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Wandy Peralta and Albert Abreu are toeing the regression line

Abreu and Peralta are getting results, but will it last?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Despite providing increasing support for an undermanned Yankees’ starting staff, the bullpen has held up quite nicely over these first few months of the season, entering play on Saturday with the top ERA in the majors at 2.89, and the American League in LOB% (77.6).

With any strong bullpen, it has been a collective effort with every name called upon, doing its job to very strong success. Nine different arms have pitched at least 10 innings in relief, and the worst ERA+ of the bunch is from Jimmy Cordero at 117, still well above league average. And that’s not even counting Tommy Kahnle who’s been money with six scoreless in his return from injury.

Still, even with the best of bullpens, there’s always a decent bit of volatility involved, and while the Yankees have as strong of a foundation as one could ask for, a couple of guys are playing with fire, so to speak. Achieving results that aren’t necessarily in line with what their peripherals would suggest. The two guys who raise the most concern in that area, looking ahead at the rest of the season, are the veteran southpaw Wandy Peralta, and the right-hander Albert Abreu.

Peralta has been a stalwart arm that Boone isn’t afraid to turn to in those dicey situations with runners on, whatever the need, Wandy is up for the task. Across 27.1 innings, Peralta has pitched to the tune of a 2.63 ERA, but one doesn’t need to dig too deep to see a couple of things that will raise your eyebrow. Peralta has walked a whopping 18 batters in 2023, and he’s also running a wildly low BABIP, at .229, well below his career average (.283).

Peralta is getting away with a walk rate above 15 percent, in large part because no one is slugging off him, as the left-hander has conceded a .281 slugging percentage on the year. However, despite all the success the veteran has from that sinker-changeup combo, both pitches have an xwOBA well above his wOBA (.292-.335 for the change, .291-.355 for the sinker) across those 27.1 innings. Some of these numbers are bound to even out a bit, though it is hard to picture Peralta running a walk rate this high when he ran an 8.8 mark from 2020 through 2022.

Moving on to Albert Abreu, the leader in innings pitched on the Yankees bullpen with 33 frames across 26 games, the story is more or less the same. Abreu is running a pretty high walk rate at 11.9 percent, which has taken his WHIP to above 1.30. All of that with a BABIP (.256) well below league average, and also his career norm.

Whatever regression comes for these two guys, they’ve already shown enough to prove they’ll most likely be effective in some capacity, and on the flip side of the coin, the Yankees have an arm like Kahnle who looks poised for a strong rest of the season. Its a showcase to the extreme depth that the Yankees have found at the position that this is the biggest concern that can be found from the relief corps to this point.