Among major league relievers since 2014, Betances owns the most strikeouts (392) while Chapman is ranked third on that same list with 312.
Yes, the Yankees have two of the top three (used to have all three) and they combine for a whopping 704 strikeouts since Betances became a reliever — comfortably better than any duo in the game.
That can be skewed, however, as even No-Runs DMC couldn’t keep the miserable 2016 Yankees out of the cellar but when it comes to this back-end tandem, things are a little different.
Throughout the first half of last season, guys like Kirby Yates (5.72 ERA), Chasen Shreve (4.64 ERA), Nick Goody (4.91 ERA) Johnny Barbato (5.54 ERA) and Anthony Swarzak (5.68 ERA) led the team in middle relief appearances.
These five relievers, who’s chief objective was to transfer the lead from the starters into the firm grasp of the three-headed monster, combined for a 5.28 ERA while surrendering 21 home runs in 97.1 innings of work — resulting in just 39 holds.
In the second half, Adam Warren (3.26), Tyler Clippard (2.49 ERA), Tommy Layne (3.38), Luis Severino (0.39 ERA) and Richard Bleier (0.00 ERA) led the way — combining for a 2.76 ERA while surrendering just 11 home runs in 117.2 innings and 41 holds.
Now, as the 2017 season is right around the corner, the bullpen has added Chapman back into the mix while the same (or similar) squad of middle relievers will likely find their way back into a middle relief role.
Unlike last year, that astronomically high combined strikeout total by Betances and Chapman could effectively influence the win column for New York — and it’s a scary thought for any opposition.