The Yankees have a secret weapon in the bullpen who can smooth over loss of Michael King

ron marcinaccio, yankees
Apr 9, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Ron Marinaccio (97) looks a runner back in the fourth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Losing Michael King was a significant and unexpected blow to the New York Yankees bullpen. Aside from Clay Holmes, King had been arguably their best relief pitcher, even considered one of the top guns in all of baseball out of the bullpen.

Replacing King isn’t possible unless general manager Brian Cashman makes a lucrative acquisition at the trade deadline. King featured a 2.29 ERA over 51 innings this season, earning 11.65 strikeouts per nine, a 77% left on base rate and 47% ground ball rate, all career highs.

However, the Yankees have one underappreciated arm that is completely dominating ever since a tumultuous April. Rookie Ron Marinaccio posted an 11.25 ERA in April, promptly being sent back down to Triple-A Scranton to regain his form.

Upon his return, Marinaccio has been lights out, allowing just one hit over his last 19 innings. He hasn’t given up a single earned run in that time span, but has struck out 22 combined batters.

After struggling with “dead arm” on July 2 after an outing against the Cleveland Guardians, he was placed on the injured list. He has worked his way back diligently, making several rehab assignments before returning against the Mets on Tuesday.

What has Ron Marinaccio so productive for the Yankees?

The 27-year-old relief pitcher features a 4-seam fastball, change-up, and slider. His fastball is averaging out at 94.4 mph but is capable of hitting 96 mph. His FB generates a 23.7% WHIFF rate and 15.7% put away rate. His change-up is by far his most lethal pitch, averaging 94 mph.

Opposing batteers are hitting just .033 against Ron’s change-up, which features a 48.1% WHIFF rate and 32.6% put away rate. That pitch specifically has 37.5 inches of vertical movement and 17.2 inches of horizontal movement. By league average, that is an elite pitch that has a 96% active spin rate.

However, it is also important to note the usage of a slider at 21.2%. Batters are hitting .176 against his slider with a .353 slugging percentage, including a 25.8% WHIFF rate and 19.4% put away rate. His slider is his worst pitch but still features 24% more break than the average pitcher with 15.2 inches of horizontal movement, making it a sweeping slider, which is what pitching coach Matt Blake prefers.

Looking at Marinaccio’s advanced analytics, he is having a stout rookie season that’s setting him up for a tremendous career wearing pinstripes. Considering he’s in the first year of his MLB service time, the Yankees have control over him for the next five seasons, which should be an exciting thought for fans.

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