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by: Victor Suarez

Last season’s Achilles heel for the Yankees was offense, finishing 25th in runs scored. While the bullpen wasn’t disastrous (16th in WAR), key departures like Wandy Peralta and Michael King created the need for reinforcements.

However, the philosophy remains unchanged: prioritizing ground balls. New lefties Victor Gonzalez and Caleb Ferguson, acquired from the Dodgers, boast impressive ground-ball rates, aligning perfectly with the team’s existing strength.

The 2023 Yankees were already MLB leaders in ground-ball rate (50.6%), a trend established in 2022 (49.1%, 5th in WAR). Joining Clay Holmes and Ian Hamilton (both top-15 in ground-ball rate last season), Gonzalez and Ferguson bring their own expertise. Hamilton, for example, posted a career-high 55.1% last year, while Jonathan Loaisiga (54.7%) and even depth pieces like Matt Krook (49.1% in minors, historically above 60%) solidify the emphasis.

This ground-ball focus reflects the success of pitching coach Matt Blake in revitalizing relievers. Ian Hamilton, Clay Holmes, Lucas Luetge, and Wandy Peralta are just a few examples of his talent-maximizing approach. With new acquisitions and a proven philosophy, the Yankees bullpen looks poised for another formidable season.

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