NoMaas was skeptical of the Chan Ho Park signing. From a statistical standpoint, it looked like the Yankees were latching onto a small sample size (~50IP) where Park both pitched reasonably well (2.2 K/BB) and also got lucky (6% HR/FB). But, Brian Cashman’s scouts told him that Chan Ho was a different pitcher in relief. Cash said Relief Ho had a “plus-fastball and a snap-dragon breaking ball” coming out of the pen.

So, how’s it looking so far?

On the surface, it’s been an unmitigated disaster. Even after pitching two scoreless innings on Tuesday night vs. Seattle, Chan Ho has a 6.48 ERA in 25 IP. And to the Yankee fan watching game in game out, it seems even worse than that because Park has blown up in some key high-leverage situations.

But, there are reasons to think Cashman might not end up wiping egg drop soup off his face come October.

First, underneath Relief Ho’s grotesque ERA lies a 4.10 xFIP (before Tuesday night) — pretty much the same as in his triumphant 2009 season. In fact, he has an excellent 3.2 K/BB ratio, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him improve on his 40% groundball rate. His HR/FB rate is an unlucky 19.4%, and that will come down towards his career average (12.2%). Consequently, he will likely start stranding at least 70% of his runners, instead of the current 63%.

Also important to note is that his putrid outcomes have been exacerbated by two things that will hopefully change for the better:

1) He hasn’t been fully healthy this season. He’s dealt with a hamstring problem that forced him to the DL, as well as a case of the backdoor trots.

2) We’ve seen Joe Girardi fail to properly mind bullpen matchups before, and Chan Ho is parked squarely in Joe’s blind spot. Girardi has used CHP to face about as many lefty batters as righties this season (51 PAs to 53 PAs), and LHB are teeing off on Park to the tune of a .383/.420/.660 line. STUPID!

Overall, the Ho Train is not the diamond in the rough that Cashman was hoping he had found. But, he’s also not the national tragedy he’s looked like to date. One cannot strike out nearly 7.5 MLB batters per nine innings, maintain an above-average K/BB rate, and suck. Going forward, expect Relief Ho to have better moments and be at least the average bullpen piece that he’s being paid to be.