2014 Season Review: The Greene Monster

Injury Updates: Sabathia, Claiborne, Murphy
Wednesday Night Open Thread
(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)
(Scott Iskowitz/Getty)

The Yankees were saddled with a ton of position player injuries last year, including Mark Teixeira‘s wrist, Curtis Granderson‘s forearm (and hand), and Derek Jeter‘s ankle. The result was far too much playing time for guys like Lyle Overbay, Vernon Wells, and Eduardo Nunez. The offense stunk. It was a lot worst than it was in 2014.

This past season, pitching injuries were the problem. Ivan Nova (Tommy John surgery) and Michael Pineda (shoulder) each made four starts in April before landing on the disabled list for several months. CC Sabathia‘s knee gave out on him in May. Then, right before the All-Star break, Masahiro Tanaka suffered a partially torn elbow ligament that essentially ended his season. Four-fifths of the team’s Opening Day rotation was on the disabled list by early-July.

That should have been the end of the line for the Yankees, but Brian Cashman & Co. did an excellent job cobbling together a pitching staff in the second half, a pitching staff that kept the Yankees close enough to the second wildcard spot to keep everyone interested. Brandon McCarthy and Chris Capuano were brought in on low-cost deals, and another quality rotation piece came from the (gasp!) farm system.

* * *

With Pineda, Tanaka, and the now-healthy Manny Banuelos hogging the pitching spotlight in Spring Training, right-hander Shane Greene was able to fly under the radar despite pitching well in camp. He struck out ten, walked one, and got eleven ground ball outs against just two in the air in 7.2 innings of relief work. Yeah, it was Spring Training, but guys like Greene need to have strong Spring Trainings to open eyes. I remember one outing against the Phillies in particular, in which he was breaking off nasty sinking fastballs like this one:

Greene was one of the very last roster cuts in Spring Training, which meant he wasn’t able to get properly stretched out before joining the Triple-A Scranton rotation. He opened the regular season in Extended Spring Training just to get some more tune-up innings under his belt before joining the RailRiders in mid-April. Greene made two relief appearances in Triple-A before being called up to the big league team on April 24th to help their overworked bullpen.

That night, Greene made his MLB debut against the Red Sox in Fenway Park. It was a disaster. He came out of the bullpen with the Yankees up 12-2 in the seventh, faced five batters, walked three of them, and allowed three runs while getting only one out (a strikeout of Shane Victorino). All three runs were unearned because Jeter made an error behind him, but still. Only eight of Greene’s 22 pitches were strikes and he looked very much like the marginal pitching prospect who walked 11.7% of batters faced in the minors from 2011-12 before breaking out in 2013.

The performance earned Greene a trip back to Triple-A, where he (finally) joined the rotation and was able to start every fifth day. His first eight starts with the RailRiders were pretty terrible: 6.56 ERA (3.72 FIP) with a 1.91 WHIP (!) in 35.2 innings. That’s a ton of base-runners. Greene’s strikeout (17.2%) and walk (8.9%) rates weren’t anything special either. It was hard not to think he was coming back down to Earth after such a strong breakout season last year.

Greene’s next five starts were much better (1.93 ERA and 3.25 FIP) — he threw seven scoreless innings on June 27th then another six scoreless innings on July 2nd — and, given the injury riddled state of the MLB rotation, that was enough to earn him a call-up. It was supposed to be just a one-start cameo, but Greene pitched well (two runs in six innings) in his first career start and the team kept him around for one more start to give the rest of the rotation an extra day of rest. Five days later, he did this:

Tanaka suffered his injury between Greene’s first and second starts, so even if he hadn’t dominated the Orioles the weekend before the All-Star break, Greene would have stayed in the rotation anyway. That was a good thing because his next three starts weren’t particularly good (ten runs in 15.2 innings), which probably would have earned him a trip back to Triple-A had the Yankees not already tapped out their pitching depth. (He made three errors in one of those games, as I’m sure you remember.)

