New York Yankees Player Profiles: Tommy Kahnle he’s ready to shine

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

A time to shine for Tommy Kahnle

This is one of the more difficult New York Yankees profiles I have written, mostly because of all the Yankees Tommy is the most private about his childhood and family. Tommy was born on August 7, 1989, in Latham, New York. The 30-year-old did play baseball in his childhood. In high school, he caught and pitched for Shaker High School in Latham. After high school Tommy (Thomas Robert) attended Lynn University in Florida. While there at age eighteen, he won the 2007 division two World Series for them and was named MVP for the series.

While at Lynn, he was certainly good enough to draw the attention of Yankee scouts. The Yankees drafted him in the fifth round of the 2010 draft. The Yankees sent him to the Staten Island Yankees, where in 2010, he was in eleven games with a .056 ERA with 25 strikeouts in sixteen innings pitched. In 2011 they sent him to the River Dogs in Charleston, where he continued to show his pitching promise. In 2012 he played for Tampa and the Trenton Thunder. He had an ERA between the two teams of 2.37.

In 2013 Tommy Kahnle was invited to spring training in Tampa, he did not make the team, but was a 2013 Eastern League All-Star with a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings. The Yankees failed to protect Kahnle and he was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 2013 rule 5 draft. He made the opening day roster with the Rockies. He appeared in 54 games with an ERA of 4.19. At the end of the 2015 season, the Rockies designated him for assignment. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox. In two seasons, he appeared in only 29 games but pitched to a 2.63 ERA. In 2017 he was having a career year posting a 2.50 ERA while striking out 60 batters in just 39 innings. The Sox realizing his value used him in a trade along with Todd Frazier and David Robertson to the Yankees for four players.

In July of 2017, Kahnle was ejected from a game for throwing behind Miguel Cabrara of the Tigers. Joe Girardi ended up getting thrown out as well, as a giant bench-clearing brawl broke out. Kahnle was sent down to Scranton Wilkes/Barre. He was called back up and on August 21 and recorded his first save replacing Aroldis Chapman in the 12th inning. In July of last year, Kahnle was awarded reliever of the month in the AL. Last season he was 3-2 with an ERA of 3.84 in 72 games. Kahnle has been one of our most dependable relievers. He is a ferocious competitor and has contributed much to the New York Yankees success this past season.

Most of Tommy’s personal life is undercover, but we do know he works out regularly in his out workout studio. He is married to Veronica Kahnle. They were married in January 2017, and they have made the decision to put off having children at this time. I researched and found that they have a home together in the Albany New York area just a short distance from his birthplace. I managed to get a photo from their wedding photographer that is not shown in this article.

Kahnle prepares for the 2020 baseball season

Recently Tommy Kahnle was featured in games in the “MLB The Show,” he blew a great opportunity to bring himself and the New York Yankees into the playoffs in the graphically correct fantasy games.  In reality, Kahnle has been preparing for the 2020 shortened season.  In 2019 he made an improvement to his play but still fell short of his 2017 stats as he tended to tire late in the season with all the injuries.  This shortened season may solve that.

In the shortened Yankee spring training, Kahnle didn’t get a lot of innings in, in fact only nine innings as the Yankees tried to evaluate the up and coming Yankee pitchers, Dievi Garcia, Clarke Schmidt, and Micheal King. In his nine innings, he was 0-1 in nine games with an ERA of 7.45.

Kahnle’s strikeout rate was the highest of his career last year.  During the postseason after a short break he has been doing his best to prepare for the upcoming season when it finally starts.  He recently said:

“I’ve been basically hanging out trying to survive these times you know, it’s crazy.  Basically if it nice outside I’ll go to a local field where I used to play high school baseball.  As far as workouts, my studio is closed so I can go in there privately and workout by myself and that’s what I have going for me right now.”

Kahnle told ABC Sports that he personally really misses the competition of baseball and wants to play.  With his on-field play and workouts and good nutrition, he has reduced 25 pounds from his ballooned 254 pounds at the end of the last season.  As the New York Yankees await the start of the season they hope Tommy can return to his 2017 form.

