Yankees could scoop up low-risk, high reward starting pitcher

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The Milwaukee Brewers, prior to Friday evening, were exploring options for their right-handed starting pitcher, 30-year-old Brandon Woodruff. Following a shoulder injury that will sideline him for most of the 2024 season, Woodruff was non-tendered, making him a free agent. This development presents an intriguing opportunity for the New York Yankees to potentially sign Woodruff at a minimal cost, with the prospect of his recovery and possible impact in late 2024 or 2025.

Woodruff’s Market Value and Fit with the Yankees

Woodruff has demonstrated exceptional performance, evidenced by his 2.28 ERA over 67 innings in his recent season. With a history of strong seasons in 2021 and 2022, where he pitched over 150 innings each year with an ERA of 3.05 or better, Woodruff has established himself as an above-average starter. Now available at a significantly reduced price due to his injury, he poses an attractive option for teams seeking pitching talent.

MLB.com reports that the Brewers had contemplated a team-friendly extension or a potential trade for Woodruff but were unable to reach a conclusion. For the Yankees, securing Woodruff on a contract that provides future reinforcements at an affordable rate could prove to be a strategic move. Despite the possibility of him missing the 2024 season, such a signing would be a forward-looking decision, focusing on strengthening the team in the long term.

Woodruff features a four-seam fastball, sinker, and change-up as his primary three pitches. He throws a slider and curveball occasionally, but his fastball is his bread and butter. His four-seamer produced a .177 batting average with a 31.4% whiff rate and 23.7% put-away rate. His sinker generated a .193 batting average, reaching 95 mph on average.

He has a sequence array of pitches featuring good velocity and location. He ranked in the 95th percentile in xERA and the 87th percentile in strikeout rate. He had great Pitching Run Value and Fastball Run Value, something the Yankees prefer in their pitchers.

While his strikeouts dipped below 10 per nine for the first time since 2018, he should be able to get right back on the horse once he’s available, and he’s only 30 years old, meaning he probably has a few good years left before age takes its toll.

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