Numbers show just how elite surprising Yankees bullpen has been

How does Matt Blake keep getting away with this?!
Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees
Detroit Tigers v New York Yankees / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Through their first 45 games, the Yankees have been on a roll. As the bats heat up and the staff continues to dominate, it's go time in the Bronx.

But, when assessing this team's strengths, consider the bullpen and all its turnover close to the top of the list, led by an indomitable returning closer who most fans dismissed too early.

Yankees' Closer Clay Holmes Has Been Close to Untouchable

Leading the charge is right-handed pitcher and closer Clay Holmes. Many speculated in the offseason that the Yankees needed a more marquee relief pitcher in Josh Hader, fearing Holmes would not be equal to the task. Thus far, Holmes has been as dominant as they come, especially compared to Hader.

Holmes, C

Hader, J














$6 MM

$19 MM

A quarter of the season has come and gone and Holmes remains the only pitcher in baseball who has yet to give up an earned run (min. seven innings pitched). His impressive 12 saves are tied for first in the American League, and Holmes owns a 0.982 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 18.1 IP to boot.

Hader, meanwhile, owns an abysmal 4.74 ERA in 19 innings. With just five saves to his name and a negative baseball reference WAR, it's safe to say round one goes to Holmes.

Yankees Bullpen is Getting it Done

The rest of bullpen regulars have been nothing short of brilliant as well. As a whole, the Yankees are second in baseball with a 2.56 bullpen ERA, trailing only the Cleveland Guardians (2.44).

Ian Hamilton continues to impress with his slambio-powered 2.82 ERA, as does recent lefty acquisition Victor Gonzalez with his 2.63 ERA. Recent big league departure Ron Marinaccio boasted a sparkling 1.42 ERA of his own before being demoted to Triple-A Scranton.

Luke Weaver is having the most surprising season of all, sporting a career-best 2.25 ERA in 28 innings, the most of any Yankee reliever and second most among all relievers in baseball. Weaver signed a one-year major league deal with the Yankees for $2 MM back in January with a team option for 2025, a move that had many fans scratching their heads.

Weaver was a starting pitcher by trade, and his career 5.15 ERA and his 6.40 ERA in 2023 did not inspire much confidence. So far the move has proved to be a savvy one, and the once struggling Weaver has become an invaluable part of this bullpen.

Room for Improvement in Yankees Bullpen?

Not all of the Yankee relievers have had a smooth go of it to start 2024. Career Los Angeles Dodger Caleb Ferguson has been hard to watch. His 10 earned runs allowed in just 15 innings pitched places him squarely at an ERA of 6.00 with a 1.467 WHIP.

Ferguson alone accounts for nearly a quarter of all the runs surrendered by Yankee relievers this season (23.3%) and has raised the bullpen ERA from 2.20 to 2.56.

Such a poor 2024 is uncharacteristic of Ferguson, a career 3.60 ERA hurler. In fairness to him, 14 of his 18 appearances have been scoreless, but his half of his appearances have lasted less than three outs. The abysmal ERA likely won't hold as the season progresses and the innings begin to pile up, but 2024 has been a season to forget so far for Ferguson. The book is not yet closed on Caleb Ferguson, but he's got a long way to go to climb up the trust tree.

Though his 4.58 ERA doesn't jump off the page, number suggest Dennis Santana has been unlucky. He's allowed 9 earned runs in just 17.2 innings pitched, but his 1.189 WHIP and 2.83 FIP imply the Dennis Santana breakout may not be far away.

In a season where the Yankees parted with significant pitching depth and lost Gerrit Cole in spring training, Matt Blake and the New York Yankees pitching staff have been nothing short of brilliant. Even if you didn't know most of the names one month ago.