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2017 Yankees Season Review: Chad Green

Chad Green was the Yankees’ 2017 bullpen MVP

MLB: ALDS-New York Yankees at Cleveland Indians Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into the 2017 season, everyone knew the bullpen would be a strength of the Yankees. With perennial All-Stars Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility that the team would effectively play seven-inning games all year. Yet, Betances struggled at times and Chapman had a subpar (for his standards) season. The true star of the relief corps was Chad Green.

He came into the season as one of the long relief options, along with Adam Warren. Like a lot of long relievers, Green was a shaky starter without a third pitch and was just looking to find a role at the major league level. Fast forward eight months and he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. Of all relievers who threw at least 40 innings, Chad Green finished in the top 10 in the following categories: K/9 (8th, 13.43), ERA (5th, 1.61), FIP (4th, 1.75), xFIP (5th, 2.49), and fWAR (6th, 2.3), all while throwing 67 innings, eating up a huge chunk of surplus outs left over from a rotation that struggled to go deep. In short, Green was electrifying.

One of the most remarkable things about Green’s season was the absence of any sort of exhaustion or wear as the season went on. In fact, his second half numbers, especially strikeout rate and FIP, make his first three months look like chump change. Included in that second half is one of the best pitching lines you’ll ever see in a single month, as Chad Green’s August included a 17.05 K/9, 0 home runs, and a 0.08 FIP.

For all the greatness of his full season, I think what I’ll remember most about Green’s 2017 is the role he played in the Wild Card game. With Luis Severino having been yanked after just one third of an inning, and two men on while the Yankees trailed 3-0, Green was entrusted with perhaps the two most important outs of the Yankees season. Of course, he was up to the task, recording a pair of strikeouts before working another inning and a third of scoreless ball, buying the offense the time they needed to roar back and win the game.

Looking ahead to 2018, it’s hard to predict what we’ll see from Chad Green. Relievers are by far the most volatile of players, as Betances has proven. Still, Green’s peripherals and propensity to strike batters out bodes well, and perhaps the most interesting question will be around his usage. Chad bucked the trend of the one-inning reliever, showing an ability to navigate a lineup and record 6-8 outs if called upon. With that in mind, it’s possible we see Green used as a tandem starting pitcher in the future, the same way the Astros masterfully deployed Brad Peacock throughout the playoffs.

Whatever we see from Chad Green in 2018, there’s no denying he was an integral part of the Yankees squad this season. He’s just another brilliant trade made by Brian Cashman, and if he can keep missing bats, he’ll have a bright future in the Bronx.