Who would have thought that a few years after the Javier Vazquez/Melky Cabrera trade, the player with the biggest impact on his new team would be a lefty reliever? (No, not Mike Dunn.) Boone Logan was somewhat overlooked in that December 2009 deal, but he is the only player still with his team from that trade. Logan's Yankee career has been completely baffling. There are some games where he looks like total crap, and even in the games where he succeeds, his positive outings don't seem to leave much of an impression on Yankee fans. However, there have always been enough strong games to make his season stat lines appear quite good, leading fans to wonder how exactly that happened.
The real kicker is how Logan's Yankee career stacks up against another Texan lefty reliever who is fondly remembered from the dynasty years.
|Boone Logan (2010-2013)||Mike Stanton (1997-2002)|
|OPS vs. LHB||.676||.717|
From these stats, Logan and Stanton are far closer than one would likely guess, though Stanton really kills Logan in overall WPA (+7.7 for Stanton, +0.4 for Logan). Regardless, Logan's total numbers don't look so bad. That trend has continued this year in what appears to be his best statistical season as a Yankee, but by some measures, it might actually be his worst.
Logan's ERA on the season is a sterling 2.20 (53 ERA-) in 48 games and 32 2/3 innings. Thanks to Mariano Rivera's ugly week last week, it's actually the second-best mark in the bullpen now behind David Robertson's 1.81 (44 ERA-). He has done a great job cutting down his control problems from a 4.6 BB/9 last year to 2.2 BB/9 in 2013, and his 12.1 K/9 and 1.133 WHIP are career-highs as well. There's no denying that Logan has certainly made strides in his game this year.
Yet amid the success, Logan has had several games this year where his most aggravating traits are shown off. Despite being a lefthanded pitcher, Logan has been inconsistent throughout his Yankee career against lefties. He had a phenomenal .501 OPS against them in 2010, which ballooned to .789 in 2011, then reverted to a more even .665 in 2012. This year, that figure has unfortunately gone in the wrong direction again, up to .725 (a .254/.292/.433 triple slash in 73 plate appearances). It is the nature of relievers to experience extremes at times due to the smaller sample sizes compared to starting pitchers with more innings, but it is still frustrating. Among all 61 lefty relievers in the majors with at least 20 games, Logan's .725 OPS against lefties ranks 45th, the lowest third of the group.
Inherited runners have been a cause for concern as well; 13 of the 40 baserunners have come around to score, a 33% mark that currently stands as the worst of his four seasons in New York. Although six other relievers have matched Logan's 13 inherited runs scored, only six have allowed more. (Contrast that to Shawn Kelley, who has been absolutely ridiculous in stranding inherited runners--just two of 31 inherited have scored, a 6% mark that is the best in the majors among the 73 relievers who have inherited at least 15 runners.) Logan has not been stranding runners enough, and while that does not impact his ERA, it show up on his WPA.
Thus, Logan is also experiencing problems with WPA again at a -0.23 WPA for the season, which would be the lowest of his four Yankee years. His WPA/LI is also a low at -0.48, meaning that he has not been very good in higher leverage situations this year. He's given up more homers than normal at a 1.4 HR/9, above his career norm of 1.1 HR/9. That's five homers in his 32 2/3 innings, and three of them were hit by lefties.
The Yankees face a tough choice about whether or not to re-sign Logan after the season. He certainly has his positives, but it's far from a slam-dunk decision. It would be hard to blame them for passing on him if his demands are too much, especially given the risk of reliever contracts. For now, Logan is still a vital reliever in their bullpen since he's the only lefty. If the Yankees are going to make a last-ditch run at the Wild Card, they will need him to strand more baserunners and pitch more effectively against the David Ortizes and Prince Fielders of the world.