Yankees Winner: Surprising Bullpen
The Yankees signed Tommy Kahnle to lengthen out the back end of their bullpen. They believed in a Clay Holmes bounce back. They had full seasons of Jonathan Loaisiga and Lou Trivino in their plans.
Instead, Holmes has been solid, but his year has been defined by shakiness and a 1.409 WHIP. The other three hurlers have combined for 3.1 innings this season, all of them from Loaisiga; Kahnle should be back soon, and Trivino will miss the year following Tommy John surgery. And yet ... the Yankees lead all teams entering play on Tuesday with a bullpen ERA of 2.95, edging out Cleveland's 3.09 mark.
They've done it thanks, in large part, to Michael King returning to Michael King levels, as well as Wandy Peralta maintaining his playoff momentum. The story of the Yankees' 2023 bullpen cannot be told without the underdogs, though, from Ron Marinaccio to Ian Hamilton to Jimmy Cordero to absolutely Ryan Weber, who closed a game in Cincinnati and induced a harmless sacrifice fly from Vlad Guerrero Jr. with the bases loaded and one out in the "biggest short-handed game of the year" so far. Even Albert Abreu deserves some credit; outside of the Taylor Walls grand slam he shouldn't have been inserted to surrender, he's been a largely serviceable mop-up man.
Scorn the Yankees front office for their offensive failings and rotation issues all you want, and you'd be right to do so. But man, can these people ever print a bullpen. Now, it's up to these emerging pieces to prove they can handle October, too.