Looking at the Three True Outcomes: Pitching

As I said this earlier this afternoon, I’m a sucker for homers, walks, and strikeouts. We know the Yankees’ are hitting homers and drawing walks at an above average rate (considerably so in the case of the long ball) while maintaining a league average strikeout rate, but what about the pitching staff?

The graph above is the pitching version of the graph I used earlier, with the stats expressed in terms of batters faced per events. Remember to click it for a larger view. You want the homer and walk rates to be high (more batters faced per HR or BB) while the strikeout rate should be way down low. Again, the AL averages I’ve listed do not include the Yankees, so we’re comparing them to the other 13 AL clubs.

Let’s run through it quick, since the graph is pretty self explanatory. The Yankees are slightly better than league average when it comes to strike outs, we’re talking 5.48 BF/K compared to 5.62 BF/K. Their unintentional walk rate is actually worse than league average, just under twelve batters faced per walk. The homerun rate has been up and down all year, but it’s settled down of late and right now sits about four batters faced per homer better than the average. Believe it or not, the Yankees’ pitching staff has the eighth best FIP in baseball (3.64), and their staff ERA essentially matches (3.72). April’s a good time for stats, eh?

King of the Fist Pumps returns from the DL

Fist pumps are returning to the Bronx. The Yankees have announced that backup catcher Francisco Cervelli has been activated from the disabled list, and Gustavo Molina, who won’t enter the history books as a hitless Yankee, has been optioned down to AAA. Cervelli, who hit .271/.359/.335 last year, broke his foot in the middle of Spring Training. He’ll serve as Russell Martin‘s backup and hopefully will not take too many at-bats away from the Yanks’ starting catcher. Gustavo, we hardly knew ye.

Looking at the Three True Outcomes: Offense

I obsess probably a little too much over the three true outcomes, meaning walks (preferably unintentional), strikeouts, and homers. All three events take the defense right out of the equation, and every so often I check out how the Yankees are doing in each department compared to league average. That’s what you see in the graph above, and I recommend clicking it for a larger and easier to read view.

Strikeout rate typical stabilizes around 150 plate appearances while it takes walk rate about 200 or so. Homerun rate needs a bit more time, right around 300 plate appearances. For a player, that’s anywhere from a quarter to half a season, so we shouldn’t get too worked up about Robinson Cano‘s 1.1% (!!!) walk rate for another 100-110 plate appearances or so. When you look at the entire team though, we get to these stability points much more quickly. In fact, we’re already north of 800 plate appearances for the Yankees as a whole, which is the second fewest in the American League. That has more to do with all those rain outs and off days than anything else.

The graph shows the team’s cumulative strikeout, unintentional walk, and homerun rates in terms of plate appearances per event. So ten plate appearances per strikeout, something like that. You want the uIBB and HR rates to be low but the K rate to be high (that means more PA per strikeout, so they’re happening with less frequency). As you can see in the graph, they’ve hovered right around the league average in strikeout rate all month, whiffing once every 5.75 trips to the plate, give or take a tenth of a plate appearance. That’s reasonably in line with last year’s 5.62 PA/K, which again was almost exactly league average.

As for the unintentional walks, New York batters are comfortably better than league average. They’ve worked an unintentional walk once every 10.27 plate appearances in 2011, more than full PA better than average. That’s the second best rate in the league, bested only by the Red Sox at 9.68 PA/uIBB. Forget about the homerun rate, the Yankees are off the charts good there. At 20.29 PA/HR, they’re more than double to league average of 44.37 PA/HR. That’s crazy. Add in the fact that they’re not striking out at an ungodly pace (more power, more strikeouts, that’s just the way it goes), and it’s a pretty impressive offense when you remove things the defense impacts. Of course it hasn’t looked that way over the last week or so, at least not up until last night.

Note: Just to be clear, I removed the Yankees from the league average calculation. So we’re effectively comparing the Yankees to the other 13 AL teams.

NoMaas interviews Slade Heathcott

NoMaas’ Gary Wallace sat down for a chat with 2009 first rounder Slade Heathcott, and the two discussed a sorts of aspects about his game. I found it pretty interesting that Slade has already abandoned the changes the Yankees made to his swing last year, going back to the way he hit in high school. It’s working obviously (.442 wOBA in 18 games), but he mentioned several times that’s he’s still searching for his swing and getting comfortable with it. Consistency is another big thing for him, trying avoid so many peaks and valleys throughout the season. Make sure you head over and check it out, that’s some great stuff right there.

Planned RAB Outage: 1 a.m. Eastern Time

After months of spotty service and less-than-satisfactory support from our current web hosting company, we’re finally making the move to our new host. This move will require some downtime this evening, and from 1 a.m. Eastern Time onward, River Ave. Blues will likely be inaccessible. We hope to have the site back up and running by 2 a.m. We schedule the move for Saturday morning/Friday night to minimize disruptions, and we’ll be back up as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and thanks for your patience.

Please note that we’ll be leaving this post on top of the site until the server switch is complete. Make sure to scroll down for new content.