Update on Chien-Ming Wang

A Pitch f/x look at Bugs Bunny
The RAB Radio Show - April 23, 2009 - Episode 23

PeteAbe has an update on Chien-Ming Wang‘s day down in Extended Spring Training. He threw 91 pitches (scheduled for 100), 70 for strikes (76.9%), striking out eleven and walking just one. Apparently he was sitting around 91 with his sinker. The numbers are nice, but we have no idea how his stuff actually looked. Updates to come as they roll in.

A Pitch f/x look at Bugs Bunny
The RAB Radio Show - April 23, 2009 - Episode 23
  • J.R.

    It looks like Hughes will get his first start Tuesday.

  • A.D.

    Per Pete:

    UPDATE, 3:41 p.m.: Nardi Contreras just told reporters in Tampa that Wang needs more arm strength and that is sinker is not consistent enough.

    It would be interesting the # of hits given up & number of batters faced.

  • GG

    striking out 11…reallllly

    • AndrewYF

      He was facing extended spring training hitters. Imagine Cody Ransom. Now, imagine a hitter WORSE than Cody Ransom. That’s who he was facing.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Imagine Cody Ransom. Now, imagine a hitter WORSE than Cody Ransom.

        This is like trying to conceptualize infinity.

        • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I just barfed in my mouth a little.

          • jsbrendog

            i like this one

      • http://statspeak.net dan

        Actually it’s even worse than that. Cody Ransom would obliterate the EXT Spring competition.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Ransom might be OPS+ing 300 in EXST right now.

      • Eric S

        I don’t have that kind of imagination.

  • Rob in CT

    11ks. I assume the opposition was a bunch of little leaguers? I kid, but only a little.

    From that Nardi Contreras update, I imagine we’re going to get a Hughes start or 2.

  • Tony

    Hughesus can fill in temporarily, but Wang’s ability to eat innings is invaluable. Hope he gets back.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      While “Wang’s ability to eat innings is invaluable. Hope he gets back” is true, the contradictory “but” in the middle of your sentence implies that Hughes can’t also show ability to eat innings invaluably.

      I take issue with that. Hughes is a great pitcher and may well prove to be better than Wang.

      • steve (different one)

        right now HOWARD Hughes is a better pitcher than Wang.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Well, I was talking long term, but yes, you’re right.

          Right now both of the guys from Wang Chung are better pitchers than Wang.

      • Sweet Dick Willie

        Hughes is a great pitcher

        He has the POTENTIAL to be a great pitcher, but to date, he is not YET a great MLB pitcher.

        and may well prove to be better than Wang.

        Let’s hope so. Let’s hope so.

      • Tony

        Wang’s efficiency and endurance when he’s right is elite. Very few in the league can do that, let alone 23 year old Hughesus of Scranton. I love Hughes, but that’s not realistic right now.

  • John in Houston

    1. Aceves may be more ready than Hughes.
    2. Tompko may be more ready than Hughes.
    3. Let me know when Wang is throwing 94-95. That’s all I need to know about Wang. When he’s throwing 94-95 he’s good; when he’s throwing 89-91 he’s not good.

    • Slightly Cordial Axl

      Tomko, I thought, was the closer down in Triple-A?? How would he be more ready than Hughes who has been regularly starting?

    • Yankee1010

      Neither Aceves nor Tomko is a better option than Hughes. And not by a long shot.

      • tim randle

        he didnt say better, he said more ready…

    • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

      Well, ummmm. If he’s throwing 94-95 with no control, that’s not good.

      • Slightly Cordial Axl

        Who is throwing 94-95 WITH control on the Yankees so far anyway? He’ll fit right in…

        • http://cache.daylife.com/imageserve/00mwbIM15ofMv/340x.jpg Mike Pop

          A.J.

          • Slightly Cordial Axl

            True. But with 5 starters total and after nearly 300 million dollars spend on starting pitching…you would think/hope you’d have more than just one guy…

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              It’s still April, and you’re still not cordial enough.

        • Infamous

          Bruney

          • tim randle

            Mo

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

      1. Aceves has given up more runs than he has innings pitched this year.
      2. Brett Tomko is closing in Scranton, not starting.
      3. His throwing that hard is a bonus. It’s nice that he can do it, but it’s not necessary if his sinker is falling off the table.

      • MattG

        If he isn’t throwing 95, he’s not throwing the same. Maybe that’ll be OK, but I’d rather he just do it exactly the same.

      • http://mantisfists.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/julius-carry-aka-shonuff.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        “His throwing that hard is a bonus. It’s nice that he can do it, but it’s not necessary if his sinker is falling off the table.”