 

EmpireSportsMedia.com’s Columnist William Parlee is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

New York Yankees’ Tommy Kahnle featured on MLB.com’s best changeups list

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

Baseball’s most frequently used pitch is, and will probably be for a long time, the fastball. A good four-seamer will give the hitter less time to react, and if it is well-placed and it has some sort of movement, it could be a deadly weapon. However, a pitcher can’t get by with just fastballs, unless his name is Mariano Rivera.

Breaking balls and changeups are equally necessary for a pitcher to have some sort of success in the major leagues. MLB.com reviewed some of the league’s best changeups, and as it turns out, the New York Yankees are represented in the list.

Tommy Kahnle has a great changeup, but in 2019, it was something extraordinary. The pitch generated 13.0 runs above average in Fangraphs’ pitch value, a number that led the league over Tommy Milone’s 10.0 and Evan Marshall’s 9.6.

The Yankees’ reliever had a stellar campaign

Kahnle rode the changeup to a successful season of a 3.67 ERA and 12.91 K/9. It’s a good thing that the change was so good, since he had negative values with his fastball (-2.4) and slider (-1.5.)

Here is MLB.com’s writeup about Kahnle’s changeup: “Of the 229 pitchers who threw at least 1,000 pitches in 2019, only one used his changeup more than half the time. It was Kahnle, at 51.9%. But even with the predictability, batters still couldn’t hit him. The right-hander allowed a .181 wOBA on changeups last season, the best in MLB among regular changeup users, and he collected 68 of his 88 strikeouts with the pitch.”

Next on Kahnle’s priority list is to improve his fastball and its command, to make it a more effective pitch, which could also help his changeup even more and his slider. He is well-equipped to do so.

For now, the New York Yankees know that they have quite the changeup artist in the team. Other prominent names that appeared on MLB.com’s list are Luis Castillo, Stephen Strasburg, Kyle Hendricks and Chris Paddack.

New York Yankees 2020 Season Preview: Tommy Kahnle

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

Tommy Kahnle was one of the New York Yankees‘ most reliable relievers in 2019. He bounced back nicely after a disappointing 2018 and would like to continue his success in 2020.

The 30-year-old only appeared in 24 games in 2018, battling injuries and struggles. He didn’t pitch well enough to maintain a major league spot, so he spent a lot of the season in AAA.

2019 was a lot better for the Latham, New York native. He had a 3-2 record with a 3.67 ERA. He punched out 88 in 61.1 innings and a 1.060 WHIP to go with it.

Kahnle got better and better as the 2019 season progressed. He began the year in low leverage situations and had a lot of success. He quickly became a high-leverage reliever and continued to pitch well.  The Yankees could always count on Kahnle to get the job done.

2020 Expectations:

The Yankees need a lot out of Kahnle in 2020.

He’s such an essential piece to the bullpen and is one of the two guys the team will go to when they need big outs in the middle innings. The other is Chad Green. Green bounced back from a poor start to 2019 and pieced together a good year.

Kahnle throws hard, and the team needs him to bring the heat. He does have good stuff but isn’t the same without an upper-90s fastball. When he struggled in 2018, his velocity was way down.

Another great thing that Kahnle can do is occasionally pitch two innings. Not many relievers these days can do that, so it’s important that the Yankees can turn to him for that when needed.

Tommy Kahnle is a vital piece to the Yankee bullpen that the team needs firing on all cylinders in 2020.

New York Yankees: One underrated bullpen arm will have a big role in 2020

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

The New York Yankees are the favorites to win the World Series ahead of the 2020 campaign, but as we know, anything can happen throughout the regular season. In 2019, the Bombers suffered through injuries to essential players and still managed to earn 103 wins on the year.

However, they have brought in Eric Cressey to revitalize their strength and conditioning program to avoid similar soft-tissue ailments. The bullpen is one unit that was relied heavily on with the lack of starting pitchers last year. Tommy Kahnle, specifically, will have an expanded role in the upcoming season, especially after the departure of Dellin Betances and Nestor Cortes Jr.

MLB Insider Brian Hoch answered a bullpen question in his daily mailbag breaking down the bullpen after Betances signed on with the Mets:

Q: With Dellin Betances moving across town, do you see any of the young Yankees pitchers taking a step up to fill his role?
— Joe S., Mount Sinai, N.Y.

