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An early look at the value and projections of the 2015 Yankees: Pitching Staff

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It appears that the youth movement is underway in the Bronx.

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

With big questions regarding the Yankees 2015 pitching staff, particularly the starting rotation, Brian Cashman made two moves this week. First, he re-signed Chris Capuano to a one-year deal and then he dealt Martin Prado and David Phelps to the Marlins in exchange for Nathan Eovaldi, Garrett Jones and pitching prospect Domingo German. Although it was tough to see homegrown star closer David Robertson leave, adding Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson to the late-inning mix is at least a statistical wash and at a savings of $10 million. After writing part one on position players, using both Steamer projections and Sky Kalkman’s WAR Spreadsheet Version 2.0, naturally part two needed to cover the pitching staff. As with the last installment in the series, this part will continue using projections and update throughout the offseason.

For background reading concerning the WAR team spreadsheet, click here and here and if you’re looking to find the first part of this series click here. I’ve made some updates to bring the spreadsheet up to date, such as using the current WAR market value of $7MM and using the 2014 American League ERA average of 3.82.

When reviewing the data in the starting rotation, it appears that they will have a slightly higher than league-average ERA of 3.95, in comparison to the 2014 AL average of 3.82. One concern that I do have with the Steamer projections are the innings pitched that CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Masahiro Tanaka are all expected to throw in 2015. If the Yankees get anywhere near that level of production, they would have to be thrilled.

Pitcher


S/R


IP


ERA


LEV


FA $


WAR


Masahiro Tanaka

S

192

3.44

1.0

$26.9

3.8

Michael Pineda

S

173

3.91

1.0

$18.0

2.3

CC Sabathia

S

192

3.93

1.0

$17.9

2.5

Nathan Eovaldi

S

182

4.44

1.0

$9.1

1.2

Chris Capuano

S

67

4.20

1.0

$4.9

0.6

In the second chart, with health being the key, it looks as if Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi will be flat-out steals as young and controllable talent. CC Sabathia, as expected, is an albatross contract at this point, while Masahiro Tanaka will outplay his salary, as long as his elbow remains intact. Chris Capuano should also come close to earning his contract value as filler for the final rotation spot. When you compare cost versus production, the Yankees could come out with a huge return on their investment. However, if health fails to hold up, this could avalanche into a nightmare quickly.

Player

Pos

FA$

ACV

ROI

Masahiro Tanaka

SP

$26.90

$22.00

$4.90

Michael Pineda

SP

$18.00

TBD

TBD

CC Sabathia

SP

$17.90

$23.00

($5.10)

Nathan Eovaldi

SP

$9.10

TBD

TBD

Chris Capuano

SP

$4.90

$5.00

($0.10)

This past season was one that saw the tandem of David Robertson and Dellin Betances form one of the most dominate late-inning combos in all of baseball. While losing Robertson to the White Sox may have been a blow, it can be argued that, with the additions of Justin Wilson and Andrew Miller, the bullpen might actually be stronger in 2015. While five out of seven spots are all but set, it would appear that 2014 second-round pick Jacob Lindgren could take one of those remaining two spots. That would leave Adam Warren, Jose Ramirez, Danny Burawa and Andrew Bailey, among others to battle it out for the final bullpen spot.

Pitcher


S/R


IP


ERA


LEV


FA$


WAR


Dellin Betances

R

65

2.74

1.3

$12.7

1.8

Andrew Miller

R

65

2.38

1.0

$12.7

1.8

Shawn Kelley

R

55

3.06

0.9

$5.8

0.8

Justin Wilson

R

45

3.48

0.8

$2.7

0.3

Jacob Lindgren

R

0.7

$0.4

0.0

R

0.6

Esmil Rogers

R

40

3.79

0.5

$1.1

0.1

Dellin Betances is the bargain of the century if he comes close to his projections while even at $9 million a year, Andrew Miller would show a nice return on the Yankees investment. Shawn Kelley, Justin Wilson and Jacob Lindgren should all safely out-pitch their contracts. The contract of Betances, Kelley, Wilson and Rogers are currently unsettled, so I’ve decided to forego the return on investment chart until a later date.

After two disappointing seasons and missing the playoffs, it appears that old age has reared its ugly head. With underperforming contracts and injury concerns, it appears that Yankees ownership and the front office have decided that it’s time for a youth movement. Even though there’s still plenty of time to further refine the roster between now and Opening Day, as currently constituted, the roster is about an 81-win team. Though ownership will never admit to rebuilding, it’s clear that the past two seasons have necessitated the move towards young, controllable talent. I’m by no means writing off 2015, but with Judge, Bird and Severino expected to arrive by 2016, it makes sense to ride out one more season and get closer to the bad contract purge.

Total WAR

37.0

Total FA $

$259.8

Win Talent

80.5

Prob >= X Wins

61

100%

66

99%

71

92%

76

73%

81

44%

86

17%

91

4%

96

1%

101

0%

*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs

**All contract info courtesy of Baseball Prospectus

Follow Sky Kalkman on Twitter @Sky_Kalkman