Yankees bolster MiLB depth with former Red Sox reliever

tyler danish, yankees
Sep 30, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox pitcher Tyler Danish (60) pitches to the Toronto Blue Jays during the sixth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have remained busy in the MiLB market, signing a frenzy of fringe MLB talent to MiLB deals with Spring Training invites. They’ve focused primarily on the bullpen, and they added to that total by signing former Red Sox reliever Tyler Danish, a 28-year-old RHP who’s bounced around four different organizations before joining the Yankees.

With a career 5.06 ERA in 53.1 IP at the Major League level, he not only hasn’t spent much time in the Show, but he also hasn’t found much success either. A reliever with a funky arm angle, his primary fastball being a sinker, definitely fits the Yankees’ groundball-centric philosophy for their relievers.

Already Strong Secondary Pitches

Tyler Danish posted an above-average Pitching+ in two of his four pitches in 2022. These two were his curveball and his changeup, with a 101.0 and 113.2 Pitching+, respectively. His curveball has the best Stuff+ in his arsenal at 117.2, with its sharp, sweeping action at 11.2″ of horizontal sweep. It was his best pitch in terms of Whiff%, wOBA, BA, and SLG%, and also had his best Run Value at a -3.

The sweeping action on his curveball makes it a plus pitch and defines it more as a sweeping slider than your traditional curveball, and the Yankees love sweepers. It’s the pitch he used the most in 2022 (40.7% Usage), and for good reason. His changeup was 2nd in the previously mentioned categories above, and while he used it under 15% of the time, it was a reliable weapon for handling LHBs. At over 40″ of drop, it definitely can generate weak contact, though he needs to work on keeping the changeup contact on the ground. Nonetheless, it’s still a strong pitch in his arsenal.

While his breaking ball and offspeed are great, his fastballs left a lot to be desired, and ultimately they’re why he’s become a journeyman reliever in this league.

Struggling Fastballs

His sinker should, in theory be a good pitch, thrown with nearly 18″ of horizontal break and over 35″ of drop. It’s coming out of a weird arm slot as well, so why did the pitch get pummeled to the tune of a .407 wOBA? Well, the velocity on his sinker not being great doesn’t help (90.9 MPH), and it ends up having reverse splits, which isn’t what you want for your sinker. Lefties couldn’t barrel up his sinker, with a .188 wOBA and .100 BA, but RHBs would tee off on his sinker. With a .370 BA and .456 wOBA against RHBs, Danish simply didn’t have it against same-handed opponents, and it cost him big time.

At a 7 Run Value, it was his worst pitch in 2022, and his four-seam fastball isn’t much better. Not having a fastball in this league is doable, but only if you possess truly elite offspeed or breaking pitches, and Danish’s are merely good. Perhaps added velocity, improved command, or changes to his sinker shape could help, but he’s definitely a work-in-project. There’s a reason he got a MiLB deal with a Spring Training invite, but pitchers are always evolving and adapting. The Yankees and Matt Blake clearly identified something they liked with Danish, so perhaps they figured out whatever was wrong with his sinker.

matt blake, New York Yankees

He’s definitely a unique arm with his arm slot, but unique is good in this league for pitchers. There’s no telling if he’ll make it through Spring Training with the organization or if he’ll get any MLB time in 2023, but for now, the Yankees do at least continue to add MLB-caliber arms to their pitching depth in case of injury. You can never have too much pitching, and the Yankees are taking that to heart.