Sep
09

The Boone Logan appreciation thread

By

Once upon a time, the thought of Boone Logan’s pitching meaningful innings in high-leverage situations filled me with dread. Through the first two months of the season, Joe Girardi kept deploying the 26-year-old lefty in match-up situations, often in close games, and the results were enough to condemn the process. When he was finally sent down to AAA at the end of May, Logan had accrued 10.2 innings while walking more than he had struck out. Opponents were hitting .310.408/.452 against him. The spare part in the Javier Vazquez deal seemed nothing more than that, and the icing on the cake was, of course, the No More Boone Logan jpeg.

Since Logan’s return to the Majors in late June, though, something has clicked, and yesterday, as I sat in the Grandstand and watched Logan strike out Luke Scott and Felix Pie in the top of the 8th of a one-run game, I marveled at the turnaround. Over his past 27 games spanning 24 innings, Logan has been nothing short of spectacular. He sports a 1.13 ERA with a 26:9 K:BB rate. Opponents are hitting just .195/.278/.264 against him, and his two strike outs yesterday gave him 22 scoreless straight appearances, the third longest streak in Yankee bullpen history. Only some guy named Mariano and Steve Farr have topped that.

Praise for Logan has become the norm amongst Yankee writers and baseball analysts. The guys at The Yankee U highlight just how good the bullpen has been of late, and Mark Simon at ESPN profiles the rise of Boone Logan. Simon explores the differences in pre-demotion Logan and the new and improved Boone Logan 2.0:

The biggest positive to come out of this stretch for Logan is that he’s not walking hitters anywhere near as frequently as he was earlier this season. In his last 14 2/3 innings, Logan has issued just four walks. He was averaging 5.4 walks per nine innings prior to this streak.

Key to that: The effectiveness of Logan’s breaking ball, the one he used to strike Luke Scott out on Wednesday. Inside Edge, which tracks every pitch thrown, by type, has 20 of Logan’s 30 strikeouts this season coming on breaking balls.

Of the 63 breaking pitches that Logan has gotten opponents to swing at, they’ve missed on 35 of them, including 3-of-3 Wednesday. That miss rate (55.6 percent) rates third-best in the majors.

Confidence in a breaking ball plus the ability to throw swing-and-miss pitches are, obviously, paramount to a reliever’s success, and Logan has used his ability to throw in the upper 90s along with his breaking pitches to dominate hitters. While relievers may be a volatile bunch, for the last few months, Logan has been able to harness the stuff that has followed him around since he made his Major League debut in 2006.

For the Yankees, Logan’s emergence as an effective bullpen piece couldn’t have come at a better time. With Damaso Marte shelved, as Joe wrote in July, the left-handed spotlight turned to Logan and shine he did. Filling in for the injured Marte, Logan has limited lefties to a .188 /.278/.219, and he has struck out a third of all left-handed batters. Right now, Joe Girardi has enough confidence in Logan to have him face lefties in any situation and at any point in the game, and the stuff and numbers would back up that match-up.

Still, Logan’s biggest tests are still to come. As the Yankees get their ducks in a row for another playoff run, they won’t have Damaso Marte. Today at the Pinstriped Bible, Cliff Corcoran dispatches the idea that Marte was a revelation last year in the playoffs. He got only one out with the tying or winning run at the plate, and five of his 12 outs recorded came in losing games. Four others came with four-run leads in the 8th inning, and seemingly his biggest out — a Game 4 Ryan Howard K — came with a two-run lead and seven outs left in the game.

Yet, the playoff teams the Yanks could face this year have lefties in key spots in their lineups. Josh Hamilton remains a feared hitter for the Rangers. Joe Mauer, Jim Thome, Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau fill out the Twins’ order, and Carl Crawford, Carlos Peña are formidable foes within the Rays’ order. Boone Logan will inevitably be called upon to face these lefties late in the game.

A few months ago, Boone Logan was the throw-in piece in a five-player trade. Today, he could be the better and more important player as the Yanks stare down 22 games and 11 more wins before they can claim a 28th World Series championship trophy. No more No Boone Logan.

Categories : Pitching

42 Comments»

  1. mko says:

    I was wondering if and when you would write something positive about Boone Logan. I vividly remember how you – the preachers of the small sample size problem – called for his release or similar early in the season…;)

    • Demotion, not release. I hate to draw conclusions from either sample size, but the demotion has seemed to help his stuff. Granted, it could unravel, but it’s possible we weren’t wrong (or necessarily right either).

  2. larryf says:

    He won’t be enough. Too many lefties in too many high leverage situations.

    Time to give Royce Ring a ring….

  3. Mr. Sparkle says:

    Who would’ve thought when the deal was made that the guy with a playoff roster spot in question (at times) would be Vazquez and Logan would be a lock? You can’t predict baseball, Suzyn.

    • Magnus Stultus says:

      I know this is a rhetorical question. But , I had my reservation about Javy . He imploded in a pennant race down the stretch for the White Sox in 2008. Basically, I question his ability in a big spot.

