Yankees’ $162 million pitcher is collapsing after red-hot start

MLB: New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels
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The New York Yankees are going through an extremely difficult stretch, having lost six of their last seven series, including a recent demolition by the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday. With the All-Star break just about three weeks away, it’s clear that both their pitching and offense have been lackluster.

Collapse of the Yankees’ Starting Rotation

However, the more pressing issue lies with the Yankees’ starting rotation, which is falling apart not due to injury but rather due to poor performance. Carlos Rodon, their $162 million pitching acquisition in 2023, is experiencing a dramatic collapse this season. After starting with an ERA around 3.00 heading into June, Rodon’s performance has drastically declined.

MLB: New York Yankees at San Diego Padres, carlos rodon
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Carlos Rodon’s Alarming Deterioration

Fast forward to the present day, and Rodon now has a 4.42 ERA, a 4.54 FIP, and 8.84 strikeouts per nine. His 75.5% left-on-base rate and a 35% ground ball rate are concerning, coupled with allowing 1.54 home runs per nineā€”his second-highest mark since 2017. Most of the damage to Rodon’s ERA has occurred in his last three starts, where over 13.2 innings, he has given up 20 earned runs, including five homers.

In other words, Rodon has been one of the worst starting pitchers in baseball recently, and his struggles aren’t related to injury. He has notably lost his confidence and was visibly upset in the dugout after poor performances. His metrics have plummeted to worrying levels, with a 25th percentile xERA at 4.65 and ranking in the 11th percentile in barrel rate and 16th percentile in hard-hit rate.

Analyzing Rodon’s Pitching Woes

Opposing batters are not only making contact but are slugging off him. His four-seam fastball, used 50.7% of the time, is generating a .290 expected batting average and a .608 expected slugging percentage. Despite maintaining decent velocity, his fastball has become problematic, possibly due to increased horizontal movement that causes it to drift back into the strike zone.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles, carlos rodon
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Broader Pitching Issues Beyond Rodon

Rodon isn’t the only pitcher struggling; Gerrit Cole is having a hard time rebounding from a nerve injury to his elbow, Nestor Cortes has been volatile and is regressing, and Luis Gil, although currently holding a 3.15 ERA, has seen a recent uptick from around 2.00 for the better part of two months.

Looking Ahead: Yankees’ Trade Deadline and Recovery Hopes

It was only a matter of time before the Yankees experienced massive regression across the rotation, but no one expected it to occur simultaneously. The hope is that the team will overcome this rough patch and start to accumulate wins as the All-Star break approaches. General manager Brian Cashman will need to be proactive at the trade deadline, but most importantly, he needs his current roster to step up and regain their form.

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