Heading into the 2022 season, there were major concerns regarding the New York Yankees starting rotation. With Luis Severino coming off Tommy John surgery and Jameson Taillon having a tumultuous first season wearing pinstripes, expecting them to elevate their game was always optimistic.
However, both starters have left expectations by the wayside and put together phenomenal performances. Taillon currently hosts a 2.93 ERA over 67.2 innings and Severino a 2.80 ERA over 61 innings.
Overall, the Yankees’ starting rotation has been one of the best in baseball. When Gerrit Cole has the worst ERA of any pitcher on the team, you know that things are going well. Nestor Cortes has completely blown everybody out of the water with a 1.96 ERA over 64.1 innings.
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Don’t forget about a surging Yankees bullpen:
The bullpen has been equally as impressive this season. They feature a dominant Clay Holmes, an exciting Michael King, and plenty of supplemental arms.
The Yankees recently underwent a bit of adversity with Aroldis Chapman being placed on the injured list with Achilles tendinitis, Chad Green undergoing Tommy John surgery, and Jonathan Loáisiga suffering from shoulder inflammation. In addition to their losses, starting pitcher Luis Gil also underwent Tommy John, so the Yankees have faced a few roadblocks.
There were questions regarding the team’s overall depth, but so far, players have stepped up admirably in the absence of regular starters. For example, Wandy Peralta has taken on a bigger role in recent days, featuring a 1.61 ERA over 22.1 innings pitched. While he features a career-low 5.24 strikeouts per nine, he hasn’t given up a home run this season and hosts an 81% left on base rate. Peralta has reduced his four-seam fastball usage and reallocated toward a sinker, tossing it at 37.8%. Pitching coach Matt Blake has done a remarkable job incorporating a sinker and cutter into both the starting and bullpen units.
The resurgence of Manny Bañuelos:
Aside from Peralta, the Yankees have also leaned on Manny Bañuelos to help supplement injury. Over 7.0 innings of action this season, Bañuelos has earned a 1.29 ERA with 9.0 strikeouts per nine and an 83.3% left on base rate. Considering Bañuelos has bounced around the MLB and failed to find a regular home, his comeback is inspiring. Bañuelos features a fastball, sinker, change-up, slider, and cutter. He has predominantly utilized his fastball, sinker, and slider this year as his primary pitches.
Opposing hitters are having a difficult time making contact with his curveball, striking out four batters on seven plate appearances. It is incredible what Matt Blake has managed to accomplish injecting new pitches into the rotation and bullpen, playing off one another.
It is also important to note the success of Ron Marinaccio over the past few games, the Yankees’ 26-year-old right-handed bullpen arm. Marinaccio has struck out six batters in his last four innings, finally settling down after a few jittery starts to open the season. If he can become a more consistent option, the Bombers will have more bullpen arms than they can possibly use.
Speaking of an unlimited number of quality arms, the Yankees have also gotten a ton of value out of Miguel Castro. The Bombers traded Joely Rodriguez to the New York Mets in exchange for Castro, a flamethrower.
This season, Castro hosts a 2.89 ERA with 9.16 strikeouts per nine. However, Castro has been getting better as the season has progressed. Casro features a 97.9 mph sinker which he throws 38.5% of the time. He also incorporates a slider at 40.2% and a change up at 21.3%. Considering Rodriguez hosts a 5.40 ERA this season, it seems as if the Yankees got the better end of the trade.
Replacing Luis Gil as the No. 6:
There was a bit of worry when Luis Gil went down given he was the first alternate in the starting rotation. The Yankees didn’t skip a beat. Management gave 26-year-old lefty JP Sears an opportunity to showcase his talent at the Major League level. Sears pitched 5.0 innings against the Baltimore Orioles, giving up three hits and striking out five batters. It is incredible to see the depth the Yankees have with both starting pitchers and relief arms. They are still working on getting back Loáisiga and Chapman, let alone the expected return of Zack Britton in August.
Don’t forget about Domingo German, who is set to participate in a Minor League game this week. He could potentially make an impact down the road in the starting rotation or as a middle-inning relief arm.