CHoP and the 2nd Inning

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Photo credit: Charles Krupa/ AP

A lot of folks have pondered Girardi’s decision to continue to use Chan Ho Park in multiple inning situations, if use him at all. They point to his pitch count numbers as evidence of his struggles.In pitches 1-25 Park is kinda-almost-somewhat tolerable as a pitcher, hoisting up a .308/.341/.500 line. That’s basically Ryan Howard’s triple slash for the season (plus or minus a few points on average and OBP). On pitches 26-50, it becomes hide-the-children bad. Park has been tagged for a line of .368/.429/.842(!). If the first line is Ryan Howard, the second is Barry Bonds hitting batting practice in 2004. There’s been absolutely no question that the Korean native has struggled tremendously in his first (and likely last) season in pinstripes. But has he really epically collapsed in the second frame of every game he jumps in?

Yes and no. I’ve already looked at this at my own site, so take let’s look appearance-by-appearance.

*On April 7th, game 2, Park went three innings against the Red Sox. Although I recall there being quite a few deep flies, he gave up but one hit, in his 3rd inning. No runs were scored in total.

*April 13th versus Angels: Breezed through the first inning of work but gave up a monstrous shot to Kendry Morales in the 8th. No runs in his first inning. One run in his second inning.

*On May 20th, the Yanks took on the Rays. Struggling 1B Carlos Pena took Park deep in his first inning pitched. This is after he was almost burned by a deep line drive to RF by Ben Zobrist, which Swisher caught. Not a good first inning. His second inning against 7-8-9 batters went much more smoothly – he gave up a single to “Did You Know He Was An All-Star?” Dioner Navarro, but that was all. To recap, one run in his first inning. Zero runs in subsequent inning.

*On May 22nd, Park replaced Phil Hughes with after Alex Cora knocked him out of the game (?!). Park immediately gave up a single and then got a groundout to end the inning. Not terrible, but not a shutdown either. His next inning saw him give up a single and a double to score a run. No runs in first inning, one run in his second.

*Park faced the Indians on May 31st. His first inning started with a strikeout and ended with two weak groundouts. Nice, not bad! The second inning though featured 2 hits and a walk, which led to run. No runs in first inning, one run in second.

Ok, we may be on to something here. In three of his five early season multiple-inning games, Park has given up a run in the second inning. Of course, when looking more critically through the first innings of these outings, it’s not like Park was brilliant, either. He had some good fortune (and was hit around a bit in Tampa) and then it appears the hitters took note of Park and knocked him around his second frame. Let’s see if it becomes a pattern.

*In an extra-innings game at Skydome The Rogers Centre on June 5th, Park came in and issued one walk but also struck one out and received two weak groundball outs in his first IP. The second inning featured two strikeouts, a single and one walk. No runs issued.

*Of course, in last week’s game in Arizona CHoP got lit up. He came into the game in the 7th and did fairly well. It was surprisingly tranquil. Then, in the 9th, he gave up two singles and then a monster home run to Justin Upton. No runs in his first inning. 3 runs in his second inning.

*Last night looked to be the same old story. Park came in and pitched a quick 6th inning (one walk, one groundout, one fly out). Girardi sent him out for the 7th. His performance sealed the game for the Dodgers. Two singles and a double by Matt Kemp finally put the Yankees in the outhouse. Zero runs score in his first inning, two trot around in his second.

So if we add up our tally here, in his first inning of multiple-inning games, Park has given up one run in his first inning pitched and 8 in his second frame. That’s a drastic difference.

So now you’re thinking, “Damn, CHoP’s done pretty well in just the first inning, all things considered. Maybe we can salvage him if Girardi stops throwing him back out there for multiple innings,” right?

Not so fast.

Why? Well, more sobering statistics: in games he’s only pitched one total inning or less, he’s given up 10 runs in 6 2/3rds innings. Park may be significantly worse in the second inning of his appearances, but he’s not an effective pitcher to begin with. Remember, the average hitter facing Park in the first inning is still Ryan Howard.

Should he be given a shot? (Photo credit: Nick Laham/Getty)

I’ve backed Chan Ho this whole year. Constantly I’ve said, “Don’t worry, he’ll turn it around. He has good stuff, this is just a rough patch.” No longer. We’re on the cusp of July and Park has been worth -2.5 runs below replacement. All the while, some pitchers in AAA are turning in good results and could certainly better Park’s performance on the year. At this point, I see no reason to not spell Chan Ho Park “DFA” and bring up a Romulo, Albaladejo, Nova or Melancon. The experiment didn’t work. It’s time to scrap it and call it a sunk cost.

Personally, I’d prefer to keep Nova in AAA to stay stretched out in the event we need a starting pitcher to come up. It would be nice to have a guy that can go multiple innings if need be, considering that right now, with injuries, it’s just Chad Gaudin. This probably means no Albie. So we’re left with Melancon or Romulo Sanchez. I like Romulo’s stuff and the fact that he can spot start or at the very least go multiple innings one way or another. But I worry that his control will be erratic considering that he’s thrown 5 or more walks in three of his last eight starts.

