The Yankees have an All-Star pitcher emerging from the ashes

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

A year ago, the New York Yankees would have been satisfied with an average performance from Luis Gil, who was recovering from Tommy John surgery after an electrifying start to his MLB career in 2021. Back then, he recorded a 3.07 ERA over 29.1 innings but pitched only four innings in 2022 before the injury. After spending a full season rehabilitating, including a stint with the Yankees’ Single-A affiliate in 2023, Gil’s 2024 season start has exceeded all expectations.

From Recovery to Cy Young Contender

Emerging like a phoenix from the ashes, Gil isn’t just on track for an All-Star berth; he’s delivering a Cy Young-worthy performance. Despite expectations of regression, his stellar 2.11 ERA over 55.1 innings indicates he’s moving in the right direction. Gil boasts an impressive strikeout rate of 11.39 per nine innings, with an 81.4% left-on-base rate and a 39.2% ground ball rate.

Remarkably, Gil has allowed only two runs over his last five starts, totaling 24.1 innings, showcasing his dominance by aggressively locating his fastball and masterfully mixing his pitches.

MLB: Chicago White Sox at New York Yankees, luis gil
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Gil’s metrics are outstanding, ranking in the 99th percentile in pitching run value, 95th percentile in expected batting average, 92nd percentile in strikeout rate, and 93rd percentile in hard-hit percentage.

His arsenal includes a fastball averaging 96.5 mph, a change-up, and a slider. His four-seamer not only boasts a .151 batting average against but also delivers 35% whiffs, leading to 41 strikeouts this season. His change-up and slider are just as effective, with batters hitting .130 and .139 against them, respectively.

One of Gil’s key advantages is his fastball, which generates 11% more vertical movement than the average MLB pitcher, making it exceptionally challenging for batters to track, especially when combined with his deceptive change-up. This mix has proven nearly insurmountable for opponents, as evidenced by his recent dismantling of the Seattle Mariners, where he allowed just one hit and struck out eight over 6.1 innings.

The Yankees Face a Difficult Question

With Gerrit Cole’s impending return to the rotation, the Yankees face a tough decision. However, with Gil performing at such a high level, removing him from the rotation would be highly imprudent. His continued success not only secures his spot but also makes him a key player in the Yankees’ strategic planning for the season. As Gil continues to excel, the Yankees are well-advised to leverage his exceptional form for as long as possible.

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