Mariano - The Greatest just keeps on going
The last part of the team we’ll look at is the bullpen. This was the strongest unit on the team as the pen led the American League with a 3.12 ERA, and was 2nd in OPS against (.677) and K/9 (8.46).
He just keeps rolling along. Another year with a sub-2.00 ERA, his 4th in a row and 8th time in last 9 years. Mo was consistent all season and finished with 44 saves in 49 chances to break the All-Time record for most career saves with 603. The Sandman had a 1.91 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 8.8 K/9, 1.2 BB/9 and a ridiculous 7.5 strikeout to walk ratio. While he doesn’t throw as hard as he did when he was 27, his velocity was actually his highest since 2008 averaging 92.3 on his FB and 91.6 on his Cutter. Grade: A
2012 Outlook: He is signed for one more yr @ $15M and will turn 42 in a month. We all know he has to fade at some point but until he does he’s welcome as my closer for as long as he wants to pitch.
Maximum extension & follow through is how a 5'11, 180 pounder can blow Fastballs by MLB's best hiters
Robertson began the yr as the man Girardi used in the middle innings to get out of jams. He did so well in that role he was the natural guy to take the 8th inning role after injuries to Joba & Soriano. DRob flourished in that role the way he did in every situation Girardi used him in. He led A.L. relievers in ERA (1.08) & K/9 (13.5) as he used his sneaky Fastball and knee-buckling Curveball to get big outs whenever he needed them. His only blemish is he still walks a lot of hitters (4.7 BB/9) but makes up for it by getting strikeouts whenever he needs them and inducing a lot of groundballs. He saw a big 7% increase in his GB rate and his velocity was up 1.2 mph to an average FB of 93.1 MPH. Robertson showed a filthy Changeup and Cutter at times but his FB/Curve combo is so dominant he rarely needs his 3rd and 4th pitches. Grade: A+
2012 Outlook: Robertson was one of the best bargains in baseball at $462,450 in 2011. He’ll see a raise to around $1.5-2M in his first yr of arbitration in 2012. He’ll have to be in the 8th inning role again and heir to the closers role if Mo ever retires. With his 4 nasty pitches one can’t help to imagine DRob throwing 200+ IP as a starter but with his max effort delivery and small frame he may be best suited as a 1-2 inning guy.
Didn’t look right in beginning of yr and soon went down with arm injury. After nearly 3 months on the DL was much better when he returned in August. Finished with 4.12 ERA in just 39.1 ip. His K rate (8.2) was the same as his dominating 2010 yr in Tampa but his Walk rate more than doubled to 4.1. Grade: C-
2012 Outlook: He has an opt-out he won’t exercise so will be back for $11M to pitch the 7th Inning. Hopefully he will get comfortable in the role as the highest paid middle reliever in MLB. He has the stuff and track record to give the Yanks a shutdown 7th thru 9th inning unit.
Logan was off to a lousy start through April & May then he lowered his arm angle a little and things turned around for him. After striking out just 7 in his first 13 innings he K’d 39 in his final 28 innings to finish the yr 5-3, 3.46 ERA, 9.9 K/9, 2.8 BB/9. He was fairly good against lefties but was prone to HRs vs them with a 1.32 HR/9 vs them and 0 HRs vs Righties. Grade: B
2012 Outlook: In his 3nd yr of Arbitration he’ll get a small raise on his $1.2M salary and be back in his lefty relief role.
Ayala was a nice find and had a surprising season although he pitched to a lot of luck. He had a tidy 2.09 ERA but a 4.19 FiP. He’s not a strikeout pitcher (6.2 k/9) but induced a lot of grounders (50% GB rate) and gave the team 56 quality IP. for $650,00. Grade: B
2012 Outlook: He was solid but I doubt he’ll be back as the Yanks are loaded with bullpen arms and could insert a younger guy with a higher upside.
Wade is a feather in the cap of Billy Eppler’s pro scouting department as he was plucked off of Tampa’s Triple A team in late June and was brilliant in New York. He finished 6-1 with a 2.02 ERA & 1.03 WHIP. While he dominated righties (.541 OPS against) his ChangeUp & Curve were also effective vs Lefties as he held them to a .730 OPS. Grade: A-
2012 Outlook: Wade will definitely be back in the bullpen mix in 2012
Others: Joba Chamberlain was pitching well with a 2.83 ERA/1.04 WHIP til he blew his elbow out. His surgery will likely keep him from being effective until around June or later. Hector Noesi showed some promise while riding the Scranton to NY shuttle and being moved back and forth from starter to reliever. He may be in the mix as a #5 starter or long man in 2012. Late inning call-ups George Kontos and Andrew Brackman will be candidates to make the pen in ST as both showed good stuff in Sept. Cashman will look to bring in a second lefty in the Winter but other than that the bullpen appears set with almost everyone coming back and a lot of young guys looking to make the team.