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Monday, June 06, 2022

Elite Rotation Helps Yankees to Majors’ Best Start in 21 Years

No joking: six or seven innings has become standard for Yankees starters lately. Over their past 15 games — a span that began with a May 22 doubleheader against the White Sox — New York starters have thrown at least six innings in 14 out of 15 games, the exception being a scoreless five-inning spot start by call-up JP Sears, the first start of his career. Four times in that span, Yankees starters have gone eight innings, and six other times they’ve gone at least seven. Over that stretch, the starters have a 1.15 ERA, 2.43 FIP, and a 25.4% strikeout rate and have held opposing hitters to a .158/.200/.234 line. That’ll work.

For the full season, the unit as a whole has been the best at just about everything. They have the majors’ lowest walk rate (5.1%) and home run rate (0.79 per nine), and while their 25.6% strikeout rate is only second-best, their 20.6% strikeout-walk differential is also tops. Naturally, they have the majors’ lowest FIP (2.99); their 73 FIP- is a full 11 points lower than that of the second-ranked Phillies. Thanks to a .256 BABIP — yes, also a major league low — and a 5.8% barrel rate (second-lowest), they also have the lowest ERA of any rotation (2.55). Overall, their rotation’s 7.7 WAR is 1.6 higher — that is, 26% better — than the second-ranked Phillies, who for all of the problems that led to Joe Girardi’s firing at least have strong starters. All five Yankees starters rank among the AL’s top 14 in WAR and top 17 in FIP, with Cortes leading the league in the former category….

How are the Yankees doing this? The answer is simple: Volume. The team is third in the majors with 27 starts of at least six innings, behind only San Diego (33) and Houston (28). They’re averaging 5.69 innings per start, a whisker behind the top-ranked Padres and 0.61 innings ahead of the major league average, which is up slightly (0.06 innings per start) from last year. Projected over a full season, that’s an extra 99 innings that the rotation is soaking up instead of the bullpen — a big deal for a team that has lost Chad Green (and, last year, Zack Britton) to Tommy John surgery and is currently without Aroldis Chapman due to Achilles tendinitis.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 06, 2022 at 01:09 PM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yankees

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   1. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:00 PM (#6080197)
In the article, on Nestor, it reads:

Even with his modest velocity, he gets nearly as much rise on his fastball as Cole, whose heater averages 97.6 mph:


Then there is a data chart showing Vertical Movement for each of them, which seems to say that some are throwing pitches which do, in fact, rise?

Am I reading this wrong (honest question)? Has the Magnus Effect been disproven?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:08 PM (#6080199)
Then there is a data chart showing Vertical Movement for each of them, which seems to say that some are throwing pitches which do, in fact, rise?

Am I reading this wrong (honest question)? Has the Magnus Effect been disproven?


I believe that's "rise" vs. the expected trajectory. To make the ball actually rise, you'd have to throw submarine style.
   3. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:25 PM (#6080212)
Thanks to a .256 BABIP — yes, also a major league low


That's stunning. The 2016 Cubs had the lowest-ever BABIP relative to their league, and that was .255. I don't see this year's Yankees as having a team defense that's going to hold up at that level over the course of the year.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:38 PM (#6080217)
Yankees SPs, ERA/xERA (HQ version)

Cortes 1.50/3.32
Taillon 2.30/3.82
Cole 2.78/2.96
Severino 2.95/3.50
Montgomery 3.02/3.68

back-of-envelope - rising from 2.51 toward .. 3.48. that, too, will play in 2022

heh, Cole has the best xERA of the quintet

NYY currently ranks 1, 8, 11, 13, 14 in AL ERA
   5. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:48 PM (#6080224)
#3 ... not that it's not impressive but Yanks are a 256 BABIP in a 282 BABIP league (NL is at 292) while the 2016 Cubs were 255 in a 302 BABIP league.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 02:54 PM (#6080226)
I don't know that the BABIP gap between the leagues has ever been that big (it's early yet of course) but 4th decimal points aside, the NL has had an equal or higher BABIP each season 2014-22 despite pitchers hitting most of that time. Prior to this season, the gap has been as high as 6 points, a couple more seasons where it was 4 points. That seems odd.
   7. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: June 06, 2022 at 03:08 PM (#6080232)
I believe that's "rise" vs. the expected trajectory.


Thanks - that was the best conclusion I could come to, as well.

