So today is a day off for about freaking everybody, so what a fantastic oppurtunity to recap the season’s best 5 starting pitchers thus far? This is something I’ve kind of wanted to do for a while. so now I got the oppurtunity. I already gave my thoughts on yesterday’s game, so there’s no need to discuss that now.
But before I get to what would be the year’s best starting rotation in the MLB, I have to tell you, I am addicted to something. No, it’s not the addiction to baseball that I’ve had since ’07. In fact, it’s the addiction to a musical artist that I get about every now and then. It seems like I’m always addicted to a band or artist or rapper every day. Well, right now– and I’ve had this addiction for a few weeks now– I am addicted to Breaking Benjamin.
There’s only one or two song by these guys that I don’t like. I have their 2006, most recent album, Phobia, and I have 3 songs from Saturate and only one song from We Are Not Alone. I love Ben Burnley, their lead singer, I love their music, they’re a fantastic band. Not really the kind of band Julia would like, but still.
I’ll leave 3 Breaking Benjamin songs you should check out at the bottom.
Onto the matter at hand; ladies and gentlemen, the best 5 starting pitchers based on 2009 statistics. Obviously these numbers will go down and we’ll see things even out as the season advances, I’m just going to show you who’s been the best so far. Let’s be clear on that. This is not the best in the game, this is the best in 2009.
5. Matt Cain (SFG): 9-1, 2.39 ERA, 86.2 INN, 68 SO
Matt Cain has been dominant all year, save for a few rusty outings. He’s put up a 2.39 to go along with his 9-1 record in 86.2 innings. He’s been perhaps the biggest reason that the Giants have been 34-28 this season, as he’s truly been one of the best pitchers in the game this season.
4. Dan Haren (ARZ) 5-4, 2.20 ERA, 94 INN, 90 SO, 13 BB
Daniel John Haren has been known for his strong fastball, his great splitter, and his solid command. This year, although he’s been unable to get solid run support, he has lived up to his great reputation and pitched like an ace, even in the abscence of sinker balling ace Brandon Webb. Haren is really one of the guys you can point to when people want to use record as a highly important stat in comparing players; sometimes your team just can’t back you up.
3. Jered Weaver (LAA) 7-2, 2.08 ERA, 90.2 INN, 74 SO, 1.00 WHIP
Here you have another guy who the baseball world hasn’t really payed attention to, but Jered Weaver of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim has really been sick this season. You can see the numbers up there, and you can check out his other numbers this season. He doesn’t have fantastic stuff, but he locates and he makes his pitches and he’s able to retire hitters without a 100 mph heater or a gigantic breaking ball.
2. Roy Halladay (TOR) 10-1, 2.53 ERA, 103 INN, 88 SO, 12 BB
Do I really have to explain this one?
1. Zack Greinke, 8-2, 1.72 ERA, 94.1 INN, 97 SO, 5 CG, 0.99 WHIP
If you don’t agree that Zack Greinke has clearly been the best pitcher this season, you’re too blinded by the bias that you have for Roy Halladay. I don’t care what his record is– 8-2 is actually really good when you’re not comparing it to other guys– when you look at that ERA and all those other numbers, Greinke is definitely dominating most of his opponents, and he has since the beginning of the year.
Alright, so here are some Breaking Benjamin songs before I go:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XC-jnqGH-sI – Break My Fall
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IvhNqA9BVk – Polyamorous
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKKpd5piitc – Until the End
Listen and enjoy, rock fans…
Stay positive, Yankee fans…
-EJ the Kid From New York
So Angels ace John Lackey is revealed to have a strain and inflammation in his right forearm. According to Lackey, the team told him to “shut it down for a week” to see if his forearm can heal and let him begin throwing again. What does this mean? It means he won’t be able to take the mound on opening day for the LA Angels of Anaheim. And I might be happy.
Now hold on a second, why would I be happy?