A: I wonder if that has already taken place. The loss of Betances to the Mets is arguably only a paper move when compared against the 2019 bullpen, since he was (unfortunately) a non-factor for all but one-third of an inning. Tommy Kahnle’s return to form helped to cover over Betances’ absence, while Zack Britton was largely reliable and Adam Ottavino gave the Yanks about five sharp months before he lost command of his slider.

What does Tommy Kahnle bring to the table for the New York Yankees?

Kahnle has impressive stuff, featuring his fastball 44.1% of the time and changeup 52%. He also dabbles with a slider at 3.9%. His pitch velocity is also substantial, reaching the upper-mid 90s frequently with his fastball. The Yankees like their strong-arm relievers and Kahnle undoubtedly fits the bill in that respect. This offseason, he signed a one-year, $2.65 million deal to stick with the Bombers in what could be an exciting season.

Hopefully, he can remain productive, and supplement lost support. The Yankees do have plenty of young talent they can rely on given injuries take their toll (knock on wood), but we can have solace knowing Kahnle is a reliable option.

Yankees: Why Tommy Kahnle should be Dellin Betances’ replacement

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

The New York Yankees’ “Bullpen of Doom” is seen by most as one of the most dominant bullpens in the game today. With all the electrifying arms that the Yankees utilize, like Ottavino — who throws a slider that swoops across the plate like a David Beckham free-kick outside the eighteen — Zack Britton, who throws a 95 MPH sinker and only a few years ago was one of the most dominant bullpen arms in all of baseball, and of course both flamethrowers — Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.

Mix that in with Chad Green, who has one of the liveliest fastballs in all of the league, and has seen a steady improvement in his average fastball velocity, across the last four seasons. Yet, one of the names that seems to get continuously lost is Tommy Kahnle. Yankee fans are not the only eyes that have looked beyond his skill-set; the entire league has overlooked his talents.

As the 2019-2020 Free Agency market has begun to churn its gears and with Winter Meetings just around the corner, the Relief Pitcher market is starting to grow thinner and thinner by the day. With players like Will Smith, Drew Pomeranz, and even Carl Edwards Jr. getting signed over the last couple of weeks. Dellin Betances still sits on the market, which leads me to believe that perhaps the Yankees aren’t as positive about his injury-riddled past two seasons and that he may not be coming back to New York. With that being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if no one bites on Betances. Cashman and co would like to bring him back on a one or two year deal for a discount price. A question that is on the minds of all Yankees fans, and covered in a previous article by John Zarnowski, is: Who could fill the role that Betances held? 

There have been rumors and chatter of the Yankees possibly pursuing Josh Hader, however seeing as to how the Brewers have torn apart their team over the last month, I imagine they would want a king’s ransom and then some. I think the best option lies within the organization, and it’s Tommy Kahnle. 

Kahnle’s time with the New York Yankees up to this season

Acquired as an add-on in the deal that brought Houdini, David Robertson, back to New York in the summer of 2017 in exchange for — at the time — prized prospect, Blake Rutherford, Kahnle never really saw himself in conversations as one of the better arms out of the pen in the AL, let alone the entire league, so there were question marks around his name. However, there was some argument that in the 2017 season, Kahnle was as good as, if not better than Robertson. 

Tommy ended the 2017 season between the White Sox & Yankees with a K/BB ratio of 96/17 across 62.2 IP. That’s nearly a 6/1 ratio, coming off a season where his K/BB ratio in 2016 was 25/20 across a much smaller sample size in 26.1 IP. Robertson posted a 98/23 K/BB ratio that year, good for roughly a 4/1 ratio. Their 2017 seasons as a whole, across the board, were some of the most comparably dominant seasons that a reliever saw that year. While there were definite worries and question marks with Kahnle, nobody saw his horrendous 2018 season coming. 

In 2018, the Yankees had one more year of Robertson before he hit FA, so he was a lock in the pen, and the general belief around the Yankees clubhouse was that Tommy Kahnle, a cheap and team controlled MLB ready reliever, was going to be featured a lot that season. However, injuries and overall lack of confidence, oomph, and control, all played into what ended up being a horrid season for Kahnle. He saw his previous career year completely disregarded after only pitching 23.1 IP across the entire year, and having to spend a fair majority of the season in the minors as well. Everything that could’ve gone wrong for him did go wrong. Being demoted in May, and only accumulating 9.1 IP across the entire first half of the season led many to believe that Kahnle was just one-and-done, and indeed wasn’t this elite arm that everyone had begun to believe.