Must be incredibly hard to accurately measure something like that.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:25 PM (#6080268)
To anyone who's been watching the Yankees on a daily basis, this article only confirms what's been obvious for a while. What makes it so surprising is that going into the season, Montgomery, Severino and Taillon all had a history of major injuries and nobody figured they'd all be performing like this. But it's hard to say it's a complete fluke when their staff is leading the league in both strikeouts and fewest walks.
   9. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:27 PM (#6080269)
Time to fire head moron Aaron Boone and make the pitching coach the manager. :-)
   10. Howie Menckel Posted: June 06, 2022 at 05:43 PM (#6080276)
currently the AL league average is 3.80, while Taillon's xERA is 3.82.

probably any team would take that from its 5th starter (especially since RP ERAs presumably are lower, meaning a 3.82 would be a little bit better than the league average for starters. nice work if you can get it !)

will be interesting to see what they do with Severino, Taillon, and Montgomery if all three are still standing at the All-Star break. heck, even Cortes, too. although it's not as big an issue as I initially thought.

pitcher MLB IP, and current projected figures:

SEVERINO
2019 - 12
2020 - 0
2021 - 6
2022 - proj 165

TAILLON
2019 - 37
2020 - 0
2021 - 144
2022 - 176 (ok, I could see that)

MONTGOMERY
2019 - 4
2020 - 44
2021 - 157
2022 - 179 (wait, this too)

CORTES
2019 - 67
2020 - 8
2021 - 93
2022 - 180 (maybe)
   11. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 07:25 PM (#6080297)
SP/RP ERAs are pretty close these days ... skipping some 3rd time batters lowers SP ERA while using more innings from borderline RPs. Also openers and bullpen days mess up the whole SP/RP split anyway. But FWIW:

2021 4.34 4.17 (SPs actually have a 0.05 RA9 advantage)
2022 4.03 3.87 (SPs with a 0.01 RA9 advantage)

RoEs are higher for relievers for whatever reason. They also issue more walks, especially IBB. For all intents and purposes, we've reached equilibrium.
   12. sunday silence (again) Posted: June 06, 2022 at 07:41 PM (#6080299)

RoEs are higher for relievers for whatever reason.


GB error rates rise dramatically with men on base.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 08:03 PM (#6080302)
Just some Q&D made up numbers.

Suppose your average SP of 2012 has a by-inning ERA (or RA9) of 3.75, 4.00, 4.25, 4.25, 4.50, 4.75 and goes exactly 6 innings a start. That's 4.50 per 9. Suppose relievers of that era (pitching 7-9) have by-inning ERAs of 4.25, 4.00 and 3.75, going 1 inning at a time with the difference due to using better relievers in close games the later it is. That's 4 per 9.

Now suppose you cut out the 6th inning of the starter and replace it with a not very good reliever who gives up 4.50/9. The averae starter drops to an average of 4.15/9 while the average reliever goes up to 4.125/9. The team has improved by about 0.03/9 by swapping a 4.75/9 inning for a 4.50/9 inning. A minor example of Simpson's paradox in that improving SP RA/9 by 0.10 while increase reliever RA/9 by 0.125 slightly improves overall RA/9 by 0.03.

In real life, it's hard to adjust for contex but so far 2022 has been kinda like 2015 in total scoring. 2022 then 2015 RA9

SP 4.36 4.39
RP 4.37 4.07
Tot 4.37 4.28

In 2015, SPs threw 65.0% of all innings and gave up 66.7% of all runs; in 2022, those %s are 57.4 and 63.2. So the reliever share of innings is up 7.5% but their share of runs is up only 3.5% -- that looks like a good trade from the team perspective even if reliever RA9 is much "worse."
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: June 06, 2022 at 08:09 PM (#6080303)
RoEs are higher for relievers for whatever reason. They also issue more walks, especially IBB. For all intents and purposes, we've reached equilibrium.


interesting. I imagine a lot of Manfred Mans score in the 10th inning, padding the UER totals for relievers.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: June 06, 2022 at 08:15 PM (#6080304)
GB error rates rise dramatically with men on base.

OK but do relievers have more or fewer PAs with men on base? They're also striking out more guys so are they giving up fewer GBs? It might work out that it's due to more GB with men on base but somebody needs to show that's the case. I'd guess it's more that error rates go up with leverage and relievers pitch in higher leverage (and some lower leverage). Or the reverse and we see high error rates in garbage time which are almost always relievers. Or some comboo or all three. Or high-K pitchers have higher RoEs due to bored fielders. (Sometimes when I say "for whatever reason" I mean "who knows why"; but sometimes (like here) I mean it more as "it doesn't matter why in this particular discussion.")

