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A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Pinch hitting: Will Carroll of BP

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Jan 21, 2008 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

On Friday, Travis from Yankees, Etc. wrote a guest post for this blog about how many innings Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy could give the Yankees.

Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus was reading and asked if he could give his views on the subject. For those of you who don’t know, Will is an expert on pitching and the author of “Saving The Pitcher.”

I can’t tell you how thrilled and honored I am that Will was willing to write for us. Here’s his post:

Imagine climbing a mountain only to find someone else standing at the summit. That’s a rough approximation of the feeling I got last year when I learned that my “Rule of 30″ work was a mere duplicate of Tom Verducci’s near-decade long tracking of what he calls the Year After Effect. In deference, I’ve begun referring to the “rule” that a younger pitcher struggles with jumps of 30 innings or more, year over year, as the Verducci Rule. Only Friday, ‘Travis’ posted a piece in this space using the Verducci Rule to take a look at the Yankees pitching staff. It was well-written and well-researched . . . but wrong.

Travis did something that I’ve been trying to do for a couple years and have yet to figure out. Travis is probably smarter than me and may figure out a way to do it yet, but he hasn’t yet and it’s very important, especially for the ’08 Yanks. The problem is that the Rule is based on Major League innings only, not a combination of Major and Minor League innings. I wish I could explain why this is so, but my best efforts to find a translation for minor league innings remains just a dream. Using the best translation in the business, the Davenport Translations, the ones that are at the heart of Baseball Prospectus’ efforts over the last 13 years, doesn’t work for translating workload. Adjustments to the translations haven’t come up with consistent results either, leaving me with this corrolary to the Rule: Minor league innings are somehow not the same as major league innings.

This is an important point. Why are minor league innings any different than major league innings? There are only theories, but the best and most testable center around a selection bias. A pitcher good enough to go over 100 innings in the major leagues is almost by definition a quality pitcher. We know that major league hitters are harder to get out than minor league hitters, not to mention the stress of pitching in front of big crowds. The type of pitcher that can get over 100 innings in the majors is likely to be coasting through the minors on less than his best effort. He’s seldom taxed. He’s seldom forced to bear down or throw long innings. Granted, we don’t know this is the reason why and mathematically and physiologically, it shouldn’t be the case, but until someone can develop a working model for translation, we have to simply ignore those minor league innings. It should be noted that Verducci includes minor league innings in his formula.

So knowing what we’re working with, we then have to take a look at whether there’s anything more in play. Nate Silver and I did a piece in 2003 for ESPN that unfortunately doesn’t seem to still be available. In it, Silver was able to pinpoint a spot where injuries seemed to go down. It was a survival marker for pitchers where the chance for injury begins to rapidly descend. This “injury nexus” as Silver named it appears to come into play. Looking at Verducci’s 2007 list, the survival happens at the upper ages, the ones that exceed the age-23 nexus described by Silver. I think this may be important.

So who’s on this year’s list? Surprisingly, you’ll see a couple names on my list that you saw on Verducci’s last list:

Scott Kazmir 23
Cole Hamels 23
James Shields 25
Jered Weaver 24
Boof Bonser 25
Chad Billingsley 22
Fausto Carmona 23
Scott Baker 25
Kyle Davies 23
Tom Gorzelanny 24
Matt Garza 23
Adam Wainwright 25
Dustin McGowan 25
Kameron Loe 25

So Hamels, Weaver, and Bonser made it through the season, more or less. Hamels had some noted elbow problems, but was pitching when the season ended, avoiding the fate of those such as Anibal Sanchez, who may not make it back for the start of 2008. There’s also some note that there’s some “pre-injury” issues. Kameron Loe and Kyle Davies both saw their years end with injuries. The biggest increase belongs to Fausto Carmona, someone who will be a big test. The Indians knew about the Verducci Rule and noted to me in an interview that they wouldn’t take him beyond the 30+ rule, but they were including not only minor league innings but also innings thrown in the minor league playoffs in 2006.

Looking at the list, I think the younger players – Kazmir, Hamels, Carmona, Davies, and Garza – are at the highest risk, making Chad Billingsley the top candidate for problems. I think we may have started to see this at the end of the season when his control began fading. That’s often a precursor of elbow problems.

So with 3/5th of the Rays rotation on the list and a couple Cy Young hopefuls in the mix, is there any chance for escaping fate and a date with Jim Andrews? Yes and we can also find this on last year’s Verducci List. Justin Verlander showed that a small increase, paired with excellent conditioning and a top-notch medical staff, can make it through. Moreover, it’s as notable that these lists serve as an “ace filter” as much as they serve as a risk assesment. Players that make it through, such as Verlander this year, often go on to long, consistent careers at the 200 inning level.

The Yankees face seeing a Rays-like list in 2009. With Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain all likely to see increases, their handling will be one of the key tasks facing Joe Girardi, who it should be noted was responsible for two of the injured players (Sanchez and Scott Olson) from the Verducci list. Hughes was limited by injury to just 72 innings. The 100 inning threshhold is a minimum expectation for the Yankees No. 3, making him a very high risk player for the future, especially when he starts the season at age 21. The usage of Hughes is almost impossible to avoid, so the options seem to be use him and hope he holds up — or include him in a package for Johan Santana, who’s proven he can handle that kind of workload.

Granted, Santana will cost about $20m a year more over the next few years, but he’s also a known risk. Kennedy is easier to deal with. Ideally, he won’t make the rotation, letting that slot be held down in much the same way it was last season in Hughes’ absence. A combination of 6,7, even the 8 starter could serve to save Kennedy until June 1.

Chamberlain’s usage is more difficult and there’s little precedent. Adam Wainwright, who had a giant increase in innings shifting from World Series closer to ace starter, is likely the best comp, though they’re hardly similar players in build, style, or perhaps most importantly, age. We can also take a lesson from Jonathon Papelbon, who conditioned in the spring to start, then shifted without issue back to the bullpen. I’d suggest a similar usage with one important twist. If the Yankees ask (and they haven’t), I’d use Chamberlain in the four starter slot for the first half of the season (15 starts or so, or about 100 innings), then shift him to the bullpen. Ideally, there would be someone of comparable quality to shift in there. Perhaps someone from that 6/7/8 usage steps up and earns a slot or perhaps Brian Cashman has to make a trade. And perhaps you throw caution to the wind and risk Chamberlain’s future on the hope that he can beat the odds and stay healthy.

Once we get the PECOTA projections – which should be in the next couple weeks – we’ll be able to take the next step. We can get some indication of which players figure to be on next year’s list, something you’ll want to know before signing someone to a long term deal or putting them on the keeper list. The Verducci Rule is an interesting tool, one that bears further research. The parameters are limiting and it’s power of prediction is hardly sure enough to put much faith in it as more than an indicator. It’s far from perfect, but if the goal is to assess risk and probability, seeing your young ace on the list should get your attention. We’ll see who’s taken note soon.

Comments

comments

 

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326 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Will Carroll of BP”

  1. Whitey Fraud January 21st, 2008 at 6:39 am

    Very smart, but not funny at all!

  2. murphydog January 21st, 2008 at 6:54 am

    Outstanding! By coming here I get to read Pete Abe’s inside stuff about my favorite game and team, enjoy Todd Drew’s really priceless prose about life outside the white lines, dive into SJ’s prime cuts on young Yankees and see a Will Carrol piece about my favorite Yankee ’08 headache. (And ESPN wants me to pay to read Gammons?) Thank you, Mr. Abraham.

    Who’s next? Rocket and Hardin? McNamee and Emery? Mitchell? How about John Dowd or Faye Vincent?

