at least give you some innings – even if rocky ones – that’s great. We are not getting that. Atheose’s stat re: NY ranking last in the AL in IP/starter is the most relevant – especailly when you consider that our ace gives a hell of a lot of IP/start.
    We can agree to disagree on this. In the end, I hope you are right and that one or both of them rights themselves soon.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 12:18 pm
  • “Lester to this point in the season — even before last night — was doing better, and had already proven more, than Hughes and Kennedy, so giving him more chances makes more sense.”
    That’s just not true. He’s started 33 games in his career. Here’s the game score distribution:
    10’s: 1
    20’s: 1
    30’s: 10
    40’s: 8
    50’s: 5
    60’s: 3
    70’s: 3
    80’s: 2
    He’s been simply been awful one-third of the time, below average another third, and truly above average just 8 starts in those 33. This season has been the same for him: 1 very good start (last night), one above average, and the rest have been a struggle. If anything, he’s “proven” very, very little.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 12:19 pm
  • “I am well aware that Rasner is not a savior. I just think he can log more innings pitching just as well as Kennedy seems able to do right now.”
    What gives you that impression? Because he’s dominating AAA hitters (just as Hughes and Kennedy would)? Rasner has never pitched more than 6 innings in a MLB game. And did I mention he’s 27 years old?

    A YF April 30, 2008, 12:23 pm
  • A YF: Why are you ignoring “to this point in the season” in Paul’s post even as you quote it at the start of your reaction to taht post? Everyone here is talking about relative performance of all these guys THIS season.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 12:24 pm
  • Since when is 27 is too old to patch a hole in the rotation for 1-2 months?

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 12:25 pm
  • I gotta go to a lunch meeting and actually get some work done today, but it’s nice to see this site coming alive the last few days! Just remember: Darrel Rasner will contend for the Cy Young this year. With Mike Timlin.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 12:27 pm
  • Uh, because Lester hadn’t ever proven that? This year or any year preceding. Lester is just as much of a question mark as Hughes and Kennedy. Indeed, I’d say he’s even *less* proven given his relative suckitude in 33 career starts. One scattered start doesn’t change that, just as one good start from Hughes or Kennedy would remove the worries on them.
    And for the Yanks, “patching a hole” does no good. They aren’t hitting enough to take advantage. Meanwhile, you crave length. Nothing from Rasner suggests he’d give that.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 12:33 pm
  • Yeah A YF, Lester has been very serviceable this season. He hasn’t been amazing, but his ERA is 4.31. Before last night it was 5.30. That’s still INCREDIBLY better than either Hughes or Kennedy. Paul was comparing him to them, in which case he HAS been much better.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 12:35 pm
  • A YF, all Paul said was that right now Lester has done better this season than Kennedy and Hughes, and therefore gets a little more leash-length. Why are you saying that Paul said Lester is “proven” ?

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 12:46 pm
  • One other thing I find very hard to assess, especially as an outsider, is what the “confidence” issues are. We all like to question whether a player has lost their confidence, or whether sending someone down hurts their confidence or might help them get their confidence back, or whether keeping them up might wreck their confidence or make their confidence more fragile. It’s so hard to know what this actually means. In some SoSH game threads as soon as Lester walks a guy there are cries of “here comes the crisis of confidence, he’s going to lose it!”, with Matt Clement it was a famous issue (perhaps quite unfairly). Don’t many of the problems that pitchers run into come from mechanical issues and changes (like after you walk a guy you pitch from the stretch, or something like that) and not from eggshell confidence issues? Certainly psychology is a major factor, but it is very hard for any of us amateur shrinks to really assert that we know what might be best for a player’s (shaken?) confidence. Typically professional athletes, those at the highest level, need a great deal to shake their confidence; they aren’t like us, to an extent, which is why they are elite, though even that statement is probably way too generalized.

    SF April 30, 2008, 12:49 pm
  • Honestly, A, can you try just once to take something at face value and not misconstrue it?
    Lester has had two quality starts this season, which (without checking) I believe is two more quality starts than Hughes and Kennedy combined. Also, his ERA is lower, and he’s gone deepr into games.
    He has shown this season that he can put it together at times, certainly moreso than either Hughes or Kennedy, so he gets a little more slack when discussing who needs to be sent down. This isn’t a contest about which team’s young starters are better or are more likely to succeed, so please stop trying to turn the conversation in that direction.

