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Jonathan Holder has a realistic shot of making the All-Star team

Middle relievers have only recently started receiving universal recognition for their individual performance in Major League Baseball, due to the new age of numbers in the sport. Saves are no longer the all-telling, ultimate stat about a reliever’s success and WAR, ERA+, and other metrics have opened the eyes of fans on just how valuable it is for a team to have dominant relievers outside of the ninth inning role. Their widely agreed on importance has led to a lot of non-closer relievers making the All-Star team in recent seasons. The American League squad had two of them in 2017 and 2015, and a whopping four in 2016. If this trend continues, the AL should feature at least one or two non-closer relievers, and possibly more, with the scarcity of lockdown closers in the AL in 2018. The Yankees feature a lot of highly talented middle relievers and the pitcher who has surprised everyone the most, Jonathan Holder, has a very realistic shot of cracking the AL All-Star squad.

A Much Needed Bronx Hiro

Earlier today, some of the Bronx Bomber Blogger writers were discussing the state of the Yankees pitching rotation. As the newest member of the BBB, I was asking questions, getting the feel for everyone's opinion on the team and baseball in general. I came to conclusion that they kept saying a word I had previously been saying to describe the Yankees rotation. "If."

"If the Yankees rotation can stay healthy." "If the Yankees rotation doesn't stay healthy," etc.

Well, I'm not Dr. James Andrews. I cannot go look at everyone's arm, shoulder and elbow to determine the expected fate of each pitcher. But, I can look back and talk about a pitcher who had success pitching in the American League East and in Yankee Stadium. What a security blanket this man would be for this rotation.

Hiroki Kuroda!

Hiroki Kuroda came to the states at a later age with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He found home in the Bronx between 2012-2014. The Yankees only made it to the playoffs once with Kuroda, but if you look at the numbers he put up, with the fragile rotation on 161st Street right now, wouldn't you want it?

2012: 219.2 IP, 18.7 K% to 5.7 BB%, .281 BABIP against (Same scale as a hitter, just flip it around) and a 3.86 FIP. ERA- and FIP- are Fangraph.com's versions of wRC+ and OPS+, but for pitchers. The minus sign signals a calculation made for league average (which is set at 100) and park factors. For pitchers, you want to be below 100. Kuroda had an ERA- of 79 and a FIP- of 90.

2013: 201.1IP, 18.2 K% to 5.2 BB%, .282 BABIP against, 82 ERA-, 87 FIP- and a 3.56 FIP.

2014: 199.0 IP, 17.8 K%, 4.3 BB%, .279 BABIP against, 96 ERA-, 92 FIP- and a 3.60 FIP.

I used these stats because I accounted on durability, strikeouts/walks in addition with FIP, which disregards defense. I also used park and league factors.

Tanaka-Severino-Kuroda-Pineda-Eovaldi? I'm not saying that's who I would necessarily go with, but you see how much more depth you have if Kuroda were just to have a typical season? Granted, he was getting older.

It's January 26th, speculate!
Stats by: Fangraphs.com

Article by: Tom Cronin
Follow me on twitter: @TomCronin161
Follow the BBB on twitter: @BronxBomberBlog

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