New York Daily News’ reporter, John Harper, is playing around with an interesting bullpen idea for the Yankees’ closer situation. With the addition of Andrew Miller, and the recent dominance of Dellin Betances in the 2014 season, the closer role is wide open. Harper’s idea is that the Yankees platoon both, but allow them to get more than three outs.
Last season, Betances appeared in 70 games and worked multiple innings 35 times. Miller, with the Baltimore Orioles, only recorded more than three out seven times.
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In 2014, left-handed batters hit .164 against the southpaw Miller, and Betances, a righty, held right-handed batters to a .135 batting average. Being able to use a lefty in an inning when the opposing team’s upcoming hitters are also left-handed can work to their advantage.
However, establishing a permanent closer could be important, because it may develop a closer’s mindset. Yes, a pitcher’s job is to get outs, but knowing the ninth inning is theirs, may be helpful for their routine. Aside from the difference in handiness, both are similar; both are strikeout pitchers. In 90 innings, Betances fanned 135 batters, and Miller struck out 103 in 62.1. Also, both pitchers rely heavily on off-speed pitches; their sliders are their primary breaking ball.
It’d be interesting to see what the Yankees’ last few innings would look like if they did platoon a closer. It seems like a low risk-high reward situation, so maybe they should test it out for the beginning of the season. With the loss of David Robertson, it’s important for the Yankees to find their best possible pitcher for their closer role.