Michael Salfino of SNY.tv takes a look at the numbers for some Yankees pitchers and offers who should be sent packing to make room for Joba Chamberlain in the starting rotation. Click here to see his feature. Some highlights:
Mussina has generated swinging strikes 11 times this year on 319 pitches. That’s five percent of strikes. At his peak, his rate was over three times that and it was 13 percent as recently as 2006. Last year, it was nine percent.
But Mussina’s control is still good enough to allow him to maintain a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2-1, which is above league average.
Looking at Kennedy and Hughes the same way is depressing for those like me who were bullish on one or both. (I’ve maintained that Kennedy is overrated given his lack of stuff.)
Kennedy this year has generated swinging strikes on just 11 percent of strikes. In 301 pitches, guys have swung and missed 17 times. Hughes, though, is even worse: nine percent of strikes are swinging: 18 swings and misses on 336 pitches.
There is no sign of dominance from either pitcher. I am surprised that Hughes hasn’t showed more stuff. I attributed his less-than-advertised velocity last year to his hamstring and ankle problems. But it looks like reports of a fastball that could touch the mid-90s were exaggerated.
Chamberlain gets batters to swing and miss on 20 percent of strikes. That’s 14 times in 98 pitches.
Even more importantly, he’s throwing strikes 70 percent of the time compared to 60 percent for Hughes and 55 percent for Kennedy. Kennedy’s number is atrocious. If he doesn’t get that number up to at least 65 percent he has no chance to achieve even moderate success.
My verdict: If someone goes for Chamberlain, it has to be Kennedy.
Personally, I think you have to factor in the “type” of pitcher here too. Chamberlain and Hughes have always been billed as “power” pitchers. But, in reality, Hughes, in the minors, was more of a ground-ball pitcher and Kennedy has always been a “contact” pitcher. So, maybe, here, looking at swings-and-misses is not the best idea.
In any event, the “strikes thrown” thing is important. To me, anything less than 65% is not good. That’s why Joe Girardi has been preaching “throw strikes” to Hughes and Kennedy. And, if they don’t start doing it soon, well, I hear that Scranton is beautiful in the summer-time…