Larry Mahnken and SG's

Replacement Level Yankees Weblog

"Hey, it's free!"

The Replacement Level Yankees Weblog has moved!  Our new home is:

Larry Mahnken
Sean McNally
Fabian McNally
John Brattain

This is an awesome FREE site, where you can win money and gift certificates with no skill involved! If you're bored, I HIGHLY recommend checking it out!


Disclaimer: If you think this is the official website of the New York Yankees, you're an idiot. Go away.

June 19, 2006

Balls in Play
by SG

The Yankees lost a couple of brutal games this weekend, both which should have been wins. I didn't get to see Saturday's game thankfully, but did have the misfortune of watching yesterday's. Chien-Ming Wang made his third straight strong start, despite still not missing any bats. With a depleted 12 man pen (I'm not going to include Ron Villone in the count since Joe Torre doesn't), Wang gave his team everything they needed to win. Unfortunately, his offense did not pick him up. He deserved better than he got.

A lot has been made of Wang's inability to strike hitters out. I'm not convinced that this is a huge problem if he can continue to control opponents' extra base hits and continues to show good control. How big of a problem is it to allow the opponents to hit the ball?

The following ten pitchers are allowing the highest percentage of the batters they face to put the ball in play (min of 50 IP).

Wang - 84%
Silva - 83%
Johnson - 82%
Loe - 81%
Buehrle - 81%
Halladay - 80%
Wright - 80%
Janssen - 79%
Westbrook - 79%
Moyer - 79%

A pretty mixed list, with some prettyy good pitchers and some really bad ones. However, as a group, they have collectively provided:

821 innings
4.47 ERA
111 ERA+
144 HR+
159 BB+
66 K+
9.5 Runs above average

As a group, they have controlled HRs and BB, which has allowed them to succeed to this point.

Out of these ten pitchers, Wang has been more valuable than all but Roy Halladay (12 runs above average). He has a better HR rate than any of them. Opponents are hitting .284 against Wang on balls in play this season, which is low, but not as low as Buehrle, Halladay, Janssen, or Westbrook. He's induced more double play grounders than any of them, and has the lowest slugging average allowed amongst this group (.315).

The point is that if you continue to focus on Wang's low K rate, you are ignoring the other evidence that he can succeed doing what he's done to this point. He will probably have more bad games than a pitcher who is less reliant on his defense, but the good thing is when he's in a groove he retire batters efficiently and go deep into games. With the way Torre manages a bullpen, this can only be a good thing.

I hate interleague play by the way. Hate it. Pitchers hitting is an embarrassment and ruins the flow of a game. The sooner this farce ends the better.

And the _____ Watch claims its latest victim, as Aaron Small has been DFA'd. I feel a little conflicted about that, because I personally liked Small very much and cannot ignore the fact that without his outstanding performance last year the Yankees would not have made the playoffs. I'm glad he got a payday for that effort, however, indicators were that it was a fluke, and his performance this season seems to agree. If he clears waivers, he'll go back to Columbus and try to figure things out. I wish him well regardless of what happens from here on out.

I'm actually pretty happy with the roster right now, although I still think Kevin Thompson deserves a spot on the team. I'd also like to see them get down to 12 pitchers, although I'm curious to see Jose Veras in action.