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The Importance of Pettitte

We do this every year, don't we?

But how important is Andy Pettitte to the Yankees' success?

I certainly want him to come back, but as I look over the end of the year numbers, I can't help but notice that he got lucky.

His BABIP was .301, down from .339 last season, and the lowest of his Yankee career (he posted lower twice with the Astros).  It was out of line from his Line Drive %, so we should expect some regression.

My gut reaction was to think, Andy gives up a lot of groundballs, and with the addition of Tex and with Jeter's career year with the glove, it's certainly possible that they turned more grounders into outs that previous seasons- maybe the difference is sustainable.  But Andy's Ground Ball % went way down: from averaging 50% the last 3 seasons to 42.9 percent this season.  And all the rest of those outs turned into fly balls, not a terrible thing for a lefty in Yankee Stadium, but not encouraging either.

His fastball continues to average 89 mph, and the cutter still looks good.  FanGraphs figures he was a $15M player in 2009.  Make no mistake: a pitcher who can throw 200 innings in the AL East is a valuable player.  And the Yankees need him back.

I just worry that we're hoping for more than we have right to expect.