Jul
21

Evaluating Garcia on results, not process

By

(Photo Credit: Flickr user Keith Allison via Creative Commons license)

If you’ve been reading this site long enough, then you know that we’re fans of evaluating players based on their process, or underlying performance. If the process is right, chances are the results will be good. A good at-bat might result in an out while a bad at-bat yields a hit, but I’ll take the guy that does more of the former over the course of the season. Same deal with pitchers, sometimes a bad pitch turns into an out and sometimes that knee-high fastball on the outside corner gets slapped down the line for a double. I briefly mentioned this in the recap last night, but I’ve stopped caring about Freddy Garcia‘s process.

Usually when we talk about pitchers here we’ll reference their peripheral stats, their strikeout numbers, walk totals, ground ball percentages, the ability to get swings and misses, stuff like that. You don’t need to be a DIPS theory expert to understand that more strikeouts plus fewer walks plus fewer homeruns will lead to better individual results at the end of the day. The number of hits a pitcher gives up is impacted by the defense behind him, as is the number of runs he’s allowed. That why ERA fails to tell the whole story. Don’t even get me started with wins, why a pitcher is getting credit for something his teammates helped accomplish is beyond me.

Garcia’s underlying performance is actually pretty good this year. His 8.8% swing and miss rate is better than league average (8.5%) even though his 5.99 K/9 is well below the league standard (7.00). He doesn’t walk anyone, just 2.69 batters for every nine innings pitched. Take out intentional walks, and it’s 2.34 men per nine. In fact, Garcia has walked zero batters in three of his last four starts. An absurdly low 33.7% ground ball rate has resulted in just 0.78 homers allowed per nine innings, a rate that’s probably unsustainable in Yankee Stadium. His 3.74 FIP is six percent better than the league average, his 4.13 xFIP five percent worse than league average. But again, I don’t care.

Freddy has made 17 starts and a dozen of them have been so called quality starts. I’m not sure why three runs and six innings (a 4.50 ERA) was deemed to be “quality,” but I don’t really care. That’s the kind of game the Yankees can win because of their offense and bullpen. That’s all I care about with Garcia, did he pitch well enough to win? If so, great. I don’t care if he scattered 14 hits in six innings and recorded every out on a fly ball to the warning track. Just get it done, the process is secondary.

I’m pretty sure my thinking has shifted with Garcia just because he’s relatively unorthodox. He has no velocity these days, so it’s all about disrupting the hitter’s rhythm. It’s almost inexplicable at times, with floating changeups and rolling curveballs and occasionally some mid-80′s fastballs right over the plate, it doesn’t look like it should work. I can’t explain it, it’s just a classic example of a veteran pitcher finding a way to get outs. It’s so hideously cliche, but I don’t care. Freddy’s allowing fewer runs than the Yankees are scoring and that’s all that matters.

Because he’s not a long-term piece of the Yankees puzzle, I have no trouble looking past Garcia’s process and focusing on his results. I don’t care if what he’s doing is sustainable for the long-term because it doesn’t have to be. It just has to work the rest of the season, which is very well may not. Freddy is in a league of his own with his pitching style, so I’m not going to evaluate him like everyone else. Just get out and prevent runs, I don’t care how it looks.

Categories : Pitching
  • Reason

    Mike, don’t go wobbly on me now!

  • j

    Very Mussina 2008 like.

    • Chris in Maine

      Thats exactly what I was thinking, although I did not look up the numbers to support that idea.

      • ItsATarp

        2008 Mussina was much better…his stat line for the year was pretty insane for a guy his age. Not saying Freddy isn’t going well, because he is…But 2008 Mussina was an ace. 6.74 k/9 1.39 BB/9 3.37 ERA/ 3.32 FIP/ 3.42 xFIP and 5.3 WAR at 39 is simply amazing. I bet if he felt like staying for another few years, he could have kept it up, But sadly Moose had a plan and decided to follow it.

        • j

          I was just going on the succeeding in the AL East with a sub 90 MPH fastball thing. Maybe a poor mans 2008 Mussina.

          • ItsATarp

            yea a poor man’s mussina is a better fit. I wasn’t trying to say your wrong, but more of how remarkable Mussina’s 2008 was.