Greene shook off those three lousy starts and fired eight shutout innings against the Tigers on August 7th. Only twice in his next eight starts did he allow more than two runs — he did have a disaster start against the Red Sox on September 2nd, allowing six runs in 2.2 innings — before the Orioles hit him around in his final start of the season on September 24th (six runs in 3.2 innings). Here is Greene’s game log after being called up to join the rotation:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str StS
2 Jul 7 NYY @ CLE W,5-3 6.0 4 2 2 0 2 1 1 2.84 22 88 56 3
3 Jul 12 NYY @ BAL W,3-0 7.1 4 0 0 2 9 0 0 1.32 27 106 65 15
4 Jul 21 NYY TEX L,2-4 5.2 5 4 4 1 5 0 1 2.79 26 113 73 13
5 Jul 27 NYY TOR L,4-5 5.1 8 3 3 2 2 1 0 3.28 24 86 56 7
6 Aug 2 NYY @ BOS W,6-4 4.2 6 3 3 2 5 1 0 3.68 22 96 52 3
7 Aug 7 NYY DET W,1-0 8.0 5 0 0 3 5 0 0 2.89 30 99 64 9
8 Aug 16 NYY @ TBR W,3-2 6.0 7 2 2 1 10 0 1 2.91 27 102 68 17
9 Aug 22 NYY CHW W,4-3 5.0 9 3 3 2 7 1 1 3.17 25 92 61 11
10 Aug 27 NYY @ DET W,8-4 7.0 5 2 2 1 8 1 1 3.09 29 101 69 12
11 Sep 2 NYY BOS L,4-9 2.2 6 6 6 3 3 2 1 3.88 18 67 38 4
12 Sep 7 NYY KCR L,0-2 5.0 5 2 0 3 4 0 0 3.57 22 90 54 10
13 Sep 13 NYY @ BAL W,3-2 5.1 7 2 2 1 9 1 0 3.56 23 112 71 13
14 Sep 18 NYY TOR W,3-2 6.2 3 0 0 2 6 0 0 3.24 24 105 73 10
15 Sep 24 NYY BAL L,5-9 3.2 7 6 6 3 5 0 0 3.78 21 73 49 8
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2014.

That four-start stretch from August 7th through August 27th is when Greene really made his mark and solidified his standing as a member of the rotation. He had a 2.96 ERA (3.59 FIP) during his eight-start stretch from August 7th through September 18th, which is cherry-picking at its finest, but I don’t care. Greene was tremendous during that stretch and it looked like the Yankees had themselves a real live homegrown rotation stalwart.

Greene finished the season with a 3.78 ERA and 3.73 FIP in 78.2 innings, which includes the ugly MLB debut out of the bullpen. He posted excellent strikeout (9.27 K/9 and 23.5 K%) and ground ball (50.2%) rates, and his walk rate (3.32 BB/9 and 8.4 BB%) was fine. Lefties did hit him a bit harder than righties — .281/.365/.400 (.345 wOBA) with a 30/18 K/BB against lefties and .240/.305/.356 (.297 wOBA) with a 51/11 K/BB against righties — which isn’t surprising since he’s basically a two-pitch pitcher, relying on that sinker and slider.

Those two pitches are very, very good though. Greene’s sinker averaged 93.9 mph this season, making it the third fastest sinker in baseball among pitchers who threw at least 70 innings this season. Only two relievers (Jeurys Familia and Tony Watson) had harder sinkers. Furthermore, the sinker had a 13.2% swing-and-miss rate and a 56.5% ground ball rate, both better than the league average for the pitch (5.4% and 49.5%, respectively).

Greene’s slider would sometimes come in at 87-88 mph, so PitchFX often classified it as a cutter. The slider had a 40.2% (!) swing-and-miss rate and a 45.4% ground ball rate, and again both were better than the MLB slider average (15.2% and 43.9%). Greene threw very few straight four-seamers and changeups in 2014 (~18% combined). He’s a sinker/slider pitcher and both the sinker and slider were above-average at getting whiffs and ground balls. That’s huge. Greene legitimately has two above-average pitches in his arsenal.

* * *

If not for Greene and the team’s other midseason rotation additions, the Yankees would have been knocked into irrelevancy in late-July. They kept them in the race longer than they should have been. McCarthy and Capuano were rentals who will become free agents in about a week. Their time in pinstripes may be short-lived.

Greene, on the other hand, will turn 26 next month. He emerged as a potential rotation building block going forward, even if he’s nothing more than a mid-rotation guy with a big platoon split. That has a lot of value. I won’t do it, but if you’re an optimist and you squint your eyes, maybe you can see the next Doug Fister (another former Yankees draft pick). That would be awesome.

Either way, Greene is a major player development success story for the Yankees. They drafted him in the 15th round of the 2009 draft and gave him a $100k signing bonus after only seeing him throw a handful of bullpens as he rehabbed from Tommy John surgery. The Yankees did a helluva job developing him over the years and getting him over his control issues. Now he’s a bonafide big league starter.

(Title comes from @JakeMHS, who has terrible opinions.)

