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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Do the Yankees need a lefty starting pitcher to win it all?

Tomorrow night Luis Severino makes his first big league appearance with a start against the Boston Red Sox.  I have two concerns about Severino:
1. only 61 innings in AAA (and only 50 SO)
2. he throws right handed.

The 2015 Yankees are in first place at 59-45.  They have three lefties in the bullpen but only two lefty pitchers have started games.  Chris Capuano is 36 years old and has started four games and relieved in 12 with a 6.97 ERA and he is not counted among the three relievers.

1SPMichael Pineda (15-day dl)2697.5633.9719190100118.0129575213150117204490982.971.2209.
2SPNathan Eovaldi25112.8464.3021210000117.11425656933085208512913.531.49110.
3SPCC Sabathia*3448.3335.5420200100117.014374722425197414511704.841.43611.
4SPAdam Warren2765.5453.502414400197.28541388310694063971113.821.1887.
5SPMasahiro Tanaka2674.6363.801414000087.275423715180840033531034.011.0617.
6SPIvan Nova2843.5713.1077000040.23815144140251001701274.241.2798.
Former ace CC Sabathia is the only lefty starter of note.

Do teams have plans? Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I found that the 1947 Yankees won the old World Series with no left handed starting pitchers.  None.

"Closer" Joe Page, a lefty, started two games in the regular season and lefties Bill Wight and Tommy Byrne each started one.  But in the 1947 WS the Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers 4 games to 3 and got only 13 lefty innings: Joe Page in four games, all in relief.  I wonder how many teams, especially the Yankees with their skewed home park, have won the championship without a significant lefty starter.  In 2014 the San Francisco Giants had lefty Madison Bumgarner preforming heroics.  In 2009 the Yankees won their most recent championship led by lefty CC Sabathia. In 2015 Sabathia will be six years older and coming off an injury shortened 46 inning 2014 season.  Is Cashman's plan for Sabathia to be the significant Yankee lefty starting pitcher?

I checked all 27 seasons in which the Yankees won the championship and 1947 was the the only one without a lefty starter.  However, there was this oddity in 1922, their second pennant winning season.

1SPBob Shawkey312012.6252.91393442231299.228611297169813000312531373.821.2818.
2SPWaite Hoyt221912.6133.43373131730265.027111410113769590511171173.891.3099.
3SPSad Sam Jones291313.5003.674528152008260.027013210616768131410881094.101.3319.
4SPBullet Joe Bush29267.7883.31393082003255.12401099416859210510621214.111.2738.
5SPCarl Mays301314.4813.60342942111240.0257111961250417019881114.031.2799.
6RPGeorge Murray2332.6003.972221300056.2532725026141002411013.941.3948.
7RPLefty O'Doul*25003.3860600016.0241360125002801214.632.25013.
ZERO.  Zero starts by a lefty pitcher.  And only 16 lefty innings.  Joe Page threw 141 lefty innings in 1947, including his two starts.

The only player who pitched lefty was O'Doul and he was not a real major league pitcher.  Lefty O'Doul was a very good hitter.  O'Doul had only 39 plate appearances (PA) total for the Yankees in 1919, 1920, 1922 before moving on to several other teams. O'Doul had 39 PA for the Boston Red Sox in 1923 then disappeared from the traditional major leagues.  O'Doul finished his big league pitching with Boston: 53 innings, 5.43 ERA.
Photo of Lefty O'Doul
O'Doul spent the next four years in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) where he played full time 1924-1927.  His primary preparation for for those 16 Yankee innings in 1922: 312 innings in 1921 for the San Francisco Seals of the PCL: 25-9, 2.39 ERA.  In 1924 for the Salt Lake City Bees, O'Doul threw 128 innings; batting O'Doul was 163 for 416 for a .392 batting average (BA).

O'Doul returned to the bigs in 1928 with the New York Giants: .319 BA in 354 AB.  O'Doul played for the Phillies the next two seasons.  In 1929 O'Doul led NL in PA, Hits, BA (.398), OBP.  Then two full seasons with Brooklyn, leading the NL in BA again with .368 in 1932 at age 35.

O'Doul had 3,658 major league PA, .349 BA, 143 OPS+.  This was the guy who threw the only lefty innings in 1922 for the Yankees who then lost to the New York Giants in the World Series.  O'Doul didn't bat in that WS but playing for the 1933 Giants when they won the WS against the Washington Senators O'Doul batted once and singled and scored.

Let's see if Luis Severino can do any of that and, more importantly, if the Yankees can buck the odds and win a championship without a reliable lefty starting pitcher.

Most common Yankee pitchers.

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