Ranking the Yankees’ starting rotation 49 games into the 2022 regular season

gerrit cole, yankees

The New York Yankees starting rotation has been phenomenal to open the 2022 season. Over 49 games, the highest ERA is hosted by Luis Severino at 3.38, which is good enough to be an ace for some teams.

With the Yankees offense struggling at times and injuries plaguing the team the past few weeks, the rotation has had to pick up the slack, which they’ve done admirably.

Ranking the Yankees’ starting rotation 49 games into the season:

1.) Nestor Cortes

Nestor Cortes has been the Yankees’ top starter right off the bat this season. He hosts a 1.70 ERA, 2.56 FIP, and 10.36 strikeouts per nine. His 7.4% home-run/fly-ball ratio is the best in his career, and he’s generating a 35.2% ground ball rate.

At this point, we can make the claim that Cortes is the team’s ace, overtaking the top spot from Gerrit Cole. Opposing batters are simply making weak contact since Cortes has now incorporated a lethal cutter into his arsenal. He’s utilizing his fastball at 41.2%, cutter at 39.7%, and mixing in a slider at 15.5%. However, the vast differentiation between his pitch velocity has kept hitters on edge. He’s throwing his fastball at 90.8 mph and slider at 76.9 mph.

If Cortes continues to pitch like this, he could be in the conversation for a Cy Young Award.

2.) Gerrit Cole

This season, Gerrit Cole has had his ups and downs but still hosts a 3.12 ERA. Over 57.2 innings, he’s generating 11.24 strikeouts per nine and a four-year low of 0.94 home runs per nine. After the MLB cracked down on spider tack last season, Cole had to find ways to supplement a loss of velocity and spin rate.

However, he’s averaging 97.6 mph on his fastball, but it’s also incorporating a cutter at 13.2%. The Yankees rotation has adopted a cutter across the board. Adding another pitch to the sequence has been extremely beneficial.

3.) Jordan Montgomery

Jordan Montgomery finally picked up his first win of the season on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels. He hosts a 3.04 ERA this season with 6.92 strikeouts per nine and a 46.2% ground ball rate. Montgomery hasn’t gotten proper run support from the offense, but he’s been lights out for the most part featuring as the team’s lone lefty starter.

The 29-year-old veteran is curating a 4.4% barrel percentage, the lowest since 2018. Interestingly, his numbers seem to be quite consistent across-the-board compared to previous years. Opposing batters are simply not making great contact. He also hosts a career-best 80.6% left on base rate, contributing to his success.

4.) Jameson Taillon

When the Yankees acquired Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates, they were hoping he could overcome a few injury struggles. So far, he’s looked solid this season, featuring a 2.49 ERA over 50.2 innings. His strikeouts have lessened a bit, but he’s not walking as many batters this season by a significant margin. In addition, he also posts a career-best 82.3% left on base rate. His 45.1% ground ball rate is 12% higher compared to last season. Jameson isn’t known for his strikeout prowess, but rather his great accuracy and weak contact from opposing batters.

Taillon has also seen an increase in pitches that are swung at outside the strike zone, elevating to 37% from 33.7% last year. He’s generating a bit more break on his pitches, which is directly correlated to consistency and a good bill of health.

5.) Luis Severino

Nobody knew what Luis Severino would accomplish coming off two Tommy John surgeries. He had only pitched 18 innings between 2019 and 2021. However, he’s earned a 3.38 ERA this season over 48 innings. While his strikeouts are down from his prime years back in 2017–18, he has done a good job bouncing back from significant injury. His fastball velocity sits at 96.3 mph, down about 1.3 mph from 2018 but above average nonetheless.  He’s also incorporated a cutter, using it on 9.4% of his pitches.

The return of Severino has been a fantastic addition to the Yankees rotation, and considering he’s locking down the final spot in the group, the team can be extremely optimistic about the rest of the 2022 season.