For Kahnle, his fastball was his best pitch, similar to Green’s, but Kahnle’s could hurl 97-98 MPH consistently in 2017. It was electrifying, and few hitters could hit it, which is why Kahnle threw it 67% of the time, mixing in his changeup only 22% of the time. In 2018 however, when his velocity was down to 94-95 MPH, his fastball wasn’t nearly as valuable or used as much, as seen by the average velocity game log from 2017-2019 (via Fangraphs):

There were times in 2018 where Tommy Kahnle would toss pitches at 93 MPH, dipping down from his 2017 high of 101. Due to that dip, he threw his changeup a considerably more substantial amount, but having relied so heavily on his fastball showed. His Changeup usage % was 41% in 2018, yet it didn’t have the movement or wasn’t nearly as valuable of a pitch due to his loss in velocity and confidence in his fastball. In 2019 however, Tommy regained some of that velocity and saw himself consistently pitching mid-to-high 90’s. Yet, he also threw his changeup far more often. His FB Usage % was down to 44%, and his changeup usage percentage was up to 52%. With that, Tommy saw the strikeouts return, and the walks limited far more than his previous year. He regained confidence and was a solid man out of the pen for the entirety of that year. 

Kahnle’s new approach was seemingly utilized by another player, needing a change as well

It’s as if Kahnle did what everyone’s applauding Drew Pomeranz for figuring out the last month of the year, but did it for that whole season. While Pomeranz’s change is different in the fact that he transitioned from starting role to relief, and immediately saw results, the overall concept is almost the same in its entirety. For Pomeranz, he upped his FB% from 48% when in the rotation, to an astonishing 72.6% when used out of Milwaukee’s pen. However, what made that pitch so lethal is that Pomeranz, who like Kahnle refound his velocity and restructured his approach, is that he also has — and only uses — one secondary pitch, his knuckle curve. Pomeranz’s time as a reliever, across 28.1 IP, was otherworldly for someone thought to have been washed up, as he racked up 50 strikeouts, and only yielded eight walks. That fantastic stretch earned him a four year deal worth $34,000,000 from the Padres.

Pomeranz’s and Kahnle’s styles may seem vastly different, in that Pomeranz uses his fastball far more. Yet, the secondary pitch that complements the primary pitch is almost just as important. Pomeranz realized he needed to throw only two pitches, as did Kahnle. Kahnle’s changeup is one of the most dominant in the league, and being able to throw it wisely and timely mix it in with his fastball, showed signs of becoming a lethal one-two punch. 

He has the tools necessary to be that set-up man to Aroldis

Kahnle was far from perfect in 2019, and he has things that still need to be put together, as suggested by his Road splits (4.94 ERA / 4.08 FIP). With that being said, there was still a massive improvement and signs shown that he has what it takes to be elite. Tommy Kahnle also wasn’t trusted enough last year, despite the fact that Kahnle was increasingly better when called upon in a more direct and defined role, and given the opportunities:

Low Leverage Situations Medium Leverage Situations High Leverage Situations
IP 25.2  26.1 9.1
K/BB  2.92  6.50 7.00
WHIP 1.36 0.87 0.75
xFIP 3.05 2.48 2.25

While it may not be a large sample size, the point is that as Tommy was given more significant tasks and more challenging appearances, he performed better. As with many players, if the team places their trust in them, then that player will likely return the favor by performing to expectations, if not exceeding them. That was the case with Kahnle, as the more comfortable he got throughout the year, he was used in more intense situations. While he did yield nearly double the HR/9 in High Leverage Situations (1.98 to 1.05 in LLS), that can be attributed to more than not bad luck, and the small sample size. The tools are there, and Tommy looks set to continue on the positive track he set last year, and bring the heat come 2020, and possibly, if needed, take the place of longtime Yankee, Dellin Betances.

