David Hale has had an interesting road to get to where he is and the New York Yankees are reaping the benefits with their underrated reliever.
Well, it’s been one “Hale” of a ride for 31-year-old reliever David Hale and the New York Yankees are thankful that the third time seems to be the charm for their benefit.
With a bullpen that has been used far too often this season, the Yankees are in danger of burning out some of their top relievers come October. With Yankees starters putting together far too many short outings, they are heading on the wrong track and fatigue is playing a role in each game.
Here to take some of the pressure off is David Hale, the incredible journeyman.
Hale has spent some time on the “Scranton Shuttle” this season, but when he’s spent significant time in the Bronx, he’s proven to be a valuable asset to that bullpen.
In 17 games so far this season, Hale is 3-0 with a 2.23 ERA. Ten of his 17 appearances have been for two innings or more. He adds critical depth where Luis Cessa fell off a little since the beginning of the season.
But he wasn’t always a reliable arm to call on and the Yankees used him often for length and then sent him down. Now, he’s proving his worth to stay around in his third stint with the Yankees.
Last season, the Bombers inked Hale to a major league deal and played in one game for the Yankees in a 14-1 blowout victory. Hale pitched in two innings of three-hit ball without allowing a run. After that, he was designated for assignment and picked up by the Minnesota Twins.
But that wasn’t the end of his time in pinstripes for 2018. The Yankees picked him up again on May 1 and used him for a few outings before designating him for assignment once again in July. After that, Hale took his talents to South Korea where he pitched for the Hanwha Eagles. His time in South Korea added a 3-4 record and a 4.34 ERA.
But now he’s back for another stint and it seems like the third time really is the charm. Hale looks like a completely different pitcher with a set of skills that can help ease up some of the innings on a few of those arms out there.
Hale clearly has made some adjustments since his last stint in pinstripes. While his pitches remained the same, he picked up some velocity on both his fastball and sinker. In 2018, he averaged 92.14 MPH on his fastball and 91.32 MPH for his sinker. In 2019, he has increased those to 93.73 and 93.08 respectively.
According to Brooks Baseball, Hale has also changed what he’s been throwing to batters since last season. Twenty-eighteen was the year of the changeup for Hale, as he threw it around 37 percent of the time, the highest of all his pitches.
In 2019, his changeup only leaves his hand 20 percent of the time. His mix of pitches is better too, where he primarily relies on his four-seam fastball, which is thrown 32 percent of the time. Hitters are batting .213 against that fastball, compared to .407 on his primary pitch, the changeup, last year.
So it’s not just a fresh start for Hale. He’s made changes in his approach and they have clearly made a huge difference. He’s working his way up in the pecking order to come in for big situations.
And the Yankees are loving it.
It’s been a long time coming, but David Hale has come back and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. A big name out of the bullpen? That’s not David Hale. But he’s got a big arm and his hard work is starting to pay off for the Yankees.