  3. Dontrelle January 21st, 2008 at 6:56 am

    These are all great reads, no disrespect to anyone, but enough of the pinch hitting already.

    I come here to read your blog Pete, not to check other blogs. If I wanna go to any of the respective blogs I will.

    All the guys who are writing have been fair to good so far, but fans can click a link on your site to them, without having them take over your site.

    I realize January is a slow baseball month, but sheesh, enough already.

  4. Evil Empire January 21st, 2008 at 7:06 am

    keep it up pete, good read. all these highlighted pieces have turned me on to other yankee blogs i wouldnt normally know about, thanks.

  5. Ben January 21st, 2008 at 7:07 am

    PETE thanks for bringing us all these great guest blogers even though i come to your site for your posts(which are always super) i appreciate to read the other posts. Thanks.

  6. murphydog January 21st, 2008 at 7:12 am

    And ESPN expects me to pay to read Gammons? Viva Lohud! Viva Pete Abe!

  7. bardos January 21st, 2008 at 7:13 am

    i am charmed to be able to read will carroll without having to pay for a subscription. great pinch hitter and thanks to all.

  8. Bob from NJ January 21st, 2008 at 7:28 am

    bardos,

    You can read a lot of Will’s articles, watch his videos and read articles from BP’s other authors in the Unfiltered section of their website. It is free and does not require registration or a subscription. Here is the link: http://baseballprospectus.com/unfiltered/

  9. Old Yanks Fan January 21st, 2008 at 7:31 am

    Excellent read, but the end or the article somehow got lost. Im sure the last paragrapgh would have been the maximun innings, if Will was in charge, that he would allow for Phil, Joba and IPK.

    Pete… can you drop Will a line and see if he would post that lost paragraph?

  10. whoa January 21st, 2008 at 7:42 am

    Will,

    How do you assess the risk that accompanies trading for (and signing) Santana, given that his stats declined in September and he was seemingly unwilling/unable to throw his slider?

  11. Yanksrule57 January 21st, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Kazmir experienced arm problems at the end of 2006 and was shut down at the end.
    Shields was shut down I believe in Sept 2007 because he had reached his innings limit for the year. He was upset but the team insisted.
    The Rays have been very diligent in limiting both pitches and innings on these guys. It will be interesting to see if they develop arm problems despite the controls. If successful, it might be a model for the Yanks to follow with their guys.

    I liked the idea of starting Joba at the beginning of the season and then moving him to the pen at the end.

  12. BombersGM January 21st, 2008 at 8:39 am

    I don’t think you can discount minor league innings altogether so without some kind of conversion there really is no way to observe the Verducci rule of 30 with pitchers who are promoted in season ala Hughes and Kennedy. So while this is a good rule a thumb there is a huge hole in the theory. Afterall, if a pitcher pitches 120 minor league innings then 100 in the bigs can you really be worried with him jumping from 100 to 130 the next year?

    Those minor league innings have to count for something.

  13. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Am I the only one at work today?

  14. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 8:42 am

    interesting post but until you work the kinks out regarding minor league innings, its not very usefull imo.

  15. Mike R. January 21st, 2008 at 8:50 am

    I missed something there. If minor league innings don’t count what is the parameter you use to determine the inning threshold for a rookie year?

  16. murphydog January 21st, 2008 at 8:57 am

    jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge:

    Unfortunately, yes. You are the only person at work today.

    But don’t feel too bad. I’m home yet I had to get up and walk the infamous dog at 6:00 am in the arctic cold. (Thanks a lot, Murphy!)

  17. Mike NYY- Save the Big Two January 21st, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Great post as usual by Will

  18. Yanksrule57 January 21st, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Jennifer,

    You are not alone but most of my customers are off today so it is very quiet.

  19. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 9:01 am

    The bus into the city was empty, as were the roads. And 7th ave was totally empty!! No one was going to work. :cry:

  20. Mike NYY- Save the Big Two January 21st, 2008 at 9:01 am

    In September I noted that Hughes would be a force in the bullpen. In order to limit both his and Joba’s innings the Yankees could have Hughes in the bullpen for the first half of the season and have Joba in the bullpen for the second half. That puts Hughes over 100 IP but not to far.

    THe key to this is Mike Mussina. If he can give us 180 league average innings this is possibile if he`s terrible then this situation isn;t possible.

  21. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 9:03 am

    I don’t get why minor league innings aren’t counted it is they threw them! Yes it could be less taxing on their arms. But you can say the same for innings thrown at the major league level.

    There are games when a pitcher stuggles and is gone by the 3rd inning, yet he feels like he threw an entire innings. Conversly he can pitch a complete game and feel like he threw a few innings. It really is how hard they work. So bottom line, you have to count all innings, since you can’t pick every inning apart.

  22. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 9:04 am

    Everyone keeps saying that Mike has worked out more this year, and has a personal trainer. Now if I was going to his meet and greet Saturday, I could have asked him personally. But unfortunately I am not. :(

  23. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 9:09 am

    Ugh my last post didn’t appear.

    People have mentioned that Mike is working out this winter, and has a personal trainer. He has a meet and greet this weekend, unfortunatley I am not going, otherwise I could have asked him myself. :(

  24. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 9:12 am

    http://bostondirtdogs.boston.c.....es_on.html

  25. DHC January 21st, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Pete, outstanding way to handle these dead weeks! I read daily though I seldom post. The reason is that the attraction here, for me, is your input, and now the input of your well-chosen subs.

    Though I have read some of them in their native habitats, I think most make a different effort as a guest, so it’s not just like dipping randomly into their blogs. If this has been an experiment, it is definitely worth continuing when you are off duty for whatever reason, or when the season is otherwise dead.

  26. Rockin' Rich January 21st, 2008 at 9:21 am

    I’m working today too.

  27. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 9:30 am

    just got my tickets for scranton vs. trenton!

    i cant wait!

  28. Old Yanks Fan January 21st, 2008 at 9:33 am

    I liked the idea of starting Joba at the beginning of the season and then moving him to the pen at the end.
    ——————————————————–
    Does that mean you prefer Joba in the BP for the PS, as opposed to being one of the starting 1-4?

  29. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 9:34 am

    now im gonna go buy me a NFC Champs hoodie!

  30. mel January 21st, 2008 at 9:35 am

    Interesting read. It’s paradoxical to say the least, and the problem could be more difficult to solve than quantum physics. But, it only highlights the importance of pitchers like Moose and, ugh, Karstens and Igawa. More importantly the Yankees have lots of young arms that might be able to contribute in a limited role as Joba did in ’07.

    Joba and Hughes are definitely going to have to be on flip sides of the rotation/bullpen assignment. Joba in the bullpen for a possible postseason run makes sense, though.

    You can never have too much pitching, as Boston learned in 2006. The Yankees have many options and smart baseball people like Nardi Contreras, so I don’t think Girardi will be “killing” any arms. (Will seems to have a strong opinion on that one…It happens.)

    The fact that minor league innings are negligible defies logic. Also, someone’s going to have to sit down with Joba and explain it all to him. I’ve heard him make comments that he should be able to handle the jump because of his minor league IP count.

    Thanks, Will, for the though-provoking post.

  31. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 9:38 am

    i agree about starting joba in the rotation then moving him. it workded great last year, it keeps him developing his #3 and #4 pitches, it gives the bullpen a chance to develop itself and it saves his arm for the PS.
    i dont think they’d be able to ‘stretch’ him back into starting in PS though, i think once you make that switch, you have to stick with it.

  32. mel January 21st, 2008 at 9:40 am

    **thought-provoking

    Minor league IP should account for something. Maybe the formula should be tweaked to include a fraction of the minor league IP count. Maybe a half or a third.

