The LoHud Yankees Blog

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

Pinch hitting: Was Watching

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Feb 03, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

The pinch hitter series rolls on today with Steve from Was Watching.

Steve has been an online baseball analyst since 1997 and has been blogging about the Yankees since April 2005. Steve’s goal is to someday find a bag full of money that will allow him to retire and pursue baseball related matters on a full-time basis.

Here’s his post:


This past December, the Yankees signed free agent starting pitcher CC Sabathia to seven-year deal for $161 million. And, most Yankees fans now expect the big lefty to be as intimidating as a bear in a used ice truck once he suits up for New York — and that every fifth day, when CC takes his turn, life in Yankeeland will be Sabathialicious.

And, why not? In 2008, CC Sabathia threw 253 innings (IP) and had 44 Runs Saved Above Average (RSAA) in the process.

However, just for the fun of it, let us look at some major off-season starting pitcher acquisitions made by the Yankees since Brian Cashman became their G.M. (where the pitcher acquired was coming to play home games in New York for the first time) and see how these pitchers with major league experience did the season before joining the Yankees and how they did during their first season in New York:

Roger Clemens: Traded for prior to the 1999 season. 1998 stats: 234.6 IP and 51 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 1999: 187.6 IP and -4 RSAA.

Mike Mussina: Signed prior to the 2001 season. 2000 stats: 237.6 IP and 23 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 2001: 228.6 IP and 34 RSAA.

Kevin Brown: Traded for prior to the 2004 season. 2003 stats: 211 IP and 38 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 2004: 132 IP and 5 RSAA.

Javier Vazquez: Traded for prior to the 2004 season. 2003 stats: 230.6 IP and 48 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 2004: 198 IP and -10 RSAA.

Carl Pavano: Signed prior to the 2005 season. 2004 stats: 222.3 IP and 23 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 2005: 100 IP and -3 RSAA.

Randy Johnson: Traded for prior to the 2005 season. 2004 stats: 245.6 IP and 50 RSAA. Stats with the Yanks in 2005: 225.6 IP and 17 RSAA.

Pretty scary, huh? Clemens, Mussina, Brown, Vazquez, Pavano and Johnson all pitched like an “ace” in their season prior coming to New York. Yet, only Mussina was able to duplicate that during his first year with the Yankees.

What does this mean? Well, it doesn’t mean, for sure, that Sabathia will not pitch as well in 2009 (as he did last year). But, it does suggest that Yankees fans, within their expectation sets/dreams for CC this season, should allow for the possibility that Sabathia may not replicate his 2008 success during his first year in Yankeeland. Nothing in baseball is a lock, especially sustained excellence by a starting pitcher. That’s demonstrated herein by the numbers for Clemens, Brown, Vazquez, Pavano and Johnson.

In any event, as Yankees fans, let’s hope that Sabathia has a “first time in New York” experience more like Mussina did in 2001. Because, if he doesn’t, it’s going to be a long baseball season this year in the Bronx.


Thanks, Steve. Who is this “Pavano” you speak of? Coming tomorrow: Chris from Simply Smoov.




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