Mailbag: Angelini, Brackman, Insurance, CC

Yankees drop Twins to end homestand
The RAB Radio Show: April 8, 2011

This week we’re going to tackle Carmen Angelini‘s future, Andrew Brackman‘s innings, contract insurance, and CC Sabathia‘s fWAR. Remember to use the Submit A Tip form in the sidebar to send in your questions.

Marc asks: Would it be insane to try Carmen Angelini on the mound? He clearly isn’t going to make it as a position player and the Yankees should exhaust all options after giving the kid a cool million.

Show off that arm, Carmen. (Photo Credit: Bill Lyons, Staten Island Advance)

I was pretty high on Angelini back in the day, but the kid just didn’t hit at all (.270 wOBA in almost 900 plate appearances in Low-A and below) and then missed the entire 2010 season after having hip surgery. He seemed like a lost cause at that point, a waste of $1M, so I was understandably surprised when he popped up in the High-A Tampa box score last night. I’m pretty sure the Yankees don’t think of him as much more than an organizational player at this point, since they bumped him up a level after a year off when he didn’t hit a lick at the lower levels. He’s just filling out a roster; guys that can legitimately play shortstop are more uncommon than I think most of us realize.

When he was drafted, the scouting report on Angelini said that he had a strong arm for a shortstop, but it wasn’t a “wow” arm. Not the kind of arm that makes you think he could pitch. That’s not to say it isn’t worth a shot, maybe he builds up arm strength with a throwing program or proves to be a control freak. Position player-to-pitcher conversions don’t work very often, but at some point it’ll given him a better chance at the success than what he’s doing now. I don’t expect it to happen anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean isn’t insane.

Dee asks: What’s the reasoning behind putting Brackman in the 5th rotation spot in the SWB rotation? Do you think it could be an indication of limiting his innings somewhat in the first half of the season so that he could provide the big league team with more innings in the later part of the season either out of the rotation or bullpen? Does Brackman have a projected innings limit this year?

Andrew Brackman threw 140.2 IP last year after throwing 106.2 IP the year before, so he should be good for 170 IP or so this year. Remember, he’s older than your typical prospect (already 25), so they could probably push the innings envelope a little more with him. That 170 number is more than enough for what they’ll (presumably) need him for this summer, which is a spot starter or reliever. All five of the guys in the Triple-A rotation are in pretty good shape when it comes to innings limits this season, so that’s not much of a concern.

I wouldn’t read much (if anything) into the order of the minor league rotations. There could be something we don’t know about in play here; maybe he got a blister and needed more time off, maybe his throwing schedule in Major League Spring Training didn’t line up exactly with the work being done in minor league camp. Remember, Brackman’s the low man on the totem pole in terms of Triple-A experience, so it could be a seniority thing. Who knows.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

eyerishyank asks: One thing I have always wondered about is insurance on contracts. Did Carl Pavano really cost the Yanks 40 mil or did insurance pick up a lot of that tab? Some guys I understand cannot get insurance, but can most guys? I would love to understand better how insurance mitigates risk with baseball contracts to help evaluate the “real risk” involved in some of these deals.

Insurance on baseball contracts is like insurance on everything else; the insurance company evaluates the risk and then decides whether or not to proceed and provide coverage. I have no idea if the Yankees had insurance on Pavano’s contract, but he wasn’t exactly a beacon of health before coming to New York, so it’s not safe to assume they did. Information about insurance doesn’t get reported all that often, but I’m sure it’s something teams pursue for every contract, especially pitchers. The problem is that if you don’t use it, you don’t get your money back, and if you do use it, the price in the future goes up. Those bastards.

Charlie asks: Hey guys I just thought this was kind of cool, if all goes well in CC’s next start he will have accumulated 50 WAR for his career. According to Fangraphs he is as 49.9 right now.

This was sent five days ago, before Sabathia shut out the Twins for seven innings on Tuesday. That effort was worth 0.3 fWAR, so his career total now sits at 50.2 fWAR. Players within 5.0 fWAR of CC (in either direction) include Tommy John (47.1), Don Sutton (47.8), Jimmy Key (47.9), Orel Hershiser (48.5), Dave Stieb (49.5), Ron Guidry (50.6), Tom Seaver (52.2), and Phil Niekro (52.8). Here’s the career fWAR list if you’re interested, but remember the data only goes back to 1980 or so. Sabathia’s got a whole lot of career left ahead of him, so he’s going to zoom up the list over the next few seasons.

