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2016 New York Yankees Preview: Bullpen

USA Today

USA Today

It is no surprise the New York Yankees have one of the top bullpens in all of baseball entering the 2016 season. After acquiring left-handed flame thrower Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds in December, and not giving up Dellin Betances or Andrew Miller, the Yankees now have three of the top 10 relief pitchers in all of baseball.

“The options in the bullpen are endless,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. “You can arguably say they are the three best bullpen arms in the game and we got them on our team so we are extremely excited.”

“I hope it helps us win more games,” Miller said on the addition of Chapman at the 36th Annual Thurman Munson Awards Dinner. “Chapman is a special arm and if it helps us win game and get to the goal it is a good thing.”

“I feel better at this point this year than I did last year,” Miller said. “I am happy with where i am at.”

When asked if having those arms in the pen alters the way he calls games with the starting pitchers McCann said, “Yea, thats kind of where the game is going now. You’re playing a lot of close games and a lot of one run games where one pitch can cost you the game. Teams are realizing that bullpens are winning championships so it is easier for your starter to throw 100 pitches in five innings and hand the ball over.”

A lot of the talk between the fans and the media has been if the Yankees are winning after the sixth inning the game is over due to the dominant bullpen.

“Thats the plan,” McCann said. To add that arm and to bump Betances and Miller down an inning its going to be great.”

Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman announced that Chapman would be the closer heading into spring training moving Miller to the eighth inning and Betances to the seventh.

“You don’t see it (Chapman),” McCann said. “You have to swing right when the ball is released. He is dominant.”

In the closer role in 2015, Miller posted 36 saves with an ERA of 2.04 and 100 strikeouts. Betances on the other had finished the season with 131 strikeouts in 84 innings pitched while also posting a 1.50 ERA.

In 2015 in Cincinnati, Chapman was more than stellar recording 33 saves with 116 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.63. Chapman is also the hardest thrower in the league with a fastball touching north of 100 MPH.

The Yankees in acquiring Chapman are essentially shortening the baseball game as the seventh, eighth and ninth are well in control.

The philosophy of shortening games due to bolstering a bullpen is similar to that of the 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals.

The Yankees do not just have these three in the bullpen however, as young lefties James Pazos, Jacob Lindgren and Chasen Shreve will also have big roles in the middle relief innings.

After being called up in September, Pazos appeared in five innings not allowing a run and striking out three. Pazos could be used as a lefty specialist in 2016 as well as a mid-inning man.

Lindgren could also be used as a middle relief man and will be a big part of the Yankees bullpen. Shreve was 6-2 last season with a 3.09 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 58.1 innings.

The Yankees bullpen is poised for success, and there is not a question that history certainly could be made in the bullpen in 2016.

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