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Yankees Bullpen Remains A Surprising Strength

Even Freddy has been ready for action!
Even Freddy has been ready for action!

When the word officially came out that Mariano Rivera was out for the 2012 season the general consensus was that the Yankees bullpen would be significantly worse. David Robertson did little to extinguish those beliefs when he struggled as the new closer, then went down with an injury of his own. Rafael Soriano finally got the job as closer and became the Tampa Bay Rafael Soriano, shutting down opposing lineups in his own, frustrating way.

Last season the Yankees picked up a player expected to be no more than a mop, Cory Wade, who has struggled of late, but still has been a very effective relief pitcher for the Yankees. This season Cody Eppley has filled the Cory Wade role, as he was expected to be a mop, but has a 2.89 ERA in 18.2 innings pitched for the Yankees.

Although he has been helped by an abnormally low BABIP, even LOOGY Clay Rapada has gotten the job done for the Yankees. Rapada and Boone Logan have teamed up to shut down left handed hitters, as Logan has had perhaps the best season of his career. Tanya covered Logan's fantastic season here.

With David Phelps returning from the minors and Freddy Garcia pitching like he belongs in the MLB and not in AA, the Yankees long relief is also a strength. One of the two may have to go when David Aardsma is ready, but the team likely won't need two long relief pitchers anyway.

Now that I've covered the majority of the members of the bullpen, let's get to some stats. The Yankees bullpen ranks sixth in the MLB in inherited runners allowed to score, fourth in bullpen ERA, eleventh in batting average against, second in runs allowed, and eighth in walks thrown.

All of those stats show that the Yankees bullpen has pitched above average this season, despite not having the flashy names. Perhaps Mariano Rivera groomed them to be as successful if they are. If he did, chalk it up as another save for Mo.