Yankees acquire bullpen pitcher from Rangers

mlb: chicago white sox at texas rangers, spencer howard, yankees
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees made some strategic moves at the trade deadline on Tuesday evening. They brought in Keynan Middleton from the Chicago White Sox and Spencer Howard from the Texas Rangers (via Robert Murray of Fansided). Both additions are bullpen pitchers who could potentially strengthen the Yankees’ defensive play.

Middleton has had a promising season, recording a 3.96 ERA across 36.1 innings. Howard, on the other hand, has posted a 10.80 ERA over 3.1 innings.

Introducing Spencer Howard

Howard, a 27-year-old former top prospect, has experienced a turbulent career punctuated by frequent injuries. Last year, he pitched 37.2 innings and notched up a 7.41 ERA, 7.65 strikeouts per nine, a 67.1% left-on-base rate, and a 39.2% ground ball rate.

Despite his tendency to give up a considerable number of home runs and walk many batters, the Yankees still see potential in Howard’s performance.

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A Closer Look at Howard’s Pitching Technique

Howard employs a sequence of slider, four-seam fastball, and change-up in his pitching repertoire. His slider, utilized 51.3% of the time this season, has yielded a .125 batting average.

Undeniably, Howard’s slider is a potent pitch, and it’s clear that the Yankees’ pitching coach, Matt Blake, is keen to further hone this skill. Currently, Howard’s slider boasts a remarkable 41.2% whiff rate. This pitch shows a significant deviation from the norm, generating 15% more horizontal movement and 4% more vertical movement than an average pitch, verging on being classified as a sweeper.

Yankees Coach Matt Blake’s Transformative Influence

Blake has demonstrated an impressive ability to cultivate competent MLB players. While Howard’s performance with Texas might be lacking, the Yankees have a proven track record of extracting value from their bullpen acquisitions.

However, the team has made no offensive additions at the trade deadline, a move that they sorely needed to make. The lack of offensive reinforcement is a notable point in their overall trade strategy.