Daily Archives: March 8, 2012

Will the Sophomore Slump Get to Nova and Pineda?

The sophomore slump is a notion that a player who has a breakout rookie year will experience a downturn in his sophomore year. Most think it’s due to teams watching more tape and figuring out tendencies and the pitchers failing to make an adjustment quick enough. The Yankees are relying on two sophomore pitchers this year in Ivan Nova and Michael Pineda to build on their success they experienced in their rookie year and not fall victim to the sophomore slump. It will be a huge key to the Yankees season.

How much has the sophomore slump affected pitchers recently? I looked at rookie pitchers over the last 5 seasons (not including last year since we do not know their sophomore stats yet) that had breakout rookie years and compared their numbers to their sophomore years. I used rookie pitchers who pitched at least 120 innings in their rookie year with what I deemed to be good success.  The stats I used in order are W/L record, ERA, WHIP, and K/9.

Player Rookie Year Rookie Stats Sophomore Stats
Justin Verlander 2006 17-9, 3.63 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 6.0 K/9 18-6, 3.66 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 8.2 K/9
Francisco Liriano 2006 12-3, 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 10.7 K/9 6-4, 3.91 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 7.9 K/9
Jered Weaver 2006 11-2, 2.56, 1.03, 7.7 13-7, 3.91, 1.38, 6.4
Matt Cain 2006 13-12, 4.15, 1.28, 8.4 7-16, 3.65, 1.26, 7.3
Josh Johnson 2006 12-7, 3.10, 1.29, 7.6 0-3, 7.47, 2.42, 7.6
Jeremy Guthrie 2007 7-5, 3.70, 1.20, 6.3 10-12, 3.63, 1.22, 5.7
Jair Jurrjens 2008 13-10, 3.68, 1.37, 6.6 14-10, 2.60, 1.24, 6.4
Edinson Volquez 2008 17-6, 3.21, 1.13, 9.5 4-2, 4.35, 1.32, 8.5
Armando Galarraga 2008 13-7, 3.73, 1.19, 6.3 6-10, 5.64, 1.56, 6.0
Brian Bannister 2007 12-9, 3.87, 1.21, 4.2 9-16, 5.76, 1.49, 6.6
Tommy Hanson 2009 11-4, 2.89, 1.18, 8.2 10-11, 3.33, 1.17, 7.7
Brett Anderson 2009 11-11, 4.06, 1.28, 7.7 7-6, 2.80, 1.19, 6.0
J.A. Happ 2009 12-4, 2.93, 1.23, 6.5 6-4, 3.40, 1.37, 7.2
Jeff Niemann 2009 13-6, 3.94, 1.35, 6.2 12-8, 4.39, 1.26, 6.8
Rick Porcello 2009 14-9, 3.96, 1.33, 4.7 10-12, 4.92, 1.38, 4.6
Jamie Garcia 2010 13-8, 2.70, 1.31, 7.3 13-7, 3.56, 1.32, 7.2
Wade Davis 2010 12-10, 4.07, 1.35, 6.1 11-10, 4.45, 1.37, 5.1

Based off these 17 pitchers over the last 5 seasons 7 pitchers experienced no major downfall in their performance. They are Verlander, Cain, Guthrie, Jurrjens, Hanson, Niemann, and Garcia. Only Jurrjens made a huge improvement in his 2nd year but Verlander, Cain, and Guthrie improved slightly, and Hanson, Niemann, and Garcia were slightly worse but still had solid years. 5 pitchers suffered significant injuries in their sophomore season. They were Liriano, Johnson, Volquez, Anderson, and Happ. Also, 5 pitchers suffered what I would include to be a sophomore slump. They would be Weaver, Galarraga, Bannister, Porcello, and Davis. So based off the last 5 years teams should worry about their sophomore pitchers staying on the mound just as much as their performance. When pitchers make a big jump in innings in their sophomore season it can lead  to injuries. This makes sense in this day and age of over protecting pitchers to at times extreme lengths. Of the pitchers who got hurt their sophomore season only Johnson has been the same pitcher again. Of the pitchers the pitchers who have had sophomore slumps only Weaver has gotten back to being an elite pitcher. Galarraga, Bannister, and Porcello have been big flops and Davis needs some more time to determine that. So the stats over the last 5 years are pretty even in whether or not pitchers have a sophomore slump or not. If you want to say the injured players had a sophomore then 10 players did and 7 did not or since injuries are unpredictable you can throw out the injured guys and say 7 pitchers did experience a sophomore slump and 5 did not. So the sophomore slump is not really a myth, but perhaps it is overblown a little.