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 12:58 pm
  • I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that a player’s confidence can be shaken, especially a young one. Granted pitching from the stretch would affect things a lot more, but I’ve seen close ups of Lester plenty of times where he’s sweating immensely (on a cold night) more than anyone, and in general looks scared. Last night was different; the entire night he did not look flustered, and I think some of that stems from starting the game off well.
    I’ve seen professional tennis players (does anyone here follow tennis as much as I do?) talk about how serving a 2nd-serve on an important point is so scary that they almost shake, and that the pressure of not double-faulting almost paralyzed them. I think the same fear is present in a lot of baseball players, especially ones still getting used to the lime light.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 12:59 pm
  • but I’ve seen close ups of Lester plenty of times where he’s sweating immensely (on a cold night) more than anyone, and in general looks scared.
    I have a hard time looking at a TV image and deciding that someone is “scared”. Of course, I fully acknowledge that there are major psychological aspects to performance in sport, so I am not arguing that it isn’t a factor, or that Lester isn’t affected by it.
    But the idea that we can watch a game, see an image on the TV, then make a determination about how confidence has been affected, is, at least to me, flawed. Equally, I don’t know how any of us can determine what is “best” for any given player’s confidence level. One player being sent down may see this as a rejection of talent, and a blow to their ego and/confidence, another player may feel like being kept in the majors, despite struggles, is evidence of their team showing confidence in their abilities and therefore an ego boost, regardless of the shellackings they eventually take. This isn’t an easy situation to diagnose, in other words, and there are probably no rules at all. Just sending Hughes/Kennedy/etc. down isn’t necessarily a solution of value, in other words.

    SF April 30, 2008, 1:24 pm
  • Yeah, I’m not saying that I know 100% without-a-doubt what is going through Lester’s mind, but I feel like I’ve watched Lester pitch enough in the last two years to be able to distinguish different emotions. Of course maybe he was just battling the flu the other night. Who knows.
    In general though, I don’t think it’s difficult to tell when a pitcher just doesn’t look right. Roger Clemens used to have a wide variety of facial expressions, and you could tell a lot from him while he was on the mound. Not necessarilly confidence-related, but just his overall emotion.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 1:29 pm
  • I agree. Lester always looks like he’s working twice as hard as he should be. But, you know who doesn’t look that way: Masterson!!
    I kid, but I love watching that kid work. Get ball, throw ball. Work fast (wich is why Lester was better last night, imho)and throw strikes.
    I won’t be crushed if Lester is involved in the Crisp move and Masterson get called up for good. I’ll put up with the bumps in the road.
    I agree with most – Rasner is not the answer to anything whatsoever for NY. I mean, I’d be elated to see Hughes get demoted back to the mL, but I don’t think that’s the answer. Just let him work his own way through it.

    Anonymous April 30, 2008, 1:42 pm
  • me. sorry.

    Brad April 30, 2008, 1:43 pm
  • I won’t be crushed if Lester is involved in the Crisp move and Masterson get called up for good.
    I’d be crushed if Lester ends up going somewhere else for a minor piece to the team, whereas we could have gotten Johan Santana for him.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 1:50 pm
  • Yeah, maybe. But, I’d be more crushed to see Masterson go, who I think is a far superior talent to Lester. Here’s to hoping that neither of them go anywhere.
    Whatever, we’re getting off topic. ha.

    Brad April 30, 2008, 1:56 pm
  • I think pace and confidence go hand in hand (this is totally just me thinking out loud, btw). If you work faster, you’re more likely to be concentrating on the next pitch, not about the last one, which in a case like Lester’s at this stage in his development, is a lot more likely to be a misfire than one that would build confidence.

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 2:11 pm
  • > If Hughes and Kennedy were taking up one slot in the rotation, we could live with their growing pains
    That’s what I was thinking last night, and even then I don’t know how well/long we could live with it. New York has two victories in the 11 games they have started/appeared.
    Yankees pitching seasons 1956 on, mininum 19 innings, started 60%, sorted by low ERA+

    Player            ERA+  IP  Year Age G  GS W  L H  R  ER BB SO
    1 Scott Kamieniecki   45 22.2 1996  32  7  5 1  2 36 30 28 19 15
    2 Philip Hughes       47 22   2008  22  6  6 0  4 34 23 22 13 13
    3 Ian Kennedy         49 19   2008  23  5  4 0  2 23 18 18 17 15
    4 Jay Howell          51 28   1982  26  6  6 2  3 42 25 24 13 21
    5 Esteban Loaiza      53 42.1 2004  32 10  6 1  2 61 43 40 26 34
    6 Ed Figueroa         56 58   1980  31 15  9 3  3 90 47 45 24 16
    7 Jeff Johnson        59 52.2 1992  25 13  8 2  3 71 44 39 23 14
    8 Doyle Alexander     61 28.1 1983  32  8  5 0  2 31 21 20  7 17
    9 Shane Rawley        61 42   1984  28 11 10 2  3 46 33 29 27 24

