The Injured List Yankees Pitching Staff Vs The Active Yankees Pitching Staff
As we all know, the Yankees have been devastated by injuries this year. It’s somewhat of a miracle that they are even in first place. While the position players are largely back (cross your fingers that they stay healthy), the starting pitching still suffers from a host of injuries. AS a result, Aaron Boone has had to resort to starting a grab bag of relievers every fifth day.
The crazy thing about all of this is that the Yankees had quite good pitching depth in the organization. They’ve actually lost half of their top end starters to injuries.
I thought that it might be fun to compare the current Yankee starters to the ones on the IL. I’ll be using FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), and a few other indicators as a basis for the comparisons. (FIP is basically ERA with luck and defense stripped out to give only a pitcher’s measure of runs allowed per 9 innings.)
Current Yankee Starters:
James Paxton had a 3.13 FIP before Wednesday’s disaster. Paxton has only pitched 64 innings this season confirming his reputation as rather frail. Still, he’s been pretty good when he has pitched. Believe it or not, Paxton has averaged 11.0 strikeouts per 9 innings. On the other hand, his walks are up from 2.36 per 9 innings last year to 3.6 per 9 innings this year.
Masahiro Tanaka (3.88 FIP) has been a workhorse in 2019. He’s pitched 98 innings and is on track for close to 200 innings this year. His K/9 is down from 9.17 in 2018 to 7.81 this year, but his walks are a solid 1.93 per 9 innings. He’s only given up 13 home runs, which is a nice break from his gopher ball past.
J.A. Happ owns a 5.48 FIP. On the one hand, Happ has pitched a lot of innings (84). On the other hand, they have been bad ones. His K/9 is down from 9.78 in 2018 to 7.04 this year. His walks have dropped to 2.03/9. Alas, he’s given up 20 home runs in half a season. His FIP was 3.98 last year. In a word, “ugh.”
CC Sabathia has pitched to a 5.27 FIP in 2019. CC is chugging along. He’s still striking out a decent number of batters (8.61/9) and not walking too many (3.39/9). The homers are ugly (15 in only 69 innings), but he’s almost 39 and I’m not sure what more we could have expected.
The Injured List Yankees:
Luis Severino pitched to a 2.95 FIP in 2018 in 191 innings. He is the Yankees’ best pitcher by a fair bit. Let’s hope he comes back soon.
Domingo German has a 4.07 FIP in 70 innings this season. He strikes out 9.90 batters per 9 innings and walks 2.44 batters per 9. German has allowed 12 homers in 70 innings, but you’ll take that body of work from a 26 year old with only 155 career innings in the big leagues any day of the week.
Jordan Montgomery has a 4.07 FIP in 155 innings back in 2017. Man, it stunk when he went down.
Jonathan Loaisiga’s career FIP in 4.02 in 39 innings in the MLB. Loaisiga walked a ton of batters (4.66/9) but he’s just a kid (with crazy good stuff). He’s one of my favorite players. I hope that he returns soon.
The Yankees actually have a full 4 man starting staff on the IL with a better average FIP (3.78) than the four starters that are actually healthy and pitching (4.44). On the one hand, that’s quite depressing. On the other hand, it shows the remarkable job the front office has done of building significant pitching depth in the organization. This analysis does not even include 2018 wunderkind Michael King who sported 2.70 and 3.20 FIPs in AA and AAA last year with crazy control (1.43 and 1.38 BB/9).
The good news is that if the Yankees do not hit the injury lottery as much going forward, they should have a decent staff even with CC retiring.
A fan can always dream.