Thursday, July 12, 2012
2012 Yankee Relief Pitcher Projections vs. Actuals at the All Star Break
Wrapping up my All Star Break look at the Yankees performance compared to projections is the bullpen.
Freddy Garcia started the year in the rotation but had awful results and was moved to the bullpen. With CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte out of action, Garcia was moved back into the rotation where he’s had two solid starts against the teams that are probably the Yankees’ biggest rivals this year, Tampa Bay and Boston.
Garcia’s actually got a better walk rate and strike out rate than projected although that’s likely due to pitching out of the bullpen for much of the season. According to FIP, Garcia’s actually pitched about as well overall as he did last year when he was a surprisingly effective starter for most of the season. Again, the fact that the most of his 2012 innings are out of the pen means he’d probably be a bit less effective as a full-time starter, but I think I’m comfortable in saying he isn’t nearly as bad as he looked in April and can probably keep the Yankees in most games as a starter if needed. I’d assume he’ll be the one to stay in the rotation over David Phelps when CC comes back, with Phelps going back to AAA to remain stretched out as a starter. That could obviously change if he starts to pitch poorly again.
Speaking of David Phelps, here is how he’s done compared to his projections so far.
Phelps was originally projected as a starter, so I’ve done a conversion of his average 2012 projection to relief. He’s still been more effective than projected looking at that, although his FIP is a bit worse thanks to one extra HR allowed. He’s probably heading for a regression in his BABIP, but if he can keep his FIP in the 4.3-4.5 range he’s probably a viable back-end starter for the Yankees. Because of that, I’d assume he’ll go back to the minors to start regularly when CC comes back, with an eye on bringing him back whenever the rotation needs him.
Cody Eppley wasn’t expected to be part of the Yankee bullpen when the season started, but he’s now thrown 23 mostly good innings.
His peripherals are lackluster and his FIP is buoyed by pretty low HR rate. I don’t think he’s as good as his RA/ERA so far this year, but he’s fine as a middle reliever.
Much like Eppley, Clay Rapada wasn’t really expected to be a major part of the Yankee bullpen but he’s thrown 24 innings.
Regular numbers like RA/ERA/FIP for someone like Rapada aren’t all that useful because he’s more of a tactical option to use for facing a specific batter or two and his value is heavily dependent on the base/out situations he’s used in. Rapada’s faced 70 LHB and has held them to a line of .150/.246/.217. It’d be cool if he walked fewer of them, but it’s tough to quibble with that overall performance. If only he’d made that double play…
Cory Wade came out of nowhere to have a strong 2011 and he started 2012 out the same way after an ugly spring training. Then the wheels came off.
I have no idea what’s up with Wade, and I have no idea if he’s lost his ability to be an effective pitcher in MLB. His FIP is fine, his walk rate and K rate are good, but he’s getting hit hard. While we generally expect FIP to be a better predictor going forward, it’s entirely possible Wade has lost the ability to limit hits on balls in play to some extent. He’ll probably be pitching in AAA trying to figure things out and won’t be called up again if he doesn’t. I hope he does because I like watching him pitch when he’s effective.
Boone Logan’s been mostly good this year, but has struggled a bit recently.
He’s still outpitching his projections, notably the big jump in strikeout rate. He’s still a bit of an adventure at times, but I am comfortable he’ll be mostly good over the rest of the year.
Expecting a repeat of 2011 for David Robertson was not realistic. Robertson’s been fine, although we’re now hearing he doesn’t have a closer’s mentality because of two blown saves.
Robertson’s outpitched his projections, and his FIP indicates he’s actually been more effective than his RA/ERA show. I still think he’s the best reliever in the non-Mo Yankee bullpen, whether he’s the anointed closer or not.
I don’t know if I ever mentioned how I felt about the Rafael Soriano signing. Anyway, with Mariano Rivera likely out for the rest of 2012, Soriano’s become the closer.
Soriano’s been rock solid as the closer, putting up a Rivera-like ERA. He’s allowing a lot more base runners than Mo does, but so far that hasn’t hurt him. I’d prefer not to see him allowing two base runners to reach every inning, but aside from that I have no qualms with his work so far. I’d expect him to be closer to that 2.30 FIP going forward, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
A few odds calls aside, Joe Girardi’s managed his bullpen very well this year in my opinion. Just like he’s done in every year since he became the Yankee manager. Because of that, I think the bullpen will continue to be a strength going forward.