3 relievers you forgot the Yankees signed who could make an impact in 2024

Don't laugh!

Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels
Pittsburgh Pirates v Los Angeles Angels / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages
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Duane Underwood Jr.

You're not going to believe this, but Duane Underwood Jr. also used to pitch for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

He toiled as a significant part of the Buccos' bullpen in 2021 and 2022 before falling off in 2023, leaving him ripe for the plucking on a minor-league deal despite throwing a largely effective 130 innings the previous two seasons. Hey, nobody ever said bullpen roles weren't fungible!

Underwood Jr.'s 2022 was particularly noteworthy. The sinker-changeup specialist was extremely effective at limiting hard contact, ranking in the 97th percentile for barrel percentage, as well as the 82nd percentile in ground ball percentage. Walks were his bugaboo; the 25 free passes he allowed in 57 1/3 innings helped his WHIP balloon to 1.45.

Below the surface, though, his 4.40 ERA looked a lot more like his 2.92 FIP, making Underwood Jr. the Anti-Wandy. The "other shoe" simply never dropped -- in a positive direction. The righty's 2023 season fell apart both in the bigs and at Triple-A, and he was unable to parlay a still-impressive ground ball rate into any sort of success. That said, the Yankees are certainly betting they can be the ones to uncover what makes him tick. Would you bet against them?