  4. mike c says:

    he’s been outstanding since being recalled from AAA. he’s gone from lefty farnsworth to the lefty robertson

  5. ZZ says:

    Key to that: The effectiveness of Logan’s breaking ball, the one he used to strike Luke Scott out on Wednesday. Inside Edge, which tracks every pitch thrown, by type, has 20 of Logan’s 30 strikeouts this season coming on breaking balls.

    This is a bit misleading.

    His breaking has not gotten any better or more effective in itself. The key to his success is really that he has finally learned to trust his overpowering fastball. It is really that his breaking ball has become more effective as a result of his increased reliance on his fastball. He blows a couple fastballs by the hitter and then when he drops the slider in there after that they have no chance.

    They key though is number 1, the fastball.

    • Magnus Stultus says:

      To quote a wise man who once said “a well commanded fastball is the most important weapon a pitcher can have.”

  6. jsbrendog (returns) says:

    my only problem is that you may need the no boone logan jpeg again next year once he realizes he is, in fact, boone logan and that relievers are as a whole a volatile bunch

  7. Zanath says:

    My favorite Boone Logan moment was a game against the Mariners a couple of weeks back when he gave up a bunt single to somebody and you could see him mouthing “mother fucker.” That was classic.

  8. zs190 says:

    SSS aside, I think the key to his turnaround is he’s used more as a LOOGY now.

    Earlier in the year he was used a lot as a mopup guy, he pitched in a lot of low leverage situations when we were up a lot or when we were behind and often pitched 1 innings or more. (12 of 17 appearances before demotion were 1 or more innings) He has never been good against RH hitters and he was exposed to a lot of them in those situations and predictably got pounded. Marte was used as the LOOGY then.

    When Marte got hurt, Joe only has 1 LHP in the pen now so he used Logan a lot more as a LOOGY rather than mopup guy (16 of 23 appearances after demotion have been less than 1 inning). He’s faced a lot more lefties (who he was always decent against) and he’s been tremendous.

  9. Klemy says:

    Boone has turned me. I was definitely in favor of his demotion early in the season, but since coming back up he’s been one of the best BP arms we’ve had.

  10. kosmo says:

    I´ve become a believer.Wood ,Logan and Robertson have been terrific.

  11. steve (different one) says:

    Let’s be fair, it wasn’t just Logan that everyone wanted demoted this season. It was also Joba and Robertson. Throw Gaudin in there as well, as he’s righted himself back to the fine mop up guy he’s always been.

    Maybe the lesson is that sometimes scouts and coaches can see more than the results would indicate??

  12. Cy Pettitte says:

    Boone’s definitely by far the biggest surprise of the year (in a good way) for me, wonder what kind of voodoo magic he was doing in SWB? Nothing from his past numbers indicated he’d be so dominate, although I guess it’s easier for a left reliever throwing 94-95 to right himself than others. Takes some of the sting out of the Vazquez part of the deal for sure though.

  13. ShuutoHeat (Passion>all) says:

    I think we need to contribute the rebirth of Logan to the Sensei of Scranton Kei Igawa. Logan during his demotion had a good long look at Kei Igawa and realized he can’t be stuck in a team’s farm system all his life like Igawa. Scared straight, he set out to pitch even better. Hence Logan 2.0 is born.

    /BS’d

  14. Jerome S says:

    If we could order the Yankee bullpen in terms of their effectiveness, how would that work out?

    This is mine w/o having put any thought into it.

    1)Mo (always)
    2)Wood, I guess
    3)Logan?
    4)Robertson, though an argument could be made that he’s better than Boone Logan.
    5)Joba/Gaudin
    6)Mitre/Albaladejo (haven’t seen a lot of them).

    Moseley is technically part of the bullpen, but I chose not to put him in the list.

    Considering that even the worst guys on here haven’t been bad as of late, this is pretty encouraging.

  15. I’ve been a Boone fan since they first acquired him. I’m quite pleased with how things have turned out this year.

  16. MikeD says:

    I had no problem with the demotion earlier this year because he wasn’t effective and his usage at times was also inconsistent. Perhaps the two were related.

    It wasn’t the demotion-crowd that I thought was off base, it was the DFA-crowd who wanted to send him and any other arm in the pen who was scuffling to MLB-version of the unemployment line. In the end, guys like Logan, Mitre and Moseley have all served a purpose and helped the Yankees. Logan has always had a good arm and he’s a lefty. Not something to give up on too quickly. Thanksfully the Yankees didn’t. Let’s hope whatever he’s doing continues through October. He may turn out to be a one-year flash, but if so, thankfully it’s this year!

  17. a plethora of pinatas says:

    I appreciate Boone Logan.

  18. MikeD says:

    Of course, I do wonder why the Yankees didn’t really make a push to sign Chapman. I wouldn’t mind having that lefty arm available to us heading into postseason. I know the Yankees have a budget, but my guess is if George was still on the helm he would have found a few extra dollars. The Yankees have a financial advantage over other teams. They don’t have to go crazy all the time, but when a lefty with a 102 mph fastball shows up, I’d want them to open up the check book!

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