What do April stats tell us about Yankees pitchers?

Yesterday, I looked at how the Yankees’ hitters fared over the first month of the season and what their performances might mean for the remainder of the season. Today, I am repeating this exercise for the Yankees’ pitchers.

I recently crunched some numbers aiming to figure out the predictive value of various April pitching statistics. By comparing April performances, PECOTA projections, and rest of season performances from the last three years, I developed models that predict how a player is likely to perform relative to his pre-season projection for for K%, BB%, HR%, and ERA.

Based on my findings, here’s how I reckon the Yankees’ pitchers who received at least 20 April innings (plus Michael Pineda who had 19.2) will perform going forward, starting with the most improved. Note that the April ERA:

Michael Pineda

Pineda

(April FIP)

Before his suspension, Pineda had gotten off to an excellent start to the 2014 season. He was striking out his fair share of batters, his control was better than ever, and he was doing an excellent job of keeping the ball in the park. Based on his April performance, there’s a lot to like about Pineda going forward. Unfortunately, he’ll miss at least the next three weeks with a strained lat, which may or may not affect his performance going forward.

Masahiro Tanaka

Tanaka

(April FIP)

Considering how much of an unknown he was heading to the season, everything about Tanaka’s projection should be taken with a grain of salt. Most pitchers are pretty likely to regress towards their pre-season projections as the year goes on, but there’s probably a decent chance Tanaka will be an exception to this rule. In any event, Tanaka’s been awesome so far, and is likely to be very good going forward as well.

Hiroki Kuroda

Kuroda

(April FIP)

Kuroda’s first month’s performance was rather disappointing. Although he cut down on walks, he also struck out fewer batters than we’re accustomed to seeing and posted a disappointing 4.30 FIP and an even more disappointing 5.28 ERA. He’ll likely bounce back to some extent, but Kuroda’s days of sub-4 ERA’s seem to be behind him.

CC Sabathia

Sabathia

(April FIP)

Sabathia’s April was a rough one. The big lefty really struggled to keep the ball in the park on his way to a 5.11 ERA. However, CC’s April HR% was driven by an unsuitably high  23% HR/FB rate, so the homer spike isn’t as serious as it seems. Sabathia can be expected to underperform his projection by a rather wide margin from here on out, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be a good pitcher — PECOTA’s 3.49 ERA was probably a little rosy to begin with.

Ivan Nova

Nova

(April FIP)

Nova got rocked in his four April starts before tearing the UCL ligament in his elbow. Its hard to say just how much — if any — of the decreased performance was the result of Nova playing hurt, but it doesn’t matter much at this point. Nova will be out of commission for the next year or so.

About Chris

Chris works in economic development by day, but spends most of his nights thinking about baseball. He writes for Pinstripe Pundits, and is an occasional user of the twitter machine: @_chris_mitchell
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