The list of BP arms if Betances doesn’t return could look like this (* = potential RP/SP split role):

  • Jordan Montgomery*
  • Deivi Garcia*
  • Michael King*
  • Jonathan Loiasaga*
  • Ben Heller
  • Chad Green
  • Zack Britton
  • Adam Ottavino
  • Tommy Kahnle
  • Aroldis Chapman

With the Yankees’ pitchers and catchers set to report to camp on February 11th, all eyes should be on Tommy Kahnle, and what further improvements he may have made on the heels of a resurrection of a season last year. It’ll be interesting to see what approach the Yankees take regarding their bullpen. Will they decide to bring back Betances on a team-friendly deal if he’s still around, look for other options like Blake Treinen on the market, or perhaps use what they have — and the Yankees have a good one in Tommy Kahnle. 

New York Yankees: Weekly Recap + ESM Yankee Players of the Week for 7/29-8/4

New York Yankees, Domingo German

Weekly Recap:

After winning only one of four games at Fenway Park last week, the New York Yankees returned home hoping to regain momentum. After splitting a two-game series with Arizona, the legendary rivalry resumed in the Bronx, though the story would be very different this time. The Yankees would sweep the series, sending Boston plummeting further down in the standings, dropping to 14.5 games back after Sunday’s finale.

The sweep was huge, not just in terms of the standings, but also in showing that the starting rotation is improving. James Paxton, Domingo German, and J.A. Happ all went at least five innings and got wins in their respective starts in this series.

Torres, Ursehla avoid I.L.:

While the Yankees relished in finishing off the sweep on Sunday, it came with a couple of brief injury scares. Gleyber Torres, who was 0-3 with a walk on Sunday, was taken out in the eighth inning with what the team called a “core issue.” Not too long afterward, Eusebio Torres, Gleyber’s father, tweeted:

Translated from Spanish, the tweet reads:

“After the scare tonight, GT is leaving the hospital and everything is fine, the bus waits for him, and they go straight to Baltimore.”

Most likely as a precaution, Torres played the following day against Baltimore as the DH. Torres going to the I.L. would have been another significant blow to the Yankees. They already lost both Aaron Hicks (strained flexor tendon in right elbow) and Edwin Encarnacion (right wrister fracture) last Saturday.

Gio Urshela was also banged up on Sunday after fouling a pair of pitches off his left shin and right knee. He did not play in the first game against Baltimore.

Sanchez to go on rehab assignment:

According to manager Aaron Boone, catcher Gary Sanchez will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday. Following games on Wednesday and Thursday, the all-star catcher will rejoin the Yankees sometime this weekend in Toronto. Sanchez has been on the 10-day I.L. since July 24 with a Grade 1 Left Groin Strain. This is his third I.L. stint due to groin injuries in the past two seasons.

 

And now, with that out of the way, it is now time for this weeks…

Empire Sports Media’s Yankee Players of the Week:

James Paxton & Domingo German:

Paxton:

Vs. Boston (8/2): W, 6.0 Innings, 2 Hits, 2 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO

German:

Vs. Boston (8/3): W, 7.0 Innings, 5 Hits, 2 ER, 7 SO

That’s right, the Big Maple and the Ant are ESM’s first-ever Yankee Co-Players of the Week! Both starters turned in quality starts in back-to-back days against the Red Sox, helping the Yankees to a four-game series sweep.

Paxton kicked off the series with his typical first-inning troubles, allowing a two-run home run to J.D. Martinez. After a Gleyber Torres grand slam in the bottom half of the first, Paxton settled down, allowing only one hit and two walks from the second inning on, finishing with six innings of two-run ball and six strikeouts. This was a huge redemption start for Paxton after getting shelled for seven runs in four innings during his last start at Fenway Park.

The next day, German had arguably one of his best starts of the season in game one of a doubleheader. Despite giving up solo shots to Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradly Jr., German tossed seven innings of two-run ball with seven strikeouts. This start helped keep the bullpen fresh, as the Yankees deployed Chad Green as an opener in the nightcap.

Honorable Mentions (In no order):

Gleyber Torres:

6 games, 5-24 (.208), 3 HR, 7 RBI, .667 SLG%

Despite hitting just over .200 for the week, Gleyber Torres contributed to the sweep of the Red Sox. In game one, down 2-0, Torres took Eduardo Rodriguez deep for a go-ahead salami, capping off the offense for both teams. The next day, in the nightcap of a doubleheader, Torres knocked a pair of solo shots as part of a 3-for-5 night scoring three runs.

