Pineda vs History
The injury nexus is a line in the sand for pitcher health. Research put together by Nate Silver and myself in 2003 showed that pitchers that went over 190 innings while under the age of 24 simply didn’t hold together in the long term.
Yankees, a team that simply has a poor record of getting young pitchers into their rotation and keeping them healthy. Along with Ivan Nova (24 last season), the 23-year-old Pineda is fighting history and probability as much as he will be the hitters of the AL East. How bad is it? The research, put together for me by Dan Wade, is damnin. Joe Girardi, the Yankees have brought five pitchers under the age of 25 up to the majors, getting them nine or more starts. Of those, only two are healthy - and really, it’s too early to know the longer term consequences of last season’s workload on Nova. Joba Chamberlain is coming back from Tommy John surgery while Phil Hughes has had an up-and-down Yankee career, in large part due to injuries.
Girardi with the Marlins, things look even worse. There were another five qualifying pitchers brought up to the Marlins while Girardi was there and all five suffered some pitching injury afterwards. Josh Johnson is coming back from elbow and shoulder surgeries. Scott Olson and Ricky Nolasco have had varying degrees of success mixed with injuries. Anibal Sanchez has been effective on the few occasions he’s been healthy (and to be fair, was injured before, during, and after Girardi’s tenure.) Perhaps the only pitcher to come away without a new scar was Dontrelle Willis. It would be a bit of a stretch to blame his decline on Girardi given his previous success and workload, but it’s hardly a positive either.
Rothschild’s previous job was as pitching coach for the Chicago Cubs under Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella. Do I need to do more than say “Mark Prior” to paint this picture for you? The list speaks for itself: Prior, Carlos Zambrano, Sean Marshall, Sergio Mitre, Kerry Wood, Carlos Marmol, Angel Guzman, Sean Gallagher, Juan Mateo, and Jerome Williams. Again, if we remove Kerry Wood from the list, we’re left with only two pitchers of nine that stayed healthy after being used young under Rothschild.
Rays: David Price, Jeremy Hellickson, James Shields, and Matt Garza through the injury nexus without significant injuries. They’re not perfect — hi, Scott Kazmir — but they’re close,
The NYY could invest in a biomechanical program the way that the Red Sox have.