Yankees’ promising bullpen arm needs a big bounce-back 2024

MLB: Kansas City Royals at New York Yankees
John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees bullpen remains one of the best in baseball on a yearly basis. Investing in cost-efficient talent and utilizing a fantastic pitching program normally results in growth.

We’ve seen phenomenal results from players like Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes over the past few years, but one pitcher who has failed to capitalize on momentum is Ron Marinaccio.

Reflecting back on Marinaccio’s 2022 season, he pitched 44 innings, hosting a 2.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 81.3% left-on-base rate, and 41.5% ground ball rate. The 28-year-old bullpen arm has a fantastic change-up, one of the best on the team. The problem is his accuracy is sometimes inconsistent, and he allows far too many walks. During his best year, he allowed 4.91 walks per nine and 5.13 this past season across 47.1 innings.

Marinaccio’s 2023 campaign was nothing short of disappointing. He hosted a 3.99 ERA, 4.69 FIP, including 10.65 strikeouts per nine, a 74.3% left-on-base rate, and a 38.7% ground ball rate. Giving up more walks and producing fewer ground balls impacted his numbers significantly.

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The Yankees Need Ron Marinaccio to Step Up

However, there is a path back to quality for the young relief pitcher. Marinaccio utilized his fastball more frequently last season, seeing an uptick from 44.3% in 2022 to 51.6%. He gave up significantly more walks with his fastball. His changeup also saw a major reduction in efficiency.

After recording a .141 batting average in 2022, it skyrocketed to .227, which is still solid but certainly a major swing. His whiff rate also dropped about 10% from 40.9% to 30.1%. Interestingly, Marinaccio actually lost movement on his pitch horizontally, which is what made it so dangerous. After recording 17.1 inches of break on his change-up in 2022, that number dropped to 16.3, which is notable.

With the Yankees trading away a number of potential starters and bullpen pieces in exchange for Alex Verdugo and Juan Soto, they need some of their other players to step up. Marinaccio has a chance to turn things around in a big way and cement his position in the bullpen, but it all comes down to his ability to locate consistently and not churn out walks at an unsustainable pace.