A Baseball Weblog

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pettitte is starting Game 2 - what about Hughes?

Andy Pettitte will start Game 2 of the ALDS for the Yankees this evening. I am skeptical of the move; I can't help but wonder if Phil Hughes is the better choice. A Game 2 start will line Pettitte up for a start in the potential Game 5, and there's no denying that Pettitte has the better postseason track record. However, while both pitchers have performed significantly better on the road than at home in 2010, Hughes' skillset sets him up better in Minnesota than in New York. Here are some splits for both Hughes and Pettitte.

Phil Hughes IPERAK/9BB/9GB RateHR/BIA*
Home106 1/34.667.033.22.358.097

Andy PettitteIP ERAK/9BB/9GB RateHR/BIA
Home 69 1/33.955.793.03.400.076
Road59 2/32.588.672.74.494.037
*HR/BIA is home runs / balls in air, which includes all batted ball types other than ground balls.

Both pitchers show a significant split between their home and road performances, but Hughes is at greater risk because of his very low groundball rate (6th lowest among major league starters in 2010). According to ESPN's 2010 park factors, Target Field has the lowest home run park factor at 0.64, while Yankee Stadium has the third-highest at 1.42. As an extreme fly-ball pitcher, Hughes is best suited in the park that suppresses home runs. I'm aware that that's not the whole story, as it's hard not to go with Pettitte in the deciding game based on his postseason success, but I still think it's questionable to have Hughes pitch an extra game at Yankee Stadium.

The data are from Fangraphs; the batted ball types are determined by the Baseball Info Solutions stringers.

If you're interested, here is the full list of ESPN's 2010 park factors.

1 comment:

  1. Good for you - making a comment prior to the game rather than second guessing.