The Yankees have a Cy Young candidate emerging from nowhere

May 18, 2024; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil (81) reacts after the final out in the top of the sixth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees showcased their dominance with an 8–1 victory over the Boston Red Sox this Friday, led by an impressive offensive onslaught and solid pitching. Alex Verdugo, a former Red Sox player, was particularly punishing against his old team, delivering three hits and driving in four runs.

“It was pure adrenaline, just fired up. Wasn’t really expecting to swing at the first pitch and to put it out of the ballpark and give us the early 2-0 lead was big. I kind of let a little yell out when I rounded first, and when I hit second, I saw my dugout going crazy, so I just kind of lost it again.”

Overall, the Yankees amassed 10 hits, effectively dismantling Boston’s starting pitcher Brayan Bello, who conceded six hits and four runs over 4.2 innings.

Luis Gil’s Ascent in the Yankees’ Rotation

Yankees starting pitcher Luis Gil also made headlines with an outstanding performance on the mound. In five innings, Gil allowed only four hits and one earned run while striking out six batters. Despite issuing four walks—a persistent issue for him—Gil managed to reduce his ERA to an impressive 2.03 for the season, marking him as a contender for the Cy Young award and giving him the best ERA in the American League.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees, luis gil
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gil’s stats are notable, with an average of 10.80 strikeouts per nine innings, an 83.3% left-on-base rate, and a 38% ground ball rate over 80 innings. He is also leading in the 100th percentile in pitching run value thanks to one of the sport’s most formidable fastballs, which averages 96.6 mph. This pitch alone has held opposing batters to a .134 average, with a 31.2% whiff rate and a 25.8% put-away rate, and produces a daunting 11.9 inches of vertical movement. Additionally, his slider features a gyroscopic movement with 29.2 inches of vertical drop, and his rarely-seen change-up blazes across the plate at 91.7 mph.

Gil’s current pitch repertoire, though limited to three primary pitches, has been effective, but the Yankees are considering expanding his arsenal to include a fourth pitch to further confound batters as they become more familiar with his techniques.

As the Yankees await the return of Cole from rehabilitation in the next few weeks, Gil’s stellar performance has been a cornerstone of the team’s strong rotation. Positioned well for his first All-Star appearance, Gil could potentially advance towards a Cy Young award if he maintains his current level of performance throughout the season.

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