Being a history major, I’m always on the lookout for statistics and actual research to justify my arguments. I probably couldn’t explain VORP or other acronym-laced (pun intended) baseball statistic. I’ll leave the math numbers to my brother.
What I can explain is basic things like ERA, W-L, OBP, OPS+, K/9, and stuff. This is a good measure of the abilities of a player. This is why Boston has had success the last several years. They’ve relied on the success of GM Epstein and his team of people who invest heavily into Sabermetrics and statistics to get players they needed (i.e. Alan Embree, David Ortiz) that could possibly measure into someone successful as Embree and Ortiz have produced in their years with Boston.
In The Yankee Years, Tom Verducci (more likely than Torre) had statistics spanning the years of 2001-2007 and how much the starting pitchers invested into the rotation. What’s missing is the years of 1996 t0 2000.
That’s where Jason from Heartland Pinstripes comes into the picture.
Jason wrote this excellent piece (he’s a history buff like me) on his blog yesterday analyzing the statistics of the Yankee pitchers in 1996-2000 and 2008.
I’ll mention a few things here, but I do encourage you to check out Jason’s post.
The Yankees obviously had success with their rotation between 1997 and 1999, even with fill-in starters. What’s more, the rotation of these years did not have workhorses, but effective starters. Jason writes that the Yankees had an effective fill-in starter in Ramon Mendoza (and in my opinion, none since, except for Shawn Chacon and Aaron Small in 2004).
The Yankees faltered in 2008, as we all know. The W-L and innings pitched for 2008 starters was dismal compared to 1996-2007 but the ERA was similar to what we saw from 2003 to 2007. It just happened that the Yankees were not able to get as much innings out of their real rotation compared to their fill-in starters, and while coming up with 89 wins and the fourth best record in the AL was no easy feat…2009 looks promising.
With the addition of two strong strikeout arms and a durable, proven workhorse, the Yankees are in prime position to repeat the pitching performance of 1997-1999 — proven everyone stays healthy and the Yankees can get durable fill-in starts from people like Phil Hughes, Al Aceves, Ian Kennedy.
Again, go read Jason’s post here!