  • Michael Mirabella

    What’s with Martin’s facial hair, can they sport it now?

    • Rick

      They could always have mustaches. Are you too young to remember Mattingly?

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

        Raekwon the Sheff rocked a ‘stache within the past decade.

        http://static5.businessinsider.....n-2003.jpg

        • Crime Dog

          As did the great Giambino

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

            Don’t forget Sal Fasano. His time with the Yanks was short, but the mustache was glorious.

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

    I’m pretty sure my thinking has shifted with Garcia just because he’s relatively unorthodox. He has no velocity these days, so it’s all about disrupting the hitter’s rhythm. It’s almost inexplicable at times, with floating changeups and rolling curveballs and occasionally some mid-80?s fastballs right over the plate, it doesn’t look like it should work. I can’t explain it, it’s just a classic example of a veteran pitcher finding a way to get outs. It’s so hideously cliche, but I don’t care.

    Command > control > location > movement > velocity

    • Accent Shallow

      Somewhere, a D-bags scout agrees, as he cries himself to sleep with memories of Jason Neighborgall.

    • Samuel

      “It’s almost inexplicable at times, with floating changeups and rolling curveballs and occasionally some mid-80s fastballs right over the plate”

      Sounds a lot like how Whitey Ford did it, but with a nick or two on the ball.

    • MannyGeee

      Kyle Farnsworth’s blown 8th inning leads concur…

  • pat

    This is Mike’s Day of Atonement.

  • first time lawng time

    As long as Garcia keeps the offense in the game, I don’t really care how he gets there.

  • Brian Paul

    Mike’s gone soft.

    • http://twitter.com/#!/billreichmann breich315

      TWSS?

    • Damix

      SSS

  • Tripp

    The best is that CC follows him. So it must be incredibly hard for a team to have to adjust from Freddy Garcia slow bugs bunny junk to now CC’s hard throwing fastball and wipeout slider/vanishing changeup.

    • Accent Shallow

      1) I would be interested to see if anyone’s done any sort of research on if that’s true — that seeing two pitchers in a row with similar stuff helps the hitting team, or that two disparate pitchers mess up the opposition’s rhythm. This is one of the pieces of baseball’s conventional wisdom that I don’t ever recall seeing checked.

      2) CC has extremely unorthodox stuff. Sure, fastball/slider/change is standard, but it’s a big fastball, a slow, slurvy slider, and a change that has little separation in speed from the fastball. Very odd.

  • The Fallen Phoenix

    As long as all the fly balls are staying in the park, being an extreme flyball pitcher actually works to Garcia’s advantage given the Yankees’ incredible outfield defense. It seems that as long as the batter isn’t lining something into the outfield (or popping something in a domed stadium, hello Trop), it’s going to be run down by someone.

  • FrankJ1979

    At this point Garcia is like a Venezuelan version of Harris from Major League. I don’t care how he’s doing it, he’s getting the job done above and beyond what we expected of him and its kinda nice to watch every five days.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder
      • Frank1979

        Hahaha, I swear I never saw that Teixeira interview.

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

          GMTA. Get more tits and ass, friend.

    • MannyGeee

      Rick Vaughn: [Seeing Harris take off his shirt, revealing white suff on his chest] What’s that shit on your chest?
      Eddie Harris: [Looking at his chest] Crisco.
      Eddie Harris: [wiping it across his head]
      Eddie Harris: Bardol.
      Eddie Harris: [wiping it along his waist line]
      Eddie Harris: Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I’ll rub a little jalapeo up my nose, get it runnin’, and if I need to load the ball up I just…
      Eddie Harris: [wipes his nose]
      Eddie Harris: …wipe my nose.
      Rick Vaughn: You put snot on the ball?
      Eddie Harris: I haven’t got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.
      ~~~~

      CLASSIC

  • http://www.twitter.com/matt__harris Matt :: Sec110

    The def should lock him up to at least a 2 year extension.

  • CS Yankee

    It is better to be lucky than good.

    • CS Yankee

      …and Freddy has been both for the most part.

  • Cris Pengiuci

    Like others are alluding to and Mike stated, he just needs to keep the offense in the game. He’s done an outstanding job of that (as Ted Nelson suggested he would prior to the season). Games like he pitched last night are fantastic. Hopefully he’s got a few more left in him, although I’m not sure I trust him against playoff-caliber teams or highly potent offenses.

