Yankees Bullpen Among MLB’s Best

When the Steinbrenners went against Brian Cashman’s wishes to sign Rafael Soriano they envisioned a lockdown bullpen that would be among the best in MLB.  They got what they were looking for, although probably not the way they envisioned it.  Soriano struggled early and got hurt. Joba Chamberlain had to have Tommy John surgery.  David Robertson became a savior and was one of the best setup men in MLB.  Once Soriano came back he pitched well. Along with Robertson and Mariano Rivera the trio formed one of best 7-8-9 combo’s in baseball.

Having a lockdown bullpen is crucial in baseball. It is devastating for a team to waste a good starting pitching performance or a good offensive performance because the bullpen blew it. The bullpen can also bail out a bad start from a pitcher to allow the offense to comeback. The 2011 Yankees bullpen finished 4th in MLB in bullpen ERA at 3.12.  They only blew 16 saves, which was good for 5th best in MLB, and 8.46 K/9 which was good for 6th best in MLB.  Once Soriano and Chamberlain went down all the pressure went to David Robertson. If he hadn’t stepped up his game, the Yankees season could have gone with him. He responded in a way nobody could have ever dreamed off.  Robertson went 4-0, with a 1.08 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP, and an unprecedented 13.5 K/9.  Robertson did allow to many walks (2.86 BB/9), but he always seemed to get strikeouts to cancel them out. With the help of a deceptively fast fastball and a devastating 12-6 curve, Robertson always came through in the clutch.

Mariano Rivera continued to defy the odds to be almost as dominant as in his prime. Rivera had 44 saves, pitched to a 1.91 ERA, and an impeccable .897 WHIP. He displayed his amazing control by only walking 8 batters all season.  He did have his usual stretch of the season, last year in August, when people questioned whether he was done based off a few blown saves in a row. Of course the answer was as it has always been. No he is not done. There are still not many closers, if any, you would rather want on the mound for a big save other than Mo.

Cory Wade, Hector Noesi, Boone Logan and Luis Ayala also made nice contributions to the bullpen last season. These guys fulfilled many different roles and were versatile enough to perform. When Wade was going well he was even the 7th inning guy. Noesi performed great as a long man and middle innings guy.  Logan was the Yankees only lefty reliever but was also capable of getting righties out due to his plus fastball and slider.  Ayala got off to a good start, but struggled down the stretch. These guys provided great depth behind the Yankees great back end of the bullpen pitchers.          

Going into this year I see the Yankees having the 2nd best bullpen in MLB behind the Atlanta Braves. The San Francisco Giants are a very close 3rd. A 7-8-9 of Soriano, Robertson, and Mo the Yankees will be in great hands at the end of the game. Chamberlain is a wild card coming off Tommy John surgery because he was pitching extremely well before he got hurt. Combine the great Yankees bullpen with an improved starting staff,and you are looking at one of the best overall pitching staffs in MLB.  The Yankees bullpen was a huge reason for the teams’ 2011 success and should be about just as good heading into 2012.

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on January 24, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. Which begs the question., Could the Yankees win 100 games for the 20th time in their illustrious history?

  2. Wow, how about this:

    Tigers, Prince Fielder Nearing Nine-Year Deal
    By Ben Nicholson-Smith [January 24 at 1:54pm CST]
    The Tigers are “very close” to a nine-year deal with Prince Fielder, Yahoo’s Tim Brown tweets. Fielder will join Miguel Cabrera in the middle of the Tigers’ order to create more than enough offense to make up for the loss of Victor Martinez.

  3. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have signed Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214 million deal.

  4. Fishjam, Matt and uyf1950….
    What are your thoughts on Fielders contract?
    I see him putting on a lot of weight before he is half way through the contract. Unless he really takes control of his workouts he will age badly and be a very expensive DH with a slower bat. I may be wrong but, added weight slows down the bat if I remember right.
    If it were I, Fielder would have a 5 year contract with options.
    What light can anyone shine on this, is the contract to long or not?
    Will Fielder gain to much weight, if by doing so, will he be less productive?

    • I think for 1, 2 or 3 years it will look like a steal. After that it will be the Tigers worst nightmare.

      The Tigers will come to realize just like I believe the Yankees have contracts of that length and that much money never benefit the team.

