Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Young Pitching

I'm going to have a little fun today. Baseball Prospectus releases it's year "PECOTA" predictions, attempting to pin down the performance level of every major leaguer. I'm a strong advocate for staying away from the free agent market and using our pitching depth to fill the voids, which creates the next logical question. How good can they be?

Our candidates for promotion out of spring training next year are Steve White, Phil Hughes, Tyler Clippard, Jeff Karstens, J.B. Cox, T.J. Beam, Darrell Rasner, and Sean Henn. I am going to give "my timeline and projection" for these young pitchers this year. Note, this is incredibly unscientific and completely meaningless. That said, it can be fun.

Offseason: The Yankees bring back Mike Mussina, Randy Johnson, Chien-Ming Wang, and Carl Pavano.

Spring Training: The Yankees audition their pitching staff in Tampa. It is determined that Phil Hughes, although he could certainly do well in the major leagues right now, would be served well long term if he took a little more time to tighten up his changeup. Tyler Clippard, J.B. Cox, T.J. Beam, and Steve White are determined not ready to pitch in the major leagues. Sean Henn sees no spot for himself and is traded away . Darrell Rasner is promoted to the major league bullpen as a long man, and Jeff Karstens is made the Yankee's 5th starter.

April: While Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang succeed, Randy Johnson falters. Carl Pavano pitches marginally well, but is booed every time he takes the mound by Yankee fans. Jeff Karstens pitches about as well as Pavano.

May: Randy Johnson starts to recover, but his ERA is still north of 5. Carl Pavano sits on a tact and injures his shoulder, landing on the 60 day DL. Phil Hughes, who hasn't allowed a run in 15 innings, is promoted from AAA. Hughes immediately dominates.

June: Scott Proctor, after a stellar start to the season, sees his control falter. It is discovered that he is fatigued, and lands on the DL with some sort of shoulder or elbow injury. Brian Bruney, pitching fairly well, takes his responsibilities. Kyle Farnsworth is pitching excellent. The Yankees call up T.J. Beam, who pitches fairly well.

July: Brian Bruney goes down with some sort of elbow trouble, after throwing 30+ innings in June. The Fire Joe Torre blog is filled with accusations of Joe Torre ruining pitchers. J.B. Cox is called up from AAA. In the warm weather, Randy Johnson becomes marginally useful. Carl Pavano reinjures his arm while writing a letter to Angelina Jolie. Jeff Karstens sees his ERA fall below the league average.

August: Scott Proctor returns, sending Cox back to the minors until September. However, he is not effective. His velocity and control are both way down following shoulder trouble. By now, Hughes is being talked about as a no brainer for ROY, and possibly the Game 2 starter for the New York Yankees in the playoffs. Chien-Ming Wang, throwing his new cutter, finally learns to strike people out again. Wang is considered for the Cy Young award.

September: While trying to rehab the small hole in his buttox, Carl Pavano is hit by a bicycle. No one observes the event, but Pavano insists that it had two wheels. Steve White, who pitched fairly well in AAA, and Tyler Clippard are called up with the expanded rosters. Eric Duncan and Justin Christian are also called up to help the team. Kevin Thompson is called up, but not used once. The Yankees clinch early, as both the Blue Jays and Red Sox fail to assemble a team much different from their 2006 team.

October: Phil Hughes and Chien-Ming Wang lead the Yankees to a championship. Randy Johnson does not make the playoff roster, with the 4th starter slot taken by Jeff Karstens.

Season lines:

Phil Hughes - 24 starts, 174 innings, 3.63 ERA. 162 Ks, 46 BBs. Wins ROY.
Jeff Karstens - 31 starts, 184 innings, 4.31 ERA. 126 Ks, 52 BBs.
T.J. Beam - 42 games, 38 innings. 3.72 ERA. 37 Ks, 17 BBs.
J.B. Cox - 36 games, 37 innings. 3.42 ERA. 28 Ks, 12 BBs.