I'm somewhat surprised GB error rates do rise dramatically with MoB, unless we're counting bunts in there. Errors on bunts are quite high as I recall. But the number of times an IF gets bailed out of an error because there's a force play available or deserves an error but "you can't assume the double play" seems quite high to me. Discussion for another day: given high Ks and low BA, should IFs be less concerned with getting the lead runner and reduce the number of times they take a risk to do so? (EDIT: Or is there evidence they already have?)
   16. linda hall Posted: June 06, 2022 at 10:27 PM (#6080327)
When I saw your post, it makes me very happy. Right now, you can play subway surfers and shell shockers. It will motivate you to unwind and work more efficiently.
   17. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: June 06, 2022 at 10:40 PM (#6080329)
Well, we did always say we wanted more women to post around here…
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: June 06, 2022 at 10:50 PM (#6080330)
I believe that's "rise" vs. the expected trajectory. To make the ball actually rise, you'd have to throw submarine style.


Or at the second deck.
   19. Banta Posted: June 07, 2022 at 12:49 AM (#6080348)
When I saw your post, it makes me very happy. Right now, you can play subway surfers and shell shockers. It will motivate you to unwind and work more efficiently.


Finally, someone had the courage to address the elephant in the room.
   20. jacob96 Posted: June 20, 2022 at 04:08 AM (#6082862)
With six straight wins and a 39–15 record, the Yankees are the best team in baseball right now. affordable electricians
   21. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: June 20, 2022 at 06:33 AM (#6082864)
In my lifetime, the gold standard for starts to a season has been the 1984 Detroit Tigers, who famously started 35-5, won 104 games and the division by 15+ games, and then cruised through the ALCS and World Series.

But two things about that season:
1) They started 35-5, but couldn't shake the Blue Jays for a long time. In early June, they were only 3.5 up on Toronto, and they didn't decisively pull away until early September. Even though this AL East is very deep, the Yankees have been able to pull away in a much more decisive and consistent fashion than those Tigers.

2) After the games of June 20th, 1984, the Tigers were 49-17. After the games of June 20th, 2022, the Yankees are also 49-17. I think what these Yankees have done to get to this record is much more impressive than what those Tigers did.

If the Yankees keep playing like this, they are going to obviously be one of the greatest regular teams of all time entering the playoffs, and will be the top seed. As a Red Sox fan, the expanded wild card format means that a lot of teams like mine have something to play for in 2022, even if we are in the same division as an all-time performer. I guess that is a good thing, in terms of keeping more fan bases engaged during the dog days of summer.

However, this is where baseball is uniquely ill-equipped to sufficiently reward a team like the Yankees for historic performance. In the NFL, if you are the top seed, the rewards are quite significant:
- You are the only team in your conference to get a week off to rest, and a bye through to the second round;
- You get the lowest remaining seed, which will usually be a significantly weaker team than you (and who will have just played an extra game);
- Home field in the NFL is significantly more valuable than in MLB

In the NBA, getting the #1 seed is very valuable, as well:
- Home court is more valuable than in MLB;
- You get to play a very weak 1st round opponent, somebody who is likely around .500, and who had to win a mini-"play in" tourney just to get the reward of traveling to your arena right after their play-in games.


I think the real problems are that home field/court is just not that valuable in MLB; it is far less physical than the NBA or NFL, so the value of extra rest is minimal; and the difference between the best and worst playoff team in baseball is generally less than the NBA or NFL. The Yankees will win about 68% of their games - one of the greatest W/L records in history. The Red Sox may be the lowest WC team, and win 88 games - about 54% of their games. In the NBA, the #1 seed may win about 78% of their games, while the lowest playoff seed may win 50%. In the NFL, it could be a 14-3 team vs a 10-7 team.

I'm not sure what else MLB can do about it. Maybe they don't want to do anything about it, if the goal is to make the post-season more like the NCAA basketball tourney, where a big part of the excitement is the possibility that "anything can happen once you get in the tournament". That would obviously be a big departure from the historic roots of baseball, which more than any sport long relied on the value of the marathon - you win your league, you go to the World Series, period, end of sentence.
   22. Ithaca2323 Posted: June 20, 2022 at 09:39 AM (#6082867)
It's not the structure of the postseason that's the issue. The sports bear no resemblance to each other in structure.

Basketball is all about how a few superstar players are what a team needs to make a run. We're seeing again and again, teams looking for a "Big 3" of elite players, who do most of the work.

The NFL has tilted their game to be centered on the QB, and it's the teams with the elite QBs who win, and the ones who lack it do not.

Baseball is built like Kindergarten. First it's your turn to hit, then, once everyone else gets a turn, you can go again. Same with a rotation (though teams can get an ace a few extra starts taking advantage of off days.)