    • Stan the Man

      There aren’t many guys in the bigs that can be trusted against those types of teams. Freddy hasn’t been very good against the Red Sox but neither has CC. AS for the other teams he has face Toronto a couple of times w/his last start being the worst. Usually in a playoff scenario you will only see the team 1x if your the #3 or #4 starter. That should help Sweaty Freddy in keeping hitters off balance.

  • Ted Nelson

    As a general rule I totally agree about the process thing, but I think there is enough variation that you have to take it on a case by case basis. Robinson Cano, for example, has a terrible approach and his range/speed is mediocre at best… but I’ll still take him among the best 2B and even players in the league. That’s an extreme example, but the same can hold true in closer calls as well. (Not to say Cano couldn’t benefit from an improved approach… but even without it he’s very valuable.)

    In terms of FIP… without have researched it, my guess is that Ks, BBs, and HRs are proxies for quality pitching. They will trend with good stuff/deception, command/at least control, and not getting hit too hard… so you can use them to get an idea of how a pitcher did on those fronts. This is a pretty basic statistical concept. FIP is ignoring every fair ball put in play that’s not a HR, so while they are valuable in themselves it’s components are being used as proxies for other important things.

    I think it also speaks to a lot of people’s over-reliance on velocity as a measuring stick. Velo is generally important, but there’s a lot more to pitching.

    • Stan the Man

      It makes it easier to take Cano as among the best 2b in baseball because he actually is.

      • Ted Nelson

        I think you’re missing my point… the point is that even though his approach is worse than many other players, he is still better than them. I’m not trying to say that I’m unique in thinking Cano is good. It is just an extreme example to illustrate the point that baseball is more complex than just looking at approach or velocity or Ks as a proxy for how good a player is. Performance will generally trend with those factors, but there is enough deviation, IMO, to take a closer look on an individual basis.

        I think as Yankees fans coming off 15 playoffs in 16 seasons plus a strong 1995… we are especially prone to missing nuances. We are used to seeing greatness, so we often forget that you don’t have to get great to be good or even just solid.

        • Zangief

          I think a lot of his value comes from his position. If he had to move to RF, he would have much less value. His career wOBA is one point higher than Swisher’s career wOBA.

          That said, there are a lot of guys that are high contact/low walk guys. Carl Crawford, Christian Guzman , and Buckner come to mind. Is Cano a little extreme, sure. Is it a poor approach? Depends on the player’s skillset.

          Ichiro won ROY and MVP with a 6+ WAR and only walked 4.1% of the time one year.

          • Ted Nelson

            Nick Swisher has been the 3rd most valuable RF in baseball since 2005 according to fWAR… 7th most valuable since joining the Yankees in 2009. I’m not sure how that’s an insult.

            Cano definitely has relatively more value due to position, but he’s a fine hitter at any position. Like I said, my point had very little to do with Cano. He was just an example (an extreme one) of someone who has a worse process than other players but still gets better results.

            Your next two points are basically what I’m saying. I’m not sure if you actually read the article, but that might help you put my comment into context. It’s about process vs. results. I am saying that there is a decent amount of variation among players in terms of what process yields what results. Cano might be better with a better approach (he swings at significantly more balls outside the zone than even someone like Ichiro), but he’s doing well without it. Garcia might do better if he had a 95 MPH heater to go with the rest of his arsenal, but he’s been doing well this season without it (not trying to compare Garcia to Cano in absolute terms… just shades of the same color).

            • Zangief

              “I’m not sure how that’s an insult.”
              I never said it was an insult. Just because you interpreted it that way, doesn’t mean it’s true.

              “It’s about process vs. results.”
              It absolutely is, and if you read what I wrote, you’d see what I mean. I think saying Cano has a “worse” approach is a poor description, and I stated why.

              “Garcia might do better if he had a 95 MPH heater to go with the rest of his arsenal…,”
              I thought this was about approach? So now you’re saying every player might be better if they had a better skill-set? Mind-blowing! Truly mind-blowing.