      If it were me I would have offered him 4 years at $25MM per if that’s not enough move on. He could hit FA again after that and see what his value is then.

    • I think it is a very risky contract. The Yanks gave a similar deal to Teixeira although for 1 less yr and a couple million less per year. Tex is in much better condition and a much better fielder. That said, even the Tex deal is a bad contract so Prince’s will be worse.

      Prince will have some monster offensive years but IMO Detroit will be sorry about half way through the deal. But that is the price they have to pay to get him and they will have the next 4-5 years of arguably the most dangerous combo in baseball of Cabrera & Prince.

      This totally reminds me of Boston’s Manny & Ortiz in their prime.

      Cabrera is similar to Manny – a powerful right handed bat with power to all fields and the ability to hit in well over .300.

      Prince plays the Big papi roll of the big lefty with huge power.

      When VMart returns in 2013, that will be a sick middle of the order to go along with a great pitching staff of Verlander-Scherzer-Fister-Porcello-Jacob Turner.

  5. The Tigers have locked up the Central for years to come. It will be interesting to see what they do with Cabrerra, Fielder, and Martinez next year. All 3 are below average defensively and Cabrerra has put on alot of weight since his Marlins days. I’m not sure he can play 3rd any more. The AL has gotten alot better since Fielder and Pujols signed. I think the best teams on paper in the AL are Yanks, Angels, Tigers, Rangers, Rays, and Sox. All these teams have a good chance of making the playoffs. But only the Tigers look like a sure thing.

  6. I think the Yanks have the best pen in baseball. That being said, I don’t see them winning 100 games there league is just too tough. The big difference between the Yanks of the 90’s and today is not the Yanks at all, it is the other teams in their division. The Rays,Sox, and Jays are all much better than they were in the 90’s. Mo, Robertson,Soriano, Chamberlain, in short relief is the best from the 6th inning on. Either Garcia,Hughes, or Burnett is a luxuary in long relief. The lefty relief is a weak spot, but all there top pitchers can get lefty’s out so it is not a problem. I see 94 to 97 wins this year.

  7. Since I posed the question: “Could the Yankees win 100 games for the 20th time in their illustrious history?” It’s only fair that I give you my answer.

    Yes, I do think they can win 100 games.
    First, because if the Yankees didn’t rest most of their 1st line starters the last 10 days of so of 2011 those 97 wins could have easily been 100.
    Second, in my opinion this years team is better than last years. Pitching wise and I believe offensively. As for the pen I think it’s going to be just about the same as last year, which is just fine.
    Third, experience. They’ve been there and done that so they know what it takes.
    Fourth, assuming MLB institutes the “extra” post season wild card spot what I affectionately call the “play in” game. Winning the division and not letting up at the end of the season becomes more important in 2012 then ever before.

    So there you have it the reason I believe the Yankees can and WILL win 100 games in 2012. And oh btw win the division.

    • Don’t you agree with Rossi above though the the division got harder though? As well did the whole American League as a whole lot of great players came to the AL from the NL who they yankees will see as well.

      I’m not sure 100 wins can happen. I would say 93-96.

      • Yes and no. I hate to give you that type of response but let me try and explain.

        I do not think Baltimore got appreciably better. The Jays got better in my opinion with their bullpen but they always play the Yankees tough anyway. The Rays improved a bit as well. The biggest reason I say no though is because of the Red Sox. Last year the Red Sox record versus the Yankees was 12-6. With the Yankees on the short end of that record. I have absolutely have no doubt that will not be the case in 2012.

        So I guess I would have to say the Yankees might make out a little better in 2012 versus their division opponents than they did in 2011. And like I mentioned in my initial post today the Yankees rested several of their starters the last 10 days approximately last year several of those games against Tampa where they went 2-4.

        This is just my opinion but I think sometimes fans tend to give to much credit to the competition and not enough credit to the Yankees. But we’ll see.

      • Matt, I apologize for not including a comment about the “rest” of the AL in my response.

        Anyway here it is. It’s absolutely true the Tigers and Angels got better. I do NOT think the Rangers improved over last year even with Darvish’s signing. But that’s just my opinion. Getting back to the rest of the AL. Like I said the Tigers and Angels got better no doubt. But teams like the A’s, White Sox and a few other in my opinion got worse. So I guess my point is I think they pretty much cancel each other out.

        Hopefully that explains my position and rational.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: