Yankees get strong performances from young starters in split-squad wins

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Following the news that Gerrit Cole would need an MRI on his elbow, the Yankees have a dark cloud over their organization as they try to figure out how long they’ll be without their ace. What does help however is seeing some of their pitching depth toss brilliant outings in Spring Training and look crisp. It would be two yet-to-debut prospects in the form of Clayton Beeter and Will Warren getting the starts today on the road against the Phillies and at home against the Orioles respectively.

Both were brilliant, but the most exciting performance arguably came from Luis Gil, who carved the Phillies up, there were plenty of overall positives from their two Spring Training contests

Young Starts Excel in Yankees’ Two-Win Day

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

While the Yankees are awaiting news on their ace, they got some huge performances from various young arms that took the mound this afternoon. Will Warren was the first to get his afternoon going, and while his command was spotty, walking three batters in his three innings of work, he’d work around some jams to allow just one run and punch out two batters. The right-hander displayed an excellent array of pitches headlined by his dominant sweeper, and while his starter was the weaker of the two the Yankees got today, it was still a good sign.

There were multiple situations, most notably in the first and second innings, where Warren would need to bunker down and get some big outs, and he was able to get the job done. He collected some impressive swings and misses, but he’d be outdone by Triple-A teammate Clayton Beeter. Getting the start in Clearwater, Beeter would be tasked with facing a Phillies team that was rolling out their top lineup, and he was brilliant. Striking out four batters while walking none, his slider was nasty, registering a 64% Whiff% in his four scoreless innings of work.

READ MORE: Yankees: Initial feeling is that there isn’t ‘extreme concern’ regarding Gerrit Cole’s injury

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at New York Yankees
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Both he and Will Warren will be in the mix for a potential spot in the rotation if Gerrit Cole is to miss time with the elbow injury, which at this point seems pretty likely. Both arms have been built up in Triple-A last year and are prepared to handle the workload of an entire season if needed, and they’re leaving strong impressions thus far in Spring. That being said, the name that shined above all was Luis Gil, who struck out eight batters in just 3.2 innings of work, registering a 58% Whiff% and hitting 100 MPH on the radar gun.

His slider shape seems to be completely different, he may be throwing a cutter or more of a gyro slider, but the increased vertical break and decreased horizontal break seem to indicate something of a cutter-slider hybrid. While his sweeping slider was an excellent pitch, this might be better suited for his repertoire as he can throw it to lefties and righties, and the lack of horizontal movement might also make it much easier to command. The most interesting development was his changeup, as Gil threw it aggressively and often for strikes and got some ugly swings on the pitch.

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

With how good his four-seamer is, if the changeup is there he might be able to throw more pitches out of the zone for chases, as we know the stuff is good enough to get outs in the zone. He can overpower hitters pretty reliably, and there’s a lot of excitement regarding his new mix. The stuff is tantalizing and the command looks sharp as he has 14 strikeouts to just three walks in his 8.1 innings of work thus far in Spring Training. These three arms will continue to battle for a chance to perhaps make the Opening Day roster when they depart for Houston.

On the offensive side of the ball, Austin Wells continues to do damage as he drove a ball to the warning track for a bases-clearing double, collecting three RBIs on the day. Alex Verdugo and Caleb Durbin would both have multi-hit days, and Anthony Rizzo would reach base three times via a hit and two walks, continuing a pretty strong Spring Training for the veteran first baseman. The offense wasn’t quite as potent in Clearwater however, as the Yankees mustered just two runs on a home run from Oscar Gonzalez, although young prospect Roderick Arias collected a hit in his first game of the Spring.

Both the hits from Wells and Gonzalez would prove to be game-winning hits, as the Yankees would win by two runs against the Orioles (5-3) and by the skin of their teeth against the Phillies (2-1), as they pick up two wins in the split-squad day. The Yankees will travel to Dunedin to face the Blue Jays tomorrow at 1:05 EST, and although they haven’t announced a starter following the news that Gerrit Cole would get an MRI on his elbow.

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