The New York Yankees walked away from Thursday carrying disappointing news regarding their pitching. Starter Carlos Rodon will begin the 2023 campaign on the injured list due to a left forearm strain, and bullpen piece Lou Trivino is also dealing with a mild elbow injury.
While most of the news regarding the team’s pitching is negative, one low-key relief pitcher has made a great first impression during spring training, and the Yankees are taking notice.
31-year-old bullpen arm, Jimmy Cordero, hadn’t pitched his 2020 when he featured with the Chicago White Sox. He hosted a 6.07 ERA over 26.2 innings but put together a stellar 2019 campaign, split between the Toronto Blue Jays and White Sox. He enjoyed a 2.89 ERA across 37.1 innings, hosting a 59.4% ground ball rate and 81.4% left-on-base rate.
Clearly, Cordero is an efficient ground ball producer, which is certainly a good variable in Yankee Stadium with its short right porch.
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The Yankees may have something in Jimmy Cordero:
However, Cordero doesn’t only have solid accuracy, he also has blazing velocity on his fastball. He’s capable of touching nearly 100 mph, landing in the 92nd percentile in fastball velocity and 92nd percentile in chase rate. While his strikeout rate and whiff percentage aren’t above average, by any means, he generates weak contact, elevating his ground ball numbers.
“I am an exciting pitcher because all my stuff is really good,” Cordero told the media. “It’s hard, it’s something that people are really going to like.”
Looking back at his 2020 season, Cordero utilized his sinker about 50% of the time, 4-seam fastball at 18.8%, and mixed in a change-up at 17.3%. He dabbles with a slider and cutter at below 8% each, heavily relying on his fastball and breaking ball.
In fact, his sinker generates 7% more vertical and horizontal movement than the average pitcher, getting good movement on it. Opposing hitters batted .233 against his sinker, which averaged out at 96.6 mph. Given sinkers are usually a high BA pitch, this is a solid number for the veteran, who relies heavily on his slider as his primary strike-out pitch.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has been impressed with his control and velocity, having pitched four scoreless innings this spring ahead of the regular season. Having just lost Trivino to injury, Cordero could certainly be in line to make the 26-man roster along with Matt Krook, who’s also been impressing.
“I really like him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on Thursday. “Power arm, been commanding the ball how he wants. Think he’s got a chance to get both sides out. I feel like he’s going to be a key piece for us.”
With a few weeks left until Opening Day, expect the Yankees to get Cordero heavily involved, making sure he’s ready to pitch at the MLB level.