Yankees preparing to return high-leverage bullpen arm on Tuesday

mlb: new york yankees at tampa bay rays, ian hamilton

The New York Yankees are gearing up for a significant boost on Tuesday, with the anticipated return of veteran infielder DJ LeMahieu from a right foot injury and high-leverage relief pitcher Ian Hamilton, who was sidelined on the Covid list last week.

LeMahieu and Hamilton’s Return to the Yankees

LeMahieu has been on the mend since spring training, and his comeback is timed perfectly as the Yankees look to solidify their infield. On the other hand, Ian Hamilton is expected to rejoin the team and contribute to the bullpen after taking a day off on Monday. His return is crucial as the Yankees aim to stabilize their pitching staff.

Following Sunday’s game, the Yankees made roster adjustments, sending Yoendrys Gomez back to Triple-A Scranton. Gomez had a brief stint in the majors, pitching just one inning over the weekend.

mlb: spring training-pittsburgh pirates at new york yankees, yoendrys gomez
Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Analyzing Hamilton’s Performance

Ian Hamilton, 28, has thrown 22.2 innings this season, posting a 3.18 ERA and a 3.62 FIP. His strikeout rate has seen a decline to 7.54 strikeouts per nine, indicating a drop in efficiency from the previous year. Despite this, Hamilton’s stats in key areas remain strong; he ranks in the 89th percentile for chase rate, 83rd for whiff rate, and 86th for barrel percentage.

Hamilton’s pitch arsenal includes a slider, sinker, and four-seam fastball. Although his slider has maintained effectiveness with a .231 batting average against and a 39.2% whiff rate, his sinker has become a liability, allowing a .476 batting average at a velocity of 95.5 mph. This suggests that hitters are becoming accustomed to the pitch’s movement, leading to more successful contact.

The increased movement of Hamilton’s sinker this season hasn’t translated into better outcomes, possibly due to issues with pitch location. As Hamilton reduces his four-seam fastball usage, which has decreased by about 5% this year, the importance of mastering his sinker grows.

Despite these challenges, Hamilton continues to be a crucial element of the Yankees’ bullpen, which has experienced some instability recently. His ability to adjust and regain control of his pitches will be vital for maintaining the bullpen’s effectiveness as the season progresses.

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