In the offseason, the Yankees needed to find a way to replace closer David Robertson, so they signed free agent Andrew Miller, former Red Sock and Oriole. For the first chunk of the season, there was no set closer for the Yankees. Now, they have their guy, and he's one of the best in the league.
Through 18 games played for the Yanks this year, Miller has pitched in 18.1 innings. He had a 0.00 ERA up until his last appearance on Tuesday, where he gave up two earned runs in 0.2 innings. This rough outing made Miller's ERA skyrocket to 0.98! This low ERA is good enough for 16th among all pitchers with at least 10 innings pitched, while his setup man Dellin Betances is the best in the league with a 0.00 ERA. Miller is also tied for third with 13 saves, trailing only Huston Street of the Angels and Glen Perkins of the Twins. To compare, Robertson has a 1.04 ERA with eight saves in 17.1 innings pitched for the White Sox.
When you think of "best closer in the league," the first guys that come to mind are Aroldis Chapman, Greg Holland, and Craig Kimbrel, among others. However, Miller has better numbers than all of these guys. An important stat when it comes to pitching is contact rate, otherwise known as the swing-and-miss percentage. Basically, this number shows how often the opposing batter makes contact against the pitcher, so the lower the number, the better the pitcher. The third best contact rate belongs to Kimbrel, with a percentage of 58.9%, while second best belongs to Chapman with 58.3%. This is to be expected out of Chapman, whose fastball averages around 99.5 MPH. The best contact percentage? Andrew Miller, all the way down at 52.7%. To compare, the best contact rate among pitchers with 10 IP in 2014 belonged to Chapman with 56.9%. Granted, the season is still young, but Miller is really setting himself apart from the rest of the pack.
Another stat that some people point to is BABIP, or batting average on balls in play. The lower the number, the better. The league average for batters is .300, so a number higher or lower could eventually regress to the average. So far this season, Miller ranks third in BABIP with .107, trailing only Brandon Cunniff (.036) and Jose Alvarez (.103). Also, Miller is second in the league in K/9 with 15.22, trailing only Enrique Burgos, whose K/9 is 15.43 in 11.2 IP. Miller also ranks top in the league in K%, top three in K-BB%, and also top-16 in both LOB% (left-on-base percentage) and WHIP.
The Yankees have arguably the best bullpen in the league, backstopped by Andrew Miller. Not only was Miller a great pickup, but he is currently the toughest pitcher to hit off of. Can the newly-turned 30-year-old keep this up, or is he unsustainably hot?