The Yankees are facing a great problem in the starting rotation

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels, luis gil
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are facing a delightful dilemma in their starting rotation with Gerrit Cole’s impending return. Cole, coming off a Cy Young award-winning season in 2023, is poised to significantly boost the team’s efficiency as he reintegrates into the lineup.

Currently, the Yankees’ rotation boasts the best ERA in baseball at 2.76, comfortably ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies, who hold a 3.08 ERA. Despite being without Cole, the Yankees have excelled, allowing only 156 runs compared to Philly’s 176, underlining their dominance.

The Yankees’ Rising Stars and Dependable Veterans

Luis Gil continues to impress, delivering another stellar performance against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday. He pitched eight innings, allowed just one earned run and two hits, and struck out nine batters. This season, he maintains a 1.99 ERA with 11.23 strikeouts per nine innings and an 83% left-on-base rate over 63.1 innings.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
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Clarke Schmidt, only in his second year as a primary starter, has a 2.52 ERA across 60.2 innings and is enjoying a career-high 9.94 strikeouts per nine with an 84.1% left-on-base rate. At just 28 years old and under contract until 2028, Schmidt represents one of several high-profile, cost-effective arms the Yankees will control for the coming years.

Nestor Cortes, also considered a budget-friendly asset, is recovering from a challenging 2023, where he pitched 63.1 innings with a 4.97 ERA. This season, he has a 3.30 ERA and could be considered an ace on many other teams. With a 75.6% left-on-base rate and a 3.38 FIP, Cortes is finding his rhythm and compiling a solid season. He is under contract until 2026, earning $3.95 million through arbitration this year.

The Yankees also have Carlos Rodon, who is showing signs of excellence with a 2.95 ERA over 61 innings and an 87.2% left-on-base rate. Rodon has been formidable lately, yielding just three earned runs over his last 18 innings.

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres, carlos rodon
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With a significant offseason investment in Marcus Stroman, who currently holds a 2.76 ERA over 62 innings, the Yankees’ rotation continues to challenge and elevate each other, with four of the five starters sporting ERAs below 3.00.

Optimal Problems: Managing a Surplus of Pitchers

Once Cole returns, the Yankees will face the optimal problem of having an abundance of quality pitchers. In previous seasons, the team struggled to assemble a competent rotation due to injuries and inconsistencies. However, they are now operating at full capacity, boasting the league’s top unit—even without their reigning Cy Young award winner.

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