Mike Tauchman:

5 games, 5-17 (.313), 1 HR, 6 RBI, .353 OBP%

The sockman continues to show why GM Brian Cashman may just know what he’s doing despite the opinions of some Yankee fans. After Sunday’s game, Tauchman has slashed .372/.433/.617/1.050 with four home runs and 22 RBI since May 5.

J.A. Happ:

Vs. Boston (8/4): W, 5.2 Innings, 7 Hits, 4 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO

While Happ’s stat line in his latest start isn’t fantastic, he was cruising through the first four innings, allowing only two hits during that span. It was one of his better starts of the year, and the Yankees are now 15-7 in Happ’s started in 2019.

Tommy Kahnle:

1-0, 3.0 Innings, 0.00 ERA, 4 SO, 2 Hits, 1 BB

Kahnle continues his resurgent 2019 with an excellent month of July overall. In 12 July appearances, the righty allowed only one earned run, good for a 0.77 ERA during that span. He also struck out 17 and held opposing batters to a .128 BAA. Due to his strong month, Kahnle was named the American League Reliever of the Month for July.

Gio Urshela:

5 games, 7-18 (.389), .421 OBP%

 

New York Yankees to make deal for starting pitcher before the trade deadline

Are the New York Yankees interested in trading for Blue Jays pitcher, Marcus Stroman?

It’s only a matter of time before the New York Yankees strike a deal to bring a starting pitcher to the Bronx, it’s just a matter of who. Rumors of options like Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, Marcus Stroman and more have plastered headlines the past few weeks.

July 31st marks the trade deadline which is three weeks away and at some point, the Bombers should bring in another pitcher to add to a rotation that seems to be constantly affected by injuries.

What are the New York Yankees going to do?

General manager Brian Cashman commented on the current state of the rotation and if snagging a pitcher would be beneficial, according to his interview on MLB Network:

“Our interest is improving our pitching,” Cashman said. “Certainly the target would be to continue to reinforce the rotation because obviously that’s where the majority of your innings are going to have to come from, and we have a long way to go. Those innings are vitally important. We’re going to target starting pitching, and if not, we’re going to continue to reinforce the bullpen. Bottom line is just trying to add quality to what we already have.”

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The Yankees have been supplementing the loss of pitching with mid-inning relief pitchers. Nestor Cortes Jr., Luis Cessa, Adam Ottavino, and Tommy Kahnle have been leaned on heavily to pick up the slack.

Still surviving without Luis Severino, who went down with shoulder inflammation during spring training, has succumbed to multiple setbacks. The Yanks rushed him back and it ultimately backfired setting his timetable for return back several months.

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However, he could begin throwing again this weekend, which would begin a long road to a return. Late August seems to be a possible time frame.

CC Sabathia, James Paxton, and Domingo German are all currently dealing with individual injuries. Finding another starter to help fill the gaps has become a necessity.

Poor Bullpen Management Finally Bites New York Yankees Against Tampa

New York Yankees, Zack BRitton

On Saturday, the New York Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 7-2.

However, the score was close for most of the game. A few decisions regarding the bullpen over the last few days may of been the reason for the lopsided loss.

A fresh-ish Kahnle

A lot of people were left asking why Tommy Kahnle didn’t pitch on Saturday. His ERA has been one of the best in baseball, sitting at 1.13.

Kahnle was used on Thursday and Friday, but got it done so efficiently that he threw just 18 total pitches over an inning each outing. He would of likely been fine to pitch a third day in a row.

Green was available

The Yankees also mentioned before the Tampa series began that reliever Chad Green was about ready to rejoin the team from Scranton during the weekend. The plan is that Green would not appear in anymore AAA games, and his next outing would be an MLB outing.

If the Yankees needed a fresh arm, I don’t understand why you don’t just call him up. He could potentially give you two innings with his revamped stuff.

Why inning-by-inning doesn’t always work.

With guys pitching an inning a night, it allows them to pitch multiple nights in a row. If a pitcher throws multiple innings in an outing, they likely become unavailable the next night.

Well, the Yankees threw all of their big guys on Thursday and Friday, those being Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, Adam Ottavino, and Aroldis Chapman.

You know that if you have several close games in a row, you will want to have you best pitchers throw, right?

In the Yankees mindset, if there would be three close games in a row, it would be on the low-leverage guys to get the job done.

