2014 Statistics: 78.2 IP, 2.97 ERA, 1.106 WHIP, 2.89 FIP, 3.28 xFIP, 8.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.4 WAR
2015 Contract Status: Pre-arbitration 3 (Under team control through the end of the 2018 season)
How could Adam Warren have earned an A in 2014?
He didn't start any games, and he was touted as a starter as late as February. But he wasn't asked to start this season. He could have given up fewer game losing hits (his six losses actually tied for second on the entire team), but that's nitpicking a few bad outings in nearly 80 innings of work. And it's not like the Yankees' offense was ever going to bail him out of any of his mistakes.
At the heart of things, Adam Warren was everything the Yankees asked him to be this season. He basically had one outing each month when he gave up multiple runs, surrounded by several extended runs of excellence. Warren, Betances and Robertson were the crutch that kept the Yankees upright when every starter on the roster fell victim to the Humbler.
Did you realize that Adam Warren put up a 1.4 WAR? Did you realize that makes him one of the 20 most valuable relievers in all of the major leagues in 2014? The Royals' relief corp has gotten a lot of (well-deserved) attention this month, but the Yankees' pen matches up inch for inch with the AL pennant winners'.
Joe Girardi probably leaned a little too heavily on Adam Warren in the first half of the season, asking the 26-year-old for multiple frames 18 times in the first half (on his way to 29 appearances where he recorded 4+ outs). Warren was pretty rough in June and July, posting a WHIP over 1.5 each of those months. So then both with Warren obviously needing a little rest, and with the pitching staff coming together around the addition of Brandon McCarthy, Warren rebounded nicely in August. Then he was completely dominant in September: 15IP, 2ER (from one outing), four hits and two walks.
And it's Warren's success that makes me most convinced that the Yankees should let David Robertson test the free agent market. I think the Yankees should do their best to sign Robertson, of course, because when you've got a great bullpen you shouldn't just let it walk away without a fight. But if somebody offers David Robertson a big contract, a Jonathan Papelbon four-year and $50 million, well, Adam Warren can handle the 8th inning.
For Warren, the biggest shame of the 2014 season is that his breakout season came at the same time as the breakout season for a much bigger prospect. If he doesn't get traded for a bat this offseason, I look forward to seeing him pitch multiple innings next year.