Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 Red-Sox Yankees Comparison- Starting Pitching (#'s 1-2)

This is the biggest part of the team and I`ve purposely left it to the end so everything becomes clear (I still have the bullpen and I might not get that done before Opening Day, sorry guys). Because of the way the rotation works I`m going to do it in a different format from the others so it doesn't take an hour to read.

Starting Pitching

Number One Starter- Chien Ming Wang/Josh Beckett- Wang emerged in 2006 as the Yankees ace using a brilliant sinker at an average of 93.1 mph. Over the offseason he drew a lot of criticism from people that pointed to his low K/9 and K/BB totals and said his performance in 2006 was due to luck. So how did 2007 happen? Wang continued using his sinker ball which kept home run totals down, which was a big factor in his 2006 success, but during spring training he improved his slider and his changeup. He started using those more and got more K's as a result. His walks increased as well but it was worth it. His K/BB shot up .3 points and his K/9 by 1.56 (his BB/9 also went up). If he can continue to improve his strikeout totals without giving up more home runs he can take it to the next level. Wang is going to be under a lot of pressure this year with all the innings limits on the younger pitchers and we have to hope he can deliver. Josh Beckett on the other hand has never had a problem with strikeouts. Beckett beat his first problem in 2006 of injury but he got murdered by HR`s and ended up with an ERA just over 5.00. The deal was crticized as a disaster but Beckett came back with a brilliant 2007 just missing a CYA. Everything that could possibly improve did improve in 2007. His K/9 went up by 1.75 points, his BB/9 went down 1.46 points, his K/BB went up 2.71 points, and his HR/9 went down .82 points. So how the hell did this drastic a change happen between two years? His GB% didn't really change but his HR/FB% went down from an extremely unlucky 2006 (15.4%) to a slightly lucky 2007 (8%). That explains the incredibly change in HR/9. Where did those strikeout and walk numbers come from though? His curveball improved hugely and Beckett started relying on it more. He used his curveball 3.9% more of the time. So which Beckett is the real Beckett? For years we`ve known Beckett had a ton of talent and were just waiting for him to emerge so I think that its 2007 Beckett. Obviously, he won't repeat 2007 but he`s a very very good pitcher.

Conclusion- Josh Beckett- Wang is a good pitcher who had a solid RCA of 4.34 but he isn't really a true ace. Ideally he should be a #2 or maybe even a #3 guy. He was still a little lucky despite lowering his dependance on his sinker ball. However, Beckett was unbelievable and earned his reputation as one of the best pitchers in baseball last year. He had a staggering 2.96 RCA and he will be a threat to the Yankees for the next few years.

Number Two Starter- Andy Pettitte/Daisuke Matsuzaka- Petttitte made his return to the Yankees and silenced all critics who thought he was to old to contribute in the American League. He was decent but his K/BB did fall off which is a big problem. His K/BB fell by .5 points. This was not due to loss of control (his control actually improved) but his K/9 fell off terribly. This was noted during the year and his continued success was attributed mainly to getting more GB's. However, this wasn't true. While, I don't think the steroid/HGH scandal will affect him he is getting older and will continue his decline. Matsuzaka had a solid season to back up his big deal. His 2.51 K/BB was very good although his GB% was a dissapointment to Red Sox fans. Although he had a good year many of the myths about him were debunked. For example, he never used the gyroball in a game. Also, his FB wasn't quite as fast as most people expected. If this is all Matsuzaka is he`s a good player and the market he`s given Boston in Japan is worth his deal. However, he could well be better next year after an adjustment.

Conclusion- Daisuke Matsuzaka- Matsuzaka had an RCA of 4.02 last year and is in his prime years. He could improve after an adjustment year like I mentioned above as well. Pettitte had an RCA of 4.43 and as he is aging. He`s only getting worse.

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