Well, mainly because I don’t like John Lackey. I might actually dislike him. I certainly don’t hate him, but he is definitely one of my least favorite players. Why don’t I like him? Well, he pitches for the Angels, who always kill us Yanks and always fall to the Red Sox. He’s quite ugly; ever since I watched his heavy breathing in that 07 Clemens-Lackey showdown, I have never liked seeing him. I’ll make it clear as day: Lackey is hooomely.
But would that justify me being happy about him being injured? No, of course not. I don’t want people to get hurt, That’s just low. However, the truth is, I am just a liiiiittle bit happy. I mean, just a little. I know, I know, I’m the bad guy, as Cenk Uygur would say, I am totally wrong and I denounce and reject myself. But there’s a little part of me inside that’s like, “Oooo, Lackey’s injured, ehhh?” You know what I mean? I am so awful.
The only person who I’ll openly and honestly be pretty joyful if he were injured is Josh Beckett. Speaking of the Red Sox hurler(who is very overrated), he will get the Opening Day start for the Red Sox, which will just make him a little bit more overrated. You know that there are gonna be biased Sox fans out there saying “Well look at that! He’s going to start Opening Day for the Red Sox, and they have Matsuzaka and Lester! Beckett is so awesome, almost as much as Pedroia, who is the best hitter ever and is so awesome and makes me **** in my pants!” etc. etc.
Let’s have a little fun now here and do some comparison.
Lester vs. Beckett
Lester: 144 ERA+, 210 innings, 1.274 WHIP
Beckett: 115 ERA+, 174 innings, 1.187 WHIP
Now I know Beckett was more efficient with the K/BB ratio, but Lester was more effective, period. And I’m aware that it was an injury season for Beckett, but Lester was still and maybe is still the better pitcher.
Matsuzaka was slightly worse than Beckett was last year, actually, even though Dice-K was apparently super effective and came in 4th place for the Cy Young. They’re all very close, though.
And now, let’s have even MORE fun, and compare the Yankees rotation with the Red Sox rotation.
Yankees vs. Red Sox: Who Has The Better Rotation?
Due to popular request, I’m going to compare the New York Yankees’ starting rotation with the one of the Boston Red Sox. Let’s have some fun, I guess.
Sabathia vs. Beckett
I would think this part is blatantly obvious, but let’s compare numbers regardless.
Sabathia – 162
Beckett – 115
Sabathia – 1.115
Beckett – 1.187
Sabathia – 253
Beckett – 174
I mean come on now. It’s not even remotely close, other than the WHIP. Sabathia has been the better pitcher since 06, and it has been by a significant amount. Then you factor in that CC is a lefty and Beckett a right-hander… well, not close. Just not close.
Advantage: CC Sabathia
Wang vs. Lester
This is a very interesting comparison because Wang was the better pitcher every year except 08, and in 08 he was injured and missed the entire 2nd half.
Lester – 144
Wang – 109
Lester – 1.274
Wang – 1.316
Lester – 210
Wang – 95
It may even be more lopsided than Beckett vs. Sabathia. However, since Wang was significantly better in 06 and 07, the first two years of Jon Lester’s career, I think that the outcome iiiis…
Major controversy, no? Give your thoughts on it!
Burnett vs. Matsuzaka
This is another pretty close and tough one.
Ai ai ai…
See, it seems pretty lopsided until you look at the innings pitched. And then, you take into account that Burnett led the league in strikeouts in 2008, and then it’s closer. Matsuzaka still had the advantage in 08, but it’s closer. And then you look at the numbers of the previous year, 07, Dice-K’s first year: Burnett has the slight advantage. However, then there’s the fact that AJ Burnett is a large injury risk. With this in mind, the call for me is:
Especially since Matsuzaka is in his 3rd year in 2009, and this could be big for him. Hey, I might be wrong. I sure hope I am.
Pettitte vs. Wakefield
Another tough, controversial one.
Wakefield – 112
Pettitte – 98
Wakefield – 1.182
Pettitte – 1.412
Pettitte – 204
Wakefield – 181
Wakefield was significantly better, with the most notable statistic being WHIP. Howeeeever, this WAS Pettitte’s worst year, clearly. Since 2008 was the only year in which Wakefield, as a full-time starting pitcher, was more effective than Andy Pettitte…
It’s extremely controversial, I know, but I’d rather have Andy than Tim.
