A Ray of Hope: Yankees’ pitching gearing up for elite reinforcements

carlos rodon, yankees
Feb 17, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Carlos Rodon (55) throws a live bullpen session as he works out at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In recent weeks, the New York Yankees‘ performance has been dominated by impressive starting pitching, even as their offense has floundered.

The team’s recent series with the Texas Rangers saw the Bombers restrict their opponents to just four runs at most, while the Oakland Athletics were limited to just two runs in a match on Tuesday night. If the Yankees’ hitters can reverse their current trajectory, the team is set for success, especially with more pitching power on the way.

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Rodon’s Return: A Major Boost for the Yankees’ Rotation

Brian Cashman, the Yankees’ General Manager, secured Carlos Rodon on a six-year, $162 million deal this past off-season. However, Rodon has yet to throw a pitch for the Yankees.

After two successful rehab assignments, Rodon is set to rejoin the team on July 7. With a 2.37 ERA in 2021 and 2.88 ERA in 2022, while playing for the White Sox and Giants, Rodon’s return is eagerly anticipated.

Rodon’s standout 2022 season saw him achieve a 2.91 xFIP, 12 strikeouts per nine, a 75.1% left-on-base rate, a 34.1% ground ball rate, and a 6.5% HR/FB ratio over 178 innings.

Although an unforeseen chronic back injury has sidelined him for several months, careful management and treatment have helped him recover. His future performance may be impacted by this setback, but there’s no denying that his return is a significant boost for the team.

Promising Performances: The Young Brito and Returning Hamilton

The Yankees’ rotation also benefits from 25-year-old rookie Jhony Brito’s performances. Despite a season ERA of 4.70, Brito’s 46.5% ground ball rate over 51.2 innings is promising. Having recently bounced back from a demotion to Triple-A, Brito has shown resilience, giving up only two earned runs over his last 12.1 innings.

The bullpen, too, remains a strength for the Yankees, with a strong squad that consistently ranks at the top of the league. This unit is set to be further strengthened by the return of 28-year-old Ian Hamilton, who is currently nursing a groin injury. Despite his injury, Hamilton boasts a 1.23 ERA and 2.26 xFIP over 22 innings this season.

The Struggle for Offensive Power

Despite the solid state of the Yankees’ pitching department, they are in desperate need of increased offensive output, particularly from their high-earning veterans. The team’s future success will rely heavily on their ability to leverage the strengths of their pitchers and reignite their offense.