Thursday, November 1, 2018

Do The Yankees Need To Add Two Elite Starters?

Pitching wins. Just ask an Astros fan.

You've heard the phrase "pitching wins championships" used in multiple sports, many times. Which has led to a plethora of Yankees fans to beg Brian Cashman to somehow acquire a top starter or two every season since... well... the beginning of the franchise? I don't know for sure, but it seems like as long as I've conversed with other Yankees fans I've heard the words "they need pitching" said quite a bit.

Well, how about we take a look at the fWAR (Fangraphs' version of WAR is better for pitching) of a couple of team's pitching staffs from 2018...

Team A 
Starters - 16.9
Releivers - 9.7
Total - 26.6

Team B
Starters - 15.8
Relievers - 4.9
Total - 20.6

Before I go on how about we add offense to the mix? I wouldn't want you thinking that one of those teams above is far and away better at scoring runs, and thus the question was pointless. So here is the bWAR for each team (Baseball Reference's version of WAR is better for batting)...

Team A - 29.5
Team B - 27.3

Looking at thoses numbers you'd probably say that Team A is clearly better. Well, based on which team hoisted the Commissioner's Trophy the other night, you'd be wrong. Because Team B is the Boston Red Sox. And wouldn't you know it? Team A is the New York Yankees.

It's true that championships are not won on paper. On paper, Brian Cashman could construct the greatest team of all time, but they can still fall short when it comes to actually playing the game. And that's what happened last season.

So while it's true that the Yankees don't need Bryce Harper's or Manny Machado's offensive output for 2019, there will come a time when they are happy to have it. Besides, when a talent like Harper and Machado, who are still in their mid-20s, becomes available for nothing more than money, then you go for it. Especially when you're the Yankees and you have plenty of money to spend.

Another reality is that the Yankees don't need to add two elite pitchers to the rotation. Adding Patrick Corbin, and one of CC Sabathia or J.A. Happ, makes it possible for the Yankees to take a chance on a young starter from another team via trade (like Nick Pivetta), or even from their own stock of prospects (Justus Sheffield, Chance Adams, etc.).

If you want numbers to back that up, here you go...

2018 fWAR
Luis Severino - 5.7
Patrick Corbin - 6.3
Masahiro Tanaka - 2.7
CC Sabathia - 2.5
Total - 17.2

As long as the fifth starter doesn't produce a negative fWAR for the Yankees in 2019 they don't need to make a huge trade for somebody like Jameson Taillon, Madison Bumgarner, or Zack Greinke.

Which is why trading Miguel Andujar is unnecessary. Miggy would either be used to get a top starter, who is not needed, or for Paul Goldschmidt, which would be a waste since Goldy is only signed through the next season.

There is one area that the Yankees truly need to improve upon, but I'll save that discussion for another time.

A Fans Questions 

I live in PA, but a big Yankee fan! How do they improve their situational hitting for 2019? 

Average batting averages, leaving runners in scoring position and strikeouts. Read where the Yankees had more strikeouts than hits and had 135 less hits than the Red Sox for the season. Hit a lot of home runs, but leave more than their share of RISP. Is it the hitting coaches? Keep up the good work! 

Well John, 

Thank You for the Email. Some of this is just bad luck. How many times did Greg Bird, and Gary Sanchez hit the ball right at someone? Next year some of those balls will drop in for hits. That is Just a product of luck. Another way to do it is to stay healthy I’m sure if Torres doesn’t get hurt he doesn’t drop off as much as he did when he returned. Also If Judge doesn’t get hurt these numbers are a bit better as well. Yes judge strikes out to but he would have plated some of those runners. Yes they had 135 less hits then the Red Sox but let’s take also take the time to remember when Judge was out the Yanks used Shane Robinson for a good amount of time. So again if Judge doesn’t miss a month plus, and the Yanks use someone other then Robinson that number is closer to 95 rather then 135. If Torres is not hurt for the period of time he is add a few more hits for the time off, plus the fact he most likely doesn’t come back cold and that number is down to 70? Add in the above mentioned Sanchez and Bird the number is most likely down around 45? Now some may say Bird is what he was this year, so then I’d say as Voit or any other 1st baseman and that number is now down to about 10-15 ? I mean the Yankees got nothing out of 1st baseman almost all year until Voit got there. So maybe the answer is just as simple as a productive 1st baseman, and if that’s the case plus everything I mentioned above maybe it’s the Yankees with 135 more hits then the Sox.  Also keep in mind this man lost some time due to injury this year as well......Sir Didi not getting hurt also helps that cause. Anyways we won 100 games wouldn’t worry the Red Sox had 135 hits more then we did. Plus if they add Manny or Bryce if not both that gap is definitely smaller. Also adding one or both of the above what is the HR total then? The Yankees hit more hits then any other team in the history of the game, That number will grow no matter what as long as Judge stays healthy. That being said I don’t think it’s the Hitting coaches as it was just more bad luck. Maybe a contact hitter to add to the lineup rather then another power only hitter? But Bryce and or Manny will also help there. I wouldn’t worry to much again 100 wins and the most home runs ever as a team these young guys are just going to get better with time. Upgrade the pitching and most of the above doesn’t matter anyway. Give up less runs and we would be have won 10-15 more games and people might be asking Boston who? 

Reach me at JamesCPalma@Yahoo.Com and you too may find your Email live here at The Greedy Pinstripes. 

Remember Let’s G⚾️ Yankees!