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Yankees' 'Under the Radar' Acquisition Off to Strong Start With New York

NEW YORK — With the acquisitions of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo at the trade deadline, adding right-hander Clay Holmes from the Pittsburgh Pirates flew under the radar.

That doesn't mean it wasn't a significant move for New York, though. Holmes is another arm they've had their eye on for quite some time. 

"We were really excited to get him," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Friday afternoon. "I think our front office has been targeting him for a while."

So far, all parties involved have to be pleased with the way Holmes has been throwing the baseball. Sure, it's a small sample size, but he's been lights out. In four games entering play Friday, Holmes has permitted just two base hits, striking out three in 4.2 shutout innings. 

"Really liked what he's brought especially against right-handed hitters and felt like he was a good complement to some of the guys we have in the bullpen," Boone added.

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Holmes—acquired in the trade that sent Hoy Jun Park to the Pirates—relies heavily on his sinker, throwing it 52 percent of the time. He may not get batters to chase, but he has an elite ability to keep the ball on the ground (72.7 ground ball rate) and consistently induce weak contact. His 3.9 Barrel % is in the league's 7th percentile while his .299 xSLG falls in the game's 8th percentile, per Statcast.

Over 44 appearances to start the year with Pittsburgh, Holmes posted a 4.93 ERA. His numbers might not sweep you off your feet, but the Yankees believe his best is yet to come.

"We also feel like there's more in there as far as him continuing to get even better as a reliever," Boone said. "I mean, he's got great stuff. He's really done a really good job of coming in and not just showing off that stuff, but also pounding the strike zone."

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