Who is Sergio Mitre?


Sergio MitreWith word of Chien-Ming Wang’s latest setback coming yesterday, it looks like newcomer Sergio Mitre might be sticking around for a while. I figured we might as well take a second to tell you about the guy, since we’re probably going to be seeing quite a bit of him over the next few weeks. Let’s start with a little background info.

Mitre grew up in San Diego and was drafted out of San Diego City College by the Cubs in the 7th round of the 2001 Draft. He was more of a mid-level prospect than a highly touted of stud, yet only Mark Prior reached the big leagues faster out of that draft haul. Mitre made his Major League debut in a spot start in Atlanta in July 2003, getting rocked for eight runs in under four innings. He made the Cubbies’ Opening Day roster in 2004, ironically filling in for the injured Prior. Sent back down once Prior came of fthe disabled list, Mitre did the up-and-down thing again in 2005.

With the Cubs looking to improve their offense and add a leadoff hitter, they packaged Mitre with prospects Renyel Pinto and Ricky Nolasco in December 2005 to acquire Juan Pierre from the Marlins. He started the 2006 season in Joe Girardi‘s Opening Day rotation, but was shut down with shoulder inflammation in mid-May. Mitre came back in August and finished the year pitching effectively out of the bullpen. He started 2007 in the Opening Day rotation, and enjoyed his best stretch of success in the show that year. In his first 17 starts (102 IP) he put up a 2.82 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP while holding opponents to a .665 OPS against.

Unfortunately, Mitre spent three stints on the disabled list that year because of blisters and a hammy issue. He came into camp the next year and faced just three hitters before being shut down with forearm tightness, but it wasn’t until mid-July that he went under the knife and had Tommy John surgery. Mitre didn’t pitch at all in 2008, and was released by the Marlins after the season. The Yankees swooped in and signed him to a split contract worth $1.25M with an option for 2010 in November on Girardi’s recommendation. Two months later he failed a drug test because a trace amount of androstenedione showed up in his system. Mitre took full responsibility and was suspended for 50 games, but was allowed to serve the suspense while rehabbing from TJ.

Mitre’s Yankee career started with him rehabbing from TJ in Extended Spring Training. That was followed by a pit stop with High-A Tampa before a move up to Triple-A Scranton. His last two outings with Scranton have been dynamite (14.2 IP, 11 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 13 K, 25-7 GB/FB combined), but more importantly, he’s stretched out and back to throwing 80-100 pitches per start.

Stuff-wise, Mitre’s primarily a sinker-changeup guy, throwing the former 70.3% of the time and the latter 16.0% of the time in his big league career. He fills in the gaps with a curveball and a slider, though his reliance on the curve has waned over the last few years. Girardi says he remembers Mitre’s sinker being high-80′s/low-90′s, and Chad Jennings says he’s been 90-93 with Triple-A Scranton. He generally gets about six or seven miles an hour of separation with the change. As you can imagine, he’s a groundball guy. posting a 2.53 GB/FB ratio in his big league career. For comparison’s sake, the guy he’s replacing in the rotation has career GB/FB rate of 2.70.

It’s fitting that one groundball guy is replacing the other in the rotation, and considering how terrible Wang has been this year, Mitre doesn’t have to do very much to match his production. SG over at RLYW already looked at the numbers, so I’m going to point you over there rather than doing everything myself. Simply put, if he gives the Yanks five or six innings of three or four run ball every five days, I think they’d take that in a heartbeat. Anything else is a bonus. Mitre doesn’t have to be a rotation savior, he just needs to hold down the fort until the team decides how it’s going to address it’s pitching situation.

Photo Credit: The Times-Tribune

Categories : Pitching


  1. Ivan says:

    I like this quote here if your in favor of Hughes in the rotation.

    Hughes said he is happy in either role. “I just feel that even if I was starting right now I would be pitching well,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where you hit a good groove. Everything’s working. There is good life on my fastball. I’m just on a good roll right now.”

    • pat says:

      It’s all about the confidence baby. He’s not afraid to challenge hitters anymore. He’s not nibbling and trying to make perfect pitches and getting himself into hitters counts where he has to throw a strike. Pretty amazing to see him get so badass in front of our eyes.

      • It’s all about the confidence baby.

        (Safe for work… but possibly not safe for life)

        • pat says:

          Hahaha. Random sidenote I’ve been contemplating- There’s no freaking way that wasn’t directed by Lonely Island. It’s shot he same exact way, has the same exact lyrical structure. It’s basically I’m on a Boat except with a Taco Bell theme. I can understand why samberg and co. wouldn’t want to be in the video but I’d have a heck of a hard time believing they didn’t have any creative input.