        I’m cringing as I write this… But we don’t know that that’s true, at all. It’s not like we have seen CMW pitch well at 89-91. I’m loathe to join the velocity-goblins around here, it’s not like I think a pitcher can’t be successful if he’s not throwing in the mid 90s, but I think CMW sitting around 90 MPH is reasonable cause for concern with him. We don’t know that CMW’s velocity wasn’t an essential part of his success in MLB.

        (Flinching, awaiting the inevitable attacks.)

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          No, that’s a fair enough point and the result remains to be seen.

        • A.D.

          Its true we don’t, but so far the obvious issue has been Wang throwing up meatballs, if they at least had sinking action at any reasonable speed that would be a massive improvement, and the Yankees probably would be sending him out to pitch this weekend.

    • A.D.

      When he’s throwing 94-95 he’s good; when he’s throwing 89-91 he’s not good.

      Actually its when he’s throwing fastballs with good sinking action hes good; when he’s throwing meatballs in the middle of the plate hes not good.

      The velocity isn’t the issue, its the movement.

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        I agree with you, but to play Devil’s Advocate, couldn’t the argument be made that the additional velocity made the movement look that much better?

        • A.D.

          Well yes Wang with correct movement at 95 >>> Wang with correct movement at 91.

          But Wang with correct movement at 91 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2009 Wang.

          • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

            Word.

          • A.D.

            And even then Fangraphs has Wang’s avg FB at ~93 in the 19 win years, 90.5 so far this year.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Well yes Wang with correct movement at 95 >>> Wang with correct movement at 91.
            But Wang with correct movement at 91 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> 2009 Wang.

            Correct. Wang doesn’t need to throw 95 to be effective and serviceable, 91 will do. But he does need to throw 95 to be dominant again, since he relies on pounding the zone with heavy sinkers impossible to lift.

            You can be a dominant pitcher at 91mph if you command the edges of the zone and fool hitters. That’s not CMW’s game. He’d have to reinvent himself to pitch like an ACE at 91, which is what he was before at 95.

            An ace.

  • Slightly Cordial Axl

    Wang looked absolutely miserable out there in 3 starts so far. I’m going to need a little more than one extended Spring Training game to give me any sort of confidence what-so-ever. He literally broke a bunch of records for worse starts ever in the history of baseball…AND HE WON 19 GAMES BACK TO BACK JUST BEFORE LAST YEAR!!! AHHHH!!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I’m going to need a little more than one extended Spring Training game to give me any sort of confidence what-so-ever.

      Sorry, Axl, but based on your track record, you’re going to need some Xanax and a lobotomy ti give you any sort of confidence what-so-ever.

      You make Chicken Little look like a cockeyed optimist.

  • http://www.freewebs.com/ps3tf2/ Double-J

    Hasn’t he had two bullpen sessions already where he looked good and then had two starts that were just the absolute drizzling shit?

  • JeffG

    “I don’t know what injury they’ll claim he has, but every indication is that Wang will be on the DL sometime soon.” – Pete Abe

    My guess: Daisuke Disease.

    What did he go down with “arm fatigue?” That seems like an easy enough diagnosis to option your pitchers down for a spell.

    • Slightly Cordial Axl

      Andrew Dice K even said he felt absolutely fine too. Which is funny…although Wang said the same thing…which is not so funny… : /

      • tim randle

        bad translation…

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Maybe they’ll send him down with an acute case of being East Asian.

      • JeffG

        Perhaps for being a Chinpokomon?

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Am I the only one that thinks it’s a foot thing and not an arm thing?

    • Rob in CT

      My best guess was that he was subconciously favoring the foot, leading to altered mechanics, leading to reduced velocity & the wrong sort of movement (or none at all).

      But what the hell do I know? It could be that his mechanics are ok, but that all the time off lead to a loss of arm strength. But if that was so, why would Girardi (I think it was Joe) mention they saw something wrong on film (though Wanger says nothing looked wrong to him)?

      • MattG

        This is the obvious answer, which leads to the obvious questions–why was this allowed to continue, and why is it so hard to fix?

        Unless the answer is, “Because the foot hurts when he throws it the way he used to.” That’s what he needs to be afraid of.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Patient: Doctor, every time I do this, my arm hurts.
          Doctor: Stop doing that.

    • radnom

      Any evidence for this, besides the fact that he injured his foot last year? I don’t remember seeing, or hearing anyone else seeing, that he was having trouble landing on that foot (it wasn’t the foot he pushes off with).

      I think ultimately the lack or arm strength or problems with his mechanics are obviously due to the fact that he couldn’t pitch for a long time because of the foot – but there is not indication that the foot is still an issue, unless i’ve missed something.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        It’s his push off foot, not his landing foot. MLB Network had a great segment on how his entire delivery’s altered because he’s not putting the same weight on his knee and his foot.

