Can Clay Holmes Preserve his Elite Prestige?by Rephael Negnewitzky May 19, 2022 0 comments
Throughout his span with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Clay Holmes wasn’t viewed as a factor out of the bullpen. He seemed lost and unsettled and never found his groove at a constant pace. However, ever since he joined the New York Yankees in 2021, Holmes has changed his entire trajectory. The right-hander has evolved into a force out of the Yankees bullpen and is among the top relievers in baseball.
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Holmes presents a three-slot arsenal. A high-velocity fastball that flaunts a 2241 backspin as more of a sinker. It’s not a surprise that Holmes finds success in his sinker which paces at 96 mph at a 27 percent whiff rate in 2022. However, Holmes bared a 16.3 percent whiff rate on his sinker with just 2057 of deception dating back to his 2018 season with the Pirates. His second option embodies a daunting slider which he uses at a 19.5 percent rate. Out of his 236 pitches in 2022, 46 of them have been his slider. In addition, Holmes clocks his slider at 85 mph along with a 48.1 percent whiff rate. To round out his repertoire, Holmes sprinkles in a curveball that has been practiced in just three of his 2022 pitches.
Clay Holmes, Filthy Sinker Movement. 😷 pic.twitter.com/Vc8sSqQfAK— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 17, 2022
Comparing his era in Pittsburgh to the current span with the Yankees seems to be disproportionate. Holmes appears relatively confident and maintains a serene mindset on the mound. He has shown substantial improvement in all of his pitching methods since his rookie season in 2018. As an amateur in the big leagues, Holmes practiced six pitches: a sinker (48.5 percent), four-seam-fastball (22.6 percent), curveball (13.6 percent), cutter (11.2 percent), changeup (3.4 percent), and slider (0.6 percent).
While the vast majority of his arsenal prospered fairly well, his four-seamer was decimated by opponents. Holmes was pinned to a .480 opponent average with just one strikeout. Four seasons later, Holmes slimed to a three-slot arsenal which is quite effective. Whether his sinker, which annexed 184 of backspin, or his slider and curveball which improved marginally as well.
Through 18 appearances in 2022, Holmes conserves an 0.49 ERA along with 18 strikeouts. Undeniably, Holmes deserves all the credit for his recent flourish. However, credit belongs to the Yankee pitching staff in Matt Blake and his bullpen peers. The Yankee bullpen currently molds a 2.51 ERA which sits atop all other arm barns in the league. The positive and affluent atmosphere in the Yankee bullpen awards Holmes an upbeat and eager approach to his pitching duties. Blake and his pitching staff work well with Holmes and measure every aspect of his course of action. Nonetheless, Holmes has evolved into a key threat for the Yankee bullpen and hopes to continue his flourish.
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