          • Well, they did give us this lyrical gem:

            Reached in my pocket, pull out some dough/
            Girl actin like she never seen a 10 befo’/
            It’s all about the Hamiltons, baby/
            Throw the snacks in the bag and I’m ghost like Swayze/
            Roll up to the theater; ticket buyin’s what we’re handlin’/
            You could call us Aaron Burr by the way we’re droppin’ Hamiltons/

            -Lazy Sunday

  2. Drew says:

    I watched him pitch a few times down in Miami. I think that if he’s recovered from surgery well he can be an asset to this team.
    Great pick up for Cashmoney.

  3. pat says:

    I can see him having two or three solid starts, a la Jeff Karstens, before the league catches up with him.

  4. Mike HC says:

    I predict bad things here. As most people agree with me here, Hughes is the answer. I hope I am wrong, but I don’t get a good feeling here. The guy has not pitched in years. It goes to reason that he will struggle early, while improving overtime. But I highly doubt the Yanks will give him much time. I don’t get what the Yanks are waiting for with Hughes. If Mitre gets the opportunity before him, when will it ever happen?

    • Drew says:

      Take Philly out of the pen today and our bullpen will not look so good.

      • Bo says:

        It would be great trading the best set up man going riight now for Bruney or Melancon or Tomko. The team would revolt if they moved him right now. You think they give a crap about his future as a starter or hitting innings limits?

        • Jamal G. says:

          You think the Front Office personnel of any professional sports organization cares about what the players of their respective organizations think about personnel decisions that projects to improve the team?

        • It would be great trading the best set up man going riight now for Bruney or Melancon or Tomko.

          Imagine Phil Hughes was an elite reliever and nothing more, he only had 2 pitches and no stamina, but he was filthy. Say, Joakim Soria.

          If we had Joakim Soria and Mariano Rivera, and you could trade Joakim Soria for, say, Rick Porcello or Ricky Romero, would you? I would. Remember, we have TWO closers in this case, and the back end of our rotation is Joba, Andy, and Sergio Mitre.

          I’ll take my chances weakening the bullpen in order to strengthen that rotation.

          • Chris says:

            For 2009:
            Soria WAR: 1.0
            Porcello WAR: 0.7

            If you’re only talking 2009, then Soria is more valuable than Porcello. If you’re talking long term, then of course you trade the reliever for a young stud starter.

            • And Ricky Romero is 1.5 WAR.

              Which is why I included both ends of the spectrum. Romero has been consistently good. Porcello has been occasionally good and frequently pedestrian.

              Meaning the best of the best closers are equivalent to decent to slightly above average fringy 4th and 5th starters. And that good, 3rd starters are way more valuable than super-elite closers.

              The low end of the range of what Phil Hughes the starter is going to be is probably the absolute ceiling of what Phil Hughes the reliever is going to be. The odds are in our favor that Hughes pitches more like Romero than Porcello, and in doing so, he’s helping us win way more than Hughes the reliever.

              • Moshe Mandel says:

                Really? The odds are in our favor that he pitches better than Porcello? How so?

                • Because he’s currently pitching better than Porcello.

                • Moshe Mandel says:

                  In the bullpen. Your assumption that he will pitch this way, or even close to it, in the rotation is strange. To be honest TSJC, I think that you have come out very strongly on one side of this issue and it is clouding some of the reasonable arguments on the other side. If he were to pitch like Porcello as a starter from here on out, he would be worth .7 WAR. As a reliever thus far, he has been worth .74 WAR. Extrapolated over another 30-35 innings, that could be something like an additional 1.3 WAR, compared to the .7 of Porcello or 1.5 of Romero as a starter. This is not a slam dunk. It is just not.

                • This is not a slam dunk. It is just not.

                  That part of it may not be a slam dunk.

                  The opportunity cost of having inferior pitcher X in the rotation (because Sergio Mitre figures to be an inferior pitcher) or the opportunity cost in prospects of trading for another 5th starter tips it more in my favor, though.

                • Moshe Mandel says:

                  In Mitre’s last full season he was worth 2.4 WAR over 150 IP. Even if he does not give them 1.2 WAR over 80 IP, and gives them, say, .5 WAR, and Hughes would pitch somewhere between Romero and Porcello, say 1.2 WAR, that is a .7 WAR difference. If Hughes gave them only 1 WAR and Hughes’ replacement gave them something like Robertson gave last season (.34), that is about a .7 difference as well. Again, not so simple.

              • Chris says:

                The low end of the range of what Phil Hughes the starter is going to be is probably the absolute ceiling of what Phil Hughes the reliever is going to be.

                I guess this is where we differ. I don’t think there’s evidence that Hughes will miraculously become a solid #3 pitcher for the rest of this season.

                Romero is currently 7th in the AL in ERA among pitchers with at least 80IP. If that’s how Hughes (or any reliever) would perform in the rotation, then of course they should be there. I don’t think there’s any evidence that Hughes could perform at that level this year.