              • Ted Nelson

                Here’s what you said: “If he had to move to RF, he would have much less value.” I am saying that I disagree. Less valuable, but not much less valuable. Jayson Werth has been worth 1 less WAR per season with very similar stats since 2009 compared to Cano. Werth is still very valuable as a RF (since 2009 I mean, obviously he’s struggling this season).

                ” I think saying Cano has a “worse” approach is a poor description, and I stated why.”

                Incorrectly. You said that he’s comparable to Ichiro. He’s not. He swings at significantly more pitches outside the strike zone than Ichiro did when he was good. He makes contact with significantly less pitches outside the zone than Ichiro. If you honestly think that swinging at balls outside the zone and missing is a good approach… not sure what to say. I’m not talking about bb%. I’m talking about which pitches he’s swinging at. This information is publicly available on fangraphs.

                “I thought this was about approach? So now you’re saying every player might be better if they had a better skill-set? Mind-blowing! Truly mind-blowing.”

                Again you are completely missing the context. I am saying the exact same thing you are there… yet you feel the need to be a little dipshit for no apparent reason. I am saying that different approaches can lead to success, and that one “process” is not always the only way to achieve success.

                Again… I don’t think you understand the original context in terms of the article. Mike is saying that although Freddy doesn’t have the high K/high velo approach that Mike and others favor… he’s still doing well. Likewise… although Cano does not have the zone discipline just about everyone besides you and Vlad Guerrero and Cano would prefer a hitter to have… he’s doing just fine.

                • Zangief

                  “Jayson Werth has been worth 1 less WAR per season with very similar stats since 2009 compared to Cano.”
                  Ok, this is semantics. I think 1 WAR per year is huge piece of value. I guess we can chalk this up to different opinions on what 1 WAR is.

                  “Incorrectly. You said that he’s comparable to Ichiro. He’s not. He swings at significantly more pitches outside the strike zone than Ichiro did when he was good. He makes contact with significantly less pitches outside the zone than Ichiro. If you honestly think that swinging at balls outside the zone and missing is a good approach… not sure what to say. I’m not talking about bb%. I’m talking about which pitches he’s swinging at. This information is publicly available on fangraphs.”

                  Wow, you totally missed my point. Did I say Cano is exactly like Cano in every way? I said they are high contact/low walk players. That’s like me saying, your Freddy to Cano comparison is ludicrous because Freddy is a pitcher. Even so, Vlad made a good living out of it. Even still. Ichiro swinging outside of strike zone last 3 years, 32.1%, 35.6%, 34.7%. Cano’s last 3 years, 30.9%, 36.5%, 39.8%. Vlad’s career, A likely HOF one BTW, 39.8%.

                  “Again you are completely missing the context. I am saying the exact same thing you are there… yet you feel the need to be a little dipshit for no apparent reason. I am saying that different approaches can lead to success, and that one “process” is not always the only way to achieve success.”

                  Didn’t you just say it was the worse approach? I think you said “terrible approach.” And now I am a dipshit? So the 95 mph reference was just a red herring? But I’m a dipshit.

                  “Again… I don’t think you understand the original context in terms of the article. Mike is saying that although Freddy doesn’t have the high K/high velo approach that Mike and others favor… he’s still doing well. Likewise… although Cano does not have the zone discipline just about everyone besides you and Vlad Guerrero and Cano would prefer a hitter to have… he’s doing just fine.”

                  I think we have different interpretations of the post by Mike. He actually says, “I don’t care if what he’s doing is sustainable for the long-term because it doesn’t have to be.”

                  • Ted Nelson

                    In various parts you’ve twisted my points and your own to the point of incoherence.

                    If you think that the 5th best RF in MLB since 2009 (Werth) is hugely less valuable than the 4th best 2B (Cano) with quite similar wOBA, BSR, and FLD numbers in that stretch… that’s your take I guess.

                    I was specifically addressing Mike’s point in the article that he views plate discipline as a good approach (as do 99.9% of other people…), but if you think swinging at balls out of the zone and missing them both at abnormally high rates is a good approach in general… that’s on you. My point is that while that is not *generally* the best approach, some people make it work. I guess your point is that it’s a good approach.

                    Again, you are saying mostly the same thing, but feel the need to be confrontational and twist my points around to change their meanings. Have a nice life.

