A recent comment to an entry made earlier today had me wondering about how well the Yankees pitched in the second half of 2005. So, I looked at their performace, compared to the rest of the AL, from July 4th through season end, using Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA):
Not bad. New York had the best pitching in the AL East during the 2nd half of the season. But, it’s still not in the class of the very good pitching teams in the AL Central and West.
How do the Yankees close the gap?
Well, their starting pitchers are sorta locked in. You know that it’s going to be Johnson and Mussina at the top. And, because of his contract, if he’s healthy (and not traded), then Pavano gets a spot. And, Chacón and Wang each warranted getting a slot in the rotation next year (based on what they did in 2005). That’s five. Also, there’s Jaret Wright (who’s much like Pavano in terms of status) in the wings.
To improve this bunch, and how they did in the 2nd half, the Yankees need Pavano and Mussina to be healthy and pitch well – and for the others (Chacón, Wang, and Johnson) to do what they did in the 2nd half last year.
And, in the pen, there are huge areas where they can improve. Basically, the Yankees need to add 3 to 4 quality arms in the pen to assist Mariano. (And, I’m assuming that Gordon is gone.) Here, in the end, it may be Brian Cashman who is the person who can make the most positive impact.
Mussina, Pavano and Cashman – three to watch for 2006.