          • Sweet Dick Willie says:

            I’ll take my chances weakening the bullpen in order to strengthen that rotation.

            Strengthening the rotation automatically strengthens the bullpen, because a stronger rotation requires fewer innings from the bullpen.

            • RAB poster says:

              Not necessarily. Whether you think Joba should start or not (I do) you can’t deny that the bullpen was weaker because of it until they added Phil Hughes.

              • Sweet Dick Willie says:

                Yes necessarily.

                Look at it this way. Suppose the rotation averages 6 innings/start. You would need at least 4 and probably 5 quality relievers to cover the last 3 innings.

                Now, if the rotation averages 7 innings/start, you would now only need 3 (possibly 4) quality relievers.

                Since by definition the lowest guy on the depth chart is the weakest, the stronger rotation has indeed strengthened the bullpen.

              • TheLastClown says:

                Only because Joba wasn’t consistently providing “quality starts.” That is, he wasn’t strong in the rotation, so he hurt the bullpen, which had to be taxed to compensate for his shortcomings.

                Joba-the-long-term-starter, as we saw in his past start, will ultimately provide length & save/strengthen the pen.

        • jsbrendog says:

          yes bo, the team would revolt. what happened, you were doing so well…now, typical old bo.

    • Jamal G. says:

      The guy has not pitched in years.

      He pitched in 2008.

  5. Nady Nation says:

    Is there any way we can sign up right now for those 17 starts from ’07? How about IPK/Melky in exchange for those guaranteed numbers?

  6. Bo says:

    How hard is it to pick up a back end starter? If thats the worst problem we have going forward be thankful.

    Why in the world would they mess with a great strength (the pen) to help the back end of the rotation when they can go out and get someone for cheap?

    • AndrewYF says:

      Thing is, the Yankees haven’t been looking to replace a 5th starter. Wang was their number 2 guy going into the season. Okay, AJ has filled that role admirably, but then they have a hole in the 3 slot of their rotation. Pettitte and Joba have pitched more like number 4s this season.

      So the Yankees don’t need a number 5, they need a mid-rotation workhorse.

      Then again, it’s not a terrible scenario for the Yankees. If Mitre is awful, they’re back where they started, which isn’t a terrible place. But if he’s even remotely successful, they’ll have filled their biggest hole.

    • Tampa Yankee says:

      “…when they can go out and get someone for cheap?”

      Ok, who then?

  7. JohnC says:

    Someone in here mention Mark Mulder yesterday?

  8. LiveFromNewYork says:

    I’m a big Phil Hughes fan and want to see him in the rotation but I think he needs to stay where he is this year. Let him replace Andy next year (or fill in the open spot). We KNOW he’s destined for the rotation.

    I like his attitude that he’s just happy pitching and being with the big club. I see great things for this kid. We always have but he’s had a few hiccups. I think we’ll see the greatness we’ve always known was there.

    • LiveFromNewYork says:

      I meant to say that is why Mitre in the rotation and not Hughes makes sense to me. I didn’t mean to be completely off topic.

  9. UWS says:

    If the game happens (big IF), I shall be there in person and will be happy to relay my impressions, as seen from Section 409.

    • Sam says:

      Is there any chance they get this game in today? What’s the weather forecast looking like in the Big Apple?

  10. Chris says:

    So Mitre came back from TJ surgery in less than a year. During that time he tested positive for steroids. Coincidence?

    • He’s used an OTC supplement that contained Andro. He didn’t read the label and got caught. It’s hardly equivalent to Manny failing a test due to an off-cycle use of hormone replacement therapy drugs.

      So yeah, I’d say coincidence.

      • Tom Zig says:

        I remember reading an article saying that the label didn’t even say it had Andro in it.

        • Drew says:

          Most of the labels on strong weight lifting supps say “*This may trigger a positive drug test.” Or something along those lines.

          • Zach says:

            And certain Vitamin Water flavors were triggering positive drug tests for NCAA. But that wasnt the case, the suppliment had stuff in it that’s not legal to sell and they didnt put it on the label

            • Drew says:

              True but I’m just saying, all of the supps that I take aim at raising test, most of them say, “*This may trigger..” If he took 6-oxo like JC Romero did, it doesn’t say this. I’m just pointing out that most of the supps come with certain warnings.

        • Zach says:

          “As confirmed through the drug testing and grievance processes, it contained a ‘contaminant’ amount of an illegal, performance-enhancing drug. This was not listed as an ingredient on the packaging, should not have been in the supplement and certainly should not have been available for legal purchase at a store.”


    • pat says:

      Gotta do what you gotta do. Looks like it worked out for him, as he served his suspension while rehabbing. Despite the knock on his credibility it’s a win win.

      • pat says:

        Or it was an accident. Good job.