                    • Zangief

                      “…but I’ll still take him among the best 2B and even players in the league.”
                      -Ted Nelson 12:20 PM

                      “…4th best 2B (Cano)…”
                      -Ted Nelson 4:26 PM

                      #arbitraryenddates

                      “but if you think swinging at balls out of the zone and missing them both at abnormally high rates is a good approach in general…”
                      -Ted Nelson

                      A-Rod Career O-Contact 52.9%
                      Swisher Career O-Contact 53.8%
                      Posada Career O-Contact 48.2%
                      Jeter Career O-Contact 61.3%
                      Granderson Career O-Contact 52.4%
                      Mark Texiera Career O-Contact 57.2%

                      Cano only makes contact with pitches outside the strike zone at a career clip of 72.5% and never below 75% since 2008.

                      “This information is publicly available on fangraphs.”
                      -Ted Nelson 2:51 PM

                      Not taking own advice FAIL!.

                      “My point is that while that is not *generally* the best approach, some people make it work.”
                      -Ted Nelson 4:36 PM

                      “That said, there are a lot of guys that are high contact/low walk guys. Carl Crawford, Christian Guzman , and Buckner come to mind. Is Cano a little extreme, sure. Is it a poor approach? Depends on the player’s skillset.
                      Zangief 1:24 PM

                      Reading comprehesion fail!

                      “Garcia might do better if he had a 95 MPH heater…”
                      -Ted Nelson 2:07 PM

                      “WTF?!?!?!”
                      -Zangief now

                      You’re all types of fail dude. Give it up.

        • Cris Pengiuci

          baseball is more complex than just looking at approach or velocity or Ks as a proxy for how good a player is.

          Exactly. If you look at Cano’s pitches per plate appearance, or the difference between his batting average and his OBP, you might conclude he’s got poor plate discipline. But clearly it works for him. David Robertson’s fastball velocity, while good at ~92MPH career, 93 this season, isn’t great (Mo may be even a better example), but I’d take these guys in a heart beat.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Well yes FIP is a basic concept but still useful. But they released stats for judging those balls in play too now. FanGraphs just released SIERA which does what FIP does but adds in batted ball types.

      • Ted Nelson

        My point was never that FIP is not useful. I never once said that. You seem to misunderstand my point.

        Like FIP, SIERA uses proxies. You might look into what a proxy is if you’re not getting what I’m saying.

  • Greg

    I think Freddy has been partly taking advantage of the offensive depression this year. People are swinging at every kind of pitch this year, and strikeouts are high.

    That being said, he did win 12 games with the White Sox last year pitching to a 4 something ERA.

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

    Freddy has also given the team innings aplenty at 103 already, after not making his first start until April 16. Early in the year, worry was twofold that the bullpen would get exposed due to frequent short starts from the likes of Hughes and Nova, and that the rotation was in bad shape given the presence of Garcia and eventually Colon. It’s amazing that Garcia in particular was such a force of stability given the stuff he’s working with. He’s allowed the team to avoid dipping into too much of the pitching depth in the minors and has given the team length in the vast majority of his starts, even if he walks the ultimate tightrope each time. The two veteran lotto tickets have paid off very well this far into the season.

  • Greg

    Offtopic but did anyone see Buster Olney’s tweet on the MVP case for Adrian Gonzalez?

    ” ummm anyone thinking that Adrian Gonzalez isn’t the MVP is flat out wrong. This coming from a life long Yankee fan”

    • Greg

      And before the word hypocrisy comes up I trust 2 or 3 people with ESPN baseball. Buster Olney, Tim Kurkjian, and Curt Schilling *he’s outspoken about everybody)

    • Sayid J.

      Important to point out that Olney was retweeting what somebody else said… those were not his words.

      • Greg

        Just realized that. Sorry my bad.

    • Ted Nelson

      I’ll take Jose Bautista… MVP is awarded for too much based on team success. The notion that a player is not valuable if his team is not good escapes me. I would say that Bautista is even more valuable because he’s by far the best player on his team. Without AGon, the Sox are still a playoff team.

      • David, Jr.

        He is in Barry Bonds territory.

        .467
        .690
        1.157

    • Accent Shallow

      I give it to Jed Hoyer.

