With the news breaking that New York Yankees No. 2 starter Luis Severino will likely succumb to Tommy John surgery, manager Aaron Boone will need to find a replacement for him in the rotation.
James Paxton is already facing a lengthy recovery after having a cyst removed from his lower back, so losing two pitchers for significant time will force others to slot in at the end of the rotation. Thank goodness GM Brian Cashman retained J.A. Happ after all since his services will be heavily required in 2020.
However, Severino and Paxton’s injury gives multiple youngsters an opportunity as starting level pitchers. The return of Jordan Montgomery will prove to be significant, and his outing against the Pittsburg Pirates on Monday was exactly what the Yankees needed to see regarding their confidence in him.
Montgomery pitched 2.0 innings, striking out three batters and walking one. He allowed zero earned runs, finishing a quality night. I expect him to slot in as the No. 4 starter while Paxton recovers, and then move down to No. 5. While Monty didn’t feature much in 2019 due to injury, his first two seasons (2017-18) saw him toss two consecutive sub-4.00 ERA campaigns.
How will the New York Yankees supplement the No. 5 spot?
The Bombers don’t have a solidified No. 5 pitcher to take the reigns and handle the final spot in the rotation with consistency. I believe they will utilize a rotating system in the last slot, consisting of Michael King, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Jonathan Holder.
The 2020 season will be King’s rookie campaign, after pitching just several innings in 2019 at the major league level. He had some consistency issues in the minor league’s but is ready to be called up and tested. Loaisiga, on the other hand, finished 2019 with a 4.55 ERA, allowing six homers and logging 37 strikeouts. I expect him to take a step forward in the coming year after working on developing his off-speed pitches. He has added a solid changeup to his arsenal of mostly fastball variations, giving him that extra diversity to confuse batters.
Holder, though, shouldn’t be cast aside. While Holder posted a 6.31 ERA in 2019, he logged 46 strikeouts over 41.1 innings. His SO9 land at 10.0, which is quite impressive, indicating a solid whiff rate. His low 90s fastball isn’t anything to write home about, but he does feature a changeup, slider, cutter, and curveball. His cutter and fastball are his best pitches in terms of accuracy and velocity, but he has the offspeed mojo to get the job done.
Overall, I think the Yankees have the talent to survive the injuries sustained to the starting rotation, and hopefully, they can gain back Severino before the postseason hits later on in 2020.