After a long and unexpected delay, Fantasy in Five is back in action! Being a college freshman, finals week and catching up with some old friends (along with finding a job) has clogged up my schedule. But I’m here finally, and ready to give you my advice.
This week, I’m going to analyze the 39-year-old starting pitcher for the New York Yankees, Andy Pettitte. After being retired for one year, Pettitte signed a one-year-deal with the Yankees during the offseason. It shocked a lot of people, including myself, because at the time the Yankees had enough starting pitching as it was. Who could argue with a rotation of Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova, Pineda, and Garcia/Hughes?
Like they always say, “You could never have enough pitching.” At this point in the season, the Yankees starting pitching has been sub-par. Michael Pineda didn’t even start one game and is out for the year, Kuroda follows a quality start with a poor one, Ivan Nova has an ERA of six, Hughes has been unlucky locating his pitches, and Garcia has been demoted to the bullpen. I didn’t mention Sabathia because he’s known to have a better second half and has pitched well the past three starts.
With the Garcia demotion, Pettitte got his first start of the year on Mother’s Day at home against the Seattle Mariners. It didn’t go so well, but it’s what I was expecting from him. Being 39 and not playing a major league game for over a year, there was expected rust. Pettitte would lose control of his cutter and it would ride down the middle of the plate, only for it to leave the ballpark in a matter of seconds.
His second start was a shock to me, as he went eight scoreless against the Cincinnati Reds on May 18. Along with that, he had nine strikeouts and allowed four hits on 115 pitches. The Reds offense isn’t a joke either, led by Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, Drew Stubbs, and Jay Bruce. Pettitte had complete control of his pitches this day, as he painted the corners just like he has throughout his career.
So with all of this, the main question would be what’s his fantasy value to this point. If fantasy baseball went into the postseason, then no doubt you’d pick him up, as he’s the best postseason pitcher in major league history. But being realistic, Pettitte can be a fourth or fifth starter in 12-team leagues and a good sixth man in a 10-team league.
What Pettitte possess that has helped him stay successful is his demand of the strike zone. Never a hard thrower, he’s used the corners to his advantage. With this, it’s obvious he won’t get you many strikeouts.
But what Pettitte brings to the table are wins. The New York Yankees have one of the best offenses in the league. If a team is able to score runs, it’ll take less pressure off the pitcher to be forced to have consecutive quality starts. Some examples of this are Ivan Nova last year and Phil Hughes in 2009.
A concern I have with Pettitte would be his ERA. From 2006-2009, Pettitte averaged an ERA of 4.30. He wasn’t ever known for having a low ERA throughout the regular season, but if you need to lower this stat on your team, don’t pick him up. Pitching in the hitters pinball machine of Yankee Stadium doesn’t help his cause either.
One other problem I have with Pettitte is pitching in the American League East. I understand he’s been pitching in this division most of his life, but taking a year off and coming back with limited minor league assignments will mean a rough terrain to start off. With teams like the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, and the division leading (I know right?) Baltimore Orioles, it’s not an easy ride.
Overall, my prediction is Andy Pettitte will go 10-9 with a 4.45 ERA. He should be available right now in free agency since he’s only had two starts. If your pitching is in deep trouble or has little depth, Pettitte is a good option. Whatever you do, don’t pick him up because of his name value, especially if Pittsburgh Pirates starter James McDonald is available too. Pettitte is a last resort at this point in his career.