Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Amazingly, the Yankees haven't missed their bullpen Big Three; how long can that last?

In another time, another Yankiverse, the sudden disappearance of Aroldis Chapman, Chad Green and Jonathan Loaisiga would have sent Cooperstown Cashman into the hinterlands in search of the next Sidd Finch. Add the loss of Zack Britton, and 2022 would already be another wild card quest.

Last year, around now, we were beholding Luis Cessa, Albert Abreu, Nick Nelson, Darren O'Day and The Great Kriske - names that still hit like tasers to the groin.

This year, who can explain it? We lose El Chapo; Clay Holmes takes over. We lose Green; here's Michael King. Loaisiga? Wandy Peralta. Moreover, all three vanished with ERAs north of the Scott Proctor Institute for Home Plate Bon Fires. Chapman (3.86), Green (3.00) and Loaisiga (7.02) had been cuffed around for weeks before their injuries were found - or revealed. 

It's hard to realize that this Yankee team is barely a year removed from Rougned Odor and Chris Gittens, from Mike Tauchman and Ryan LaMarre. Why has the 2022 bullpen been so enduring? Some theories:

1. Dumb luck. Clay Holmes and Michael King somehow became solid pitchers. Why? Who knows? Sometimes, shit unhappens. A guy learns a new pitch and becomes Mariano. In 2002, Randy Choate was Yankee bullpen kibble, a lost cause, until the day he mastered his curve. Kaboom. Choate lasted 15 years. Go figure.

2. It's a false read. Here I am, proclaiming success on the eve of 13 games against the AL's toughest teams. I should shut my mouf. The bullpen has survived slightly more than one-third of the season. It's a long year, as Dr. Proctor taught us. Let's not celebrate anything. 

3. Yankee coaches. For some time now, the franchise has touted its advanced methods of calculating spin rates, control and speed - and teaching young pitchers. Last year, in a show of hubris, they dubbed their Tampa base "The Gas Station," a place where pitchers found new velocity. We mocked it, as the only gas seemed the ghosts of Billy Conner's broken wind. Well, maybe we were wrong. The Yanks have unveiled a stream of arms - Clarke Schmidt, Ron Maranaccio, JP Sears - with Ken Waldichuck and Hayden Wesneski in Scranton, ready for the stretch.  

If this is true, if the Yankees have built a superior system, we must win now, because other teams will soon clone it. These advantages don't last long.

4. The Rotation. Our starters have been the best in baseball. Thus, in a year without a full spring training, our bullpen has been less stressed than most. 

We saw this last weekend. In one game, the sad Cubs used nine pitchers. Meanwhile, in Saturday's 8-0 win, we used only Marinaccio and Luetge. On Sunday, Castro and Banuelos. Then we take a day off. All systems go. We have a completely rested pen for this 13-game stretch. No excuses.

Supposedly, El Chapo will soon return. Loaisiga, too. Green is gone, but amazingly, Zack Britton claims he'll be back in September. 

I wonder what we'll be thinking 13 games from now?


Local Bargain Jerk said...

3. Yankee coaches.

I have been wondering lately if the departure of Larry "Rising ERA" Rothschild doesn't have something to do with this...

Dantes said...

I don’t want to jinx it but it’s really starting to look like Matt Blake is the hero we needed.

DickAllen said...

There is a growing optimism around here that makes me very nervous.

ranger_lp said...

Blake >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Rothschild

ZacharyA said...

I think it's no. 3, and el duque is 100% correct with his take:

>If this is true, if the Yankees have built a superior system, we must win now, because other teams will soon clone it. These advantages don't last long.

It seems to me the Yankees are able to add some velocity with mechanical tinkering and teach a new "unhittable" sweeper, an extreme slider. Both the Yankees and Dodgers are throwing it now, so it's just a matter of time until other teams figure it out.

Through 60 games:

(2021) SP 319.1 innings
(2022) SP 335.2 innings

I don't know if that extra 16 innings of work by the rotation is a big deal or not.

JM said...

Do we really want Chapman back? It's not like he was still a great closer, even uninjured. He sure wasn't as good as Holmes has been, albeit Holmes has given us an appearance or two of Chapman-like nail biting.

