The Yankees didn’t make too many additions this off-season, as general manager Brian Cashman focused heavily on retaining Aaron Judge. The superstar slugger coming off an MVP season landed a nine-year, $360 million deal, cashing in big time while strapping the Yankees financially to a degree. The only other big signing they made was Carlos Rodon, one of the best starting pitchers on the market, coming off a second consecutive dominant campaign with the San Francisco Giants.
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The Yankees are getting a sneak-peak at Carlos Rodon’s quality:
Rodon only has a few days of action with the Yankees since pitchers and catchers reported, but he’s already leaving his mark among the clubhouse and showcasing his quality.
According to Randy Miller of NJ.com, Higgy was gushing over Rodon after practice.
“I like Rodon a lot,” Higashioka said. “He’s a great pitcher and he fits right in in our clubhouse. I can’t wait to see what he does this season.”
In 2022, the 30-year-old lefty hosted a 2.88 ERA and 2.91 xFIP across 178 innings. He enjoyed 12 strikeouts per nine with a 75.1% left-on-base rate and 34.1% ground ball rate. He posted the lowest HR/FB ratio in his entire career at 6.5%, giving up 0.61 home runs per nine.
By all accounts, Rodon should add a different element to the rotation alongside Gerrit Cole, providing the club with a nasty 1-2 punch.
One of the more exciting pitches that Rodon contains is his slider. He threw his slider 31.1% of the time last year, generating a .193 batting average against with a 39% whiff rate and 24.2% put-away rate. That pitch specifically produced 54% more horizontal movement and 8% more vertical movement than the average pitcher.
“Oh yeah, I’ve seen that slider before,” Higashioka said with a grin standing in front of his locker. “And ‘seen’ is a word you can maybe use loosely. I don’t know how much I saw of it. I swung at it!”
The Yankees have two lefties in their starting rotation with Rodon and Nestor Cortés. That is a rarity, but that type of diversity and the elite stuff that comes with both arms will certainly be a significant variable in the Yankees’ expected success.
“He looked really good,” Higgy said. “He was kind of getting after it. He’s not even at 100 percent yet and his fastball still had tons of ride to it. His slider was nasty. Really nasty. He threw a couple curveballs. Those were nasty, too.”