There has been some hideous baseball played by the boys from the Bronx lately. There’s just no sugar-coating it anymore. But instead of dwelling on all of that (and there is a LOT to dwell on if you’ve been watching the Yankees over the last month or so), let’s take a look at one of the bright spots of the year: the performance of Boone Logan. Though his struggles (including a killer home run in Game 137 against the Orioles by newly-minted Yankee Killer Mark Reynolds) have been magnified by the team’s slide, Logan has put up very respectable numbers throughout 2012. Most importantly, if the Yankees want to make the playoffs, let alone win the division, they’ll need Logan to continue his solid season and finish strong.
In 2011, the Yankees bullpen was considered a strength, perhaps the biggest asset to the team, helping to mitigate concerns about the starting rotation. With all the success, it mattered little that Logan was the only lefty in the ‘pen following Pedro Feliciano’s season-ending surgery. After struggling early, Logan had a well-documented chat with Alex Rodriguez, and took off from there. In 2011, Logan made 64 appearances in the regular season. With a WHIP of 1.344, Logan pitched to a 3.46 ERA in 41.2 IP, with 46 Ks compared to 13 walks. Logan allowed 20 runs (16 ER) and 43 hits. Overall, Logan’s lefty slash-lines were .260/.328/.462 in 104 ABs, whereas rights hit .262/.328/.344 in 61 ABs.
By contrast, through Game 137 in 2012, Logan has pitched in 65 games. In 46.2 IP, Logan has a 3.86 ERA, allowed 40 hits, though his WHIP is lower at 1.350. Logan’s strikeout numbers have soared, totaling 59 Ks thus far on the year. Logan also just 23 walks on the year. This season, lefty batters are hitting a mere .231/.289/.395 against him in 104 ABs. Further, despite his reputation as a LOOGY, Logan has been equally effective against righties, as well. Right-handed batters are hitting .232/.365/.406 in 69 ABs. Qualitatively, Logan’s numbers against both right and left-handed batters have been visibly better this season as compared to last.
If there is one potential caveat with Logan it would be that, given his effectiveness (or the ineffectiveness of the rotation for stretches, depending on your point of view), is his time on the mound. Barring utilization of other bullpen arms with the expansion of the rosters, which is unlikely given the suddenly tight race the Yankees are engaged in for the AL East title, Logan is likely to have significantly more innings pitched than last year. Logan has emerged as the premiere lefty in the bullpen, and will surely seem a significant amount of action. Assuming the Yankees make the playoffs, there is still roughly two months worth of innings to be pitched between September and October.
It may seem as though the world is collapsing with the dreadful record of late, and there may be reason for concern, but the season isn’t over yet. The stumbling of the team has blocked a lot of the great baseball stories of this season for the Yankees — the resurrection of Eric Chavez, the fantastic season of Derek Jeter, the dominance of Rafael Soriano, the survival of the team without Mariano Rivera. This is still a very, very good baseball team. Keep looking at the individual pieces to see the light: the Yankees are getting significant contributions from some under-the-radar players, not the least of which is Boone Logan, and if they hope to keep hold of the AL East and make a deep run into the playoffs, they’ll need to continue that trend.