Yankees drop Twins to end homestand
The RAB Radio Show: April 8, 2011
  • Kevin on a Phone

    CC is in some pretty good company.

    • mason

      so is Mussina.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Speaking of which, for comparison’s sake, the bWAR numbers have CC at 42.30, good for 115th and climbing.

        Moose? He’s only the 24th best pitcher EVER in bWAR, at 74.80.

        And look who he’s right in front of. Hilarious.

        • CS Yankee

          Looks like Paps will move into the top 650 of all time and Jenks could be top 950. Mo may end in the top 50.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    Angelini to the mound, Kevin Whelan to shortstop.

    You’re welcome.


  • bonestock94

    It’s funny that CC’s last start was a shutout. He never looked great, but it seems like all but a handful of CC’s “bad” starts end with less than 7 IP and a couple of runs given up.

    • bonestock94

      Oh crap, my last post is not saying what I want to say lol. Replace “less than” with “at least.”

      • YankeesJunkie

        CC is one of the most durable pitchers in baseball. He can go deep in games and not give up a lot on a consistent basis. Will he ever be as good as he was in 06/07,probably not, but damn he gives the Yanks a consistent 5-6 WAR every year.

        • I am not the droids you’re looking for

          “he can go deep….and not give up a lot” is exactly WSS.

  • Pat D

    When is fWAR ever going to reflect pitchers of all eras?

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Isn’t it that FanGraphs can’t calculate back that far because of the inavailability of detailed game footage/records from earlier eras, or something like that?

      • YankeesJunkie

        I think so, but I always thought that WAR was based FIP, which they do have throughout history. I wonder what they are missing.

  • Urban

    It appears the list goes back to 1974, at least according to Ryan’s and Blyleven’s fWAR numbers.

    Every pitcher in front of Andy Pettitte is in the HOF, or will be in the HOF, with the exception of Kevin Brown, who probably one day would be in the HOF if not for…

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      … Joe Torre’s book?

    • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

      Maybe I’m missing something, but I’m seeing a bunch of pitchers ahead of Pettitte who aren’t and won’t be in the HOF.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Oh you’re switching over to fWAR, I see.

  • Am I the only Kevin?

    Given how early it is, I don’t think it makes much difference. But ideally, you want your AAA starting pitchers that are next in line for a callup (e.g, your “sixth” starter stashed at AAA) to pitch on rotation with the guy on the big league club who they’ll most likely be replacing. You’ll see this played out at times in the minor leagues where the rotation will be shuffled about a week or so before promotions/demotions occur in a attempt to keep the best prospects on regular rest and have their routine not impacted by roster shuffling.

    In this case, I guess ideally you’d want the three of Warren, Noesi and Brackman to pitch on the day and one day before/after Garcia does (assuming those three are next in line for a starting gig). If your plan is to move Colon into the rotation and bring up a long man, then maybe you try to track Garrison with Garcia starts. Whenever a true prospect is going to be promoted, then the team will do everything in its power to keep him on rotation.

  • Steve H

    Dave Steib, a hell of a lot better in the 80’s than Jack Morris.

    • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Jack Morris was not the best pitcher of the 1980s. Even if you discount Roger Clemens and Dwight Gooden for only pitching in half the decade (which is irrelevant, because their halves were immensely better than Morris’s whole), Morris still isn’t the best pitcher to have pitched in the whole decade. Besides Blyleven, you’ve got Fernando Valenzuela, Bob Welch, and the ageless Nolan Ryan who all had demonstrably more dominant and outstanding decades than Morris did.

      Oh, and I promised we were going to return to something. Mystery player time:

      Pitcher A, 1980-1989:
      332 starts (#1 in the decade), 2443.2 IP (#1), 20 SHO (t-7), 3.66 ERA/109+ (#13), 264 HR allowed (most), .684 OPS against

      Pitcher B, 1980-1989:
      331 starts (#2 in the decade), 2382.2 IP (#2), 27 SHO (t-1), 3.32 ERA/127+ (#1), 183 HR allowed (only 14th), .659 OPS against

      A is Morris. B is Dave Steib, the REAL best pitcher of the 1980s, and someone who shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because while he was great in that decade, being the “Best X of Decade Y” is not a good enough rationale for Hall entry, all things considered. That means no, Don Mattingly being the best first baseman of the 1980s does not merit induction.

      • CS Yankee

        Well clearly Steib lacked in starts and inning total and per start, so how exactly did he lead?


        He is even less deserving than Rice…how is Raines not in, but the hawk is?