      Or Casey Kelly.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Freddy has been very good because as TSJC said, command and control is paramount. He throws 69-87mph but doesn’t throw the 87 mph straight fb in hitter’s counts. Crafty guy. Also having Logan and DRob throwing heat after Freddy is tough on hitters. He would have gone deeper in the game last night if not for Nuny’s error.

  • Samuel

    “Freddy has made 17 starts and a dozen of them have been so called quality starts. I’m not sure why three runs and six innings (a 4.50 ERA) was deemed to be “quality…””

    In the early 80s a quality start used to be 7 innings and 3 runs or less, and I have looked into it but cannot find out when it was changed to the current 6 IP and 3 runs or less.

    It is likely this was changed when the pitch count garbage began and middle relievers being brought in for key outs. Probabaly just before the “HOLD” stat took effect.

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

      The quality start was developed by sportswriter John Lowe in 1985 while writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

      When Lowe invented the quality start more than 20 years ago, he was writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer. The following passage is taken from Lowe’s unveiling, in the Dec. 26, 1985 edition of the Inquirer:

      A pitcher gets credit for a quality start any time he allows three earned runs or less in a start that lasts at least six innings.

      The foremost attribute of this statistic is that it shows exactly how many times a man has done exactly what his job is — pitch well enough for his team to have a chance to win.

      http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb.....id=2407313

      I think you’re mistaken. According to Neyer, the quality start stat didn’t exist in the early-80s, and when it was first coined in 1985 it existed in it’s current form of 6IP, 3ER.

      Perhaps there was some other journalist who coined some concept called a quality start before that that was 7IP, but my cursory search can’t find any historical evidence of it. Pitch counts and holds had probably nothing at all to do with quality starts.

      • Samuel

        I remember that the pitcher I was watching in a telecast one day was Curt Young, current pitching coach of the Boston Red Sox who was pitching for the Oakland A’s.

        He was dominating and the announcer said Young had just thrown a quality start by going at least seven innings.

        You may be right about the announcer suggesting this term instead of it being the standard.

        Since it was likely I was watching Young throw against the Yankees, it was probably this game:

        http://www.baseball-reference......5200.shtml

        but that game was in 1986.

        Anyway, even though the offical stat is different, I still consider a quality start that of 7 innings and 3 runs or less, which is more representative of the term quality.

  • vin

    “Because he’s not a long-term piece of the Yankees puzzle, ”

    Wonder what the odds of him or Bartolo returning to the Yanks next year is?

    5% and 10%, respectively?

    • Cris Pengiuci

      Given a bonus-heavy contract (and of course depending on what other pitchers the Yankees can pick up via trade/FA), I’d be happy if the Yankees picked up either/both of them based on their performance so far this year. But I would expect Bartolo Colon’s arm to fall of at some point next year if he makes it through this season.

  • Peter R

    Give him another year! Forget the kids on the farm, trade them all away. Sweaty Freddie will see us through.

    Seriously though, when we get into the Post-Season (not if) does he get a start in a 5 game series? How about a 7? Guess it depends on where Fart Bart and The Franchise are, but assuming they have worse numbers than him but more “Stuff”^TM^R do we let him face the best hitters in the league in the Post-Season?

    • first time lawng time

      Who is The Franchise?

      • Peter R

        Wonder when we stopped calling him Phil “The Franchise” Hughes. That was the thing a few years ago…..

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

        Hughes. (I.e. “The Phranchise”; it’s dumb, but people said it.)

        • Peter R

          Hey it was better than Sweaty Freddy that’s all I am saying.

    • vin

      If Phil is reasonably effective down the stretch and Colon stays healthy, then Garcia probably won’t sniff a playoff roster spot. Hell, I’d consider rolling with:

      CC, Colon, *off day* AJ/Phil, CC, Phil/AJ, *off day*, Colon, CC

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

        Oh, Freddy will probably get a playoff roster spot, just won’t get a start. For the best of 7 series where we go with 4 starters, it’s probably:
        SP: CC, AJ, Hughes, Colon
        RP: Mo, DRob, Soriano, Wade, one of Logan/Romero/Marte/Feliciano, and then two more spots between Nova, Noesi, and Freddy.

        If Freddy’s still pitching effectively, he could easily get a spot in the bullpen as the #1 longman.