      • jsbrendog says:

        but isnt credibility basically whether people believe you or not when you talk and pertaining to what you say?

        not making any judgements here but if he did it, got caught, and was like, crap. yup, I did that. suspend me, which is what I believe he did, then doesn’t that in a weird way increase his credibility that he isn’t like manny and all, i had a ocndition, it was prescribed, etc etc?

        • pat says:

          Actually yes, that’s very true. I guess I meant to say his reputation would take a hit. He would be considered a “juicer”.

    • Zach says:

      Hmm sounds like ANDY PETTITTE

  11. jsbrendog says:

    run run run all you do is effin run but you never run away from yourself

    hey, sergio, let’s get the hell out of here.

  12. Tank Foster says:

    Well, he had a pretty successful stretch for the Marlins that year, so who knows? I know that many of you guys know alot about how players are “projected” to do, but every once in a while you do find a player who for whatever reason is stuck in the minors but is capable of pitching well in the majors. I’d rather hope for that, rather than just conclude he has one or two decent games and then gets shelled.

  13. Salty Buggah says:

    For some odd reason, I’m having crazy expectations from Sergio, like a 2007 Wang part 2.

    It’s probably not going to happen but I have hope he can duplicate those good 17 starts from before.

    Probably stupid to hope that but oh well.

    • Drew says:

      If you check his game log. He hit some kind of bump on July 24th and was never the same. Maybe he was hiding an injury that eventually led to the TJ surgery.

      Up until the 24th he had been pitching great.

    • Jersey says:

      I think Wang 2007 is way too high for this guy, but I’ve got a good feeling that he can approach Wang 2005 for a string of starts, which would be totally acceptable given the circumstance. Gotta have faith.

  14. Jake H says:

    Hopefully he gives us a few good starts. That’s all I want.

  15. jjyank says:

    I’m really okay with this plan of action. I think Mitre is capable of giving us a few acceptable starts.

    When Wang first went down, I was in support of leaving Hughes in the pen. I don’t like the idea of jerking him around throughout the year. However, with Wang’s recent setback, I’m starting to believe it might be better to stretch Hughes out, on the condition that he does not get subsequently placed back into the bullpen later this season.

    The reason Hughes remains in the pen is most likely because the Yankees don’t know exactly what Wang’s problem is and are reluctant to move Hughes into the rotation just to move him back out.

    Anyway, don’t want to get too off topic here, this is about our boy Mitre. It seems like he’s had some success in the pen in the past, so it would seem to me that Mitre (assuming he pitches well enough) can fill in for Wang for the time being. If Wang returns (again, and if he pitches well enough)Mitre could be moved to the bullpen, giving us a long man to both spell Tomko from the roster and have someone capable to provide innings if Aceves is being used more towards the back-end of the pen.

    If Wang experiences another setback, it could likely end his season, as he is on pace to MAYBE return around mid-late August. Another setback means he could be coming back in early to mid-September at the earliest. I don’t know if the final two week stretch in a tight pennant race is a good spot to throw Wang into and hope he’s back in his old form. What I’m trying to say is that if Wang experiences another setback, we have to start stretching Hughes out. I think the Yanks are trying to get all the facts before making a decision.

    Hey, at least Mitre will probably be better then Ponson, right? Well, I hope so anyway.

  16. Salty Buggah says:

    If only we had enviable rotation depth…

    Damn you Cashman! We could have Smoltz waiting in the wings…

  17. A.D. says:

    Guy has been pitching well, and had stretched of success in the past, he should be just fine as a 4/5 starter, especially if the offense if going.

    If they’re rained out tonight does Mitre get skipped, or start tomorrow?

  18. DSFC says:

    I can’t see him lasting more than three starts. Dude just isn’t very good.

  19. Mike HC says:

    The only thing that I think is positive is that he was suspended for 50 games for andro. At least we know the guy is trying and will be on top of his game. Ha.

    Even with PED’s, I think the chances of him struggling mightily in his couple of starts back is far greater than him going on a three game tear. The expectations should be extremely low here.

  20. [...] Pitching patterns Knowing Mitre July 21, 2009, 3:07 pm Mike over at RAB has a nice read out on Sergio Mitre. Be sure to check it [...]

  21. A.D. says:

    If Mitre can come up and pitch league avg and eat inning, I’ll be just fine with that.

  22. pat says:

    Come on guys, you can’t just import new arms.

    You can’t just wave a magic wand and three new guys show up.

  23. jjyank says:

    The glamorous life of unpaid internships will prevent me from seeing most of Mitre’s start. Wonder if thats a good thing or a bad thing.

  24. [...] standpoint is Sergio Mitre. Normally I’d do a run-through of his career to this point, but Mike took care of that. We’ll just have to sit back and see what he can do against the Orioles offense, which ranks [...]

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