Injury Updates: Sabathia, Claiborne, Murphy
Wednesday Night Open Thread
  • Jake S

    That last line is slander. Pardon me while I compose a letter of complaint.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      That seriously should just autocorrect to “Cashman failed.”

  • Dos Luises

    Nice to give well deserved credit for the player development job with Greeney.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Love it. Willing to ride it while it lasts, and hope it doesn’t stop lasting. Of course, the adjustment he was able to make which suddenly not only made him a successful AAA starter, but a successful MLB starter (!!!), is the one thing that still gives me pause. Can he continue to sustain this and not turn back into a pumpkin?

    No problem penciling him into the back of the rotation, but make sure that pencil still has a working eraser attached.

    • JacobyWanKenobi

      He’ll also probably need to get his change-up at or around average for a reliable third pitch. The speed differential should also help him a bit as well, due to his slider being relatively hard at 88-89.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I may or may not have fist pumped at the Roberts double play (hint: I did).

  • Dalek Jeter

    I may or may not have fist pumped at the Roberts double play (hint: I did).

  • bigdan

    Excellent write up.

    When I first saw Greene pitch this year he reminded me of Wang and I said so. But after a few starts, I think he can be better than Wang. I don’t remember Wang having a swing and miss slider like Greene’s. Greene also seems to use it as something like a CU too because he throws it at two different speeds (about 82 and 88).

    Greene’s slider and sinker break two different directions which I think has allowed him to be effective without a real CU. But given that lefties have had more success against him, I’m sure a CU is in the works. Changing eye level with his four seamer has been effective for him as well.

    I think it takes about two years in the major leagues before you can really get a good idea what a young player’s “ceiling” is. After almost one season from Greene, I’m not sure we can tell yet. It def looks like he belongs in a major league rotation. But he could end up anywhere from front end to back end or obviously in the middle. Sure is nice have a young Yankee with those types of “issues.”

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Why stop at two years? I think you get a great idea as to player’s ceiling after five years in the majors.

      In all seriousness, you get a better idea as to whether a player is going to meet their projected ceiling after two years. Waiting that long to make a projection kind of misses the point of why we project young players.

      *Inserts comment into black hole*

      • Mick

        That part is frustrating.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Not really. If he wants to only engage people who’ll buy what he’s peddling, it’s fine by me. It’s not going to stop me from introducing alternate points others can chime in on. Also, making fun of him.

          • Mick

            Don’t think he cares.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Not doing it for his benefit, Mick.

  • Andrew L

    “Only two relievers (Jeurys Familia and Tony Watson) had harder sinkers.”

    Zach Britton no?

  • Dalek Jeter

    I think penciling a healthy Tanaka, Pineda, and Greene into the rotation as “the ace” “the number two” and “the number four” for the next few years gives the Yankees some stability in what until very recently was a perennial need.

  • TCF16

    There’s a pretty good chance Greene is our number 1 starter next year.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      #ohdarren

      • TCF16

        Dude give me a fuckin break ..

        Even if CC is healthy, it’s highly questionable whether he’ll ever be better than an average inings eater. Pretty easy to see Greene eclipsing him by June.

        Nova will be recovering until who known when.

        Tanaka will hopefully be fine, but would it shock you one bit if he blew out his elbow in spring training?

        Am I missing someone else? or is everyone that confident that the Yankees are gonna sign Lester?

        Pineda is an injury concern until he proves otherwise.

        And before you tell me how I’m looking at the worse case scenario for the rotation, can I show you 2014 as Exhibit A of why it’s not that hard to imagine?

    • JacobyWanKenobi

      So they’re gonna win like 70 games is what you’re saying?

    • The Great Gonzo

      There is also a pretty good chance a giant hole opens up under the stadium and swallows it whole. On account of DarrenLogic and all

  • JGYank

    On a side note, how many pitchers has this team developed in the past few years? The ones I can think of are Nova, Phelps, Greene, Betances, Warren. That’s not even including the incoming guys that may make it like Mitchell Lindgren Webb, etc. and Severino is probably our top prospect. No aces, but that part of the farm seems to be doing ok.

    • bigdan

      Credit for Hughes and Kennedy?

      The problem has been much more pronounced with position players.

      • JGYank

        Not really recent. Could also add Drob to those guys.

        • JacobyWanKenobi

          In that case, throw Clippard on there too.

          • JGYank

            Good call.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I’d throw the asterisk in on Clippard, honestly. Turned out to be a much better bullpen piece than what the team ever envisioned him as.

            Do we drop the Quintana bomb and blow this thing up now?

            • JGYank

              Joba. *drops nuke

              How did we not mention him?

