Do the Yankees have a secret weapon in the starting pitching rotation?

New York Yankees, Jordan Montgomery

The return of the Last Jedi, I mean Luis Severino, will give the Yankees a considerable boost in efficiency regarding the starting pitching rotation. Severino’s health is imperative to the overall success of the team, and losing him for virtually all of 2019 was significant, despite the Bomber’s securing 103 wins.

Expecting lesser players to crawl out of the woodwork to save the day in 2020 is a perverse logic, as what the Yankees did last season with the likes of Cameron Maybin, Brett Gardner, Mike Tauchman, and Gio Urshela is unheard of. General manager Brian Cashman has put the team in an advantageous position, signing Gerrit Cole and retaining Gardner, who will start in centerfield until Aaron Hicks returns from injury.

Other moves are expected to follow in the coming days, especially with star relief arm Josh Hader hanging in the balance. However, the secret weapon for the Yankees isn’t Severino, Cole, or any other big-name that litters the roster like a bunch of underage kids drinking Bug Lights behind a grocery store.

The player of notice is Jordan Montgomery, who has pitched two seasons of sub-4.00 ERA baseball, earning a solidified spot in the starting rotation. In an ideal world, Cashman would unload J.A. Happ’s $17 million per year contract off the books, making more room for Monty.

Can the Yankees expect Jordan Montgomery to bounce back?

After succumbing to Tommy John surgery in 2018, Jordan missed all of 2019 recovering. His latest bill of action was in 2017, where he logged a 3.88 ERA over 155.1 innings. Montgomery features a deadly curveball, which was his most frequent pitch over his two-year stint of health.

While using his curve, Monty recorded a .175 batting average against opposing hitters, a .281 slugging percentage, and a 42.8% whiff rate (2017). His fastball is probably his worst pitch, while he also utilized an above-average changeup and slider, giving him a reliable arsenal of options to work through batters.

His influence on the team should be far more significant than we imagine. The expectation is that he will slot in at the 5th spot in the rotation, behind Cole, James Paxton, Severino, and Masahiro Tanaka. When your worst starter has the quality that Mongtomery has, you can justify a bit of premature excitement.