Sometime between now and Wednesday’s trade deadline, the Yankees will (hopefully) acquire another starting pitcher. As this past week has made clear, the current rotation is not going to cut it. This tweet from Katie Sharp should make it pretty clear…
Yankees Runs Allowed ….
73 in last 7 games, the most in any 7-game span in franchise history
65 in last 6 games, the most in any 6-game span in franchise history
57 in last 5 games, the most in any 5-game span in franchise history
For today, I decided to focus on the southpaws because the Yankees have an affinity for left-handed pitchers, the current struggling pitchers are lefties — CC Sabathia just went on the IL and J.A. Happ is far from reliable — and there is definitely a debate over which lefty starter is the one to want.
The table below provides an extensive stat-based breakdown of these four lefty pitchers. The best in each category is highlighted in green and the worst is highlighted in red. For WAR, I used a blend between FanGraphs WAR and Baseball Reference WAR to account for both actual performance and predicted performance.
The immediate takeaway is: holy cow Matthew Boyd looks great in these metrics and Robbie Ray certainly looks bad. However, it is worth noting Ray was second in K%, K-BB%, and SIERA which happen to be three of my favorite stats. Mike Minor shines in the stats based off ERA and is average in most of the others. Based on these numbers, though, it is clear that Boyd is the best target.
In this next section, let’s take a look at some Statcast data to help understand how these pitchers have gotten the results they have:
The Statcast numbers are where Minor truly shines. He is average or above average in every single one of these categories. Boyd also looks very good in his Statcast profile.
The profiles for Ray and Bumgarner are certainly mixed. Ray has an elite K% and generates lots of soft contact which is great. His batted ball projections such as xwOBA and xBA are average to above average which projects well. As for Bumgarner, he has great spin rate which we know the Yankees love, but all of his batted ball data is subpar. Transitioning from spacious Oracle Park in San Francisco to the bandbox in the Bronx may not go so well for a pitcher with those tendencies.
So who is the best?
Based on the numbers and Statcast, I think it is safe to say Matthew Boyd is having the best season of this bunch. If I were to rank based solely on talent and performance, here is how I would have it:
There are question marks about each of these guys which adjusts how I view them as trade candidates. For Boyd, the Tigers reportedly asked for Gleyber Torres which is a non-starter. For Minor, New York is on his no-trade list which could complicate matters. His recent performance has also been poor, he has pitched to a 6.00 ERA in his last three starts and given up 7 home runs over that span. Ray walks a ton of guys and gives up a lot of home runs which does not fare well in the Bronx. As for Bumgarner, the Giants might not even move him because they have been on such a tear lately.
Based on that information, I would take Boyd out of consideration because I do not think there is any way the Yankees give up Gleyber, nor do I think the Tigers move Boyd for any combination of prospects. My trade preference with these guys would then go:
And if I had to guess…I’d say the Yankees end up with Robbie Ray.
Let us know in the comments who you like and who the Yankees will get!