Baseball can be related to football. The starting pitcher is the quarterback, the starting lineup is the offense, and the bullpen would be the defense. Much like the Seattle Seahawks rely on their Legion of Boom, the New York Yankees rely on their own dominant force; the Legion of K’s, a collection of top-notch arms ready at a moment’s notice to come in and dominate the game. We all knew the Yankees had a strong bullpen but on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins, their bullpen took it to a whole new level pitching a combined 8.2 innings while allowing one earned run and striking out thirteen.
Before I show just how dominant the Yankees bullpen is, it is first important to go through the members. The Yankees bullpen goes:
Take all of that together and I give you, statistically, the best bullpen in baseball and here is why:
Let’s first look at the individual numbers. The Yankees have four relievers that finished top 10 in strikeouts (Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Chad Green, Dellin Betances). No other team has over one pitcher who finished top 10. The Indians are the only team in baseball with two in the top 20; the Yankees have four in the top 10. The Yankees have three pitchers in the top 20 of ERA (David Robertson, Chad Green, Adam Warren) no other team has over one. The Yankees have talented relievers but as a group, there is no force that is more dominant than their bullpen.
As a team, the Yankees bullpen has the highest K/9 inning rate in Major League Baseball at 10.92. They also finished with the lowest HR/9 inning rate and lowest BABIP* average at .272. What this tells us is that the Yankees bullpen is hard to beat but if they get beat, it is more out of luck than poor pitching. If the Wild Card Game against the Twins showed one thing it is this: Joe Girardi has complete confidence in every member of the bullpen, and they are one formidable force.
*BABIP= Batting average on balls in play. It measures how often non-home run balls fall in for hits
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