The Yankees have a new ace in town with Gerrit Cole still on the mend

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays, luis gil
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees are providing star pitcher Gerrit Cole with all the time necessary to recover from a nerve injury to his throwing elbow. Despite not setting a timetable for a rehab assignment, Cole demonstrated significant progress in his third bullpen session by tossing 29 pitches. He is anticipated to return to the mound in June.

In the interim, the Yankees have maintained their competitive edge, backed by one of the best bullpens in baseball and a starting rotation that continues to perform well, albeit with some inconsistency.

Cole’s Recovery and Yankees’ Current Stand

Amidst Cole’s absence, Luis Gil has emerged as a standout performer, potentially securing the number two spot in the rotation upon Cole’s return.

This season, Gil has pitched 43 innings with a stellar 2.51 ERA, including impressive stats such as 10.05 strikeouts per nine innings, a 79.9% left-on-base rate, and a 38.4% ground ball rate. His performance over the past three starts has been particularly noteworthy, allowing just one earned run across 18.1 innings.

Gil’s Dominant Performance and Future Prospects

On Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Gil excelled by pitching six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and striking out three batters. He expressed satisfaction with his ability to pitch a full six innings, recognizing the importance of endurance in his role.

“The really important thing about today’s game was being able to pitch six innings,” Gil said through a translator.

MLB: Houston Astros at New York Yankees, luis gil
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Despite initial concerns about managing Gil’s innings this season, his robust performance has not only allayed those fears but also built substantial momentum and confidence. With Gerrit Cole’s return on the horizon, the Yankees could plan to enhance Gil’s position within the rotation rather than sideline him, acknowledging his significant contributions and potential for long-term impact.

Gil ranks highly across several metrics, including being in the 98th percentile for pitching run value and having a 91st percentile expected batting average against of .190. His fastball, which averages 96.4 mph, places him in the 87th percentile for velocity and the 86th percentile for limiting hard-hit balls. This pitch has been particularly effective, holding opposing batters to a .155 average and achieving a 28.9% whiff rate.

His arsenal also includes a change-up and a slider. The change-up has baffled hitters, who are batting just .118 against it, while his slider, though used less frequently, has been highly effective with a .148 batting average against and a 30.4% whiff rate.

As Luis Gil continues to develop and excel post-Tommy John surgery, the Yankees are witnessing his transformation into the high-caliber pitcher they envisioned back in 2021, making his current performance all the more remarkable.

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