• Bring On The Whiffing Horses

    Posted by on November 27th, 2007 · Comments (3)

    JMM at My Baseball Bias, today, took at look at the Yankees’ “lack of a dominant, strikeout pitcher.”

    I agree that K-pitchers help. Back in July of this year, I noted that:

    Teams like the Mariners, Twins, A’s, Red Sox and Indians are realizing that Power Pitchers who pound the strikezone are the way to go – to have a good team.

    Two months after that, I highlighted a study by Vinay Kumar that suggested “the only batting category that shows as a strong indicator of post-season success is batters’ strikeouts — the one category that sabermetricians have long called meaningless.”

    Now, neither JMM or myself are the first to point towards the Yankees need for pitchers who can produce whiffs. Back in March of this year, I linked to a study by Dayn Perry that stated:

    In any event, it’s reasonable to assume that the Yanks are enduring their title drought in part because of the fact that they’re not catching the ball and whiffing the opposition as they once did and in part because of the fact that the cosmos haven’t smiled upon them in a few years. It’s a little of both. If the Yankees are to return to the top of the MLB mountain, then they’ll need to focus on what they can control — bettering the defense and adding pitchers with strikeout chops.

    And, back in 2006, I also pointed to the study in Baseball Between the Numbers which offered that pitcher strikeout rates was one of three key variables for post-season success.

    In fact, there are many studies which conclude that a strikeout results in less runs than a batted ball out (other than double plays).

    Don’t get me wrong here – I would still love to see Wang and Pettitte in the Yankees 2008 rotation. However, it would seem to make sense to have the three guys in there with them be strikeout pitchers.

    Comments on Bring On The Whiffing Horses

    1. Tex Antoine
      November 28th, 2007 | 8:10 am

      Didn’t this all come up three years ago? Wasn’t the fact that the Yanks didn’t have anyone who could “miss bats” cited as one of the contributing factors to their ALCS loss to the Red Sox? As I recall, that’s how we ended up with Jaret Wright and Kyle Farnsworth on our staff. How’d that work out?

    2. November 28th, 2007 | 9:33 am

      ~~~As I recall, that’s how we ended up with Jaret Wright and Kyle Farnsworth on our staff. How’d that work out?~~~

      Well, obviously, the pitcher needs to have K-ability and a healthly arm and/or head too.

    3. JohnnyC
      November 28th, 2007 | 12:23 pm

      “power pitchers that pound the strikezone” is the important phrase here. The Yankees have tried using hard throwers who don’t consistently throw strikes (Brian Bruney is the most recent example but it’s Farnsworth’s M.O. as well). That’s part natural ability and part mechanics. The ability part we’ve improved in recent years by drafting better, the mechanics part may be Dave Eiland’s calling card (if he has one). As a side note, you don’t have to throw hard to miss bats…that’s where Edwar or pitchers like him could do well for us. But the key is consistently pounding the strikezone, staying ahead in the count, finishing batters. Mr. Eiland, you’re up.

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