        • vin

          My thinking was that he has virtually no experience coming out of the pen (twice in his career, including once this year). I can see a 7 man bullpen of:

          Mo, Robertson, Soriano, Wade, Logan, and two of Nova/Noesi/Feliciano/Marte/Romero

        • first time lawng time

          Wait. There’s a chance that Marte and Feliciano will be ready by the time the playoffs come? I though they were out for the season.

          And I agree about the SP rotation. However, if Hughes pitches poorly betwen now and October, I’d put him in the pen for the playoffs.

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

            Both Marte and Feliciano are longshots, but Marte’s already pretty far into his rehab and Feliciano hasn’t been shut down.

            I’d give them odds of making it into September tuneups at 20% and 2%, respectively. Those are just my numbers, not from anyone else.

  • first time lawng time

    You know, durin his start in Cincy I said how much Garcia sucks. I was wrong. I’ll admit it. He hadn’t been an ace but he’s been very good for the Yankees this year. He totally exceeded my expectations.

  • Mike HC

    I know the decision does not have to be made now, but at this point, Garcia would no doubt have to be the Yanks number 4 starter in the post season. No way can you really justify putting AJ out there over him, I don’t think.

    • Mike HC

      Oh yea, I’m just assuming Hughes and Colon are the next best pitchers after CC by the end of the year.

    • vin

      Like it or not, there are two reasons AJ will always be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to starting playoff games:

      1) 82.5 million
      2) 2009 WS game 2

      Almost as certain as Jeter being at the top of the lineup.

      • steve (different one)

        Considering the way he was bumped to the of the line last year, I don’t see this as a given.

        If the Yankees had any better option (for example, the Lee trade went through), he wouldn’t have started in the playoffs last year.

        • vin

          Sure, if the Yanks had Lee this year or last then AJ would’ve gotten bumped. But assuming the same cast of characters they have now… AJ will certainly get a start (probably not two though).

      • Ted Nelson

        If Garcia’s ERA is still a run lower than AJ’s entering the playoffs I’m not sure that’s going to be the case. The Yankees started AJ over Javy, a rookie Nova, Mitre, and other scrub options.

  • Monteroisdinero

    When does the “he has to break down sooner or later” stuff stop for Freddy? Late July/August or September?

    • Ted Nelson

      It’s really interesting… people like to look at the future in absolutes (you do this with Golson and Montero quite a bit). A far more useful way to look at the future is to assign probabilities to certain outcomes.

      Basically… people look at Garcia, know he’s more likely to break-down due to previous shoulder surgery… so they decide he will break-down. Equally inaccurate is deciding he won’t break-down. Every pitcher may break-down. To calculate expected value you might say entering a season that Garcia’s expected to reach these fWAR’s with these probabilities (just pulling numbers out of the sky really here):
      3+ fWAR – 5%
      2.5-3 fWAR – 10%
      2-2.5 fWAR – 15%
      1.5-2 fWAR – 20%
      1-1.5 fWAR – 20%
      0.5-1 fWAR – 15%
      0-0.5 fWAR – 15%
      roughly: 3/10 2+ fWAR, 4/10 1-2 fWAR, 3/10 0-1 fWAR

      If we take these arbitrary made-up numbers as an example… he may have a higher risk of contributing next to nothing than a lot of other pitchers, but there’s still a good chance he gives you something.

      Other people seems to prefer structures like:
      0 fWAR – 100%
      0.1+ fWAR – 0%

      Or

      1+ fWAR – 15%
      0.5-1 fWAR – 15%
      0-0.5 fWAR – 70%

  • Crime Dog

    Now what happens if the Yankees acquire a legit Mid-Rotation starter? Who’s the odd man out?

  • bg90027

    “Freddy has made 17 starts and a dozen of them have been so called quality starts. I’m not sure why three runs and six innings (a 4.50 ERA) was deemed to be “quality,” but I don’t really care.”

    Not that you don’t know this but they are deemed “quality” because length with pitching well enough to consistently give your team a decent chance to win. I would never argue that quality starts is a good stat to judge Aces or #2 starters by, but it’s a pretty damn useful stat to judge your back of the rotation starters by especially on a team with as good an offense and bullpen as the Yankees have.

