Yankees may have stumbled across a solid depth pitcher

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees at Detroit Tigers
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The New York Yankees faced off against the Cleveland Guardians in a doubleheader Saturday afternoon, but with Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil expected to make starts on Friday and Saturday, the Yankees had to make a difficult choice, pushing Gil to Sunday so both pitchers weren’t on the same rest day.

In Game 2 of the doubleheader, the Yankees leaned on Cody Poteet, a 29-year-old righty who spent last season with the Kansas City Royals’ Triple-A squad. He has 64.2 innings to his name in the MLB, 6.0 of which came in Sunday’s win over Cleveland.

Poteet has a collective 4.18 ERA but tossed six innings in the win, giving up just one earned run and enjoying a 100% left-on-base rate and 36.8% ground ball rate.

In the absence of Gerrit Cole, the Yankees had had to lean on some of their more inexperienced arms, so Poteet was just the next man up to help stifle adversity.

“We all felt like when we got him over the offseason that he was going to be a guy who can play a role for us,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “And he sure looked the part tonight.”

Fortunately, the Yankees offense has been red hot to open the season, and they continue their dominance on Saturday against a solid Cleveland team.

The Yankees Can Get Geteat Value From Cody Poteet

Let’s take a look at how Poteet could make a substantial impact this season in context with expectations.

Poteet’s primary three pitches are a sinker, changeup, and four-seam fastball. Opposing hitters are batting just .167 against his fastball, which averages only 92.5 mph but generates 5% more vertical movement than the average pitcher.

Last season, Poteet only used his sinker at 10.9%, but over a small sample to open this year, that number has increased to 37.7%.

Clearly, pitching coach Matt Blake has a plan to maximize his qualities. The Yankees have been proactive in finding pitcher who can improve their sinkers and combine them with change-ups that ride in against right-handed batters and away from lefties.

Fortunately, Poteet has three minor league options, and the Yankees have already sent him back down to Triple-A Scranton after Saturday’s game, so they will likely call on him to make spot starts when necessary.

The Yankees have fantastic depth in both the bullpen and starting rotation, so having these minor-league options and flexible players is a luxury.

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