David Carpenter, who is a 29-year-old right-handed relief pitcher, was traded to the Yankees from the Atlanta Braves with Chasen Shreve for former top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos on January 1. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 12th round of the 2006 draft, and he has previously pitched in the majors for the Toronto Blue Jays, Boston Red Sox and Braves.
Carpenter is currently on a one-year, $1.3 million contract. He had the best season of his career in 2013 when current Yankees catcher Brian McCann was still on the Braves. During the 2013 campaign, Carpenter was the team’s top set-up man and finished the season with four wins, 12 holds, a 1.78 ERA, 65.2 innings, an impressive 0.990 WHIP and a career-high 74 strikeouts. He was able to have an All-Star caliber season after not making his Braves debut until May 10.
He started the 2014 season as the team’s set-up man, but he ended the season nearly allowing double the runs that he did in 2013. He had a much higher 3.54 ERA and allowed more earned runs (24 and 13 in 2013) in 2014, but he did have more holds (19) than he did in in 2013. Also, his strikeouts/9 innings (9.9 in 2014 and 10.1 in 2013) and walks/9 innings (2.4 and 2.7) were virtually the same, which proves that he hasn’t lost much from 2013.
McCann gave the Yankees a “strong endorsement of his former Braves teammate, which could mean that their chemistry will lead to Carpenter allowing closer to the amount of earned runs he allowed in 2013 than the amount he allowed in 2014. Either way, Carpenter will be an upgrade over Shawn Kelley, who had a 4.53 ERA for the Yankees.
Carpenter is known for his blazing fast fourseam fastball, which means that he will give the bullpen another power pitcher to go with Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Justin Wilson. The other pitch that he relies on to get outs is a slider (86mph). He also has a change (90mph), but he doesn’t rely on it as he only threw it 18 times last season. He will be another pitcher in the bullpen who the Yankees will be able to count on to get strikeouts.
He will mostly be pitching in the seventh inning since Betances and Miller will be the eight and ninth inning combo, but Carpenter has four career saves and is capable of closing if Miller and Betances are not available. It could take him some time to get used to pitching in the AL East and Yankee Stadium, but he will likely have a bounce back season and come close to the pitcher he was in 2013.
The Yankees will have an elite bullpen if Carpenter comes close to the pitcher he was in 2013 and Betances and Miller pitch like they did last season.