While the Yankees are still reeling from a brutal month of August, their bullpen keeps taking even more devastating hits. The latest victim is recently acquired Scott Effross, who was having an incredible season with a 2.75 ERA and 27.5% K%.
As a Yankee, he had posted a 3.24 ERA and 24.6% K%, and while the Yankees do boast a deep bullpen, they’re stretching their depth heavily here.
Yankee manager Aaron Boone says he’s headed to the IL with a shoulder strain, and the last case we saw of a reliever going down with a shoulder strain was at a similar point of the season when Jonathan Loaisiga suffered a shoulder strain, knocking him out for 24 days. While all shoulder strains vary in severity, it’s safe to say that the Yankees will be without Effross until at least September.
The Return of Clarke Schmidt:
As the corresponding move for Scott Effross, the Yankees are calling up Clarke Schmidt, who’s had continued success at the AAA level. He’s been dominant since last year with the Scranton Railriders, posting a 2.76 ERA and 31.2 K% across 58.2 IP.
At the MLB level, Schmidt’s posted a 2.40 ERA and 23.6% K%, with his biggest issue being the walks (12.2% BB%) due to a lack of chases out of the zone from hitters. While he had a lot of more success managing his K-BB% (20.0) in his 6 inning stint in July, where only had a 14.3% Hard Hit% against, it’s likely due to added reliance on his breaking pitches.
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It’ll be interesting to see if Schmidt can parlay his strikeout rates going up and increased slider usage to getting more high leverage innings, as according to Win Probability Added (1.51), he’s third among Yankee pitchers. He’s been able to handle extremely tense and close games with a lot of poise, I believe he’s ready to take the next leap in the Yankee bullpen.
Who Get’s the 9th?
Aaron Boone is keeping the closer role fluid, with a lot of guys injured and struggling, it’s hard to define one reliever as a definite closer. I imagine the likes of Wandy Peralta and Lou Trivino will get increased closing opportunities, but I also think Ron Marinaccio stands out as the best reliever in this bullpen currently. He’s been remarkable this season, posting a 1.80 ERA and 30.8% K%. Batters generate a mere 85.5 MPH Exit Velocity Against on Marinaccio, as his pitches are as devastating to hit as one could imagine.
He checks every box for an elite reliever, and while he is definitely great in a multi-inning 7th/8th inning role, I also believe closing games with him is a great idea as well. The Yankees keeping the closer role fluid as a whole is a strong idea to me, but Marinaccio strikes me as their best high leverage option. One thing the Yankees have going for them is having a bevy of arms that grade well in the “stuff” department. According to Stuff+, here is how every Yankee reliever grades out:
- Clarke Schmidt: 105.3
- Luke Bard: 109.9
- Lucas Luetge: 120.2
- Ron Marinaccio: 123.8
- Wandy Peralta: 104.4
- Jonathan Loaisiga: 115.7
- Lou Trivino: 107.0
- Aroldis Chapman: 135.8
Anything above 100 is above average, and the Yankees are well-equipped to let most of those guys get the ball in the 9th and handle business. It’ll come down to the pitchers executing (as always), but there isn’t a shortage of firepower in this bullpen.