This spring has been an interesting ride for the Yankees thus far. While the headlines of the prospects stealing the show certainly supersede the multiple injuries that have affected the organization in terms of excitement because obviously fans prefer hearing the good to the bad, sadly, both have grabbed attention. Anthony Volpe and Jasson Dominguez are proving why they’re the real deals, but the regulars on the team have also put together a few notable spring campaigns. One guy that has managed to bypass an early IL stint like a multitude of his teammates is Ron Marinaccio.
Ron Marinaccio’s spring has been lights out so far:
The Don threw in his first game of spring last Thursday, and it went about as perfectly as one could have hoped. He struck out two batters and showcased his elite changeup on full display.
On top of that, he was hurling some high heat and consistently touching 94-95 MPH. It was great to see Marinaccio back on the bump for the first time in camp, and prior to that game, he had thrown a handful of bullpen sessions on the backfields in a live setting. Having Ron healthy this year is even more important now with the injuries to both Lou Trivino and Tommy Kahnle, as now the Don should see even more usage and higher-leverage situations than he may have prior.
Marinaccio continues to show just how talented he is, and in yesterday’s game against Boston, he took the first appearance he made and built on it. He was pumping his slider more than he did in his first appearance, was locating his fastball on the corners and edges of the zone, and of course, had his knee-buckling changeup working as well as it had been at any point last season. He struck out the side and, once more, looked untouchable.
Ron has yet to surrender any bases to the opposition, as he hasn’t walked nor given up a hit thus far. Sure, it’s only been two innings that he’s been out there for, but it’s a sign of things to come.
Last year Marinaccio burst onto the scene and earned a spot in the bullpen thanks to a very commanding spring performance that earned the trust of his teammates and the Yanks’ staff. He started off a bit rocky and was optioned back to AAA in May, only to return to the big leagues and never look back. Sadly, his season was upended twice, once when he had shoulder fatigue following an appearance where he had to clean up after Aroldis Chapman. The other, at the end of the season, when he revealed he had been pitching through a shin injury for some time, that ultimately saw his year-end early.
His 2022 season with the Yankees was just the tip of the iceberg:
Ron the Don was not brought along for the postseason, despite saying he was ready to go, and sadly, the Yankees truly could’ve used his services more than they knew at the time. The bullpen wasn’t bad in October, but a few rough performances cost the Yanks a few winnable games, even if the pressure was on the bats more than the pitching staff. Now, Marinaccio is back and healthy, ready to throw more innings and take on a bigger role.
He threw 44.0 innings, striking out 11.45 batters per nine innings and only surrendering two long balls all year long. According to Eno Sarris’ model, he posted a 110.6 Pitching+ rating, which was 6.6 points greater than the NL Cy Young winner, Sandy Alcantara (104.0). His stuff is gross, and it looks like, from his spring appearances thus far at least, that he’s working on both his fastball and slider more. Last year he established his changeup as one of the best individual pitches in baseball, and now he’s expanding his arsenal and making sure that he has not one, not two, but three elite pitches he can turn to at any time.
The Don is going to put the league on notice, and this time next year, casual fans will be mentioning his name amongst the best of the best in the sport. He posted a 2.05 ERA with a 3.20 FIP, and I believe that he’ll lap those numbers this year, as crazy as it sounds. Ron has the stuff and the pedigree to be elite, and with more responsibility and meaning in his appearances, I believe he’ll elevate to a new level. We haven’t seen the best of him yet, that’s certain. Ron Marinaccio will be a household name before he knows it, and this year will see him put on clinic after clinic.