This means —at least in my world— Mark Melancon is my de-facto choice to replace Chan Ho should he be DFA’d. Melancon likely has the biggest upside of the pitchers in AAA, has been in The Show before, can go multiple innings and has been just curtains for opponents lately. He hasn’t given up a run since June 6th, though I’d prefer a better K/BB ratio in that time (2:1).

One way or another, something has to change. Simply put, if the team is not going to DFA Park, Girardi needs to put him in situations where his impact on a game is minimal. This means mop-up work in one frame or less.

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Link dump: catching depth, Nardi and Markie, former Yankees, AJ
Jeter named USA WEEKEND's 2010 Most Caring Athlete
  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Excellent article. My retort:

    Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin are both far worse than Chop, both in current production (FIP, xFIP, K/9, BB/9, WPA, etc.) and in career track record. In stuff, too, I’d warrant.

    I, too, want members of our current bullpen either released or demoted to make room for Albaladejo, Melancon, Romulo, and Nova. But Chop isn’t the worst member of that bullpen, nor does he have an option. He’s still third on my chopping block (pun intended). I’d rather move Chop to the LaTroy Hawkins Memorial Zone at the back of the bullpen and whack Gaudin/demote Logan and use those 5th and 6th spots in the pen as the auditions for the kids.

    Chop’s clock has almost run out, yes. But Logan and Gaudin’s alarms are already buzzing.

    • Pete

      agreed completely.

    • JMK

      I’m more than happy to see Logan go. The fact that so many have already said such (and on here as well), I figured I wouldn’t be redundant with another “Boone sucks and needs to be sent into space” post.

      Gaudin, I think, still has some value as a ROOGY and can pitch multiple innings in a worst case scenario. Is his production very good? Well, no, but I think he still offers some versatility. I’d like to give it a bit of time. But if it does continue, sure, pull the plug. Again, whatevs.

      If CHoP is simply relegated to mop-up duty, that’s cool. I said that it’s the most appropriate spot if he’s not DFA’d. One way or another, CHoP or Logan cannot be on this team any longer. I’m fairly indifferent as to which goes.

    • Cult of Basebaal

      This.

    • Accent Shallow

      Disagree. The bullpen is about roles, and Gaudin and Logan each fill a role that Park cannot: spot starter and >2 inning pitcher in blowouts, and second lefty. You can argue about whether those roles are necessary in a successful pen (or in this specific pen), but both those guys do something Park cannot.

      Not to mention, Park sucks

    • DT

      Logan has an upside tho at 25. When he was with the white sox his numbers were not bad despite a high ERA. (3.69 xFIP) He just needs to find a way to control his pitches. his 6 bb/9 is horrible, but at 25 with minor league time might help him…i mean you don’t find lefties who throw 95+ that often. Gaudin on the other hand needs to go.

  • Pete

    Good stuff, JMK, but I’m with tommie. Move CHoP to the back of the bullpen, bring up Albaladejo and Melancon and try to see if anything catches with either of them in middle relief. Also, it’s time we start seeing Marte and Robertson a little more in important situations. Joba’s starting to click, and those two will too if given a little more regular playing time. Park could, but he has been unbearably bad, and those guys haven’t, so he should be filling the Chad Gaudin/Boone Logan role of token shitty reliever.

  • jon g

    Amen.

    Logan should go as well, obviously.There’s ur switch for Albie.

    The only choice left by Tommy is whether CHoP or Gaudin gets mop up. Frankly, is there any indication that CHoP is any better than Gaudin in that role right now? Both can go, giving someone like Sanchez a shot and then Mitre takes over when he returns.

    When Aceves returns, he replaces the least effective call up. Bullpen by merit.

  • Doug

    Agree with my esteemed panel here. Logan (xFIP = 5.05) and Gaudin (4.57) need to be thrown to the scrapheap before Park (4.11)

  • pat

    Give Chan Ho another chance, hopefully this time ChoP sticks.

    /farts

  • Captain Bawls

    Honestly, I don’t really want to see Melancon called up unless we’re actually going to give him a shot. No more of this irregular, mop-up usage followed by demotion 1-2 weeks later. I want to see what Melancon can bring with fairly steady, if not super high leverage opportunities.

    • http://conservationvalue.blogspot.com/ Jon G

      Agreed.

      He will have to earn those high-leverage opportunities, though. Even when Joba was called up in 2007, he started out in low-leverage situations (e.g., to close out a blow-out win), and earned the higher-leverage ones. I think that’s the right way to ease a pitcher into The Show and help them gain the confidence they need for the higher-leverage situations. (I actually think a big problem was that Melancon was NOT eased in during his first call-ups — he was thrown right into a tough situation vs. Boston. And that hurt his confidence at the MLB level…)

      I think Melancon will do as well if not better as Robertson if given a shot — if I remember correctly, he settled in fairly nicely in Sept. I’m just as eager for you to see him get the shot and deliver. It took Robertson a few times to stick as well, and I’m pulling for Melancon to contribute to his potential…

      • Captain Bawls

        Yeah, that’s what I meant. Sorry I wasn’t clear. How the last sentence was supposed to read, basically, was that I want to see him get regular work, even if the situations aren’t the highest leverage.

    • Doug

      agree whole-heartedly. he’s 25 and not a kid anymore. we’ve been hearing about him for too long to not give him an extended shot.