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Confusion. Anger. Regret. Lust.

                • http://www.google.com Tanuki Tanaka

                  One of those feelings ain’t normal, and it ain’t the last one.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          Wang.

          And, honestly, kudos to BigDan for actually citing Hughes and IPK there.

          • JGYank

            Wasn’t Wang a IFA? I mean I guess we developed him just didn’t draft him.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Started in Low-A with us in 2000. I’d say you can give them 100% credit for his development.

          • Mick

            Betances.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Whoops.

            • JGYank

              He was in my original list.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      No one at all since Pettitte, I’ve been told. I think all those guys play for the Mets.

      • Preston

        Honestly, Pettitte’s probably not even going into the Hall. So we really haven’t developed a GOOD pitcher since Whitey Ford. Since Mantle retired we’ve developed Jeter and Mo, that’s it. Everybody else is a bust. God we suck.

        • JGYank

          I’d like to think we developed Reggie, even if it was just his ego.

          • Wave Your Hat

            No, Reggie’s ego came fully developed, right out of the box.

            • Mick

              Good for us.

        • Mick

          Mel Stottlemyre.

          • Preston

            He’s okay, so was Guidry, but come on. We’re the Yankees. Are we really going to settle for mediocre guys. I mean even Jeter had his warts, was never really a great defender, didn’t hit for a ton of power. Certainly no Mantle, Dimaggio or Gehrig. Hell even those guys couldn’t pitch, so they weren’t THE BABE, and we didn’t even develop him. We’ve never developed ANYTHING!!!

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              Except for when Thunderfingers met Aura and Mystique. I heard he developed something that night.

            • Mick

              We never had to.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          But did Whitey win forty games in a season like Jack Chesbro did?

        • JacobyWanKenobi

          If the stupid NL just had a stupid DH we’d be talking about stupid chien ming stupid wang

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Don’t……make me……go back there.

        • Andrew DeClerk

          Pettitte was as good as Glavine, just the different leagues at the height of the PED era.

      • JGYank

        Apparently Kevin Long is considering joining them.

      • pfunk42529

        Andrew DeClerk? Did you change your name?

        • Andrew DeClerk

          I’m still here. I’ll never quit this community, in a crying fit or otherwise.

          • Jim Is Bored

            You’re the best around, Andrew.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      Name more since Pettitte, who debuted almost 20 years ago.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      In fact, I’m willing to bet the Yankees haven’t got the same 60.9 WAR from the rest of the system in the 20 years since Petitte debuted.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        I would send a virtual box of donuts to anyone willing to take that project on, and who was willing to show their work on it.

        • JGYank

          Well could just add up the WARs of the guys we mentioned below, unless he means it has to be for the Yanks.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Jim and I are working on this already. All the donuts belong to us.

            • JGYank

              Can’t I get just one boston creme?

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Yes.

        • Too Many Idiots

          If he’s talking about the “system” and not just pitchers, Cano and Gardner have produced 68.3 rwar

          • JGYank

            Another 20 from just Wang and Drob.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Didn’t want to go there. Wanted the big of dicks he’s eating to only contain pitching dick, with no “But Mo’s his contemporary” or “Duque didn’t really come up through the system.”

            • Too Many Idiots

              Yeah, I knew he’d complain about Duque, unless he was signed by another team in which case it would count.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                I am way too proud of this right now. Going home on a happy note.

        • Too Many Idiots

          Hughes – 6.3
          Drob – 10.8
          Wang – 14
          Nova – 7.3
          Ramiro Mendoza – 11.4
          Betances – 3.5
          Greene – .6
          Joba – 7.1

          Total 61 rwar

          • Jim Is Bored

            BRef right? We did Fangraphs and still had enough. Jorge’s posting.

            • Too Many Idiots

              Yes. BGT is even forgetting only 51.6 of Pettitte’s war was for the Yankees.

              • Jim Is Bored

                He’s worth more on fangraphs, where it’s actually 58.6

                Doesn’t matter, he’s wrong on either site.

                He’ll never admit it though. His next post is “So? That’s not impressive” and he’ll act as though this whole exercise wasn’t his idea.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  And he’ll make a crack about me crying. Yes.

              • Jorge Steinbrenner

                Imagine what that count would look like if we included non-yankee production, or if we included position players, which he never ruled out.

                • Too Many Idiots

                  This guy definitely has rocks in his head.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    You sons of bitches. I normally actually get a strong amount of work donw while I comment on here. This time? Nothing for about the past 45 minutes.

          • JGYank

            Is that all with the Yanks or their entire career? Either way well done.