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Yankees O/U: Swisher & Ibanez

Nick Swisher

Player: Nick Swisher
Stat: Base On Balls
The Number: 75

Report: We could talk about Nick Swisher’s average (.260). We could talk about his HR’s (23). We could also talk about his RBI’s (85). But we’re not. Instead we are going to focus on the one aspect that has made Nick Swisher a pretty good Yankee: Base On Balls.

In 2010, Nick Swisher wasn’t the most patient hitter as he had racked up 58 walks. But in 2011, that was when Swisher had stepped up his game and learned to take pitches. Sure Swisher had done it before when he was in Oakland (100 in 2007) and in his first year as a Yankee (97 in 2009) but Swisher has seemed to learn the art of taking pitches. He walked 95 times last season which is something you would expect from a hitter like Granderson or Gardner. Not only do the walks pile up, but it makes Swisher’s On Base Percentage look pretty good.

The Verdict: I say that Nick Swisher goes over the 75 BB mark. I would predict at least 85 walks in 2012 which is not a very far off number. Swisher has been in the 90’s a couple of times and in the 80’s once (his 2008 year with the Chicago White Sox). But if Swisher continues to play the game like he did last season, then there is no reason for Swisher not to have at least 85 walks in 2012.

Raul Ibanez

Player: Raul Ibanez
Stat: Home Runs
The Number: 30

Report: The Yankees signed free agent Raul Ibanez to a one year deal for his power. Unfortunately in 2011 when Ibanez was a Philly, there wasn’t a lot of power to go around. Sure he had 84 RBI’s, but his batting average was .245 and he only hit 20  HR’s. He also wasn’t very good at being patient at the plate. He only had 33 walks in 2011. Sure, Ibanez wasn’t the same guy that he was 9 years ago with the Kansas City Royals, but I think that it might change once he enters Yankee Stadium.

Yankee Stadium has a short right field porch which is easy to hit HR’s (just ask Mark Teixeira & Curtis Granderson). I get the feeling Ibanez might fit in around there.

The Verdict: Ibanez will probably be a little under 30 HR’s, maybe 27 HR’s because of the right field porch at Yankee Stadium. Ibanez definitely has some power left in him. It just depends on how he uses it.

What do you think? Do you think Swisher will go over/under 75 BB? Do you think that Ibanez will go over/under 30 HR’s? Put your thoughts in the comments section below.

Robertson sprains ankle but Opening Day not in jeopardy

Robertson sprains ankle but Opening Day not in jeopardy

Delia E.

David Robertson sprained his ankle yesterday after falling down a flight of steps in his Spring residence. Robertson had an X-Ray done early this morning and was scheduled to have an MRI. The Yankees will get the results for the MRI later today. Joe Girardi seemed a bit concerned about one of the big guys in the bullpen.

“I’m concerned. By the way he was walking today, it hurt him to walk.” Girardi told reporters. Robertson was fit into a walking boot but Girardi doesn’t think that Robertson would miss opening day unless he missed 2 straight weeks in camp.

Girardi explained that Robertson missed a step while carrying empty boxes down the stairs. It didn’t hurt at first but after an hour Robertson noticed throbbing pain & called athletic trainer Steve Donahue.

“They were empty boxes; they weren’t even heavy boxes.” Girardi said. “I told him to kick them down the stairs next time.”

Morning Bits: Empire State Yankees, Girardi, Sabathia, Hughes

Empire State Yankees

Good morning all as we inch closer to Friday.  Yankee game today but it is not on TV or radio.  Oh well just have to check back with us later for the latest from the game.

and here we go with the links….

* ESPN’s Wallace Matthews say the time is now for Phil Hughes.

* Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports Yogi has arrived at Yankees camp.

* The Scranton Wilkes Yankees will be known as the “Empire State Yankees” for the 2012 season.

* MLB.com reports that Sabathia shoulders the burden of the Yankee staff.

* The story about the motivational speaker Girardi invited to talk to the team yesterday from Sports Illustrated.

Enjoy this video interview with Mariano after his first bullpen in spring training.