On Wednesday, the New York Yankees are scheduled to face off against the Baltimore Orioles in the series finale, but they will be trotting out an unfamiliar face as the starting pitcher.
After Luis Gil suffered a UCL injury that will require Tommy John surgery, the Yankees were forced to call upon a different option. This time around, it is JP Sears who has been dominating with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Sears, who is a left-handed pitcher, is 26 years old, spending the past three seasons with the Yankees farm system. Sears has dominated every step of the way. He’s completely annihilating Triple-A batters this season, hosting a 0.83 ERA, 12.46 strikeouts per nine, and a career-best 0.83 walks per nine.
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“(…) He’s got a real chance to take a turn in a big league rotation every five days (…) Of the 40-man pitchers who aren’t currently projected in the Yankees’ Opening Day rotation, Sears is arguably the most stable strike-thrower. He has a 2.6 career BB/9 and his command has weaponized his stuff enough to flummox Triple-A hitters, at least. Sears sits about 93 mph and his fastball lives off its angle at the top of the zone, which is hard to hit. He also has a swing-and-miss slider that has great back-foot angle against righties. He alters his release somewhat when throwing the slider but hitters haven’t been able to pick that up so far. A great on-mound athlete, Sears may yet develop a better changeup but for now it’s a fringe pitch. He’s a low-variance fifth starter prospect.”
This is a huge opportunity for JP Sears:
This year, Sears has made two appearances for the Yankees in a relief role. He’s pitched 2.0 innings and succeeded to stifle offensive production. The question is, can JP handle the load of a starting pitcher?
If he can put together an efficient performance against Baltimore on Wednesday, one of the more manageable opponents in the MLB, he could lock down the six spot in the rotation.