Analyzing the Yankees’ Three-Headed Bullpen Monster

With the news of the Yankees acquiring flamethrower Aroldis Chapman from the Reds, General manager Brian Cashman came out and said the team’s intention is to have Chapman, Andrew Miller, and Dellin Betances in their bullpen at the start of the 2016 season.

Jack Curry of YES reported that manager Joe Girardi could use Betances for more than three outs. There’s no doubt Betances was used at a dangerous rate last year, so this acquisition could help get his innings count down. The 27-year-old right-hander has thrown 174.0 innings overs the past two seasons.

Let’s start with some fun facts. Strikeout rate leaders in 2015 (min. 50 IP) — Chapman, Miller, Kenley Jansen, and Betances. All three Yankees were also top ten in fWAR and xFIP among relievers.

Since 2014, Chapman, Miller, and Betances have combined for 418.1 innings pitched with a combined fWAR of 15. The Baltimore Orioles led Major League Baseball in fWAR since 2014 among relievers, at 10.9. Betances has a higher fWAR than 16 club’s relievers, Chapman 15, and Miller 9 since 2014.

Betances has thrown 174 innings the past two seasons with a 1.45 ERA, 2.05 FIP and a 5.6 fWAR. That ranks him number one with Chapman right behind him and Miller in fourth. Steamer projects him to post a 2.55 ERA and 2.52 FIP in 2016.

Chapman, also 27, has pitched 120.1 innings with a 1.80 ERA, 1.47 FIP, and 5.2 fWAR. Steamer projects him to post a 1.63 ERA and 2.19 FIP next season. Major League Baseball is currently investigating Chapman for domestic violence, meaning he could be suspended for a good amount of time. If he is suspended for more than 50 games he will become a free agent after 2017 instead of after 2016.

Miller, 30, has pitched 124.0 innings over the past two seasons with a 1.96 ERA, 1.83 FIP, and 4.2 fWAR. He served as the Yankees closer last year after signing a four-year, $36 million contract. Steamer projects him to post a 2.39 ERA and 2.45 FIP.

On paper the Yankees look like the team with the best bullpen along with the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals going into the 2016 season. It is going to be very difficult to score, let alone put the ball in play, against the last three men in the Yankees bullpen. The addition of Aroldis Chapman should help New York mask any deficiencies in their starting rotation.

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