This Thanksgiving, what better way to give thanks than to write up an article doing just that? Yankees‘ Ron Marinaccio has been a true godsend for this organization, and his role in 2023 should lead to him being one of the most trusted arms in the pen. The Yankees have always had a dominant bullpen for as long as I can remember watching, and next season should be no different. Marinaccio burst onto the scene this season when the organization finally decided that his stuff could play up, and boy, were they right.
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The Toms River Kid was dominant in his rookie showing:
The Toms River native — I know, I couldn’t believe it either — filled a role that was left abandoned following both Chad Green & Michael King’s injuries. Despite having missed more than a month due to his own injury (thanks, Aroldis), Marinaccio was able to answer the call and deliver quality performance after performance. He tossed 44.0 innings this season en route to an exquisite 2.05 ERA & 3.20 FIP. Everyone knows his stuff is lethal, specifically the knee-bending swashbuckler of a changeup. He posted a 30.9% K Rate to a 13.3% BB Rate, which indicates that when he got the swings and misses, he was borderline untouchable.
Marinaccio did an amazing job at limiting damage and limiting the big blows. He only surrendered a minute 2 HR this season, good for a 0.41 HR/9. Ron the Don was able to come into the game at any given moment and sometimes give the team multiple innings if needed. Once the organization figured out how to use him properly, especially following his return from injury at the end of July. When he was activated off the IL, he was completely locked in, as he would only give up FIVE, yep 5 runs over the 24.2 innings he’d toss to round out the season. It was a remarkably dominant and efficient rookie campaign for the New Jersey native. Marinaccio has earned his keep, and next season should see an increase in both opportunities and trust.
His Changeup was as lethal as they get:
Now, back to his changeup. He threw it 38% of the time this season and saw batters struggle left and right. Opposition bat .141 and slugged .211 off of his changeup, and his -8 Run-Value on that pitch was tied for 7th best for that individual pitch in baseball. He ranked 7th despite only having thrown it 287 times, whereas everyone above him on the rankings threw it at least 347 times (Wandy Peralta). Simply put, his changeup was lethal, and the 40.9% Whiff Rate indicates exactly that. He would play off that changeup and toss his fastball in 44% of the time, plus the occasional slider that would completely fly off the plate. His changeup was the money pitch, and if you have nothing to be thankful for this holiday season, you can be thankful for that.
The Yankees enter next season with a few question marks in the bullpen, specifically surrounding who will get the bulk of the save opportunities. We may see Ron the Don get his first save next season, but either way he will be utilized in high-leverage situations more than he was this season. The team elected to use him in low-leverage and medium-leverage spots more than anything, and he delivered the goods every time he was called upon. Not to mention, Marinaccio never looks phased and will never let the moment get too big for him. His swooping changeup, which moves more like a screwball with its astounding 37.4 inches of vertical break, will be the talk of the town in the Bronx. Imagine if the organization chooses to bring back Kahnle as well, that 1-2 punch would be lethal.
2023 is the Year of the Don:
Marinaccio uses his deception on the mound to the best of his abilities, as he oftentimes doesn’t rely on an overpowering fastball to get by. Despite the fact that he was sadly shut down for some time at the end of the year due to discomfort in his shin — which he had played on for a few weeks, apparently — Marinaccio was a key contributor for this team down the stretch. Had he been added to the postseason roster, who knows, maybe we wouldn’t have had to watch Montas or Schmidt blow close games. I can’t wait to see what is in store for my guy Ron the Don, and hopefully, next season, the team lets go of the reins. Utilizing his disgusting pitch arsenal could lead to massive matchup nightmares for opposing hitters, and hopefully, he’s given every opportunity to show what he’s got.
Can’t wait for the 2023 season and can’t wait to see what Marinaccio has up his sleeve. As Michael Jordan once famously said, “The ceiling is the roof,” but I’d say that for Ron, the ceiling is the stratosphere.
Marinaccio posted a LOB% (Left on Base %) of 81.3% in 2022, which was only behind Trivino (83.9%), Luetge (82.9%), and Nasty Nestor (82.8%) for best on the Yanks. He clearly carved out a nice role for himself and should see that role expand significantly next season. With Spring Training only 92 days away, I am already getting myself hyped up. Next year will be different, and Marinaccio will play a huge part in that.
The Yankees likely won’t be spending very much, if any, capital on bullpen arms because they believe in their internal options. Ron the Don will be one of the key contributors for this squad, and I’d go as far as to say he will be the team’s best arm next season. Bold prediction, sure, but with his stuff, I feel extremely confident in saying so.