  33. Mike R. January 21st, 2008 at 9:50 am

    Has anyone taken this analysis to another level? Why not have a pitch count over the course of a season? I would think that a pitch cap would be more precise than an inning cap. There is no way that a 7 pitch inning could be as taxing as a 25 – 30 pitch inning.

  34. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 9:52 am

    i got really good seats for that game in trenton, just to the 1B side to the right of the screen. on the aisle! Gonna go early and take a ton of pics. this is gonna be great!

  35. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 9:54 am

    props to the PAbe blog for sharing the info. Now if i can only get some tix for opening day at YS the day before, ill be in heaven!

  36. Samples January 21st, 2008 at 9:54 am

    Will, great article. One question – the use of the term ‘injury’ is kind of vague. Are you considering a leg injury or generic muscle pull the same risk as an arm / shoulder injury? Yes, Hughes had 2 injuries last year, but I would consider them flukish injuries that could happen at any time to a professional athlete.

  37. Blue Bleeding January 21st, 2008 at 10:03 am

    HOW ABOUT THOSE G-MEN !!!!

    BIG BLUE RULES !!!

    ROAD WARRIORS SUPREME !!!

  38. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 10:04 am

    ” Minor league innings are somehow not the same as major league innings.”
    “Why are minor league innings any different than major league innings? ”

    it’s obvious that the answer is intensity of effort. pitching in yankee stadium is a totally different adrenaline rush than pitching say in mc coy stadium in a triple a road game. a blue chip prospect knows they are going to the major leagues. triple a is not something to get excited about for that kind of player. it’s a developmental place with developmental energy.

    as far as going from the less intense triple a to the intensity of the major leagues, the pitcher who was hurt the most by this jump was hughes. because of the record cold spring hughes wasn’t even in shape for 75 innings when he was rushed up for an emergency start. he was losing velocity after 45 pitches. with that first start adrenaline he went 91 pitches which was 16 more pitches than he would have went at triple a. in his next start he blew out his hamstring on his 83 pitch while pitching with the intensity of a major league no hitter going on.

    it’s not just the overall increase in major league innings that hughes had to worry about. he was asked to go 91 pitches when he wasn’t ready for it in that first game. he should have pitched maybe 45-60 pitches at that time with the minor league pitch count base he had at the time.

    garza, at the same time period, was taken out of a triple a game at 76 pitches in the middle of an inning. when asked why he was taken out in the middle of an inning with no one on base, his manager said he would have been fired if garza went to 80 pitches.

    so why did hughes throw 91 pitches in that first game when minor league pitchers were only throwing 75 pitches at that time? the bigger question is whether the yankees have anyone who really knows what they are doing as far as pitching development ? if they did, why would someone have made that decision to let hughes go 91 pitches in that first mlb start?

  39. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:10 am

    “HOW ABOUT THOSE G-MEN !!!!

    BIG BLUE RULES !!!

    ROAD WARRIORS SUPREME !!!”

    - Congrats on being the bridesmaid. ;)

  40. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 10:17 am

    i have to make like washington and cross the delaware to get any Giants gear, none of the sporting goods stores in Philly sell any.
    they’re actually belligerent when i go into a store wearing my yankees cap.

  41. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 10:20 am

    NYP- I wasn’t aware that the Super Bowl was played already.

    Bernie- I went to the supermarket yesterday and I saw Pats ballons. Also any sporting goods store you go to in NY/NJ area you see Pats, and Soxs crap. Yes I know you likely couldn’t find any Yankees/Giants/Jets stuff up there.

  42. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 10:20 am

    the G Men were within one pick of taking the Pats to the mat last time, so i wouldnt be so sure there beantown.

  43. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 10:25 am

    dallas beat the GMen, GMen beat Dallas in the PS

    GB beat the GMen, GMen beat GB in the PS

    Pats beat the GMen, …what happens in the PS?

    but i’ll take 2 weeks of hearing everybody tell how the GMen are gonna get smeared! the “All-Joes” are doing fine by me.

  44. Jaewon January 21st, 2008 at 10:26 am

    Oh ya G-Men = awesome.

    I understand that minor league innings are much less taxing and you don’t have a minor league inning : major league inning ratio. But just because you don’t have an exact ratio doesn’t mean you can ignore minor league innings. If a 31 year old pitcher has been bounced back and forth between AAA and MLB but has never pitched more than 80 MLB innings in a season, I doubt anyone would be counting his innings had he thrown 200+ innings in the minors the year before. Minor league innings definitely count, and until you can fgure out how much they count for you simply have to estimate, because ignoring them can mess up a team whose ace is young. (If you shut him down when he is another injury-risk-free 30 innings in him for example.)

    As for Joba: While the SP to BP thing worked perfectly last year, I simply don’t think it’s fair, or makes sense. The Yankees have said they won’t go in a 6 man rotation, but that doesn’t mean other pitchers will make occasional spot-starts to give the youngsters a rest. The big 3 will be spread out in the rotation so they can skip over one of them on off days. Yes, Joba and the others can still not be in the rotation for 6 (7?) months and stay healthy. But I don’t think it’s right to make Joba switch in the middle of the season again. It isn’t easy to make that switch, and it would be annoying to be asked to do it 2 years in a row. On top of that, Joba will have to miss a good amount of time in the minors making the transition from rotation to Bullpen.

    Joey G will have a tough task this season. But I trust him.

  45. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:27 am

    “the G Men were within one pick of taking the Pats to the mat last time, so i wouldnt be so sure there beantown.”

    We were missin acouple key players and played a real soft defense.

    This game won’t be close.

    Pats 38
    Giants 17

    Championships this century:

    Boston 6
    NY 0

  46. Jaewon January 21st, 2008 at 10:29 am

    I’m sorry for the length guys. I get carried away.

    i miss bernie: i know, this is going to be so fun listening to cocky pats fans for 2 weeks just to have them lose to the Giants. Somehow this just seems right: G-men will win.

    But how many wins and great plays does it take to make the ESPN/ FOX analysts finally pick the Giants? I mean all of their PS picks this season SUCK!

  47. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:30 am

    http://www.boston.com/news/globe/larger_view/

  48. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 10:31 am

    pats offense wasnt running like a smooth machine yesterday…looked kinda cowboy-ish to me. brady throws 3 picks in SB and some old dolphins are gonna be crackin open the champaigne.

  49. Jaewon January 21st, 2008 at 10:32 am

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn.....ortCat=nfl

    This is starting to piss me off. But they’ll look like the idiots in the end.

  50. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:38 am

    “This is starting to piss me off. But they’ll look like the idiots in the end.”

    – Sounds pretty accurate to me.

  51. tut January 21st, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Here’s a way that the Yankees could incorporate the three young pitchers into the starting rotation throughout the season without forcing them to pitch a lot of innings. It’s a five man rotation using six pitchers. Using single letter notation for Wang, Pettitte, Mussina, Hughes, Chamberlain, and Kennedy, this is how the first several runs through the rotation would go: W,H,P,C,M/W,K,P,H,M/W,C,P,K,M/W,H,P,C,M/etc.
    The virtues of this scheme are:
    1)The three veterans pitch in regular spots with the usual 4 days off between starts. Ideally, they each start about 32 games.
    2) The three youngsters pitch as starters throughout the season, without being forced to shuttle between the bullpen and the rotation.
    3) The three youngsters pitch on fairly regular rest, six or seven days between starts.
    4) The three youngsters each make about 22 starts. At about 6 innings per start, that leaves each of them some room to pitch in the playoffs, if desired.

  52. Jaewon January 21st, 2008 at 10:49 am

    Tut: that’s an interesting thought. I like that better than moving Joba to the BP second half.

    NYDPD113th: Giants > Pats.

