As I sit back and contemplate another Yankee season passed, I can’t help but wonder about the Yankees' fate had they been without Andy Pettitte. The veteran hurler posted a 3.28 ERA, 1.271 WHIP, 3.75 FIP, 3.72 xFIP and 101 SO over 129 innings pitched. This was good enough to secure an 11-3 record in the W/L column*, another All-Star Game appearance, and a 3.1 bWAR/2.3 fWAR.
Here are Andy's season numbers:
Early on in the season, Andy's first few turns through the rotation were quite good. In fact, his 2010 April stats rank among the best monthly results Andy has ever produced throughout his illustrious career. During that time, he started five games and posted a 2.12 ERA while averaging 6.6 SO/9. Batters were held to a .231/.296/.306 slash (only one home run surrendered). More importantly, between CC Sabathia's, Phil Hughes' and Andy Pettitte’s contributions, the Bombers were able to compensate for the many, many dreadful outings manufactured by Javier Vazquez and A.J. Burnett during much of the season.
Granted, May and June showed definitive regression in terms of ERA (2.87 and 3.18 respectively), but those stats were both quality results in their own right. June also marked a significant uptick in strikeouts as he put up a 8.7 SO/9 (after a May 4.6 SO/9). July “felt” more typical in terms of career norms as he pitched to a 3.86 ERA, 8.8 SO/9, with a 1.408 WHIP (career averages include a 3.88ERA and a 1.357 WHIP). Unfortunately, Andy’s season was halted in mid-July after he sustained a Grade 1 groin strain. While Father Time reminded us of the reality of aging veterans' physical reliability, the question of Andy’s importance relative to the rotation became especially apparent. Consider what he had accomplished up until that point in contrast to his replacements. Through the dog days of summer during his absence, the Yankees were “blessed” with interim solutions Sergio Mitre, Dustin Moseley and Ivan Nova.
As the postseason approached, the Yankees found themselves limping to the finish line. During the ALDS, the Yankees
The ALCS ended up being an entirely different beast altogether. Andy was the “predetermined loser” selected to
One other point of interest that was frequently observed throughout the season involved Andy's splits. Of the 13 dingers allowed, 11 of them (82%) were against righties (this small sample’s percent is actually higher than his career average of 72%, for those of you wondering). Additionally, 10 of the home runs were surrendered at home and several were probably beneficiaries of the short right field porch. Righthanded batters hit almost 100 points better than lefties in terms of batting average (.283 RHB /.186 LHB). As for historical opponent batting averages, his career numbers were essentially the same (.271 RHB / .267 LHB). This tells me that Pettitte was just downright harsh in his handling of lefties in 2010.
In terms of Benjamins, Andy earned $11.75M in 2010. Fangraphs placed his 2010 Dollar Value at $9.2M. However, if his season wasn’t abbreviated by injury, I suspect his stock (in terms of WAR and Dollar Equivalent) would have absolutely surpassed 2009. Last year he was valued at a 3.6 fWAR, or $16.3M, making his $5.5M (not including incentives) salary look extremely savvy (he was valued at 4.4 fWAR/$19.9M in 2008, 4.5 fWAR/$18.7M in 2007).
Now, I’m guessing he’ll return in 2011. I’m hoping he’ll manage to stay relatively healthy which of course is a definite gamble as he’ll be turning 39. I’m guessing he’ll earn around $13-14M, and I’m confident he’ll once again be worth it. So, where would the Yankees be without Andy? I’m guessing probably floating up S#$% Creek. Thanks for another vintage season, Andy; please return in 2011 (regardless of Cliff Lee's decision).
*Andy Pettitte has amassed double-digit wins in every season except for one (2004). He’s accumulated 15 or more wins eight times throughout his career (16 seasons thus far), and topped 20 wins twice (21 wins in both 1996 and 2003). I don't put much stock in wins in terms of a mode of pitcher evaluation, but I think the point to be made here is that Andy has been consistently good throughout his career.