When the New York Yankees trotted out Triple-A star JP Sears on Wednesday as their primary starter, they didn’t expect him to be as dominant as he was.
To preface, Sears has been electric with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, posting a 0.83 ERA over 21.2 innings. He’s recording 12.46 strikeouts per nine and a 46.7% ground ball rate. Sears has taken his game to another level this season, just in time for the Yankees to supplement the back-end rotation spot after the injury to Luis Gil.
Gil will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2022 season prematurely. The Yankees had a big decision to make: target a starter at the trade deadline or give a young prospect an opportunity to steal the show.
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The Yankees have themselves a polished young starter:
Impressively, Sears didn’t back down from the fight, working his way out of trouble on a number of occasions to help the Yankees win their second consecutive game over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
“I definitely felt more comfortable as I went,” Sears said. “The stuff was sharper each inning I was out there.”
JP lasted 5.0 innings, giving up three hits and two walks, striking out five batters. An error from Gleyber Torres in the 1st inning put Sears’s start in jeopardy, but he forced a pop-out for the second out and struck out Ryan Mountcastle after falling behind with a 3–0 count.
Sears isn’t known for his blazing velocity but rather impeccable accuracy. His fastball averages out at 94 mph and slider at 81.6. Opposing batters are only accumulating an 84.3 mph exit velocity off Sears, meaning they’re making weak contact on his pitches. In fact, batters are swinging at pitches outside the strike zone at nearly 30%.
Given it was Sears’s first start in the MLB against a low;y Baltimore squad, we need to see him take on more talented teams. But with the Yankees trying to supplement fatigue, we should expect the 26-years-old to get more action in the next few weeks. He was immediately recalled to Triple-A following the game, but he definitely left a positive impression on the coaching staff.
“It was awesome. I had my family here and 15 friends,” said Sears. “I got to see them all and it makes it even better because they were here and I look forward to the next one, whenever that is.”