Monday, September 10, 2012

Reconsidering The Middle Relief Hierarchy

(Why is this guy still getting the ball over Wade?  Courtesy of the AP)

When the Yankees announced their first round of September call ups a little over a week ago, I commented on the perception of the move as one of desperation and semi-panic, at least in my eyes.  To pull some of the top Triple-A contributors away from their postseason to become the 30th and 31st men on the Major League roster didn't make a whole lot of tactical sense unless Joe was planning on working everybody into the PT rotation somehow.  There was certainly a case for adding these extra bodies with the Yankee roster being as beat up and stale as it was, particularly in the middle relief department.  So far though, there hasn't been much of a change in Joe's usage rates when it comes to his middle relief crew, bringing up the question of just why the Yankees called up some of the players they did.

Here's a breakdown of what Joe's current group of middle relievers has done since September 1st compared to their call-up counterparts:

Cody Eppley- 5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR- 6 App.
Cory Wade- 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0 HR- 2 App.

Logan & Rapada- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K, 1 HR- 9 App.
Justin Thomas- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR- 2 App.

Derek Lowe- 2.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR- 3 App.
Adam Warren- 0 App.

Now the total numbers from the incumbents aren't all that bad.  They've allowed only 3 ER in over 12.0 innings of work.  But they are putting a lot of guys on base and they are walking a higher number of batters than you would want to see from your bullpen, both staples of their struggles in August and the type of thing that can lead to big innings.  These new guys were brought up to supposedly give Joe some new options, they've performed admirably in limited work, and yet they've only made 4 combined appearances.  What was the point in calling them up if they aren't going to pitch?

I'm not saying that Wade, Thomas, and Warren are absolutely better pitchers than Eppley, Logan, Rapada, and Lowe.  I'm saying that the current group still isn't pitching up to the standards that warrant them getting the bulk of the middle relief innings and there are other guys available now who could conceivably do a better job.

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