Monday, November 22, 2010

Some Interesting Posts on Larry Rothschild

I must give a tip of my hat to the Replacement Level Yankees Weblog for compiling these articles. My quest for more information about the Yankees new pitching coach has proven to be mostly fruitless, and SG came to the rescue - he is my blogging knight in shining armor.

The first article I'd like to steer you to is this Marc Carig joint, which outlines the process Brian Cashman utilized in finding a new pitching coach, as well as the challenges ahead of Rothschild. For those of you unwilling or unable to take the jump:
In his nearly four decades in baseball, Larry Rothschild had never dealt with what awaited him on Tuesday, when he sat in front of a monitor at Yankee Stadium.

General manager Brian Cashman transformed a video room near the Yankees’ dugout into a simulator, designed to determine whether he had found his next pitching coach.

Rothschild’s mission, if he chose to accept it, was to break down six hours of film featuring Yankees pitchers CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes and A.J. Burnett. He would return the next day to tell Cashman how he would prepare each for a start.

It amounted to a 48-hour standardized exam, one the 56-year-old Rothschild apparently aced.


“It was very different, much more in-depth ... and I think it led to more in-depth conversations during the interview process,” said Rothschild, who spent eight hours with the film. “As far as an interview process, it was something that I had never thought of, and had never seen, and really had never heard of.”

While I am not in a position to comment on the candidates (and non-candidates) interviewed by the Yankees, as I'm really not too familiar with the work of many, I must say that this seems like the best possible way to find a coach. If Rothschild was able provide strong analysis based on six hours of video, then I'm sure he can perform quite well when given the chance to actually work with the pitchers.

The second post is from the Fangraphs Community Research Blog - Larry Rothschild and Strikeouts. It's short but sweet, listing twenty-one pitchers that faced at least one-hundred fifty batters as a Cub under Rothschild, and their strikeout numbers before joining the Cubs and with the Cubs. Of the twenty-one, seven saw an increase of at least five-percent, which feels fairly significant, and only five saw their strikeouts decrease.

The next entry is from Another Cubs Blog, and is entitled Larry Rothschild and Walks - it works as a companion piece to the Fangraphs article, and it's far more substantial. I recommend checking it out. In short, the author looks at eleven pitchers with a substantial body of work pre-Cubs and with Rothschild and, as a whole, the group had an increase in strikeouts (2.17%) and a decrease in walks (1.33%). Only one pitcher, the immortal Antonio Alfonseca, had a noteworthy regression in terms of walks.

The final article, also from Another Cubs Blog, is Larry Rothschild and Home Runs. Here, Rothschild does not appear to have much of an influence at all. Pitchers allowed .07% more home runs with the Cubs, but some of that may be attributed to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.

What can we make of all of this? I suppose that's for you to decide. In my mind, Rothschild's resume remains very impressive, and I am a strong proponent of high-strikeout, low-walk approaches, which appears to be the foundation of his approach. The Yankees certainly have the sort of arms that Rothschild could (should) work wonders with, as well.

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