When Ron Marinaccio made the Yankees’ roster in 2022, one of the main things that was noted about him was where he was from. Born in Toms River, NJ, Marinaccio grew up a Yankees’ fan. However, references to the last Toms River native to play for the Yankees were flying around. Sure, there was maybe some reasons to think that he could be a solid piece for the Yankees, but mostly people were just thinking “Ah, that’s a nice story.”
Now a season later, Marinaccio has been and seems like he could be a lot more than that.
2022 Statistics: 40 games, 44.0 IP, 2.05 ERA, 3.20 FIP, 4.06 xFIP, 11.45 K/9, 4.91 BB/9, 0.4 fWAR
2023 Contract Status: Pre-arbitration eligible
After an impressive spring training, Marinaccio broke camp with the Yankees and made the Opening Day roster. His first two outings were both solid, walking just one batter across 2.1 innings. However, his next two saw him give up five runs in 1.2 innings and he would be demoted back to Triple-A. At that point, it seemed like Marinaccio was mostly destined to be a classic “Scranton Shuttle”-type pitcher.
After an injury to Tim Locastro, the Yankees recalled Marinaccio. His first appearance back came on May 22nd, and that day he began a streak that would turn him into a legitimate bullpen option. From the 22nd through June 28th, Marinaccio threw 19 scoreless innings across 15 games. He allowed just one hit and nine walks while striking out 22. While it was then broken in the next outing, he followed that with three more scoreless outings, taking his ERA down to 2.03.
Not long after that came one of the more frustrating decisions of the Yankees’ season. At the trade deadline, the Yankees acquired Frankie Montas. We can debate that particular move and him being who they went for, but at the time it was fairly understandable give that the Yankees needed a starter. Montas didn’t join right away as a death in his family saw him briefly go on the bereavement list. When he was finally brought onto the roster, the Yankees opted to send Marinaccio down to make room. It was a confusing choice considering how well he had been pitching. It was also frustrating with the likes of Albert Abreu, who wasn’t terrible but still not as good as Marinaccio, still on the roster. The Yankees seemingly attempted to try and not risk sending anyone without options down instead of just keeping the better pitcher.
Marinaccio’s time away from the bigs didn’t end up lasting too long as IL stints from other relievers saw him get called back up. Between that and the September roster expansion he was able to spend the rest of the regular season in the majors. He just kept going right along, putting up a 2.08 ERA and allowing a .599 OPS post-recall.
However on October 2nd in a late regular season game against the Orioles, Marinaccio was forced to exit a game after a stress reaction in his shin. This injury kept him out of the rest of the regular season, and he didn’t end up healthy in time for either of the playoff series. The bullpen wasn’t really the issue in the Yankees’ eventual playoff exit, but he sure would’ve been a nice guy to have. The injury would be an unfortunate end to a good, but, for reasons that have really nothing to do with him or how he pitched, frustrating rookie season.
While reliever’s fortunes can notoriously flip quickly, in Marinaccio, it seems like the Yankees have a solid bullpen option for 2023. There was nothing particularly fluky in the numbers he put up. His changeup in particular proved to be a fairly impressive and reliable pitch that he could get outs with.
Marinaccio was a very nice story for the Yankees in 2022 and an intriguing option for them going into 2023.