In a bullpen that features the most popular arms, Chad Green and Adam Warren have emerged as the most valuable for the New York Yankees.
While it’s hard to not talk about those names when discussing New York’s relievers, Adam Warren and Chad Green have emerged as unsung heroes. Heroes that have been a staple since Opening Day.
Starting with Warren, no one truly knew he would be this kind of asset when general manager Brian Cashman re-acquired him last season from the Chicago Cubs? He was a borderline train wreck in the Windy City by posting a 5.91 ERA in 29 games and ended up in Triple-A Iowa by July.
He was then included in a deal that sent New York’s current top prospect Gleyber Torres along with Billy McKinney and Rashad Crawford for closer Aroldis Chapman. He was back home with the team that drafted him in 2008 and that warm feeling has sponsored superb results from Warren.
As the Yankees turned around their abysmal start to 2016, Warren did, too. In 30.1 innings starting on July 27, the 29-year-old posted a 3.26 ERA while striking out 7.4 per nine innings of work. In a middle relief/long-relief role here in 2017, he’s furthered his performance even more.
In 39 appearances, Warren owns a 1.80 ERA for the Yankees while posting career-bests in WHIP (0.800), strikeout-per-walk ratio (3.54) and hits-per-nine (4.9). Since the All-Star Break, he’s holding hitters to a .180/.226/.260 slash line to tag along with a 1.26 ERA. He’s not only a fines pitcher who can register multiple innings. Adam Warren is authoritative.
He also has a force that goes hand-in-hand with him in the middle innings, Chad Green. The right-hander was acquired in the Justin Wilson trade with the Detroit Tigers on December 9 and has gone from promising starter to weapon out of the bullpen.
Green has appeared in 28 games in relief this season and owns a 1.66 ERA. He has also fanned 71 batters in 48.2 innings for a ridiculous strikeout rate of 13.1. Since the All-Star break, he has struck out a Major League-leading 49.2 percent (32-of-65) of his batters faced (min. 50 batters faced).
How good has this duo been? They are both inside the Top-10 in batting average against among Major League relievers. Green ranks fourth (.135) while Warren comes in at 10 (.153). It does more than just shut the opposition down, however.
New York’s rotation is averaging just north of 5.2 innings per start. They have a deadly back-end featuring Tommy Kahnle, Robertson, Betances and Chapman, but more often than not, innings five and six need some reliable relief. That’s where the value of Warren and Green come in.
Warren (50 innings pitched in 39 games) is averaging 1.1 innings per appearance while Green (48.2 innings pitched in 26 games) is averaging close to two innings per appearance. What this does is bridge the gap from the starter to the later innings.
A prime example of this value is on Monday night, when Luis Cessa went just 4.1 innings against the New York Mets. Manager Joe Girardi then called upon Green, who tossed 2.2 hitless IP in relief of Cessa to hypothetically turn 4.1 innings of two-run ball into seven innings of two-run ball. The latter is certainly better than the former, and that is what Warren and Green have done all season.
Not only is the duo important now, but they serve as significant support beams to prevent a bullpen collapse in the present and future. The more they dominate, the more Kahnle, Betances, Robertson and Chapman can not be over-utilized. And the more they dominate down the stretch, the more than 4.5 gap in the American League East race will diminish.