Yankees gearing up to get bullpen gem back from injury

yankees, ian hamilton
Apr 29, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (71) throws against the Texas Rangers during the seventh inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

To revive their season, the New York Yankees must prioritize their players’ health. While General Manager Brian Cashman could orchestrate various trades to bolster their World Series ambitions, the fact remains: without consistent contributions from their key players, the team stands little chance of surpassing their habitual stumbling block.

Gearing Up for Reinforcements: Bader and Hamilton

The good news for the Yankees is that substantial reinforcements are on the horizon. Impact outfielder Harrison Bader is expected to rejoin the squad early next week, while bullpen ace Ian Hamilton is commencing his rehab assignment.

Ian Hamilton’s Return: A Boost to the Best Bullpen

Boasting the game’s best bullpen ERA of 2.89, the Yankees’ relief unit stands to benefit significantly from Hamilton’s return. Having spent the past few seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Cleveland Guardians, the 28-year-old finally found his groove with the Yankees, delivering some of the bullpen’s best numbers this season.

In 22 innings, Hamilton has posted a commendable 1.23 ERA, a 2.27 xFIP, 12.27 strikeouts per nine, and an 87.5% left-on-base rate, along with a 57.1% ground ball rate. Notably, Hamilton hasn’t allowed a single home run this season, thanks to his effective slider, four-seam fastball, and sinker combination.

A Deep Dive into Hamilton’s Pitching: The “Slambio” Pitch

Analyzing Hamilton’s pitch repertoire, his slider has yielded a mere .173 batting average against, with a notable 40.9% whiff rate and 29.1% put-away rate. His four-seam fastball has generated a .091 batting average with a 41.2% whiff rate. Although his sinker, which he uses 20.4% of the time, has a slightly higher .333 BA against, it impresses with a 50% put-away rate.

Hamilton’s four-seam fastball offers 17% more horizontal movement than the average pitcher’s. His slider, dubbed a “slambio” pitch, provides -65% horizontal movement, bearing the appearance of a slider but the movement of a change-up.

Hamilton’s Rising Star: Impressive Spring and Increased Opportunities

Following an impressive spring training, the Yankees have steadily given Hamilton more opportunities to prove his worth in high-stakes scenarios.

During Hamilton’s injury, they relied on Clay Holmes, a 30-year-old reliever who has remarkably turned his season around, achieving a 2.48 ERA and yielding just one earned run across his last 19 appearances. With the addition of Hamilton, one of the game’s best bullpens is set to become even stronger.

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