Cleat Geeks

The Pinstripe Post; Calm Down Yankee Fans, It’s Only April

The Yankees fanbase is in panic mode already, and it’s only April. Alright, I know the calendar says May, but everything we are going to focus on was in April. The pitching has been atrocious, the guys on the field are lacking, and the bats are ineffective. The New York Yankees, at heart, are just plain awful right now.

With that said, it’s still April and things may not be as bad as they appear.Chase-Headley6

Chase Headley is a popular target right now, with many calling for him to be benched. Not only is Headley the worst batter in the Yankees lineup, he’s struggling more than most in the league. In 57 at-bats, he has 8 singles and no extra base hits, making his .140 batting average look even worse.

Headley is certainly struggling, but it’s not as though he’s not trying. As writer Brenden Kuty points out, “A great way to judge if a player is seeing the ball well is his strikeout-walk rate. For his career, Headley has a 0.45 K/BB rate. It’s at 0.77 right now, and this season’s league average is 0.40. He’s not chasing bad pitches and he’s hitting balls in the zone.”

Not only is Headley’s career average above what the league is at now, he is soaring above both statistics right now. To a degree it can be argued he’s trying, but is just being the victim of bad luck.

The Yankees pitching has also been a popular target. But is it really that bad?

Yanks Go Yard makes an important note:

MasahiroTanakaThree Yankees starters have a FIP that is a run lower than their ERA. Nathan Eovaldi is very close to making that four with a 0.83 run differential between those numbers. Luis Severino’s difference is more than three runs, suggesting he has been the victim of some bad luck in his terrible start to the season. Only Masahiro Tanaka has an ERA roughly equivalent to his FIP. It’s no coincidence then that he has been the team’s lone consistently successful starter in the early going.

FIP stands for Fielding Independent Pitching, a statistic developed by researcher Voros McCracken to more accurately measure a pitcher’s talent. Earned Run Average is a statistic that involves all the factors on the field, whereas FIP was the product of McCracken wanting to isolate points the pitcher is in direct control over and develop a means to specifically measure a pitcher’s performance. The FIP formula is (13*HR+3*BB-2*K)/IP.

Why does this matter? Because FIP shows us things aren’t great, but they’re not quite as bad as they appear.

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