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718area has new update 7 hours ago Is the Yankees’ patience paying off?
Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images With baseball trending towards stronger bullpens that often are more effective than starters, the benefits may be watered down. Early in this 2024 season, the Yankees have looked to be patient at the plate. New hitting coach James Rowson spoke to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic and discussed his charges’ tactics: “They have an idea of what they want to do at the plate and they’re sticking to that plan... When [pitchers] don’t come into that plan, they have the discipline to wait and wait for a pitch to drive.” Relatedly, the Yankees are seeing a whole lot of pitches. The offense led the major leagues in pitches per plate appearances (P/PA) going into their series against Cleveland, averaging 4.18 P/PA compared to the league average of 3.90. Traditionally, seeing lots of pitches is seen as a positive, since it means working the starter getting into the opposing bullpen earlier in the game. The other benefit of seeing more pitches is that the more pitches you see, the greater likelihood of the opposing pitcher making a mistake or issuing a walk. In the modern game, however, you might well prefer the starter over the pen. In 2023, starting pitchers’ league-wide ERA was 4.45, (5.83 ERA when they had the opportunity to face the lineup a third time), while relief pitchers league-wide held a 4.17 ERA. I want to focus just on the Yankees’ first four series to find if there has been a noticeable impact early on for the Yankees’ from hitters working the counts. Going series-by-series, I wanted to check three things: How did the Yankees hitters perform in at-bats lasting six or more pitches? Did the Yankees manage to reach the bullpen early due to prolonged at-bats? How did the Yankees fare against starters compared to relievers? First, let us look at how long starting pitchers lasted for each game and their respective P/PA, and compare the starters’ in-series ERA to relievers. Houston Astros four-game series Game 1, W 5-4: Framber Valdez: 4.1 innings, 3 earned runs, 86 pitches, 3.73 P/PA Game 2, W 7-1: Cristian Javier: 6.0 innings, 0 earned runs, 90 pitches, 3.91 P/PA Game 3, W 5-3: Hunter Brown: 4.0 innings, 1 unearned run, 88 pitches, 4.88 P/PA Game 4, W 4-3: J.P. France: 5.2 innings, 3 earned runs, 94 pitches, 3.92 P/PA Starting pitcher ERA: 2.66 in 20.1 innings pitched. Average 5.0 innings per starter. Relief pitcher ERA: 6.89 on 15.2 innings pitched. Arizona Diamondbacks three-game series Game 1, W 5-2: Ryne Nelson: 2.2 innings, 4 earned runs, 76 innings, 4.5 P/PA Game 2, L 7-0: Zac Gallen: 6.0 innings, 0 earned runs, 96 pitches, 4.3 P/PA Game 3, W 6-5: Merrill Kelly: 7.0 innings, 2 earned runs, 91 pitches, 3.5 P/PA Starting pitcher ERA: 3.45 in 15.2 innings pitched. Average 5.1 innings per starter. Relief pitcher ERA: 1.35 in 13.1 innings pitched Toronto Blue Jays three-game series Game 1, L 3-0: Yusei Kikuchi: 5.1 innings, 0 earned runs, 96 pitches, 4.8 P/PA Game 2, W 9-8: Kevin Gausman: 1.1 innings, 5 earned runs, 51 pitches, 4.6 P/PA Game 3, W 8-3: Bowden Francis: 3.0 innings, 5 earned runs, 77 pitches, 5.1 P/PA Starting pitcher ERA: 9.31 in 9.2 innings. Average 3.2 innings per starter. Relief pitcher ERA: 3.52 in 15.1 innings Miami Marlins three-game series Game 1, W 7-0: Jesús Luzardo: 4.2 innings, 7 earned runs, 94 pitches, 3.6 P/PA Game 2, W 3-2: A.J. Puk: 4.2 innings, 1 earned run, 98 pitches, 4.2 P/PA Game 3, L 5-2: Ryan Weathers: 5 innings, 0 earned runs, 94 pitches, 4.7 P/PA Starting pitcher ERA: 5.02 in 14.1 innings. Average of 4.8 innings per starter. Relief pitchers ERA: 2.53 in 10.2 innings Overall results Starting pitcher ERA: 4.50 Average innings pitched for starter: 4.5 Relief pitcher ERA: 3.76 In this short timeframe, the Yankees followed the league-wide trend of experiencing more success attacking the starters rather than the bullpen. The average length of starts so far in the 2024 season league-wide is 5.1 innings, which mirrors the same length as in 2023. Starters are still being stretched out early in the season, but on average, they are being taken out earlier against the Yankees. One game that stands out where driving up the starters’ pitch count contributed to their victory was the third game of the season against Houston. The Astros’ starter, Hunter Brown, had a notably high 4.88 pitches per plate appearance. Despite walking four batters, he did not give up any earned runs but lasted only four innings. This forced Houston to utilize five different relievers in the game. With more pitchers involved, the Astros were forced to dig deeper and deeper into their staff, making it more likely the Yankees would find a weak point or a pitcher having a bad day. In this instance, it was the typically reliable Bryan Abreu who surrendered three runs, aiding the Yankees’ come-from-behind victory. There are numerous contextual factors to consider when assessing the benefits of reaching the bullpen. In a doubleheader like the one in Cleveland yesterday, getting to the bullpen earlier holds a clear advantage, given the unlikelihood of a team having enough great relievers to cover two games worth of innings. On the whole, though, the Yankees haven’t seen a big benefit from getting into opponents’ bullpens early. Now, shifting focus to the offensive side and the advantages of working long counts, let’s filter the at-bats that lasted six pitches or longer (excluding one catcher’s interference). No surprise, but for hitters, the majority of walks come on six or more pitches, but that comes with a poor batting average, and very limited power. In this limited 129-plate appearance sample, just three doubles accounted for all the extra-base hits. There was also a diminished return after the seventh pitch. Only one single occurred in the 22 plate appearances that were eight pitches or longer; they walked 33 percent in this subset. In terms of answering the question, “Have long counts helped the team win?” the Yankees have roughly an even wins probability added, and a slightly negative RE24 with at-bats that are six or more pitches. We certainly can’t declare that the Yankees should avoid deep counts based on this small of a sample, though. As the sample size grows, this could be a thing to monitor as bullpens begin to wear down more, and starters continue to ramp into mid-season form. Even if the Yankees haven’t derived any obvious benefits from chasing starters quickly, their overall approach has clearly worked so far, with the team winning games and the lineup looking much better than it did last year. Perhaps their patient, diligent plate approach will only prove more and more beneficial as the season progresses.
