Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Bullpen's Control Issues

Just wanted to build on a point in Despiser's recap of last night's game. The Yankee bullpen has allowed the most walks in the game, more than any other pen in baseball.

The Yankee relievers have allowed 138 walks, the most in baseball - Florida is second with 127. By contrast, in '01 and '03, when the Yanks made the World Series, their bullpen had the second-fewest walks allowed in baseball.

The '07 Yankee bullpen has an atrocious K-BB ratio - 1.18. By contrast, the Dodgers are at 3.36, and the Brewers at 2.47. The lowest K/BB ratio by any pen in the last 5 years? Tampa Bay, with a 1.34 mark in 2005.

And thanks to guys like Wang and Clemens last night, the Yanks pitching as a whole (including starters) has the worst K/BB ratio in the game, at 1.44. The only teams with lower marks in recent memory are the Royals, Rockies, Devil Rays, and the '03 119-loss Tigers.

- Why have the Yankee arms deteriorated so much in this department? I think it's because Cashman and Torre have fallen in love with power pitchers who have bad control. Farnsworth has always thrown 100 MPH but with lousy control, going back to his Cubs days. And Bruney throws gas too, but he's allowed 26 K and 24 BB. Not good.

The other guys are somewhat more surprising. Proctor had 33 BB allowed last year, but has 22 already. Luis Vizcaino's struggles are also surprising, at first glance - he allowed 29 BB all of last year, and is up to 27 BB this year already. I would blame the NL-AL switch here. Even the Devil Rays have a more daunting lineup than the Dodgers and Giants.

Many have discussed the causes of the Yanks' underacheiving, and focused on Abreu, Damon, and other struggling veterans. But in addition to having the worst bench in recent memory, the '07 Yanks might have the worst bullpen.

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