Instead of throwing all four big guys for two nights in a row, plan so you have say Kahnle and Chapman throw one night, and have throw Britton and Ottavino the next, each pitcher throwing two innings. So each pitcher would throw two innings, then get a night off. Then, stick a low-leverage guy in there if you get a short start or are forced to do so in a long game. But, extra innings games often see all of your high leverage pitchers anyway.

Since the Yankees had none of their good arms ready on Saturday, Jonathan Holder and Nestor Cortes Jr. came in and combined to give up five runs over three innings.

Maybe if Aaron Boone had better bullpen management, the Yankees would be able to win a few more games. The management of his bullpen is one of the two things holding the team back, the other obviously being injuries.

New York Yankees: Tommy Kahnle Lights Out To Start Season

New York Yankees, Tommy Kahnle

Does anyone remember how bad Tommy Kahnle was last season? I sure do. Kahnle had a 6.56 ERA in 2018 for the New York Yankees over 24 appearances. After an early IL stint, Kahnle spent most of his year at AAA. His velocity was down, sitting in the low 90s rather than the mid to upper 90s.

But in 2019, Kahnle has been absolutely incredible. His ERA is at 1.13 over 18 appearances and hasn’t given up an earned run in a month.

New York Yankees: The difference

Once Tommy lost his velocity in 2018, he never really got it back. His stuff was still there, but his success revolved on velocity. So, with less velocity, hitters saw the ball much better.

Once he went to AAA, he tried everything to regain his velocity. He also continued to develop off-speed pitches and eventually saw success with Scranton.

The 29-year-old would eventually get called up late in the season and was a bit better than early on, but still struggled. Everyone knew his potential, coming off a season with a 2.59 ERA in 2017, including a strong postseason showing.

After resting up over the off-season, his velocity was back this spring. Add that with improved off-speed pitches, it has made his pitch magnificently.

In no-doubt his best season, he so far has 21 strikeouts and six walks, picking up a win and four holds along the way.

During Friday’s 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, Kahnle rang up two and got a pop-up to work a 1-2-3 inning in 10 pitches. On Thursday night, he needed just eight pitches to retire the side.

Tommy Kahnle is showing that he is much improved from the 2018 season. He’s having his best career season and is proving to the Yankees that he deserves more opportunities. Plus, if he continues to be efficient, he could start to see multiple innings per appearance. The Yankees will continue to lean on his success to fill holes in the bullpen made by the absences of Chad Green and Dellin Betances.

 

Gary Sanchez Goes Yard Twice and Paxton Injured as New York Yankees Win 6-3

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

James Paxton only pitched three innings due to an injury, but the bullpen stepped up, as well as the offense for the New York Yankees to beat the Twins 6-3.

The Yankees return home, and so does their offense

The Yankees got it going early in the first when Gleyber Torres singled home Brett Gardner. Luke Voit walked in the inning to extend his on-base streak to 42 games.

Voit also got a hit in the second, the ball staying in the infield, also registering an RBI.

The Yankees picked up two in the fourth off a wild pitch and a ground-ball to second off the bat of Gardner.

To conclude the offense, Gary Sanchez hit solo-home runs to left in the fifth and seventh for his ninth and tenth of the season.

Paxton’s brief evening

James Paxton was removed after the third inning with knee soreness, and will get an MRI on it Saturday.

He gave up two hits and a run, while walking three. It just looked like he was uncomfortable up there, and it showed in his performance. Now, the Yankees just have to hope that it isn’t too serious.

But luckily, the Yankees had a well rested bullpen.

Jonathan Holder pitched two perfect innings to continue his stretch of strong outings. Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle each followed with perfect innings.

But, come the eighth, Zack Britton came in for an inning of work. After a walk, he served up a two-run homer to Nelson Cruz.

But it never amounted to anything, as Chapman shut it down for the save in the ninth.

Andujar is ready

Miguel Andujar will be in the line-up and be activated on Saturday. He will be the first of a few that are close to returning. Stanton and Hicks will be ready next.

To make room for Andujar, the Yankees sent Mike Ford down to AAA.

Game two of the series will take place on Saturday at 1:00PM on MLB Network, ESPN+, YES, and Fox Sports Go. JA Happ (1-2, 4.68 ERA) gets the ball for the Yankees against Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.34) of the Twins.