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Archive for January 19th, 2011

In honor of Rafael Soriano’s official unveiling as the Yankees’ 2011 “eighth inning guy”, listed below are the most dominant seasons by a Yankees’ reliever with fewer than 20 games finished. 

Top-20 Seasons by a Yankees’ Set-Up Man, by WAR

Player WAR Year G GF W L SV IP SO ERA ERA+ OPS+
Mariano Rivera 5.4 1996 61 14 8 3 5 107.2 130 2.09 240 24
Tom Gordon 4 2004 80 15 9 4 4 89.2 96 2.21 204 36
Mike Stanton 2.7 2001 76 16 9 4 0 80.1 78 2.58 175 83
Mike Stanton 2.7 1997 64 15 6 1 3 66.2 70 2.56 176 52
Tom Gordon 2.5 2005 79 17 5 4 2 80.2 69 2.57 166 61
John Habyan 2.5 1991 66 16 4 2 2 90 70 2.3 181 63
Scott Proctor 2.1 2006 83 12 6 4 1 102.1 89 3.52 129 71
Jeff Nelson 2 2000 73 13 8 4 0 69.2 71 2.45 197 46
L. McDaniel 1.9 1968 24 19 4 1 10 51.1 43 1.75 165 63
Bob Wickman 1.7 1994 53 19 5 4 6 70 56 3.09 150 55
Kerry Wood 1.6 2010 24 1 2 0 0 26 31 0.69 625 39
C. Hammond 1.5 2003 62 16 3 2 1 63 45 2.86 155 86
Steve Howe 1.5 1991 37 10 3 1 3 48.1 34 1.68 249 51
B. Boehringer 1.4 1997 34 11 3 2 0 48 53 2.62 172 80
R. Monteleone 1.4 1992 47 15 7 3 0 92.2 62 3.3 120 80
J. Chamberlain 1.2 2007 19 3 2 0 1 24 34 0.38 1221 15
R. Mendoza 1.2 2002 62 14 8 4 4 91.2 61 3.44 129 86
Allen Watson 1.1 1999 21 6 4 0 0 34.1 30 2.1 227 61
D. Robertson 1 2010 64 10 4 5 1 61.1 71 3.82 112 92

Note: Excludes relievers with games started greater than 0 and games finished greater than 20.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Assuming Mariano Rivera remains healthy, Soriano will have the chance to gun for the immortal closer’s 5.4 WAR, which was compiled asJohn Wetteland‘s set-up man in 1996. At the very least, he’ll be expected to make up for the loss of Kerry Wood, whose contribution was pretty incredible in only 26 innings. Along with Rivera, Soriano will join two other relievers on this list: David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain. If all three right handers can pitch to top form, the Yankees bullpen could feature the best quartet in recent memory, not to mention one of the better one-two punches in franchise history.

For a look at some of the best reliever tandems in Yankees’ history, check out an earlier Captain’s Blog post chronicling the unique 1981 season of Ron Davis.

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