Yankees: Predicting statistical leaders for the 2018 season

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ERA: Aroldis Chapman

The Yankees lineup will earn most of the headlines over the course of the season, but it’s the bullpen that’s probably their most dominant group. From top to bottom there isn’t a weak link. Heading into the season I don’t think there’s any question it’s the best pen in the game after the collective performance they turned in during last year’s playoff run.

Any one of these guys could probably end up leading the team in ERA but the pick here is Aroldis Chapman closing games out. By his usual standards, last season was a down year for Chapman. Statistically, it was a pretty solid campaign, but over the course of the entire season, it wasn’t what the Yankees expected when they brought him back on a record-breaking deal for a reliever. This season that won’t be the case.

Out of all the dominant arms in the Yankees pen nobody is more unhittable than Chapman when he is on his game. After regaining his closer job last September he reminded the Yankees why they paid him all that money with how he performed down the stretch and into the postseason. This year that will carry over and Chapman will return to the form that made him arguably the top closer in the game over the past five years.

If his performance this spring performance is any indication than Chapman is ready to go out and have a big 2018. Of the 13 outs he recorded this spring 10 of them were via strikeout. That tells you he’s feeling good about that 100 plus mph heater.

Next: Can Jordan Montgomery take the next step in 2018?

For the Yankees to reach their championship goals this year a lot of it is going to ride on the arms of their pen with Chapman leading the way. He’s their Mariano Rivera, and the guy they hope is throwing the last pitch of the season to clinch #28.