            • Too Many Idiots

              NY only

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              My count is solely based is on Yankee performance.

              • JGYank

                *golf clap

                Worked out to just enough amazingly.

                • Jim Is Bored

                  There are some more stragglers we left off the list. Probably would have added up to ~1 more.

                  • JGYank

                    Andrew’s comment that it’s just barely over in 3, 2, 1…

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      He’d be the one in Vegas who bets on an over under, and when he misses it by 1, bitches to the bookie that he was close.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      Then I add Mo’s 40.2 back in.

                    • Andrew DeClerk

                      You do realize that’s a very low bar, right? That was my point.

                • Andrew DeClerk

                  Matt Foley said it best.

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          There were still others we thought of, without getting completely fucking ridiculous, which would, of course, bring that number up, including Mariano’s 40.2 career WAR, which COUNTS, but was left off, since I don’t even want a shred of confusion here.

          You can even throw in negative career WAR for both Sean Henn and Edwar Ramirez, and it’d be smooth sailing.

      • Jim Is Bored

        I sincerely hope you meant pitching only, Andrew.

      • JGYank

        The fact that they developed one pitcher that was able to do that makes up for it if they didn’t get that much.

        • Andrew DeClerk

          You do realize that averages out to 3WAR from their system each year.

          • JGYank

            It’s more than that since you didn’t factor in any other player.

            • Andrew DeClerk

              3 from from every one else besides Petitte every year for twenty years. That’s pathetic. Betances gave that all by himself this year.

      • The Great Gonzo

        Be careful what you wish for.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        At my request, we left off pitchers who came up after Andy Pettittte with names such as Orlando Hernandez and, oh, Mariano Rivera.

        Also, despite not specifying otherwise, we stuck solely with pitchers and thought up names until we reached the number needed. Sadly, it took us about 20 names to remember the existence of Ivan Nova.

        Without further ado, with a big thanks to Fangraphs, Jim is Bored, the Great Gonzo, and my job:

        Hughes 11
        Wang 10.6
        robertson 9.2
        betances 3.2
        Mendoza 10
        Warren 1.3
        Halsey 0.3
        IPK .3
        Phelps 2.5
        Greene 1.2
        Aceves 1.3
        Nova 6.3
        Joba 6.8

        That adds up to 63.7.

        Thank you, Good night.

        • The Great Gonzo

          #dropsmic

        • Jim Is Bored

          The kind of amazing part is nearly none of that, outside of Mendoza, is pre 2000. Hell, most of it is the last 5-6 years.

          • Wave Your Hat

            You see what a miserable job the Yanks did developing pitchers pre-2000?

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            Let’s add Brandon Claussen back in there and round it out to a nice 64.0.

            Ya done, BGT. Ya finished.

            • Chip

              You can add Preston Claiborne and bump it up to 64.5 if you would like.

        • Chip

          Incidentally – remember when Peter Gammons was hating on the trade that sent Randy Johnson to the Yankees and said that the D’backs cleaned up on that deal because of how good Halsey was going to be?

        • Andrew DeClerk

          Impressive piece of work y’all were able to collaborate on. Who did the math?

          The funny part is you think that’s a good or even average showing.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.

        • Dalek Jeter

          This is a work of art, well done sir(s).

      • Too Many Idiots

        Thanks for proving your stupidity.

  • Preston

    I actually believe he can sustain his walk rate, which was his problem prior to 2013. He walked 1.7/9 between High A and AA in 2013, 3.5 in AAA this year, and 3.3 in MLB, so I think we have enough of a sample to say he isn’t the 5.1 BB/9 guy he was in 2012. Steamer seems to agree projecting him for 3.49 BB/9. I think the most shocking thing for him this season was his K rate. He posted a 7.7 K/9 in AA last season, and a 7.7 K/9 in AAA this season. The highest K rate he ever posted in a significant sample was 8.35 in Charleston in 2011. His MLB K rate was 9.27. That’s a big jump. Maybe he’s finally gotten his slider working for him, it’s hard to know what his pitch selection and effectiveness was in the minors. But that’s a pretty big spike. Steamer projects him for a 6.97 K/9, I’m not that bullish on him. But expecting him to K a batter an inning, or even 8 K/9, is probably too optimistic.

    • bigdan

      Flying blind here, but I think you almost have to believe his slider is the answer to his increased K rate. Would be interested in some expert (scouting) opinion though.

