2014 Yankees mid-season report cards: Bullpen

 

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Yesterday, I graded the Yankees starting rotation. Today, I will take a crack at grading the Yankees bullpen, including the newest Yankees closer. Let’s grade the pen!

David RobertsonDavid Robertson took over the closer role from Hall-of-Fame legend Mariano Rivera and to say he’s done a good job is an understatement. Sure, he had one bad outing against the Minnesota Twins, but Robertson has 59 K’s and 23 saves. Robertson is not Mariano Rivera, but he’s making the transition from the Mariano Rivera Era move just a little bit smoother.

Robertson’s Mid-Season Grade:

A

Dellin BetancesDellin Betances has faced hurdles in his road to the big leagues. He wasn’t successful as a starter, so the Yankees decided to place him in the bullpen to begin the 2014 season. I’m pretty sure no one predicted Betances was going to be an All-Star in his rookie season, but Betances defied the odds and impressed everyone. In 40 games with the Yankees, he went 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA and he struck out 89 batters. If anything, Betances has proven he has the stuff to be a permanent fixture in the Yankees pen.

Betances Mid-Season Grade:

A

Adam WarrenI’m sure when Adam Warren envisioned joining the New York Yankees this season, he didn’t think he was going to be in the Yankees bullpen. He had auditioned for a spot in the starting rotation, but lost out to Michael Pineda and later David Phelps. In his first season in the Yankees bullpen, Warren has been effective, posting a 2.79 ERA and notching 46 K’s. He had lost some of his effectiveness at the end of the first half due to fatigue, but overall he has been impressive.

Warren’s Mid-Season Grade:

B

Matt ThorntonSay what you want about Matt Thornton, but overall he has had a good first half as the Yankees lefty-specialist. Although he has had his moments of letting games slip away, he came out of the first half with a 3.10 ERA in 20.1 innings. When Matt Thornton has his pitches, he’s dominant. When he doesn’t–he’s hit-able. It just depends which Matt Thornton comes out of the Yankees bullpen.

Thornton’s Mid-Season Grade:

B

Shawn KelleyShawn Kelley has had an up and down 2014 season like his fellow teammate Matt Thornton, but Kelley has also battled with injuries. Overall, Kelley has been solid with his 3.77 ERA and 36 K’s but while he has shown signs of brilliance this season, but he’s also shown signs of disappointment. Hopefully he has a consistent second half.

Kelley Mid-Season Grade:

C

Tomorrow: Tomorrow it’s the last of the mid-season report cards where I grade the bench players, Brian Cashman, manager Joe Girardi and the team as a whole! 

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10 Responses to 2014 Yankees mid-season report cards: Bullpen

  1. thewayniac says:

    I'm torn on Matt Thornton. I lean more towards a C than a B. I'm not concerned about ERA (Jeff Nelson and Mike Stanton had ERAs on the higher side every year, but they were amongst the best situational pitchers in the game) It's more so how little the Yanks need him to pitch and how inconsistent he is in that role.

    Good assessment, especially since there hasn't been that much good to assess thus far :)

    • Peter Russo says:

      Thorton has done a decent job but, the bullpen needs length from their starters and the hope is that Cash will look for a starter that can go deep into games

  2. John says:

    Robertson deserves the A, but I'd almost be tempted to give him a B just so Betances has a higher grade. The bullpen has been great. With the struggles the Yankees have had in other areas, it is a pleasure to see Betances preforming at such an elite level.

  3. KC says:

    The Betances/Robertson combo is awesome, and the rest of the pen has been surprisingly strong. I'll be curious to see if Betances can maintain his current success – 40 games is a small sample size, and relievers can be very unpredictable. "Permanent fixture" status seems a little premature, although the A is deserved – he's been great so far.

  4. Thornton has been decent overall and has shutdown lefties entirely. I might go C+/B- personally, but a solid B is defensible. This has been a great bullpen overall even without Mariano Rivera.

  5. Gary Donshik says:

    Thornton has not shut down lefties he has an approximately 244 ba against lefties this is by far not a "shutdown"

    • Lefties are hitting .244/.314/.244 against him. Just as a comparison, lefties hit .221/.274/.377 against Boone Logan last year and lefties hit .253/.295/.485 against Mike Stanton in 1998.

      I think it's safe to say that Thornton has rendered lefties pretty much useless.

  6. chucklewis13 says:

    Thorton, in my opinion deserves a C more than anything else. As a Yankee die hard, I have very little trust in Thornton. I can not justifiably see Thornton grade a B. Both Thornton and Kelly deserve the same grade because you never know whether the good Thornton/Kelly or the bad Thornton/Kelly will show up in a game.

  7. hotdog says:

    we could use another solid reliever but the bullpen has been a big plus…

  8. Balt Yank says:

    I have to agree with the C for Thorton // Kelly, because on any given day they can blow a game and that was not true of Logan // Stanton. Recently, I watched Kelly come into "relieve" a game and walk three batters in a row. Relievers are judged by blown games as equally as ERA. That being said, I think Kelly will have a stronger second half.