The Yankees have a huge problem in the starting pitching rotation

Alexander Wilson
New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon

The New York Yankees have struggled after the All-Star break to put together wins as fatigue settles in. Several injuries and lacking their usual mojo have impacted the team’s success, but there’s no doubt they have enough aptitude to go on another lengthy hot streak.

General manager Brian Cashman made a big move at the trade deadline to acquire another starting pitcher, injecting more efficiency into the rotation with Frankie Montas. However, with moments left until the deadline, he traded left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for center fielder, Harrison Bader.

Cashman was obviously scouring the market for more starting pitching support, but nobody expected him to trade Montgomery in the waning moments.

The rotation has been inconsistent the past few weeks, especially with Gerrit Cole and his inability to stop giving up home runs. However, the biggest liability has been Jameson Taillon, arguably the team’s worst starter in that time frame.

The 30-year-old pitcher hosts a 3.96 ERA this season over 113.2 innings pitched. That is his best ERA since 2018 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but a few awful performances in July completely shifted his numbers.

The Yankees are quickly learning they can’t trust Jameson Taillon:

Taillon has earned 7.76 strikeouts per nine, a 74.8% left on base rate, and 39.9% ground ball rate, indicating he’s not generating as much weak contact as the Yankees had hoped for. Taillon is giving up a 39.4% flyball rate and 11.9% HR/FB ratio. His pull percentage of 44% indicates that hitters are making good contact and seeing the ball better than in the past.

In 2022, Taillon has utilized his 4-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and cutter primarily. He’s also sprinkled in a sinker and change-up on occasion, combining for about 20% of his total pitch usage. Taillon has seen a massive decrease in his FB usage, lowering from 49.5% to 34.4% (2021 to 2022). His 4-seam is generating a .254 batting average, .430 slugging percentage, a 24.9% whiff rate, and 19.5% put-away rate. His best pitch this season has been his curveball, generating a .193 BA, .298 slugging percentage, 29% whiff rate, and 20.2% put-away rate.

In the month of July, Taillon finished with a 5.04 ERA, giving up 11 earns runs in his first two outings. He had a better performance against the Kansas City Royals on July 28, blanking them over 6.0 innings, but was destroyed by the Seattle Mariners this past Tuesday, giving up five earned runs over 4.2 innings.

We can all but guarantee Jamo won’t play a factor come the postseason, especially since his efficiency has deteriorated as the season has worn on.

Interestingly, Taillon has been absolutely abysmal in the 1st and 3rd innings of games. Very similar to Gerrit Cole, coincidentally. Taillon hosts a 5.14 ERA over 21 innings, specifically pitching in the 1st. He’s given up 12 earned runs and four homers, identical numbers to his 3rd inning. Clearly, he’s having a tough time getting through the lineup right off the bat, performing well against the bottom half of the order but then once again being taken advantage of at the top.

The Yankees will continue to rely on Taillon as an important part of their rotation, but he’s becoming unpredictable, and that will impact how Aaron Boone utilizes him come the postseason.