The Yankees traded away a significant number of pitchers this off-season to acquire several outfielders. Notably, landing Juan Soto, Alex Verdugo, and Trent Grisham cost them a pretty penny. The notable departure was Michael King, a homegrown talent who was expected to make the transition to the starting rotation in 2024.
Losing King certainly opened up a major hole, but the Yankees also traded two quality arms in Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, both of whom had carved out a nice role for themselves and expected to be impact options out of the bullpen or spot starters next season. The Yankees will have to supplement that loss, and one that could end up having a valuable role is Luis Gil.
Gil is coming off Tommy John surgery, having pitched only four innings last season in A-ball down in Tampa. However, Gil put together some exciting numbers back in 2021, tossing 29.1 innings in the MLB, featuring a 3.07 ERA, 11.66 strikeouts per nine, an 84.3% left-on-base rate, and 32.4% ground ball rate. His velocity hovered around 96.1 mph, but that number skyrocketed to 97.2 mph in 2022 when he made just one appearance and lasted four innings.
Having gone through a significant injury, the expectation is his velocity may dip a bit in his return, but Gil has plenty of potential at 25 years old and the Yankees have a minor league option they can utilize.
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The Yankees Are Eyeing the Return of Luis Gil
Earlier this week, Gil posted a video on social media throwing a bullpen session, with some movement and velocity clearly working its way back into the fold.
Gil utilizes a four-seam fastball and slider combination, a preferable sequence when it comes to pitching coach Matt Blake’s preference.
Of course, mixing in a sinker might be ideal, but his fastball has good velocity and does profile well for the majors. However, back in 2021, he threw his slider 209 times, producing a .135 batting average with a 37.5% whiff rate and 28.2% put-away rate. It represented his primary strikeout pitch, and it should act in a similar fashion if he can work his way into the bullpen this year.
Given the fact the Yankees haven’t made any significant acquisitions to support their pitching, players like Gil will have to step up and hold their own. Fortunately, it seems as if he’s trending in the right direction following elbow surgery and he should be ready to contribute early next season, given he can crack the MLB roster.