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Yankee Preview: Roundtable Discussion 2

Last Licks

Part Two: B-Side

BB: Who will have the better season: Pettitte or Vasquez? Clemens or Brown.

Allen Barra: Right now, if Kevin Brown escapes injury, he’s a better pitcher — that is to say, more effecitve — than either Pettitte or Clemens. For that matter, putting aside the question of durability, he’s probably at least as effective as Curt Schilling. Vasquez is probably a better pitcher than al of them, and he’s just coming into his prime.

Jack Curry: This is the shortest question so far, but maybe the toughest because, really, who knows how they’ll act react in their new environments. A couple of Yankees were raving about how much Brown’s pitches move. Just nasty stuff. If he stays healthy (I know, a big if), I think he’ll have a better year than Clemens. Pettitte and Vazquez is a tossup. I think both will win 15-18 games and be productive starters. But, with the Yankees, of course, Brown and Vazquez need to perform in October.

Steven Goldman: I donít buy this question, because differences of contextleague and park and supporting personnelmake the answer dependent on more than the merits of each pitcher. What I think youíre really trying to ask is, “Did the Yankees make the right choices here?” Vazquez is already a better pitcher than Pettitte and should remain so, but thatís only germane if the choice was Vazquez or Pettitte, which it wasnít. Whether letting Pettitte go will depend on whether the teamís estimate of his short-term injury future is accurate, and we wonít know that for awhile. Clemens or Brown wasnít a choice either, and what he does vs. Brown is not at all relevant to the sitch in the Bronx. I think heíll be fine.

Jay Jaffe: Vazquez will thrive in the Bronx, Pettitte will do reasonably well in Houston, the better defense behind him tempered by the loss of the favorable dimensions of Yankee Stadium and that great run support. Clemens will be fairly effective in limited use and I think Brown will too, though his stats will suffer by comparison to his LA days. I give the Yanks the edge overall.

Bruce Markusen: Statistically, Vazquez will have the better season, in part because of pitching at Yankee Stadium and in part because of his terrific natural stuff. Pettitte will have a good season for the Astros, but his ERA and home runs allowed will both rise while pitching in a ballpark thatís not favorable to left-handed pitchers. I would have liked to have seen both pitchers in pinstripes, but thatís a whole other story. Based on what scouts say about Vazquezí repertoire of pitchers and on what people in Montreal say about his steady character, Vazquez has a chance to be very, very good in New York. With apologies to Orlando Hernandez, he could be their best Latino starter since the days of Luis Tiant and Ed Figueroa. In terms of matching up Brown against Clemens, it all comes down to Brownís health. If he can avoid the disabled list, he can put up better numbers than Clemens did the last two years in New York

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