A team can never have enough quality relievers, and this has been demonstrated time and time again during both the regular season and the playoffs. The New York Yankees are no exception, and they are in need of all the reliable arms they can get since one of their top guys for the late innings, Zack Britton, will be sidelined for at least a couple of months after elbow surgery.
The fact that Britton will leave a void in the bullpen for so long could mean that a spot will be up for grabs in the Yankeesâ€™ bullpen. According to managerâ€™s Aaron Boone recent comments, Nick Nelson could be in the pole position to take it and never look back.
Per Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media, Boone is strongly considering Nelson, a right-hander with power stuff that made his debut in MLB last year, as an important reliever for the 2021 season.
â€œAaron Boone says he sees Nick Nelson as potentially having an “immediate” job as a reliever in a Jonathan Loasigia-type role,â€ Kuty wrote via Twitter. For reference, Loaisiga was frequently used as a multi-inning reliever by the Yankees last season, and achieved success if we consider his 3.52 ERA (although his 4.41 FIP and 4.14 xFIP tell a slightly different story.)
How the Yankees used Loaisiga
Loaisiga reached three innings in an outing three times last season, and he pitched at least two in two separate occasions beside those. He went over a frame of work another time, with 1.2 innings on August 19.
Boone is probably envisioning a similar role for Nelson. The Yankees knew all along that the only thing missing on Nelsonâ€™s profile was lowering his walk rate, and so far in spring training, he has managed to do just that.
The sample size is, of course, extremely small, but Nelson has a 0.00 ERA in 6.1 innings of work, with four hits, no walks, and six strikeouts in Grapefruit League play.