    Final fantasy score: Giants 38
    Pats 0

    Now that PROBABLY won’t happen. But I’m waiting a week and a half or so to pick my SB score. Giants can definitely win. It just seems like it’s their turn.

  53. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 10:52 am

    nypd113th (aka hotshot)-

    will carroll is an esteemed expert on pitching performance from baseball prospectus. do you even read the post that the comments are based on?
    do you have any opinion on the development of young pitchers or is that beyond your baseball understanding?

    so what are your thoughts on if minor league innings are different than major league innings, how do you decide how many innings a first year pitcher should throw?

    if you don’t have any opinion related to the post, it’s obvious you’re just trolling. personally ,i don’t think you can keep up with a real baseball discussion.

  54. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:52 am

    Gonna be GREAT to complete PERFECTION against NY.

  55. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 10:52 am

    I don’t care if the Giants win by one point are 80 points, as long as they knock the Pats down.

  56. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:56 am

    PATS -14.5

  57. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Your point? They’ve never been wrong before.

  58. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:06 am

    “Your point?”

    - It’s gonna be an ugly, ugly game for NY.

  59. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 11:07 am

    The pats haven’t looked too good for a few weeks now. But if you want to bELIeve, I’ll let you.

  60. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:09 am

    “The pats haven’t looked too good for a few weeks now”

    – Really?

    By “good” do you mean totally dominant? Because they did in fact look good against JAX in their first playoff game.

  61. i miss bernie January 21st, 2008 at 11:14 am

    looked a little shaky against a crippled offense yesterday if u ask me…

  62. jennifer- Hip Hip Jorge January 21st, 2008 at 11:16 am

    They looked awful against them. If Lt would have played even at 50%, the Bolts would have won. I’m done talking with NYP on this.

  63. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:18 am

    “They looked awful against them. If Lt would have played even at 50%, the Bolts would have won. I’m done talking with NYP on this.”

    I said JAX, not SD, pay attention before you go off on a tangent.

  64. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:20 am

    “looked a little shaky against a crippled offense yesterday if u ask me…”

    Mulroney rushed for 122 yds and Brady went 26-28 and 3 TD’s……..amazing how high standards rise when you are PERFECT.

  65. pat January 21st, 2008 at 11:24 am

    NYPD

    Pats haven’t covered in awhile. If you were putting money on the game, would you give 14.5?

  66. Rebecca--Optimist Prime--Save the Three Musketeers! January 21st, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Jennifer: If it makes you feel any better, this is the first time I’ve actually gotten to stay home (not had class or had to go back to Syracuse)…ever.

  67. Blue Bleeding January 21st, 2008 at 11:26 am

    The Giants are established as the road team in Arizona which is what they love.
    Let all the talking heads of ESPN and others keep picking against BIG BLUE….they love it. The higher the odds the more pressure on Brady who will see a relentless pass rush for 4 quarters. The G-Men learned and learned well in their last 38 – 35 loss against N.E. at home.

  68. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:28 am

    “NYPD

    Pats haven’t covered in awhile. If you were putting money on the game, would you give 14.5?”

    Great weather, 2 weeks for Bellichik to prepare, and the Pats being very familiar with this situation? Yes, I would give the points but wait for it to come down to 14.

  69. Steve January 21st, 2008 at 11:29 am

    I think the point of this post is that if we use Hughes, Kennedy and Joba as starters this year, we can expect at least one and probably all three to suffer next year. In fact his best point was to say that we might be better off trading Hughes to the Twins and let him pitch his 150-180 innings with them this year and then let him get hurt or be less effective next year with the Twins while we are going with a pitcher who has shown he can handle the workload. Plus having Santana will help decrease the load on Joba and IPK.

  70. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 11:31 am

    Mulroney?? who is this guy you are speaking of?

    Just wondering, why do you post here…not that you shouldn’t, but why? Seems to me that you either have too much time on your hands or you really get some guilty pleasure out of it.

  71. Bob from NJ January 21st, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Mulroney…perfect.

  72. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 11:34 am

    “Mulroney?? who is this guy you are speaking of? ”

    - He’s been the best running back in football this postseason.

  73. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 11:37 am

    His name is Maroney.

  74. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 11:39 am

    steve-
    i think, reading between the lines, carroll has some real concerns about the yankees depending so much on three young pitchers. and not just for next year , but especially in 2009.

    i think it’s not even just major league innings vs. minor league innings, but major league innings for the yankees. pitching for the yankees in a pennant race has to create more intensity for a pitcher than for a pitcher for a last place team. for one thing ,they are expected to win. if any one of the big three goes through a slump, they will have to worry about being sent down. that’s the last thing they want. they have to do more than just pitch for the yankees. they have to win.

  75. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 11:42 am

    No one said the task was going to be easy, but do you think that Cash and other people in baseball operations, haven’t thought of these things?

  76. Steve January 21st, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Randy

    Exactly and that is why we shouldnt be afraid of trading Hughes for Santana. Johan is used to the pressure, he has no worries about getting sent down and we wont have to worry about innings increase for next year. When you have three young guys you expect to be in your rotation it is really difficult to expect to all of them to get through this year and next healthy and effective. You have a much better chance when you have a top 3 of Johan, Wang and Pettite and you can sub Moose for Joba and IPK when necessary.

  77. Boston Dave January 21st, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Pats vs GMen should be a good, high scoring game.

    Just curious, but the Giants played one of their best, if not their best game a few weeks ago and didnt get a pass rush on Brady.

    So what is going to change when they play in 2 weeks? They can’t blitz and go man-to-man, so they will need to get more pressure from the front 4 in order to win.. something they could not do when they played previously. we’ll see…

    It could happen but since they just played recently and the Giants played a great game, at home, and still lost… I don’t know how anybody, Giants fans or not, wouldn’t consider the Pats the favorites to win.

  78. Boston Dave January 21st, 2008 at 11:51 am

    Steve,

    I pretty much agree but there is an argument that the $$$ makes the Santana trade a bad idea (Pete posted the link to a good article yesterday). The Yanks don’t stand to make enough $$ to make up for his contract when you also consider losing some premier, young, and cheap, talent. Since it’s not my money, I’d rather make winning the top priority and not the profits… but there are good arguments on both sides of this one.

  79. Boston Dave January 21st, 2008 at 11:53 am

    p.s. Great guest blog from Will

    thanks for scoring this one Pete. Will should be welcome to guest blog anytime.

  80. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    ” but do you think that Cash and other people in baseball operations, haven’t thought of these things?”
    vader-
    were they thinking of these things when they went against all their rules and rushed hughes and blew out his hamstring in the process. for those who say it wasn’t an arm injury, i counter with a pitcher pitchers with his legs. it was a pitching injury that came from rushing him.

    carroll linked to tom verducci above : verducci-
    “If teams know they are putting pitchers at risk, why are they pushing them? The competition. It’s difficult to manage a pitcher’s innings by moving him to the bench or the bullpen when a team is trying to win games and there are no outward signs of wear and tear.”

    this is what happened to hughes last year. cashman isn’t stupid, but he made a stupid decision. carroll will be the first to tell you that no one knows the best way to develop a pitcher. many ( bob nj among others) think the next frontier is going to be about developing young pitchers using statistical analysis to get the data necessary to make good decisions.

    cashman is not even close to being this new kind of pitching expert. i doubt eiland is. so there is a little problem with going with trial and error with the big three. i thought they did a good job with chamberlain last year with the joba rules. the yankees should come up with some rules for each pitcher to take out the tendency to get caught up in winning games and making bad decisions like verducci talks about.

