The New York Yankees are gearing up to face off against the Houston Astros on Thursday in a doubleheader. The Bombers still haven’t decided who their starting pitchers will be, but they announced that left-handed rookie JP Sears will be appointed as their 27th man.
Per the Yankees:
Prior to today’s doubleheader, the Yankees appointed LHP JP Sears (#92) as their “27th Man.”
Sears has been solid this season over 19 innings. He features a 1.42 ERA, 6.63 strikeouts per nine, a 44.2% ground-ball rate, and 83.3% left on base rate.
Sears has made six appearances this season, giving up two earned runs and striking out five batters in his last outing against the Cincinnati Reds. That was easily his most tumultuous performance of the season, but he didn’t look poor by any means, throwing just a few inaccurately located pitches but was otherwise efficient.
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Taking a look at Sears’s pitches:
Sears features a 4-seam fastball, slider, and change-up. He throws his fastball 60.7% of the time, with opposing batters hitting .270 against it with a .324 slugging percentage. He’s generating a 22.4% WHIFF rate and 22.2% put-away rate with his fastball, averaging out at 93.7 mph. It is interesting to see his fastball as his primary strikeout pitch, recording 10 over 37 at-bats.
He’s throwing his slider at just 22.1%, landing at 81 mph on average with a .091 batting average against. He’s generated two strikeouts using his slider with a 26.3% WHIFF rate. His change-up is his least used pitch at 17.2%, but opposing hitters are batting just .111 against it. It is really interesting to see his 4-seam generating such high strikeout numbers. He’s getting 17.3 inches of drop on his FB and 12.7 inches of horizontal break. That is 37% more break than the average pitcher in horizontal movement, which is impacting opposing batters’ depth perception.
In addition, he hosts a 97% active spin rate, which indicates the positive momentum curated by spin from a pitcher. That is a fantastic number for Sears, who adds an interesting element as a lefty.
Yankees have gotten tremendous value out of some of their younger pitchers this season, but Sears has been a bright spot from the starting slot. It is possible they could use him on Thursday during the doubleheader to mitigate fatigue following a few days off during the All-Star break.