With the back of the bullpen locked up for the New York Yankees, their ‘pen needs production from Adam Warren in order to achieve success.
The bullpen for the New York Yankees is viewed as a ridiculously impressive strength for an otherwise young team. When the offense sputtered last season, the bullpen constantly produced for the team.
This season, the back end of the bullpen is, once again, intact. With the signing of flame-throwing closer Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees once again solidified their top-tier bullpen. Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances round out the seventh and eighth innings to create a dominant trio.
The rest of the bullpen is up in the air, per usual.
Even though it’s important to close out the game, the Yankees need strong middle relievers to help preserve their lead or keep them in the game long enough to make a comeback. That’s where Adam Warren comes into play.
Reclaimed by the Yankees during the first Chapman trade with the Cubs, the Yankees ended up with a mature reliever who aided them in their run for the playoffs. Warren has been both a starter and reliever for the Yankees but they might benefit from having Warren serve as their primary middle reliever.
Warren has demonstrated that he can go back and forth between roles. Because of that versatility, Warren is the perfect candidate for a lengthy role in relief. When Warren was a starter in 2015 for the Yankees, he struggled in the first few innings. The middle of the game is where he hit his stride.
Even last season, Warren got more shots at late-inning work. In 28 appearances in the seventh inning in 2016, Warren held his opponents to an impressive .179 batting average and posted a 2.49 ERA. Warren fares far better coming in in the later innings than he does when starting the game.
Warren clearly still has some work to do. He has proven he can handle the role but he needs to learn how to excel at that role. Other options to hold down the middle of the bullpen don’t quite have the chops that Warren has. Warren’s versatility as a starter and a reliever makes his arm a valuable asset to the bullpen.
Clippard, Betances and Chapman have proven last season that they have the makings to be one of the most feared trios in baseball. Warren will be the one holding down the leads to bridge the gap between the starters and the closers. If that is not the most important job for the Yankees, I don’t know what is.
The Yankees will need all the help they can get when it comes to holding their leads this year. Last season, middle relief was a weakness, with pitchers like Anthony Swarzak and Chasen Shreve struggling to preserve rare leads from a lackluster offense.
Warren will be the one helping to preserve those leads. If he doesn’t, it is very likely the Yankees won’t even get to the three-headed monster waiting in the bullpen. If he does, the Yankees will be able to confidently secure more victories they missed out on last season.
The Yankees have plenty of things they are hoping to improve on this season. The bullpen seemed to be locked up, but there is still work to do. Ultimately, the success of that bullpen will depend on the type of season that Warren has in a middle relief role.