What Can Be Expected From Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte

Andy Pettitte will be joining the Yankees tomorrow to see if he can be a useful starter. Don’t get caught up in the recent hype. The 39-year-old will have a lower than expected fantasy value for a few reasons.

First, a production level needs to guesstimated. To get an idea of his possible production level, here are his K/9 and BB/9 levels over the last three years he pitched:

Year, K/9, BB/9
2008, 7.0, 2.4
2009, 6.8, 3.5
2010, 7.1, 2.9

We should expect a K/9 value near 7.0 and BB/9 near 3.0. For reference, here are 3 pitchers from 2011 with similar K/9 and BB/9 rates:

Name, K/9, BB/9
Ricky Romero, 7.1, 3.2
Ryan Vogelsong, 7.0, 3.1
Ervin Santana, 7.0, 2.8

The ADP of each of these 3 pitchers at ESPN and Mock Draft Central are:

Name, ESPN, MDC
Ricky Romero, 89, 86
Ryan Vogelsong, 221, 226
Ervin Santana, 167, 151

With Vogelsong at the low end and Romero at the high end, the Santana ADP is probably the right place to value Pettitte if he planned pitching an entire season, which he is not.

The Yankees have stated that he will need to go through 6-8 weeks of “Spring Training” to get ready for the season. With him reporting tomorrow, his Yankees debut looks to be around the beginning to the middle part of May. As of right now, he will be guaranteed to miss 1/6 to 1/4 of the season.

Besides the guaranteed time to be missed, he is almost 40 years old and has had trouble staying healthy in the past. In 2010, he missed the last 57 games of the season because of a groin injury. Besides the groin injury, he has missed time because of shoulder and back injuries.

The most important factor to take into acccout is that he could possibly not pitch this season at all. He may not be able to get back to his previous pitching ability and re-retire. People looking at Pettitte for production must understand that they may get zero production from him.

On draft or auction day, he should at most have 3/4 of the value of Ervin Satanna. I would expect him to be over valued in most auction or drafts. People should hold off picking him up until he is valued correctly.

Effects on Yankees Starting Pitching Staff

If Pettitte returns to the Yankees, he has been given a spot on the Yankees starting pitching staff. Currently the Yankees have 6 starters (CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia) vying for 5 starting pitching roles. I believe the Yankees will see which starter is struggling the worst in the month before Pettitte’s return and replace that pitcher. The Yankees are not going to have patience with a struggling pitcher with Sabathia being the lone exception.

Guessing which, if any, of the pitchers will get bumped from being a starter will be difficult to determine. I do think Hughes’ and Garcia’s value should take the biggest hit though. If no pitcher is struggling, the one of this pair that makes the team will get bumped off the starting staff. If one of the other pitchers is struggling or injured before Pettitte is ready, the one of the two that isn’t starting will be moved into a starting role. When Pettitte is ready, this pitcher, will get bumped back to the bullpen.

With so many questions surrounding this situation, I would stay away from Hughes and Garcia in all but the deepest of leagues. Neither is guaranteed a starting role and if Pettitte joins the team, they will be moved to the bullpen.




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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.


3 Responses to “What Can Be Expected From Andy Pettitte”

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  1. Ender says:

    I think you overstate his value if anything, with a full season of not pitching and 2 years of age added I just don’t see him having any value at all.

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  2. Jimmy Dahmer says:

    I could have used this article 2 days ago!! In my AL-only draft I wanted one more pitcher and I was debating between Pettitte and Tommy Hunter. I decided Hunter really doesn’t offer much playing for Baltimore and has little upside so I took a flyer on Pettitte.

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  3. psily says:

    Only if all baseball performance projections were that amazingly simple. Really under-researched article …

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