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Has Larry Rothschild found his true calling?

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After a few years of ups and downs as the Yankees pitching coach, it looks like Larry Rothschild has turned a corner when it comes to helping a certain type of pitcher.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When a team with a payroll north of $200 million loses the one playoff game they play in over a three-year span, it is hard to say definitively that anyone should be completely absolved of any blame. However, pitching coach Larry Rothschild is an exception. He might fly under the radar, but over the past few years, he has shown his value, getting results from pitchers who were thought to be relatively useless.

As the Yankees pitching coach, he had his fair share of successes and failures. He managed to extract one good season from Freddy Garcia, who was well into the twilight of his career. However, he couldn't stop the free fall that was A.J. Burnett's Yankee career, as the inconsistent starter's ERA remained above 5.00 in 2011. Another mark against Rothschild is the performance of Ivan Nova, who got off to a good start in 2011 but has been extremely inconsistent ever since.

Evaluating the performance of pitching coaches is an extremely speculative task, as there are countless confounding variables such as the talent and mental makeup of his pitchers. But more recently, a handful of high-velocity pitchers have crossed the finish line under Rothschild and have done a good job in pinstripes.

Three examples of this phenomenon are Dellin Betances, Justin Wilson, and Nathan Eovaldi. At 6'8", Betances will always have to work harder than everyone else when it comes to command. Taller pitchers usually have a hard time throwing strikes, as their longer limbs make it harder to have repeatable mechanics. Betances still won't make a living dotting the corners of the strike zone, but he has found a way to improve his command just enough to become one of the most feared relievers in baseball.

Lefty reliever Justin Wilson is another example of a hard-throwing pitcher who had a tough time finding the strike zone. In 2014, he walked a hitter every two innings, en route to a 4.20 ERA. However, he did show the ability to throw gas, averaging over 96 mph on his fastball, according to Brooks Baseball. As a Yankee, he has managed to walk hitters at a less alarming rate of 2.95 BB/9, taking the unofficial title of seventh inning reliever.

Nathan Eovaldi was always highly regarded for his triple digit velocity with the Marlins, but he couldn't seem to find any success with an offspeed pitch to compliment his fastball, slider, and curveball. This season, he began throwing a forkball, which he later modified to a splitter. He missed the last month with an inflamed elbow, but not before pitching to a 3.43 ERA and a 2.86 FIP over his last 14 starts.

Again, it is hard to say how much of these pitchers' improvement can be attributed to Larry Rothschild's guidance, but the trend of flamethrowing pitchers making strides as Yankees is starting to take shape. This could be big for the Yankees as they look to improve over the offseason, as Brian Cashman could try to target hard-throwing pitchers who are underperforming and hope Larry Rothschild can work his magic. If Larry Rothschild really is behind the recent success of Betances, Wilson, and Eovaldi, the Yankees should use his talent to the fullest and bring the heat for years to come.

Data is from Fangraphs and Brooks Baseball.