After dealing with a shoulder strain since spring training, Andrew Bailey has been progressing quite well, pitching seven games in High-A Tampa before being promoted to Double-A Trenton. It wasn't even that long ago that people thought Bailey should be the last arm in the bullpen coming out of spring training. As we get further along in his recovery, could we see the righty in pinstripes soon?
Bailey hasn't pitched in the majors since 2013 with the Red Sox, where he pitched a 3.77 ERA (4.76 FIP) in 28.2 innings, as well as leaving an astounding 91.3% of runners on base. Bailey's last big year came back in 2009 with the Oakland A's, where he racked up 26 saves with an ERA of 1.84 (2.56 FIP). Bailey, over his career, has struggled with his control, with a career BB/9 rate of 2.85, but he makes up for it with his ability to make hitters swing-and-miss (contact rate of 75.9%, K/9 rate of 9.37). One thing that Bailey struggled with in 2013 was giving up a lot of hard-hit balls, with 40% of the balls that were hit off Bailey being hit hard. To compare, the worst pitcher in this aspect in 2015 is (was) Brandon McCarthy, who gave up hard-hit balls 47.5% of the time. Bailey, however, feels he is ready to come back to the majors.
Andrew Bailey, a very nice dude, feels fully confident in his repertoire and that he can pitch in the bigs soon. No set timetable #Yankees— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) June 30, 2015
Right now, without Andrew Miller, the Yankees bullpen is a mess. Esmil Rogers is up in the majors, while Chris Martin is doing pretty well in Triple-A Scranton (2.70 ERA, 4.23 FIP). With the recent designation of Adam Warren to the bullpen, there are plenty of guys ready to come in relief, with minor-league guys like Nick Rumbelow and Bryan Mitchell sticking around. Joe Girardi has had his fun, but I think we can all agree that Rogers needs to go. Rogers has a 6.27 ERA (4.64 FIP) in 33 innings this year, while his BB/9 rate jumps out at 3.82. Chris Capuano, like Rogers, was brought into the bullpen to be a long-relief man. And, like Rogers, Capuano sure is a fan favorite. He's shown his struggles this season, posting a 5.19 ERA (3.87 FIP), with a WHIP of 1.50. Along with Bailey, maybe it's time to give Martin another chances in the bigs. At 29, Martin probably won't grow playing against young guys in Triple-A, so why not give him a shot in the majors? Martin pitched very well before going down to injury, and hitters were actually somewhat lucky against him (.352 BABIP).
Trenton manager Al Pedrique showed no hesitation in bringing Bailey back, having him pitch 32 pitches in his first appearance with the Thunder. That's a good sign for Yankee fans, as it means that Bailey is looking healthy (so far). As we near a return of Andrew Miller, a bullpen shuffle is going to have to be made to make room for Miller Time. Could 31-year-old Andrew Bailey be a part of the solution?