  81. Steve January 21st, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    Boston Dave
    I read that article that Pete posted from Yahoo sports. The problem I found with the article is that the author assumed the Yankees were 93 win team without Johan and that Johan is worth 5 wins making them a 98 win team with him. The disagreement I have is that I dont believe the Yankees are 93 win team without Johan. I just dont see how you can pencil them in for 93 wins when all of their offensive stars are a year older and thus likely to regress with the exception of Robbie and possibly Melky and their pitching has as many question marks as last year only a year older with Andy and Moose with three essential rookies in the rotation. Therefore, if you are less optimistic and assume the yankees win maybe 85 games with the team they have now then I believe Johan would make the difference between making the Postseason and missing it and if you look at his analysis of the money, that would make Johan’s contract worth it.

  82. Bronx Liaison January 21st, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Great pick-up with Will’s guest blog. If Mr. Carroll is this eager to write on the subject, you know the Joba in 2008 discussion know no bounds.

    Though every Yankees fan would like to see Chamberlain in the rotation come September and November, I think Will’s point is well taken.

  83. Bronx Liaison January 21st, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    Therefore, if you are less optimistic and assume the yankees win maybe 85 games with the team they have now then I believe Johan would make the difference between making the Postseason and missing it and if you look at his analysis of the money, that would make Johan’s contract worth it.

    Steve:

    If the Yankees are an 85 win team in your mind, you might want to see a psychiatrist.

  84. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    boston dave-
    i agree that $$$ plus players makes it a bad deal, but gennarro said that that one way for the trade for santana to make sense is if hughes developed into a fifth starter. this doesn’t seem possible now, but look what happened with mark prior. stuff happens. the best way to insure hughes becomes a #1 or #2 pitcher is to bring him on slowly with strict rules in place.

    one way he becomes a #5 level starter is if he’s abused and rushed. i’d say at this point in his career, he’s been rushed and abused. because of being rushed in 2007, he should be pitched very carefully in 2008.

  85. Peter Abraham January 21st, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Guys: please use the last football post (two down) to talk Super Bowl. Let people talk baseball here.

  86. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    Why do you think Hughes was rushed and I don’t think that was the reason for the hamstring, injuries do happen all the time. According to some baseball analyst (BA’s Jim Callis) thought he was MLB ready for the playoffs in 2006.

  87. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Pete I was at the game yesterday section 120, were you? Also great game but a little cold.

  88. george January 21st, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    very interesting. certainly makes sense. the “Ace filter” thing is a great wild card – i guess “a horse is a horse of course….”

    i wonder if there’s a wrinkle for Hughes, because he had 146 minor league innings in 2006:

    http://minors.baseball-referen.....?pid=22192

    last year he had 100 innings total, about 72 of which for the Yankees. so i, perhaps naively, wonder whether the 2007 number, and thus the projected “safe” number of 2008 IP, may merit an adjustment factor, since he did pitch 146 IP the year before. i’m curious if this “Year After Effect” line of thought has been applied to the increase/decrease of IP over a multi-year period?

    anyway, if i apply this to my own, quite amateur, projections, this gives Moose, or the Backup Brigade (Horne, Stephen White, Karstens, Rasner, Igawa) an extra 16 starts or so than I’d thought.

    It makes me think that either the front office has great faith in getting starts from the Backup Brigade, or that they should work out Bartolo Colon and David Wells, and sign whichever looks halfway decent as risk mitigation.

  89. Jack Ransovy January 21st, 2008 at 12:22 pm

    Counting minor league innings for less major league innings does make sense. Pete you never happen to answer this question What do you think of the 3 week rotation?

  90. RichYF January 21st, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I can see the headlines now: MULRONEY RUSCHES PATTS TOO PREFECTION!!!

    Nice job there.

  91. Marshall January 21st, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Exactly what is Carl Pavano’s legacy and what is it all about ??? Is it ongoing ?

  92. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    “Why do you think Hughes was rushed and I don’t think that was the reason for the hamstring, injuries do happen all the time”

    vader-

    “If Hughes gets hurt in two weeks, somebody has to answer for that.-peter abraham april 26th,2007″

    “pitchers overthrow when they are tired. hughes got tired today at 65-70 pitches. it has nothing to do with stuff,poise, make up, and all that other good stuff. he just doesn’t have the arm strengtyh and endurance.
    you don’t learn on the job on a fatigued arm that isn’t trained for 100 pitches. it’s too dangerous” my post the same day. hughes was injured his next start.

    it’s illuminating to go back to that post by peter that day to see how controversial it was bringing hughes up then.

    there’s no doubt hughes was rushed.

  93. Wolf In Pinstripes January 21st, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Wow. Thanks for the contribution, Will. It’s a treat to have you guest here to complement Pete’s great coverage. The “injury nexus” is just one part of what I enjoyed reading in your post.

  94. Triple OG January 21st, 2008 at 12:50 pm

    Funny stuff Rich

  95. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    vader-
    go back to this post last spring before he got hurt, if you want to see how controversial bringing up hughes was at that time:

    http://yankees.lhblogs.com/200.....ng-reasons

  96. myrtlebeachfan January 21st, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    This post was exceptional. Well done, Pete. I love this practice of guest bloggers and you should try to continue it with a few select bloggers getting a spot each week or so.

    I’d love to see SJ44 getting a guest post every week or two during the season especially.

    As far as the NFL goes, the Mighty New England Patriots are going in with monumental momentum. They don’t know what it is like to lose.

    Eli Manning knows very, very well what it is like to lose and he will be doing just that on Feb 3. The Pats have the best passing attack in football paired with an emerging, dominating running game. Their defense is on fire, stopping teams in the red zone and forcing interceptions and fumbles.

    How do the Giants have a chance?

  97. Old Yanks Fan January 21st, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    Why do you think Hughes was rushed and I don’t think that was the reason for the hamstring, injuries do happen all the time.
    ———————————————————-
    Phil was brought up early for the same reason we grossly overpaid for Roger: Lots of pitching injuries and the PS all but out of reach. Cashman was quoted MANY times saying Phil would NOT be brought up in 2006. That said…
    based on 146 Milb IPs in 2006 and 100 IPs in 2007, one might think that 130-150 IPs this year is reasonable.
    I think more like 150.

    The Yankees have tons of options and ways to keep Highes and Joba’s pitch counts down.

    The most obvious is a decent, or at least league average year from Moose.

    A trade for a SP is certainly in the picture.

    There are a number of kids who might be MLB league average for spot starts, including Horne, Sanchez, and the ever present Karstens/Reasner duo.

    The Yankees want to win AND not abuse the kids. I believe Cashman will jump on a trade if a reasonable one is to be had. But it will be one day at a time, because there is no way to know how good/bad Moose, Karstens or Rasner will be.

    I believe you will see Moose/IPK as #4, Phil as #5 and Joba in the BP to start the year. By skipping the #5 when possible and a few spot starts, they should be able to keep Joba and Phil to limited innings. But I really believe it will be a ‘wait and see’ and ‘adjust as necessary’.

    Remember that Hank already offered Cash a new contract and stated it wouldn’t be the end of the world if we didn’t make the PS this year. Cashman will do what he can, but a gun is not to his head, so I think he will be careful with the Triad.

  98. Ross (nyystadiuminsider.com) January 21st, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    Will’s work is fascinating to say the least. ’08 and ’09 are going to be CRUCIAL to the development of the young trio. Lets all keep our fingers crossed that they can stay healthy.

  99. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    “According to some baseball analyst (BA’s Jim Callis) thought he( hughes) was MLB ready for the playoffs in 2006.”

