Monday, January 02, 2006

Yankees vs. Mets II

Yesterday we went through the position players. Today we'll take a look at the pitchers.

Starting pitchers:

Randy Johnson vs. Pedro Martinez

The better debate about these two would be career. But as it stands right now, Pedro is better.

Pedro made the smart move of moving to the NL where pitchers batting .150 have to hit and he's out of the game before the pinch hitters come in. Johnson moved to the AL, and his numbers took a hit. There are statistics that equalize AL and NL, but I don't have access to them and I'm not shelling out the bucks to get them.

Pedro went 15-8 with an 2.82 ERA and a .949 Walks and Hits Per Inning Pitched (WHIP). He also had 208 SOs in 217 innings. Johnson actually had a better record (17-8) but the Mets bullpen blew a bunch of games for Pedro. The Big Unit had a 3.79 ERA, a 1.126 WHIP, and 211 SOs in 225.7 innings. If you take into account the AL-NL disparity these numbers are not so different.

But this case is an example of numbers being deceiving. As someone who watched a bunch of Pedro and Johnson starts, I can tell you that Pedro was better. The question, though, is whether Johnson had a down year (he's done this before) and will bounce back. If he does, or Pedro goes down with an injury, this position is even. Since I've seen no evidence of that being the case, I'll give Pedro the edge.

Mike Mussina vs. Tom Glavine

These are two old school warhorses. The number differences are not as bad as I thought. The WHIP is pretty even (1.369 vs. 1.363). Mussina had a better record (13-8 to 13-13). Mussina had better SO numbers (142 in 179.7 innings to 105 in 211.3)

The biggest difference is ERA. Glavine had a 3.53, while Mussina had a 4.41. That's a huge gap, even with the league and park differentials. Assuming Mussina does not revert to his 2003 days, I'm giving Glavine a slight edge.

Here it gets tricky for the Yankees. They have a whole bunch of pitchers to fill the last two spots. I'm going to pick Chacon, Wang, and Pavano. For the Mets I'm going with Zambrano and Trachsel (am I missing a pitcher?).

Shawn Chacon vs. Victor Zambrano

There were two Shawn Chacons last year. The 1-7 one in Colorado and the one with a 2.85 ERA in NY. Last year was the first time Chacon got out of the deathly confines of Coors Field. And his numbers were much better. We're not quite sure what we'll get here, but it doesn't have to be that great considering the competititon.

Even when Chacon was pitching in Colorado, his WHIP and ERA were better than Zambrano (4.09 and 1.445 to 4.17 to 1.485). Zambrano had the better win-loss but that's a function of hitting and bullpen more than anything else (Roger Clemens anyone?). Zambrano had 112 SOs in 166.3 innings to 79 in 151.7 for Chacon. The walks were pretty close too (66 for Chacon, 77 for Zambrano).

Since I think we'll get something closer to the Yankees Chacon, I'm giving him a slight edge.

Chien-Ming Wang vs. Steve Trachsel

Wang pitched well but was hurt. 8-5 with a 4.02 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP. Trachsel didn't pitch much, so we'll look at his numbers for the year before. 12-13 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.411 WHIP. Very little SOs for either pitcher, although Trachsel was better.

I think Wang will only get better and Trachsel is on his way down, so the edge goes to the Yankees.

Carl Pavano vs. ???

With Seo, Benson, and Heilman all being traded (if this deal goes through), who are the Mets going to start? And does it even matter considering how bad Pavano was last year? Well if the Yankees catch fire with either Pavano, Jaret Wright, or Aaron Small, someone will be better than the Mets' nonexistent 5th starter. Edge for the Yankees, pending the Mets actually getting someone to fill this spot.

So we have an advantage for the Mets with Pedro and Glavine and the Yankees an advantage the rest of the way down. Overall though, the Mets probably have a slight edge.

Relief Pitchers:

The Yankees really restocked their pen this offseason, acquiring Kyle Farnsworth, Octavio Dotel and Mike Myers. The Mets got Billy Wagner and Danys Baez if the trade goes through.

There are a lot of ifs here. Baez is not that good. He had 41 saves but a high 2.86 ERA and a 1.327 WHIP. Plus he's not a SO pitcher (51 in 72.3 innings), which is important for relievers.
Dotel might be out until May, but if healthy, he is quite the setup man (closer is a different matter). His last two seasons as a setman were so good the Astros traded Billy Wagner (two seasons with a sub 1 WHIP). Farnsworth had a great year, especially once he moved to Atlanta, but everyone is good on Atlanta.

The Mets bullpen is gutted if the trade goes through, and the Yankees only restocked (and have to get better considering what they out there last year). Let's call the bullpen even until this point.

Closer: Mariano Rivera vs. Billy Wagner

Rivera is the best closer of all time. His WHIP is constantly around 1. His ERA over the last three years is sub 2. He strikes out around a batter an inning. Wagner's number all almost as impressive. Rivera has the better ERA over the last three years but a higher WHIP. And Wagner has the better SO numbers.

Rivera has saved a whole lot more games over the last few years. I have to give the edge to Rivera solely based on his postseason numbers and clutch ability.

With the edge to Rivera, the bullpen edge goes to the Yankees.

Bullpen to Yankees, starting rotation to Mets. Overall the pitching is very close with a slight edge to the Yankees.

The Mets have a whole bunch of new players so chemistry might be a concern. The Yankees have the consumate professional in Derek Jeter, who runs the clubhouse well.

I'd go through the bench but that changes over the course of the offseason.

With a slight edge to the Mets in pitching and a big edge to the Yankees in position players, overall the Yankees are better.

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