        • radnom

          Ah, youre right, my bad.

          I’m still not buying it though. If this were true you would have to bet the Yankees would spot it if MLB Network had spotted it.

    • Infamous

      I think he is compensating for his foot, not that its hurt but he’s still hesitant to trust it. Also, It definately has something to do with his arm strength as Nardi said

    • Slightly Cordial Axl

      That’s usually the cause with a lot of injuries. I’m almost positive that played a huge role when Hughes first strained or pulled his hamstring in 07…only to twist or break his ankle during rehab?? That was clearly because he was favoring his other leg…

      It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand common sense…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      It’s either a leg thing! Or an arm thing! Or a psychological thing!

      Or a heart attack!

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Anxiety disorder.

        /Dontrelle’d

      • Dave M

        I heard Billy Conners on XM175 today. He says Wang’s legs aren’t where they need to be because, he wasn’t able run in ST. He is able to run now, so his legs should be better soon.

    • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

      The thing that bothers me about Wang: He had reasonably well spring training stats. A 4.15 ERA in ST is nothing special, of course, but if he was favoring one foot, why wouldn’t have his problems been ovious in ST. I Know, small sample size, different hitters etc., but why should he be favoring his foot now but get along in ST?

      I don’t have a explanation for this, but he seems to have lost “it” from one moment to another.

      • steve (different one)

        those ST numbers are masking an outing he had against Boston that was similar to his first 3 starts.

        except someone made an error in the middle of his shellacking, so like 6 of the runs he gave up were unearned…

        • ClayBuchholzLovesLaptops

          Yeah, remember that. But he pitched 21 innings, so he was able to get outs, which he is not really able to do right now. My point is: If his physical and mental condition is the same as it was in ST, why was he having a solid ST?

  • AJ

    For all those wondering about Phil Hughes, Chad Jennings has game notes from last night’s AAA game. Hughes pitched, and he’s been on fire early. He also had his breaking ball working last night, and his changeup is coming along nicely. I saw him pitch last Friday, and he’s looking pretty good out there. I think he deserves an early season call-up.

    • AJ

      The notes are on Chad Jennings blog, which can be found under the Beat Writers Blogs: SW-B Yankees Blog.

    • Slightly Cordial Axl

      They all look good in Triple-A. Kei Igawa and Ian Kennedy have lifetime ERA’s of under 2.00 down there. Then what happens when they come up? KABOOM!

      I’ll believe it when I see it…

      • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

        Like when Hughes pitched 72 innings of league average ball as a 21 year old in 2007?

        • Slightly Cordial Axl

          Precisely!

      • Stuckey

        They all look good in Triple-A. Kei Igawa and Ian Kennedy have lifetime ERA’s of under 2.00 down there.

        That’s pretty good point, even though it’s not even close to being remotely true.

        • Yankee1010

          Don’t try to confuse Axl with facts. He abhors them.

      • http://statspeak.net dan

        I love the “minor leaguers never pan out” line. It’s as if nobody in the majors today played in AAA.

        • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt

          Nope. They all pulled a Winfield. Never a day in the minors.

  • Stryker

    this whole thing has been pretty weird to me. there’s OBVIOUSLY something wrong with wang. what we’re seeing here:

    http://riveraveblues.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/wangreleasepoint.gif

    is that his release point is all over the damn place. i dont know if thats an effect of 1)subconsciously worrying about his foot, 2)losing arm strength and consistency from being out for an extended amount of time or 3)both. what’s more concerning is that he can’t tell something is wrong.

    part of me thinks it’s going to take a while before we get CMW back to form.

    • Stryker

      it’s also kind of strange that what that release point graph is showing is that his release point has gotten progressively higher as time has passed.

  • Drew

    If the guru, Contreras, says Wang needs more leg strength, which uhh, makes sense considering he was off his leg for a very long time, then I see this little Tampa trip as a positive. It would’ve been scary if Nardi couldn’t find anything wrong.

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  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    He’ll land on the 15-Day DL with Joe Morgan Syndrome — Inconsistency.

  • MattG

    I am waiting for the, “He’s tipping his pitches” line to be trotted out. As soon as they think he is close to being successful, they’ll say he was tipping his pitches, and that will explain everything.

    • A.D.

      It would be great if someone did, given that he throws the sinker 75%+

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Wang needs to stop throwing the Masturbator and start throwing the Eliminator and the Terminator again.

        • steve (different one)

          guys, he’s tipping his pitches. whenever he raises his arm to pitch, it’s means he’s throwing a sinker.

        • MattG

          Can we get Mike to graph the arm angle and release point of the “masturbator?”

          • steve (different one)

            i don’t think they had pitch/fx back when Cone pitched for the Mets…