On the other hand, if he comes back and isn't used as the closer, he might be useful. Certainly for depth alone. When a starter falters, and I'm looking at you, Cole, we need guys who can soak up some innings. Chapman can certainly do that. One or two, anyway.

And Britton...really, there's a guy who's very far past his sell date. Who gets bumped if he comes back in September? Ron Maraschino? For that matter, who gets sent down if Chapman returns?

Our overstocked bullpen is a big reason why a guy like Miggy isn't with the big team. One less pitcher and he can fit on the roster. Just one.

HoraceClarke66 said...

No. We do not want Torrents back. Save in the role you suggest, JM. And we do need Miggy. And maybe even High Ceiling Florial, if he really has arrived at last.

Johnny Lasagna, on the other hand, if he is okay, might really be useful.

ZacharyA said...

Left-handed batters hit .116/.269/.209 vs. Aroldis Chapman last year. I'd like to see Chapman used as a lower-leverage reliever (6th-7th inning) when 1-2 lefties are due up.

Mildred Lopez said...

It's easy to grin, when your ship comes in, and you've got the stock market beat.

But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.

We're all gonna have tight shorts for the next 13 days. Remember to keep smiling.

Carl J. Weitz said...

@LBJ.....I'm not sure if it is reason #3 but you are definitely on to something about Rothschild. He is possibly the worst pitching coach the Yankees have had during my lifetime.
He tried to force pitchers to be what they were not instead of enhancing their strengths. There are too many to illustrate and over a few years I have mentioned those unfortunate free agents and rookies in my comments. Besides being an incompetent instructor and motivator, he seemed to be a contemptuous old man. Whenever he was called out to talk to a pitcher in mid outing, his body language exuded a " shit, do I have to walk all the way to the mound and how many days until retirement" attitude. He is gone now but usually the stench lingers quite a while longer like a fart trapped in the seat of a pair pants.

In summary, Larry Rothschild is the Angel Hernandez of pitching coaches.

BTR999 said...

The salvation for Andujar would be the termination of either Hicks of Gallo. Not much point of him being in the Bronx if he isn’t going to get regular playing time. Likewise, LoCastro has a valuable, if limited, role with the ream. That role would be even more valuable in October. I remain surprised the players didn’t demand a 27 man roster during the recent negotiations.

Chapman will return and will be used in high leverage situations initially due to his overblown salary. Whether that continues will be subject to his performance. The team should consider offering him at the T/D for any useful return.

The Yankees are really good. And by really good, I mean REALLY GOOD. But The team is 25-5 against the Orioles, Cubs, Guardians, Tigers, Royals and Angels. Tonight we start a real test of our capabilities. On the mound we have perhaps our most overlooked reason for consternation: Gerrit Cole. This is Cole’s line this year against the Red Sox, Blue Jays, White Sox, Rays and Twins -four teams expected to reach the postseason: 24.1 IP, 24 H, 17 R, 17 ER, 8 BB, 31 K, 9 JR, 6.29 ERA, 1.315 WHIP (source: keefetothecity.com; his posts are always worthwhile) Will Cole bounce back from the worst start of his career and at least produce a “quality start”? Or will he dig us a hole to climb out of against the resurgent Corey Kluber, forcing us to endure a demoralizing loss and be subjected to the excuses and platitudes of Aaron Boone? The answer awaits tonight.

Doug K. said...


Thanks for the link. It was a good read. I bookmarked the site.

Mildred Lopez said...

Mr. BTR...

Thank you also for that link Sir

The Hammer of God said...

Maybe the Yankees haven't missed Chapman, Green, and Louisiga because they all three pretty much sucked.

Yes, at times, all three have looked like worldbeaters. But all three have had their problems too. We all know about Chapman, but look at Green. I dreaded each appearance of Chad Green like the plague. He is like the girl with the curl. When he's good, he's really good. When he's bad ..., time to run for the hills.

I don't know the scouts that they're using, but it seems to me that they've finally done something right picking up Clay Holmes. I'd say it's mostly a combination of good scouting and just dumb luck.

Everybody is throwing with weighted balls now. Everyone is working out hard with heavy weights. Everybody is throwing 100mph. That's why everybody is blowing out their elbows. The human body can only take so much throwing stress.

It's just dumb luck that we haven't been hit with titanic injuries to the pitching staff so far this year.