    Of course three or four average/good starts in a row (or even with another clunker mixed in) will help make the “growing pains” worthwhile, and regardless if they will have a tough time crawling statistically out of this pile of dreg I suppose it will seem fine in retrospect. But should either or both get sent down/get traded without significant improvement, well, I just didn’t expect it to look so bad from almost every angle so far.

    attackgerbil April 30, 2008, 2:17 pm
  • Hey, how did this become an intra-Sox debate while I was at lunch?!?! Booooooo.
    Just kidding.
    Anyway, on the larger issue of signs of a lack of confidence, two higly visible markers come to my mind:
    1. unwillingness to pitch inside (see Mike Mussina late 2007/early 2008)
    2. body language – kicking the mound, pouting, slumped shoulders, sulking (see every Kei Igawa start on the North American continent; or see Jeff Weaver – the Yankee years)

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 2:27 pm
  • The only interesting stat on that list for me? Hughes and IPK are the youngest on it – and by at least two years.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 2:27 pm
  • I wrote my last message before AG’s brilliant post with the 50-year+ evidence to back it up. That plus Atheose’s factoid re: IP/start for the Yankees this year says it all. We simply can’t affod much more of this. They are not struggling through 6 innings. They are getting shelled in 2, 3, or 4. There is a difference.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 2:30 pm
  • From the always helpful Steve Goldman:
    “The Yankees are ninth in the league in walks and 10th in OBP”
    That about explains everything. The focus is on the young pitching, but really Kevin Long has more to answer for.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 2:30 pm
  • “Hughes and IPK are the youngest on it – and by at least two years.”
    So maybe they have been brought up too soon.
    And I think last in IP/start is more problematic than being middle of the pack (slightly above middle actually) in some offensive stats.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 2:32 pm
  • I think it’s interesting that both are in the same year. Anyone want to find out what the two lowest ERA+ are for two pitchers in the same season (same parameters that AG used)? I might check that out in a bit.

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 2:37 pm
  • “So maybe they have been brought up too soon.”
    Or the Yanks haven’t had decent pitching prospects in the last 50 years.

    A YF April 30, 2008, 2:39 pm
  • Indeed IH. With the exception of the two recent trips to the DL, the Yankees offense will come around. Cano has sucked, but will improve. He’s already starting to. All of the Yankees are great batters, and their average will regress (or progress) towards the mean.
    The starting pitching, however, has greater influence over other aspects of the team. The Yankees bullpen cannot possibly continue to be as successful as it is if the starters don’t start lasting longer. Once the bullpen starts showing signs of fatigue, you’ve got more problems than just Cano batting .178.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 2:46 pm
  • And I say that Cano will improve because if he doesn’t I’m going to have to replace him with Akinori Iwamura, who slugged .411 last season.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 2:50 pm
  • And I say that Cano will improve because if he doesn’t I’m going to have to replace him with Akinori Iwamura on my fantasy team, who slugged .411 last season.

    Atheose April 30, 2008, 2:50 pm
  • For the record, the Yankees would be the first AL team since the 1996 Tigers with two starters min. 19 innings to feature an ERA+ below 50. That was Todd Van Poppel (11.39 ERA in 36.1 innings, 45 ERA+) and Clint Sodowsky (11.84 ERA in 24.1 innings, 43 ERA+).
    Van Poppell was 24, Sodowsky was 23. Not that I’m equating them because I would guess Hughes and Kennedy are much better prospects than Van Poppell and Sadowsky, but neither was ever a full-time starter again.

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 2:57 pm
  • I should have added: “… and the fourth AL team overall to have two or more such starters be younger than 30 — after the 1909 Browns (three starters), 1975 Twins and ’96 Tigers.”

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 3:00 pm
  • Well Paul, maybe no AL team had good young pitching prospects over the past 12 years. They all might have migrated from the NL. Or they might have arrived through a hole in the space-time continuum.
    Swap Kennedy (or Hughes) for Rasner now – whichever one the coaches think has more significant mechanical (or confidence) issues to work through – until those issues are fixed and then bring him back.

