Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is probably having the best start to a season we’ve witnessed for a reliever in a long time. If you’ve made solid contact against Chappy this year, please stand up to receive your award.
For all his accolades, Chapman does not lead the American League in saves, though. Neither does Red Sox closer Matt Barnes, who somehow beat him out for April Reliever of the Month.
So, who owns that honor? It’s someone Yankee fans will be familiar with, but not out of the bullpen.
He’s closing for a scuffling, .500-ish team, too, which means you’ll be hearing his name a ton at the trade deadline this summer.
Rangers closer Ian Kennedy is the greatest closer in the American League (in terms of saves accumulated).
He’s untouchable! In terms of saves accumulated.
Former Yankees starter Ian Kennedy will be a trade target this summer.
Not for nothing, but Kennedy has been extremely efficient in saving a pile of games for the Rangers, a team most people likely didn’t expect to be quite this scrappy.
In his 14 appearances, he finished 13 games with nine saves, posting a 0.786 WHIP while whiffing 20 in 14 innings. Kennedy’s stuff has certainly ticked up in a short relief role in recent years, but it takes a special breed to close, and he’s been breathing fire every time he’s been called upon in 2021.
Do the Yankees need an extra reliever at the deadline? It seems crazy to turn down such a thing and rule out the potential completely. Yes, the Yankees are just about at the top in bullpen ERA and haven’t used Zack Britton for even an inning in 2021. Justin Wilson has been inconsistent, though, and Darren O’Day has now joined Britton on the IL. Is this ‘pen set up for long-term success as-is, or could they use one more healthy reliever?
Even if the Yankees don’t opt to chase ‘pen help, and instead target bulk starters or a lefty bench bat, you can guarantee plenty of contenders will be hot after Kennedy’s tail — including our rival Boston Red Sox, who are certainly eyeing a playoff appearance.
Did you start ignoring IPK after he left the team in 2009 (in the Curtis Granderson trade)?
Well, you’re going to be hearing his name plenty this summer, connected to all sorts of American League front-runners.