      • Preston

        If it’s real, it’s probably because of either a new or improved pitch. His slider seems to be the easiest explanation. Here’s my problem with buying into that. He was in ST with the team (he was literally the last cut from the roster). Usually when you add a new pitch that would be when you do it, and he probably worked with Rothschild a lot then. But we don’t see those results showing up against AAA hitters in this first half. Which means he either learned or reworked his slider mid-season. Or the K spike is small sample size. Either way he has enough talent that even if his K rate were around 7.5 per 9, he could still be pretty effective.

        • Havok9120

          I think part of the issue in the early going is the way he was jerked between levels and unable to consistently pitch. Whether that explains everything….eh.

          • Preston

            Absolutely. I agree with this 100%

  • The Great Gonzo

    “Either way, Greene is a major player development success story for the Yankees.”

    False, Andrew told me so.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      They have plenty of failures. Greene isn’t one.

  • Dirk Diggler

    Lots of similarities to Corey Kluber. Not saying he will ever be as good as Kluber was in 2014 but even a Corey Kluber lite would be pretty sick in this rotation.

    • Preston

      http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/shane-greene-cant-keep-it-up-right/

      This article mentions Kluber, but ultimately says the best comp is Tyson Ross. I’d take that too.

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        If we can turn Shane F’n Greene into Tyson Ross, it’d be a ridiculous success story for this franchise.

        • JGYank

          Is it? Ross is a 2-3 WAR pitcher. Not easy to develop, but nothing too impressive.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            If you go back to when he was drafted, the bonus he was given, and based on the little they saw of him, yeah, I think a 2-3 WAR pitcher would be a pretty big accomplishment.

            • Y’s Guy

              The last 3 WS Champs combined had only 4 SP who posted a WAR above 2.2. There are only 3 such starters in this WS combined. Perhaps we’re undervaluing a 2-3 WAR starter.

              • JGYank

                74 SP this year reached 2 or more fWAR. Since there are 30 teams with 5 spots, I’ll say about half of rotation spots give 2 or more WAR.

                • JGYank

                  To add to that, starters in 2014 combined 345.2 fWAR, divided by 150 rotation spots and you get 2.3 WAR per spot so basically a 2-3 WAR starter is pretty much average.

                  • http://batman-news.com nyyankfan7

                    That is such a flawed analysis.

                    How much of that 345.2 is taken by guys like Bumgardner, Kershaw, Sale, Felix etc.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      Eh, it’s accurate insofar as what it says. 2-3 WAR is the mathematical average. The median would be more useful for us though.

                    • vicki

                      right. outliers don’t affect the median as strongly as they do the mean.

                    • JGYank

                      The sample seems large enough that it wouldn’t matter which I used since the outliers count for a small portion of the average. However, the median cuts out some of the starters that missed the innings cut off so I figured the average is more accurate. If I dropped the innings cut off to far then I would be looking at pitchers who would have posted higher WARs if they had pitched more.

                    • JGYank

                      Out of the 88 qualified starters, the median is 2.5.

                    • Jim Is Bored

                      Better :) I was too lazy to do the math

                    • JGYank

                      Just had to go to the leaderboards set the innings cutoff and find where the halfway point was.

                    • JGYank

                      How is it flawed? Why would I take out part of the sample? To compensate for that I would have to take out #5 starters or something.

                    • Y’s Guy

                      150 starters? How many teams only used 5 starters?
                      a 2.5 bWAR would put him in about the top 1/3 of SP’s for a 15th round pick who’s not even arbitration eligible for 2 more years.

                    • JGYank

                      There’s only 5 spots per rotation so I did it per rotation spot. Including all the starters used would distort the median but is included in the average. He ranks from 40-50th depending on the innings cutoff. Since average is somewhere between 1.9 and 2.5 and he’s at 2.6, his season was above average, but barely.

      • Dirk Diggler

        Yeah I remember that article when it was published on FG. I even read it again, because it’s really well done. Greene was both impressive when looking at his peripherals and on tape, where we can see a sh*t ton of tilt on a very good fastball that touches the mid 90s. Greene’s slider was the topper, but his heater is an instant path to success in MLB if he can continue to locate it like he did in 2014. Hell, Bart Colon lives and dies by his riveting two-seam fastball…and he’s been pretty good even in his late 30s stemcells or no stemcells.

  • JGYank

    Also while I do feel that Greene can be successful in 2015, I just don’t like the thought of him facing LHB at YS. Not a good match. Would be great for him to develop a pitch to balance his platoon splits. If not his GB% will help him survive.

    • Andrew DeClerk

      This to me dictates his future. If he can’t turn over decent lefties two to three times a game, I don’t see how he’s a starter.

