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Breaking down the recent success of Yankees closer Clay Holmes

Yankees closer Clay Holmes has presented extremely well so far in the most vulnerable role out of the bullpen. 

Breaking Down The Success Of Clay Holmes

The ninth inning , with a three-run lead or less, brings a great deal of pressure. It takes a special mindset, skillset, and courage to endure the role of a major league closer. We’ve seen the greats before us make it look simple. Men such as Trevor Hoffman, Francisco Rodriguez, Kenley Jansen, and Craig Kimbrel set the standard for closers. 

We’ve seen various closers go downhill over the course of their careers. Names such as Terry Adams, B.J. Ryan, Miguel Batista, Brad Lidge, and Brandon League will forever haunt the 9th innings of some teams they’ve served. Where does Yankees closer Clay Holmes fit into these lists?

Clay Holmes Struck Early Impressions As New Closer

We failed to mention a key name in our list of greats; the greatest closer of all time, Yankees legend Mariano Rivera. Unfortunately, this is the man and the standard that current and future closers of the Bronx bombers are held to. 

Holmes was traded to the Yankees in 2021. In 2022 he was named an MLB all-star and the closer for the New York Yankees. 2022 was a gifted year for the late-inning righty, as his all-star accomplishment was endorsed fully by some spectacular numbers. 

His closer onboarding year finished with an impressive 20 saves and a 2.54 ERA. Even more impressive is that he picked up seven wins on the way. Holmes ranked 15th of 30 closers in the league that year, posing a great first impression for the pinstripes. 

Holmes Has Gained Trust Through Consistency And Reliability Of His Craft 

After the slow decline of performance and attitude by Yankees’ former close Aroldis Chapman, the trust of the stopper role in the Bronx has been in questionHolmes however has changed that perspective and has gained trust to be the guy to secure victory.

The 2023 season ended in repetition, with the Yankees closer posting 24 saves in 41 games with a 2.86 ERA. In both seasons he hovered around the 62-63 innings pitched range. Fast-forward to present day, Holmes has recorded a league-leading 11 saves in 16 games, with only a month and change into the 2024 season. He sits fourth of the top five closers in the league. 

Holmes works an arsenal of four pitchers, including a sinker, slider, sweeper, and four-seam fastball. He hovers 96-98 mph on the four-seam and he has two pitches over 20% put-away rate. His pitch repertoire is highly effective and appropriate to fit the role of a closerHis MLB percentile rankings are above average and he has accumulated positive results from a total statistics standpoint. In two seasons to datehe’s recorded 55 saves over 290.2 innings pitched and 310 strikeouts. He’s projected to have 25-28 minimum saves this season. 

Main Photo Credits: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports


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