Chamberlain vs. Penny
Now this one isn’t close.
Chamberlain – 171
Penny – 68
Chamberlain – 1.256
Penny – 1.627
Chamberlain – 100
Penny – 94
I mean come on, it’s not even close. Chamberlain >>>> Penny. Even though Penny was an all-star in 2007 and 2006, I really doubt he’s going to go back to that form, especially in the AL East, especially since he’s still struggling with injury a bit.
So in total, the score is 2-1-1 in the Yankees’ favor. There you go, go ahead and debate now if you want.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
-EJ the Kid From New York
It’s been a while since I got back to doing these lists. Anyways, we’ve done infield, outfield, catchers, bench and bullpen, so that only leaves one section left: the starting pitchers.
Before I start, I’d like to announce that the new pictures on the player pages have arrived. Everybody looks fine and dandy in their pictures, it’s very cool, I checked a bunch of them out yet I haven’t seen all of them. This is one of my favorite days of the preseason to be honest, haha. Anyways, to the rotation.
1. CC Sabathia
The Yankees have a real ace for their ace. Sabathia is probably the 3rd best pitcher in the major leagues right now. I mean, come on, let’s get real. 253 innings, 251 strikeouts? 2.70 ERA? This guy is just a fantastic pitcher. A left hander with a mid-90s fastball and a nasty slider… we have a real ace, thank the Lord. No offense to the guy who’s 2nd in the rotation and the former Yankee ace…
2. Chien-Ming Wang
Chien-Ming Wang is who I was referring to. This guy’s season was cut short after a freak accident rounding the bases, but now he’s baaaack… he is known for his hard sinker and a decent slider. The Taiwanese righty should be a perfect fit for the #2 spot, separating the hard throwing, nasty stuff Sabathia and the next pitcher, #3 starter AJ Burnett. I know that the Yankees and all their fans, including me, are looking for him to bounce back and pitch 190-200 innings. This guy is really one of the better pitchers in baseball IMO.
3. AJ Burnett
AJ Burnett has flat out great stuff. A hard fastball and a nasty curveball combination got Burnett 231 strikeouts in 221.1 innings. While he is a high injury risk, his 34 starts(35 games pitched) is pretty encouraging. Can Burnett repeat his 08 campaign with the Yankees in 09? I would honestly be pretty surprised if he did. This guy is a serious health risk. Hopefully he can come back from that, however.
4. Andy Pettitte
Andy is probably in his last year in the majors, I wouldn’t doubt it if he was. He’s had a very good career and is still a capable pitcher. He pitched 204 innings and certainly wasn’t very impressive, putting up a 98 ERA+, but that was the worst season of his career. He’s still a workhorse who can pitch 200 innings and put up at least a league average ERA, while having a low walk rate(2.43 in 2008)… this is an asset to have at the no. 4 spot.
5. Joba Chamberlain
On the subject of Pettitte being an asset at the no. 4 spot, this guy is a dream to have in the 5th spot. Joba friggin’ Chamberlain. A lot of people think Joba should be in the bullpen; he is ridiculously dominant as a setup guy, and could be a great closer. However, it’s more valuable to have this guy, who has great stuff and poise, along with good control, in the starting rotation. Especially since his preference is to be in the rotation, and he’s always been in the rotation. Sometimes I just want to strangle those analysts who constantly argue for him to be in the bullpen and not the rotation, because they just do not get it. Anyways, his season ended in injury, but this guy could break out for real this season. He’s got that potential. He’s 23 years of age, turns 24 in September ’09, and he’s hopefully going to be great in the 5 spot.
Spot Starter: Phil Hughes
Phil Hughes is, in my mind, still the future of the Yankees. His stuff is very good, and he’s got the potential to dominate. He’s not going to be there this year, obviously, since he’s 22 years old, had a horrific injury-filled season last year, and is currently the spot starter/long reliever, but maybe in ’10 or ’11, when he gets a shot at the rotation, then he’ll begin to pitch better and better until he turns into the ace that he’s meant to be.
