Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across Major League Baseball. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in New York Yankees fans, and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.
The New York Yankees bullpen has been one of the best in the big leagues, with a 2.99 ERA entering play on Friday, trailing only the Mariners (2.83). Even with the homer allowed last night to Josh Lowe, Michael King is clearly the man who the game revolves around in the Yankee ‘pen. With that in mind, we asked Yankee fans who they trusted the most out there beyond him.
Ron Marinaccio won this vote by a relatively wide margin. One can’t help but also be amazed at how far Clay Holmes has dropped, as the closer who was unhittable for much of 2022 became an afterthought in this poll. Hopefully, he has better days ahead.
It’s staggering to realize that Marinaccio has been this effective (2.70 ERA), despite a 14.3-percent walk rate. Opponents simply aren’t hitting him, with a .544 OPS against, and that’s including a rare off-night on Thursday. While a .222 BABIP is likely to experience some regression, Marinaccio also has a lot of room to grow if he can cut down on those free passes.
Marinaccio and Wandy Peralta had already shown plenty in 2022, though (and 2021 in Wandy’s case). Ian Hamilton on the other hand has come out of nowhere to pitch to the tune of a 1.64 FIP, and become the third most trusted Yankee reliever, according to the fans. He looked sensational on Friday night in striking out the side against Tampa Bay, too.
Now, on to the second question.
Most of the fan base understands that the best thing for Oswaldo Cabrera, right now, is to gain confidence by playing and hopefully producing in the big leagues. Perhaps even more importantly, everyone is well aware of the replacement options, and the bleak outlook they present.
Cabrera’s .196/.240/.295 slash line is unacceptable, but sending him down and giving more at-bats to the likes of Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Aaron Hicks, Franchy Cordero, and company is a risk on its own. At least for the near future, the best path may be to continue with Cabrera at the MLB level, and work on adjustments to help him find his 2022 form.
Now, for a look at a couple polls that were sent MLB-wide, not just to Yankees fans.
If the Yankees didn’t have their hands full with the Rays and Blue Jays, the Orioles were rightfully voted as the team with the most surprising good start to the 2023 season.
Despite a struggling rotation, with only one starter with an ERA+ above league average (Tyler Wells = 139), the Orioles are off to a great 25-13 start, on the backs of a string bullpen, and powerful offense. The Yankees’ bullpen is elite, but there may not be a more menacing duo in the back of a ‘pen than Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista.
The Rays were seen as contenders to begin the year, maybe not division favorites, but contenders, so it speaks to the quality of their start that, it still has surprised so many people. Tampa has pounced on an opportune schedule to build a 30-11 record, the best in baseball.
The Rangers come in at third, with a familiar face, Nathan Eovaldi (2.70 ERA), leading a staff missing Jacob deGrom, currently on the shelf, with forearm tightness.
In the National League, it is Pittsburgh’s hot start is surprising everyone in the baseball world. Long-rumored trade target Bryan Reynolds is finally getting some help offensively, and it’s not from who you’d expect. Oneil Cruz will miss a good chunk of the 2023 season with an ankle fracture, but the likes of Connor Joe, Jack Suwinski, and the veteran Andrew McCutchen are helping drive this offense into the top of the Central.
With Edwin Díaz out for the year, David Bednar is putting his hat in the ring, as the top closer in the NL, allowing a single run over 15 innings of work. Colin Holderman, acquired from the Mets for Daniel Vogelbach during last year’s deadline, has become a holds machine, with nine on the year already. The Pirates have faltered in May with a 1-9 record that pushed them out of first place in the NL Central last night in favor of Milwaukee, but they remain a story to follow for at least the first half of 2023.