Kyle Farnsworth may actually help the YankeesBy
It seems that Krazy Kyle isn’t so enthused about the Yankee fans these days. Via David Waldstein at The Star Ledger:
The Yankees reliever was forced out of the game after reaching out for a batted ball and needed three stitches, but not before giving up home run No. 601 to Griffey.
The fans cheered Griffey’s overall accomplishment as he rounded the bases, and Farnsworth couldn’t hide his disappointment in the gesture — especially because some fans had the gall to cheer as Farnsworth was later escorted off the mound by trainer Gene Monahan.
“I have no comment about that,” he said tersely.
When Farnsworth left the game yesterday afternoon, the comments in the game thread here on RAB expressed similar sentiments. A few people wished injury about Farnsworth and hoped he would be out longer than the few days Yankee manager Joe Girardi suggested.
But a few other fans offered up different takes. As Old Ranger wrote:
Real Yankee fans don’t want to see Fansy out. Only those that don’t see how much he is helping the team. Not everyone can be MO, Farnsy is OK, not great but OK.
And therein lies the rub. Is Kyle Farnsworth helping the team? On the season, his numbers are decidedly average. His ERA — a poor indication of a reliever’s success — is 4.05, a shade under the league average of 4.09. He’s thrown 33 innings and with 30 strike outs and 12 walks, much better numbers than his 2007 effort (27 BB, 48 K, 60 IP). But he’s also given up nine home runs already this year, and his WHIP stands at 1.47, a higher mark than his 2007 number (1.45). He’s given up runs in 11 of his 32 appearances this year.
From a more sabermetric perspective, Kyle has a 4.7 VORP, making Kyle as a reliever a bit better than league average. Baseball Prospecuts figures he’s added about 1.25 wins over replacement level, with replacement level being defined as whatever is available. For better or worse, 76 games into the Yankees 2008 season, that number puts him second in the bullpen behind only Mariano Rivera.
Now when the time comes, the Yankees may have better internal options. Of J.B. Cox, David Robertson and Mark Melancon, the odds are good that at least one of them turns out better than replacement level. My money’s on Melancon, but perhaps, we’ll be surprised by two or three of them. The question these pitchers may soon force is this: Are they better than Kyle Farnsworth? Right now, no one knows.
We may hate Farnsworth for the heart attacks he gives us; we may hate him because he hates us. But he’s not totally useless. Yet.