And that’s it… I give the rotation a ranking of 9 out of 10, thank you for reading, I love y’all, be sure to comment and make suggestions for my next blog… I’m willing to listen to your suggestions.
Stay positive, Yankee fans.
-EJ the Kid From New York
Pettitte in Pinstripes?
You know who this article is about.
It’s everybody’s favorite veteran lefty pitcher, Aaaaandy Pettitte. From what we know, the crafty 36-year-old starter will most likely sign a deal with the Yanks. From Bryan Hoch’s article on MLB.com…
“…industry sources believe that the two sides will eventually settle on a contract to bring Pettitte back for one more year in pinstripes, completing the Yankees’ five-man rotation.”
Wait wait wait hold up.
Completing the Yankees’ five-man rotation?
See this is the problem, the Yankees think they have to go all out They think they have to sign another pitcher, because they have nobody to pitch in the 5 slot. So what happens to Aceves here?
You know, Aceves? Alfredo Aceves? The guy who had a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings last year? Anybody home? What’s going to happen with him? Is he just going to flooooat away until we need him again? Sure, long relief would be a fitting role for him, but we don’t need Pettitte.
What about Phil Hughes? If Pettitte is in the rotation and Aceves is in long relief, what will Hughes do? Go back to the minors? Wasn’t Hughes the future of the Yankees rotation? Well he’s going to be 23 next season. He still has time to get better, but when will come the time when the Yanks decide he’s truly ready?
This is when it all starts to come back now. Knock knock. Who’s there? Dan Giese, remember me? I was really efficient in the rotation and in long relief when you needed me. Remember that? What happens to me now?
What about me, Chase Wright? Sure, I gave up those four consecutive homers but I’m all good now! Yeeeah man. Totally.
What about Ian Kennedy? Yeah he sucks, but he’s still young. It’s too early to just completely give up on him. We all know his problem is his attitude and his immaturity, which usually changes with age. He was still really freaking good in 2007, and to just completely throw him in the toilet would not be that smart. I could understand trading him to a team if you got a good return out of it, and I don’t even want him throwing off a major league mound, but let’s not totally give up on Kennedy. Especially with a cool name like Ian…
Oh and yeah, remember Phil Coke? Haha, yeah. Great numbers. Good lefty reliever. I like his stuff. Yeah, that’s all fine and dandy, except for the fact that he’s a starter. He’s not a reliever. He was a starter in the minors. Is he ever going to show us if he can start or not?
Don’t tell me it’s an incomplete rotation… and don’t tell me we need Pettitte. I’m not saying I would hate this signing, I wouldn’t mind it to be honest. I like Andy. I’m a fairly big fan of his. But that “incomplete rotation” comment just gets me riled up…
Anyways, stay positive Yankee fans!
-EJ the Kid From New York
Atta boy, A-Rod.
It’s been a while since you’ve hit clutch homers, and since that time people have tried to put you down. (1-0 Yankees in the first)
People have tried to call you a headcase. People have tried to put you down, saying you’re not clutch, saying you never come through when you have to. But I knew the true A-Rod. You were going to come through and hit that late-inning, go-ahead homer eventually. It was only a matter of time before you shut ’em up.
Last night’s game was kinda funny. We started off with a comfortable 5-run lead, and then the bullpen blew it to make it six-six. Both bullpens then pitched very (whoah, Betemit’s throw went through the webbing of Giambi’s glove) well late in the game. Veras went 2 shutout innings and got the win. Edwar closed it out after A-Rod hit a solo shot and Nady hit a two-run bomb, and we won, 9-6.
So now it’s time for a segment I haven’t done in a while, Deal Discussion! The non-waiver trading deadline has been done for a while, but the waiver trades have been very common. I’ll analyze the Paul Byrd trade to the Red Sox and discuss some possible trades that the Yankees could make to bolster their team for the playoff run.
