The New York Yankees are 40-18 (.690) on the 2018 campaign and its hard to find any glaring flaws with the team, which is not to say that there aren’t areas where they will try to improve in the near future.
There are concerns within the pitching staff, both the starting and the relief staff. The most obvious concern for the starting rotation was the announcement this week that Jordan Montgomery would and, in fact, did, undergo Tommy John surgery and thus is lost until most likely the 2020 season.
Domingo German has filled in quite ably for Montgomery, though not without some struggles; his performances are reminiscent of Luis Severino as he made his way through the growing pains of joining a starting big league staff.
Most fans expect the Yankees to make a move for a starting pitcher not only because of the injury to Montgomery, but also because of the potential for injury to one of the other starters, particularly CC Sabathia because of his chronic knee injury.
Recently, Dan Federico of Bronx to Bushville wrote that:
“The bullpen, too, can use reinforcements. While Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances and Jonathan Holder have all had success this season, David Robertson is still looking to regain his past form, Adam Warren has been hit with the injury bug and Tommy Kahnle looks more and more like a one-year wonder as each day passes.”
While it would be difficult to argue with Federico’s inference that the bullpen is not what it was in ’17, and the Yankees may acquire a talented reliever outside the organization, the bullpen is trending up in the last week or more.
Chapman has been Chapman and Frank Marco of Bronx Pinstripes believes he is actually in the midst of a renaissance in his career:
“Aroldis Chapman is having a renaissance season. He was pretty good for most of the year last year, before an awful stretch in August brought his overall numbers down. Last year he finished the season with a 3.22 ERA, 2.56 FIP, and 1.6 WAR. Perfectly serviceable, however, so far this year he has a 1.46 ERA, 1.05 FIP and already 1.3 WAR.”
The Yankees haven’t had any worries about Chapman this season. He continues to perform at the elite level they expect and need from him.
Dellin Betances is a different story as he began the season on a rough note and subsequently struggled in the multi-inning roles he found himself in. Much more effective when he pitches only one inning this season, Betances in the last 10 games has improved: 12.0 innings pitched, 3 hits, 2 earned runs, six walks, eighteen strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA. That’s what the Yankees need from Betances.
Jonathan Holder has come on strong for the Yankees much as Tommy Kahnle did last season. In the last 15 games (17.0 innings pitched), he has a 0.00 ERA, eight hits, 2 walks and 17 strikeouts.
Holder has been a welcome addition to the staff with Tommy Kahnle injured for most of the season with shoulder tendinitis and now demoted to the minors due to his lack of effectiveness when he has been healthy.
Likewise, Adam Warren has been injured for much of the ’18 season with right back strain. He is back in the bullpen now and has appeared in only nine games for the Yankees. He is currently sporting a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched with 11 hits, three runs, 1 home run, seven walks, and 12 strikeouts.
David Robertson is most improved reliever recently. According to Pete Caldera of North Jersey.com, Robertson had three blown saves and an 8.22 ERA in eight May appearances.
However, in Robertson’s last seven appearances (6.2 innings pitched), he has a 1.35 ERA with five hits, one walk and nine strikeouts. There are definitely good signs that Robertson may regain his form of a year ago.
Chad Green had some rough outings early in the season which saw his ERA balloon to 4.50 on April 5. Green settled down and has had a good season to date, though not as electric as his ’17 season.
In his last seven appearances over 9.0 innings pitched, he has looked more like himself, giving up six hits, one earned run, two walks and eight strikeouts, earning a 1.00 ERA.
While General Manager Brian Cashman sweats the deals that may bring a starter and/or reliever into the ranks this season, this bullpen already has the tools to be effective and to get the job done to keep the Yankees in the top spot in the division.