Yankees flamethrowing bullpen arm is proving to be an asset

New York Yankees, Albert Abreu
Mar 28, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Albert Abreu (84) reacts against the Washington Nationals during the sixth inning of the Spring Training game at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have been getting some solid performances out of Albert Abreu so far, and if he can keep it up, maybe then fans will give him his credit. When the Yanks brought him back last season, I was speculative and wasn’t feeling it, and I will admit that doubts still remain. However, it seems that Matt Blake is the one guy in the league that believes in Abreu, and he continues to get the most out of him. 

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The Yankees are getting value out of Albert Abreu:

Abreu is an interesting player to look at, as last year was truly a tale of two halves for him. In the first part of 2022, he was with both the Rangers and the Royals, and he was promptly DFAd from both teams. The Yankees made sure to get their value out of him as they shipped him off to Texas in exchange for the platinum glove winner, Jose Trevino. It was one of the best moves they made all season. 

However, Abreu wouldn’t work out for the Rangers and was promptly cut after throwing just 8.2 innings with them. He tossed a 3.12 ERA but a much less-flattering 8.54 FIP. He was getting strikeouts, yes, with a 9.35 K/9, but was also walking batters at an unsustainably high clip — 12.46 per. It was as though base runners were more likely than outs when Abreu was on the mound. 

He then went to the Royals and wasn’t there for long, as after his 4.1 innings of mediocre pitching, they decided to move on from him as well. He got far fewer strikeouts there, walked just as many guys, and the future was incredibly murky for Albert. The Yankees decided to give him another shot, and he did indeed reward them for taking the risk. 

When he got back to New York, he stopped throwing the changeup that was a useless pitch and focused solely on the sinker/slider combination he worked with. He went on to toss 25.2 innings with the Yanks the rest of the way, struck out 9.12 and walked just 2.10 per nine, and saw his ERA & FIP level out. He finished the season with a 3.16 ERA and a 2.92 FIP. 

New York or nowhere:

This year, Abreu is back with the team and made the roster out of camp. Some fans were upset about it, and when he struggled, they let him hear it. However, he has been quite solid already. In the 5.0 innings he’s tossed, he has a 0.00 ERA and a 2.80 FIP. His only bad outing was yesterday when he immediately gave up a 2R double to Santander, but I believe that wasn’t the best situation to bring him in. 

He’s notoriously not great when he is given inherited runners, but he was able to buckle down and get out of the inning. Abreu has also seen the strikeouts rise this year, with a 10.80 to start this season. With that, though, his walks have also risen up to 5.40. I think both will fluctuate and finally balance out, but I’m holding out hope for Albert Abreu. 

He’s far from the worst reliever on the team, and I do believe he has value when he can be utilized for multiple innings. The Yankees may even want to use him like Luetge as the year goes by, and that would be perfectly fine by me. Blake and co. have already been working their magic with dozens of arms that have come by, and I believe Abreu is another beneficiary of such.