The New York Yankees picked apart their pitching depth this off-season to acquire Alex Verdugo, Juan Soto, and Trent Grisham. Young players expected to make an impact out of the bullpen or as spot starters are long gone at this point, meaning the team needs to supplement their departure.
Fortunately, the Yankees have a few young arms looking to make an impact into 2024, notably Will Warren. Warren has a good arsenal of pitches and enjoyed a 3.61 ERA across 99.2 innings in Triple-A this past season. However, one low-key pitcher could help the team, Luis Gil.
If you are unfamiliar with Gil, it is primarily because he has suffered a few injuries over the past few years, but his stuff is legit. At 25 years old, Gil averages in the upper 90s with his fastball but only pitched four innings last year, coming off Tommy John surgery. He has 33.1 innings of work at the MLB level, hosting a 3.78 ERA, including 11.61 strikeouts per 9 and a 77.3% left-on-base rate. He has the potential to develop into a nice bullpen piece, which is precisely what pitching coach Matt Blake may envision for the prospect.
“He had some success with us as a starter with largely a fastball-slider arsenal with a little bit of a changeup,” Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake told the Daily News at the Winter Meetings. “So probably a little bit leaner arsenal for a traditional starter, which would lean itself to maybe a bullpen role. But I don’t think we’d necessarily push him that way right now. We want to play out the starter component and see if we can keep building on that with the idea that you always have the bullpen to kind of lean on.”
[su_posts template=”templates/list-loop.php” posts_per_page=”3″ tax_term=”1622326″ offset=”1″ order=”desc”]
The Yankees Could Use Luis Gil in 2024
Blake sees Gil as a player who could have value in a relief role. Given his fastball/slider combination, the Yankees can play off that. In 2021, he threw his fastball 53.4% of the time, averaging 96.1 mph and generating a .240 batting average against. However, his slider was tantalizing, producing a .135 batting average with a 37.5% whiff rate and 28.2% put-away rate. Of course, it is important to note that this was two years ago, and Gil has since undergone significant surgery and has barely pitched in that timeframe.
Nonetheless, he has age on his side, and Gil could easily make a full recovery and help the Yankees during the 2024 season. Fortunately, he’s been throwing this winter, ramping up his program ahead of spring training in several months. He did manage to get a few starts at the end of last season, throwing a total of 52 pitches, which is at least good for his recovery.
For now, the Yankees are focused on getting him healthy and in peak condition before utilizing him as a regular arm. Nonetheless, he has one minor option left, and the Yankees will be looking to use that strategically this upcoming year.