While the Yankees still have the best record in baseball, they have found their first test of adversity with the recent developments in the bullpen.
Over the first part of the season, the Yankees pitching staff has been among the best in baseball, but the concern about overworking the bullpen has remained.
A couple of players have not been as good as fans would hope so far. The obvious one is closer Aroldis Chapman. While he has a track record of having stretches where he looks like he has no idea where his pitches are going, he has not been that dominant closer since his dominant run at the beginning of the 2021 season. Even when he wasn’t giving up runs at the start of 2022, he was still getting into trouble, so it was a matter of time before that came back to bite him. The Yankees have been using Clay Holmes in save situations more and more in response to Chapman’s performance. Aaron Boone deserves credit for recognizing the situation.
Another player that has struggled so far is Lucas Luetge. It makes sense when you remember how he was a journeyman reliever before he came to the Yankees, but he gave them some solid innings last year. It would be nice if he bounces back a little bit to at least be someone that is reliable in low leverage situations.
Jonathan Loaisiga has also fallen from being one of the top relievers in the game in 2021. He seems to be struggling with locating his pitches, and his sinker has been getting hit more than it was last year. He would be the biggest help to the bullpen if he regained form.
Holmes and Michael King have been dominant, and are probably the two best performers in the bullpen so far this season. Miguel Castro has been good, but is prone to location issues that can lead to walking a lot of batters. Wandy Peralta has oddly not been used very much, so it remains to be seen how much the Yankees trust him in high leverage.
Lastly, the loss of Chad Green looms large. I know much of the fanbase is not a fan of him, and he was not the dominant reliever he was at his peak form, but he was still a really important piece for the Yankees.
It will be interesting to see how the Yankees handle the bullpen in the coming weeks. Maybe we will see them make a move to get some help like they did early on last year by trading for Peralta.
Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin/NY Post