    “Who cares what Jim Callis thinks? What is he, the gospel of pitching?”- sj44 4/26/07

    my sentiments exactly. that day peter abraham took a lot of heat from readers for opposing bringing hughes up. sj44 was strongly against bringing him up. i was strongly against it. a few others were too. the excitement of new pitchers is a temptation, but it’s just common sense to proceed with caution.

  100. Peter Abraham January 21st, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    Will’s post validates what I wrote about Hughes last April when he was called up. Major league innings are different than minor league innings. They’re more taxing physically for whatever the reason. That was why I was concerned about injury (which unfortunately proved true) at the time.

    A lot of people buried me, then further buried me when I predicted that the Yankees would be ultra cautious with his return. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson about pushing their kids. Based on how they handled Joba last year, they have.

  101. Matt Schweber January 21st, 2008 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks Will for the post.

    I apologize for being a little obtuse on the matter, but once I reached the fourth paragraph of your post, I had some difficulty apprehending your conclusions about survival markers and injury nexus.

    Please correct me, accordingly, if I’ve misconstrued your observations. As I understand your point, you and Silver have concluded that once a pitcher reaches the age 23, his risk of injury recedes. As a consequence, a pitcher older than 23 can exceed “the Verducci Rule” without endangering his health. Is that true? Or is it a less categorical rule than that?

    You ensuing list of pitchers with injury risks, for example, cites eight players over the age of 23.

    Am I to assume that “the Verducci Rule” still applies for pitchers over 23, but the risk of injury diminishes for each year he ages? Is there some threshold above 23, then, after which the The Verducci Rule is so attenuated that exceeding the “30+ inning mark” no longer carries any risk at all?

    Will, could you clarify?

    Also, how does one weigh a year in which a 21 or 22 yr old pitcher threw fewer MAJOR league innings then the year before because of an injury, for example? Which year, Year 1 when he threw 150 innings, say, or Year 2, when he threw 100 innings, provides the apposite benchmark for calculating the number of innings he should throw in Year 3?

    Thanks

  102. Vader January 21st, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    What I was saying is that I think Cash and the baseball operations people have thought of all the things we talk about here….at least I hope so.

  103. Bill Porter January 21st, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Pete, hopefully they learned a good lesson and dodged a bullet in doing so. They need to be very careful this year and will indeed need to use 1 – 8 or nine as starters at some point.

  104. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    “When I’ve looked at major league pitchers 25-and-younger who were pushed 30 or more innings beyond their previous season (or, in cases such as injury-shortened years, their previous pro high), I’ve been amazed how often those pitchers broke down with a serious injury the next season or took a major step backward in their development. ” tom verducci

    matt-
    so verducci says his observations are based on 25 and under. interesting to note in the article he later said to watch out for wang even though he was over 25 in 2007 because of a+70 increase in work load in 2006.

  105. zack January 21st, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Actually, Pete and others supporting the “Hughes shouldn’t have been called up/was rushed/got injured b/c he was in the majors” argument, I think what this whole theory proves is that it WAS time for Hughes to come up. Most people who advocated Hughes to be called up used the reasoning, validated here, that he had nothing left to prove/work for in the minors. Sending Hughes out there for another 100 innings in the minors wouldn’t prove anything for him, as he had already dominated the minors at every level, and it wouldn’t build his arm strength up to prepare him for the majors, as the theory argues. Sure, it would have been great to leave him in the minors for another few months, but that wouldn’t have changed anything. He would still be pitching at a higher level in the majors and exerting himself more. PLUS, he injured his leg, NOT his arm/shoulder, which is what the theory is talking about anyways. Hughes blowing his hammy out and the theory do say that yes, Pete was right in saying that in the majors Hughes would push himself harder, but in no way does it say that he shouldn’t have been called up…

  106. G. Love January 21st, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    Great guest post here, Pete. I love this. This and SJ’s post were my absolute favorites.

    What I’m most concerned about is if the Yankees know all of this about these young pitchers and what works, and it appears they do, why are they going into this season with 3 guys with serious innings caps being counted on?

    It just seems like they are going into this thing looking to make it harder on themselves which is why I’ve been a big proponent of the Johan trade from day one.

    If the Yanks are in a tightly contested pennant race, and I’m assuming they wil be, and they need a big start from Joba and/or Hughes and they need them to go 7 innings because the bridge to Mo is washed out and under repair, are you telling me they are going to pull Joba or Hughes out of a big game and bring in Latroy Hawkins?

    I almost feel like Girardi is set up to look like a fool when the innings caps come into play. The 2nd guessing will be fierce.

    The Joba rules with Torre didn’t present as much of a problem because we were saving him for a inning or two in games we needed him most.

    For that reason alone, I really believe if there is an innings cap on Joba, he should stay in the pen all season where he’ll be a lethal weapon and win many games for this team. Probably more games than he would as a starter with a serious innings cap.

    Same thing with Hughes. Pitch him in the 4th-5th starter position where he’ll get skipped a few times in the season to preserve his innings cap.

    I’m not sure, but I don’t think Hughes is cleared for a 200 inning MLB starter season, is he?

    Which brings back to the bigger problem, counting on Mussina for 180 effective innings is a longshot. If Moose pitches like last year, there will be many games where Girardi is forced to go to the pen before the 4th.

    Not to mention we’re down to Wang and Pettite as the horses in the rotation. If one of them hits the DL for any length of time this could get ugly.

    I hope Andy won’t be distracted by this Clemens/HGH stuff all year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he were.

    I just think there’s a lot of reasons to trade some of the top minor league talent for a top MLB starter.

    My issue with relying too much on the young talent is that you are not only hoping they live up to their potential, you’re limiting how your team can use those players (pitchers) with these innings caps that should be adhered to.

    I’m not against the caps, I’m for them. But it’s also why I would trade young talent for top proven talent.

    No matter what though, it’ll be fun to watch and an interesting season.

  107. Will Carroll January 21st, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks for all the comments and thanks especially to Pete for allowing me to write here.

    I can’t answer all the questions, but I’ll try to hit some highlights:

    1. Minor League innings should count for something, I agree. I just can’t find a formula that works to make that translation. Absent a working model, ignoring them provides the best result. I’m hoping someone figures this out.

    2. Yes, pitchers over the age of 23 see their injury risk reduced. Verducci uses age 25 for his list, but guys like Weaver and Verlander seem to be pointing out that 23 might be the right cutoff.

    3. I’m not advocating trading Hughes for Santana. Just saying that’s one possibility. If you’re looking at all the options, that’s one you have to consider. Yes, I’m sure that Brian Cashman is considering all this and more; the guy’s one of the smartest GM’s in the business and has great minds like Oppenheimer and Newman around.

    4. I did an article on pitcher development at BP. I *think* it’s subscriber only, but worth checking out. Maybe if Pete has another slow day, I can get it posted here.

  108. Thermos January 21st, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Will writes: “With Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, and Joba Chamberlain all likely to see increases, their handling will be one of the key tasks facing Joe Girardi, who it should be noted was responsible for two of the injured players (Sanchez and Scott Olson) from the Verducci list…” I’m not sure whether he meant it to read this way, but I don’t think it is fair to say that Girardi was responsible for their injuries. Certainly, I question his management of that staff, and I am sure Cashman did as well when he was interviewed. However, to state this flatly that he was responsible for the injuries seems to me to gloss over cause and effect. Perhaps Will meant it in the custodial sense, and in that respect I agree – whether Girardi’s (ab)use of the pitchers caused the injuries or not, he had the responsibility for their “care and feeding” and the injuries occurred on his watch. Small point, perhaps, but it jumped out at me.

    Having said all that, if Phlop or Joba are abused and either has arm problems, I’ll be first in line when the angry mob forms and starts distributing torches.

  109. Thermos January 21st, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    …and I forgot to mention….thanks, Will for stopping by and posting. How rude of me.