    IronHorse (yf) April 30, 2008, 3:07 pm
  • the sox went through this tremendous hype vs. confidence at the ML level issue a few years back. meredith and hansen were the top pitching prospects in the system in 2005. the mishandling of the two caused them to reevaluate how they groom prospects. ’05 was a desperate year with the sox counting heavily on those two to contribute immediately. this left both players no room but to disappoint. two years later we’ve seen theo become more apt to call young pitchers up for spot starts and low pressure situations. often times the tremendously hyped players were left down on the farm in lieu of players like gabbard, dinardo, and pauley.

    sf rod April 30, 2008, 3:15 pm
  • Lester/Buchholz made 26 starts and 3 starts respectively prior to this year. Lester had cancer and is 24 years old, Buck is 23.
    Hughes/Kennedy made 13 starts and 3 starts, respectively. Hughes is 21 and Kennedy is 23. The players all differ, despite some closeness in age. Kennedy and Buchholz differ on background (converted infielder to pitcher, community college with 85 innings of experience vs. three year, 311 inning college player). Hughes is obviously the youngest, but also pretty much outperformed everyone else and has been touted more highly than the other three, whatever that’s worth. I don’t put much stock in the value of “hype”, except when that hype is based on performance, which with Hughes it was, deservedly.
    I don’t know what I am getting at, except that sometimes we assume that players are too young (as some may think about Hughes) when in fact they’ve outperformed older players at higher levels. I honestly think that the Yankees need to remain patient with Hughes and IPK for at least a few more starts each. And while I was calling on Lester to be sent down it was because his problems of his rookie season were still evident nearly 30 starts later, and in spades. Lester has, it would seem, ingrained flaws that need to be worked out. Hughes’ and Kennedy’s struggles aren’t a pattern yet, it’s still too soon to tell, at least in my amateurish opinion.

    SF April 30, 2008, 3:36 pm
  • > The only interesting stat
    The age is a curiosity, but combined with Paul’s noticing that it was the same season makes it far more interesting. The other stats are there just for comparison. The Yankees have not taken a tandem pitching gamble in the last 50 years that worked out this badly over the course of a season, but there certainly is time for it to work out.
    > That about explains everything. The focus is on the young pitching, but really Kevin Long has more to answer for.
    I thought we were talking about Hughes and IPK. If you want to shift focus and talk offense, then it is another conversation. But within this context, it’s true that Yankee run support is a pedestrian 3.75/9 for both of these pitchers in their starts and a paltry 3.36 r/g for the 11 games in which they appeared, so there is a valid point in there. Except for the fact the Yankees gave up 6.36 runs per game across the 11 games in question. It would take good fortune and happenstance on top of talent to overcome that level of pitching.
    I tried to answer Paul’s question with a few modifications. I ran a report for the 100 lowest ERA+ players with the same parameters as above, and then filtered it for same year/team, with the caveat that both players were with the team for the whole year (the p.i. totals it if a player switched teams). Here’s the results:

    Rank Player          ERA+   IP  YEAR AGE Team
    42 Mike Pazik       47   19.2 1975 25  MIN
    26 Joe Decker       45   26.1 1975 28  MIN
    60 Bryan Oelkers    49   34.1 1983 22  MIN
    75 Brad Havens      52   80.1 1983 23  MIN
    47 Hector Wagner    47   23.1 1990 21  KCR
    28 Richard Dotson   45   28.2 1990 31  KCR
    2 Ryan Bowen       30   33.2 1992 24  HOU
    41 Shane Reynolds   47   25.1 1992 24  HOU
    99 Paul Wilson      55   46.1 2005 32  CIN
    66 Elizardo Ramirez 50   22.1 2005 22  CIN
    58 Ian Kennedy      49     19 2008 23  NYY
    39 Philip Hughes    47     22 2008 22  NYY
    11 Matt Morris      41   22.1 2008 33  PIT
    44 Tom Gorzelanny   47   22.1 2008 25  PIT
    attackgerbil April 30, 2008, 4:29 pm
  • >> whole year
    that should read each in the bigs with only one team that season

    attackgerbil April 30, 2008, 4:35 pm
  • Not many Hall of Famers in that group. Not much of anything in that group, frankly.

    SF April 30, 2008, 4:46 pm
  • There is the immortal Paul Wilson, No. 1 prospect of the last New York-based trio of starting pitchers that was expected to dominate the league upon arrival.

    Paul SF April 30, 2008, 4:53 pm
  • And because I am in a particularly twisted mood today, I looked up the records of these teams, not that there is any correlation to yet be made. Yet.

    1975 MIN: 76-83, 4th (-20.5)
    1983 MIN: 70-92, 6th (-29.0)
    1990 KCR: 75-86, 6th (-27.5)
    1992 HOU: 81-81, 4th (-17.0)
    2005 CIN: 73-89, 5th (-27.0)
    attackgerbil April 30, 2008, 5:19 pm
  • Strange, but the results of the search I did aren’t squaring up with Paul’s. So ignore mine.

    attackgerbil April 30, 2008, 7:13 pm

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