  • Win Defender

    The oft quoted Keith Law theory that pitchers don’t deserve a win because others contribute to it is STUPID. I hate hearing it all the time here. You people have a complete inability to discern the difference between a stat win and an actual win. Nobody has EVER, even back in the “old days,” EVER suggested that the pitcher who gets the “win” was the only contributor to the win in the win column, or even to the pitcher win. The pitcher “win” is simply a stat given to the pitcher on the winning side. You can attack that all you want in terms of whether the pitcher win is luck, or not indicative of performance, or any of that, but saying a pitcher shouldn’t get a win because he wasn’t the sole contributor to the win is asinine. IT ISN’T AN ACTUAL TEAM WIN, IT IS A PITCHER STAT WIN!!!!! In fact, using Keith Law’s own passionate, long, and utterly retarded analysis, the winning pitcher usually contributes more to a win than anyone else (defense is half, pitching is half of the defense – so the pitcher’s contribution is down to 1/4 in the AL, assume a QS wins the game, 6 innings out of 9 is 2/3 of 25%, meaning a QS starting pitcher contributes to about 17% of a win statically, while the rest of the 83% has to be divided by the 9 remaining players in the AL, meaning the most another player could be responsible for is about 9%, just statistically speaking, not taking into account performance, according to Law). That makes the winning pitcher, when it is as it usually is the starting pitcher, the most important player on the team that day, which is backed up by anyone who ever watches baseball. And even if he isn’t the biggest contributor, SO WHAT? He was the winning pitcher, under the rules. So if he gets a pitcher win, I don’t give a rat’s ass if others contributed to it, mostly because I am not so slobberingly stupid that I think he is getting credit for an actual win…

    • Ted Nelson

      Ehhh…. a lot of people think wins are a useless individual stat who are not Keith Law.

      You seem to completely misunderstand the argument. People are saying that there is no value to the pitcher “Win” stat. That it’s arbitrary. That you can allow 10 runs in 6 IP and get a win if your offense scores 11 runs. That you can another game allow 1 R in 9 IP and get a “loss.” That you can pitch really well, but your defense can give up a bunch of hits most fielders would have had.

      Basically… “win” is a proxy to measure good pitching. The assumption is that over time these sorts of things will even out and the pitcher with the most wins/best winning% was the better pitcher. One year he might have a good offense/defense behind him, another year bad. This is why it was used. Today, though, we have better stats that we feel more accurately measure a pitcher’s individual contribution to his team than “wins.” So… we feel there is no real use for the antiquated stat “wins.”

      “So if he gets a pitcher win, I don’t give a rat’s ass if others contributed to it, mostly because I am not so slobberingly stupid that I think he is getting credit for an actual win…”

      HUH? Pitcher wins are directly correlated with team wins. You can’t get a win unless your team wins… Your whole argument comes across as very sloppy and very hard to follow.

    • Jim S

      tl;dr

      Just a friendly tip, use paragraphs, even if there’s no real logical separation between them; it helps people to follow along(and is much easier to read).

      Based on your name though, pitcher Wins become a problem when you look at them to determine how well a pitcher will be moving forward, or when you blindly use them to prove one pitcher is any better than another.

  • KeithK

    Process is about the future. Results is about the past.

    If I’m assessing how a pitcher pitched at the end of the season I don’t care that much what his peripherals were. I just care how many runs he gave up. A guy with a 2.00 ERA who did it with smoke and mirrors (for instance, high WHIP, low K/9 and very low BABIP) was more valuable than a guy with a 3.50 ERA who had great peripherals (assuming same IP here.)

    Peripheral stats and “process” help you decide how well a guy is likely to pitch in the future. The smoke and mirrors guy is more likely to crash down to earth next season (or in the second half).

  • Cuso

    I was happy with Freddy last night. But as I watched every inning all I could think was “If this was (insert team), he’d be getting rocked.”

    Tampa Bay is tailor-made for Garcia. They’re a bunch of impatient fastball hitters.

    Besides Oakland and Seattle, Freddy can’t duplicate those results. If he can hold teams to 3 runs in 6 innings, he’s done his job.

    • Ted Nelson

      I don’t think any starting pitcher can consistently have a 0.00 ERA for a season…