  110. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    zack-

    “Sending Hughes out there for another 100 innings in the minors wouldn’t prove anything for him, as he had already dominated the minors at every level, and it wouldn’t build his arm strength up to prepare him for the majors, as the theory argues”

    it’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of laying down a pitch count base that allows a pitcher to pitch safely. hughes did not have a pitch count base high enough to throw 92 pitches that first start. not even close.

    “PLUS, he injured his leg, NOT his arm/shoulder”

    pitchers pitch with their legs as much as their arms. when a pitcher is going to push harder they are going to use their legs more. if hughes was at triple a, i doubt he would have pushed himself to use his legs with the intensity he used when he injured himself in the majors. he was not trained to go that deep into a game.

    once the weather warmed up and hughes was throwing 100 pitches regularly , i could see bringing him up in 2007. but that probably wouldn’t have been until mid june at the earliest. anytime earlier and it was a bad decision.

    one thing will hasn’t clarified ( and i hope he does) is how do you know how many innings to let a rookie pitch in the majors if all you have is minor league innings to go by?

  111. Samples January 21st, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    For everyone who thinks this article validates that Hughes was rushed, please explain how more time at AAA, breezing thru minor league line ups, building up more ‘useless’ innings would have been more beneficial than being called up to the show. Clearly his stuff was ready – he almost threw a no hitter! He should have been in the majors – period. His time in the dugout next to Clemens, learning where and where not to inject was priceless (kidding!)

    Now, if we want to argue pitch counts, that may have some merit. They were diligent keeping him on pitch counts all the way up the ladder so that rule should have been SLOWLY eased off as he acclimated to the majors. Even still, we’re not talking about arm injuries, so I’m not sure his hamstring pull should automatically be linked to being pushed or rushed. There are any number of ways he could have tweaked his hamstring prior to that fateful pitch.

  112. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    “Yes, I’m sure that Brian Cashman is considering all this and more; the guy’s one of the smartest GM’s in the business and has great minds like Oppenheimer and Newman around.”

    yet cashman is the one who rushed hughes. how is that reconciled with “the guy’s one of the smartest gms in the business”?

    will-
    thanks for one of the best posts i’ve seen in a long while, but i think you are being overly kind to cashman in his knowledge of developing pitchers. you can’t possibly agree with how hughes was brought up.

  113. Mark Alan January 21st, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    I think the Nate Silver and Will Carroll article which Carroll mentions in his piece agove is “The Injury Nexus.”

    Click on the title to be taken there.

  114. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    “please explain how more time at AAA, breezing thru minor league line ups, building up more ‘useless’ innings would have been more beneficial than being called up to the show.”

    being good enough talent wise and being ready to take exertion to another level without getting injured are two different things. this argument about hughes having nothing else to learn because of his domination in the minor league misses the point. he was twenty years old. bones and tendons are still developing. maybe that’s why the 23-25 age is a cut off point.

    maybe it’s better to have a top prospect pitcher, who has been brought up to the majors, be on a lower pitch count than in the minors because the major league intensity is greater. if a pitcher is throwing 100 pitches comfortably at triple a then maybe 75-80 would be right for the majors for a while.

    my guess is that hughes was throwing approx. 75 pitches at scranton before he came up and threw 92 pitches for the yankees and then 83 until the hammy blew. if hughes was at 75 oitches in the minors, then 50-60 should have been maximum for those mlb starts.

    that clearly was not what happened.

  115. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    mark allen -
    thanks for the injury nexus link. from that link:

    “As an athlete matures, his bones calcify and harden, his growth plates close, and his ligaments reach full strength. Since no athlete matures on the same schedule as another, it is important to note that chronological age does not always directly correlate to physical age. However, as Dr. Jobe and others have noted, a pitcher is generally most vulnerable at a young age, before the bones and muscles of his upper body have fully developed.”

    this is why talent alone is not the determining factor.

  116. zack January 21st, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    randy l.
    “it’s not a matter of skill, it’s a matter of laying down a pitch count base that allows a pitcher to pitch safely. hughes did not have a pitch count base high enough to throw 92 pitches that first start. not even close.”
    -Hughes was purposefully being limited to keep his innings down. You can argue with that institutional approach, but Hughes was NOT going to have that increased. Nevermind the fact that he was already, in the minors that year, throwing around 90 pitches per start. In his first two games he threw 91 and 8- pitches, right where he should be. PLUS, the game he hurt himself in was in the warm air of Texas. Again, not a factor.

    But thats besides the point, you prove my point. by staying in AAA, he wouldn’t be pushing himself, thus not gaining the experience or strength he needed. Sure, had he been called up in June he might not have pulled his hammy, but the chance was just as good then, as he would probably have tried to do the same thing in the same situation. Now he knows better.

    And I fail to see how claiming that Cashman rushed Hughes has anything to do with claiming he is one of the smartest gms…

  117. zack January 21st, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    randy l.,
    “my guess is that hughes was throwing approx. 75 pitches at scranton before he came up and threw 92 pitches for the yankees and then 83 until the hammy blew. if hughes was at 75 oitches in the minors, then 50-60 should have been maximum for those mlb starts.”
    Wrong, Hughes was throwing 80-90 pitches or so before he was called up, go search through the box scores. Ergo, 91 and 70 pitches was not a jump…There is no way you can say that a 50-60 pitch cap makes sense without any of the correlations Will says are missing. I could just as easily say a 70-80 pitch count would be fine…

    But Hughes injured himself not because he was tired, but because of the moment, he himself said he “reached back for more” or whatever in trying to throw a hard curve.

  118. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    zack -
    i think what you are saying is that at some point hughes was going to have to crank it up because the first time in the majors is always going to be the first time. i’d agree with that.

    if we assume, as will carroll does, that mlb innings are different than minor league innings, doesn’t it make sense to have a pitcher throw less innings(less pitches) in his first few major league starts than he did in his last few minor league starts.

    hughes threw 5,5, and 6 innings in his last three minor league starts before coming up to the yankees. i wish i knew the pitch count. my guess is that hughes exceeded his average pitch count in those three minor league games in his mlb debut .

    to compound the problem was the specificity of that situation. hughes three minor league games were during the period of the record cold weather that everyone was dealing with last spring. hughes was not in great shape at that point in the spring.

    cashman made the decision to rush hughes. he knew of the bad weather. he knew hughes was not in shape to go 92 pitches. cashman knew the smart thing was to bring hughes up later in the summer if at all.

    yet he didn’t. cashman just proved smart people can do stupid things. on the other hand , he did a great job with joba and the rules,so maybe he’s learned his lesson. if he hasn’t then the yankees really do have a problem.

  119. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    zack-
    it’d be nice to have a link to the three box scores of hughes starts. i haven’t been able to find them.

  120. Old Yanks Fan January 21st, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    The rule of 30 would dictate that a pitcher would start his MLB career pitching something like 130 IPs, 160 IPs, 190 IPs and then full MLB pitcher at 220 IPs. Can ANYBODY NAME ONE pitcher who took this path?

  121. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    santana didn’t throw over 150 mlb innings until age 24, but then he went way up fast.

  122. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    “Can ANYBODY NAME ONE pitcher who took this path?”

    old yanks fan-

    that’s a damn good question. i wish will carroll would have stuck around a bit longer and answered your really good question. he may yet. it would be interesting to see a list of pitchers that showed their innings increase the first three or four years.
    i looked up clemens and mussina and they jumped to the mid 200′s in their second years. yikes!

