With the season about to start, let’s take a look at the bullpen, which will once again be the greatest strength for the Yankees.
In recent years we have seen the advantages that come with having a dominant bullpen. These advantages will be magnified with the significantly shorter season. With the Yankees about to start summer training, let’s take a look at the names in the pen and what we can expect from them this season.
To start we are going to look at the guys who are locks to be key players for the Yankees in 2020. Not only will these guys make the roster, but they will be a huge factor into New York’s success.
Since coming to New York, Chapman has blossomed as one of the best closers in baseball. And while he may no longer be the fastest pitcher in baseball, he still regularly pitches in the upper 90s with his fastball and his sinker. With the amount of quality teams in the AL East, mixed with the strength of the Yankees roster, Chapman has a decent chance to lead MLB in saves, something he has yet to accomplish in his career. Perhaps the only real question mark surrounding Chapman is that after seeing his new car, is he Batman?
Prediction: 1 Win, 1 Loss, 22 innings pitched, 17 saves in 18 chances, 33 strikeouts with an ERA around 2.07
Since coming to New York, Britton has continued to be one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. While he has frequently been bit by the injury bug, the short season should help him piece together another dominant year. His elite ability to force groundballs will continue and I believe he will be the best pitcher out of the pen this year. You can safely pencil him in for the 8th.
Prediction: 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 24 innings pitched, 2 saves in 2 chances, 19 strikeouts with an ERA around 1.66
Outside of a few tough outings, Otto was a beast during his first year in the Bronx. While he struggled down the stretch, the shorter season should help boost his overall numbers. Expect Otto to be the dominant pitcher we saw for most of 2019 while working high-leverage situations earlier in games.
Prediction: 2 Wins, 2 Losses, 25 innings pitched, 33 strikeouts with an ERA of 2.68
Kahnle will continue to serve in his middle-relief role and will serve as a bridge arm tasked with getting the game from the starters to the dominant late inning guys. Expect to see him in the sixth and seventh innings and in the middle of every celebration:
Prediction: 2 Wins, 3 Losses, 27 innings pitched, 37 strikeouts with an ERA around 3.81
Green will likely continue to be the first man out of the pen during most winnable games. A rough start to last year left him with an elevated ERA, which will likely come down this year. With the shortened season, Green will likely not start any games; however, don’t be surprised to see him come in as early as the fourth inning.
Prediction: 2 Wins, 4 losses, 31 innings pitched, 33 strikeouts with an ERA around 3.11
The Long Relievers
In the history of the New York Yankees some of the most important pitchers were the guys who would come into potential blowouts and save the arms of the other relievers. From Ramiro Mendoza to Tanyon Sturtze, these are the mop-up guys.
Cessa seems like the guy who is always one step from becoming a truly dominant reliever. 2020 will see him continue to develop as a dependable arm while giving the Yankees much needed depth.
Prediction: 1 Win, 3 Losses, 33 innings pitched, 28 strikeouts with a career-best 4.01 ERA
Last year was a rough year for the righty who saw himself fall out of favor with the Yankees manager. Likely Holder will be used when the Yankees fall behind early.
Prediction: 2 Wins, 1 Loss, 21 innings pitched, 22 strikeouts and an ERA around 5.44
Loaisiga has an electric arm and can become a dominant reliever if he can limit walks. Look for lasagna to develop into a middle reliever this year and potentially have a spot start.
Prediction: 1 Win, 1 Loss, 16 innings pitched, 21 strikeouts and an ERA around 4.22
The Best of the Rest
For now, the Yankees will have to work on cutting down during their summer camp. Some other names to watch with MLB experience are Ben Heller, who has had trouble staying healthy, and Tyler Lyons, if the Yanks want to go with another lefty.
The Young Guys
With the shortened season, coronavirus concerns, injuries and a few extra roster spots, we may see a few rookies become prominent players. The young guns are led by the talented Deivi Garcia, who struggled out of the pen in AAA last year but did average over 13 strikeouts per 9 innings. Joining Garcia is Clarke Schmidt, Luis Gil, Michael King and Albert Abreu. Watch for one of these arms to separate themselves from the pack during spring training and serve as a key piece during a pennant run!