  • Robert

    I saw him pitch in the minors Trenton) and was not impressed. He sure impressed at the MLB level.
    The lesson is bring up the kids once they breathe the MLB air it can ignite them.I hope the Yanks use the farm as option #1 next year when a player is needed.

    • The Great Gonzo

      Luckily (sarcasm intended) the Yankees had so many rotation issues last season that they were able to do a little from column A and a little from column B with relative levels of success. So Greene impressed from below, but Capuano/McCarthy also did well….

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        If you really want them to ignite once they breathe the MLB air, douse them in gasoline beforehand.

        • hansdee

          That’s one of the more combustible items owned in any American household. Good old, regular, lawn mower gasoline. Never fails. Its usefulness is always overlooked.

          • vicki

            why you gotta talk about freddy garcia like that?

  • Andrew DeClerk

    You are trying too hard to be positive. Were you this glowing of Phelps his first year?

    Greene looks good, most especially his delivery. Hopefully he continues to learn and grow.

    • Jim Is Bored

      lol, Andrew

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      You are the Eeyore of RAB.

      • Jim Is Bored

        Some people actually like Eeyore.

        • hansdee

          I had to look him up. We haven’t covered him yet with the youngest granddaughter. For a minute, I thought you’d done a typo on eyesore.

      • Andrew DeClerk

        You didn’t answer my question.

        I like Greene. It’s just that people are getting WAY ahead of themselves. He will have been a good find with nothing else. But that doesn’t make him bonefide, yet.

        To be clear: I will be cheering for him.

        To be more clear, Mike: You have one choice, do you sign McCarthy or leave the spot open for Greene?

        • Preston

          Mike’s opinion’s are public, go to the archives or google it yourself.

    • vicki

      … who’s trying too hard?

    • Chip

      You’re completely clueless. Greene has much better stuff than Phelps does.

      • Andrew DeClerk

        And Phelps has a longer track record.

        Where were you on Chase Whitley?

        • Chip

          First of all – Whitley’s not got nearly the same stuff as Greene

          Second – Chase didn’t crash down because he’s not a good pitcher. He crashed because he wore down. He was a converted relief pitcher who had started a grand total of 8 games going into last season.

          • Andrew DeClerk

            My point is only: We need to wait on Greene. I hope he’s as good as he’s shown. But if they can sign McCarthy, they should. Greene can be a fine swing man until he corrals the platoon splits.

            • Chip

              McCarthy has nothing to do with Greene. If they sign McCarthy the rotation is Tanaka, Pineda, McCarthy, Greene, CC

              • Andrew DeClerk

                That’s one biased view.

                • Chip

                  Yes, but it’s one biased view based in fact whereas yours is a biased view based on nonsense.

                  • Andrew DeClerk

                    So quick to ignore small samples, are we? Smalls samples aint fact.

    • Preston

      David Phelps in 2012, 12 GS 57.1 IP,
      8.48 K/9, 3.61 BB/9, 43.9% GB, 1.21 HR/9, 3.77 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 4.16 xFIP

      Shane Greene in 2014, 14 GS 78.1 IP,
      9.19 K/9, 2.99 BB/9, 50 % GB, .92 HR/9, 3.79 ERA, 3.64 FIP, 3.31 xFIP

      Obviously Girardi didn’t view them the same. He gave Greene some leash to go longer (5.595 innings per start) while Phelps had a short hook (4.775 innings per start). For reference a league average starter averages about 5.9. Which means Phelps stats are probably aided from not facing as many batters multiple times in a game. And other than ERA, Greene did everything better, more Ks, fewer BBs, more ground balls, fewer homers. Which means that his 3.79 ERA is actually worse than his peripherals (as his FIP and xFIP show). While Phelps’s ERA was not supported by his peripherals. Which is all an evidenced way of saying there are lots of reasons to be way more optimistic about Greene than Phelps. He can regress slightly and still be good, Phelps needed to get better just to repeat.

      • Andrew DeClerk

        FIP doesn’t account for the scoring environment. ERA+ is better than and shows Phelps faced better lineups.

        • Preston

          ERA+ does not do what you think it does. All it does is adjust for league average and park factors. But it’s based in ERA. There is a different run environment now, in 2012 the league average ERA for a starter was 4.12, in 2014 it was 3.82. Which would make Phelps look better. But FIP is much more predictive than ERA, especially in samples this size, and Phelps FIP (4.49) showed that his ERA was unsustainable. Greene’s FIP (3.64) shows that his ERA is in line with his peripherals. If you’re going to throw around stats and be condescending, you should at least understand what they mean. Greene literally did everything better than Phelps, he’s been the better pitcher, and has the more promising future as a starter.