  123. zack January 21st, 2008 at 4:56 pm

    Randy l.
    I found them by combing through milb.com’s boxscores from last season. It wasn’t the most fun or quick process, but I believe the dates were something like April 7th, 12th, 17th (plus or minus one day for a bad memory) and I didn’t get to the last one. If memory serves, the pitch counts were around 70-something, 80 something, and 89 in those games….

  124. Ross (NYYStadiumInsider) January 21st, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Mr. Horne (top prospect Alan’s dad) had an interesting response to this article on the NYY Stadium Insider Message boards. Check out what he had to say here:

    http://nyystadiuminsider.yuku......reply-2665

    Keep in mind, Bill Horne was a former pitching coach himself, so his opinion on this subject isn’t without merit. Very through provoking stuff from Will, and its cool to see the different perspectives on the issue!

  125. zack January 21st, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Oh, and randy l., I didn’t see the previous post, so just a few things. As I said, the start where Hughes injured himself was in Texas in about 70 degree weather (per B-R). I’m not really sure how after a full ST and starts throwing close to 90 pitches makes him not ready, but most pitchers have said that they are far ahead of the hitters through ST and feel game ready pretty quickly.

  126. Will Carroll January 21st, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Randy and OYF — good question. Earl Weaver advocated starting pitchers out in the bullpen. The fact is that we don’t have a good logical development plan. We’re pitching some pitchers too much, some not enough. It surprises everyone that I’m not an advocate of hard pitch counts. I’ll see if I can get the pitching development program up here.

  127. randy l. January 21st, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    will-
    i think that the more that developing pitchers is looked at scientifically the more questions will be raised for a while until a pattern becomes obvious . right now, it’s hard to look at the pitchers who have lasted the longest like clemens ,shilling, maddox,or mussina and compare them to young pitchers today because in their early days the old pitchers were handled differently than kids now.

    weaver had all those pitchers that threw all the time too even though that sounds counterintuitive.. that probably has something to do with being healthy too. thanks for providing the base for a good discussion.

  128. El Lay Dave January 21st, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    “Can ANYBODY NAME ONE pitcher who took this path [pitching something like 130 IPs, 160 IPs, 190 IPs and then full MLB pitcher at 220 IPs]?”

    My apologies that my two examples are well-known Yankee antagonists.

    The first guy I thought of, Pedro Martinez, comes close:
    107, 144 2/3, 194 2/3, 216 2/3
    but has the 50 IP jump in the middle. Note that the first year is almost all in relief and the second was cut short by the strike.

    The second guy was Josh Beckett:
    107 2/3, 142, 156 2/3, 178 2/3, (204 2/3)
    a little flatter than 30 IP/year.

    I’d guess the examples are rare because once a pitcher establishes that he is a real starter over a partial season of 100-something innings, he is often a full-time (and not fifth) starter the next season – how do his innings get limited?

  129. Angel January 21st, 2008 at 8:09 pm

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    January 21st, 2008 at 10:27 am
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    So I’m curious, exactly just how much self loathing do you feel each time you get a paycheck?

    You know, seeing as how the residents of New York City, a city whose people you appear to loathe – pay your paycheck each week.

  130. NYPD113th January 21st, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    So I’m curious, exactly just how much self loathing do you feel each time you get a paycheck?

    You know, seeing as how the residents of New York City, a city whose people you appear to loathe – pay your paycheck each week.

    – Actually, it makes me laugh and feel terrific.

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  132. Travis G. January 21st, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    Will, i appreciate being called smarter than me you, but we all know the real baseball genius out there is none other than yourself.

    you make a very valid point that MiLB innings should not count for as much as ML innings. since I’m wrong, could you give your educated opinion on how much they should count? what should the limits be for each of the Trio? you go on to say though that Verducci DOES use MiLB innings in his calculations, so I’m not sure if you’re agreeing with his analysis or not.

    a few more things:
    - if your plan is to put Joba in the pen the second half, what happens in the playoffs? he could be our #1 starter this year. should he be ‘wasted’ in the pen? if not, transitioning back to starting near the end of the year could prove difficult, especially in a tight race.
    - Alan Horne’s father doesn’t quite agree with you on some points (linked in an above post). you really think any 100 ip MLer could breeze through the minors? i would think
    some pitchers throw with at least as much effort in order to GET to the ML. what about metal bats in the NCAA? that’s gotta cause a helluva lot of stress.
    - as for MiLB pitch counts, they exist in AAA from 06 on. i took a quick look:
    Hughes’ p/ip went up 2.3 in the majors.
    Joba’s went down 2.
    Kennedy’s was virtually identical (up .05).
    (I know it’s a small sample size. i’ll have a post on my own blog about this coming soon.)

  133. Will Carroll January 22nd, 2008 at 1:50 am

    Travis — email me.

  134. Bill Porter January 22nd, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    While we’re at it by what magnitude do you think innings at Major University Programs should be discounted? I see Travis has alluded to the metal bat issue and I think that is only one of of the important arguments to be considered in the discount function. Others may be school work, school/peer pressure, travel, work load etc.

  135. bru August 29th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    kennedy and hughes should be left in AAA for now so the yankees should focus on joba.they need to sign an ace,cc,sheets,a trade for an under 30 ace.sign pettitte,moose to be the 4th and 5th,not the 1-3.when they do not need a 5th starter throughout the year,rest joba,rain outs,skip his start,a few times throughout the year skip his start and have hughes/kennedy or someone else spot start for him,have hughes or someone else on the roster that relieves joba in a certain inning at a certain pitch count every game to keep his pitch count down.the yankees need some of these pitchers to step up.they should also consider a nice package to land an ace like hughes,cano,betances for a jake peavey,kashmir type pitcher.they have enough minor league debth,cano can easily be replaced,you don’t know what hughes is going to turn into but with kashmir or peavey along with signing sabathia and or sheets you know what you’re getting.without pitching you can’t win,as long as you’re lineup is balanced and good enough that is all you need.the yankees have wang,joba and a ton of minor league pitchers,i would trade kennedy and hughes as long as we get the right pieces,a great pitcher/prospect or a good young position player/prospect.the red sox traded for becket and that worked fine.the yankees have a logjam of pitchers that don’t fit in the big picture.sign sabathia and or sheets,trade hughes,cano for an ace,package kennedy and 2 prospects for another good pitcher or catcher,first baseman or corner outfielder.imagine sabathia,peavey,wang,joba,mussins/pettitte,i’m just using peavey as an example in a big trade scenario,hughes,cano,??,move posada to first base,dh matsui,nady in right,damon in left ,sign an infielder,center fielder or trade matsui,dh posada,nady at first,damon in left,abraeu in right,sign a center fielder and an infielder.jeter can be moved to second and arod to short if needed if their are any good third baseman out their like crede,just trying to build a great pitching staff 1-5 and shake things up that’s all,no stone should be left unturned.if you trade cano,hughes,prospect for a peavey or kashmir type pitcher you instantly become better because pitching is most important,yes you create an infield hole but hughes get’s replaced with kashmir or peavey providing the teams would even consider that trade.what i have learned throughout the years is yes you need offense but a great starting pitching staff is much more important than an allstar at every position,look at the 90′s yankees where their farm system wasn’t great because they were all already in the majors but they with just the right amount of pitching put together one of the more impressive runs in the history of baseball.

  136. bru August 29th, 2008 at 9:59 am

    as an extention to the above post.i am just so sick of seing the same old,tired team every year with no pitching.the old guys just ran out of gas mentally and physically and couldn’t cover for a very bad pitching staff and who knows how much steroids and hgh played a role in all of this.wang,joba and hopefully brackman will be our 3 young pitchers among others in the future,i think that is good enough where we can trade some of the young kids like hughes,kennedy and others.the chances of most of these kids turning into great pitchers are very slim and you have to play the odds.

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