First it was Trade Talk, then it was Talkin’ ‘Bout Trades, and now I’m going with Deal Discussion. So let’s start it off with the Paul Byrd trade.
7 – 10
The Red Sox aren’t exactly adding a huge ace with the acquisition of Paul Byrd. However, Byrd is going to add good depth to the Red Sox rotation. He doesn’t have good stuff at all, he gives up plenty of homers, but he does give you decent innings. He’ll give you 6 or 7 innings, 3 runs, 1 walk and 4 strikeouts. He’s got a funky delivery, and when he’s at his best, he’ll give you innings. His last start was a complete game against Toronto. Byrd should benefit from this trade, as the Red Sox offense is much better than the Indians offense. You could say Byrd is a poor man’s Mike Mussina. Byrd has been redhot since the All-Star break, with a sub-1 ERA. The veteran righty could go either way for the Sox, let’s hope he stinks for ’em.
So, what trades could the Yanks make? There were plenty of rumors before; Brian Bannister and Jarrod Washburn were rumored to go to the Yanks. So what are the rumors now? Most of all, what are my opinions of what the Yankees should do?
Well, first of all, I checked a bunch of sites to look for possible Yankee trade rumors, but mlbtraderumors.com, ESPN Insider and Google didn’t have any possible waiver trades surrounding the Yankees. However, I did get some very interesting free agent information that I’ll share with you tomorrow and give my opinions on. So now what do I think the Yankees should do? Should the Yankees make a move? I’ll give you some ideas and some names right now! Just keep reading…
So here we go. First of all, I think that the Yankees should make a move for a middle-tier relief pitcher to add depth. Though I think the Yankees bullpen is strong enough, the ‘pen has struggled of late. I think that the Yankees should get, not a flashy reliever, but a decent one just to supply some depth in case the bullpen’s struggles continue. Here are some interesting names;
A 30-year-old right-hander with decent stuff. Rivera has a 3.51 ERA for the Nationals in 66 innings, so he can eat some innings out of the ‘pen and supply a LaTroy Hawkins like role in mop-up relief.
Cotts can come in and be a very good Loogy type reliever. He’s got pretty good stuff, and he does well against lefties and righties. The 28-year-old has good experience; Cotts was a part of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox, he’s got playoff experience and he could be a good part of the ‘pen.
But that’s not all, the Yankees have to get another starting pitcher. Sidney Ponson is a question and Darrell Rasner rarely has a good start anymore. You’ve got to get somebody who you can rely on, whether it’s inside the organization (check out Who’s Next? on previous posts for those guys) or outside the organization. If the Yanks decide to make an acquisition, here are some guys they can get.
John Lannan has been the Nats’ best starter of this season. The young lefty has a 3.40 ERA on the season and he’s been very good on the road. Though he may not be on the trade market, I feel that this would be a great guy for the Yankees to get because he’s young and he’s been solid already in his short career.
Padilla has been having a good year for the Rangers and is probably their best starter. His ERA is in the upper 4s due to recent struggles. He’s a decent pitcher who’s very inconsistent, but he can give you dominating innings when he’s at his best.
And that’s it for Deal Discussion.
Alright guys, it’s time for the Bold Statement of the Day, everybody’s favorite segment! Here I say something arguable and questionable that can go either way about the New York Yankees. Today’s Bold Statement is!:
The Yankees will go on a hot streak after this series against the Twins, lead by Ivan Rodriguez.
Quite a bold one today, hot streaks are hard to predict and Ivan Rodriguez, the newest acquisition, really hasn’t done much yet in Pinstripes.
So that’s about it for today’s post, the next post will come tomorrow. I’d just like to let you know that I’m doing the in-gamer for Saturday’s ballgame, and I’m starting a new segment! Every post I’m going to have something called Ask EJ, where you can ask questions about generally anything and I’ll give you my thoughts on it. To ask a question, leave a comment below.
Reporting live from Queens, New York…
Stay positive, Yankees fans!
-EJ/Kid From New York