So baseball gives us things like the 1998 Mariners:

Edgar Martinez has 52 rBAT and gets 672 plate appearances, and Joey Cora's -1 rBAT gets 598. Jamie Moyer is worth 5.6 bWAR and gets 34 starts, and Ken Cloude gets 30 starts and is worth -0.9.

Hockey bears some similarities to baseball, because of line changes. But teams can double shift their better players, (or if they have Alex Kovalev on the team, he can just refuse to leave the ice.) And elite goalies start every second in the playoffs when they are playing well.

Baseball is the ultimate democratic sport, and because of that you can't simply out talent teams.

In the playoffs we consider a 4-3 series win to be close. But a team that wins 4 out of 7 games in the regular season is playing at a 93-win pace, and that's a good team.
   23. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 20, 2022 at 11:48 AM (#6082877)
However, this is where baseball is uniquely ill-equipped to sufficiently reward a team like the Yankees for historic performance.
Teams with great regular season records normally have a lot of depth. Over a 162-game season, you can’t avoid using your 4th & 5th starters, plus various fill-ins, for ~ 40% of the games. Not so for the playoffs - teams with only 3 quality starters will still be at near-parity with the regular season standouts. Similarly, teams may be able to mostly rely on the top half of their bullpen for the playoffs, even though you need a zillion relief pitchers for the regular season these days.

I don’t think there’s much MLB can, or should, do about that. Visiting MLB teams having a decent chance to win is more a feature than a bug, and there is no real way to replicate regular season conditions for the playoffs without much longer series in more compressed schedules.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: June 20, 2022 at 01:49 PM (#6082899)
I dunno, even eliminating the travel dates within postseason series would be a start at replicating the regular season schedule, and it would definitely advantage teams with greater pitching depth.

They'd never do this for all the obvious reasons, but with today's travel there's no real need for off days when the series switches cities, even coast to coast.
   25. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: June 20, 2022 at 03:43 PM (#6082920)
I'm not sure what else MLB can do about it. Maybe they don't want to do anything about it, if the goal is to make the post-season more like the NCAA basketball tourney, where a big part of the excitement is the possibility that "anything can happen once you get in the tournament". That would obviously be a big departure from the historic roots of baseball, which more than any sport long relied on the value of the marathon - you win your league, you go to the World Series, period, end of sentence.

I mean, if the goal is to reward the best teams, all you have to do is reduce the number of teams in the playoffs. Given the direction things have gone over the last 30-ish years, MLB clearly does not consider rewarding great teams to be the goal.
   26. irene jane Posted: June 27, 2022 at 05:44 AM (#6084041)
Thank you for sharing this valuable knowledge. I've been struggling to come up with many questions on this subject. I'll stand by your side!
wordle game
   27. jacob96 Posted: August 02, 2022 at 02:37 PM (#6089515)
Even at a time when starter usage is on the rebound from its pandemic-driven trends, what the Yankees have done lately particularly stands out | electrical expert mitcham
   28. Banta Posted: August 02, 2022 at 03:17 PM (#6089533)
So strange that what I assume is some sort of bot would bump this thread. I suppose it’s because they posted in it before? It’s amusing that there’s any sort of effort to even register to post on this site in 2022. Maybe it’s just low hanging fruit for a bot because the verification isn’t as robust as most sites nowadays, I dunno. I sort of wish I understood how bots even work, I assume it’s some sort of black magic.
   29. Cris E Posted: August 02, 2022 at 03:18 PM (#6089535)
I'm guessing that Jacob knows Irene. They may even be co-workers.
   30. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 02, 2022 at 03:29 PM (#6089539)
Maybe they're both handles for the actress Irene Jacob.
   31. nick swisher hygiene Posted: August 02, 2022 at 03:56 PM (#6089554)
Now that this has been revived by our bot overlords, I wanna say real quick that it does feel to me baseball too easily assumes there's an absolute tension between letting more teams in the playoffs and rewarding the best teams/making the playoffs like the season.

Why not just slant the playing field a little? Eg, make the first round a 4-game series, no off days, in the better regular season team's park: they only need a split to advance.
   32. Tom Nawrocki Posted: August 02, 2022 at 04:08 PM (#6089557)
Incidentally, Yankee starting pitchers' ERA has gone up every month: 2.71 in April, 2.83 in May, 3.49 in June, 4.38 in July.
   33. Howie Menckel Posted: August 02, 2022 at 04:11 PM (#6089561)
Severino pissed to be put on 60-day IL.

out til mid-September, so his season basically is over. says he's almost healthy already.

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