For the past few years, the Yankees’ bullpen has been simply outstanding. While the Bombers have struggled to cement a strong starting rotation, they’ve been able to consistently rely on all-star relievers each and every night.
Since 2017, Chad Green has been one of the most dependable arms in the Yankees’ pen. He has solid control, consistent stuff, and his calm demeanor on the mound exudes a quiet confidence. His numbers from 2017 to 2019 support what the eye test has told most Yankee fans: Green is gold.
Here are some of Green’s key stats for the 2017-2019 seasons:
213.2 Innings Pitched
156 ERA+ (100 being league average)
Good, Not Great in 2019
While Chad has been excellent during his tenure in pinstripes, it’s fair to say that he had a down year last season. He was definitely good, but he wasn’t great. In 2019, Chad posted his highest ERA (4.17), his highest WHIP (1.232), his highest FIP (3.34), and his lowest ERA+ (107). Chad also gave up more home runs in 2019 (10) and allowed more walks (19) than he had in any other season. Green’s workload wasn’t any greater in 2019 than it had been in previous seasons, but he clearly wasn’t as sharp in his third full year as a reliever.
Call It a Comeback
Fortunately, Chad has been great to start the 2020 season. In fact, he’s been better than great. He’s been nearly perfect. Here are his numbers through the team’s first eighteen games:
11 Innings Pitched
These numbers are unreal. They’re so good that they’ll inevitable have to come back down to earth before the end of the season. The great news, though, is that Chad’s expected numbers are also excellent. He isn’t getting lucky, he’s pitching like one of the top hurlers in the the game. Here are some of his expected stats according to Statcast:
.127 xBA (Top 3% of MLB)
.191 xSLG (Top 4% of MLB)
.170 xwOBA (Top 2% of MLB)
1.20 xERA (Top 2% of MLB)
While Chad might not have a 0.82 ERA and 0.364 WHIP come October, we can expect his numbers to be exceptional if he continues to pitch the way he has thus far.
An Improved Slider
One notable aspect of Green’s performance this season has been his success with the slider. Chad’s fastball has always been his best pitch, and it still is this season (he has yet to surrender a hit off of his fastball in 2020!). His slider, however, has proven to be a more potent weapon than ever before.
Green is throwing his slider 23.2% of the time in 2020, which is more than he threw the pitch in 2017, 2018, or 2019. He’s throwing it slightly slower this season (83.5 MPH average in 2020 versus 85-87 MPH the previous three years), but the ball has more spin than ever before. With more movement, Green’s slider has become a more reliable put-away pitch. The put-away percentage for Green’s slider (the percentage of times a pitch results in a strikeout when thrown with two strikes) is up to 27.3% versus 20.8% last year.
If Chad continues to throw the slider well, then he’ll have a lethal pitch that perfectly complements his elite fastball. That’s great news for Yankee fans, and bad news for the rest of Major League Baseball.