New York Yankees: What The Starting Pitching Rotation Could Look Like

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees starting pitching rotation will take a few weeks to shake out, as the acquisition of James Paxton forced the team to reconsider their 2018 unit. My biggest question going into spring training is who will be the No.3 pitcher.

Undoubtedly, J.A. Happ and Luis Severino will act as the No.1 and No.2 pitchers. I would assume Happ emerges as the top option and Severino close behind. But, does Masahiro Tanaka or Paxton deserve the No.3 spot?

Tanaka had a stellar 2018. He struggled in the first inning of games but improved as the game progressed. He finished the year with a 3.75 ERA, 159 strikeouts, and 12 wins. His performance certainly earns him the advantage, especially since he has experience in Yankee Stadium.

Paxton is coming off a solid year as well — 3.76 ERA, 208 strikeouts, and 11 wins. His performance was arguably just as impressive as Tanaka’s. Both have the merit to be the No.3 but I would give the advantage to Tanaka, simply due to his experience in New York and dominance in the Bronx.

I do love Paxton’s velocity and strikeout rate, but batters seem to hit his pitches hard when they do make contact. Staying healthy will be his major priority in 2019, as he’s extremely productive when on the mound. Tanaka, on the other hand, has two deadly pitches — splitter and slider. He heavily relies on his splitter to increase his K%. He arguably has the best splitter in baseball, and if that pitch is moving he’s one of the better options on the team.

Predicting the starting pitching rotation for the New York Yankees:

1.) J.A. Happ

2.) Luis Severino

3.) Masahiro Tanaka

4.) James Paxton

5.) CC Sabathia

This rotation could change as the season goes on. I would anticipate Severino making the jump to No.1 and Paxton could rotate with Tanaka between No.3 and 4. Nonetheless, the Yankees have a ton of talent on the unit but don’t have a true “ace.”