The Yankees have an advantage over many teams when it comes to their bullpen, but it's not where you might believe. Yes, the endgame quartet of Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman is not rivaled by many clubs, but assembling a dominant backend of the bullpen is fairly common in today's game.
However, some organizations are also changing their methods of bullpen assembly in the middle innings. Yankees are now dominating in this area, courtesy of right-handers Chad Green and Adam Warren.
Superior production via different methods
Receiving strong production from middle relievers is one thing, but when they are as impressive as Green's and Warren's, the club owns a firm advantage over its opponent.
Green, who possesses a high-90s fastball, has thrown 50 2/3 innings this season in which he has registered a 1.95 ERA and a minuscule 0.73 WHIP. Green has kept batters to a paltry .143 batting average while striking out 74 (13.1 K/9). Green has allowed just three of 19 inherited runners to score this season.
While Green has the ability to blow hitters away, Warren no longer works in that fashion. Warren will sit in the low-to-mid-90s with his fastball and thus doesn't record as many strikeouts (8.5 K/9) as Green. Warren is able to maneuver lineups by getting hitters to hit into a fair amount of ground balls (47.4 percent ground ball rate). Warren's overall results as shiny as Green's. In 52 innings, Warren owns a 1.73 ERA, 0.79 WHIP and opponents are hitting just .156 against him. Warren has stranded 24 of 26 inherited runners on the season.
Converted starters can provide length
Both Green and Warren are converted starters that possess the mentality and the strength to be able to extend their appearances to multiple innings when asked. With a rotation that fails to go into the seventh inning on a regular basis, having relievers that can manage more than three outs in their outings is essential.
Through Wednesday's contest, Green has worked multiple innings in 22 of his 39 outings, while Warren has done the same in 20 of his 40 appearances. Further, Green has 14 games with two or more innings of work and Warren has nine.
Bridging the gap, winning or losing
The depth that Green and Warren provide to the Yankees bullpen should not be understated. When the Yankees bullpen is completely healthy, having Green and Warren available to at any period of the game is an obvious benefit.
Yankees manager Joe Girard has asked Green and Warren to enter a game as early as the fourth inning (three times each). The luxury Girardi has with Green and Warren is that he is not precluded from using them in games in which the Yankees do not have the lead. If the Yankees are within striking distance, Girardi believes Green and Warren can settle things down, provide length and allow the offense a chance to peck away at a lead.
The Yankees would not be in the position they are without Green and Warren. When outsiders are asked to evaluate the Yankees bullpen, they'll instantly jump to the hurlers that handle the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. However, it is high time to show some love to Green and Warren, who build the bridge to the more vaunted bullpen mates.