          • Andrew DeClerk

            Nice job moving the goalposts. You affirmed my point the bashed me for a straw man. I agree Greene is more promising but the difference in run scoring environments is exactly the point I was making.

            • Preston

              It’s an extraneous point. You asked if Mike was this excited for Phelps. I pointed out that although his ERA was low, it was unsustainable. And that Greene’s ERA is supported by his peripherals. You brought up an extraneous point about run environment. Which doesn’t really effect my argument at all. I’m done having conversations with you.

              • Andrew DeClerk

                Pitchers, especially those with good control, have been known to outperform their peripherals. If you knew as much as you pretended to, you’d know that.

                Furthermore, you’d understand that the run scoring environment is very relevant when comparing pitchers of different seasons. Greene benefitted far more from the new context, and likely due to the low strike, exactly again affecting his peripherals.

                Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

                • Preston

                  Again, you’ve made an extraneous point. Pitchers have been known to outperform their peripherals. But you’d need a much larger sample to assume that was the case for Phelps. Also he wasn’t a control pitcher. So again how is your point relevant? He should have been expected to regress to his FIP. And since we’re basing this argument on what “should” have been expected, we can see that in fact he has in the two seasons since (even in the low scoring environment). And even in the new run environment Greene is better than average. Which is good. And unlike Phelps, it seems sustainable. This was a clear point that I made in my first post. It countered your criticism. You’ve been unable to accept or acknowledge it. There is no point to talking with someone like that.

                  • Andrew DeClerk

                    “Seems” sustainable. For a guy who supposedly understands stats, you are far out on a limb with claims like “better”. I only asked if the enthusiasm was there for Phelps after his first season. One could argue he’s been struggling with injuries – the book is still out on him too. And he has a “better” pedigree than Greene.

                    I draw no conclusions from either – If I had to guess both are likely swing men for different reasons.

    • Canarsie Yankee

      I know, another failure by the Yankees front office.

  • TB

    Two Words —— GREENE MACHINE

    • Guest

      2 WORDS YOUR’E HOT

      • NYCORNERSTONE

        2 MORE WORDS FAKE PIC

  • HoopDreams

    I prefer Greene Machine, but I like watching this kid pitch. Nice slider and dang good sinker, almost like the great Chien Ming Wang. Now lets hope Greene never messes up his foot rounding a base in a national league park

    • LazerTown

      Wang was fantastic.

      • CashmanNinja

        That injury was one of the worst ever because at first it didn’t seem too bad. I figured he’d miss a few starts, but I never thought it would basically turn him into an unproductive pitcher for the rest of his career. I also find many similarities between Greene and Wang. That’s why I’m perfectly fine with penciling Greene into the rotation, even if it means bumping Phelps out. Greene’s stuff is just too good to not use. Whether or not he can keep any control issues in check is another matter.

        • JLC 776

          Let’s have a moment of silence for Wang. He was such a bright-spot for the organization for two wonderful years.

          I’ve always wondered where the organization would be had Wang and Joba not succumbed to injury and, effectively, had their careers significantly changed.

  • RetroRob

    Let’s hope they can work that same development with Mitchell. And as much as the drumbeat is to get younger and we all want to see homegrown Yankees, the team should not be afraid of trading him as part of a package for the right player.

    • HoopDreams

      I am a fan of Mitchell. He did alright in his spot start against a tough O’s team.

      • CashmanNinja

        Mitchell is intriguing because he’s got a nice fastball and that power curve. The reason I like him so much is that if he fails as a starter I think he could be an excellent reliever (think Betances). If he doesn’t have to save his arm for multiple innings then he could ramp his fastball up to 97 which makes an 83-85 mph power curve look even better. There’s a lot to like about him. He went 5 scoreless against the O’s and that’s no easy task considering the offense they had.

  • OFFICER PULASKI

    I think Greene is good and all and glad hes getting praise…but why does he have the goofiest look on his face during pictures

    • NYCORNERSTONE

      OFFICER HAVE YOU SEEN YOUR FACE

    • JLC 776

      He’s trolling you…

  • NYCORNERSTONE

    I HOPE THEY DON’T RUIN GREENE NOW AND GO OUT SIGNING LESTER AND MCCARTHY OR EVEN LETTING CC PITCH FIGURE NOVA WILL GET RUINED NOW TOO SIGN POSITION PLAYERS

  • dubinsky

    Greene would be dandy employing that sinker in Coors Field