Grading the 2023 Yankees bullpen pitchers based on first-half performance

A ball at the Yankees bullpen during the rainout at Yankee Stadium.

Table of Contents

The bullpen, outside of starting pitching, has been one of the Yankees’ strengths in the 2023 season thus far. Here is a look at how individual contributors are graded. We graded the Yankees pitchers based on a minimum of 10 appearances.

84 Albert Abreu, Grade B

Albert Abreu - ESPN

During his most recent appearance for the Yankees before the All-Star week, Albert Abreu took over for the struggling Luis Severino in the game against the Orioles. Unfortunately, Abreu’s performance was even worse as he allowed six runs and only managed to retire two batters. Throughout the season, Abreu has pitched in 31 games, accumulating 38 innings, but has struggled to find success for the Yankees. His walk rate is quite high, nearing 13 percent, which has contributed to a WHIP above 1.40. It’s worth noting that Abreu has benefited from a lower-than-average BABIP (.280), which is lower than his career average.

71 Ian Hamilton, Grade A

Ian Hamilton - ESPN

Ian Hamilton has had an impressive season, making a name for himself as a valuable asset for the Yankees. After spending short periods with other MLB teams, he has found his stride in New York. In his first season with the Yankees, he boasts a remarkable 2.00 ERA, a 1.25 WHIP, and an impressive 32:10 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 23 innings pitched. He has notched a win, a save, and a hold, showcasing his versatility on the mound. It’s important to note that despite a less successful outing against the Cubs in his last appearance, Hamilton’s overall performance has been consistently strong.

With a record of 1 win and 1 loss, the Yankees bullpen hero has been impressive on the mound, boasting a remarkable 2.03 ERA. At 28 years old, this right-handed pitcher has displayed his skills by striking out 32 batters while only allowing 6 runs on 23 hits and 10 walks. A notable highlight in his career was securing his first-ever MLB save against the Los Angeles Angels on May 6. Hamilton’s performance has been consistently strong, particularly in his first 20 innings of the season, where he showcased an impressive 1.23 ERA, striking out 30 batters and walking just 9. The Yankees even entrusted him to open two games as the starting pitcher, and he delivered with great success.

41 Tommy Kahnle, Grade A

Tommy Kahnle - ESPN

Tommy Kahnle has established himself as the standout pitcher in the Yankees bullpen, boasting an impressive 0.00 ERA and an excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio of 17:4. After his season began in early June, Kahnle quickly proved his skills and cemented his place among the top relievers in the entire league. Even after more than a month of play, he has yet to allow a single run in his 16 appearances, providing a major boost of energy to the team. Kahnle’s lethal changeup has become one of the most feared and effective pitches among the bullpen aces, adding to his reputation as a dominant force on the mound.

34 Michael King, Grade A

Michael King - ESPN

King has shown his talent on the mound, but he is still dealing with an ongoing mechanical issue. Since June 3, his ERA has experienced fluctuations. It started off promising at 1.65 but rose to 3.15 by the third week of June before settling at 2.77. In his most recent outing for the Yankees against the Cubs just before the All-Star break, he secured his sixth save, striking out one batter over 1.2 innings without allowing any runs. Lately, King has been successful in three out of his last four save opportunities. While he remains a candidate for important late-game situations, his ability to pitch for multiple innings adds versatility to the Yankees bullpen.

97 Ron Marinaccio, Grade B

Ron Marinaccio - ESPN

The pitcher’s performance has been up and down throughout the season. In May, the Yankees relief pitcher struggled with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP. However, he made significant improvements in June, lowering his ERA to 1.32 and his WHIP to 1.02 while striking out 17 batters and walking only 6 in 13.2 innings. Unfortunately, his performance took a dip again after that, resulting in an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.3 by the All-Star break. In his last outing, he struggled as all three hitters he faced reached base with a hit and two walks, which led to the Yankees’ opponents gaining momentum. Despite this, he has shown resilience against tougher teams like the Rangers and even secured a save against them.

58 Wandy Peralta, Grade A

Wandy Peralta - ESPN

Peralta has been a standout pitcher for the Yankees, pitching 34 innings and achieving a personal best with a 2.62 ERA and 1.31 WHIP. He has shown consistent performance, building upon his success from the previous year. The left-handed pitcher has effectively limited hard contact from opposing batters for the fourth consecutive season, utilizing his changeup and slider to generate strikeouts. Peralta has become a reliable option for manager Boone, often called upon in challenging situations. However, upon closer examination, a couple of aspects raise some concerns. Peralta has issued a high number of walks, totaling 21 in 2023. Additionally, his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is unusually low at .233, well below his career average of .282.

63 Nick Ramirez, Grade B

Nick Ramirez - ESPN

The journeyman pitcher splits his time between Major League Baseball and Triple-A. Right now, he is on the New York Yankees’ 40-man roster because another player named Ryan Weber got injured in the first week of June. Since then, the pitcher’s ERA (earned run average) has increased from 2.00 to 3.27. Despite this, the 33-year-old left-handed pitcher has shown promise with a 1.36 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) in 22 innings in the big leagues this season. He has a good strikeout-to-walk ratio of 16 strikeouts to 7 walks. However, he has struggled in many important situations during games.

35 Clay Holmes, Grade A

Clay Holmes - ESPN

Holmes has emerged as the Yankees’ go-to pitcher for closing out games, earning 10 saves for the team. While he had some rocky performances early in the season, he has shown remarkable improvement with an impressive 0.74 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, and a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio of 31:9 over a span of 24.1 innings from May 6 to July 6. In addition to his dominant sinker, Holmes has developed a formidable slider that has proven effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. With a record of 4-2 and an ERA of 2.23 along with a WHIP of 1.10, Holmes has established himself as the top closer for the Yankees.

85 Greg Weissert, Grade B

Greg Weissert - ESPN

The relief pitcher has appeared in six MLB games for the Yankees, pitching a total of 6.2 innings. However, his performance so far hasn’t been impressive, with a 4.05 ERA and 1.8 WHIP. Although he had a solid outing in his last appearance, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings and striking out two, he will be returning to the minors after serving as the 27th man. In the minor leagues this year, he has recorded a 3.08 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 26.1 innings across 25 appearances.

70 Jimmy Cordero, Grade B

Jimmy Cordero - ESPN

The Yankees reliever, Jimmy Cordero, has been suspended for the rest of the season due to a domestic violence incident. During his time with the major league team this year, he has performed decently with a 3.86 ERA in 31 games and a respectable 1.07 WHIP.

Yankees’ mid-term pitching record 

Team Totals3.809191892226812.071538034399298178350102434371114.221.2487.
Rank in 15 AL teams526554756119

Yankees fans can also go through our starting pitchers’ grading and position players’ grading.

What do you think about the grades? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

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