Yankees sign solid bullpen arm to offer support down the stretch

Alexander Wilson
tyler duffey, yankees
Aug 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins relief pitcher Tyler Duffey (21) pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have signed several pitchers over the last few days, notably Anthony Banda and Chi Chi Gonzalez, on Tuesday afternoon, with Banda the only one enjoying any action up to this point.

However, general manager Brian Cashman didn’t stop there, bringing in right-handed relief pitcher Tyler Duffey, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

While Duffey is having a down year, for the most part, he was stellar in 2020 and 2021. He featured a 1.88 ERA over 24 innings during the covet abbreviated season and a 3.18 ERA last year over 62.1 innings. He spent eight consecutive seasons on the Minnesota Twins, a team the Yankees have familiarity with, considering they stole their hitting coach, Tanner Swanson.

What is Tyler Duffey bringing to the Yankees?

This year, though, Duffey hosts a 4.91 ERA, 3.58 xFIP, 7.98 strikeouts per nine, a 74.3% left on base rate, and a 44.6% ground ball rate. His HR/FB ratio has catapulted to 23.5%, with 1.64 home runs per nine allowed. He’s pitched 44 total innings, showcasing a good sample size, but his strikeouts are down significantly from the last three seasons.

Duffey utilizes a curveball, 4-seam fastball, sinker, and change-up on occasion. His primary two pitches are his curve and fastball.

His curveball is generating a .279 batting average against with a 29% whiff rate and 15.4% put-away rate. His 4-seam is producing a .288 batting average with a 23.1% whiff rate and 21.8% put-away rate at 92.3 mph.

Clearly, his quality has degraded a bit from last season, but at 31 years old, there’s nothing that stands out significantly as a negative variable. He’s been utilizing his sinker a bit more frequently than his 4-seam and curve, which may be impacting his numbers.

Although, opposing batters are hitters .207 against his sinker, which he’s throwing 14.9% of the time. It is possible that pitching coach Matt Blake has identified this pitch as a quality one and wants to extrapolate. Duffey’s sinker produces 24.4 inches of vertical drop, averaging 9% better than pitchers across the MLB.

This is certainly an interesting signing for the Yankees, who clearly are looking to mitigate some fatigued down the stretch.

Against the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, they utilized six bullpen arms after Jameson Taillon was knocked out after the second inning. They mostly looked efficient, but adding a bit more support couldn’t hurt.

Aside from one rough outing in July, Duffey was solid, giving up four earned run over 8.1 innings of action. Three of those earned runs came in the same game against San Diego, so it is clear he can put together successful innings at a decent clip.