718area has new update 8 hours ago Yankees prospects: Beeter silences Norfolk, Jones debuts
Recapping the Yankees’ minor league affiliates’ results from April 13th. Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders: W, 3-0 at Norfolk Tides CF Brandon Lockridge 0-3, BB, K, CSDH Caleb Durbin 0-4LF Everson Pereira 0-4, 4 K — not what you want!C Carlos Narvaez 1-3, HR, RBI, BB, K, throwing error, passed ball1B Jose Rojas 1-2, 2 BB, KSS Jeter Downs 1-4, RBI, 2 K3B Jordan Groshans 1-4, 3 KRF Luis González 0-42B Josh VanMeter 1-3, HR, RBI, 2 K Clayton Beeter 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K (win) — great start against a good Triple-A lineupMatt Givin (hold) 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 KJake Cousins 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K Clayton Beeter pitched 5 scoreless innings for the #RailRiders topping at 96 MPH. #RepBx Line: 5 IP | 1 H | 0 ER | 8 SO | 0 BB | 79 pitches | 49 strikes— Dugout Station (@DugoutStation) April 14, 2024 Double-A Somerset Patriots: W, 10-2 and W, 3-1 @ New Hampshire Fisher Cats Game 1 DH Spencer Jones 2-3, 2B, RBI, BB — great way to start 20241B T.J. Rumfield 2-4, RBISS Benjamin Cowles 0-2, 2 BB, KC J.C. Escarra 0-2, 2 RBI, BBCF Grant Richardson 0-4RF Jared Wegner 1-3, HR, 3 RBI, K2B Anthony Seigler 1-4, KLF Aaron Palensky 2-3, 2 2B, BB, K3B Max Burt 1-4, HR, 3 RBI, K, SB Zach Dees 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 HRKevin Stevens 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 4 K (win) Game 2 C Ben Rice 1-4DH Agustin Ramirez 2-4, HR, RBI — that’s homers in six of seven games!3B Benjamin Cowles 2-3, 2BRF J.C. Escarra 1-4, 2B, RBI, KCF Grant Richardson 0-4, 4 K2B Anthony Seigler 1-3, RBI, 2 KLF Jared Wegner 1-31B Spencer Henson 0-3SS Max Burt 0-2, BB, K Trystan Vierling 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K (win) back-to-back strong starts to open the seasonCarlos Gomez 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K (save) Spencer Jones' 2024 debut is in the books 2-for-3 | 3 R | 2 H | 2B | RBI | BB— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) April 13, 2024 YES HE DID!!!@Yankees No. 22 prospect Agustin Ramirez hits the go-ahead home run, his 6th in 7 games this season!— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) April 13, 2024 High-A Hudson Valley Renegades: W, 3-0 @ Rome Emperors 2B Jared Serna 1-5, K3B Jesus Rodriguez 0-4DH Omar Martinez 1-4, 3B, RBI, KRF Garrett Martin 1-3, SBC Rafael Flores 2-4, K, passed ball1B Kiko Romero 0-2, 2 BB, 2 K, fielding error, missed catchSS Alexander Vargas 0-4, RBI, KCF Nelson Medina 0-4, 4 KLF Cole Gabrielson 0-3, BB, K Sebastian Keane 4.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 KTrent Sellers 3.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K (win) Geoffrey Gilbert 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB,2 K(save) Sellers with his 4th K of the night— Hudson Valley Renegades (@HVRenegades) April 13, 2024 Low-A Tampa Tarpons: W, 8-7 (ten innings) vs. Dunedin Blue Jays SS George Lombard Jr. 1-4, RBI, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 SB — 2023 first rounder delivered the walk-off!DH Roderick Arias 2-5, 2 2B, 2 K, CS3B Dylan Jasso 1-2, 3 BB1B Coby Morales 0-4, BB, KCF Willy Montero 1-5, RBI, 2 K, throwing errorRF Daury Arias 0-4, BB, 2 KC Tomas Frick 1-4, 2B, RBI, BB, K, throwing errorLF Tayler Aguilar 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, 3 BB, K, SB2B Brenny Escanio 0-4, BB, K Ryan Harvey 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 2 KKris Bow 2.2 IP, 2 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 2 KOsiel Rodriguez 2.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 4 K, 2 HRAaron Nixon 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 KHueston Morrill 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (win) The Tarpons win in walk-off fashion by George Lombard Jr, as he hits an RBI single to drive in Enmanuel Tejeda from 3B.Tarpons win 8-7 in the 10th inning.— John Brophy (@jbrophybaseball) April 14, 2024
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